With winter sticking around for a couple more months here's how we are going to embrace it. From guilt free duvet days to bathing in colour. Don't worry, be happy...
Shoulders hunched from the cold? Back sore from January stress? Whatever you’ve been up to so far in 2019, chances are that you could benefit from a good rub down – and you won’t find a better one than at Masaj, a boutique salon in a shipping container in east London (of course). As well as really knowing what they’re doing, the whole experience is super relaxing with a lovingly designed interior, beautiful smelling oils and a comfy warm massage table that you won’t want to leave.
Dark nights are the perfect time for cuddling up and watching a good movie. For ultimate luxury, watch a new release on a plush velvet sofa at the Electric Cinema in Shoreditch or Notting Hill. Or if you can’t face leaving the house, sign up to Mubi and you can watch a hand-picked selection of cult and classic films from the comfort of your own sofa.
We all know how evocative a smell can be, so why not perk yourself up by creating a bespoke fragrance to match your mood? You can do just that at one of the fun workshops at the Experimental Perfume Club where you’ll learn about scents, sniff ingredients and blend a totally unique perfume to take home. And when anyone asks where you got your fabulous new perfume, you can casually say ‘oh this? I made it’.
On the next miserable grey day, make a beeline to Walthamstow to visit the most colourful place in London, God’s Own Junkyard. In an unassuming industrial estate, you’ll find the illuminating collection of the late King of Neon, Chris Bracey, who has the largest selection of neon signs and artwork around. Once you’ve soaked up the bright lights, stop off for tea and cake in the cute cafe. Guaranteed to brighten up any day.
For pure blissful escapism, you won’t find anywhere more tranquil than inside a floatation pod! Book in to Floatworks in Vauxhall and you can enjoy an hour bobbing around in a zen-like state in a big tank full of salt-filled water. The minerals in the epsom salts are really good for you and the quiet (and dark if you turn the light off) is a truly meditative experience.
The first major show of Pierre Bonnard’s work in 20 years, ‘The Colour of Memory’ at the Tate Modern is a riot of beauty, colour and composition. Glide through the rooms admiring the French Impressionist’s intimate portraits of his wife bathing, thoughtful domestic scenes and evocative landscapes and your mood will be lifted. Catch it until May 6 2019.
Combining two of our favourite things, the aptly named Chocolate Cocktail Club has popped up on Brick Lane bringing with it boozy sweet treats. Until May 28 2019, you can book an hour and a half slot for £10 which gets you a classic Chocolate Chocotini – and, of course, you can also order plenty more cacao-based beverages while you’re there including mocha cocktails and chocolate wine and beer. Don’t blame us for the intense sugar and caffeine rush after though…
Good food = good mood! So for delicious nourishing dishes that feed your mind and body, get yourself over to Hara. This cute vegetarian café in Haggerston serves up fresh, seasonal and nutritious breakfast and lunch dishes that will blow your mind. The chef worked at Fifteen, Zetter, Firmdale, Sketch and St John and her carrot porridge is out of this world. Next time you’re nearby, pop in and you’ll be glad you did.
When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than a soothing steam and sauna session. Ironmonger Row Baths near Old Street is one of London’s oldest Turkish Baths and even though it’s had a revamp, it’s still one of the best places to spend an afternoon sweating. There’s saunas, aromatic steam rooms, Turkish Baths, a plunge pool and a relaxation room full of beds where you can lounge and read. Go with a pal or scuttle off for some you time.
It may sound trite, but sometimes splashing a bit of that hard-earned cash can actually make you feel really good. There’s no better place to treat yourself to some goodies than Coal Drops Yard - a new shopping hub in King’s Cross with a stylish mix of concept stores from bigger brands (Aesop, Cos, Fred Perry, Paul Smith etc) and cool independent boutiques. Be sure to stop into one of the many restaurants or bars for a well-deserved rest and bite after shopping til you (coal) drop.
A boozy adventure awaits those who dare venture to the West 12 shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush before April 7 2019 where you’ll find an immersive escapade from Bompas & Parr and Captain Morgan rum, the Lost Lagoon. Brave buccaneers will charter a boat across the worlds largest underground lagoon (boating lake) to a series of islands, receiving lashings of rum punch along the way. Shiver me timbers etc.
If you’re looking for a cosy spot for a delicious roast, you need to get down to The Duke of Cambridge pub. Tucked near the canal just behind Angel, not is the Duke Britain’s first totally organic pub but now they’ve teamed up with Riverford Organic farm who provide all the ingredients. Their roasts are second to none and they taste even better once you know that they’re totally zero waste as they use an anaerobic digester to generate energy from unusable kitchen leftovers. Yum.
From all the thousands of happiness studies, there is just one thing that is proven to make you feel good and that's spending time together. Rally your besties and head to Margate's Brightside Apartments. This escape includes treatments to your apartment or yoga overlooking the sea. It may not be the Carribean but you'll feel a warm glow from catching up with friends that'll last much longer.
Written by Sonya Barber, author of 'East London: an Opinionated Guide' by Hoxton Mini Press, former News & Events editor at Time Out London and general woman about town.