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Showing posts with label south london. Show all posts
Showing posts with label south london. Show all posts

Sunday, 21 September 2014

South London, I'm going to miss you!

South London love

As I mentioned recently, this week is going to be our last week in Camberwell. By the end of this week, we'll be living with Dan's parents near Cambridge. When we return to London, it will be to the North East of the city, so we are going to have to wave goodbye to this excellent area. Today, we wandered around a bit, and I took some photos of things I'm going to miss. I also collected a few older photos together, and we're just going to have a tiny jaunt down memory lane. Or... I am going to, anyway. You're just going to have to humour me as I get into one of my special nostalgic moods. These photographs aren't necessarily the most beautiful, but they show bits and pieces that I am going to miss about this area.

Jerk Chicken shack
South London nail bar
Night time in South London
Wintery London trees
Urban fire escape

There's so much I could say about living in South London. I've lived in a lot of places, but South London has been one of the most interesting. There's always something going on but the transport links here can be a bit crap. While you can get most places by tube (London Underground) in central London, the further South you go, the fewer train and tube stations there are, which means that I ended up spending a lot of time on the bus. I've heard a lot of snobbish comments about London buses in the past, but I've always found them to be a fantastic way to see the city. Teaching in South London schools, I've had insights into parts of the London cultural landscape that I never would have been able to experience otherwise. In the time I worked in Camberwell Library, I got to interact with people of all ages from the local community, from the tiny little old lady who'd come in with a sack of overdue books over her shoulder and go, "Sorry these are late, I broke my pelvis last week..." to the kids whose parents would drop them off at the library first thing on a Saturday morning, and pick them up when the library closed in the evening.

Near our flat, we've had a gorgeous park where we've been on rainy jogs, outfit photo expeditions, and plenty of disastrous barbecues... we spent a scary evening watching lightning strike in the park, as a group of teenagers partied on the hill in front of us. Dan tried to learn to rollerblade in the park, and we've eaten many an ice cream there this summer. I used to walk through the park every Saturday morning on my way to the library.

The month before we moved to our flat, there were some really serious riots in London. We were in Australia with my grandparents when this was happening, watching the stories unfold on the news. My London geography was pretty bad at the time, so I assumed that it wasn't going on near our new flat. When we moved in, all of the shop windows on the high street were boarded up and people weren't really leaving their houses much. There were burn marks and puddles of melted plastic on the pavement and it wasn't a pretty sight. Over the next three years, the businesses mostly rebuilt themselves, people came together to support each other and the main road is getting more and more bustling by the day.

It's an interesting time to be living in Camberwell. It's getting more expensive to live here, and a lot of people (ourselves included) have been priced out of the area. This kind of gentrification can be 'great for the area' but very damaging for communities. I really hope that the communities in the area spanning Elephant&Castle and Camberwell can thrive and survive the changes that are coming.

South London, it's been real. It's not been the best three years of my life, but it's been interesting and very, very eventful! I'm going to look back on my time here very fondly, and I'm definitely coming back to visit a few of my favourite little shops and cafes here!

Walworth Shadows

How long have you lived where you live now? How has it changed in the time that you've lived there?

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Cool Cats' Café - the coolest café in Camberwell!

cafe review london

There are so many amazing cafés in London these days. Coffee culture has taken off here in a big way, and it's only going to get bigger, as far as I can tell. Sometimes it seems as if there's a gorgeous café with incredible home baked pastries on every street corner in this city, and a lot of them have a queue coming out of the door. That said, I don't think that there's enough love for cafés south of the river - there are some absolutely incredible family-run businesses in South London, but there's a misconception that everything south of Borough Market is some kind of barren wasteland full of bin-fires, rancid chicken shops, and people using their own shoes as telephones to the beyond... Basically, what I'm trying to say is that people are scared of South London, which is a massive shame.

I've lived in Camberwell for three years now, and I've visited a fair few cafés in the area. However, I actually only discovered Cool Cats' Café when I was frantically googling somewhere close to where we live that we could visit with my in-laws, since Dan's Mum is super allergic to our cat and can't come into our house! It has only just occurred to me when writing this that it was maybe a bit of an odd thing to do, to take someone who is allergic to cats, to a café named after cats. Oh well.

After a leisurely walk through the park and past a bustling baptist church, we found the Cool Cats' Cafe to be a perfect brunch escape. Dan's Dad was happy with the up-tempo jazz music that was playing, and I really loved how light and airy the place was. Dan and his Dad both chose the Camberwell Breakfast, which was a totally home made Full English Breakfast, right down to the baked beans. Dan's Mum had Eggs Florentine and I had Eggs Benedict - I'm pretty sure the hollandaise sauce was home made too, and it was absolutely decadent. I got chatting to Roger who helps run the place, and he recommended sprinkling a few drops of tabasco sauce on the top which was INCREDIBLE.

south london cuppa
fry up south london
family brunch cafe review

After we'd eaten, Dan and his parents had a lot of stuff to discuss about the logistics of us moving back to stay with them for a couple of months, as well as the new flat we'll be moving into when we come back to London, so while they got on with those discussions, I took the chance to snap a few photos around the café. We were lucky to be visiting at a strange time of morning, so there weren't too many people around. I chatted more with the people who worked at the café and they told me about all of the art exhibitions they've hosted, and some of the awesome live music events they hold in the evenings. I'd absolutely love to go back to experience the café in its restaurant incarnation because I can imagine that the ambiance is really different but just as comfortable and laid-back. The dinner and cocktail menus look really good.

bar glasses dof
cafe idea south london
cafe cool gig events
camberwell arts scene

Initially, I was going to write, "if you're in the area, you should visit Cool Cats' Café", but I'm going to revise that. I actually think that this place is worth travelling for. The people who work there are really helpful and kind, the food is gorgeous, and it strikes this fantastic balance between hearty south london fry up and modern sophisticated hangout. My in-laws loved it, Dan loved it, I loved it, and I think you would probably love it too. South London, I'm really going to miss you. <3

dancing chef picture

Cool Cats' Café can be found at 149 Southampton Way, Camberwell, SE5 7EW. If you go, tell them I sent you!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

A Salty Adventure on the South Bank!

Southbank Fun
Hey again chums! Like lots of 'Londoners' (I guess that's what I am now - eek!) I spend a lot of time on the South Bank. Lots of people feel like that's as far South in London as is acceptable, but I don't think that's true at all. Nevertheless, I love the South Bank - the atmosphere is bustling and there is always so much going on!
Dan and I decided to go on a little adventure to celebrate it being... the weekend... and thought it'd be great to start at Borough Market. I wanted to repeat my glorious experience with the Kappacasein grilled cheese, but the queue was unbelievably long, so we decided to get some Salt Beef sandwiches instead.
Salt Beef Borough Market
I mean, the queue for the Salt Beef was pretty darn long too, I'm not gonna lie... But much shorter than the cheese queue and once I saw all that melty, melty beef, I kinda forgot about anything else.
London Salt Beef
Bagel Man London
Salt Beef South Bank
Southbank Bagel
After partying on down with a delicious bagel and a soft rye bread sandwich, both filled to the brim (do sandwiches have brims?) with salt beef (or for Americans, Corned Beef - British Corned Beef is not the same as American Corned Beef. Confused yet?), we strolled along the river to the Tate Modern to mooch about with some free art. I've lost count of the number of times I've been to the Tate Modern, and I still adore it. It makes me feel like a tourist all over again, and that's an aspect of London that falls away fairly quickly once you live here!
Thames bridges
Southbank bubble performer
Look at those beautiful bubbles! Remember what I said about how there's always something going on? Also, bubbles are pretty much my all time favourite thing - Rainbows in ephemeral ball form? What more could you want!?
Satchel and Tweed London
Cambridge Satchel style idea

Scarf - Hobbs (a present from my mother-in-law)
Tweed Jacket - Zara (a present from my mother-in-...birth?)
Dress - GAP (this season! OMG am I fashionable yet?!)
Satchel - The Cambridge Satchel Company (another gift from the mother-in-law)
Tights - Somewhere in France (a gift from my Stepmother)
Shoes - Office (I bought these myself!)
APPARENTLY THIS WHOLE OUTFIT WAS PROVIDED BY MY MOTHER FIGURES...

Hobbs scarf style
I'm so interested to see how London's skyline will change over the next few years. There's an awful lot of cranes having a party out there, and who knows what the future will bring... I guess I'll just have to keep on blogging about it, eh? And to all my new readers - I'm super pleased you're here and very honoured indeed. It would be beyond excellent if you stuck around and introduced yourselves! I love making new friends :)London Skyline changing

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

London levelled up


summer london bus

Tourists in London have it rough, I think. In addition to the overwhelming number of overpriced ‘must see’ attractions of the city, they have to navigate a vast underground train system with no numbered routes, more different bus routes than seems necessary, and a sprawling network of streets populated by busy, disinterested commuters who find them a nuisance. Of course, it’s the same in most big cities – But tourists who come to London are also confronted with the stark disparity between the London presented by the worldwide media, and the London of reality.

look up in london

Personally, I like real live London a whole lot more than the London presented in Doctor Who, Sherlock and even EastEnders. Probably the most obvious thing about real live London is that Londoners aren’t this homogenous group of white, tea-drinking socialites and cockney fruit-salesmen. On any London bus, you’ll encounter a range of spoken languages and accents.
London isn’t Big Ben, London isn’t Trafalgar Square, London isn’t £6 pints of beer in a ‘traditional English pub’. Sure, all of those things are integral parts of London’s culture and history, but so is linguistic and cultural diversity! London has a rich (and troubling) history just like any other economic hub in the world. In my opinion, London does itself a disservice by marketing itself the way it does. London has some well-known, historical architecture, but it is only if you turn around, look down, or look up, that you’ll find London’s uniqueness.

glass buildings in london

I’m definitely guilty of seeking out the well-known monuments and landmarks of a place, only to take a disappointing photograph that didn’t look as good as the postcard I purchased to send home. It’s an attractive notion, to see something famous for yourself and to take your own photograph of it, but these days I’m much more interested in preserving the bits of a place that speak to me the most directly. I love photographing London because it’s stuffed full of little corners that someone crafted, or built, or where someone lives.

waterloo sunset

Now, I’m not saying you should abandon central London and head to the nearest council estate for some sick photo opportunities – what I’m saying is that the grey estates, the polished office blocks, the graffiti on the wall, the greasy kebab shop… these are just as much London as the Natural History Museum and Oxford Street. They have beauty and relevance, and shouldn’t be maligned. You don’t need to head to Peckham, or sample a Chicken Cottage dinner if you don’t want to – you can find London’s hidden treasures everywhere. The photo above is actually Waterloo station. I love how the sun shines through that weird frosted glass – what is behind the glass?
london estate at night

So I’ll leave you with my tips for visiting London:

- Set aside two full days to “see the sights”. Book your tickets to things in advance, and use a map to help you work out the order in which you’ll visit various attractions. Research how much time each thing will take. For example, the Globe Theatre is right next to the Tate Modern, and depending on how long it takes you to look at each piece of modern art, you could do both of those things in a morning.

- Get some kind of travelcard or Oystercard to cover your whole stay in London. It takes a lot of the stress off when you realise you can hop on and off of tubes and buses at your leisure, and if you get it wrong, you don’t have to pay to fix your mistake and end up back where you were.

- Most of central London is actually accessible on foot. It's not as big as people think! You can walk from Trafalgar Square to Covent Garden in about ten minutes, and you get to see a tonne of great cafes and little shops along the way. If walking is something you're able to do, definitely give it a chance in London.

- Take the bus. Yeah, the tube is faster, but you don’t get to see anything and you never get sense of where things are located in relation to one another. Get on a bus, go onto the top deck, and travel for a few stops or until you see something you like the look of – get off at the next stop and walk around a bit. Usually, you can find the bus stop that gets you back to where you came from just across the road! Oh, and another thing - the buses in London are a heck of a lot more accessible than the tube if you're disabled or need assistance with mobility.

- Central London has all of these great information boards planted on street corners, with big ‘You Are Here’ signs marked on the map. They are very useful and even born and bred Londoners use them all the time.

- Ask people questions! If you see someone waiting at a bus stop who looks approachable, ask them their favourite spot in London! Ask them whether they have a favourite café, or what their favourite thing about the city is. People in London are often startled to have someone talking to them – we keep to ourselves on public transport and mostly avoid eye contact, but with a friendly manner and an open mind, you’ll definitely find someone with some pro tips, and you might make a friend!

south london at night
If you have any inside tips for London-novices, please leave them in the comments. Or if you’ve never visited London, feel free to ask questions and I’ll do my best to answer. Let’s start a conversation, guys!
You may also want to see some London attractions I've blogged about before. The Seoul Bakery Korean restaurant, The House Gallery Cafe in Camberwell, and The Electric Elephant Cafe in Elephant and Castle.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Feeling Blue in Wintery London

The weather in the UK has been unendingly miserable for the last few months, and London is no exception. My morning commute is dominated by a sea of unhappy faces, dead eyes focused grimly on the gum-flecked pavement ahead. Dan and I have both been working full time, and even though it's been getting slightly lighter in the mornings and evenings, it still feels like we spend all our daylight hours indoors. I guess that's the world of work, but I'm hoping that one day, I'll have a job where my hours are a bit more flexible and I can feel less like a cog in an unending... box? of cogs... Not sure where that simile was going, but you get the idea.
Still, there is beauty to be found in this gloomy, grey landscape. I've been snapping some photos on my iPhone on my way to and from work in the last few weeks and I think they give you a fairly good idea of the general mood in London at the moment!
Grim South London south london trees
 photo mistylondon_zps7548d702.jpg
I can't wait until it stops snowing and raining, and I can find daylight hours to take photos for this blog again. I spend a great deal of time fantasizing about the carefree summers of university, making particular usage of my keen ability to look back on things through the hazy glasses of nostalgia! It's going to be amazing when the sun comes back!! Until then, I have to make time and make an extra special effort. It's not all been doom and gloom anyway. I've met some lovely new people at work, and our wedding planning is coming along very well. Stay tuned for some wedding-related bloggage!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

How to dress on windy days!

how to dress on windy days

If you haven't noticed, it's been INCREDIBLY WINDY recently! "Nice girls shouldn't wear skirts when it's windy" I remember being told by a teacher when I was little, "in case the lads caught a glimpse of knicker!" No, I wasn't brought up in the Victorian Era. Anyway, I say SOD THAT! I dress myself almost entirely in dresses and skirts, no matter what the weather, and if people see my knickers, that's their problem!

wool and silk layers

That being said, I do have some tips for dressing appropriately on windy days. Comfort and happiness are my priorities when dressing for any occasion, and windy days are no exception. So without further ado, here are my top five tips regarding dressing yourself on a windy day.

1. Wear lots of underwear layers. On windy days, I always wear a thermal vest. If you have thermal longjohns or pants, those are a good idea too.
2. Long skirts or tight skirts are best when it's blustery. I know, I said before that it doesn't matter if people see your knickers, but it's still nice to have that secure feeling that your skirt is going to stay where you put it! 
3. Cover up your whole body! Wear long sleeves, wear tights, and if you're going out for a while, make sure to cover your head and neck. We can lose a lot of heat through these areas, so I always wear a long woolen scarf and a hat when I leave the house (although I'm not in these pictures!) Also, make sure to seal up any areas where drafts can get in! That's why I'm wearing a belt over my jumper in these pictures - wind gets everywhere!!!
4. Layers also work on your legs - Sometimes I wear tights, long socks, AND legwarmers. You can get really creative with patterns and colours when you wear lots of layers!
5. If you have long hair and don't want to be picking it out of your mouth all day, I'd advise you to wear it in a nice, simple up-do or plaits when it's windy. By the time I'd finished taking my outfit photos, I could barely pull a brush through my hair!

girly dr marten boots

I like to pair soft, 'feminine' fabrics and textures with my big ugly Dr Marten boots. I know, I didn't INVENT this combination, but I love how it's functional AND attractive. I like chocolate and vegemite together too, so maybe I can't be trusted.

messy red hair

I am a magpie. It's like I have to add something sparkly to EVERY outfit or something... It's almost as though I am unable to wear a completely muted colour palette, because I have to add antique costume jewellery or something. Almost. Maybe. Anyway, I hope this helped you decide what to wear next time it's windy!

Jumper: French second-hand shop.
Necklace: Antique - My grandmother's.
Belt: Topshop.
Skirt: Urban Outfitters.
Tights: H&M
Leg warmers: Second Hand (originally Sweaty Betty)
Shoes: Dr Marten boots.
     

Monday, 10 December 2012

Goats' Cheese Delight! House Gallery Café - Camberwell

I've lived in the Camberwell area for over a year now, but until the other day, I'd not found a really wonderful cafe south of the river. I noticed the House Gallery Café when I went past it on the bus on the way to Peckham one evening, and made a mental note that I had to go back there at some point as it looked intimate yet airy, and had a slightly alternative look to it. Recently, I've not been being very creative with my outfits so I thought I'd mix it up a little bit to go to a new cafe! Why not?!
teal tulle skirt We visited the House Gallery Café with our lovely friend Emma, on a crisp, bright and blustery day and it was warm and welcoming inside. I immediately ordered a Soy Chai Latte which is my go-to cafe order. It was foamy and frothy and smooth. I really like Chai Lattes and this one did not disappoint. I've tasted very sweet, honeyed Chai, and very savoury, spiced chai, and this one sat somewhere between those two extremes.
house gallery cafe
bacon sandwich south london
goats cheese sandwich south london
Dan ordered a luscious, breakfasty bacon sandwich on soft white bread, and I ordered a Goats' Cheese, bacon and avocado sandwich, also on white bread. At first, the guy behind the till told me they'd run out of Goats' Cheese, and so I said I'd be happy with ordinary cram cheese. To my delight, when my sandwich arrived, the guy told me that he'd run out to buy Goat's Cheese especially for my sandwich because I'd looked so crestfallen before! What a top lad! The sandwich was soft, the bacon was crunchy and it was ace with the rocket salad.
The House Gallery Café, as the name suggests, is also an art gallery, and the profits from the café go towards the running of the gallery. It's a great space, the staff are attentive and friendly and I can't wait to visit again. Next time, I think I'll have to try one of their fresh, home-made milkshakes.

belted jumper

*Tartan Shirt - Topshop*
*Black Jumper and Teal Tulle Skirt - YesStyle.co.uk*
*Leather Belt - Topshop*
*Deer Brooch - A gift from my Uncle* 

I've also reviewed a Korean cafe in London, and a vintage cafe in Brighton. Check those out, if you like!