Rob Ryan’s Christmas

July 8, 2010

At the John Lewis Christmas press show yesterday, I bumped into (literally!) the bearded romantic paper-cutter hero, AKA Mister Rob Ryan. For some reason, I came over all star-struck and giggly – and waffled on for an eternity about how ‘wonderful’ his work is, how I admire him, how I’d love to see his scissors (I really said that) and how I would also like to plait his beard and lick his shoes (I didn’t really say that bit. I hope…)

ANYWAY He was there to launch a brand new high street collection of accessories, so I whipped out the trusty iPhone and took a few snaps. But sadly, they weren’t exactly top quality pics. As you can see.

Still, I’ve whacked them up nonetheless – feel free to ignore and focus instead on the gorgeous high-res pics the lovely PRs at Grylls and Reade gave me:

Check out the vase! The flask! The notebooks! The mugs! It’s all too much. How cool would it look if you shot the vase with a girl and boy filling it with flowers and recreated the image ON the vase? Or perhaps too much caffeine again. Hmmm. – Ellie

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HOT SHOP: Supernice

December 21, 2009

Pottering around Shoreditch in London the other day, (as you do, dahling), I thought two things. ONE: I really need to get down with the trendy East London yoof of today, which clearly involves wearing a checked shirt, a pair of skin-tight skinny jeans with braces, pointy little Victorian-booty-style vintage shoes, a cool, lop-sided hair-cut (art-student-stylee), draping yourself in handmade Tatty Devine-type trinkets (such as anchors, moustaches, etc), saying ‘LOL’ when amused, nibbling organic seeds and reading a vintage poetry book while cycling on a retro Pashley bicycle. TWO: I really should visit Supernice more often! It’s one of Columbia Road‘s NICEst shops.

There are funky melamine trays and plates from Thomas Paul, hundreds of Blik wall stickers on display, as well as some very cool stickers from Inke, needlepoint kits from Jonathan Adler, and fabulous monochrome ceramic tiles from Big Tomato. These tiles (just £3.95 each) were impossible to resist…they’re great for bathrooms and kitchens of course, but they’re gorgeous enough to prop up on a mantelpiece spelling out a word. I bought four of the anglepoise ones (top left!) and super-glued squares of felt to their bases for quick and easy coasters. I keep them stacked beside my anglepoise lamp…how pleasing! (To me, anyway. Boyfriend – not so much. In fact, didn’t notice styling touch, or congratulate. As per. Wasted, I say, wasted.)

ANYWAY, here they are for your delectation, all laid out in a super-nice way. A lot of the wall stickers are perfect for decorating children’s bedrooms, but the chandelier one would look fabulous in a glamorous grown-up dining room…

Right, I’m off to practise the whole poetry-reading-on-a-Pashley thing. I may be some time. – Ellie

I’ve just interviewed Bux Bailey, founder of the lovely Treacle bakery on Columbia Road, in East London. I was getting baking tips from her for a ‘Domestic Goddess’ feature I’m writing for the October issue of Ideal Home. While we were chatting, I got a chance to check out the lovely collection of products she stocks – as well as her fabulous cupcakes of course! Check out the cute badge she gave me:

treacle

cupcakes-800x533

Bux sells vintage cookware and nostalgic kitchen bits and bobs, which are displayed in a charmingly quirky, laid-back manner – there’s an apron draped across a window like a curtain, and a broken 1970s TV used as a display case – everything is reused and recycled and nothing is pretentious. Among the vintage treasures for sale, I spotted glass cake stands for £12 each and a stunning Midwinter tea set. The kitsch 1950s kitchen cupboards Bux sells double up as great display cases for the shop, and she also stocks contemporary items from talented British designers which sit happily alongside the older pieces on offer. I noticed a great range of funky tea towels from Kent designer Lindsay Marsden AKA The Black Rabbit – she makes beautiful tea cosies, seed packets, prints, toys, egg cosies and cushions. 

black rabbit

I love her work, but The Black Rabbit logo freaks me out a bit, as it reminds me of the disturbing Watership Down cartoon I was shown as a young child – I haven’t been the same since! Bux also stocks another of my favourites The Hungry Girls’ Cookbooks – beautiful mini recipe books from a trio of Melbourne friends – Rachel Pitts, Leah Holscher and Katherine Bird.

cookboos

Elsewhere, I noticed a collection of hilariously rude greeting cards from designer David Shrigley, and some stunning ceramics by Rachel Barker:

Picture 13

I was relieved to hear that despite the failing economy, and the challenges small independent shops are facing, Treacle is thriving. Bux told me that cake is a ‘recession-proof product’. ‘People will always eat cake,’ she explained. ‘In fact, during hard times, people usually comfort-eat and end up eating more cake than usual!’ I suggested to Bux that perhaps some of her success is down to the current shift towards a back-to-basics, less materialistic way of life – perhaps the nostalgic charm of Treacle appeals in an era of homogenised high streets and greed gone wrong? Bux agreed: ‘Cake is one of life’s simple pleasures, and I think comfort and nostalgia is more relevant today than ever before. We keep things simple here – our milk is still delivered by the milk man, and my daughter Maya and I are going to pick elderflowers this weekend on my mum’s farm down in Kent to make some elderflower cordial for the shop.’ Bux told me she was brought up in a household where ‘Mrs Beeton’s book was like the Bible’ and she feels a lot of the information in such books is still helpful today. Stepping into Treacle is like going back in time – only ‘builder’s tea’ is served, the counter is a huge old-fashioned glass cabinet and the cupcakes wouldn’t look out of place at a 1940s tea party. I’m in love with this place! Just before I left the shop, I ordered an EAT CAKE AND CARRY ON print, which I’ve had my eye on for a while. It’ll look great in my kitchen! – Ellie

Treacle is at 110-112 Columbia Road, Shoreditch E27RG (020 7729 0538).  It’s only open on market days (weekends).