Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Brighton! Part 3

The Lanes Written by Mark (I don’t need help with spelling so bugger off Dave please).
In what was the fishing town of Brighthelmstone, Brighton Lanes' historic quarter is a maze of narrow alleyways, ‘twittens and catcreeps’ offering a mysterious mix of...
Antiques and Jewelry shops that, happily co-exist alongside specialist contemporary and designer boutique fashion. There is the BEST IN THE WORLD chocolate shop called ‘CHOCCYWOCCYDOODAH’, that specialises in chocolate cakes, gifts and unique choc gifts. They also have a London branch off Carnaby Street if you simply can’t wait to visit.

 WE LOVED the Architectural Salvage shop in Gloucester Road where I bought metal ‘ad posters’ from the 50’s, and seeing that ‘clock wall,’ inspired us to then start hunting for clocks throughout Brighton to recreate this look in my London apartment. http://www.brighton-architectural.co.uk

General tat and toot (as well as the odd antique) jostle happily together in The North Lane Antique and Flea Market, brilliant for old luggage, pretty china cups and saucers that mum’s love to drink out of, and in fact I bought one for her.

VINTAGE CLOTHES hunters are really well catered for. The biggest (and it doesn’t have that ‘Grannies Cupboard Smell) is Beyond Retro that really does have some super stuff. But there are so many vintage shops here to choose from...

Head down to Hove and find some Beautiful Stuff, and the best example of restoration was found in Blakes Vintage Home and Garden, where former shabby becomes more than chic, using traditional methods and will even show you how to do this yourself with day courses at reasonable prices. Hove is more sophisticated than Brighton for fashion, and home wares, even the charity shops are more up-market here and worth a rummage. For books and picture frames, 
Organics and Naturaldove, Second Avenue, Hove, BN3 2LJ1

Best Eating (My department) really is at Bills The Depot 100 North Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1YE Bills.

‘From award-winning breakfasts through to delicious and unusual lunch dishes and the twinkling of candles by night, Bill's is the place to be’.

 And we agree. Even if the food wasn’t that great, (and it is) the interior really does inspire us. Bills jams, chutneys, mustards etc line the walls, housed neatly in wooden packing cases. Rustic and un-matching wooden tables and chairs give a homely feeling to a large space, where bunches of herbs and dried flowers give fragrance and color.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Brighton! Part 2

Brighton Facts written by Dave (with Mark looking over my shoulder and pointing out my spelling mistakes, being ‘helpful’.)

Dave: I love Brighton and Hove. Just one hour from London Victoria or London Bridge, Brighton is great for a day trip. The laines are truly interesting, Quirky sits alongside Designer, toot sits easily with Antique.

Mark: And we all know how Dave loves a bit of toot, but I am willing to be proved wrong today as we are going to Bill’s later.


Dave: We recommend that you go during the week, the weekends can be manic and packed with Hen / Stag Parties, which is OK if that’s your thing... You can also find time to visit the Royal Pavillion, which is opulently bonkers, eat an ice cream on the Pier, or visit one of the excellent museums.

Mark: I loved the Royal pavillion, and they have a jolly good tea room in there, all quaint proper cups and saucers with home baked victoria sponges.

Dave: Yeah, the sort of cups that are too small for your fingers to go into the handle, so you sit like a dork trying to figure out how to pick up the bloody thing! Finally I gave up with the whole handle thing, and just picked it up round the girth.

Mark: And I watched as Dave tried to be ‘hard’ and bear the pain of the heat on his hand. Highlight of my day so far!

Dave: Thanks for sharing that Mark..

Dave: Shopping is split between The Laines, North Laines, Churchill Square (High Street Chains) and the unique shops that drift down towards Hove. If you are here for longer, it is worthwhile exploring Kemp Town, Brighton Marina, and Rottingdean. They all offer different shopping experiences.

North Laine Brighton is a wacky mix of the ethnic, exotic and funky. We found everything and anything from 50's kitsch (Mark hates snow-globes so I bought one for his birthday) to shabby chic furniture, and retro vintage fashion. In North Laine you will also find style studios selling locally made jewelry, sculpture, ceramics, glass, metalwork and paintings, as well as a cutting edge photography studio at the North Laine Gallery.

For fashion the North Laines look at up and coming designers, vintage chic and vegetarian friendly shoes. For more about the shops in the North Laine visit www.northlaine.co.uk.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Brighton! Part 1

Mark and Dave go Shopping to BRIGHTON

Dave... I need to go to Brighton, I’m cleaning up my flat to let
Mark... Why to let, and why Brighton?

Dave... So that when we go on our round the world trip, I’m earning some cash and someone else is paying my mortgage.
Mark... World Trip?  Who mentioned World Trip? Could we not go to Portobello Market instead?
Dave...   I have listened to you, my passport needs some more stamps in it, Dave is ready to roam, starting with The lanes... Virtually every shop is either full of vintage or antique objet d’art. And, I need some cool stuff to put on the walls to cover up some dirty marks on the wall.
Mark...  Paint?
Dave... Nah, boring, I’m thinking more like vintage posters
Mark... And Portobello?
Dave... Not cool enough and too expensive, Brighton is cheaper, livelier, gayer, and that’s where the original Bills can be found
Mark... Ah Bills, now that IS a great reason to shop in Brighton, not too sure about finding stuff for walls, and how does this add to getting stamps onto your passport exactly?
Dave...  Er, not directly, but do you want to help me clean down walls?
Mark...  How soon can we go, tit, tat and toot...bring it on!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Shopping for Shoes

Mark and Dave are shopping for shoes, and this time it’s DANGEROUS...it’s with a BABY.

Mark calls Dave on the smart phone.
Mark: I need help, my feet look weird, I need new shoes.
Dave: Your feet are weird, new shoes won’t really help, and I’m a bit busy.
Mark: Well thanks for that, what do you mean busy, has mysterious girl turned up. What’s that weird noise, sound like an erupting volcano, been on the curry?
Dave: No, to both. Look where are you, and why do I need to leave my boring but enviable lifestyle, even for a while to help make your weird feet look less ugly.
Mark: Dave, I’m in Neil Street Covent Garden. It’s shoe shop heaven, there is a different shop selling shoes at every stride. And, I’m trying to find a triangular mirror that you look at your well shod foot in, like was around when we were kids and your mum used to take you twice a year to the Clarks shoe shop.
Dave: Once in the Easter holidays for new trainers, and the last week of the summer holidays to get your new black Clarks lace ups that you would scuff the toes off by scraping them like hell on the playground as soon as you got them.
Mark: Yep, then your dad used to try to make you polish them ... who uses shoe polish now?
Dave: The Army! So we are looking for a shoe shop that has a triangle mirror to make you feel happier about your ugly feet.
Mark: Thanks for that last comment, meet me as quick as...what was that?
Dave: You really do not want to know.

Shoe shopping, the facts: By me, Mark.
Neil Street is genuinely really good for shoes, as in one street alone you have Aldo, Office, Diesel, The Natural Shoe Company, Timberland, Camper, Doc Martin, sports shoe shops, Nike, and even if you are really desperate a shop devoted to CROCKS, which should be banned unless you work in the plaster room of your local hospital.

On Long Acre you also have Ecco, Ugg, Russell & Bromley, so enough to choose from, and that’s before you look at Ted Baker or Paul Smith

If you need serious shoes for running ,there is The London Marathon Store.(www.londonmarathonstore.com) The shop also sells other running stuff, including snacks and special sweeties for when you get knackered running and need an energy boost... good reason to run in the first place!

If  running really is your thing, then both shops have  excellent customer service with running machines to check your gait, so that your shoes actually do support knees, ankles and so on.

The other shoe shops, range from cheapish to expensive, and the customer service goes with what your willing to spend. Office is the usual ‘find a shoe... hang around... nowhere to sit... hop up and down on one leg whilst you try on the one shoe you can find in your size... wait for 5 minutes when you eventually get asked if you need help whilst they search for a shoe in your size in the colour you want. As boyz shoes are in general black or tan, how hard can this be? (www.office.co.uk

The Natural Shoe Store (www.thenaturalshoestore.com) were charming and really helpful, and for a less formal shoe, this is an interesting option you might want to try, though not my personal thing.

The Doc Martin shop window display put me off; I’m simply not hard enough. (www.dmartins.co.uk

Timberland sells the 4x4 of the shoe world. Big beefy soles on multi stitched panels that look good, and make you feel like you are about to depart on some huntin’ shootin’ fishin’ adventure. If you have a girlfriend that invites you to ‘meet the family on the Estate’ head for the nearest Timberland. (www.timberland.com) 

UGGs, um...great for the winter, even though Dave laughed at me in my UGG’s, just can’t quite get my head round why you would want sheep skinned lined flip flops. (www.UGGaustralia.co.uk)

For super comfort, try ECCO. Breathable technology and built in support. Not a huge choice but a great casual look. (www.ecco.com)

Russell & Bromley (AKA R&B to those in the know), know how to treat you well, and there I was, in the middle of trying on my 4th pair of smart but casual shoes when Dave walked in with the small bundle of human volcanic eruptions AKA ‘VOM BABY’.

Mark: What’s that yellow stuff down your jumper, oh now on the carpet as well, and all over your hand.
Dave: Hang onto him a minute for me, whilst I grab some wipes.
Mark: Why have you brought vom baby shopping?
Dave: He needs to get the hang of shopping from an early age, so he doesn’t get the chance to turn into one of those blokes who uses the ‘can’t stand shopping’ as an excuse to go home and watch footie. I will be returning him to my sister as soon as she gets out of the Botox Clinic around the corner.
Mark:  In a year’s time then, or is that why he voms’, to get out of shopping.
Dave: No you Neanderthal, he is not just a baby. This is a total babe magnet. Look, whilst you sit here with him smiling at everyone, we have had a bevy of gorgeous people wiping up sick off the floor, another one cleaning my jumper, and watch out, someone is about to attack your upper thigh with another wet wipe. When did you last have someone attack your thigh with such abandon? Did you find the mirror?
Mark: No slanted mirror, but a good long, full-length mirror version of me was enough to convince me that I look ridiculous in shoes with pointy ends, (even thought I secretly lust over them).
And I will take these three pairs please.
Ah Dave, breathe deeply, they even smell like the country.
Dave: No, that’s VOM baby doing his other party trick..do you have a baby change please?

R&B (continued): actually, they did let us use the staff loo to change VOM baby, but we mustn’t tell anyone. Excellent customer service and they have a slanted mirror which was nearly as good as the ones in the old fashioned shoe shops, so you can get a better look at your foot from the side in your shoes. Dave’s final advice was, 'Nice Shoes, Shame About The Feet.' He also claims that Mysterious girl kept her shoes on in bed. I assume they weren’t her trainers. Clearly I need to start a new trend for men, or is that just a bit too weird?

Mark Bought these shoes:

If you enjoyed shopping with the boyz, then follow markanddavegoshopping, and watch out for more adventures, mad shopping trips with their bonkers family and friends, and keep an eye out for Mysterious Girl who may pop in now and again.
(Illustrations by Dylan Gibson).

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Extreme Shopping! Part 2

WELCOME BACK TO MARK&DAVEGOSHOPPING, the adventures of our intrepid shoppers continued in this way….. and in case you were not paying attention here is a quick recap:

To see if Dave is really up for the challeng, Mark plans to go EXTREME SHOPPING for a really cool ipad cover, so this is how it all bloody well got started... honestly, just like this...

Dave: I need a really cool i pad cover
Mark: Dave, you're not that cool, you just want a bog standard I pad cover
Dave: No, I want something that’s really cool, bog standard Dave is moving on
Mark: How needy is your need?
Dave: Pretty damn up there with the mother of all needs
Mark: Price? and how far will you travel to find it?
Dave: Ummmmmmmm, what did you have in mind?
Mark: Ok, I have a brilliant plan, so how about we attempt EXTREME shopping. I feel the need to check out the 3 of the coolest concept stores on the planet
Dave: What, the hell is a concept store?
Mark; It’s where you get a collection of brands that really showcase their ideology, their belief in the brand and expose everything that they love including their hearts. And I know of three of them.
Dave: OMG, the poet is back in my midst, so they are just shops then?
Mark; No, more than shops, their an ideal, the very best of retail space that invites you in and tugs at you heartstrings. So our challenge for extreme shopping is, Dover Street Market London, Colette Paris and Tad Rome in one day.
Dave: London, Paris, Rome, London...that’s not doable, just, for a nano second, I thought you meant the new Dover Street Market on the Ginza, Tokyo! 
Mark: How do you know about Dover Street Market, your not even cool?
Dave: So you’re organizing it all right?
Mark: Yep leave it to me
Dave: God, now I’m scared
Mark: oh ye of little faith..bring passport, credit card, get load of euros, and your 'all stars'  fitted with wings, and nuthin else, cos we need to travel light!
Dave: All I wanted was to go to the local Apple store and look at I pad covers.

Marks travel plans to get to all 3 shops within opening times are possible if you have a private jet or you can persuade Dover Street Market, London to stay open late. Clearly, if this was an episode of Top Gear, that would be possible. However, in the real world of mark&dave, to keep within the one day challenge, you need to shop Thursday night (open to 7.p.m.), to have a motorbike ready at the airport and someone like Addison Lee to arrange Super Bike (bring your own helmet) pickups from International Airports, which you will need. Mark drives a BMW so could do the last leg, but they leave from H'Row and will arrive Gatwick. Dave is already scared, but relieved that he doesn't have to ride pillion on Marks’ bike, and feels happier leaving it up to the professionals. He is talking about extra travel insurance, and is looking pale... 

It's too late Dave, Mark has already arranged the travel like this:

Mark on the phone to Dave: “Thursday; fly London Heathrow on Air France to Paris CDG, leave 07.10 arrive 09.25, Bikes pick up us up in arrivals and we whizz through the Paris traffic to Colette."

Colette, 213, RUE SAINT-HONORE 75001 PARIS.

If, like my ex gf with benefits, you are a fashionista deep down and like me, have a love for all things design, then the only place Paris has that is a must visit shopping experience is 'Colette'. This three level concept store is unique, and one of the most fashion forward places in France. The inspirational, light, open shop is dedicated to good design across lots of genres, selling things from music, books, high-tech gadgets, beauty products, magazines and of course fashion. It scores well from being very male friendly in terms of merchandise. 

Colette first opened its doors on the Right Bank in 1997 and it really did shock, whilst introducing a new way of shopping. It’s a great mix of boutique, art gallery and a very cool bar downstairs. Shop here for the latest trends, hang out for the coolest parties and openings for new designers.

"We shop for an hour, then Bikes get us back to CDG and we pick up a flight to Rome at 12.35 arriving Rome 14.40. 2 Ducatti’s pick us up and get us to Tad."

TAD Via del Babuino, 155 00187 Rome, Italy

Rome’s unique and unexpected hidden gem amongst all the ancient ruins is TAD (short for 'Tendenze e Antiche Debolezze'). Tad is the city’s first and only concept store, walk down the Spanish Steps and turn right, walk for 5 mins and it's on your left. Unlike department stores, TAD has divided its 1000 sqm floor space into separate rooms, creating a space that resembles a private home.

There are all the fashion fave's, but the inspirational space here is really the home-ware and furniture area – all the products here are designed and produced just for TAD. The room next door sells amazing fabrics (again, exclusive to TAD) so you can customize furniture, lamps and cushions if that's your thing. For art lovers there’s a ‘Living Gallery’ which exhibits and showcases new talent – and you can buy the art straight off the wall. If your AmEx needs to get over the shock of being in and out of card machines so much, you can recover in TAD’s own café (check the winter garden) where you can chill sipping aperitifs. This shop is great for inspirational ideas, boyz gadgets and people watching. Popular with fashionistas and tourists, lots of snapping pics and posing next to flower displays.

"Courier bike gets us back to Rome Fiumicino to get the Easy Jet flight at 16.05 arriving GATWICK 17.40."

Dover Street Market, Dover Street London W1S 4LT

Comme Des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo's off the wall, yet ground-breaking six storey space lets the edgy energy of London's indoor markets meet the west end. Engage with tills housed in corrugated-iron shacks, Portaloo dressing rooms which let the rarified fashion labels have sustained 'stand out' on the sanded concrete floors. All 14 of the Comme collections are here, alongside exclusive lines such as Lanvin, Givenchy and Azzedine Alaïa. GF with benefits wore Comme des Garcons 2 perfume, and shopped for Chloe fashion here. So as I look round I realized that I should have bought her at least a C.D.G candle, no wonder she disappeared into the night... well afternoon actually!
Dover Street's biannual 'Tachiagari' event means that the store closes while designers make changes to their concessions, ensuring the space is constantly evolving. So from the outside it can look like it's closed down, but don't be fooled. The Chalayan area has exclusive pieces and an area devoted to Celine, McQueen and Rick Owens amongst others. Edgy jewellery designer Noguchi, as well as Azature, Waris and Repossi, are sold on the ground floor. If all the animal skulls start to get to you, or you have the feeling that you are wandering around a Doctor Who set, have a sit-down in the Rose Bakery on the top floor. 

Dave bought his Comme des Garcons MANGA i pad cover in Dover Street Market for £169. 

Dave; Hint, Don't bring your mum here, she probably won't get it!

What we spent...
£550 between us on airfares, €250 on Super Bike transfers, and £169 on the i pad case. I bought books in Colette, and we both bought VERY small pieces of artwork in Tad. For us, Colette was the most inspirational, as the mix of goods for sale was eclectic and uber exciting, plus it wasn't just about fashion. Tad is stunning, but strangely familiar. Imagine a mix of Liberty individuality with Harvey Nichols Style and Harrods opulence. Dover Street is bonkers, but full of great stuff, and more fashion-centric. But the mix of concrete and use of Avant Garde furnishings make it a really worthwhile place to visit.

In EXTREME shopping terms, this was fun, exhausting and expensive, we could have bought it all on line. But you cant put a price on being piloted through the manic streets of Italy on the back of a Ducatti... and shoving with sharp elbows through passport control in Paris was hilarious.

Oh, and if you find My Ex GF with benefits, let me know where she is... feeling pretty up for it after all those thrill rides on the Ducatti!

 If you enjoyed shopping with the boyz, then follow markanddavegoshopping, and watch out for more adventures, mad shopping trips with their bonkers family and friends, and keep an eye out for Mysterious Girl who may pop in now and again. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Beginning...

It’s another cold, wet, spring evening. You meet up with your mate in a pub. One of you is suddenly single (again), and one of you is facing possible redundancy due to potential cutbacks.  

So what do you do?


Let me introduce you to Dave…

Name: David, but all his mates call him Dave.
Age: 29 ish. He's kinda geeky, and wants to thought of as really cool... in fact beyond cool. Of course he isn’t, he is in fact a bit of a twat, but nice, really nice in a bloke sort of way. Likes women who have an oriental twist, but always keeps them at arms length. I call them 'mysterious girls', cos they drift in and out of his life and none of us ever actually meet them. We only know about them by the morning smile of his face!

Where he shops: Carnaby Street for trainers, Ted Baker for shirts, Urban Outfitters, and surprisingly, Acne, which is uber cool. Some vintage bits from Brick Lane and Spitalfields, especially sun glasses and picture frames.

Jeans: Cheap Monday 
Watch: Vintage
Boxers or commando: Calvin Klein Boxers
Interests: Cool pubs and restaurants with friends. Sunday league football, gym... only when necessary. Pop-up Art Galleries, street art, photography, gigs headlining up and coming bands, such as: The Black Keys, The Cribs, Twin Atlantic or The Maccabees.
Job: Graphic Designer 
Loves: Geeky gadgets
Favorite Drink: Great beer
Drives: No need, Dave lives in London, but would like a vintage Triumph.
Personal Head Space: Need to make a change and find stuff that inspires him! 






















Now, about me...

Name: Mark.
Age: early 30’s, trapped in the wrong era, should have been born mid 1800's then could have been a poet riding an old bike round a village green, a romantic at heart, yeah I know, I am a twat!
Where I shop: Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Fenwick Men’s, Diesel, Paul Smith. Some
Vintage bits from Notting Hill, especially furniture.
Jeans: Diesel
Watch: Tag
Boxers or commando: Diesel Boxers
Interests: Out door stuff, cycling, cricket. Love great coffee with mates on a Sunday morning. Play occasionally in a band and open mic nights with guitar. Sketching (belong to urban sketchers).
Bands: Keane, Band of Skulls, Muse, Paul Weller, Florence and The Machine, Elvis Costello
Job: Furniture Designer
Favorite Drink: G&T
Drives: BMW Motorbike
Personal Head Space: Looking for direction and want to go and see great stuff! Like Dave, I need some ideas to guide me to my next project in life, what ever that might be.

Meet me, Mark, and my mate Dave. Just two basic guys, who, faced with a lack of a girl friend (with benefits) and a lack of a job (redundancy so cash is available) decide to make a change, and GO SHOPPING. But not just any shopping...we are going shopping around the world for COOL STUFF. Why...?
Because right now, we can!

AND to see if Dave is really up for the challenge, I am planning to go EXTREME shopping, for a really cool ipad cover… Oh, this is how it all bloody well got started… honestly, just like this...

Dave; I need a really cool ipad cover.
Mark; Dave, you're not that cool, you just want a bog standard ipad cover.
Dave; No, I want something that’s really cool, bog standard Dave is moving on...
Mark; How needy is your need?
Dave; Pretty damn up there with the mother of all needs.
Mark; Price? and how far will you travel to find it?
Dave; Ummmmmmmm, what did you have in mind?
Mark; Ok, I have a brilliant plan, so how about we attempt EXTREME shopping. I feel the need to check out three of the coolest concept stores on the planet.
Dave; What, the hell is a concept store?
Mark; It’s where you get a collection of brands that really showcase their ideology, their belief in the brand and expose everything that they love including their hearts. And I know of three of them.
Dave; OMG, the poet is back in my midst, so they are just shops then?
Mark; No, more than shops, they are an ideal. The very best of retail space that invites you in and tugs at your heartstrings. So our challenge for extreme shopping is... Dover Street Market in London, Colette in Paris and Tad in Rome. All in one day.
Dave: London, Paris, Rome... that’s not do-able. Just, for a nano second, I thought you meant the new Dover Street Market on the Ginza, Tokyo! 
Mark; How do you know about Dover Street Market, you're not even cool?
Dave; So you're organizing it all? right?
Mark; Yep leave it to me.
Dave; God, now I’m scared.
Mark; oh ye of little faith... bring passport, credit card, get load of euros, and your 'all stars'  fitted with wings, and nuthin' else, 'cos we need to travel light!
Dave; All I wanted was to go to the local Apple store and look at ipad covers...

(Illustrations by Dylan Gibson)