Finishing your Christmas shopping this weekend? Here’s my edit of the best presents for all the lovely ladies in your life, starting at £8.96. If you spot something you fancy for yourself, just share it on Facebook or Twitter prefaced with a big ‘Hint, hint’!
1. ‘Dash Dot’ pointy mittens by Donna Wilson, available in three colours
£32.50, from Soma Gallery.
2. Aesop Reverence hand wash, £27 from Cult Beauty.
3. Postie leather envelope, AU$190 from Follow Store.
4. Dinosaur Designs set of three bangles, AU$215 from Dinosaur Designs.
5. Polli woven peacock pendant, AU$79.95 from Polli.
6. India Knight Mutton (hardcover), £8.96 from Amazon.
7. Paul & Joe Kitty Blusher Stick in Minou, £19 from Rose Apothecary.
8. Paris Wakefield Additions Bliss cotton satin cushion, £59.50 from Paris Wakefield Additions.
9. Melinda Young hand cut acrylic flamenco pendant, AU$95 from Collect.
10. Cadiz serving bowl, £34 from Anthropologie.
11. Ceramic band bowl XXL, €70 from Foldoys.
12. Paul and Joe colour powder (081), £19.50 from Rose Apothecary.
13. Eiffel Tower ring dish, £10 from Anthropologie.
Want more lovely present inspiration? Click here for all my Christmas 2012 Gift Guides.
Prefer to buy handmade? Click here for my Etsy 2012 Christmas Gift Guides.
And don’t miss my Top 20 Christmas Crackers and my Top 20 Christmas Stockings!
If there’s one trend that’s really taken hold this year, it’s neon. From crafty hand-woven baskets to to glossy Comme Des Garçons wallets, fluoro is the way to go. Here are my top picks for the nicest (and most definitely) brightest Christmas presents.
1. Eva straw weave clutch, AU$179 from Gorman.
2. Little leather locket by Jen Booth, AU$78 from Follow Store.
3. ‘Fluro Tower’ acrylic painting, AU$750 from Rachel Castle.
4. Woven Bead Planter (Mexican), AU $120 from Peaches and Keen.
5. Adjustable wood and stoneware vase, EUR145 from Adonde.
6. Crepe chain neon necklace, US$78 from Anthropologie.
1. Knitted collar in neon yellow and grey cotton, EUR €29.90 from The Knit Kid’s Etsy shop.
2. ‘Criss Cross Fluro Sun’ felt on Belgian flax linen artwork, AU$380 from Castle.
3. Neon yellow pod with Velutina air plant, US$10 from Bird And Feather Co.’s Etsy shop.
4. Modern neon hardwood salad bowl, US$45 from Nicole Porter Design.
5. Lidded blue box EUR €56 from Foldoys.
6. Comme Des Garçons orange fluorescent zip-around wallet, £130 from Liberty.
1. Crayon Chick crochet bowls, small $30; large $32 from Follow Store.
2. K. Jacques for Opening Ceremony patent sandal, US$172 from Opening Ceremony.
3. Marc by Marc Jacobs green and blue heart print iPhone Case, £30 from Liberty.
4. Melting Ice-Cream Tote by Jess Wright, AU $160 from Harvest Workroom by Harvest Textiles.
5. Large neon chevron cushion by Bob Window, AU$90 from Follow Store.
6. Bobbi Brown Neon & Nude Sheer lip gloss, £17 from Selfridges.
Here in Sydney we’re heading into a hot and humid weekend with temps around the 38 degree celcius mark – yikes! So I can’t think of anything better than swanning around (a freezing cold air-conditioned mall or cinema) in this bright and sunny one hundred per cent cotton dress by cult Finnish textile company Marimekko. The Käly dress, AU$529, is from their Spring/Summer 2012 collection, which was released in the Northern Hemisphere earlier this year. I love Marimiekko’s signature vibrant and oversized florals in this frock and graphic sunny stripes. You can find it at Funkis in Sydney and online.
Funkis has also reduced some of the Spring/Summer 2012 Marimekko frocks, like this very sweet Nopsa dress (reduced to AU$150 from AU$199), featuring cute pocket details and a contrasting blue trim.
And this smart Sattuma dress is great for those who love Marimekko’s sleek lines and graphic prints, but prefer a more conservative look.
Northern Hemisphere birds who are heading into a bitterly cold winter might like to check out the new arrivals from Marimekko this season, including the Manteliptsi knit dress, the Huuru dress and Matilda shirt.
Marrimeko Manteliptsi knitted dress.
Marimkekko Huuru dress.
Marrimekko Matilda shirt.
Click here for Marimekko stockists.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a really gorgeous little frock for a three-year-old and wished there was a version in my size. And apparently I’m not alone. It was only last week at my local childrenswear shop that I discovered that the lovely tiny wee toddler’s frock in the gorgeous tropical print had also been the object of many a grown woman’s affection. And – hurrah! – word had got around that Zimmermann had a dress in the exact same print. For (much) bigger girls.
So I’m delighted to hear that UK childrenswear designers Poppy Children have responded to popular demand for adult versions of their delightful vintage-inspired kids frocks with the launch of their first womenswear collection. Featuring Poppy’s trademark storybook illustrations, the collection is inspired by a 1950s aesthetic and is available in a range of prints, styles and sizes (10-18).
Naturally, I adore their new London print, which also features on a range of frocks for little girls. Each dress comes with its own story book about Poppy and Fred’s adventures in London. I love that the vintage-inspired design features a thoroughly modern London, complete with the Gherkin, London Eye and a wandering giraffe. The collection is made in the UK and is one hundred per-cent cotton.
My favourite style is the Beatrice dress, which is superbly flattering with three-quarter length sleeves, a wide bateau neckline at the front and a V at the back, which can be worn either way and is available in five colour ways, for £129.99. Ladies can also purchase a matching petticoat for extra swoosh factor, as well as a pair of stripey cotton tights for winter.
The London print is also available on the Millie dress for girls, which features a Peter Pan collar and looks ridiculously adorable with a matching little cardigan. It would make a super-sweet London-themed bridesmaid’s frock, and it comes in sizes 0 to seven years for £62.50. There is also a range of matching fluffy petticoats and darling stripey tights for little ones.
Australians all, let us rejoice, for the marvellous Maggie Alderson is in town. She’s here to launch her latest book, Everything Changes But You, which is her seventh novel to date.
Like so many others, the ladies in my family are devoted Maggie fans, and I can recall many conversations over the past decade that have started with, ‘did you read Maggie Alderson on the weekend?’
So what’s so good about Maggie? For starters, she’s an absolute authority on fashion and style, and Maggie brings a wealth of experience, maturity, education and – most importantly – good humour to the topic. This is no small achievement, given that so much of what appears in our fashion mags is either pithy, uninformed commentary that takes itself too seriously, or lacks any sense of expertise or knowledge of fashion history.
Maggie also knows how to tell a good yarn, the kind of story that’s filled with familiar characters and local settings, such as the “high maintenance” women that populate Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs who “seemed to get their hair and nails done every day”, swim at Nielsen Park and live in “absolute waterfront” properties.
I remember reading Pants on Fire, a story about an English magazine editor living in Sydney’s Elizabeth Bay and working at the major publishing house in town at the same time that I was also living in Elizabeth Bay and a magazine editor at a very similar-sounding major publishing house in town. Apart from snorting at the Sydney in-jokes, fashion references and descriptions of local haunts, it was a compelling love story and utterly hilarious.
I also appreciate Maggie’s attention to detail, right down to her English decorator’s “droopy pastel-coloured Ghost skirts and cardigans” in Mad About the Boy (2002) which were “all spot-on in London” but seemed glaringly out of place in Sydney’s glitzy social circles. And I loved the sound of Antonia’s motley yellow jug collection, which she imagined “would make a wonderful group on a table, sitting on the old linen tablecloth, hand-embroidered with primroses, that I had found the day before in a charity shop in Bondi Junction.” Sounds pretty good to me.
I haven’t read her latest novel but it sounds right up my alley. Read the press blurb and you’ll now exactly what I mean:
Everything Changes But You tells the story of three women: Hannah, in her thirties, is happily married to Matt and living the cool life in London’s East End but struggling to reconcile motherhood and her glamorous job as a beauty editor. Her mother, Marguerite, patiently copes with an alcoholic, abusive husband and wonders if this is all her life has to offer. While Matt’s young cousin, Ali, is starting to feel lost looking for love in a strange city.
Things start to unravel when Hannah becomes certain they’d be much better off down in the English countryside with her family – and Matt’s mum needs them with her, back in Sydney, 17,000km away. All of them have unsettling secrets and while some are better shared, others might be best left unspoken. The problem is knowing which are which.
In this very modern story of three women’s search for a place to call home, Maggie Alderson, in her most sophisticated novel yet, crosses continents and generations to explore how we find happiness – and whether love can survive betrayal.
Can’t wait to get my un-manicured hands on it! If you want to catch Maggie on her Australian book tour, you can find her on these following dates:
Brisbane – Thursday 25 October, 6.15pm
Mary Ryan, 40 Park Road, Milton
Ticket $5, includes refreshments.
To book, please call 07 3510 5000
Melbourne – Tuesday 30 October, 7.00pm
Matilda’s Books, 15 Hamilton Place, Mount Waverley
Event is free, but bookings essential on 03 9888 1433
Melbourne – Wednesday 31 October, 6.30pm
Readings Hawthorn, 701 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn
This event is free, but you must book on 03 9819 1917
Canberra – Thursday 1 November, 6.00pm
Paperchain, 34 Franklin Street, Manuka
This is a free event, but please book on 02 6295 6723
Bowral – Friday 2 November 10.30am
Bookshop at Bowral, at The Gibraltar Hotel, Cnr Centennial Rd & Boronia St, Bowral
$20 per person, includes morning tea. To book, call 02 4862 1634
You can also follow Maggie on Twitter @MaggieA.
← Older posts
Freelance writer Dan Jones has lived in London for years – and he’s got around: Shoreditch, Herne Hill, Hackney, Victoria Park, Stoke Newington and now Clapton. He’s written for i-D Magazine as shopping editor, ASOS.com as senior men’s ed, is media consultant to fashion brand Antipodium, and was Time Out London’s Shopping & Style editor for four years (where he was also my mentor and boss), covering everything from LFW to funeral parlours – so he’s acquired a big list of London’s best/weirdest bits.
You can follow Dan on his shiny new blog dedicated to London stores and style, JONESTOWN, and on Twitter @jonessecret. In the meantime, here is Dan’s Secret London. Enjoy!
Best shop in London for atmosphere?
My mum is a bit of a witch. When I was a kid she’d take me to her favourite New Age shop, Mysteries, on our day trips into London. Being a young cynic, I’d roll my eyes at the dreamcatchers and chakra candles, but when I rediscovered the shop a few years ago, I finally saw how special it is – especially if you suspend all irony. Fancy an amethyst geode as big as your head? Done. Books on faeries and spells? Smudge sticks? Angel cards? Got it. In the market for a polished crystal that looks a bit like Gandalf’s dildo? You’ve come to the right place. Hidden at the back of the shop is a slightly slimy-looking grotto with a babbling water feature, encrusted with crystals and icons, and upstairs you can get your fortune told by Mysteries’ psychic staff and Tarot readers. Magic.
Best in London for vintage?
Princess May Car Boot Sale
Just north of Dalston, opposite Beyond Retro’s huge Stoke Newington High Street store, is one of London’s best car boot sales. The mix of sellers is intriguing – from local trendies selling off their Topshop Unique cast-offs, to seasoned car booters (who tend to drive a hard bargain) selling knick knacks. It all makes for a great breadth of tat to pick through. On a hot summer’s weekend the sale is packed with browsers and sellers who cram themselves creatively into every corner of the grounds, selling from trestle tables and blankets.
Scoring a great car boot bargain is one of my greatest turn ons and Princess May rarely disappoints. On my last visit I picked up a Death Row Records cap, a Florida Gators sweatshirt, an old leather Camel cigarettes wallet – and possibly my best ever car boot find – a large ceramic bust of Arnold Schwartzenegger as The Terminator for £8. I didn’t even haggle. As I walked away from the stall the seller said, in a creepy Austrian accent, “you’ll be back.” No shit.
Best shop in London for gifts?
Navigating Broadway Market on a Saturday is sometimes a bit overwhelming – you might not always be in the mood for the crowds and gluten-free cakes, squeezing through the shoppers and poseurs, squinting so your eye isn’t poked out by a chocolate eclair. Donlon Books makes it all worth it.
At the north end of the market and usually manned by Conor Donlon, you can browse an excellent selection of art, fashion and culture books (new and old), and magazines, fanzines and cards. It’s great for gifts. I always find something that’s relevant to a friend’s dubious obsession, whether it’s a book on 1970s Australian drag artists or film ephemera from the collection of John Waters himself – Cry Baby tissues or a Serial Mom baseball cap.
Best shop in London for food?
It’s not much of a secret – Lina Stores has held its own in Soho’s red light district since the ‘30s – but the Italian deli just keeps getting better. The small shop had a bit of a makeover a couple of years back – and achieved the impossible: updating the place to feel thoroughly contemporary but preserving its traditional quirks.
You can have a quick snack or a coffee at the standing tables or buy up big from the impressive stock at the fresh counter (cheeses, charcuterie, etc) or the shelves (biscotti, Venchi treats). The homemade bits are best: pumpkin and sage or veal tortellini, pesto. The fresh pork and fennel sausages usually make the shelves in the early afternoon (amazing rolled up into meatballs at home).
Your number one London shopping secret?
I discovered Casa Mexico last year – although I’d walked past it lots of times on my way to the Antipodium studio in Bethnal Green. A few earthenware pots at the entrance had always made me think the place was a ceramic store, something to do with tiles or garden furniture – a bit boring. Still, I decided to try it out one day and it’s good I did.
Inside it’s all Day of the Dead dolls, handwoven rugs, pinata and paper fiesta decorations, bottled sodas and beers, fresh tortilla – and those ceramic garden pots. The Casa team have opened a Mexican pastry counter next door that’ll be selling tacos come September. In the main store, check out the genuine Caballeros cowboy boots, shirts and hats and Lucha Libre wrestling masks, or pick up some religious candles (£4.50 for Jesus) and proper Mexican sweets. Steer clear of the hot salted tamarind candies though – the packaging’s great but they taste like death.
The London trend you’re loving right now?
Okay, it may not be the best news for the nervous eater, or those prone to bouts of heartburn or animal welfare, but this past summer in London was all about the grill. Dirty burgers, chunks of bone marrow, pulled pork, barbecued ribs… Alongside the stars of the BBQ scene – Meat Liquor, Meat Market and Pit Cue Co. – there are a few relative newcomers that are worth checking out: Burnt Enz at the Climpson Roastery (currently closed for winter) is less about classic BBQ sauces and more about using the grill to cook posh things like scallops, quail and more traditional stuff like lamb ribs with mint or beef brisket. Elliot’s Cafe at Borough Market collaborated with Raw – Borough’s wine fair – in the form of a pop-up burger stand selling aged beef patties with beer-braised onions, Comte and a brioche bun… it’s totally dirty – in a good way.
Click here for a Wee Birdy map of Dan’s Secret London, complete with all the addresses and contact details.
Click here for more Secret London posts.
Image sources: Mysteries; Donlon Books; Lina Stores; Lina Stores.