Today is Blue Monday, which – according to some people – is the most depressing day of the year. Whether or not you’re feeling gloomy, this is a perfect moment to bring you flowers and cake and vintage shopping! As you might have spotted on Instagram, we spent Sunday morning on the wonderful Columbia Road. I was there to stock up on supplies for a tea party I’m organising (stay tuned!). Come along to see where to buy fresh flowers and beautiful vintage crockery. And cake.
First stop: Breakfast and coffee at Lily Vanilli’s Bakery and Flour Market. This cool little shop is tucked behind the main Columbia Road strip, and it’s the place to go for necessary reinforcements on a very chilly day. The cakes are decadent and gorgeous to look at, and there are some suprisingly wholesome options such as gluten-free beetroot and banana muffins.
After breakfast we hit the market. Columbia Road looks bright and beautiful at any time of year so we were spoilt for choice, as usual. I was on the hunt for bulbs and was not disappointed – hyacinths and tete-a-tete daffodils are in season and I managed to find some that are just on the verge of flowering. Next week I’ll be showing you what I did with them so make sure you check back! I also bought some bunches of fragrant blue and white hyacinths because I could not resist. I don’t think it’s possible for me to leave Columbia Road without an armload of flowers.
Apart from the flower market, Columbia Road is lined with dozens of independent shops in which you can easily wile away…all of a Sunday. The shops range from vintage and contemporary fashion boutiques, to selling handmade crafts and fine art, edgy prints, bespoke perfume, unusual homeware and kitchenware, and of course lots of gardening equipment. You can buy retro chocolates and sweets, wine, deli goods, quirky stationery, and so many other goodies. If you’ve never been to Columbia Road, make sure to head there on your next East London weekend outing.
On this particular shopping trip, I made a beeline for Vintage Heaven, a treasure-trove of a shop at the top of Columbia Road. Vintage Heaven sells all manner of vintage and retro crockery and kitchen accessories, all arranged in colour order! If you get there nice and early as we did, you can have the whole shop to yourself as you wonder around from display to display, cooing over teacups, textiles and tea cosies. At the back of the store you’ll find a hidden treat, in the form of a cafe called Cakehole. If you’re not still full from the delicious sausage roll and macchiato you had earlier (gulp) this would be an ideal moment to stop for tea.
All in all, it was a great day out – especially when the sun came out at lunch time. I’ve got grand plans for my hyacinth and daff bulbs and my collection of vintage teacups, so see you next Monday for another afternoon at Jenni’s Table!
Columbia Road Flower Market Shopping Tips
- The flower market is only open on Sundays
- Get there as early as possible for the best quality flowers. The market opens at 8am
- For end-of-the-day bargains, get there around 2-3pm
- If you’re buying bulbs that haven’t yet flowered, look at the colour of the pot as it usually indicates the colour of the flowers! (Of course, if in doubt, ask)
- Many of the stores are also only open on Sundays, so check the website before planning a midweek visit
- We spotted oh-so-many dogs on Columbia Road, so don’t be afraid to take yours along with you on your shopping trip!