Category Archives: Guest Blog

Discover Hackney

Hackney wick: Credit:
Hackney wick: Credit:

Home to the 2012 Olympic Games, Hackney is a diverse and multicultural area that has undergone significant regeneration in recent years. Located northeast of the City of London, Hackney offers a wealth of opportunities for people visiting the area. Home to a fantastic range of parks and open spaces covering 815 acres, Hackney is officially London’s greenest borough. Core to the regeneration programme, Hackneys transport links have been improved in recent years with the introduction of the East London extension line within the borough, linking parts of Hackney with the underground network. With this regeneration has come a stream of property investments and developments with the borough being host to a large range of Georgian and Victorian terrace properties.

A History of Hackney

Hackney has a rich and fascinating history that dates back as far as the Saxon times. As we know it today, Hackney was formed in 1965, from the former metropolitan boroughs of Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington.  Going back to the Tudor and Georgian periods, Hackney was a rural retreat, but with the construction of the railway and the industrial revolution in 1850, this came to an end and the area became urbanised.

Eating and Drinking in Hackney

Photos of Empress of India, Sittingbourne
This photo of Empress of India is courtesy of TripAdvisor

While in Hackney, you are not limited for choice when it comes to eating and drinking as the borough has a vast array of restaurants and bars to please everyone.

A few notable restaurants include:
The Empress of India located on 130 Lauriston Road E97LH. This establishment boasts an impressive menu with quality produce from the restaurants neighbourhood suppliers.

The Cat and Mutton located at 76 Broadway Market E84QL, has been a fixture in London’s east end since the late 1600s and is a popular and well regarded establishment of Hackney.

The Buen Ayre located at 50 Broadway Market, E84QJ, is an Argentinian Grill. With the emphasis on huge meat platters, this restaurant is sure to not disappoint.

Things to do in Hackney

There is no shortage of things to do in Hackney. From browsing the stalls of Broadway Market to swimming at London Fields Lido, Hackney provides a range of activities that can be enjoyed by everyone. Officially being London’s greenest borough, Hackney is the place to go to when the weather is good. With bounds of lush green parks and outside space, Hackney is the perfect place for a fun day out.

London Fields

London Fields offers far more than just a stroll in the open air. Facilitating for a range of sports, London Fields makes outdoor swimming a possibility in Hackney with the 50m open-aired heated pool, tennis courts and a cricket pitch. A perfect place to bring children, London Fields also has 2 children’s play areas.

Clissold Park

Bringing the community of Hackney together is Clissold Park, located just north of Church Street. Voted ‘The Heart of Hackney’ in the ‘I love Hackney’ poll, this is a beautifully laid out public space that provides the local community and visitors of Hackney with a range of activities including a petting zoo, a range of sports pitches and ‘Stokefest’, a popular community festival in the summer.

Hackney Museum

As Hackney is one of the most culturally diverse areas in Europe, Hackney museum explores the background to Hackneys cultural diversity and the boroughs historyof immigration is explained through a range of exhibits and media. Some of the museums artefacts include a propaganda sheet from Nazi Germany, Daniel Defoe’s tombstone and a Victorian fireplace.

Hackney Empire

Originally built as a music hall in 1901, Hackney Empire has hosted the performances of many famous names over the years including Charlie Chaplain, WC Fields and Stanley Holloway. Closing in 2001 and undergoing a £17 million refurbishment, Hackney Empire is the place to go to for arts and entertainment, hosting a range of drama, comedy and music events.

For more information on Hackney, visit Stirling Ackroyd.

Sticky Chicken Stir Fry Recipe – From Junior’s Pantry’s founder, Kate Finch,

This version of a Chinese take away dinner is great for the kids as it’s not full of salt and other nasties, and half the price!  It’s deliciously sticky and lots of fun to try with chopsticks (perhaps with a fork on the side!)

What you need (serves a family of 4):

250g long grain/basmati/brown rice

400g of diced pork or chicken

150g of broccoli florets

150g of carrots cut into matchsticks

1 red pepper, sliced

1 tablespoon of soya sauce

2 tablespoons of runny honey

Juice of 1 orange

1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil/olive oil

4 spring onions chopped finely

What you do:

Put the rice on to cook, according to instructions on the packet.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or a wok, and then add the diced pork or chicken.  After around 10 minutes and just as the meat starts to turn a golden brown, add the broccoli, carrots and red pepper, and fry together with the pork or chicken for another 5 minutes.

Once all the meat and vegetables have cooked through, add the Soya sauce, honey and orange juice to the pan.  Toss all the ingredients well in the sauces.

Once the rice is cooked, tip that into your pan, and stir everything together so the meat, veggies and rice all get a good coating of the sticky sauce.  Let it cook for around 5 minutes or until the sauce has reduced a little.

Serve steaming in bowls, with a little sprinkling of spring onions on top.

For further information visit

Tube Etiquette

Today’s post is a guest article written by my friend Kirsty, her witty and funny observations about behaviour on the Tube will make you chuckle…

Commuting on the Tube every day can drive even the politest of people to become incandescent with rage by the innumerable behavioural crimes committed on a daily basis. Given that Londoners spend so much time travelling each day, here are my top tips on Tube etiquette:

1.       Offer your seat

We’ve all been there when a frail person or pregnant woman gets on the train and commuters are already crammed into seats, suffering from post-work fatigue. The golden rule is always offer your seat to those who are more in need of one on the train. Always check though – I’ve seen it happen more than once where larger ladies have been mistaken for expectant mothers and the ensuing ‘take my seat / no, thanks / no, I insist’ debate before the person offering the seat realises their mistake and both parties retreat in a cloud of embarrassment.

2.       Bathe, bathe, bathe…

There’s nothing worse than someone’s armpit in your face when you’re trying to commute to work in peace, but unfortunately the Tube makes every morning journey into a demented game of Twister. As uncomfortable as this is, the journey would be made so much easier if showering was made compulsory before entering the train. As one particularly foul-smelling man on the Central line recently proved, it is possible to kill with body odour at less than twenty paces.

3.       Food for thought

Eating on the Tube is for those who have no dignity. It’s like passing wind in public – just don’t do it.

4.       Quiet please!

People playing their music on their mobile phones at full volume at 8am are always a nightmare. As tempting as it is to say ‘no, I don’t want to listen to your dub step / grime / house remix, please switch it off before I throttle you with your earphones’, it is better to have a quiet word and hope that they get off at the next station without trying to stab you.

5.       TubeCrushed

One of the (few) benefits of commuting on the Tube is that you are more than likely to end up travelling alongside some of the most attractive men and women in the capital.

The invention of TubeCrush – the website where you surreptitiously take photos of the most eye-catching men in your carriage and submit them online – means that no good-looking man in London is safe. Don’t make my mistake of trying to sneakily take a picture of the 6”2 George Clooney lookalike standing across the aisle, especially not when your camera makes a surprisingly loud click as you press the ‘capture’ button. There are no hiding places in a busy carriage when there are several pairs of angry eyes staring at you.

Happy travelling!