London Calling! My husband and I are lucky enough to have family all over the world: Venezuela, Israel, England, France, Spain, Morocco, Canada, and more. We’re a veritable Model UN of relatives. Our goddaughter happens to live in London, and we delight in getting to visit her yearly. Because of timing, and an overbooked year, it turned out that we only had time for a weekend jaunt to the sweet Thames.

A Weekend London Visit(top left) What would a trip to the UK be without some Fish & Chips, malt vinegar, and mushy peas? (bottom left) While passing Buckingham Palace, the queen was in residence and all the pomp and circumstance was on full display.

We “fooled time” and were able to see The Tate Modern, The National Gallery, The Globe, Borough Market, The Golden Hinde (Sir Francis Drake’s pirate galleon), have dinner at sketch Sketch (délicieux!) and even spent a ton of quality time with our family. Even stranger? This was my first time in London without rain! The skies were as blue as can be, the weather was almost tropical, and it felt like a tropical island.

A Weekend London Visit(top left) The George Inn has been around since 1677 and is said to have hosted both Dickens and Shakespeare for meals, (top right) At the Royal Academy someone placed a beautiful, fresh wreath around the stature in the middle of the square, (bottom left) Oh the classic, red Telephone Booth! Many have now become libraries and wifi stations, how cool. (bottom right) The famous Shard, also referred to as the Shard of Glass,  is an 87-story skyscraper in the London Bridge Quarter.
A Weekend London Visit (top left) St. James’s Square is the only square in the exclusive St James’s district of the City of Westminster. It has predominantly Georgian and neo-Georgian architecture and a private garden in the center. In the garden we found amazing burnt wood and bronze sculpture by Aron Demetz. (top right) No summer trip to London is complete without a Pimm’s and Lemonade. The historical drink has become synonymous with British festivals, weddings, and sporting events – especially the tennis at Wimbledon. So refreshing.

 A colleague’s boyfriend who has been living abroad in the UK for a few years also sent me these wonderful suggestions. Yay for expats. 
  • For brunch or a pub dinnerThe Grazing Goat in Marylebone near Marble Arch.  I used to live nearby and went very often.  It’s especially good with nice weather because you can sit outside on a quiet street.
  • If you’re touristing around in central London, I can say that most pubs that you pop into for lunch would be pretty good and will serve things appealing to kids – fish and chips, pies, burgers.  Also, I think a lot of people go to some of the nicer chains like Cafe Rouge (French), Leon (Fresh Fast Food), Byron (Burgers) and Carluccio’s (Italian) – it’s all very consistent food, not horribly expensive.
  • Tayyabs – very authentic Punjabi cuisine with an accessible atmosphere.  Service is curt but they can help suggest orders.  If you want beer to cool down the Indian food, pick it up at a convenience store on the high street before you get to the restaurant.  They don’t serve alcohol and the street the restaurant is on doesn’t have anywhere to buy.

G-d Save the Queen!

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Flat 128

If you’re anything like my friend Erica and I, you constantly fake a British accent while discussing Duchess Kate’s shoes and the merits of cider and pasties. For the emerging anglophile within your soul, I bring you Flat 128. The boutique is a luxury lifestyle store, dedicated to bringing emerging and established UK talent to New York City.

Flat 128 in the West VillageHold on to your knickers and wave your Union Jack, this cute shop is one part Mary Poppins, a touch of the Queen, a pinch of the Sex Pistols, and a lot of Vivienne Westwood. The owner, Elizabeth, explains, “Our cozy, West Village storefront resembles the feeling of entering your chicest friend’s home – their flat. The name FLAT 128 is a nod to our founder’s past, favorite home in Notting Hill in London. We hope you find the space as welcoming and beautiful as we do.”

Walkup Spacer Line

Flat 128 in the West Village

A leather satchel, a fascinator and a croquet mallet? Yes, please. 

Flat 128 in the West Village

One cannot fully immerse themselves in British culture without shopping in tartans or plaid. 

Flat 128 in the West VillageFlat 128 in the West VillageThe owner plays a tête-à-tête with the two great cities, separated by the pond of the Atlantic. Her favorite Grilled Cheese in London is at Kappacasein in Borough Market vs. Murray’s Cheese Shop in Bleecker Street in NYC. Want to catch a movie in London, why not visit The Electric where you can have a bottle of wine and cozy up in their plush seats? Catching a film in NYC, Elizabeth recommends The Angelika in Soho for its independent films and the ability to hear the subway trains beneath you during the movie. Her favorite independent stores in London are the Shop at Bluebird on the King’s Road and Summerhill & Bishop in Holland Park, however in NYC she swears 15 Christopher Street, NYC, 10014 is the best spot – aka Flat 128.

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Michael Andrews Bespoke

Michael Andrews Bespoke is a custom tailor. The space is incredibly intimate, trendy, and modern. The storefront, hidden in an alleyway on Great Jones Street in Soho, NY, is an appointment-only boutique offering bespoke suits, shirts, tuxedoes, sport coats, pants, overcoats, pocket squares, cufflinks, neckwear and other formalwear. A self proclaimed “recovering corporate attorney,” Michael Andrews donned a suit and tie to a law firm every day for nearly eight years. When he could not find off-the-rack suits cut to his liking, he began having his clothes custom made. After trying over a dozen tailors without finding exactly what he wanted, he decided to open his own tailor shop. All of the fabrics in shop are courtesy of Savile Row ( A shopping street in central London, renown for its high quality men’s tailoring. The term “bespoke” is thought to have originated in Savile Row when cloth for a suit was said to “be spoken for” by individual customers).

In 2006, Michael Andrews Bespoke was launched with the vision of crafting high-end yet approachable menswear with a modern flare.  Since its inception, the storefront has been named “Best of New York” by Time Out New York, New York Magazine, Bloomberg Markets, AM New York and JW Marriott Magazine. My boyfriend has had the distinct pleasure of being fitted for one of Michael’s perfect suits (this takes several visits), and during his visit was hosted at the bar (complete with vintage typewriter) and given hundreds of textile options. My boyfriend and the owner have also stayed late discussing stocks, sports, and every other subject under the sun – the kind of attention that makes shops like this rare in this day and age. This exceptional, design oriented, unique and yet causal space is absolutely outstanding.

The hidden, back-of-the-alley space during christmastime. Courtesy of Robb Report, HERE.

A side street in Soho, achievable only by a hidden gate and doorbell. The sort of forgotten alley that makes a NYC resident feel as if they have finally discovered the secrets of an ancient city. Workers in the space have won Esquire Magazine’s “Best Dressed Real Man in America” (Dan Trepanier, Senior Advisor) and one is a fifth generation master tailors hailing from Monaghan, Ireland (Rory Duffy, Master Tailor). To find out more about the spot’s motley crew, click HERE. Visiting the space feels like taking a time machine to the turn of the century (and sometimes prior) to a space that appreciate patience, craft, and fit. To a time before electricity, when calling cards, gloves, and canes were a la mode.

 Image found HERE. 

The inner sanctum of the holy custom tailor’s floor. The black and white podium tables are offset by the velvet, velour, and corduroy knit suits adorning the ceiling shelves.

Could you ever say no to a man dressed in this suit? Bond, James Bond. The tuxedo first appeared in 1889 while dinner jacket is dated only to 1891. These two options are predated by the tailcoat and smoking jacket. Thanks to the evolution of tailoring, the menswear is now appropriate for both formal and informal locales.

Aside from the french cuffs, the lapels, the hemming, the lining, and all other custom aspects of a piece of clothing – the store itself is a beautiful exploration of masculinity, modernism, and restraint. The details all complement one another perfectly so that the end product feels contemporary yet vintage. New; yet old. This juxtaposition of companies based in old world techniques, married with the styles of new, helps Michael Andrews Bespoke to succeed.  In the end, would you trust a tailor to make you an aesthetically pleasing suit if he did not work in an aesthetically pleasing shop?

“It’s Ok To Be A Square”

The choices, the choices. Which fabric swatch calls to you?

The MAB Studio

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