Popping into the Tusting pop-up in Brick Lane

One of the evenings I had in my busy blog week recently was a trip into London's East End to visit the Tusting pop-up shop in Brick Lane. Tusting, if you don't know, are a luxury leather goods family firm based in between Bedford and Northampton, in the heart of leather country.

And they have a wide range of bags and briefcases with many of them on display during my visit. There were classic briefcases to modern totes, clutches and satchels and some gorgeous luggage which I was very tempted by. I'd craftily arranged MOH to meet me there, so we could ostensibly go out for dinner. But, as I'd hoped, I was also able to point out some potential items that would make a good Christmas gift for me. I've learnt over the years that subtle doesn't work with MOH.

Statements like "this would make a nice Christmas present for me, wouldn't it?" work much better. And usually a week or so later, he'll remember and say did you really want that, and sometimes he surprises me without mentioning the item at all and then when I unwrap it I'm surprised. Often surprised he was listening, but it seems he hears more than he lets on...

So what would be on my Christmas list?

Well first up, it'd have to be their signature tote, the Kimbolton, in either the caramel or orange. And in case you're wondering the orange was much more vibrant than in my photo below. Very orange. And I did like that. 

KIMBOLTON LEATHER TOTE IN CARAMEL SADDLE

KIMBOLTON LEATHER TOTE IN CARAMEL SADDLE

OR MAYBE IN HONEYDON ORANGE?

OR MAYBE IN HONEYDON ORANGE?

DETAILS OF THE KIMBOLTON TOTE

But when I saw this shades of pink tote, I was drawn to it. The colours are officially aubergine, blossom and rose, and it is gorgeously soft.  Plus what I quickly learnt was the Tusting approach to detail, just look at the interior.

ASHTON LEATHER TOTE SMALL IN AUBERGINE BLOSSOM AND ROSE

ASHTON LEATHER TOTE SMALL IN AUBERGINE BLOSSOM AND ROSE

DETAILS IN THE INTERIOR

DETAILS IN THE INTERIOR

It was the pink though that held me back. I know, what is happening?  But I saw the tan, navy and cream colourway and realised these are much more my colours this autumn. I did well to put this one back on the display shelf. In fact the only thing stopping me was it's open top, I prefer to be able to protect the contents of my bag with either a zip or fold over flap (yes, that's a technical term!)

ASHTON LEATHER TOTE SMALL IN TAN, NAVY AND CREAM

ASHTON LEATHER TOTE SMALL IN TAN, NAVY AND CREAM

But then I saw the Donna, and confusion reigned. It's a classic isn't it?

DONNA LEATHER HANDBAG IN CRIMSON RED

DONNA LEATHER HANDBAG IN CRIMSON RED

Or there was the luggage. Another classic both in design and colourways. The canvas and leather explorer holdalls would make travelling anywhere seem a luxury. We did have a discussion about size on these, I wasn't sure the medium one would be big enough and unsure if the large one would go in hand luggage, because there was no way I'd be putting these beauties in the hold. 

EXPLORER HOLDALL IN OLIVE CANVAS WITH TAN LEATHER

EXPLORER HOLDALL IN OLIVE CANVAS WITH TAN LEATHER

AND DETAILS

AND DETAILS

So with MOH suitably briefed, and tempted almost as much as me by the luggage, it was time to move on and time to ponder what might actually make it onto the purchase list for presents this Christmas. I'm curious though, do you have tactics for sharing what your other half might buy you?

 

With thanks to Tusting for the invite to view their range.

I've been to the shops...

Last week I headed over to Canary Wharf one night after work, as MOH had promised to buy me dinner, and well he knows me well. He's been putting the hours in lately and if he's buying dinner then I'm there. After hitting the shops, we ate in Sticks'n'Sushi, which was brave for a fish-phobic like me. 

It was nice though, we took the guess work out of it and ordered a platter, the Table for Two. And enjoyed it all. Even MOH who normally says sushi doesn't fill him up, was full. I'd looked at their picture menu before our visit, and well, usually I'm not a fan of picture menus but this one worked. But that wasn't the point of this post, i thought I'd share what I bought that night, along with another recent purchase.

1. Being seen at night

I still haven't got around to cycling to work and now the evenings are getting darker, I've been using not having the right clothes as an excuse. MOH offered to lend me some of his neon cycling gear and that's when I knew it was time to buy my own. So I'm now the proud owner of a neon yellow and cerise trimmed lightweight top. It's quite bright, but as that's the point that's ok. 

A neon top and snazzy leggings

It's lightweight as I don't feel the cold (thanks overactive thyroid!) and cycling uphill is going to warm me up anyway isn't it! To complete my outfit I also bought some black, white and grey very snazzy leggings. They've got some reflective strips, so there'll really be no excuses. 

2. Four candles

And two candlesticks. My plan was to position the two candlesticks together so they looked like one complicated structure. They look great on the table and remind me of one of those games where you have to move a wand along without touching the metal parts, to avoid it buzzing. 

Four candles
interlocking candlesticks
four candles

These are part of the Loop Maison range by black+blum and available in John Lewis, we eventually settled on the shiny chrome finish over the matt version and some dark grey candles to use with them. I'm very pleased!  

It's only since then that I've realised they're by the same people as the iconic James the Doorman. And there's a whole Loop range, which could be dangerous...

Seriously though these are a great design, look fab and where just what we were looking for - although had you asked me beforehand I wouldn't have known what that was.

3. Sycamore cheeseboards

I bought these on my recent visit to Woodfest at Wisley from a local craftsman. And they are so, so smooth. They're very reasonably priced too, with the smaller boards at £5 each and the larger one a little more at £7.50. 

And they have a story, which I like.  

Three sycamore boards

These boards originate from a felled sycamore tree in Nonsuch Park, Surrey. Some of you may recognise that as a well known netball venue from years gone past, or my years gone past at least. It backs onto the Nonsuch School for Girls which is where I played my first Surrey County netball game, and was somewhere where I've played a lot of netball. Occasionally parking in the park and nipping into the school through the side gate, but rarely actually venturing further than the car park, sadly.  

Now, I wonder why, but of course at the time I was probably running to get on court. But now, I like to think I'd have more appreciation for the surroundings. I'd probably still be running late or cutting it fine as I prefer to call it, but maybe after the game. And so, it's nice to have these boards, especially with our shared background as I'm pretty sure I've fallen over many times in that part of Surrey too!

These sycamore boards are from a tree felled in Nonsuch Park
Three wooden boards, ideal for food

They are the creations of Dr Tim Lawson, who after the 1987 storm retired as a GP to became a wood turner. I saw Tim and his wife at Woodfest earlier this month and it was great to talk to him about what is clearly his passion. Tim sells his products through some National Trust shops and on his Stormwood 87 website. They are stunning, and beautifully crafted and I knew I wouldn't be leaving Wisley without something from his stall.

These boards are suitable for culinary use, and despite the fruit on them in these pictures, I bought them for use with cheese. One is purposefully larger so it can accommodate those larger pieces of cheese without it melting over the edge. But like cake, cheese in this house doesn't last as long as fruit, which I think is normal, right?

And half-eaten pieces of cheese wouldn't make for such a pretty picture!

 

So quite different purchases, but each of them make me happy and fill a different need. What have you found in your shopping basket recently?

Inside the London Design Centre

On a blue-skied day in March we headed off to the London Design Centre as part of the Spring London Design Week.  I've some more to share from our visit but before that I wanted to share some shots of the building, because it was fab and it's not somewhere I'd been before.  

The main building is formed of three domes, and on the day we visited the sun was catching the decorations and they were glistening away.  

Take a look:

central dome
central staircase

The central dome was decorated with these blue pipes and hydrangea-type flowers, which gave it an almost-wedding-like feel.

decoration close up
looking up

And the central staircase was just the sort to glide down, but from a distance looked quite like a helter skelter!

staircase
helter skelter central staircase

With the sun's first showing of the year, it was quite warm under the glass but we weren't complaining. We did though take some time out at the Nespresso bar and while taking some refreshments admired our surroundings.

a place to sit
heather table decorations

The decorations in the outer domes were different and glistened beautifully in the sun, and yes they are fish hanging below the metallic spheres.

south dome
fish in the south dome

There were further places to rest, these ones a little more luxurious than before. I daren't rest here though as there was still much more to see and these looked oh so comfortable.

comfortable place to rest

Heading outside we saw a green enclosed with a white picket fence, and were able to look back at the glass domes.

from outside
a view of the dome

Back inside we headed to the temporary tented structure for what was billed as Gin O'Clock - well you would, wouldn't you?  While we sipped our G&T I was snapping away at the interiors here too, quite something for a temporary structure connecting the buildings.

tented roof
textured interiors
gin o'clock

And yes, the gin was most welcome. Well, it always is...

More soon on what else I saw, I just need to finish that G&T. Hic. 

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