A Soho Saturday

It was record store day today, a celebration of the independents all over the country. In Soho the day was marked with live music and long queues in the stores on Berwick street - Reckless Records, Sister Ray and The Music and Video Exchange as well as Sounds of the Universe around the corner on Broadwick Street and Black Market Soho on D’Arblay Street.  We stopped to listen to Augustines who were great, and to soak up the atmosphere.

Berwick St Berwick St Berwick St Moving from one coffee place to another, via a couple of shops we took a detour into Brewer St car park…

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The Vinyl Factory is hosting a Richard Mosse exhibition (runs until the 26th of April) which is worth a peek if you are in the area. It’s made up of stills and a film installation, with somber footage from the Congo, juxtaposed with vibrant colour/infrared footage. It makes you really look at the images and world again, noticing so much more now it is bright pink and alien, not the images the News has unfortunately made normal.

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More information here on Richard Mosse The Enclave here.

Type in Berlin

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Berlin is a crazy old place, I spent last weekend with some lovely girlies in a whirlwind of culture, history and exploring, one of the highlights was the Buchstaben Museum (Museum of Letters).

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Buchstaben is an independent museum devoted to preserving signage from across Berlin, telling the stories behind the type and letting you see up close the beauty and detail of each form. We spend quiet a while in here, a dark place with glowing neon around ever corner, you are even given a touch to help you read about the signs as you go.

Berlin has loads of museums, but this really is a bit special, I urge you to go if you can. It recently moved to it’s home – an old supermarket, and retains most of the ‘character’ with tiled walls and exhibitions in the fridges. The darkness, bright happy neon, tiles, concrete and industrial doors give this place a unique atmosphere.

Holzmarktstraße 66 / 10179 Berlin-Mitte

Columbia Road Flower Market

What can be more beautiful than a flower market in the bright morning sunshine. It was the perfect way to spent the best day of the year (so far), a stroll through the market, pick up some beautiful cut flowers and succulents, then breakfast in Hoxton Square.

photo 1photo 1-2 photo 3-2 copyphoto 3I have my very first succulent now too, with a bad track record of house plants I’m hoping this one will be up to living with me!
Here are some tips to looking after them.

photo 2 I kind of regret not getting a bunch of these anemones, but today was a tulip day. Next time.

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I love the vibrancy of this image – a joyful spring colour palette!

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They even had mini pineapples – what arrangement could be compete without them?!

and here are my own beauties, a rather more serious colour palette but I fell for the ‘carrot top’ tulips, styled in a stunningly practical tupperware, my usual vase was a bit on the tight side!

photo 5 copyNext time there is a sunny sunday morning, get up and out – our reward was a Bill’s breakfast.

 

BBC Radio: 6 Music, The Festival

6 Music Festival main stageIf you are a regular listener to BBC 6 music, you are probably very aware of their first ever Music Festival – they’re not the type to keep quiet about such things…

I was lucky enough to get a ticket, so Rachel and I packed our bags and headed home for a weekend in Manchester, excited to see some great bands. It was held in the Victoria Warehouse, which is where I believe they have moved The Warehouse Project too. I couldn’t help draw comparisons with the old WP venue (the car park under Piccadilly train station) and thankfully it has plenty of the old character, with exposed brick work, steel and breeze blocks, but it feels a lot more grown up and professional, I loved it.

6 Music Festival Upper Bar6 Music Festival There were two stages and a silent disco, we camped out on the main stage for venturing to the other room to see James Blake at the end (and scurrying back to see the National, after being blasted with his bass – showing our age a little!

Turning up on time really paid off as bagged one of the best spots in the venue – centre front on the balcony. It was lovely to actually see what was going on (a disadvantage of being short at gigs…)

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The Staves

6 Music Festival Bombay Bicycle Club

6 Music Festival

Bombay Bicycle Club – probably my highlight, they got everyone dancing.

6 Music Festival Jake Bugg

Jake Bugg – mhuh.

6 Music Festival Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand – a very close second! I was fulfilling my 14year old self ambition to finally see Franz, and it was amazing to the whole crowd become a moshpit for a song or two.

After the bands finished Craig Charles took over with funk and soul, we continued our dancing for a while then headed out into the night.

6 Music Festival

We 6 music listeners are a good looking bunch – I haven’t seen that many designers in one room since the AGI conference last summer.
You can see some of the live performances here.

***Apologies for the quality of the pictures, they looked ok on the iphone! I think i’ll have to go back to carrying a compact.***

At Liberty to Craft

Liberty is well known for their beautiful fabrics and this season they brought out a real treat - Queue for the Zoo.

Queue for the Zoo - Liberty

Browsing the shelves in Liberties Haberdashery set alight a need to make something, I settled upon a pencil case for work (I’ve got to keep the fine liners somewhere!). I adapted a knitting needle pattern from Cath Kidson’s ‘Sew’ book,  making it a little bit shorter.

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I used blue indian cotton, calico and 8inch zips, with matching thread.

1. Pin your pattern to the fabric and cut 2 rectangles of each fabric, mine was 8.5″x5″ (21.5x13cm)

2. Right sides facing, pin and machine stitch along one long edge of the pieces, with a 5mm allowance.

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3. Press the seam away from the lining, fold over and press to form a 5mm lip of lining fabric above the outer fabric, and cut the fabric to the same length. Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces.

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4. Open the zip, tack one side of the bag to one side of the zip so that the teeth lie just below the top edge. Do the same on the other side and close the zip. Machine stitch the zip in, opening the zip after you have sewn in one side (so you can turn it right side out).

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5. Right sides together, tack the side and bottom sides together, then machine stitch around, tidy the edges with pinking shear. Turn the right way out!

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They went down well at work – snapped up by Santi and Carolina, I’m thinking about making a couple more and putting them on etsy – what do you think?

Present and Correct

Strolling down a beautiful autumnal street in Islington was perhaps the highlight of my weekend. Present and Correct can be found on Arlington Way (EC1R 1UY) and it is well worth your time if you:

a. are a design lover

b. hord stationary and covert pencil sharpeners

c. have someone who fits the above on your Christmas list…

shop4shop1shop2It is a shop filled with beautiful stationary, german math books, typewriters, children’s’ books, note pads and brass rulers all carefully curated and displayed. With a great feeling of nostalgia fused with modern minimalism, english meets germanic functional design the shop has a quirky vibe and I found it impossible to leave empty handed.

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The loot!

the lootbagI love the attention to detail that goes into it, the old fashioned receipt and the cute bag that it all comes in.

A Cultural Binge

This city has so much art and culture on offer, packing it all in is pretty much impossible. Mum and I had a binge the other day, with a trip to the summer exhibition at the Royal Academy, a spin around the Photographers Gallery and to finish off a view of the blue cock on the Fourth Plinth.

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So to start with the RA, the summer exhibition, which has no closed, displays contemporary art, which you can buy. This was the first time I had visited the show, it certainly does feel very different from a normally gallery, there is the money angle, you can see how much everything is worth, and the populatiy angle, whats still left at the end of the show?

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Sadly it seems we the art buyers this year where pretty conservative, there was a real mix of things on show, very few of which I would take home, and the popular ones seemed to be abstract landscape photography (which wouldn’t look out of place in Ikea… too harsh?).

So we left and headed to the Photographers gallery, where they have a lovely little exhibition on early 29th century life. They had some lovely things, I loved the magazines and old files with marks and stains from a long life.

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typewriters, aged paper and paperclip stains – character you can’t fake!

Cock 2013

Finally the big blue cock in Trafalgar Square -  Hahn/Cock (2013) by German sculptor Katharina Fritsch. See more here.

Lunch time escape

Everyone needs 10 minutes to themselves every now and again, working in soho the tranquil oasis I’m looking for can be hard to find (if your not willing to pay loads for it..)

But I’ve found it…

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Wander down Berwick street, dodging the media types queuing for their gourmet hotdogs, and the fruit sellers whipping up interest… and duck into one of the fabric stores on the other side of the road.

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The berwick cloth shop is the best. Cool and dark, a break from the hot heat of the street, filled with rolls of fabric, any colour or texture you like. I love to just browse and touch everything!

On another note, heres a quick hello from our current little lodgers:

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More from these two to come…

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