by Saskia

Brisk breezes

Autumn has arrived! So far we’ve had stunning sunny days with a crisp bite in the air, alternated with cloudy, windy days that are a bit milder. I feel like a new person when the weather is like this, have been walking around with a very silly grin on my face. One of the best things about this season is that it legitimises my need to buy yet more scarves and corduroys and cardigans (thank you, Uniqlo, for feeding my habit) and jackets. I’ve discovered Truro Fabrics, courtesy of another blog, and now I have my eye on several wool or tweed options to make an autumn jacket with. No, my existing three are not enough, don’t be silly. And of course the other glorious thing about colder weather is the return of soups and stews and pies and roasts and many, many potatoes to the menu.


I’ve read a lot about Walthamstow Market, and how it has the best fabric shops and stalls where you can get real bargains, think £1 to £2 a metre. So the husband and I set off yesterday to have a look. I have to say, it was not at all what I expected and I am not overly impressed. Yes, I did get some really nice crocheted lace for £2 and I ended up getting nearly everything I wanted, but it was not all that cheap and I got all my material from one quite small shop that opened very recently. The other more established shops were so chaotic and didn’t have a massive selection, unless you wanted upholstery or garish evening dress material. I suspect Fabric City in Cape Town has spoiled me for life. However, there are many brilliant online fabric shops in the UK, and I reckon they’ll get the bulk of my sewing spending. We got a bit hungry at the market, and had lunch at Manze’s Pie and Mash shop, which was like stepping straight into the East End of about a 150 years ago. The food was quite disappointing (didn’t taste of much at all) but the interiors alone were worth it. It was a bit of a typically London experience: the traditional place where you can still get jellied eels for lunch, nearly swallowed by all the fruit and veg stalls and other shops catering to immigrants from the sub-continent and Caribbean, but which was itself started by Italian immigrants in the late 19th century. A bit of a reminder that London’s always been like this, that the “good old days” never existed. Although it is sad that cockney East London is becoming a rarity.

Bobbed hair!

I haven’t had a haircut since the lovely Gina sorted my hair out for my sister’s wedding in Cape Town – far too expensive here and I wanted to grow it out in any case. Recently it’s become quite tatty and started irritating me no end, so when I happened upon a hair salon recommendation on the East Dulwich Forum (a bit of a guilty pleasure, courtesy of my chief sub!) I decided to find out more. It was brilliant: no appointments, you just wander in and take a seat and enjoy the sunshine while you wait. It’s a family-run salon with no pretensions, and I’ve never had such an efficient cut. I had asked for my hair to be cut level with the shortest layer, so that it can all grow out evenly. Ten minutes and £10 later I had a blunt bob cut! Very pleased. I think if I ever want to try something new or a more tricky cut I’d save it for Gina, but for trims Chaz will do nicely. Another bonus is that I’d never been to Bellenden Road before, and there are quite a few nice secondhand/vintage shops there I’m keen to explore.