If you’re trying to figure out where to get a scrumptious Sunday roast, look no further than Leytonstone. I can recommend The Red Lion, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the tube station. The pub is big and beautiful, with a large outside space for when the weather allows, and the roast is excellent — even Rafael approves. If you arrive at 12pm you probably don’t need to book, but any time after 1pm I’d say booking is a must. Go there.
Whenever we have time (and aren’t too lazy), Nicklas and I like to take Rafael to have a little swim in the London Aquatics Centre. The facilities are excellent for families, with family changing rooms, dedicated space to park the buggy and training pool.
If the weather outside is kind, there are few places in London as nice to walk around with children as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Or you can have a cheeky Mexican lunch at Wahaca, or Italian at Jamie’s, in Westfield.
It was only in the last couple of months of my maternity leave that I found All You Read is Love, a super cool café in Leyonstone that has everything I could ask for: cocktails, wine, coffee, teas, cakes, biscuits, sandwiches and even books, if I’m that way inclined.
We go there often now. Sometimes for a tea or a coffee, sometimes for a cocktail or a beer. Rafael loves the little play area at the back, with Lego and children’s books. And it’s on the way to his nursery (a total coincidence…).
I bought an English copy of José Saramago’s “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ” for Nicklas there once — one of my two favourite books and one of my two favourite authors.
Our fingers are crossed for more places like this to open in Leytonstone and in Leyton, but in the meantime, we have everything we need over on the side of the train tracks.
I never thought I’d have a car in London. The public transport network is good enough that you can get pretty much anywhere you need to, and the expenses that come with having a car (maintenance, insurance, parking) don’t appeal to me. I didn’t even want a car when Rafael was born: he came home from hospital in his buggy, on the bus.
But there were some annoyances: we missed a GP appointment once because we were so late getting ready to leave the house, trips to IKEA took forever with getting there by public transport and then either having to pay for a taxi to get us back home or carrying all our shop on the bus, and visits to the hospital always meant paying and waiting for taxis. No fun.
It all changed last Christmas: a friend lent us his car while he was travelling over the holidays. I realised how much you can do at the weekend when you’re not taking buses everywhere. We didn’t have to choose just one thing to do: we could go out for lunch, do the grocery shop and pick up a Christmas tree. All on the same day! What a novel concept that was to me.
Then out friend didn’t want his car back (thank you!), so now we do own a car. And we’re quite pleased about it.
After 25 days away, we’re back home, ready to start the next chapter: I’m going back to work and Rafael is starting nursery soon.
My parents travelled with us from Portugal, so we’ve been spending these last few free days walking around town. And such a beautiful town it is. I feel so lucky to be able to call London home.
I rarely miss a Vintage Furniture Flea in Bethnal Green. They happen about every 3 months and you pay £2 to get in (£3 if you want to get in half an hour earlier, which I always do).
I thought I was going to miss one last year, which was only a couple of days after my son’s due date, but he was 6 weeks early, so we managed to not miss it and he’s been coming with us since he was super tiny.
Lately we haven’t purchased anything (apart from delicious cake), but we’ve found some great gems before — cheap and beautiful — and always arrive with a mental wishlist of things we want/need. Arriving early means we have time to quickly go around the hall once or twice and spot any interesting stuff before the crowds arrive — and it can get very busy.
The next one is on the 6th of September, and you can check other dates and locations on their site. I’ll be there!
My son is now over 9 months old, even by his corrected age, so naturally my husband was itching to take him out on his bike. The first bike seat we tried didn’t work out: he seems to fall asleep the minute they start riding and the seat didn’t have a headrest, so now we’ve purchased a more nap-appropriate seat (pictured).
He’ll be starting nursery at the end of August and the journey there will most likely be on his dad’s bike, both ways, so I might as well get used to them being on the road, with all the trucks, buses, cars, angry drivers.
I find this pretty scary.
In 2009, over a year after I first landed in London, I still hadn’t acquired the taste for milk in my tea, and I said so on this blog. I feel I must now update that detail regarding my tea-drinking preferences: I rarely (or ever) have my tea milkless.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned this here, but I know I’ve said before, a few years ago, that I didn’t understand how anyone enjoyed Earl Grey, as it tasted of soap. Well, those days are long gone, so I feel like I need to make things right and let everyone know that Earl Grey has, over time, become my most favourite tea. How about that?
My son was born 6 weeks early, a little on the small side, and not very keen on eating, so he spent 18 very long days in hospital before coming home.
Days are weird when you’re visiting your baby in neonatal care: time flies, but it’s also slow. There are moments when everything happens at once: hold, feed, clean. Then there are hours where you can’t do anything because he’s sleeping or the doctors are doing rounds. For our own health, during those hours we needed to catch a breath of fresh air. I still couldn’t move much, and 46b was right around the corner, so we started going there, and soon got addicted to the delicious brownies.
And we’ve pretty much been going there ever since, as often as we can. We like the Chatsworth Road area: we’re lucky that the hospital Rafael was born in was placed within such a nice setting, and it’s easy enough to catch the W15 bus from Leyton that drops us almost literally in front of the café.