The first thing I tend to do in light of an occasion is look to travel. Be it an annual holiday, anniversary or celebration- I’m the first person to hit up the British Airways sale site (always sale), National Rail train page (in light of brilliant British cities, not just for kicks) or even just scour Pinterest for somewhere a little more exotic than home. But for mine and Joe’s anniversary this year, we decided to do a true, dedicated staycation- one in which we didn’t even leave our own city- and you know what? It was bloody lovely. With a bit of time spent on Air BnB, and a list of places I’ve yet to try- Joe and I booked ourselves in to the most gorgeous East London warehouse, and pretended that we lived a little closer than Zone 6- if only for the night…
It’s hard to pick exactly where you want to stay when you live somewhere as varied and diverse as London. Do you decide on somewhere like Soho or Covent Garden? Indulge in the pure luxury of being able to literally walk into your home from your favourite bar and live life definitely not like a local, but with zero travelling? Do you choose somewhere totally new and get to play ultimate tourist (no CityMapper included)? Or do you simply sit, look at your list of ‘most-wanted-to-visit’ places and work out where would feel the most rewarding? Yup! Having never really had the chance to properly explore East London (apart from solely sticking to my Shoreditch go-to’s) Joe and I opted for a beautiful, airy warehouse in Haggerston, a stones throw away from Hoxton, a short bus from Hackney and if you felt like it- half an hour from Oxford Street too. It felt abso-bloody-lovely to be able to catch a bus (or a short cab) out for dinner and not have to worry about last trains and getting back in time (we even spotted Jamie XX in the nearest newsagent)- and I undoubtedly recommend checking out Andreas’ gorgeous place here, especially for a truly local feeling experience (you can also get £16 off if you use this link at any of your first Air BnB trips, too)!
Dish out dinner:
One of the things about living further out of central London, means that you tend to stick to the same central dinner spots, for convenience and lack of post-dinner travelling too (who wants to have to run for a train with a belly full of burger)? So, being a little more central for the evening meant I got to tick off some Hackney haunts I’d had in my little black book, one of them being Lardo. An Italian that boasts everything from fresh stone baked pizzas (yup, they do gluten free too), pasta, meat and delicious deserts- all in the comfort of candlelight and some of the loveliest staff I’ve encountered. Opting for a traditional ragu, arancini and margarita (Joe is definitely a bit of a pizza connoisseur), we sat at the bar overlooking everything being cooked- and I’m already counting down the days until I can head back and sample more.
Although it was tempting to make use of our own kitchen and get handy making pancakes (or French toast, or, um, a full English)- one of the joys of being so central was getting to hit up local covetable brunch spots, without the commute beforehand! Joe and I decided to visit Towpath Café for breakfast, a little canal-side hideout loved by locals- and I can undoubtedly see why- seeing in a Saturday morning alongside the river, indulging in a sausage sandwich, builders brew and a sheltered shower definitely has a special charm about it, and couldn’t be have more British if we tried.
Following brunch, and before heading home- we were determined to hit up Broadway Market, and celebrate the fresh food (I may or may not have spent a little at the Violet cake stand- they had me at buttermilk), beautiful independent shops and bustling atmosphere for ourselves first thing at the weekend. I’ve only properly visited the market a couple of times, so it was pure luxury to be able to meander, explore and look about at our own leisure, and get to note down new places that we hadn’t ticked off before. With Artwords Bookshop being top of our list amogst the beautiful fresh produce, it was the perfect nod to feeling like a local (even if we weren’t doing our weekly shop this time)!
How do you like to spend a staycation? Answers on a postcard!