England

The Grower

Yesterday morning we dropped into London Bridge’s Borough Market to pick up a few things for the weekend. The market has been gradually expanding into new areas as the local phase of the Crossrail project nears completion. It’s become such a beautiful market, each stall now finally has the space to display their products without compromise. While Borough Market has become quite touristy and, some say, overpriced over the years, it’s still one of the most enjoyable food markets in London.

We ate delicious garlic prawn wraps from Appleby’s fish restaurant and filled our bag with Chorizo sausage, strawberries, raspberries and avocados. My own favourite purchase was refillable bottles of red from Borough Wines. They have a fantastic concept where you buy the empty bottle for £2.50 and fill or refill it yourself for £5 a time. I’m no expert, but this wine tastes far better than anything I buy at Sainsbury’s for the same price; so fresh and so fruity, it’s like blackcurrant jam! Borough Market is full of people passionate about a specialist niche of produce. Fitz for example is where you can find the most incredible French pate and terrines from France but actually Noel Fitzjohn himself makes the most beautiful mustards. And if the season is right I can definitely recommend his beautiful, fresh homegrown horseradish sauce.

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Art / Design, England

Squirrel Electric Garden Party

After hanging out with Mai Miyake-san, we wandered between galleries around Shoreditch and accidentally stumbled across an interesting collaboration between Tord Boontje and Tracey Neuls. Atsuko used to work for Tracey Neuls of course, and still wears her shoes with pride, and it was that instantly-identifiable, familiar neon orange that caught our eye from the street.

Tracey has produced a limited edition collection of leafy shoes with typically detailed Boontje-patterns. The shoes themselves looked great but also the display was really pretty. There was a set of bamboo-cane lamps displayed in the basement that had been deconstructed to their component parts which although quite a common idea lately, I thought the lamps were extremely clever in their design. I especially liked the water-bottle weighted base. Pop in if you find yourself on Charlotte Street. And if you are, also drop into Denham and drool over the beautiful tailored denim. Actually, maybe don’t drool…

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Travel

Give Box

In quite a cool, resisidential part of Berlin, we came across this very unusuaL concept store titled Give Box (Sharing is Caring). Obviously the idea is that you put unwanted items neatly on the shelves or rail, for others to help themselves for free. I don’t know if you have to donate an item before you take something but what a nice idea this is. I think they have a facebook page as well, though I haven’t found it yet…

Berlin Give Box 3

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Travel

Trippen

One of the shops Atsuko really wanted to see was Trippen, a really nice brand of amazingly well-made, unusual shoes. We found the branch in Hackesche Höfe, a series of eight outdoor courtyards housing interesting restaurants, cafes and stores where both our credit cards had a lucky escape. I particularly loved the shop design which was effortless really. I really wish I could get away with simply displaying shoes on the floor…

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Travel

Patterns in Selling

As with anywhere we go, I always get fascinated by things and people we see on the streets as much as I do anything else. Lots of things caught my eye this time too of course but even in only 2 days, I started noticing the variety of different ways that the sellers would arrange the chestnuts and corn for sale. Identical stands and products; this, I guess, is visual merchandising at its most simple. I cannot decide whether the separated stacks or those circled around the hot plate come across as most appetising, what do you think…? : )

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