A Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Early Start in East London

Oh, the pleasure of being a tourist in your own city!


For months now I've been craving for a "pretend" touristy day around London and yesterday it finally happened! I had an early start, picking my dad up from the airport and then since I had the day off work, I thought "why don't I take him down to Shoreditch to have a look around"?  I've been telling him about how much it has changed since I used to live there a good ten years ago, so this was the perfect excuse.
Driving through Hackney and Dalston was unfolding like a movie: all of the East London characters out and about first thing in the morning, workshops opening up unloading all sorts of deliveries, traditional chippies (fish and chip shops) in full swing and the occasional City worker rushing around all suited up. Life!  
We parked up around Arnold Circus, one of my favourite places around there for some quite time and lovely architecture. Perfectly symmetrical  Grade II listed, red-brick blocks of flats, built around the equally tall trees of Boundary Gardens, a break from the hustle & bustle of Shoreditch High Street. Calvert Avenue off the Circus has a New York village feel to it: Paper & Cup seems like the perfect spot to have your morning coffee, read a book and  watch the world go by.
On to Columbia Road, for a look around the vintage shops and cafes. Unfortunately we were too early and none of them was open; apart from the smallest café in the world! A hole in the wall, or in someone's hallway to be precise! How resourceful! Right across the street a primary school was the only lively place in this sleepy little street. We were in desperate need for a coffee and breakfast so on to Hoxton square, the Breakfast Club never fails me!

Hoxton square was in waking up mode too, everyone setting up tables and chairs outside. My dad said "who's going to sit outside in the middle of November?"
"Just wait for a glimpse of sunshine, this place will be buzzing", I said.
The yellow door at the Breakfast Club was shut and for a moment I thought...is it closed? But once we pushed it and got in we were very happily welcomed by bright colours and 90's pop tunes; big smiles! It's so retro! Mismatched chairs and benches and tables and all sorts of cool stuff. Love the comfy sofas and armchairs here and there too! There was a piano at the end of our table...yes my dad had to test it out! Big Kid!

My Caramel Latte came before I even had the chance to look at the menu, service is quite good! What we had for brekkie? Well, how about a stack of pancakes with vanilla cream and the Full Monty, a proper English fry-up, with sausages, bacon, beans and scrambled eggs? And tonnes of coffee! 

I love the Breakfast Club because no matter what time you wake up on a Sunday...they still serve breakfast! Thanks guys, we would like you to know that we do appreciate it!


Back to the car at Arnold Circus, I had to go in Leila's Shop to have a good look around a massive basket with all sorts of pumpkins. Remember I told you last year that I am obsessed with white pumpkins but I couldn't get any in London? Well, here they are, Leila's Shop and also at Daylesford Farm's shop in Westbourne Grove. Two doors down I couldn't hold back a smile when I saw a good old, tall and chubby cooking pot, steaming away on the stove inside Leila's restaurant, too bad we just had breakfast, otherwise I would have heard lunch calling.


There is a nice neighbourhood feeling around Calvert Avenue, go see for yourself next time you are around! x

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