AFRICA IN THE CITY

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m in a quandary as to what to do with the rest of my day, having dragged myself reluctantly to the gym for my weekly punishment I was feeling in an inspired mood to get out and about (any opportunity to hit the streets with the Nikon).
Several of my friends had told me to attend August in Africa Summer Festival, presented by The Africa Center at London’s Covent Garden, a celebration of all things amazing and African inspired. However central London on a Saturday isn’t one of my favourite things, especially since the week before I made the mistake of trying to shop the sales in Oxford Street on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Let’s just say the day ended with me having to express a few choice words to a complete stranger about the importance of common sense and decency. From that point I vowed never again.

I actually love Covent Garden, it’s an eccentric  mix of old London, mixed with modern shops and restaurants, however there is a reason I avoid it on any given Saturday, due to the very high volume of people in what is considered a very small area of space. It becomes a real challenge to traverse the streets to avoid collisions with tourists and general “out of towners”, whilst trying not to photobomb every other picture. Hence why my reluctance to attend the festival, however I needed to run a few errands, so as I was going to be in the area anyway it seemed rude not to attend, also an opportunity to celebrate the wonderfulness that is Africa.

Upon arrival in the Piazza we found a large stage, where DJ Oya Bun was currently playing an array of upbeat Afro Beats to keep the waiting crowd entertained. The atmosphere was relaxed and happy encouraged by the very fortunate good weather. As I said previously I hadn’t really intended on attending the festival so hadn’t checked the timings for the line-up, a quick google search later I realised we had missed a number of opening acts, which included; Ali Kamara, Simo Lagnawi, Bonga, Taalim and later in the evening Fuse ODG.

Undeterred we decided to explore the festival further, more importantly, do some shopping, which was perfectly timed as we managed to catch the beginning of an on the street fashion show, showcasing African inspired contemporary fashion, all put together by Vou Brown, fashion boutique located in North West London (I will be visiting in the near future)

Africa Summer Festival

 

 

The Men’s fashion did not disappoint

 

After the show we were able to shop the looks straight off the cobbled catwalk. My purchase of choice being an Ankara print turban, for those days when my hair is not looking quite ready for outside eyes and fabric covered earrings by Gitas Portal to add to my already too large collection.

African Summer Festival 2015

 

Overall the afternoon turned out to be a fun day it was nice to see young and old experiencing Africa’s finest. Showing the continent is more than a news headline but is rich with colour, culture art and fashion in its many evolving forms. Also a great precursor to next week’s event of Africa Fashion Week London, which I’m sure many of you will be attending.

Let me know if you attended the festival, your comments and feedback  are always welcome. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and follow me @mymagnoliasky

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My London: Brick Lane shopping

After filling our stomachs with what seemed like all the pancakes at Hoi Polloi Restaurant, Ace Hotel (see my previous post), it made sense to go for a walk to try a burn off some of our very large brunch. So myself and my friend Carina headed over to Brick Lane only a few minutes’ walk from Shoreditch High Street.

 

 

Brick Lane is an interesting place, where you will find some of the best curry houses, vintage shops and street art which line this very unique street. The street style fashion is amazing to observe from 90’s throwback, 80s punk and modern day mod-tailoring. There is a high concentration of people wearing Mom Jeans and a 2.8 average jaunty hat ownership per capita (note these statistics are completely fictitious though probably not far-off).

Brick Lane Vintage shops offer an array of retro fashion, though not the cheapest but you will be spoilt for choice.

Our first stop is the ever popular Rokit Vintage and Retro Clothing Shop, which has everything from old school Puma sneakers to cut-off vintage Levis 501’s.
Rokit

 

The Vintage Market Brick Lane.
Indoor market with various vendors all under the one roof.

Carina tried on this hat for so long I thought she actually had bought it, at only £15 it was a bargain.
Brick Lane Vintage Market

 

 

Today I’m Wearing: Topshop Parka, H&M printed blouse, Daniel Wellington Watch and Vintage Silk Scarf from my trip to Hong Kong.
Topshop with Vintage Silk Scarf

Brick Lane BookShop
I’m not sure when William Shakespeare wrote Othello, he had “MR T” in mind, but I think it works.

We accidentally happen upon a Street Art tour group, and decided to tag along for a moment, which is another great thing about Brick Lane the art is everywhere. Round every corner or side street you can find another piece more thought-provoking than the last.

As the afternoon sun starts to dim we head back to Liverpool Street Station to catch the tube home, I’m very proud of myself having controlled my urge to buy anything, but there is always next time.

Brunch at Hoi Polloi, Ace Hotel

Those that know me well, know I love a leisurely brunch on lazy afternoon, catching-up with friends whilst enjoy good food. On this gloriously sunny afternoon I met with my friend Carina, location Hoi Polloi, Ace Hotel, Shoreditch.

It was my first time visiting Hoi Polloi, though I had been to the Ace Hotel on a number of occasions. The entrance to the restaurant is not the most obvious, as you make your way through a florist or if like me who got very confused the neighbouring bar. Once inside I was delightfully surprised by the spacious yet intimate space. The Art Deco touches, mixed with the soft leather booths and paneled wood, resulted in a comfortable and inviting dining environment. The menu was presented as an old newspaper and our table water is served in old glass milk bottles.

 

However the highlight of the day was the string quartet playing some of the best pop classics, myself and Carina found ourselves pausing in conversation to enjoy the music. I have heard Beyoncé Crazy in Love a million times, but I got to enjoy it as if for the first time and found myself wanting to sing along.

The clientele were what as expected for this part of London; think bearded, clad in denim and ironic take on fashion representative of East London.

I ate stacked pancakes topped off with bacon and maple syrup, undoing all the good work I had done in the gym that very morning. Though there was no remorse as they were wickedly delicious, certainly worth another visit.

Hoi Polloi Pancakes

The staff were friendly and we didn’t feel at all rushed to hurry-up and leave, in fact we could have easily spent the whole afternoon hanging-out and chatting.

 

For more about Hoi Polloi Restaurant visit: www.hoi-polloi.co.uk

 

Hoi Polloi, Restaurant Review