Markets

Saturday in Brick Lane + A Cat Café*

Cat cafe near Old Street, London | Hello Victoria

*Technically, they specify that they are not a cat café, but it’s hard to describe the place without calling it that…

This past weekend, Richard and I decided that we just had to get out and do something. Too often when we have a day together, we waste it by relaxing around the flat all day. Now, I say wasted loosely here, as a day spent sleeping in, eating brunch, and watching a movie on the sofa is not a wasted day per se. It’s just that we often look back at months at a time, and feel like we haven’t really done anything.

Visiting the Brick Lane market | Hello Victoria

I always seem to take photos of Richard on trains – he hates it. I’m thinking of starting a series… or a coffee table book. 😉

So we considered our options and settled on visiting the market at Brick Lane! We had both been to Brick Lane on different occasions, but never on the weekend, when their markets are open.

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. It was kind of small despite how much space there actually was. We’re both more into antiques than handmade stuff, and the market seemed full of screen printed clothing, or similar items. Not quite what we were looking for.

Visiting the Brick Lane market | Hello Victoria

Vintage cameras at the Brick Lane market | Hello Victoria

Vintage typewriters at the Brick Lane market | Hello Victoria

What they didn’t have in terms of stuff to buy, however, they made up for in stuff to eat! Nowhere near the options at Camden or Borough Markets, but they had momos! After living in Nepal, Richard has quite the affinity for those little Tibetan dumplings… so to say that he was ‘chuffed’ to see that stall, would be an understatement. And of course we had to share a sampling! We tried all the varieties except for vegetarian, and enjoyed them all. The spicy dip had quite the kick!

Momos at the Brick Lane market | Hello Victoria

Now, sharing a few dumplings isn’t quite enough for a full meal. There were some other amazing options available in the Brick Lane market, but we had another lunch in mind… salt beef bagels!

I had heard about the bagels here at Beigel Bake, as being the best salt beef in London. I’m a huge fan of spicy mustard and pickles… so these seemed right up my alley! But, if I’m being honest, I think the ones at Borough Market are better (controversial, I know). Maybe it’s the better pickles, but a lot of it is probably due to the fact that Beigel Bake cranks out like a bazillion of them each day, and they sort of just slap them together. Seriously, the lines there for bagels are mental. I like a bit more care with my food. (more…)

Visiting Camden Market, London

Camden Market, London | Hello Victoria

The other day, I happened to be near Camden Market for work, and thought I would wander the shops a while. If you live in London, then you’ll already be quite familiar with Camden Market, but for those who haven’t been, let me explain. Camden Market used to be this hub of alternative fashion, music, etc. The main street has tattoo shops and piercings aplenty, but lately tends to have become overrun with tourist traps. Once word got out about Camden, it got less alternative, and suddenly has 30 shops selling tourist kitsch along with the tattoos.

Camden Market, London | Hello VictoriaCamden Market, London | Hello Victoria

The main street is the kind of place to head if you’re in the market for a cheap pair of sunglasses, or phone case. But it’s the market itself that draws me in! Part food market, with open air stalls, and part handmade/antique sellers hawking scarves, jewelry, and the like. In the fall, it’s the perfect place to find a new scarf, or toque, and in the summer it’s a great place to find a new pair of sunnies, or a new bag! But in my case, it was the perfect excuse to try a fancy hot chocolate I had heard about.

Camden Market, London | Hello VictoriaCamden Market, London | Hello Victoria (more…)

Convent Garden Antiques Market

Covent Garden antiques market | Hello Victoria

Covent Garden is known for being a part of London full of designer shops, and fancy restaurants. Wander around this area and it’s all Chanel, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton as far as the eye can see. But, if you visit on a Monday, you’ll find something quite different from the usual finery.

Covent Garden antiques market | Hello Victoria

Covent Garden antiques market | Hello Victoria

Covent Garden antiques market | Hello Victoria

Every Monday the Apple and Jubilee markets at Covent garden make way for antiques! Once home to fruit and vegetable sellers back in the day, these markets are usually home to stalls selling handmade wares and lots of touristy kitsch. The antiques you find on Mondays are a refreshing reprieve from what you find the rest of the week. They tend to set up a bit later than most markets, so if you end up there too early, just wait until closer to 11 or 12. I thought that being there around 10:30 would be late, but half the sellers were still setting up their wares. (more…)

Visiting Old Spitalfields Market: Traders Market Days

Spitalfields Traders Market | Hello Victoria

When I first moved to the UK, and Richard and I were setting up our flat, I wanted to find some antiques. My style tends to run a bit eclectic, and I like a good mix of new and old furnishings. As we were buying so much stuff at IKEA, I wanted to find some antique markets in London that I could visit without having to drive a few hours. One of the first that popped up, was the Old Spitalfields Market. But the thing with this market, is that it only does Antiques on Thursdays, and has what it calls a Trader’s Market most other days. It also does some other one day markets (sometimes just once a month), so visit their website for more information.

So if you’re in the market for antiques, go on Thursdays, but the other days are interesting too! Spitalfields has a number of food trucks and stalls, and even just completed a new food hub, dubbed the Kitchens, in the middle of the market. If you’re in the neighbourhood, it’s a great place to grab lunch! When Richard and I stopped by recently, we were on our way to another part of London for dinner, and just wanted a snack. He had some prawn dumplings from Dumpling Shack, and I got a lamb shawarma from Berber and Q. As he put it “I won” the afternoon snack competition, because my food was waay better value for the money, and looked awesome!

Spitalfields Traders Market | Hello Victoria

I had seen someone else receive their shawarma and thought, that looked good! Nothing beats melt in your mouth meat, tahini, chili sauce, and pickled jalapenoes!

Spitalfields Traders Market | Hello Victoria

But food isn’t all Spitalfields Market has on offer! Around their new kitchens hub, the market has begun constructing scandi style stalls for their traders. It used to be more fold out tables and white fabric, but now each vendor gets a little wooden booth.

During the Trader’s Market you can find plenty of handmade and local clothing, accessories, and jewelry. I got a lovely necklace from Richard last year, from trader Littlesmith – a custom bar pendant with the GPS coordinates of where we met. (I know – he’s a keeper!) I would say that more than half the stalls cater to women, with scarves, purses, dresses, and jewelry taking up more than their fair share. However, you can find leather jackets, funny silk screened shirts, antique maps, and artwork. A little something for everyone. (more…)