Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

I am getting some Afghan action

I finally got my own enormous, gorgeous carpet from Afghan Action.

I posted about this London/Afghan charity before, and the good work that they do offering training, education and a good living within Afghanistan. Now I have an example of the craftsperson’s work on my floor and it is utterly stunning.

It’s so nice to get something for the home that is fair trade and will last a lifetime, and the next lifetime, rather than some piece of MDF that is just biding time before it becomes landfill. This is a work of art that will become an heirloom, assuming I get some heirs at some point.

They have carpets starting at £200, which is fantastic for a hand-made object that is fair trade and beautiful, and is packed with so much good karma that you can spend every Sunday lying on it and watching Star Trek reruns totally guilt-free for the rest of your life. They also sell great ethical gifts.

Rave review for Afghan Action…thanks for making my house look less like a student squat and making me feel so good doing it!


I met Ariana back in 2001. She played the lead in my first ever directing effort, “Thicker than Water,” and she did the accent as well: Southeast Louisianian (nearly impossible for even the natives). She’s since been in several features including “Me without You,” and “Susie Gold,” in theatre, music videos, commercials and on TV.

Anyway, after having been acting away in New York for a few years and returned to London with her smokin’ American boyfriend, she has just launched her own line of handmade, made-to-order designs called “Noodle Designs.” Bangles, cushions, chests, accessories.

You can buy directly from Ariana off Facebook, or wait ’til the designs are available at Of Cabbages and Kings boutique, Stoke Newington.

Nothing Like Old Clothes to Make you Feel Awesome

I am so, so loving Junky Styling. Designers Annika Sanders and Kerry Seager get their source material from charity shops and jumble sales, then, presto chango, they come up with something like this:

dress.jpg or this: dress-t.jpg,

which I am so going to beg them to let me wear to my next red carpet event.

They have a long-established shop in Brick Lane, so get your ass on your bike and ride down there for some very special clothes that can also boost your green credentials.

Heads up from Boing Boing.



If I were staying and had a real job, I’d be shopping at Unto This Last in Brick Lane. It’s green and looks really cool. They manufacture everything on site and they are taking 3-D modeling software to a new dimension. Check out the pretty pictures on their website.

Thanks to TreeHugger.

A Little Shopping Tip

You would think, looking at the newspaper post-Xmas, that the UK was obsessed with shopping. I’d like to set the record straight. We’re not obsessed with shopping so much as obsessed with the sales. Knowing this, some of the smarter or more commercially savvy shops on Oxford Street have decided to open rediculously early. Today I read in a tabloid that Marks & Spencers opened at 6am yesterday and still there was a queue of 600 people to get in. Frankly, it makes my 10 minute wait to get into Abercrombie & Fitch in NYC look tame. But I have a tip. It’s called Personal Shopping and it’s offered by some of the bigger department stores such as Selfridges.

Personal shopping takes all the hassle out of battling the rugby scrum to find the one size 12 Ghost dress in purple left on the racks by letting someone else, the personal shopper, do it for you. Not only will this wonderful person go around the entire store and find you all the kind of clothes that you like, in your size, they will serve you cups of tea and coffee, and bring you a magazine to read while you are waiting in your bedroom sized dressing room. There once was a time when Selfridges used to offer this service for free but I guess folks such as myself abused the privilege a little too often and now there is a small and (I believe) refundable charge on purchase of the items. Personal shopping. It really is a godsend.

Another Kind of Shopping

Sick of seeing everyone wearing the same gold bolero from Primark, the same striped military jacket from Peacocks or the same biker boots from M&S? London may be the most expensive city in the world but when it comes to clothes shopping, I think we’re the tops for charity shops. My own little corner of NW London boasts no fewer than five charity shops on the high street and I’ve found some incredible bargains there – from designers jeans still with the price tag attached (£110) for a tenner to an vintage Armani men’s jacket for £20 that gets rave reviews wherever I go. Just last week I picked up a red & white check western shirt from an Oxfam in Covent Garden and had to stop myself from buying a pair of unworn Miss Sixty sky high sandles from a Marie Curie Hospice shop in Mill Hill that I knew I really didn’t need. A friend visiting from NY bought 3 jackets and a cool punky looking handbag for no more than £50 for the lot. I can personally recommend West End Lane, St. John’s Wood High Street and a little shop on Seymour Street for some fantastic charity shop bargains.

Shopping for a Loan (Act II)

war.jpgSo, had our first meeting with our first bank, which, for legal reasons, will be code named “NW.” I have been banking with “NW” for nearly 8 years. This meeting was actually not my idea but Jan’s*. She works for the bank, and she called me up in a panic last week saying that hundreds of pounds worth of charges were about to be slapped on to my account because I had exceeded my overdraft.

*Yes, of course, the name has been changed.

Shopping for a Loan

pigeon.jpgAh, yes. It’s finally come to this. Months of no paid work, and the overdraft is about to crush us like a stray pigeon on the street. Not to mention the credit card. I blame immigration, really. With a fee of 600 quid to renew a visa in this country, how can we expect to pay the rent? Anyway, we’re now in the market for a consolidation loan.

In Praise of Primark

Today I went to Primark Oxford Street for the first time. Arriving at 10.30am, it was all but dead. Everything was on the rack where it belonged, their were rows of empty tills and dressing rooms. It was absolute heaven. I was told that the mad rush started at 9am by my colleagues but actually the lovely lady who served me at the till said that the store was fairly quiet until 11am. So now you know! In a very short time, Primark has become an institution offering fashionable clothes at cheap as chips prices. Thankfully, I was with my son who has not yet realised the pleasure of hanging outside the female dressing rooms so we spent the whole time in the menswear section and I managed to escape the store without buying a thing for myself. I already have 3 wardrobes full of clothes. I don’t really need to buy any more especially as we don’t seem to be having a summer this year.


Cheap Clothes & Stuff

Buying retail is an alien concept to me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve shopped at sample sales or warehouse sales or found shops that were closing down and wanted to offload their designer togs at less than 50% off. I love a bargain. London may seem expensive to the average tourist but you can still grab a bargain by heading over to Primark or one of the secret sales that pop up almost on a weekly basis and are listed on Daily Candy or Urban Junkies, Time Our or the Evening Standard. Today’s little find? Ted Baker Sample Sale, 8am-8pm, Camden Centre, WC1. I have no idea where that is but I’m sure you bargain hunters will find it. Enjoy!

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