In today’s post, suave Benjamin Lipari, Instagram guru and antipodean traveller shares his love of East London, great food and shares his tips to help you Instagram like a pro!
Hi Ben, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
I was born in Italy and moved to Sydney, Australia when I was young. I was lucky enough to grow up in a stunning part of the world called The Northern Beaches or Summer Bay for you Home and Away fans. I studied Marketing and Communications and worked in various roles across Brand and Advertising for The Commonwealth Bank. In my free time I love playing around, plotting/planning my next Instagram post. Instagram has alway been a creative release for me and I love how it connects people from all walks of life.
Basically I was on a 9 month sabbatical (like a good Australian) and was asked to MC my friends wedding in Surrey at the start of my trip. I came to London and completely fell in love with it. I was meant to stay for 3 days but ended up being here for 2 weeks and knew it was where I belonged. I continued spending the summer gallivanting around Europe before settling in East London just over a year ago. I believe London provides an opportunity for everyone to find their tribe. There is so much diversity, I genuinely feel there is something for everyone. I was consumed by East London. There is something so real and raw about it which I love. From collecting ingredients for brunch sessions at Broadway Market to purifying yourself with a wander down Columbia Road Flower Market, East London well and truly has me.
As someone who’s moved to London from another country, what is different about London compared to where you’ve lived previously?
Probably the biggest difference would be the amount of things that are always happening. Back in Sydney, (for me anyway) Monday to Thursday were be in bed by 10pm nights (party animal right?). But here in London there is always something happening, always some way to spend your time, be it exploring new areas, tasting new foods or going to the theatre. I absolutely love it.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
I’m a sucker for a good market and love going to Maltby Street Market on Saturdays to sample the culinary delights that are on display. Coming from Australia and living on the beach (ok I’ll stop), being close to the water is really important to me. I absolutely love walking up Regents Canal and stopping for brunch at one of my favourite little breakfast places on the canal especially The Barge House (get the breakfast special and thank me later). If it’s clothes I’m looking for, you’ll find me on Redchurch Street in Club Monaco convincing myself that I need another scarf haha.
What restaurants can you recommend to our readers and why?
Ok, I never want to refer to myself as a ‘foodie’ but being half Italian I certainly appreciate decent food. It all depends on the occasion but when friends visit from out of town, I can’t go past Sushisamba. From the ride in the lift to the 38th floor, to the yellow tail, it’s a complete experience from start to finish. That being said, one of my favourite places for dinner is a small Georgian restaurant near Broadway Market called Little Georgia. It’s run by a lovely family who moved over from Georgia many years ago. The pride they take in sharing their culture with every dish is amazing. It also happens to be BYO which, lets be honest, is a MASSIVE plus haha 🙂
Is there anything that annoys you about living in London?
There are some aspects that I’m still coming to terms with like eggs being in the baking section of the supermarket…Seriously guys, eggs are for breakfast and belong next to the bread. Also at work, people bring in their own cakes and treats when it’s their Birthday or they have something to celebrate…It’s YOUR Birthday, it’s YOUR celebration….we buy YOU cake! Haha.
I agree with you on this Ben, we got it backward! Haha!
Your images on instagram are so beautifully captured – what are your top tips for getting the best shot?
Lighting, lighting, lighting. I can’t stress it enough. I’ve only just discovered the power of correct lighting when taking photos. It gives a far more authentic image than trying to brighten and edit after you’ve taken the shot. Play around with different lighting and shadows to see what works for your account. I’d also say that it’s important to establish your own brand for your Instagram account. This helps create consistency and allows you to develop your own style that you can own.
Where can you usually be found hanging out on a Friday or Saturday evening?
This is going to sound so boring (old man alert) but I live with 6 absolute legends who all share a passion for 90’s RnB and beautiful food. We’re often found cooking up a storm on the BBQ (look at that, an Aussie with a BBQ…) all together dancing around to ‘No scrubs’ by TLC before heading off to one of the local pubs (Mother Kelly’s or The Sun Tavern) for a couple beverages. We’ve been known to recruit people from the pub to come back for a dance at our place from time to time.
Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?
What isn’t a secret is my love of Jazz and a decent cocktail. What’s a little more of a secret is the bar Kansas Smittys which has some of the best Jazz and cocktails in London. They play till all hours of the night. Sit back, grab yourself a Smitty’s Julep and enjoy the smooth sounds hitting your eardrums.
Finally as an avid traveller are there any other cities in the world that you’ve visited that you’ve loved?
Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera would have to be my favourite. The plan was to stay for a couple nights which then got extended into a week. This town and the locals way of life is so infectious. Each of the 5 towns has something different to offer in their own unique way. Coming from Australia there’s nothing like it back home. I felt like I was inside a child’s imagination. I spent a day with an Aussie girl I met one morning. We spent the day going from each town by train (lazy I know) starting at Riomaggiore with the plan to get to the furthest town to swim and get our tan on.
Along the way at each town we were making friends with locals and travellers alike. Stopped at the third town and found a local family deli where we ordered cheeses, different types of ham and tomatoes for a mezze platter along with beverages. We sat on the rocks with our fresh local produce, sun beating down, the locals fishing, kids running and swimming. It probably one of the most perfect moments of my life. We managed to get to the last town and a train back to Riomaggrie in time for the sunset. We took a bottle of wine to the highest point of the town which happened to be a church and watch the sun set over the Mediterranean. Dusk is my favourite time of the day because of the colours it produces and given Cinque is already socked in colours it made for something really special.
Wow, that sounds idyllic. Thanks Ben for sharing your infectious love of East London. As an East Londoner myself I really do identify with your sentiments.