Top Four 'I'll Do It My Way' January Plans
Written by: Sophie Taylor
New year, new you? Or have you ripped up your resolutions and realised you’re fantastic just the way you are?
Now that January is here and we’ve dragged our lumpy bums back into the office, let’s celebrate our own uniqueness.
Here’s our top four suggestions to celebrate January in your own way.
Chinese New Year
The usual: Walking slowly amongst the throng on the streets of Chinatown, Soho with an overpriced oyster pail of sweet n sour pork balls.
North Four alternative: Of course, you could frequent one of the many delectable Chinese restaurants in North London (Honeymoon in Crouch Hill anyone?) but you will need to book ahead. Instead, why not avoid the crowds and order in from the msg free Zing Zing on Blackstock Road or from top rated and cheap Fortune Express in Tufnell Park. Then, if you’re attempting a spot of light cultural appropriation here, get on board with the philosophy behind the year of the Rooster. It’s all about being observant, frank, ambitious and confident. Divas rejoice. Throw on some red for good luck and embody the little red rooster inside with a Mick Jagger strut down your local, then learn how to say happy new year in Cantonese (“San Nin Faai Lok”) and Mandarin (“Xin Nian Kuai Le”) if you don’t already.
The usual: Quote Auld Lang Syne incorrectly, eat some undercooked haggis, do the Ceilidh badly in a kilt, fall over.
North Four alternative: It’s Robert Burns birthday. I reckon he’d be pretty chuffed that people are still celebrating it at all, never mind getting it all a bit wrong. Let Narrow Boat events help you commemorate the poet properly and have your night catered for on the canal in Angel. There’ll be a five course banquet meal, whiskey sampling, the traditional ode to Robert Burns and proper Scottish short breads gift bags. Get more info and enquire at firstname.lastname@example.org
If drinking whisky on water isn’t your thing, Bourne and Hollingsworth, Islington are putting on the whole Burns night shebang complete with piper, recitals and dancing.
London Boat Show
The usual: Look at 400 boats in the ExCel centre over a period of 10 days. Get excited. Remember you can’t afford rent never mind boat. Get sea sick.
North Four alternative: Get a real taste of the sea in North London with a hearty fish and chips supper. Try Toffs in Muswell Hill for award winning haddock from these National Federation of Fish Fryers members.
38 Muswell Hill Broadway N10 3RT, 020 8883 8656.
Or how about a salty feast in Islington from Des McDonald at vintagesalt.co.uk You can choose from rock oysters to shrimp burgers and wash it down with happy hour cocktails (5-7pm if you must know).
198 Upper Street N1 IRQ, 020 3227 0979
The usual: Fall over in astonishment at the Central London prices of novelty hot alcohol. Fall over again on your arse, spilling said hot novelty over yourself.
North Four alternative: Alexandra Palace ice rink, of course. It’s often overshadowed this time of year by all the other rinks opening with festive cheer, only to close again as soon as you’ve mastered the art of staying upright. But Ally Pally ice rink is open all year round, every day, offering reasonably priced lessons and courses. Become the backwards skating, spin jumping Jane Torville you always secretly hoped you were.
Test the waters and get booked!
“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.