| Hidden London | Tile Style

Tiles don't fly into my mind when I think of London in the same way that they do when I think of Lisbon or Porto. But now and again, life has a funny way of twisting and spinning a coincidence my way that ends up challenging my set views. This is exactly what happened a little while ago when I found myself a little lost in the sinewy alleys near Blackfriars. A few miseducated turns later, I found myself on a small street aligned with tiles panels of stunning geometrical grace.

After doing a bit of Googling and Insta-searching, I discovered a bit about the tiles' origins but noticed that they don't seem as well known as I feel they ought to be. Their location probably keeps them a hidden/secret London gem but such amazing work deserves a much bigger audience. So, if you fancy taking a look for yourself,  let your map guide you into the winding alleys of Blackfriars to Waithman Street, to be exact.

There are 23 panels consisting of about 18,000 ceramic tiles (source), all the work of Rupert Spira. They are the artist's only commission in England to date and they were hand made by him in 1992. Standing there, all alone in the street (it must be one of the loneliest thoroughfares in the City) and staring at their Escher-like patterns in their gloriously complex glazes was quite mesmerising as the 3 dimensional effect seems to awaken and do trippy things to my eyes.  
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| How To | Have a Pastel Day Out in London

Who was it that painted London all the colours of overcast, fog and drizzle in people's minds the world over? I want a word with them. Coz my London grinds every perceivable colour into the fabric of itself.  
I often muse to myself that although I wear black everyday, like a self imposed uniform, if you slice me like a cake - layers of pastel goo might run away from me. Perhaps that's why I am so attracted to every shade of pale blossom, milky mint, creamy custard, early morning ocean and sparkling misty sky.

| Leopold Buildings on Columbia Rd | Benches in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park | Wyke Estate | 

I've been exploring London through pastel shades, capturing these colours with my phone as I go along. I also recently met up with the lovely Bloomzy with whom I spent a day sauntering through the pastel panoramas of east London. My time with Emma inspired me to pen this post and share the pastel penchant, you know - just incase there are other nice and strange folks out there that fancy it. 

Here is how to have a pastel coloured day out in London. Great for sprinkling a little bit of magic in your daily monotony and combatting stereotypical views of London (even when London is playing up to them herself). 

Cafe Miami + The Strand Building on Lower Clapton Rd, London

Plonk yourself down in Café Miami and order something sweet while you let the subtle pastels sink in. Smile at the shaped sugar cubes and giggle at the WIFI password. The granola is yummy and Emma says that the banana bread is too. When you are done, walk around the building and look at the delightful gates and grilles and mint coloured window frames. If you are wondering what it looks like inside, search #strandbuilding in Instagram and say "oooooh" like I dooooo.

The famous Palm Vaults is not too far away. Their pastels are mainly pink but this includes pink marble tables! Their take-away cups are cute so you should certainly try something in them. All that drinking and you will probably need the loo - you must take a look when you are there. Their menu is colourful - both drinks and food. Their plants are show stoppers - I like them a lot. Each time I see this place - I cannot believe how much this part of Hackney has changed. 

Somewhere off Portobello Rd

Near Portobello Rd Market

If rows of picture perfect houses you can 'stick 'pon a postcard and send to your nan' is your thing, then head west to Notting Hill. Here you can walk along Portobello Rd and many an adjoining street and fill your boots with the saccharine sweetness of the pastel coloured million pound homes. 

Behind Columbia Rd 

Does door spotting make you happy? Slink about on the old rows of houses around Columbia Road, why don't you?

Bow Cross 

Clare House

If you prefer your pastel coloured homes perpendicular yet ironically more down to earth, stay east and head head to Bow. Here, Tower Hamlets Council like to sell off council housing to the highest bidder. The tower blocks are often re-clad in pastel colours and sold on for crazy money. Ah regeneration what a b*tch you are dislocating the soul from a place. Anyhoo, there is a realness here that pastel paint only highlights to the savvy. The towers of the Wyke Estate in Hackney cut nice shapes against a sunny sky. Clare House, is my local - I cannot walk by it without mentally blowing it a kiss (I wrote about it before here). The triplets of Bow Cross are a sight to behold and must not be visited without reading this excellent and brief piece from my favourite London blogger Diamond Geezer. The aforementioned towers are historically important if you like Grime. Wiley, Dizzy and Tinchy all called these home - you won't find a plaque or anything though - just have to take my word for it. 

You like colourful garage shutters too? Yeah!? That's what I'm talking about. Pritchards Rd is your place then. Right by the RE Hotel on Hackney rd. My favourite one is the peachy pinky one and I love it even more after All Things Stationery told me something magical about it. I've noticed that there always seems to be a pastel yellow camper van along this road - it adds to the character. Let me know if you see it there too.

While you are on Hackney Rd, take a quick look at the Blue House. It's a quirky little thing isn't it?

If you are reading this during Spring then you must add some of those cherry blossom and magnolia hues to your pastel day out. Victoria Park always puts on a nice display of both this is a - good place to start. There is a row of trees beside the bowling club - find it and be rewarded with a beautiful sight. As for the magnolia tree, head for St Agnes' Gate - you cannot miss it!

You can finish your day with your favourite pastel treat (some say macarons, others like Battenburg. What about ice cream. Or my favourite - Wagashi) and a nice cuppa while you look at the pastel rainbow that you've caught on your phone.

In that Pagoda thing in Victoria Park

Somewhere near Columbia Rd

Behind St Leonard's Church in Shoreditch

Somewhere near Broadway in Hackney

Just in case you haven't noticed; this is not a proper walking tour suggestion. As far as being a suggestion for something to do, it is properly abstract. It's not even equipped to be referred to as a 'guide'. I won't always give exact locations - because that is not how adventures are had! This is for "curious people with an incurable tendency to photos of things that most others totally ignore", who do not mind getting lost.

Do you have any favourite pastel coloured places in London? Go on! Do share!

Manners are free! Please keep in mind that many of the places mentioned above are residential. People live here. Be polite. Be considerate. Don't show yourself or me up. 
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| Instagram | Discoveries

Growing a beautiful Instagram account with integrity is a hot topic these days. The demand for immediate results has created far too many conniving ways to cheat the system and hoards of unsuspecting users at a quick click. But I am not here to sink my teeth into the dirty bits of it. I am here to celebrate the bits that suck me in, spin me around and spit me back out with a desire to push my own photographic boundaries. 

I'm not dizzy with ambition. I neither want to take pristine photo-school perfect images nor do I feel like I should invest my time in learning to use a beast of a camera. I know my limits.  I'll stick with my phone. I'll stay sole deep on chewing gum stained pavements. Eyes hungry for that overlooked perspective. Neck strained for that glimpse of everyday magic. Reflexes ready to jump off the bus in a heartbeat (toddler too) to capture sights from street level. 

Like those birds in the old saying, I am attracted to the feathers of similarity. And that applies to what I find on Instagram. It's such an interesting place to get lost and found. While plenty of people lament the portrayal of unrealistic lifestyles and feelings of inadequacy, I've for the most part, found inspiration and vibes that I think  can positively bolster and inspire new facets to my style. Here are a handful of accounts that are moving me right now:


"Agoraphobia & anxiety limit my ability to travel, so I've found another way to see the world - #GoogleStreetView. Welcome to #AgoraphobicTraveller."

Yes these pics come from adventures on Google Street View! I appreciate the skill, the time, the eye and originality. Knowing about the anxiety and agoraphobia of the Instagrammer just adds a gloss of emotion to it all, for me.


"A simple take on the places I get to travel to. Minimal | Design | Architecture."

Clean, very polished, vivid and full of geometric shapes. Training for my eyes.



I love staring at weird plants that either look a bit dead or like petrified fantastical creatures.  I have entire conversations with such plants - quietly, in my head. 


Velma is one half of 2manysiblings. I like her style. I like their blog. It rattles the cage around my heart. They are from Nairobi - my birth place. Her visuals are so relevant in conveying an alternative to the negative sights the media portray of Africa. 

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| Thoughts | Dolls & Dreams

I more than just meant to blog yesterday, I was actually really looking forward to completing and publishing this particular post on that particular day. However, by the time I had a moment to, my mind laughed at my blogging ambitions and said GOODNIGHT DUDE, and that was that! So here I am, putting away our dolls whilst mentally still holding on to them.

Yesterday was hinamatsuri. Hinamatsuri is also known as girls day, dolls day and peach blossom festival in Japan. It is an ancient celebration that dates back over one thousand years, during which families pray for the health and happiness of their daughters.  A bunch of symbolic and traditional foods are eaten and offered but the biggest attraction on this day are the displays of dolls across the country. These can range from a pairs of dolls sat side by side to opulently ornate multi tiered arrangements.

Personally, my mind floats away from the dolls to a particular vignette from Akira Kurosawa's film, Dreams.  In this scene, a young boy is lured by an apparition into a terraced garden where an arrangement of dolls come to life and scold him because his family cut down the trees in the peach orchard thwarting the blossoms symbolic of the celebration. Set during hinamatsuri, it is a viscously rapturous scene that has stuck with me ever since I saw the film.

Dreams is one of my favourite films. Visually sumptuous and stunning, it is an outing into the imagination of one of cinema's greatest film directors - an unforgettable contemplative work of art.

Links for the curious

Here is the trailer for Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (The entire film is available on iTunes).

Read more about the dolls  and history of hinamatsuri 

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