Izzi De-Rosa’s Guide to London

A love letter to the city that made her...

North London singer-songwriter Izzi De-Rosa creates from a place of sonic abandon; this year’s ‘loverboi’ and ‘cinderella’ were plain-spoken overtures filtered through the prism of future-pop. An empowering kiss off to an unworthy ex, De Rosa’s new single ‘my x’ sees the singer levelling up again, transitioning between brass notes and ska-flecked beats.

Speaking on the inspiration behind the track, she says: “‘my x’ is not so much a break up anthem as it is a diss track for anyone who finds themselves having a ‘wait wtf, did I actually ever date that person???’ moment. ‘my x’ was written in a moment of self-reflection and I guess was my way of turning regret into empowerment, with a dash of saltiness.”

Part of Loud LDN – a collective of female and gender-expansive artists – De-Rosa’s odes to self-definition are rooted in the lore of London. For CLASH, De-Rosa pens a love letter to that city that made her, with some recommendations for the city dweller…

Growing up in London, I feel like I spent most of my teen years avoiding it. There’s a certain chaos and rhythm to this city that can be overwhelming…like a rat-race and matrix of sorts. As I’ve embraced my 20s, however, I’ve come to learn that London is a magical city; it’s diverse, rich in culture, food, music, art, and attracts people from all walks of life. There are so many hidden gems here to be discovered, and once you find them, it’s hard not to be utterly seduced by London’s charm. So, as you can imagine, when CLASH asked me to pen a love letter I was super hyped. It’s my pleasure to be able to share some of my favourite spots and discoveries in London with you.

It’s hard thinking where to start, but if I’m being true to myself it makes sense to start with nightlife. One of my fave spots EVER for a night out is The Jago, a grassroots live music venue nestled in Dalston, East London. It attracts an eclectic community of creatives and definitely feels like a safe-space. Stumbling in on a Saturday night, you never really know what to expect, but there is usually a live band downstairs and a DJ upstairs, playing sounds across a variety of genres and cultures to dance too. Another bar just round the corner from The Jago that is super cute is Ridley Road Market Bar; the slushy cocktails are yummy, the music is funky and the tropical-meets-retro interior is chic AF.

If you prefer a slightly more chill evening vibe, a spot I’ve come to love is The Top Secret Comedy Club in Covent Garden. You can’t really beat having a giggle for two hours straight, and they always have wicked line-ups of both emerging and esteemed comedians. Oh, and they have the cheapest bar in Soho, so it’s a win-win all round. For those that wanna go super chill, a cosy night in one of the Everyman Cinemas dotted around London always feels like a treat – their ice cream sundays go off!

Now anyone who knows me knows I’m a massive foodie. Next up: restaurants. A great restaurant for all pasta lovers is Padella in Borough Market. The pasta is fresh, hand rolled and absolutely delicious. In fact, Borough Market is a great spot for eating in general, filled with loads of food trucks, restaurants and fresh food stalls. In summer people tend to sit out in the courtyard which feels oh so very European. Another restaurant I love is Sticks N Sushi in Soho, they have a wide menu of small plates that are ridiculously tasty. Finally, a guilty pleasure of mine – La Porchetta – it’s not the most lavish spot but the pizzas are always banging.

And now onto one of my fave past-times – shopping! Portobello Road is always a great spot to shop and often has loads of independent designers and vintage sellers, and is just super cute (albeit busy) on the weekends. Another one of my favourite places to hunt for clothes is in charity shops. Honestly, 90% of my wardrobe is second-hand at this point. Muswell Hill has a huge array of charity shops, and you can easily spend a day here making your way down the Broadway browsing in them. The best place to shop in London in my opinion is Wings World; a weekly thrift store held every Saturday in a basement studio, burrowed down a cobbled back street in Euston. It really has that ‘if you know, you know’ vibe. Expect to find some of the most adorable vintage pieces here, all for under £10. The owner, Megan, is also an absolute sweetheart and has created such a gorgeous community for sustainable fashion lovers in London.

And last but not least is one of my most treasured places in London, Hampstead Heath. Being a North London Gal, it definitely has a special place in my heart. It sprawls over 800 acres of land (which really does feel like a gift in this concrete jungle), and if you find the right spots it boasts some of the most gorgeous views of London. If you can make it to the top of Primrose Hill in time for sunset – or even sunrise for those who are brave – you’ll be in for a treat. There’s something magical about the stillness of nature against the backdrop of the twinkling cityscape. I don’t think there’s a better way to spend your Sunday than being on the heath; be for a crisp Autumnal walk, or swimming in the ponds with your mates in the summer, followed by a glass of vino and a roast at one of the local pubs. One of my fave pubs here is The Stag. If you find yourselves more towards the Highgate side of the Heath, The Red Lion and Sun serves the most delicious food!! Just make sure to book as it fills up very quickly. 

I could write an entire dissertation on my favourite places in London, but for now this is it. I hope you’ve enjoyed my little read, and I hope you get the time to visit some of these spots. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you there. 

Lots of love, 

Izzi De-Rosa 


Photo Credit: Joel Smedley

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