On Location... London
Alison Gulliman is a Londoner. Born and raised in North-West London she knows all the local spots and a few that she won’t share with anyone. A florist and founder of London Blooms Ltd (@ali_flowers_123), she is based in Queens Park, London. Her dedication to her craft means getting up at 1am every Monday to head into the Vauxhall flower market to hunt out the freshest blooms for her clients that week: private houses and offices in London and Henley. Her favourite flower is the Sarah Barnhardt Peony, a blowsy, pink bloom that covers the market in pink in May and June.
Studying at art college when she was younger has honed her artists’s eye, especially useful when she covers special events, such as, every summer, when she creates a new floral look for a client at her Henley Regatta party.
When she takes a break from her flowers, Alison is a Francophile and loves to kick off her shoes in Cap Ferret every summer.
If it’s a treat, then do head into the city and stay at the Savoy. It’s an iconic London building and they make you feel very special. My husband brought me for dinner at the American Bar at The Savoy after proposing, so I have lovely memories of The Savoy.
The Holly Bush is my favourite pub ever really. I’ve been going here since I was a teenager (so has my husband!). Until recently they still had gas lights inside, it’s always packed but it’s so cosy, open fires, sharing tables, lots of dogs and gorgeous food. On a Sunday we get the overground from Brondesbury Park to Hampstead Heath, have a big walk on the heath and then try to get a cosy corner at the Holly Bush for a drink.
It’s a lovely, tiny and hard-to-find Japanese restaurant in Maida Vale. It’s down a side street, very dark inside and you absolutely must book. My favourites on their menu are their gyozas and maki rolls.
Walking down to Portobello market. I do this most weekends. Start in Golborne Road at all the second-hand stall and shops (don’t go past Falafel King without going in!) then we walk all the way down Portobello to the vintage clothes market under the Westway. I have made friends with lots of the sellers (they all love Stanley, our dog) and I buy most of my clothes here and try our best to support the market as it’s constantly under threat from developers. After here it gets a bit more touristy, so we wander back up to Golborne Road for lunch at Golborne Deli (best salads) or Lowry and Baker (best eggs. We are regulars at both and have got to know the lovely owners). Vintage shops to recommend in Portobello are: One of a Kind for more high-end vintage or Sarah at London Vintage and any of the sellers at the Friday or Saturday market under the Westway.