I live, shop and work from home in East London and as my weeks are usually a foot-to-the-floor whirlwind of juggling multiple projects, attending events and going to meetings all over town, my weekends are my down time (and my playtime!) so I try to avoid venturing too far from home. Luckily enough I have some fantastic places right on my doorstep to keep it local.
Friday nights are usually date nights with my boyfriend, catching up over cocktails before going out for dinner. Jones & Sons (23-24 Arcola St, London E8 2DJ, 0207 241 1211, jonesandsonsdalston.com) does a killer espresso martini and the Jones Collins elderflower, lemon juice, gin and fizz gets Fridays going beautifully. Its then onto Rubys Dalston (76 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 7XB, rubysdalston.com), a secret subterranean drinking den found beneath an old cinema sign, for one of their legendary blackberry mojitos. Or to Satans Whiskers (343 Cambridge Heath Rd, London, E2 9RA London, 020 7739 8362, satanswhiskersblr.tumblr.com) to slide into one of their leather booths and marvel at their collection of hybrid taxidermy, while knocking back The Satans Whiskers cocktail made with gin, Grand Marnier, orange and vermouth.
Dinner at Mayfields, above (52 Wilton Way, London, E8 1BG, mayfieldswiltonway.co.uk) is always a pleasure for the exciting way they use seasonal ingredients. The menu is made of up small plates and changes from week but if its on, we order the mackerel sashimi. We then pootle off home to try and watch an episode of The Walking Dead before going to bed but invariably end up falling asleep in front of the TV.
If Im not running an event for regular shopping event The Stylists Rail (thestylistsrail.com, see below ), then Saturday mornings are for lie-ins and equally lazy brunches. LAtelier (31 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 8BJ ) serves a deliciously decadent cinnamon French toast with crème fraiche and a berry compote that sets me up right for the day. Ill then wander over to Ridley Road Market (Ridley Rd, London E8 2LH, ridleyroad.co.uk ) to buy my fresh fruit and veg for the week, which I love for its vibrancy, ethnicity and total assault on the senses; you can often find giant African snails and pigs trotters being sold alongside your apples and pears! Its also home to an incredibly cheap haberdashery and fabric shop called Dalston Mill Fabrics (69-73 Ridley Rd, London ?E8 3NP, 0207 2494129 dalstonmillfabrics.co.uk) where I love buying craft materials for a weekend project.
If Im meeting friends for coffee I go to Mouse & deLotz, above (103 Shacklewell Lane, London, E8 2EB, 020 3489 8082, mousedelotz.com) jointly-owned by jewellery designer Jessica deLotz, (jessicadelotz.co.uk) its a gorgeously quaint café and Im a little obsessed with their lemon drizzle cake. Its also perfectly placed next door to Yoga On The Lane (105 Shacklewell Ln, London, E8 2EB, 020 7254 1229, yogaonthelane.com) if I fancy starting Saturdays in a more saintly fashion!
I love wandering through London Fields to Broadway Market (London E8 4PH, broadwaymarket.co.uk) to meet up with my boyfriend after hes played football at Hackney Downs (Downs Park Rd, London E5 8NP), which has fast become my new favourite park. Broadway Market is great for people-watching and I often take street style snaps for my style column for The Dalstonist (dalstonist.co.uk) here. I love the market for its hustle, bustle and shopping; artisan breads, beautiful bookshops, and theres a huge stall outside The Dove (24 28 Broadway Market, London, E8 4QJ, 0207 275 7617, dovepubs.com) selling really affordable vintage that I cant walk past without having a browse.
Netil Market, above (23 Westgate St, London, E8 3RN, 0203 095 9718, netilmarket.tumblr.com) round the corner is a street-foodies paradise; theres Lucky Chip (lucky-chip.co.uk) for one of their legendary burgers my favourite is the Kelly leBrock made with caramelised onions and cream cheese or Breddos Tacos Taco Shack (breddostacos.com) to put some fire in your belly, Fin and Flounder (finandflounder.co.uk) for the best fish and chips and Victoria Yum, below (victoriayum.com) for a sweet treat, her salted caramel cupcakes are heavenly.
I love spending a booze-soaked Saturday afternoon in the pub with friends and Ive recently developed a taste for pale ale so frequent The Clapton Hart (231 Lower Clapton Rd, London E5 8EG, 020 8985 8124, claptonhart.com), an enormous pub with fantastically quirky décor, and old-fashioned boozer The Cock Tavern (315 Mare St, London, E8 1EJ, PHONE ? thecocktavern.co.uk) as they both have great real ale selections and friendly, knowledgeable bar staff.
Invariably we end up heading back to our friends warehouse for post-pub parties, hes the guitarist for Emiliana Torrini and knows how to throw a party of epic proportions, or if were feeling a bit more civilised we go to Shanghai (41 Kingsland High St, London, E8 2JS, 020 7254 2878, shanghaidalston.com) first to eat crispy fried duck and dimsum, then badly sing karaoke in their secret room before rolling home to bed at some unGodly hour.
Columbia Road Flower Market (Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG, 020 7613 0876, columbiaroad.info) has to be our favourite Sunday activity and we always make a beeline for the hatchthat sells tempura prawns and deep-fried calamari. Served with spicy Encona chilli sauce its perfect hangover-curing fodder. Before buying some blooms for the house I pop in and say hello to my friends Buddug and Jessie who run The Shop (158 Columbia Rd, London, E2 7RG, 07708 921550, jessieandbuddugtheshop.blogspot.co.uk), a whimsical wonderland selling handmade jewellery and paper crafts.
However, if Im not too hungover then I get up bright and early for the Princess May Car Boot Sale in Stoke Newington (Princess May Rd, London N16 8DF, thelondoncarbootco.com), its a treasure-trove of bric-a-brac and wardrobe gems, you have to be quick though as the bargain-hunters come out in force! I also love Beyond Retro, above just up the road (92 100 Stoke Newington Rd, London, N16 7XB, 020 7923 2277, beyondretro.com), its my go-to for vintage bargains, plus their window displays are something else!
Photo: Gareth Hacker
For something totally different I pay Fee Fee La Fou, above (6 Bradbury St, London, N16 8JN, feefeelafouenterprises.com) a visit, a curiosity shop filled with lovely bits from designers and artists, stocking everything from Aesop to Fred Butler its perfect for gifts for friends.
...are made for roast dinners and Bloody Marys and the recently-opened pub The Hand of Glory, above (Amhurst Rd, London, E8 2BS, 020 7 249 7455, handofglorypub.com) do both to perfection. Thanks to chef Mark Edwards, their roast has the meat:vegetable:gravy ratio spot-on and the Bloody Marys made with smoked tomato juice and The Ribmans , below (theribman.co.uk) hot sauce ease even the most hungover of heads. Owned by the people behind Jaguar Shoes (jagurashoes.com) the décor is like The Wicker man on acid and because Im a Somerset girl and they serve specialty regional ciders, theyre my new favourite pub.
Reading the Sunday papers from cover to cover is such a rare treat and I love doing that in the sun-dappled courtyard at the back of Violet Cakes (47 Wilton Way, London, E8 3ED, 020 7275 8360, violetcakes.com) while getting stuck into a slice of their gooey ginger molasses cake with cream cheese frosting. Bliss on a fork.
The perfect end to a Sunday would be a film at Hackney Picturehouse, above (270 Mare St, London, E8 1HE, 0871 902 5734, picturehouses.co.uk), something gentle yet magical like The Grand Budapest Hotel perhaps, followed by the burrata pizza at Sodo (Upper Clapton Rd, London E5 9JY, 020 8806 5626, sodopizza.co.uk) and then home to spend the evening hanging out with my cat Minou in her cardboard cat teepee.
Victoria Bell, known to all as Plum, is a freelance PR consultant and Creative Director of The Stylists Rail (TheStylistsRail.com) a cutting edge shopping event where traders are a curated collective of Londons top stylists, vintage sellers and independent designers and writes Plumdiddlyumcious (plumdiddlyumcious.com), a lifestyle blog fusing her love of food, fashion and voracious appetite for culture. The Stylists Rail is held at The Hoxton hotel (81 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3HU, 020 7550 1000, hoxtonhotels.com) and the next event is Saturday April 12