Last week I went to stay with one of my best mates for a night in London.
I don’t know why we don’t meet up more seeing as we’re so close, London is only just over an hour away on the train from Brighton and now that I have my Kindle I bloody love any excuse to read it so train travel (Southern Rail nightmares aside) are a dream – I see the irony and contradiction in that sentence.
We’ve met up a few times for a coffee when I’ve been in London and had time to spare, but this time we decided it’d be really fun if I stayed over. Like sleepovers when you’re a teen, we pumped up a blow up mattress (when I say *we* I actually mean her lovely boyfriend) and sat up chatting shit, watching videos and stalking people we used to know on Facebook while giggling over wine. It was great.
My friend Amy has a small but lovely flat in East London, in what I think is the Whitechapel area. It had absolutely S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G views over the city.
Their bed faces this so they actually wake up to this view every morning. Amazing, right?
When I arrived I lovingly dumped my bags on the floor and we set off to have a wander around the local area. We got soya coffees to go from a local cafe (so cosmo) and went to a local city farm!
There were actual farm animals and everything! I shared some of my newfound useless knowledge about donkeys, she told me that her sister has found herself with a cockerel in her back garden (true story) and we both agreed that chickens are scary as shit.
Later, we went back to the flat for a bite to eat. Amy and her boyfriend are vegan, while I’m gluten free so to meet all of our fussy meal expectations we got all creative and made Vietnamese summer rolls which was pretty tricky. It turns out that rice paper rolls are very thin when wet and rather handily like to stick to themselves so they’re quite difficult to fill and then roll up without breaking… but despite not always being the most photogenic of foods they tasted amazing!
Skip to more food: we made the most of the gorgeous weather and in the evening we took to the balcony for homemade white wine ‘sangrias’ and a barbeque (which was, ahem, a bit of a disaster but also still very tasty nevertheless!). We had mushrooms in a garlic marinade topped with a herby yoghurt dip, with vegetable skewers, salad, hummus and sourdough bread.
It was so lovely to have a chilled evening and good chinwag, I think I really needed it. I’m really lucky that I have a friendship with Amy that can just be picked up where it was left off. No YOU stop being all smultzy!
The next day we went to The Canvas Cafe, which I’d heard such good things about – namely their humungous vegan ‘Freakshakes’…
I had read before on Twitter that they had teamed up with Action for Happiness and you could see throughout the cafe that there was a real focus on wellbeing. For example, there was a huge calendar on the wall that listed upcoming events such as time management workshops and yoga classes; and the walls invited people to write all over them, with questions such as “What’s the best thing that happened to you today?” and “What are your best childhood memories?”
It was SO great, I wish there was something like this near me.
I’d love to go back there if I’m in the area again.
Do you have any East London recommendations for when I return? 🙂