Shannon Casey — a journalism student at London College of Communication — takes us on us her perfect day in Covent Garden's independent shopping quarter, Neal's Yard.
A spot of brunch - 26 Grains
Tucked away in a quiet alley in Covent Garden, Neal's Yard is a colourful, eco-friendly and ethical shopping district. 26 Grains has become a go-to breakfast spot here. Founded in 2014 by Alex Hely-Hutchinson, this bright and breezy eatery has grown to sell almost 1,000 bowls of porridge per week. Not just any old porridge either; there's a vast choice, including bestselling Nordic Pear Porridge, quite delicious with its cacao crumble and crystallised ginger. If you've already eaten, 26 Grains is still a great quick pit-stop; relax in the outdoor seating area and admire the beauty of Neal's Yard with a mug of hot chocolate. Then stick around for the lunch menu, and perhaps a cheeky hibiscus margarita.
Stocking up on cheese - Neal's Yard Dairy
With its all-important mission to improve British cheese, Neal's Yard Dairy is spot-on if you're looking to stock up your cheeseboard, or need a fresh block for your morning toasties. The company was founded in 1979, when British farmhouse cheese was in a state of seemingly terminal decline. Enter Randolph Hodgson, who dedicated himself to bringing excellent flavours and exciting varieties to the fore. The cheese here is matured at its own site in Bermondsey, then hand-cut and wrapped by a team of expert cheesemongers.
Ask for a taste of the Colston Bassett stilton or the rich, brothy Montgomery's cheddar; they're two of the most popular cheeses right now, so we're told. If you're ordering online, consider the 'lucky dip cheese' — maybe it'll become your new favourite.
Gifts for mum - Neal's Yard Remedies
Need a new skincare routine or a thoughtful gift? Neal's Yard Remedies is a family-owned health and beauty business, founded in 1981 by natural health advocate, Romy Fraser. The business is a passionate about organic living, as well as protecting the planet (it was the UK's first certified health and beauty brand, and helped ban plastic microbeads).
Dip into the range of sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients, from Mexican honey to organic chiuri butter from Nepal. All of the products are crafted at their Dorset factory, using select herbs, botanicals and essential oils to maximise the therapeutic benefits of each products. The bath and body sets — in a variety of scents, including English Lavender and Seaweed and Arnica — are a touch of luxury for your bathroom, or a thoughtful gift for mum.
A whole new look - hairbyfairy
Alternative, modern and colourful cuts are what hairbyfairy are all about. They'll do you a shag cut, mullet or perm — they'll even sort you out with a leopard print do. In short, there aren't any rules. If you've got a big party to go to, or just fancy a new look, this place can't come highly recommended enough. And if you're not quite ready for an all-out transformation? Go for a quick manicure or relaxing facial. Everything's done well here. What's more, the salon is entirely unisex and caters to all identities.
This article was written as part of a collaborative project between Londonist and London College of Communication.