Recent sews and The Shop

Firstly, thank you so much for all your comments and messages about Yoni. It was amazing to hear what a loved little cat he is from all corners of the internet, and hearing from you really did help me get through the days. He’s back home now, slowly getting used to normal life again with an extra big dose of love and support from us.

As promised, here are the things I made during my anxiety-induced sewing spree while he was in the vets.

Tania culottes

First, a pair of jazzy culottes! I love culottes: the practicality of breeze-resistant shorts with the cuteness of a little flippy skirt is a winner to me. The pattern is the new Megan Nielsen Tania culottes, bought from M is for Make.

Tania culottes

The pattern was really fun to put together – it felt almost like magical origami creating the pleats and crotch with simple folds and lines of stitching. The only thing I mucked up is the waistband with some wobbly topstitching – I might unpick and redo it neater. I also haven’t properly finished the bottom edge yet because I’m terrible at hemming, so it’s just overlocked for now.

Vintage fabric

The fabric is a vintage piece of 70s polyester with a gorgeous Scandinavian-looking mountain print. I love how the patten drape makes the peaks point up and outwards, a little reminiscent of fireworks. Just don’t make the mistake I did of ironing interfacing onto polyester with a hot iron – I burnt a clean plastic-scented hole through my first waistband piece, and luckily had just enough fabric to cut another. I’ll definitely be using this pattern again; in fact I’ve just bought some jersey that I think will make a great no-zip-required version.

Feather tee
Vintage fabric

(Excuse my face, I appear to have the dead eyes of someone who’s been worrying for three weeks straight..) This is another Scout, although radically different from my last one. The front is made from a vintage silk scarf, which was happily just the right size for the pattern piece. The sleeves and back are the same grey jersey as my ballet dress. Very pleased that this turned out just how I imagined it. The Scout tee is such an amazing pattern: so simple but hangs so well despite having no darts or shaping, and the possibilities for creative variations are vast.

Vintage fabric

Finally, a fail. I tried to take photos but they looked too awful to share! It was supposed to be a Sureau dress by Deer & Doe, made from a super soft piece of vintage cotton with an abstract tulip print, above. It seems in sewing that lots of small mistakes can add up to a big mess of a garment, which sadly I think happened here. I chose a size too big so the fit isn’t quite right. The neckline was gaping so I attempted a shoulder-line fix, then added a half collar which sits wonkily. The sleeve caps billow at the back. The skirt twists annoyingly to the side. I’m not sure if I’ll try and fix it some more, or cut it down into a skirt maybe. It would be a shame to waste the pretty fabric completely. Perhaps I should start making toiles before cutting the real fabric.

theshop1

All of the fabrics came from The Shop on Cheshire St, which I visited with Jen one lunchtime (check out Jen’s blog for some much better photos and info, this unprepared blogger didn’t have her camera). It is indeed the treasure trove that countless bloggers promised: walls lined with shelves of vintage fabric, with even more stuffed into drawers and baskets underneath which you’re encouraged to rummage through. There’s everything from recycled curtains to half-finished handmade skirt pieces, plus loads of large pieces of 2-4 metre long cottons and polys, perfect for skirt or dress projects.

theshop2

There’s also a great line in vintage notions, and basket upon basket of vintage silk scarves at around a fiver a pop. At the back are curtains, cushions and clothing and there’s also plenty of knitted scarves and crochet blankets. Prices are eye-poppingly amazing, ranging from a few quid for the smaller bits to no more than £15 for larger pieces (my take-home stash that made everything in this post was only £18). You’d be hard pushed to find such a lovely variety of prints in new fabrics for those kinds of prices. Find The Shop at 3 Cheshire St just off the top of Brick Lane – I’ll be back to replenish my stash very soon.

South Bank, Trip-35

South bank: trip-35

I found these photos when I developed my film from Barbados. I think they’re from 2011 given that they’re of the South Bank’s Festival of Britain, which was that year. A little time capsule of summers past.

South bank: trip-35
South bank: trip-35
South bank: trip-35
South bank: trip-35
South bank: trip-35
South bank: trip-35
London: Trip-35

Lichtenstein: A Retrospective at the Tate Modern

Lichtenstein, Tate Modern

Lucky me – the Tate Modern invited me to a press preview of their new Lichtenstein retrospective on Monday. He’s one of my favourite artists so it was quite a treat to get a quiet(er) viewing of the show before the crowds. Oh, and I was allowed to snap photos!

Lichtenstein, Tate Modern

Besides the comic-strip ‘war and romance’ pieces he’s best known for, this show does a great job of displaying the other sides to Lichtenstein’s work, and across 13 rooms charts out the many phases he evolved through during his life’s work.

Continue reading Lichtenstein: A Retrospective at the Tate Modern

Recent Eats

Sweet Thursday

Feeling hungry? Time for a little round up of things I’ve been eating on my way round London lately…

Sweet Thursday
Sweet Thursday
Sweet ThursdaySweet Thursday

First up, Sweet Thursday, a new neighbourhood pizzeria not too far from me in De Beauvoir town. There’s a wine shop out front and a big clay oven out back: my kind of place. The pizza menu’s small but the pizzas themselves certainly aren’t: you could definitely share one with a few of the antipasti-type sides for dinner. They are the properly charred and chewy-crusted types too, with lovely flavourful toppings. Will be back soon.

Brixton Village
Brixton Village
Brixton Village
Brixton Village
Brixton Village
Brixton Village
Brixton Village
Screen-Shot-2013-02-11-at-21.54.47

I had to run an errand in South London a few weekends ago, so we popped to Brixton Village to make the most of this rare foray. I loved how vibrant and energetic it was, with all the hip new popup places like Wishbone, Bukowski and Honest Burger elbow-to-elbow with the Caribbean grocery stores and kitschy gift shops. Unfortunately I don’t think we picked the best place for lunch – the Mexican was the only place without a queue but it wasn’t anything special. Coffee and a brownie in Federation afterwards made up for it, though, and we’ll just have to go again to try Mama Lan’s noodles, Okan’s okonomiyaki or the best-ever pizza at the original Franco Manca.

Screen-Shot-2013-02-11-at-21.54.25

Finally, Josh’s parents kindly treated us to lunch at La Porte Des Indes at the weekend. To be perfectly honest, it’s not the kind of place I would usually choose – the bonkers French-colonial decor, high prices and Marble Arch location put it off my radar. But I was extremely pleasantly surprised by our lunch: they do a buffet on Sundays with street food starters, curry mains and fresh little fruity desserts. I went back to the starters table twice: each little dish, from lentil dumplings in fiery soup to mini beetroot dosas to crispy spinach fritters, was a tiny taste ‘pow’! Of course I then sampled three curries for main and couldn’t resist the vibrant dessert table either, so left feeling very full indeed.

That’s it for indulgence for the rest of the month now – we’re off to Barbados at the beginning of March (!) so it’s health kick to get beach-ready before then. Um, anyone have any foody tips for Barbados?!

Abney Park Cemetery

Abney Park Cemetery

More snow photos? Oh, go on then. We took a slightly bracing walk into Abney Park Cemetery yesterday – it’s basically on my doorstep and I’ve never visited it in seven years of living in the area. Shameful, as it’s really beautiful; ‘like Narnia’ as Josh put it. It’s much bigger than I thought, with loads of pretty trees and some beautiful old grave monuments, and even a somewhat creepy abandoned church in the middle. It didn’t really stop snowing here all day, so it got pretty thick.

Abney Park Cemetery
Abney Park Cemetery
Abney Park Cemetery
Abney Park Cemetery
Abney Park CemeteryAbney Park Cemetery
Abney Park Cemetery
Abney Park CemeteryAbney Park Cemetery
Abney Park Cemetery
Abney Park Cemetery

Beautiful type on these 19th century graves

Abney Park Cemetery
Abney Park Cemetery
Abney Park Cemetery

Trying to throw snowballs through the church windows!

Abney Park Cemetery
Abney Park Cemetery

God’s Own Junkyard

God's Own Junkyard

Sarah and I popped down to God’s Own Junkyard on Wednesday night, a fabulous pop-up collection of new and vintage neon signs, movie props and retro advertising signage on Beak Street, Soho. The curator/artist Chris Bracey collects junked signs from movie sets then repairs and resurrects them into brand new art pieces. The temporary exhibition/shop is only there for another couple of weeks, and I highly recommend visiting while you can – as you can see it’s quite stunning.

God's Own Junkyard
God's Own Junkyard
God's Own Junkyard

God's Own Junkyard

God's Own Junkyard

God's Own Junkyard
God's Own Junkyard

The popup shop at 47 Beak Street is open until January 25th; check the website for opening hours.

North London wander

North London walk

We took a lovely long North London walk in the sun on Saturday. Here’s a little map of where we went, and Instagrammed-guide below.

North London walk

Kicked off with a hugenormous doorstop sourdough sandwich and tasty Nude flat white at the darling Maison D’Etre on Highbury Corner. From there we walked up Holloway Road, stopping at Ooh La La vintage shop on the way. Lots of furniture and curios to be found for reasonable prices.

North London walk

We dodged the football crowds streaming out of Arsenal and cut back towards York Way, admiring the pretty houses with gorgeous front gardens – it’s always remarkable to me how many beautiful leafy streets London has tucked away. We made a special trip over here because Josh wanted to stock up on beers at Kris Wines. They didn’t disappoint, with a huge range of bottles from American rarities to Danish Mikkeller and local heroes like The Kernel all well catered for.

North London walk
North London walk

Right next door is a fabulous vintage store I’d never even heard of before called Paul’s Emporium. Piled high with ephemera, statues, furniture, lighting and signage, it’s a real gem. I’ll be back soon for another rummage for sure.

North London walk
North London walk

We then meandered down the quite unlovely and industrial York Way back to Kings Cross, stopping for a cider and coffee-infused IPA at the new Caravan (the food here is fantastic too, by the way). It’s good to see this area regenerating – with the pretty Regents Canal basin and new St Martins campus, it’s getting quite lovely and improvement works are still going on.

North London walk
North London walk
North London walk

Final stop was a quick duck into the Relic Antiques Warehouse behind the station, which I’ve been meaning to go into forever. It’s pretty small with a rather quirky range of stuff – giant beaded peacock head anyone?

I hope there’s chances for a few more London walks before the cold sets in. Anyone else got a favourite neighbourhood for a weekend wander?

Fifteen Street: video

Last weekend we had a good day out at the Fifteen Street party in Hoxton. Lots of great truck food, rum, and ice cream = my idea of fun. Rather than just take photos, I challenged myself – at Josh’s suggestion – to put together a little video of the event. So here it is:

Despite being pretty wobbly and amateurish I am quite proud! It only took an afternoon and I didn’t swear at Premiere once. Like it?

I took some photos too of course:

Continue reading Fifteen Street: video

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

I almost went the entire summer without visiting Olympic Park, but I suppose it was inevitable that I’d find myself there at some point – and then only because Sidekick kindly bought us all tickets for Friday, the penultimate day of the Paralympics. I’m not really into any sport at all, but the Olympic Park itself was definitely worth seeing, especially on such a beautiful sunny day.

Olympic Park
Olympic Park
Olympic Park

Whoever decided to plant wildflowers all over the site deserves a medal.

Olympic Park
Olympic Park

The velodrome is a beautiful piece of architecture.

Olympic Park
Olympic Park
Olympic Park
Olympic Park
Olympic Park
Olympic Park

Ropewalk, SE1

Ropewalk, SE1

Well well, the area around Maltby Street near Bermondsey has certainly levelled up since the last time we visited. Now christened The Ropewalk, it’s more like a mini food market, with the suppliers in the archways spilling onto the narrow lane to feed the through traffic. From wine bars to coffee, cocktails and local cheeses, it’s a great place to hang out on a sunny Saturday lunchtime.

Continue reading Ropewalk, SE1