Fashion, lifestyle, Retro, Style, travel, Vintage

Barcelona: vintage shopping

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I love Barcelona. I love the architecture, the food, the cheap beer and the laid-back lifestyle – a fabulous break from home when I’ve been working flat out writing articles for finance magazines.

My dear friend Beth has lived in Barcelona for about five years and by now has shown me around most of her favourite places. Beth and I both love a good vintage and charity shop trip so on top tour guide form, during my last trip in November, she took me to the best Barcelona vintage shop she’s shown me yet – Kilostore on Carrer de la Riera Baixa.

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Take a short walk from La Rambla for vintage sold by the weight and really lovely service. Despite apparently having plenty of similar shops in England, I’d never come across one so I got pretty excited.

Kilostore is especially good for really cheap and good quality coats and jackets, knitwear and accessories. I got a fantastic men’s navy pea coat – with little red anchors embroidered in the lapels – for about €25.

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  Everything, except for very light and difficult to weigh items like belts, is labelled black or white, giving it a price of either €20 or €30 a kilo. Take it to the till and the really nice staff will weigh it, get out a calculator and tell you exactly how much it is.

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Kilostore – Carrer de la Riera Baixa, a short walk from Liceu metro station on La Rambla.

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architecture, Lifestyle, Photography, travel

New York: part one

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 I took more than 800 photos during my one week in New York but I could have taken more – almost everywhere is beautiful architecture, fantastic views and street art. It’s taking a while to whittle down my favourite pics but here’s a handful (more to follow, obviously).

Williamsburg, where we stayed in a gorgeous flat with a very generous friend, was my favourite area – great bars and cafes, fab shops and a much more chilled out atmosphere than the city. I’ll blog some of the best places to eat and shop this week. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the snaps!

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Strolling around Williamsburg.

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Empire State picmonkey

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 The Empire State Building doesn’t disappoint – it’s a great piece of art deco architecture and looks fantastic at night. But we didn’t go up it, opting for the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center) instead.

The consensus seems to be that the Top of the Rock is cheaper than the Empire State Building, and has shorter queues and arguably better views – I’d say so, since you can get a great view of the Empire State from  it. The Top of the Rock was a mission enough – between queueing up for tickets, getting to the top and back down again, it probably took us at least three hours. But the view at night was spectacular.

But by the end I was certainly in no mood for a similar experience at the Statue of Liberty.

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The view from the Top of the Rock.

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Flat Iron picmonkey

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 The market at Union Square is full of fresh fruit and veg and other organic produce. It’s also very near the Flatiron Building (overlooking Madison Square Park) so get some honey from upstate and take a look at one of New York’s most iconic buildings.

Brooklyn Bridge picmonkey

 The Brooklyn Bridge is one of New York’s best freebies – take a walk along here, even just to the middle, for great views of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and to look at the beautiful structure up close.

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  If you go to Central Park (which you must because it’s stunning and there are so many follies and little buildings creeping out of the trees), I recommend arriving at the entrance on West 72nd Street – opposite the Dakota where Yoko Ono still lives on the seventh floor (the balcony level). Strawberry Fields is just a minute’s walk from the road.

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culture, entertainment, food, history, lifestyle, style, vintage

Wilton’s Music Hall

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Wilton’s – the world’s oldest surviving grand musical hall – cropped up on the telly again recently, in the BBC’s Dancing on the Edge. This place, which still holds regular theatre performances and film nights, is an East London gem. Just off Cable Street in Tower Hamlets, Wilton’s Mahogony Bar was world famous among Victorian sailors and is still fully licensed and holds live music and comedy nights today.

Many of the music hall’s original features have survived and it’s in the midst of a multi-million pound restoration. Meanwhile, performances will continue throughout the year, including The Great Gatsby, which will run until March 23. If you don’t fancy a full performance but would like a poke around and to soak up the atmosphere, join one of the weekly guided tours and grab a few pints and some delicious home-made dinner from the bar. The food’s fantastic and really good value at about £5 a plate.

Dancing on the Edge

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Me on a guided tour!

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Wilton’s is one of my absolute favourite places in London. It was the first choice for drinks with workmates back when we moved to a newsroom in Wapping and was the saving grace after we we sadly left our old place in ‘civilisation’ near Liverpool Street. It’s hidden away near St Katherine Docks, just off East Smithfield, and near some other very East London pubs. With its exposed brickwork, distressed paint and woodwork, and occasional transvestite magicians roaming the bar, Wilton’s is a true haven in a neighbourhood better known for construction traffic, the DLR and News International – not where I worked, I hasten to add.

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