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Seasonal Musings, and a New Cafe Discovered.

By Francesca Fenn

The darkening and chilly days of autumn have been cheered in the last couple of weeks by Diwali, Hallowe’en, Guy Fawkes Night and the Lord Mayor’s show. Loads of noise, bright lights, family outings and silly fun – what’s not to like!  It’s so helpful when there are lots of lovely things happening to distract us from impending winter and we hope you’ve all enjoyed some or all of the above. I’ve always been a sucker for fireworks, and have enjoyed their long ‘season’ this year. Every evening there seem to have been fizzy pops and bangs and sparkles somewhere nearby. We went to the Barkingside display on the 5th itself, in aid of Barnardo’s and it was excellent.


Yesterday I had a surprise errand to run in London, so thought I’d make the most of being ‘in Town’ and I spent a few hours wandering and discovering; I call it ‘research’ as it sounds more like work!

As ever, I found a wealth of interesting bits and pieces; the star turn was The Building Centre in Store Street, not far from Oxford Circus. There is a wonderful model of London near the entrance, and lots of interesting info about the capital and its different boroughs all around. I spent a happy hour there, and visited their small but brilliant café. I’m keeping other finds under my hat as they might just feature in a future Step Outside Guide!


Isn’t it funny how once the clocks have gone back, Christmas suddenly feels very near! The decorations in shops look exciting instead of silly, and my notebook is full of a variety of Christmassy lists. There seems to be a big movement afoot this year to encourage people to buy from small independent traders rather than homing in on the big chains – see . And it is a bit more work but a lot more fun to find handmade and individually designed bits and pieces.  As one of those small traders ourselves, of course, we can only agree with the sentiment. We are hoping lots of people will want to give and receive Step Outside Guides, either individually or in our special gift boxes with all the books inside.


Happy Christmas Shopping, everyone!