Tuesday 28 June 2011

Mr Lee's Grocery Store, Vancouver [Canada ends]

So I finally made it to Vancouver. My last Canadian stand. I loved the city - a chilled, stylish town with real personality and cool distinct areas. Faves - Kitsilano for boutique shops, quirky diners, a stunning mix of architecture (both old and new) and Gas Down for cheap eats, thrift stores and a bit of an edge.

A shopping highlight was actually recommended by a friend in London and I was very pleased to have found my way to Mr Lee's Grocery Store on Broadway.
This cool paired down shop says all best things about hip Vancouver. It's a simple, small but perfectly formed shop selling homeware and accessories with an old-fashioned masculine slant. And what could be more old-fashioned gent than classic, beautifully-made umbrellas?

Mr Lee stocks some very cool brands like - super-stylish chocolate from Mast Brothers, Holler Mountain coffee and Lucky Tiger grooming products perfect for gifts or, of course, personal indulgences too.
Even the cards were suitably chic - I've never come across quite such cool Father's Day cards before...

The shop fittings were all laid-back 50s style too...
Ah Mr Lee, thanks for a great end to my Canadian adventure. A typically chilled store, reflecting the lovely laid-back feeling that Vancouver is famous for.

NB. In an amusingly contradictory way after visiting this store we walking right into this - the least typical Canadian thing ever. Canada: does like to keep you guessing!

Monday 27 June 2011

Antique Emporium, Vancouver Island [Canadian pull out]

A hop, skip and a jump (well a couple of hundred miles and a short flight) from Calgary is Vancouver Island - off the Pacific coast, it is about the size of Ireland and a happily old-fashioned place. So it seemed only appropriate to hunt for an antiques shop. But I bettered that, I found an Antique Emporium.
Behold! It was a proper barn and was packed to the rafters full of pretty well priced vintage, antiques and very likable old kitchen garb too.
I particularly fell for the old packaging that filled up shelves throughout the store (sorry Emporium!). Love that bottle! We also found an old wooden Coca Cola crate that would have been a perfect storage space, somewhere to hold our sprawling mass of magazines, luggage restriction thwarted us though and we had to leave it behind. Boo.
Even the old oil cans were cool...
7os style was pretty prominent here too...
But there was also a surprising amount of English ceramics on sale. Which I just couldn't bring myself to buy and cart back home - it seemed a bit ridiculous however good the deal!
It was amusing to find a reminder of another royal wedding all the way on the other side of the world.
After seeing this...I'm plotting where to have my very own Book Nook (maybe not to read the above book though!)
I got myself one of these maple syrup pourers, but obviously forgot to buy the actual yummy stuff to go inside it...those breakfast pancakes might have to wait a little longer...
This was a great one store to have stumbled upon. It was really well located as based on the Island's main highway so the perfect stop off point to relive some Canadian history...oh and shop of course.
The extended antiques browsing meant that we had no time to stop for food whizzing through the luscious countryside on Vancouver Island, but I did spy this set of wheels that *could* be my perfect vehicle.

Friday 24 June 2011

Steeling Home, Calgary, Alberta [more Canada]

When traipsing through Calgary, a city in Canada famous for oil and cowboys, I came across Steeling Home with no visible oil wells or stetsons I got the impression that I was going to like this place...
And like it I did. While 'fun' is probably not the way I'd like to describe my taste in decoration...with this shop it was the 'fun' elements that made me really like it...Steeling did it very well indeed.
There was a selection of all things homeware on offer with a good mixture of new and vintage, colourful products, classic wood pieces, garb for the kitchen and even a Gaga-eaque telephone.
I love the boldness of this cushion - the nautical trend with colours turned up to 11.
My fella fell for this deer doormat...
And you'll never believe just quite how close we were to going home with this guy...
There were some really great independent brands on sale at Steeling Home making it really differ from some of the other the cookie-cutter-cute design stores in Canada. These sweet cross stitch slogans were a nice example of this
I know it quite clearly isn't for sale, but I am pretty keen on the display cabinet showing this cool selection - looks like a perfect place for my lotions and potions...
A vintage fridge filled full of brightly decorated water bottles - I think this pretty much sums up the Canadian culture I saw in Calgary - cool, bright, outdoorsy.
Steeling's section for kids was design conscious (no pink here thanks) while Kids stuff is supposed to be fun anyway, but throw in some Tintin and I am sold. Oh Canada, they don't mind a bit of taxidermy here...
Steeling Home was a little colourful jewel in the cowboy country of Calgary. Take a look, it's fun and I like it.
[Bonus food section]
Ok you might not call it gourmet...but this hot dog take-out (stay with me...) was one of my fave Canadian eateries. What other restaurant has Pac Man and Street Fighter contests?!
Tubby Dog (what a name!) is a local institution and *the* place to get your post bar snack in this cool part of Calgary.
Hot dogs are available in every way you could imagine (this is the veggie Not Dog).
But the Yam fries won the prize for most amazing/guilt inducing at Tubby Dog. But when in Rome...

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Stonewaters Home Elements, Canmore [Canada pull out section]

How's that for the view from an interiors shop? Not bad, not bad at all.

My first stop of homeware shopping in Canada taught me what I should have known is one of the first rules of travelling. Do NOT shop on streets with this kind of view. The pricetags are sure to not be as pretty.

But we're just browsing right? So may as well indulge a little anyway. Here goes...
Welcome to Canmore, Alberta a mountain town ready made for relaxing, hill walking, lazy coffees, dog walking and when you've had enough of that - how about a bit of shopping? On a typically lowkey day in Canmore I stumbled into the sumptuous Stonewaters Home Elements store that strives to reflect 'an authentic Canadian mountain lifestyle'.

The store was great fun and made me like this idea of this mountain living...
The space was huge, with room even for a canoe on the ceiling! Wood was definitely the preferred material which fits in perfectly with the wooden frame houses and beautiful evergreen landscape surrounding the town.
On of my fave products in the store was this fit-for-a-woodchopper doormat. Chunky.
The natural themed and toned accessories could bring you a bit of outdoorsy charm wherever you live.
Stonewaters have also snuck some very cool vintage into the collection like this ace clock. I'm loving that font...

Sadly the only downfall at this store for me was its pricings. These sweet cards, however, were pretty much the only finds in my budget.

Perhaps I'm not meant for Canadian mountain living, but by gum I'm going to start saving up for it!

Monday 20 June 2011

Oh Canada [pull-out section]

I'm back! I've returned from the recent blogging radio silence that I'm afraid was mainly down to my technology failings *shakes fist at broken iphone*.

So now I'm returning to my old blogging ways - my have I missed the joys of Blogger - to share interiors tales of my recent jaunt to Canada. Family ties pulled me over the pond, but I managed to sneak into a few interiors shops on the way (you know me...) Incidentally I really fell for Canada and enjoyed a holiday of weddings, chin-wagging with the family, attempting to walk up mountains, desperately looking for bears (and succeeding!) and even getting to see a riot in full swing - oh Canada you really did surprise me with that one.

But I my next few posts will be a mini Canada pull-out section looking at some modern and some vintage stores with an occasional eatery thrown in along on the way (as leaving them out would be a poor representation of what we spent our time did we eat a lot this holiday...)

Keep your eyes peeled for Fergie's wedding annual and upside down canoes, eh?
Disclaimer - apologies in advance for bad jokes and puns - I reckon I can get away with blaming the jetlag for a few days yet...