It turns out that we have 10 of those friends. We've tapped our favourite London ladies — from fashion designers to actresses to presenters and PR pros — to open up their little black books and share their insider secrets to living fabulously in the Big Smoke. Nail salons, hairstylists, nightspots, restaurants, gift ideas — they're spilling it all. All you need to do is grab a pen, and prepare to start shaking up your routine, sister.
Read on to get the dirt on which cocktail you simply must order, who offers the best blowout, and more — straight from the gals who really know.
Poppy Jamie, TV presenter
"I find London to be such an exciting place. There is always something new popping up and always a friend to have coffee with in a cute café! I spend my life in cute cafés with a large skinny latte, my laptop, and a book. Nothing better!"
NAILS: "I love Nails Inc."
HAIR: "Try Paul Edmonds if in Knightsbridge, or Hershesons at Selfridges if central. Just £25 for an amazing 30-minute blowout!"
PARTY: "My friend Nick House's new place, Rusty Nail, is my new favourite hangout."
EAT: "Head to Little House or Electric Diner."
DRINK: "La Bodega Negra has the best margaritas."
GIFT: "Buy a personalised diary. Everyone always needs a new one to store those adventures!"
Monet Mazur, actress
"Being a newbie to London, everything is amazingly refreshing to me. There's always something super cool going on, from Shoreditch to Mayfair. I've embraced it all — from pub culture to the rain. (Well, maybe not the rain so much.)"
NAILS: "I go to Pink & White Nail Bar in my 'hood on Essex Road."
HAIR: "Try George Northwood at Four Salon."
PARTY: "I've got the Babyshambles concert coming up at the Roundhouse."
EAT: "For day, it's Ottolenghi on Upper Street; for night, Les Trois Garçons Shoreditch."
DRINK: "Mr Fogg's and The Four Sisters Bar both make insane custom mixed drinks. Yummy!"
GIFT: "For a man, buy the Santa Maria Novella shave kit. The ultimate gift, though, is an iPod shuffle full of handpicked music."
Mademoiselle Robot, style blogger and consultant
"London is really big and I have lived in many different parts of town. One thing that remains the same is that I enjoy exploring my own neighbourhood, so I try to do as many things as I can locally."
NAILS: "I get my nails done at home, and I use Perfect 10 Mobile Beauty."
HAIR: "I go to Taylor Taylor on Portobello. I get my hair cut there by Jenny, and she is the best!"
PARTY: "I hit up Dalston Superstore for dancing, and I love Dock Kitchen for cocktails on a summer evening."
EAT: "I like The Electric (it is my local) for a quinoa salad, or if I am in town, the Riding House Café is always a winner."
DRINK: "The Bloody Mary at The Electric is amazing!"
GIFT: "A whole-day spa experience is always a good one, otherwise a really amazing, life-changing, tearjerking book."
Chimere Cisse, PR at Unsigned Group
"I won't lie, I do love a new London opening. Bars, restaurants, galleries — there's always something fresh to discover in this city. My list of 'to try' is a mile long. If I wasn't so loyal to all my favourite haunts, I could get through them. As the saying goes, 'When a man is tired of London, he's tired of life.'"
NAILS: "MWnails combines my nostalgia for '70s air travel with my penchant for red nails."
HAIR: "Girls with curls should have Fedro James on speed dial. He's a frizz genius."
PARTY: "Check out The Playroom at Casa Negra, where you can grind to '90s hip-hop and pretend you know the words."
EAT: "Aside from having an awesome name, New World in Chinatown also makes the best dim sum in London. My Sunday regular."
DRINK: "Order negronis at Spuntino or martinis at Dukes for something more decadent."
GIFT: "Dinner for two at the newly refurbished Marcus Wareing restaurant at The Berkeley, or something lacy from Helena Christensen's spring/summer '14 lingerie collection."
Morwenna Lytton Cobbold, model, photographer, and DJ
"I'm based in Whitechapel and love my local haunts, but it's also fun to explore other parts of the city and have a little adventure."
NAILS: "I tend to do my own nails, but the WAH team are brilliant, when I've worked with them on fashion shows."
HAIR: "See Steve at Neville Hair & Beauty."
PARTY: "Wherever I'm DJing, haha. I usually spend Saturdays in the Parlour at Sketch."
EAT: "Enjoy high tea at The Orangery at Kensington Palace. They have yummy orange-scented scones."
DRINK: "I've never had anything like the Cereal Killer with Coco Pops milk at Berners Tavern."
GIFT: "Get tickets for the Imax at the Science Museum. I'm a closet geek."
"London still feels new to me. I get lost at least once a day, which keeps things fresh! I've stumbled on some of my favourite ever places here by taking the long, coastal route!"
NAILS: "My go-to place is actually in Dublin. I'm a DIY kinda gal, but when I want some art, the gang at Tropical Popical are the best."
HAIR: "My mates Maurice Flynn and Anthony Usher are amazing and I never go further. If it's face painting, Justine Jenkins is my go-to girl. Flawless but always fun!"
PARTY: "The King's Head on Kingsland Road is filled with giant taxidermy, does great roast dinners, and stays open 'til later than should be acceptable. I saw Kelis perform her new album, Food, there last week."
EAT: "Clutch in Hoxton has the best fried chicken ever, but their brunch is insanely brilliant: chili scrambled eggs, halloumi, guacamole, roasted tomato, and sourdough toast. Throw in a fresh mimosa (they make the syrup with flowers from the Columbia Road flower market), and I may just stay all day! David Bailey eats here, too. It's a hidden little East London gem."
DRINK: "I like a Bloody Mary pretty much anywhere. But, for a relaxed, chill-out drink, it's beer at Offord or a glass of red at Sunday. Both are neighbourhood haunts that I dearly love!"
GIFT: "Flowers delivered by bike from Petalon are my favourite thing to give and get. If I'm splashing out, then something personalised from Smythson. I've got a ridiculous amount of notebooks but love looking back over them. I think it's important to write stuff down and have a physical record. It feels more emotive, and for me, if it's not written down, it's not happening!"
Marina Guergova, designer at MARINA LONDON
"London is about building a little black book for me; it's about finding delicious restaurants, quirky cafes with amazing coffee blends, and falling in love with new areas, such as my new love Bermondsey."
NAILS: "I tend to always do them myself, but if I feel like pampering or getting some shellac for summer, I go to Chloe Nail & Spa."
HAIR: "At Josh Wood Atelier, Ivan is my guy. He's a gorgeous Brazilian and a genius with long hair. I don't cut my hair often at all, but when I do I always go to him."
PARTY: "I dance everywhere. Festivals, at home, The Box in Soho. I dance often and a lot."
EAT: "I have so many, but The River Cafe is delicious for dinner. Beigel Bake on Brick Lane does super-cheap, but spectacular smoked-salmon bagels. And, at last there is a great health-food café called The Good Life Eatery. It's a bit pricey, but a good start for others to follow."
DRINK: "Amaretto sour at Shoreditch House or The Edition Hotel. If I go to Experimental Cocktail Club, I'll have a St Germain, because there is nothing quite like it."
GIFT: "I think the best gift anyone can receive is a ticket to somewhere. Anywhere at all.The gift of travelling is the best, because it's about collecting experiences and photographs to look back on when you get old. That or one of my MARINA silk tops — they make wonderful presents for the ladies."
Madeleine Moxham, accessories designer at MOXHAM
"I love that London is a 24-hour city and everything is on your doorstep. Daily, you discover new restaurants, bars, and exhibitions and never have to worry about how you are getting home because you are never that far away. I love London's variety and flexibility which allows you to be spontaneous!"
NAILS: "If you're in London, surely it has to be WAH. Ever since I heard the founder Sharmadean Reid talking on the radio about how she started the business, I have been hooked. A brilliant story about how hard work and a clear vision pays off!"
HAIR: "My mum modelled in a show many years ago and had her hair cut by the hairdresser and stylist Peter Lux. Now Peter's a firm family friend, and I never need to visit a salon because he is the very best."
PARTY: "Head down to the Bussey Building (saved in 2009 from demolition) and grab a bite to eat at the Peckham Refreshment Rooms en route."
EAT: "The Camberwell Arms (part-owned by the team behind the renowned Anchor & Hope in Waterloo) just opened up at the bottom of my street. This is where you will find me for the next few months."
DRINK: "Amaretto sour. My friend introduced them to me one night at Shoreditch House. I've never looked back."
GIFT: "Something from MOXHAM, of course! Our monogrammed leather clips should do the trick."
Ping He, fashion designer at PINGHE
“London’s art and culture is the best in the world. It has given me so much inspiration over the years."
NAILS: "When it comes to a manicure, I’m not one to enjoy them, I prefer to get my hair done!"
HAIR: "It has to be Toni & Guy. They offer great service, fantastic cuts and blowouts, and are always a reliable team."
PARTY: "The V&A stays open late one Friday each month. They have a live DJ in the grand coffee room."
EAT: "Patara on Fulham Road is my favourite, I just love the food."
DRINK: "Harvey Nichols has a great Champagne bar on the fifth floor. I also like Galvin at Windows at the Hilton on Park Lane."
GIFT: "The PINGHE Voletta full-embroidery skirt is definitely at the top of my gifting list."
Amber Atherton, founder of My Flash Trash
"I love wandering the streets of London. Every borough has its quirks and charm. You can go from down by the Southbank feeling a real sense of British pride overlooking the river and Big Ben to pretty Primrose Hill for a more bohemian vibe, and Chelsea for when I'm feeling posh. But, I'm really in Shoreditch most of the time, because there's a creativity there where fashion designers and tech start-ups meet. It's always something new, and always something weird."
NAILS: "Nails Inc. does a great gel mani, but for nail art it has to be WAH."
HAIR: "Daniel Mikhael's salon behind Marble Arch is the best. Such a chill vibe and conveniently located next to Cocomaya for an après blowdry chocolate fix!"
PARTY: "The basement at The Edition Hotel is fun."
EAT: "Aubaine is so chic. Delicious fish, salads, and the prettiest little cakes for dessert."
DRINK: "I love a tequila-based cocktail. Medicina Latinas go down a dream at La Bodega Negra."
GIFT: "Jewellery is always a great present option. I love these new star-sign pendants featuring the constellation of your horoscope in a cluster of diamonds!"