Archive for the ‘my london’ Category
January 29, 2014 in inspiring places, my london
London is such a busy, vibrant city with so much to see and do that we don’t always have time to do everything that is on offer, especially with young children. As an interior stylist living in London I travel all over this wonderful city and know the shops well, it is part of my job after all, but when it come to relaxing and enjoying the other side of London to where I live I am always in a bit of a rush. So one weekend, when the children were on a sleepover with their grandparents, my husband and I headed East for our own Saturday night sleepover and saw our city in a different, relaxed way. Rather than jumping on a plane to another city, we hopped on the tube in West London and an hour later we were there, perfect. We saw sights, shops and restaurants that we had meant to visit for a while, but simply had not got round to.
We stayed at the newly opened Ace Hotel on Shoreditch High Street. It was the perfect bolt hole – well designed with a really good urban aesthetic, great service, a buzzing bar and a spacious lobby with a coffee bar and restaurant called Hoi Polloi. Our room was creatively designed in a cool colour palette of greys with indigo and a splash of mustard. It also had their signature old school record turntable and selection of LPs, I just couldn’t help myself dancing away to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The pricing is very reasonable for London considering the quality of the hotel and I would recommend having a look if you’re considering a stay in London and want to visit the creative hub that is the East End.
The Ace have collaborated with a number of brand names to produce items you can use during your stay or purchase as mementos, such leather goods with Ally Capellino and the bicycle above with Tokyobike who have a stylish store in Shoreditch too.
The hotel’s interior is by London-based interior design and architectural practice Universal Design Studio.
On Saturday afternoon we meandered down Redchurch Street, popping into Tracey Neuls (my favourite shoe store), APC, Hostem with its inspiring interior and couture womenswear upstairs, Aesop and Labour and Wait. We wandered around Arnold Circus and into Ally Capellino (my favourite bag store – can you spot a trend here?), the sweet Luna and Curious and Leila’s Shop. We stopped in at fab interiors store SCP, Artwords Bookshop and went on to Brick Lane market and the various vintage stores. Saturday evening we started with a drink at the Electricity Showrooms (a bar we frequented when it first opened in the 90s and was something different, although now it is more of a traditional pub unfortunately), followed by a wonderful dinner at renowned The Clove Club and finished off with drinks back at The Ace Hotel bar which was busy with Saturday night revellers and DJ playing.
On Sunday we began with brunch at Terence Conran’s Albion, followed by a wander down Columbia Road for the flower market, shops and stalls. We popped in to House of Hackney, Present and even managed to buy a new sofa on the spur of the moment – a 1960s Danish design 3-seater in grey felt from the always excellent Atomic Antiques. We took time to wander around the streets near Spitalfields, where there are beautiful old Georgian silk weavers’ houses. One of the weekend’s highlights was visiting Denis Severs’ House at 18 Folgate Street, which has been on my to-do list for years but with limited opening hours I had never quite made it. It is a recreation of a silk weaver’s house in the 18th century and part historical re-enactment, part art installation, part stage set. You walk around in silence while candles and fireplaces burn, and food and drinks are out on tables as if the residents have just left the room. It is filled with atmosphere and character and after a short queue to get in it was a wonder and really quite magical. So much so we returned at New Year with our children.
Shoredtich, Hoxton, Brick Lane, Spitalfields – they are all filled with amazing Georgian buildings in varying states of repair and surrounded by street art and a mish-mash of newer architectural styles, from bland 60′s offices to cutting edge glass towers. I love that contrast.
It was great to have a little holiday in our own city but it has given me a hankering for an urban city break further afield.
Hmm, The Ace Hotel New York… now there’s an idea!
February 22, 2013 in my london
As a continuation of my ‘through the window‘ photo series that I thought I would share a day trip with you we took as a family, from Wesminster to Greenwich by boat on the River Thames. Our goal was to see the Cutty Sark, restored and open to the public once more, as we had taken our son when he was a toddler before it closed for the renovation and it was almost lost to the terrible fire. As usual I had the camera with me and I abstracted the views through the window while we all took in the amazing views. It was an extremely dark and rainy winter day, but in the boat it was cosy and fine.
We hopped on a Thames Clipper at Embankment pier and the half an hour boat trip took us past so many of London’s landmarks. We travelled past the Millennium wheel, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the South Bank, past the Gherkin, the Globe theatre, the Tower of London, under Tower Bridge and on past Canary Wharf to Greenwich. There are so many historic sights on either side from the middle of the river.
We had a long look around the Cutty Sark and made our way to the Ansel Adams exhibition a short stroll away in the National Maritime Museum. Walking back we had a wander through the crafty weekend market and pressed our noses up against the windows of the traditional old pie and eel shops, and admired the Georgian architecture. Greenwich is rather beautiful, even on a grey, rainy day.
By the time we reached the pier to wait for our Clipper, the sky had turned an extremely dramatic dark blue-grey and the lights of Canary Wharf and the City glowed like jewels under its weight.
I would highly recommend a trip down the Thames by boat, come rain or shine.
May 20, 2012 in my london
April and May are usually rainy here in the UK but it’s been especially wet for the last few weeks, making up for the fact that there wasn’t much rain earlier in the year. On one particularly dark and wet Sunday last month we hopped in the car and drove across London to Tate Modern to check out the Damien Hirst exhibition. It’s a pleasant drive on a Sunday as the traffic is less, you can park on the back streets for free and we get to see the amazing architecture on the route, from the historic landmarks to the new architectural structures.
Shooting from the car whilst moving meant my shots were abstract and blurred, reducing London to a range of grey tones with splashes of red – post boxes, telephone boxes, buses and traffic lights glowing in the monochrome views.
Maybe it’s why I love the use of grey, it surrounds me in my every day London life. I painted my front door dark grey about six years ago and with a slate front path and basalt chippings, my house often matches the the stormy sky.
We have the annual family membership which give you access to the paid exhibitions like Picasso, Kusama and Hirst at all of the Tate museums. If you live close enough to visit regularly it is brilliant and will pay for itself many times over.
Even a run down the steps to the Turbine Hall in the rain became fun and my kids loved it. We all enjoyed the Damien Hirst exhibition and although it was very busy, it intrigued and amazed the children and my husband and I enjoyed it too. It is well worth a visit.
We’ll be back again soon for more artistic inspiration, especially on these rainy London days.
November 13, 2011 in flowers, my london
This morning we hopped in the car and headed over to East London to one of my favourite places, Columbia Road, for the weekly flower market. I don’t think I’ve been since my daughter was born so it was a treat to visit. It was a beautifully crisp, sunny November morning perfect for wandering with the family, bantering with the market traders and looking in all the arty, handmade and vintage shops and stalls that line the road and the streets around it.
There are so many independent, creative, quirky shops over there it’s always a pleasure to visit. I bumped into lovely Emily Chalmers of Caravan, popped into Rob Ryan‘s shop, nipped round the corner to Ally Capellino, Luna & Curious and Leila’s Shop then on to SCP on Curtain Road.
Among my fresh, floral purchases I couldn’t resist a bunch of my favourite roses – Amnesia. I love its delicate, dusky pink with tones of green and brown coming through. Just gorgeous with a vintage but stylish feel.
Columbia Road flower market is every Sunday from 8am to 3pm, though get there early as it gets very busy.
I couldn’t resist taking a few photos when I got home. A perfect Sunday outing.
September 30, 2011 in handmade goodness, my london
London Design Festival – a pleasure every year, so many shows, exhibitions and events to go to. I love to catch up with people I’ve worked with before, design companies and designer/makers that I know from previous shows or whose products I have used in photo shoots. With my book deadline to meet followed by a photo shoot for a client I didn’t make it to as many shows as I would like to this year, but what I did see was great. There is always so much to see and do all over London.
First stop was the Tent London show at the Truman Brewery to wander round with lovely Elisa Rathje. It was really good this year, lots of interesting products and creative thinking from smaller design companies. In the afternoon we headed to Origin – the contemporary craft fair and met up with my friends Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring who were over from Germany and Canada to enjoy the shows for the first time. I only took a few photos (with the exhibitor’s permission) of things that caught my eye but thought I’d share them. I would have taken a lot more but I was too busy chatting, having fun and enjoying all the work!
I loved the colours and simplicity of the ceramics above, they’re by Belfast-based Derek Wilson.
It was great to catch up with textile artist Debbie Smyth whose thread drawings I love (above). I first met Debbie in 2008 when I bought some of her work from her at the New Designers graduate show. It’s great to see her doing so well.
Loved these handmade, wool knitted textiles by Stephanie Wooster.
This silver jewellery by Amy Keeper caught my attention too. It has a vintage feel and is etched with antique photos and text and looked great displayed in old printers’ trays.
The next day we headed to the much larger commercial interiors and design show 100% Design at Earls Court, where the big international names have their stands. An interesting contrast against Tent and Origin and it’s always good to see the bigger interiors picture.
Girls having design fun: Little Hope, Emma, Me, Leslie and Holly taken by Emma’s husband Bertrand
On Sunday we popped in to see jewellery designer/maker Emma Cassi to stock up on lovely goodies then headed to Chelsea and one of my favourite stores Anthropologie where Holly and Leslie were hosting a talk on creating mood boards as part of Holly’s Decorate book tour, along with fab interior designer Abigail Ahern.
And finally a quick whizz around the Saatchi Gallery with the family afterwards for a contemporary art fix just to round things off!
It was a very busy few days in London. So much great work and such fun enjoying it all with good friends. I can’t wait until next year!
May 27, 2011 in handmade goodness, my london
The Hand Sale in Notting Hill is a craft fair that I just cannot resist, it only takes the smallest amount of persuasion and I’m there. My will power is minimal when it comes to beautiful handmade goodies and an invitation by email and a nudge by my friend Sarah was all I needed to hop on the bus.
I didn’t have long, about 40 minutes to whizz around, but I still found some sweet little objects I could not leave without. Here they are.
This little ceramic bowl is by Fliff Carr, the bird image came from an old book of her father’s and I love it.
These little spoons are from Kirsten Hecktermann; a girl can never have too many beautiful spoons!
I photographed them on a postcard of a painting by Pierre Soulages which I bought at his exhibition at the Pompidou Centre a couple of years ago, it brings back lovely memories of a birthday trip to Paris with my husband.
Lovely little things to make a girl happy. Happy Friday everyone.
May 20, 2011 in my london, news
I took a couple of hours out from making and writing yesterday as I had heard about the FOUND exhibition and sale and just had to go. And I’m so glad I did! It was full of the kinds of things I adore and I came home excited and invigorated. A bit of time out at something like this can sometimes be just what you need and I got lost in the beauty of everything here and found inspiration for the rest of my week.
FOUND – A Garage Sale is a one off charity sale of artworks, found objects, textiles, rugs, furniture and crafts to raise funds for the new education wing of Kettle’s Yard house and gallery in Cambridge – one of my favourite places to visit in England.
It’s no ordinary garage sale though! The sale is in The Brompton Garage on North Terrace in South Kensington and is chock-a-block with creativity and inspiring objects – just like Kettle’s Yard itself. Only here you can purchase all the items on show with new pieces arriving daily. Heaven!
The items are displayed beautifully and you can spend from just one pound for something little to hundreds for original artworks donated by well-known artists. And it all goes to support Kettle’s Yard.
Paintings, prints, sculptures, drawings, ceramics, curios, pebbles, feathers – all beautiful in their own way and all mirroring the ethos of Kettle’s Yard.
The black bowl with the lemon is by Sotis Filippides.
I loved these ceramics by Carys Davies.
Organic, handspun wool from Kay Buxton.
This pencil sculpture is by Shane Waltener.
I adored this painting by Neal Jones.
This artwork was so simple but I so LOVE it! It’s by Alex Calinescu.
Naturally I wasn’t able to leave without buying a few little things – feathers, a bunch of pine needles and a box of natural river chalk collected from the riverbank side – all absolute necessities for a city-dwelling stylist!! I could have quite happily bought everything there though and filled my house if my budget had allowed.
This wonderful sale, which is free to enter, is only on until this Sunday 22nd May, so if you live in or near London, do pop along this weekend or you will miss out.
If you want to make a longer day trip and see some of the best interiors shops and a bit of culture, then you can also pop into the lovely Mint, Few and Far, Skandium, The Conran Shop and Caramel (exquisite children’s clothing) which are all virtually next door, then pop to the V&A which is only a 3 minute walk away – try lunch at the cafe there, it’s in the most amazing room.
If you want to find out more about Kettle’s Yard you can read my post about my trip there below.
FOUND is organised by members of the Kettle’s Yard Development Appeal Group and you can also follow Kettle’s Yard on Twitter.
P.S. Hi to Nicole, Joan and Daphne who I met and chatted with at FOUND yesterday, lovely ladies doing something wonderful. Thank you for letting me take these photos.
May 16, 2011 in my london, news
What a glorious wedding day, it makes me proud to be a Londoner on days like this. It was a day to remember and I’m glad I shared it with family and friends.
I loved the dress and the exquisite embroidery, loved the trees in the Abbey, loved the Spring flowers. Simple, classic and elegant. I loved the getaway car too though I think Prince Harry may have over-accessorised it a little!
We’ll be seeing the styling influences of the wedding winding their way into fashion and trends for a while I think.