Keep Cup Coordinates: Brompton Cemetery

 

Brompton Cemetery is one of London’s Magnificent Seven cemeteries and is named so for a very good reason. Managed by the Royal Parks and situated in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, it is a marvelous oddity of its affluent location. The cemetery was with its fellow six London cemeteries in a ring around the capital in the 1830s to ease the city’s overcrowded graveyards and subsequently provide public green space for the busy capital. Its founder was the architect, inventor and entrepreneur Stephen Geary (1797-1854), who had previously created cemeteries at Highgate and Nunhead, both of which are magnificent in their own rights and are also well worth a visit.

Over 200,000 people rest in the cemetery and when you’re there and you really think about that fact it can seem rather morbid. However, once you notice the sheer amount of wildlife running between the pavements and mystical-looking mausoleums it transforms this place into some kind of ominous wonderland, instantly distracting you from any weighing sadness that could easily veil over the location.

 

Nestled among the spectacularly colourful trees and endless shrubbery are over 35,000 gravestones and monuments, all of which are completely original with their own story to tell.  The cemetery is kept alive through the amazing stories of all the people buried there (which you can inquire about in the office near the entrance, they’re so helpful and friendly!). There are some well-known names who were laid to rest here such as Emmeline Pankhurst and John Snow.

Today you can walk through this cemetery just like you would your local park. (For me it is actually one of my local parks, as it is only a short walk from the area of Kensington that I now live in). I always seem to want to go to locations like this in Autumn. There’s something so nice about some golden sunshine on a chilly day with all the burnt orange leaves. If you’re going to head down there then take a big flask of tea and your camera if you want to snap some good shots. The light always breaks up beautifully in the autumnal sunshine, you’re guaranteed to get some fantastic photos!

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Sunday Strolls at Kew

What’s better than a spontaneous nap on a comfy sofa on a Sunday? A spontaneous trip to Kew Gardens!

I had never personally been to Kew Gardens, although I was aware of it as one of those locations that always looked perfect on everyone else’s insta feeds. I must say, it didn’t disappoint! (At least for the few hours that the sun shone for before the rain set in…) It was a vast array of flowers, funny looking green botanicals and lots and lots of trees. If you’re a nature lover like I am, you’d understand how excited I was running around with my camera to photograph all the perfectly colour coordinated flower beds and unusual greenery. (My insta feed is now ferociously on point!)

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One of my favourite spots of the day was The Palm House and Parterre. (Pre-warning: it is very, very warm and humid in there, so take off a layer and remove glasses before heading in. Things get a bit steamy.) This structure was put together in the mid-1800s and is an iconic example of a Victorian glasshouse. The inside consists of a rainforest climate that supports a unique collection of tropical plants from some of the most threatened environments on Earth. After you de-layer and get used to the humidity you’ll find a sense of contentment in here. There’s something very calming about watching the condensation drip around the glasshouse shell and seeing the greenery inside twist and turn, growing naturally free around the metal-style plant pot that it has all been placed in. Quite a few plants in this collection are endangered in the wild, with some even extinct. This isn’t the only green house on site, so be sure to walk around and look through the others too. They’re all full of botanical wonders!

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Copyright: Corah Norton Photography

My second favourite experience at Kew Gardens? It has to have been Kew Palace. This bold and quaint house on the grounds is a perfect little preserved homage to the Georgian style of living, as it was last used as a residence to King George III, Queen Charlotte and their 15 children during the summertime months most years. Later on in their lifetime this house was also used for King George III as a refuge during his infamous episodes of ‘madness’. The house was resided  in by the royal family until Queen Charlotte’s death in 1818, when it was subsequently closed up until it was acquired by Kew in 1898. The house is now a fantastic little gem of an attraction, utilising it’s royal history as a guide through the exquisitely opulent yet cosy rooms. The employees based in the house are all kitted up in Georgian gear and were incredibly friendly and enthusiastic about the building. My favourite feature was a little old fashioned fire place that was noted to be much older than the building it sits in currently and is thought to have been taken from what was Richmond Palace, a favourite refuge of Queen Elizabeth I back in the day, that used to be located nearby. Of course the gardens of the palace are also beautiful, albeit smaller than the surrounding area of Kew, but they are definitely worth a stroll around.
(Tip: When you go in make sure you go up to the attic which has some fantastic original features that have been stripped down and exposed to show how the building stands.)

The area of kew itself is adorably quaint, like a little slice of perfection cut out of a cake and placed on a floral vintage tea plate in South London. I feel as though the local residents are either themselves botanical enthusiasts, or are contractually obliged have beautiful idyllic flowers and plants growing upon the entrance to their homes. Whatever the deal is, I am very much in love with it.

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Copyright: Corah Norton Photography (@corahnorton)

Unfortunately, in typical British tourism fashion, the rain ended up keeping us from some of the other great attractions at this beautiful place. The day started out sunny and warm, yet ended with us running back to the car in need of shelter and a little bit of heating (to then get home and pop the kettle on, of course!) I will definitely be on a trip back soon to do everything I missed, including the tree top walk!

Find out more at their website here!

Check out my photos from my trip on my instagram here!

Feeling Floral with Tea Pigs Chamomile Flowers 🌼

I’ve never really been a big loose leaf tea drinker until a few months ago. I think that myself and a lot of other people just prefer the ease and convenience of tea bags, it’s understandable and seems far less time consuming. However, with more and more news reports of plastics in tea bags and reading up in what is actually in a lot of our tea bags, it has never seemed more appropriate to take the deep dive into the wonderful world of loose leaf brews.

Copyright: Corah Norton Photography

I’ve always been a big chamomile tea drinker, mainly because I’ve always enjoyed herbal teas. They’re good for your stomach and can help with digestion if you’re like me and can have spats of IBS and tummy issues. I had tried Tea Pigs chamomile flowers before, but in a temple tea bag form. I originally I only tried it because it came as a free sample a long with another tea order I’d received in the post, alas I was not disappointed with this freebie, it actually convinced me to buy more! My favourite thing about a lot of up-market teas is the fact that you can genuinely see the ingredients that are in the bag, rather than just having a serving of chopped up tea dust that could be god knows what. The Tea Pigs chamomile bags are literally just a nice serving of chamomile flowers (which definitely adds to their adorableness!)

There are benefits to drinking chamomile tea, one being that it can help promote a nice relaxed sleepy state – perfect for bed time! I tend to drink one about 30 minutes before I want to settle down to sleep. It may help me sleep because I want it to (almost like a placebo effect) or it could also be because filling yourself up with hot liquids is basically a mini guarantee of getting to sleep. But chamomile is also linked to relaxing muscles and soothing some feelings of anxiety, so overall it’s a perfect little cup of calm. A great choice to end the day with.

So why choose the loose leaf life over tea bags? Well through google I’m sure you’ll find an abundance of health information that’ll give you specifics on chemical reactions and more. But to put it simply: loose leaf is cheaper! A box of 15 Chamomile Flowers temple tea bags will set you back £3.99 where as a 50g bag of loose chamomile flowers, which lasts longer and will give you about double the of cups of tea, will only cost you a little more at £4.60! Once you sit down and work out the price per brew you’ll struggle to go back to justifying the price of those tea bags.

So, how does this tea perform as a brew? Well, whole chamomile flowers in general do tend to brew better than chopped up and dust-like chamomile teas, so you’ll find that these whole flower blends are a lot more flavoursome and delicate. Just pop two tea spoons of flowers into your strainer, leave for a couple of minutes, and hey presto! A lovely and fresh floral brew to make the world seem that little bit calmer. 🌼

Check out the Chamomile Flowers here.

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Sweet Treats: Rinkoff Bakery

The question is; where are do I start!? Rinkoff Bakery is a little slice of heaven that has been plucked from the sky and brought down to us mere mortals so we can purchase a slice of deliciousness and use the hash tag ‘#TreatYoSelf’. Forget Hummingbird Bakery, disregard Greggs, put that sausage roll from Gail’s on hold because this is the Bakery you’ve been looking for.

Copyright: Corah Norton Photography

The city of London has been blessed with the Rinkoff family Bakery since 1911, with no signs of going anywhere of the radar. For over 100 years they’ve been supplying Londoners with sourdoughs, cheesecakes, traditional Challah breads, muffins, Danish pastries and my personal favourite: crodoughs! (They also make amazing rainbow layered cakes!) With two Bakeries in London; one in 79 Vallance Road near Shoreditch and the other a short walk from Whitechapel station on Jubilee Street, these family run Bakeries are truly perfect little gems of the city. But why should you pop in you may ask? One word: crodoughs.

So, what is exactly does one of there famous crodoughs consist of? Well, let me tell you that they’re your new worst enemy but equally your next best friend consisting of sinfully calorific goodness. Essentially this sweet treat is a doughnut made with croissant pastry and filled with a variety of delicious fillings, from Nutella and marshmallow to salted caramel with pistachio, I can 100% guarantee that there will be a flavour for you.

I’m lucky enough to work within walking distance to one of their stores, so sometimes at work we treat ourselves to a crodough every now and again. (Although this means we usually spend the afternoon sitting at our desks feeling a little full and a bit sick, but it is worth it!) The staff are a very nice and friendly, although don’t stand in the bakery for too long trying to get the perfect picture to share on your Instagram because, understandably, they just want to serve you and then the next person, so if you want that perfect pic for your perfectly curated Insta gallery then be quick and be snappy! I usually try and snap a couple of photos whilst they box up my order which is a tactic that tends to work fine.

So if you’re in east London at any point and feel like treating yourself, then head down to one of these Bakeries and grab yourself a delicious baked good.

Let’s be honest, any day is the day to treat yo’self!

Check out the bakery website here!

Have Instagram? Follow me here!

(And here is my personal account!)

Copyright: Corah Norton PhotographyCopyright: Corah Norton Photography

Carry Cup Coordinates: St. Dunstan in the East

Something I like to do when I’ve got some free time in between getting on with daily tasks is take a seat somewhere with a hot drink and just sit and watch the world pass me by. One of my favourite spots, probably within the whole of London is St. Dunstan in the East, which is a short walk Monument tube station. This pubic garden is set in a church ruin and is a true hidden gem of the city, surrounded by towering buildings and hustle and bustle, it quietly sits tucked away from the main road, with a view over looking the Thames in the distance and modern buildings sheltering it from most views.

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The church was originally built around 1100 and over time was built up with new additions here and there, however the tragedy of The Great Fire of London in 1666 damaged the church, resulting in it being patched up so to keep it standing. Although the Church survived over 500 years from its original construction, it was taken down in 1817 due to the structure being considered too poor to be left standing. Thus, the new gothic style church was erected in the same foundations as the original structure before it. However, even this structure wasn’t to last as it was caught in the bombing of the Blitz in 1941. Only the church tower and steeple survived in tact from the bombings, with only north and south walls remaining of the rest of the structure.

The bad luck of this place has now come to a halt and i’m hoping it stays that way. The ruined walls that are left standing have become one with the nature that surrounds it. As you sit on the circled benches between the crumbled shell of the building, you can hardly imagine the turmoil that the structure has gone through. You see busy city workers take a break from their days to sit and have some tranquility for a short time before they had back into their busy lives. Although it has undergone refurbishment, demolishment, fires and the tragedy of the Blitz, it is now a place of peace and quiet, a million miles from its unlucky past.

The best times of year to go are probably Spring and Autumn. Around these seasons the nature that surrounds the church is allowed to grow a little more than in summer and isn’t as bare as in winter, so there’s a certain dream-like quality to the surroundings. You can get some fantastically fantasy-like photographs when its over grown, I usually have my DSLR in tow whenever I plan on stopping by this location. Its also best to go on a weekday either side of 1pm so that you miss the little lunch rush of people wanting to sit in the garden and enjoy their packed lunch. So head down with a hot drink, take a good book or listen to some music, and just have some quiet time of either reflection or to just chill and forget about your troubles for a bit. I promise you won’t regret it!

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Corah Norton Photography

Address: St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DDScreen Shot 2018-02-13 at 19.22.49.png

Big City Brews

I’m an avid experimenter with tea flavours. I find the week needs little things here and there to make it more interesting when you’re having to partake in mundane tasks. I’ve been drinking T2 teas for about a year now on and off, they’re not my usual go-to brand but I’ve never tasted one of their teas and been disappointed.

A couple of months ago me and my boss got a mixed selection box of T2 teas for work (to spice up the working day here and there whilst scrolling through social media stats). There was a few in the box that i really genuinely liked, but the one that stuck with me had to be T2’s New York Breakfast Tea. It is simply perfect, it is a New York pancake breakfast in a hot brewed black tea. I’m not sure how appealing or not that is to read, but maybe if I drop in that the tea literally smells like hot pancakes, then maybe it seems a lot more exciting?

In all honesty, we left the black teas until last in the selection box. I’m always more interested in green and herbal teas for some reason, perhaps because you read about all the health benefits. But we scrambled around them for a few weeks because we thought a Breakfast tea is a Breakfast tea, it’s not exciting or different. Alas, we were very, very mistaken.

T2 does a range of Breakfast blends, as do many tea brands, but these are pin pointed to a certain place in the world, which is a new take on branding teas that I hadn’t seen before. We tried Irish Breakfast tea, Melbourne breakfast and a few others. I was quite surprised to find the location tags given to the blends to be surprisingly accurate. It’s one of those things that doesn’t necessarily make sense, it just is what it is.

The one I would throughly recommend though is the New York Breakfast tea. With its lively and popping bright yellow packaging and smokey sweet tastes it makes you feel like you could be sitting outside a cafe in the Greenwich village with a cosy of the New York Times on a fresh spring morning. (Or at least I imagine that’s what the sales assistants at T2 would tell you if you asked about it).

Check out the big city brew here.

Getting Clean n’ Green with Tea Pigs

I’ve recently started trying to start my mornings in the train to work with a kick starter detox tea. It may be counter productive because I’m assuming you’re ideally supposed to drink bucket loads of these internally cleansing potions to feel any real results, but for me it’s at least a step in the right direction to drink something that feels nice and isn’t loaded with sugar or anything too heavy as my first fluids of the day.

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Whilst at work the other day I received a free P&P offer email from Tea Pigs. I’ve tried a few of their teas before, they’re my main fluid staple when I’m at work (my boss likes their selections a lot too). So being the overexcited consumer that I am I was on their website four times in one day to try and commit to a tea purely because I was tempted in by the free postage offer (in all fairness, free P&P can save you £3 or so these days). I eventually got on with my work and forgot about buying tea and told myself to stop being so consumerist and to just be content with the tea I already have in the cupboard…until I saw another promotion for 3 boxes of a Tea Pigs Feel-good teas for £10! Tadah! Perfect.

I chose to go with their blend called Clean n’ Green because I know two things about my tea: I like green teas and I like pretending that a tea loaded with antioxidants is counteracting all the bad food I ate at the weekend. In my head I can order that dominos on Saturday night if I spend the next week drinking steaming hot leaves in a cup, because then nothing ever happened, right? However, I’ve always been sceptical of detox teas, I never trust any product that implies or claims I might lose weight from it because I usually think that it’ll just be a strong green tea loaded with laxatives or something unpleasant. However, this detox tea doesn’t try and claim you’ll reach your bikini body goals, it’s just claims to be a nice blend that can make you feel nice! I’m 100% pro that!

There are so many pros to green tea, I tend to drink it by the pint during the day. Green teas have compounds that make you smarter, improve brain function, it can improve fat burning and physical performance, it has even been reported to lower your risks of certain diseases such and some cancers. So let’s be honest, Green tea is basically a magical blend of goodness that we should all be drinking all the time because evidently it’s the most amazing gift this earth has been blessed with (or something like that at least).

The tea itself is a really pleasant flavour, it’s loaded with lovely things like liquorice and dandelion bits. A good way to describe is that it tastes, well, clean and green! The name of it is a perfect description. It’s like a fancy green tea with a hint of sweetness! As an avid green tea drinker, whether it be green with lemon or green with mint, I can definitely recommend this tea. Every morning I’ve felt that little bit more refreshed and ready for a days work since brewing this blend before rushing off to grab the train to work.

Check out the tea on their website here