THE BEST INDEPENDENT BOOK SHOPS IN LONDON

Because rainy summer days are best spent indoors with a blanket and a good read

There’s nothing quite so romantic as a rainy afternoon spent cosied up on a reading chair, fresh coffee in hand, about to tuck into a good book. But what if you’ve just finished a whopper, keen to dive into the next, and don’t have a new one to hand? Or what if you’re a tourist in the big city and have underestimated how many pages you’d get through of the ones you’d packed?

Instead of solving the problem by opening up that oh so convenient Amazon app, pop down to your local independent bookstore (the city is full of them) and purchase from them instead. The best part about independents is that they tend to have quaint little coffee shops you can hang out in, great events where you don’t have to fight for tickets and they almost always sell semi-pretentious tote bags you can wear as a handy little nod in support of small businesses.

If you’re on the lookout for some cool and quirky little bookshops in London, but don’t know where to start, here are some of my favourites for you to enjoy the next time you’re in need.

Word on the Water

Nestled in the newly renovated King’s Cross, you’ll find Word on the Water, which is basically a big barge that sells second-hand books. Started by a guy called Paddy Screech, who worked with homeless people all his life, he decided to take his own advice and simply do what made him happy – which was clearly to sell literature on the water. Although there’s not much space to sit and enjoy whichever title takes your fancy, you can perch along the canal or take your title home and curl up with it there.

Pages of Hackney

Just along Lower Clapton road lies Pages of Hackney, an independent bookshop that will satisfy all your hipster needs. Its vibrant sky blue exterior is entirely “instagrammable” (if that’s your bag) and they sell a good combination of brand new contemporary and classic fiction and non-fiction, in addition to lots of second-hand numbers. Pages also host lots of really interesting events, so keep your eyes peeled and head down when these are on to meet your neighbours and buy some new books.

Persephone Books

Selling out of print titles by twentieth-century female authors, Persephone Books couldn’t be more up my street if it tried. If you’re keen to delve into the female voices of days gone by and tuck into something that might have long been forgotten, then this one is definitely for you. With shorts, diaries, memoirs and novels, each sold in a gorgeous grey jacket with a bookmark to keep, this is an extra special bookshop and a lesser-known haven for all you feminists out there.

Of course, there are plenty more independent bookshops scattered around the city, but these are just 3 of my favourites. If you have any recommendations, do send them over as I’m always on the lookout for a new favourite haunt. And if you are heading to London for an exciting city break, why not live like a local and make the most of this wonderful city? Rent an apartment or vacation rental from Home From Home and enjoy your book in the comfort of your… sort of… home.

*This is a sponsored post

ROAD TRIP, ANYONE?

Living in London, Ryan and I didn’t have a car, but as soon as a move to Bristol was on the cards, that all changed and Carla the little Corsa came into our lives.

And thank god she did.

As the summer months roll in and the weather grows warm, my favourite thing to do after work is to convince my boyfriend to jump in the car and whisk me off (I can’t drive) to the nearest beach to unwind. Only thirty minutes from our flat, we spend long evenings eating chips while staring out to sea, and even when it’s raining, we sit inside the cosy car dissecting our days.

At the weekend, however, we tend to venture a little further afield. Having family in all four corners of the UK, we spend a lot of time traveling to Cornwall, Whitby, and York – not to mention ferrying between our two lives in Bristol and London on an almost weekly basis. Ignoring petrol prices and fighting over what radio station we should tune into, we aren’t so good at taking care of the car, and probably don’t pay enough attention to driving safely during the summer.

If you’re guilty of doing the same, here are some tips to make sure you are driving safely on your next road trip.

Keep Hydrated

In the same way you wouldn’t run a marathon without a bottle of water to hand, your car can’t travel long distances without any H2o, so be sure to top up your radiator with water mixed with coolant. Although water is technically all that is required, a mixture of the two will prevent the water from boiling and causing the engine to overheat. When it comes to hydration, you mustn’t forget your humans, either. Both the driver and passengers of the vehicle should have a bottle of water to hand each in order to keep hydrated throughout the journey.

Stay Cool

As mentioned, it’s important to make sure your car’s cooling system is in good working order during the warmer months. Older cars should be inspected regularly by a professional (especially if you’re heading off on a long journey) as the coolant can leak.

It’s important the driver avoids overheating too, so if you’re lucky enough to have air con installed in your vehicle, don’t be shy and turn it on. Alternatively, roll those windows down and enjoy the breeze.

Check Your Tyres

Car tyres are the legs of your vehicle and are one of the most important parts, so make sure you are keeping tabs on how they’re holding up. You can start by checking tread depths with a 20p piece, and if the outer band of the coin disappears from view, the tyre is safe. You should also check the pressure of your tyres by following the manufacturer’s guidelines to prolong their life and maximise fuel consumption.

If you need a little guidance on tyre safety, find out more and book your car tyres conveniently at Point S.

Throw Some Shade

Sounds obvious, but make sure to keep the sun out of your eyes while driving. Make sure you always have a pair of good sunglasses to hand and use your sun shield whenever you need to.

Whether you drive on a daily basis or are heading out on the open road this summer, make sure to take care of your car as much as you do yourself.

Happy Road Trippin’!

*this is a sponsored post*