Remember this post? Where I lamented the fact that we’d had to start considering a move out of London after almost a decade of fun times here.
Well that was the end of a long journey of ‘Should we, shouldn’t we?’ and ‘We really need to get out of this flat pronto’ conversations that had lasted the best part of two years. Somehow we managed to plan and have a wedding in that time and still not get off our butts and move out of the accommodation that we found ourselves moaning about almost every night.
It was also the start of a long journey of trying to figure out where in the world we could live that would both help us begin a more stable life together, but not see us both out of a job and lamenting the London life we used to have, that lasted the best part of six months. Somehow we managed to create a baby in that time and still not get off our butts and find a place to live.
But, I’m happy to report that now we have. Both got off our butts, and found a new place to live. Sometimes things happen in life that just give you the clarity you need to make a decision. Whether the right one or the wrong one, you just know it’s the only one that will work right now, and suddenly things that felt so big and life changing and important, then feel small and inconsequential and very simple. Expecting our first child made the decision of whether or not to leave London a whole lot easier. It was a done deal. Up until that point there had always been something holding us back – whether jobs or commutes or friendships or lifestyle – and despite wanting to move out of our current abode for so long, we’d been waiting for the perfect location or home to present itself somehow by magic. The prospect of being a family of three very soon, and with such a big lifestyle change afoot, made all of the worries and anxieties we had about leaving the city we’d come to call home for the last 8 years pale in comparison.
And so, we’re doing it. We’re packing our trunk(s) and saying goodbye to the circus. Just like Nellie the Elephant. I mean, we’re not really saying goodbye entirely, because for now we’re not going too far away (a 40 min train ride away to be exact as we are indeed moving to Rochester, the place that ignited this journey in the first instance). One because we’re cowards and scared about the prospect of not having everything that London has to offer on our doorsteps. And two because upping sticks and moving to other side of the country (or world – we did consider it) when five months pregnant wasn’t hugely advised by anyone. So it’s hardly heading back to the jungle with a trumpety trump trump and you’re probably rolling your eyes at this point wondering why I’m being sooo dramatic, but this move does feel like a very new and unknown chapter of our lives is about to begin and those security blankets are about to get ripped from under us. I’m finding myself rather daunted by just how different the life that I currently know may be, six months from now.
As I write this post I’m surrounded by boxes and clutter that remind me moving day is less than a week away, and I’m very much procrastinating the two horrendous jobs in front of me; packing up our life for a move, and selling said life on Ebay for a bit of moving cash. Both tasks are seemingly never ending right now, and are probably my least favourite things to do in the planet as of this week. As much as I’d love to make this a post in which I moan endlessly about this fact, I won’t. Because writing about packing is almost as dull as the packing itself.
Instead I want to invite you into the tropical, pastel pink themed, kitsch world that is Palm Vaults cafe in Hackney. It’s a haunt I’d been meaning to visit for too long, after seeing many a trendy Instagram with a cute coffee cup get geo-tagged there. Again, the things I’ve been meaning to do/visit/see in this wonderful city for an age, are now feeling altogether more pressing. Because even though I know I won’t be far, I also know that soon I won’t be all that near either and popping to trendy London cafe’s for impromptu velvet pink lattes with friends one afternoon won’t be such an easy task.
And so, I’ve been creating a bit of an informal London bucket list in my head from time to time, considering the places I want to tick off, or visit again, or head for an entire day of photo taking and Instagram story making before those tasks need to be carefully planned and packed in to just one London day. This includes everything from having one last meal at our favourite Italian restaurant on our street (already done) to photographing a new outfit amongst the colourful houses of Notting Hill (scheduled). And drinking a bright pink coffee under a canopy of greenery at Palm Vaults was most definitely on there.
I found some time to visit a couple of weeks ago with Kylie, who kindly agreed to snap some pics while we were there, and on probably one of the summer’s muggiest days, we found ourselves drinking hot pink drinks and admiring the succulents.
The place was definitely as Instagram worthy as I’d imagined, and felt like a world away from the grimy Hackney heartland in which it resides. I say that with love of course, as personally I’m a sucker for East London, Hackney and all of that grime that makes it so charming. But Palm Vaults did feel like a pretty pastel wonderland that had woke up in entirely the wrong land, maybe that’s what makes it so loveable? From the tropical trees that sit outside, to the retro interior that’s filled with pink leather chairs and hanging plants, and the 80s style branding that wouldn’t look out of place in Dirty Dancing, to the eclectic menu that boasts flower filled muesli bowls and a rainbow off coloured coffees, it’s easy to see why this place has been a hit for the internet generation.
That’s not to say it isn’t a little rough around the edges of course, and don’t go expecting 5 star luxury and impeccable service. It’s a caff and it operates like one. On the day we visited it was extremely hot and muggy and the air con was non existent, we ordered a jug of water to quench our thirst as well as some coffees, and were given a decanter of hot water and two glasses (a little odd). The cake stand was sparse after what had clearly been a morning rush, and a trip to the loos kind of made me glad I wasn’t eating there when I saw the dishes piled up in the worlds tiniest kitchen. But then that’s Hackney, and that’s London and what I did love was the relaxed atmosphere and the idea that you could happily sit there all afternoon with your laptop (or one of the many hipster cool magazines on display) and not be disturbed. Not to mention the dreamy decor which had me searching ‘hanging plants’ on Pinterest for days.
Plus anywhere that can make beetroot taste like heaven in a cup (yup that’s what makes that pink latte so pink) has me won over, especially when it’s served in a tropical print cup.
411 Mare Street, London
Anywhere in London you’ve been dying to visit? Let me know and I might even add it onto my bucket list.
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Photos by Kylie Eyra Photography