All of the Flowers, All of the Time

I love flowers. I really do. Having fresh flowers in the house makes me about 72% happier. I keep a jar of flowers by my bed, so I can see them in the morning, before I have the chance to get grumpy. So I was pretty excited to be moving so close to Columbia Road’s famous flower market.

Of course, this excitement translated into me completely failing to go for my first six months in London. But this weekend, we finally made it!

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Gee, thanks cloudy sky for making all my photos totally blown out.

Picking Mother’s Day for our first visit probably wasn’t the best idea we’ve ever had. It was so completely packed that at points we literally just had to stand still and wait for the crowd in front of us to move. So that wasn’t ideal.

But the flowers. My lord, the flowers. They erupted in every colour from every direction, and the air was filled with the most incredible scents. I could get drunk on the smell of jasmine, it’s so damn beautiful.

columbia road flower market columbia road flower market columbia road flower marketI think my favourite thing about the market was that, despite the fact that they were selling flowers, the sellers were such market sellers. They flirted, yelled and cajoled their way into any sale they could. They berated passers by who had empty hands or frowns on their faces. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen an enormous man holding up an orchid and bellowing “Cor, look at the size of this one! Three stems!” in a thick North London accent.

White roses were definitely flavour of the month, blooming from almost every stall, but no matter what your taste, I’d bet you’d find something you like. In fact, I was absolutely thrilled to find big bunches of white iris, my favourite flowers, which I can almost never find in florist shops. I took a bunch of white and a bunch of blue for my bedroom.

columbia road flower market columbia road flower marketThis day definitely didn’t showcase the market at its best. We probably picked the peak time of day, on the peak day of the year to go, so it was hard to get a proper look at the flower stalls. We got kind of swept along in the middle of a big crowd, having to crane our necks to get a look at the wares on show. And once we got to the end, it started to rain. Not ideal. But even at its worst, the flower market was pretty incredible. I’m a sucker for beautiful flowers, and it was pretty special to be completely surrounded by them. Not to mention the chintzy cafes and vintage stores that run up and down Columbia Road itself. I’m definitely going back, as soon as the weather picks up…and I might even make a habit of it. It might even be worth getting up early for.

columbia road flower market

Wintery Wanderings

Since I moved to London, Clissold Park has been one of my absolute favourite hangouts. Before I got my job, it was the perfect place to get out of my flat and out of my head for a while. Big enough to spend hours wandering around, and busy enough that you could people watch forever, it’s an amazing free place to hang about in London. I enjoyed sitting on the warm grass in the summertime, collecting the biggest conkers I’ve ever seen in autumn, and now that winter is here, the park’s charms haven’t lessened one little bit.

The butterfly dome is closed for the winter, but you better believe I’ll be first in line when it reopens, elbowing five year olds out of the way wherever necessary. The rest of the animals are still out and about though, with a whole family of fallow deer, if you’re looking to get Christmassy.

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I wish I could claim that I didn’t shout “BAMBIS! BAMBIS!” when I first saw these, but I cannot, in truth. The park boasts a pretty cafe in Clissold House, with a delicious looking selection of cakes, snacks and hot drinks. Wrap up warm, grab a cup of tea and sit outside if you can bear it…these early sunsets may be unwelcome, but those long winter shadows are beautiful.

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The park is also always full of the best dogs ever, so if you’re a dog person, get on down there immediately. Seriously, there was one wearing a Christmas jumper the other day. Top notch. Whether you’re out for romantic walks, with clasped gloved hands and cold nosed kisses, some end of year contemplation or just some excellent dog petting, Clissold Park is an amazing place to be. Besides, to get there, you pretty much have to walk up Stoke Newington’s glorious Church Street, which is constantly buzzing with vintage shops, pretty boutiques, cafes, florists and pop up fairs and markets. Just you try and walk down that street without popping in somewhere. God knows I can’t. And with christmas trees starting to pop up outside every florist, it makes for a very festive walk. I hear there’s a Christmas market on in the park this weekend…it’s beginning to look a lot like…