Tag Archives: transportation

Sherlock Holmes and the vilest alleys in London

I’ve been reading The Best of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of short stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that were first published in The Strand Magazine.

This short passage in The Copper Beeches that describes the Hampshire countryside caught my attention:

‘Do you know, Watson,’ said he, ‘that it is one of the curses of a mind with a turn like mine that I must look at everything with reference to my own special subject. You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of their isolation, and of the impunity with which crime may be committed there.’

‘Good heavens!’ I cried. ‘Who would associate crime with these dear old homesteads?’

‘They always fill me with a certain horror. It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.’

Nowhere is safer to me than a busy London street full of strangers whilst the thought of walking alone in a quiet village fills me with fear. Naturally a number of people I have discussed this with have said the opposite!

Holland Park London

Sunday Selection

Holland Park London

Happy Sunday everyone! This weekend has been wonderful, mostly because the sun has been shining the whole weekend in London and I can’t remember the last time that happened.

Today I finally got my wish – an afternoon in one of London’s finest parks with an impromptu picnic and the Sunday papers. I also treated myself to a new bag and it went on its first outing today. I finally spent some money I got at xmas!

Pretty stuff aside, here are a few things I’ve seen this week:

Still have stacks of cassettes you can’t bear to part with? Put them to good use.

Like horror? Try this new book (by an author I went to University with – well done Tom!)

This definitely has the potential for everyday wear.

A simple recipe for espresso granita.

And a round-up of the London is for Living blogs this week:

VOC, Kings Cross

Short Imagined Monologues – I’m Comic Sans

Have a great week! Carla x

A History of New York in 50 Objects

I romanticise New York all out of proportion. So much so that I dedicated a large chunk of my studies to the city as it fascinates and excites me. When I was younger there was no where else that I wanted to live.

As I’ve grown older and wiser my love for the city has started to fade. I’d like to visit again, but it is no longer at the top of my list. As for living there… well, I think London is more suited to my tastes. Which is just as well as I love my life in London and why risk trading that for the fantasy of a place I barely know?

Anyway, romanticism aside, I found this History of New York in 50 Objects in my bookmarks and thought I would share.

From the Mastodon Tusk (11,000 B.C.) to the Bagel (early 1900s) and the Levittown House (1947) this is a must-read for anyone interested in cities.

Which of the objects do you think screams ‘New York’ the loudest?

My Twinterview with London Living

Last week I participated in a ‘Twinterview’ with London Living (not to be confused with London is Living, which is me). It was great fun and I got to talk about my favourite areas, pubs and places in London.

All the questions and answers are published on London Living but here is the bulk of the interview. Let me know if you agree / disagree with my suggestions!

Q1. Hello @londonisliving! First up – you live and work in North London but what do you love most about the area?

@EastVillageLDN good question – I think I have to say the numerous independent shops and restaurants that are a hub for the local community

Q2. We’ve seen you’re the lucky owner of a famous Blue Peter Badge! May we ask just how you acquired such a prized possession, londonisliving?

It’s classified information I’m afraid but sticky back plastic obviously played a part!

Q3. Ha ha! Okay, what’s on your London to-do list over the next few months, londonisliving?

I’m looking forward to the Lowry exhibition at the Tate and Murder in the Library at the British Library

Q4. Sounds good, londonisliving! Leaving London aside for a minute, where’s your favourite foreign city and why do you love it?

Istanbul – it’s hip and happening, has an incredible history and the architecture is beautiful. The food is great too!

Q5. Would love to go, londonisliving! You blog about cooking – which London restaurant is really floating your boat at the moment?

Ciao Bella (Bloomsbury) for Italian,Jose_Pizarro (Bermondsey) for tapas & I really need to try steak at HawksmoorLondon!

Q6. A fantastic range! Looks like you’re big on design too; know any good second hand furniture joints / design exhibitions on, londonisliving?

Local boot sales are great for bargain buys – they get your imagination going too.

Q7. On the subject of secret stuff, where’s your favourite secret London gem,londonisliving? It can be anything!

It’s probably the worst kept ‘secret’ London gem, but the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice in Postman’s Park is lovely.

Q8. We’ve not been yet! The Faltering Fullback in Finsbury Park is a great North London pub, but where’s your favourite boozer, londonisliving?

Heading towards your way I like The Hemingway Pub in Hackney for post Victoria Park picnic drinks in the summer

Q9. Great shout! Where’s your favourite London venue for a live gig / boogie afterwards, londonisliving?

I’m cheating because I’ve never been, but I reckon UnionChapelUK would beat all mainstream venues easily.

Q10. And finally, tell us what your favourite London Is For Living blog post is and why, londonisliving?

My Japanese food feast as it took ages to make http://bit.ly/140CyET & this sign as it makes me giggle! http://bit.ly/Tg6wTn 

east village london

I’m London Living’s Pick of the Week!

east village london

Image: East Village London

After a ridiculously long journey to work (2 hours instead of 10 minutes on the train) my day could only get better. And it did!

I work for a great company who bring a masseuse to the office once a month for us all to enjoy a massage. And today, thankfully, was massage day! So after a stressful start I actually ended up nice and relaxed by the time I dived into my work.

Taking a brief break to check my personal Twitter profile, I saw a lovely tweet from the kind folk over at East Village London. They told me to check out their most recent article where I am featured as their Twitter profile of the week.

Our Twitter profile of the week goes to North London blogger, Carla B, author of blog London is for living. Tweeting about property, pubs, culture and more general London stuff, Carla is well worth a follow if you’re keen to find out more about our city. And she’s even the holder of a legendary Blue Peter badge!

I’m participating in a Twinterview with them tomorrow from 3pm, so catch it live if you can (but you will find all my answers on my Twitter feed afterwards too).

FYI – the postcode for East Village London is E20. This is a new postcode created for the site of the 2012 Olympics, but might be familiar to those of you who watch Eastenders as the postcode for Walford!


Sorry for the hiatus – I’ve been travelling to the exotic, exciting, cultural, incredible and beautiful city of Istanbul! Can you tell that I loved it?!

We were there for a week but still needed much more time to explore the historic city. There will be a post to come with pictures and I’m also thinking of putting together a travel guide blog post to Istanbul based on our time there.

There is so much to see and do in Istanbul; from the historic palaces, Ottoman influences and stunning mosques to the modern museums, independent shops and incredible restaurants, diversity and adventure is guaranteed.

I’ll be back on the blogging bandwagon in the next couple of days, but don’t forget to name your dream London location to win £200 to spend in London in the meantime. You can also check out a guest post from Hilary Osborne about her London life, guiding you through what Tottenham Borders can offer.

Guest post: Hilary Osborne – Tottenham Borders

Thanks to Hilary Osborne for writing a guest post about the patch of London she calls home. As the Editor of guardian.co.uk/money, you may know her from such stories as ‘House prices rise’ and ‘Shock fall in house prices’. I took that from her Twitter bio because it makes me laugh… follow Hilary on Twitter @hilaryosborne.

Tottenham borders is a phrase unlikely to be used by estate agents any time soon – they prefer to herald proximity to Turnpike Lane station and talk of tree-lined roads – but it’s the best way I have to describe the part of N22 I now call home. It’s just north of South Tottenham (or Soto as I’m led to believe it is known to some) and just south of Noel Park (Nopa anyone?); to the west of N17 and to the east of Turnpike Lane tube. The population spans the generations and seem to have made it here from all over the place. And once they get here, they seem to stay.

I had to think very carefully before upping sticks and making the move here from my old manor – a place that I had lived in and loved dearly for 10 years. I could make the walk from my flat to the train station with my eyes closed, I could trust the men who ran the local corner shop to watch my baby as I ran to the back of the shop to fetch a bottle of milk – I even knew some of my neighbours to speak to. Moving seemed a wrench but we wanted more space and the houses there cost upwards of £400,000. It was with a heavy heart that I waved off the removal van on its journey to my new property, some 1.2 miles away.

Anyone outside the capital would snort at the thought of that kind of distance making a difference, but you know how it is in London. When I swapped life in N8 for the other side of Green Lanes I was moving to an area with a completely different feeling and I was genuinely worried I would not like it nearly as much. Fortunately the past 10 months have shown me that life is beautiful in the Belmont CPZ.

Picture a place where terraces of late-1920s houses sweep down from roads of sturdy Victorian villas. Where all the homes have neat front gardens, and old men stand out in the sunshine painting their front gates. Where local shops (like Ordu-One) charge less than Tesco for chickpeas and Halloumi, a proper newsagent sells comics and the kind of old-fashioned greetings cards you actually do need to buy sometimes for elderly relatives, and there’s even a brand new Sainsbury’s Local in case you really do want to earn Nectar points on everything you buy. Where you don’t need parking permits on a Saturday so people can drive over to visit. Sounds like the stuff of dreams, doesn’t it? And I haven’t even mentioned the parks …

The sprawling Lordship Rec (technically just inside Tottenham) has just had £5m spent on it, a fact celebrated in September with a big festival. The makeover included the restoration of its Model Traffic Area – a faux-road system which children can use to practice riding bikes and scooters which apparently made the national papers when it first opened in 1938. It also brought some new bridges over the River Moselle which runs through the park and a new eco-building which will apparently one day be a cafe and environment centre.

The park is part of a route my friend Emily calls the ‘Three parks walk’. It’s not strenuous enough to earn you sponsorship, unless you are under five, but is great for pram-pushing mums and scootering toddlers. The walk takes in Downhills park, just across the road from Lordship Rec, then sweeps back to Belmont Rec.

This is the site of Belmont Junior School and nursery. The school, which was rated outstanding by Ofsted, has recently been a battleground for parents after the council decided it needed to expand to cater for Haringey’s recent baby boom. A campaign by parents seems to have brought a halt to the plans, but Haringey council says it will appeal. It’s seems unlikely that the fight is over yet.

So we have great shops, parks, and a great school, and some local controversy, but I will admit that we do have to travel a little way for culture. Not far though: Turnpike Lane now boasts art by creators of international renown – not many places can say they have a Shepard Fairey mural and that there’s the Banksy on the side of their Poundland. Moreover actual famous authors come to the local Big Green Bookshop (it’s even played host to the Gruffalo). And if you want local history you can head the other way to Bruce Castle Museum.

To be honest, there’s no great local pubs – you need to hike down to the Salisbury on Green Lanes or head up to Hornsey or Crouch End. For food it’s also a bit of a walk – either across the parks to The Banc on West Green Road or onto Turnpike Lane for the legendary Jashan. Unless of course you invest in a takeaway and a bottle of wine from the shop – why on earth leave Tottenham borders if you don’t have to?