Down the market

 

Antique markets are my thing. I have to admit I do love the old musty smell of something second hand and used. The fact that it’s a one off. You never know where it’s come from but all you know is you must have it.

I have many favourite markets to go Vintage and food shopping in and around London and here are some of my favourites:

1) Camden Passage, Camden Passage N1. Filled with the best of everything in a tiny strip behind Islington Upper Street, you can find everything from vintage clothes to tea cups (insert drool here) Teacups are my guilty pleasure. I have them everywhere in my house. They fill every cupboard, shelf and mantlepiece. I have made them into candles, candelabras and up lighters. There is nothing quite as decadent as drinking a cocktail out of a teacup….so therefore I have collected many. Amongst all the vintage paraphenalia at Camden Passage there is a lovely shop that is full to the brim of tea cups, tea pots, plates and all things china, porcelain and ceramic. It’s my dream cove….the woman who owns it all is so knowledgable in her passion and she can tell you whether a cup is circa 1890 or 1990. Defenetely worth venturing into this market on Wednesday afternoons.

2) Sunbury Antique Market – Kempton Racecourse. Just doing the hour drive to Kempton on a Tuesday morning gets my heart racing. Not knowing what you’ll find, a complete and utter treasure trove of goodies. I have a wondering eye, so I always go there with one item in mind and end up buying lots of other things that I don’t need and so never quite find the item I’m looking for; which means I always have to make sure I go to the next one! Many of the Kempton regulars (many stylists and set designers) will tell you that you need to get there at the crack of dawn for a bargain and to grab the item you want. But if like me you just want to go for a bit of browsing and you are not restricted to having to find something for a photo shoot then going at around 9.30 gives you plenty of time to take it all in. We always end up finishing off our morning at Kempton with a cup of tea and a toastie from the toastie truck….oh and struggling back to the car with an armful of stools….that I don’t need!

3) Portobello Market – Portobello Road. Okay so this market is not so off the beaten track….in fact quite the opposite; mostly full of tourists buying a London bag than actual bargain hunters. In fact I don’t think you can get a bargain from Portobello anymore. But on a Friday Morning when the tourists are still figuring out which tube line to take to Ladbroke Grove, there is the wonderful mixture of hotch potch stalls and shops along the whole of Goldborne Road. There’s a bloke that just has cardboard boxes of shit (mainly tea cups and plates) and if you have the time and the inclination you can grab some bargains from about 50p. I love the idea of bartering but it’s a muscle that needs to be used everyday and I’m still a novice at it. I’m not sure I’ve got brilliant bargains in the past, but I do know that sometimes a bit of flattery will get you everywhere! So my suggestion for going to Portobello is to only go on a Friday, not a Saturday unless you have a death wish, and to start at the Goldborne Road end and work your way up that end down the Portobello Road…and pick up a large ‘open’ lunch box from ‘The Grain Shop’ for your journey.

4) Queens Park Farmers Market – Salusbury Road NW10. Sundays only. This is part of my manor (well a hop and skip away) I resented spending £4 for a slice of gluten free raspberry cake when I first went there, but now they have the indoor clothes and crafts section it has suddenly made this market a bit more appealing to me. Selling everything from cushions to linen to childrens clothes QP market has something for everyone. My favourite thing to do there is to buy a bit of organic meat and veg for Sunday lunch and then browse the indoor section for something I really don’t need but must have!

5) Brixton Village Market housed in the old Granville Arcade. This market takes me back to my youth. Having been born and brought up in South London I remember going with my mum to this market when it just stank of fish (I think mum would buy her bombay duck from here) and had nothing more exciting than a packet of Spangles. But since 2009 the Brixton market of old has all but disappeared albeit a few of the old stalls still there; it has well and truly been injected with a whole new lease of market life. From new vintage shops to yummy deli’s. My only hope is that it doesn’t lose the vibe it had when I was younger. I haven’t been there in years and what I loved about it was that it truly was a market that served the whole community; and even though it smelt of dried fish there was something very lovely about that. I’m going to investigate the improved market and will report back with photo evidence.

It’s all Greek to me

Love, love, love eating out. To discover new places and to indulge in something exotic and delicious. I love tasting good, wholesome food that has a bit of spice to it (my mum being Goan and my dad Mauritian) When I say ‘spice’ I mean flavour really. Spice can be anything from Cayenne Pepper to Cumin powder and Cinnamon. One of my favourite indulgent places to eat has to be Tsaikkos and Charcoal Greek restaurant on Marylands Road in Maida Vale.

The Kleftiko falls off the bone and the pulled pork is to die for. The owner Xen has made the restaurant feel like his living room…..we are gatecrashing into his world. No pretences and no dressing up to come here. Just purely good, fabulous morsels of flesh, feta, tomatoes, tzatziki and olives. Some Sundays they do a £20 a head buffet menu with all you can drink cocktails. I had Moscow Mules and Watermelon daiquiris to wash down my suckling lamb cooked by Xen’s 12 year old son!

If you live in London, or are just visiting then you must check this hidden gem of a restaurant. But don’t tell too many people……tsiakkos

 

Tea and Crafting

It all started off with some soywax tea cup candles and then ended up with transforming my friends ropey old pub wedding venue into a fairy wonderland with pure white handmade pom poms!!

Any one who knows me knows that I LOVE crafting. Collage to candles and pom poms to bunting…..I’ll try my hand at anything! There is something ‘other worldly’ about taking up a craft and chopping and changing it until it overwhelms you with the kind of satisfaction that only having a massage with rose oil can do.

Letter-Cutting-Letter-Cutting-Special-V3-300x300Kirsty Allsopp, eat your heart out!

So when I heard about the new ‘Tea and Crafting’ workshops in Camden Lock, I bubbled over with excitement. Oh…what shall I turn my talents to next?? Could it be a paper cutting workshop? Knitting a pouffe maybe? Or even making my own fairy lights? I’m about to burst with creative excitement. I’m going to try ‘paper cutting’ a la Rob Ryan and see if I can come out of the workshop with much more than a mere paper cut. I’ll let you know how it goes. Excitement level is at 10!