Finally, a beautiful Saturday afternoon! Obviously, it was a day to be outdoors, so Jorge and I decided on a wander around Soho, partly because of Yelp’s photo contest that Alex mentioned last week, and partly because I have a new camera and Soho always makes for some interesting shots. I gathered up my new Lumix with it’s tiny little 20mm lens and we headed for land of sex, drugs and rock n roll. There wasn’t much of any of the above, but we stumbled on a lovely little place for tea and cake: Ginger & White.
Their first shop opened in Hampstead in 2009, followed by one in Belsize Park and finally this one trickled down from NW3 to W1 and was planted on the peaceful, pedestrianised road, Silver Place. Inside, the calm continues with tables snaking around the main counter, along the front windows and tucked into the back corner. It’s small, but in a cosy way. To maintain its British atmosphere, one wall has its signature Union Jack.
Also, small toy minis and London buses were placed around on surfaces.
The counter display was mouthwateringly tempting, plates stacked ginger cakes, chocolate desserts and savoury sandwiches. We didn’t stay for lunch but certainly had our fill of dessert. Jorge had a slice of scrumptious lemon cake with raspberry topping and icing drizzled over the top.
Being more of a coffee person, he also enjoyed a cappuccino. It was pretty.
I had a rich chocolate brownie.
It washed down nicely with English breakfast tea from a bright red teapot.
The sugar was served in this lovely red tin.
For those non-coffee/tea drinkers, there’s also a fridge stocked with old fashioned Victorian lemonade, ginger beer and various juices.
The counter was staffed by two friendly guys:
And had a sign with a lyrical flashback to the 80s: “Frankie Says Relax”.
Also, they have a pretty awesome floor.
It’s a bit more tucked away than the others on the W1 coffee trail: Fernandez & Wells, Foxcroft & Ginger; Sacred, etc. And although there were not many people to people watch (which, of course, was part of the reason for its charm), I always thoroughly enjoy a window seat.
Camden is, without a douubt, one of the most colourful, eccentric and interesting places in London to take a camera. Markets wind off of the main high street, twisting and turning through shops with just about anything you could possibly imagine (except for sushi mats. I didn’t find any of those and I was looking). We ate Turkish lamb and mushroom kebabs and Chinese dumplings then sat by the edge of the canal eating gooey brownies and winter tea made from white tea, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger with orange slices floating on top.
Here’s a handful of Camden photos for today.
If you have any London market pics, add them to the Flickr pool for a chance to be posted.
Surrounding myself with vibrant colours usually makes me happy, and what better place in London to do that than a little walk through Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden?
The walls scream sunshine and summer and while there isn’t too much going in in the little square, it’s a great place to escape the main crowds and though it’s pretty small, there’s always something interesting to look at.
While you’re in the area, stop by Stanfords books for some great travel-related reading material that will cover any country you’re dreaming of visiting this year.
They even happen to have a Sacred Cafe in the back of the shop. Savoury muffins galore. Mmmm spinach, feta, warm, melted butter…
And a relax tea. Relax and forget you’re in one of the most crowded parts of the city, forget that family block of tourists who made you walk .05 km per hour halfway down the road.
Breathe and think of pretty colours. And, er… fashion weak? ^^
Okay so the street art sticker stuff doesn’t exactly compete with the East End, but the colours of the buildings certainly aren’t as drab!
And there’s even a few blades of grass somewhere in there.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
K Anderson, 28
K Anderson plays ‘lesbian music by a boy’ – confessional, conversational songs about the important things in life – getting older, bad sex, and needing a special someone in your life who can shave your back hair for you.
LLO: Which aspects of London life most influence your creativity? KA: I think the randomness of London life is what is most inspiring. Turn a busy street corner and you could walk into a makeshift market, a film shoot, a drunken punch up or a protest march – you just never know. Speaking of random, the other day I ran into a girl who I went to primary school with on the other side of the world. My head is still spinning about that.
LLO: Where are you from originally, how long have you been in London and what brought you here?
KA: This is always a bit confusing: I was born in Scotland, but emigrated to Australia with my family when I was 8, and then moved to London when I was 22. My friends in high school were obsessed with Oasis, and I was obsessed with the Spice Girls, so England was the obvious place for us to plot our escape to. I was the only one who actually managed to move here, though…
LLO: Tell us about the making of your video for “Shrug”. Lots and lots of feet…
KA: I carried a video camera with me for a few months, and sheepishly asked all of my friends to dance for me when I caught them in a good mood. I wanted a light and breezy video to go with ‘Shrug’, which is one of those toe-tapping songs disguising a sinister lyric. The hook of the song – ‘You want to call what we do love, I want to call it dirty sheets’ – keeps getting me into trouble with prospective romantic partners…
LLO: Favourite place in London to spend a Saturday night out on the town?
KA: My favourite club night is ‘Unskinny Bop’, which is held at The Star of Bethnal Green. They always play totally random songs, and so you find yourself dancing to tunes you haven’t heard in years and years. Expect Betty Boo followed by The Temptations, Fuzzbox, and The Backstreet Boys. Amazing!
LLO: What’s the best part about living in your postcode?
KA: I live in Stoke Newington, and although there are a number of pushchairs to avoid when walking down Church Street, I don’t think I would want to live anywhere else. There is a real sense of community here, and everyone I meet is fiercely proud of this little village. Oh, and there’s an amazing vegan stall at the local farmer’s market.
LLO: I hear you’ve been inviting people into your big new bed. Tell us more.
KA: I’m slightly modest when talking about my music, but if you start me talking about my bed you won’t get me to shut up! It’s a super-king-size, and I have been madly in love with it since I bought it last year. I started a video series, ‘In Bed With K Anderson’ as a way of not only showing it off, but the talents of my many singer/songwriter friends. The premise is simple – people come over and sing a cover of a recent hit song in my bed with me. It’s been such an inspiring project for me, and it’s great to discover they way other people approach music making.
LLO: While you were in bed singing Rihanna/Eminem cover, you wore a t-shirt with iron-on letters that says “vegans make better lovers.” Are you vegan? If so, what’s your favourite place to go out for vegan food in London?
KA: I am, indeed, a vegan. I would have to say that my favourite place to go in London for vegan food is RootMaster (www.root-master.co.uk/) – it’s an old routemaster bus which has been converted into a bustaurant (see what they did there?), and has delicious pizzas. Oh, and the cheesecake is quite delicious too.
LLO: What’s your favourite unique London discovery?
KA: Candid Café, which is behind Angel station, is just lovely. In an area which is riddled with Starbucks, Café Nero and Pret a Manger, it is nice to find a little, unique space which sells plenty of varieties of teas and has proper, worn-in couches to spend an afternoon lazing in. What’s especially good about it is that there’s almost always a place to sit!
LLO: You just launched your album, The Overthinker. Why should we immediately pick up a copy and have you thought about what’s next?
KA: ‘The Overthinker’ is a snapshot of London life for an unsure 20-something year old; someone who is no longer cocky enough to believe the world will bend at his whim, but also not yet fully comfortable with the person he is becoming. It is at times awkward, brash, and comforting. At all times, though, it is honest. Perhaps too honest.
For the future, I am most looking forward to doing more writing – bringing out an album is hard work! Before that, though, there will be more ‘In Bed with K Anderson’ sessions and music videos to accompany songs on the album. I will also be hitting the road soon, visiting different parts of this country with my guitar on my back…
LLO: What’s your favourite place to play a gig in London?
KA: I love playing at the cabaret venue Royal Vauxhall Tavern, because it has a proper stage, lovely sound, and a really appreciative audience. Oh, and it’s probably one of the only venues I play at in London which has its own dressing room. It may not be swanky, but it’s rather fun telling people that you have to go to the dressing room to get ready.
After Cafe 1001 off Brick Lane and ScooterCaffe in Waterloo, one of my favourite places to chill out with a nice cup of properly made bag-less tea is Sacred Cafe on Ganton Street – a little haven from the consumer chaos of Oxford Circus and Carnaby Street.
There are actually six locations in London, but I’ve only been to this one so far. It was started up by a couple of Kiwi expats – Tubbs Wanigasekera and Matthew Clark. It’s cosy, as any good coffee shop should be. The atmosphere is relaxing with low lighting, church pews and leather sofas in the basement with candles and Buddha in a little alcove. Or you can sit outside if the sun decides to come back! Free wi-fi too.