Doggie X’mas Market @ Netil Market

Shoreditch is a fun place to live, and one of the many reasons is how dog/-friendly the area is. Especially on weekends, we see many people on the streets, enjoying their day out with their four-legged pals.

Look, even a dog is on the hand rail!

So when there was an announcement that a Christmas market for dogs was coming to London, it had to happen in Shoreditch, naturally.

Netil Market was the host of Santa Paws – A Christmas Market for Dogs and Their Owners…

It was soooo coooollldddd! The forecast was 9°C but the biting wind was so bitterly cold, it felt more like 4 or 5°C.

Bella the Social Butterfly was in her element, regardless the weather…

‘Hi! Hi! Hi!!’ Bella, they don’t know what make of you.

She just dashed towards anything four-legged and started to flirt like there would be no tomorrow…

It didn’t matter if the receiving ends of her attention appreciated her open friendliness or not, she just advanced to them with her tail wagging manically.

I call her Bella the Serial Flasher…

I don’t know why but she flashes herself to all the dogs she encounters. Yes, she is very friendly and submissive which everyone finds cute. However, she does this gesture all the time, regardless how wet, how muddy and how grubby the surface she is rolling on. No, Bella!

Stalls at the market was a pure retail heaven for doggie lovers.

This stall offered personalised soft furnishings for furry pals and their owners…

You can send an image of your four-legged friend to the designer and she will customise it to a plush cushion, etc. The end result will be a very special seasonal gift, won’t it?

How about doggie themed Christmas decorations for your tree?

Unfortunately, we can’t have them because we have decided not to have a proper tree this Christmas. Do you know why? Because I can visualise how Bella will trash the decoration, eat some bits and pieces of the tree and end up on a vet’s examination table. I will have to keep our seasonal decorations beyond her reach on the window sills so she won’t do any harm to them and to herself. *sigh*

Now, this was one thing I really loved…

A beautiful handmade dog lead by HIRO + WOLF. The main colour was turquoise blue and the effect would go very well with her neon orange harness as well as her neon pink one. I will love to use it during the summer, I thought.

The leads on display were for larger breeds and I asked the seller behind the stall if they had any option for small dogs…

She gave me a business card and suggested me to forward the details so she could customise a lead for Bella. ‘I will drop you a note as soon as I get home!’ I waved and left the market.

‘Too cold here!’ Hubbie, Bella and I hurried to Market Cafe on Broadway Market…

Despite it was after two o’clock, the place was still very busy and a manager told us that we would have to wait for about 15 minutes if we wanted a table. Still, we didn’t dither and agreed to wait because we just wanted to be indoor!

For late lunch, we ordered the same dish…

Ham hock hash with a fried egg! I had a glass of rooibos tea & apple ice tea. Hubbie had cold pressed juice of carrot, orange & ginger with his lunch.

For pudding, we shared apple & spiced plum crumble with cinnamon ice cream…

We found huge juicy plum chunks underneath the crunchy crumble top. It was very good.

At home, I measured the length of the lead…

So I can commission HIRO + WOLF to make us a new lead. Oh, I can hardly wait…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Bank holiday recap 2

‘Give me an hour or so. I’ll come with you.’ Hubbie mumbled under his duvet with his eyes half-opened. I just told him that Bella and I were leaving shortly to Broadway Market to say hi to Heza who had a weekly stall there. ‘No, you aren’t coming with us today. You are staying at home to get rid of the migraine.’ It may sounded rather heartless, but who would want a zombie to tag along with you? I wouldn’t. Besides, a nine months old puppy with boundless energy like Bella would naturally bark and run around all day long, and which would make his headache worse. So I justified myself going out with her, leaving Hubbie wrapped up in his duvet.

The market was pretty busy with locals and tourists. It was not very warm but not too windy, and people were sampling street foods and sipping drinks from papercups….

I found Heza at his usual spot, and we chatted for a while. After agreeing to meet up on Friday for a proper catch-up, Bella and I headed to Mare Street to board on a 55 bus. I was concerned about her behaviour during the previous day’s car journey and wanted to make sure she was still happy to travel by bus.

Well, my concern was unfound…

She was happy as punch on her favourite seat!

Look, those petals are beautiful, aren’t they?

She was so chilled out and a completely different girl from the previous day.

I sometimes hold her on my lap during our bus journeys too. Therefore, her distress of last Friday was not related to being held in arms. Why? What was the difference? I was truly puzzled.

We got off at Wardour Street and walked to GAIL’s Bakery, my favourite cafe. I ordered a ham & cheese croissant with mocha and sat at the table on the side street…

Ohhh, I haven’t had this combo for quite a while… Every now and then, there is a moment I just want to eat carb and processed meat with normal coffee even though I also enjoy Hubbie’s detox menu.

On our way home, Bella met a friendly whippet…

Bella was saying to him, ‘You made my day!’

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Boxing Day 2016

So my post-Christmas 2016 – 2017 went like this. Christmas Day was a quiet affair. I cooked fish pie and Hubbie opened a bottle of vintage white wine. After the dinner, we carried on grazing on Christmas cake and cheese while we kept on topping up each other’s glass. By the end of the night, I was properly drank, drank, drank. God knows how I managed to tuck Bella and myself in beds without any accident!

On Boxing Day, I woke up with no headache but felt lots of booze still left in my system. Oh dear, I’m gonna stick to non-alcohol drink for the foreseeable future, I thought with my fuzzy head as I sipped a mug of tea. Then, Hubbie declared that he needed some fig leaves for a photo shoot. Finding fresh fig leaves at this time of the year?! ‘I’m not 100% sure but there might be one along Goldsmith’s Row.’ So we were off to Broadway Market for lunch, a stroll to burn off calories and harvesting fig leaves.

‘Enjoy your lunch, you lucky people!’

A six months old bulldog pup we met at Market Cafe. Our Bella had also become six months old on Boxing Day too!

Our Boxing Day outing plan fell apart as soon as we arrived at Market Cafe. The pub was fully booked, and we walked out of the place, crestfallen.

It’s so cold! What we gonna do now?

No place except Artwords Bookshop and Market Cafe was open for business, and we were forced to move on because it was too cold to just stand and ponder.

About the fig leaves, we didn’t find any fig tree along Goldsmith’s Row. We craned our necks right & left and up & down in an attempt to locate one along the street, but the effort was futile. We then crossed Mare Street and continued our hunt on eerily quiet Columbia Street. ‘Where is everybody?’ Sadly, there was no fig tree there either. We were starving by then yet there was no restaurant or cafe open in Hoxton. ‘Let’s catch cab and go home. I can’t feel anything on my toe anymore!’

Later on, we decided to have dinner at the Eagle. Who said no more booze this morning?

Their mulled cider with brandy was crazy moreish.

Bella was fast asleep on a pile of cushions…

For food, I opted for chicken katsu curry burger. Yup, you heard it right, katsu curry burger!

Ta-dah! The burger was eye-popping huge. Instead of mayo or BBQ sauce, curry sauce was drizzled over the meat.

The chicken was more like fried chicken than a traditional breadcrumbed one, but it was tasty and succulent. The size of my burger made Hubbie, who ordered a normal beef burger, very envious. ‘You see. Who dares win!’ I teased him as I munched on the katsu.

The atmosphere at the pub was chilled and at home. It’s so nice to have a cozy pub at a stone’s throw distance, Hubbie and I agreed as we rubbed our full bellies.

It’s time to go home, princess…

Bella being so relaxed, she refused to get up voluntarily…

*A quick recap on the fig leaves. We located them in the square near Euston Station. Phew!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Saturday Market

Brrrrrrrrr! It was C•O•L•D!! It was totally stupid that I decided to don a pair of Vans on my bare feet instead of Uggs when I left for Broadway Market with Bella this afternoon. A huge mistake. It was freezing out there, and my feet became as icy as a tomb as I ambled around the market stalls.

Best Saturday street market in London has to be Broadway Market (in my opinion)…

A busy street and a hyper active puppy, they never got on very well. While Bella letting her displeasure known by wriggling in my arm like an eel, I dodged and shimmied through the section of the market which was extra congested with the people who were queuing for their lunch. In a two weeks time, Bella would be given the green light I had been praying for, and I definitely didn’t want to run a risk of her being stepped on or kicked by passers-by.

In the shade, the temperature nosedived and my socks-less toe felt the plunge most acutely…

How can Bella walk on this cold pavement without shoes?!

We took refuge in TIOSK for warmth and lunch. I ordered Matcha latte with a acai and chia detox pot…

As I munched on my lunch, I struck up a conversation with a German mom and son duo who were also visiting the market. Our small talk soon developed into a more serious discussion concerning the future of Britain and Europe after Brexit. You see, the beauty of living in a multicultural city like London is the ease of meeting people from all over the world and being able to share ideas and values. If this free-flow of talent and knowledge can not be allowed because of the bigotry and prejudice which bore a monster like Brexit, will London be as wonderful as it always has been?

A guy was strumming Michael Jackson…

Christmas decorations around the market kept on reminding what would have to be sorted rather urgently…

Cord-less Christmas lightings to be sourced and gifts for mom to be sent to Japan before the post office becomes busy, etc.

Time to head home was getting nearer as the shadows casted by the winter sun were getting increasingly longer …

While we were walking towards Hackney Road, Bella found something extremely seductive just inside Haggerston Park…

Look, Bella. I am cold and bored. Can we go now?

A Christmas fair at Hackney City Farm next Saturday? Yay! We are coming together, aren’t we, Bella?

Bella and I on Columbia Road…

Saturday on Columbia street was a quiet affair. However, all the shops along the street were open and I managed to buy a few more gifts for mom.

We may come back to the street again next Wednesday as they will be holding a special late shopping night…

We saw a Santa on one of the balconies of a housing block…

We bumped into a beagle puppy on Hackney Road. As Bella and the 8 months old puppy happily acquainted each other, the owner and I chatted about our charges’ health scare stories. Apparently, his puppy ate 11 tablets of paracetamol and ended up being put on a drip for 4 days! Oh my word, Bella’s stunt sounded rather tame comparing with his…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Market Cafe, E8

Bella looked bored and I was itching for fresh air. ‘Shall we have lunch at Broadway Market, Bella?’ I put a collar around her neck and picked up keys.

Most of the eateries along Broadway Market are canine-friendly and Market Cafe is especially pleasant for both dogs and their owners…

Bella greeting a resident lab…

Their menu is light and healthy. Perfect for a guilt-free lunch…

I had wild rice, avocado, radish, pomegranate, dukka & poached egg. It was garnished with chopped coriander and the whole mixture was very moreish.

Bella wanted to play more…

She is too large for you. You will have to wait for a few more months…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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