Kara Chelsie: May 2018

Pretty City London Book Review: The Chiswick Guide


Pretty City London Book Review: The Chiswick Guide

foster books

We all know about London's little gems. The colourful mewses in Notting Hill. Leafy walks beside deer in Richmond. Trendy coffee spots in Shoreditch. Pubs and restaurants dressed up in flowers in Marylebone. We all know where to find popular Instagramable locations in London. But thanks to Siobhan Ferguson aka @prettycitylondon we are always inspired to find postcard-worthy sceneries.

You must have heard about @prettycitylondon by now. It's one of those accounts that make you feel better about living in an overly priced capital city. The account has been sharing and reposting glorious London photos for a few years now. And finally, there's a book to go with it.

I was lucky to grab a hold of Pretty City London: Discovering London's Beautiful Places. But as a born-and-bred Londoner I thought I'd be turning the pages muttering "been there, done that". 

There are a few occasions I can accept being wrong and I'm glad I was in this case. I read this book as a tourist. I bookmarked places that I've never been to before. I thought I knew everything about my city. What Ferguson does so exceptionally is to capture undiscovered and hidden locations.

As the popular saying of Samuel Johnson goes, "when a man is tired with London, he is tired with life". This book is a representation of this quote. There is so much more to see than what you think you know. Yes, London would be boring if we stayed in the grey and cosmopolitan central. We would be tired of seeing commuters and office workers everyday. The Pretty City London book encourages us to stir away from the hustle and bustle.

Ferguson brilliantly described London as a cluster of little villages. There was a particular 'village', that is only a few miles away from me, where I haven't explored yet. This book made me realise how vast London is. Some areas such as Chelsea and Soho are so popular but there are quieter places that exhume just as much beauty. So I decided to use this book, as a travel guide and take an outing to Chiswick.

I made a note of Ferguson's Chiswick Insta-worthy recommendations. My friend, Mairead, and I started off our day at No.197 Chiswick Fire Station. A hotspot for their gorgeous interior and equally as gorgeous food. The staff were so lovely. They didn't mind us overstaying and pretending it was our dining room. The restaurant was bright and airy with comfortable seating, it had a Scandinavian homely feel to it. 

Next on the list was to snap Foster Books shopfront, which was a few doors down. This Instagrammable bookshop is quaint and archaic. It is a family run business that displays an extensive list of literature. They even had books going for £1. 

Back towards the direction of Turnham Green tube station, we popped into an eco-friendly shop. They sold everything from steel straws to non-harmful washing powder to bamboo toothbrushes. I will 100% be returning there as I am trying to up my game on zero waste products. It was like an adult pick 'n' mix. Get hold of a paper bag and you can gather up your own granola or make a collection of different types of herbs and salts. No plastic packaging would be found here. 

Cassius & Coco, which Ferguson said it was a 'must-go'. It's a small shop crowded with quirky items as well as trendy plants. Ah, the plants. Mairead said the shop could have been mistaken for my room. I bought a piece of wrapping paper that I think is too nice to give away. I want to frame it when I re-decorate my room. 

Turnham Green Terrace is filled with charity shops. I used to be a fan of second-hand shopping, back when I was experimental and more creative with my style. I had to pop my head into a few shops because, as you know, the best charity shops are found in affluent areas. I bought a cute cream and knitted cardigan with a green hem. Sounds very Grandma like, but I can imagine a Scandi blogger pulling it off. 

Strolling around in Chiswick had to be one of my favourite afternoons of this month so far. It's not busy or hectic like Notting Hill or Covent Garden. It's so leafy and picturesque. 

The Pretty City London book did not fail at showing London's hidden gems. I don't why bloggers are shooting in the same location all the time. There are more beautiful areas!

A message I learnt from the book is that; beauty exists everywhere.

pretty city london

no 197 chiswick fire station

no 197 chiswick fire station

no 197 chiswick fire station

no 197 chiswick fire station

cassius and coco

cassius and coco

the old cinema chiswick

the old cinema chiswick

the old cinema chiswick

st peter's square chiswick

kara chelsie

st peter's square


pretty city london


*I was kindly gifted this book, however, all the views and opinions are my own.

Simple Ways to Reduce Your Waste and Save Money

Simple Ways to Reduce Your Waste and Save Money
reduce plastic waste

You may have been hearing a lot about our obsession with unnecessary plastic use lately. Maybe you've even searched how to live a zero waste lifestyle. But lifestyle changes cannot happen so quickly and easily. Adapting small differences to more environmentally friendly choices are more achievable. In this post I highlight some zero waste swaps and also how to save money by doing so. For me, when I know that I'm spending less, habits really do change. It's a double win outcome.

Use Reusable Water Bottles

This one is probably the easiest and most effective household changes. If we are recommended to drink 2L a day, that's a heck of a lot of plastic water bottles to get through each year. Recycling bottles aren't as helpful as you think. Yes, it's better than chucking them in the rubbish or littering. But if there's a healthier and cheaper way to drink water, wouldn't you choose that instead?

I say healthier because the major water brands are deceiving us. Just have a look at this video and the ones in the side column. You'll be pretty disgusted. It turns out that some well-known branded water is worse than tap water. A simple water filter is the safest way to drink water.

Additionally, (sorry to be the bearer of bad news) nasty chemicals from plastic bottles leak into the water you're drinking. Even more of a reason to ditch this habit.

The best way to reduce your waste and also save money is to grab hold of a reusable water bottle like this one.  Ion8 Ultimate Leak Proof Sports Water Bottle has been my new best friend. I carry it around with me everywhere. I haven't bought a single water bottle since. It carries so much, 600ml, and it isn't too heavy to lug around. The secure top ensures me there will be no more double checking to see if the screw cap is tight enough.

I have used reusable containers most of my life. My mum went through a phase of reusable collecting bottles and coffee cups. My previous ones had an issue of becoming a bit smelly after a while. But as this bottle is BPA free, phthalate, non-toxic Tritan this means it reduces those unwanted odours that appear later on.

Use soaps  

It seems as if our habits to reduce waste should be inspired by the lifestyle 50 years ago. OK, so the soap pictured above is covered in plastic, yes - I'm guilty. However, I want to mention how this beauty habit is a game changer! Soap is waaay cheaper than plastic bottle shower gels and cleansers. They last much longer, and you can see when it's coming to an end. Does anyone else hate when bottled gels have an opaque cover so you can't see how much is left? And you know there's a smiggle left but it's no way near the opening!!

Lush do gorgeous soaps and they have real oils and herbs mixed in it. Natural soaps have a wonderful smell. It may just be me, I find there's something special about rubbing soap on my skin. It's like a small massage!

Using soaps can be a fun zero waste swap as you can play around with different scents.

Take more packed lunches  

Now we're taking back to the school days. This low impact lifestyle change can truly save you money. Your pocket will be happy, and the Earth would want to say thank you too. But this means no cling film though. That's another small but dangerous plastic enemy. Try using food wraps like these. They even keep your food fresher than cling film. 

There are countless amounts of food prep and lunch pack ideas on YouTube and Pinterest. Get searching and you'll find affordable healthier meals.

Do less online shopping  

The other day I realised how much unnecessary plastic bags, and also tissue paper, come in a delivery. I know that you can write messages to some brands asking to use less packaging, but if they have a shop, take some time and pay a visit. And how can visiting a store instead of doing online shopping save you money? Those online deals make you spend more money than you initially wanted to spend. When you see 20% you feel obliged to spend a little more because it feels like you're still saving. Go shopping, like the good old days, and don't forget to bring your own shopping bag! Your excuse to go shopping for the afternoon is now accepted because you're reducing plastic waste. At least you can try before you buy! Saves the hassle of going to the post office to return your items too.


These small changes can make a big difference. Soon you'll be a zero waste warrior!

What ways do you try to make a low impact and eco-friendly lifestyle?