Lizzie’s London with Wizz magazine

:: by Lizzie

Earlier in the year I had the pleasure of working with Wizz Air and their magazine team on an article all about ‘My London’. I took the team around some of my favourite spots as a local Islington girl. Favourites included SMUG (no guesses there!), Ottolenghi, YMC, The Barbican Conservatory, Sir John Soane’s Museum, The Elk in the Woods and The Approach Gallery. You can read the full article here – ‘Wizz – Welcome to My London’

 

Take a look below for the cover as well as some of my favourite shots from the piece, taken by the wonderful Tim E White.

 

 

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lisbon must dos

:: by Lizzie
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T H E  I N D E P E N D E N T E  S U I T E S  &  T E R R A C E  :

We’ve been in lovely Lisbon! We took a few days off to celebrate our 3 year wedding anniversary and totally feel in love with the city. I’d been before with my parents (about 10 years ago) but it was Danny’s first visit. It was also our first time staying in a ‘postal’ (posh hostel don’t you know!?) The Independente is housed in an amazing building with two nice restaurants on site. We did stay in the ‘terrace and private suites’ wing, rather than the hostel proper – but still, a new kinda thing for us. Think hotel meets Airbnb, meets staying in an old museum. It sort of reminded me of a cross between places we’d stayed in Bangkok and Buenos Aires. Shabby chic but very spacious and cool. Not particularly luxurious but definitely opulent, in a crumbly way, if that makes sense?

 

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M U S E U M S  :

The National Tile Museum – or Museu Nacional do Azulejo as it’s called by the locals, is a little bit of a journey out of the centre of Lisbon, but well worth the bother. If you’re kinda visiting Lisbon mostly for the tiles (like I was), then this place is your best bet. Housed in a former convent, the museum takes you through the history of tiles in Lisbon from the 15th century to the present day and boasts a stunningly ornate tiled chapel which is not to be missed.

Mude Fashion and Design Museum – This centre for design and fashion is right in the heart of Lisbon’s shopping quarter. Perfectly placed to celebrate the bringing together of the two streams of design history. Even with all the design and fashion museums in London and beyond that I’ve visited, I’ve never seen an exhibition telling the story of how the two have worked/existed/developed together in such a seamless and complete way. Entry is free.

 

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P A R K S  :

Estufa Fria – The absolute best thing we did in Lisbon was explore the cities’ parks. As I mentioned in my Glasgow post, Danny and I like to get to know a city by visiting its botanical gardens. Lisbon has so many gardens and parks that it was hard to work out how many we could squeeze in. The one I would most highly recommend would have to be Estufa Fria. It’s a huge greenhouse situated beside Parque Eduardo VII and is made up of what they describe as a ‘hot house’, ‘cold house’ and ‘sweet house’. The sheer scale of this place is amazing and the cacti are particularly fabulous. If you only do one thing in Lisbon, visit Estufa Fria.

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian – Now this, our second favourite garden/park in Lisbon, is actually simply the grounds around the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. This generous fellow bequeathed the grounds, buildings and contents by his last will and testament and the foundation is run focusing on ‘fostering knowledge and raising the quality of life of persons throughout the fields of the arts, charity, science and education.’ It’s full of beautiful artefacts, objects, art and more and well worth a look inside. We were totally spellbound by the grounds and ran out of time to enter the buildings but I’m sure it would be well worth doing both. The grounds themselves are like a cross between Central Park (but on a much smaller scale), so maybe more the Highline, and the Barbican. Ingenious yet satisfyingly simple landscaping and planting mixed with brutalist Architecture. A pretty perfect combination. You can tell I’m sure that the grounds of Museu Calouste Gulbenkian were a very close second for us, so if you can do two things while in Lisbon, visit both parks!

 

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S H O P S  :

Under the Cover – Upon leaving Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, we discovered this small but perfectly formed magazine shop. They have a wonderful selection of volumes and the shop itself is a lovely space and a particularly nice atmosphere to browse in. Danny grabbed up a copy of Openhouse, a new magazine to the both of us and well worth read if you like interiors, plants and slow living. I’d recommend popping into Under the Cover for a purchase before making your way into Museu Calouste Gulbenkian’s open air concrete auditorium pictured above. We sat, along with many others, in the vast and beautifully brutalist auditorium, reading silently and collectively. There’s plenty of room so you feel you have your own space but the shared experience of reading together is something really special. Probably my top Lisbon tip.

A Vida Portuguesa – This is the classic Portuguese shop to visit if you’re looking for some well designed souvenirs. We visited the Porto store a few years ago and wanted to make sure we checked out the Lisbon branch too. Everything, be it sardines or soap, seems to come in beautiful packaging. Great for gifts and momentos. How cute are these Pineapple Mini Cake Molds?

Luvaria Ulisses – A bit of a niche stop-off I know but this neoclassic glove shop, or kiosk really, must be the nicest place to buy gloves anywhere in the world. It’s been open since 1925 and doesn’t seem to have changed at all. Gloves are stored in walls of wooden drawers and presented to the customer on silk cushions. It’s a bit like Ollivander’s Wand Shop but for gloves.

 

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E A T S  :

The Insolito – This restaurant is one of two on site at The Independente, so we had the pleasure of eating breakfast here every morning with a gorgeous view of the city. We started each day the right way – not only with combinations of scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, juices, yogurts, cereals, breads and pastries, but of course, with the traditional Portuguese breakfast delicacy – cake! Yum :) And all included in your b&b rate. Unfortunately the restaurant was less enjoyable for dinner. In our opinion they tried a bit too hard to be clever (Daniel’s desert came with its own speaker playing a song about pineapples and coconuts). All good fun if the food is up to muster but the flavours were a bit lacking sadly.

The Decadente – The slightly less fancy restaurant of the two but actually with a much better chef and menu in our opinion. The decor was nice too. Our meal was really delicious – I had sea bream, Danny had seafood risotto – and we would certainly go again. Skip The Insolito for dinner and make a beeline for this place instead.

The Chinese Pavilion – If you’d like to start or finish your evening with a cocktail, then pop up the road to this wonderfully weird bar. Its floor to ceiling cabinet-lined walls are full of 1st and 2nd world war era toys. I visited 10 years ago with my dad and it certainly inspired the first incarnation of SMUG. Having been to countless car boot fairs since then, I’m a little more used to the ‘look’ but still to this day have never seen anything else quite like it. Don’t expect the staff to be all that charming, but the cocktails both hard and soft are fantastic.

Mercearia – The best meal we had on the whole trip was at this little find. I’m trying desperately to find their address. Will keep your posted. We stopped off for an impromptu lunch and experienced one of the best meals we’ve had on holiday. We started with squid carbonara which was slightly coconutty and came with a raw egg yolk on top which you broke and mixed into the warm squid. We then moved on to barely seared tuna steak rolled in sesame seeds and we finished with breaded goats cheese with a delicious onion chutney and salad. The whole meal was just perfect.

Gelados Santini – You must get ice cream from this place when in Lisbon. It’s an institution. We went twice! Once in downtown Lisbon and once at the beach in Cascias.

Pasteis de Belem – High up on my todo list for the trip was to hunt down the best Portuguese tarts on offer in Lisbon. This is the place to go! It’s a little out of the centre so needs a special trip but is well worth doing. Queue for a takeaway box of 6 and eat yours in the botanical gardens near by. There is lots to do in Belem so you could make a day of it if you like. We stopped off on the way back from the beach. If you get a day pass on the train, which is not at all expensive, you can hop on and off to your heart’s content.

 

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B E A C H E S  :

Cascais – This is the beach that everyone recommends and says the locals go to and it’s lovely. Don’t forget to stop off for ice cream at Santini (as mentioned above).

Estoril – This is the beach that the locals actually go to now that all the tourists are in Cascais. It’s just one stop on the train before Cascais so get out early and enjoy before hopping back on the train to Cascais. We hired loungers and an umbrella for the day (pictured above) and had probably the most relaxing beach experience we’ve ever had together. Bring a packed lunch though. The food in the restaurants along the boardwalk was disappointing.

 

It’s a random last but not least thing to mention but we stumbled upon a really wonderful building which gave us both so much pleasure that I wanted to share it with you. Eden Teatro opened in 1931 in the main city square, Praca dos Restauradoresand. Sadly this epic cinema closed in 1989 and lay unused until it was converted into an apartment hotel in 2001. The large billboard poster screens were removed and the space opened up to create the atrium full of palm tress you see below. Pretty cool eh?

 

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So that comprises by Lisbon Must Dos. If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon, have been before or are even a local, please do let me know your favourite haunts in the comments below. I’m sure we’ll be visiting again and would love to add more to this list. Thanks for reading.

 

my weekend in glasgow

:: by Lizzie
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Earlier this month Dan and I visited Glasgow for the biennial contemporary art festival, Glasgow International. My very good friend Sarah Strang has an art space in Glasgow named Civic Room and was showing work by Andre Komatsu for the festival. My brother (who went to Glasgow university) and my father, actually introduced Andre and Sarah earlier in the year and loaned work for the show. So, with many interested parties/family members ready for meet-ups, we made our way to Glasgow for a weekend of art, food, shopping, spa time and some of the most beautiful botanic gardens I’ve ever visited. Read on for my top tips and must-dos if you’re planning a trip to Glasgow any time soon.

 

W H E R E  T O  S T A Y  :

We stayed at the Blythswood Hotel in Blythswood Square. Nice hotel. Nice location. Lovely spa. The hotel itself was bit more corporate than I’d usually go for. Why is it that bigger hotels love using dark wood vaneer teamed with purple upholstery!? Purple aside, it was the perfect place for us to stay. The spa was stunningly lovely and really quite expansive. Seven different rooms/pools/areas of varying heats/scents/types of experience, ready for your relaxation pleasure. It’s fair to say that I LOVED it and spent a very long time both under the back massaging waterfall in the main pool and in the ginormous jacuzzi with Sarah, pressing the jets button over and over again for more bubbles. I think we must have been in there for at least an hour. Another notable piece of praise from me was breakfast related. The buffet table had, alongside the yummy fruit salads, pastries, juices etc that you’d expect, a pancake station with maple syrup and bacon. What more could you ask for!? However, should you fancy trying somewhere smaller, an alternative accommodation option is 15 Glasgow, the boutique b&b that mum and dad stayed at on the same trip and really enjoyed. I hear the breakfast was very good there too!

 

W H E R E  T O  E A T  :

The Ubiquitous Chip – A Glasgow classic, The Chip is remembered fondly from family visits  during my brothers university days. It’s a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike and well worth a nibble. We ate at the brasserie which is more reasonably priced and still utterly delicious but you might want to try the restaurant for a special occasion. Inspired by regional Scottish dishes and seasonal cooking, The Ubiquitous Chip is one of the best places to eat out in Glasgow.

Mother India – Utterly delicious Indian cooking. Mother India is a must visit for lunch or dinner. We were a large group (celebrating Sarah and Andre’s show) and so had a set dinner menu which was fabulous. You can also choose a more tapas-like sharing menu.

Bread Meats Bread – Fancy a burger? Bread Meats Bread is considered the best burger spot in town. Their award winning burgers and ‘proper poutine’ keep the queues lined up out the door. My fave eat was the sweet potato fries with maple cured bacon and chives. Delish.

Wilson Street Pantry – If you’re after something lighter then head to Wilson Street Pantry for lunch. Portions are large but you can choose from salads, soup, toasted sandwiches, cakes and the daily specials. Staff are very friendly and you’ll be pleased to support this local business by eating their fresh and tasty food.

 

W H E R E  T O  S H O P  :

18 Montrose – Newly opened designer mens and womensware store 18 Montrose is soon to open its second set of doors in London’s Granary Square. 18 Montrose Glasgow boasts a cool interior with great attention to detail including fridges housing sunglasses (why not?) and a stylish Aesop concession. I floated down the stunning staircase into womensware and purchased myself a summer weight YMC Paisley Jacket.

 

G L A S G O W  I N T E R N A T I O N A L  A R T  F A I R  :

Here’s the lowdown should you be interested in visiting Glasgow during the festival. The Art Fair runs for 2 weeks every other year and fills the city with contemporary art installations and a palpable buzz. Highlights this year were of course, Civic Room’s show of Andre Komastu’s work ‘Concrete That Makes Us‘ and Cosima von Bonin’s show at the Gallery of Modern Art – ‘Who’s Exploiting Who In The Deep Sea?

 

G L A S G O W  C A T H E D R A L  :

If you have time to visit the cathedral while you’re in Glasgow, I would highly recommend it. We went to the Sunday morning service so were able to experience the 14 person professional ensemble choir sing from above and behind us within the beautiful 12th century architecture. It was very special.

 

G L A S G O W  B O T A N I C  G A R D E N S  :

Danny and I have a bit of a tradition of visiting the botanic gardens of cities we visit and Glasgow was no exception. Set up in 1817 by distinguished Glasgow botanist Thomas Hopkirk, the Glasgow Botanic Gardens are historic and beautiful. My favourite part, as you may guess, was walking through the greenhouses full of cacti of all shapes and sizes. It was a gloriously sunny day and most of us ended up having a nap at some point along our walk. If you have time, take the heritage trail down to the Kelvin Walkway and the Gardens Arboretum. It’s just beautiful.

 

If you have any suggestions of must dos in Glasgow then please leave them in the comments below. I have a feeling we’ll be making weekend visits to Glasgow a regular thing.

 

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my weekend in margate

:: by Lizzie
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Now that we’re an old married couple, Dan and I don’t tend to make much of a thing of the ‘dating anniversary’ that we used to mark annually. Having said that, right at the beginning of 2016, we realised that we’d soon be 10 years old! (I mean of course that we’d have been a couple for 10 years, not that we’d each have reached the wise old age of 10. We’re still chasing that level of wisdom). We happily decided that this realisation called for some sort of treat. So off we popped to Margate for a big fat chill and to generally spoil ourselves at The Reading Rooms. I’ve done a full review of this, our favourite B&B, which you can read here. We loved it so much the first time round that we thought a revisit was in order and we’re so pleased we returned. The Reading Rooms was as perfect as ever and there were lots of new things to see in Margate which easily kept us entertained for the weekend. The Reading Rooms breakfast is still my favourite thing to enjoy in Margate but to hear about other things I’d recommend to do, keep reading…

 

 

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T U R N E R  C O N T E M P O R A R Y  :

If you’re feeling arty – as we usually are – then your first stop should be Turner Contemporary, an art gallery offering a rolling programme of temporary exhibitions. These have included shows by Grayson Perry, Tracy Emin, more recently a group show looking at Risk and of course work by Turner himself. Its building, designed by Sir David Chipperfield, is situated on the site that JMW Turner stayed when visiting Margate and celebrates his association with the town. It’s got a lovely family/community vibe and is free to visit (though donations are gratefully received). Well worth a wonder round.

 

W H E R E  T O  E A T  :

We love food. After your deliciously filling breakfast at The Reading Rooms you won’t need much for lunch but if you can manage to squeeze in some fish and chips then try Peter’s Fish Factory. It’s take away only so prepare to pull up a pew outside or maybe sit on the seafront steps or benches to enjoy your warming seaside fair.

 

Our favourite places for dinner are The Ambrette and Handverk & Found. The Ambrette is an Indian restaurant celebrating a seasonal menu featuring a mixture of local and exotic ingredients. The decor is not exciting, but the food is! Hanfverk & Found is a little cooler, in a small but perfectly formed kind of way. The restaurant is tiny so you’ll want to book. They specialise in fish and they do it very well.

 

S H O P P I N G  :

Margate Retro is an old favourite of ours. If you like vintage/bric-a-bracing on a large scale then check out RG Scott’s and make sure you go downstairs to Junk Deluxe. If wellness is your thing then you must stop by Haeckels. It’s a natural health and skincare brand, many of the ingredients found and distilled in Margate itself. Their hand crafted products are formulated in their cliff top lab and they own one of only two licenses to harvest seaweed from the English coast. You can imagine it’s not a cheap shop but those who enjoy the benefits of natural ingredients expertly prepared for use in skincare, candles and general wellbeing, will love this place. If you don’t want to splurge it’s still well worth a walk around if only for the education and the smells.

 

So that’s art, eating, shopping and sleeping covered. All the important stuff me thinks! But if you have any suggestions of places to stop by in Margate for our next visit then do let me know in the comments below. I’d also be really interested to hear your thoughts on any other nice English seaside towns we should try. We love a bit of Whitstable and very much enjoyed the Cromer Carnival – ‘must do’ guide for that here. But which seaside town should we be making a beeline for this summer? Answers on a postcard? Or just in the comment box below would be fine too :)

 

 

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a london girl’s birthday treat day

:: by Lizzie
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Firstly – huge apologies for the blogging hiatus. September was a complete fail and I didn’t blog at all! What with London Design Festival, the Islington Design District, trips to Paris and New York (it’s a hard life), as well as sourcing and prep for The SMUG Christmas SHOP, I really struggled to find the time to blog and fell out of what had become a blogging routine I was really enjoying. I’m pleased to say I’m back on top of things and shall be blogging again twice weekly from now on.

 

The good news is that loads has happened so I’ve got lots of nice things to fill you in on. One thing I had intended to blog about in September (ahem – apologies again) was that towards the end of August I turned 32. As an August baby, growing up I was lucky enough to have my birthday in the summer holidays. I always thought it was kinda weird when other kids came in to school on their birthdays and felt as though everyone should get their special day off, whatever the time of year. Many moons later and I still expect to not have to work on my birthday, so true to form, took the day off and had an eating/shopping/pampering day out with my mum. Here’s what we got up to.

 

 

E A T I N G :

 

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A treat day out for me involves a lot of food, so we planned out priorities for breakfast, lunch and dinner a week or so before. We started with brunch at Hoi Polloi at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. I chose it partly because of my love of the rows of bright bulb lights and planting in its oh so stylish entrance, but the food itself certainly did not disappoint. We enjoyed everything we ate – even if mum thought I was a little nuts to go for a juice made from kale, spinach and chilli. All this health and fitness research is changing me! In short, Hoi Polloi was the perfect spot for a chilled but suitably glamorous brunch before traveling into town to get our shopping on.

 

One of my go to places to stop off at when out shopping in the West End with my mum is Dover Street Market. The interior styling and visual merchandising (as well as the crazy clothing and accessories) is really inspiring and always gets me excited and reinvigorated about being a shop keeper/stylist/buyer. My absolute favourite bit though is going to the top floor for a crumble and juice at Rose Bakery. The table for two by the window is our choice spot and we are always very well looked after (spoilt actually) because my friend Knomes is in charge. Things are always better when Knomes is in charge.

 

I had made a reservation at Rita’s back in north London for din dins so we knew we had that to look forward to (mmm… fried chicken) and that crumble would be enough to keep us going until later, so gobbled that up and got on with the shopping…

 

 

S H O P P I N G :

 

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I’ve already mentioned one shop I love to go to for inspiration (side note – can’t afford anything for sale there) and I’m kinda gonna have to hail another one now – Margaret Howell. My mum is a big fan. A pretty big percentage of her wardrobe are choice Margaret Howell pieces and I’m always happy to go along for the ride. The small selection of homeware, books, magazines and even the vintage furniture are all worth a good look too. Everything is subtle, classic, beautifully made and feels as though it will last forever, along with achieving that understated chic look that it’s impossible not to love.

 

On to the places we actually spent a little bit of birthday dollar… The plan/priority shopping-wise was to focus on beauty purchases. I’ve been getting well into skincare and makeup thanks to Anna of Vivianna Does Makeup and had been making a bit of a birthday beauty wish list so the places it really went down were Space NK, Liberty, Fenwick’s Beauty Hall and Boots. My top picks/special birthday treats were as follows.

 

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Space NK – By Terry Ombre Blackstar Cream Eye Shadow Stick in Misty Rock

Liberty – Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush

Fenwick – Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl Eye Pencil in Marlene Midnight

Boots – Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme CC Cream

 

 

P A M P E R I N G :

 

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Birthday treat day with your mum = beauty treatment of some description no? We opted for Cowshed manicures and loved every minute. We sat in two huge white poofy armchairs next to each other and chatted away (until mum fell asleep because she was so relaxed) while the manicurists primped, preened and polished our nails. It really was the most pampering manicure I’ve ever had and I’d really recommend treating yourself some time. Loved the cucumber water too.

 

Perfect paws and beauty purchases in tow, we made our way home, each to our own flats (currently opposite each other!) so I could have a quick costume change/make up refresh and a catch up with Danny before meeting up with the rest of the gang for dinner at Rita’s. Special thanks and mentions need to go out to Ben and Gemma for the Violet Bakery Cookbook (keep your eyes open for some of the recipes being tried out for CAFE SMUG) and to Rosa and Olly for the amazing Rococo Chocolates. Having been lucky enough to read and eat these respectively, I would highly recommend both.

 

To top off and wrap up the most perfect of days and evenings, a huge platter of every desert on the menu arrived at our table, complete with candles and the whole Rita’s team singing happy birthday. It felt a bit like being a famous person! Seriously though, it was such a treat. Those Dulce de Leche Beignets! We even got a lift home with Ro and Ols (such a lazy bones, I know). What a thoroughly lovely and treat filled day. Thanks guys! What special treats do you look forward to on your birthday? And what makes your special day special to you? For me it’s spending the day surrounded by beautiful things, with beloved family and friends, in my favourite city in the world that I’m lucky enough to call home, London.

 

cromer carnival – the must do guide

:: by Lizzie
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Earlier in the summer we went to Cromer with Ben and Knomes. You can see/read about our stay at The Gunton Arms here, but I also wanted to share with you the wonders of Cromer Carnival. I’d never been to Cromer before (although I do love a bit of English seaside) and would now whole-heartedly recommend it. When should you go to Cromer? Go in August for the Carnival! What should you do when at the Carnival?…

 

C R O M E R  C A R N I V A L  –  T H E  M U S T  D O S :

 

Walk along the seafront and pier. Obvs! You’re at the seaside. Why would you not? We even took a dip in the water. Not just paddling, let me tell you. Full on submersion. Terribly English of us. Note to the wise – it’s pretty rocky once you’re in the water so bring your jellies to avoid ending up in the minor accidents wing with a broken toe. Yep, that happened.

 

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Go vintage, go car boot, go second hand! The Cromer Boot Sale put on for the Carnival was pretty great. We bought all sorts of fun old stuff – vintage badges/brooches and pins (pictured below), lovely old and slightly rusty bottle openers, epic nostalgic toys like Paymobile and metal aeroplanes, and a cute plate to add to my ongoing collection of vintage saucers and side plates. We also had a good rummage at Bookworms of Cromer and each left with a couple of new volumes (well, new for us – everything’s second hand).

 

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Have fun at the fair. Go on rides, shoot stuff off of shelves (see Knomes in the slideshow above), watch the nobbly knee and prettiest bitch contests and hold an owl or hawk if you’re brave enough! We sadly missed the vintage American car parade which I’m sure would have been epic – next year me thinks.

 

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Eat lots of seaside goodies. Come rain or shine, fish and chips are a delicious English seaside (and city) classic. We thought No. 1 Cromer was best of the bunch when it came to absolutely fresh, lightly battered, perfectly seasoned F ‘n Cs (although I’d avoid their battered pineapple – I thought it would be amazing but it was kinda meh). On the up side though No. 1 also make freshly baked doughnuts while you wait. Now listen carefully – it’s imperative that you buy a bag and share them. One ring will not be enough. Trust me. If you’re in the healthy camp then Cromer crab is the way to go. They’re famous for it! Seriously though, the doughnuts… They’re totally worth it and you can work off the calories on the Cromer putting green along the seafront no?

 

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30 hours in amsterdam

:: by Lizzie
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I recently spent 30 hours in Amsterdam and wanted to share with you what I got up to.

Below are my suggestions for must dos when on a whirlwind trip to Holland’s capital…

 

T H E  H O X T O N  H O T E L :

My top recommendation of where to stay in Amsterdam right now would have to be the newly opened Hoxton Hotel. It was my base in the city for the short time I was there and I loved every minute I spent inside. As I mentioned in my monthly faves, it’s part of a group of London design hotels, but don’t let that put you off. It felt very Amsterdamy – if that’s a word!? It had a bit of London and New York thrown in of course but I definitely felt like I was in Amsterdam. The location is perfect. It’s on a residential street, not too far away from the hubbub of Damrac, that boasts a canal running down the middle of it. You can just tell that the area is full of locals and that’s exactly what I’m looking for when visiting a city. A full review of the hotel is coming soon so I won’t bore you with too much detail now, but I should mention that I loved by room so much that I could have quite easily spent my 30 hrs in bed (which happened to be one of the comfiest I’ve ever slept in) just enjoying the decor, super soft sheets and canal view.

 

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D R O O G :

My first stop when arriving in Amsterdam is always hotel droog. If you only visit one of my suggested locations in Amsterdam, make it hotel droog. It’s sort of like Amsterdam’s answer to Dover Street Market. There’s great design, fashion, art and food which is all styled and curated under one roof in an inspiring and often surprising way. I’d recommend the brunch in their restaurant Room Service which includes the soup, salad and sandwich of the day along-side mini breakfast pastries, fresh juice and a pot of one of their many loose leaf teas. The shop on the ground floor carries many Dutch design classics as well as up-and-coming designers. Think HAY, Scholten & Baijings, Rob Brandt. Make sure you take a peek at the ‘Courtyard’, an exhibition space just up a few stairs from the restaurant. It’s well worth a look and will add even more wow to your breakfast, lunch or tea.

 

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L U N C H :

The go-to place for food in my opinion is De Kas. Totally seasonal cooking, totally delicious results. Mum and I enjoyed a super fresh, light and very satisfying meal when we visited. You can hear more about what we ate for lunch here. I’m sure dinner is fabulous too but my tip would be to go for lunch so you can fully appreciate the greenhouse setting in daylight hours. Stop by the Frankendael Foundation, just next door within the grounds of Park Frankendael, for a browse of the current contemporary art hang.

 

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S H O P P I N G :

Atelier Sukha – A very pinterest-worthy and Instagramable shop full of clothing and homeware in every shade of white.

Tenue De Nimes – Also on Haarlemmerstraat and also beautifully curated, this clothing store specialises in denim (as the name suggests). But that’s not all they do. I tend to splash out on a fabulously fragrance candle each time I visit. They seem to know their high-end candles just as well as their designer jeans.

Gathershop – In a slightly different end of town (Van Woustraat), you will find Gathershop, a store full of handmade objects by undiscovered labels and designers. Here thoughtful craftsmanship is key and simplicity is celebrated. It’s my best new find for jewellery and leather goods.

Hutspot – Walk just a little further down the street and you’ll come across Hubstop, one of my favourite places in Amsterdam. Each time I visit something new is happening in this womenswear, menswear and homeware store. There’s now a barber, a photo booth, a cafe and an art gallery all within the same space. Once you’ve browsed the rails, pop upstairs for a green juice and a sit down to while away some time Instagramming your favourite finds and weighing up which items will be coming home with you.

 

 

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C O F F E E :

Lot Sixty One should be your first stop in Amsterdam if you’re a big coffee lover. It’s a roastery and coffee shop in one. They’re design lovers too and have recently shacked up in Amsterdam’s Urban Outfitters to bring great coffee to the young and stylish masses.

 

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S T U D I O  L E N N E K E  W I S P E L W E Y :

The main reason for my trip was to visit Dutch ceramicist Lenneke Wispelwey. You’ll have heard all about her work and our upcoming exhibition upstairs at SMUG by now from reading my July Favourites and from checking out www.islingtondesigndistrict.com so make sure you stop by SMUG to see the show 19th – 27th September. If you’re in Amsterdam for only a short time and can’t make it out to her shop in Ahern (about an hours train ride from Amsterdam) then make sure you pop into the Stedelijk Art Museum shop where you’ll find pieces by the best up-and-coming Dutch designers, including Lenneke’s ceramics and also textiles by the equally talented Mae Engelgeer.

 

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Do you have any top tips of design-led things to do, places to eat, sites to see when in Amsterdam? If so please do leave them below for everyone to check out and I’ll add them to my to-do list for next time I visit. Planning a trip to Amsterdam? You can also ask me for more info on any of the above suggestion in the comments section below.

 

today in lodeve

:: by Lizzie
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As you may have noticed from my Instagram feed, I’m on holiday. My parents have had a house in the south of France since I was 3 and I’ve been coming at least once a year since then. I’m a lucky girl. Lodeve is in the Langueduc region which produces wonderful cheese and wine as well as sunshine (if you’re lucky). It’s a great place for me to come and have a break from the day-to-day running of SMUG and give myself a little time to think about the bigger picture for the business and do some planning for the year. I also try to get a healthy glow and a big old rest! Here’s a little look at what a day in Lodeve is like for me.

 

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I can be pretty lazy when it comes to exercise in Lodeve. I blame the heat! But as I promised in my recent Fitness Files post I have been trying to swim every morning here. I’ve been doing 50 lengths before breakfast and on some days 20 more later in the afternoon. Don’t be too impressed though, it’s a pretty small pool, but it does leave my heart a little bit pumpy and my limbs and tummy feeling worked and stretched which feels really good.

 

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We have of course had the odd pain au chocolate for brekkie but mostly I’ve been consuming, post swim, a warm cup of lemon water followed by Greek yogurt and fruit salad. Peaches, nectarines plums, grapes and melon have all made an appearance one day or another. I’m pretty fruity anyway but the fruit here is so delicious it’s super easy to get your 5 a day.

After breakfast it’s either time for a bit of sun, a catch up with work or a trip down to the market. Wednesdays and Saturdays are market days and we pick up yummy fresh produce for lunch and dinner but also visit our favourite stalls selling soap and ceramics. Danny and I have a tradition of choosing a small caste plastic animal from the toy shop in Lodeve which we tend to do on a market day. This year I chose a chipmunk. As you do…

 

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We also like to go with my dad to his choice brocante where we never fail to find something we want to take home. Last year we picked up a large pearlised ceramic fish that we named Pikey, this year we bought a peach and lustre mortar – just because. The brocante we love is in Saint Jean de Fos which is also the location of my favourite place to swim in France – le Pont du Diable. It’s a lake with amazing Romanesque bridges and pebbly banks. The perfect place to unfold my 50s floral camping chair, paddle with my red jellies and basically chill/swim/chill/swim.

 

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Then when it’s time to fold up those chairs, climb up the steps and make our way home for lunch, the Volvo and dad are happily finished at the market and ready to swing by and collect us. ‘We’ really do need to learn to drive. Daniel!?

 

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Lunch in Lodeve is usually a combination of leftovers from dinner the night before as well as the staples we’ve come to know and love – tomato salad, lettuce leaves, parma ham, a baguette and of course, lots of delicious dressing. Mama often rustles up a spinach quiche or some yummy pasta to pull everything together.

 

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After lunch it’s nice to sit by the pool and have a bit of a sunbathe and a read. I’ve been particularly enjoying flicking through the latest issues of frankie and Wrap magazine. One of the many nice perks of having your own shop is that there’s always a good design mag to grab on your way out the door when off on your hols. I find time by the pool is when I come up with my SMUG eureka moments and get all excited about priorities for the next few months and plans for the future. It’s so nice to have the space to ponder the possibilities and to set creative goals and targets.

 

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I’ve been doing a fair amount of work on my holibobs. Mostly focusing on the Islington Design District and what we’ll be putting on during London Design Festival 2015. I think it’s going to be pretty great. Do take a look at the IDD website by clicking here to see the sorts of things that design stores in Islington will be putting on especially. I’m pretty proud to have set the whole thing up and really enjoy co-ordinating the district.

 

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We take it in turns to cook din-dins. I’ve been giving a lot of ottolenghi love as you may have expected. We bought ‘Plenty’ along with us. I think I’m going to do the Yogurt and Broad Bean Soup tonight, followed by a cod and cherry tomato number my auntie Julie and uncle Peter recommended when they were here earlier in the holiday. I’m also keen to griddle up some pineapple to be served with a little coconut cream. You just know that’s going to rock! If it does I’ll be sharing the (very simple I’m sure) recipe here soon. The above was whipped up by papa – pulled beef, grilled vegetables, cous cous and creamed potatoes – because who doesn’t love double carbs!? I’ve been swimming remember!

 

clerkenwell design week best bits

:: by Lizzie
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Just in case you didn’t make it to Clerkenwell Design Week this year, or if you did and want to swap best bits, here’s the low down on what I liked the most at CDW15.

 

F A R M I L O E  B U I L D I N G :

Usually my favourite place to start, mostly because I love the building, but it’s also probably the biggest part of the event. Dubbed ‘Design Factory’, the contents of the Farmiloe Building during the event is a good mix of a few newbies along with the same old faces you’d hope to see. You can take a look at the full Design Factory list here. The majority of stands are furniture based but there are smaller scale collections of prints, stationery, terrariums (you couldn’t move for terrariums this CDW – blog post on planting your own coming soon), lighting and even glasses in the ‘retail’ section upstairs. Favourites in the building included Stella Works, Pinch and Dyke & Dean with their Lighting Pick ‘n’ Mix offering. Dyke & Dean sell a fair amount of marbled enamelware too which is right up my street and happens to be coming soon to SMUG so keep your eyes open for that.

 

O L D  S E S S I O N S  H O U S E :

A brand new venue for CDW15 and a building I had never been in before, Sessions House is absolutely stunning. It’s rarely open to the public and you wouldn’t necessarily realise what you were missing from the outside. Extremely impressive and crisply painted vaulted ceilings meet exposed and roughly plastered walls, telling a tail of many years, layers and colours. Culturally conscious brands such as Timorous Beasties and Gubi were selected by Icon to be in their ‘House of Culture’ as it was named. Nice collections but the building definitely stole the show. If you ever get a chance, peek inside!

 

I was a little disappointed with the Vitra Jean Prouvé Retrospective which was my next stop. I was hoping for vintage originals and lots of story telling but was greeted with newly launched ‘classics’ and a printed timeline. The free cup of tea and the little cork pinboard and desk shot (avec terrarium) pictured above sort of made up for it.

 

A D D I T I O N S :

Dedicated to small design pieces and interior accessories, Additions, housed in St James’s Crypt was a important spot for me to visit. Matt Pugh, long term SMUG designer, showed his new collection as well as some old favourites. Our SMUG exclusive Matt Pugh Owl in Pale Blue had been featured in Stylist’s Style List that day and Matt had a copy opened to the correct page on his stand. Good timing eh? Also worth mentioning are Not Another Bill who have been doing the rounds recently. I saw them first at Pick Me Up earlier in the year. They basically send you (or a friend if you sign them up) beautiful presents in the post at prearranged regular intervals. What’s not to love? I’d sign up myself if it wasn’t for the fact that we seem to sell almost all of their gift options at SMUG. I’m sensing the founders and I have rather similar taste!

 

Slightly off the beaten track, but well worth a visit, was a lovely accessories pop-up led by M.Hulot. The shop included beautiful work by Eleanor Bolton (and M.Hulot of course), both of whom are SMUG designers, so I stopped by for a good look and a chat. Another brand involved in the collective was Herb Lester Associates who ‘look for the usual and unusual’ in their beautifully designed travel guides. I own several and would highly recommend them for you next trip to Paris, New York, Lisbon etc etc…

 

C D W  P R E S E N T S :

Every year Clerkenwell Design Week presents new design projects and street spectacles, commissioned specially for the festival and featured prominently around Clerkenwell. Below is an image of Verve, a Johnsons Tiles intervention along the entrance to the Farmiloe Building which was rather lovely. My favourites this year though were Glaze on St John’s Square by architects Cousins & Cousins, a more low key wall mural by Monotype entitled ‘Celebrate’ and the perfectly pastel Vita Contemplativa by Gruppe (all pictured in the slideshow above).

 

Also pictured is the small flower garden/intervention along the side of Borne & Hollingsworth Buildings in Clerkenwell which I saw on my journey home. I thought it particularly inspiring as I’ve been working away on replanting our balcony this spring. More to come on that soon.

 

 

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may day bank holiday round up

:: by Lizzie
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I think it’s about time I started really getting into the world of blogging. I’m loving reading other people’s inspiring and entertaining posts. It seems pretty often what I enjoy most is reading what others with similar interests to myself are up to – be it those in the design world, beauty and fitness (keep your eyes open for more of that on The Smuggler), cooking, fashion or gardening. I’m really enjoying vlogs (video blogs if you didn’t know), monthly favourites, recipe posts etc etc and thought I might give it a go myself. You’ll still be able to find regular news on my Islington Lifestyle Store SMUG, Interviews with Designers, Area Guides and more on The Smuggler but I thought I’d try to give readers a bit of an idea of what I’m doing ‘in-between’. Bear with me as I learn the art of making my funny old life bloggable. Hopefully along the way you’ll find something interesting.

 

So, the  M A Y  D A Y  B A N K  H O L I D A Y  R O U N D  U P  is blog post number one in this new vein of form. (I quite like it when people do that caps and spacing thing. That was my first time. Such a novice!) Anyway… I thought as we (me and my husband Daniel who’ll probably come up a fair bit in these blog posts, much to his dismay) had a fairly jam-packed weekend planned for the May Day bank holiday, maybe I’d share it with you.

 

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S A T U R D A Y :

The first bank holiday weekend in May happens to be our wedding anniversary. Well Star Wars Day, May the 4th, is the exact day so we try to take it off work. We are big Borough Market lovers so popped over to London Bridge on the bus for lunch.

We each had sausage rolls caked in tomato ketchup (a bit of a tradition), I then moved on to a fresh juice. I’m really getting into juices and smoothies at the mo and am having them for breakfast often. I’ve been inspired by Deliciously Ella (as have lots of you I’m sure) and have been making them at home on the regs. I picked up a Passionfruit, Banana and Orange juice from Total Organics which was delicious! Here’s a similar recipe if you fancy making one yourself. Danny then chowed down on a Pork Belly Sandwich from Roast – a firm favourite in the Evans Gleadall household. After purchasing some Parmesan cheese, chocolate covered banana and honey cashews we hopped on the bus back North.

I had to go in to work briefly to cover lunch breaks and was delighted to be greeted with the news that our recent HAY order had arrived. I’ve been looking forward to the Marble Erasers arriving in particular. The lovely Sarah Strang popped by to see me and we had a juice downstairs in the yard at CAFE SMUG. After a quick catch up it was time to meet up with Danny and get to the framers. For our first wedding anniversary a year ago we bought ourselves a print at Pick Me Up which we still hadn’t framed so decided to try a framers we’d noticed on Stoke Newington Highstreet. I’m planning a blog post on framing and framers so keep your eyes open for that. Drinks at the Clapton Hart for Eleonora’s birthday and a ‘Leviticus’ Curry at my brother’s house finished off day one nicely.

 

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S U N D A Y :

Sunday was full of meeting up with friends and eating food. The perfect combo. We started the day with a delicious brunch to celebrate our friends’ Linus and Tehila’s engagement at the Zetter Hotel in St. John’s Square. Their restaurant which is great for breakfast/brunch is now called Grain Store Unleashed which is a bit of a weird name but the food and service continue to be solid. I had a fruit salad followed by American pancakes with maple syrup and bacon. You can see the full menu here.

We then nipped along to meet other friends Lydia and Krystle (or Birdie and Power Nap as we like to call them) at Pick Me Up in Somerset House. Peter Judson and Hattie Newman were favourites. No purchases made this year but a nice time was had by all. After Toblerone and Salted Caramel Cupcakes at Primrose Bakery, we made our way to Shepherd’s Bush for dinner at Ben and Knomes’s house. (I told you there was a lot of eating). A superbly cooked salmon and asparagus carbonara was followed by freshly baked Vanilla Madeleines – all by Knomes who is a super duper chef and professional baker. With full bellies and happy hearts we headed home for some eps of Entourage and bed.

 

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M O N D A Y :

Our actually anniversary started with a big old lie in, followed by an epic and beautiful walk, a nap (my favourite thing to do on a day off) topped off with a wonderful dinner at one of our favourite restaurants Trullo. I’d really recommend the walk which we started at Gillespie Nature Reserve very near Arsenal tube and took through Finsbury Park and along to Highgate Wood. It’s called the Parkland Walk and you can take it all the way to Alexandra Palace if you fancy it. Lovely walk. We bussed it home. Obvs. Bit much to do both ways. Clissold Park, where we live, is currently home to a fun fair which means – ice cream vans! I had a ‘Bunnies’ (Mr Whippy with two flakes – who knew?!) Lovely day. Lovely dinner. Lovely weekend. Thanks for reading.