Saturday, 29 June 2013

spring/summer 2014 highlights


Margaret Howell.

Lou Dalton.

Hardy Amies.


More Carven!

Walter Van Beirendonck.

Louis Vuitton.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

london lore

I highly recommend paying a visit to Dennis Severs' House at 18 Folgate Street in Spitalfields before the end of next week, where an exhibition entitled London Lore, curated by the Museum of British Folklore, is currently showing. Dennis Severs' House is a 'still-life drama' created by the late owner Dennis Severs as an 'historical imagination' of what life would have been like inside for a family of Huguenot silk weavers. I dropped by on Sunday and was very impressed - by the exhibition and the house itself, which I'd never been to before.

London Lore aims to give an insight into some of the many colourful, uncanny and sometimes ancient events and customs which take place in the city each year. Sited in the rooms of Dennis Severs’ House, the Museum of British Folklore has collaborated with the artist Richard Sharples and sound artist Richard J. Lockley-Hobson, to produce a series of ‘Raree Boxes’ to tell their tales. Raree boxes were first recorded in the 15th century and were used by street performers as a form of entertainment. Having paid a small fee you could peer into a lens or hole in the box where a scene would be revealed, usually a newsworthy event of the day such as a battle or Royal event. The owner of the box would then give a narration while sometimes moving the scenery or closing or opening slits in the box to allow more or less light to enter.

We spent the rest of Sunday afternoon in east London and so of course had to pop by Leila's on Calvert Avenue for a glass of chocolate milk. I love their butter dishes. I also just really love butter.

Later in the evening we somehow ended up in Primrose Hill; on the way there we walked past Cecil Sharp House, the headquarters of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, and I was reminded of how I really must find out what goes on inside. I want to pay the place a visit. Simon Costin, the museum of British Folklore's founder and director, has curated exhibitions here and a celebration was held at the society to launch the museum in 2009. Look at the sign - so beautiful. Note the little metalwork ‘Obby ‘Oss on the top of the pole.

Monday, 17 June 2013


I first happened upon Andrew Hirst and his vintage haberdashery shop Wayward on the East Sussex coast in the March 2013 issue of The World of Interiors. I was instantly fascinated by the story behind the shop, and pouring over photographs of it in the magazine felt like stepping into a film set; a dreamy world of brass buttons and faded ribbons. I knew that I had to visit sooner rather than later. I met Andrew for the first time at his stall on the Portobello Road a few Fridays ago (I also came away with a few metres of beautiful striped silk), but the real deal beckoned, and so did the seaside. Do you ever get that feeling? It's like an urge, I find. Sometimes I just really need to get to the sea, to hear the waves and smell the salt water...

I cleared a day in my diary, packed my rucksack and headed off by myself early on Sunday morning - taking the train from Charing Cross through the Kent countryside and ending up in St Leonards-on-Sea. I walked through the small town to a road just one or two streets up from the seafront. Here resides Wayward. I sat on the stone steps outside, took a peek through the dusty windows, and gave Andrew a call. Bad timing - he was around the corner in the middle of lunch with his family. He swiftly turned up however (very kind) and with a jangle of keys, let me into the shop.

I spent the next half an hour alone, drinking the place in. Wayward houses a museum of period store fittings, with antique cabinets stuffed with vintage ribbons and trimmings parked end to end from the front to the back of the shop. Thousands of buttons, in bakelite, mother-of-pearl, wood, brass, glass and leather are boxed and stacked on shelves rising from floor to ceiling. Fabrics (striped cottons, printed linens and checked suitings) lie strewn everywhere - in old baths, underneath stairs, in wicker baskets and over antique armchairs. It really is the most perfect place.

After a good poke around the shop, I bought a few bits and pieces and started thinking about what to do with the rest of my day. Andrew offered to give me a lift down the road to Hastings Old Town - he dropped me off outside these old fishermen's net huts. Aren't they brilliant? The deep black wood and the yellow gold of the lichen-covered roofs against the piercing blue sky - really stunning. I love how un-seaside-like they look - silent, dark and brooding and so at odds with the loud, flashing amusement arcades lining the rest of the seafront.

I had to have an ice cream, obviously. I'd assumed I would probably end up with a fairly average seaside mint choc chip (not that that would have been a problem), but behold! What's this? An outpost of Gelupo, in Hastings!? Dark chocolate and vanilla. Utterly wonderful. Almost as good as the fabric shop. Almost.

I traipsed around in the sunshine for quite some time - through the Old Town and along the beach. Then I lied down on the pebbles, shut my eyes and listened to the waves. It was worth the trip.

illustration: boy in shirt with yellow collar

Sunday, 16 June 2013

sam lee

I was excited to come across the very talented Sam Lee recently. Referred to by The Telegraph as 'the rising star of traditional English folksong', Sam's debut album Ground Of its Own was nominated for the 2012 Mercury Music Prize. The record is an interpretation of eight traditional folk songs - songs sourced directly by Sam from oral tradition rather than via book research, many of which he learned from gypsy and traveller communities. It's a beautiful piece of work.

Sam (along with his friends) will be performing at Wilderness Festival in August, and luckily for me, I've got tickets. Sam himself described Wilderness as 'the quintessential festival experience full of adventure, great music, wild swimming and spontaneous fun – like a dreamy cocktail of country summer holidays with friends amongst a soft paved city full of parties all canopied beneath the most giant ancient oak trees'. Roll on August - I can't wait...

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


I made biscuits at the weekend. Chocolate and pistachio, since you asked. I adapted an old Nigel Slater recipe for soft chocolate cookies - find the original version here. Alas, no hazelnuts were to be found in my local supermarket, so I had to improvise. (I do love a pistachio and I rather like the flash of green you end up with too - like little broken jewels in the mud.) Absolute bliss with a glass of cold milk on a Sunday afternoon. The recipe makes 12 'large cookies', but by (happy) accident, I made 6 enormous ones instead. Suffice it to say, they'd all disappeared by lunchtime on Monday.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

prada autumn/winter 2013

Oh, Prada. You can barely put a foot wrong. (Remember the recent Wes Anderson-directed Candy short films?) Ben Whishaw, Ezra Miller and Christoph Waltz model the autumn/winter 2013 collection. Such excellent styling and colours.

Monday, 10 June 2013


Lorde is a 16-year-old (!) singer-songwriter and aspiring pop star from New Zealand. I think she's pretty great. Really great, in fact. Her new single Tennis Court is equal parts smart, snappy and sweet. Have a listen below. (Although, in all honesty, the illustration above was enough to win me over. A rat! A snake! A rat and a snake!)

just married

Beautiful flowers (by the Flower Appreciation Society) created for my friend Paula's wedding, which took place a few Fridays ago at the Highgate Society in north London.

The bride's transportation... Brilliant, no?

Sunday, 9 June 2013

summer exhibition

On a hot afternoon last week (can you believe it?), I took a quick tour around the 2013 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. Lots of fun. It's definitely worth checking out - there are good things there to suit all tastes. Also: isn't that just the best shade of yellow paint you've seen in a long time?

Monday, 3 June 2013


HAERTS is a band from New York hailing from Germany, England and the United States. Their sound is pretty much the sound I've been waiting for so far this year. All The Days, their new single, is a powerful piece of shimmering pop music and I've had it playing on repeat all day...

illustration: cult of antinous

Antinous was a beautiful Bithynian youth and the ill-fated lover of the Roman emperor Hadrian, who drowned in the Nile in October 130. The death was presented as an accident, but it was believed at the time that Antinous had been sacrificed or had sacrificed himself. Hadrian went through the process of deifying him soon afterwards (the glorification of a subject to divine level), a process previously exclusively reserved for imperial family members rather than friends or lovers of non-Roman origin. The grief of the emperor knew no bounds, causing the most extravagant veneration to be paid to Antinous' memory. A cult arose, encouraged by the emperor, to worshop Antinous, that extended throughout the Greco-Roman world. Cities were founded in his name, medals struck with his likeness, and cities throughout the east commissioned godlike images of the dead youth for their shrines and sanctuaries.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

a wedding outfit

I wore my new seersucker blazer and pale orange shirt from Uniqlo to a wedding in Highgate on Friday, along with a pair of mint chinos from the now defunct Aubin & Wills. Shades of gelato all round. It was a glorious day.

fern verrow

Fruit, vegetables and flowers grown and picked by Fern Verrow for sale at Spa Terminus last Saturday morning. Are they not just the most beautiful things you've ever seen? I really cannot recommend a trip to the railway arches of Spa Terminus (a small, unassuming industrial estate in Bermondsey where food producers make and distribute their produce) on a Saturday morning enough - this is when the producers open up their sites to retail customers. Expect to leave laden with everything from ham and cheese to local London honey, bread, coffee and ice cream.