Yes, indeed. The reason for the blog silence these past few weeks is because I’ve moved house. I have finally poked my head above the piles of cardboard boxes and mountains of admin, to blog some pics of the place I’ve called my haven for the last (nearly) 7 years – Stoke Newington or Stokey if you’re, y’know, in the cool gang.
When I arrived in London, overwhelmed by the swarms of commuters and petrified of the certain peril of the big city, Stokey was my sanctuary. I ended up there as my sister told me “it’s for people who hate London”. Getting off the 73 on Church Street for the first time, I knew within about 30 seconds it was the place for me.
Stokey has got a lot busier than when I first moved there. It’s become slightly less villagey, slightly more clubby (I call it the Dalston creep – possibly a good thing, the jury’s out. Either way, it should definitely be a new dance move). Gone are any residues of non-gentrified shops along Church Street (RIP Haringey Electrics – what they didn’t know about Hoover bags wasn’t worth knowing) and increasingly the same is the case on the high street. But we still love it.
It was because of its stratospheric rise to house price silliness that we have sadly had to leave the area. Having sworn never to live in another area of London, melodramatically, we thought we’d never love again. But we have, and this time it’s Forest Gate, where we’ve bought our first place.
Ever since I knew I was moving, the nostalgia kicked in and I felt the need to document some classic shop fronts.
And here are my highly subjective top 10 Stokey establishments, in no particular order:
- Jan’s Bar: on Northwold Road off the main drag, Belgian ales with unusual glasses, and infamous lock-ins. Stokey’s greatest hidden gem
- Knit With Attitude: the best knitting shop in London. Fact.
- Yum Yum: quality cocktails (go at happy hour)
- Borough Wines: bring your bottle back for a refill for a fiver, best sherry selection in Stokey
- Hub: where nearly all my accessories and shoes are from. Expensive but well-edited selection of scarves, shoes, clothes and jewellery
- Thai Café: low-key Thai restaurant for cosy, cheap dinners
- Stoke Newington Green: there’s so many good things about this greengrocers, it’s hard to know where to start – great quality, cheap, they’ve got everything, takes cards…
- Rio Cinema: bloody brilliant indie cinema with proper snacks
- Beaucatcher: get a great haircut and catch up on Church Street gossip at the same time
- Stokey Fish Bar (top of the high street): chip cob, please, and a pickled egg to go