Hello All!
Guess what, we have a brand new website up and running now for you to check out. We also have a blog on there too, so you can find all the latest stories on our new site. 
Thanks for following us on Tumblr. We’ll continue to share pictures on here but most of our blog stories will be on our new website! 
:-)  High-res

Hello All!

Guess what, we have a brand new website up and running now for you to check out. We also have a blog on there too, so you can find all the latest stories on our new site. 

Thanks for following us on Tumblr. We’ll continue to share pictures on here but most of our blog stories will be on our new website! 

:-) 

The MAC-over

I would definitely consider myself a typical girl when it comes to looking good, wearing nice clothes, bothering to paint my nails etc. I’m not a girly girl, but I like make-up, accessories and am all too often drawn in by beauty products claiming to achieve what they never will. But I am very much of the opinion that I know best, and no-one can tell me what lipstick suits me more or what skirt flatters my figure. One thing I cannot usually stand, is other people attempting to do my make-up.

So when I went to MAC for a makeover, I was curious but didn’t have very high hopes. I assumed that the make-up artist would just slap any old thing on top of the make-up I was already wearing and be done with it. I got excited though when I stepped into the shop and was faced with walls and walls of fantastic shades of different products, and when I saw the transformation of a very pretty girl already undergoing a makeover, I started to alter my opinion slightly. 

I was introduced to Lucy, the lady who was going to be doing my make-up. She sat me down and asked me what sort of ‘look’ I wanted and how I usually did my make-up. I chose to go for a glamorous day look that would also work for an evening out; hitting two birds with one stone. She then decided that she would closely follow my usual make-up routine, but dramatise it a little and try out some more daring shades that I would perhaps not be courageous enough to try myself. While she pottered around the shop picking up various products in different shades, I wiped off all my make-up, feeling very pleased that she was going to work from scratch.

After a little while of having to “look to the left, now down, and now up please”, Lucy was finished and I nervously anticipated the result. I looked in the mirror and I was impressed. Very impressed. I thought she was taking an unnecessarily long time to do my eyeliner, but now I could see why. She had drawn it with a neatness and precision that I could never do myself, and it was completely symmetrical; something I can also never get quite right. My lipstick was darker than I would have chosen, but it looked glamorous, and it actually suited me. All in all, she had adhered to the style I like to go for, without completely changing my look, but had glammed it up and given it a little twist that worked just perfectly. And she even gave me a face chart where she had drawn which products and shades were used where, so I could repeat the look (or attempt to at least) by myself.

Of course MAC products aren’t the cheapest around, but they are very good quality and boy are they long-lasting! I usually find that I have to reapply my lipstick on the hour, but by the time I went to bed that night after a whole day of chatting, eating and drinking, it had only slightly faded.

So would I recommend MAC products and a trip to the store for a makeover? Yes I would, particularly at Old Spitalfields where you can browse the market stalls afterwards to find the perfect new outfit and accessories to compliment your new look.

 

 

By Karolina Kaminska

Pho Spitalfields

Pho Spitalfields is situated in an old rickety three floored former house, perfect for a Vietnamese restaurant, I really love the character and the food is just as awesome too.

As you step through the door you are transported into your very own little piece of Vietnam, the super friendly hosts show you to you seats and you are given a menu to look over.

The menu ranges from light salads and the most amazing summer rolls to huge steaming hot bowls of Pho and moreish noodle stir-frys.

We hit Pho for lunch one Saturday and I went for Summer rolls and noodles and my companion chose a bowl of Pho, all of which tasted delicious and kept us full until late that evening.

I have been to other branches of Pho in the Westfield Centre and Soho and loved the food just as much, but Pho at the Westfield is just a counter and can’t compete with the atmosphere at the Spitalfields restaurant.

If you’re looking for a cheap eat around Spitalfields with authentic Vietnamese fare, then Pho is the one to try. Weekends are quieter and you’ll probably get a table more easily without a wait. 

 

By Stephanie Hind  

The Fabric of my Youth

In conversation, I often find that clothing sits powerfully in the memory. Sometimes it is easier to recollect favourite garments we once wore, played in and loved than it is to recall the specifics of a given moment. If I can visualise what I wore at a certain age, nine times out of ten, the rest of the memory comes flooding back in realtime, and I can speed through years like I’m thumbing through an old fashioned flip book. A pair of red corduroy dungarees rolled up to the knees as I splashed through puddles. A beloved yellow ‘My Little Pony’ jumper worn as I daubed my scrapbook with magazine clippings and flour and water paste. Carouselling in ballet class with a pink chiffon skirt and silk scarf held aloft. These little snippets of memory can be pieced back together by contemplating our changing aesthetic, in turn allowing us to trace the path from childhood to adulthood. 

Often old photographs signpost a developing style or contain clues to an emerging personality. In any case, whether I thumb through gilt-edged albums or peer at the frames perched on sideboards, it’s pretty apparent that I had a thing about headscarves. Like most childhood whims, it’s difficult to locate the origin of this particular one, though I rather suspect it was a case of ‘like mother, like daughter’. Impressionable as I was, my love for knotting silk over and under my messy tresses never faded.

Aged five, beribboned and bossy, I would squirrel scraps of cream silk from my mother’s workshop for ‘safekeeping’. More often than not, my Barbie dolls and their nylon barnets would bear witness to my caprice. Aged ten, an aspiring designer, embroidering slices of blue denim to wear alongside pedal pushers and tank tops. Years of obligatory burgundy uniform and blasts of arctic playground air passed away before my sixteenth year finally arrived and I moved away to college. Two years of new company and a creative environment and my affaire de coeur was all but complete. 

Moving to London for my first year of university liberated my mind as well as my style. The city offers endless possibilities and experiences, free for the taking. The capacity for reinvention is present in the flow of the Thames and the age-old thoroughfares.  A place to fit in; a place to standout. 

And so it was that on a weekday perusal of Old Spitalfield’s vintage wares I happened across a stall heaped exclusively high with silken scarves. My delight knew no bounds.

The good thing is, buying a few silk scarves need not induce any financial woe or consumerist guilt. A slick of lipstick and a bright bandanna can do wonders to rejuvenate an outfit. There’s always the added bonus of the vintage essence. 

Having said that, I’m aware that the quest for individuality nowadays can be a ruthless game of clever moves and counter bluffs as we try to outplay each other in self-stylisation. In which case, I must bequeath to you a tale my mother once told to me about a friend who would fasten her ponytail not with ties or scarfs, but with a lacy pair of knickers. Now there’s a tactic to outsmart them all. 

 

By Christobel Hastings

www.calico-casa.blogspot.co.uk

"A bite at the usual?" - All Bar One

All Bar One – the name screams out that this is the place where you would definitely do well to go get a drink. At post five o’clock on any given day you’ll find this place teeming with men in suits – bankers, lawyers… you get my drift.

But don’t let the name completely put you off when you’re in the mood for a bite to eat and in an All Bar One neighbourhood. Along with an extensive drinks menu comes an extensive food menu, though from prior experience, I’d advise you to stay clear of the ‘Chilli Beef Sliders’ since that’s one item you’re not going to sing praises for. 

Is it a Sunday evening where you’re hard spent after a good day’s work searching for treasures at the Old Spitalfields Market and would like to get a good bite to eat? You would do well to remember an All Bar One a short walk away at Bishopsgate near Liverpool Street Station. Running a two course set menu where you get to choose any two from a menu of set starts, mains and desserts for £10 seems to be a pretty good fix for me and while this particular menu may not be too extensive, the dishes on offer are not bad at all.

For the starters we picked out the ‘Salt and black pepper crispy calamari’ and the ‘Gorgonzola mushrooms with toasted bread’. The calamari wasn’t a rich yellow fry since it was coated in a light flour but it was crisp and good to taste along with the sweet chili dip. I did like its presentation on a banana leaf. The mushrooms served in a wooden high plate swim in a cream of white wine sauce and cheese and, though it calls itself an appetiser, could weigh you down due to the overdose of cream. The bread served with it was cold and not toasted.

We picked their ‘classic burger’ and ‘gammon and eggs’ for the mains and decided to forgo dessert. They did sound good though (especially the ‘banoffee lollipops’). The burger is more of a no frills, home style burger with the bun that looks like it is sliced by a ten year old. Also, lettuce and tomatoes on the bottom half of the bun is a no for me. That might be one to steer clear of if you’re looking for a thrilling culinary treat. Served with fries and a tomato salsa you can add on cheese, bacon and the like to the burger at an extra cost.

The gammon and eggs is more of a breakfast-y item, served on a bed of fries along with a pineapple salsa. The gammon was really good but a little while into it and you will probably feel your cholesterol levels mounting. Lightly peppered and half boiled, you can’t really go wrong with the eggs can you! One thing I must say is that the fries (and yes I call them fries and not chips for a reason that I find that chips in Britain are softer and more thickly cut than the American fries) are great. Crisp, golden brown, thinly cut and sprinkled with pepper. Don’t ever forget the fries.

 

By Nithin Sasikumar

Mum Approved: Gift Ideas for Mum

Choosing the perfect gift for Mum is always a tough choice, but we’re determined to make sure this year choosing the right gift is simple(s!).

On Saturday 23rd we were lucky to have Pop Up Vintage Fairs, Designer Makers Market and Fifi’s Contemporary Market here with their wonderful traders and surrounded with plenty of choices for all types of Mum.

We hit the market stalls in search of our top 10 gifts for Mum.

Dionne Sylvester Design

If Mum is a little choosy over her crockery then Dionne’s impressive unique teacups and plates will be sure to impress her. The technique she uses, all done in her studio at home, ensures that no two cups are the same. We adore this Tiger Bay Teacup and Spoon Set, and because we all know that no two Mums’ are the same, this is a great gift. 

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Want to buy? Visit Dionne Painted on Etsy

Ladybird Likes

Creating pretty handmade things with a vintage twist is Zoe Jade’s motto and we agree. We liked this mix of tiny handmade trinkets from wood, re-purposed vintage fabrics, pretty paper and in her words ‘lots of love’. Give Mum one of these wooden vintage fashionable lady brooches, and she’ll love you for it, with so many to choose form, we’re certain you’ll find the right one that emulates Mum!

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Want to buy? Try Ladybird Likes on Etsy 

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Old Spitalfields to a tea…

About a year ago I was avoiding tea and coffee like the plague. I couldn’t for the life of me think why people would drink it. But that all changed when I found an amazing little tea shop close to my uni in Preston… and I was converted. 

Ever since moving to London I had been looking for a similar experience  - a fully dedicated tea café with knowledgeable waitresses. Don’t get me wrong, London has some amazing places that serve afternoon tea, but I hadn’t been anywhere that was purely dedicated to the perfect cuppa… Until now.

TeaSmith (cute name right?) sits inside Spitalfields and is one of those places that is quite easy to miss if your not looking out for it. It’s a small tea café/shop with a long tea bar you can sit at. The tea bar makes it perfect to talk to the waitresses and soak up all of their tea expertise while watching them make all the weird and wonderful teas they serve.

We chatted to the waitress about what we liked and she suggested some different teas we should try. I had Lily flowering tea, meanwhile my tea-drinking partner went for Darjeeling. Both were amazing, having been made right in front of us with water from a pre-boiled tap. The people sitting next to use were having the Afternoon Tea Ceremony tasting menu, which included a number of different teas and lots of cakes and chocolates. 

The tea keeps flowing until the leaves are spent or the customer is full. We drank as much as we could before picking up some tea and a contraption for brewing to take home.

I can’t wait to make up my tea from the comfort of my kitchen, and whenever I’m in the area and looking for a new flavour to try I will most definitely be popping back to TeaSmith.

Stop by and see for yourself - which tea was your favourite?

 

By Stephanie Hind

Mother’s Day at the market

With Mother’s day approaching fast, we asked three of our themed market organisers to put together just some of their favourite recommendations for Mother’s Day. From the classic vintage Mum who knows 1950s never goes out of style, or perhaps the designer maker Mum who appreciates all things handmade and even lovable Mum who just wants something that shows quality…our regular market traders have got it covered.

Maxine Stonehill who brings us Pop Up Vintage Fairs suggests some fabulous vintage Mother’s day gifts.

As a mum it’s always lovely to be spoilt on Mother’s Day, so my thoughts turn to a wish list of vintage gifts that are both unique and beautiful. What better way to treat your mum than an unusual gift from a bygone era!

  • Fairheads Headwear - Everyone’s wearing hats at the moment!  Give mum one of these handmade vintage style cloche hats to recreate that 1920s look to wear with a vintage coat and 1920s style handbag, or a handmade hat to wear for a Spring wedding or a special day out!
  • Magpies Attic - pretty vintage brooches, compacts, perfume bottles, clothes and all manner of vintage treasures.
  • Vintage Promise - Statement jewellery and stunning necklaces at Vintage Promise’s double stall this month, what about some Turquoise earrings to really stand out from the mothering crowd.
  • Latham Street Vintage - A 1960s cream crochet handbag is timeless, elegant and would look great with a 60s mini dress.
  • Vintage Glitz & Bitz - How glamorous to own a pair of long evening gloves to wear with a vintage evening dress.

Whatever you buy your mum this Mother’s Day, we’re sure she will cherish it forever!

 

Sophie Rees – Designers Makers suggests her gift ideas for Mum

Choosing a gift for your mum shouldn’t be too difficult, just pick something you love about her personality and get something to reflect that. Here are some ideas from just a few of the wonder traders that will trading on Saturday.

  • Eight Bear – Original range of books and prints that will appeal to adults and children, so if you have a little brother or sister you love spending time with, then this is a great gift for family time.
  • Lulu and Luca – Spoil Mum and her home with handmade accessories and soft furnishings crafted from original screen printed designs. 
  • Imogen Luddy – if mum takes pride in her home, then Imogen’s wallpapers, table linen and desirable products for interior environments will be perfect. 
  • Lovely JoJos – Great range of prints, cards, t-0shirts and general good stuff from a girl who wears an alarming amount of neon. If Mum is bright and bubbly, then check out JoJos.
  • Nkoyo – Does mum have a softer side?  Then a beautifully fine pencil or painted scarf from Nyoko will be perfect. 

Fifi Campbell, from Fifi’s Contemporary Markets suggests some contemporary Mother’s day treats:

  • Solivia Soaps – if she loves to be in touch with nature then choose one of the many pure, natural handmade soaps from Solivia Soaps. This sunshine shampoo bar will brighten up mum’s day and leave her hair much better off. 
  • Kiki and Koko – Why not treat a little one to a custom African print bandana style bib, and let Mum thank you for it.
  • Arabellas Attic – This wonderfully unique circus retro coin purse is the perfect handbag must have for Mum. She may even save her pennies just so she can look at this pretty purse over and over again. 
  • Linda Skoglund – For the Mum who enjoys creating lovely home cooked meals, this apron is made from 100% cotton and forms part of the unique ‘Shh kitchen textiles’.
  • Anecdotalist – Add this anchor bag to your gift list for the Mum who likes the little nautical touches.

With 15 unique gifts for Mum, you are spoilt for choice with any of our regular Spitalfields Markets. For more gift ideas or just to declare how much you love Mum, join us on Twitter or Facebook!

Tales of a swap shop virgin

I’m ashamed to admit that as a fashion graduate I have never actually been Swishing (swap shopping, for those of us not in the know.). Last Saturday I thought; who better to take my swishing virginity than Mrs Bear, aka Jo, who runs a successful swap shop in London.

She descended upon Old Spitalfields Market with her bounty of clothes and accessories and set up a large stall complete with changing rooms and plenty of room for swapping.

I took along some tops a scarf and one of the boy’s designer jumpers. (I promise I didn’t steal it. It was willingly donated.)

So here’s the lowdown: at Mrs Bear’s Swap Shop you hand in your clothes, pay £7.50 and you receive colored stamps for each item: red for high street, blue for designer, so it all fair swapping.

There’s no taking in some Primark gloves and walking out with a Chanel dress… that sort of transaction remains safely in my dreams. Your clothes are inspected and marked and submitted to the rack so you can search for new items to take home and pay for with your stamps.

My Items hit the selves, and within 5 minutes people were trying them on. In fact by the time I left the shop, all of my Items had new homes, Yippee! Who knew I was so stylish?

The atmosphere was amazing - everyone was excited and hunting for their perfect swap, and everyone was so lovely chatting about fashion and things they had picked up from their last swap shop.

I didn’t actually end up swapping anything but I saw some people get some great items. I will be keeping my stamps for the next swap shop to try and find some little gems. I’ll see you on Saturday 27th April at Spitalfields Market.


By Stephanie Hind

Beirut Street Food at Yalla Yalla

To give everyone a break from all the burger related posts, I decided to sample some classic Arabic fare. This tiny restaurant, serving authentic Beirut Street Food, has just opened up at the Boxpark Mall in Shoreditch. I went on a weekday for dinner and found the place packed: now that was a good sign to start with. 

What I liked: The décor is simple with wooden plank seating and tables which gives it a sort of communal dining experience. It does have a few table & chair options fit for couples however, and two long tables by the bar. The music definitely has an Arabian influence but is unobtrusive and allows for easy table conversation. 

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OLD SPITALFIELDS LOVES A GOOD SWISH

Old Spitalfields Market has become known as one of London’s best fashion shopping destinations, and this year we’re getting ready to be serious about swishing. Swishing involves swapping clothes for very little money and mutual benefit, and there’s no better swishing event in London this year than Mrs Bears Swap Shop.  We asked Joanne Walters, owner of Mrs Bears Swap Shop, to shed a little light in her swishing background.

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Pop Up Vintage Fairs come bearing bargains.

By mid-month, the January sales on the high street are leaving little to be desired. Unless you’re after the few last misshapen dregs slipping off the hangers in the far corner of Dorothy Perkins, the Boxing Day bargains are officially done for another year. 

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If, however, it’s garments of the more vintage variety you’re looking for to adorn your wardrobe, you’re in luck. This Saturday 19th, London’s greatest Pop Up Vintage Market returns to Old Spitalfields with - you guessed it - their very own January sale!

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Seek out retro gems and old school trinkets for a fraction of the price at their unique vintage stalls including favourites such as Auntie Aviator, Ikkonik Vintage Menswear, Latham Street Vintage and Candypout from 11am tomorrow. And don’t forget to keep an eye on our Twitter feed - we’ll be live tweeting the best bargains before they get snapped up by you lovely lot. Follow us @OldSpitalfields to make sure you don’t miss out on the goodies!

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The Heart of Vintage

As I came to write my first piece as Old Spitalfields’ new vintage blogger, I found myself pondering about the nature of vintage and its significance in our everyday lives.  The vogue of vintage has permeated every aspect of modern life as we relentlessly quest to replicate the allure of times past. I can’t be the only one who has smiled at the tigger-ish joy of those frolicking, young pups who pluck at their noughties denim bombers and delightedly exclaim “It’s vintage!” 

It seems as though vintage has become a one-size-fits-all commercial marketing tool; something with which to gloss the commonplace product and transform it to a token of bygone times. It’s certainly reaped success; the cult of vintage has never been more appetising to the British consumer. While the commercial potential of vintage has been increasingly capitalised on in recent months, I believe most misapplication of the term actually stems from a harmless desire to recline in that romanticised age of beautiful craftsmanship, knowledge and prestige; a culture where textile design and manufacturing was inextricably woven into our heritage- a time when industry boomed and the streets were laced with beautiful wares.

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