Department of Coffee and Social Affairs coming to Canary Wharf

While out for a walk this morning, I noticed that there’s a new coffee shop coming to Westferry Circus here in Canary Wharf: the brilliantly-named Department of Coffee and Social Affairs. I’ve only visited one of their outlets, the one around the corner from Liverpool Street. If memory serves, the coffee was delicious – but I was in a rush.

I’ll check them out once open and will of course report back here. It’s a short walk from my apartment and could be a new Saturday morning routine hangout, if they don’t mind me hanging around the place…

Again, what a superb name for a coffee shop!

Sunrise in Canary Wharf

I snapped this photo on my way to work yesterday morning, looking down the dock at Canary Wharf towards the new Dollar Bay building.

The sunrise was amazing, so while walking, I grabbed my iPhone and snapped a pic before turning left to go and catch the DLR. I was worried that Dollar Bay would spoil this particular view, but actually, I think its silhouette adds something to the landscape.

The sunrises have been superb in London over the last week. It almost makes up for the biting cold and arctic wind.


A musical pal

On my way back from Cheltenham on Friday night, I passed though Paddington Station (which, bizarrely, now seems to smell almost permanently of burnt cooking oil and chips…). Stink and slightly drunk Friday night commuters aside, I was surprised to find a brass band performing at the end of one of the platforms!

They were from one of the railway companies and consisted of employees playing a selection of well-known tunes. The band attracted quite a crowd and as I got closer, I discovered why so many of my fellow commuters were leaning in to take photos with their smartphones.

One of the trumpet players was accompanied by a little friend, sat patiently next to him and watching everything else going on in the busy station.


He had the air of a dog who has seen a few concerts in his time and was very happy to be photographed. He didn’t budge from the towel he sat on (presumably to save him from the cold floor tiles) and looked up at each person taking his photo.

After I took a couple of pics of the little fellow, (I’m a complete and utter sucker for a cute dog), I stood back to enjoy the music for a few minutes. I noticed how so many others had gathered around, not just to look at the dog, but to enjoy the music. Smiles everywhere and a lovely feeling of shared enjoyment and positivity.

A few moments on Google revealed that they were the Great Western Railway Band, who play at Paddington every Friday evening. As a non-communter, I’m lucky not to have to pass through Paddington at 9pm on a Friday night. But if I were, I know I’d enjoy listening to this band and the positivity they created in the station.

HyperJapan 2016: cosplay and food galore!

We spent a few delightful hours at HyperJapan in London this afternoon. A flurry of cosplay, Japanese music, Japanese food, more cosplay and some more food. Pretty much like every visit to HyperJapan ever.

Highlights for me were the delicious Takoyaki (octopus balls), despite almost burning my mouth off when trying to stuff them down my throat. Punishment for my gluttony, no doubt. This was followed in short order by a half-gallon (or so it seemed) of matcha tea latte with tapioca pearls and then a superb portion of matcha ice-cream.

The latter came from Softserve Society, who I was delighted to find out are opening an outlet at BoxPark in Shoreditch. I’ll definitely be paying them a visit in the near future – the ice-cream was fantastic.

Here’s a short video walk-through I took while wandering about. Apologies in advance for the quality – I was walking, while trying to avoid tripping over the many cosplayers who were lying around on the floor.


That’s one big hole!

A few snaps I took when out walking around Canary Wharf last weekend. Back then, the sun was still shining – right before it was replaced with grey skies and rain yesterday. Ah, summer… it was nice while it lasted.

We walked past the huge building site over at what was Wood Wharf and, over the coming years, will be a major mixed-use development that extends Canary Wharf considerably.

What was really impressive was the fact that it’s largely going to be built on land reclaimed from within the dock. Hence the massive holes and extensive new constructions to keep the water back. It’s both impressive and ugly at the same time.

To be honest, this whole neighbourhood seems to be a building site right now and it’s getting annoying. The works at Ten Bank Street are a particular eye-sore. Both the noise and the dirt are disruptive, but I’m just focusing on how nice it’ll all look when it’s finished.

Two days of sun?!

Amaze-balls! It got up to 25C here this afternoon and I enjoyed as much of the sun as I possibly could.

I kicked off with a training run which, in hindsight, wasn’t a superb idea. While I’ve previously trained in as much as 28C and direct sunlight in Spain, I was well-hydrated and ran with a camel pack.

This morning, I was fuelled by coffee and didn’t bring any water with me. Still, I managed a very fun 14.5km in the sun and came home feeling great. I could have gone farther but was getting very, very hungry.

It’s always interesting running through London on a Sunday. I left Canary Wharf and headed up to Old Street and then back down to Tower Bridge via the City. Th financial district is a ghost town on a Sunday morning. Just perfect for running without having to stop and start and avoid tourists.

This afternoon, after a post-run meal of spinach omelette and spicy refried beans, we headed out for a walk in the sun. We eventually found a seat outside a local bar and enjoyed about 45mins in the sun before it got a little too hot for @FrankDJS.

This evening is going to consist of pizza-consumption and finishing off season two of Frankie & Grace.

I honestly think I’d be a significantly happier and more relaxed person if I lived somewhere with weather like this all the time. But seeing as I don’t, I have to take advantage of it while I can!

And looking at the weather forecast for the coming week, I’m glad I did.

A Sunny London Saturday

The sun was out in London today. That alone is worth celebrating and possibly writing down for future reference, when the cold, dark and very long Winter returns. So I was determined to make the most of it.

We ‘enjoyed’ an incredibly awful brunch at Cafe Rouge in Canary Wharf (undercooked poached eggs and the most unripe of avocados) but the tone quickly picked up as we sat in the sun in Jubilee Park. Just sipping a coffee and feeling the sun on my face was such a boost.

This was followed by a drink at 28 West while watching the traffic steam up and down the Thames, then a trip into the West End for a wander round Covent Garden, some coveting of goods at Brompton Junction (my new orange Brompton still hasn’t arrived!) and later an  ’emergency burger’ pitstop at Byron’s in Soho.

Truly, it was an emergency. And just what I needed.

And then? Then it was a large matcha milk tea with tapioca pearls from Biju on Old Compton Street. Delicious and lasted me the entire journey back to Canary Wharf. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though I admit its green colour and the pile of deep black tapioca at the bottom of the cup did draw a few odd looks on the tube.

Whatever. I like them.

And I can thoroughly recommend Biju – the best and tastiest bubble tea I’ve had outside of Japan. Maybe even better! Perfect for a hot day.

Why the need to relate the minutae of this particular Saturday? It was the usual stuff I get up to, just done through the prism of fabulous, fabulous sunshine. What a difference it makes to see London in the sunshine. It probably also explains why I walked so much – a solid 15,000 steps.

And now? Tearing through season 2 of Grace and Frankie. It’s shaped up to be a very perfect Saturday.

Canary Wharf in the sun

We had a wander around the neighbourhood to enjoy the sun this afternoon and noticed how all of the new and ‘newish’ buildings in Canary Wharf look so great against the blue sky! It’s nice to see a diversity of design among these newer buildings – they’re not all copying the ‘glass blocks’ model synonymous with Canary Wharf.

On the other hand, it really looks like they’re being built on top of each other. And the plots where even newer buildings are going up? Well, they’ll be looking directly into some of these buildings’ windows. Just goes to demonstrate how much this land is worth and how desperate developers are to make use of every single square metre.

All photos taken with my iPhone 6s Plus and shared as is – no filters! All natural, London sunshine 🙂