wish I could tell you when it happened, but it seemed to occur all of a sudden. One month, nothing, and the next: a whole new city to discover.
Norwich, dear sweet little Norwich, got…cool.
Somewhere between then and now, grotty little shop fronts gave way to swanky barbers and coffee shops, and people started talking about where’s good for brunch. All the boys grew beards and got undercuts. Food started being served on slates and wooden boards. Pockets of the city became like London, full of independents and entrepreneurship, but without the tourists and grime.
But it’s not the first time Norwich has had excellent food. Read More
orwich, my darling hometown, is a weird and beautiful little jigsaw of terrible 1960s architecture and hidden cobbled streets, of modern malls just a hop, skip, and a jump away from a cathedral and a castle. It’s cute independents and funny accents and surprises at every turn. It’s not really home anymore, but it’s still a sanctuary, only two hours and yet a whole world away from London. And next month, it’s going to be even better, as it hosts a chocolate festival.
It’s easy to miss the hints these days, now that Norwich is known more for mustard and popping in and out of the Premier League, but for 100 years Norwich produced chocolate which rivalled Swiss products and was sent to British troops on the frontline during the First World War. The first Rolos, Munchies, and Caramacs even dropped off the belts at the Chapelfield factory, which changed hands from Caley’s, to The African and Eastern Trade Corporation, then to John Mackintosh & Sons, and finally to Nestle, in the 1980s.
Caley’s is still going to this day, 158 years after Albert Jarman Caley opened a chemist’s business in London Street, but for two days the city will also play host to chocolatiers from across the UK and the world, championing not just quality but also Fairtrade, vegan, and free-from treats. Read More
made the mistake a couple of months back of impulse buying a book while on a Sunday mooch around the city. I do this quite a lot, but it’s rarely a mistake (I said rarely. Looking at you, Cloud Atlas). But, having wandered into Angel after a visit to the Ray Stitch haberdashery, the lures of Waterstones and coffee were too strong and I ended up walking out with the London Coffee Guide*.
You know what’s in the London Coffee Guide? Recommendations, broken down by area.
You know what’s abundant on the internet for free? Recommendations, broken down by area, with loads of photos and personal notes.
As much as it kills me to admit that a book might have been made a touch redundant by the wealth of information online, it’s true in this case. So, here’s a few of my favourite ways to find out about London’s best coffee shops. Bring on the flat whites, chilled out music, and cosy nooks. Read More
ancakes and waffles and bacon and toast and granola. Coffee and hot chocolate and a cheeky glass of fizzy. Brunch, the meal-between-meals, has crept into the hearts of Britons, years after it became a ‘thing’ in America and not a moment too soon. London’s Breakfast Club has long been the sweetheart of pancake aficionados in the capital, but these days cafes catering for this almost-meal are springing up around the country, often in the form of Bill’s or Patisserie Valerie. As it’s become a cultural phenomenon in itself, a symptom of a desire to show class status, whether it’s through getting smashed on prosecco at 11am or being dedicated enough to wait more than an hour just to sit down, a backlash has even started.
But let’s face it – it’s the ultimate diverse meal, a no-rules affair that let’s you go savoury, sweet, or that excellent mix of both. It’s a relaxed couple of hours with friends, not over cocktails in a noisy bar, but over coffees. You don’t have to get up early for it, and leaves enough of the day spare that you can crawl back into your pajamas to binge on Netflix if you want to. And when the economy is still struggling, it’s a little indulgence that stops short of costing the £40 you could easily spend on lunch. Why would you not love brunch?
On Sophie’s (The Cake Hunter) recommendation, the morning after her wedding, Em (Mbakes) and I headed to Moose Coffee in central Manchester for brunch before embarking on the long drive back to London (shout out to Em’s boyfriend for being an absolute gem and driving the whole way). And, um, I think I need to go back to Manchester just to go there again. Read More