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Bite-size Brooklyn Afternoon in London

This February we had one of our best holidays ever where we pretty much completed New York (itinerary to follow soon). Feeling a bit nostalgic for the holiday we decided that we would try and recreate the NYC feeling at home on a date day.

We managed to, brilliantly, in my opinion. We got home Sunday evening feeling like we’d been away, in New York and feeling super Christmassy, the best way to finish a cold wet winter weekend really!

We started off with a brunch of bagels, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs,
just in case the rest of the day took us longer than normal as both of us have a habit of forgetting to eat when we’re out adventuring and the hanger kicks in.

We headed to Brick Lane, and our first stop was the market on the corner of Brick Lane – The Sunday Upmarket at The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane.

The sites and smells were amazing, so many hungry shoppers, hand made cards, awesome screen prints, jewellery and accessories and a huge vintage market downstairs too. It really reminded us of Artist & Fleas in NYC and was the perfect start to the day! We were both intrigued by the Sugar Cane drink we could see being made so we tucked into a fab ginger and lime drink!

Next up, after managing to not buy too much we didn’t need (Christmas is just a great excuse, no?) we went via the Brooklyn-esque street art. It’s all pretty obvious but there was some we saw that had just been finished, and it’s one of those things that you just don’t appreciate how cool it is when you just walk past in a rush! There are some amazing street art tours around the area too (Sandemans do a street art tour too and you know how much we love their city tours).

Next up was the mega vintage shop Blitz. Blitz is big. Old Victorian warehouse big. New York vintage store size.

Everything that you could want from a vintage store you can find in Blitz-they even do something called Blitz Remix which is their vintage reclaim part-my fave part was the old Ralphy shirts they’d made into sleeveless dresses. There is lots of vintage in the area, and you can tell with the hipsters that adorn the streets of East London, but Blitz makes it to the top of lots of recommended to-do lists and it’s clear why. Brooklyn eat your heart out.

Our next stop was a beautiful bookshop, owned by the weird but super cool looking building opposite-Second Home-a collaborative workspace for a creative community. The bookshop, Libreria, is stunningly designed, by an architect that knew how important the art of a shops design was.

With shelves full of books, many the only copy in the store, cubby holes and furniture to stop to sit in and read (with reading lamps), you could easily lose a few hours or even days here. And that’s what we did. We somehow managed to spend the most time in the day in Libreria, the books are curated so cleverly to help you find what you’re looking for, or more importantly, what you didn’t know you were looking for. Having managed to narrow it down to 4 books between us we went on our way, but if you only go to one place the next time you’re in Brick Lane, let it be here. Bibliophile heaven.

When I say only go to one place, I mean one shop. If you’re after pizza, which is not what Brick Lane is best known for you have to go to Paradise Slice.

We stuffed ourselves in the New York style pizzeria, I had a Margarita and pepperoni, Tim the Margarita and Meat Special. I can not explain how delicious it was. Crispy base, thin, not too much crust, amazing tomato sauce and the toppings to die for. The decor of the place is wicked and I particularly appreciated the many homages to my love Mr George Michael about the place too. Their most famous pizza is the buffalo chicken pizza, also amazing, and when we got chatting to the waitress she was saying that in order to open and make sure they had the best going, their owners got a pizza consultant and went round all the pizzerias in New York to get the perfect slice. You must visit. If I could eat there always I would.

Our final stop, once it had gotten dark (I told you we lost hours in the book shop), and walking via some shops to get our mums’ Christmas presents, we popped into the Winter Forest at Broadgate for a tour of festivity, fake snow and mulled wine. A brilliant way to end a brilliant day.

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