November 20, 2013
Hackney Antiques Walk - Clapton E5 to Hackney Wick E9

Our little corner of Hackney has become a burgeoning antiques & vintage mecca, boasting an array of fabulous shops all within walking distance. Stop off for lunch or coffee en route, or combine it with a trip to Chatsworth Market on Sunday.

Proper Old - 173 Dalston Lane, E8


This consistently brilliant stall on Chatsworth Road Market recently opened a standalone store opposite Hackney Downs Station. Filled with gorgeous vintage glassware, quirky toys, maps and paintings, as well as design classic furniture.

Chase & Sorensen - 238b Dalston Lane, E8

Chase & Sorensen specialise in Danish design, with a knack for finding more incidental pieces of furniture. Recently spotted: planters, wall mounted bedside tables and handsome armchairs.

Paradise Works - 142Lea Bridge Rd, E5

Housed in an old Victorian carbonic acid factory, a small group of dealers, restorers and an upholsterer have breathed new life into this quirky building.  Making regular runs to Denmark to source mid-century furniture, Paradise Works is filled with carefully restored classics at reasonable prices, as well as some industrial design. They also have a great eye for smaller home-ware and decorative pieces. I found a fantastic 50s football game here which hangs on a bedroom wall at the b&b.

Triangle - 92a Chatsworth Road, E5


Born from a collaboration of three friends and an evolution of one of the best stalls on Chatsworth Road market, this store is full of beautiful things, so well designed sometimes you might struggle to distinguish vintage from modern. Woollen blankets in contemporary colours, bright ceramics, sturdy vintage glassware, Ercol furniture, fascinating books…I would find it hard to come in and not buy something.

Thea Vintage - 65 Chatsworth Road, E5

Thea Vintage was the first of the vintage shops on Chatsworth Road.  Inside you will find vintage clothing and accessories, lots of cute crockery and home-wares, and small pieces of furniture.

Sanderson Sweeting - 22 Chatsworth Road, E5


These antique experts with a background in fairs have now set up on Chatsworth Road, with older items than elsewhere on the street. Stock changes quickly, so if you see something you like, don’t hesitate. Spotted recently – 1930s building education boards, Victorian science glassware, nursing armchairs. This shop always has something quirky and unusual, my last purchase was a knackered but sweet bird flower holder, currently residing on the bookshelf.

Furnish - 7 Chatsworth Road, E5

With a strong emphasis on the Fifties to Seventies, this shop is good for smaller pieces such as lighting and crockery. Recent treats also included cushion covers made from colourful African print fabrics, now adorning beds at the b&B.

The Modern Warehouse - 3 Trafalgar Mews, E9

Specialising in Scandinavian design this hidden gem in the Wick is at the higher end of the budget. They are open on Saturdays to the public and at other times by appointment. Here you will find immaculate Hans Wegner fishbone chairs sitting alongside colourful berber rugs, everything is very considered.

Imperial & Standard - 10 Felstead Street, E9

This shop and prop house is great for small quirky pieces from the 40s onwards.

October 6, 2013

Regular guest Luca came from Italy, bringing his brother Phil to a tattoo convention. I don’t have any tattoos myself but think these are rather beautiful…




August 30, 2013
Feltron Annual Report


Nick Felton is one of the Facebook product design team, and is credited with being one of the most influential designers working in the US today. An obsession with data, charts and graphs translates into accessible information design. Each year he creates a Personal Annual Report from meticulous note-taking,, Netflix and iCal activity and our humble b&b makes an appearance on there, as part of his travels.

Were it not already long sold out in print this would be a worthy and fascinating addition to the bookshelf.

You can still flick through it here though:

August 26, 2013
Mayfields, Wilton Way


A brisk 20 minute walk south west from the b&b takes you over to Wilton Way, home to some charming independent shops, two good pubs, and now the fabulous Mayfields. Billed as a ‘neighbourhood dining room’, each day brings an exciting menu of seasonal sharing plates, in an intimate but casual space.

Fruit and vegetables play as equal a part as meat and fish, recent highlights included Mozzarella, peach and ham. Pork, raspberry & courgette. Sea trout & broad bean. Chocolate & passion fruit. Here the ingredients and combinations really sing, giving Hackney exactly the type of restaurant we need - innovative but relaxed and unfussy.

Mayfields is open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday from 6pm, and for lunch Friday to Sunday from 12pm til 4pm.

52 Wilton Way, London E8 6GG, tel: 0207 254 8311

July 10, 2013


love you King Krule. debut album coming in August (finally!), pre-order here.

Really looking forward to this record…

May 27, 2013
Day Trip to Essex

My fondness for Essex is a not so dirty secret. Easily reached from East London, it offers beaches, marshes, big skies, Utopian architecture, and plenty of car boot action to feed my addiction. There’s more to Essex than TOWIE and skinheads waving England flags.

A visit to friends Stuart and Emily, relocated from London to Colchester, was long overdue, and my chosen day coincided with the Marks Tey car boot on the outskirts of town. 

The car boot was minimal thanks to a cold and blustery day, but regular stall holders tell me it’s worth a repeat visit when everyone is out in force. Didn’t do too badly for a £4 spend though…


Onwards into Colchester, a handsome town if ever there was one. Stuart suggested we visit Mersea Island, where they had originally planned to live before their daughter came along and matters such as schools and accessibility had to be considered. 

Stuart and Emily own holiday let Oysterbed Cottage on the island, a tastefully renovated former fisherman’s cottage on the main street into the village. We stopped by for a look, I hadn’t seen it since a brief stay prior to its overhaul. The house is an oasis of calm, with an impressive garden offering rhubarb and strawberries alongside raised beds filled with indigenous plants. I’m already hatching plans for a summer getaway here.

Then on to the West Mersea Oyster company for a lunch of the most spectacular fish & chips I had ever eaten, looking out over the estuary.


A large part of what makes Mersea so special, aside from feeling you are at the very edge of the country, is its no frills feel. This is not a twee seaside mecca like Whitstable or Southwold, it’s a working environment, where oysters are farmed much as they were hundreds of years ago, often by the same family. Mersea has been popularised by a London media so enraptured by their dining experiences at The Company Shed. Entirely justified of course, but hopefully Mersea will remain as is, thanks to a shingle beach, a lack of attractions and little convertible property. Err on the side of caution though, pay a visit sooner rather than later.

March 7, 2013
Toot at Spitalfields

Thursdays at Spitalfields Market in London is the best day, with lots of great vintage and antique dealers instead of the usual cheap tat. If you get there early you can avoid the crowds, and really take in the lovely things on sale, as well as chat to dealers and admire their sartorial style as well as their wares. It’s such a convivial atmosphere, the whippet gets fussed over and to meet lots of other dogs, so everyone is happy.

I wanted to see Jo who runs a stall as well as one of my favourite blogs,  ’The Toot’. She has an amazing eye, and photographs and writes about her finds in such a funny, warm way. I’ve got my eye on a few things of hers, and today bought some brass pots to put plants in. I found the photo she took for her blog, and a funny anecdote about buying them…

Image and text by Jo Waterhouse

"The person I bought them from always gives me the old ‘hello darling, it’s all cheap for you my pretty’ treatment and I try to steer clear. I was looking at these pots then felt like ‘aw crap!’ when I realised who’s they were. Anyway, I persevered and it all went off surprisingly civil until it came to getting my change. Then it was all the funnies! ‘Oh I’ll give you your change next week, don’t you trust me? Don’t I look trustworthy? You can come get it from my house’ Jeez, some people don’t got a head for business."

Great huh? And a timely reminder to ALWAYS haggle at car boot sales, even if the stallholder is a bit of a weirdo.

March 5, 2013
Import your own Frank Lloyd Wright house (via The Modern House)

WHAT WE’RE HEARING: So long, Frank Lloyd Wright

by themodernhouseblog




Europe could soon welcome its first Frank Lloyd Wright designed home. Bachman Wilson House, designed by Wright in 1954 and located in New Jersey, has been put on the market fully restored by its architect owners. However, the house is for sale at a guide price of $950,000 on one condition – that the buyer moves it somewhere else. According to The Guardian last week, the owners have already got a prospective buyer – an Italian architect who wants to dismantle the house and take it to Fiesole, a hilltop town near Florence, where Frank Lloyd Wright once lived. Should the move take place, the house which is currently located in an area of high flood risk and frequently necessitates subsequent repairs, would become not only the first house designed by Wright in the continent, but it would become one of the first buildings exported in this direction across the Atlantic. As The Guardian article explains, famously the London Bridge now stands in Lake Havasu City, Arizona and a Tudor mansion from Lancashire in Richmond, Virginia. For a less difficult way to purchase a modern house, visit: The Modern House

March 1, 2013
Seeds of an idea…

It was a friends discovery of a short-lived Craigslist advert that led us to Pablo & Veronica’s place in Brooklyn. Back in the days when work involved music industry showcases and promo visits, their simple guest rooms were an affordable way to get the most out a trip to New York. 

I’d come back raving about the stylish serenity of their home, impossible to capture in my blurry iPhone photos. Now I can show anyone this magical space, thanks to the beautiful photos of Ann-Claire Rohe.


Formerly an old lighting factory, Pablo and Veronica’s building sits close to the river in what was the least gentrified part of Williamsburg. Near neighbours include the legendary Peter Luger steakhouse, the wonderful Diner and Marlowe & Sons restaurant, as well as the fancy new Whythe Hotel.


Though their place in no way resembles my Hackney b&b (it’s WAY more impressive), the idea that a young couple could breathe life back into an unloved building was an inspiring one. Not to mention welcoming people from all over the world largely through word of mouth.

The supremely tasteful interior is filled with plants, furniture found on the pavement, interesting textiles and a cat that dives into your room and insists on a cuddle. 



There might not be an opportunity to return to New York any time soon, so it’s a great pleasure to see these photos and remember the happy, fun times spent as their guest.

February 17, 2013
A living wall in New York City

New Gotham eaterie Atera reflects a foraged food ethos in its uber tasteful dining room, most of all in its living wall installation. So this  design trend has made its way from the exterior of buildings to the interior. One can only imagine the work involved keeping the thing verdant, but it sure looks impressive against the broody paintwork…

Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »