Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Last Tuesday Society / Viktor Wynd's Museum of Curiosities

If like us you're always searching for out of the ordinary experiences, and relish the opportunity to indulge in the down right bizarre, then this is definitely the place for you! 
On Mare Street in Hackney, right next to the Regent's Canal you'll find The Last Tuesday Society / Viktor Wynd's Museum of Curiosities, a gothic/steampunk-style coffee shop and bar with a lot of weird stuff in the cellar! For £4 (£5 with the guide book) you can take the wrought iron spiral staircase down into the chamber of horrors, with a complimentary tea or coffee thrown in (but no biscuit - no matter what the website says!). 
In the basement you'll discover the personal collection of artist Viktor Wynd, and what a collection it is! Creepy dolls, unusual taxidermy and all manner of odd sexual literature and artifacts take centre stage, alongside the gold-plated skull of one of Pablo Escobar's pet hippos, skeletons of all description (including that of a dodo) and celebrity "waste" in jars! This is quite clearly not one for the kids, or the weakhearted for that matter, and nor does it claim to be...

What is great about this collection is the complete disregard for general law and order, everything is so thrown together that some truly bizarre compositions of objects arise out of the chaos. This also means that some stuff is half hidden and easy to miss. On returning home and leafing through the guide book we felt that we had barely seen half of the artifacts on show - repeat visits are a must, and I'm sure new discovers would be made each and every time! 
The idea of this museum is to present "an incoherent vision of the world displayed through wonder enclosed within a tiny space", no attempt made at classification and comprehensiveness..." and a rejection of "attempts to educate and explain, to put the world into neat little labeled drawers..." This is certainly refreshing, however with such an interestingly eclectic collection I couldn't help feeling that the little information that was provided for certain objects did a lot to enhance the overall experience and I would have loved much more backstory and greater context for this visual feast!

Upstairs in the coffee shop you'll find a back room full of artwork and plenty more curiosities all around, some of which are for sale including two headed teddy bears and crocodile skulls. You can even share a candlelit beverage with half a lion (see below) and as weird as it sounds the atmosphere is strangely calming.
This fascinating venue also plays host to a number of querky events throughout the year including taxidermy classes, a petting zoo in the basement (offering the chance to get up close and personal with lizards, snakes, scorpions and the like), and London's longest running literary salon. 
No matter how much you've planned to pack in during your trip to London if you're an oddity hunter, or simply a fan of the macabre, this is definitely one you can't afford to miss! 

All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Spitalfields City Farm

I absolutely love this place! Since moving to East London in summer 2015 we have probably spent a disproportionate number of afternoons at this little oasis of tranquility! 
Spitalfields City Farm boasts an array of barnyard animals, our personal favourites being Watson and Holmes a pair of kunekunes ( a type of pig from New Zealand - the kind that can be glimpsed at Laketown in the Hobbit movies!). 
You would never imagine to find such a beautiful little farm, complete with farm shop selling fresh produce, just striding distance from Brick Lane! There's something deeply satisfying and truly bizarre about seeing wooly, bleating critters nonchalantly doing their thing to the backdrop of the city's iconic highrise towers! See below.

Other animals to observe and fuss over include sheep, cows, rabbits, guinea pigs and apparently ferrets although we've never sighted the snoozey little fellas! 
The staff are friendly, the atmosphere super relaxed and they offer great food as well! I'd recommend their hearty tomato, ginger and coconut soup served with bread and butter. The coffees not too shabby either.
The peace and quiet are periodically shattered to make way for all sorts of fun-day events happening throughout the year, such as the hugely popular Goat Race which is held to coincide with the Oxford - Cambridge boat race! Check out their events page for details!
The Spitalfields City Farm has so much going for it, if you have a spare afternoon east of the city be sure to drop in - it's free to visit and open everyday apart from Monday when the animals have a day off!

All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Recharge Café, Bethnal Green - Turkish/English fusion in East London!

Scrambled eggs on sourdough with sucuk, avocado and halloumi

Under five minutes walk from Bethnal Green tube station you'll find Recharge Café, an exquiste little local eaterie offering a delightful fusion of Turkish and English mid-morning fare. The balance between modern East London chic and no fuss British brekkie is handled masterfully with just the right amount of scattered herbs and pumpkin seeds topping a generous dollop of no nonsense hearthy ingredients.
There is a choice between fancy full English (served with hash browns and black pudding), trendy Turkish (which includes halloumi, avocado and sucuk - a lightly spiced Turkish sausage) or a veggie option which is kind of a combination of the two, minus the meaty bits!
There's also a ham, feta and spinach omelette on the menu and all manner of tasty treats on sourdough, including roasted butternut squash or smoked salmon! They also do an excellent flat white, for all you coffee lovers!
Everything is so fresh, full of flavour and lovingly prepared we just can't help going back for more time and time again! This place is so East London right now but, probably due to its unassuming location, manages to side step any pretentious, hipster vibe - what you get is a relaxed local atmosphere with a refreshing, international take on the classic brunch menu.
Friendly staff, great coffee and well priced - everything is between £5 - £7! Highly recommended!

All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Day Trip from London: #2 Rye

Continuing our quest to find the best day trips from London, for when the noise and drama of the capital all becomes a little too much, we decided to check out Rye! This sleepy town was a favourite of my mum and dad, and so it holds a certain nostalgic value for me but first time visitors will also love exploring this little untapped gem of English life down on the Sussex coast.

Introducing: Rye - the world's cutest smuggling town!


Where is it? 


On the East Sussex coast, right on the border with Kent; just over an hour from St Pancras with a change at Ashford International.

Why visit? 


If you are looking to explore a quaint English village with heaps of history and a provincial feel without having to travel for hours out into the back of beyond then this is the place for you! Here you'll seem a million miles from the bright lights of London whilst you explore the twisting cobbled lanes, browse charming olde worlde junkshops, and relax with an exquiste cream tea!
The oldtown of Rye is set into a low hilltop overlooking a marshy expanse where several tributaries join to meet with the sea. The history of this area is entwined with the legends of smugglers and pirates, and a walk out into the lonely countryside beyond the town will transport you back to by-gone days! You'll also find Camber Castle nestled out in the marshes; a relic from the era of King Henry VIII. 
With plenty of historic buildings, pretty little cafes and spectacular nature watching Rye is a winning Saturday afternoon excursion!



The Village Itself


Mermaid Street

Tudor houses

The Mermaid Inn

And a Walk Out into the Marshes...


Many, many sheep! Expect to see a great deal of lambs in the Spring!

to Camber Castle!


Fortress of Henry VIII

And a Relaxing Cream Tea at The Cobbles Tea Room


Cream tea at The Cobbles: Traditional scone with jam and cream, and a cup of tea!



Monday, 18 April 2016

Hyde Park at Sunset

Hyde Park is arguably London's most celebrated green space, and as the warmth of spring slowly creeps back into the city it's easy to see why; just look at these scenes from yesterday evening!

A stroll through the park at any time of year is a complete treat, especially for those who are as into nature as we are! You will encounter all manner of waterfowl; those sighted at the time of these pictures included heron, swan, grebe, geese (Canada, Egyptian and Toulouse) and all manner of duck.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Goat Race - Spitalfields City Farm, Easter 2016

So the goat race happened at the Spitalfields City Farm and it was all that we could have hoped for! 

2 goats, 1200 hipsters, a whole lot of fun!

Here's what we found out...

1) Cockerels can be incredibly photogenic


2) Someone is championing equal rights among goats (phew!)


3) Goat snacks are remarkably aesthetic

4) Cows will eat palm trees if allowed

5) If the job of goat-themed fun day commentator didn't exist we have no idea what this man would be doing for a living!

And now for the Shoat (young pig) Race - we were treated to the pre-goat appetiser of male pigs in drag racing one another, every bit as phenomenal as it sounds! Here's the evidence...

And finally, the day's main event; a goat representing Oxford and one representing Cambridge went head to head for the title of greatest goat - every bit as tense as the boat race which was taking place across town! It was a very close race indeed!

No animals were harmed or mistreated in any way, we were reassured that this was actually something that the goats did every day of the year regardless of whether they had spectators or not. All money raised went into the farm's fund to feed the animals.

A great afternoon of nonsense! We hope to see you there next year!

All opinions are my own