on saturday i braved the mid-morning heat (21* at 8am? just stop) and headed east, for a day of fun in the sun at the kopparberg urban forest in hackney wick. it was ani's birthday, and the sun was shining, and despite the epic travel disruptions in my neck of the woods, there was nothing i would rather have been doing than catching up with some of faves, and drinking chilled cider under an urban tree; i'd woken up to a truly beautiful day, i'd had a terrific lay in that morning, and i was feeling good.
the urban forest is a short stroll from hackney wick overground, and i'd arrived about half an hour before everyone else so i was able to have a walk around and check out what was on offer; there were about four bars there - all well stocked with kopparberg's favourite flavours, as well as some frozen cocktails, and some yum-sounding food vans. we would survive for hours, so long as there was enough loo roll and trees for shade.
within hours though, the garden was heaving. i asked at the gate and the bouncer confirmed that we were at about half capacity. there were 400 people there, and no way to move without banging into someone else. they'd run out of ice. the line for the loo was about 40-girls (no line for the boys, obvs) deep and there was no toilet roll left. there was nowhere to sit except on the floor. it's just as well that the floor is my ideal place to sit when it's nine hundred degrees out and the only shade is under the roof-top garden, directly next to (on) the dance floor, and riiiight in the way of the biggest bar.
when it was time to eat, we started with a jerk chicken salad from mama's jerk station, and i finished the food adventure with half a serve of chicken wings with blue sauce from buffalo joe's; earler in day i'd tried their super insanely hot sauce that blew my freaken mind - and not in a good way, so the blue cheese was evidently the better option. absolutely delicious! 10/10 would recommend.
by about five pm we'd had enough of the completely over-crowded space and lack of deluxe amenities (read: hand wash and loo roll), so decided to head next door to crate brewery for something other than cider, and to get involved with their incredible pizza options. we hung out by the canal for an hour or so, cooling down with the fresh breeze off the water, and thankfully there were only about a quarter of the amount of people having the same idea as us.
once we'd moved inside for pizza, the bar was definitely more heaving than when we'd arrived; we'd scored a great position inside both the front and back doors that proved to be excellent engineering by us, because the breeze that ran through there was just perfect. i hung around for a good couple of hours, before throwing the towel in around 8 o'clock. with an hour journey in front of me, and a chinese and twenty hundred episodes of love island calling my name, it was definitely time to call it a well and truly hot and done day.
i was pink of arm and tender to the touch, and well and truly knackered. it was a top day though, and the forest was so incredibly packed with a line around the block as i walked past, so we were very lucky to have been there as early in the day as we were. the forest is open wednesday to sunday july 12th, so if you have a chance, get down there and some cider into ya!