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Free Tibet Protester Opposite Chinese Embassy, London, 25.04.13

Le Labo Santal 26 Candle

Having finally stepped into Le Labo's mysterious world back in March, when I was steered to buy an amazing, totally heady, memory avalanche-inducing Le Labo vintage Pin 12 vintage candle, by Camelia, at Le Labo's Marylebone store, it was pretty clear as my home became habitually Le Labo scented, that when that candle came to an end, no other brand of candle would ever do again. After all, as I said in a previous post about the Pin 12 candle, Le Labo's candles don't just tease off a scent, they move right into your home and set the atmosphere. 

After my lovely initiation into Le Labo's world by Camelia, I had a strong sense of Le Labo being inseparable from the notion of a treat, of treating oneself. And so it was, when the Pin 12 candle ran out, I waited a little while until I felt like playing the treat card again. I've been working flat out for ages now on my 14th book (more details on what it is, when the publisher is ready) and yesterday marked the end of a round of intensive edits. Finishing that leg of the work created a great moment for a treat and as I brought my daughter home from school, we headed for Le Labo. 

Although I would happily buy the Pin 12 candle again, a Le Labo store, as the name would suggest, is like a petite magical laboratory and I felt I'd be missing out if I didn't try a second candle. So after sampling the Anis 24 (I was wooed to this digitally having read on the Le Labo website's mentions of Marseille, which appealed to me having spent a summer holiday two years ago in Cassis and Marseille and fallen for the rugged charm of that strip of the French coast) and Calone 17 candles (I am obsessed with the sea), my daughter and I settled on Santal 26, which made me think instantly of a Riad we stayed at in the medina of Rabat in Morocco: the scent is that of aged Moroccan rugs and babouches shops and dark wooden furniture and a room shuttered up and dimly lit to keep out the excessive summer heat). 

Having settled on the Santal 26, this time I chose the 'classic' glass jar version of the candle and not the vintage tin style. As before, everything was beautifully wrapped (even a day later, the tissue paper used to wrap the candle in the box smells absolutely gorgeous) and as the sunny day turned into a supernaturally lit London evening, the candle brought memories of that Riad in Rabat shimmering back into my home.  

10 Great Places To Eat In London


The 'fancy Ottolenghi' restaurant. When it's warm, go there for breakfast and order the Nopi version of Shakshuka: it's out of this world.

21-22 Warwick Street, London W1B 5NE


The best Mexican restaurant in London. No contest.

139 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2RS


A New York dive filtered through pure London attitude (think The Clash or The Rolling Stones' Americana fixations grafted onto their inherent London-ness) serving great food that playfully blends British/ Italian/ American classics. Impeccable playlists.

61 Rupert Street, London W1 7PW


If you're in the mood for a grand dining experience, The Wolseley never lets you down.

160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB


Sitting like an Edward Hopper painting by a canal side in slowly regenerating King's Cross, Shrimpy's offers a menu inspired by California heading South all the way through Mexico and down to Peru. Sit among abundant cacti/ aloe vera plants and admire the charming wall illustrations as you enjoy a laid back brunch/ lunch/ dinner.

The King's Cross Filling Station Goods Ways, London N1C 4UR 


You can't beat this Belgian chain for a great lunch. Some have a better atmosphere/ layout than others. My favourite is in Marylebone.

72-75 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 5JW


Fabulously discreet, working an irreverent piano covers/ great food axis, this is one of the best places in London for brunch.

23-27 Wadeson Street, London E2 9DR


This sumac lovin' Israeli husband and wife's home-cooking-feel, hole in the wall restaurant, is just endlessly mouth watering. Turkish coffee, served beautifully. Insanely delicious donuts. Yemeni falafel. Everything they cook is delicious. It reminds me of a cross between two places in Israel: Abu Hassan (the legendary hummus establishment) and Orna & Ella (laidback, terrific food, sort of the proto-Ottolenghi), with some irreverent London-ness sprinkled over the top. Great atmosphere too, it's a nice place to also lose an hour over a coffee and cake. 

25a Warren Street, London W1T 5LZ


Home to the best Veggie Burger and Fries in London. And their "sauce options" are just brilliant. Yet another feather in Marylebone's cap.

30 Thayer Street, London W1U 2QP


Mouth-watering Notting Hill lunch destination, helmed by former River Cafe chef, Natasha Abraham. Perfect as a stop-off before or after Portobello Market.

116 Kensington Park Road, London W11 2PW

Claude Chabrol's Les Biches = Like An A.P.C Lookbook

Blanc Magazine = Striking Launch Issue Cover (as seen in Selfridges)

Jennifer Abessira = Love Her Work