Thoughtful places

Places and spaces we love here at Thoughtful

slow city

Breaking the time machine: How to slow the pace of city life

Reclaim urban space by moving through it at your own pace.   The speed of urban life has been noted for centuries. The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau declared the city a “whirlwind” back in 1761. Fast forward two hundred years, and a study in the journal Nature found scientific proof that the “pace of life varies in a regular fashion with… Read more →

slow travel

Slow travel: How to see the world without ever boarding a plane

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” – Mahatma Gandhi   A decade ago I went around the world without flying. A plane-free circumnavigation of the globe. An environmental odyssey. A climate change pilgrimage to explore the world in a grounded and connected way, without a planet-stewing slew of carbon emissions trailing along behind me. It was a… Read more →

bow mission

Street life: The timeless message of the Bow Mission mural

I took a wrong turn. Drawing a map from memory, I’d accidentally wandered down a street cutting south from Bow Road to the green wall of trees lining the cemetery. On the right, white and brown new builds; on the left, an older brick brown block dragging like a tail behind the tower of the Methodist church. On a tall windowless… Read more →

restoring chateau

What restoring a derelict chateau taught me about myself

As I laboriously scrubbed its floors, dusted its surfaces and ridded the French chateau of three decades of cobwebs, I finally found the time to reflect. The smell of freshly cut grass and musty old barns evoked memories of my summer holidays spent there. It’s been in our family since the early nineteenth-century. And when my parents split up, it’s… Read more →

goldfinger factory

Goldfinger Factory: A place to call home

The sea of pavement in front of Westbourne Park underground station is a dull grey; the sky, peppered with mist and threatening rain, a grey haze. Down the road, the Regents Canal is mottled flecks of silver. There are grey faces, grey hoodies. Tiny specks of colour—laundry hung on balconies to dry—punctuate a looming grey hulk of concrete. This is… Read more →

thoughtful new york

48 thoughtful hours in… New York

At midnight on New Years Eve, I was in New York. But, on the advice of seasoned New Yorkers, I steered clear of Times Square. The city’s simpler (and warmer) pleasures, I was assured, would prove at least as rewarding. I took this as a source of inspiration for my entire trip, and spent the next few days seeking out the… Read more →

first world problem store

The First World Problem Store is curing what ails us

You know what it’s like. You’re in the middle of Shazam-ing that great song that came on while you were sipping a macchiato on holiday in Amsterdam when the cafe’s wifi cuts out. Argh! Now how are you supposed to Instagram this moment with a perfect caption? Luckily, earlier this month, a pop-up shop opened in the city with remedies for just… Read more →

ministry of stories

Ministry of Stories: Inspiring the next generation of writers through fear and panic

The streets of east London can be intimidating. Gritty and grey, even without rain, it’s no surprise Jack the Ripper called it home. In fact, if you’ve been anywhere near the area over the past few years, you might’ve heard the distant rumble of a very disgruntled person. I once dared to follow that rumble, and it took me to… Read more →

roundabout theatre

Roundabout: This flat-pack theatre gets the show on the road

Duncan Macmillan’s play Lungs took my breath away. It kicks off with a couple’s tense conversation over the future. Hurtling through anxieties like “Is this the kind of world I want to bring a child into?” and “Are we even meant to be together?” the female character stumbles, stutters, contradicts herself and confuses her boyfriend with her constant questioning of… Read more →

urban countryside

The urban countryside: From concrete jungle to garden city

The smell of manure hangs in the air. In the distance, a rooster crows. A sow and her piglets over here, a goat over there, chickens everywhere. And just over the fence, a decaying Victorian warehouse, windows dusty and shattered, walls splattered with graffiti. Hackney City Farm is a quirky patch of countryside in the middle of one of London’s most urbanised… Read more →

urban hound

Urban hound: What a dog taught me about city living

For years, my daily after-work stroll around the neighbourhood provoked a great desire to share life with a furry four-legged friend. Visits to the local park left me longing after other people’s pets. But the apartment block where I lived at the time boldly stated ‘no pets allowed’. Fast forward a couple of years, post-apartment living. My daily walks are… Read more →

hill and szrok

Hill and Szrok: A butcher in London’s East End gives meat the respect it deserves

There’s no counter at Hill and Szrok, a butcher on Broadway Market. Upon entry by day, customers are greeted by meat being chopped on a large marble counter at the centre of the shop. At night, the same slab becomes a communal dining table that seats 14 people as the space transforms into a restaurant. Opened by restaurant manager Luca… Read more →