Blue Monday: Embrace The Blues In North London
Written by: Sophie Taylor
The formula published to explain why Blue Monday exists makes little to no mathematical sense. It looks pretty though.
Apparently the date was originally devised by a travel company using weather conditions, rising debt levels, time passed since failing our resolutions and decreasing motivation levels. According to their research, the third Monday of January is when most people start looking into booking holidays.
I know I’ve popped a few plane tickets in shopping baskets online, irrespective of my bank statement / time off.
But what if, instead of forcing further debt on ourselves with a holiday and wishing the whole of Winter away, we embrace these blues? Travel doesn’t magically make you happy.
Often we feel depressed as a result of circumstance. Sometimes it’s a hormonal imbalance. At other times it’s a more permanent illness that we have to live with and learn how to cope. And it sucks.
But we’re not alone.
Whether we go out, stay in, drink or stay sober, here’s how we’re going to shun a travel agent ad campaign and be miserable right here in North London.
You don’t have to go dry. Unless you really want to do it yourself, enforced sobriety usually ends down the pub in shitfaced defiance.
Screw you dry January! You rasp, downing another shot of wine, alone. Then along comes the sober light of day again bringing his friends: Mr Crushing Paranoia and Ms List of Neglected Responsibilities.
If you like a pint on a cold Winter’s day, have a pint. If you fancy spending the afternoon in new craft beer shop on Stroud Green Road, do it. Equally, if you feel it’s time to give the booze a break, go for it. Find strength in numbers and join the January wagoners or be a maverick and start next month.
It’s up to you, not a hashtag or preachy online article. Ahem.
Have some sex. What! You cry. If only it were that easy! Or, What awful advice, you frown, sex doesn’t solve everything!
No, it doesn’t, but it does happen to withhold a plethora of health benefits that can help boost your energy levels, immune system and mood, both temporarily and long term. Check in with yourself emotionally of course and make sure you’re both (or all) on the same page and no one’s getting hurt.
While a slutty rampage through North London may not be the answer, a session of quality love making with someone you fancy the proverbial pants off can do wonders for your self esteem, stress / anxiety levels and even sleep patterns, ironically. Of course, some anti depressants and depression itself can lower (completely crush) libido. The underlying issues need to be tackled first. Read this handy article for a few ways to get in touch with yourself first.
Whether it’s to decrease your midriff or make you feel less deflated, nutrition is your best friend. Well that’s what Instagram says. Already switched off? I know the feeling, but even the act of ‘making the effort’ can improve your mood for a bit.
Getting out, choosing some extra ugly chunks of ginger and squashy avocado, chopping them to bits and blending up a disgusting green concoction can.. well, it can be pretty vomit inducing actually, but there are more hearty and tasty recipes out there. Have a look at our yoga buddy, Kate Oate’s blog and insta for immune boosting recipes or peruse London based nutritionalist, Christina Moi’s healthy Asian inspired recipes.
CBA cooking? Try our top suggestions for vegetarian food in your area. I enjoy fannying around Mother Earth health shop on Highbury Corner and imagine the nourishingly beautiful creations I’d knock up if I could be bothered. Then proceed to blow my monthly food budget on one slice of organic cheesecake. It’s good for me, alright?
That pizza you felt so bad about isn’t going to ruin your life. Ordering takeaway every day might not help, but allowing yourself a bit of what you fancy does your sense of wellbeing a world of good.
Have a look at local, Olivia Potts’ food blog for inspiration and wonderfully fatty recipes. After deciding being a Barrister wasn’t for her, Livvy realised her love for cookery. When her mum died in 2014 she found it surprisingly therapeutic to start baking and then, to write about it. She soon became a food writer for the Spectator and is currently gaining a patisserie qualification from Le Cordon Bleu, no less.
Her pinned tweet and life ethos reads, ‘NOT 👏 EATING 👏 CERTAIN 👏 FOODS 👏 DOES 👏 NOT 👏MAKE 👏 YOU 👏 A 👏 BETTER 👏 PERSON’ which is fabulously dramatic and true.
Read through her recipes and get lost in her life stories whilst you’re there. You’ll find a heart warming tale of finding love via Twitter as well.
I don’t necessarily mean out out. Usually the last thing you want to do is venture outside when you feel like a limitless grey blob. But it’s funny what a tiny bit of oxygen can do.
So before you go ordering an expensive canister from eBay, get a hit of the stuff in Clissold Park. Look at all the dogs and get jealous at their carefree existence. Call someone. Breathe. Lie on the grass, get scratchy and wonder why you came outside in the first place. Have a stretch. Power walk back to your home comforts. Grab a coffee on the way from Sapid. You don’t have to fill your days with achievements and big social outings.
Hungover on top of everything else? Find our top four places to embrace it in North London.
Make plans. Cancel them. Get an injection of dopamine when you do. Feel guilty for a bit. Beat yourself up over not making the effort. Watch a boxset of crap and forget about yourself. Catch yourself in one of the characters and feel a punch in your stomach as you’re reminded about all your problems and flaws. Pull the duvet in, order a pizza, eat your feelings, feel good for a second, feel fat the next, throw the box at the wall. Promise yourself you’ll go for a run tomorrow. Lay out your trainers with a line up of all your best intentions.
It’s a cycle we know well. Don’t punish yourself for not going out in the first place. Let people know you’re being a hermit and that it’s not personal. Cook some nice food, watch a good film you’ve been meaning to see, record that ridiculous guitar solo. Make the most of hermit time and treat yourself well.
This too shall pass bitches. We’ve got this.
“Only last night I found myself lost / by the station called King's Cross. / Dead and wounded on either side / you know it's only a matter of time.” [Pet Shop Boys - Kings Cross] It’s the night after the play and I’m standing at the bar of ‘The Big Chill House’ on Pentonville Road in Kings Cross. It’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ (#TBT) and happy hour is definitely over.
Ceramics with charisma. Local pottery genius, Laura Bird has of course graced the digital pages of It’s Nice That, sold out in Anthropologie* and taken her seat at many a London ceramics stall since just recently starting her career in ceramics. It’s no surprise she is well loved: her unique and gentle humour exudes from every jar, planter and candlestick holder, adorned with cheeky expressions and impish grins.
Having worked in hospitality with a keen artist’s eye, the Arts Building knew Emma was perfect to take over the space. They were after a morning to night eatery for the neighbourhood, one for local residents and workers alike. Knowing the street’s reputation as a bit of a foodie strip, the menu had to be up to scratch for it’s discerning super-taster of a community. Yes, we’re a hungry bunch in Stroud Green.
At the time of writing this the menu has just been released for Food by Feast’s new supper club. I imagine, however, that by the time you read this every dining space will be swiftly filled. If you aren’t acquainted with the duo yet (tsk), they’re the genius collaboration of Cordon Bleu chef and food writer Olivia Potts and Guardian food writer and cook, Kate Young. Having successfully completed the likes of a Gilmore Girls supper club to rapturous applause and smacking lips recently, the latest menu experience is Twin Peaks inspired and looks equally witty and delectable.
Sound healing in Stoke Newington. This Thursday 18th May, The Mystery School of Sound are running a de-stress gong bath experience in Stoke Newington Ramadan Mosque. Alongside guided meditation, healing process and gong performace, you’ll get a mini intro to healing traditions of the druids and hermetic teaching.
Patron Cave a Manger’s pop up cinema are shacking up at The Rose and Crown in Kentish Town to screen The Artist. Soak up the atmoshpere of the Festival du Cannes with swanky popcorn and elegant cocktails. Get red carpet ready for this special screening of The Artist - the ridiculously popular award winning silent French film that everyone fell in love with.
Unfortunately rising rents are affecting community spaces in Stoke Newington and their availability. St Mary’s Centre currently provides a space for projects including the Foodbank, Hackney Migrants centre and the Night Shelter but they're at risk of losing their space. To help raise funds to redevelop the space and increase awareness, they are organising a weekend food market in Stokey. The pop-up food market is a launch event for their huge fundraising drive to rebuild the community rooms attached to St Mary's Church in Stoke Newington.
Healthy chocolate mousse and sexing up your smoothie with Kate Oates. We have found ourselves a yoga guru in Kate Oates, a healthtastic yogi based in Crouch End. When we met her last year she hinted at a few of her own culinary creations and boy were we intrigued. Asking for an exclusive recipe for you health conscious readers, we received a taste sensation of an idea for chocolate breakfast.
“All My Single Cylinders, All My Single Cylinders”. Two girls, sick to the back teeth of Tindering and Bumbling about the bars of London, decided to create their own speed dating night. Involved in the biker community of East London they have created a special series of nights combining live music, motorbikes and speed dates. Bolt Motorbike Shop of Stoke Newington is their latest venue, providing a more intriguing backdrop for your date night and quashing the usual awkwardness of sparse, brightly lit speed dating scenarios. You can admire the motors, enjoy your free drinks and listen to some live music with some top notch handpicked company.
In case you’ve never had a piirakka, (also known as Karelian pasties, pies or pirogs) they’re a delicious Finnish treat that you need to try immediately. Whether savoury or sweet, they’re basically a light pastie made with rye flour and a pretty unique variety of filling options. Meet Aapo Nieminen, a native Finnish local who grew up with piirakka. After getting tired of asking friends and family to bring him these naughty little pasties whenever they visited he came up with a plan. “They are an important part of everyday finish life. One day I thought why not just make them yourself?”
The lycra is optional. Coffee however, isn't. On Friday 197 cyclists descended on Sardinia to compete in the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia. For those of you that don't have wardrobes filled with lycra you might never of heard of it but Think Tour d'France but in Italy. Still drawing a blank?
Naked Dough have appeared like a pair of beautiful fairy godmothers to lead me to an actual edible cookie dough dance party. Plus they didn’t even tell me what I should wear, they genuinely don’t care. Naked Dough is a new restaurant serving edible cookie dough from tubs, cones and even carry home pots. The ingredients are raw egg free and the flour is heat-treated so you need not worry-like-Edwina-Currie about salmonella and stomach bloat (unless you’re gluten free of course. In which case I’m sorry you’ve stumbled upon this torture page of an article).
Ten years ago MINT Vintage first opened in Covent Garden before moving on to the more creative surrounds of Stoke Newington, pioneering fashion forward vintage. Every piece is hand selected and sourced from all over the world, ensuring every garment is trend driven but timeless and always unique. This May they’ve decided to transform their world in to an “oops we were trying to make corduroy and came up with denim” dreamland*.
Finding myself wandering around Limehouse Basin craving a pint and perhaps even a slice of pizza, I needed to get home to my local Crate Brewery sharpish (they do the freshest craft beers and have award winning pizzas). But how to get there? Stumbling in to Limehouse Station and towards a huge sign saying CLOSED, I consider walking there instead. A short meander riverwards, I reach the canal and begin to notice a group of people donning chunky waistcoats stretching their arms around. I pause for a second, swaying slightly on the spot, watching this mesmerising circle of humans yielding huge double ended spoons.
"Ooh they’re doing a psych night at Moth Club Tina!” "What, again?” It’s a familiar sentence. Fast becoming a buzzword for young musos and Beyond Retro dwellers alike, psych music is no longer just for the suede fringed waistcoat wearing Acid Jazz lovers who curse their parents they weren’t born in 1966. No no. The psych music spectrum has spread it’s bendy wings and shaken off it’s lava lamp skin to embrace a whole host of musical genres. From William Burroughs to Pet Sounds to Thee Oh Sees, the genre’s had a birth, decline and resurgence. Nambucca in Finsbury Park are totally capitalising on this revival with their new monthly night, SIKE! This Thursday 11th May, they’re bringing four different acts who are all covering different elements of the psych scene.
Back in 2014 The Good Egg was hatched, mixing Californian sunshine with Tel Aviv traditions to bring one heck of a menu to Stoke Newington. Food critics, instagrammers and swathes of Stokey baby holders flocked to it’s doors to get stuck in to the Jerusalem breakfast, merguez sausage and indeed eggs washed down with spicy brunch cocktails.