Yesterday afternoon I took a break from the work that has seemed to consume my life, clambering out from beneath a pile of notes, books and crumb-littered plates and venturing into the fresh air. A trip to Broadway Market made for a well-needed and very welcome break.
A ten minute walk away through the leaf-littered London Fields, Broadway Market is a hub of handmade trinkets and wafting cooking smells. On a gloomy, wintry Saturday it is the perfect place to grab some lunch. The only difficult thing is deciding what to have as the whole street is lined with stalls selling everything from hissing, mouth-watering sausages to handmade fudge and decadently dark chocolate brownies. After much deliberation I decided on a hot crepe oozing with apricot jam, which I bought from 'France in London' - so named by two chatty French men. As I watched my crepe sizzling in front of me I listened to them joking to each other in French. On Saturday I was too shy, but I plan to pay another visit and practice the language.
Stomach happy, I wandered down the rest of the street. I have now made a vow with myself to avoid opening my purse on the high-street. Why shop in a huge chain store when I can instead spend my money on one-of-a-kind gems purchased just down the road? From handmade silk underwear in vintage prints to edible looking buttons and adorable knitted children's jumpers, Broadway Market now joins Columbia Road and Brick Lane on my East London Must-Shop list.
At the end of the road stands a beautiful flower shop, whose quirky window display caught my eye and put a huge smile on my face. Scarlet tulips in a golden syrup tin: surely a reason to feel like all is well in the world?
As I wandered I was serenaded by these two musicians. Well, technically they were singing to the whole street, but I do like to think the drummer gave me a PARTICULARLY big smile...
Around the corner is another, smaller market that makes a home of the school playground every Saturday. Filled with craft and food stalls, stop here for hot roast chicken, warm spiced apple and cinammon, or the option I went for - freshly made white hot chocolate.
And how about a game of hopscotch whilst you're at it...
In the same way that Columbia Road isn't just about flowers, Broadway Market is heaving with cafés, restaurants and gift shops, not to mention hoards of very happy people. London can be incredibly daunting and impersonal, yet at Broadway Market there is a buzzing sense of community. And I feel very lucky to be part of this community. It may not be the glamorous interior of a Mayfair hotel, or the elegance of New Bond Street, but East London is where it's happening.