All You Read is Love is an independent bookstore / café run by very affable Danish siblings Karen Holst Bundgaard and Anders Bundgaard and currently can be found popped up on Hoe Street, in Walthamstow, London, E17.
There has been a considerable buzz about AYRiL for some time now since its opening on 22 January 2014 and so I was keen to see, read and taste just what all the fuss was about - and what well deserved furore it was.
AYRiL serves Scandinavian-inspired sandwiches, cider, craft beer and ales from Danish micro-brewery Mikkeller and responsibly sourced delicious baked goods - all complimented by delicious, quality coffee described by E17 coffee as having good body and depth. In addition good tunes, wine and special cocktails are on offer as part of their very impressive repertoire.
I am a self-confessed book-worm. I am definitely partial to a slice of cake or two every now and then and most readers of Material Whirl would have deduced by now I enjoy a tipple or three and some decent music. Throw free Wi-Fi, literary events and DJ nights (oh, and Espresso Martinis) into the mix and this creates a delectable combination.
AYRiL is one classy pop-up and those clever Stow'ers have quickly cottoned on. On the Saturday I visited, there wasn't a spare seat in the house, with all design tables and chairs occupied by families with young children, lone readers taking time to savour the finer things and mull over a paperback and a hipster couple sporting fluorescent Nikes with sketchbooks and iPhones in hand - all executed with effortless London insouciance. Lounging on a stripy apple green, burgundy and yellow sofa two young girls laughed and chattered, blissfully unaware they sat beneath a newspaper clipping of the now legendary article Off You Go to Awesome-stow (Susannah Butter, Evening Standard, 24 January 2014), possibly themselves part of the new set that appears to be coming to E17 in their droves.
New and secondhand books for sale are propped up impressively on shelves, stacked neatly on side tables, and spill effortlessly from a battered brown suitcase. Stocking mainly nineteenth and twentieth century classics and contemporary British, Scandinavian and American literary fiction a variety of authors are featured, including Bukowski, Auster, Carver, Munro, McEwan and Kafka to name a few.
Bookshelves are nestled comfortably amongst cool mismatched furniture and bright pops of colour are splashed elegantly about; hello daffodils in white tea cups and anglepoise lamps. There is a cheery children's area and striking illustrations crafted by artist Kamila Slocinska are framed for sale on the walls.
At the counter, Karen and Anders furiously made steaming hot coffee to meet the demands of a steady stream of thirsty people coming through the doors. They whipped up Scandinavian style sandwiches and sliced fluffy Blackberry and Raspberry Cheesecake with a smile, not once forgetting anyones order and chatting to everyone individually. People grin a lot at AYRiL, which is understandable given all of the above. The prices are reasonable - £1.80 for a good strong Americano, £2.00 for a deliciously devilish Millionaire Short Bread Tart topped with a sprig of mint.
The classy pop up celebrates the individual and unconventional rather than the mainstream. For those looking to expand their literary knowledge, AYRiL facilitates events and workshops, set against the backdrop of their bookshop.
Soon it was time to leave, with freshly purchased copies of Revolutionary Road and Tender is the Night tucked under my arm (and an extra Millionaire Short Bread Tart for good measure). Departing was no easy feat - I wanted to stay ensconced in the warm café with an endless flow of strong coffee and cinnamon rolls - oh OK then, I'll have a Kopparberg cider, why not - and greedily gorge on the whole lot, cakes, books and beers, until I burst.
Alas, time waits for no woman and I had to dash; besides I did not want to overstay my welcome, despite Karen and Anders being so personable and friendly you feel like you have known them for ages. I left comforting Scandi-cool and made my way back out to Hoe Street, which clattered on noisily outside.
Sadly, AYRiL may not be with us infinitely. Currently a pop-up for three weeks only at this venue, Karen and Anders are yet to find a permanent home in the burgeoning area. We are keeping our fingers crossed and our eyes peeled for suitable locations for them - please share the love and let them know of any openings. In the meantime, join Steven James Adams for the closing party which if my first visit is anything to go by, should be a very good knees up indeed.
Wishing you all the best Karen and Anders, and hope to see you again at your permanent residency in E17 soon.