Something from the weekend…..mainly eating and shopping

It was with a great deal of difficulty that I dragged myself out of bed this morning……it appears that I’m too old now for starting off the weekend with a 3am bedtime and lots of wine. Still, it was a super fun weekend, and I did manage a little relaxation time too! And we’ve only got two weeks left in London so I want to make the most of it!

After work on Friday it was off to the Post Office with the stacks of things I had to post….I’ve been listing lots on EBay to get rid of some things I don’t use any more before we move. That out of the way, we made our way to Hither Green, where we’d been invited to our friends Siobhan and Matthew’s new place for supper. We were a little early, so we took the opportunity to try out You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, the lovely little florist/coffee shop at the station, where I’ve been wanting to go for ages. It was nearly closing time, so we had our flat whites served to us outside on the pretty melamine tables….and the coffees were perfect! It’s such a darling little place, full of treasures and pretty flowers, and the yummy offerings are a real bonus!

By the time we’d finished, we were in good time to pop round the corner to our friends, for our first snoop around the place! It’s such a lovely flat…..really well laid out and organised, and Matthew and Siobhan have added lots of personal, colourful touches to make it special. The place also smelled amazing, with a lamb tagine in the oven, as well as Sophie Dahl’s chocolate cake……we were ravs by the time we finished chatting and drinking gin and Prosecco, so devoured the delicious meal which came along with yummy roasted veg and home made aubergine dip. The chocolate cake was the real triumph though….topped with creme fraiche and fresh berries, it was perfectly balanced and incredibly moreish.

As usual, we lost track of time in our hours of chattings and ended up taking the night bus home……it was a lovely walk over Tower Bridge from the South of the river though from the bus stop, and we flolloped into bed absolutely shattered at 3am!

A lie in was very much needed on Saturday morning, which fitted in perfectly with our days plans……we were heading over to friends Richard and Tara’s place in Farringdon to meet up for a nice late brunch. Knowing that the meal would probably cost us most of our day’s Weight Watchers Points, we opted to take the 40 minute walk there, through the City and Barbican (which gains us extra points). It was a lovely morning for a wander, and I know I’ll miss taking walks in the City, past the Guildhall and the pretty little gardens.

It was the first time we’d been to their new(ish) place too, and we enjoyed meeting their giant house rabbits! Our friend Sam was visiting for the weekend too, with her daughter, so the six of us popped around the corner to Giant Robot for a slap up brunch. It was a Bloody Mary to start for the most of us, and then their ‘Giant Omellette’ to eat….. both were utterly delicious and I left stuffed and sleepy!

We needed the walk back too, in order to wake me up a little and walk off the gluttony….so we ambled over to Old Spitalfields Market, where we met friends Kate and Jason to potter around Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair. I’d been eying up a little Hornsea Pottery Fauna Deer Vase the last time the fair was there, and I’d decided that if the stall still had it, I’d get it! And sure enough, the pretty I Heart Vintage stall was there as usual, and their shelf of cutesy deer ornaments still contained what I was after! I snapped it up and also spent a while snooping their other treasures and getting ever so tempted by various vintage tins, cuckoo clocks and weather houses! I managed to be good though, at least until I came across a stunning green gingham melamine drop leaf table…..I’ve loved the style for ever and moving into the bigger house means we have space for such things. I plan to use it as a desk in my little studio and can’t wait to set it all up!

It was straight home after that (after all, Adam did have a table to carry!), and most of the rest of the day was spent drinking cups of tea, eating and reading, until it was time for an early night.

Sunday started with another naughty brunch of Belgian waffles, banana and maple syrup…..merely to set us up for another day out and about! After having stuffed our faces we jumped on the tube over to Pimlico to go to the car boot sale there. It runs every Sunday, inside and out, and I’m a little miffed that I only recently discovered it and this was our first visit! It’s crammed with booty, and we spent a good while mooching about the various offerings.

I picked up a great haul……several little bits and bobs from a big gingham cloth of treasures on the floor (which Adam had to forcibly remove me from rooting in), a beautiful Toile bed linen set (exactly what I was after for a guest room in the new house), a wonderful little man’s travel set (which will be added to my Etsy shop when I have some more vintage stock), and a darling little sweater with tortoises on it! I’ll post some pictures of my finds soon!

We still had a little energy left for adventure, and needed a cup of coffee, so we walked just round the corner to the Tate Britain. It’s undergoing a lot of work at the moment, so we found it tricky to make our way about, but we eventually found the cafe, only to be served two rather rubbish Americanos. Still, it was worth popping in just to see their awesome collection of Turners (my favourite) and their brilliant shop!

After that though we were pretty shattered, and so once home it was more cups of tea and reading until it was time for a supper of butternut squash risotto and a quick film before another early night! Rock and roll!

Ems x


The Maltby Street Food Market


Having promised ourselves a nice relaxing weekend of not doing all that much, when it came to finding entertainment, we decided to keep it local and go for a wander in Bermondsey. We’d been told about the Maltby Street market just a couple of weeks ago, by the lovely Pru from Sparrow Gin at the StockMKT night market nearby….. and we owe her a big thank you for the introduction!

Just a few minutes away from Tower Bridge, but far enough that you feel off the beaten track, a small community of foodies has been growing over the last few years. Under the railway arches in Bermondsey, a bunch of independent food and drink makers and sellers, have moved East from the over-crowded Borough Market, to create a hub of gastronomic treasures each Saturday morning. Buyers and sellers alike enjoy the space, lack of tourists and cameras, and the fact that repeat local business is not only just possible, but inevitable.




We found the market really easily, having taken the walk across Tower Bridge, down Tower Bridge Road, and hung a left just before the Premier Inn. The stalls collect each Saturday from 9am to 2pm, under the arches and along Maltby Street, against the wonderful backdrop of Lassco’s reclamation yard. It’s brilliantly theatrical, with coffee sellers in between racks of old radiators, and bakers nestled into arches filled with bamboo floor boards, not to mention the darling camels guarding the gate! We took a walk through the showroom first of all, and found stacks of treasures in the shape of roll-top baths, butlers sinks, piles and piles of ancient doors, and period costumes. Given space and a good budget, we could very happily buy up half the place!




From there we began to explore the stalls….. St John has recently set up a stall in front of its arch, selling incredible loaves and cakes straight from the oven…. their custard filled doughnuts are legendary, and immense! Neals Yard Dairy and Monmouth Coffee, two of my Borough Market favourites, have also set up in the arches, and open up to sell their incredible cheeses and the best roasted coffee beans in London on Saturdays. We fell in love with the Green Chilli Jam and Smoked Tomato Tapenade from Pink’s, and so bought up a stock to cook with at home. But it’s not all fancy luxury stuff though, as we found Booth’s arch filled up like a good old school green grocers, bursting with colour and smelling incredible.





Confused by too many coffee choices (there is also a Turkish coffee stall and several local roasters), we opted for gin instead….. We very much wanted to thank Pru of Sparrow Gin for tipping us off about the market, and once we’d found her we didn’t want to leave their glorious little space right in the middle of the action. Having set up a darling little cocktail bar within one of the arches, their retro melamine tables and mis-matched chairs now spill out into the market, creating the perfect place to kick back and people (and dog) watch.

With a larger cocktail list than we saw at the StockMKT, and their trade mark collection of vintage glass and service ware, I adored their set-up, right down to the vintage decanters filled with wild flowers, the piles of old books and the paper doilies each drink is served on. Oh, and the little bowl of water and sign for customers dogs is just darling…. we saw lots of super cute hounds in fact!





Each cocktail is based around something from one of the amazing sellers on the market….I opted for their version of the Bloody Mary, the Maltby Mary which is served with a divine black pudding, whilst Adam went for the Golden Nest which is mixed with a yummy cider. Mine was served in a handled jam jar, with a generous hunk of black pudding pinned to the celery stick with a beautiful silver Cockerel cocktail stick…… the black pudding was an amazing accompaniment to the perfectly mixed cocktail, and probably made it the best Bloody Mary I’ve had. Adam’s vintage cut-glass tumbler looked like summer itself, rammed with Pimm’s fruit, and gloriously golden…. it was plenty boozey but terribly easy to drink! And because we’ve developed a taste for the grapefruity gin, we couldn’t avoid buying a bottle to take home!





Having had my main course (a Bloody Mary can be classified as such, honest), we headed to the Eden Ice Cream stall for some of their very special chocolate loveliness. Using cream from the famous Roskilly herd in Cornwall, alongside Colombian cacao, fruits and panela, the ice cream is dreamily creamy, and divinely flavoured. All four flavours are reassuringly natural in colour too, and a percentage of the purchase price goes towards helping the Eden Project, so everyone’s a winner. Oh and I can’t not mention their darling little dog, Saucisse, a rescue dog from France, and certainly a highlight of our visit!


Not really a market so much as a fabulously convenient collection of delicious delights, each stall boasts a personality that I think has been largely lost at Borough Market. The emphasis is on all things local, the experimental, and a buzzing atmosphere that you just want to spend hours in. Dubbed the food market for Londoners, I know I’ll want to return again and again, comfortably free from hoards of tourists, cameras, the over-priced and samey-samey.
Before heading home, we took the opportunity to have a snoop about the two larger antiques warehouses very near by….. again, I know we could spend a fortune in these given the space to keep our treasures in! And if you fancy a whole day out in the vicinity, there’s also the Bermondsey Square Farmers market just a few minutes away to boot!
Viva South East London!



Bloody Mary Tomatoes on Toast

Well I promised to post a lovely Saturday lunch recipe yesterday, but I got so carried away with the sunny day that I clear forgot! Here it follows though…..good for a Sunday supper or a mid-week quick snack!….

Ems’ Bloody Mary Tomatoes on Toast

Ems' Bloody Mary Tomatoes on Toast

Ingredients (1 serving):

  • 6(ish) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 dessert spoon olive oil
  • 1 dessert spoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dessert spoons vodka
  • 1 pinch vanilla salt (or rock salt if you can’t get the vanilla kind)
  • 2 pinches black pepper
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme or basil (dried herbs if you don’t have fresh are fine), chopped
  • 1 slice granary bread / ciabatta, toasted
  • 1 small clove of garlic, peeled

To make:

  1. Mix together the oil, worcestershire sauce and vodka to make a sort of marinade for the tomatoes.
  2. Mix the tomatoes in with the marinade and pop in the fridge for at least half an hour (or overnight if you can).
  3. Toast your bread of choice on both sides.
  4. Remove the tomatoes from the marinade (but keep it), place on a baking sheet and sprinkle over the salt, pepper and herbs.
  5. Grill the tomatoes.
  6. Rub the garlic over the toasted bread on one side.
  7. Remove the tomatoes when nicely toasted and pop them onto your toast… can also drizzle over the marinade if you like too. Done!

Hope you enjoy!

Ems x