London

Technicolor London: Primary Colours #1

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London sky might be notoriously grey, but there’s plenty of colours to find around the city. I’m always snapping photos when I’m walking around and exploring but rarely do anything with them. So I thought of starting a new series here, as it would also be the perfect excuse to include a little bit more photography into the blog.

I’m calling this new segment “Technicolor London” and it will show you some of the most colourful corners I’ve found myself stumbling into. I’m kicking things off with some primary colour-blocking!

» Red

▲ Brick Lane // Brixton ▲ South Bank // Camden Market

» Yellow

▲ Brixton // South Bank ▲ Hammersmith // Hackney Wick

» Blue

▲ Brixton Market // Shoreditch ▲ Hackney Wick // Brick Lane

Looking Around London: Quill

 ▼   Quill:  37 Amwell Street, London EC1R 1UR

▼  Quill: 37 Amwell Street, London EC1R 1UR

Quill is a little gem straddling Clerkenwell and Islington, slightly set away from the main bustle of the nearby station but well worth seeking out if paper and calligraphy are your thing.

The shop is wonderfully curated in every detail, displaying perfect little collections of products by many international designers as well as personalised ones made in-house.

But nowadays Quill is more than just a stationery shop, as Lucy -the one behind it- also regularly hosts modern calligraphy workshops and event. In fact, she actually put on London’s first modern calligraphy workshop a few years back!

If you enjoy a clean and minimal aesthetic or wish to add a sophisticated touch to your office and stationery collection, Quill is where it's at.

It is also a great place to discover talented designers from overseas, especially the US and (more recently) Japan, that you wouldn't usually come by in other London-based shops.

I first visited Quill about a year ago for a book launch and got the chance to catch a glimpse of Lucy at work on her calligraphy and it was truly inspiring. Although I dabble in it already, I do have a calligraphy workshop to cross off my bucket list, and I think Quill will probably be where I'll go.


Have you ever been, or perhaps would you like to visit? I'd love to know! 😊

ƒ. xx

Discovering New Stationery at Pulse London

Back in May, I headed to the umpteenth trade show.. but what can I say, I just love having a browse - even more so if it leads to discovering new independent brands.

One that stood out to me in particular, was All The Ways to Say, a paper goods brand based in France. Their collections are original and beautifully illustrated, with lots of attention put into the colour combinations to really complement the designs.

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Jacqueline Colley is an amazing artist (and lovely lady, which I had the chance to meet a couple times now) and her stationery line is simply stunning. Everything - from the colour palette to the lettering - is on point, and if you're enjoying the tropical trend look no further and feast your eyes on her illustrations.

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I already am a big fan of Katie Leamon's creations, but I thought it was worth mentioning her new marble line; I personally love the whole marble trend, but I feel like sometimes it can be quite plain and predictable, so it was very refreshing to see Katie's take on it, which includes bold colours and very intricate patterns that really stand out.

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Is there any trend you're loving at the moment - especially for stationery and cards?

ƒ. x

#natstatweek: London Stationery Show

Yesterday, Natasha and I ventured to the Business Design Centre for the London Stationery Show. Much like Top Drawer, the event is mostly for traders, but we still managed to find a few gems hidden in between the very corporate/basic office supplies stands.

Some that stood out are:

1 // NU Notebooks - you'll probably all familiar with the brand (I personally loved using their notebooks back in my Uni days), but perhaps you did not know that they also have a more on-trend line called Nu:Era, perfect if you like your journals to be more stylish and luxurious (they even have a pen holder and several slots for your cards!).

2 // Origin One - is a collection of everyday stationery made in India "made for the design-loving global nomads" which is surely a message I can get behind! All the products are nicely designed and there's lot of attention to details while still keeping it pretty minimalistic, which again, I love ❤️

3 // My Pretty Circus - is a relatively new German stationery brand that mostly focuses on reversible wrapping paper and greeting cards. All their patterns are really colorful and they sell blank note cards that come with occasion stickers, so you can stick on whichever you need and be all set - genious if you ask me!

Lastly, a special mention goes to Manuscript Pen Company that was having a live calligraphy demo by the super talented Joyce of Artsy Nibs, who was kind enough to beautifully write my blog name for me ❤️


Have you got any new brand under your stationery radar? ✏️👀

ƒ. xx

Looking Around London: the Barbican Conservatory

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Banana trees, bamboo, cacti… it’s not something you’d expect to be growing in the middle of London, yet that’s exactly where you should go if you fancy spending your Sunday morning surrounded by tropical plants.

Located 10 minutes from the iconic St. Paul cathedral, the Barbican Centre is one of my all time favourite venues in central London. If you don’t know what’s inside, it’s possible you’d just overlook it as another soulless, claustrophobic, concrete building, but if you actually do venture in inside you’ll be surprised of how green and open it actually is.

Although I had visited the Centre a few times already, before last week I had never had the chance to wander around the conservatory. The greenhouse is, in fact, a bit tricky to find, which makes it a true hidden gem.

It houses a full room dedicated to cacti and succulents, a beautiful pond with koi fish, as well as an abundance of tropical plants and flowers.

If you're in London and fancy doing something different on a weekend (especially if the weather isn't the best!) definitely consider have a walk around the Barbican. Even if brutalist architecture isn’t your thing, rough, bare concrete and lush greenery is a combination I dare anyone not to like.

TIPS:

  • Plan your visit ahead and make sure to check their opening times for the day. Although the general opening is every Sunday 12AM-5PM, sometimes they may close early.

  • The Barbican estate is not the easiest to navigate, so if you plan on visiting the Conservatory, the easiest way in is through Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS - and just head to the 3rd floor.

  • If, like me, you enjoy drawing flowers and plants, make sure to bring a sketchbook along as there will be plenty of inspiration!

Have you ever been to Barbican Conservatory? ☺️

ƒ. xx

Discovering New Stationery at Top Drawer #1: PaperBoy London

Last week I've met up with Emma and went to my second Top Drawer, which is a trade show that showcases a variety of brands: from homeware to fashion, gifts, and of course stationery and greeting cards!

In the paper section there were dozens of exhibitors, some I was familiar with, and some I just had the pleasure of stumbling upon on on that day. Because I know so many of you love discovering new brands of stationery just as much as I do, I thought I'd share some of my favourites in a small series of blog posts. Today, I'd like to introduce you to: Paperboy London

Paperboy's stand immediately caught my attention, not only because of the eye-popping palette of his products, but also because I'm a big fan of street art, and his collection definitely seemed to had taken inspiration from it.

As we approached the stand, Paperboy's founder and creative director, Matt, gladly talked us through the creative process and inspiration behind his first four collections: the NYC collection (black & white one) inspired by walking the streets of New York City at night, and incorporating taxtures and contrasts offered by the city skyline; the Time Square collection (neon one) bold and eye-catching just like the place it was named after. On some of the cards he incorporated googly eyes, which is a brilliant touch if you ask me! The Marfa collection (pastel one) which I'm told was named after a very small Texan city, refects its quirks and crative side.

And lastly, the one that might be my personal favourite: the Bushwick collection inspired by the colorful street art and murals found in this neighbourhood in Brooklyn.


What do you think of Paperboy London? ♥
ƒ. xx

See more of Parerboy London online: Instagram | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Exploring OXO Tower Wharf

Chances are, that if you've ever wondered around South Bank, at some point you'd have looked up at that old looking building with letter-shaped windows, and wondered what OXO means.

Well, the Oxo Tower has a rather interesting story, in fact: back in the 20's, the building was acquired by a meat company (producers of the "Oxo cubes"). The company wanted to feature the name of their product on the building façade in the shape of illuminated sign, but because this type of advertisement wasn't allowed back in the day, they came up with the idea of having letter shaped windows to circumvent the restriction. How clever?!

And now, the tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in South Bank, so much so that the wharf where it's located is named after it.

Although the tower is closed to the public, thanks to Coin Street and We Blog Design, an handful of us was able to have a private tour and climb up to the very top and enjoy a different view of the river banks.

The way up the tower is quite steep and uneven, and for me, also being moderately afraid of heights, it was was quite challenging at times, but definitely worth it. It was such a privilege and an incredible experience!


After taking in the beautiful view from the top of the tower, we had some time to wander around and discover some of the little design shops that have home in the Wharf.

What is most unique about this area, is that there's a concentration of special retail-workshops for contemporary designers, which means they don't only have a shopfront, but are also able to work on their products without leaving the shop; this gave them the perfect opportunity to hold workshops to involve the customers into the creative process, and also share the story behind their creations.

Although all the shops are worth a visit, two of my favourites are Wagumi and Snowden Flood.

Wagumi; You may know I have a soft spot for East Asian culture, espacially anything Japanese, so Wagumi is a little heaven for me. All their product are imported directly from Japan, and they make their mission to assist small producers, and to bring new life to traditional aesthetics and mediums.

Snowden Flood; Of course I had to mention this lovely shop! Snowden's shop offers a range of products designed in house, and by new and emerging designers, making it the perfect spot to look for more unique gifts and souvenirs (and cards and prints!).

All the shops are really varied: you can find 3D printed jewellery or crads and stationery, authentic japanese pottery and handmade textiles. So, if you're ever around South Bank, definitely take some time to explore the Wharf, and don't be afraid to ask questions if you're curious, as most of the shop owners will gladly chat with you and tell you more about what they make.


DId you know about Oxo Tower Wharf? ☺

ƒ. xx

Screen Printing Workshop at Top Drawer

 ▲ Lexington Print in copper and black by Daniel Heath at #LiveTheStory at Top Drawer

▲ Lexington Print in copper and black by Daniel Heath at #LiveTheStory at Top Drawer

I said it before but I'll say it again: screen printing is awesome. Even more so when done live by such a talented artist as Daniel Heath, who demonstrated the technique using his new Lexington design, featuring large art deco windows.

 ▲ Daniel Heath introducing screen-printing

▲ Daniel Heath introducing screen-printing

The workshop was held at Top Drawer, and In The Window kindly invited some bloggers along to learn about Daniel's process of making his handmade wallpaper prints and to try it first hand.
In fact, that's exactly what In the Window is all about: connecting designers and makers with a community of design enthusiasts so that they can discover and experience not only the process, but also the story behind the finished products.

 ▲ Tasha & I having a go at pulling the print

▲ Tasha & I having a go at pulling the print

Seeing an artist at work is really something else, and being able to learn and ask questions about the design and making process was such a valuable experience. I definitely left the workshop way more inspired and motivated to make the dream of having my own little studio come true someday. A girl can dream, right?

Tasha also vlogged the event, so you can have a look at that too if you like ☺ (there's also lots of stationery eye candy in the video, so be prepared to be in awe).

If you could see anyone at work and learn from them, who would that be?

ƒ. x

// © All photos courtesy of In The Window