gift guide no.5

:: by Lizzie




1. Peachy Dot Plush by Long Story Co, £15

2. A-Z Print by Charlotte Trouce, £25

3. Town House Cushion by Donna Wilson, £47.50

4. You are a Top Banana Tape by Hanna Melin, £6

5. Wooden Horse Brooch by Alice Lickens, £9

6. Horn Child’s Spoon by AbbeyHorn, £11

7. Ball Point Pens by LiveWork, £2.50 each

8. Lizzie the Owl made by Chloe Owens exclusively for SMUG, £18

9. Scooting Squirrel Placemat by Ketchup On Everything, £10

10. Bruce by Donna Wilson, £50

11. Yellow and Mint Clipboard by Ding Ding, £5


camden passage shopping guide

:: by Lizzie
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Earlier this month Time Out got in touch asking me to write an area guide for North London specifically focusing on Camden Passage. It appeared in yesterday’s Time Out and here’s my uncut version.


I opened my shop here because

I’m a local Islington girl and have always loved Camden Passage’s pedestrianised street. I remember spending my pocket money in the antiques market when I was small. Now as an all-grown-up interior stylist/shop keeper I think it’s the perfect location to avoid the chains of Upper Street yet still be in the heart of Islington. I’m lucky enough to have 3 floors of shop which is pretty hard to find in the area, and a lovely area it is.




The area is great at Christmas because

Camden Passage offers the original, stylish and savvy Christmas shopper, of any age, everything they could wish for: design and gift shops like SMUG, Hexagon and Odyssey where you can pick up something well made, useful and beautiful; Paul A Young’s gorgeous chocolate shop and the new cheese shop by Pistachio & Pickle for expertly handmade sweet and savoury treats; to die for vintage clothing at Fat Faced Cat and Annie’s; Loop for all the wool your trendy sister or lovely Granny could hope for. And lots of places to stop along the way for a bite to eat and a coffee.




For a break/pitstop, go to

CoffeeWorks has the best coffee and rather fabulous brownies – if you haven’t already pick up one from Paul A Young. I usually go for their fresh OJ or a fresh mint tea if I can get a seat. I also love a lunch at Frederick’s. Their 2 or 3 course set menu for lunch is delicious, good value and portions are a sensible size so wont hinder your shopping plans.


People tend to buy

Our woollen blankets are the hot favourite with customers at this time of year. They’re 100% British wool, British made for SMUG and only £47. Most people buy two – one as a gift and one for themselves! Our hand screened SMUG exclusive Napkin Box Set is rather popular too. Thornback & Peel have hand screened the entire thing for us – box and all! Inside you will find 2 Guinea Pig linen union napkins – 1 duck egg, 1 putty and 2 Pineapple linen union napkins – 1 peach, 1 mustard. Totally exclusive to SMUG and perfect for Christmas dinner.




For a one-stop shop, got to

The SMUG Christmas SHOP upstairs on our second floor is full of new designers work for under £20. Perfect for stocking fillers and Christmas gifts. Think geometric paper tree decorations, hand screened hankies, cherry wood engraved bow ties, colourful hand screened sail boat plushes for your little ones, man-friendly scented candles, handmade stationery and coasters with drawings of dogs on them!




When I’m not here, I shop at

I live just by Clissold Park so when I’m near home and looking to shop local for a gift I like to pop to nook on Stoke Newington Church Street. I also love The Peanut Vendor on Newington Green for vintage homeware and furniture finds.




People don’t know it, but

Present & Correct is a little hidden gem of a stationery shop. Not too far from SMUG on Arlington Way, Present & Correct is full of beautifully styled stationery pieces – old and new. It’s a dream of a shop.




Budget option

The Antiques Market itself – best on Saturdays – is full of vintage bargains. Lovely old brooches, letterpress stamps, kitchen linens, ceramic ornaments, tins – I love old tins – and lots more can be found.


Blow out option

twentytwentyone isn’t technically Camden Passage – it’s Upper Street – but it is the best design shop in Islington in my opinion. Over the last year or so they have tripled in size and are looking all the better for it. Most things are upper scale budget-wise but if you can afford them your purchases will be enjoyed for years to come.


And when you’ve really had enough

St Mary’s church on Upper Street is open every day for a little sit down, reflection and a moment’s peace in all the Christmas retail chaos.


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gift guide no.4

:: by Lizzie




1. SMUG Napkin Box Set made by Thornback & Peel exclusively for SMUG, £40

2. 1 Litre Carafe by Weck, £5

3. Geometric Merino Wool Blanket by Tina Ratzer, £96

4. Herbs and Spices 2014 Calendar by Rifle Paper Co, £13.75

5. Camellia Wallet by Ada Rose, £75

6. Watering Can Necklace by Alex Monroe, £138

7. Yellow Walnut Owl made by Matt Pugh exclusively for SMUG, £28

8. Recipe Notecards by Rifle Paper Co, £10

9. Honeysuckle Bag by Ada Rose, £110

10. Acorn Plate by Donna Wilson, £22

11. Enamel Tea Pot in Pigeon Grey by Falcon, £20


gift guide no.3

:: by Lizzie




1. Pie Set in Pigeon Grey by Falcon, £55

2. Rabbit Hankies by Thornback & Peel, £15.50

3. Cocktail Shaker by Izola, £35

4. Guinea Pig Apron by Thornback & Peel, £25

5. Martime Soap Dish by Izola, £20

6. Anchors Away Soap by Izola, £12

7. Horn Butter Knife by Abbeyhorn, £11

8. Crinkled Glass by Rob Brandt, £6

9. Woody Wood Snood by Donna Wilson, £67.50

10. Lanyard by Folk, £45


a hotel life – hotel the exchange

:: by Lizzie
Screen shot 2013-12-07 at 13.27.50


My second hotel review for from my October Amsterdam trip is now up.


Hotel The Exchange was opened in 2011 with a little help from the fashion students of Amsterdams AMFI (Amsterdam Fashion Institution). Interior designers Otto Nan and Suzanne Oxenaar gave every selected student the brief ‘Rooms Dressed As Models’ and sent them off to design each bedroom of the hotel with its own unique style and personality.


Every opportunity has been taken to ‘dress’ the hotel’s shared spaces. With padded fabric lifts and cross stitched room numbers it’s a feast for your eyes.  Read my whole review here.







illustrator interview – amy harris

:: by Lizzie


Do you use old school or new school tools when creating your work?

A bit of both! There’s lots of physical making involved so I use different old school tools and tend to sketch by hand.  My laptop plays a part in the process somewhere though, either for sourcing materials and props or making patterns / creating details to use in my work. It’s often photographed for the final outcome too which involves a bit of digital wizardry.


Show and tell your piece of work. Describe your submission for Old School.

I made 3 pieces based around graphs, pie charts and pencils. They all took inspiration from minimalism and graphics I associated with school. When I was at school I’d keep my pencils until they were sharpened right down. I’d end up with a pencil in every length. I thought there was something quite sculptural about this and tried to carry this idea through each piece, playing with how you might expect to see this type of imagery.




What is your creative process?

I keep notebooks where I write down ideas and little thumbnail drawings. I’ll start with an initial concept and absorb information and visuals that inspire me. I normally try to take a step back from it and do something else, then come back to draw sketches and fine tune an idea. Once I start making I play around with the more specific design decisions as I go. If it’s for a client I’ll make more decisions before I start making. With personal work it tends to be more instinctive and less pre-planned.


Does your work represent your personality?

Probably certain parts. I think the work you produce is always going to be an extension of your personality and interests but if it’s for a commercial context that can make it less personal. I think the more self led, the more personality is probably seen in it.



Send in a picture of your desk now and describe your studio space.

I share a studio with a mix of photographers, prop makers, artists and designers. It’s an old NHS building in Hackney that was converted into a studio space known as The Dead Dolls Club. We have two studio cats called Louis and Cocoa who like to sit on laptops. My desk and walls are filled by objects that inspire me, scraps of ideas and visual experiments, a cactus, a wooden parrot and the usual mix of books, paper, pencils, and stationery.




What’s your earliest memory of drawing/creating?

When I was in nursery we watched the junior school play of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox. Afterwards, we went back to nursery to draw pictures of our favourite parts of the story. I’ve still got my own very worn out version of the book from around that time when I became a bit obsessed with. That was probably the first book I can remember reading too!



Did you have an imaginary friend?



Did you know at school what you wanted to be?

When I was really little I wanted to be a fireman and then a vet, but after that I didn’t have any clear ideas. Creative subjects were always important for me and it felt a natural progression. I decided to continue onto an art foundation so knew I wanted to do something in the creative industries. But I was never certain of what!


What advice would you give now to your ‘old school self’?

Don’t over think it.


Smug’s colour is yellow. What colour best represents you?

Light turquoise greeny blue – I’m not sure why, but it’s a colour I seem to be drawn to.


If you had to choose one Smug product what would it be?

Your dash-dot yellow bed socks – lovely pattern and I always have cold feet.





Amy has also made by hand these Wooden Christmas Decorations for SMUG.  They are for sale upstairs at SMUG in The SMUG Christmas SHOP.


gift guide no.2

:: by Lizzie




1. Smith Journal Issue Eight, £8.50

2. Green Moss Candle by Izola, £35

3. Buckley Belt in Ecru by Folk, £60

4. Horn Pocket Comb by Abbeyhorn, £7

5. Enamel Tumbler by Falcon, £5

6. Tip Top Hat in Gold and Blue by Donna Wilson, £39

7. Beardy Man Plate by Donna Wilson, £22

8. The SMUG Writing Set made by Chase & Wonder exclusively for SMUG, £30

9. Navy Illusion Blanket made for exclusively for SMUG, £47

10. Gardners’ Print by James Brown, £60


gift guide no.1

:: by Lizzie




1. Peach Pineapple Tea Towel by Thornback & Peel exclusively for SMUG, £13.75

2. Porcelain Beaker by Scholten & Baijings, £45

3. Grey Bunny Scarf by Donna Wilson, £50

4. Porcelain Espresso Cup by Scholten & Baijings, £33

5. Peach Oak Owl Hand Craved by Matt Pugh exclusively for SMUG, £28

6. Damson Jam Washbag by Betty & Walter, £22

7. Tip Top Hat in Mint and Pink by Donna Wilson, £39

8. Jeeves Sandwich Plate by Ali Miller exclusively for SMUG, £27.50

9. Mustard Bunny Cushion by Donna Wilson exclusively for SMUG, £67.50

10. Arrow Circle Scarf in Piccalilli by Hilary Grant exclusievly for SMUG, £87

11. Alpine Sleepwear by ALAS. Oversized Mountain Tee £36.50, Bottoms £47.50