Archives for category: Shop

freaky toys at brooklyn flea market

daisy, daisy, give me your answer do…

a magically alluring twig terrarium…look closer…

sunshine and lemonade at cafe habana outpost

…and don’t even think about leaving without trying the ‘famous corn’.

one of the many pieces in the pratt institute’s famed contemporary sculpture garden in clinton hill

a random scene along the walk to williamsburg

result: a well-deserved vanilla milkshake from relish in williamsburg


the lovely and dynamic skye campbell, who i met and had the pleasure of briefly working with in sydney, has just launched a gorgeous little line of quirky cool rings, necklaces and cufflinks called pink loulou. she scored the cover of harper’s bazaar australia with her ‘patriotic moment’ necklace (see cover above). nice little bit o’ pr there. i’ve already placed an order for an insignia ring…a modern take on the signet ring.

check out the line at they ship worldwide!

see a trend here? either i have really bad luck traveling or i have superhuman meteorological powers. i like to think it’s the latter.

so i’ll keep this short and sweet. apparently, london had one of the hottest, sunniest weekends ever. in sydney, it was rainy and cold. to that i say feh! you can still have a great time! try this:

1. shop like mad. i ❤ the boutiques of william st. especially the corner shop, which stocks label lovers’ marc jacobs, alexander wang and opening ceremony but also quirky accessories from emerging designers.


2. eat sushi. try toko after a marathon shop up oxford street in paddington. simple, fresh and uncomplicated. just like it should be.


3. take a stroll in sydney’s hyde park. the trees are so lush they’re like umbrellas (even in winter).


4. take the ferry to manly. great views even if it’s pouring.


5. climb the sydney harbour bridge. or just watch the insanity from afar. why you’d want to climb 400 feet in the air in pouring rain is a bit beyond me.


6. go sailing. loads of people do it rain or shine.


7. or just kick back and watch the view.


8. have a late lunch at manly ocean beach house overlooking the surf.


9. read the paper overlooking the surf.


10. take your time finishing lunch overlooking the surf.


11. enjoy the journey. even if it is just a ferry. 



host: table for two? it’ll be about 5 minutes. let me just take your name and mobile…
me: it’s a UK number, is that ok?
host: oh no that won’t work…just need a way to find you then. (looks me up and down)…ok (writes) ‘reallly…white…legs’

and so went my first dining experience in sydney. seemingly unintentional insults aside, it was a most excellent dining experience…not to mention, a most excellent first few days in this chilled out, stylish, diverse and strangely familiar ‘city of villages’. here’s how day 1 and 2 went:

sunday 25 may

arrived at 6am after a superb 22 hour flight on qantas (highly recommend requesting exit row upon check-in, even though they’re going to start charging 160 AUD…so worth it)

breakfast (lunch? dinner?) of poached eggs, sausage and toast at a restaurant in the centre of brunch mecca on macleay st in potts point

quick hop on the subway two stops to bondi junction to spend the afternoon watching the surf at bondi beach






back to elizabeth bay around 7 for a dinner of fresh salmon at gazebo wine garden (see ‘really white legs’ incident)

monday 26 may

give in to the jet lag around 6am and go for 10 laps in the indoor pool of the building where we’re staying (bliss!)

coffee and a poached egg al fresco at the charming and quintessential sidewalk cafe fratelli paradiso off macleay street

stroll up paddington’s enticing oxford street to check out the array of vintage, local designer and high end label boutiques…nice. i’ll be going back to belinda, shag and the paddington markets on saturdays

taxi (about $20 AUD – lazy but worth it for the nice view on the way) to sydney harbour to tick the tourist box that is the sydney opera house


next, a lavish seafood lunch (and martini) at wildfire overlooking the harbour – we shared the wildfire selection with king prawns, sydney rock oysters, pacific oysters, blue swimmer crab, balmain bug, mussels, tartare of ocean trout (about 30 quid) and then a ‘decontructed’ banana split. wow.

then back to potts point to meet lovely friend liz for a glass of prosecco at gazebo wine garden (i’m a sucker for punishment)

it’s safe to say i’m going to like it here…


if your taste in books is more niche, less bestseller list, forget borders and blackwells. venture into one of london’s independent book shops for a feast of rare finds, thoughtful selections and second-hand hard covers of another-man’s-treasure varieties.

here are a few of my favourites:

koenig books, 80 charing cross

i get insatiable urges for a trip this small but dense shop piled high with books on modern and contemporary art, photography and architecture. i just picked up richard renaldi‘s figure and ground filled with poignant portraits and landscapes; cotton puffs, q-tips, smoke and mirrors: the drawings of ed ruscha; and on the way to work about damien hirst. it’s worth wading through the tourists swarming the leicester square tube stop to get to busy charing cross road, where you’ll find a host of specialists book shops like murder one (which only sells crime and mysteries, dahling). there’s also a koenig books at the serpentine.

highgate bookshop, 9 highgate high street

not sure if it’s the titles they carry or the location, but i cannot resist a little snoop around this charming store — even though i usually feel i’m shattering the silence by tiptoeing around the place. while you’re in the area, check out the oxfam book store down the road at 47 highgate high street. the highgate cognoscenti tend to have a lot of disposable literary treasures.

daunt books, 193 haverstock hill, belsize park

formula for feeling utterly civilised: go for a walk on hampstead heath, see a flick at screen on the hill, followed by a thorough perusal of daunt books (directly across from belsize park tube). then spend the next day on the sofa completely guilt free.

find more listings of independent book shops here.

one of my favourite boutiques in london, labour of love is like a detour into a 30s berlin cabaret via my grandmother’s attic. retro modern dresses, gothic costume jewelry, shiny jazz shoes, irreverent fairy tale books, quirky tea cups…there are so many well-selected items that it takes ages to peruse this tiny shop. 


i picked up a 40s style wash day dress with delicate velvet polka dots and gorgeous detailing on the sleeves and pockets by polish-born designer bea szenfeld–a label you basically can’t find outside of sweden. i also bought a grey leather mimi satchel and a pearly white peforated shoulder bag by bena.

i’ve always wanted to own a boutique just like this: a place where you can find high-end edgy designers to invest in but also pop in for an unusual gift or impulse buy for under a 100 pounds. retail at its most therapeutic.