A global field guide to design, (life)style and secret finds
est. 2007
  1. My Secret London with Imelda Burke

    Portrait 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.

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    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

    School of Life Charlotte Mann

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    Charlotte Mann's hand-drawn walls at The School of Life.

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    I also love their cards, especially the ‘Spring Bird’.

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    Others I love are from the Monocle shop in Marylebone. Great linen-backed notebooks designed by the Monocle team in London and produced in Germany by Brandbook.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Click here for a Wee Birdy map of Imelda's secret addresses.
    Click here for more Secret Londons.

    • http://makedostyle.blogspot.com Make Do Style

      Forget my wardrobe clearout – I need a perfect life overhaul. Great info and now I feel a slob compared to such order and beauty!

    • http://basilexposition.wordpress.com Fionnuala

      What a lovely selection with some really unusual choices – I will definitely be checking out those bookshops soon …

    • http://www.playfulnoshings.blogspot.com rebecca

      wow! i love this post. makes me wish i were in london this very moment.

    • http://patchworkharmony.blogspot.com Patchwork Harmony

      hey, thanks for stopping by my blog! and also for introducing me to yours! Its fab! x
      Plus its always great to find fellow London bloggers! I’ll be adding you to my feed!
      x

    • http://roseteacottage.blogspot.com/ Duchess of Tea

      Hello, and thanks for stopping by my cottage. I came over for a visit too and love, love what I see. You have a fascinating site, interesting posts and lovely photos. I went through few pages of posts, but need to get back to work; I will be back this weekend to read all your current and archived posts. Those Welsh cakes look so yummy; they would go so well with the pot of tea I just made!!! I don’t see a follower widget to sign up at; however, I will go ahead and add your blog to my list of lovely blogs. Come over for tea often and next time if you have a moment stop and sign up as a follower, I will sincerely appreciate it.
      Talk to you soon

    • http://www.matouenpeluche.typepad.com Sam

      What a lovely collection of amazing shops! I’ll just have to come over to London now and sample them for myself! The book shop categories are very imaginative and I love the stationery! Sooo sweet and pretty! Actually it’s all divine!

    • http://www.charsinthecity.blogspot.com Char

      Hi Birdy! Thanks for coming by and dropping me a line. Gorgeous pics, and Secret London is one of my fav features of yours. Hopefully I won’t be completely broke by the time I leave this city! There’s so much temptation.

    • http://roseteacottage.blogspot.com/ Duchess of Tea

      Top Bird, thanks for the link, I read everyone of the posts and loved the pics. SImply lovely!! I am thinking of placing a link to the pages on my blog, what do you think? would it be alright with you?
      Duchess

    • http://iva-y.blogspot.com Iva

      I love the stationery and the little birdie 🙂

    • http://olechko.org Olha Pryymak

      Crazy about the bird folding card.Boo, can’t seem to find it online on their site – got to pop in!
      Can’t believe I am lucky to live in the city and not having read your blog before. thank you for great info!