Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Zara bags.

Gorgeous Garance Doré  switched me on to Zara, after featuring some of their pieces on her blog. I'd always thought they were high street blah but I obviously wasn't looking hard enough. I particularly love their accessories. I want all of these bags . They're leather – except the bottom right, which is pleather – not too badly priced and available in a range of colours. The top left is available in the electric blue, which is kind've awesome. (I just ordered it in nude, because I'm boring like that. Sorry bank balance.) Good work Zara, top of bag class for you.

Friday, 18 March 2011

The Camden Coffee Shop.

I love the tiny specialist shops in London that have been here for years, selling to generations of customers beneath the same shop sign. They're getting harder to find, so I got very excited when I discovered The Camden Coffee Shop yesterday.

I'd noticed the gorgeous original shopfront a couple of times but presumed it was a hipster coffee bar as it's on Delancey Street, right in the thick of Camden Town. But no, as I ventured closer I started to get excited. It looked like a dusty old coffee merchants. 
Opening the shonky old door, the first thing I noticed were the old roasters. Do they actually roast the coffee in the tiny shop? The thickly coffee scented air confirmed that hale yes, they do. 
My tiny brain went into excitement overdrive as I noticed George the shopkeeper in his grocer's coat, filling up paper packages of coffee behind his scales. I asked if I could take photos and he gave me a smiley nod.

The customer in front of me noticed I had my camera out and also started taking pictures. He was a regular, buying coffee to take home to his parents in Iran and wanted to show them where he bought the coffee he was always rambling on about. George tipped the scales to give him a little bit extra.

When it was my turn, I asked George what I should get. He asked how I liked my coffee and when I said strong he asked, 'Strong-strong or medium-strong?' I imagined he probably wouldn't be messing around in terms of strong-strong so I opted for medium-strong. He said, 'Let's see how you get on with this and we can decide again next time'. He gave me Costa Rican beans, straight out of the roasting tray.
Camden coffee shop
I asked how he chose which coffee to sell in the shop and he looked at me as though I was mad and said, 'I just sell the best.' There are sacks of coffee along one side of the shop and six or seven tubs in front of the scales. You can blend the beans, if you are fancy like that. 

The coffee roaster is 85 years old, George's family have run the shop for 50 years and he has worked there for 27 years, six days a week. These are some good stats to have behind your morning cup of coffee. George drinks at least 6 cups of coffee per day. He wouldn't be drawn on what the maximum number of cups he might drink is. But here are his coffee drinking tips: never drink on an empty stomach and always have a glass of water with it, as it is a strong diuretic.
Camden coffee shop

I am a slave to coffee and can't wait to try my beans but it's the newspaper strewn, old-fashioned balance book and weighing-scales charm of the place that has me smitten. Camden Coffee Shop is another place to add to my list of places that I worry might one day close. I know George and I have only just met but would it be weird if I asked if I could take his shop over when he retires? I wouldn't change a thing.
Camden coffee shop

The Camden Coffee Shop, 11 Delancey Street, NW1. Call 020 7387 4080.

Friday, 11 March 2011

My new crib.

I finally got around to taking some pictures of my new crib! So, it's very me. And by me, I mean good bones, an effort towards stylish but very scruffy around the edges. It's a flat in an old Victorian merchant's mansion in Tufnell Park, North London. Lots of you know this already, but James and I broke up*, we sold our flat and now I'm living by myself. Which I am loving. I've basically turned the place into an unashamed girly paradise.

I've been working really hard (a whole 'nother story), so I haven't had a chance to hang up pictures or do the little things I want to do. (Like take down the blinds and just have simple muslin drapes, to let in more light.) That's my Chanel lightbox under the mantelpiece, rescued from an old chemist that was closing down. There are gorgeous scuffed old floorboards throughout the flat. They're possibly my favourite thing about the place: it feels lived in and warm. I got a good feeling when I came to view it.

It's not a huge flat but has huge high ceilings, so doesn't feel too small. (Other than the kitchen, which is ridiculously tiny! But I'm enjoying loving the freedom of not having to cook and have reverted to ridiculous single girl habits like subsisting on avocados and bits of cheese. God, I am totally loving it.) Anyway, every corner is stuffed full of kitschy bits and pieces.


All the old sash windows look out onto trees; I often turn and find a magpie or a blackbird spying in on me.

Yes, I am doing that thing of randomly hanging up vintage dresses, just so I can look at them. And there are shoes tucked under every single piece of furniture that will accommodate them. I've had the giant Coke can since I was about 14, it's my dirty laundry basket.

But the best bit... check out my giant tub. Oh yeah. Did I mention it was girly heaven here?

I have a gentleman caller popping around to ruin the girly equilibrium (another whole 'nother story), so must take my curlers out. Have a fabulous weekend!

*Very sad, but definitely the best thing for both of us.

Friday, 4 March 2011

UNIQLO x Blue Note Records.

Kinda loving this collaboration between UNIQLO and Blue Note Records. I've always loved that Sonny Clark cover on the top right, suede pumps and pencil skirt strutting down a 1950s New York avenue... And what jazzer wouldn't want the 'our thing' shirt? Awesome. See more of the shirts here. On sale online from Monday.