There are several little things that can make those early mornings more pleasant. For me, the first is not to oversleep and to wake up with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. And given that at the moment I don’t have either a coffee grinder or a coffee machine, I have to rely on the coffee at the office. The story today is about what I believe in – that coming out of your comfort zone will pay off one day and why. There are different ways to get to the place where I work in Chelsea and I used to stick religiously to one route only. It was very convenient and I never thought about which way to go every morning because it was always the same. But one morning I decided to try another route, even though it seemed to be longer. And guess what. I found a very small local coffee shop that brews great coffee! When I’m lazy to cook breakfast at home, I just leave a bit early and go to La Moka. As I mentioned, it’s super tiny but there are three tables outside and they are often busy. I have never seen this…

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I started talking about trendy places in Shoreditch and Redchurch Street earlier this week. A minute away from ‘Barber and Parlour’ there is the ‘Labour and Wait’ shop offering functional products for the home. I like that the idea of simplicity and minimalism is becoming more and more popular nowadays. For me personally it means people become more conscious of what they buy and why, without being obsessed with unnecessary shopping for the sake of owning an item. Or I just would like to think it’s like this. Interestingly, the shop is located in what was a pub previously. You can tell this from its exterior – glazed green tiling, which is coming from the early 20th century. It is also one of the most photographed places in Shoreditch. ‘Labour and Wait’ sells items for the house (espresso makers from £25.00, jars from £4.50, etc) and accessories (bags from £55.00) among others. I get always hooked by a book selection about London life, for example ‘A portrait of Hackney‘, ‘Drivers in the 1980s‘ and ‘I’ve lived in East London for 85 and 1/2 years‘. I have decided to include some interesting shops to this blog for several reasons. Firstly, visiting and exploring a new city always includes local…

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For those who are unfamiliar with the area, Shoreditch is one of the trendiest places in London. Located in the north-east of London, it’s a home for artists making and selling their own designer stuff.  It’s also full of popular bars and is considered a curry mecca by the locals. I call it an alternative part of London with its unique relaxed spirit of art and freedom. Redchurch Street has its own cutting-edge style with its independent cloth stores and places for hipsters to hang out. For me it was a bit of an unusual experience, mainly because I have never been to a place where you can buy farm vegetables, have a coffee and get your nails done at the same time. While waiting for your partner to finish his grooming, you can shop for new ceramic door handles or even earrings. When you are done with beauty treatments and have eaten, you can move one floor up to the cinema. I am telling you, only a funky hostel is missing there 🙂 As for me, I came there to do some blog work and to have my morning cappuccino (£3.38). It was quite empty at 10 am on Saturday but started to get…

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This summer I had the chance to participate in a meeting of creative entrepreneurs and bloggers all around the UK. This was a very spontaneous and last minute decision which turned out to be a very inspirational and fun networking event. By that time ‘OK, But First Coffee’ was 1 month old and written in Russian only. I had wanted to meet UK bloggers for quite a long time so this was a perfect moment for me to do this. Blogtacular is the place where bloggers come together for one day to share their experiences, get inspired  and have fun. This is the second conference organized by Kat Molesworth and Kat Goldin and I can’t wait to go there next year. Thanks Mollie Makers for the nice photographs and all the sponsors: Pinterest, Mail Chimp, Thomson, West Elm and others. It all started with the keynote speech from Grace Bonney (Design Sponge), who shared her experience and ideas on overcoming fears we all sometimes have. I can’t express more how helpful it was for me personally at that time, when I started my new adventure – this blog. I spent a lot of time thinking about the idea ‘Ok, But…

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A few weeks ago I was traveling in Israel and it was quite an intense trip. Jumping into a car, driving to a new town, checking in, having lunch, sightseeing, and repeat. Only in Jerusalem did I have a chance to slow down and check out ‘off the map’ places like hidden local coffee shops. Located in a courtyard, Tmol Shilshom isn’t easy to find but worth the effort. I like how Israelis pay a lot of attention to plants (they are literally at every balcony and used to decorate almost every entrance), so the first thing you see is a big pot. A few steps up and you get to choose where to go – to the right where it looks like ordinary cafe or to the left where you get into a book haven with big cozy arm chairs in the corner of the room and lots of stuff to read. The place has its own unique atmosphere – simple and relaxed, where you feel at home and away from queuing tourists and pilgrims. For 16 shekels or £2.60, you get a big latte which you can enjoy on the small balcony. Here, you can be almost exclusively…

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One Saturday morning I went to the FCUK sample sale, where it was almost impossible to leave without a few new dresses. It felt like ‘back to USSR’: they give you a big plastic bag and you walk into a spacious room with rows of endless racks with clothes. You have to work hard with your shoulders to get past other shopaholics to find something worthy. Instead of price tags you get an A4 sheet with approximate values. There are neither fitting rooms nor mirrors and you are not allowed to try on even a jacket. Altogether it’s rather exhausting and tiring, and after 2 hours all I could think of was a breakfast in a coffee shop nearby which I had been planning to visit for a while. Camden Town is quite a unique London borough, it’s a hang out place for people from different subcultures. That’s why there are almost none of the usual hipster-like coffee shops you can find elsewhere in central London. Somewhere behind the road construction barriers I discovered ‘Leyas’ – a coffee shop with delicious hot croissants, a collection of antique coffee grinders and vintage furniture. I really love sitting at tables by the window, but..…

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Yes.. A former underground Victorian toilet has been converted into a coffee shop. Original tiles, urinals and even the cisterns remain the same. I read about The Attendance a few months ago in Time Out, and came across it accidentally. This toilet was built at the end of 19th century and was not in use for another half century. Nowadays it’s said to be a unique espresso bar in Europe. I walk through the door and stop for a moment being speechless. Baristas are laughing, it seems everyone has the same face when they get here for a first time. All the tables (and some urinals) are busy,  Jamiroquai is playing in the background. It’s time to try a coffee here. I ask a barista what is his favourite drink and he says as an Italian he prefers a cappuccino.  While I’m still coming to terms with the interior, he convinces me to try the carrot pie of the day.  Well done! I would prefer of course to sit down at the table by the big window overlooking the busy street, but only urinals are available, so there is no choice. Indescribable experience … Unconsciously trying not to touch the…

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