Friday, November 26, 2010

Magma Books

I can't stop listening to The xx! Their song 'Islands' is a total hit.

Magma Books is one of the first bookstores I discovered in London, and I love it. Especially when it comes to leafing through the books, because as far as buying is concerned, let's say I should start by saving some money. I've added some Gregory Crewdson (master of the universe) books to my wishlist, though, because they look awesome. I also bought a Listography book (very useful I know), so I did find something I could afford.

This little bookstore opened in 2000 at 8, Earlham Street. Their goal was not to open a typical bookshop full of best-sellers and 3x2 offers (which by the way I think are great), but to offer books related to art as well as magazines and some stationery. You'll find here books about photography, design, architecture, d.i.y. and more. Truth is, I'd stay there for hours or until they'd come to tell me "will you please stop abusing our hospitality and buy something already".

They did have quite a lot of success and soon they opened another shop on the same street, at 16, Earlham Street. Here they sell tons of little gifts (this is kind of absurd since anything could be a gift, but you know, those kinds of things you only buy to make a gift knowing that nobody will ever use it but are cute) (not to say they don't rule because sometimes they do) (parenthesis mark party) that are generally unique because they collaborate with a lot of artists.

And finally, they opened another store in Manchester. Nice.

Covent Garden is an area in the center of the city that has tons of interesting things to see and is quite close to Tottenham Court Road, so I suggest you go there to spend some time. Soon I'll talk about other stores in the area, so you'll know about more places to visit (if you want to, OBVIOUSLY). There's also the Thomas Neal center, where you'll find another Artbox. London is a party, no doubt.

Friday, November 19, 2010

After Noah

Generally in life people tend to look at the bad things that happen everyday. It is understandable. Rapidshare, for instance, is a complete scam. But sometimes we have to look the other way to realize that there are tons of awesome things in life as well. A good example of this is the Irish band God Is An Astronaut. Another perfect example is After Noah, a CLASSY shop full of furniture, toys, stationery and more. And because this shop is so cool, I'm going to upload a thousand photos, give or take.

Part of the window display

After Noah opened for the first time on May 11, 1990, at 121, Upper Street, close to the Angel tube station. The idea was to mix old vintage objects and furniture with contemporary homeware. Little by little, many shops began to appear in London selling small gifts and homeware items that looked more or less the same. After Noah's goal then was to always have something interesting and unique to offer, items that couldn't be found just anywhere. And I think they've managed to do it. Everytime I go into this shop, I get really excited.

Years after they opened, they started adding new items to their catalog. If in the beginning After Noah was a little store on 121, Upper Street, they soon decided to add toys to their shop and this proved so succesfull that they opened up the adjacent store, number 122.

Here you can find many kinds of toys, from teddy bears to musical instruments for kids, some books, marbles, and more. They also have a lovely little shelf near the entrance with some sweets that look quite vintage (but they taste good, don't worry) (HAH). All this and the fact that it looks so crowded makes me think of the Diagon Alley (of which I am a complete fan).

And, obviously, they have a wide selection of Schleich figures, which I've loved since I was a kid:

Besides all these wonderful things (I insist - this place is a PARTY), there's another area where they have some carefully selected stationery, including stamps, notebooks, sets of envelopes and letters, and, of course, maps (I may have already mentioned that I LOVE maps) and other beautiful papers:

I have to say though that this shop is quite expensive, but these kind of places usually are, at least from what I've seen. In some cases it's completely understandable (some furniture, for instance), but these maps were £3.50, so if there's one you like a lot, I'd suggest you go to Stanfords (a map and travel shop of which I'll talk about in the future) first to see if they have it there, as they are about a pound cheaper.

In spite of this it is a really nice shop and you should really go see it if you ever happen to find yourself wandering around Angel. And if you're looking for old furniture, there's also another floor downstairs with more homeware, vintage phones (with awesome color combinations) and more maps.


I'll finish this SHORT post by saying that my brother and I have a cooking blog where we post nice recipes. He is studying to be a cook, and I take the pictures. I am translating them to English now, so if you ever run out of ideas when cooking, don't hesitate to check it out and post some comments if you think about recipes we should make!
It's called COULANT.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Louis Patisserie

Hello, world. I'm Andrea and I usually blog over at the art of staying up all night. Ever since I first went to London, the only thing I knew I wanted in life was to move there. I've visited many many times since then, and I've lived somewhere that allowed me to go into London several times a week, but the city still manages to amaze me every time. From now on I will be helping my friend Clara from time to time. I think this is absolutely delightful.

Do you know what else is delightful? The first place I'm gonna share with you; Louis Patisserie. Strange things happen often when I go to London. Things that don't make any sense, like going to London for one day to see a band, waking up at 7am and deciding to go all the way to Hampstead simply because I hadn't been there for a long time and I wanted to feel like Herr Freud or Mr Keats, who both lived in the area. I found Louis Patisserie at the right time for breakfast. A quick look at their window display made me salivate so much that I didn't hesitate and went in. Tea is served the way it should be served, despite the place being Hungarian (I absolutely ignore if Hungarian people are fond of tea), in a silver pot and delicate looking china cups. I was so overwhelmed by the choice of sweets that I asked the lady what she recommended. She suggested a Danish bun with apricot jam and I hesitated because I'm not the biggest fan of jam, but felt like I should order that anyway. As you can see in the photo, it looked delicious, and I can guarantee it tasted as good as it looked.

One of the best things about this place is that it didn't feel like being in London at all, and I know this is ironic considering I have just talked about how much I love London. It felt like being in a small town café where customer and owner are on first name terms. The decor looks like it hasn't changed at all since the opening in the early 60s, which makes the place even more charming and unique, especially in these times of massive coffee chains.

Hampstead at 8am

Text and photos by Andrea. Make sure you check out her blog, flickr, and etsy shop. We love being all over the Internet.
More guest posts to come soon!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Dear friends of the world wide web, I hope you are doing fine. I hope it is not too cold where you are now, and I hope it is not too cold in London, since we are talking about that city here. A swell city. I don't know why I'm talking like this. All I know is that, despite being November, I saw several people with shorts and t-shirts on the streets of Madrid. This weather is a mockery.

This here is a small part of the Angel neighborhood, a place full of stores and restaurants. Like any other place, really. But what they don't have is this awesome corner where they sell vintage items and, most importantly (for me, that is), stamps! Right when you get out of the tube station, after a two-minute walk, you'll find this small market full of awesome stuff. I think they can be found there on Saturday morning. On the little white building you can see on the back of the picture, there are several small shops where they sell clothes, books, and other vintage objects. If you walk past this corner straight on as you come from the tube, you'll find more shops and stalls selling wonderful things (well, some of them at least).

Although my favorite stall is the one selling stamps, because I've always loved stationery and these vintage stamps are the best. The real deal. I don't know where that expression comes from but I've always found it hilarious. This stall can also be found in the Portobello Market (Notting Hill) on Fridays.

The only problem is that they are quite expensive, the cheapest one costing 4 pounds. But I mean, personally I'm not going to get the whole collection, and what other people spend on videogames, make-up or partying, I spend on stamps. No wonder I have no friends. I'm kidding (that was a good one. I know).

Anyway. Once you've checked this place out, I'd say you should go have lunch on the Upper Street or somewhere around, you'll find the aforementioned Tenshi Restaurant, Byron (a hamburger restaurant), Ottolenghi (of which I'll talk about soonish) and other little places where they make nice food. And then you could go to After Noah, the best toystore and antique shop ever. I'll talk about it next time (and there will be a thousand photos, give or take).

I'll leave you with a photo of some of the stamps I own!