I'm Heleana from London. I've been Qyping since 22-10-2008
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Heleana's Qype profile
62 Broadway Market, Hackney, London E8 4QJ
I’ve long been awaiting a time where London, in the grip of its cafe culture, is hit by a tea renaissance in which everyone, instead of hanging out at the coolest coffee shops, like LCB, Flat White and Tina We Salute You turns to our old English tradition of tea houses with renwed fervour. It hasn’t really happened yet, but if it did the cosy Gossip would be a good place to start.
It’s ironically probably not the best place to gossip in, as it’s super-intimate, so much so that if you’re a sumo wrestler you’d have trouble navigating the closely nestled stables. It is however always filled with the kinds of parents whose kids buggies have cappucino holders, and it is for this reason that I’ve always called it 'The Tardis’.
The tea is absolutely amazing. Oolong? Check. Green? Check. Every other brand you could hope to imagine? Your wish is their commaand. They also have chinese tea pots in which you can make the perfect tea, if you just can’t get enough when you finally leave for home.
12 Carlton House Terrace, Charing Cross, London SW1Y 5AH
The ICA is my public gallery of choice these days, not least because a good friend and trustee lets me hold art meets there… it’s also a place of unprecedented diversity in terms of cultural experiences. They do concerts (The Mars Volta were playing when I went last week) design-driven workshops and have a cinema - the ideal place to go for an eclectic collection of independent movies - as well as the usual art exhibitions.
I can spend hours at their bar sometimes as it’s always well stocked (with friendly, interesting strangers, as well as Belgian beer) and is rarely empty. And if you are looking for the unbelievable rare art magazines that even the Tate doesn’t stock, then their library is the place to go.
They’ve recently got rid of day membership, so the £1 hurdle that might have stopped a few of you coming is no longer there. So what are you waiting for?
Green Lanes, London N4 2HA
As someone who wrote a glowing review of Mile End Climbing wall, you may wonder what on earth I’m doing here? Well, I’m not a spy; after some thought I’ve decided to make the migration. I’m after a more active social scene and some new faces. For me, 2009 is about doing new stuff so in terms of climbing that means a) stopping bouldering as those traverses are wreacking havoc on my fingers and b) trying a new place. I’m far too lazy to bother schlepping it all the way over to the Westway and back after a hard day’s work, so The Castle it is!
I was always so resistant, as a staunch Mile End supporter, of people’s protestations that the Castle was a great and wonderous experience… now I see what all the fuss was about. For a start, the place is HUGE… in a 'oh no, I think i’ve lost my friends’ kind of way. They do some really well thought-out classes, such as climbing with grace and learning strong moves as well as the usual leading, bouldering and taster staples that you’d find at your usual wall. They have DJ nights on Thursdays, a well stocked climbing shop with hire facilities, a cafe with a dissapointing lack of healthy stuff on offer (what are you trying to do, people? Fatten me up?) But they don’t charge for lockers, which is ace. The variety of climbing styles here is exemplary. Caves? Check. Lead climbs? Check. Toproping? Check? They also had the kind of punishing overhangs that I used to be addicted to pre-carpal tunnel… They’re open very late too (till 10 on some nights, so why go out to the club at all?) Oh and best of all they even have 'Women with Altitude’ sessions on Mondays - a women only meet where you can find new climbing partners or if you are so inclined to (ahem) 'meet new people’.
Am I getting my membership here next week? Heck yeah!
29 New Inn Yard, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3EY
Anyone who knows me even slightly will find out one fundamental thing about my belief system: I hate gyms. Anything that looks a bit like a coreographed class, or a piece of gym equipment usually has me quivering with repulsion, such is my antipathy to anything that vaguely resembles gym-based excercise.
But when I came across a rave review of Frame in my favourite extreme sports magazine, Cooler, I thought “well, they usually recommend good stuff, so why not?” I was very pleasantly suprised. So much so, that it may have changed my previous indoor fitness prejudices.
Only Frame isn’t a gym as such, more of a pupose built fitness studio; very intimate, minimalist sexy with power showers in the changing rooms (there is a God!) a menu of original-sounding classes, like Bollywood dancing, Burlesque and the very highly subscribed reformer pilates, which involved using this machine that looks a teeny weeny bit like some thing you’d come across in an S&M dungeon. Although I’m sure they wouldn’t dream of using it for such a thing…
The class sizes are purposely small, so you don’t get that 'batter hen’ feeling that people such as myself get from gyms; it’s much more personal, and they have fun events here too, like sample sales, fashion shows and even the odd Rollapaluza. They even serve toast in the mornings!
If you’re the kind of person that has always wanted to get membership to The Third Space but couldn’t really justify it, or is still looking for someone to recommend them as a member of Shoreditch House; Frame is the ideal place to try to get that sense of hipster-infected Shoreditch style without worrying about your wallet
18 Ellingfort road, Hackney, London E8 3PA
If you’re planning to head out into Central London to do some shopping anyway, it wouldn’t hurt to slip by this place. It’s a hulking great bit warehouse, with a lot of clothes from the season just gone. In some stores, like topshop it may be counterintuitive to shop for last season, especially if that last season was winter, but in a utilitarian sports brand store like Carhartt, it makes lots of sense. Black T-shirts, for instance don’t go in and out with seasons, although cuts of jeans do, and unles you’re a baggy jeans wearer you might want to try somewhere else on that score! They also have some great snow wear for those who aren’t precious about having the latest Burton threads when they’re out on the slopes. They also stock some other brands, TONITE, a bit of john perry, and they have a very relaxed and permissive team of staff to help you with anything you need to know.
Hackney, London E8 4PH
Broadway Market, or 'Runway Market’ as some call it due to the strict adherence to fashion shown by many of its svelte, model looking inhabitants is one of my favourite streets to hang out on right now. Detractors call it the new hoxton square, malinging it as a hub for pretentious hipsters. I by contrast am lured by it’s boutique shop laden, village-like charm. You are spoilt for choice whehere good pubs with a top quality atmosphre are concerned, from the Dove with it’s unparralelled selection of belgian beers (oh unless you go to De Hems is Soho of course, but why bother when this place is round the corner?) Off Broadway or Cau n Mutton, the grogeous french deli, La Bouche and a whole host of other delights. The best is its farmers’ market on Saturday. More pricey than Borough in some places (esp. their cuts of meat) but they make up for it with a divine outdoor Vietnamese cafe.
2 Newburgh Street, London W1F 7RQ
I’v just read a Qype review of someone (justiiedly) slagging off the annoying consumerist rugby scrum that happens on Oxford Street W1 every Saturday; so I felt that it would be only too right to add some of the feelgood factor by talking about a few streets that it’s quite frankly great to lose an afternoon on, and newburgh street is definitely one of them. Tucked behind Carnaby, it consists of a range of ultraubercool boutique shops - the ones that have art installations in the front window made of clothing, and catwalk-ready shopping attendants. You can stock up on skate wear and obscure painting by grafitti artists like Faile, get a make up session at the Mac shop on the corner, and there’s a pleasantly populated pub with a good range of lagers right in its centre (sorry, the name of said pub escapes me at this moment, but it’s a good one). As you walk down you’ll also spot a couple of secluded but high-end restaurants; good places to take someone for that 'deal sealing’ third date.
What I like most about the shops on this road is that some of them put setaing outside, which is great for the summer months, when you’ve nearly shopped yourself to death and need a well deserved rest.
12-14 Englefield Road, An Viet House, London N1 4LS
My vietanamese-food loving ex housemates-slash-friends took me here. And I thank you, my Ozzie lovelies. Who would have known that there is life after Viet Hoa, and that pho could taste so delicate and perfectly made? It’s even better the fact that it looks a bit ramshackle; as if the cleaner really can’t be bothered and would rather sit on the loo reading back issues of Heat magazine. It’s still clean enough that I’ve never caught dysentery as a result of going, so I shall return. The service is swift, formal, neither enthusiastic nor cold; I mean after all it’s dirt cheap so no one’s paying any notice. I’ve been to birthday parties here before which is always a crown pleaser. A bit of the old BYOB never hurt anyone.
16 Dalston Lane, London E8 3AZ
Balanced precariously on the corner of Kingsland road where at the time of me writing this, they’re building a tube line Eastwards, I’ve always looked at it with a sense of fondness, the small independent store, that I never actually see another person in when I visit, but yet it’s been there for years. I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s being bankrolled by a Russian ogliarch or something. Anyway I hope it doesn;t get bulldozed and replaced by another bleeping Starbucks. It’s quite a tiny shop; well stocked though - mainly with really obscure grains that promise to make you sexier, reverse ageing, make your ex fall in love with you again and many other miraculous things. Probably the worst place to go if you want fish fingers, much better if quinoa, amaranth and wild black rice is your thing. A very handy convenience store for superfood loveliness (cacao? check. Maca root? check) and vegan treats.
52 St. Giles High Street, London WC2H 8LH
First Out is the perfect place to go if you want to be around fellow gayers, but don’t quite fancy being immersed in lights drama and action of 'the real soho’. During the morning of London’s Pride march, they do a pleasant champagne breakfast, which is always worth bearing in mind during the balmy summer months. I should also add this is a vegetarian place , so no swanning in and ordering a steak medium rare. It’s good stuff, won’t quite set the world on fire like, say Mildred’s; where veggie fare is concerened, but you get good value, and I’ll always come back. Most people Come here on Friday nights as a 'first stop’ to get tanked on their superultracheap booze. I am always surprised that they do table service when I do go there, simply because it looks a little simple, minimalist and pared down to have people waiting at your back and call. But they do. And it’s lovely; in fact being served by someone in First Out is like having your mate cook you breakfast after a big night out and bring it to you on the sofa, rather than having formal, stiff looking waitresses in starch ironed uniforms.
- London 115 reviews
- Hackney, London 19 reviews
- Shoreditch, London 18 reviews
- West End, London 17 reviews
- Dalston, London 11 reviews
- Bethnal Green, London 9 reviews
- Covent Garden, London 5 reviews
- Stoke Newington, London 5 reviews
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- Stamford Hill, London 1 review
- Loughton 1 review
- Hampstead, London 1 review
- Old Street, London 1 review
- Crouch End, London 1 review
- St. James's, London 1 review
- Homerton, London 1 review
- East Ham, London 1 review
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- Stapleford Abbotts, Romford 1 review
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- Finsbury Park, London 1 review