I love these expanding flower pots developed by Studio Ayaskan on show recently at the Cockpit Arts open studio in Holborn, London. The expanding origami planters will grow with your plant by simply adding soil. No need to uproot your plant, get messy or your hands dirty. Besides their practicality, they look stunning too! They are not on sale yet, but register your interest by joining Studio Ayaskan’s mailing list.
Exmouth Market in London is one of my favourite place to hang out for a lazy lunch and to browse some great independent design shops. For food, stop at Caravan which always draws a hip crowd, or if the queue is manageable, head to the tiny Morito at 32 Exmouth Market for some great tapas.
It’s always a pleasure exploring the small independent shops around Exmouth Market. One of my favourites is Bagman and Robin at 47 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QL where you can shop for beautiful bags and accessories made from leather and fabrics such as vintage Kimono material.
A few minutes away from Exmouth Market, is the fabulous concept store Clerkenwell London at 155 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3AD, watch out for ceramics by Katie Brinsley or jewellery by Eleanor Bolton. I love it that they get other artists to transform their store, most notable Graphic Designer Camille Walala has added her touch to the Clerkenwell design store. Close by Exmouth Market, you find another great British design duo, Wallace and Sewell, located at 24 Lloyd Baker Street, London, WC1X 9AZ. Their studio is just at the corner of Amwell Street, a beautiful London street with the occasional pop-up shop. Wallace and Sewell create colourful scarves and other textiles to enrich your home.
While you’re in the neighbourhood visit Craft Central. This designer studio complex usually has pop-up shops at 33-35 St John’s Square and 21 Clerkenwell Green, showcasing different British independent designer-makers each week.
Find out more about some of my favourite shops in London in my guidebook on designer-makers, which was published by Airbnb today.
So I am a little obsessed in finding the best grilled octopus dishes. Some of the softest, most tender and delicious octopus I ate, is in Portugal, like at The Decadente in Lisbon or the Book in Porto, but short of jetting off to Portugal for a quick food fix, here are my top 3 places in London for grilled tender octopus.
The Lurra restaurant at 9 Seymour Place, London, W1H 5BA is a Spanish restaurant offering Basque dishes. Their soft grilled octopus comes with a piquillo sauce – spicy and divine. Try the courgette flowers too whilst you there.
At the Barbary restaurant at 16 Neal’s Yard, London, WC2H 9DP food is cooked right in front of you in their open kitchen. It’s a great intimate place, sadly like many other London restaurants, it takes no bookings, so be prepared to wait. If you manage to get a seat, the team behind the acclaimed Soho restaurant The Palomar, offer beautiful North African and Mediterranean dishes like grilled monkfish, kohlrabi salad and freshly baked Yemenite Kubaneh bread. Their octopus dish is served with chickpeas on a labneh base – delicious and so tender.
Just opened the Summer Terrace at the Oval Space in Hackney, at 29-32 The Oval, London, E2 9DT, is serving Mediterranean food with an Israeli twist. Their Chef-In-Residence, Oded Oren, is serving several of my favourite Israeli dishes, like grilled cauliflower with labneh, smoked aubergine and tahini. If the sun is out, their open air summer terrace is a fantastic chill-out place.