More Is In me

The old George Mitchell School in Farmer Road Leyton London had as its motto “More Is In me” and I would say that not one student attending there in the nineties let alone the staff ever knew there were a motto. Well, this weekend I went from being jaded at workshops where sucking eggs was more illuminating to feeling rejuvenated at a local tile-making workshop this evening.
Phototherapy aka sticking photos in a journal and going through the angst of memories in front of an amateur therapist and her mates did not inspire me. A Black History Month council driven healthy eating jamboree where fifteen folk arrived to partake of smoothies and African hand-me-down recipes altered for an international market delivered by earnest mothers come business women touting for exposure and business left me disappointed. I was angry that for eleven years Up Your Street subscribers have attended healthy eating courses and one-offs and listened to the dangers of not eating from that healthy-eating platter and feigned interest at growing your own to stave off Diabetes Type 11 . Stave off? Starve off? Today a couple of African ingredients and veggies were added to the mix because it’s October. We were still at a networking party to showcase individual wannabees in that great Tory do it for yourself challenge as austerity brings out the self-employed in us. Up Your Street’s The Pamper Shop was well before its time but borne of the join-in spirit of London 2012. Now everyone’s on the same yoga mat.

A good spirit was exhaled by the sole organiser/Mistress of Ceremony who drove energy and order into the marketplace.
The joy was in meeting up with ten others from Up Your Street who never de-robed from their winter coats but managed to carry along with their scarves and shopping bags paper boats full of avocado cake and fried posh bread, doughballs and apple fritters.

I witnessed bad manners. Women grappled with others to get a sweet like Roses were going out of fashion. A councillor was interrupted in her preachy flow by a woman arguing that without a garden, man, you can’t grow veg. True that. The only white woman there actually initiated the dance when the Congolese trio’s drum major invited us to dance and caused a flurry of gasps as years of stereotyping jaw-dropped to the floor and “White Men Can’t Jump” sailed by on the flaps of an Ethiopian flag.
A woman full of herself dressed in her Shalwar Kameez was deemed to be an expert on every Asian infused dish. Good job Uzman wasn’t brought to the stage as she never ever cooks and wouldn’t be able to tell her nan ingredients from her chapatti ones. And no, fish ‘n’ chips isn’t what white English women slave over in their kitchen. Stereotypes are offensive and ignoring men in the kitchen is not going away when only mothers are promoted as lunch-box fillers.
We have not moved on, people. We are still back in the day, back in 2012 when every nation in London’s developing and changing east was recognised and embraced, given platforms to outdo each other and then side-lined to curl back into their private lives for eleven months of the year.
We left all of that and ate sugary biscuits and drank milky coffee,

Back into the real world of penny-pinching and sticking to what we always do, some of us joined others at Canons Farm Kitchen. Now, here’s a story to make your hair curl. Eat your crusts. Canons Farm Kitchen is the recent name for what was Butler’s Bakery in Cann Hall Road Leytonstone. When I first saw it from the bus two years ago, I thought it was an artisan bakers in my head full of gentrification spawning into parts that others beards never reach. I investigated further and found that it was a West Indian baker’s shop with steam spouting from a vent through a huge scummy blue wall. I bought some hard-dough bread and resented paying more than £1.50 for the loaf. Things happened from then on like Ladies Who Jerky spending an evening there and RAGWORKS being invited to hang art-work. Managers and chefs changed hands. I also followed an outfit online whose writers described the blue wall of Canons, also called at one point Chef’s Corner, as an eye-sore and I also knew that the wall was private property. It belonged and belongs to a family business.

Imagine the neighbourhood’s shock to know that the Council is forking out £40000 to make that wall pretty.
Casting aside prejudice and principles, we went to the inaugural tile-making workshop to be part of the movement of commoners, preferably local ones, to make tiles decorated with outlines of types of bread like hard-dough! which will be mounted over the flaking blue distemper in Selby Road to create something for the future, a marker proving ! that the community represents migration and tolerance and all things fair and that the courts are on the level and that the ladder of justice has no top and no bottom.

It was fantastic. It was in a glittery space with 1960s soul playing softly on the radio behind the aspidistra, Sue created a Mauritian bread, Sara moulded a croissant with striking Henry Moore shapes. Two sisters honoured their Scots ma by revering her traditional island bakery produce. Some did chapatti and one a paninni. Blue and white are the colours and pride was our end-product.
Twas good. More is in me.
Some of we seniors continue rolling the clay in November. We are the community.
Spoiler alert, just hope the council finds money for the scaffolding or those fired tiles will be going nowhere.

The Pamper Shop


Wed 9th Sep £5 10-11 am. And every Wednesday.

At The Centre for Better Health, 1a Darnley Rd Hackney .

No booking required. just drop in.



With Marcia
Certified Sivananda Yoga Teacher

Sessions will comprise techniques to strengthen the body integrated with breathing and relaxation exercises.

The Pamper Shop


Do join us next SUNDAY for our Herbal Skin Balm workshop with local herbalist (and Museum garden volunteer) Gail Farrow. Learn all about the fascinating properties of plants and herbs and make a soothing balm, ideal for pampering skin in the summer months. You’ll also get to taste Gail’s famous herbal teas! Suitable for beginners. The session will last about an hour, starting at 2pm and is then repeated at 3pm. Sunday 19 July. £1 donation on the door.

The Pamper Shop

IMAG00648At the Stuart Low Trust in Islington

January 2015 – Book for January workshops from MONDAY 5 JANUARY

Saturday 17th January 2015 (Mixed, men and women)

Pamper and Refresh: Today’s session will start with some Tai Chi with Will Waghorn to gently rejuvenate your body and mind. Suitable for beginners. After some tea Maurizio Lodato will lead a guided meditation and relaxation session to calm and energise you. Throughout the afternoon you can also have your hair trimmed by local professional hairdresser Paul Hone and friends. Will Waghorn runs Tai Chi courses in Brighton and London. Maurizio Lodato is a qualified and experienced masseur and relaxation therapist. 

Saturday 24th January 2015 (Women only)

Chi Kung: Chi kung (or Qigong) is a practice of aligning body, breath and mind for health and meditation. With roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy and martial arts, Chi kung is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance chi (qi) or “life energy”. Belinda Ackermann will lead this session. 

The Pamper Shop. Scents and aesthetics. February workshops.

Floristry – 5 week courseIMAG00648

27 February 2014  in Arts, entertainment, and theatre and Libraries and Talks and courses
Date27 February 2014


Location Lea Bridge Library, Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, London, E10 7HU AdmissionFree

Learn simple floristry techniques and leave with a finished arrangement to beautify your home.

Who is this course for?

This course will be suitable for those who wish to develop more skills in floristry or even progress to a longer floristry course to achieve City and Guilds Level 1

Classes will run every Thursday from 1pm-3pm
Starting date: 27 February 2014

Last session: 27 March 2014

What will you need for the class?
Flowers will be provided in the first week for everyone registered for a place, so if you are no longer able to attend, please cancel your place to avoid any waste.032

You may be required to bring along a small, cost effective bunch of flowers to further classes. Your tutor will advise.

How to book

Go to to reserve your place.
If you have any enquiries, please visit your nearest library, or phone 020 8496 3000


NEW HERBAL MEDICINE WORKSHOPS at Lea Bridge Library, Leyton! DSC_0520

With Rasheeqa Ahmad (Hedge Herbs) & Charm Elakil (Wholistic Medicine) and a sprinkling of other local herbalists. These workshop sessions at Lea Bridge Library follow on from our successful series last autumn in association with The Mill’s inspiring project there. The workshops are aimed at residents in Lea Bridge Ward, and are open in particular to families, parents & carers in the area. The charge is minimal to reflect the project’s aim of creating community activity groups for those on low incomes. When: Fridays from 7th February for 5 weeks: 10am-12noon Where: Lea Bridge Library Community Space, 382 Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, London E10 7HU What: An exploration of whole connected health with plants, people, medicine-making & herbalists Who: Lea Bridge Ward residents in particular but all are welcome How much: £3 per week to cover materials We would prefer that you book in advance for the whole series, but if you are unable to commit we can have you at individual sessions! If you’d like any more info get in touch with Rasheeqa on 07784 506 494.


Meditation to lift you up to good living.

023The Pamper Shop. Meditation from Mary Fahey who shares the benefits of meditation at her free workshop on Monday 20th May 1-2pm at Up Your Street, Lea Bridge Library Community Room E10.

This event is part of Adult Learners’ Week. Book with

Read Mary’s radio show blog at It’s a cracker!

The Pamper Shop week beginning 4th March 2013


Mon 4th Mar Nuffield Health is offering 2 day free passes for you to be introduced to your local gym/ leisure centre . Phone 020 8523 7474

Tues 5th Mar free . 7:30- 9:00 pm Meditation techniques at 1a Jewel Rd E17 020 89250820

Wed 6th Mar   £10 or less* noon-1.30pm  Aromatherapy course. 5 week course began 27th Feb at the Centre for Better Health. (See Thursday)

Thurs 7th Mar £10 or less  for 5 weeks  5.30-7.30pm  Art as Exploration in a chosen medium at the Centre for Better Health 1a Darnley Rd hackney. Book in advance.

*concession available

The Pamper Shop

Now where’s the best place to go and see to yourself these days at nice cheap prices? The Centre For Better Health in Darnley Road, Hackney E 5 opposite Hackney Town Hall and just up from Tesco and the Hackney PictureHouse.

Wed  7th Nov £2 12-1.30pm The Centre For Better Health 1a Darnley Road  Hackney. Aromatherapy. This is a pre-booked course so phone before you go.

Fri 9th Nov. £2.50 per session  for seniors (mention Up Your Street). Noon-2pm for 4 weeks. HedgeHerbs at the Mill, Coppermill Lane E17. Learning about and feeling herbs.

*************************************More to be listed by Friday!