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Intoxica

As CD sales continue to decline, vinyl has seen something of a revival. Leave iTunes to the side for a moment – there’s nothing quite like going to a record store and spending an hour having a good rummage around. In London, there are loads of places you can pick up some new records, and here are some of our favourites.

Though Portobello Road might seem like the kind of area where residents buy vinyl just to hang on their walls, there are some good shops worth checking out. Intoxica! (the exclamation mark is mandatory) is no dusty old store; there’s huge tribal masks and bamboo everywhere. They have a really diverse collection of records, so it’s not a bad place to start if you’re new to buying vinyl or are just starting your collection.

Just down the road is Honest Jon’s, who specialise more in jazz, soul and reggae music. Founded in 1974, it’s gone on to spawn Honest Jon’s Records, a record label run in conjunction with Damon Albarn (his side-project The Good, The Bad & The Queen was released through them).

Not far from there in Notting Hill is the original Rough Trade. Originally specialising in US and Jamaican imports, they soon established themselves as a leading outfit during London’s punk scene. This store still has amazing artwork and posters from when it traded in the 80’s, and even if you don’t end up buying any records, it’s worth the trip here just to take in the atmosphere. In 2007, they opened a 5000 sq ft flagship store in the ultra-trendy Brick Lane, which has become renowned for its book collection and incredible coffee almost as much as it has for its music.

Soho is not to be overlooked either, with some of the best record stores in the capital located within a few minutes’ walk of each other. Phonicaon Poland Street and Reckless Records and Sister Ray, both on Berwick Street, are well worth your time.

Finally, in Islington, and Crouch Hill, there’s Flashback Records, with helpful staff and a great stock, ranging from new releases to classics of the 50s. Why not clear the afternoon and visit them all?

This article first appeared in The Telegraph on August 11th.

TELEGRAPH-suit

It shouldn’t just be the bride that gets jaws dropping on the big day. The groom, best man and ushers should look sharp too. If you want something different for your morning suits, follow our guide.

Choosing the right formalwear for your wedding is no small task, but thankfully you can get something smart and sophisticated in London without burning through your budget or resorting to the high street.

If you’re looking for something traditional, try Neal & Palmer in Piccadilly Arcade (between Piccadilly Circus and Green Park tubes). Whether you’re going for made-to-measure suits or just want off-the-rail pieces, they take a lot of care producing their garments, using hand embroidered fabrics and it’s good value for money too.

Buckleigh Of London is known as ‘Chelsea’s hidden secret’. The family run business offer bespoke tailoring, including formalwear for children and a great selection of brogues and patent shoes to finish your outfit. 3-piece suit hire starts at £90.

Moss Bros might be a firm staple of many high-streets, but rest assured their extensive range of tailoring at Moss Bespoke means you’re able to get something that’s more individual. Whether you want a classic black tailcoat, something with a bit more character (like the square-tailed frock coat) or an extravagant Ascot-inspired jacket, they’ve got you covered. Better still, their lighter-weight jackets will be perfect if you have a summer wedding planned.

This article originally appeared in The Telegraph on May 19th.

Once the preserve of country estates and exotic resorts, there are now more spas than ever in London, and although the city is built up, they’re a little more discrete than you’d think. Now you can get a massage or pedicure on your lunch hour without any fuss or trouble.

The Corinthia Hotel is a beautiful building a stone’s throw from Downing Street, and beneath its doors lies the Espa Life, for men and women. The dark corridors house a gym (managed by Stephen Price, personal trainer to the world’s athletic elite) and a hair salon run by Daniel Galvin, as well as an award-winning spa. Try the Shiatsu Inspired experience – a signature massage which works the whole body and exfoliation. You’ll feel brand new afterwards.

Spa treatments are perfect after a long day of shopping – thankfully the Agua Spa at The Sanderson Hotel is just a short walk from Oxford Street. Their citrus facial treatments will help rejuvenate your skin, while a hot stone massage will relax your nervous system and soothe sore joints.

Some spas are more traditional than others. Porchester Spa, in Queensway, men and woman are only allowed in on different days (alternating through the week, check the website for changes) – although Sunday night is for couples. They offer a traditional Finnish log sauna, therapeutic treatments and exercise facilities in an art deco setting. And when you’re exhausted? Cool off in the icy plunge pool.