Interesting shops from around the world

Nynne is a very lovely, very talented up-and-coming illustrator from Denmark.

Her illustrations have been shown in Danish magazines including Eurowoman & Alt for damerne, on postcards and on posters around Copenhagen. She has also recently begun selling her illustrations to Danish design shops.

You can buy her prints in her Etsy Shop

The Hambledon always wanted to be a shop which sold things the owners loved, in a space they loved, to customers they would grow to love.

It’s a sentimental and very honourable kind of aspiration borne out of a genuine belief in the worth of shops and shopping and shopgirls (and boys).

They opened in September 1999 in a beautiful double fronted Georgian building in Winchester’s Cathedral Square, the scale of which was somewhat daunting. The past decade and a bit has seen their team refining and developing what they want The Hambledon to be: a really good shop by any measure, uncompromising in its choices, entertaining in its presentation and always super-friendly in its approach. Yay!

They have extended womenswear into three rooms on the first floor with enough space for key British labels to rub shoulders with US and European brands without getting in a tangle. The Norman basement (once a warren of spooky stockrooms) is now a happy home for a fully fledged menswear offer.

Homeware and all its associated friends live on the ground floor.

The first mezzanine level is a brand new, and indeed quite a grown up bath and beauty department. The Tudor rooms at the rear of the building are now a stationery and book department and a project space to house temporary exhibitions and collaborations.

Old fashioned shop keeping is a brilliant, hugely varied and funny business.
And we wouldn’t want them to do anything else.

Yesterday I thought I’d actually go and look at clothes for myself instead of looking in the children’s section or the food appliances section – at John Lewis. And what an amazing surprise! They had loads of really great clothing brands – some I knew and some that weren’t so familiar. I looked around the fancy nice clothes area for ages and didn’t find anything I liked – and then I came across the mumsy-country department with Barbour, Fat Face, Seasalt and John Lewis weekend.

Well I am most definitely mumsy-country and I scanned the mumsy-country section and headed straight for White Stuff. I’d never heard of them but all their clothes were great! Lovely pretty dresses in good muted colours. They had a great little selection there – woollen skirts, knitted fairisle dresses, the best short straight skirts (over the knee and not the dreaded at the knee length) and great little jumpers – again all in good colours.

The best bit? The price. I bought a new dress, new skirt and a lovely woollen jumper for around £50 each.
Thanks White Stuff – what a brilliant discovery you are.

Ah – did anybody see the amazing Farrow & Ball best front door competition? Our front door is a lovely sage colour – I’m not sure whether it’s Farrow and Ball, but I must say with all the recent house renovations in our street there are some fantastic front door colours springing up.

According to a study of 2,000 people, those with red front doors were happiest. Apparently they are the biggest extroverts and are move relaxed in their approach to life.

After red, people with white, green or brown front doors were also pretty happy. Ok – that makes me glad we’ve got green then. In fact – we’ve always had green front doors. Mt Albert was green. Roderick Road was green. Estelle Road we had a green back door as we came in through a separate entrance – and of course our wonderful current house has a sage green front door.

Living in Hampstead does make for some great external door spotting, with front doors, shed doors, garages and side doors in all manner of fabulous, considered, expensive design choices.

A lot of houses in the area have the most beautiful rambling roses climbing up the fronts of their houses – something, again, I am keen to do at ours. I think that’s going to entail a lot of fun research in my David Austin roses catalogue. Clematis is also quite a goodie – I think it’s going to come down to which of the two will over-winter best.

For now though, we’ve got a lovely front door, lovely window boxes full of herbs, a landscaped the garden with succulents, cordylines and sweet peas – all done very nicely on a tight budget from the local garden centre and good old Columbia Road market.

Shanghais by Church Shoes

My new favourite shoes.
Apart from the red Start-Rites the kids are getting from So Small.

When we went to the Cotswolds we headed over to Bicester and I got the most wonderful pair of Church’s Oxfords for £130. Bargain. The other day I saw a pair of what I thought were display only shoes – but no, these were a re-make of an old 1930s pair. There was a label at the bottom with simply 530, which I thought must have been a reference number. Well, it was – reference for the price.

You can buy them from Author Shoes (in the shop, not online that I can tell). Oh how I would love to buy a pair. But by the time I save up I think they shall all be sold out.

Image Antoinette bed © Loaf

We have been on the lookout for a nice new bed since our cheap and cheerful IKEA one has gone horribly wrong after just a year. I wonder if that has anything to do with the children and their friends jumping on it at every opportunity.

Still, me doesn’t make for good value if you work that out over ten years. We need a bed the kids can really jump on without breaking it.

With our Living Etc subscription came the most enormous amount of addressed brochures now appearing through our letterbox every week, including one from Loaf aka The Sleeproom. Ah, so lovely they are. We are saving up for one of these, not cheap but they are handmade in the UK and, I think, worth every penny.

In fact, a lot of the furniture at Daylesford Farm looks like the furniture in the Loaf catalogue. All lovely and rustic and upholstered in beautiful linen in natural, neutral shades.

If you’re looking for budget beds in a french style and you’re happy to do a bit of restoration eBay is always a good place to look. You can do absolute wonders with an old bed, some paint and a bit of DIY nouse (that’s not me though).

Mind you after our experience with the IKEA bed we bought, I’d definitely recommend saving up for a good one. I hate it when things fall apart – it seems like such a huge waste of money – so the next bed we buy is going to be great quality and hand made.

If you’re a fan of Smallable and a fan of sales (I am both) you will love So Small. They really know how to do a sale. These are sales where you know you’ve got yourself a fantastic bargain. Postage is more expensive than Smallable so its best to buy enough to justify 16 euros postage when your favourite designer comes up.

And you have to be quick. They put a countdown timer on your shopping bakset. So you get 45 minutes from getting the sale email to login, decide what you want and pay.

It would seem there are a few mums out there looking to buy pink things in size 6.
Nothing like a bit of sales pressure to get the adrenaline going.


flask walk

With Spring not around the corner, but actually here it’s time for some home decorating. We’ve painted all the interior walls and now I’m keen to strip back the doors and start afresh.

My favourite doors are plain doors. My most favourite doors are old villa doors with the paint stripped back with beautiful coloured decorative glass panels.

I also like lovely muted front doors. London has a lot of lovely muted front doors. When we go out for our walks up to Hampstead we pass many lovely doors; yellow, green, red, sage green, light grey, dark grey and blue.

Incidentally Farrow and Ball is running a competition for the best front door. You’d be wise to have a look if you’ve got a thing for doors.

Discovered lately following my love affair with the Casa Moro cookbook, maroque imports all manner of marvels from Morocco. Tagines, ceramic jugs and bowls, ceramic serving dishes, handwoven carpets, nickel and ceramic table lanterns, silver mirrors and Moroccan food.

We especially love their beautiful delicate glasses that come in a vast array of splendid colours with pretty gold detailing.

Most Saturdays we head to Primrose Hill for cupcakes and coffee. We get our cupcakes from Primrose Bakery, and coffee from Melrose & Morgan.

This week we’ve seen London wrap itself up all warm. The clouds have gone puffy and grey. The sky that colour that says it will snow soon. The wind that says put your coats and jackets on and do them up tight. And time for a good brisk walk for coffee and cake. Damned if we let the weather get in our way here!

So and it’s time for me to be looking in the ladies coats departments after I left mine behind at yoga class never to be seen again.

I thought I’d got away with it – we all did, but winter is most definitely upon us. And I can’t wait for next Saturday when we’ll head down to Primrose Hill. And with any luck it will be snowing and we can take the girls in their sleds!! Time to look forward to steaming hot coffee, little paper cups of hot chocolate and lovely snug coats with which to wrap ourselves warm.