Posts filed under notting hill

My Notting Hill | The Tin Shed

There’s a little street in Notting Hill that has long been one of my very favourite spots, All Saints Road. It’s not exactly like “a best kept secret,” as it’s well-known by the locals, but it does somehow get overlooked by tourists. It’s a sort little street with a few places to eat, several boutiques and a few design shops with luxe bathtubs and fabric swatches in the windows.

On Tuesday morning, I found myself with a few hours to myself. I wandered around my little Shepherds Bush loop for a moment and when I passed the underground station, decided to enjoy my momentary freedom and hopped on the train to Notting Hill. It’s funny how segmented London can be, when really, it's just a couple of minutes away to our old neighbourhood. 

I walked out of the tube station and decided to head to All Saints Road to have a quiet morning, rather than wander Portobello Road or Westbourne Grove. When I got there, there was a movie being quietly filmed (there’s always cool stuff happening in London!), a few other people on the road, and then a quiet buzz coming from The Tin Shed. I stumbled in and snagged a sunny table by the door, ordered up a Whole30 compliant breakfast (10 more days!) of a poached egg, mashed avocado with chilli oil & roasted tomatoes, and just melted in the sunshine for an hour.


The atmosphere in The Tin Shed is exactly what I didn’t know I wanted when I left the house today. There were friends hugging after seeing each other since the holidays, patrons wandering in with tiny puppies at their feet, crusty bread loaves being sliced while the waitstaff laughed with each other, and the constant hum and clanging from the barista as she made coffee after coffee.


After a while, I had read all the New York Times mobile articles my eyes could handle, so I paid the bill and shuffled out of the shop with a smile. These little places are the types of places that make me really love London. They’re places that I’ll always miss if we were to move away.  I always stare at the details here, as if I absorb them enough, I’d be able to recreate a place like it back in the States somewhere… until I start doubting the ability to get great sourdough loaves everyday like they can. Or if US health & safety allows for pastries to be sat along the counter in open air like they do here. And all the other questions that make me just nestle back into my chair and try to stop overthinking the experience and to enjoy this place in this moment. 


If you’re looking for a place to go in Notting Hill where Londoners actually go, go here. And go in the middle of the week when the timing feels unexceptional. That’s when you’ll get to really be a part of the daily grind and life of London, and that’s when it will be the most charming.

THE TIN SHED | 33 All Saints Rd, London W11 1HE | @thetinshednottinghill

Find more of my favourite places in Notting Hill in my Notting Hill travel guide.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on February 4, 2019 and filed under notting hill, my notting hill.

My Notting Hill | Chucs Westbourne Grove

If you're looking for a great lunch spot in London, I have a little secret spot that is too good to miss tucked away in plain site in Notting Hill's Westbourne Grove.

I met my friend Amber at Chucs in the tiny pristine garden one day for lunch, and it was the perfect little spot to spend a couple of hours catching up over yummy food with zero pressure to move fast. (To be honest, the same can be said for the wait staff at times. We'll just chalk it up to Italian charm.)


The restaurant inside is sweet, but for a pretty day- it's hard to beat cacio e pepe, paper-thin chicken paillard and fried zucchini with a pal.

I think this spot could be a total winner for a brunch to celebrate a soon-to-arrive baby, sneak away to on a weeknight date, or just do what we did... meet up with an old friend and enjoy the day/food/pretty setting.



CHUCS  |   226 WESTBOURNE GROVE  +44 020 7243 9136



FIND MORE OF THE BEST PLACES TO EAT IN NOTTING HILL                                                         IN MY TRAVEL GUIDE TO NOTTING HILL.


*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Notting Hill | A Local's Neighbourhood Guide

For a long time, Notting Hill was a big part of my life and identity. Since moving away, I’ve become a bit detached from those streets and people, but I still feel a fierce connection with the tiny area of London that we spent so many major moments of our life. I wouldn’t ask just anyone to represent Notting Hill here with you.. .unless I trusted them completely. And luckily, I have Amber here to talk you through the neighbourhood. Not only do I trust Amber to know exactly what kind of food/bakery/pub is in sync with my tastes… but I also would trust her with prettttty much anything else in my life. She’s my best friend here in London, she’s the nicest person anyone knows (seriously- ask anyone who has met her), and she’s got the best taste. She has recently started blogging again (YAY!!!!) and you can get a taste for how special this lady is there on her blog, Cobblestone Collective. Okay, enough gushy talk. I love her. She loves me…. But you’re here to hear about Notting Hill and why it’s great. So, with that, I’ll pass it over to Amber.

Notting Hill, W11

1. Tell us about your neighbourhood.

Notting Hill is a vibrant, quirky, charming neighbourhood with a great mix of cobble-stoned mews, posh flats with glossy front doors, and of course the rows of candy-hued houses. The world-famous Portobello Road market is the heartbeat of the neighbourhood -- sprawling two miles from Notting Hill Gate up past Golbourne Road. The mix of fresh food, baked goods, fruit/veggie/flower stands along with tables of vintage silver, antiques and furniture attract locals and tourists alike. 

2. On a scale of 1-10, how connected would you say where you live is? What are the major lines that run to/from you?

I would say Notting Hill is about an 8 on the transportation scale. Although there are many ways to access the neighbourhood, there are also little pockets throughout that are a bit harder to reach. Notting Hill Gate Station (Central, Circle & District Lines) will easily take you into Central London, and some of the stations further north (Westbourne Park and Ladbroke Grove - Hammersmith & City, Circle Lines) are a straight shot to some of the major train stations (Paddington and King's Cross). The hardest places to quickly reach are right in the middle of Notting Hill, but the buses will help get you to where you need to go, or walking the winding streets can have its charm too!

3. In a dream world, what would be the perfect street or area to live in within your neighbourhood? Why?

As cliché as it is, I'm a sucker for St. Luke's Mews and especially the pink house where the famous Love Actually scene was filmed. Although I am drawn to just about all the little hidden gem mews streets in Notting Hill. They become their own little communities in the midst of a bustling city -- neighbours pull out bistro tables and enjoy the little slivers of sunshine while sipping tea, kids play and dogs lounge around on the cobbled streets - my kind of place! 

4. On a 1-10, how would you say the value for square footage is? Do a pay a premium for where you live or would you say it’s a better value than other areas in London?

Because of the location, famous name and accessibility to shops/restaurants/markets, I would have to give Notting Hill a 5 on the value scale. People generally don't move to this neighbourhood looking for good value and spacious flats, but more for the charm and eclectic culture so it tends to be on the pricier side compared to other areas in London.

5. What’s the general vibe of the neighbourhood? Give us three people we might see on your high street?

One of the things I love the most about Notting Hill is the mix of artists, professionals, tourists, celebrities and plain old families - like us! On any given day, you could see a tourist stopping to ask for directions to Portobello Road, a guy wearing a beret and sneakers carrying a huge instrument down the street like it's the most normal thing in the world, or a frazzled mom pushing a stroller with a babbling baby and toddler somewhere nearby picking gum up off the street (or maybe that's just me ;)

6. What’s your favourite place to get coffee in your neighbourhood?

Lately, I've been loving the cozy courtyard and rose lattes at Farm Girl Cafe. If you are lucky enough to snag a table outside, the heaters and fur-lined seats will keep you warm in any weather (except maybe the pouring rain) - and the coffee, juices, avocado toast, and berry donuts will keep you fueled to catch up on some emails, people watch or chat with friends. 

A close second would be Fabrique bakery - with their gorgeous (and delicious) Swedish cinnamon buns, cute mis-matched floral plates and friendly service, a coffee here is such a treat! 


7. What’s your favourite place to eat dinner in your neighbourhood?

If I'm looking for a quick, casual, yet delicious and satisfying dinner, I head straight to The Chipping Forecast for some of the most delicious fish and chips in all of London. Perfectly crunchy chips, butter lettuce and avocado salad, and ever so slightly mushy peas accompany white, flaky fish in the perfect amount of batter. If you save room, the sticky toffee pudding is not to be missed! 

If I'm wanting a little something special or romantic, we head toward Granger & Co. Famous for their breakfast, we also love to tuck in here in the evening to enjoy some of their unique Aussie inspired dishes for dinner. The large windows, buzzing atmosphere and candlelight lend to a perfect backdrop for long conversations with friends, or a special date night out. 

8. Best pub?

Although it's on the border of Notting Hill and Kensington, I'd still have to say the Churchill Arms is one of the best pubs around - the history, gorgeous flowers and Thai food make this place a bit of a local legend! 

9. Best way to spend a Saturday in Notting Hill as a local?

Saturdays are normally the busiest day of the week because the market is in full swing and attracts people from all over London. This means there is a fun buzz in the neighbourhood, but also means lots of people, crowds and lines everywhere. We've found that if we are going out and about on a Saturday, the earlier the better. With little ones, this isn't too hard! We usually start with a walk down Westbourne Grove, and maybe pick up a coffee and pastry at Ottolenghi or Fabrique to take along. We might stop by local shops and market stands to pick up things for dinner and the upcoming week before hitting up a local playground to run out a little energy and heading home for a bit of down time. Our evenings are usually spent making dinner at home and if the weather is nice, dining al fresco on our (teeny tiny) balcony! 

10. How much (approximately) would an Uber to Oxford Circus cost you? 


Looking for the right London neighborhood for you? Check out my other neighbourhood guides: 

Dulwich | Hampstead | Shepherds Bush | Chelsea

*images courtesy of Amber Mickelson

My Notting Hill | Farm Girl Cafe

For a while, I've been waiting to try the infamous (or shall I say, "in(stagram)famous") rose latte from Farm Girl on Notting Hill's Portobello Road. But let's be honest: this place is made for women and it was going to be a hard sell to drag Tyler and company out to a place that serves health food and girly drinks when places like Granger & Co. are so nearby.

When my sweet friend, Georgie, recommended it for the place for a meeting- I jumped at the chance.

We had such a nice morning- clear skies, early enough to avoid waiting for a coveted table in the garden and great chat. (Though to be fair, she's so funny you don't need a great setting to enjoy an hour with her. She is a guaranteed treat for a great conversation!) The experience was overall really lovely, but I thought I'd give a quick review in case you want to go, too.

Farm Girl Cafe

Tucked in discreetly off Portobello's most popular row of coloured houses, you'll find Farm Girl Cafe. It's pretty vine-covered entrance make the walk-up appeal really enchanting. Seating is airy and pretty- regardless of if you sit inside or out. (Though it was gorgeous when we were there, so I opted for a pretty seat outside.)

The menu is healthy- think açai bowls, buckwheat pancakes, vegan donuts and avocado toast. It's more or less like you've been transplanted to L.A. for brunch. The prices are a bit steep (I think my açai Bowl was £12 by the time I added on granola?), but with people constantly moving in and out of the cafe- they don't need to worry about if people will pay.

The showstoppers are the quirky drinks the make at the bar... rose lattes dusted in dried rose petals, the bright blue butterfly matcha or the red hibiscus matcha. We opted to try the rose lattes, and, well, it tastes like rose water in your coffee. Not sure if I'd reorder it, to be honest, but it was fun to try and pretty to look at.

The food was good- my bowl was refreshing and massive. The buckwheat pancakes with coconut yoghurt and strawberries a hit... but the £3 vegan donut was a bit sad and a reminder as to my fervour for "real" American donuts. 


The service was a mix of really sweet and really, gulp, salty. Trying to ask the barista where the bathroom was felt like asking Regina George for a ride home from school, but our server was really sweet and the overall vibe felt friendly.

All in all- I'd recommend Farm Girl. It's pretty, the food is nice and the pretty setting is hard to beat. Feel free to add it to your day in Notting Hill... just go early to get a good table without a wait, as tables are first come, first served.

Farm Girl Cafe | 59A Portobello Rd, London W11 3DB, UK 

Find more of the best places to eat in Notting Hill here on my guide, or search my dedicated series My Notting Hill for full posts on what's great in this special area of London.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

My Notting Hill | Granger & Co.

While this place may be listed in *both* my London and Notting Hill guides, I figured I should respect the old adage that "A picture is worth a thousand words" and give a full, photographed post on Notting Hill's hippest and most delicious breakfast spot, Granger & Co.

Granger & Co. 

When we were viewing flats for our first move to Notting Hill, the estate agent was bragging that the flat we were interested was just around the corner from... well, I didn't know the name he was talking about, but it seemed like a brunch place that was really popular.

Fast-forward a few years and I've got a new baby and family in town visiting us. We want to eat breakfast and head out to... well, who cares. Maybe that place out the front door that is supposed to be so popular? We went, we got a table and we totally flipped out when we ate our food because it was so good. I felt a bit foolish that I had waited so long to try this place (that we realised was called "Granger & Co.") that had a constant queue out the front door.

Now days, it's one of those places Tyler & I go for sweet memories and great food. We meet friends traveling to London there, we took Harrison there during his first week of life, and now we have weekly morning dates there. 

So while it serves up on sentiment for us, it also makes for a killer meal. (And let's be honest, that's what you really want to care about.)

Without further ado, I present everything you need to know before eating at Granger & Co. 

A Local's Guide to Granger & Co. 

1. The ricotta hot cakes with bananas are the most popular dish. (And rightly so, they are insane.) They're as puffy as clouds, covered in a generous pat of honeycomb butter and served with banana & warm syrup.

2. You're also gonna want to get the sweetcorn fritters. With a side of avocado salsa- think chunky guacamole. Don't skip on this. It's important.

3. Get half orders of each of the above! It's not listed on the menu, but it's a local secret. This way, you can also share a raspberry muffin, an acai bowl or a side of their world-famous scrambled eggs. You'll never taste anything fluffier. 

4. Granger & Co. is Bill Granger's restaurant. Bill is from Australia and Australia makes good flat whites. What does all of this mean? Get a flat white and get a great cup of coffee.



5. If you have little ones, order one of their adorable babyccinos (foamed milk with cocoa powder on top) and a few chocolate chips on the side.

6. Go before 9am... or be prepared to wait. Again, this is not a "just in case," this is an absolute fact. The lines on the weekend are weep-worthy. Plan ahead if you have plans to go the Saturday market on Portobello Road.

7. If you're not up for the wait, you can go up to the bar and order a coffee and grab a pastry for the road. Service is fast & friendly... and you'll have one of the best cups of coffee in the neighbourhood. (Their flat white is only £2.80!) 

8. There are now three locations- Notting Hill (on the famous Westbourne Grove), Kings Cross and Clerkenwell. All three are exceptionally tasty, and the latter two are often less of a scene than the overly popular Notting Hill location.  (Though you'll only catch me taking baby bump pics outside our old flat if you come to the Notting Hill location.) 

Granger & Co. | 175 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London W11 2SB. Open 7AM-12AM.

Find all of my favourite places to eat and shop in Notting Hill in my Travel Guide to the neighbourhood.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

My Notting Hill | Continental Pantry


I used to look for quiet, independent places to work when we lived off Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill. I searched for that magic Bermuda Triangle of productivity where good food, quietness and wifi magically aligned.

I'm sad to say that I could never quite find the right space just out the steps of our flat... until now, when, of course, we no longer live there.

At Continental Pantry, you'll find a small (but mighty!) menu offering light breakfast and lunch items. Don't expect heavy cooked options- no eggs or pancakes- but lighter choices like yogurt, homemade granola and berries or avocado toast buried under tomatoes.

The coffee is good and the quiet room in the back is surprisingly sunlit and very well designed.

The front of the store has dry goods from all over, you guessed it, "the continent." French mustards, Italian meats, and all the other essentials you may need.

And luckily, it's next door to my favourite chocolate shop in London/the galaxy, MELT... so not only can you get a great space for working or meeting a friend, but you've also got the perfect route for picking up one of their popcorn bars (incredible!) on your way home. That may not contribute to the end-goal of productivity... but surely, it can't hurt?

Continental Pantry | 57 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, W11 2AA

Find all of my favourite places in Notting Hill in my travel guide to the neighbourhood here

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

My Notting Hill | Fabrique on Portobello Road

I got a chance to spend the morning in Notting Hill this week. It had been a while since I'd been there and even longer since I saw my friend, Amber. We met up for a quick breakfast in those precious hours when children's school hours align and it was perfect.

Notting Hill turned up the charm with bright sunshine and its sidewalk's endless catwalk of well-heeled residents. People chatted over posh breakfasts on cafe tables in the sun, walked tiny dogs while chatting on their cell-phones, tucked small present-like parcels of food into shopping bags and just embraced all the pretty yuppie stereotypes one might have for this London neighbourhood.

Now that we are gone from Notting Hill, I'm relying on Amber to keep me up to speed with what is new there. And luckily, she didn't let me down. She trailed me along Portobello Road to the tiny cafe, Fabrique.

This bakery/cafe offers fresh baked loaves of bread and various sweet offerings... but don't get distracted by the offerings and get their cinnamon roll.

Not the vanilla-sugar dusted one. The standard. I thought I knew better and ordered the vanilla, but Amber ordered the original "just so I could try it, too." After all, that's what friends are for, right?

Initially- I thought the space was cute but that these famed cinnamon buns looked dry. The good news: after a few nibbles in, I realised what a moist little treat it was! (Also- apologies to everyone who hates the word "moist." I do, too, but couldn't find a suitable alternate when describing this. Ha!)

The lattes are good, but having them served in a crystal tumbler makes them taste even better. Don't fight that truth, it's science.

Hit up Fabrique when you head to Notting Hill. Its placement on Portobello Road makes it an easy stop on your visit to the Saturday market.

Fabrique12 Portobello Road, London, W11 1LA

Headed to Notting Hill? Find all my favorites here in my travel guide or search #aspiringlondon on Instagram.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

A Merry Little (Notting Hill) Christmas

During the breaks in between semesters, I quickly pop on the hat of stay-at-home mom and spend my days in the middle of the mundane glory that accompanies being at home with kids. Maybe I should be used to it by now, but every day when Tyler leaves for work- I feel a slight panic at the thought of being all alone for the next ten hours. 

After lunch, we are (typically) dressed, feeling crazy from being indoors and ready to get out the of the house. So I load up the kids, get them strapped in the stroller and rush back into the house to brush my teeth, pull my shoes on, toss some mascara on and triple-check that I have my keys in my pocket. Then I maneuver the beast of a stroller down the steps out the flat and we are on our way. 

Feeding the ducks at Kensington Garden. Playing in the courtyard at the V&A. Seeing the animals at the Natural History Museum. Hittin up the weekly Kids Club movie for £1.50 at Notting Hill Gate Cinema. Heading back to our old stomping grounds on Westbourne Grove for cruising the racks of the killer FARA children's charity shop and getting ice cream from Melt. While the inevitable push to get outdoors that comes with living in a tiny flat can be tiring, we are lucky that we have a great lists of options awaiting us.

Yesterday though, we ventured down Portobello Road for the sole mission to head to Poundland- our version of the dollar store. I am, embarrassingly enough, never able to stop singing it's praises. You can get ANYTHING in there. Everything from jars of Nutella to 24 packs of batteries to pregnancy tests. So off to Portobello we went. Just as we left, Harrison fell asleep for a killer afternoon nap. The afternoon was off to a nice start.

We got off the bus and promptly wandered by the florist who had just sat out some over-bloomed roses by the trash. We picked our favorites and she carried them around with us so sweetly.

Viola and I got to share some impromptu time sitting outside at Biscuiteers adorable icing cafe. They made her a festive babyccino topped with marshmallows ("marsh pillows" as she calls them) and she dunked her little snowflake biscuit into it for the complete experience.

And of course, I picked up some biscuits for stocking stuffers while were there, too. I can't resist their cute decorations and adorable packaging.

Then I got down to business in Poundland getting Christmas crackers, rolls of giftwrap and much needed restockage of Dove Shampoo + Conditioner. By the time we got to the checkout, Viola was asleep clutching two rolls of gift wrap and I was left to wander the street alone for a bit. 

It was so nice watching people carry Christmas trees home and seeing piles of mince pies sitting in trays at the bakers stand.  The street was lit and everything felt so Christmasy. Plus, the skies were clear and had that pleasant winter chill to them that feels so nice - assuming that you're dressed for it.

We are in limbo on our living situation at the moment. After Paris this spring, we aren't planning to come back to this flat. It's just too small for the four of us.- I'm constantly weaving around highchairs and tripping over umbrella strollers. Plus, the kids need some extra room to just be kids without us constantly telling them "No!"

We have a feeling we may want to move to a different neighborhood for a bit more space, and I have to say... the thought of leaving Notting Hill and giving up these quiet moments in these special cafes and parks within the neighborhood made me feel a bit melancholy even with all the Christmas cheer. While nothing is decided yet, I looked around the market today and felt a little knot in my stomach form thinking about not being in this little village inside of London that we have learned to call home over the past few years. Sigh. Oh well... on to bigger and (hopefully!) better things.

A few of my favorite Portobello stops for gifts...

PEDLARS: This cute shop/cafe combo has great prints that Im just in love with. Can someone please send one to me stat.

BISCUITEERS: The perfect place to stop for a coffee with a friend. (Just order at the till- they'll bring your order up from downstairs.) Pair your drink with one of their namesake and get some adorable biscuits for someone special. They also host cute icing classes in their icing cafes that are great for kids or hanging out with a friend.

THE NOTTING HILL BOOK SHOP: This is always a fun place to buy a book. I mean, books are books... but getting it from the shop where William Thacker met Anna Scott makes it just a bit more special.

DAYLESFORD ORGANIC FARMSHOP: While the upstairs is a luxe cafe and grocer, the downstairs has great gifts that would impress even the most Gwyneth Paltrow-y of friends. Think gorgeous glass and wood canisters, rustic aprons, shiny peelers in any shape or size and dinnerware that is oh-so-simple yet gives the impression of being very expensive.

FARA KIDS & BABY CHARITY SHOP: Along Westbourne Grove, you'll find gorgeous designer shops where the fabulous clothe themselves and their children... and then there is the FARA shops where they donate all the childrens goods once they have outgrown them. It can be hit or miss, but I go so often that a big percentage of my children's wardrobe has been found on the racks of that little shop.

MARIE CHANTAL (OUTLET): Just beside Melt Chocolates, you'll find a gorgeous shop with the most amazing baby clothes from the posh line, Marie Chantal. Luckily, this location is their permanent outlet. Things are typically 40% off retail, but have seasonal dips to 60% off.

MELT CHOCOLATES: Like I mentioned above, I love stopping here for ice cream. While the shop is mainly focused on their (killer) chocolates, in the summer they have ice cream that amazing. The chocolate tastes like you're eating a chocolate truffle. The salted caramel (my favorite) is so soft and smooth and full of flavor. Worth every single calorie. They have a tiny outdoor area out back that I like to take my brood, as it's walled in and typically empty. It's a great place to burn some energy and get some sun on my legs. (I've blogged about Melt before here in this post.)


For more of my Notting Hill favorites, check out my series MY NOTTING HILL or my Notting Hill Travel Guide.


*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

My Notting Hill | Melt Chocolates


Our old flat was tucked deep in Notting Hill. While it made getting to/from public transport a haul, it did have some major advantages.... mainly, it's proximity to the retail heaven of Westbourne Grove. 



I used to wander past the tiny chocolate shop, Melt Chocolates, nearly every day, but it wasn't until this week that I stopped in and tried their ice cream. 

Then it was two days after that I came back and got more.



This small luxury chocolatier makes gorgeous handmade chocolates that can be found at the Notting Hill boutique, Holland Park boutique or their concession in Selfridges. While Ive been a big fan of their vanilla caramels and boxes of Vanilla Sugar (delicious on buttered toast), I was drawn in by their handmade sign for ice cream. 



The ice cream flavor choices aren't vast (vanilla, salted caramel, and chocolate), but they're all amazing. The chocolate tastes like an actual chocolate- so luxurious! And the salted caramel... my goodness. I can't explain it, but you'll have to just try it. I have a feeling I'm going to swap baby weight for ice cream weight.

Beyond chocolates and ice cream, the shop also has a coffee bar. One of their vanilla caramels, a latte and a book in their tiny garden is a pretty great way to spend a quiet morning, in my opinion. 

And if you're looking for something really fun- you can take chocolate-making classes in their kitchen. (Dream!)

Anyway, Im starting to babble. Obviously, I like this place. I hope you'll stop by when you're nearby and validate my love for this heavenly little place.



020 7727 5030


Find more of my favorite neighborhood spots in my Notting Hill Guide.


And for those that asked on Instagram, Viola's outfit details are below. I can typically find the Joes Jeans at Nordstrom Rack at even better sales prices for around $20- but the options are typically pretty random.

*images original to aspiring kennedy

My Notting Hill | Ottolenghi


I know, I know...





Because if you follow me on instagram,

you'll recognize this place

as a repeat offender.


It's just SO good

and SO close to us.


I literally can dash out,

grab an almond croissant (life changing)

and a cinnamon brioche pretzel for Tyler

and be home within 10 minutes.




Unless there is a line...

which, if I'm honest, there always is.


It's fine though.


Worth it.


Here are 3 very important reasons 

why Ottolenghi is awesome.


1. It's the restaurant/cafe of Yotom Ottolenghi...

you know, the guy who made the Jersusalem cookbook.


So fresh, so good, so... gorgeous.




2. I met Ina Garten at the London Eye in 2010

when she was filming her Christmas special

and this was the place she told me to go for really special food.


(And what Ina says, I do.)


3. The have window piled high with desserts and pastries.

So, yeah... duh.




Check it out when you come to the neighborhood.


I promise-

you won't be disappointed.


(Especially if there are any of those pretzels or almond croissants left.)


*  *  *


Just so you know...


*Drinks are available! Just order your coffee/tea/whatever

when you order your pastry or salad.


*You can sit in... but the (lone) table is small & communal.

First come, first served.




*No wifi, so not the best place for camping out.




*photography by Noah Darnell


My Notting Hill | Jamie Oliver's Recipease

When we first moved to England,

I would do a 2 hour commute

into London for work...

and then another 2 hours home.

(And I loved it.)

In the evenings,

the first hour was on the tube

getting to Paddington

where I would hop on a train

and haul my buns

back out to Oxford.

In London during commuter hours,

free newspapers are passed out

to commuters as the enter the tube entrances.

I love sitting on the packed-yet-silent tubes

and listening the ruffles of newspapers.

Because there's no cell service (yet),

it is like a time transport

to people reading books & papers.

(And I loved that, too.)

I remember reading the Evening Standard

on the tube one night

the first few months we lived in England.

There was 30-Minute Meal insert

by this English chef, Jamie Oliver...

he was cooking with exotic ingredients

like "rocket" and "coriander"

and making weird sounding things

like Portuguese tarts for dessert.

For some reason,

I kept the paper

and it's still sitting in my recipe book today.

Now that I've been here a while

(3.5 years already!),

I realize what a naive little pup I was.

Jamie Oliver

is practically the king of the cooking scene here.

(And "rocket" & "coriander" is actually just arugula & cilantro. Oops.)

While I still don't have an affinity for Portuguese tarts,

I have fallen in love with Mr. Oliver.

He taught me to

roast a perfect chicken

, afterall.

And, now, he set up shop in our neighborhood

with the cutest place you ever did see:



Cooking classes, cute baking goods,

take away meals for dinner,

gorgeous baked goods & coffee for easy snagging,

and of course- a restaurant with his yummy recipes.

It's a sweet place

that's easy to find

right above the Notting Hill Gate tube station...

Stop by. 

Either grab a coffee

or sit a while 

in the sunny windows upstairs

over a gorgeous plate of his yummy creatiions.

(I personally dig the thai green curry or the spiced carrot pancake with hummous!)

*    *   *


92-94 Notting Hill Gate

London W11 3Q


(other locations available here)

*photography by Noah Darnell


EDITOR'S NOTE: Permanently closed

My Notting Hill | Talkhouse Coffee

Our friend Reuben is generally very nice...

except when it comes to coffee.

You should have seen the snarl I got when I asked if 

he had served instant coffee after we had dinner  at their house one night.

The death look was given and noted.

So when he says that a place by our flat has really good coffee,

we listen.

Well, actually, Tyler listens

and then takes me....

and then I remember that this was the place

 that Reuben was talking up so much.

Talkhouse sits on Portobello Road,

at the end of the market.

It's a small coffee shop

that discreetly boasts

that it's barista won 3rd in the 

World Latte Art Competition.

(Who knew such existed, right?)

But not only does Talkhouse serve coffee so fancy

that it could make a hipster feel insecure

but the food is top notch.

We reallllly love the St. John's custard donut

and the chocolate chip cookie sprinkled with sea salt.


The lunch options are also really good quality

and amazingly fresh.

If it's nice outside,

snag a seat in the outdoor garden area

at the wayyyyy back of the shop.

(Just keep going, it's there. I promise.)

Enjoy this good, good place.

I know you won't be disappointed.

Talkhouse Coffee

275 Portobello Road

London W11 1LR

*photos by Noah Darnell

EDITOR'S NOTE: Permanently closed.

My Notting Hill | Honest Burgers

I'm not really a meat eater.

Most of the time,

I stick to veggies...

unless it's exceptionally delicious meat.

Like boeuf bourgignon at a favorite French restaurant

or pork barbecue sandwiches when I'm in the South...

or Chick-fil-A nuggets by the handful because they are goooood.

We don't really eat at ton of red meat,

so we save our burger splurges

for the best...

which means we don't eat them in England.

Burgers in England are gross.

I hate to be a downer, but it's just true.

They're nasty (in my Texan snob opinion)

for two reasons:

1. The cows are grass-fed and it makes the beef taste weird.

2. They use breadcrumbs in the patties so it makes them have

a weird, meatloaf-y consistency.

Now, a year ago,

I could have written off this entire

soggy island and it's soggy burger patties...

but I actually, have to allow for a few exceptions.

Now that the US darlings Shack Shake & Five Guys

have come to town,

it is possible to get a good burger...

AND because

Honest Burgers

is here.

Since they are British and have created a good burger,

they get an extra gold star.

There are a few locations,

but we go to the one in Notting Hill

on Portobello Road


They offer a

really simple menu


but it's a good one.

Go with the Honest burger (bacon, cheddar, carmelised onion relish)

 + homemade fries with rosemary salt.

Once your tummy starts protruding

with a burger pooch,

you'll singing John Cougar Mellancamp

and swearing to yourself that you were

back in the good ole US of A.

(Except you actually won't be... so don't sing... Just hum.)

*      *     *

Honest Burgers

189 Portobello Road 

London W11 2ED

+44 (0) 7229 4978

(Other locations available



*photography by Noah Darnell

My Notting Hill | Book & Kitchen

Just off the craziness of Portobello Road,

there's a small street that I particularly love.

It's just a stone's throw away

afrom the madness,

but it's a tiny sliver of quiet & bliss:

Allsaints Road.

It is just... so cute.

It has small independent pubs & restaurants

dotting the tiny colorful street.

We love to go the Pelican

for yummy pub meals

and for the sweet staff

that always treats Viola

like a doll.

But on days when it's just me...

well, I like to go to a place

that's a bit quieter

and entirely quaint:

Book & Kitchen

This tiny shop is half bookshop...

half, you guessed it, kitchen!

It feels like a place

that would make Kathleen Kelly smile.

The giant windows pour in sunshine

and the tiny back deck

is the perfect place

to spend alone with a good book

or a wandering thought...

or you know, shame eating a piece of cake.

(I'll never judge you for that, you know that.)

Even though it has a a significantly smaller

offering than the large chain book stores,

this place gets my vote

for the best bookshop in London.

They have a children's nook

that is so cute and cozy.

When Viola gets older

and starts enjoying books

for more than licking,

I have visions of spending

chilly afternoons down there with her.

Oh yeah,

 and the staff is crazy nice, too.

You're gonna love it here.

Book & Kitchen

31 All Saints Road

London W11 1HE

Photography by

Noah Darnell

My Notting Hill | New Series

There are many great things about Dallas,

but let's be honest-

it's completely different from London.

While it suits many people's fancy

to have suburban convenience (hello, Costco!) 

and a calendar stuffed with sunshine,

I march to the beat of a different drum.

What can I say?

I'm a sucker for hauling my groceries endless blocks

and living in a tiny space

all for the sake of culture.

*      *     *

Starting tomorrow,

keep your eyes peeled for a fun new series

that I've created

with the help of my friend, Noah.

We've cruised my neighborhood

and picked some of my favorite spots

here in Notting Hill

to share with you.

Part of me hates to share such "gems..."

but the other part of me just

can't wait

to give you some great new spots

and a peek into our life here in Notting Hill.

I'm sharing my favorites with you,

now do the same for us:

What's a favorite local find

near your home?

I'd love to hear about them!

*images by Noah Darnell

Notting Hill | Family Style

When you live in Notting Hill,

the increase in rent

requires a sacrifice of the size of home

you could get in other areas of London.

So for us, 

"home" expands beyond the four walls of our tiny flat

and into the picturesque neighborhood that surrounds us.

The bustling market

full of once-loved treasures,

the pretty cafes that tempt you as you pass by

with their windows piled with fresh goodies,

and the endless sea of the iconic colorful houses

all come with settling in Notting Hill...

... and we think that's worth more

than a second bathroom

or extra storage space.

So after our Houzz shoot the other week,

we jumped at the chance to have

Noah Darnell shoot some pictures of our family

wandering through the neighborhood.

I had every intention of sending these out

as our Christmas cards,

but it never happened.

Luckily, I still have an amazing selection

of really sweet pictures from that day.

Some that mirror the images

Liz took of us for

my bump shoot

around Notting Hill.

I love having our lives at this point in time captured.

I have no doubt that if or when we move on from our lives here,

I'll pour over these pictures

and long to relive these days again.

(Thank you, Noah!)

Started in the 0.4% and now... that face. 

*images by

Noah Darnell

Weekend Rambles

This week was a long, tiring week.

There was nothing bad about it,

 in fact, it was packed full a lot of good/fun things.

If you follow

my Instagram insanity,

you may have seen the non-stop line up

that happened this week

Tower of London, Dover Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Hampton Court, etc...

along with every tea room & bakery

in between here & there.

But this morning we woke up groggy

with the immediate need to recover.

So we pushed the alarm to snooze,

cuddled the baby between us

to convince her to sleep later,

and slept in till 11.

We walked around Portobello Road,

had lunch in one of our favorite pubs, The Pelican,

grocery shopped at the produce stalls & butcher,

queued up like lemmings for a cupcakes at Hummingbird,

and came home for an easy/early night back in the flat.

joining the masses all for a little bit of baked goodness. totally worth it, by the way.

Thanks for the hat, Caley!

A few hours out

with a day like that

and you'll be convinced

that the scales of life

are starting to tip back in your favor

and heavily on the side of awesome.

Except once we got home- 

the baby wouldn't nap,

the boeuf bourgnignon turned out to be more like boeuf soup...

and now, at 11:16, I'm sitting down

after cuddling a certain 7-month old

who was definitely not wanting to go to bed.

(I suppose this was her form of payback for us conning her to sleep in?)

And perhaps this was my payback for her not going to bed?

Now I'm sitting here

feeling too tired to take a much needed bath,

defeated by the endless visa renewal whisper -talk

Tyler & I had while I rocked Viola,

and severely regretting offering my red velvet cupcake to Tyler

as he chomps in to it over an episode of Arrested Development.

Thank goodness tomorrow is a new day...

And for a husband who saved me the last bite of cupcake

without me even asking.

*     *    *

Anyone have any special remedy

for being really tired

and/or adding a few extra hours to the day?

I'll pay you in digestive cookies & ginger beer.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Amber & Tyler: Notting Hill Engagement Shoot

If you don't know my friend,

Amber, by now...

you should.

I was trying to think of her today

and how to best describe her

and the word "thoughtful" kept coming to mind.

I hope that everyone is as lucky as I am

to have a friend like Amber.

From hooking us up with the best hotel for our babymoon,


the most beautiful "babies shower,"

to hosting & cooking for family after Viola was born,

and so many countless other ways

she selflessly is a friend to me,

I feel truly honored to get to be a bridesmaid

in her upcoming wedding to Tyler.

No, not to my Tyler, 

her Tyler-

who deserves his own post for being great.

The wedding is also in Maui

so, duh, I'm completely thrilled.

When I saw her engagement pictures,

I actually clapped with delight.

What can I say?

I'm a sucker for seeing

the people I love

being madly in love

in a neighborhood I love.

So here they are,

the Micklesons (to-be)

in all their Notting-Hill-lovey-dovey-goodness.

(And their little pup, Pippa!)

We love you both so much!

If you want to buddy up to Amber

(which I totally recommend)

start her by checking out her cute blog, 


*    *   * 

If you're in the mood to look at more pretty pictures,

check out

my maternity pics

taken in this same neighborhood

by the talented (and dear friend),

Liz Denfeld.

*photography by


Posted on October 3, 2013 and filed under "notting hill", "photography", "wedding", notting hill.