On a cold, windy, snowy Saturday afternoon, Jorge and I contemplated heading to Heathrow and tossing ourselves on the first flight to sunshine, but considering the time restrictions of an ordinary weekend and the fact that it was already late morning, we decided to venture on a 50 minute bus journey over to Islington.
Certainly not any warmer, but somewhere a bit different.
We decided to warm up when we arrived with some hot lunch at The Elk in the Woods when we arrived.
We both chose the thick, creamy mushroom soup that came with a chunk of butter and fresh toasted bread. Yum!
The decor was, as you would expect, full of unfinished wooden slabs as tables and plenty of skulls on the walls. Elk, I suppose.
And some woodsy green wallpaper.
And a wall of mismatched mirrors.
Full of warm food and bundled back into scarves and gloves, we headed back outside to Camden Passage. If it was Summertime (which, at this point, seems nowhere in sight…) Issy’s Milky Way ice cream parlour across the road may have been tempting. Brrrrr!
We wandered past a few market stalls selling quirky tat and vintage dresses and windows full of antique silver bowls and glasses.
Collars up against the cold and eyes squinting in the wind, we found shelter in our next stop, After Noah.
Inside was a jumble of vintage style toys, candies, satchells, wrapping paper, clocks, knick-knacks and furniture.
Model planes, old theatre signs, bed frames with peeling paint.
Signs from shops, greeting cards, games.
Battered chairs, jewellery, coasters advertising brands like OXO with a long British history.
Tables, desks, lamps and mirrors.
An old storage box for keys shoes or love letters.
Mini rocking horses, sets of drawers and a few scattered books.
Every wall was covered with plenty to keep our eyes busy!
They had a pretty little garden out back with pots and plants and glass tiles covering the ground.
Shelves full of satchells, note pads and old dial-up phones attached to the walls.
Thermometers, quirky bicycle pillows that reminded us of Stumper & Fielding on Portobello Road and a few spinning globes.
After we finished there and luckily emerged empty handed, we walked down to the more contemporary Aria on Barnsbury Street.
It’s housed in a beautiful old building that’s completely renovated on the outside but inside is a different story.
It is an interesting shop, but it is full of designers that you find other places as well, like Heals on King’s Road nearer to us, so nothing incredibly original that would warrant a special trip to East London but a fun place to visit if it’s local.
There were brands like Paul Smith, Jonathan Adler, Vivienne Westwood, but a few quirkier bits and pieces as well.
They also had an old pinball machine!
There were some tribal statues.
Some kitchen goodies.
Some interesting table settings with plants potted in china and heart-shaped spoons.
Speaking of china, it was time for tea. The snow was coming down harder now outside the window, in big fluffy flakes. We wandered to the nearest interesting looking side street which happened to be Cross Street where we happened upon a bit of street art.
And then we ducked into the warmth of Chameleon Cafe for that much-needed tea, stuck some business cards onto their wall of cards and then headed back toward the bus stop. I got distracted by trying on a few dresses in Diverse on Upper Street, but it was far too cold for anymore outdoor exploring and the number 19 was just around the corner.
We spontaneously decided to hop off at the grand old Fortum & Mason on Piccadilly halfway home. We amused ourselves with expensive things we couldn’t afford and stopped to oogle the Ascot-style hats:
I bought some cards by Chase And Wonder, Jorge bought some whiskey and we stocked up on some goodies like a Spanish chorizo spread, some mint sauce and some delicious fruit I remember from Colombia called granadilla which has a hard orange shell that you break and then suck out the sweet passion fruit-like seeds. Delicious. Oh, and some kettle corn style popcorn that we devoured during the rest of the ride home!
Lovely photographs, one of my favourite parts of London!
Thanks 🙂 They are all iPhone photos since my hands were too cold to take my camera out. Haha! Do you know any other cool places in the area to check out next time?
I like the Lexington pub, they have a great selection of live music (pub downstairs and small performance area upstairs) and a vast selection of different whiskeys, that’s on Pentonville Rd. There is also a great bar on Upper Street called SLim Jim’s Whiskey Bar (it’s not just whiskey, they have lots of cocktails, beers etc), it’s quite dark and dingy, but in a good way (I think so anyway!)
And in terms of food, La Petite Auberge, also on upper street, is a gorgeous little French restaurant, delicious and reasonably priced. Two other similar french restaurants nearby are Sacre Coeur and La Mercury, those are also both definitely worth a try. I could go on forever, there are millions of great bars and restaurants around there. Enjoy!
Thanks for all the recommendations! I’ll keep a list for next time 🙂 Sounds like you know the area well. Appreciate you taking the time to write it all out.
You’re welcome, as I started writing some I kept remembering other great places. It’s a lovely area, definitely worth a thorough explore!
I want that Dakota!
I really enjoyed Islington when I was there. All the shops you visited look great! I’m new to your site and look forward to more reading about your adventures!
Thanks Mike! Glad you enjoyed the post. Hope I have plenty more adventures to share 🙂
This is the London that I miss so much. Wishing I was there.
Where are you now? Did you live here and move away?
This entry got me really hungry. Hahaha!
I am really amazed at how you break the image of London as being grey and gloomy. Kudos to you!
Well, you know, it is still grey and gloomy at the moment! You just have to work around it 🙂 Can’t wait till the Spring flowers are out in full force.
What a fun day!! 🙂
It was 🙂 It’s always fun to explore somewhere a bit different!
Dear Sir, You are doing marvelous work. I am an Indian and I am now well known about London. Well done. Thank you.