Some things…

A little list of things I am really into right now… There’s nothing better than a personal recommendation, and these are my January picks.

Photo

The Doughnut Hatch: On Kingsland Road in the heart of Shoreditch there’s a window that serves just two things: doughnuts and filter coffee. From 9am until they sell out, there’s two daily choices of flavours which could be anything from salted caramel to lemon curd to cherry, Oreo or pistachio.

Ozone cafe, Old Street: good coffee, tick. Smashed avo and radish bruschetta, double tick. Baked eggs and beans, seconds please. This massive cafe and coffee roasters is kiwi run – possibly why it consistently blows all newcomers out of the water.

Walking/canal life:  One of the most pleasurable things about living in Hoxton is the proximity to Regent’s Canal. I love nothing more than putting on my shoes ad taking Duchess out for a stroll up or down the canal. There’s always something to see – from terrapins to cute narrowboats – and at the moment it’s particularly lovely in the evenings as all the boats start a wood-burning fire. It smells amazing, and the air is so crisp… Winter perfection.

COYO: Coconut yoghurt is amazing. I’m like a year late on this but as someone who can’t eat dairy/abide by soy alternatives this is AMAZING. My favourite is made by the Coconut Collaborative, who have very funny packaging to boot.

Kent hairbrushes: I have just spent a wild amount of money for me on a hairbrush. I’m trying to upgrade the things I use or touch daily – to make sure they‘re of quality, and that I invest enough so they last longer.  Boar bristle brushes spread the natural oils your scalp produces from root to tip, resulting in healthier, shinier hair. They’re particularly awesome for people like me with baby-fine locks.

Shoes for life: In a similar vein I’m trying to invest in shoes of a higher quality, rather than just buying some Primark sneakers every eight weeks. Brands such as Loake (UK) feature a Goodyear welted leather sole. This is a method  of shoe construction from Northamptonshire that allows shoes to be repaired over and over again, perfect for boots subjected to daily abuse from gritty London pavements.

Sadly I don’t own a pair of Loake boots (yet! The Anne brogue boots will be mine, oh yes.) but their commitment to customer service has already won me over. The store manager in Piccadilly has ordered in various sizes from the warehouse for me, texted me updates, and  has generally just been lovely.

Window Canteen

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I really like Hackney Road. It’s gritty, it’s lively, it has a lot of shoe shops per capita, and it’s where the bar is… but it isn’t quite gentrified to the point where you can find a decent coffee any which way you swing your limbs. So it was a delight to find Window Canteen,  a cosy little outpost amongst all the heels and trainers. While the place is named for the walk-by coffee service they offer, Thom and I chose to sit in and sip our flat-whites in quiet contemplation – him, pondering the frothing qualities of soy milk, me – admiring the cool installation of raindrops by Studio Mufufu*.

No food on this visit, but lunch looks lovely judging by the other reviews. Small, simple, and a real DIY spirit. I’ll be back.

Window Canteen
276 Hackney Rd, Hackney
London, E2, UK

* “Mufufu is a mimetic word that represents a chuckle in Japanese. It is the overflowing, involuntary smile brought forth by an epiphany, a light bulb moment.”

Londres – Some Thoughts

londres

Regent's Canal

Muffin break

The Fox

batman bricks

Lost

I’ve lived in London for nearly 6 months now. It’s starting to feel ‘real’. Some things I have learned:

1. Local natives are rare. I seem to be hanging out with a lot of French kids lately. And Brazilians, Swedes, Dutch, and of course Kiwis.

2. Coffee is not great here, but exceptions can be found. Maps: AllpressClimpson & SonsShoreditch Grind,BrillFlat WhiteMonmouth

3. Moving makes all the other smaller decisions about change easier. If it’s not working, start fresh. Job, house, attitude.

4. Always take your A-Z out and about, even to the local pub.

5. Having never encountered it before – IKEA is amazing. You can even drink a beer there, it makes the housewares sparkle.

6. The best way to explore is on foot.

7. Also, there’s no hills, so cycling is far more fun. The downside – no hills means less sticky-outie landmarks, so see point 4.

8. Europe is just a flight or train ride away. Over Easter I’m going to Barcelona with some pals, I can’t wait.

9. Squirrels never fail to amuse.

10. The homesickness does pass. But calling home is still important.

Call me

Hackney city

While we’re waiting to move into our new flat, Thom and I have a sublet in Hackney. (Or Crackney, as I’d heard it called before I came to the UK, but I have only seen evidence of that once – late at night outside the Buddhist Centre.)

hackney walk

window & doors

It’s not the most glamorous of areas, but what it’s got is pretty beaut. Lots of little cafes, pubs, galleries, and places to grab a classic East London fry-up. While there is a tiny glimpse of sun in the winter gloom, I love to be outdoors. My favourite places to walk include the Hackney City Farm, and the canal.

hackney city farm

Y’know, it was the usual Saturday. Get up, make breakfast, visit a farm. Babes, pigs in the city. I love the cycle-take of a steer skull at the ranch. Next, meet the chubbiest squirrel in all of London. He was all puffed up, the size of a small cat!

squirrel

canal

Not far from the farm, Regents Canal winds through south Hackney. It’ so peaceful there, you forget you’re in the middle of a city. Until you hit Broadway Market, and the flotilla of canal boats. Lots of them have been converted into sweet little floating shops – a vintage store , a café, a bookshop. Lovely.

canal boat village

Floating bookshop

Saturdays

Right, off to go deal with Christmas madness. Only a week to go!