The Great British Brand Swap
Written by: Violet Myers
When was the last time KFC bought you a beer, Amazon helped you move or Google gave you a reach around? We’re guessing that, unless you’re George Osborne, never.
It’s been proved time and time again that big goliath brands are not really our friends, so why remain so loyal to them? Way back in 2012 it was revealed that Google, Starbucks and Amazon weren’t paying their fair share of tax in the UK. The good people of the UK were understandably outraged and yet their profits continue to rise, while the communities they exploit suffer.
We think that needless big brand loyalty is a bit sucky. Instead we want to encourage you smart cookies to support the reams of incredible, tax paying, local businesses we’re lucky enough to have here in North London. From your daily coffee to your weekly hangover cure, we show you how to dump big brands and get chummy with the locals…because, in the words of baggy trousered lady band All Saints: “I know where it’s at.”
The Krispy Kreme VS Glazed Doughnut from Bird
Those iconic glistening rings have ruined countless diets over the years, but maybe it’s time to let a new local lovely into your life and destroy those skinny jean dreams once and for all, with curves like this we say let them! Bird’s yeast risen bad boys are freshly hand prepared every day and change their glaze on the daily. Krispy who?
Bird, 81 Holloway Rd N7 8LT + 21-22 Chalk Farm Road NW1 8AG
The Starbuck’s Frappucino VS Iced Mocha from Coffee Circus
Starbucks has slowly transformed into a caffeinated McDonalds for adults. It’s fast, it’s easy, it almost entirely runs on the West’s addiction to processed sugar, which makes the famous iced Frappucino Starbuck’s equivilant to the Happy Meal. But the Frappucino isn’t the only ice queen that will be cooling us down this summer, Crouch End’s Coffee Circus is right on our doorstep and offers an iced mocha worth raising our blood sugar for. Add homemade vanilla syrup for an extra hit.
Coffee Circus, 136 Crouch Hill, N8 9DX
Subway VS Max’s ‘What Is Neil Gill’s Beef All About’
We’ve all been there: waiting in the Subway queue going over our order in our head, when we finally reach our turn and the bored looking, cap wearing sandwich ‘artist’ (this is literally what Subway calls their employees) looks at us expectantly. The pressure gets too much and we panic “olives!” we yell, “lots of olives! and… mayonnaise!” we don’t even like olives and we have a rare yet deadly allergy to mayo. Sometimes too much choice can be overwhelming, that’s why we’re sticking to local favourite Max’s for all of our sandwich needs. Try the braised beef with sauerkraut and creme fraiche, hold the mayo.
Max’s Sandwich Shop, 19 Crouch Hill, N4 4AP
Budweiser VS Gamma Ray from Beavertown
Binge drinking is as British as The Royal Family (BBC not OBE). Piling out of work with a couple of squashed sarnies, some overpriced strawberries and a six pack of beers to desperately squash into the 8 minutes of sunshine us Brits get over summer is not just a national tradition but a god given right! But instead of reaching for a Bud, why not support an awesome local business and kill your brain cells with Beavertown beer, which is brewed in our very own Tottenham Hale.
Beavertown Brewery, Tottenham Hale, N17 9QP
Pizza Hut VS the Al Capone from La Saporita
Pizza Hut for a nine year old is like frickin’ Vegas. There’s balloons, an unlimited ice cream factory, pots of spicy chilli corns you can double donkey dare your mates into snorting…heaven. As soon as you start paying to live in your own house the allure of this sticky tabled hell hole becomes a mystery. Yes the icecream is unlimited, but who’d want an endless supply of something that tastes like watered down cardboard? Save your bus money and walk leisurely to La Saporita, one of N4’s tastiest pizza places.
La Saporita, 174 Tollington Park, London N4 3AJ
Chipotle Burrito VS King Prawn Burrito from N4 Street Burrito
The American chain has snuck its way across the Atlantic and stuffed its monster wraps into our dainty British hands and we can’t get enough. Chipotle boasts an increasingly loyal fan base who’ll happily queue for their favourite fast food fix. We’ll be honest, the burritos are tasty, affordable and rather girthy (and we don’t love a bit of girth) but for the same price you could be wrapping your paws around Street N4’s equally well endowed treats. Plus Chipotle doesn’t offer a mouthwateringly good king prawn burrito, which has us waving our local flag once again!
Street N4, 8 Clifton Terrace, London N4 3JP
The McFlurry VS Chocolate Honeycomb from Udderlicious Ice Cream
God knows what could have been cultivating in McDonald’s big pot of McFlurry pieces over the years. Odd bits of sugary remnants, pulverised Smarties and limited edition ‘seized as ongoing evidence’ shards litter the tops of this tasteless ooze, so sweet it makes us miss Pizza Hut’s ice cream factory. Why not treat yourself to a scoop of Udderlicious’ udderly organic, udderly grown up chocolate honeycomb ice-cream? No pulverised nasties guaranteed!
Udderlicious Ice Cream, 187 Upper St, London, UK N1 1RQ
Photography + excessive gluttony + inventive use of props by: Mike Barry
By gum there are a lot of winter markets this year. Fueled by sickly sweet mulled wine and overpriced pulled pork sliders, we’ve managed to wade our way through the murky waters of winter markets and find some decent looking ones round this here part of town. Don’t let our Grinch-esq vibes put you off (I’m more of a Pancake Day person myself) because, if you’re into markets, you’ll probably like these. Read on, if you’re merrier than us.
Take a short walk along Finsbury Park’s own sunset strip and you’ll find MoseyHome, an interiors retailer and styling consultancy who have invited us to collaborate with them on an exciting new series titled 'Style My Shop', in which they invite some of London's most talented interiors experts to quite literally style their shop. Interiors porn at it's finest.
Why was the snowman sad? Because he had a meltdown. Much like us, every year, when winter comes. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we know Christmas is on its way. But hey, it’s not all bad – the events round this time of year can be pretty swell. So don your scarf-shawl-blanket and get your frolic on, it’s time for fairy lights, scarfing mulled wine and stuffing your face!
Touch, taste, smell, hear and create art. Smith & Sinclair, purveyors of the Edible Cocktail, presents The Flavour Gallery: a multi-sensory adventure that’ll seduce your senses and tickle your taste buds beyond all imagination. Ooh matron!
Brush the cobwebs off your sexy banana costume; it’s that time of year to make a tit of yourself in fancy dress again. We’ve rounded up the most spine-chilling Halloween happenings in North London and, trust us, they sound horrendous. Be afraid, be very afraid.
God bless the Queen... of Hoxton. Or, more specifically, their rooftop - which happens to be one of our favourites in this here city of London. These guys are well known for creating beautiful, seasonal pop-ups which have included the Nordic Viking themed 'Skye Halla' and the Neverland inspired 'Bangarang'. This winter make way for 'The Moroccan Medina', a sky high hideaway inspired by the romanticism of the beguiling ancient city of Marrakesh.
Next time you need a caffeine hit why not take it from a cup brewed from Jamaican beans grown under a canopy of rainforest-preserving trees, whilst eating a home made vegan banana bread as you sit among an array of sweetly scented blooms. Welcome to Mento, Finsbury Park.
Pilgrim, the newest kid to Hackney's pop-up scene, is a unique dining experience inspired by the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. This six course tasting menu includes regional dishes with a contemporary twist not yet seen before in London.
Recent times have seen an unnerving surge in right-wing politics. President Trump’s campaign to ‘make America great again’ saw him make the audacious promise to ‘build a wall’. France saw the uneasy ascent of Marine Le Pen’s National Front in its general elections and Germany’s AfD, (the first openly nationalist party in almost six decades) celebrated an unprecedented third place victory in its recent elections.
Summer is officially over. We're not sure it ever began in the first place. I guess that's one of the few downsides of living in London (other than crippling debt, tube strikes and Boris Johnson), but I digress... Magic Roundabout Old Street is raising the bar for winter, transforming the site into a tented, heated, 'Decades' inspired wonderland.
Guess who’s back, back again. Fat Macy’s back, tell a friend. No, really. Tell everyone about it. Fat Macy's supper club came back into our lives and this time around they had their Middle Eastern Feast on at the cute as a button Luminary Bakery in Stoke Newington, with a menu inspired by Ottolenghi and the #CookForSyria campaign.
Getting shouted at by a burly prison guard with a buzz cut and an offensively loud American accent isn't usually the way one wishes to begin one's night. Nevertheless, as I clamber into a very large (cheers guys) orange jumpsuit, the guard shoves a bottle of Conkers Gin wrapped in a thin towel (no fluffy Egyptian cotton here lads), into my now somewhat clammy hands. Whispering hastily at me to not get caught by the warden I'm ushered off in single file into the depths of Alcotraz.
If you haven’t heard the news yet, the world’s first black bookshop is back. Yes, after months of campaigning for funding and volunteers, New Beacon Books has reopened after threat of closure with a brand new refurb to boot. Established in 1966 by John La Rose and Sarah White, New Beacon Books is the UKs longest running independent bookshop specialising in African-Caribbean literature, cards and artwork.
London cocktail week is upon us. To be honest I can think of nothing worse than strapping on a wristband, carrying around a guidebook and queuing up for something that just needs to be brought to my sorry, tired old lips immediately. Apparently this year however, Drink Up London have released an app that eliminates all of the above nonsense. Get your ticket, download the app and get enjoying your £6 cocktails all week long. Just remember to flash your digital pass to the bartender first.