Fashion, Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: Aaron Hales – Luxury Accessories Designer

April 5, 2016

Today’s interview is with Aaron Hales a luxury accessories designer. A born Londoner (rare breed these days) Aaron shares with us his favorite parts of South West London.

Meet Aaron Hales

Aaron Hales

Hi Aaron, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Battersea, South-West London and have always lived in the city. I started life as a classical musician but quickly realised I also had interests and talents elsewhere, which led me down a very diverse path and I have had the pleasure of working on several great projects over the years. My passion for the finer things in life exploded in 2014 when I launched Aaron Hales an accessories label focusing on British craftsmanship, storytelling and my own view of the world. I launched with four designs which, to my surprise, completely sold out. A year and a half later, the brand is growing at a phenomenal rate and we have enjoyed successful seasons at Paris Fashion Week and have nurtured a loyal, passionate customer base. 

Why London?

London has always been my home and even though I enjoy escaping, a part of me will always belong here. I grew up in Battersea, lived in Wimbledon for many years and then moved to Hampstead. I sometimes find the energy in London far too claustrophobic and intense which is why I suppose I have always enjoyed living in areas that I can retreat to, with plenty of green space and a strong sense of community. I did, however, grow up very close to Clapham Junction station so I find a strange comfort in the hustle and bustle and can never bear to be away from it for too long.

Where are your favourite places to go in London ?

I was very proud when the decision was made to make some of our galleries and landmarks free to the public and I am always happy to lose myself in them. I regularly make a pilgrimage to The Wallace Collection as well as to the V&A and Tate to visit my favourite works and I think it is an incredible gift to have such masterpieces on our doorstep.

As someone working fashion where do you go to shop? 

I think working in fashion changes your shopping behaviour forever. I am very aware of the cost of materials and the issues around fast fashion, so I am a lot more focused on timeless, investment pieces. You can always find me in DAKS at the start of Autumn and I think COS has a wonderful Spring knitwear collection.

What is your preferred mode of transport to get around the city?

Weather permitting, I prefer to walk. I will jump on the tube for longer distances and time efficiency but we live in a beautiful city and I try to see as much of it as I can!

Are there any restaurants that you can recommend to our readers and why?

For breakfast, The Atrium at the Landmark Hotel is a wonderful place. Brasserie Max at the Covent Garden Hotel has great food and a fun interior, perfect for dinner with friends. If I’m in Mayfair, I always like coffee and cake at Petrocchi Sede Unica, a great little Independent Italian restaurant on Albermarle Street. It has been around forever, but the Gay Hussar is one of the few places left that conjures up old Soho for me, and the cheese pancakes are to die for.

Is there anything that annoys you about living in London?

I’m annoyed about the number of tower blocks that are being built and I am annoyed that we haven’t been as strict on design consistency as most other European cities would be. We have a beautiful city and I would hate to see a London where natural daylight is a luxury.

As a business owner in London, what advice could you give to others look to start their own business in the city?

Network, be frugal and don’t forget about the rest of the world. London is an amazing place to launch, test and grow a business idea. There are lots of affluent people living here and it is easy to meet those people at events and even through friends, so always push yourself out there and carry business cards with you wherever you go. London is also an expensive city, with cost of living one of the highest in the world, so don’t forget to be frugal and put your money into the area that will truly help you grow. As wonderful as London is, it is not the only city in the world and I think it is really important to understand that. There are lots of potential customers around the UK and just across the pond – they could be your ticket to serious growth.

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

There is a place called Falcon Park, very close to where I grew up. It is a stretch of wild green, hidden by buildings and railway arches and it is empty most of the year. I always found it very peaceful and remember sunbathing there with friends in the Summer.
 Falcon Park

Finally, If you had to leave London where would you go?

I fell in love with Marrakech the first time I visited and nearly moved there. I think it is a wonderful place, with an intense magic I haven’t experienced elsewhere. I could definitely see myself living there.

Thanks so much Aaron, you’ve really given us some great places to check out. 

Aaron’s beautiful scarves and accessories are available to buy from https://aaronhales.com
Meet a londoner

Meet A Londoner: Vanessa Agyemang, International Model and Designer – Copper Dust London

April 1, 2016

VAnessa Agyemang

Today’s interview is with Vanessa Agyemang, international model and designer of Copper Dust London. Vanessa’s luxury home decor brand is fast becoming known for its bespoke handmade lampshades and unique fusion of eclectic British and African culture. As a fellow British African I was keen to get her perspective of living in the city. In this interview she shares with us her love of Greenwich and favourite things to do in London.

Hi Vanessa – Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I don’t think a lot of people know, I have degree in Interior Architecture & Design. Outside of being an award winning model I founded luxury home décor brand Copper Dust specialising in handmade limited edition lampshades and illustration. I’ve been lucky enough to combine both my passions. My designs have been featured in The World of Interiors, Elle Décor and House and Garden. Alongside this  I’ve had the opportunity to work with brands such as Nars, Samsung and ASOS. 

Vanessa agyemang - copperdust

Why London?

London is a multicultural city infused with daily inspiration from art, music, theatre and so much more. I live in Greenwich, which means I’m surrounded by parks and Maritime history. I was drawn to Greenwich for it’s quaint boutique shops and Greenwich market. I’ve lived in here for over 10 years and my favourite feature is the freedom to walk across the heath to clear my thoughts and reset.

Where are your favourite places to go in London?

Definitely Shoreditch for its edgy street style,  King’s Cross St Pancras as I love to people watch and see how they interact with the environment. The British Museum is a must because, it always has changing exhibitions, which are always inspiring. 

As an international model – can you share your favourite places to shop?

Nothing can beat a good vintage store, I love to mix that up with African prints from Dalston or prints I’ve sourced from Ghana.

What is your preferred mode of transport to get around the city?

German Gymnasium is a new discovery, with such an unusual name, the fact that it’s a restaurant can throw you. An old gym that has been converted to expose the original beams, with marble columns is an absolute gem.  Tom’s Kitchen set in the beautiful area of Wapping, at the first glance it looks like the french Rivera, the cuisine is British traditional,  I cannot wait to visit place in the summer.  Searcy’s Champagne Bar, the longest Champagne bar in the world. Once again beautiful architecture, with exceptional lighting and the Food is simply divine.

Is there anything that annoys you about the city?

The commute, especially on the London Underground, packed on the trains like sardines can make travelling around the city incredibly uncomfortable.

As a business owner can you give any advice to others wishing to do the same?

Research, research research, there is a lot of support available for start ups is a matter of putting your brand and product out there and networking with the right people.
Vanessa Agyemang

Your work is so unique and beautiful, where does your inspiration come from?

I draw inspiration from my environments, the people and the work and I surround myself with. My work is influenced by my cross culture between Ghana and the UK. I love bold prints, contrasted by block colours. My illustrations are intense and express depth and emotion. I use mixed media depending on the product, each item is handmade with love, and a limited edition. Copper Dust products are made for the design conscious home to add a timeless feature to your living space.

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

There is a pedestrian tunnel that starts in Greenwich and goes under the river Thames and you come out in East London, a great stroll and a secret discovery.

Are there any other cities you would live in?

I’ve always known I would like to expand my business internationally, and since the first time I visited Barcelona I fell in love. The food, lifestyle and abundance of things to to do makes it my number one spot.

Thanks Vanessa – i’m mentally making notes to check out German Gymnasium – it sounds amazing!

Art

Date for Diary – Jeff Koons to Exhibit At Newport Street Gallery This May

March 29, 2016

Jeff Koons Exhibition at Newport Street Gallery In May

Newport Street Gallery will present a solo exhibition of work by American artist Jeff Koons, titled ‘Now’. Curated by Damien Hirst, the show will run for five months, from 18th May to 16th October 2016.  Spanning thirty-five years of Koons’s extraordinary career, ‘Now’ will include over thirty paintings, works on paper and sculptures drawn from Hirst’s collection. The exhibition features iconic works, dating from 1979 to 2014, from Koons’s series Inflatables, The New, Equilibrium, Luxury and Degradation, Made in Heaven, Popeye,and Hulk Elvis, amongst others.  ‘Now’ is the first major UK show to be devoted to the artist since the exhibition, ‘Jeff Koons: Popeye Series’, at the Serpentine Gallery in 2009.  Born in 1955, Jeff Koons is widely considered to be one of the most significant artists to have emerged in the postwar era. Since the late 1970s, his diverse work has explored themes pertaining to taste, consumerism, mass culture, beauty, acceptance and the role of the artist. Having once stated, ‘everything already exists in this world’, Koons has also reconfigured the concept of the readymade.  Hirst first saw Koons’s work – which he has been collecting for twelve years – in the 1987–1988 group exhibition ‘New York Art Now’, presented at the Saatchi Gallery during Hirst’s second year at Goldsmiths college.  ‘Power Stations’, Newport Street Gallery’s inaugural exhibition of paintings by John Hoyland (1934–2011), has been extended by one week, allowing visitors a final opportunity to see the work of one of Britain’s leading abstract artists. ‘Power Stations’will now close on 10th April 2016.  Newport Street Gallery is the realisation of Hirst’s long-term ambition to share his extensive collection of art –which includes over 3,000 works – with the public.  Newport Street Gallery is open on Bank Holidays. Please see website for details.  Entry to all exhibitions is free.

Damien Hirst’s Newport Street gallery will be exhibiting work by American artist Jeff Koons, in a solo show titled ‘Now’. Curated by Damien Hirst, the show will run for five months, from 18th May to 16th October 2016.

Spanning thirty-five years of Koons’s extraordinary career, ‘Now’ will include over thirty paintings, works on paper and sculptures drawn from Hirst’s collection. The exhibition features iconic works, dating from 1979 to 2014, from Koons’s series Inflatables, The New, Equilibrium, Luxury and Degradation, Made in Heaven, Popeye,and Hulk Elvis, amongst others.

‘Now’ is the first major UK show to be devoted to the artist since the exhibition, ‘Jeff Koons: Popeye Series’, at the Serpentine Gallery in 2009.

Born in 1955, Jeff Koons is widely considered to be one of the most significant artists to have emerged in the postwar era. Since the late 1970s, his diverse work has explored themes pertaining to taste, consumerism, mass culture, beauty, acceptance and the role of the artist. Having once stated, ‘everything already exists in this world’, Koons has also reconfigured the concept of the readymade.

Hirst first saw Koons’s work – which he has been collecting for twelve years – in the 1987–1988 group exhibition ‘New York Art Now’, presented at the Saatchi Gallery during Hirst’s second year at Goldsmiths college.

Entry to all exhibitions is free.

 

Things to do in london

New West End Shows Coming to London In 2016

March 22, 2016

New Shows Coming to London In 2016

If you’re planning a trip to the West End this year, there’s certainly plenty to see. 2016 is already shaping up to be a top year for London theatre and here are some of our recommended shows to get tickets early for:

aladdin musicalAladdin

There is so much excitement around the upcoming Aladdin production andtickets have been selling like hotcakes. The reason? It could be the nostalgic nod to our favourite Disney film or the fact that it’s received rave reviews from the recent Broadway run. Finally, the West End gets to see Aladdin in all its glory, and it’s going to be well worth the wait. Buy tickets for Aladdin.

Dreamgirls

Dreamgirls. Amber Riley. Photo credit Blair Caldwell

 

The movie Dreamgirls was an instant hit and we’re sure the West End version will follow in its footsteps. Showing at The Savoy Theatre from November, we may have a little bit of a wait but it promises to have pre-Xmas crowds snapping up tickets in anticipation. The Broadway version opened 35 years ago and this is the first West End production fans will be treated to. Tickets are not on sale yet but you can keep your eyes peeled here for the latest info: Dreamgirls tickets

 

 

 

funny girl banner

Funny Girl

We know Sheridan Smith from the TV but she is no stranger to London theatre either, with many highly acclaimed stage performances under her belt. Set to play the inimitable Fanny Brice at the West End this year, Funny Girl is a classic feel-good production that will delight families and adults.  Tickets are available now with performances from 9th April 2016. Buy Funny Girl tickets.

The Play That Goes Wrong

If you’re looking for a fabulous comedy you can take the whole family to, The Play That Goes Wrong has to be it! The storyline is centred around the failed attempts of an amateur drama society trying to put on a show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It is currently running at The Duchess Theatre and has been voted Best New Comedy at the Olivier Awards 2015. Buy tickets for The Play That Goes Wrong.

So there we have it; our top new West End picks for 2016. Book early to avoid disappointment!

Dreamgirls Image Credit: Blare Caldwell

Things to do in london

Easter events at Kings Cross, Friday 24 March – Saturday 2 April

March 11, 2016

King's Cross Easter Egg Hunt

Kings Cross has lots of events this Easter for adults and children. Head to King’s Boulevard and board the Easter Train for a day of family fun. The special road train will journey to Granary Square, where you’ll meet giant bunnies armed with baskets of yummy treats.

easter kings cross

Show off your creative skills and take part in the Japanese kawaii-inspired Easter egg decorating competition.

Hop back on for the next destination, the King’s Cross Pond for an eggscellent Easter egg hunt. Last stop on this Easter journey is the Skip Garden, with garden tours between 10am – 12pm and 2pm – 4pm, and a chance to meet the Skip Garden’s resident chickens!

The Easter Train will run from 10am – 4pm. All events are free, and no booking is required.

For more information please visit: https://www.kingscross.co.uk/event/all-aboard-the-easter-express

Things to do in london

Free coffee on World Poetry Day – Monday 21st March, 2016

March 11, 2016

world poetry day

To celebrate World Poetry Day on Monday 21st March, Julius Meinl, the Viennese coffee company, is offering free coffee and tea to any customer who visits a participating location and shares a handwritten poem. Using poetry as currency, ‘Pay With A Poem’ will take place in cafes, bars and restaurants serving Julius Meinl, including at Balans Soho Society, where internationally acclaimed poet and campaign ambassador, Robert Mo
ntgomery, will be on hand to help liquidate your lines!

Date: Monday 21st March, 2016

Time: All day event (Robert Montgomery available between 11am – 2pm)

Location: Balans Soho Society
60 – 62 Old Compton Street
London W1D 4UG

Tickets: This event is FREE!

To find out more about World Poetry Day and how you can take part, visit www.facebook.com/JuliusMeinlOfficial andwww.meinlcoffee.com. Follow the social conversation using #PayWithAPoem and #PoetryForChange.

Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: Cherry Collins, Creative Director of shopping app GRABBLE

March 10, 2016

Today’s we meet the ‘FashionITster’ – Cherry Collins, Creative Director of one of London’s hottest tech start-ups and must-have shopping app GRABBLE.

Meet Cherry Collins 

cherry collins

Cherry, can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Having spent almost a decade working within the fashion industry doing everything from print design to styling, I joined Grabble – a new mobile shopping app – in 2015 where I’m now Creative Director.

Why London?

I moved to London from Tunbridge Wells. I was absolutely desperate to escape to the city and loved the idea of being a small fish in a big pond. As much as I love the country and ironically, am now at an age where I appreciate it, I found it quite suffocating and was definitely craving a more creative, vibrant atmosphere.

I live in Greenwich and have done for 12 years now. When I left for university, I didn’t want to be paying extortionate rates for student accommodation that I inevitably wouldn’t like. Luckily, I managed to persuade my sister to go halves with me on a flat, and that’s where I’ve been ever since. Greenwich is leafy, has a great little village atmosphere with coffee shops and a wonderful park, much like Tunbridge Wells, but it’s also only a 20 minute tube journey to Bond Street. That said, in two months i’m moving to Battersea so that I can ride my bike to work and take advantage of a different park and excellent brunch spots.

What are your favourite places to go in London?

There’s nothing quite like strolling around Borough Market before walking along the South Bank in the Summer. Somerset House at Christmas is magical, as is the Natural History Museum at night.

Where do you usually shop?

I love walking around Selfridges, Liberty and The Conran Shop, but I also love stores like Monologue and Modern Society on Redchurch Street.

Are there any restaurants that you can recommend to our readers?

Andrew Edmonds is perfect for a romantic date. Bob Bob Richard is a great way to start a night with the girls. Dishoom’s Shoreditch branch serves the best breakfast, and Ask For Janice is perfect for a quick bite to eat at lunch or for cocktails in their basement after work.

Is there anything that annoys you about living in London?

After 12 years I seem to have finally reached the stage where people pushing me on and off the tube, walking slowly in front of me, and tourists stopping just in front of the tube gates, no longer annoys me!

What advice could you give to others who want to choose to start a business in London?

We’ve moved offices 6/7 times and now we’re finally settled at Runway East, Moorgate. We work with 10/15 other start-ups and it’s not only a great environment, but it means there are always people around to inspire you and to help if there’s something you’re not sure of. My biggest piece of advice would be to choose your location wisely!

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

I’m sure other people know about it, but I love breakfast on the water at The Counter Cafe in the Summer, before cycling along the canal to Angel and looking around the little shops there. I’m also a fan of the restaurant No67 in Peckham, they have a lovely greenhouse and bookshop…most of my favourite places revolve around brunch!

Finally, are there any other cities in the world that you’ve visited that you’d live in?

I absolutely love New York, I’d live there in a heartbeat, similarly Vancouver, Stockholm and Copenhagen. I love how similar they are to London in that they’re fast pace and creative, but also how different they are in their offering. New York has superb restaurants, bars and shopping, Vancouver has incredible hills and lakes and such a healthy, clean way of life, Stockholm and Copenhagen are arty and have wonderful homewares.

cherry collins

Grabble is free to download on iOS and Android: Live The Stylish Life. Mobile shopping made simple.

Thanks Cherry for sharing your perspective of the city.

Things to do in london

Get your tickets for the Tweed Run 2016 – at 12pm today

February 29, 2016

The Tweed Run 2016

tweed run

Tickets for the eighth annual London Tweed Run goes on sale today at 12pm.
If you have never heard of the tweed run its mass of people cycling around London wearing Tweed for charity.

The event starts at 11:00 am from Clerkenwell and will take in some of London’s finest landmarks, making stops along the way for a spot of tea in a fine London square, a picnic break in the park, and ending up at a beautiful garden for a drink and a bit of a knees up.

Tickets to the Tweed Run are £25, which includes a £5 donation to the London Cycling Campaign.

Tickets for the event and the optional extras go on sale on Monday 29th February at 12:00 noon, via www.tweedrun.com/tickets the tickets tend to sell out very quickly, so be prepared to be poised at your computer promptly before noon.

tweed-run

Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: Alex from Notting Hill, Instagrammer for Alex On The Road

February 25, 2016

Today’s Meet a Londoner takes us to Notting Hill, a place many of us know and would love to live. It’s beautiful Georgian architecture and pretty little streets have captured the attention of Notting Hill resident Alex Zouaghi who documents it through his very popular instagram page Alex on the road. In this interview he shares his love for the area.

Meet Alex, Notting Hill

pretty Notting hill house

Alex, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello ! My name is Alex (Alexandre), I am 28 and I come from Paris! I work in a French School here in London where I teach…Chinese! When I am not in front of my students, I love to take pictures on my instagram page Alex on the road and work on my blog Mr.Swaggy on the Road

Why London?

London has always been a city in which I could picture myself living in! I used to live in Paris and I had the chance to come to London twice before moving here. Each time, I remember thinking that it would be great to live in the city! The reason why I finally moved to London is because I got a position in the school where I am working right now. The project was really exciting so I decided to jump in!

I am now living in Notting Hill which was for me the place I was dreaming of but in which I never thought I could live! And yes, sometimes miracles do happen haha! And I absolutely LOVE my neighbourhood! As you can see on my instagram, Notting Hill really is my daily inspiration for pictures: There is so many beautiful houses, nice coffee shops and restaurants here!notting hill street

Where are your favourite places to visit in London?

While I am not in Notting Hill, I love to go to Hampstead, Primrose Hill or Richmond. I love the village spirit which makes this part of London charming.

Where is your favourite place to shop? 

I am not a big fan of shopping! I only buy things when I need them, especially clothes but I love to go to stationery shops like Pedlars in Notting Hill or even bigger shops like Tiger!

What restaurants can you recommend to our readers and why?

That’s such a difficult question! I love Farm Girl in Notting Hill, the food is delicious and the place is lovely! If you love eating vegetarian, Nama in Westbourne Park is your place! And for those of you who would love to try something different, why not give Danish food a try? Snaps & Rye, in Golborne Grove is great for that!

Is there anything that annoys you about living in London?

Before moving to London, I was living in New York which I fell in love with but which is also really stressful and noisy! I don’t have those problems anymore but here in London there are two things I don’t like about the city: The price of transport and when the tube is not working correctly!

pretty notting hill house

Can you give our readers some tips to capture the best photos of the city?      

There are so many different possibilities to shoot good pictures here! My advice would be to go away from the main streets and get lost in the small alleys and paths to see something different! This is what I love to do and I am always very lucky to find beautiful homes, an old vintage car or a cute solo bike!

Can you share any hidden gems in London that nobody else knows about?

I am now very familiar with Notting Hill that I have walked through it a thousand times! A lot of people only stay in Portobello but I will recommend to go a little north, closer to the Ladbroke Grove tube station, there’s a really small village called Clarendon Cross village. The place is cute and so quiet with great shops nearby and coffee places!

notting hill car

Finally, are there any other cities in the world that you’ve visited that you would live in?

I used to live in Beijing while I was studying Chinese. Living in China is so different from what we can experience in Europe but that really was a great time in my life! I also had the chance to live in New York for my work and it’s there where I started my blog! New York is a fantastic city that I am really excited to go back to someday!

Thanks Alex for sharing your love of Notting Hill, I will definitely be checking out Clarendon Cross Village when the weather is a little warmer.

Art, Meet a londoner

Meet a Londoner: India Whalley – Founder Of The Dot Project Gallery

February 16, 2016

Today we speak to India Whalley, Founder of The Dot Project. After several years working in Interior Design India founded The Dot Project, a new art gallery in the heart of Chelsea that not only caters to the seasoned collector but is inspiring a new generation of young collectors.

Meet India 

india whalley

India, Tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Founder of The Dot Project – a new contemporary art gallery in Chelsea which showcases emerging international artists. I have a passion for discovering great art that will stand the test of time.

Why London?

I was brought up in London, which for me is one of the most exciting cities in the world for contemporary art right now. I also love it’s history. Chelsea – where my gallery is located – housed the first art studios in the 1870s, where it gained a reputation as an artistic and bohemian colony. In the 20th century many artists’ studios were gradually acquired for other purposes, forcing artists to move elsewhere. I love being part of the original, vibrant art scene in Chelsea.

What are your favourite places to visit in London?

I love the Royal Academy of Arts on Piccadilly. I’m a member and love being one of the first to view their shows. The recent Ai Wei Wei exhibition was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

This is one of my favourite places too, especially the cafe!

Where are your favourite places to shop?

I love popping into the beautiful boutique shops near my gallery, such as Baar and Bass, which houses the most amazing collections. Im all for supporting small local businesses in the area and finding that unique one of a kind piece!

Are there any restaurants you recommend to our readers?

I’m a member at South Kensington Club, which is perfect for a healthy lunch meeting (and a quick dip in their Watsu Pool after!)

Is there anything that annoys you about living in London?

I used to live in New York when I was an Interior Designer and I loved the fast pace and the ease of getting around the city for meetings. In London I go on many studio visits and social events and I find myself darting from one side of town to the other. I wish everything was nearer!

As a business owner in London, what advice could you give to others look to start their own business in the city?

Have a vision, surround yourself by people who inspire you and believe in yourself! My gallery is approaching its first anniversary – we are going to celebrate by exhibiting for the first time at Art16 in Olympia.

the dot project gallery

The Dot Project

As an art gallery owner can you recommend any London Artist’s that we should pay attention to?

Last month we showed Brixton-based artist, Milla Eastwood. Her paintings are intoxicating and she is definitely one to follow.

Finally, are there any other cities in the world that you’ve visited that you’d live in?

I love Italy. Last summer, my boyfriend and I rented a car and did a road trip – it was so beautiful. We cant wait to go back again this summer.

Thanks India, lots of great places to add to my list!