I often receive emails from people asking me where to buy crafts supplies in London… So I guessed you might like to see what my days look like when I go searching for bits and bobs for my DIY projects. Today I spent the afternoon on Oxford Street and Noel Street, ideal places to stock up !
I generally work on a day to day basis… I do try to get more organised but I can’t help it, inspiration hits me at precisely 8AM each day and until that time who knows what my day will be like ! So when I get my daily idea I only have a few hours ahead of me to get crafty, take photos and post the project on my blog. I love working like this, every day is a new challenge (we’ll be talking about “challenges” again on Friday… stay tuned !). I do manage to work in advance when the project’s more than a regular post but when I get a call from a huge French magazine offering me a page in their Summer edition if I’m able to hand a project in in just a couple of days… I’m grateful I’m used to pressure ! So with this great opportunity in mind, I headed off to find the necessary supplies in Central London… And so my story begins.
Once upon a time, there was a double decker bus. Number 73, to be precise. My favorite bus because it takes me from my favorite place in London to one of the places I need most ! I love living in Stoke Newington, it’s so crafty and trendy… I would proudly wear an “I <3 Stokey” tee-shirt if it came to it. But this short paragraph is not enough to explain why I love my local area so much, I’ll have to introduce you to it properly some time soon ! So I got on bus number 73 which took me to Oxford Street in just under 45 minutes, the perfect amount of time for me to get myself organised by writing today’s To Do List. Oh, and I also took a few secs to post pics to Instagram, that’s what bloggers do, right ?! ;-)
As usual, I missed my stop on Oxford Street. Honestly, I do this every time. I end up bashing the red button a million times but the driver nevers gives in, not even when I’m wearing my favorite lipstick. So unfortunately, I got off the bus right in front of Topshop… and obviously had to go in. I didn’t actually stay for that long and most of all I was SUPER GOOD because I didn’t spend a penny. But while I’m on the topic may I just say I truly believe I could live in this store if I didn’t need day light : clothes, accessories, cupcakes, manucures, coffee, millions of shoes and even a hairdressers… What more can a girl wish for, eh ?
After Topshop, I entered a few other well known shops on the same road, this time frantically looking for the item of clothing I needed to customise for the article. Yep, I was told exactly the garment I had to find so the search was ON ! Naturally, I turned to my regular trio : H&M, PRIMARK and UNIQLO. These three shops usually answer my prayers, their clothes are basic enough to take a good DIY and the prices are low. When I’m looking to work on something of better quality I go to AMERICAN APPAREL, PETIT BATEAU, GAP or COS, but because of the number of DIY projects I work on each month I try to keep these sprees to the minimum. Unfortunately my fav’s didn’t have what I needed today (typical !) but I did hang around a short while checking out their new collections and I can tell you now : Spring’s looking good ! Obvious upcoming trends include black and white (yipee – this week’s fashion DIY is bang on !), a lot of neon-pastels (pastels with attitude !) and believe it or not LOTS of Do It Yourself looking clothes… Isn’t it weird the way mass production is getting into homemade looking products… The world’s spinning backwards (:
Luckily I finally found what I needed in NEW LOOK so all I needed now were the acual crafts supplies ! I knew exactly where to go for these so I trotted off to a road just 5 minutes away from Oxford Street… Noel Street is very popular amongst fashion students and designers… as well as DIYers !
I had two shops in mind already, you have to know where you’re going in this city ! NEW TRIMMINGS and KLEINS – two stores FULL of incredible stock.
NEW TRIMMINGS is at N° 22 and I have wanted to paint a new ‘N’ on their sign for-like-ever ! This popular shop doesn’t seem to need to dress up fancy to find success, people go because they know it has such an amazing range of products. You can find hundreds of different ribbons and trimmings (surprise, surprise !) as well as feathers, colourful rhinestones, chains and more. Everything’s piled up so you want to make sure you spend a good amount of time in there or you might miss something precious ! On the $$$ side, I’d say the pricing is reasonable – you can probably find cheaper places to buy but I doubt the array of products would be as impressive.
Next stop : KLEINS, N°2 Noel Street. This shop is luxury. It’s fast-paced and service is minimal (although I actually had a nice chat with the boss on this occasion) but product wise it is GREAT. Every few minutes a local designer walks in looking for something extremely precise to finish his / her project. KLEINS always has exactly what they need – as long as it’s something you’d find wrapped round a bobbin ! They do sell beads and dyes on level -1 but this shop is mostly well known for its beautiful trimmings and threads – an uncountable amount of designs all sorted by colour and style. Every time I go in this shop I get overly excited – I can’t buy half of the things I would like though because it’s a little pricey and VAT’s on top. It’s a good place to go for inspiration though and you can buy by the meter to keep prices down.
Sooooo… Finally stocked up, it’s time for tea ! Last but not least on Noel Street is Yumchaa, an adorable tea shop with delicious cakes and unusual loose leaves… Today I went for a chocolate – walnut brownie with Blue Flower Earl Grey whilst sitting in the window people watching…
So now all I have to do is actually DO the DIY haha ! I’m looking forward to it, I’ll show you it once it’s out in Prima in May !
I hope you liked taking a tour of DIY London with me today, if you did I might well take you somewhere else with me soon ?!