Vorld / September
In life there are always good times and bad times, times when you feel like you're ready to conquer the world, followed by negative experiences and feelings of defeat. September reassured me of this more than once and confronted me with both challenging and exciting experiences.
I enjoyed the first days of the month discovering London the way I used to when I had just moved to the city. One of these days I had unfortunately forgotten my wallet at home, with no money to top up my oyster and in the midst of a part of West London I had never been to before. Refusing to spend a fortune on an uber (in the end I am still German at heart), I instead decided to cross London from West to South, meanwhile experiencing one of the last days of summer. My journey made me cross some of London's most beautiful parks and sights along the way, some of them are captured above. What seemed to be an unlucky event turned into a moment of pure serendipity, when I eventually crossed paths with two of my virtual business and happiness mentors Mimi and Alex Ikonn. London appears to be a village after all.
Apart from rediscovering London's beautiful natural habitat, I also got to attend some exciting events this month, one of them being the launch of Vernez, a new, innovative fashion app, for which I have created content for the past two months.
September was also a huge culinary success, as I discovered two new restaurants, which have easily made it into my top ten of London dining spots. I firmly believe in the power of feeding your body with good, healthy food and the effect a balanced diet can have on our mind - this is at least what I try and tell myself in order to justify spending the equivalent of a new pair of shoes on a meal with friends. Sometimes, however, even the best food in the world can't prevent you from our environment's threats. In this case the threat appeared in form of the 'germ-mania' that is the London transport system, which did not only knock me out for the second half of this month, but also prevented me from working at one of my most awaited fashion events - London Fashion Week. But what are you going to do? A virus is a virus and the only cure was to spend ten days resting, sleeping and nourishing my body and mind. Now that the worst is overcome and I begin to feel like my normal, powerful self again, I'm, in fact, able to look back on this month and identify some important lessons learned, which I decided to document for future reference...
1. Embrace failure and misfortune, as usually every downside has its upside. For instance, spending ten days isolated in your home also makes you reflect on your goals and aspirations and creates clarity.
2. The moment you overcome the fear of failure, you stop planning and start doing, you start seeing defeat as an opportunity for improvement and growth - we set ourselves our own limits! Even Silicon Valley's inofficial motto is "Fail early, fail often, fail forward".
3. On our pursuit of happiness and success, we shouldn't lose the ability to listen to our intuition and body - ignore it and you will learn the hard way (aloha virus!). Self-awareness is the way forward.
4. It's good to set yourself high goals, however, ambition should not be confused with putting yourself under excessive inherent pressure. Instead, conquer the world one step at a time - sometimes you just gotta chill.
Moving on to the more fun part of this month...
Vogue Fashion's Night Out was focused around the stores on Regent Street this year and turned the popular shopping destination into one buzzing, vibrant event. My friend and I started the night at Soho's Kingly Court, indulging on a bowl of ramen at Shoryu, before we headed into the shopping experience that is Fashion's Night Out. To be honest, I still prefer Berlin's approach to the event, which aims to connect the best retail destinations in East and West and has hosted a number of exciting parties at KaDeWe and Gallerie Lafayette in the past. I understand the logic and practicality of limiting the event to one street, but still missed the excitement of other London stores like Selfridges and Dover Street Market. Nevertheless, this year's event had a few highlights to offer, which made the night a fun experience after all. While H&M tried to create a club-like atmosphere, offering live DJ music and illustration services, the big flagship empires by the likes of Burberry and Anthropologie served sophisticated mocktails or tea creations - did I mention the branded Calvin Klein water bottles that took their marketing approach to a whole new minimalistic and ridiculous level? In the end I did not end up buying anything - there's something about a busy, loud store environment that I find really off-putting. Instead, our night ended with a trip to Hamleys, where we embraced our inner child and watched personalised lollipops being made - bespoke candy is apparently all the rage now.
I was excited to take part in organising the launch of Vernez, the fashion app I had already talked about in my July review, which you should check out if you are interested in the app's concept and functionality. I've had a great time immersing myself into the world of British Vogue and creating fun content covering fashion news and shows, whilst showing Vernez users how to restyle and shop their favourite looks. The night was the perfect opportunity for other bloggers and taste makers to check out the app, get useful tips on how to create high quality content and to get to know the Vernez team including the founders Moyang and her husband Aaron. It was one magical night, where you could observe the power and spirit of young, energetic entrepreneurs unfolding. Congratulations to the team for bringing their vision to reality in such a sophisticated and elegant way!
What I love most about London's restaurant scene is the fact that you never know when you might discover the next culinary gem. Recently, I have stopped yelping and started randomly trying out new restaurants, which has reassured me once again to always expect the unexpected. El Ganso is one of these discoveries, conveniently located along Broadway Market in East London. I had tried traditional Spanish tapas restaurants in the past, but have often felt there existed a lack of quality and creativity in the dishes. Our lunch at el Ganso proved me wrong, as we were presented with the most delicious and polished meal, which made the ingredients and flavours shine in every way you could imagine. Who would have though a traditional caprese salad could be as delicous? We were also really fond of the wagyu beef steak and grilled lamp chops, which were cooked perfectly and paired with a selection of organic root vegetables and dips made of peppers and beetroot. Our meal was completed with a plate of classic, low-maintenance churros, that were just the way they are supposed to be - greasy and incredibly indulgent!
In contrast to the previous discovery, this month's food experience was clearly caused by an omnipresent mega-hype, encouraged by many of my friends and fellow food-lovers. Dishoom was one my list of must-visit restaurants for a long time and this month I finally had the opportunity to give this Indian sensation a try, accompanied by some of my friends from home and other German Londoners. Upon arrival at the Covent Garden branch of the restaurant, it became clear that I was not the only one attracted by the restaurant's fast-growing following and reputation. We almost felt as if we had to queue up in order to enter the city's most exclusive night club, as the restaurant's no-booking policy consciously forces you to await the start of your meal like the start of your favourite band's concert - refreshments in form of fresh mint and chai tea were provided. After over an hour of waiting in line, we were finally exposed to the temple of exotic taste that is supposed to be Dishoom, so hungry we were tempted to order the whole menu. I'm honestly quite curious to find out which marketing genius was behind the restaurant's concept. But, successful business strategy aside, we did, in fact, enjoy very delicious and hearty Indian cuisine, inventive drinks and immaculate service. After all, Dishoom does seem to live up to its hype and I highly recommend you to give the restaurant a try if you're patient and keen on trying authentic Indian food.
I wanted to end this month with a collection of images that show London at its most magical time, highlighting the city's most prominent landmarks like the new art installation at Covent Garden Plaza. After ten days of rest, I can't wait to get outside again and continue enjoying London to the fullest - discovering, experiencing and documenting each new, exciting place at a time.
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