Sunday Brunchin’ … East London Style

 

Why hello there! It’s been a while!

I’ve just returned from a fantabulous Christmas break and I can’t wait to tell you all about it, but all that will have to wait until I’m all caught up with work, life, and all that pesky stuff in between.

I got back on Friday night, which happened to be New Year’s Day, and this weekend has been a tornado of unpacking and preparing for my next adventure. After a whirlwind Saturday I woke up late today, as one does on a lazy Sunday, and popped out the door to visit the tried and true Sunday Upmarket on Brick Lane. For the uninitiated, the Upmarket is very stereotypical East London – hipster, artsy, and in the throws of gentrification. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny that it’s a great place to grab a quick bite to eat.

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View opposite the Sunday Upmarket – there’s so much going on in this photo!

After two weeks of gorging on schnitzel, wurst, and all manner of potato dumplings and sauerkraut, the street stalls at the Sunday Upmarket were the perfect place for an ‘alternative’ sunday brunch. For our first course, I opted for a personal favourite of mine: Chinese-style pork buns. They’re 2 for £4.50 at the market and are perfect for snacking on as you browse the other stalls. Up next was the main event. Seeking something a little on the lighter side, I opted for Rollicious, a Vietnamese pop-up vendor that specialises in Vietnamese spring rolls.

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So many rolls to choose from . . .

Rollicious offers five different rolls, including a lamb and pomegranate roll that I was curious about, but too scared to try. Instead I went with the prawn and pork rolls, both of which were delicious. My other half went in a heartier direction and ordered a roll alongside a whole plate of rice noodles, salad, and pork.

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Brunch is served!

So it may not have been gourmet eating, but it was quick, tasty, cheap (£10.30 for both dishes), and pretty healthy. A trip to the Sunday Upmarket, followed by a quick browse of Old Spitalfields before venturing across the City of London to Bank Station was the perfect way to get back in a London state of mind after what amounts to 25 days away from the city in the past month.

As I get caught up with everything over the next few weeks, be on the lookout for LOTS of new blog posts to come about my recent adventures on the continent (of Europe, that is)!

Where to Ice Skate in London

 

Now that autumn is in full swing and the festive season is fast approaching, ice rinks are starting to pop up all around London. As someone who mainly grew up in California, I’m definitely not an expert skater but find that it’s a great way to celebrate the season and spend a chilly afternoon with friends and family.

My first attempt at ice skating in 10 years.

My first attempt at ice skating in 10 years.

If you’re looking to ice skate this autumn and winter, here are the top rinks around the city:

1. Natural History Museum Ice Rink (website)

Photo Credit: www.nhm.ac.uk

One of the prettiest in the city, the Victorian splendor of the Natural History Museum serves as a magical backdrop to this 1,000 square meter ice rink. The rink is at its most picture perfect in the evening when the sky is streaked with subtle shades of pink and decorative lights twinkle in the bare trees surrounding the museum. Advanced booking on weekends and evenings is highly recommended.

Dates: 30 October  – 04 January 10

Prices (per 40-minute session):  Adults: £12.65-£15.40, Family of Four: £36.90-£42.90, Kiddies 9 and Under: £8.80-£10.45,

Location: Natural History Museum (closest station is South Kensington)

2. Canary Wharf Ice Rink (website)

Canary Wharf residents would probably prefer that their local ice rink remained a secret. It’s as close as London gets to a true city rink a la the rink at Rockefeller Ice Rink in New York. The massive 1100 square metre rink boasts London’s only ice pathway through trees. This is where I go to get my skate on, so if you see me there, say hi!

Dates: 01 November – 28 February

Prices (per hour): Adults: £14.50, Kiddies Aged: 4-12: £9.50, Family of 4: £39.50

Location: Canary Wharf (closest station is Canary Wharf)

3. Somerset House Ice Rink with Fortnum and Mason (website)

Somerset House

This is the grandaddy of all London ice rinks. Each year, the enormous courtyard at Somerset House in Central London is covered in ice and it seems that everybody who’s anybody stops by to skate for a few hours. The cool thing about this ice rink is that you can enjoy champagne and chocolate with your trip. On Tuesdays they also play traditional Christmas music and serve yuletide treats.

Dates: 11 November – 11 January

Prices: Adults: £12.25 – £14.55, Kiddies Aged 12 and Under: £8.80, Students: £10.05

Location: Somerset House (closest stations are Temple and Covent Garden)

4. Ice Rink at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (website)

Winter Wonderland

For those that have never been, Winter Wonderland is a traditional German Christmas Market, carnival, and circus all rolled into one. The ice rink here is set around a Victorian bandstand and is decorated with a canopy consisting of over 100,000 lights, making it one of the more romantic rinks in the city (take note, fellas).

Dates: 21 November – 04 January

Prices: 14.50/Peak Adult, 10.50/Off-Peak Adult, 9.50/Peak 12 and under, 8.50/Off-Peak 12 and under, 13.50/Peak Concessions, 9.50/Off-Peak Concessions, 38.00/Peak Family of 4, 34.00/Off-Peak Family of 4

Location: Hyde Park (closest stations are Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, Lancaster Gate, and Marble Arch)

5. Eyeskate at the London Eye (website)

This is the closest rink to Southbank, which hosts what is arguably the best German-style Christmas Market in the city. It also happens to be the most affordable, though skate sessions are 45-minutes as opposed to 1-hour. This rink lacks the atmosphere of the other rinks but will do in a pinch.

Dates: 15 November – 04 January

Prices: Adults: £12.50, Kiddies Aged 4-15: £9.50, Family of 4: 39.50 — Discounts available is purchased online

Location: London Eye (closest station is Waterloo)

6. Winterville at Victoria Park

A new winter attraction in East London, Winterville with boast a 600 square metre rink and locals can skate here for a bargain. Located in beautiful Victoria Park, this rink is a great addition to the list.

Dates: 02 December – 31 December

Prices: Adults: £12, Teens Aged 13-15: £10.50, Kiddos: £8.50, Locals: £5

Locations: Victoria Park (closest stations are Mile End, Bethnal Green, Bow Road, and Bow Church)

Regent’s Park in the Snow

 

Snow is a relatively rare occurrence in London, so when the fluffy flakes do fall from the sky, I try to make the most of it. There’s something about the way a park looks under snow that I always find appealing, so when I woke up Sunday morning to see snow out my window I hightailed it to Regent’s Park for a lively session of snowman building and snowball fighting.

Enjoy the pictures!


Snow at Regent’s Park


Birds at Regent’s Park


Snowman