6 August 2021

Going Without is No Longer Losing Out!

It’s no surprise that the UK’s First Gluten, Dairy and Refined Sugar-Free Festival is taking place in Shoreditch: motherland of foodies and forward-thinking, innovative, eclectic cuisine.

The Free From Festival is coming to the Old Truman Brewery on Saturday 11th September 2021. The event will showcase a myriad of street food, cakes, chocolate and savoury snacks which are all free from dairy, gluten or refined sugar. If this has got your attention, you will need to buy a ticket sharpish online, before they sell out.

Sure to go down a treat are the gluten-free beers and organic wine, as well as the delectable munchies available to sample for free. The live music from talented up-and-coming artists will create an enjoyable ambience for this foodie’s paradise. Much of the food on offer is vegan and free from other food groups. Many visitors will be seduced by the opportunity to buy from small UK-based artisan producers. There will be several impressive highlights, including talks and demos by nutritionists and industry professionals, and tips on cooking nutritious free-from meals.

The Old Truman Brewery itself is located at 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL. This former brewery, a majestic landmark in East London’s revolutionary arts and media quarter, has been transformed into a formidable and revolutionary events space. Ticket prices range from £10 to £54 and there are multiple entry times. Quite possibly the best part of the whole experience is the option to get a free Online LIVE Stream ticket, which means that you can join the event virtually and buy the products online without leaving the comfort of your armchair!

With a complimentary soft or alcoholic welcome drink at the door to boot, this is surely set to be an epic day out!

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6 August 2021

Life’s a Beach in Shoreditch!

Get ready to soak up the seaside vibes and sink into a stripy deckchair, while sipping on a colourful cocktail in Shoreditch this September. Two immersive beaches will be popping up in the area so that you can enjoy the end of Summer 2021 in style.

Head to STARDUST LDN Presents Beach on BrickLane @ Boiler House on Sunday 26th September, for a luxury multi-sensory experience. Lifeguard waiters will be serving cocktails by pitcher as you chill out and wiggle your toes in the sand. The nostalgic seaside town setting is glorious: funky patterned deckchairs, ‘holiday reps’ jollying everyone along, the sand punctuated with giant rubber rings in the form of peacocks, and beyond that a row of picturesque beach huts. There will be plenty to entertain you, from games with prizes and over-sized rubber duck dinghies to fish and chips, doughnuts and whippy ice cream. Live DJ’s will provide a soundtrack of vacation anthems to this fun-packed experience. Once you have had enough of splashing around, you could enjoy a game of ping pong before going to the outdoor cinema in the Secret Garden, showing a range of beach-themed films.

Not to be missed also is the bottomless brunch. Later, feast your eyes on the sizzling cabaret show, full of the hottest performers. The ticket includes entry to the Stardust Airways Journey and the Stardust after-party, where you can strut your stuff on the dance floor, listening to cool feel-good tracks. Beach at Bricklane is happening on one day only, so book a ticket now for £34.95 on www.designmynight.com

Semo’s Beach Party @ Cargo on Saturday 25th September from 12.00 to 21.00 will also be bringing the beach to you. Expect drip and sauce at this truly epic celebration, which attracts 900 + revellers, beautifully adorned with hula necklaces. Picture gigantic deckchairs, a volley ball net and party-goers looking hot in their beach wear and striking poses for the club’s massive photo wall. Be prepared for the full hedonistic experience. Twerk and whine away to music courtesy of an all-star line-up of top DJ’s, such as DJ Cee B, DJ Dynamic, Semo and Super Nytro, to name but a few. This event is legendary and has been sold out for over ten years, so book soon to avoid disappointment. Tickets range from £10 to £100. And don’t worry – there won’t be a grain of sand in sight! The event will take place at 83 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3AY.

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4 August 2021

Stand Up, Shoreditch!

There’s no shortage of top-notch comedy clubs to visit in London this Summer. In fact, both royalty and fresh blood in the realm of stand-up have descended upon Shoreditch, the cultural heart of the East End.

A trailblazer in this field is the City Comedy Club at the Trapeze Bar (89 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HX). There you can sip on a drink and chuckle away at the many impressive acts. The celebrity mystery guests are a clever element of the club nights. Many are comedy geniuses who have appeared on TV shows such as Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week and Russell Howard’s Good News.

Aside from household names, there is a host of talented comedians at City Comedy Club who are making, or are about to make, serious waves. Faye Treacy’s career has rocketed since she was voted ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Musical Comedy Awards and she recently received rave reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe with her tongue-in-cheek show ‘The Problem with Faye Treacy’. Her irreverent style makes for a thoroughly entertaining show – no surprise then that once upon a time she was kicked out of her convent school for putting it on eBay!

Red-hot barbs also come from the Romanian comedian Radu Isac. A venerated veteran of the circuit, his stand-up has been praised in The Scotsman, where it was described as ‘intelligently subversive.’ Often popping up at the club, Kevin O’Connell wows the audience with his high energy, quirky act. Hot Press aptly portrays him as happily taking things ‘down a surreal rabbit hole.’

Backyard Comedy Club (231 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 OEL) is a vibrant hub on the East End comedy circuit. Before we even talk about the funny people, we need to talk about the venue itself. Purpose-built and state-of-the-art are phrases which are frankly beneath it. Almost palpable is the joy experienced by the men and women who perform there. Fully air conditioned, wheelchair accessible and blessed with the most amazing acoustics, it is the place to go for comedy this Summer. Highly recommended is Backyard’s upcoming event on Friday 20th August, when five illustrious comedians will grace the stage. Tom Deacon is one of this select few. He never fails to entertain with his observational and often side-splitting routine focusing on aspects of daily life. ‘With looks, confidence, charm and great material; expect other comics to lynch him!’ remarks the Sunday Times.

Impressive too is the collection of comedians you’ll find at the Comedy Cabin (132 Kingsland Rd, E2 8DP). The venue has a group of inspired resident MC’s. Toussaint Douglass is an industry favourite. His political and personal comedy leaves a lasting impression on audiences because of its deliciously absurdist slant. Katharyn Henson achieved excellent critical reviews at the Fringe with her show ‘Ew, Girl, You Nasty.’ Award-winning US comedian Brandon Burke is electric on stage. His act is as compelling as his bio: ‘A good ol’ country boy with a dash of red-neck and a small helping of queer.’ With as much free popcorn as you can stomach, this is the perfect place to kick back and have a laugh with your mates or colleagues after a hard day’s work.

And so folks, on we go to the punchline: You’ll find Shoreditch on the Laughter Line! (Ok I know, I know, that one may need sharpening…)

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4 August 2021

A Feast For The Senses

A day out in Shoreditch is always a treat for the senses. Especially if you are wandering around the Brick Lane Gallery and the Columbia Road Flower Market.

Visually stunning creations can be admired at the Brick Lane Gallery (216 Brick Lane, E1 6SA). An eclectic mix of striking contemporary pieces and thought-provoking street art from emerging and established artists are waiting to be discovered here. Breathtaking are the colour schemes used in graphic designer Elisabeth Vieten’s portraits of horses. Her work is not only exquisite equine portraiture, but it also challenges our perceptions. Vieten plays with her palette and thus makes a statement about diversity in nature. Her horses all have C-Kit-Locus – a genetic mutation which means that their hair has a combination of natural hues and patches of monochrome. Or as Vieten herself calls it: ‘a sporadic non-occurrence of melanocytes’!

Bexy’s abstract photographic art is another highlight of the gallery. His opulent tones and bold images convey his interpretation of existence, or rather our thoughts about existence. The pieces are the result of Bexy’s own journey overcoming mental anguish. Irresistibly whimsical, they represent the duality of fantasy and reality in the human mind.

Don’t miss Photography Now, an exhibition at Brick Lane Gallery from 3rd  to 6th August, and featuring brilliant works by Anna Papadopolou and Jerry Webb. Also worth checking out is Art in Mind from 5th to 15th August.

On Sundays from 8am to 3pm, you can delight all five of your senses at Columbia Road Flower Market (E2 7RG). The origins of the market can be traced back to the arrival of Huguenot (Calvinist Protestant) immigrants who fled from France after 1685, when they suffered persecution under Louis XIV. They shared a love of cut flowers, together with a fascination for caged songbirds. (The pub at the end of the market is called the Birdcage!) Gorgeous sights and scents from the flowers pervade the area, alongside wonderful aromas from the food on offer, which is certain to excite your tastebuds. This is a flower-lover’s heaven and it is set against the picturesque backdrop of Victorian buildings. Arrive early before it gets rammed with visitors admiring the abundancy of flowers, houseplants, bulbs, herbs and shrubs from around the world. If, however, you are stuck in the queue, the Birdcage Pub provides takeaway pints for anyone waiting to get in. Alternatively, pick up a sweet treat from the Pavillion Bakery to munch on while you wait – their cinnamon buns are to die for. Soak up the electric atmosphere as you hear the barrow boys chanting, “Everythin’ a fiver!” Feel the texture of leaf and bark as you meander through the stalls, which sell everything from bedding plants to ten-foot banana trees!

Delve beyond this oasis of foliage and flowers to discover a plethora of independent shops, cafes, restaurants, delis and small galleries. Hugely popular is Laxeiro, a vibrant tapas joint with tables that spill out onto the street – great for people-watching! It’s also worth sampling some of the cheeses for sale in the market, as well as browsing around the shops which contain Buddhist artefacts.

Arguably, the best time to come is between 2pm and 3pm, when the traders will reduce the prices to shift their remaining stock. Then you can drift home serenely, part of the tide of satisfied bouquet-clutching punters, imagining your newly adorned floral abode.

So there we have it – galleries and garlands in Shoreditch. Happy days!

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