Spring shopping in south London

Spring shopping in South London

It’s taken a while but the weather is definitely losing some of its edge and with the days getting brighter it’s time for a bit of a spring spruce up (pfft like we needed an excuse to shop).

There are some great gems sold by south London dwellers that will make easy additions to your home.

1) Clapham Bandstand Print, from £35 (unframed), Postcode Prints – we mentioned this local print company on our post about FEAST. Their limited edition prints are a cute and quirky way to illustrate the area and we’re particularly taken with this picture of Clapham.

2) West Norwood Tea Towel, £8, Ray Stanbrook Prints – we found this on Etsy, and there are tea towels for several other towns including Crystal Palace, Wimbledon and Brixton. Almost a bit too nice to use to dry your dishes, though…

3) Rob Ryan Bells Cushion, £30, Fred & Pickles – when splashing out on a new sofa isn’t an option. Fred & Pickles is a gorgeous boutique site run by a team in the Balham area.

4) Fridge magnet, £4.95, The Indigo Tree – spring clean your mind? Naff as it sounds, but we find that a good old mantra can help motivate you on a dreary day.

5) Candle, from £15, Charlotte Harley Candles – Hither Green based Charlotte sells beautiful soy wax scented candles through Etsy. The scent has a good throw and a great way to get a fresh fragrance into your home. Plus they’re way cheaper than your average posh candle.

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Herne Hill market

Herne Hill Market

This is by no means a comprehensive post about Herne Hill market. It’s so big and ever-changing that it’ll take a good couple of outings (and another pay packet) to get the full feel of the place. Nevertheless, the below should so far give a good idea of what the weekly market has to offer, to those who are yet to visit.

Herne Hill Market

Located on the pedestrian paved area outside Herne Hill station and across from Brockwell Park, the market takes place every Sunday from 10am-4pm. The umbrella company is City & Country Farmers’ Markets Company, and together with Lambeth Council the Herne Hill Market was born.

There’s a good mixture of ready-to-eat dishes, deli foods (think huge slabs of cheese and charcuterie and there’s a stall pretty much dedicated to olives and beans), pop-up butchers and craft, records and interiors stalls. Basically, if you’re not careful, you could spend a LOT of money here (and gain a few weighty pounds in the process).

Some of the stalls are fairly regular, but every now and then a new one pops up. We spied a couple of fish stalls past The Commercial selling a great mix – you can happily walk away with a lobster, monkfish, whole salmons, huge mussels…

Fruit and veg at Herne Hill market

There were at least three fruit and veg stalls, not to mention the grocer’s shop on the concourse. Prices were very average but the quality and size of what was on offer puts supermarket fare into submission. We picked up a bunch of beetroot and carrots for £2, and spied HUGE courgettes (which we thought were marrows, ahem) for 80p.

fruit and veg at Herne Hill market

Another great find was this stall selling all manner of homemade scotch eggs – chorizo, haggis, haddock, all with a rich, melting yolk in the middle. At £3.50 each they’re a treat but split in half and served with salad, they made a great lunch.

scotch eggs at Herne Hill market

Next time we go we’ll grab a couple of boxes of salads from Rainforest Range, a Caribbean stall with colourful veggie flans, lentils and salads that makes healthy eating actually look fun.

The Rainforest Range food stall

The Rainforest Range food stall

One interiors stall we enjoyed poring over was Dolly Did It, who specialise in homemade, vintage and upcycled goods. We picked up a blue desk chair for £35 and if we had enough room, that gorgeous drinks trolley would be ours, too. Their website is still in construction but once it’s up, we reckon it’ll be worth a look.

Items on sale from Dolly Did It - Herne Hill Market

Items on sale from Dolly Did It

 

Drinks trolley on sale by Dolly Did It, Herne Hill market

For the imaginary house, a gorgeous drinks trolley from Dolly Did It

On the other end of the homewares spectrum is Joan Longley, a botanical artist who creates beautiful cards and gift wrap in, well, botanical prints including this festive holly and ivy. You can pick up two sheets of paper with two gift tags for around £2.50 or thereabouts. She’s there every other week.

Holly and ivy wrapping paper by Joan Longley, Botanical Artist, Herne Hill Market

As mentioned earlier, this post is one that will be added to over time – there’s a lot more to offer than what we’ve mentioned here so far.

Herne Hill market, every Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

Framers in Balham

Since owning a property we’ve been a big giddy about being able to, y’know, do stuff to the walls. Paint! Blutack! Okay maybe not the sticky stuff, we’re not students anymore. We’ve graduated onto buying prints and hanging them up (nails! Into walls!), but first, we need to get them framed.

Sadly it’s not cheap, but we’re telling ourselves that we’ll have these pictures and prints forever. Still, save up a little before you go, or at least expect to pay a more than you think and you won’t be *too* shocked.

We’ve tried a couple of places in Balham. Noel Studios is also a gift shop, making it easier than ever to part with your dosh. They did a good job of framing our Italian illustration and helped to choose between mounts and colour finishes (who knew?).

The Italian illustration framed by Noel Studios, Balham

The Italian illustration framed by Noel Studios, Balham

 

More recently we’ve been using the services of Ian’s Artworks. Mimi is so passionate about art and her job that it’s infectious. She loves seeing what people bring in and really helps you find the best way to frame your piece of art. She recently worked on our south London illustration we picked up at the Postcode Prints stall at West Norwood FEAST (which we blogged about a couple of months ago).

South London print framed by Ian's Artworks

The Postcode Print of south London framed by Ian’s Artworks

 

The framing cost around £55, but if you get multiple items framed it’s possible to try and get a small discount. You can find more about this company via their Twitter profile.

The Indigo Tree, Streatham High Road

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Streatham High Road isn’t one of the most visually appealing high streets in the world, but in the past couple of years a lot of money has been thrown at it.

Pawn shops and betting shops dominate the route but there are some more independent places popping up – The Indigo Tree is one of them.

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It’s quite similar to a typical Oliver Bonas in what it has to offer; soft furnishings, accessories, small gifts and cards are in abundance. It sells itself as a gift shop and it certainly fits the bill.

Plaques at the Indigo Tree, Streatham

You could easily find a gift for the hardest to please family member, and we reckon come Christmas time it’ll be a treasure trove for secret Santa pressies.

The Indigo Tree, Streatham

 

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It’s not the cheapest for items, with cards averaging at £2.99, and the smallest trinkets coming in at around £5. However it’s very reasonable for what it is; a family run shop on a busy high street that could well be just another newsagent or mini mart. Expect to pay the same as you would at somewhere like Not On The High Street, only without the P&P of course.

The Indigo Tree

We picked up this cute quotable fridge magnet for £5.95.

Fridge magnet from The Indigo Tree

It’s not just gifts and homewares The Indigo Tree has to offer either. They run regular skills workshops, from crafts to flower arranging. They also have space for pop-up stalls so keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook page for upcoming events.The Indigo Tree, Streatham

West Norwood FEAST

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West Norwood FEAST has had a surge in awareness and popularity in the past year, but we thought we’d blog about it anyway.

West Norwood FEAST

It’s still a relatively new concept – the first event happened in April 2011 – but each month (FEAST is held on the first Sunday of every month, sometimes with a short break in the winter, although this varies) it gets bigger. From what we understand the actual organisation is run by volunteers, and stalls apply for a space in the event, which goes to show just how much people care about the local area.

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The layout is quite clever – the event is split between four sections or themes; fresh n’ green for take-home groceries and deli goods, artisan for arts and crafts, retro village for antique and vintage goods, and the good old ‘food’ section for an instant foodie fix. Each section is situated in a different part of the town so while you have to walk a little distance to get to each one but it means that the town really embraces it. Shops and cafes you’d potentially ignore during the week really get into the spirit – for example, Beamish & McGlue, usually shut on a Sunday, opens up for the event.

One of the flower stalls in the 'Fresh n Green' section on Norwood Road

One of the flower stalls in the ‘Fresh n Green’ section on Norwood Road

The food section, situated in the church garden, has its regulars but you there are newcomers, too. The July event saw the absence of Original Fry Up Material – creators of the most delicious breakfast burger ever. Word from the organisers is that they’re doing the festival circuit but they’re back in the autumn, so don’t miss out come September.

Bare Bones Cue menu

The menu at Bare Bones Cue

Today we tried two places; Bare Bones Cue and Curry Cook House.

Bare Bones Cue specialised in pulled pork (are you salivating yet? you will be), either served with pickles, slaw or other variants of pig along with a choice of sauces. We went for ‘orange pop’, a barbecue sauce with a zesty orange twist that really lifted the flavour. Running the stall were two girls with the best t-shirts we’ve ever seen.

The staff at Bare Bones Cue  sporting ace t-shirts (the good smoking kind, of course)

The staff at Bare Bones Cue sporting ace t-shirts (the good smoking kind, of course)

Bare Bones Cue 'Bare All'

The ‘Bare All’ option – £7.50

Curry Cook House has a simple menu but plays to that as a strength. Choose from a chicken, lamb or pakora wrap that uses a naan as a base, flavouring with chutneys and spicy sauces.

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The sweet options are plentiful too. Favourites we’ve tried are Fiendish and Goode, who make baking look like a fine art, and Bunting and Pops, selling, er, bunting and cake pops. We didn’t try them but we loved the homage to the Wimbledon final in the form of tennis ball shaped toffee crunch cake pops.

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We’ve noticed the Artisan section, settled on Chatsworth Way, growing into its own little festival hub too. Home to arts and crafts stalls, it houses a small stage for local talent and also features a table offering free tea and cake to older residents.

Notable stalls for us were:

The Kay Barker Shop – really cute and quirky illustrations on cards and postcards. She has a space on the Etsy website too if you can’t wait for the next market – we bought the Cocktail Birthday Card.

Postcode Prints – founded by Paul McBride, specialises in prints inspired by local attractions. We bought this fab print representing south London for £30 – see which locations you can figure out.

Our south London print from Postcode Prints

Our south London print from Postcode Prints

Puppet Pets – cute creations to bring out your imaginative side with the kids. Most certainly a move on from the days of Punch & Judy…this stall also has an Etsy page.

We’ve found through regular visits that whatever the weather, FEAST gets a big crowd, but summertime really gives it a wonderful atmosphere. There’s more than just the stalls, too; you’ll get regular performances from south London Samba and other entertainment groups. If you ride your bike, there’s a free service in the middle of the day situated in the Retro Village section.

If only it was every Sunday…