Mothers celebratory weekend part 2 – Columbia road flower market and Lily Vanilli

Every year for my birthday since I turned 18, I’ve received flowers from my mother. I decided to reciprocate this traditional gesture of thought and affection by also treating her to some, but as I stood in my local florist pondering over the variety of ice-cream pastel peonies and vividly blinding tulips I thought it would be better to let her pick a blooming bundle herself. And where better than Columbia road flower market.  Every Sunday the east London street – a 12 minute walk from Bethnal Green station – is turned into flower pageantry, with an ocean of colour and waves of all imaginable petal shapes. Gentlemen stroll hand in hand with their beaus looking for that special bouquet to buy, tourists point their cameras at the delicate petals that envelope a rose bud and the traders shout out their 3 for £10 deals in a true cockney accent You can’t help but love the cheeky market traders whose quick thinking banter wouldn’t look out of place in a Carry on film.

In keeping with the on going theme of ‘surprises’ during the weekend I simply instructed my Mum to put on something comfortable and prepare for a walk. My mum was entirely clueless and thankfully didn’t click on to passers by carrying various bunches of flowers in their arms. As we approached the bustling road I turned to Mum and explained that she could pick some flowers for her birthday. she was delighted with the surprise 🙂

The flowers may have enjoyed the days weather but for us the rain poured in a typically british manor ushering us to find shelter –  and something edible – in some of the local shops. Luck was on our side however when we quite literally stumbled upon a little cafe called The Lily Vanilli Bakery. We were greeted with a counter full of creative delights. Each delicious treat was paired with petal paper explaining the unconventional but oh so delectable ingredients. We admired the ‘sweet potato and parsnip cake’ and a baked creation that was made with Guinness. The cafe itself was small, but there was a welcoming atmosphere with groups of people laughing and smiling as they sipped from their cups of coffee. My mother and I chose ‘stuff on toast’ which is, quite literally, stuff on toast. It was simply heavenly; thick, moist bread topped with bacon, roasted vegetables and cheese, although there was lots of other ‘stuff’ to choose from.
As I sat debating whether to have another slice I noticed a rather pretty book I had seen only months before and fell in love with. Sweet Tooth‘ is a recipe book that’s so colourful it could blend in to the rows of flowers that line the street just around the corner from the bakery. Lily Jones who began with the Lily Vanilli Bakery has gone on to produce this fabulously quirky book of tips and recipes on how to create something truly memorable – and sweet. After this weekend Mum remembered how much I loved Sweet Tooth and bought it for me for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. I can’t wait to try out the recipes and I’ll be sure to write a post about how I get on! The book also acts as a lovely reminder of a fabulous weekend in London with my Mother. 
If you’re ever in East London and looking for a charming cafe this is the place to go. It’s definitely a new favourite of mine and I can’t wait to take my friends to Lily Vanilli.
As we continued flower shopping I began to notice my Mum ignoring the dainty bouquets of cut flowers and instead she hovered around small potted trees and climbing plants. I still hadn’t revealed to her that I had afternoon tea booked, a long tube journey away across London. I could only laugh at the irony when my Mother chose a large pink climbing camellia! She later told me that she chose the camellia over the cut flowers because she wanted something that would last forever – to remind her of the weekend! She’s a cute one! 
We made our way across London, miniature garden and all to enjoy the remainder of the surprises ahead! It was rather amusing to look down the underground escalator to see a mass of pink flowers nestled amongst the black suits of commuters! But odd looks from Londoners aside, I think Mummy made a fabulous choice! And look how proud she is! 🙂

Thanks for reading lovelies! Part three coming soon!

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Leave a comment

  1. May 10, 2013 / 7:41 pm

    Hey you´ve a great blog!
    Please check out mine.
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  2. May 12, 2013 / 11:02 pm

    Hey, I love these photos!!

    Thank you for your comment on my blog 🙂

    Much love,
    Jennifer x

  3. May 13, 2013 / 2:53 pm

    Hello!!! Just bobbing over to say thank you for the lovely comment over on my blog – such beautiful pictures on this post!! That little cafe looks so lovely!!!! I am off on a little adventure of exploring the rest of your blog. Have a lovely rest of day xxxxx

  4. May 15, 2013 / 9:39 am

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  6. October 25, 2013 / 9:07 pm

    I've been to the Columbia Road Flower Market during our trip to England this summer and I have to say that it was one the loveliest markets I've seen so far! I'm so in love with your blog, honestly, it's definitely one of the nicest ones I've seen by now 🙂 You're so lucky to live in London! I simply love this city and hope that I'll also be able to live there one day 🙂 Enjoy some cream tea for me and take care!

    Greetings from Austria! xx

  7. April 6, 2014 / 11:26 am

    Hi dear,
    You recently followed my blog with gfc, but it expires. I wish we could stay in contact. It would be great if you could follow my blog on bloglovin', I will be doing the same.
    Love, Anna

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Hello, fancy seeing you here!

I’m Jenna! A photographer, stylist and recipe developer constantly seeking and sharing life’s little tonics. Here is where I share delicious, sparkly stories from Somerset, with my rescue dogs in tow.

In short, I’m usually behind a lens, eat a lot and often lose 4G.

Jenna Fifi is where you’ll find everything from indulgent recipes and hotel reviews to skincare recommendations and interiors inspiration. Life natters are complimentary. It’s a varied mix of late-20s souvenirs, the best bits of course, all jumbled together and served with a sprinkling of humour and a slice of the bright side.

This space is made to be rummaged through, and I hope you find something that leaves you full with life lustre, rippling ideas and hungry for cake and beyond.

So pull up a chair, pour yourself a drink and don’t forget to say hello! 😊

Jenna x