Sunday, 30 January 2011

3...Hope and Greenwood

Valentine's day is just around the corner and what better present to get your sweetheart than a bag of sweet goodies from the old fashioned traditional sweet shop, Hope and Greenwood.

Or if you are like myself with no sweetheart to give to but a very big sweet tooth to feed then this is the perfect place to go.

You will find Miss Hope and Mr Greenwood behind the counter of their 1940's esque sweetshop in the heart of London, where the shelves are full of colourful glass jars, oozing of nostalgia. With everything from fudge and toffees to gums and jellies, there truly is something for everyone.

As well as their store in Covent Garden, they have another tucked away in Dulwich, South East London, and this is where I ventured to this morning.

Inside this quaint little shop you will find every kind of confectionery needed to take you back to your childhood; you can't help but feel like a big kid, wanting one of everything. (Luckily I resisted this urge...only just!)
The thing I love most about this shop is the feeling you get of being in a sweetshop from yesteryear. From the music playing, to the retro style tins that some of the delicious delights come in, it all feels very charming and is a true labour of love.

Complete with scrumptious seasonal delights such as Valentine's day strawberry buttons, Easter eggs, candy skulls at Halloween or toffee snowballs at Christmas, there is always a great excuse to pop in. Or you could be like me and celebrate Monday's Coconut Mushrooms,Tuesday's Toffee Bonbons, Wednesday's Winter Mix, Thursday's Terrific Toffees, Friday's Flying Saucers, Saturday's Splendid Marzipan Fruits and Sunday's Giant Strawberries...just don't tell your dentist.

And now I must dash as I have some sweet treats awaiting.

Oooh, one last thing I wanted to share, not only did I buy some sugary supplies, I also picked up this box. I'm not entirely sure what I will use it for just yet, but it seemed to be a perfect little find whilst out on my London adventures. Perhaps I will put little keepsakes from my hot spots inside, starting with this adorable little badge.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

2...Good As New

This little vintage shop, Birds Dress Agency/Good as New, is an Aladdin's cave of handbags, shoes, clothes, hats- you name it, it is there, for both girls and boys alike. I have spent many hours sifting through boxes of broaches and scarves, rail upon rail of skirts and shirts, and shelf after shelf of shoes.

Each piece is different, after all it is a vintage shop, some pieces require a very extravagant owner whilst others are very demure and understated. I have left this shop, more than once, with a beautiful new find or two tucked under my arm.

The lady who owns the shop is very friendly and helpful, which is a good thing too as there is so much to see, it can be a little overwhelming.

My most recent find was this amazing clutch. It can hold so many things, perfect for a night out. It has no label in it, I have no idea who designed it, but whoever you are, I thank you.


If you are planning a trip for a designer diamond of a find, take note of the stores opening times and allow yourself plenty of time to browse at all the vintage goodies.

Opening times:

Where is this fashion find you ask?
251-253 Malpas Road
 020 8692 0333

Happy hunting.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Cockney Rhyming Slang

Would you Adam and Eve it, I've 'ad an idea.

As well as finding little treasures in and around London town and writing about them, I thought I could use this space to write about some of the cultural, traditional and historical gems of our city.

And what better place to start than with the language of the David Hockney (that's Cockney).

Cockney rhyming slang is believed to originate from around 1840 and was spoken by, and still is used by, those living in the East End of London. It's purpose isn't known for sure, but it is thought that it was used by criminals to confuse the police and eavesdroppers.
To say that the language used is a little confusing is an understatement. The way it is constructed is to take a word, for example, 'stairs' and rhyme two or three words with it, e.g. apple and pairs. However, the rhyming word is, most often, omitted just to leave the word apples, for example. So stairs=apples. Clearly no connection and to the untrained ear, the word is now meaningless.

Other examples include:

'dog' means 'phone' (dog and bone)
'trouble' means 'wife (trouble and strife) [women, trouble? never!]
'minces' means 'eyes' (mince pies)
'plates' means 'feet' (plates of meet)
'tumble' means drink (tumble down the sink)
'lilley' means dinner (Lilley and Skinner)

And when all strung together, you could end up with a sentence like this....

When I first met my trouble I couldn't believe my minces, she knocked me off my plates. Soon after I got on the dog and arrange a tumble and lilley.

Without my little Cockney slang dictionary, I wouldn't be able to make head nor tail of it.

All in all, it is a very clever use of language, with some of the contracted forms now widespread within Britain. For example, the contraction of butcher's hook, 'butchers' is often used in place of 'look'- to have a butchers. There are other examples, some rather crude, so let's just say, I won't be calling anyone a berk anytime soon.

So until next time, later g'vnor.

Look out for my next blog, all about the Oxo cube

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Clearly, Starbucks isn't a hidden gem of London, they are on every corner. (Except for where I live, the closest one is about 3 miles away!)

This well known coffee shop chain started in America, in 1971, and now Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world. There are now hundreds dotted all over the country and within London, you only have to walk walk a matter of metres after leaving one Starbucks, before stumbling upon another. (Unless you really want one and then, puff, they all seem to have disappeared.)

There are some people who hate the corporation and others who are literally obsessed with it. One man, Rafael Antonio Lozano Jr (or Winter, as he has called himself) has set himself the goal to drink a cup of coffee in every Starbucks store, in the world! That is a latte coffee!

Of all the coffee shop chains, I have to say, Starbucks is my number one. (Although I do sometimes cheat on Starbucks for a Posh Cheddar at Pret, shhhh don't tell.)

One of my favourite things to do is to go to one of my favourite Starbucks, sit, listen, watch the world go by and do a little bit of writing.

And where will you find me doing such a thing?

On the Southbank, just next to the Globe, tucked off of the main walk way is a Starbucks, and from the window St Paul's dominates the view. It is a nice place to sit and watch the world go by but not the best for eavesdropping. Unless of course you are multi lingual, unlike myself, and can understand the languages of the visiting tourists.

Or I might be at St Katherine's Docks.

At one time the Docklands were one of the world's busiest ports, now it is one of the most expensive dock developments.  Amongst the yachts and million pound pads you will find this little gem.

I love it because it is unlike any other Starbucks I have been to, from it's architecture to it's surroundings. The building itself was originally opened by Elizabeth II as an all-faith chapel, but now is a haven for all types of coffee lovers.

On a summer's day it is gorgeous, sitting outside by the still dock, somewhat hidden away from the chaos of Tower Bridge and the milling tourists.
It isn't the largest of coffee houses, there are limited tables inside and you can end up sitting rather close to the people at the table next to you, but I love it all the the closer you are, the easier it is to eavesdrop.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Tourist in Town

I think I have contracted blog fever.

I am loving writing my blog, 'On...' so much that I have decided to start another one. This one however, is going to focus more on one of my true loves. London.

I London.

In the last few years I have tried to find new nooks and crannies in my home city and really pay attention to the beauty that, as a Londoner, I perhaps take for granted.

Here you can read about my discoveries in London Town; from markets to monuments, book shops to bridges, galleries to graffiti, buildings to boats, and coffee shops to comedy shows.

Some will be old, some new, some I would have seen a thousand times before and some I will stumble across as I well, stumble across them.

Camera at the ready, London I come!