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Olivia Grant: My Life in London

London-based actress Olivia Grant shares her favourite haunts and hidden gems in the capital

Recognisable by her pre-Raphaelite red hair and sculpted bone structure, English actress and Oxford University graduate Olivia Grant is best-known for her role in Channel 4 period drama Indian Summers. She will star in Heidi: Queen of the Mountain later this year alongside Bill Nighy, an independent film based on the popular children's novel by Swiss author Johanna Spyri. Here, Grant shares her favourite places to eat, drink and unwind in the capital.

I'm a true south west London girl and grew up between Fulham and Chelsea. My fondest memory of the area is being taken to Tootsies on the New Kings Road (now sadly no more) for crinkly fries and sticky chocolate cake as a child. I'm currently living in Aldgate East which is very different. I love being close to Spitalfield market and Shoreditch House – east London also undeniably has much better restaurants and bars. 

I didn’t always want to be an actress. I was always the slightly annoying kid running around in a pink tutu trying to get attention but I didn't start acting until I went to university. I actually thought I was going to be an opera singer for quite a long stint.

 When I am working away, I miss Soho in London the most. Croquettes at Barrafina and high tea at the Dean Street Townhouse...that kind of thing.

The last restaurant I loved was Soo San in Aldgate East. The sticky rice comes in a wicked basket and is amazing.  

Artillery Lane in Shoreditch is my new favourite find. It's a beautiful – almost untouched – Georgian street with artisan shops and cafes.

A perfect day off would be getting my sweat on doing weights at my gym, then a half English at Blixen in Spitalfield with friends followed by an afternoon / evening in Soho seeing where the night took us… When I'm feeling wistful I sometimes head to the Chelsea Physic Garden in Chelsea and read an E. M. Forster novel.

At the moment, I am working on finishing off an independent film with Bill Nighy and Mark Williams, which will take me back to Bombay. Then probably another stint in LA to keep my managers happy.

For 2017, I've decided to learn the guitar. I played the flute for many years but it is unfortunately the uncoolest instrument at all time and impossible to whip out at parties unless you are Ron Burgundy [from Anchorman].

To me, luxury means cashmere jumpers and linen table cloths.