Borough Market…A Foodie’s Paradise

Borough Market, in Southwark, London is  right on the edge of London Bridge and can be described with one word for those with a fondness for food …Heaven. Bliss even. Borough Market is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London. This is the place that you should go when you want a variety of quality food.

Cheeses, chocolates,  macaroons, cupcakes, piles of meringue,  fresh fish/meats and my favourite to taste…vegetarian fair are amongst the many items that you can find.  Borough Market is indeed a foodie’s paradise with over 70 stalls of delicious delights.

I wasn’t able to take many photos  because I was very busy exploring my culinary options but these are the few shots that I took in between stuffing my face.

*Photos do not represent all that is available at Borough Market but very telling of my greediness! Food Before Photos!

Feast your eyes on this:

For more info on Borough Market, it’s opening times and traders visit: http://boroughmarket.org.uk/

People who love to eat are always the best people.” ~Julia Child

Africa at Spitalfields….I have found the Market Mother Lode!

I am a self proclaimed market maniac. I love markets. I like the sounds, the smells, the sights, the bright colors. EVERYTHING MARKET. Sometimes I will take the long route home just to walk through my local market. So when Jess and Victoria of The African Mini-Market at Spitalfield’s told me that I should come out I was sooo excited.  “P” put NuNu in the pram and we headed out for some good ole family fun.

Spitalfield’s Market is known for showcasing handmade, one-of-a-kind items and having The African Mini Market take over every bank holiday fits into the theme with ease. The market  is perfectly located. Liverpool station is  just a moment away which makes it easily accessible by public transport. The surrounding area is packed with quirky shops, florists, cafes, so after you finish shopping you can have a sit down with a cup of tea or pick up some flowers to go along with your wall hanging purchased at the market.

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I must say, I don’t know why this is called a “Mini Market”  because it literally had everything you could possibly want and leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. Can you say LOADS of hand crafted, Africa inspired greatness?!  Before we even rounded the corner to the market square we smelled food. Yummy food! Chicken, rice, cupcakes, cookies…sweet and savory.  In addition, there were sounds of live drum play that could be heard throughout. As soon as I walked in I saw bunches of smiling faces, everyone having a good time. People from every background, enjoying what this market has to offer. Food, fun, handcrafted merchandise, togetherness…this is my kind of place!

One of the first stalls I went to was The River Hut Company (www.theriverhutcompany.com), selling sustainable, eco-friendly handbags. This company prides their brand on being not only functional but fashionable and this is so true. As a woman that owns handbags ( I won’t say how many as “P” isn’t aware of the purse filled storage unit in America), I had to add a River Hut Company bag to my collection. The product spoke for itself. Beautifully hand painted with silhouettes of  women with natural hair and the customer service was well above par.

www.theriverhutcompany.com

Had to have this one!

Had to have this one reminds me of myself, big natural hair!

Want one of your own? Head over to www.theriverhutcompany.com for a browse about  and make your purchase at https://marketplace.asos.com/boutique/the-river-hut-company or at their Etsy store http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TheRiverHutCompany.

You know NuNu and I have to stick together. So what is a purchase for mommy without a purchase for her mini sidekick! NuNu has a little doll, creatively named Friend, that she carries around with her EVERYWHERE. So much so that I call them “my two big girls”. I thought it was time to add to her collection when I found these absolutely stunning African dollies by Dolls by Verona C. They are multi-cultural dolls (male and female versions available) that are dressed in vibrant fabrics. I was drawn to these dolls for NuNu because they aren’t just cute they are also extremely sturdy. They are soft (made of felt) yet stuffed perfectly to withstand the torment of little hands and gnawing gums! Sandra, the maker of the dolls was very helpful in aiding us in picking out the perfect one for NuNu. Now I have “three big girls”.

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I think "Friend" has a bit of competition!

I think “Friend” has a bit of competition!

You can custom order your doll by visiting http://www.dollsbyverona.co.uk or http://www.etsy.com/shop/DollsbyVeronaC. You can choose the color, fabric, style, hair color (black, brown, blonde, burgandy) and the gender of your doll. Dolls come in small, medium and large.

Next time I will allot more time to properly visit every merchant but I was literally just bursting with excitement so much so that I was all over the place! Here are just a few standouts:

Amédée

African inspired handmade slings used for baby wearing from birth to 35lbs. They also produce soft baby shoes, teething rings and bibs, all in beautiful bright colors of Ankara print fabric. 100% cotton and ethically produced. www.amadee.co.uk for purchase information.

Baby Wearing with Amédée

Baby Wearing with Amédée

Lovely Notebooks

Offers a range of covered, padded notebooks for everyone. Ranges include Africa, Contemporary, Abstract, and Signature prints. Great for students, graduates, professionals or those that just love nice things! Very reasonably priced and makes for a wonderful gift! www.lovelynotebooks.co.uk

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Psalmist Jewels

I fell in love with these bags when I saw them. Super sturdy and extremely stylish. Perfect for the woman on the go! I now know what I want for my upcoming birthday!

Dapri Jewels

Wonderful handmade jewelry with a unique and classy flair.

Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen

Had some delicious eats from ZGK. Just what I needed after the walking around. Young founder Zoe Adjonyoh delivers Ghanaian food with a unique culinary experience through frequent pop ups and events. To find out where ZGK will be in the future go to www.zoesghanakitchen.co.uk  and like them at https://www.facebook.com/ZoesGhanaKitchen.

Plantains!!

I had the vegetarian option. Yes! Plantains!!

Yojos

Cookies! So we are just walking around…MINDING OUR OWN BUSINESS and a nice young lady comes up to us with a basket of goodies and a good deal so we HAD to buy 2 packs, you know, since she twisted our arm and all! OMG they were sooooo good. So delicious that “P” almost went into a fit trying to hunt her down to buy some more. Needless to say we went home with 4 packs of cookies and only had one left by bed time. DE-LI-CIOUS.  www.yojos.co.uk

The Africa at Spitalfields Market was a great time for the entire family. I saw kids running around with huge smiles and they were even encouraged to take part in playing the drums which even gave little ones like NuNu something to enjoy:

NuNu preparing to play the Djembe drums

NuNu preparing to play the Djembe drums

More colorful images from Africa at Spitalfields:

Earrings!

Earrings!

Colorful Clothing

Market goers could grab one of the many seats behind the drums and join along in playing.

Market goers could grab one of the many seats behind the drums and join along in playing.

There were plenty of food options. Chicken, beef, rice, plantains, cupcakes, cookies, cakes and drinks!

There were plenty of food options. Chicken, beef, rice, plantains, cupcakes, cookies, cakes and drinks!

Lola's cupcakes were there selling a huge selection of cupcakes....YUMMY! http://www.lolas-kitchen.co.uk/

Lola’s cupcakes were there selling a huge selection of cupcakes….YUMMY! http://www.lolas-kitchen.co.uk

Art Work

Art Work

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When I got home, the first thing on my to-do list was to find out when the next Bank Holiday would be so I could go back for another fix. Then I looked at the flyer….GASP! “Promoting and Celebrating all things African one last time for 2013 at Spitalfields Market”. What will I do! I NEED The African Mini Market at Spitalfields in my life! Highly recommended!

Like them on Facebook to find out about their next event at https://www.facebook.com/AfricaAtSpitalfields.

Happiness requires something to do, something to love and something to hope for”  ~Swahili Proverb

*All items that were purchased were done so at full price offered by the vendor without special considerations. There was no compensation for any of the reviews. All reviews are based on my experience and/or observation.

Cocoa goes to Kilburn, Portobello Market. Eeeek! Notting Hill!

Unbelievable! It’s a beautiful Saturday morning. So beautiful that “P” (my hubby) and I decided to do a little exercising at the neighborhood outdoor gym. This is the first weekend since we have arrived that the sun has been shining and there isn’t a drop of rain or a single cloud in the sky!

It makes me giggle now, but when my hubby and I were doing the long distance thing I would laugh at him when he would say, (insert sexy British accent here), “The weather is beautiful daaahling (darling), it’s so hot out”. Hilarious! Considering it would only be in the mid 60’s! Now I understand what he meant. When it comes to the weather in London you really have to take what you can get when you can get it! Soooo, in this heatwave of 20° (68°F) , we head out, baby in tow to a little area in north-west London called Kilburn.

Kilburn, divided amongst 3 London Boroughs (Brent, Camden and Westminster) seems to have everything you need without the hustle and bustle that you will find as you get closer to Central London. Don’t be fooled by it’s location though, on a fab day like today the streets will be busy and parking can be a beast.(I suggest taking the bus or underground). After FINALLY finding a park we walked the High Street (what we Americans would call Main Street), Kilburn High Rd, where you can find a great number of shops that sell everything from groceries to shoes. Kilburn High Rd is also the location of the quaintest little market with stalls of shoes, fresh fruit and other knick-knacks. The market is a pretty cute place to walk around but it’s so small that you will be done before you can even blink an eye!

(NuNu doing what she does best...Sleeping...in Kilburn)

(NuNu doing what she does best…Sleeping…in Kilburn)

I didn’t get enough, naturally wanting to be “on the go” we took off and had my father-in-law drop us at Ladbroke Grove….Eeeek! Can you say NOTTING FREAKIN’ HILL! Ok, Anyone that knows me MUST know that I LOVE the movie Notting Hill starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. I am huge a Rom Com (Romantic Comedy) fanatic and this one does it for me! Needless to say I WILL NOT sleep until I find the Travel Book Shop featured in the movie. As I was walking I was literally feeling all warm inside just thinking that it could be around the corner! I am such a dork!

Notting Hill, Dir. Roger Michell, Universal Pictures,1999; The Travel Book Shop

Notting Hill, Dir. Roger Michell, Universal Pictures,1999; The Travel Book Shop

Ok, back to Ladbroke Grove. It’s basically a road located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Apparently this is where many psychedelic/ rock and underground bands were formed and found to include Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees,The Clash. It’s also one of the main thoroughfares for Notting Hill Carnival. Not to mention it is the gateway to the World Famous Portobello Market!

Joe Strummer (The Clash) mural by artist Emma Harrison

Joe Strummer (The Clash) mural by artist Emma Harrison on Ladbroke Grove

Wow…the sounds, the smells, the people, the atmosphere! As you walk through the market you can’t help but groove to the sounds of the many genres of music coming from the stalls. I heard a little Reggae, some classic Michael Jackson, folk, alternative, and even a bit of jazz. Just walking through is like a symphony/live concert/street party full of pure entertainment! I felt as if I were taking a trip around the world. Every culture, every ethnicity, every color, every kind all partaking in the goodness of Portobello Market.

I didn’t take as many photos as I should have but I will be going back in the near future. Total sensory overload! I was too busy people watching and wanting to touch and purchase everything that I saw! Handcrafted jewelry, original art, tailored dresses and coats, collectors items and not to mention food from every corner of the world…this place has it ALL!

**Disclaimer: By no means are these photos intended to capture every bit of goodness available at Portobello Market**

(Portobello Whole Foods, 266 Portobello Rd, North Kensington, W10 5TY)

The sign says it but when you go in you will find so much more.  Can you say Fresh, Organic, Natural, Healthy, Tasty?

The sign says it but when you go in you will find so much more. Can you say Fresh, Organic, Natural, Healthy, Tasty?

Inside of Portobello Whole Foods...Yum!

Inside of Portobello Whole Foods…Yum!

Delicious Goodness!

Delicious Goodness!

On the Street:

Huge vats of Paella!

Huge vats of Paella!

Bar Mau Mau...Live Music and Food

Bar Mau Mau…Live Music and Food

Za Zá Authentic Italian Gelato

Za Zá Authentic Italian Gelato

Couldn't pass it up. NEEDED two scoops...Caramel, and Cream and Chocolate Gelato

Couldn’t pass it up. NEEDED two scoops…Caramel, and Cream and Chocolate Gelato

NuNu must have eaten it all when my back was turned. Must have been tired of all the breast milk! Naughty girl!

NuNu must have eaten it all when my back was turned. Must have been tired of all the breast milk! Naughty girl!

The Spice Shop, 1 Blenheim Crescent , W11 2EE~ Any and every spice you can think of in this place!

The Spice Shop, 1 Blenheim Crescent , W11 2EE~ Any and every spice you can think of in this place!

Chillies!~The Spice Shop

Chillies!~The Spice Shop

The Spice Shop!

The Spice Shop!

Very cool street performers...literally performing in the middle of the street!

Very cool street performers, The Trouble Notes…literally performing in the middle of the street!

“Without people, you’re nothing” ~Joe Strummer, The Clash”