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Insider Guides

An Insider Guide To London With Catarina Mira-Rose

Hailing from Portugal, Digital Content Creator and Vashi Advocate, Catarina Mira-Rose has been based in London for the past nine years.

Her carefully curated Instagram feed – where she shares snaps of her family, holidays, interiors, and, of course, her style – has earned her a loyal following.

Here, Catarina shares her insider guide to the city she calls home.

In partnership with Vashi

What are your essentials to pack?

A power bank: London is huge, so you’ll need your phone charged to access Google Maps at all times. I’ve been living here for nine years and still use it every single day. You also need a very warm jacket. Most indoor places will have heating, so you don’t want to be wearing too many layers. Wear one layer, and throw a very cosy jacket on top. Lastly, headphones – one of my favourite things to do is to get lost in an audiobook or podcast while walking or taking public transport in London.

The best time to visit London is…

Spring. I love walking around during that time of the year; it’s when the parks and gardens are at their best. Around Notting Hill you’ll find purple wisteria climbing up the most beautiful townhouses.

How would you describe London style?

London has many fashion tribes, from the West-siders, to the East End creatives. Overall, London style is all about being yourself. You can never be overdressed in London: the city allows you to be as extravagant or as discreet as you want.

Our first pitstop should be…

Soho, as you have a bit of everything there: good shops, restaurants, galleries, and cafés. Pasta at Lina Stores is my go-to when I’m in Soho.

Your favourite hotel to check-in at is…

Chiltern Firehouse. The prices aren’t the most affordable, but every detail is tasteful and well designed. It’s great for people watching too.

For an early morning workout head to…

One of the Psycle studios around town. I absolutely love their barre classes.

Where should we go for breakfast?

Ozone Café in Hackney.

How about for a long, lazy lunch?

Luca in Clerkenwell.

And for dinner with friends?

I love going to Novikov in Mayfair – it never disappoints, and I’ve been going there for eight years. It’s perfect before a night out, as the restaurant itself feels a bit like a club.

A must-try spot for date night?

I’m obsessed with going to the cinema and London has lots of little independent movie theatres. I particularly love Everyman Screen on the Green, which is a retro-style cinema with sofas and a lovely bar where you can order food and drinks.

Your favourite restaurant in town?

I like Mangal in Dalston; it’s a very affordable Turkish restaurant. The food is delicious, plus you can bring your own drinks. For a blowout option I would go to China Tang. It’s an authentic Chinese restaurant at the Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair.

Where should we head post-dinner?

Mr Fogg’s – it’s a great bar, full of character.

The drink to order at the bar…

I love an espresso martini. I’m totally addicted to coffee, so for me, it’s the perfect cocktail. As I’m a new mum,  I definitely need a bit of a pick-me-up!

The best place for people watching…

Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill. You’ll find some stylish characters around there.

The culture spot to rave about…

180 the Strand. I have been seeing some incredible exhibitions there.

The best place to treat yourself is… 

There are many amazing spas in London; however, I’m a regular at MASAJ, which is a small wellness space in Shoreditch. It’s unpretentious and the massages are incredible.

For great shopping head to…

Liberty. The beautiful, old building is packed full of excellent homeware and high quality fashion brands.

Your favourite neighbourhood(s)…

My own: Leyton. Leyton has a great community vibe, it’s packed with new families and artists. There are also lots of fun boutiques and restaurants opening up.

The one place only locals know about… 

Singburi which is hands down one of the best authentic Thai food restaurants in London.

For the best views head to…

Seabird Rooftop at the Hoxton Hotel.

For a change of pace try…

Take a long walk in Richmond Park followed by tea and cakes at Petersham Nurseries.

Great day trips include…

I love going to Rye, you can easily get the train there and back. It’s a beautiful seaside village with cobblestone streets, lots of antique shops, and cosy pubs, as well as modern boutique hotels and contemporary restaurants.

Where do you go to feel inspired?

Dog walks while listening to music always make me feel inspired. My favourite place to go with my dog is Hackney Marshes. There is nothing quite like the lure of nature when you are stuck inside struggling to get through your day.

A book to read before we go (or while we’re there)?

Open Water by Calum Azumah Nelson.

How should we spend the final day of our trip?

Browsing Libreria. It’s a proper bookshop, free of the distractions of loud coffee machines.

What’s your London secret?

It’s not a secret as such, but if you’re not from London you might not know that you can eat a lovely Sunday roast at The Albion in Islington. It has the perfect atmosphere for a Sunday evening, especially when the log burner is on.

In a word, London is…

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Any Questions or Tips to add?