Tag Archives: London

People watching, summer in Shoreditch

26 Mar

London’s my favourite city in the world, this comes with no bias because I live here, it genuinely is. There’s a rumble and a roar about London when summer hits. You can hear the audible stampede of workers darting out the door to spend the maximum amount of time outside. Pretending just for the length of time it takes to guzzle a pint that life is carefree.

Summer in London’s also the best time to people watch, but if you don’t have the art down, you risk going from the peeper to the peep-ee. Lucky for me I was able to pap from my balcony on a ‘light jacket weather’ kind of day in Shoreditch 2015. Here are some of the more interesting scenes and people I captured…

Where’s your favourite people watching spot?

“Henna art in high demand” Jen of ‘Jen’s Henna’

16 Mar

The kind of crafts I love, are ones that are both inexpensive and bring people together – two things that epitomise the ancient art of henna tattooing.

hand henna, henna tattooing,

Once used in ancient Egypt and India to adorn brides with elaborate floral patterns and motifs, it’s now more widely used amongst men and women at times of celebration.

The sciencey bit: Henna leaves alone won’t stain the skin. It’s only once the leaves have been sifted in to a powder, treated with a mild acid and worked in to a paste that it can form an almost instant stain upon contact with skin – growing darker the longer it is left.

I spoke to a talented young lady who’s busy sharing her passion for henna tattoing in both London and Cambridge! Jen of ‘Jen’s Henna‘ told me about how she got started, and  increasing interest and demand for henna at kids parties, hen do’s and for brides to be.

1. Tell us about how you got in to the art of henna?

I’ve been interested in henna since I was young – I remember once occasion when I was on a beach on holiday and saw someone doing amazing designs, I thought, I’ve got to learn to do that! I’ve always loved drawing patterns and so henna feels like quite a natural interest. I got hold of a henna kit when I was 17 and started practicing on myself and on friends. I’m completely self-taught, and so it was only after graduating from University and wondering what to do next that I started doing henna for money.

interview picture me

2. What’s your proudest henna project to date?

It’s hard to pinpoint a particular project but some the work I’m most proud of has come from when customers have brought their own ideas and asked me to translate them into henna art. I feel most confident doing my own designs, but some of my best work comes from being challenged to create something completely new.

interview picture 2

3. What inspires your work?

My work is inspired by henna designs from all around the world. Different countries and areas of the world have their own styles and I try to learn from all of these.  I particularly like the floral and paisley designs of India and Pakistan, as well as the straight and symmetrical patterns of Morocco and North Africa. Continue reading

From Blitz to Shoreditch Vintage Festival 2012

13 Aug

It’s no secret that I am one of the most unashamed consumers going, but abreast of that – I do love a good bargain! Hence, thrift shopping is the ideal pass time.

Held at Shoreditch town hall there were tea & cakes to be had, shortly after you’d been primed and preened at the grooming parlour where you could have dated do’s and make-up. The entire hall was absolutely bursting with all types of Brit nostalgia and fashion from high-end to bargain bucket to apparel and up-cycle.

My favourite rummaging spot was the photograph stall. Stacked with pouting models and in everything from Moschino to Mary Quant. I could’ve spent the whole day there, but musky vintage waits for no woman alone.

All-in-all my purchases largely consisted of brooches & jewellery, although there was the odd nautical bowling shirt, 50 mechanical heart-shaped alarm clock, virginal white sun dress, and of course a silk tie for the papa.

Here are some snaps from my day there:


ImageImageImageImageImage Continue reading

Interiors: Love of Beauty is Taste, Creation is Art

7 Mar

Hoorah, after 21 years of life I finally have a room that I can swing a cat in – and more creative freedom than you can shake a stick at.

Work began on December 05, 2011 – a freezing unrelenting winter, and finished in mid-January when London days became longer and there began a faint promise that Summer might be glancing down from a distance, waging her warm sweet smile.

The thought behind my room is a beautiful clash between strength and fragility. The BHS ‘world craft’ collection lampshade is bold but intricate. A striking structure of black-stained canes – which create such a soft, organic picture when the light shines through it. Stretching long hair-like strands of light all around the ceiling.

The colour scheme is equally soft and strong; the key colour being grey – with the dominant colour being ‘French grey‘ (Dulux silk) which transports you to a southern French wooden shuttered chateau, complimented by a feature wall dowsed in ‘urban obsession‘ (Dulux matt) – a deeper more industrial shade of grey. The real impact is carried in the fact that the feature wall itself is the very peak of our chimney breast, perfectly angular and masculine.

Within the nook of the chimney breast I’ve compacted my entire book collection (coded by colour of course) slotted this way and that way with a sort of organised chaos.

Some other details and accents I decided needed to be pungent popping colours and textures, a bright pillar-box red felt flower petal cushion, with loops instead of tongue-like petal leaves. Plus tonnes and tonnes of pink silk and plastic Peony flowers dotted in tote bags hanging from the door, and old glass cookie jars.

My favourite feature out of the lot though, is my country kitchen picnic table (Ikea, Norden) which I use as my desk. Painted in a wipeable white coat, it consists of 6 skinny drawers, perfect for keeping candles, socks, sewing needles and thread – or any bits and bobs you can think of. The clever part is that you can fold the sucker away and it takes up the least amount of space possible.

Here are some snaps from around my attic chambre, including a rain splattered viewpoint from the window:

Seriously Bitchin’ Kodak Retinette – Plus Learn to Speak 50’s

7 Sep

Ok, so I have recently stumbled across quite a 1950’s gem…it’s only a stunning 35mm Kodak ‘Retinette’ wind-up camera.

What I like most about it however, was the price £5 leather bound case and all from a charity shop in Romford.

The 35mm ‘Retinette’ was a camera range made by Kodak AG in the late 40’s early 50’s in Germany, a more ‘cost effective’ version of the ‘Retina‘.

This particular version allows for a flash sync to be used when screwed in to the top, another unusual feature is the wind-up lever that is on the bottom.

It is very rare to find a winder at the bottom end of a camera, those dreaming up the shape and functionality must have been careful to craft a piece of machinery that was  a dream for the owner to use.

The slightly worn targeted view finder on this sweet 50’s Kodak Retinette transports you back to a hazy time, full of mid length skirts and brylcream.

It forces me to stop and wonder what sights were seen by this trusty handcrafted camera – perhaps cheerful picnics at the beach, days out and about looking at all London has to offer.

Perhaps she has even travelled overseas, breathed in the misty atmosphere of the Rue du Seine of Paris.

That’s the beauty of foraged items such as this, you can create any kind of tangible history you please.

You can so clearly tell the era that gave birth to this unique model of Kodak camera (1950’s) the steel finish and traces of art deco make it a real swell find.

So in honour of  50’s culture and style here are some seriously bitchin’ phrases I thought I’d and bring back.

It’s ‘All Bless’ on the eastern front – statement jewellery with a conscience

3 Aug

Last Saturday during a jaunt around the capitals’ trendy London Fields district I stumbled across Netil market, a hidden haven of vintage art books, retro clothing, live music and character-filled jewels.

Netil Market 'not another chuffin' market'

The ‘All Bless’ ladies, Gen, Anne and Lita are the faces behind the new hippie inspired jewellery brand with a heart, their mixture of Swarovski crystals, precious & semi-precious stones and forraged materials – come together to create statement pieces that look pretty – and make you feel good.

All Bless jewels

One particular range that caught my eye, were the leather feathers. Anne assures me: “We make sure that it’s all recycled or second hand.” Adding “we also make sure there’s no child labour involved.”

All Bless leather feather earrings

The name sums up what the team is all about. ‘Bless’, ‘a street term that states that everything is cool, everything is good’, and ‘All’ to symbolise ‘the collective of three designers.’

To look at the owners, you’d assume they’d been at this jewellery making game for a long time. However it is ‘a hobby’ for both Gen, who actually works in advertising and Anne works in Marketing.

Anne & Gen 'All Bless'

The jewels themselves live up to their unique label, whereby each item is a one off: “That Agate over there was sourced from a particular location, and once it’s gone it’s gone – then we find a new stone that inspires us.

“That’s the exciting bit really.”

The ‘All Bless‘ family is dreaming up an earthy taupe on silver colour scheme for autumn/winter, Anne explains; “We love working with lots of different textures and creating really individual pieces.”

Personally I’m looking forward to investing in some more leather feather earrings you can choose to rock a bohemian vibe and buy one for £7 or stick to symmetry and get two for £12. The talented craftswomen are able to fashion pieces to your exacting standards and tastes – and use both silver and gold plated metals.

All Bless leather feather earring - in turquoise leather, red cow fur, & glass beads - Ella Darlington

Stay glued to the All Bless Twitter page for regular product posts and where to find the stall each weekend.

Netil Market

Kate & Wills ‘Street Meet’ on 29th of April 2011

25 Apr

Rich Simmon's on the Southbank (I'm hoping they opt for these outfits)

Okay so the royal wedding is a matter of days away, and living in and around central London you can’t go anywhere without it being shoved down your throat. As they say, if you can’t beat ’em______.

So maybe the best thing for it is to down (university dissertation) tools and arrange a ‘Street Meet‘. Yes I realise this doesn’t sound like a ‘thing’ but it’s the best way around having a ‘street party‘ at such short notice.

All you need for a ‘Street Meet’ is happy people, home made (supermarket) food and drink, tables & table clothes and a bit of decoration (bunting obviously, what else?)

I think I was inspired by the cringingly watchable ‘Kate & Wills’ TV film shown on Channel 5 yesterday (Sunday 24th) it attacked my eyes as I was innocently channel flicking, and there it was, in it’s shining cheddar-filled glory – the actor’s have said ‘it was meant to be light hearted…it’s not ‘The Kings Speech.’ As you can imagine it looked like it had been shot by the staff at poundland, but love it or loathe it, it got people talking/tweeting and raised the royal weddings’ profile. Here’s the trailer for it.

Back to the ‘Street Meet‘ though, this brilliant website tells you all about the legalities and logistics of creating an event to mark the wedding. It claims that ‘it’s too late to arrange road closures’ and such at this point, but a neighbourhood outdoor gathering is ideal. Just be warned though, the Met office is using words like ‘chilly’ and ‘max of 16 degree’s’ so be prepared.

Whatever it is that you plan on doing, have a great bank holiday, spend it with loved one’s and enjoy a little bit of history in the making.

You can find loads of cheap decorations at your local poundland shop, just ‘ave a look here!