TWO GREEN DAYS IN LONDON
par ISABELLE

_GREEN-LONDON

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London is literally green, with parks, trees, plants and even animals everywhere. I dare you to find a street without a living species –beside humans– in sight. While Parisians (and the French in general) have a proclivity towards taming nature into geometrical order, Londoners and wild life reside in good harmony. The City happens to be a paradise for vegetarians and vegans, and is ahead of its time for organic and local farming.
Plus, Londoners are super friendly, positive thinkers and well behaved. In short, we love it: Oh London, show us the green way!
- Isabelle

FRIDAY NIGHT

Check in at The Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch. This friendly place applies a green policy which includes the recycling of 80% of waste, energy savings, the use of eco friendly products (which is also good for YOUR health), encourages their employees to bike to work (who as a result are extremely fit), among other things. But, above all, the Hoxton is a beautiful and cool place as well as being perfectly located.

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SATURDAY
Shopping in Soho. I love to wander the little –sometimes tiny– streets. There’s always something new to discover. Here’s a list of shops I recommend.

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Let’s start with Oliver Spencer. I love menswear even for myself. Since there is no better place than London for the elegant man, let’s go for it! This brand is not particularly green, except for its natural indigo denim shirts. Indigo comes from a plant and doesn’t require chemicals for the dying. What a wonderful color it is: I love indigo blue so much!

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Whole Foods. I must admit this place is a paradise for the food lover that I am. I would like to buy every single item. The place is huge and well designed, and all the packaging is beautiful. I mentioned the poorly designed organic products in France many times on this blog. It’s a shame we don’t get more inspired by the British! Because yes, aesthetics matters as much as taste! Upstairs is the Beauty Department, where they have literally everything from the simple hand made soaps to the most sophisticated face cleansers and creams.
20 Glasshouse Street, London, W1B 5AR

Whole Foods London Soho

Nudie Jeans: don’t throw your jeans away, take them to Nudie Jeans for a custom repair! Denim ages beautifully year after year, and can last forever, so why buy a cheap pair if you can have your favorite mended by professional hands? The boutique sells their brand’s jeans of course, and a « Nudie Jean » will get repaired for free whenever needed.
http://www.nudiejeans.com

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Lunch. This exhausting shopping made you hungry. Govinda is here to save your stomach –and maybe your soul–. Next to the Radha-Krishna Temple , find this vegetarian restaurant, run by the Monks. The food is vegetarian according to the Krishna philosophy of life.
10 Soho Street, London W1D 3DL.

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Desserts at Govinda are a bit too sweet for my taste. If you prefer healthier but still delicious treats, head to Mildred’s, a few steps away. I couldn’t go to London without visiting Midred’s, not only because it reminds me of a dear friend, but it’s also one of the first vegetarian restaurants in London (Since 1988!). The atmosphere is welcoming and friendly, the food is amazing even if you are an unconditional meat eater. Order a desert and a fresh pressed juice, that you can enjoy at the outside tables, if the weather is good. I promise you won’t regret it.

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45 lexington street, Soho, London w1f 9an http://www.mildreds.co.uk

Now that your hunger is satisfied, you can go shop again!

Find the saddle of your dreams at B 1866, the flagship –and only– store of famous brand Brooks. The beautiful old style boutique celebrates 150 years of traditions. I really like that they mixed brand new and very old bikes for decoration. You can also find the best accessories like bags, tools and more, all good looking and of the finest manufacture.
36 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LH

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Neal’s Yard Remedies is a stone throw further. The original boutique opened in 1981, precisely on Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden. Everything is local, organic and natural, but still refined, which makes the skincare products really nice. They also retail herbal teas, superfoods and health food galore. Ask for special advice if needed. I personally asked for superfood for post workout recovery, and got little bags of Macca and hemp powder. The girls are really nice and give good advice.

If you’re hungry or thirsty again, climb the stairs –on the left– for a snack or a tea. I did not have the time to try the Wild Food Cafe but this spot was highly recommended to me :)
15 Neal’s Yard, London WC2H 9DP

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Diner: Head to Portobello Organic Kitchen, and enjoy nice pizzas in this nice place, filled with nice people. Everything is home made.

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www.portobelloorganickitchen.co.uk/

DAY TWO: HACKNEY
Hackney is the newly gentrified part of the city. Suffice it to say it is cool and green oriented!

If you can, start your day with a run along the river Lee, not far from the Olympic Park. I just discovered this area and was very happy to run along such beautiful canals, surrounded by galleries, ateliers and mostly renovated wharehouses. The view is never boring.
Directions here

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Then, head to the Sunday market on Chatsworth Road.

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There you can find organic vegetables, groceries, and even complete meals, weather you are a vegan, a vegetarian or a « regular Joe ». This street is also filled with cool shops that are open on Sundays. You can find antique shops, a bicycle shop, a beautiful florist called Bottany, and many more interesting stores. There’s also a little market in the school courtyard, where I bumped into The Grain Grocer booth. I’ve always dreamed of a place where you could bring your own containers and buy the best organic produce. That’s exactly what they do! For those who hate to cook they even sell the perfect finger food, vegetarian style. Everything tastes amazing and the owners are so nice you feel like hugging them when you leave.
http://www.thegraingrocer.co.uk/

the Grain Grocer

Then it’s shopping time again! Walk south to another cool street: Broadway Market. There you will find Sixty Nine B, a Womenswear shop that sells sustainable fashion. They retail brands such as Matt & Nat, Marimeko, Veja and more, selected with a great taste. The place is small, but filled with great ideas.
69B Broadaway Market, London E8 4 PH

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Then it’s time to eat again. Go to Maloka, a vegetarian restaurant, kind of hippie style –I’m not allergic to that ;)–. If the weather is nice, ask to set up into the courtyard (they’ll show you the way), where they’ve put miscellaneous sofas, old tables and stuff you can comfortably use.
It’s kind of fun.
62, Broadway Market, London LE84QJ

Maloka Hackney Vegetarian Restaurant

If you have a little time, go to The Hackney City Farm situated a few blocks away. Yes, there are a few real farms in London. This place is perfect if you have children. Entrance at the south east corner of Haggerston Park. http://hackneycityfarm.co.uk

Then it’s time for a little walk in the park: The Waterworks. Surprisingly, you can observe wild birds and many other species in East London. Formerly a sewerage company which made it possible for clean drinking water to be provided to the nearby boroughs, the site is now home to over 500 species of plants and 25 types of birds. You will enjoy the walk as if you were in the middle of the countryside, but yes, you’re still in London!
Lee Valley Regional Park, Lammas Road, Greater London , E10 7NU

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Dinner. For the last night, drown your sorrow at leaving this wonderful city with a London brewed craft beer or a glass of wine, and a little bite of fresh food at restaurant/bike shop Look Mom, no hands! Real cyclists can ride their bikes without hands, but it doesn’t mean you have to be one of them to enjoy the happy company here. Especially if you come during the Tour de France, when the atmosphere goes a little wilder.
49 Old Street London EC1V 9HX (Not far from the Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch)
http://www.lookmumnohands.com/

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Well, one thing is for sure: one can be assured to have a great green time in this amazing city. And, there are probably many many more cool green places to discover. We will be back!

You can also check: http://www.urbanexplorer.com/

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