Monthly Archives: July 2010

Guest post: East London vintage shops

By Yuli Linssen-Kaminitz

East London has endless vintage shopping options which make it awfully hard for a new fashionista to know where to begin. However, there are few shops that stand out with their originality, selection, quality and service.

Visiting these shops will make you realise few things very quickly: there is no better therapy than shopping, clothes make you tremendously cheerful and your bank account is not always big enough to accommodate all your needs and desires.

The Dressing Room: Entering the shop will soon give you the feeling you just arrive to an old, trendy disco club. The interior includes retro lighting sets, colorful wallpaper and a lot of funky attitude. Browsing through the fully loaded racks you will be able to find everything from 40-year-old elegant gala dresses, silk scarves, crocodile boots and so much more. If you are looking for a branded handbag you will be able to choose from: Fendi, Chanel and Gucci.
Get updated directions here (it’s currently relocating)

Absolute Vintage: This is truly the Mecca for vintage clothing. One of the most popular shops around East London and also the best vintage shop in London for 2008 – according to In Style magazine. The shop provides new stock every two days, and has an enormous selection of vintage clothes and recently opened an online shop. For those of you who were not lucky enough to be born in the UK – Absolute Vintage offers world-wide shipment. Let the spending begin…
15 Hanbury Street, E1. Visit the website here

Beyond Retro: Old school sneakers and sweat pants, prom dresses from the 40s, handpicked blouses and many more treasures! David Beckham and Kylie Minogue are huge fans and it is not difficult to understand why: hundreds of new items arrive to the shop daily, the quality of the garments is excellent and clearly the shop’s buyer has an amazing taste in clothes.
Cheshire Street, just off Brick Lane (lots of lovely shops on this street). Visit the website

Rokit: Started as a simple market stall in Camden, this vintage empire is now spreading over four stores in London. The style of the shop is funky, joyful, quirkily and mostly unique! Even though Rokit became tremendously popular all over London you can still be sure that if you purchase something, it will be one of a kind! Many items from the shop reach magazine fashion spreads and T.V productions.
101 & 107 Brick Lane. Website

Vintage Hart: This small, super cosy shop is the ideal place for some 50s-80s findings. Range of accessories, jewellery, hats and also some unusual looking contemporary items which will be perfect to build the most distinctive look for a night on the town! Website

Let us know of any other worthwhile vintage clothing shops in East London…. and check out The Vintage Guide to London

EasyToBook.com specialises in discount rates on hotels all over the world that range from simple motels all the way up to celebrated 5-star venues. For more information about hotels in London, visit their site!

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London Fields farmers’ market this Sunday

Just a quick post to remind people that there is a farmers’ market this Sunday (and, hopefully, many to come) in the primary school next to Broadway Market, just round the corner from the Cat & Mutton pub.

The butcher told me they are struggling to make a profit as it’s still pretty quiet (some stall holders have already given up) and asked me to tell all my friends…. So if you are in London Fields then drop by, it’s on from 10am-2pm and you can turn up in ordinary clothes and walk around without tripping over pedigree pugs or getting stabbed in the eye by directional fringes.

I’ve been down a few times and it’s really nice – there is a great pork butcher who drives for four hours and brings with him his teenage son, who is in charge of an enormous sausage pan. There is also lots of really good fresh produce like apple juice, strawberries, raspberries, pak choy and cornflowers.

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Supper club at the Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green

I’ve been placed on a major budget, in the form of a stern excel spreadsheet which I’ve avoided inspecting too closely, and so am cooking at home most of the time these days rather than going out. I’ve also gone back to full-time work – hence the sporadic posting – and am well and truly back in the commuting/get home/cook dinner/tell Nick Robinson to go home to his wife when the 10pm news comes on (seriously, the man is always outside Number 10. I frankly suspect that the BBC grew him in a test tube to be their political editor. I have worked for them and I would not put it past them at all). And while we’re on the subject, am I the only person to not have worked out that he’s a Conservative? Seriously, I always found him neutral in his reporting, and was a little shocked when a bloke I worked with at The Big Issue referred to him as Nick F***face Robinson.

Anyway, yes, so not too much eating out, which means lots of cooking, lots of cleaning up, lots of food shopping and lots of trying to come up with new and interesting ways with mince (thanks Guardian).

Which is why it was so, so nice, and very much appreciated, of the Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green to invite me for dinner at their new Vegan Supper Club. Seriously, if there are any other new restaurants around that feel like feeding me I’m wide open to offers. Wide open.

The Gallery Cafe, for those who don’t know it, is on Old Ford Road, just opposite the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood and next door to the British boxing mecca York Hall, whose marble-tiled Turkish baths have recently been refurbished, and whose fifty-metre pool was my loyal friend before the London Fields lido opened.

Upon arrival, my dining companion (ok, my husband, I have been married since 2008 and really need to get comfortable with saying the word) remarked that the room itself ‘reminds me a bit New York, what with all the original artwork and huge windows.’

I commented, ‘Well, how would you know, you’ve never been, and with this savage budget you’ve put us on you may never find out.’

To which he retorted, ‘I’ve seen enough audio-visual representations of New York to be confident that it looks exactly like this room’. At which point, thank God, the starters arrived and we could stop talking and stabilise our blood sugars.

I had a samosa stuffed with mushrooms and served with two vibrant dips, one was, I think, spicy carrot, and the other was avocado. This was really good. My companion had a broccoli soup which, given the humidity last night, I personally found an odd choice, but he finished it quite happily.

The second course brought a leek and aubergine pizza for me, which was garlicky and delicious – it’s rare to find a pizza I don’t like, apart from those puffy tourist ones you see on Oxford Street. The other main was an asparagus and broad bean bake with salad, which also went down well.

For dessert I had a very summery strawberry tofu cheesecake, served in a glass, and my companion was quietly pleased with his vegan vanilla and chocolate ice cream and a chocolate cupcake. The service throughout was swift and friendly, and it seems like a lovely relaxed place to have a meal with friends, too, which a few other tables were doing.

The supper clubs are held every now and then, and are around the bargain price of £16 for three courses, with lovely service in a very beautiful room. But the cafe is also open for breakfast, lunch and early dinners too, as well as for lots of crafty, musical and poetical events. And I did eventually concede, once I’d eaten, that it also benefits from a bit of a New York movie-style ambience.

PS Thanks to Skirmish of Wit for the image, which I’ve borrowed until I can get to my camera again.

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Filed under Somewhere to eat

Why do the best lines come once you’re on the platform…..?

So I walked onto the train at Liverpool Street, about to collapse from the heat, and spotted a seat right by the door. There was someone sitting in the seat closest to the aisle, but nothing on the window seat apart from a rather ridiculous purple snakeskin bag (very Posh Spice circa 1996).

Anyway, I was at zero tolerance due to being extremely hot and with ankles like bloody flooded paperbark treetrunks due to being in a reasonably advanced state of pregnancy. So I said to the bag’s owner, a youngish, sunglassed woman, presumably of southern European descent judging by her accent. ‘Do you mind moving over?’

‘I do actually,’ she said, and instead grabbed her vile bag and stayed where she was.

‘You do mind?’ I asked, squeezing past and collapsing beside her.

‘Yes. I do.’

‘Well, it’s a public train.’

‘You’ve got your seat. Aren’t you happy?’

‘I am happy actually. Thank you so much,’ I replied in a sarcastic tone.

‘You’re welcome.’

I mean, honestly.

I spent the rest of the journey reading a rather annoying, rambling novel that I may have to abandon and thinking of better comeback lines than ‘it’s a public train.’ Not one of my better ones.

Anyway, I just had to vent. I swear to God I had a brief moment of truly understanding how people go postal.


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