Where do I even begin?
Perhaps with this: I’m in London again, but I think you would have to be in the midst of a social media blackout if you didn’t know that. I tend to get a lil excited when it comes to my travels.
But “Why London?” you ask?
Well, since you asked, I came here to adjust to the time zone difference in Europe before I head off to France for two food photography/styling workshops.
Did I also mention I don’t do jet lag very well. At. All. So, I thought it best to spend some time getting in the Euro zone before I embark on a life-altering experience in my foodie and photography world. Both were a big investment in my future, and I want to show up with my eyes wide open and my brain alert.
I decided on starting in London because I have been here so many times I don’t feel any particular need to venture out and play the tourist. As fun as that is, it is not relaxing. It is rest and rejuvenation that are at the forefront of my mind and, in my experience, this is not something I find in a hotel. Even the nicest ones. There’s always the noise of other guests and the acute awareness of the cleaning squad anxious to get in your room at the crack of dawn, or so it feels. Even if I do thoroughly enjoy room service, I rarely relax.
So this trip, I decided to try something different and take an Airbnb flat in a real neighbourhood of the city. I wanted to wake when I wanted to and eat whatever I could muster up, or eat out locally if need be. I wanted to be a local, of sorts.
It sounded pretty idyllic in my head. So I did my research, installed the Airbnb app on my phone, and found something that seemed to be a place too good to be true. I found a flat that was titled “Lovely and Bright” in the neighbourhood of Brook Green. The pictures were drop dead gorgeous!
Still, I was a tad nervous to pull the trigger and book. That was until I read the reviews of Jane’s West Kensington home. There was a never-ending stream of praise and repetition on just how nice it was to feel at home in this stranger’s home. So I booked it! Then I hyperventilated and cancelled it. Then I gave my head a shake and booked it again (Sorry Jane!).
Then I told everyone who would listen to me, and look at the pics, what an amazing London pad I’d found.
So! To say I arrived with high expectations is an understatement. And without seeing my actual happy-face, jazz-hands look (Google that emoji) you can only imagine my pure joy when I found that it was not only all it was touted to be, but it was even better than I could have imagined.
It is a gorgeous and enormous, by London standards, one bedroom with a huge sitting room situated at the corner of a building that boasts the largest tree in the hood out front.
The whole flat is filled with windows and beautiful natural light. It’s a foodie photos dream! The kitchen is a modern and spacious eat-in style space with yet another window and a skylight. Lovely and Bright indeed!
And the whole home is filled with little personal touches. As I sit here in the quiet of the morning with my coffee in hand, and tucked away in a corner with a cozy quilt, I am absolutely blown away by the calm and serenity of this special abode. Right now I have the kitchen window open and I can hear the birds perched in the tree outside, jasmine is wafting through on the breeze, and a Bobby on horseback is clippity clopping down the street.
I kid you not, Frances Mayes herself could not make this shit up.
The owner, Jane, is a journalist working and living between Myanmar/Burma, Toronto, and London. Her home is a reflection of her interests and travels, mixed with an appreciation of quintessential Brit details. It is a top floor flat in a red brick Victorian complete with a few quirky angles, bright white walls, and white oak floors.
It’s Modern Quirky, which means it has all the character with all the modern conveniences. It has been fully renovated, but very tastefully to allow its historic charm to shine through.
There are still Victorian elements, like the fireplaces, but the decor and all the personal touches allude to Jane’s travels and interests. (Sorry if I’m starting to sound like Jane’s stalker right now but I feel like I know Jane a lil after staying here for a couple of days).
After saying all that though, don’t make the mistake of thinking the place is cluttered with traveller chotchkies. It has been nicely edited and is very tasteful. While there are hoards of books, I consider that to be a bonus. Bookish decor is legit ok with me. It’s Intelligent Design at its best!
Even better? It appears Jane is a bit of a foodie as well. There is a set of Le Crueset on the kitchen shelf, and more cookbooks and food magazines than I will have time to work my way through before I leave. I may never step outside, other than to buy food and come back here to cook up a storm and shoot in this incredible light.
PS I’ll try to get in a little blurb about the rest of my time in London before I leave for Rome on Saturday.