Broadway Market and Regents Canal

It was another sunny Saturday last weekend, so Jorge and I ventured East for the second time in two days. Last Friday night we went to the pop up night market in Haggerston called Street Feast, which I didn’t take any photos of, but it was fun until it got too chilly in the late night air. We had New York style hot dogs (which weren’t really…) and I enjoyed a “mahoosive mojito” (which had mahoosive price of £10 and was a normal sized drink).

I haven’t been to Broadway Market in ages, so since we had a long and sunny Saturday stretched ahead of us, we decided to explore the natural habitat of London’s urban hipster. It’s prime street art territory around there as well, so without even looking for it, I ended up taking a few photos on the way.

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P1000250Photo: Mr Penfold & Sweet Toof

Also along the way, across from rows of condensed housing is the creepy looking God Worshipers Ministry. The Love Renewal Centre.

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And then the two giant bird pieces, a collaboration between by Irony and Boe, one right outside the market and one on the edge. They also recently created this amazing fox on Waldegrave Road in Turnpike Lane not long ago.

P1000253Photo: Irony & Boe

P1000260Photo: Irony & Boe

The market was pretty crowded but nowhere near as packed as Portobello or Brick Lane. It’s much smaller anyway. Plus, for the moment anyway, it tends to draw Londoners rather than tourists.

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There was a bit of live music.

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And more on the other end.

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We walked by the shop that is something of an institution, F. Cooke which has been selling traditional pies, mash and jellied eels for well over 100 years.

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I love it when shops use their signs for quotes and poetry or a bit of humour rather than advertising or boring menus.

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We spent some time in one of the best art and design bookshops in the area – Artwords (which made my list of favourite independent shops in London a while ago). We left with two new piece of inspiration for our bookshelf. The first was Creative Space: The Urban Homes of Artists and Creatives which shares images and interviews with people in Barcelona, Berlin, London, New York, Paris and Toyko. The other one is a London Design Guide which I haven’t looked through yet but seems to have a lot of good suggestions in it for food, shopping, etc. split by some popular areas of the city.

Outside again, the sun was beaming down and people were making the most of it, coats off, sunglasses on, lounging around.

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There are bikes everywhere around here.

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Wandering through the market, the food looked and smelled pretty delicious. There seemed to be quite a few free samples passed out as well.

There was roasted hog.

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Fresh Salmon folded onto slices of home baked bread.

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Buckets full of olives.

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Fresh bread.

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Stacks of cheese.

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Veggies.

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Dried meat.

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Takeaway lunch.

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Or find a table nearby.

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Wash it down with some juice, or there are plenty of pubs in the area. Take your pick from the Cat and Mutton, the Dove Freehouse & Kitchen or Broadway Market.

P1000278Photo: Entrance to The Cat & Mutton pub

Lots of coffee shops too. Climpson & Sons is rumoured to be one of the best but it was packed so we didn’t go in. Also Wilton’s on Wilton’s Way nearby has a good reputation, uses beans roasted at Climpson & Sons and has fewer crowds.

There’s racks of £5 vintage dresses, and lining the street behind the market are other trendy clothing shops, second hand shops and vintage shops. Hipster fashion galore and plenty of sartorial inspiration in the streets as well. People watching is brilliant around here.

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And of course there’s flower stalls.

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Jewellery.

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We had lunch in the Turkish Solche Grill and Meze Bar on the corner near the canal.

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Food was good, prices were cheap and we sat under a giant skylight where we could feel the sun, but the service was slow and scattered and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for that reason. The had some fun drippy candles though.

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Interestingly, while trying to remember the name of the place I read this article about shots being into the restaurant in August last year. A little reminder that despite the relatively recent gentrification of this area, it still has another side to it!

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After lunch, the sun beckoned and we took a two-mile walk down Regents Canal to Islington.

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There were flowers in bloom and people sat along the water watching the canal boats pass, many of them on phones, of course…

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We followed one boat floating along at walking pace for quite a while.

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The architecture along the trail is a strange mix of modern and crumbling, council flats, cottages and office blocks as well as some newly developed buildings with retail space.

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There was a stretch with some beautiful prunus trees in blossom.

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Bikes everywhere, people running, dogs on walks and babies in prams, there was plenty of traffic on the narrow stretch of pavement between the wall and canal. And it was quite windy, as you can see from my lion mane hair!

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Houseboat life might be interesting for a while, simple, pared down to the basics.

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Boots for planters and such.

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And with a pretty view!

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All in all, a beautiful place to spend one of the first days of real Spring in London!

Switch on Your Happiness

Hey, it’s Friday! Time to “switch on your happiness”! Loving this piece I found installed at the top of a stairway where Regents canal flows lazily past Broadway Market:

Actually, I think this is a good photograph to print out and tack up above my desk at work and one for the mirror at home for Monday mornings (just for extra measure). It would probably be good for the artist, Sophia Fox, to install a few on the tube as well. Wouldn’t hurt, right?

This is one of my favourite forms of street art. It’s small so you feel a bit special when you find it. It’s creative. It makes me smile. And it’s something that sticks with me. There is, in fact, a whole series of colourful “Happiness Switches” from Sophia’s collection. There are even mapped locations where we can go hunt them down (I love a good treasure hunt)! If you work nearby one of them, scope it out for me and see if it’s still there please!

I love the idea behind Sophia’s work as it echoes the ideas behind LLO as well. She explains, “Through my work I like to bring a smile and perhaps the appreciation of little moments of happiness.”

Listen to a Londoner: Gail Haslam

Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere. If you’re up for being interviewed, email littlelondonobservationist@hotmail.co.uk.

Gail Haslam

Gail Haslam is a writer, editor and blogger who also tries to fit in crafty endeavours when she has time, or the supplies threaten to take over the house again. At the moment she’s a social media consultant for a chocolate company, and does realise how lucky she is.

LLO: How long have you been in London, where are you from originally and what brought you here?
GH: I’m originally from Ireland. Almost straight after university I travelled around Australia for a year and then thought I’d spend six weeks in London, until Christmas. That was thirteen years ago, almost to the day.

LLO: One of the main topics on your blog, One Million Gold Stars, is food. Where are a few good places in London to pick up ingredients if you’re looking for something unusual?
GH: I’ve been cooking a lot of Mexican food lately and I’ve been buying all my dried chipotles and ancho chiles from Casa Mexico in Bethnal Green.  They also do a fine line in Mexican pottery and Day of the Dead dolls, if you’re so inclined.
I’m a bit intimidated by the packed-to-the-rafters Vietnamese supermarkets on Mare St but Uyen from Fernandez and Leluu has volunteered to take me shopping and show me what’s what.

My boyfriend and I share the cooking in our house, but my favourite hobby is baking. I’m always on the lookout for supplies and tools. The Make Lounge, a creative workshop centre in Islington, carries ‘essentials’ like edible glitter and good quality paste food colourings.

LLO: I’m in London for one night only and need a good food and drink recommendation away from the tourist trail. Where would you send me?
GH: If you can get a table, I’d try Namo on Victoria Park Road and try the Ga hap la chanh – steamed chicken in lime leaves with ginger and lemon. So simple yet so good.  Then on to Hemingway, further up Victoria Park Road towards Mare St.  Enjoy a tipple while marvelling at the taxidermy.

LLO: If you’re out and about on a rainy winter day, where’s your favourite place to pop in and cosy up with a warm drink?
GH: I’ve a long standing affection for the the Cafe in Foyles on Charing Cross Road and fond memories of their hot chocolate. I’m lucky to have a great selection of cafes locally – the Pavilion in Victoria Park and a new addition, Amandine. Not only do they source ingredients like eggs from the Deli Downstairs, a few doors down, they even grow some of their own ingredients.

LLO: When you’re looking for a bit of Irish food or culture in London, where do you go?
GH: Ah – I’d have to admit that it’s not something I’ve ever looked for – too many other cuisines to explore here. I did have excellent soda bread at Corrigan’s recently (laced with molasses for a very defined sweetness) and it’s one of the things I do miss from home.

LLO: If you’ve had a long day so you’re not in the mood to bake, but you’re craving something sweet, where’s your favourite London bakery?
GH: Arianna Halshaw is probably my favourite baker.  I’ve always ordered cupcakes and her infamous Rice Krispies marshmallow directly from her but I understand she’s now supplying cupcakes to The Espresso Room.  Otherwise I’m rather partial to a cupcake from Ella’s Bakehouse in Covent Garden. Peanut Butter please.

LLO: What has been your most unusual eating experience in London?
GH: The ‘March Madness, April Fools’ themed night at Trail Of Our Bread, a local supperclub.  It involved rabbit, absinthe jelly and the best surprise birthday cake I’ve ever had. It was shaped like a flowerpot, complete with crumbled Oreo “soil”. 

LLO:Which area of London are you most familiar with and what’s the best part about it?
GH: East London, I’ve lived around here for ten years, gradually drifting from Shoreditch to Bow to Victoria Park. I love the park itself, and the fact that you can head out one gate and make your way to the Counter Cafe after a wander around Hackney Wick, or head around the perimeter and down the canal to visit Broadway market. Or venture right into the east side of the park and go and visit the deer. (Yes, really).

LLO: Tell us about a memorable moment that could only have happened in London.
GH: On Millennium Eve, we stood on Victoria Embankment, directly opposite the Oxo Tower and watched fireworks going off over three bridges, up and down the river. It was beautiful.

LLO: Best London discovery you think other people should know about?
GH: Wilton’s Music Hall.  It’s the oldest operating music hall in the world, and it’s run by a very small but incredibly dedicated team who are determined to preserve this atmospheric, magical building for generations to come. As well as reviving old style vaudeville, it also stages productions for other larger theatres as well as live music and also acts as a film location.  Visit for one of their monthly free cinema nights, to see archive footage of London through the ages.

Thanks Gail!

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