July 8, 2009
My Secret London with Imelda Burke
In the latest instalment of My Secret London, I caught up with Marylebone's organic beauty queen, Imelda Burke, owner and founder of Content Beauty/Wellbeing. She opened up her little black book to share some of her secret London gems…
Best for a books?
Books are an ongoing obsession – our house is covered in them. We’ve got everything from art and photography books to medical encyclopaedias – it’s quite an eclectic collection. I go to Donlon Books for the hard-to-finds. It has the best photography and art collection and books on subculture. It’s now got two stores – one in Bethnal Green and one in Broadway market.
For books to give your brain a workout, I love The School of Life. Their faculty have read their way through thousands of books to bring you a carefully edited selection. They have the best categorisation of any bookshop I’ve been to. Shelves are organized in the following topics:
How to turn over a new leaf
How to know you’re in love
How to be green on the cheap
How to be more creative
How to enjoy your own company
How to make the world a better place
How to find pleasure in everyday things
How to understand your childhood
How to survive melancholy
How to find a job you love
How to think deeply about life
How to get on with other people
Best for vintage?
The Peanut Vendor, a mid-century furniture shop based in Newington Green in Islington. It’s filled with wonderful, previously-loved pieces of furniture and homewares as well as design classics. Look out for G-Plan and Ercol classics.
Best for interiors and gifts?
Rob Ryan’s store on Columbia Road, Ryantown, would have to be my favourite. From tiles to prints, glassware and now cushions – we decorated the treatment room at CONTENT BEAUTY/WELLBEING with his ‘No other planet could be as beautiful as this one’ print.
Best for stationery?
I love a notebook and the best come from www.o-check.net. Their ‘Another Day, Cloudy Memory’ notebooks are sometimes available from twentytwentyone. Made from old-school heavy newsprint paper, numbered and fabric-bound.
I also love their cards, especially the ‘Spring Bird’.
Best for kids?
Jabberwockie in Islington has the best clothes, gifts and shoes for kids. Great for presents, skincare and quirky Japanese ranges. Don’t bother with the mainstream.
Best for beauty/skincare?
That would be my own shop, CONTENT, of course! A selection of the best organic brands such as Dr Alkaitis and Pai Skincare and established near-natural brands like Ren and Nude. We also have one of the most extensive collections of natural perfumes and hold CONTENT wellbeing evenings once a month, which include food and wine tastings and tips for keeping healthy from our team of naturopaths.
Best London souvenir?
I think the best thing to take home from London is an appreciation for the diversity living in a large city brings and the energy it creates.
Best place to eat?
Saf vegan restaurant in Curtain Road.
Click here for a Wee Birdy map of Imelda's secret addresses.
Click here for more Secret Londons.