Sunday, 28 November 2010

Yumchaa.

As promised, a post about my new favourite teashop, Yumchaa. There are three branches in London, two in Camden and one in Soho; the one I visited was on Parkway in Camden. I noticed it because of its amazing shopfront. The building was opened as a pet shop by Florence Palmer in 1921 and is now listed, so retains all the features and character of the old shop. It is really cosy inside, with sofas and little tables for two.

Palmers – Yumchaa

After scurrying longingly past on my lunch hour a few times, I finally made it in one evening for a quick sandwich and cup of tea before going to a gig. I had already asked for a cup of builders before shamefully noticing the HUGE selection of tea sitting on the counter.

Yumchaa

Never mind, my tea was still delicious, I'll be more adventurous next time. And Natalie from Afternoon Tea Total (a tea afficionado who once tried to educate me on tea drinking whilst woefully watching me pour too much milk into my darjeeling) tells me their homemade toffee fruit cake is delicious, so return I must.

Yumchaa

I think Natalie would approve of these rules. Maybe the art of tea will finally rub off on me.

Yumchaa

[This branch of Yumchaa is at 35-37 Parkway. Find details of their other locations here.]

Friday, 26 November 2010

NW1.

I mentioned that I had started to really dig Camden in my last post. 'Tis true! I've been working there recently and on quiet mornings and weekday lunchtimes you get to see past the hordes of pink dreadlocked Italian cybergoths traipsing down the High Street. There's a stretch of Parkway that I'm particularly digging, just up past The Jazz Café. It's home to a brilliant Sue Ryder chazza, Whole Foods (slices of pumpkin pie for £1.99!) and my new favourite tea shop, Yumchaa, based in the old Palmers Pet Stores, which apparently used to sell monkeys and talking parrots. (I'm going to do a whole separate post on Yumchaa, just decided.) It's also nice to be able to go for a little stroll along the Regent's Canal at lunch. Well, on the one lunchtime I've managed to get away and do that.

Kentish Town Camden Town
The Blues Cafe
Yumchaa
Regents Canal
Regents Canal

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Results of The Big British Beauty Poll.


The results are in from the Big British Beauty Poll! (I wrote about it here back in September). My favourite snippet from the results: Audrey Hepburn was voted most iconic beauty of all time. Also interesting is that 50% of women count youthful looking skin as most important beauty attribute. If you are interested in hearing more of the results you can watch the Olay Wave Cast today at 4pm by clicking here.

(I just love, love, love this picture from the opening scene in Breakfast at Tiffany's. The morning after, Miss Golightly sipping on her takeaway coffee and nibbling on a pastry whilst gazing into Tiffany's window. A true beauty, indeed.)


[Sponsored post. The Big British Beauty Poll was conducted by Olay.]

Monday, 22 November 2010

Busy busy busy.

So my excuse for slacking at blogging recently is because I started a new job a few weeks ago. The job is hectic, but I've also had a perverse determination to make sure I still have lots of fun. Something had to give and it was the blog. I've missed you all! Fear not, your intrepid blogger has been busy taking notes and photos, to ensure that when a quiet moment was found I could share. I can hear you breathing a big sigh of relief. Here's what I've been up to.

Fog

It has been freezing and foggy in London over the last couple of weeks. I've done a lot of cycling around frosty streets, going to various gigs. The London Jazz Festival has been on and I managed to go a couple of times. Firstly, a double bill of The Robert Glasper Trio and Terence Blanchard at The Barbican. We had front row seats! Robert Glasper was very cool and funny, cracking jokes in between playing piano that sort of straddles hip hop and jazz. And on Sunday, randomly, a little bit of Nirvana.

Robert Glasper Trio plus Terence Blanchard and Chris Dave

The next night I went to see Warpaint, an LA girl group who you've probably heard of; they're just on the cusp of big success, on the cover of NME last week and their single Undertow is getting played all over the radio. They were as cool as you'd expect; dreamy girl chanting with an LA drawl put to ethereal guitar, all quite entrancing.

Warpaint @Bafly-2

More entrancing music, back to jazz at the gorgeous Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston. I love this place, it's got the old-school jazz club vibe; friendly host, cramped wooden tables with candles and a beautiful Steinway piano that they're still trying to pay for. We saw Zed-U, a British trio featuring visceral, raw tenor sax, followed by a Swedish band called Oddjob, who treated us to all kinds of jazz candy.

Oddjob at the Vortex

Other than that, I've been having a renewed love affair with Camden, which is where my job is based. Posts about my new work hood incoming over the next couple of days. I will try my best not to blog slack anymore!

[Warpaint image with thanks to clsampy]

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Must you go?

I read an excerpt from Must You Go?,Antonia Fraser's book about her and Harold Pinter's love affair and subsequent marriage of over 30 years, back in the summer. It was excerpted in US Vogue, and I read it up greedily in a sweltering hot room in the apartment I was staying in, in Park Slope. I've been meaning to buy the book ever since and finally got around to it today, from a cosy little bookshop in Notting Hill called Lutyens & Rubinstein. (They give gorgeous tote bags away with their books, so stop in if you're passing by!)

The book is a heart-swellingly glorious romantic read, about how they met and fell in love. Have you read it? I can't put it down. I've been meaning to do a post about what I've been up to since I last blogged (over a week ago!) but it's now late on Sunday and I need to carry on reading. In the bath. I'll be back tomorrow with the catch-up post! I hope you've all had a good weekend!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

My dream home.

So I spotted my dream home for sale. It's in the building that is home to my church, aka Kentish Town Pool. Imagine walking up those steps, through that ornate door, sticking your head out of the window and chatting to one of the little masonry people? Then popping downstairs for a swim.

Ahh, if only I had £359,000 to spare. (Can I just have a moan about London property prices please? This flat is tiny. It only has one bedroom. The kitchen and living room are open plan. And it costs £359,000. You can't see me but I'm doing a wtf face. Still, if I had it I'd buy it.)

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Aviator jacket.

I forgot to mention on my last post that, not content with posting pictures of myself wearing a crazy cat jumper on my own blog, I also posted them on UpStyler, a new etail magazine focusing on charity and vintage fashion, who have asked me to contribute. Check them out, they offer amazing charity shop finds, having done the work for you. I love this aviator jacket, only £65, very Acne but minus the bajillion pound price tag. Honestly, I'm only posting it here so one of you buys it, I have so many coats already. Please. Someone. Buy it. (Quickly!)

Monday, 8 November 2010

Charity shop gold.

Cat jumper

I hit charity shop gold in York during my recent visit. Electric blue lambswool vintage jumper printed with black cats? In perfect condition? Only £3.49? Oh hale yes. It's definitely my new favourite jumper, I like to think it has echoes of Sonia Rykiel and is maybe something Joni from Mad Men might wear on a Saturday when she's home alone doing her nails. Definitely not crazy cat lady. OK? (Although it is perfect for wearing when tickling the little black cat in your life.)

Cat jumper

Friday, 5 November 2010

LennoNYC.

Photo from 'JOHN & YOKO: A New York Love Story'

The documentary LennoNYC was shown as part of the BFI London Film Festival. It details the time John Lennon spent in New York, most of the 1970s. We all know the story; Beatles split, John moves to New York with Yoko to enjoy an anonymity he couldn't in the UK (and which would ultimately lead to his downfall), gets sent on crazy 18 month 'lost weekend' to LA by Yoko with one of her girlfriends, reunites with Yoko, becomes house husband with baby Sean, starts recording again.

It goes into everything in glorious detail, the love story between John and Yoko the central thread of the tale. We hear about the treatment they receive at the hands of the press, their battle for US residency, the crazy behaviour that  leads Yoko to send him away, the complete despair they both feel at being separated and then the super sweet story of them reuniting.

(I especially loved that story: John played at an Elton John gig at Madison Square Gardens in 1974. He had been despairing at the state of his career but had a hit with Whatever Gets You Through The Night so Elton invited him to play. He received rapturous applause (you can hear the performance here), Yoko was in the crowd and they got back together in the dressing room after the show. There is a really intense photo of the moment it happened but I trawled the web and couldn't find it, sorry! Here's one of the show and Elton in rhinestone dungarees instead.)

John Lennon, Elton John, Madison Square Garden, Thanksgiving 1974

It also include great footage of the small flat in Greenwich Village that John and Yoko shared at 105 Bank Street before moving to The Dakota building. Tiny artist's quarters, quite unbelievable for a man who had spent the last decade as one of the biggest stars in the world.


The documentary is a must-see for Lennon fans, beautifully compiling the story of the years leading up to Lennon's death and his love affair with NYC and Yoko. I'm not sure what the distribution plans are for the documentary but given the warm reception at the screening I attended I'm sure we'll hear soon. Keep an eye out for it!


[Photos by Allan Tannenbaum.]

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Boardwalk Empire.

Have you been watching Boardwalk Empire? It's a recent HBO drama, set in Prohibition era Atlantic City. Martin Scorsese filmed the pilot and it features a cocky young Al Capone, handsome Italian and Irish American gangsters and their beautiful wives and mistresses, all costumed to perfection. Steve Buscemi plays the enigmatic treasurer of Atlantic City and Kelly Macdonald is understated and radiant as an Irish immigrant, struggling to find her way in a corrupt city. And again, the costumes are just so lush, you vintage mavens will love the hats, dresses, hair, makeup...


The men's costumes are impeccable too. Check out this interview with the costume designers from Esquire.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Desperately seeking: little black bag.

Desperately seeking: a cute little black bag for a long-term relationship. Must be leather,
with gold hardware, and up for fun nights of carrying my purse, hairbrush, phone, keys and camera.

Any suggestions dudes? I've looked everywhere but I cannot find this elusive bag. I love the heart-shaped Marc by Marc Jacobs bag above, but I don't think it's a £187 kind of love. Or is it? Help!