What do you get when you cross a tea towel with a striking tree-themed piece of modern art? A tree towel of course, as designed by Paul Farrell and stocked at Rockett St George. It all looks a bit Blair Witch but it’s the latest trend…

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At £60 each, they’re way too posh to actually use when you wash up, but HEY, they look spectacular.  And you could always frame one! Or go for the postcards, which are £13.75 for a pack of six, and frame them instead.

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Paul Farrell‘s work is well worth checking out – I love his little bird designs and gorgeous silhouette wall stickers. Seeing his little badges makes me want to buy a badge making machine, £8 from Cox and Cox, and make some with my own designs.

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Paul joins Lindsay Marsden AKA The Black Rabbit, John Dilnot and friends in my folder of Great British artists! – Ellie

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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:

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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. 

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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.

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

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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).