Helen RayComment

TRAVEL MUSE: ELLA HAROLD

Helen RayComment
TRAVEL MUSE: ELLA HAROLD

In this series I feature some of my favourite travel, food and interiors writers, photographers and style conscious travellers, as I set out to uncover some of their best discoveries and travel tips both at home and away.

This month I’m in conversation with photographer and blogger Ella Harold.

BIO: I’m a photographer, blogger and bookworm living in North London. You’ll find me wandering through pretty streets with my camera, or sipping hot chocolate and reading in a local café.

WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU ONLINE? I’m on Instagram as @__momentsofmine (two underscores), and my blog is Moments Of Mine

WHERE IS HOME FOR YOU? I grew up in the West Midlands, but north London is home to me now: I live in a friendly, buzzy little area called East Finchley.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD? I love our high street, which is full of the sorts of shops people actually need: you can get your clothes altered by a local tailor, drop off rolls of film to be developed, and pick up spices from an Asian supermarket, all within ten minutes walk from home.

ANY LOCAL GEMS? East Finchley is home to the Phoenix Cinema, one of the oldest independent picture houses in the country. Sitting on a red velvet seat in an art-deco hall with a glass of wine in hand is such a joyous way to watch films! I also really love Margot Bakery, (below) which makes the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever tasted.

And on a completely different note, we’re only a twenty minute walk away from Hampstead Heath, which is wonderfully wild and rugged. Sometimes I just need to forget I’m in London and spend a few hours getting lost there.

WHERE ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT IN THE UK? My favourite treat as a student was to eat at Turl Street Kitchen in Oxford: They offer a small but perfectly crafted menu, always using only local and seasonal ingredients. It was also the perfect place for early morning essay writing: I have very fond memories of typing up my dissertation at one of their big oak tables with porridge, coffee and orange juice for fuel.

In London, my favourite is Andrew Edmunds in Soho (below). From the outside, it’s very understated - I don’t think I’d even have noticed it if I hadn’t been looking. But stepping inside is like stepping through a portal into a 1920s dining room. It’s candlelit and cosy, and the food is exquisite.

WHERE WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO EAT YOUR LAST SUPPER AND WHAT WOULD YOU ORDER? It would be fish and chips, soaked with vinegar and generously sprinkled with salt, eaten sitting on a bench on an English seafront, watching the sun set over the horizon.

WHICH WAS YOUR BEST EVER UK HOTEL/ACCOMMODATION AND WHAT MADE IT SPECIAL? My boyfriend and I stayed at The Old Coastguard in Mousehole for a wintery weekend a few years ago. Our room had a huge window which overlooked the sea. We didn’t close the curtains. There’s something very special about waking up and seeing nothing but the sea stretching out in front of you. The cooked breakfast wasn’t bad either.

WHICH UK HOTEL/ACCOMMODATION IS ON YOUR LUST LIST? I’d love to spend a night on the Belmond Royal Scotsman train, travelling through the Highlands. The cabins are exquisite and it really is a luxury hotel - just one that moves! My only other experience of a sleeper train was in a hot, sticky, crowded berth between Zagreb and Split. It wasn’t exactly comfortable, but I loved the sensation of lying in bed and watching the countryside change through the window. 

WHICH WAS YOUR BEST EVER EUROPEAN HOTEL/ACCOMMODATION AND WHAT MADE IT SPECIAL? Last year we stayed in a wonderful little hotel in Bruges, the Canalview Hotel Ter Reien. The clue is in the name: our window looked onto the canal and the lovely winding cobbled streets. Bruges is such a wonderful place to wander, but having our own little haven in the middle of it made it even better. 

WHICH EUROPEAN HOTEL/ACCOMMODATION IS ON YOUR LUST LIST? I’ve got my eye on the Hoxton in Paris (below0. It’s stylish and cosy, with wonderfully quirky bedrooms, beautiful interior designs, and lovely, light, communal spaces. The location couldn’t be better, either: it’s in the second arrondissement, right in the middle of Paris, just moments away from a wander through the pretty streets of Le Marais, a picnic in the Jardin des Tuileries, or a walk along the Seine. I lived and worked in Paris a few years ago, but I’d love to go back as a tourist and soak up all of its best bits.

BEST EVER AIR BNB EXPERIENCE? When I moved to Leipzig in Germany a few years ago, I decided to stay in this Airbnb for the first few weeks while I found somewhere permanent to live. I got so lucky, and found myself staying with the friendliest hosts I could have hoped for. On the first evening, they lent me a bike and took me on a cycling tour around my new city, through parks and into the centre, and then took me out for a welcome meal. I loved their apartment, with its balcony - perfect for watching sunsets over a new skyline - and the bustling neighbourhood of Plagwitz down below. They also gave me all sorts of practical advice for finding an apartment to move in to.

A SPECIAL TRAVEL MEMORY? When my boyfriend and I booked a holiday to the tiny village of Assos on the Greek island of Kefalonia, it didn’t occur to us that we might need a car there. We took a taxi from the airport to the village and spent a lovely few days sunbathing, swimming, going for walks and eating in the village’s only restaurant, but we soon started to wish we could see the rest of the island. There weren’t any buses, and taxis were out of our budget. Later that day, an English couple got chatting to us on the beach. Once they heard that we didn’t have a car, they offered to let us join them on their excursions for the next week: thanks to them, we got to stroll around the lovely harbour of Fiskardo, hire a boat to swim in isolated coves, and see the iconic Myrtos beach.

WHAT’S IN YOUR HAND LUGGAGE?

I always get sleepy when travelling, and my Cabeau travel pillow is the best thing I’ve ever bought. It fits snugly round my neck and lets me doze off wherever I like. Other than that, I always bring a book with me, and I’m rarely without a snack.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING ON YOUR TRAVELS?

I’m reading The Binding, by Bridget Collins. It’s a magical story about books and their power, about good and evil, about remembering and forgetting. It’s actually a little out of my comfort zone - I don’t usually read fantasy - but this particular edition had such a beautiful cover that I couldn’t ignore it. (And yes, I absolutely judge books by their covers!)

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY LISTENING TO ON YOUR TRAVELS? I tend to listen to podcasts much more than music nowadays. My favourites are GrownUpLand, The Guardian Long Reads, and Literary Friction.

WHAT IS THE BEST SOUVENIR YOU HAVE BROUGHT HOME FROM A TRIP? I bought the most comfortable pair of sandals ever in Portugal last summer! We were in Lagos, an area which is known for its cork products. My sandals are made of cork, and they’re a joy to wear.



{The images used in this article have been used to provide inspiration alongside the recommendation for the business or product. I do not claim ownership of the images and will happily remove them if this causes upset with the owner. In order of appearance the original sources are MargotBakery.co.uk, AndrewEdmunds.com, TheHoxton.com, Cabeau.com and Amazon.co.uk