The Covid-19 outbreak has forced businesses to get creative and find alternative ways of working in order to stay afloat, while also supporting local communities. Londoners, here’s your guide to shopping smart – and sustainably – in the capital.
The panic buying might have settled down as lockdown continues, but supermarket queues still stretch for miles down the road (with everyone at a suitable distance). But chains aren’t your only option. There are still a handful of local food markets up and running – operating with caution, of course. These include Ridley Road Market, in Dalston, and Borough Market, in Southwark. They politely ask that you only visit if it’s essential, but this is your chance to get all your fruit, veg and fresh goodies in one go, supporting local businesses all the while.
For most of us, our commute is now just a few steps to the room next door, and impromptu workspaces have been knocked up as we try to keep everything business as usual. To maintain our motivation levels, though, it’s important we curate the space we’re in. Ordering flowers from a local florist is a wonderful way to bring the outdoors in: Freddie’s Flowers in Walthamstow deliver weekly boxes of seasonal fresh flowers for £25. Scented candles are another winner: both Ohros and Earl of East will ship their handmade soy-based creations out to you.
Contrary to popular belief, pubs are, in fact, not essential, but some have transformed themselves into temporary grocery stores. The same goes for cafes and restaurants – and it’s happening across the whole of London. In Victoria Park, for instance, sourdough bread, cans of beans and root vegetables are on the menu at Hector & Noble; in St Katharine Docks, The Melusine restaurant has dry goods, such as pasta and tinned foods, in abundance, while in Bermondsey, some of you Culture Trippers tell us that Italian restaurant Café Amisha has everything you could need.
It’s tempting to fall into the trap of next-day delivery at a price that undercuts local bookshops, but resist! Independent shops should be where our loyalties lie – and they need our support now more than ever. In east London, delivering locally (as well as posting further afield) are Pages of Hackney on Lower Clapton Road and Burley Fisher in Haggerston. Meanwhile Dulwich Books offers free delivery for those in the West Dulwich area, as does South Kensington Books in west London. Happy reading.
Sadly cinemas have had to shut up shop, but they’ve come up with a solution: keen cinema goers can purchase memberships and vouchers ahead of time. In south London, for example, Catford Mews – which shows a mixture of blockbusters and independent titles – is offering an annual membership for £40 (NHS at £35, concessions at £25), along with three free visits plus discounts at local Catford food vendors. The Castle Cinema in east London has a range of memberships, including a classic package for £29 with two tickets, and a premier for £120 with one ticket every month.
While some restaurants have transformed into temporary grocery stores, you can still enjoy restaurant-quality food with delivery services. Plant-based Dabba Drop, for instance, will bike their South Asian set menus to anyone based in east or north London. You may also find that a lot of your local favourites are operating online. Take Patty&Bun, who will deliver their Lockdown DIY Kit anywhere within the M25, so you can recreate some of their tasty bites. Bon appetit!