48 Hours in East London

This past weekend, one of my oldest and dearest friends, Sarah, came to visit London. I had seen her recently in Dublin, but it was great to catch up here and show here around my adopted neighbourhood.

She arrived on Friday evening and left on Monday morning, so a little over 48 hours, but here’s a little taste of what we got up to on Saturday and Sunday.

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First up, breakfast. Sarah had a craving for Eggs Benedict so we went to go and see what the queue outside The Breakfast Club was like. It was very long, so we thought we’d give the famous Polo Bar a shot. I’d never been, so it was great to try somewhere new.

I ordered a pretty plain toastie and chips and Sarah got hold of some Eggs Benedict.

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Next, we headed over to Shepherd’s Bush. Sarah is getting married soon, and needed to get fabric for her bridesmaids dresses. We wandered by a few shops before she said “Lets go into this one”. It had exactly what she was looking for – how’s that for intuition?

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I wanted to go and check out the Shephered’s Bush market as I’d never been. It was mostly full of tat, as oft these markets are, but I loved these little tea sets.

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We also paid a visit to the canal by London Fields. Sarah’s brother also lives in London, so we met up with him and his girlfriend. It was a really sunny evening so we enjoyed a drink in the sun, before heading for dinner.

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Being around Broadway Market, where else to go but Franco Manca?
I love the pizza, but the queue was very long. We were initially told 15-20 minutes wait for a table for four, but ended up waiting nearly 45 minutes before finally getting seated. It was really busy, so I’ll forgive the man on the door for being as brusque as he was, but we all couldn’t wait to eat by the time we sat down.

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Next morning, bagels for breakfast on Brick Lane!  So filling but so good – and so cheap!

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Saw this appropriate graffiti.

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After a walk down Brick Lane with our bagels, we wandered down Hanbury Street and came across the most beautiful bookshop called Libreria. I intend to do a full post on the store, as I loved it so much, but it was the quirkiest, prettiest shop I’ve ever been in. There was so much thought put into the selection and presentation of books, and so many little design details.

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Like this awesome lampshade!

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We went in “for a browse” and came out with a bag of books. One of my favourite purchases was this short graphic novel, Lost Property.

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A visit to my neighbourhood wouldn’t be complete without a pitstop to the Spitalfields City Farm, as you all know I love. (Previous post here)

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I just love what a cute, welcoming place the farm is, and the amount of work put into it by the community.

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Following the farm, we came across the Nomadic Community Gardens. Again, come back soon as I intend to write about this one too. Its a fascinating place, it seems it was an old, disused plot of land that’s now turned into a community space with lots of interesting things, like this act of kindness wall where people can leave things they no longer need.

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The weather stayed clear and bright, which was lovely to walk around in!

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Street food impulse buy on Brick Lane

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Next, to the T2 tea shop on Redchurch Street. I mentioned this place recently, but I knew Sarah would love it, so we called in. They brew a selection of teas for you to taste each day. She bought her fiance a present, and also bought me a gorgeous tea as a thank you – so sweet.

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Next up, Columbia Road flower market. Sarah’s mum had a florists, and she picked up the skill for it. She got some beautiful flowers for my flat, which are still sitting prettily in the living room.

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Came across this impromptu jazz band performance just off Columbia Road.

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And finally, one last dinner together before Sarah left the next day. I had to get up early to go in the morning for work, so we wouldn’t see each other in the morning. We made some veggie enchiladas and then settled in to watch Zoolander 2.

It was such a lovely weekend, and I’m delighted we got to do so much. It was great spending such a large chunk of time with a friend and really catching up, especially as my visits to Dublin are so fleeting. I’m also really happy that we got great weather too.

What would you suggest to a friend, if you had 48 hours in East London?

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