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Top Coffee Spots in London Vol. I

Top Coffee Spots in London Vol. I

by Nina Christopoulou

Coffee is an essential start (and continuation if I may add), to the day for students and professionals alike. In the abundance of offerings that London has, coffee spots could not be the exception. We gathered the best coffee spots around town so you know which ones are a must-visit for coffee aficionados.

1. Kaffeine

Fitzrovia is a go-to place for cute coffee shops, but Kaffeine definitely takes the lead with its innovative approach of bringing global coffee roasters to the centre of London and its emphasis on the unique blends it has to offer. The breakfast and lunch menu made from seasonal ingredients compliments the incredible coffee, whereas the cute interior and polite staff simply enhance the experience.

Credit: @Kaffeine London

2. Brooklyn

The unique, minimal and clean aesthetic of Brooklyn coffee is inspired by none other than the Brooklyn area of NY. Owners Bryan and Reina have managed to create a small oasis amidst generally similar coffee shop designs. With their Caravan beans (famous for their quality around London) they have been able to create a cold brew that has spread through word-of-mouth as quite excellent.

Credit: @Brooklyn Coffee

3. Carpo

Carpo does not initially seem like a coffee spot, with its immense selection of fresh roasted nuts and dried fruits taking the lead at first glance. The varied selection of coffee beans, however, and its Freddo Espresso made by Greek standards have rendered it a hotspot for coffee connoisseurs around the city. Carpo Knightsbridge, the newest addition to the chain, has an interior design worth checking out.

Credit: @Carpo

4. Caravan

Caravan is a three in one combo, as it is a cafe, roasters and restaurant all at the same time. Its brunch menu is exquisite, while an added plus is their use of compostable takeaway cups and straws. Famed for its coffee, it is definitely a must visit!

Credit: @Sara Xue Feng

5. Attendant

I will have to state that, other than the use of Caravan beans and the committed barista who always pays attention to detail, this coffee spot makes the list for its interior as well. Situated since January 2013 in a late-nineteenth century gents’ toilet, it is most definitely an innovative concept. The urinals are even placed in the sitting space. Feel free to pay a visit and see how many jokes you can come up with while sipping your coffee!

Credit: @Attendant Coffee Roasters

6. Dark Habit Coffee

In a generally coffee “uninspired” area of London, Dark Habit is cute, interesting and serves incredible coffee. For the most part dedicated to Workshop coffee beans, it tends to extend its selection to other beans from all over the UK. Care to try it out?

Credit: @Dark Habit Coffee

7. Coffee Island

At a quiet spot among Covent Garden and Leicester Square, Coffee Island is the London location for one of the most renowned Greek coffee chains. Its dedication to bringing you the strong taste and scent of high quality coffee has made it a favourite among those who have tried it. If you had to choose one coffee to taste, though, that would have to be their Freddos – Espresso or Cappuccino, you can not go wrong!

Credit: @Coffee Island UK

8. Ozone Coffee Roasters

The different brewing methods that Ozone sports mean that their single origin coffees are elevated depending on your pick – Aeropress, Syphon or other. It also doubles as a store for the coffee connoisseur who would like to make one of the many coffee kits their own.

Credit: @Ozone Coffee Roasters UK

9. Catalyst

This Scandi-style spot is everything you didn’t know you were looking for. The food is good, which is a plus, the cocktail list is sufficient – given the shop’s overall façade – but the coffee is the main focus. The roaster in the basement and the coffee gadgets on display hint to the quality of the coffee served, while the relaxing environment with minimal design makes you feel like you will visit the place over and over in the future.

Credit: @James Ting

10. Department of Coffee and Social Affairs

Truth is, the place had me the moment I heard the name. Because if you have put so much imagination into the name of your shop, then chances are the shop itself will be great. And truth is, DCSA is pretty awesome. The interior is fun with the red brick details making it stand out from the crowd, and the staff are always polite as can be. As for the coffee… well it is great, and so are the cute foam decorations that it always comes with.

Credit: @mar

Top 9 Ice-Cream Spots in London

Top 9 Ice-Cream Spots in London

by Nina Christopoulou

As the sun makes more and more appearances in the otherwise gloomy British capital, we could not help ourselves but put together a post about the most essential summer treat: ice-cream. And London has so much to offer when it comes to gelato! Our 9 favourite ice-cream spots around the city are officially here:

Gelupo

The fresh mint stracciatella is rightfully considered a top pick, in this beautiful ice-cream parlour. Its reputation has made it a household name among foodies around the city and for good reason!

Credit: @the56.

La Gelateria

The name is a hint for the traditional Italian taste that awaits you. It has managed to gather an amazing collection of foodie awards, and would you like to know the best part? Everything is made on site daily! Drop by the Covent Garden branch to see the ice cream in the making and prepare yourselves for the treat that is ahead of you.

Credit: @La Gelatiera – Artisan Gelato

Amorino

The flavours are mostly classic, but the presentation has a twist: the ice cream is placed in the cone in the shape of flower petals. Photogenic, tasty and refreshing all in one. What more could one ask for?

Credit: @MARIANELA GETTE 🍉

Ruby Violet

An attraction in both its locations (Tufnell Park and King’s Cross that is), the ethically sourced ingredients, free-range eggs and organic milk that they use equal to pureness in every bite (or lick, in this case). The word-of-mouth recommendations have rendered Ruby Violet a favourite for Londoners.

Credit: @Ruby Violet

Yorica

Allergen-free and vegan ice-cream and shake choices are what you will find at Yorica. Its selection is mouth-watering and the environment cute as can be, with locations in Notting Hill and Wardour Street.
The ice-creams are pretty picture-perfect too!

Credit: @vegan teen🌱

Udderlicious

You see the shop and simply want to go in, before you even realise that it is one of the best ice-cream shops in the city! What’s more, the couple which opened it (coincidentally called Raj and Raj) hold an ongoing competition for flavour of the month picked out by customers. Would you like to guess the prize? Ice-cream on the house for an entire month!

Credit: @Udderlicious Ice Cream

Milk Train

The stuff dreams are made of: Milk Train’s candy floss cone is not primarily Instagrammable, it is more importantly like bites of heaven melting in your mouth. The photos, as impressive as they may be, do not do justice to the ice-cream itself!

Credit: @Holly 🐆 | London Blogger

Chin Chin Dessert Club

The traditional flavours are always nice when it comes to ice-cream, but about something a little more extreme? Halva black tahini or coffee with olive oil for example… As extreme as they may sound Chin Chin Dessert Club serves them alongside all time classics such as burnt butter caramel. Whatever the choice, you will not regret trying this spot out!

Credit: @Chin Chin Labs/Dessert Club

Soft Serve Society

This list has been a challenge to create not only because I am an ice-cream lover myself, but mainly because in order to do a countdown you have to have a favourite. Tough choice when London has so many gelato options at your disposal. I would have to admit, however, that Soft Serve Society is a personal favourite: the charcoal and coconut flavour is unique as it is delicious, while the selection of sundaes is mind blowing. Definitely a must!

Credit: @Νίνα ➰

Top 5 student apps you need in your life

Top 5 student apps you need in your life

by Nina Christopoulou

For better or for worse, we live in an era where our phones are an extension of our existence, and we rely on our apps for all sorts of everyday tasks. So it makes sense that there would be apps specifically tailored to combat some of the greatest problems that students face. Let’s take a closer look at them:

1. Student Beans

Discount hunting is an essential aspect of the “being on a budget” mentality that most of us around the globe adopt. Student Beans makes bargain hunting easier than anyone could have imagined – railcards, clothing, food, you name it – Student Beans has a discount on it!

Credit: @Student Beans

2. Student Chef

The name is pretty clear in itself, but in case you are still wondering: Student Chef is an app that has quick, cheap and delicious recipes. Their layout is convenient, as it lets you know on the top of each recipe the time you will need, the level of difficulty and the cost in pounds as well. The perfect end to those long stays at the supermarket, trying to pick out your supplies for the week!

Credit: @Bùi Chiến

3. UNiDAYS

From technology, food, stationary to most brands a student will want UNiDAYS has it all! The perfect app for a student’s phone, you will soon find out that it is the one that you open almost as often as your social media accounts.

Credit: @UNiDAYS

4. The Trainline

Commuting made easy. No need to be at the station to find out timetables, buy tickets and frantically search for the platform you need to be in ASAP. The Trainline lets you do everything online – all you need to do then is show up!

Credit: @Trainline

5. The Wetherspoons App

Remember that feeling when your friend leaves the table to order your drinks, and you search for your phone so you can pretend you are busy until they come back? The Wetherspoons app put a stop to those uncomfortable settings by bringing your food and drinks to you. It can even remember your last order, so you don’t forget somebody’s drink when buying rounds!

Credit: @One Drink A Day (heebs)

7 Tips on Finding a Summer Internship in London

7 Tips on Finding a Summer Internship in London

by Nina Christopoulou

Student life has its ups and downs, but one thing is for sure: it doesn’t last forever! While London has plenty of job opportunities, securing an internship during summer is the preferred way to go in terms of entering the UK job market and gaining some valued UK experience for your following endeavours. So, let’s have a look at the top tips to find a summer internship in the UK:

1. Oh, the Internet!

And by “Oh, the Internet!” I mean the top portals to hunt for internships. They are a good place to start your search and will definitely inspire you to think outside the box when it comes to potential employers. The must-know are:
targetjobs.co.uk/internships
ratemyplacement.co.uk/internships
studentjob.co.uk/internship

Credit: @Minimal Office Setup

2. Cover Letters matter

Most applications in the UK require a cover letter accompanying your CV. Unfortunately, writing one is a lengthy process and a tricky one at that. If you want to amp your chances at landing an interview, carefully look through the job description and do some research into the company you are applying for. A set-template for a cover letter won’t do, you will need to tailor the content to each application.

Credit: @Marjan Glavac

3. Sell your skills

Experience, or lack thereof is not of central importance to internship applications. But what does matter, is how you present it. Always think in terms of applicable skills when doing either your CV or the cover letter – knowing another language is a communicational skill that services inter-cultural communication. Having done a semester abroad entails adaptability to diverse and challenging environments. So try to make the most out of what you’ve got!

Credit: @Lindsay

4. Use those alumni portals

Normal search methods are good, but if you want to go for “great”, you will need to go the extra mile. Universities have alumni portals which help you get in touch with your uni’s former students who are now professionals and potentially professionals in your area of interest. Hunting them down on alumni portals and making a LinkedIn connection or sending them a friendly message is always a good way to unearth potential positions that have not opened up yet.

Credit: @Fiona Minett | Boss Your PR

5. Start your search early

The UK market is time-sensitive when it comes to graduate schemes, summer internships and the lot. So starting your search as early as possible could make all the difference – if you are a last minute type of person there is a good chance that by the time you start working on those applications you will have much less opportunities to apply for.

Credit: @Essentials

6. Do your homework

Gotten that sought-after interview you wanted? Great, but your work doesn’t stop there. Before going to meet your interviewer, it is important to do your homework both in the industry and in the company. Important things to be aware of are the company’s strong and weak points, their greatest competitors, their overall mentality and obviously the industry’s landscape.

Credit: @the darling deskscape

7. Get feedback

Feedback is key to improving both your existing process as well as landing an actual job faster when it comes down to it. It is great to get as much feedback as you can during your search for an internship: friends, professors, your uni’s career advisors, even potential interviewers can give you feedback on what it is that you can improve when it comes to your demeanour, CV or Cover Letter.

Credit: @Invoice By Alto

Top 7 Things To Do In London This June

Top 7 Things To Do In London This June

by Nina Christopoulou

Excited for your monthly update as per usual? Tune in to get the best options for June’s events, because we took our time gathering them for you!

7. Hampton Court Palace Festival

The sun is up in London and an open air festival is the perfect opportunity to soak up the rays before they disappear again! From Lionel Richie to Tom Jones, simple picnics to waterside gazebos, this festival has it all. Plus you have time to enjoy it – from June 5th until the 23rd!

Credit: @E X P L O R I N G L O N D O N

6. Taste of London

Regent’s Park will gather 40 up and coming eateries to create the must of the season! A restaurant festival which will host great names such as El Pastor, Barrafina and Salon is set for June 13th to the 17th, and it sounds promising to say the least!

Credit: @tiffany🦄

5. West End Live

Improvising their way to the most central square (yes, yes, that would be Trafalgar) of London, West End musical casts are preparing to mesmerise you. All time classics, new sets and more are in the works for musical theatre fans. Beware the spectacle runs for 2 days only, so make sure to save the date(s) – June 16 & 17.

Credit: @Colin Hart

4. Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

This annual celebration of Chinese culture is definitely a sight for sore eyes. Dozens of Dragon boats will be racing on the Thames on Sunday, June 3rd. But the show does not stop on the water – lots of Chinese festivities will take place on land as well, from street food to traditional lion dancing. Sounds like a Sunday well
spent, doesn’t it?

Credit: @Dragon Boat Innovate

3. Open Garden Squares Weekend

This is an all inclusive event, as more than 200 gardens across London unlock their usually constrained gates to show their beauty to the world! The weekend 9-10 of June is your chance to explore squares and roof terraces you haven’t been able to sneak into before!

Credit: @Ivan 7

2. The Halo installation

Mirrors, light and the impression of a halo will attract you to Somerset House this June. From June 8th head over to the extravagant building to see the impressive show and the accompanying exhibition, dedicated to Britain’s independent magazine.

Credit: @Sarah

1. The Queen’s Birthday Parade

There is nothing more traditional in Britain than its royals. So it is expected that London goes all out on the Queen’s Birthday (June 9th, in case you weren’t aware!). “Trooping the Colour” as the Queen’s Official Birthday Parade is called is the experience of a lifetime – so put a note in your calendar asap.

Credit: @Folha de S.Paulo

The Stay Club Local Partnerships

The Stay Club Local Partnerships

What is one of the most famous aspects of living in London?! The living expenses!

London has always been known for having one of the most expensive lifestyles, from renting a flat to simply buying groceries. One of the perks of living at The Stay Club are our partnerships with the local businesses including lovely restaurants, cafés and hairdressers that offer special deals to our residents. Here is the list of our partners and current special offers for The Stay Club residents:

Camden

As we all know, coffee is the ultimate best friend for every student. We have partnered up with two amazing independent coffee shops in Camden to keep you caffeinated throughout the exam season!

Camden Coffee Co based in the Stables Market serve artisan coffee made with a bespoke blend of four certified organic and sustainable coffee blends. They also serve delicious cakes and freshly baked pastries. The lovely team behind Camden Coffee Co offers 10% off on all items for The Stay Club residents.

Credit: @Camden Coffee Co

For a lighter type of coffee, Tea & Glory is your new local go to place! Tea & Glory is home of beautiful tea and artisan coffee and offer 10% off any food and drinks, Monday to Friday.

Credit: @Tea & Glory

Pop in to Carvin’s Mens Salon at our Camden building for a fresh haircut from the wonderful team who have also recently won the 2017 London Hair & Beauty Award! Show your Stay Club card to claim 20% off all services.

Credit: @Award Winning Mens Salon

Colindale

If studying in Colindale and need a pizza break, then Spaccanapoli is the place for you! Famous for their traditional Italian pizza, they offer a 10% discount on all food and drinks.

Credit: @Spaccanapoli Restaurant

Alternatively, just around the corner from our Colindale property you can visit ITJL, an awesome spot to enjoy fresh juices and amazing brunch. ITJL also serves protein smoothies which are the cherry on top after your work out! The Stay Club residents can enjoy a 15% discount on all products.

Credit: @Sarah Vanstone

Willesden

If you are staying at our Willesden property, visit Park Kitchen which is a great restaurant serving delicious homemade food and drinks in beautiful surroundings including an alfresco terrace, an ideal place for your Sunday brunch. Park Kitchen provides our residents with fidelity cards with various special offers available.

Credit: @Park Kitchen

We have partnered with Wicked Student Nights to provide our residents with special deals for exclusive nightlife events in the capital, including guestlist entry and various perks available on the night!

Credit: @Wicked Student Nights

Top 7 Things To Do In London This May

Top 7 Things To Do In London This May
by Nina Christopoulou

Sunny days are ahead of us Londoners, so it’s time to see what this city has in store for the upcoming month!

1. Neverland

Ever heard of the concept of an urban beach? Well, that is what Neverland organisers decided to offer starting May 3rd and stretching out all through the (hopefully!) hot summer months. Ranging from daybeds, cabanas, pop up food choices and numerous events, Parsons Green will be the go to place for all. Ready to dip your toes in the truckloads of sand that you’ll find in Fulham?

Credit: @Neverland London

2. Brockwell Lido

Whether in the market for furniture or not, this art deco building will host a poolside fair you will definitely want to check out! Gathering dealers that have the best to offer in terms of home decoration, furniture, glass and even clothing, this Modern Movement fair is a must. It will welcome you on Saturday, May 5th.

Credit: @Brockwell Lido

3. Museums at Night

London is renowned for its elite and massive selection of museums, now amped up to feature after hours activities specially curated to thrill your inner geek. What’s more? You have a whole weekend to enjoy them – May 16th to May 19th is covered.

Credit: @Natural History Museum

4. Gala Festival

Put your dancing shoes on, and head over to Peckham Rye Park for a fun night of disco, house and generally incredible party tunes. The dance extravaganza is set for the 27th of May.

Credit: @Ashleigh Mellor

5. London Wine Week

All you winos out there, rejoice! Your week is approaching fast, starting May 14th. 125 of London’s best wine bars are participating, offering a tasting experience of 3 wines each for a mere 5 pounds. Who can say no to that?

Credit: @PORT2PORT

6. Arcadia Festival

Olympic park decided to combine a giant robot spider with a musical fusion. If you are not officially impressed, may I add that there will be aerial performers, jets of fire and all sorts of other attractions? The music festival is a two-day event, on May 5th & 6th.

Credit: @Arcadia Spectacular

7. All Points East

80 brilliant acts including The XX, Lorde, LCD soundsystem and many more are coming to Victoria Park. Rumoured to be the highlight of the summer period music-wise, hurry up and reserve your tickets for May 25-27th. Wouldn’t want to miss that now, would we?

Credit: @All Points East

Easy and Cheap Ways to Personalise your Home in London

Easy and Cheap Ways to Personalise your Home in London
by Nina Christopoulou

Your house during your student life is less a home and more like a haven, protecting you from the stress and worries of the outside world. Consequently, it is very important that you make it your own – but when walking in to an already furnished space that is kind of hard to do. That’s why we found the best means of personalising your home for you:

Lighting

London is a city with the bare minimum of sunlight, therefore lighting in your place is essential. From adding a couple of extra lamps to changing your lamp’s hat to a lighter colour, try to find your own lighting in order to feel comfortable and relaxed.

Credit: @Elsie + Emma A Beautiful Mess

Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors

Mirrors are not only useful for checking hairstyles and outfits prior to your big Saturday night – decorating your room with more mirrors opens up the space and adds shimmer. Also, it’s a cost-friendly alternative to works of art (especially if you make a trip to IKEA). Well, all that is except if you are living at the Stay Club, where mirrors are an essential part of the studio’s design!

Credit: @Alexander James Interiors

Hoorray for student friendly sites

There are tons of sites which offer a pretty convenient student discount and some amazing home decor options. From Asos to Urban Outfitters, their home section will blow your mind and you can get a 10% discount anytime. Then again, there is also Primark where student discounts are not available, but not needed either as their low-cost items are worth a look through.

Credit: @Caitie

Memories abound

Relocating is always a lonesome process at first. So make sure your greatest memories come along with you. Whether it is in the form of polaroids attached to your hanging twinkly lights, a collage for your wall or good old frames (see student friendly stores for some of the latter), your photographs of beloved friends, family and moments can help make your place your own in no time.

Credit: @L e a R u g o l e 🖤

Pillowfights, now

Cushions and blankets are rarely provided even if bedding is. So, why not get a few to spruce things up a bit? Ignore the boring monochrome ones and go for funky patterns that mix well with the space’s colours in order to put your personal touch. You can also use your own old t-shirts as a fabric, buying only the cheap fluffy fill for cushions.

Credit: @Julie Denby

Vision boards are a must

What better way of personalising your studio other than splurging your own thoughts and plans on the walls? From a poster board to a cork board or a small canvas there are many cheap alternatives you can use. All that is left then is to gather your inspirational bits and pieces and arrange them as you please.

Credit: @Anna Granberg Kalaritou

10 Apps you MUST use if you are moving to London!

10 Apps you MUST use if you are moving to London!
by Nina Christopoulou

As wonderful as London may be, it can also be overwhelming upon first encounter. But fear not, we’ve got you covered! From nights out to transport, we have uncovered the top picks for must- have apps that will help you tackle the London chaos on a daily basis. And here they are:

1. Citymapper

You can wipe the puzzled expression off your face- you don’t have to navigate through London transportation solo anymore! Citymapper has everything you need. Type in point A and point B on your app and Citymapper will do the rest for you.

Credit: @App Ecstasy

2. Uber

Black cabs are a trademark of the capital, up there on the list next to red buses and phone booths. However, they can also have a steep fare a little too often- Uber takes care of both your transport and your budget in a few simple clicks.

Credit: @e l i s e ╳ ,

3. Santander Cycles

The weather does not permit casual bike strolls very often, but when it does this app comes in handy. It will take care of the docking stations for you, so there’s one less thing to worry about!

Credit: @Yangki Suara

4. London Coffee Network

If you are a coffee enthusiast like myself, this app will quickly climb to your phone’s top 5. Schedule your daily caffeine fix in artisan coffee shops with a point reward system that will get you hooked on the app for sure.

Credit: @Nazish Minhas

5. Quidup

As a student, time is of the essence, so forget cooking or running out to grab a bite. Quidup will make sure you won’t starve during deadline periods. Oh, also it will take care of clothing pickups, makeup drop-offs, and many more.

Credit: @Cantina Del Ponte

6. Drinki

Living on a budget and living in London are two concepts hard to combine. When it comes to your nights out, however, Drinki helps cut back- you get a free drink on a number of cute bars around London and even more, if you refer your friends. Cheers mate!

Credit: @Rojia Lani’kai

7. Redi

When you want to dine out, Redi is much needed: choose your restaurant out of a list of nearby options. Browse the menu. Order. Then get ready and get yourself to the restaurant where your cooked meal will await you!

Credit: @Joanna’s Restaurant

8. ATM Hunter

Cashless is a generally preferred mode of play in London. But for those times when you realise last minute that you will need cash in the next five minutes, the ATM Hunter will save you the effort of frantically asking around strangers where you’ll find the closest ATM.

Credit: @Lewis Currie

9. Bizzby

All household and personal services you may need in one app. What’s more, they have already been Bizzby approved! Convenient to say the least.

Credit: @Michele Bertoli

10. TimeOut London

Yeah, we know we are doing a pretty good job keeping you up to date on all relevant London- related knowledge. But for those times you need a little something extra and tailored to your preferences, TimeOut London is your entertainment go-to guide!

Credit: @Time Out London

Where to celebrate Easter in London?

Where to celebrate Easter in London?
by Nina Christopoulou

Easter is just around the corner and London has a lot of surprises in store for you! We have gathered up the best experiences for the Easter weekend all in one place, so you can go ahead and make your plans ASAP!

1.The Egg Hunt

Easter, mystery, puzzles and golden eggs all in one. A special edition of Time Run has been prepared just for you – golden eggs that have disappeared through a time portal await your problem-solving skills in an immersive experience that you do not want to miss.

Credit: @Craig Irvine

2.Dust out your Disco outfits!

The Oval Space is preparing to celebrate not only your upbeat Easter mood, but also Fever 105’s fifth birthday. The more reasons to show your disco moves, the better! Right? Sunday, April 1 marks the date! Oh, did I forget to mention the street food and cocktails?

Credit: @

3.Pop Brixton is ready for you!

Pop’s Easter bonanza is filled with hip hop fun. On Sunday, April 1st you will get to try out your breakdancing skills in class, and participate in (oh!) so many hip hop themed activities. Bound to have you dancing till the break of dawn!

Credit: @Pop Brixton

4.Easter themed afternoon teas

Well, afternoon tea is a tradition and what could you ask for if not an Easter twist to the tradition? The answer is easy – multiple Easter themed afternoon tea experiences! Whether you pick Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at One Aldwych or the Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea at the Sanderson, you are bound to enjoy a unique experience!

Credit: @The Food Gallery 🍽🍷

5.Chocolate eggs

In my personal experience, when I hear the word Easter there is one thing that automatically comes to mind – chocolate. Chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies – you name it! Thankfully, there is a swarm of options when it comes to dazzling, mouthwatering Easter treats. Fortnum & Mason’s Easter delicacies are a must, but then again so are La Maison du Chocolat at Harrods, Choccywoccydoodah, Charbonnel et Walker and the list goes on and on.

Credit: @Fortnum & Mason