art, artistic atmosphere, banksy, beauty, brick lane, broadway market, caravan shop, cazcarra, chadsworth road market, columbia flower market, creativity, cup of tea, east london, events, feast, hidden, hidden london, high end shopping, London, londonlife, londonlifestyle, makeup, markets, shopping, sightseeing, wall art
… show you “my East London”. The East End is not everyone’s cup of tea. In fact “you love it or you hate it” is applicable on East London according to some. Not sure if I agree with that. What I do know is that East London touches my heart with all it’s hidden treasures, quirky shops, beautiful lanes, sad grey flats, multi mix of people, artistic atmosphere and busy streets – full of contradictions. To me it’s a miniature of London. Also it’s one of the best areas to go out, get wasted and go homewards when the sun rises – author’s opinion.
Time for an “East London Special” of If I were in London right now…
… do the Redchurch-street-stroll. Who wouldn’t? This street may slightly look like it’s a shabby off street that should be avoided but you can’t be more mistaken – Redchurch street is a feast! Here you’ll find a collection of cool and quirky (concept) stores, lunchrooms, galleries and cafe’s. Trust me, it’s better than Brick Lane. Currently, times seems to be changing for Redchurch street; where it used to be a vague painting of East End’s history and was full of exciting opportunities for young artists, rumor has it that Redchurch street is turning into a High End shopping destination. Big names are looking into options to open new stores here. Some might say that is fantastic, but I do fear a downside – increasing rents will make the current shop and gallery owners think twice when it comes to renting another term. Which I think would be a sad development.
But, back to Redchurch street the way it still is today!
It’s a shame you won’t find Caravan on Redchurch anymore – fans fear not, Caravan will reopen in Summer 2012 but on a new location – but something new has opened it’s doors in the old Caravan shop: Story Deli. Not new to locals, as Story Deli has had some pop up locations in the area before. Go here for the crispiest pizza’s you can imagine – damn, they’re tasty!
Other spots that are among my Redchurch-stops are : Labour and Wait (love their box of Culinary seeds…sadly I don’t have a garden, but I’ll find the person to whom this is a perfect present), Aubin and Wills (which has a cinema and a gallery as well – both worth visiting!) and how about studio 1.1.
Please say “hi” to the squirrel when you do the Redchurch-street-stroll. He’s cute. I always greeted squirrel on my way to and from work. I’m pretty sure he misses the attention now that I don’t live there anymore. Poor soul. You’ll find him on the corner with Club Row.
And hello to you too, Mr Squirrel!
… show you some East End Markets:
I am a market lover. There…I’ve said it!
Having lived a 30 seconds creeping-distance from two of London’s most popular markets, it’s about time I mention some brilliant East End Markets here on If I were in London right now.
Columbia Flower market:
Jumping out of my bedroom window landing almost in Columbia Flower market, you can imagine I’ve seen this market a few times. It is busy, there’s an over kill of tourists, but having said that: I enjoy this place.
On a Sunday morning, being severely hung over, this is the perfect spot to be cheered up and buy some fresh flowers! The smell of the flowers, the funny sales men, the unique boutiques and delightful shops hidden behind the flower stalls. It’s bliss. And it gets even better once you’ve discovered Ezra Street (named after my brother…) where it seems like time stood still and it smells like London still works on coal, somehow. Here you can get delicious food and the best hangover cure ever aka the egg-and-bacon-roll. Stop at the old bakery and get yourself something tasty, get fresh oysters (if that’s your cup of … sea?) in that lovely alley with it’s big barn doors or just score a Bloody Mary – everything’s possible at Ezra Street!
Every Sunday until about 2pm.
Ah well, I could write as many words as I want to but it won’t be enough to describe my love for Broadway Market. It’s my idea of “heaven on earth” – lovely atmosphere, enormous variety of stalls selling stuff from vintage clothes to vegetables and second hand books to baby clothes. Lots of food can be bought here as well. Good food.
It’s a good place to spend your time. My ideal lazy Saturday would be to head down to Broadway Market with friends, buy bits of food from different stalls and then picnic alongside Regents Canal or in London Fields.
The shops on Broadway should not be ignored and also some good pubs and restaurants can be found here.
Every Saturday, most stalls are open from 9am until 5pm.
Chadsworth Road market:
At my second address London I again had the pleasure to live two streets away from a market. This time Chatsworth Road Market. This is a market very well known by it’s locals but a bit far out for tourists… Lots of food, antiques, home-wear, sunglasses not to forget, vintage and butterflies from Benjamin. Rawling Cakes is where you can go if you have lactose or wheat intolerance or other kinds of allergies, the best cheesecakes can be scored at Bamber Brothers and do stop by at What the Dickens for your portion of traditional delights to be served by a lovely bunch of Dickensian Gents! My last Chatsworth-tip: Drake and Naylor.
Every Sunday, 11am to 4pm.
… lead you to one of the many Banksy’s. The yellow flower. Another surprise just one street away from where I used to live. You’ll find it on Pollard Street. Banksy is not the only wall-artist to be found in London, surely he is the most famous. London knows a lot of wall art – it’s refreshing, mostly beautiful, artistic and surely puts a smile on your face on your way to work. I feel another blog-special coming up…
He’s been given a drink, how nice.
…have a dinner at The Peoples Kitchen. Ok, how am I going to explain this initiative in a few lines… You know what, here’s what they say: “The People’s Kitchen utilises and spreads awareness of food waste and celebrates the power of community by bringing together a team of volunteers to transform food that was heading for landfill into beautiful cooked meals that are served up on a ‘pay what you want’ basis.”
My cup of tea for sure. And it looks so lovely!
Food is served every Sunday from 3pm. They screen films upstairs or you can choose to sit around the big community table and have a chat.
… combine an early morning stroll along Regent’s Canal with breakfast at my favourite place in Hackney (it might even be my favourite place on planet earth…for now): Little Georgia.
Regents Canal is a pretty long canal which has some very nice parts where you can walk or cycle alongside the canal. Especially the part between Victoria Park and Hoxton is my idea of a lovely stroll. The most beautiful warehouses-turned-living-spaces you’ll find here and every now and then you can enjoy a leisure-time-sailor struggle with the locks. Don’t let the bikers frighten you though – you might end up in the Canal if you do so.
Now Little Georgia: this is the most cute little place that can be found on Goldsmith row, serving the best ever breakfasts which can be enjoyed with beautiful traditional Georgian music in the background. Whenever I’m in London a stop will be made at this characteristic spot. I can advice anyone to go early for there is a run on this place, especially on Saturdays when Broadway market is in full swing. This has to be followed with a warning – Little Georgia is a relaxed and homely place which sometime causes a slow start up of the staff, so if you’re in a hurry you might better score a quick to-go-breakfast somewhere else. Me, on the other hand, I can stay at Little Georgia the whole day and don’t mind waiting for their tasty blinis with fresh fruit, yoghurt, honey and cinnamon…
Not only do they serve delicious breakfast, you can also get your portions for lunch and dinner. Have to admit I never tried lunch nor dinner, but with my breakkie-experience I cannot find a single reason to avoid Little Georgia for luncheon or dinner.
Note: Little Georgia has a BYO (translation: Bring Your Own – as in alcohol) policy.
Note nr 2: spend a couple of minutes on the loo… Not necessarily because you’re desperate for a loo, but just to stare at the walls.
… explore the idea behind the urban food ‘hub’, cafe and arts venue FARM:shop.
I discovered this project a while ago: the main idea is to bring farming into the city. I think that is just amazing! And now they have a shop as well. On Dalston lane: now that is farming IN the city.
For me this would be the perfect place to go to if I lived in London and had no garden – I do feel the urge to grow my own vegetables (just to prove that somewhere deep down inside I do have green fingers. Or at least one.) and with no garden FARM:shop sounds like the solution ’cause they have “Grow Sundays”! You can help them grow the veggies for their cafe. La-La-La-Love It, don’t you?
Can we please have this project transported to Amsterdam? Girl with no garden needs this project!
… go to Victoria park and surroundings. Beautiful houses and nice little shops make it feel like a village in the middle of East London. It’s peaceful out here!
Center piece of this village definitely being Loafing. Everywhere you go you need a place to sit down and charge your battery (this can best be done with a tasty lunch or a lush Afternoon tea) – I believe Loafing is the best place to do so if wandering through Victoria park. You can’t miss it: the shop window displays cakes and cakes, more cakes and…cake. Fighting the urge to go inside this shop is useless. Just step inside, I won’t stop you!
Loafing – 79 Lauriston Road
… say Wilton is the word.
And now you wanna know why.
I. Firstly there’s is Wilton Way, Hackney’s hidden present.
But not just A street! In this small but long street, situated “somewhere behind Hackney Empire theatre” you’ll find a collection of nice small independent shops such as On the other side of the pillow and can get cakes-to-die-for and coffees at places like The Wilton Way Cafe (here the podcasts of London Fields Radio are recorded; interesting if you consider yourself a “local creative”…) and Violet – where you can get such beautiful and yummy cakes (which, by the way, also can be scored on Broadway Market); from salted caramel cupcakes and rhubarb scones to butterscotch blondies to name some. It shows that owner Claire Ptak also is a food stylist, which makes having a cake at Violet an even bigger treat. It’s a lovely lovely place, so make sure you stop by! Check her website: cakes and styling is mouthwatering.
The wine you’ll get from Borough Wines – started as a family vineyard, they got a stall on Borough Market and from there they moved on to their shop on Wilton Way (check the website for opening times for both Borough Market and Wilton Way).
Wilton Way is such a nice surprise when you come from hectic Mare street where the traffic never stops (and never moves either…) – it’s quiet, it’s small, it seems everybody knows each other, the shop owners are exceptionally friendly. It’s like walking into a different world – a bit like in Harry Potter, but without the flying broomsticks, wands and witchcraft. It’s a bit of a fantasy street.
II. And then secondly there’s Wilton’s, London’s hidden stage! What’s with “Wilton” and “hidden”…? Anyway. I heard about it, read about it and added it to my never ending London-To-Do-List. Wilton’s is the oldest Grand Music Hall to find that is still in use as a Music Hall. Opened in 1858 it has been used for more purposes than just music and entertainment. Fortunately it’s now back where it once started – Wilton’s has a program that shows variety and everybody will surely find something on the What’s on list to go to. From opera to community-like projects, film nights and even Gotye; Wilton’s got it all and it seriously is a hidden secret. Now go find it!
Guidelines for your own Wilton excursions:
On the other side of the pillow: 61 Wilton Way
The Wilton Way Cafe: 63 Wilton Way
Violet: 47 Wilton Way http://www.violetcakes.com/shop/ and Twitter @violetcakes
Borough wines: 67 Wilton Way http://www.boroughwines.com/
Wilton’s Music Hall: 1 Graces Alley, London, E1 8JB, http://www.wiltons.org.uk/
Wilton’s Grand Music Hall – thanks to Dave O’Grave for letting me use this picture.
See it for yourself – make it an East End day: wander through London fields, sniff around Wilton Way, go for a healthy walk alongside Regents Canal, check out Broadway market and sit down at Little Georgia. Of course I can’t guarantee it, but I do dare to bet you’ll like East. Even though it’s just a tiny little bit…
Be aware of the fact you will never be able to try out all these suggestions in one day. So spread it out over a longer period – don’t give East London up after just one go!
Some East London related beauty news: Cazcarra London have just released a perfume to compliment the TEN IMAGE Makeup Range! The Eu de Parfum is called Elixir – Secret Style and is available as a fragrance for him and for her – Happy days.
If a new year means a new fragrance for you, but you haven’t quite figured out what it should be then there is an easy solution; you can get a sampler of both the him and her fragrance for only £ 2.00!!
There is also a great deal if you decide to go for both fragrances. One for you, the other for your Valentine’s date maybe?
Click the link to see it for yourself: http://cazcarralondon.com/web/perfume-promo/!
So, this was another If I were in London right now… Here’s hoping you enjoyed the read and it will inspire you to explore the East End!
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All photo’s are mine, except for the Wilton’s photo which is taken by Dave O’Grave.