|Photo: Daisy Fay|
That's my gorgeous friend (in the black dress, beside the mug tree) Michelle Mason, the super-talented interior and homeware designer. We go back a long way, about thirty years. Right back to student days - where we perfected that drink-clutching pose. Michelle creates beautiful products for various clients including Heals, House of Fraser and London Transport Museum - you'll probably recognise her distinctive typographic style and the 'Bus Blind' cushions and mugs:
And the good news is that she's finally set up shop: Maison & Painter on Columbia Road with her pal Tim Painter who collects and up-cycles vintage furniture and other stuff.
MM's retro-inspired designs sit beautifully alongside the old furniture, second-hand glassware and vintage nick-nackery. Everything, including the solid oak workbench currently being used as a counter, is for sale. If you can get up early on a Sunday morning/stand the crowds, Columbia Road flower market is always a treat - this weekend I'll be popping along with the Blog Widower to buy our festive flower arrangement - but the area is even better on Saturdays. It's quiet and there's no fear of being elbowed out of the way by someone desperate to get at the Christmas wreaths, or of wreaking havoc with a big bouquet of flowers in one of the lovely local shops. The Shoreditch Triangle is also open for late night shopping. And if you're lucky you might meet Scottie:
It's the perfect place to do a spot of Christmas shopping. Just mind where you stick that bunch of holly.
mason&painter, 136 Columbia Road, London E2 7RG (contact: email@example.com, or @MasonAndPainter on Twitter)