Here we are again. The Columbia Road Flower Market has become a tradition. Be it in sun, wind or rain, nothing can hold me back. Every Sunday our house is graced with fresh new flowers. I don't see a better way to welcome the week ahead. So here are some pictures from week two at the market.
Sorry for being MIA lately. Life is just now starting to form some sort of a routine. Josh has started school and I've been slowing chipping away at my giant 'while in London' list. The first few days felt like we were tourists trying to see everything London had to offer as fast as we humanly could (a trait I think I inherited from my mom.) After doing that, we ended up needing a few days to let the swelling in our feet to go down, and our fingers to defrost. This week has been far more enjoyable. Josh's school doesn't start till 10:30 so that means quiet mornings with coffee and breakfast together, which is something we were never able to do back in Vancouver. I explore during the day, and work when it gets dark (it does so quite early.) Overall, it's been wonderful, that said, here is some stuff we've learned about London so far:
No street or park is ever the same. Going for walks never gets boring.
Always have an umbrella on you at all times. You never know when it will start raining. And it always starts raining when you aren't prepared.
Good coffee shops are few and far between, but once you find one it's so worth the £3.
That brings me to my next observation, the word 'cheap'.. does not exist. Josh and I have a rule now: Don't ever, EVER do currency conversions or think about how much something would cost in Vancouver. It's a downward spiral that never ends well.
Never, ever go in those cute red phone booths. Basically just avert your eyes in the opposite direction and keep moving.
Good ethnic food is everywhere. Too bad we're not very adventurous to try it for ourselves (we're picky foodies... If that is such a thing!).
Fish and chips are our new favourite.
Go to markets on an empty stomach. That way you can gorge on street vendors. Such a good idea.
The underground will make you go broke. So have an umbrella and water proof shoes so you can walk.
Don't practice your British accent when you're walking on the street. Apparently it offends people.
If people think you're from the US, they are very mean to you. So work into conversations as early as possible that you're Canadian. The customer service improves 100048420323920% once they don't think you're american.
Favourite coffee shops:
For a really good cup of pour over coffee, and great service - Monmouth in central London. It's really small and always busy so it's not the best place to go if you want to read or work. But if you're on the go, or in the area definitely a must go.
For a good place to go if you want to stay a while and work - Prufrock in Holborn area. It's a great space with a good vibe and of course great coffee. They have great espresso, and a variety of different methods for filtered coffee, including pour-over, aeropress, and some other cool ones that we had never heard of.
If your in East London: Shoreditch Grind is a laid-back coffee shop with a Mt. Pleasant feel (for you vancouverites reading this). They had a nice selection of pastries and it is also a cocktail bar by night.
Favourite fish and chips place so far - Golden Union in the Oxford Circus area.
Goal for this week: find the perfect pastry shop. Too bad this will involve a lot of sampling. Perhaps all the walking will counteract the calories going straight to muffin tops.... Fingers crossed.
I've heard a lot about London's famous sunday farmers markets, but this is the one I've been looking forward to the most. Open every Sunday from 8-2pm, the rule of thumb is the earlier you come the better the pick of flowers you get. Jet leg is still kicking our butts, and the only thing that got me out of bed was the buckets of Ranunculus calling my name. It was a little bit of a trek to East London but at 9am on a Sunday, London is a ghost town.
The market had an abundance of potted plants along with fresh cut flowers. Tulips, daffodils, ranunculus, anemones, hyacynth, hydrangeas, eucalyptus, those are just the few I knew the names of. I wouldn't exactly say the flowers were cheap but nothing here in London is cheap. It's a realization we've been forced to face very quickly. Most spring flowers were 3 bunches for £10, or £4/bunch.
After realizing that we didn't have a vase (and trying to find the cheapest one we could), we began the search for our flowers. I had my mind set on ranunculus and anemones, but there were so many beautiful flowers, Josh literally had to pull me out of the market with my few bunches in hand or I would've been buying vendors out of their stock.
These are some of the pictures from our flower market adventure.