Spotted all this gorgeous, mysterious handpainted signage on the walk to Crate in Hackney Wick on Sunday…
…A bit of research when I got home led me to discover that it was created by local artists Bread Collective. The murals honour the companies and industries that have been active in the area both past and present. You can read some more about the project here and here.
By contrast, I think the work above was a Coca-Cola mural that got defaced then ‘upcycled’ into a sign of local pride. Nice.
A funny area, grungy and industrial, now looked over by the gleaming new Olympic Park…
Courgette pizza from the amazing portable wood-fired pizza people Homeslice, who had parked up at Broadway’s Schoolyard market..
… followed by delicious coffee gelato from Chateaux Gelato‘s stall and a bask on the very-packed out London Fields.
A bit of afternoon work getting the garden tidied up pre – proper makeover. Then rewarded ourselves with a little beer and sit-down.
The cats are enjoying the sun, too.
Fake indoor BBQ of halloumi, mushrooms, peppers and shallots marinated in a chilli-lemon-paprika oil. Then off to my favourite cinema – where else serves a Cuba Libre and popcorn to your chair? – for Moonrise Kingdom.
More grilled halloumi? Go on then. Real barbecue feast care of Laura & Tiago on Sunday.
A gorgeous sunny Saturday, I love it! We took some beers to the park and had the garden designer round to start planning our new outdoor space – just in time for the warm weather. Our garden – more of a yard, really – is pretty tiny but just the right space for some seating and a little veg patch. Here’s my rough sketch of what we’re planning:
I took a tour of the disused Aldwych underground station on Sunday, organised by TFL and the London Transport Museum. Despite their no-DSLR camera policy and a ridiculous stream of explanations as to why this is the case (from something to do with ‘high resolution sensors’ to the idea that DSLR users would somehow delay the tours), I got some decent photos from my apparently-acceptable E-P1.
A 1940s tube map showing Aldwych station
The station is sort of a time capsule: it was a funny little appendage to the line running south of Holborn that was planned to be extended, but users dwindled to the point where it was completely closed in 1994. It was used as an air raid shelter during the war and there’s lots of original wartime posters still on the walls.
So happy to have stumbled across this set of photos from my ‘hood Stoke Newington in the 1970s and 80s. So interesting to see what’s changed (goodbye Woolworth’s, hello Wholefoods) and what hasn’t (The Egg Store and Turkish mens’ clubs look unchanged, as do the queues for the 73 bus). I’d love to hop in and wander around there.
The lovely people at Lomography UK kindly lent me a camera to test drive for the summer. I already have quite a few analogue cameras, from Lomo’s Holga and Diana to Russian classics and a growing Olympus collection – so I picked one of their brand-new offerings, the La Sardina. Obviously I was drawn to its cute, kitschy looks, with its graphical take on old sardine tins, but it also features a wide-angle lens, multi-exposure abilities and a bolt-on flash with coloured filters.
Like all Lomo cameras, it comes beautifully packaged so ‘unboxing’ is a joy. The package includes a lovely bound book with photography tips, and the instruction manual doubles as cool poster.
It’s small and light enough to carry round daily, so I just snapped loads of photos from my weekened jaunts around town. I tried to stick to the Lomo ‘shoot from the hip’ principle without worrying much about framing, and the camera’s minimal controls mean it’s usually ready to shoot any kind of scene (there’s just two focus lengths and a bulb mode for indoor long exposures).
Around Hackney and Broadway Market
A little dark indoors without flash
Trying out the coloured flash filters
I had a lot of fun with La Sardina: its ease of use means it’s brilliant for snapping quick photos without fiddling with settings for ages. But I confess I did miss the control that comes from more manual cameras, and found the plastic build just a little flimsy. But for a sling-in-your-bag kind of camera for capturing outside fun, it’s perfect.
Check out La Sardina’s microsite here, and there’s more of my photos on Flickr.
When Blitz opened a few moths ago, I found the idea of a vintage department store – or ‘vintage lifestyle destination’ as they put it – a bit odd. But having finally visited last weekend, I think they’re really pulled the concept off. The ‘department store’ bit really just means the huge place is divided into clothing, books, accessories and homewares sections. Obviously I made a beeline for the vintage furniture at the back of the store…
The range is very well-curated, with a range of goodies from industrial desks to slightly creepy store mannequins. Prices are high but not completely unreasonable.
There’s also a cute looking coffee bar at the front and while I didn’t look at the clothing much, I was drawn to the chests of vintage silk scarves at just £3 each. It’s definitely been added to my rota of places to rummage in of a Sunday in Shoreditch.
Blitz is at 55-59 Hanbury Street just off Brick Lane.
I missed most of the London Design Week goings-on due to being really busy with work, so on Saturday we did a quick tour of what I thought would be the best bits – the Tent show in the Truman Brewery and SCP’s design department store.
SCP turned their Shoreditch shop into an exhibition of the new season’s products. A large amount of space was given over to Donna Wilson’s beautiful textiles, of which I want pretty much everything, please.
Read more abut the event here, and see all the new products here.
Tent is a large exhibition of new product designs across furniture, lighting and other interior decor items. It was a lot of fun to wander round, here are my favourite picks.
It’s good to have friends in high places, especially if those places are chocolatey.. and I happen to have a friend whose partner is co-owner of amazing London-based chocolatier Paul A. Young. We were invited to a last-minute chocolate tasting night on Thursday and jumped at the chance.
If you haven’t heard of Paul A Young, he makes amazing chocolate truffles, bars and other goodies with the best quality chocolate around. Everything – and I mean everything – is done by hand, from the tempering of the couverture (‘raw’ chocolate) to rolling truffles into perfect little spheres.
His newest shop in Soho opened a couple of months ago – there’s two more branches in the City and Angel Islington – and it’s a complete treasure chest of chocolatey delights.
I love how all the truffles are displayed on glass plates on a huge central table, so you can get up close and let all your senses help you pick which to take home. And with flavours including Caravan cuppuccino, Marmite (yes, really, and it’s amazing), Goats’ cheese & Lemon and perennial best-seller Sea-salted Caramel, you’ll have a tough time deciding which ones to pack into your take-out box.
The tasting and demo took place in the kitchen downstairs. After learning exactly how chocolate is manufactured, we tried a variety of chocolates containing differing levels of cocoa solids and fats from lots of different makers and estates. The differences in taste and texture was quite extraordinary, from a malty, comforting milk to botanical, earthy Venezuelan dark.
Paul demonstrated the tempering process: essential to create a malleable chocolate with a smooth, shiny finish. It involves heating the chocolate to a liquid, then cooling by moving quickly around on the marble slabs. As soon as it starts to harden, Paul used the multi-pizza-cutter like contraption to slice the chocolate into thin pavé slices. He flavoured this batch with black cardamom and sumac, which really brought out the flavour of the cocoa with a warming aftertaste.
It was a fantastic informative evening and we left with a goody bag and pocketfuls of truffles!
Paul A Young’s Soho shop is at 143 Wardour Street; keep an eye on the website and Paul’s Twitter for more similar upcoming events.