It may be slightly rough around the edges and somewhere you probably wouldn’t go wandering around on your own in the bewitching hours but Brick Lane is one of my favourite parts of London.
I love the variety of food shops from greasy spoons to noodle bars and the infamous Curry houses and 24 hour Bagel bar. I love wandering in and out of the vintage and retro stores like Rokit and Beyond Retro to rummage through the rails for hidden gems and of course that distinct musky yesteryear smell that hits your nostrils as soon as you step inside. What I love the most however, is the unexpected and the weird and wonderful things that you come across while roaming around Brick Lane and the general E1 area, whether it be a Rastafarian busting out some Bob Marley, an artist sketching 3D pictures on to the pavements or Harry Hill doing a book signing in Rough Trade (yes, really).
Before our mooch around Brick Lane, our first stop was the ever kitsch Spitalfields Market, where we cooed over every single owl printed tea-dress and dinky handmade necklaces, until one of us sensibly dragged the other away, before any further damage could be done to our bank balances. I did however bag myself an owl charm necklace and a green swallow printed tea-dress, I couldn’t come home empty-handed could I?!
Spitalfields is also home to a extensive amount of cafes, takeaway snack wagons, mulled wines and of course, cupcakes!! It’s so easy to suddenly catch eyes-are-bigger-than-your-belly syndrome while wandering in and out of the stalls, especially if you justify it as refuelling and then burning calories on the go! We couldn’t resist these gorgeous cookie dough cupcakes unfortunately…
Living life on the edge, we had our cupcakes before tucking into Kota Satay’s delicious noodles with vegetables and yummy peanut sauce. Eating noodles covered in sauce is never an easy chore, so I was glad that I was wearing a hat, y’know just in case Alex Turner ever showed up.
We also checked out one of my friends’ vintage stalls in the Traders Market, Velvet Strawberry, check them out on Facebook for up-to-date news of when they’ll be at Spitalfields or any other events next.
The rest of the day was spent wandering in and out of the lanes, taking photos of Street Art and reassuring Letitia that I wouldn’t get her lost, even though we both know that my sense of direction is dire. Having worked up a thirst from all of our walking and falling into guttering in my wedge boots, we decided that the best and most natural way to end the day was in a pub.
Having stumbled across the Kings Stores while I led us down a detour (and hoping that we wouldn’t encounter a modern day Jack the Ripper) we were beckoned in by the charming, attractive Mancunian barman and of course, the home-made mulled cider. We sank into the sofas and warmed up while sipping on our cinnamon tasting brew, debating whether it would get us tipsy or not and whether the lampshades had purposefully been placed wonky.
As the low winter sun set for the evening, we made our way home on London’s finest transportation system, reluctantly resisting the temptation to lock ourselves in the nearest Wetherspoons for the night.
I leave you with a few more photos from our adventures around East London…
All photos taken are courtesy of Letitia Redmond and her Nikon D90, check out her photography Tumblr here for more amazing images.