I’m in Holloway, North London.
There are some great food places round here, even though the immediate area is very much an ugly main road, so I was surprised at this discovery since moving here. Scratch the surface of Holloway and it has the best takeaway options of anywhere I’ve ever lived (and I’ve moved a lot while living in London!) We’ve got Zia Lucia for pizza, Mono and Greek Mamma for kebabs and I’d seriously consider Xi’an Impression’s biangbiang noodles and their cucumber salad as the last meal I’d eat before I die.
It’s so hard for me to answer this after the year we’ve had! I’ve feel like the vibrancy and a lot of the joy of London has been put on hold and it’s like my brain has forgotten what we’ve been missing to block out the loss. I used to love going to The Tate Modern and looking over the city from the viewing area at the top and then just walking around the South Bank by the river and soaking up the vibes. I also just love Hampstead Heath – it’s the most magical place in the world and I can’t believe it’s so wild and sprawling and in a city like London.
There’s a cute little park near the Arsenal stadium called Gillespie Park. I spent most of lockdown doing the same walks to the same parks, but one day I turned a different way and that’s where it took me, so I’ll always treasure that find. I also find it incredible how even in central London, you can be in a busy, urban area and then find a random little tranquil park. It’s one of the coolest things about this city.
A lot of walking! I haven’t been as adventurous walking around London the last year or so and I’m feeling quite uncreative when answering these questions! I walked around Clissold Park and Abney the other day which was lovely. Now the pubs are open, it’d be hard not to take advantage of that and go for a pint. I haven’t got over how exciting it is to be able to do that and London has so many incredible pubs. Sorry, I know that’s spending money but I can’t help it after these last fourteen months.
Can I be cheeky and recommend my own? Two women who grew up in London and have been best pals since we were teens, myself and my podcast co-host Anna Codrea-Rado get together and question everything we’ve ever been taught about how work should be. We have honest conversations about money, careers and success and it’s called Is This Working?
I spent all my career since I started working in London when I was 21 working in startups and their offices tend to always be around the Shoreditch and Clerkenwell area, so I haven’t had much variety. I’ve also worked from home for over four years and I love that, too. If I had to pick, getting lunch at Leather Lane around Hatton Garden and Farringdon was probably the best and most exciting place to get lunch from (which is how I judge my working areas). But that was maybe seven years ago since I was last there!
I also really enjoyed when I lived in London Fields and my walk to work would be through Broadway Market and Columbia Road to Brick Lane. That always felt like such a cool thing to be able to do and to experience every morning.
You know what? There’s a school of thought that a good date should be activity based and have things that you can engage with and talk about and while I think it’s good for a couple in a longer-term relationship to share a variety of experiences together, I don’t think this for early dates.
For me, I just want to sit down opposite my date – ideally inside or outside if it’s more than 20 degrees and sunny and relax and just talk to them about who they are. I love to chat and one of the things I love about dating is you get to meet all these people and ask probing questions and find out what their lives are about. So, I guess a park on a sunny day might be nice and if I’m allowed to break the rules, I’d probably buy a little tinnie of Camden Hells lager.
I haven’t done much shopping or discovering new things over lockdown (a theme I’m noticing!)
I love Diverse clothes shop in Tufnell Park. I used to live opposite there during a time in my life where it felt like there was a wedding every weekend and I remember Saskia pulling out this dress that was the sort of thing I’d never have chosen myself and I’ve since worn it to almost every occasion I’ve been to. One of the things I’ve missed the most during lockdown is wearing that dress. Thank you Saskia and I can’t wait to wear it again.
The other places I want to shout about are my eyebrow place, Bambrows in London Fields, Bebop my hair place in Holloway and Marta Create for my nails. I missed all the incredible people at these places over lockdown and they all do such good work. They’re also really cool brands that care so much about their craft. I’m so relieved they’re open so that I can feel human again.
I don’t know if the London Mayor has the power, but housing for me is the biggest issue in this city. It’s a travesty that it’s so expensive to live here and it drives me crazy to see what’s happening with the housing policies that are all geared towards home ownership rather than considering life for renters. It’s such a shame because the city is going to lose a lot of what makes it so incredible if we continue to price people out. If I leave London, it’s because I want to live somewhere cheaper (and warmer) than here and that’d be a shame because I love London.
Open-minded, determined and vibrant.
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Hornsey-based Amos Schonfield is the founder and CEO of Our Second Home, the UK’s youth movement for refugees and migrants, and a Jewish social justice activist.
Marie Le Conte is a French-Moroccan journalist and author who has been living in London for 13 years.
Francesca Specter is the writer of The Shoulds newsletter, author of Alonement and host of an award-nominated podcast of the same name. She has lived in Primrose Hill as a household-of-one for four years.