Monday 20 December 2010

Christmas shopping sparkles, N1, E1

So here starts the Christmas shopping adventure (terribly late I know - let's keep this from my family, eh?) with the extra obstacle of heaps of snow it was pretty quiet...but looked pretty too...which made it all worthwhile.

But sadly no one knows when I will *actually* buy my Christmas presents and stop looking at this bunch of lovely interiors shops...

Smug is already one of favourite reasons to visit Angel, N1. You'll find the best collection of cute quirky homewares, furniture and accessories including Donna Wilson cosies (this scarf is wild) and perfectly chosen vintage accessories. As Smug are extra nice they have even spoiled us with a whole extra floor for Christmas.
Aria is always worth a stop to get a modern furniture fix and the coolest gadgets you'll ever need for the kitchen.
Loving this vintage look in Oliver Bonas...
Spitalfield's look very well suited to the snow...the market was packed I'm pleased to say. I also managed to sneak a look at the new branch of The Lollipop Shoppe, one of my Brighton faves that has now made it to London too.
A special extended Sunday Up Market on Brick Lane offered a cool collection of vintage clothes, one-off accessories and perhaps the biggest Christmas decoration I have even laid my eyes on.

But this bathroom shop in Crystal Palace won the festive decoration competition by a country mile...tinsel sink anyone??

Thursday 9 December 2010

Alfie's Antique Market, NW8

Alfie's Antique Market has made my day. I battled through central London shoppers and braved unknown West London (South, East and North, I'm fine, but West...? I'm lost) today to check out Alfie's fabulous Christmas Shopping Evening.
It was my first trip to Alfie's and I can't believe I've never visited before. The market sells antiques, vintage collectable and 20th century design pieces over multiple storeys and from many lovely dealers; everything from jewellery and furniture to antique books and retro haircuts. All very much up my street...and I wasn't disappointed.
There were some great original colourful glass pieces for us magpies.
I really enjoyed admiring the beautiful collection of 20th century furniture (the above chair was a fave of one half of The Shabby & The Chic - who needs a special mention for putting up with my disastrous iPhone directions - sorryy!)
Some of my faves...
I loved the variety of what was available, my heart was tempted by this full length vintage gown, but my head even more by the sweet, colourful silk scarves I spied for as little as a fiver.
Lovely luggage.

More lamps than you could shake a stick at from 70s style modern sculptural glass...
To many an anglepoise.
So many great gifts...I fell for fab old tins, cigarette card collectors books and stage jewellery...unless you are buying big and then the 'proper' jewellery is well worth a look. Beautiful.
And what good Christmas shopping evening wouldn't end with a squeeze box?!

Ace entertainment, wonderful stalls and welcoming atmosphere. The Christmas Shopping late was definitely a good excuse for a festive knees-up and a very good way of getting me hooked on Alfie's, at least.

Monday 6 December 2010

Toast, Honition

Ok, so I went all the way to antiques haven Honiton (Kirstie Allsopp has been spotted there I hear) and it was a coffee shop that caught my eye. Well a girl's gotta warm up somehow!

Toast is a fresh new addition to this Devon town, that has just been opened by the team behind the local Otter Brewery. I love it already, after my first visit this weekend. It hits the nail on the head as the perfect stylish teatime spot for this town famous for its (totally potterable) antiques shops.
Toast offers a rather lovely ever-changing choice of cake...I had the most amazing jaffa-cake muffin which I can safely say was even better than an actual jaffa cake, controversial I know.

But it was the decor that really impressed me. Toast's spot-on interior doesn't stray too far from Honiton's antique-y style with original distressed wood pieces and tastefully cool xmas decs. A perfect spot-off for casual antique browsers, it's a lovely addition the the town...and my list of cake recommendations.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

H&M Home, first look

I had my first sneak into Hennes (or H&M as it calls itself nowadays) Home today. I think I am sold...
The collection is a nice mixture of colour, graphic, classic 50s, leopard (everywhere!) and girly, all very affordable.
The Oxford Circus flagship showroom has an Argos-style system that smartly keeps the displays simple and nicely styled, with magnetic product cards rather than tiny blue biros!
No purchases made, but I could be swayed by this faux lace bed would be lovely layered with pale pinks and a knitted wool blanket for the cold...mmm.

Sunday 7 November 2010

SCP warehouse sale, SE1

My indulgent Saturday lie-in meant that I left the SCP warehouse sale this weekend with zero purchases and a glum face.
The sale was amazing as predicted. The impressive modern furniture pieces were on offer for 90% off (beautiful dining tables for £180!)...but the early bird really did get the worm at SCP's warehouse.
Arriving an hour after opening time meant that I spent most of my time at the sale lusting over already sold items - I couldn't help but imagine what the already sold colourful would have look like next to my leather and teak sofa *sniff*.
Oh I'll learn and you'll find me camping outside the night before (Take That obsessive style) next time...

Sunday 31 October 2010

Lulu & Hitch, Hove BN3

Oh where to find an interiors shop full of classics and quirky accessories on a sunny day? The south coast again, that's where (for a London obsessive these jaunts to the seaside seem to be pleasing me a bit too much...)
Last week I stumbled across Lulu & Hitch on Church Street, one of the main drags, in Hove. A fabulous mix of cleverly spruced up vintage furniture pieces at very good prices and an even more affordable mix of gifts, smellies and co.
As loathed as I am to get Christmassy too early (yup I'm still hanging onto October on the 31st) at Lulu & Hitch they were already showing a very cute and original selection of Christmas decorations, perfect to add those special one-off ornaments to the tree.
Some very well-chosen antique gifts were also spied...

And tell me where you could find beautifully renovated furniture pieces like these (for under £200?!) in London then I will be a happy girl...

Friday 1 October 2010

Decorex highlights

I know a review of one of the biggest interior design shows shouldn't begin with the loos but...
This year Decorex commissioned the fabulous Louise Body to decorate the toilets and oh did she. Her trompe l'oeil wallpaper was one of my show highlights - wish I hadn't been too shy to snap the urinals (hmm maybe not).

The show started with a route through Nina Campbell's amazing (grown up) Alice in Wonderland style foyer.
This monumentous elephant stood above the, as always fabulous, Andrew Martin stand.
I love the intricate designs of these prints from Sandberg.
Revolving fabric branch tree...obviously...
Anonymous woolly sheep...
Out of the Alice in Wonderland house and then home. Great Decorex indeed, more like this please!

Sunday 19 September 2010

Brick Lane, E1

I headed EAST this weekend and found a few new gems while checking up on some of my old favourites...

First stop...Labour and Wait my fail safe shop for kitchenware, it never lets me down with the most stylish utilitarian simplicity that can't go wrong in my kitchen (or anyone else's really - you're guaranteed to see me laden down here on Christmas Eve).
This time the purpose for my visit was to check out the new store on Redchurch Street just off Brick Lane. Where you can now find your beautiful paired-down pots, pans, linens and even clothing in the signature 50s style in this new shop Mon-Sat.

While the original Cheshire Street store will be open on Sunday, for the super busy Brick Lane Sunday shopper I presume. The new addition is still as perfectly simple inside as the first store, the outside is another treat as the building itself is a reclaimed Truman Brewery pub, as you can see from the fabulous green tiles.
I also stumbled across Speedie's Retro Kitsch Furniture shop a couple of doors down. Any shop with deck chairs outside gets my vote...There is a great collection inside including full vintage kitchens (hobs, cabinets, you name it), tonnes of record players (amazingly still working I hear) and plenty of cool one-off pieces of furniture at really good prices for this central location.
I'm coveting this stool currently...
And am keen on these coffee tables too - typical of Speedie's 60s style. They also offer most pleasing London-flat-friendly-sized pieces, which is always good to hear.

Just around the corner (past the fixie polo players usually) is Unto this Last which deserves a proper post of its on one day when I have the chance to fully explore the contemporary hand crafted furniture workshop. In short: cool, original, hand-crafted, stacked wood pieces that they can adapt to fit any room I'm sure.
Brick Lane's markets as usual held a few gems and some over-pricing. I did rather like the cool Art Deco lines of this old gramophone though.
The Brick Lane area always throws up some new surprises. I love how this simple shop front design has escaped onto the building of a new store on the corner of Bethnal Green Road. Always something new round the corner...always worth a visit.