HIDDEN LONDON: Sustainable Feature

from Neo, Summer 2020

Botanique Workshop, Exmouth Market

I first entered this refreshing shop whilst desperately trying to do what we've all done - find the perfect gift for a friend - and this place didn't disappoint. Upon stepping inside, I was immediately greeted by the smell of freshly cut plants and flowers, and within thirty seconds of browsing through the meticulously arranged shelves, the stress of finding the perfect gift had begun to melt away.

Botanique Workshop combines flowers and plants with a wonderful collection of unique handcrafted products. As well as selling stunning bouquets and making their own products, Botanique works with British designers and small businesses to create a space filled with beautiful, high-quality items. They also run floristry workshops and classes from their basement workshop. After my first visit, I have returned often, sometimes to buy a present or just to see what’s new.

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Bulk Market, Hackney

Tucked away in an arch under a railway bridge, this shop looks unassuming at first. However, upon entry, you’ll find a surprisingly wide range of household essentials. Bulk Market’s purpose is to make it easy for people to make the right choices in what they buy, by ditching unnecessary packaging. As you enter, there is a massive rack of canisters on the left wall containing every dry good imaginable, from coffee to cornflakes to quinoa. Next to this is an array of seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as freshly baked goods and honey.

 

Amazingly, the Bulk Market also stocks chilled and frozen food, cleaning products, and pet food! As you walk into the back of the shop, you come across their unique DIY beauty bar. Glass jars filled with exotic oils and creams are arranged neatly on the wall. The idea is to be able to know exactly what’s in your skincare. The staff are happy to provide you with recipes and information as you concoct your own personalised beauty products completely plastic-free!

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Calthorpe Project, King’s Cross

The Calthorpe Project is a green haven in central London, providing access to green speace for people without gardens. Walking through the bright red gate and over the bridge, you are met with a surprisingly open space. At the centre, there is a tiled yard where visitors try out ping pong, surrounded by bushes. To your right, others play five-a-side football on the pitch. And towards the back, children play on the tyre swing or climbing frame.

The facility is open seven days a week and hosts a wide range of activities including gardening, football, and yoga. A vegetarian café is also open from Monday to Friday, which makes use of the ingredients grown on-site. Much of the energy used is generated through an anaerobic digester, which helps heat the greenhouses. Even though the site is less than two acres, it has so much to offer, being a place for relaxation, somewhere to have lunch or a fun area to play a game of ping pong with your family. 

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Seven Dials Market, Covent Garden

I first stumbled across this place completely by accident whilst trying to find a pair of shoes. Located in an old Banana Warehouse, this bustling hall contains food from all over the world. As you walk through the dimly lit entrance, you think it’s just a few stalls, but then it opens up into two levels of mouth-watering abundance. At the top, there are some sit-down cafés, while the bottom floor is lined with street-food stalls and contains a communal dining area in the middle.

The food ranges from the weird to the wonderful. In the same building, you can find traditional Italian pasta and the world’s first cheese conveyor belt restaurant! Seven Dials Market is also very sustainable as most of the food is served plastic-free and there are water refill stations throughout the venue. There is also a wide range of plant-based and vegan food available, including vegan tacos!

Words and Photos by Honor

Illustrations by Penelope