7 hours in Seven Dials

A couple of weeks ago, armed with comfy trainers and my baby Canon, I found myself in the heart of Seven Dials. I’ve always been fascinated by this area. It’s got narrow cobbled streets, old imperious buildings and a mix of small boutiques and well established brands that make it one of the most charming destinations in London.

The first stop was My Cup of Tea, at 27 Shorts Gardens. I’ve never been there before but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the place. It’s brimming with natural light and there’s a sense of calm and serenity that comes from the minimalistic design and the omnipresent smell of brewing tea. The people there were lovely enough to prepare a tea tasting for me explaining the main differences between the six flavours I got to sip.

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After tea tasting came fragrance profiling at Le Labo. If you’re not familiar with the brand, Le Labo is about soulful fine perfumery that delivers a shock – the shock of the new combined with the shock of the intimately familiar. I wish I could share with you the way the store smells. It’s intoxicating and mesmerizing. It tells a story.

I windmilled my way through all the candles, lotions and potions on display, uh-ing and ahh-ing at every new discovery. I love, love, love Santal 33. So much that I wouldn’t know exactly how to describe it. It feels woody and floral and spicy and leathery and musky. It’s harsh at times with a delicate and powdery finish.

If you’re looking for a new scent, do pay them a visit. Choosing your favorite will be an experience on its own. Aaaaand, they will freshly hand-blend your bottle.

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Next on the itinerary was ‘Loft design by…‘ where for a split second I got reminded of Paris and its enchanting vibe. I was walked through the collection which is a mix of high quality basics and a few wear-forever pieces. The brand is all about simple yet luxurious clothes made for uncomplicated day outfits.

The thing that I got most excited about was finding out how carefully they source the fabrics for the collections. They support local communities and approach the entire process with responsibility which is something we need more of in the fashion industry.

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Later on, when I was feeling a bit tired and in much need of a pick me up I went to Fresh on Monmouth Street. I first discovered Fresh about a year ago when I was looking for an effective calming mask and a friend recommended them.

Generally speaking, I’m a very savvy shopper. When it comes to skincare though, I turn savvy into utterly annoying. I ask lots of questions. About ingredients, production, packaging, fare wedges. I even asked the two lovely people that welcomed me if they’re happy working there.

After more than an hour of talking skincare and my skin problems in particular I left the store armed with valuable tips and tricks and a couple of their bestsellers. I’ve been using their rose face mask and their black tea firming serum for two weeks now and so far I’m loving them.

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Last stop of the day was a Sicilian deli hidden in the colorful Neal’s Yard, called Casanova & daughters. I paused for a minute outside the place just to admire the picture perfect scene. Although dimly lit, I could spot endless jars and bottles filled with delicious looking food and in a corner, at a small round table, four stunning ladies giggling away.

I was welcomed by Francois, one of the owners, who promptly handed me a glass of organic white wine and helped me hop up onto a towering bar stool. While watching him prepare a platter with their best bits and pieces we started chatting about how it all started.

I love a good story and theirs is one of the most charming and soulful I’ve heard. I encourage you to pay them a visit and find out for yourself – I’ll only tell you my favorite bit: on every product, besides the usual information (brand, type of product, ingredients and so on) they’ve written the name of a person who helped making that product.

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