05 November 2018

London Soho

Soho is a provocative slice of London. Famous for its sex shops, theatres, and nightlife, it’s a neighbourhood with a vibe that’s two parts scintillating one part grunge, sort of like a sputtering neon light in a dark corner window. 

Needless to say, some tourists avoid it, which is a real shame because it is one of my most favourite neighbourhoods. To help me gush, this weekend I collaborated with Hotels·com to curate an evening in Soho. While they provided the spending money, the experiences and opinions are (obviously) entirely my own. It was a great time, and the perfect little intro into the city for baby Ezra (as this was his first time in London).

We started things off at a restaurant called Dirty Bones. There are actually two locations in Soho, one on Carnaby Street and one by Piccadilly Circus. Both have pram access and are pretty accommodating of families, but I’d definitely recommend the one near Piccadilly and suggest going on the weekend. That way you can order off their brunch menu which is the main reason to go. This time though, Jon ordered the ‘mac daddy’ which is sort of their signature dish—a macaroni + cheese meets burger monstrosity. 

Also, the bathrooms are behind a false bookcase... sooo, maybe that's a reason to go all in itself.

If Ezra had been born on his due date and had been a girl, I would have seriously considered giving him (well, her) the middle name Liberty. My love of America makes me feel like any baby born on Independence Day deserves a patriotic middle name. But my love of London also made me want to give a name that paid homage to my love of this city, and Liberty fit the bill on both counts. Just off of Carnaby Street, this period department store is perfection, inside and out.

Regardless of the time of year, I usually make a stop at the Christmas department (yes there is a whole year-round department dedicated to Christmas). I think you can tell by his expression that my little man is going to have the same wide-eyed wonder I still feel every time I hear festive music and see twinkly lights. We LOVE Christmas in this house.

I’ve written about it before, but it never gets old. Said dal 1923 is the last word in hot chocolate. It is the BEST hot chocolate of any place in the world (and yes it blows Burdick’s in Boston out of the water, though rumour has it Angelina’s in Paris is pretty fab, and I’ve yet to try that so stay tuned). The hot chocolate is so rich and thick and it comes with three kinds of hot chocolate poured over the edge. As if that wasn’t enough, this place also serves the best carrot cake (I owe this to the fact that their recipe excludes nutmeg, which I have a completely unwarranted personal vendetta against). Double win for Said dal 1923.

Finally, there is Carnaby Street itself. Just off of Regency street, this dazzling little side road is full of fun shops and restaurants. Nighttime is when it really shines (usually literally). This year the theme is Bohemian Rhapsody and every few feet there are giant neon signs overhead with Queen’s lyrics. What’s great about Carnaby is you get that colourful buzz that Soho offers, but in a way that is a lot more family friendly.

I do love London. It was a short but lovely trip made much more complicated by the fact I am still exclusively express-feeding Ezra. It’s one of those things you just don’t think about until you’re faced with it—the need to find a private, quiet space with an outlet in the middle of London. So far, the best place I’ve found is at Westfield Mall (which isn't even really in central London). They have several parent lounges there that are fantastic. They are quiet little private rooms with armchairs, outlets, and even a low screen with cartoons on it for kids. The only perplexing part is that there are no locks on the doors (I remedied this by wedging a stool behind the sliding door). Still, it is by far the best option I’ve discovered so far.

Love you London! Til next time...

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