Monthly Archives: November 2010

Etsy Crush: Eloise Renouf

Look look look look look! Argh these prints are gorgeous and I want them all.

Designed by the annoyingly talented Eloise Renouf, who designs out of her Nottingham studio while juggling her kiddywinkies and eating crisps, her mid century inspired masterpieces have featured on her own wondrous collections of stationary and cards. 

Brilliantly, these prints are now all available to buy from her Etsy shop as limited editions.  

That’s Christmas sorted then.

Eloise Renouf’s Etsy shop



Bit Tarty

A part of me does not want to share this with you. But I will. Because I’m nice. Maybe I’ll give you a fake address.

Think you’ve had a good custard tart in your time? You have no idea. Cafe Lisboa is the custard tart mecca. This Portuguese cafe on Golborne Road is small, noisy and full of Portuguese people shouting at each other. I don’t know what they’re shouting. Probably something about politics. Or football. Or Strictly Come Dancing, (most likely), but shouting they are and it is loud and funny. 

There are hundreds of unknown and staggeringly naughty looking, just-out-of-the-oven cakes bursting out of the long counter and stacked up the walls in massive trays which look like they’re going to fall on you. (Ah, maybe that’s why they’re all shouting.)  

There are not enough tables so a long queue is part of the furniture, as are the crowds of people huddling outside jiggering (is that a word?) about to stay warm while clasping (excellent) coffees and glorious yummies.

Cafe Lisboa are the masters of the much loved custard tart; known as ‘pastel de nata’. It is a flaky pastry tart so custardy, so yummy, so gloriously gooey that I am nearly moved to tears each time I eat one. I am not overreacting – it’s emotional.

Go there.

Actually, don’t ever go there as I’ll have to fight harder for a table.

Cafe Lisboa
57 Golborne Road
W10 5NR

p.s. Not fake. I couldn’t do it to you.


Treading the boards


It’s a bit bamboozling how much there is to see and do in London, so I love it when someone takes charge. An old school pal of mine (they’re the best ones) could put the MI6 to shame with her organisational skills. It was down to her that a gaggle of us were standing outside The Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden at 6pm sharp and not in Mac. Nor in Urban Outfitters. Impressive. 

Off we went for a swift ‘sherbert’, (her words not mine. I like it) which wasn’t that swift. In fact several sherberts were had by a few of our rabble and it’s a miracle we managed to walk in a straight line back to the Donmar for the show.
We were there to see ‘Passion’ by Sondheim. I had no idea what to expect and the story completely engulfed me. Set in 19th century Italy, this musical is no light hearted romp. Subjects include obsession, beauty, power, manipulation, passion, illness and love and with its impressive score, intelligent set and (slightly freaky) powerful story, I was sucked in from the get go. I loved it, despite having to peek through my fingers in one bit. (Pathetic Poppy).
If you can get tickets – go. Although, if you have a stalker, you may not want to. Also if you have long legs they might go to sleep as leg room isn’t muchly and there is no interval. 
(I went to the loo first. Clever Poppy).
41 Earlham Street

Le Pain Quotidiwhat?

I know – it’s impossible to say it without sounding like an up-yourself French snob…but who cares – it’s great.

I am sitting in my local Le Pain Quotidien (translation: ‘The Daily Bread’) on Notting Hill Gate, marveling yet again at the delicious food, atmosphere and twinkly candlelit tables. I have been sitting here for a good hour, tinkering away on my laptop, using their (FREE) wifi on only one orange juice and nobody minds one bit. (Well if they do, they’re keeping it zipped).

I love this place for many reasons, but mostly because I feel like I’m sitting in a good friend’s kitchen somewhere near fields, real live cows and mooing. I’m not, (central London has a distinct cow shortage) but the cosy communal tables, no-nonsense menu and beautiful cakes and pastries make up for this no end.

This cosy bustling chain was founded in Brussels by baker, Alain Coumont. He learned about bread when he was very small by watching his grandmother bake every Sunday. He is passionate about quality and creating rustic loaves honestly, beautifully and simply is what dings his bell. Ding.

I am surrounded in here by students studying, business people businessing, a granny, a couple on a date (never going to happen) and a healthy sprinkling of happy randoms.

I know it’s not a little independent unknown, but I still love this place. I have as much time as I need, free Wifi, power-points galore, a massive table to spread out all my bits and bobs, I feel calm, I feel looked after… and I feel hungry.

Where’s that menu..?



Hello Folly

Oh isn’t it gloomy now! Grey skies, soggy puddles and general meh weather has made us all hibernate and seek refuge in our cosy socks and squidgedom sofas.
But I have news –  a beacon of hope amidst the London grey; ‘The Folly’ is where you want to be. This beautiful new deli-come-dining delight-come-bar-come-florist is an enchanting haven of lush and yumminess – a secret garden of calm, nature and all things delicious.
Indulge in a platter, loaded with Borough Market’s best, put your feet up in the cosy library and pick a book from their eclectic selection to peruse. Or, take up residence at the dining room table and enjoy the quirky surroundings, scrumptious smells.. and massive tree trunk, reminding you that we’re not in EC3 anymore, Toto.
They’re open from breakfast until midnight 7 days a week, so if you fancy a morning wake-me-up latte or a late sexy skinny cocktail, (yep – they have 100 calorie cocktails, if you’re counting), The Folly doors are open and the lovely shiny helpful people inside are ready to make your world a better place.
I will see you there.
The Folly
41 Gracechurch Street
08454 680 102

Labour of Love


Enter Helen Jane Cuthbert. 

This clever little lady grew up in beautiful Suffolk, surrounded by all kinds of prettiness and natural loveliness. Inspired by the gorgeousness around her, Helen gets busy creating items for her label Manilla Made. Stunning cards, gifts and things you never knew you wanted but now you’ve seen them, cannot live without. (Her range of birthday and Christmas cards are so yummy I want to eat them).

Being very ‘right on’, she works hard to ensure all her lovely things are ethical, all recycled and all handmade. She also makes bespoke items so don’t be afraid to get in touch and tell her what you’ve been dying to own but have never quite found…

She’s always trawling the markets for vintage materials, pretty lost buttons and all things beautiful…so you may just bump into her on Portobello if you’re lucky.

If you do, why not pop into Hummingbird for a cupcake. Or two.




Lost and Found

“The world is a little less difficult
and a lot more fun with you in it.
‘What homage will be paid to beauty that insists on speaking truth…’ p.24
I missed you last week –
The above note was found by Annie in Los Angeles who discovered it on the title page of a secondhand copy of a book of Adrienne Rich poetry.
For more Love letters, old ticket stubs, photographs and more,  I adore this collection of findings, started by some pals in Chicago.
Finders really are keepers.