Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas Eve at Broadway Market.

For all your last minute present needs, Broadway Market will be up and running on Christmas Eve! It always one of the most lovely festive treats, and I shall be there 9am-3pm (wearing a lot more layers than this) with lots of stationery, perfect for stocking fillers.

Friday, 15 November 2013

A Fond Farewell.

Here is a very sad goodbye to my lovely assistant Sophie, who has been stepping in for me behind my stall at Broadway Market for almost the last six months of Saturdays! She will be very missed, and I wish her the best of luck in her new job, I'm sure those of you who were persuaded to buy some of my stationery from her by her loveliness will agree. I will still be there, (well, maybe not always me personally...) opposite the Film Shop near La Bouche. Come and get organised and get some Christmas pressies sorted.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Cats and Kerts: My favourite bits of Budapest.

Retrock Deluxe

Nosztalgia Antik Shop- (Klauzál Utca 1)
New York Café
Sugar! Shop
Károlyi Kert
Cat Café

In June I finally visited Budapest; being totally in love with derelict buildings, I knew I should go. I had heard many wild claims that 'It's like Berlin five years ago', and curiosity got the better of me. So if you happen to visit, here are my favourite places from our five day trip:
Day one was for wandering, we visited Printa, a screenprinting studio/gallery/cafe with good coffee, where I found the perfect illustrated guide to the city which helped us plan our days. We sat upstairs in Telep and watched the world go by from the warehouse style windows drinking homemade lemonade, and later made ourselves at home in  Szimpla, the most talked about of the 'ruin bars', which we couldn't stay away from and returned at some stage every evening.
To ease the hangover the following day we visited the famous Széchenyi Baths, and despite it being our third choice 
(the Bauhaus baths on Margrit Island were closed due to the river bursting its banks), 
it was an absolute pleasure. 
We basked in the outdoor hot pool for hours and watched local leathery 
old men in speedos play chess.
To top off our day of pampering we had afternoon tea in the 
stunning New York Caféwhich was an incredibly decadent setting and the cakes were delicious.
An unhealthy habit developed on our lovely trip, of visiting Sugar! 
everyday, a Parisian  style sweet emporium,  
to work our way through sampling all their treats 
(their gelato is excellent).
The weather was beautiful so we lounged around a lot in Károlyi Kert, 
Budapest's oldest little park around the corner from the 
immaculately styled Retrock Deluxe Boutique.
Fogashaz became another favourite ruin bar, once a dental clinic 
it is now a bar/gallery/general cultural hub and their outdoor 
courtyard became a firm favourite
 (we recommend a sneaky shot of Unicum or two).
The Cat Café had to be visited, although the terrible decor let it down, 
it was hard not to enjoy the novelty of fifteen cats roaming around.
We finished the trip off by hiring bikes and cycling across to Pest 
to see the castle district and have milkshakes in the sun in Tranzit
an old bus terminal.
So, it's official, Budapest is now easily my JOINT favourite city 
so far with Berlin, which coming from me is very high praise! 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Beers, brasseries and Belgium.

So a few weeks ago I went on a little European adventure to Belgium, to see what treasures I could find, and how much specialist beer I could drink. I did weeks of research for the trip, but all the places I mention below have been weasled down to only my favourite places, but I have only given links to the venues that I think are truly worth the trouble of visiting.

First up was Bruges where we stayed in the Bread and Butter Guesthouse with the lovely Frederika and John. They were great hosts and gave us excellent recommendations for the evening, although my favourite part of Bruges was Frederika's lovely breakfast and the orange bath!

We went for drinks in Cafe Rose Red, which have some truly excellent speciality beers, followed by a trip to 'T Zwart Huis, a jazz bar with good food and the best service I've received in a long while (come on London) but the saddest tale of all is that 'T Brugs Beertje was CLOSED, which was a real shame, I would recommend a visit for a truly excellent Belgian beer and old fashioned pub interior.

Next up was my favourite part of the holiday, Antwerp. 

We stayed in an amazingly cheap apartment from Air BnB, which was very tastefully furnished in lovingly thrifted sixties-wear, we felt very at home there. Favourite hang out spots were Ra 13, which was my ultimate bestest place (that's a real word, right?). Like a smaller and slightly more 'out there' Dover Street Market, I could have stayed relaxing and chatting in the cafe ALL DAY. Literally. Enjoy the odd video link. Other almost as good cafes included Coffeelabs, which was perfect for spying good street style and was handily placed near the Belgian equivalent of Beyond Retro, T2. We accidentally stumbled across Seven Rooms Concept Store, but ended up sipping free champagne there for quite a while. It's a fascinatingly indulgent use of space, and they weren't snobby about the fact that I clearly was not going to spend 1000euros on a hairband, when I was clutching excitedly at my champagne glass wearing some threadbare fingerless gloves. 

Delicious hot chocolates from Ra 13 & Mademoiselle Moustache

Antwerp was small enough to be able to wander around aimlessly, but trendly enough to still stumble across endless gems of places, we loved it there.
I would recommend Dansing Chocolat for an excellent traditional supper and lovely surroundings, and Cafe D'Anvers for dancing the night away in a raw factory/warehouse style shell of a building. Don't make the same mistake as we did, unfortunately we accidentally gatecrashed a '16 and overs' club night. It was awkward.
Other favourite bars were Elfde Gebod, which means, 'The Eleventh Commandment', it was hidden
near the beautiful Cathedral area, and featured a bizarre collection of religious statues lit by candlelight. Good beers can be found here. 

Hungover but still ready for more, we trekked to Brussels for the final leg of the trip. We stayed in another stunning apartment from Air Bnb by the Royal Cemetery which is very similar to Pere Lachaise (I would like to add that all our accommodation was between 25-40 Euros each a night...)
We loved having more hot chocolates overlooking the whole of Brussels on the 10th floor of the stunningly designed Museum of Musical Instruments. A la Mort Subite was a glamourous venue for a specialist fruit beer, and Mademoiselle Moustache Et Son Le Freak Show was one of my favourite clubs, EVER.
The flea market at Place de Jeu du Balle was fantastic, and is open every day. TOP TIP: do not go on a weekend, prices are quadrupled for tourists. We went on a Monday and haggled some absolute bargains. 
The Atomium is worth a visit on a sunny day,  we took cakes and chocolate from Wittamer and Pierre Marcolini. These two both had excellent treats, but I would recommend taking away as I didn't personally enjoy the interiors. Any of the street vendors so fantastic frites if you need a guilty little traditional Belgian pick-me-up...

Phew, so there you have it. My final tip has to be: When travelling by Eurostar, remember you still need to bring a passport. We made it by the skin of our teeth.....