East

Story Deli

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If you head north along Brick Lane in east London, right before the road ends, you will come across an anonymous but beautiful building that houses one of the most delicious pizza places on this side of the pond- Story Deli. I think I stumbled across Story Deli after seeing a photo of it on instagram and immediately fell in love with decor. When you walk in you are greeted by tall ceilings, white walls and communal tables. My favorite bit is the ceiling that is filled with skylights that allow a flood of natural light into the room. But, beyond the decor, the pizzas really are insanely delicious. Reid and I have visited about three or four times, each time ordering two different pizzas to share and have always devoured them embarrassingly quickly. Two that I would recommend are the dora romero (with chorizo, smashed tomatoes, basil pesto and buffalo mozzarella) and the aubergine, goat’s cheese and ham.

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Towpath Cafe

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I was first introduced to the Towpath Cafe along Regent’s Canal earlier this summer while on a bike/photo walk with some other photographer friends and wanted to go back again immediately. Luckily I was able to convince another friend to join me for a sunny, summery lunch at this cute spot a few weeks later. That day we chowed down on a chicken caesar salad and another salad of grilled courgettes, beef tomatoes and pesto all washed down with a lovely glass of rosé. The food was delicious and we were entertained by the steady stream of bikers/walkers/runners filing past- it makes for great people watching. We were also visited by the tiniest four legged furry friend (see last photo) who was quite the poser for the camera. Before we left we made sure to grab two cones of refreshing mint ice cream which we had to consume pretty quickly before it was sacrificed to the heat.

If you have the time before the weather turns cold, I would highly recommend stopping by for breakfast, lunch or simply a cup of coffee. And if you see that tiny little pup, be sure to give him a little pat hello!

 

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Barbican Conservatory

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I first visited the Barbican Centre when I photographed Samuel for his 4×3 Londoner profile. I was just short of amazed when I walked around since I had never actually been inside before. From the outside the building looks overbearing but once inside it has all sorts of wonderful things to explore like galleries, cinemas, cafes, fountains and much more. But my favorite part is the Barbican Conservatory. This hidden oasis in East London is free to the public but is only open on certain Sundays throughout the year so a little bit of planning is required before you visit (opening times are on their website). Once inside you completely forget that you are in the middle of the city as you are surrounded with green. The paths meander throughout and some even take you up a flight or two of stairs so you can view the greenery below you. Up one of these staircases is an amazing room full of every kind of succulent and cactus you can think of (it made me realize how tiny my own succulents are at home).

So if you find yourself wanting to escape to some green in the middle of the city, head on over to the Barbican Conservatory and relax amongst the endless array of plants. And maybe take some time to check out the rest of the centre too!

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Columbia Road

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One of my absolute favorite places to go to in London is the flower market on Columbia Road in East London. It is held every Sunday (unless Christmas happens to fall on a Sunday that year) from about 8 am to 3 pm. If I could go every Sunday, I would, hands down. I prefer going earlier in the day rather than later as it can get crowded, especially on a nice day. But if you do happen to visit a little later in the day you are guaranteed to get a good deal on a bunch of flowers.

Typically we will take the Northern line to Old Street or the Overground to Hoxton and walk from there (only about 5 or 10 minutes). You know you are headed in the right direction as more and more passersby will be carrying armfuls of fresh blooms, herbs or plants. Once you arrive, it is like a bustling scene from a movie- you’ve got people crowding in looking at the flowers, traders yelling “A bunch for a fiver!”, musicians filling the air with lovely tunes, kids running around playing…

After making my first pass through to see what is available, I usually make a beeline for the Lili Vanilli Bakery, which is tucked down a little alley way, to grab one of their delicious sausage rolls and a coffee (they also have an amazing vegetarian version on offer which is just as good as the original). With a full belly, I’ll then go through the market a second time to purchase whatever caught my eye that day. I usually have an idea of what it is I am looking for, be it whatever flower is in season, fresh herbs to add to my window box, a new plant for the house, etc. But if I don’t have anything specific in mind, there is always something beautiful I find. I don’t think I have ever returned home from the flower market empty handed!

With those purchase made I then like to walk behind the flower stalls and take a peek into the shops that line the street. You can find all sorts of things here from old school candies to vintage furniture. Then depending on how full my belly really is, sometimes a little brunch is in order. A few places in the area I recommend are Brawn (the closest option as it is on Columbia Road), The Beagle (located next to the entrance to Hoxton station), and Bistrotheque (a little bit further of a walk than the other but not that bad). All in all, not abad start to a Sunday!

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