House of Coco caught up with Alice Mayor, the lady responsible for kicking our London souvenirs into shape with the innovative We Built This City. Be gone snow globes and magnets and hello limited edition prints and, er, pigeons!


HOC: Hello Alice! Welcome to GBOGB – our series about ladies doing it for themselves. Something we’ve loved about our interviews so far is how so many of our GirlBosses are queens of reinvention – where you are in life or what you do for a living now doesn’t define you! How did you come to setting up We Built This City?

AM: I started life in PR and marketing for an agency with Arts clients. After being in the Arts industry I decided that I wanted to get more of a hands on feel for business. I felt there was a distance between being in an agency and actually in a business and I wanted to get involved in a start up. So, after 4 years of working in an agency I went to work for an online art and design retailer. It involved taking a pay cut but it was a lot of fun. I met a lot of artists and heard them all telling me how tough it was to be an artist. They had to do tonnes of admin and trade shows which meant they didn’t have time to get on and do what they did best!

I’m really passionate about creativity and felt sad that art wasn’t getting to a wider audience. It soon became my mission to help artists and designers with their careers through opening up and democratising art and design – so that artists could find new audiences and customers could find new products in a different way.


HOC: What was it about souvenirs that attracted you?

AM: Post the Olympics, London was in ascendency as a city. I remember reading an article that we were the most visited city in the world. Suddenly it didn’t seem right that people visiting London would always stick to the central tourist areas and rarely see the cooler sections. At the same time, London-related pieces were selling very well at the online retailer I was working for. I think that people feel very emotional about London; they come on holiday here, fall in love here, live here – there’s something for everyone in this city.

Typical souvenirs are so outdated and there’s a huge gap between what you can buy in a traditional souvenir shop and what the city represents. Typical souvenirs also tend to be cliched, generally not made locally and don’t represent an experience of contemporary London. There’s a lot more to London; you don’t even need to a be tourist to want a souvenir; many Londoners are very tribal about their areas!

It was surprising to me that this idea hadn’t been done in this way before. Of course, you can find good London inspired products in museum & gallery gift shops and places like Selfridges and Fortnum and Mason. However, no-one was doing it with a proper design-led approach. I realised that so many of the artists and designers, being based in London, had pieces inspired by the city. And even better, they were quality products and artworks with an affordable price tag, so perfect for a diverse customer in central London.


HOC: Your store couldn’t be more central in London (on Carnaby Street); how on earth did you get that to happen?

AM: Finding the right space was definitely the toughest thing. I literally walked around for 6 months banging my head on the walls looking for property! I couldn’t end up in Shoreditch, I knew I needed to be in central London for the shop to work. There were plenty of people who said that it wouldn’t work in a traditional retail environment as rents are so high.

In my 6 months of looking for the perfect space, I lurked around London; lots of lingering outside traditional souvenir stores, ringing estate agents, pop up managers etc. I finally found a contact who dealt with leasing around Carnaby Street and Soho; two areas where I thought the shop could work really well. The area has such heritage but you also get a lot of fashion and design in the area.

I pitched with a keynote presentation with the name ‘We Built This City’ and some example products. The team loved it but had a caveat – we would have to open in the next 3 weeks in a 3,000 sq ft space on Carnaby Street. It was crazy and utterly exhilarating and we opened on the 21st November for 8 weeks, it was really popular, so much so we were invited back in time for Summer 2015 and we’ve just moved to a new space right in the middle of Carnaby. We’re not really a pop-up anymore, I call us a ‘stay-up’!


HOC: Wow, it happened so fast. How did you manage the transition from working full time for someone else to working for yourself?

AM: During the time I was lurking around London I left my job at the online retailer – the business was being sold to new owners, so it was the right time. I then did some freelance work with Pip Jamieson – she’s a massive inspiration and a great female entrepreneur. I worked with her to launch The Dots but the day after the launch party I had an emotional reaction that, after helping another business, told me this was my time. It was a real guttural instinct that pushed me on to get the meetings that led to the launch of We Built This City.


HOC: And who makes up ‘We Built This City’ now?

AM: The ‘we’ of ‘We Built This City’ has been important from day one for me. When we first opened I already had a retail analyst friend of mine on board; she had been working for 10 years and wanted to do something else. She’s been instrumental to our success; she has been incredible at setting up the store and all of the finance side of things. I never dreamt of having a 3,000 ft shop at Christmas and I honestly don’t think I could have done that without her!

In fact, as everything moved so fast with the first opening – almost everyone in my life has been involved with We Built This City in some way. I had been trying to get a start up loan from the government but that takes around 6 weeks and I only had 3, so I did a big ring round my friends and family telling them I’d pay them back at some point in the future!

For the first opening I was in the shop every day for 8 weeks and I had a team of 5 people who also did shifts. It was like having a baby; I just couldn’t leave the shop; I had the key and was in first and out last. It got to a point that, in order for the business to have a future, I needed to come out of being full-time in the shop. Now we have a great team in place: Olivia runs the Carnaby store and does all the product buying, Katy takes care of all the artist liaison and art buying – they both have great commercial eyes and are instrumental to our success at making sure there’s something for every taste and budget. We are also now very lucky to have Adam who has 10 years experience in creative marketing and PR – support in that area is vital in the early days to build a strong community and brand. We also have a really talented shop team. Above anything else, the most important thing for me is our customer relations with our shop customers and the creative community. From my time working with Pip at The Dots I was very aware of what it takes to make a business run and that’s why I’ve taken the decision to build a solid team across the board early on. My advice to anyone starting out is to be very honest as early as possible about your strengths and what you can offer the business. Then plug the gaps and build a really strong team around you to share the weight.


HOC: Is it all about London, then or would you consider other locations?

AM: London was the starting point for me. In fact, a friend of mine came up with the name ‘We Built This City’ over a pint – I didn’t want London in the name as I didn’t want to be restricted! Tatty souvenirs are a problem the world over. There’s great homegrown craft out there but there’s always the standard souvenir store. I’m sure there is still a place for a snow globe souvenir but we can do more!

We are really ambitious to grow outside of London, whether that’s around the UK or beyond, will have to be seen. We’re still learning so much from our experience on Carnaby and need to spend some more time consolidating our offer here first. It is though very important to me that We Built This City is not just about London and we take this opportunity to more creatives around the world.


HOC: Our series is in part inspired by #GirlBoss movement and something they celebrate are Girl Boss Moments – do you have a recent experience that made you feel like a real Girl Boss?

AM: I’ve been asked to do a lot of talks recently. When you are invited to speak about your experience it really makes you realise that you’ve nailed something! It’s also a great opportunity to stop and reflect on what you’ve actually achieved, as well as what’s working and what’s not. I was first asked to speak at the Pulse trade show and was inundated with questions – it’s then that I also realised that I can now share my story and help others in the process. I was quite humbled by it all! More recently, I’ve spoken at Guardian Masterclasses and SohoCreate festival.


HOC: So what’s new for this new phase of We Built This City?

AM: We’re launching our online store later this summer.

We also have loads going on in our new space at 46 Carnaby Street; events and workshops that bring our designers into the store. For me, it’s so important that the store is about more than the transaction; we recently invited an artist called Rugman to design our third storefront which is a bold & colourful geometric design with a vinyl of the Queen as the centrepiece.


HOC: Sounds awesome, Alice! Thanks for sharing your story with us and we can’t wait to pop down for a workshop soon. Make sure you check out We Built This City, now at 46 Carnaby Street. They represent over 250 London artists and so far have supported over 600.

Do your part and support local artists and their creativity when you travel. We hate to break it to you but no one really wants an ‘I’m with Stupid’ t-shirt from your next city break!

2020 is the year of MICRO – Making Incremental Changes to Reconnect Ourselves

A new year and decade welcome the opportunity to evaluate our wellness and identify new ways of boosting our mind, body and spirit. The wellness industry is booming and is set to continue trending well into 2020 as it’s no longer seen as a niche market. People are looking for ways to be their ‘best self’ and want simple techniques to incorporate wellness into their daily routines.

The last decade has been all about going hard and fast with the rise of HIIT and restrictive diets like Keto. But 2020 sees a shift in direction, with an increasing trend towards technology and personal experiences to enhance both our physical and emotional state. Global technology leader, Huawei, in partnership with trend intelligence experts, Stylus, has identified the most exciting wellness trend for the new decade – MICRO – Making Incremental Changes to Reconnect Ourselves.

This new approach to wellness focuses on making small, smart and simple adjustments to lifestyles with the help of the latest tech.

In 2020, hard core fitness regimes will be shunned for a softer and more holistic approach to wellness activities, underpinned by wearable technology to track vital statistics and audio experiences.

MICRO has been identified at a time when the complexities of balancing work and life, as well as the pressure to succeed, has caused increased millennial fatigue and burnout [1]. With new activities like HIIPA, mobile-meditation, micro-dosed nature, sound-baths and recovery-focused studios opening around Europe, it’s clear that a cultural shift towards wellbeing is on the horizon.

Those at the forefront of this wellness revolution are adopting a #GoMICRO way-of-life. Dr Frank Lipman, a pioneer and specialist in functional and integrative medicine, known for his celebrity clientele including, Gwyneth Paltrow, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Arianna Huffington said: “HUAWEI has identified a shift away from the one-size-fits-all approach to wellness – which does not take our individual needs into account. The MICRO trend promotes a bespoke manageable regime that utilises technology and supports a desire for simple, integrated activities that produce real results.”

I like the sound of MICRO, mainly because it appears easy to stick to. I find that when we set ourselves big wellness changes they’re harder to sustain but because this trend encourages small and easy changes that weald big results you’re less likely to give up. MICRO is definitely the way forward for me.

To find out more about the MICRO trend and the drivers behind it head to https//

[1] In May 2019, the World Health Organisation added burnout to its International Classification of Diseases – meaning that as of 2020, it will become a globally recognised occupational phenomenon.

This Black Friday, forget that new 510,000K TV you’ve been lusting over for no logical reason and that impulse-buy waffle maker you’ve seen the ad for on TV and get yourself to Lush to support their #SOSSumatra campaign which aims to raise awareness of how stupidly close we are to the Orangutan becoming extinct.

There are only 14,600 orangutans remaining in the wild in Sumatra and similarly, only 14,600 of this special limited edition patchouli and orange soap available online and in Lush shops from Black Friday, Friday 24th November.

Every penny of sales of the soap (minus VAT) will go to the conservation charity Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) to support the protection of Orangutans and the restoration of their native areas on the edge of the Leuser Ecosystem in Bukit Mas, Sumatra.

Go, do your part and turn this Black Friday into a shopping marathon for good!

The Orangutan soap will be available online and across all European shops

The Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) is a conservation charity dedicated to protecting Sumatran orangutans and their habitat

I’ve always had the mixed fortune to travel as part of my work. Fortunate because I get to experience new cultures and places, unfortunate because that trip can sometimes be to a dead-end UK town to try and sell X, Y or Z or – even worse – when I’ve flown longhaul to somewhere supremely exciting like China, solo and haven’t had any daylight hours, or the confidence to venture out alone.

I look back on younger me who, aged 21 travelled solo to China, Kazahstan and Bangladesh and squeezed in a little adventure (I’m including getting completely lost in Almaty, Kazakstan when I decided to walk to the conference centre with a map in one language and signs in another AND arriving way too early at Chittagong airport, Bangladesh and being instructed to sit behind the fully armed guards as it hadn’t opened for the day yet, as adventures, by the way!) and wish I’d been a little more adventurous.

If you have this mixed fortune, hopefully the below tips will help. If you have any more hit us up on instagram!

Maximise your down time

If you are travelling for work, you are likely on a tight schedule – try to carve out sometime to explore, preferably in the daytime (if you are in meetings 9am – 6pm, this is tough!). Ask to fly out a day early / later on your client’s bill (an extra hotel night isn’t too much of an ask) or just bolt on a few days on your dime – my first trip to NYC was for work and I moved from my client-paid fancy room to a low cost, basic one for 3 nights of heavenly *I’m in a movie, look at the steam coming from that grate* exploring! My client also gave me some great local intel as they were happy I was exploring their hometown.

Research is King

I’m an over researcher; multiple windows open, cross referencing second hand guide books kind of traveller. Especially if you are going to a non-obvious tourist destination, you’re going to have to get stuck in. For less obvious destinations, find the local tourist board site and send them an email for ideas, ask your hotel for recommendations and check whether local airlines have a blog. Even if this info isn’t in a language you speak, online translation tools will work well. Instagram (or the local equivalent social media) is often a great source of info, look up the location as a hashtag or stories in the place you are visiting. You might be able to find a local ‘influencer’ who can give you some ideas.

Understand traditions and culture

This one is especially important for the female traveller, I’m afraid, especially when it comes to clothing and where is appropriate for you to go solo. In many countries it is advisable / required to dress modestly. Pick up a Time Out Guide / Lonely Planet for their helpful ‘culture’ sections. Search online for expat chatboards as these will be questions that comes up alot. If you have a female contact in the country you are visiting, reach out to them for advice on what to wear and tell them where you are planning to visit, to see if they have any advice. At the very least, take trousers and some long sleeve, t-shirt neck items and a light scarf.

Pack essentials in your hand luggage

This tip comes from our girl, Rachel who says “My main tip for traveling with work is to make sure you have spare clothes in your hand luggage because the one time you pack everything in hold, is the one time your luggage won’t reach your destination! Always carry an extra day outfit and an evening outfit in your hand luggage, and make sure all your technology is on your person or in hand luggage (mobile, laptop, tablet, cables, chargers, camera). This way you’re ready for every eventuality.”

Don’t courier items ahead, take them with you

Similar to Rachel’s point above, I don’t trust sending things in advance for events and meetings. You’re asking for them to get stuck in customs and also international couriering can be extortionate. Use this as an opportunity to ask your clients for an upgrade for your flight, as you often get extra baggage allowance – sneaky, eh?

Be adventurous, with a safety net

If you are travelling solo, in the vast majority of places you will be safe when you go out to explore. If you have researched your destination in advance, sense check your plans with someone on the ground before heading out. Pay for data on the days you go exploring so, if you get yourself into an area where you don’t feel safe, you can get a cab. Explore what apps people use – eg. uber, deliveroo equivalent so you are covered and also, acting like a local and also a local language app, if you don’t speak it.

Not to sound too much like your mum, head out in the morning with water and appropriate clothing and aim to complete your adventure in daylight. Take a battery pack, fully charged and your maps / books but try not to have them out at all times – you don’t want to look like a lost solo traveller but the confident, prepared explorer that you are.

If there’s one thing that was clear from Boardmasters… it’s that Boardmasters Music Festival and Boardmasters Sports Festival are definitely two completely different things.

The music festival is situated 4 miles outside of the centre of Newquay, or Fistral Beach which is where the sports takes place. Your camping is alongside the music as with any other festival. For House of Coco… this wasn’t a problem. We booked our tents with Tangerine Fields so had little to take and little to take away, plus we took our bikes, so the daily trips into Newquay were far more epic than the rammed full shuttle buses or the sweaty walk that some people made.

Now, depending on what kind of person you are and what you go to Boardmasters for you should definitely weigh up your ticket options.

If you’re into the sports and credible music… book up a hotel or B&B early (now!) for the centre of Newquay and buy tickets for the evening sessions to party apres sports. The other option is to do the music festival and spend most of your time up at Watergate Bay making the most of the stage entertainment.

We did a bit of both… and more!

As a House of Coco reader it is strongly suggested that you buy VIP in camping. It’s worth it in so many ways. The showers, the block of clean toilets and the very small amount of difference it made when it came to the crowd.

No, at Boardmasters we had the BEST time! We got on our bikes in the morning, rode down to watch the surfing and BMX competitions, paraded ourselves round like the King and Queen of Newquay and made friends with complete strangers every step of the way. We even got invited to a wedding that was happening whilst we were there!

One of the great things about Boardmasters is the amount of things you can experience. Rather than being stuck in the arena or campsite we spent the first night in the pub down at Watergate Bay playing pool before heading down to the beach with a bottle till morning.

The next day we watched the BMX competition (see rankings below), went surfing (in the tail end of Hurricane Bertha), spent more time drinking on the beach, climbing rocks and exploring caves, went into the festival for a bit and then back to the car to drink Champagne and make objects out of the clouds.

The next day, Sunday, was the day we’d planned on spending our time inside of the music festival… but it cancelled. Half of the campsite had already left but House of Coco was going nowhere! We headed to the car in the rain to pick up the bikes and set off on a windy journey down to Fistral for the surfing. As soon as we hit the centre of Newquay… glorious sunshine. We then spent the rest of the day playing ‘Beach day’ going to the arcades, down to the harbour and finding some seals, partying in the bars and buying take outs from Tesco to party back at the tent.

That was pretty much our Boardmasters. Amazing. We’ll definitely be back. Where else can you do all of those things? Beach, town, camping, live music and cool sports?

Get your early tickets now here. (Thursday to Sunday VIP camping is only £144!!!!!!) And book Tangerine Fields here.

A massive congratulations to all of the BMX Pro Comp Competitors! One of our best moments was watching the comp.

1st – Mark Webb
2nd – Declan Brookes
3rd – Tom Justice
4th – Jack Watts
5th – Jack Clark
6th – Cam Peake
7th – Luke Padgett
8th – Ollie Palmer
9th – Phil Aller
10th – Gaz Wilson
11th – Martyn Cooper
12th – Tom Isted
13th – Josh Crosswell
14th – Chris Czako
15th – Brock Horneman

What’s that sound? Oh yes, the congratulatory cheer that it’s 1) Pay Day Weekend 2) you totally nailed Dry January and 3) Galentine’s and /or Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!

Here at House of Coco we don’t always give Valentine’s Day the celebration it deserves. But, whether you are lucky in love, feeling a bit unloved or couldn’t give a monkeys…this year we’re going for it – any excuse for a little party, right?

To kick you off we’d like to introduce you to the gorgeous Edgerton Pink Gin which contains Damiana, a natural aphrodisiac! Pink gin is actually a traditionally nautical tipple, initially as a cure for sea sickness- let’s see how we can use it as an antidote to sickly sweet V-day selfies with these sassy Edgerton Pink Negronis…


120g golden caster sugar

3 cloves, pinch of black pepper

Zest of 2 oranges

1 cinnamon stick

500ml Edgerton Original Pink Gin


Add all of the ingredients, except for the gin, to a small Pan. Gently bring the mixture to the boil then simmer over a low heat for 8-10 minutes, until it forms light syrup.

Take off the heat and leave to cool. Pour the cooled syrup and its infusions into a glass bottle and top up with the gin.

Shake well and store for at least 2 weeks to infuse.

Head over to for more info on where to grab your bottle!

For those who can’t get enough of everyone’s favourite brunch staple, here are a few uses for the creamy green goodness that don’t involve spreading it on sourdough. Consider this a little inspiration for avocado lovers everywhere.

1. Try an avocado facial for a superfood boost. Packed with vitamins E, A and B, avocados are perfect for protecting skin, removing dead skin cells and the high fat content means moisture is locked in for longer. Also suitable for those with sensitive skin, keep you face hydrated by making your own avocado mask at home. Alternatively for a professional fix try the Avocado Firming Facial at Karkloof Safari Villas and Spa which promises to boost elasticity, suppleness and hydration.

2. From avocado brownies to no bake avocado cheesecake, if you haven’t tried mixing avocado into your sweet recipes you are seriously missing out. Avocado offers the key ingredient for many delicious, easy and no mess sweet treats. To make an avocado pudding mix up some avocado, cacao for sweetness and a squeeze of lemon to create a rich, smooth and creamy dessert.

• 2 large ripe avocados
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 50g cacao powder

3. Create a delicious ice cream alternative with avocado suitable for vegans, plus you don’t even need an ice cream maker for it. Get ready for summer with this perfect mix of sweet and savoury.

Simply blend 2 ripe avocados, condensed milk and lemon juice together, add cream and mix together. Pop into the freezer and leave overnight to set. Keep in the freezer for a delicious summer pick me up!

Jade Mountain, St Lucia, has launched a ‘Hiking Butler’ service for adventurous guests wishing to experience the island’s most iconic and scenic nature trails. Set on its own private 600-acre estate, Jade Mountain’s guests can choose from a large range of unspoilt hiking trails.

During a one-to-one consultation with the hotel’s resident hiking concierge, guests will be provided with an extensive ‘hiking menu’, from which a medley of intrepid trails can be chosen.

Guests will be safely guided and informed with fascinating knowledge about the island by the resident butler, who will then prepare a champagne-gourmet picnic which can be enjoyed at one of St Lucia’s many breath-taking spots.

Jade Mountain’s recommended hikes, available to book now, are tailored to all fitness levels, ranging from beginner and intermediate, through to advanced:

For the easy-does-it hiker: Guests who wish to soak up the beautiful scenery at a dulcet pace can book the popular Anse Mamin Plantation Walk, which visits the lush coastal jungle, adjacent to the resort’s second beach, Anse Mamin. Nature lovers will be led through the leafy terrain by their butler, who will provide an illuminating account of the history behind the 18th-century ruins of a historic sugar plantation, as well as the myriad of exotic foliage and wildlife present on the land.

For the can-do-attitude hiker: Outdoor enthusiasts who prefer a more exhilarating hiking experience can enjoy the Morne Lastic Walk, a three-hour trek which takes participants up and over the undulating mountains into the town of Soufriere. Along the way, guests will be treated to fabulous views of the world-famous Pitons and Soufriere Bay, during which time the butler will explain the history of the quaint fishing town below. Post-trek, tired hikers will have the chance to relax their weary muscles on a scenic boat trip back to the resort.

For the lion-hearted hiker: Advanced hikers looking for the ultimate physical challenge can choose to undertake the infamous ‘Piton climb’ to the top of the island’s Gros Piton. A world heritage site, guests will enjoy spectacular 360-degree views from the twin mountains that form the trademark landscape of St Lucia. The Hiking Butler will be on hand to help guests through the testing climb, safely guiding them through the best possible route.

Nightly rates at Jade Mountain start from $1,110 (£840*) per sanctuary based on double occupancy. Rates are subject to 10% service charge and 10% VAT. For more information or to book visit*Prices in pound sterling accurate according to today’s exchange rate. Guests can book the Hiking Butler service and all nature trail excursions upon arrival. *Price in pound sterling accurate according to today’s exchange rate.

If like Team Coco, when it comes to travel you like a bit of glamour and luxury then you’ll love our round up of this summer’s stylish stays. From beachside villas in St Tropez to luxury apartments in Rome, perfect for a cultural getaway, we have selected the most exclusive and luxurious places to stay.

Located in an exclusive residential area in the prestigious Baie de Canebiers area of St Tropez, Villa Canoubwest, is a grand Mediterranean masterpiece. Its peaceful setting amongst 8,000 square metres of perfectly manicured gardens with rolling emerald lawns fringed by tropical flowers and palms and with direct access to the sea, offers the perfect backdrop for sophisticated garden parties and large family gatherings. The villa’s modest traditional terracotta exterior is a stark contrast to the opulent interiors, where gleaming marble, soft Italian stone and elegant parquet is adorned with sumptuous furnishings, stylish finishings and fine art. Features include a 20-metre outdoor heated pool, specious terraces overlooking the azure blue waters, ample parking and a staff apartment. It is also possible to moor a boat within view of the property at nearby Plage des Canebiers, where there’s also a secluded stretch of sand.
France, St Tropez: Villa Canoubwest- Five bedrooms, sleeps 10; price from £52,577 per week

Classic Renaissance architecture complete with a Baroque inspired palette blends seamlessly with modern Italian glamour and elegance at this newly renovated apartment, which stands regally on the famous Piazza Navona. Stunning Michelangelo-style frescos feature on virtually every ceiling whilst independently commissioned furnishings adorn each room like works of art. The apartment features two stunning master bedroom suites at either end of the property, each with luxury bathrooms and impressive views. The Pope’s bedroom offers a king-sized bed, theatrically placed centre stage on a raised platform, surrounded by luscious velvet curtains. The communal rooms, which separate the bedrooms include a sophisticated dining room, a music room complete with grand piano, a library and a bar with lounge and TV area. There’s also a studio, kitchen and staff quarters.
Italy, Rome: Apartment Sant’ Agnese- Two bedrooms, sleeps four; price from £46,200- £62,000 per week

Situated above a private stretch of beach and featuring a show stopping infinity edge pool overlooking the deep blue Ionian Sea, Royal Infinity Villa, with its exotic architecture, is quite simply a masterpiece. Packed with state-of-the-art amenities and bespoke luxury furnishings, the villa comprises an entrance hall, two master king-size bedroom suites with walk-in dressing rooms, a spacious living area which can be converted into a sleeping area, three bathrooms, two Jacuzzi, a work-space and kitchen. A private staircase from the infinity pool area leads directly to the sandy beach where each villa has its own private area complete with sunbeds and umbrellas. In-villa dining and spa treatments are available or guests can enjoy use of the resort’s Waterfront Spa and restaurants.
Greece, Zakynthos: Royal Infinity Villa– Two bedrooms, sleeps 7; price from £34,767

This beautiful lakeside villa offers the best of both worlds – an intimate bolthole combined with five-star hotel service. The Mosaic House is situated within the grounds of the Villa d’Este hotel estate and as such, guests benefit from access to the many bars, restaurants and wellness facilities located onsite whilst the hotel’s staff are on hand to provide attentive service to villa guests. Recently restored from top to bottom, the modern villa offers stunning views of the surrounding landscaped grounds and the calm waters of Lake Como from every window. The king-sized bedroom suite features an opulent marble bathroom and floor to ceiling windows, with direct access to a private outdoor terrace – the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast.
Italy, Lake Como: Mosaic House is sold on a weekly basis only and the starting price is 2,800 Euros per night (approx. £2,480)

Peacefully nestled amongst the vineyards and olive groves of a private estate and nature reserve that rests on the borders of Umbria and Tuscany, Villa Piantaverna offers a luxurious farmhouse experience, ideal for groups of adults and families. There’s oodles of space both inside and out across the three-acre plot plus plenty of rustic charm which is complemented by modern amenities and sumptuous furnishings. Facilities include a stunning heated outdoor infinity pool, wine cellar and impressive kitchen with separate larder for those wishing to self-cater. The estate also has a private restaurant and kitchen, the Osteria, serving a menu of delicious dishes made from fresh organic produce from the estate and wider area. It also serves hand-picked Italian wines, including its own called San Giovese.
Italy, Umbria: Villa Piantaverna– Four bedrooms, sleeps six; price from £13,100 per week

All of the properties featured can be booked through Firefly Collection. To view the full collection, visit Firefly Collection at

Town House at The Kensington launched their new London Landmarks Afternoon Tea this week on board one of the cities infamous icons, The London Eye and Team Coco were invited along to try the menu.

Following the success of their record-breaking Tale As Old As Time offering, the new Afternoon Tea takes inspiration from London’s most recognisable and historic landmarks, taking diners on a tour of the capital’s most famed structures.

On board the London Eye we were served a selection of sandwiches to start, so far pretty standard but the jewel in the crown of this Afternoon Tea comes in their sweet offering. High above the Thames with views stretching as far as Wembley we were served architectural triumphs such as The Gherkin, crafted from White Chocolate with a Dark Chocolate Ganache and The Shard made of Carrot Cake & Milk Chocolate. Alongside an iconic London Telephone Box imagined in Rhubarb Mousse and Big Ben-inspired Lemon Curd Tart, the new London Landmarks Afternoon Tea menu is complete with London’s quintessential treat, Scones served with Heather Hills Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream. The design and creativity behind the menu is fantastic, these tasty sweet morsels look too good to eat. Town House has successfully captured the London skyline on a plate.

General Manager, Francesco Sardelli told us how his cycle route around London which takes in some of the city’s iconic sights, influenced the menu design. Town House’s new skyline of scones, sandwiches and sweets is available to book now. Paying homage to the capital’s famous buildings, London Landmarks is presented on a London Eye-inspired tea stand. The Afternoon Tea is served alongside a bespoke map of London, beautifully illustrated by Eleni Sofroniou. This pretty pocket map is a cute take-away for guests, highlighting Kensington Palace and The Tower of London as well as archetypal spots such as Covent Garden and Big Ben.

The entire new menu, carefully crafted by Head Chef, Adi Mandokhot is a celebration of London, with guests also able to enjoy a selection of savouries: a cockney staple Steak & London Ale Pie and a Colston Bassett Stilton & Broccoli Quiche alongside a bite-size Crab Cake with Tartare Sauce & Caperberries. Highlights of the sandwich selection include Smoked Salmon, Lovage Pesto & Cream Cheese on Brown Bread, Egg and Cress Bridge Roll using eggs from Heritage breed Copper Marans hens, Coronation Chicken Sandwich on Brown Loaf.

This menu is bound to be a big hit with Afternoon Tea aficionados who are looking for something special. Town House is the signature restaurant at The Kensington hotel and is spread across three classically designed drawing rooms, serving locally-sourced, seasonal modern British cuisine. Nestled in the heart of one of London’s most desirable neighbourhoods – complete with stylish décor, hand-picked furnishings and open fireplaces it’s the perfect setting to indulge in this offering of sweet and savoury delights.

London Landmarks Afternoon Tea Menu is available now at Town House, The Kensington Hotel, £42 per person or £54.50 with a glass of Perrier-Jouët, Grand Brut NV Champagne.