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Vol.10 - Rhubarb's Guide To London 📖
Happy Sunday, everyone! How is 2023 treating us all so far? Have we set up our mood boards? Decided on our goals for the year? Are we pretending to do dry January? I can say the first week of January has been pretty unproductive for me from a work perspective. However, from a personal one, it’s been great because I’ve given myself the headspace to figure out the things that are important to me and what I need to prioritise. I don’t know about anyone else, but the New Year mentality often makes me want to try new things as if the first week of January is the only time I’m allowed to do so until I settle into habits and routines. I hope that Rhubarb’s guide to London can encourage some of you to try new places (with or without a dog!). However, I appreciate not all of you are from London, so I’m going to start with a segment of ‘new’ things I’ve tried so far this year that are hopefully more accessible to all of you! I have also done a picture round-up on Tiktok of some of my favourite purchases from 2022 as well as an under £100 edition. P.S. If your IG is charleigholivia, you’ve won the beauty giveaway from issue no.7, so keep your eyes peeled on your DM’s! And with that, let’s begin…
IN WITH THE NEW
I recently asked you on Instagram to recommend your favourite make-up products. Specifically, contours and powders as they are two categories that I never really venture into. The response was overwhelming, and you all gave me so many fabulous recommendations. Of course, a lot of them were sold out ( a good sign, I suppose), so I bought the things I could get my hands on. I also posted a first impressions video on Tiktok for some of them, should you want a visual guide. I don’t particularly know what I’m doing with these products, but I’m loving them regardless.
Charlotte Tilbury Glow Bronzer, Shade 1 - A lot of you told me to buy the contour wand, which was obviously out of stock everywhere; however, the sales assistant recommended this instead (also useful as a lot of you told me to buy the Chanel bronzing cream which was also out of stock and this was basically the same). This gives the most amazing, glowy, bronzey look that none of my powder bronzers were doing for me. So far, I’m obsessed.
Huda Beauty Powder, Shade Poundcake - I’d seen this go viral on Tiktok a few times, but it was only when I saw how many of you had recommended it that I started to take it seriously. I’m on the oilier side, and apparently, this powder is best for brightening, so I’m eager to say how this fares after a whole day’s wear, but so far, so good. I’ve also ordered these triangle puffs from Amazon to use to bake with!
Huda Beauty Blush Stick In Coral Cutie - As a blush girlie, this is AMAZING. It is perfectly pigmented, applies beautifully, and looks even better the longer you wear it. It has a soft creamy texture and a little bit goes a long way.
Dior Backstage Face & Body Foundation (Shade 1W) - I don’t particularly like anything heavy on my skin, but a lot of you raved about the Dior products, so I thought I would a few ago, starting with their foundation, which is excellent. It’s very lightweight but still has decent coverage and the colour match is perfect. I also bought the concealer, which is still good, but nothing special.
Dior Lip Oil in Shade Coral - When the girl at the counter first showed me this colour, I was dubious because it is literally just bright orange. However, when it actually goes on, it’s *chefs kiss*. It makes your lips look so plump and glossy with a slight tint. I 10000% understand the hype.
In terms of other new things, I’ve tried so far this year? I’m very loyal to my massage place in Chinatown, but I’d seen that Masaj had opened (previously, they were only in East London), so I was eager to try. This place is like the luxury version of my favourite Chinatown spot. You can choose your playlist, oils, and level of communication during the treatment, and if anything, this is more ‘bodywork’ than massage. I had Paulina, who was fantastic. She did everything from reflexology and facial acupressure points to lymphatic drainage and abdominal work. She was extremely knowledgeable and explained everything that was going on with my body. I also bought a Nintendo Switch just before New Year’s Eve as something for Henry and me to play, as well as for when guests come over. However, I downloaded Animal Crossing and have spent every day this year playing it; I am obsessed. I know a Taurus was behind the making of this game because looking after a silly little island, decorating a silly little home, and making silly little items for silly little tasks just screams Taurean. Anyway, if anyone has any Animal Crossing tips, please shout, as I’m in my gaming phase. ESPA recently gifted me bits from their new ‘fitness’ range and this wellness journal which is perfect timing for the new year. I’ve also been loving their muscle rescue balm, which (so far) has been a godsend after my PT sessions. I’ve been pairing that with their fitness bath salts to help with my recovery (they include magnesium and dead sea salt!).
RHUBARB’S GUIDE TO LONDON
As many of you know, Rhubarb has very particular taste. Whilst we have wined and dined in many establishments across London together, not all of them have met her impeccable standards. Therefore, the below list has been highly curated and only includes her favourites. I have also added a few notes for the owners who are no doubt reading this out loud to their dogs.
North Audley Cantine, Mayfair - A stones throw from Selfridges, North Audley Cantine does delicious food. I particularly like the brunch menu and their banana toast iced late.
OKA - I usually avoid anything that has ‘pan Asian’ in the title, but I’ve eaten here multiple times, and it’s consistently great. The sushi portions are generous, and the food is very reasonably priced. Henry loves the marmite chicken, and I like the crunchy spicy tuna roll with a glass of lychee juice.
Maison Francois - This comes as literally no surprise to anyone who has followed me/read these newsletters for longer than two weeks. GET THE MOULES FLATBREAD AND A GRAPE MARGARITA. We bring a blanket/lay down a coat, so Rhubarb can sit with us; otherwise, dogs have to stay on the floor.
Circolo Popolare, Fitzrovia - So, hear me out. I don’t particularly rate the food (it’s agreeable, not necessarily bad, but nothing wow); however, it’s just so much FUN. The drinks are fun, the puddings are fun, and you can soak up the atmosphere with your dog, which is always a bonus.
The Guinea Grill, Mayfair - It looks like an unassuming pub down a side road in Mayfair, but it does some of the best grass-fed steaks and accompanying sides. All of the food is sublime, and the upstairs restaurant is cosy and full of character. Rhubarb likes to sit on her own chair.
Sucre - This place is a little overpriced for what it is (I wouldn’t have a full meal here), but it’s perfect for drinks and a light bite. I like the mango habanero cocktail, and the pork belly and Rhubarb likes snoozing on the banquette.
Cocoro Marylebone - This Japanese restaurant is SO tasty and so well priced; it blows my mind. Dogs are allowed on the lower ground floor, where they have sunken seating that mimics traditional Japanese floor seating. The ramens are all delicious, the sushi is fantastic, and the menu is vast. They also have hotpot, which I’m yet to try, but it always looks good when I see other people eating it.
Mercato Mayfair - What once was an old church has now been converted into a large food hall with different vendors that serve everything from Malaysian food to Italian Gelato. If you go to the lower ground floor, you will find a cheese and wine bar and, at the very top, a small outdoor rooftop which is great in the Summer.
Sunday in Brooklyn, Notting Hill - A firm brunch favourite of ours. The pancakes are gargantuan and need to be shared. I also love the cheddar scramble and any of their drinks.
The Pelican, Notting Hill - This is currently my favourite place to eat, with some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. It’s technically a pub, and it has the cosy pub vibe, but the menu is elevated. They source their ingredients from local producers, and everything is made in-house. Go with a few friends so you can order as many dishes as possible to share. The lobster and monkfish pie says it’s for two people, but it’s big enough for 4!
Casa Cruz, Notting Hill - I love this spot in the Summer as it has an intimate roof terrace that’s perfect for a long lunch. It’s Argentinian-inspired and does fantastic meat. Also, if you love bone marrow, you’re in for a treat.
The Mandrake Hotel, Fitzrovia - This hotel is opulent and eccentric and features everything from phallic drawings to giant stuffed animals. There’s a stunning courtyard for the warmer months; otherwise, enjoy some food and a Mangosteen cocktail in their moody Waeska bar.
Hideaway - The little sister to Hide, Hideaway is nestled on Mount Street, within touching distance of both Hyde Park and the Connaught Patisserie. This is a particular favourite of mine for a light breakfast or lunch, and their Wigmore baguette is one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. If you’re feeling indulgent, order a black Truffle Croque Madame or a Mixed Berry Waffle with Mascarpone and Rose Petals. They have fabulously creative drinks but skip on the iced masala chai as it’s nowhere near strong enough, especially for the price.
Chameleon, One Marylebone - An outdoor, Tel Avivian inspired sharing menu with private greenhouses and plenty of foliage. It’s visually stunning, and the food is delicious. I love the Kubana brioche, grilled cauliflower and the octopus.
Pantechnicon, Belgravia - This place mixes the Nordic with the Japanese across several floors in the middle of Belgravia. There’s a Cafe Kitsune on the ground floor, as well as several shops and a restaurant on the roof garden. The food is delicious and great for a light lunch or a special occasion dinner.
M Restaurants - This place legitimately has a ‘6-Legged Brunch’ menu that includes three courses for you and your dog. They have extensive food and wine menus, and it’s a good place for a date night with your pup.
Chiltern Firehouse - I have a love-hate relationship with Chiltern. The place is entirely wanky, and 85% of the staff find themselves far too important (with the exception of a few good eggs, Vinicius if you’re reading, you are my fav!). The food is aggressively overpriced, and I would never eat in the restaurant (dogs aren’t allowed in any way); however, the courtyard and the bar? I absolutely love. I’ve spent far too many afternoons in both with Rhubarb and friends, drinking, grazing and people-watching. If you sit in the bar and you can nab a space by the fire, it’s a great spot to take a laptop and work with a cup of tea.
Connaught Patisserie, Mayfair - The pastries here are art. They’re so beautiful you won’t want to eat them. If you aren’t hungry, grab a hot drink in one of their infamous pink cups and take a stroll around Mayfair instead.
Starbucks - Order the puppycino, obvz.
Ralphs Coffee, Bond Street - Once you’ve ordered your Oat and Raisin cookie and Gingerbread Latte, you can choose to take a seat outside and people watch on Bond Street or browse the multiple floors of Ralph Lauren to see what they have to offer.
C&R Cafe, Chinatown -I mentioned this place in my first-ever newsletter, and nothing has changed since. They do delicious, homemade Malaysian food at a fantastic price point. The Laksa and the Beef Rendang are my two favourite dishes. They don’t take bookings, so make sure you have your whole party with you if you are passing by, or they won’t seat you until everyone is there.
Great Scotland Yard Hotel - You can book in for your very own dog afternoon tea (dogs are presented with a beautiful three-tiered selection of treats), and should you choose to stay here, there’s even a dog room service menu.
Colbert, Sloane Square - Henry and I personally think the food here is mediocre and overpriced, but it’s a great destination for coffee, fries, and people-watching. Take a seat outside and watch life go by on Sloane Square.
Caravan, Fitzrovia - Basically, all the dishes here are great, and it has a laidback vibe that’s nice for brunch/lunch.
Shreeji Newsagents - The world’s chicest newsagent with everything from cigars to coffees and pastries and extremely beautiful but niche magazines that double as coffee table books. They often host great events and ‘takeovers’ with artists and brands. They have a little jar of dog treats by the door, as it’s a real hotspot for pups. Most people opt for Monocle a few doors down, but locals know that Shreeji is the place to be.
Maison Assouline - In their own words, MA is ‘a refuge for those seeking style, culture, and art de vivre’. The interiors are stunning, and it’s a quiet little oasis away from the business that is Piccadilly. The Swans Bar is the perfect place to spend a few hours with your dog, having some drinks and nibbles and soaking up the atmosphere.
No 6 Cavendish - This is an addition from the intern (although I have been a few times before). No 6 is a cigar lounge and bar where you can sample your purchases in a warm, cushy room. Even though dogs are allowed, I personally wouldn’t take Rhubarb (I suppose this defeats the point of it being on this list), but if you want to keep your other half busy in a cigar lounge for a few hours with other smelly men, you can dump them here whilst you and your dog go somewhere better.
Daunts Books - Daunts is, ironically, like something from a book. The one on Marylebone high street is absolutely stunning, and it has little nooks where you can sit and browse a vast selection of books, both fiction and non-fiction. Go upstairs and plonk yourself on the floor in the corner for a bit.
Daniel Galvin Jnr - My go-to hair salon where Rhubarb has been many times to accompany me. Sometimes on her own chair, sometimes on my lap. There are usually other dogs in there, which Rhubarb doesn’t take too kindly as, for some reason, she thinks it’s her house.
Iris Avenue - Again, this will come as no surprise to anyone who has been here for longer than 30 seconds. This is my favourite salon; it does everything from nails to lash extensions and massages. The staff and owners are wonderful, and the bar serves some of the most unique cocktails I’ve had. Rhubarb sits with me for every treatment and even goes behind the bar to order her own puppycino. I like a pandan latte.
Michael Van Clarke - I’ve been here a few times before (prior to me migrating over to Daniel Galvin Jnr), and the salon itself is great and, of course, very good with dogs. They have an in-house menu of food and drink to order whilst you’re having your hair done.
These are department stores I frequent with Rhubarb, but in all honesty, most shops in London are completely fine with Rhubarb being in there. Even shops like Louis Vuitton, Celine and Chanel have no qualms with her coming in with me to browse. Annoyingly, Uniqlo is anti-dog, but that’s the only place I can think of that’s said no in recent times.
Selfridges (only if carried)
WATCH, READ, LISTEN
I was going to do ‘The Club Corner’ segment this week, however, I’m mindful of not making every newsletter so bloody long, so I’m firing off some quick recs instead. So, here are a few pieces of media I've been enjoying this week...
The Traitors on BBC iplayer. This is the BEST reality show I have seen in so long. For those who love a game of Mafia, this is the real-life version. There’s drama, deception, twists and turns. You’ll find yourself screaming at the Tv in disbelief and anger.
This article from The Cut discussing Prince Harry’s latest memoir (still yet to be released). I’m gobsmacked by how tacky and revealing it appears to be thus far. I’m equal parts horrified and fascinated.
If you’ve watched (and enjoyed) Glass Onion this week, then please also enjoy this video of Rian Johnson breaking down the arrival scene.
I’ve been taking it back to 2005 by listening to The All-American Rejects on repeat. The Move Along album bangs. I also completely forgot that the lead singer had that rogue cameo in The House Bunny? Iconic.
I finally watched The Banshees of Inisherin and loved it. Once you accept that it’s a film about the journey and not the destination, you can appreciate it for what it truly is. The performances from Colin and Brendan are brilliant (naturally). In particular, Barry Keoghan really blew me away. The writing is sharp and engaging and has a depth that I didn’t appreciate upon first viewing (for example, Colm’s speech to Siobahn about Mozart, which says so much about his character and his flaws, that makes even more sense as you get to know him). It’s melancholy and funny and sardonic, and I laughed and cried throughout.
And that’s all from the tenth issue of The Rhubarb Society! Please feel free to leave your comments/questions/concerns in the comments below, via email or in my DMs. If there’s anyone you think would be an excellent fit for The Rhubarb Society, please do extend the invitation below.
Tamsin & Rhubarb