Exploring Chatsworth Road – Spar

I live in an interesting area. East London is filled with gentrification but there is such a mix of cultures and walks of life.


Spar is a supermarket you imagine to be full or bargains and cheap things. Spar in Homerton is the opposite – it is a trendy East London paradise. It is filled with lots of treasures and has lots going on. It was described by a friend of mine as a bit like Whole Foods and I can see why.


The produce has mixtures of Spar products and other local businesses. You will find coffee, peanut butter and other things all made in East London! Eat 17, based in both Homerton and Walthamstow originally had a restaurant above their supermarkets. They created Bacon Jam and sell a few different types in store. It’s always pretty popular.


Fancy some coffee? You can grab some to go. Need a quick dinner? There is lots on offer. Spar Eat 17 have their own ready meals that are a little fancier. They also sell Cook which is the company that pre-makes meals and all you need to do is warm them up.

The butchers on the left hand side has a extensive range of meats to choose from. It might be a little more expensive than what you would get in a supermarket but the difference in quality is obvious. Chicken breasts can be shared for two people due to their size so they go further.


If you fancy a quick hot meal then you can order burgers at the til and eat them there. There is even the option of a rotisserie chicken to take home!  Beer selection is a mixture from across the UK wth lots from London. You can even grab a beer to wash your burger down!


Think all of this was enough? Well Rebel Rebel florists greet you as soon as you walk in, making the whole place seem so vibrant! If you wander upstairs you will find the Castle Cinema, which has recently opened it’s doors after a crowd funded campign to re open the cinema as it was one a long time ago.

A Trip To Biscuiteers

If you follow bloggers on Instagram, you will have probably seen the perfectly iced biscuits form Biscuiteers sent as gifts or attached to press packs. I found them purely by accident online and have been a little obsessed ever since.


I ordered my dad a Batman themed box of iced biscuits for Father’s Day and booked an afternoon tea in the cafe as a joint Mothers Day and birthday present for my mum. We headed to the Portobello road to have a wander before getting to the cafe itself.

The whole place is bright and colourful with pom-poms attached everywhere as well as every kind of biscuit you could imagine. It had a really cosy feel to it as places to sit were on the side of the counter and outside. We sat down at our table with red and white crockery and were given a pot of English Breakfast tea.


We then had a cake stand put down on the table filled with treats. On the sandwich tier there was cucumber and cream cheese, cheese and chutney as well as smoked salmon. It then had the tier with salted caramel brownies, macaroons, white chocolate and passionfruit cakes, fruit tarts, Victoria sponges and iced biscuits. There was so much colour and flavour on the plate! We tucked in and the scones turned up!

Everything was delicious without being overly sweet. There was so much food, I left a fair amount which was put into two “doggy bags” for us to take home. The Victoria sponge and the salted caramel brownie were absolutely incredible (SO good).


Once we finished tea, we went to look at the biscuits so we could take some home. I picked a selection so I got a gingerbread, chocolate and vanilla. I spent ages trying to find the perfect ones. I am definitely going to get gifts for different occasions! It’s nice to see so much effort and time to be put into something – especially when it is going to taste great!

Networking At Cosmo’s Self Made Summit

When you think of Cosmopolitan magazine you might still think of pages full of sex tips and advice on “How To Please Your Man” but that is a thing of the past. Gone are the racy pages and you’ll see more about issues that are relatable. This would be things that you feel are really aimed at you. With the main audience being 29 or younger (amongst others), jobs and careers will be a popular factor. With cracking a career that is right for you in the current climate, they hit the nail of the head with their Self Made Summit. I headed to County Hall last Saturday.


The day started with registration and breakfast. We then had an introduction to the day by Farrah Storr, the editor of Cosmo. The first keynote speaker was Olivia Palermo, who you might recognise from reality show The City but she is a key influencer in fashion. She spoke about how she works, how much detail goes into her website, social media etc and gave out advice.


There were 3 sessions for everyone at the summit. The first I went to was “Make Me Famous: The Power Of Social Media To Launch a brand. The speakers were Hugo Taylor, Made In Chelsea Star turned business owner of Taylor Morris London, Alice Liveing founder of Clean Eating Alice, Youtuber, blogger and writer Louise Pentland and Jess Ronan, the Head Of Small Business at Instagram. It was interesting to see how people started and how they control their social channels. It was really interesting to hear from someone who worked for Instagram as it is seen as one of the most powerful social media channels.


The second session I went to was From Blog To Brand. The speakers were Rosie Fortescue from Made In Chelsea and owns her own jewellery line, Sam Chapman from Pixiwoo who you will recognise from Youtube and as an owner of Real Techniques brushes, Vlogger Fleur De Force and Sedge Beswick, the managing director of SeenConnects. Sam, Fleur and Rosie have used their blogs and websites to launch a career, build a brand and assist with social media and content. There was a mix of planning and those who post when they have something to post.


Lunch was such a pleasant surprise! I was expecting sandwiches and nibbles but instead got a bento box with lemon chicken, salmon, spiralised veg, potato cakes with haloumi and olives. It was all delicious, light and helped make the day feel special. If you wanted to feel even more special, there was lots going on to pamper you. There were hair stylists on hand, you could get HD Brows, get a manicure, get your make up done and more! If you wanted a decent headshot you could get some for free! There was even an option to get a monogrammed leather purse from Mon Purse!

The second keynote of the day was Katherine Ryan. She spoke of the struggle she had when first starting out and how she worked hard to get to where she was.


The third session of the day was “Turning Your Hobby Into Your Dream Job” with Alfie Deyes. You might know him as PointlessBlog and boyfriend of fellow YouTuber Zoe Sugg (Zoella). I myself am a big fan of PointlessBlog and other YouTubers so I was excited to hear him talk. He spoke about how he started and how he copes with the work, the fame and how to handle it. I may have shamelessly gone and asked for a selfie at the end but I truly admire someone who puts their life out there so publicly.


The overall thoughts of the day was positive. I met some great people, made friends and networked. I got to hear from some people I really admired. The speakers that made my day were Sam Chapman and Louise Pentland. They were down to earth and came across as so friendly and lovely. Louise is a massive inspiration to me, working hard, keeping a work/life balance and writing a book. Ultimately that would be my aim.


I am so happy I went to the Self Made Summit and I would urge people to check out Cosmo events. As well as all the amenities, the great goody bag and food – I met fabulous people and got a lot of it. THAT is how you host an event!

Being A Tourist In My Own City – London

I have a love/hate relationship with London. Being from the outskirts, I am used to the tube, the sights and everything in between.

Working in Soho means I usually steer clear of central on a weekend all together. If possible, I try and stay in Hackney, going as far as Liverpool Street.

When we have family visiting, it’s usually a time that we can see a few sights. This weekend was no exception.

We did the classics; Borough Market, Tower Bridge, The Southbank, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Covent Garden. Sounds like a lot for one day but not all that far from one another.

It was nice to see London through a tourists eye. To be honest, I can walk through these places so quickly because I have seen it all before. London really is beautiful and it’s so easy to take it for granted.

The Southbank is one of my favourite places in London. It may be touristy but it feels laid back. There’s kids running around, tourists taking pictures, music playing and incredible views.

When you are next in the city, take a second to look up at some of the great buildings and architecture. It’s the true heart of London that can take your breath away!

Saturday Afternoons In Borough Market

Borough Market is an institution. The famous food market is always busy and has a great selection of food, drink and produce.

We ventured over on a busy Saturday to window shop and take in all of the sights and the smells.


There is so much to see it can be a little overwhelming.The hot food stalls are all on one side and it means that it can be reaaaaaaaallly busy. We tried some scotch eggs from Scotch Tails but didn’t have space to take a picture!


If you haven’t been before I would recommend trying a few bits! Bread Ahead have a stall further into the market. You’ve probably seen pictures on Instagram of their INSANELY good doughnuts.

If you are a fan of spicy then Pimento Hill does some delicious Scotch Bonnet Chilli Jam. You will get some testers to try before you buy too! Spice Mountain has all of the spices, salts and peppers you will ever need!


We headed to Neal’s Yard to try some cheese. After going to Clove Club in Shoreditch and trying the tasting menu, they had some incredible goats cheese from Neals Yard. We tried some in store and it was so good. We took some home with us. The huge blocks of cheese don’t even look real and the whole room is full of all of the cheese you can imagine.


3bis Gelato is right next door to Neals Yard. As it was getting a little warmer as we are falling into spring, we decided to share a tub. Chocolate sauce is drizzled underneath and topped with the ice cream of your choice. There are a small selection of flavours to choose from but they all look so tasty.

Buying lots from Borough Market can get expensive Take a friend to share bigger dishes and wander round getting all the tasters you can stomach!

The Trials Of The London Commute

Living in London can mean that life is one big blur of business. As someone who has always lived in some part of the Capital, I have somewhat been used to it. There are good points, like the sheer amount of great bars and restaurants on offer. There is also art, culture and everything in between.

If you work in London then you are likely to get a higher wage than that out of the capital and there are many more opportunities. However, out of all of the good points of London there is one bad. It is the one that can ruin your day and your mood and ultimately be one of the most stressful environments to be around. Travelling in rush hour or the morning and evening commute to work is an absolute killer.

I don’t think it is anything you can get used to. I have been travelling in and out of London on the tube and the overground for most of my life and I still find myself completely overwhelmed some days, like I found myself today.

I live in Hackney, which means I rely on the London Overground and the tube to get me to work in Soho. My journey tonight took me two hours, something which on a good day can take 45 minutes door to door. Unfortunately I hit two of the most busy stations at that time – Oxford Circus and Highbury & Islington. My journey today ended up in a uber home, so you can tell it wasn’t the best.

I have a lot of pet peeves about the tube and a commute. I find that a lot of people become utter arseholes and the whole experience can be awful. No one needs to have someones bum rubbing against their own do they? I absolutely hate people’s hair touching me too. People get in my way so I move because they are too close only for them to move into the space i created to make it worse. Little things like this happen daily. It is annoying but I can just about deal with it.

Getting on a train has become quite a scary obstacle. If you are commute savvy then you will know that if you don’t get yourself to the edge of the platform then it is likely you wont get on the train. I have pretty bad anxiety over this as I stand there thinking about the fact that someone could get pushed forward and then you’ll be on the tracks. It doesn’t help that stops like Oxford Circus get so windy you feel like you are in the scene of Bridget Jones’s Diary when she’s in the car on the way to her dirty weekend with Daniel Cleaver. After all that, you get crushed onto a packed train, with no one waiting for people to get off and being pushed and shoved and ending up in an awkwardly bent position til it’s your stop and you get spat out like an olive pit.

London can be absolutely incredible, but a commute can kill the soul and slowly drain even the truest of Londoner’s patience. Maybe this is why so many millenials choose to work as a freelancer to avoid putting themselves through the pain and torture of the overground.

So, if you catch yourself on a train at 8.30 in the morning, there’s a few do’s and don’ts to stand you in good stead;

  • DON’T have your music so loud it can be heard through your shitty tinny headphones
  • DON’T lean on a pole and have it stick in between your arse cheeks – it is for people to hold on to
  • DO let people off the train before you swarm on. You get annoyed if it is the other way around
  • DO let pregnant women sit down. I have seen people refuse
  • DO let people sit down if they have lots of bags on them or don’t look very well
  • DON’T flick your hair in peoples faces or on their hand (I am sure I am not the only one who hates this)
  • DON’T look annoyed when people try to hold on to something
  • DON’T eat smelly food, especially when it is busy. Fried chicken, smelly crisps and tuna sandwiches are a big fat NO
  • DON’T feel someone up just because it is busy and you think you can get away with it (this is a completely other issue but relevant nonetheless)
  • DON’T talk over peoples heads, its rude
  • DON’T talk to someone on the phone and say the phrase “I’m just on the train” because it is incredibly fucking annoying
  • DO have your ticket or oyster card ready at the exit rather than stop and get in everyones way

 

There is probably a lot more to be added, but you get the jist. Trasnport rants can happen anywhere but I don’t think anything in the UK is quite like the London commute.

Rebecca x