30 before 30 - progress · Food · Uncategorized

28. One month of local/independent shops

My local/independent month is over! I’ve documented it all below. A few things that I’m taking away from this:

  • Getting to know local suppliers is a great way to feel like you’re part of a community, and they tend to have some really amazing produce
  • I go out for food far too much!
  • Supermarket bread has nothing on bread from a bakery or deli – there’s a reason that delis and bakeries charge about 3x the price, it’s completely worth paying the extra
  • I found it moderately difficult at times, but I can’t imagine how hard this would have been outside of London – I definitely had it easy

Overall I really enjoyed this month, and it’s definitely changed some of my shopping habits for the better. Thank you so much to all you lovely people who have been dragged to unusual places with me in May!

  1. Week Four

My final week was tough as I really just wanted to go clothes shopping – but I wanted this to be a challenge! I went to some really great places this week:

  • The Black Penny, Holborn – as this blog probably makes clear, I am a big fan of going out for brunch! I would apologise for the giant picture but it’s very much deserved as the food in this place was pretty bloody good. Would definitely recommend!
  • Nenno Pizza, King’s Cross – I asked Gareth J. if Honest Burgers counted as a local/independent place, he gave me a look of disdain, so we ended up here instead. And I’m really glad we did! Super friendly staff, lovely pizza (I had pear and gorgonzola on mine, amazing but incredibly smelly), really reasonable prices.


  • Senate House Cafe – it really pains me to put this on here, as it’s one of my secret London places! This cafe backs on to the British Museum, is absolutely stupidly cheap because it’s part of the student library building, and always has enough space for you to sit outside in the summer. It’s not glamorous in the slightest, but it’s so good when you need a dirty student lunch – hence this jacket potato! Sometimes the simplest meals are the best! (and yes I had crisps and a jacket potato – so what?!)


  • Tombo, South Kensington – I came to this Japanese cafe with gorgeous Sophie before we went to watch Gladiator at the Royal Albert Hall (a-maaaazing!!). The food was good, but the service was beyond appalling. So slow that we didn’t actually have chance to finish our food and had to run to get to the Albert Hall in time. Such a pity as this place could be brilliant!
  • Brasserie Zedel with my favourite past and present Christie’s girls: Ali, Alex, Charlotte and Rebecca. So nice to have a catch up! I don’t miss my old job but I certainly miss these girls!! Zedel is always consistently brilliant: I had macaroni cheese and was dreaming about it for days afterwards. Ridiculously decadent. I forgot to take any food pictures, so here’s a quick snap of the opulent dining room instead!


  • Alchemy Indian food market, South Bank – I worked at my company’s South Bank gallery on the Saturday of my final week, so pottered down to the street food market in my lunch break. It was Indian themed when I went, and there were so many treasures! I had an amazing paneer wrap.20160528_143404
  • Vietnamese food on Kingsland Road, then Highness Cafe – a lovely tea room in Highbury, with Jane. I’d just done a 10k run so a peanut butter chocolate brownie was exactly what I needed!

2. Week Three

I’m getting really used to this now! There are some things that I definitely don’t think I’ll go back to buying from supermarkets – bread, eggs, fruit and vegetables in particular. Not so sure about toiletries, though – the mark-up for the same products in my local shops is quite high. Here’s what this week has looked like:

  • Doughnuts from Dunn’s Bakery after the Crouch End 10k – my local bakery donated 3,000 doughnuts to the running festival! Best thing to be handed when I passed the finish line!20160515_103534
  •  Sunday Barnsbury – post-run brunch. I go on about this place so much when I see people that there’s really no need to say anything about it here, except that if I could marry a plate of food this would definitely be the one I’d choose.20160515_153349
  • The Grafton in Kentish Town, after a long long walk along the canal and around Primrose Hill. I really do love North London at this time of year.
  • Breakfast at Store St Espresso – best way to start a working week! Huge portions and amazing coffee, I’m very lucky to have this so close to where I work.20160516_092019
  • Cocktails and burgers at Bar 55, Camden. Oh Bar 55, you will forever hold a place in my early 20s heart! Far too many trips to this place when I used to live round the corner.20160516_192633
  • Lunch from Jerusalem Falafel, who have a little stand on Berwick Street. This place has massive queues for a reason, it’s absolutely brilliant.20160520_131501
  • Wolkite Kitfo in Holloway – Ethiopian food, and so so tasty. I wish I could make simple ingredients taste like this. Jane and Charlie, I’ll definitely be taking you here soon!
  • A Portugese cafe (whose name I can’t remember!) and Scratch Bar at Battersea Arts Centre. South of the river..! I love Battersea Arts Centre, and it’s being so sympathetically restored after the devastating fire last year. A great place to potter around on a weekend.

    3. Week Two

Week Two was quite difficult. I really wanted to buy some new running gear, and couldn’t find anything I liked in independent shops – will have to wait until next month! I bought some CDs and books from my lovely local charity shop, and went back to my local greengrocers and bakers. I also went to a few other places, including:

  • A barbecue at Anneabell’s lovely new house! Absolute pavlova queen, this girl is just too good!!
  • The Wheatsheaf  in Tooting Bec – Happy Birthday Jenny! I loved this half-covered up mural on the wall in the upstairs room20160508_215048
  • Baban’s Naan with Jane. Sneaky post-gym food! This shop near Finsbury Park sells nothing but naan bread for about 50p. I do not understand at all how that can be a viable business model, but it tastes pretty amazing! Quick pub trip to The Woodbine too, we deserved it!!
  • Tap Coffee on Rathbone Place – top marks for super strong coffee to help me through a tired morning at work!
  • The Deli at 80 – I featured these guys last week. They invited Dan and I to come along to their cheese and wine tasting night. So nice to feel connected to the local community – and to try some amazing cheese, wine, and local bread at the same time.
  • Dan and I were pretty hungry after our cheese tasting (haha) so headed to Q&T Vietnamese Kitchen for pho, then Pizzeria Pappagone for ice cream. Definitely didn’t feel hungry after that!! Pappagone does the best ice cream in the whole world, writing this is really making me consider going out to get one!
  • A sneaky lunch time white wine spritzer with Anneabell on the terrace of the Charlotte Street Hotel20160512_125445
  • Hoxton Beach Falafel – so so tasty!! Probably the best falafel I’ve ever had – and coming from a long-term vegetarian, that’s a massive compliment


    4. Week One

May is my month of local/independent shops, and I’m really enjoying the challenge so far! It’s making me realise just how much I eat out though – good thing I’m doing a fair amount of exercise for this bloody half marathon!!

Places I’ve been this week:

  • Just about every deli and greengrocers and bakery in Crouch Hill/Finsbury Park/Crouch End! The Deli at 80 and Dunn’s Bakery are particularly good.
  • Pide on Charlotte Street with Jane. Amazing Turkish flatbreads and chickpea salads. The staff were so friendly, helpful and really welcoming. We’re going back ASAP!
  • ICCO on Charlotte Street with gorgeous Ali – because why not eat an entire pizza in your lunch break?! Lovely to have a catch up and hear all your bonkers stories! 20160504_132210.jpg
  • Benefit – absolutely terrifying. I really needed to replace some makeup and couldn’t go to Boots, so went to Benefit’s flagship on Carnaby St. instead. So many staff, so scarily cheerful, and no Advantage Card points. Not a fun experience!!20160503_133229.jpg
  • Oven and Hearth for cocktails and Q&T Vietnamese Kitchen for food in Stroud Green with Jane and Charlie. Special shout out to the AMAZING Dr Horwood for passing his insane exams!!! The food at Q&T was so delicious, and I’m a big fan of anywhere that is BYOB!
  • La Farola on Upper Street for wine and tapas with Tim – so delicious (and I was talking so much) that I forgot to take a picture!
  • 8 Hoxton Square with Alex. I’m going to be dreaming of my food for ages. Buttermilk waffles with poached rhubarb and mascarpone – far too good!!
  • Clapton Craft‘s Kentish Town branch with Dan. Such a cool place. Dad – you would love it here, we’re going next time you and Mum come down to London!!



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