I try to walk with Lettice, my miniature Dachshund, for at least two hours each Saturday and Sunday. My London apartment is five minutes from Regents Park and a short drive from Hampstead Heath, so on a good weekend I do both, exploring a different part of each every weekend. At the moment I am rediscovering the Robert Adams-designed Kenwood House, part of the Iveagh Bequest, at the very top of the Heath. (The house and grounds are is open for free to the public.)
by Sasha Wilkins on November 27, 2015 · 0 comments
Last week we spent a morning filming at an Italian restaurant in Primrose Hill, La Collina, just around the corner from my London apartment on Parkway, in Camden. Small, unique businesses like La Collina play such an important role in the local community, and I’m working with American Express® to highlight this.
Where I live is not usually thought of as a residential area, but look up and you’ll see flats above most of the shops. Yes, it’s busy, there’s quite a lot of traffic (my tiny dog gets carried across the road), tourists wander towards London Zoo and occasionally there is an overspill of crowds from the Dublin Castle gig venue, but these things are a very small price to pay for living in a community.
Yes, I said community. Because, in the four years that I have lived in NW1 since moving back to England from New York, I’ve got to know the people that live and work here. That might not be a very London thing – common perception is that we don’t talk to each other, or even notice our surroundings much – but this street is full of small businesses, with owners that value their customers and take the time to talk.
There’s the greengrocer almost next door, whose employees will walk my sausage dogs for the time it takes me to pick my five-a-day, the coffee shop who Tweets me, the modern British restaurant that will always find me a table and lets me bring the dogs, the cafe opposite where I can pick up the internet from my office, the charity shop, who take in my parcels and for whom, in return, I style their windows from time to time.
And, just down the road is the world famous Camden Market, which is almost entirely comprised of sole traders and small businesses, and, up the road and around the corner, is Primrose Hill, where the same spirit resides. From greengrocers to Greek restaurants there are numerous small businesses, each bringing their own unique offering to the local area, including the afore-mentioned La Collina, whose chef Diana Rinaldo takes the food of her native south, and mixes it with the Piedmontese heritage of her partner, Patrick Oberto.
I know that I am lucky to live in a part of London where small businesses are the rule, not the exception but if you look carefully, you’ll see that they are everywhere. So when American Express asked me if I would shine a spotlight on one of my favourite neighborhood restaurants, La Collina, to help encourage more people to shop small, I was happy to oblige. Not only because I love the restaurant, but because it’s so important to show support for your local high street in the run up to Christmas – possibly the most important time of year for small businesses up and down the country.
Which is also why I love Small Business Saturday, a grassroots movement encouraging people to show their support for small businesses on Saturday 5th December. It’s a chance to really think about where you spend your money in the run up to Christmas, helping to support the people who make shopping and eating in our villages, towns and cities such a warm and welcoming experience.
And, there’s a bonus for eligible American Express Cardmembers (yes, I am one too!): through the American Express Shop Small Promotion, if you shop in-store at participating businesses between Saturday 5th and Sunday 20th December 2015, you will receive a £5 statement credit when you spend £10 or more in one transaction on your registered American Express Card.*
To find out more about Shop Small and how you can support your local high street, visit amexshopsmall.co.ukI visited La Collina and found out more about this small restaurant in association with American Express, a principal supporter of Small Business Saturday UK.
PS: The best part about filming in restaurants:
*There is no limit on the number of times you can receive your £5 statement credit; so, the more you shop small, the more you are rewarded. Valid once per eligible registered Card at each participating business. For full terms and conditions and to register your Card visit: amexshopsmall.co.uk
Promoter: American Express Services Europe Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
So you can imagine my delight when people started saying lovely things about it in some of my favourite American publications from W to Domino, Architectural Digest to Lonny.
I also thought this might be a good time to point out that it’son SALE FOR AN AMAZING $9.51,a 62% discount on the list price of $24.95 ON AMAZON.COM today, so this would be an excellent time to buy a copy for everyone for Christmas. Subtle, am I not?! (It’s also reduced in the UK to £13 – also a tremendous bargain!)
And here are the links to some of the reviews and stories that have appeared so far (more to come!):
Architectural Digest – Where to Eat in London, According to British Blogger Sasha Wilkins “Sasha Wilkins is the sort of girl you want at your dinner party. The Wall Street Journal Magazine style editor turned lifestyle blogger has perfected that effortlessly elegant kind of cooking that says, “I just whipped up this terrific cake after a day at the park.”
Domino – The Modern Hostess Handbook By A Blogger Who KNOWS This Stuff “Sasha Wilkins, or as you know her, Liberty London Girl, just released her new cookbook, Friends, Food, Family: Essential Recipes, Tips, and Secrets For The Modern Hostess–and these recipes are real. They’re designed for the hostess that actually wants to attend her party, rather than spend half of it in the kitchen. Don’t be shocked if a few of these scrumptious recipes work their way into your daily cooking routine, too!”
Chicago Now – Cooking the Books “Given Wilkins’ creativity, it’s a safe bet her “friends and family” equate eating what she’s prepared with happiness, perhaps even going so far as to consider it one of their favorite occupations…Her taste is impeccable, her sense of style spot-on.”
The splash of the translucent red liquid into a heavy cut glass tumbler, the fizz of soda over clinking ice cubes, the scent of the orange slice on the edge of the glass. It takes the crack barman assembling my drink in one of London’s smartest members’ clubs just a few seconds to send me […]
This intensely savoury and thoroughly delicious gravy is the perfect sauce for Thanksgiving. It’s so delicious that I promise meat-eaters will love it too, and any vegetarian or vegan who may be sitting around your Thanksgiving table will thank you forever for making something they can have too. Especially as I’ve found that most people who don’t eat turkey would […]
I’m thrilled that my dear friend Camilla Morton has given us two posts for LLG, based around her delightful new book Make Life Beautiful. Camilla is the bestselling author of How To Walk In High Heels, which was translated into seventeen languages, and A Year In High Heels. She is a fashion journalist, and spent many years working for […]
These very small horses are not ponies. Horses-not-ponies are a sensitive subject in Iceland, as I discovered on Ayla’s and my epic trip earlier this year. Sadly for me, I grew up around ponies, and I now know that apparently my mouth is hardwired to shout LOOK! PONIES! when I see beautiful small horses. Like […]
Well, I had all the fun catering Goodley Bullen PR’s press days for SS16 – for those of you not in the fashion world, this time of year sees both public relations agencies and brands fling open their showroom doors for a day – or two – to show their clients’ samples and collections for […]
"Sasha Wilkins is the sort of girl you want at your dinner party. The Wall Street Journal fashion editor turned lifestyle blogger has perfected that effortlessly elegant kind of cooking that says, “I just whipped up this terrific cake after a day at the park.” Hannah Martin. Architectural Digest. Sept 2015