Finisterre, Covent Garden

Surf brand with a commitment to sustainability
by Charlotte Roberts

A British clothing brand that offers so much more than just surf related merchandise have opened a beautiful store in Seven Dials. Think framed coastal pictures, storm lights and a relaxed, surf shack vibe.

Despite the brands apparent lack of interest in being ‘in fashion’, their plain, subtly branded clothes have become achingly fashionable. Pretty impressive bearing in mind first and foremost they want to make clothes that last and are made from environmentally friendly, recycled or natural fibres, such as merino wool.

I am not a surfer but I love the brand and products, the warmest coats that you will ever wear that fold into a pocket and the cosiest merino wool socks. It is much more than your standard retail store  – hosting events, talks and film screenings – definitely pop in – the coffees are pretty good too!

The Apartment by The Line, New York

An unassuming entrance in Soho leads to a trove of unique products.

by Nigel Gillingham

The Apartment is the joint innovation of Creative Director Morgan Wendelborn and stylist du jour Vanessa Traina. The group brings together a collection of extremely well-compiled lifestyle products presented in the setting of an unassuming Apartment. The entrance is via a self-effacing entrance that sits amongst high profile and luxury…

Space Ninety8, Brooklyn

Amongst the modish cafes, bars and industrial space of Williamsburg, New York, lives Space Ninety 8

by Rupert Bentley-Smith

Amongst the modish cafes, bars and industrial space of Williamsburg, New York, lives Space Ninety 8, the five story Urban Outfitters concept store. Big and spacious, the multi-level space is located in a renovated warehouse. It has an industrial look, complete with exposed ceilings and brick wall. This Brooklyn store…

Hay Design, Bath

Bath flagship for this iconic Danish homeware brand

by Nigel Gillingham

Having seen them in Copenhagen on a client trip in 2014, I am delighted that this fantastic home retailer has opened in my home town in Bath, as their Flagship UK store. Located inside a former bank on Milsom Street, the shop opened its ground floor initially and then slowly…

Vintage Village, Paris

A concept store based around genuine vintage and antique pieces from Habitat
by Ed Corrigan

On the northern fringes of the 18th arrondissement  is the famous Marche aux Puces de Saint Ouen. “Les Puces” has evolved (and is still evolving) from flea market to tourist hotspot to antique and art dealer collective. Off one of the side streets is a walled enclave called Vintage Village. There are burger pop-ups and street food vans, the first signs of a Brixton Village-style foodiefication, plus an outlet of L’Eclaireur- selling vintage designer fashion. But most interesting of all is Habitat 1964. A concept store with a twist, it is based around genuine vintage and antique pieces from Habitat. Opened to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the brand, it celebrates iconic specimens of design and household furniture with a big attachment to the Terence Conran name.

Many of these vintage Habitat pieces are collectors items and hard to come by on the open market or the internet. Here, anyone can sell their own second hand Habitat pieces through the store at their approved prices. In my hometown of Bristol, Habitat used to be referred to as local landmark as much as a store. Now, it represents just a small concession in Homebase.  Similarly, the antiques market has struggled with the rise of E-bay as everyone is now an expert. What hits you as you peruse the store is that the majority of the items, although still feeling modern, were designed before the rise of internet shopping and before even the widespread dominance of Ikea.

Heritage here doesn’t mean traditional or old fashioned. The geographical distance from the chic city centre of Paris somehow adds to the feeling that you are shopping in a time before technology came along and changed it all.  You could spend a whole weekend trawling the entire area (Les Puces only trades on Saturdays and Sundays) but the Habitat 1964 store is worth a visit in its own right. Whilst you’re there, check out the eclectic concept stores – focused around antique and found objects for the home and garden – on the neighbouring Rue Paul Bert.

Palomar, London

A modern Jerusalem menu and creative, crazy environment

by Nigel Gillingham

Riad el Fenn, Marrakech

Five Riads converted into one

by Ed Corrigan

There has traditionally been a choice for travellers staying in Marrakech: the traditional but perhaps ‘compact’ accommodation offered by the riads within the Medina, or one of the luxurious sprawling hotel complexes just outside the city walls. Riad el Fenn attempts to bring the best of both, offering traditional charm…

Male grooming at Aveda, Covent Garden

The modern man's grooming experience

by Ed Corrigan

Modern men’s hairdressing is dominant in London now with the rise of Pankhurst, Murdock, Ted’s Grooming Room, and rumours of ‘peak beard’ abound. Usually masculine surroundings with leather, dark wood and musky aromas generally being the order of the day, these businesses are fundamental in changing the way that men…

Circus, Covent Garden

A Christmas party venue with a kick

by Leanne Bradley

It’s that time of year. Christmas feels like a life time away but it’s actually round the corner, the diary is filling up (if not full) and we are tasked with organising festive ‘catch-ups’ with people we hardly ever see or see every single day. Then there is the office…

The Ginger Pig

The Ginger Pig has Christmas covered
by Woody Bruce

Now with seven stores across London and their ‘head office’ in the heart of Yorkshire, The Ginger Pig has fast become one of the most popular butchers in London. Ginger Pig is your old school, quintessential butchers. They give excellent advice, are happy to chat about what to do with various cuts and will always tell you what they think is good value; they offer you that personal experience. Ever since the scandal with the horse meat, why wouldn’t your loyalty be with your local butcher?

With this in mind, what better time to receive the personal treatment than at Christmas when life is at its most hectic. Order over the phone, or in store, deadline for Christmas orders, Wednesday 17th December. Offering Turkey, Goose, Three Bird Roast, Chicken, Cockerel, Duck or Ham and even pigs in blankets and stuffing. Not only can you cater for you family for the duration of the festive period but you can buy gifts from jars of jam and chutneys, to a lesson in butchery excellence for your meat loving relatives. The hands-on butchery classes offer the student a three hour class with advice on how to buy meat and get the best from each cut from Pork and Beef to seasonal Game.

To round off the session you have the chance to discuss the lesson, with your fellow students, over a glass of wine or two and  given your own joints to take home. And whilst your collecting your order for Christmas, why not have one of their renowned Sausage Rolls, I’m told it’s been nicknamed a ‘reverse Gregg’s sausage roll (i.e. its almost ALL meat… unlike Gregg’s), something you can’t pass up on whilst in the shop!

My Cup of Tea, Rome

A former cave, turned secret studio packed full with design wonders

by Rupert Bentley-Smith

Cagliari, Sardinia

Traditional, yet captivating retail experience in Sardinia

by Rupert Bentley-Smith

The Standard Grill, New York

A Meatpacking staple dining destination just off the iconic High Line

by Harry Wills

A trip to New York is not complete without a visit to the High Line. Originally built in the 1930s, it took dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district and raised them 30 feet into the air. From 1934 to 1980 it carried meat, goods and post…

Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Los Angeles

Recently dubbed, by GQ as ‘The Coolest Street in America’

by Nigel Gillingham

This is an absolute ‘must see’ for the wannabe retail expert going to LA!  This relatively long and standard, narrow two-sided street is home to some very cool independent brands. My favourite is Junk Food which has just opened and is a fabulous store fit-out selling urban unisex fashion. Recently…

Hudson Yards, New York

Hudson Yards opens in phases from 2017 and includes 14 acres of public realm

by Nigel Gillingham

Sitting between Chelsea Market (Meat Packing district) and Clinton (Hell’s Kitchen), Hudson Yards is a 17 million sq ft development. This mixed use scheme will include commercial, residential, state-of-the-art office towers, more than 100 shops and 20 restaurants. Further to this, there will be approx. 500 houses, 750 seat school…

South Milton Sands, Devon

A slap board shack on the edge of the National Trust beach
by Tracey Pollard

From a distance, this slap board shack on the edge of the National Trust beach looks like the perfect ice cream stop, but The Beach House at South Milton Sands on the stunning South Hams coast serves far more than ice creams.

This unique venue seats 30 internally and more on external benches over looking the beach. The cafe serves, wines, local beers and delicious fresh seafood such as scallops, squid and sea bass, along side the traditional ice creams. Available for private hire, long relaxing lunches or supper, watching the sun go down, this flip flop style of venue is open from 9am to 9pm and sums up the very best of British beachside holidays.

Just along the coast at Beesands, you feel as if you have gone back to the Devon of the 1950’s. This small community, with a pub, beach and traditional playground is the home of The Britannia at the beach, which is more affectionate known as The Shack. This tiny venue is the local shop, fishmongers and cafe and is a real example of retailers crossing the sectors and creating a sense of community. Open daily from 9am – 8pm most days, this BYO offers a small menu, focusing on fresh seafood, which includes the catch of the day, a wonderful seafood pie and dressed crab.

The fresh fish can also be bought from the fishmongers counter in the shop, which sells the daily catch, caught from its own boats, landed on the beach in front of the shop. Alongside the everyday provisions there is fresh bread, cakes and takeaway sandwiches. This makes The Shack the perfect one stop convenience store, providing a range of goodies, to let you picnic or BBQ on the beach, enjoy takeaway fish and chips, or eat in from breakfast through to dinner.

KaDeWe, Berlin

The largest department store in continental Europe

by Tracey Pollard

The Rum Kitchen, London

A great example of a restaurant working well on a first floor inward facing scheme

by Victoria Broadhead

Baileys, Herefordshire

Destination homeware store in the Herefordshire countryside

by Nigel Gillingham

Set in a rural location in Herefordshire, Baileys sells a wide range of homewares from kitchen equipment, lighting, 1930’s Bathrooms, sofas and vintage milk bottles. Located in a series of farm buildings called the Threshing Barn, Stable tack room and Loft, the retail offer has developed to include a café…

Bounce, London

A hip table tennis club and social entertainment experience

by Victoria Broadhead

Always keen for a different night out, I ventured down to Bounce one Thursday night, convinced it was a good idea to add some form of exercise with a few beers and a pizza! A new craze on the scene is a beer and a game of Ping Pong. Leaders in…

Bikini Building, Berlin

West Berlin re-establishes itself as a shopping destination

by Tracey Pollard

Built in 1957 the Bikini Haus was seen as a symbol of Berlin’s post war reconstruction, of new beginnings and freedoms. Its design included a second floor which has an open sided floor giving it the bikini shape and name.Much has been made in recent years of the emergence of…

Zorlu Center, Istanbul

Superb public realm and an enviable tenant mix in this Turkish shopping centre.
by Nigel Gillingham

Who said that the best retail is only found in the “recognised” retail cities of the world!  The Zorlu Center in Istanbul is home to Crate and Barrel, Eataly and one of the coolest Apple stores I have seen outside of Fifth Avenue. It is a fantastic example of Istanbul’s meteoric rise up the international retail rankings.

This centre provides a combination of superb public realm including extensive use of natural planting, extensive terracing and water features with contemporary design but above all an enviable tenant mix that is literally the “who’s who” of international premium retailing.

This tenant mix combined with some of the best catering and restaurants in a retail development in Istanbul has few international comparables.  Definitely worth a visit!

Mud Dock, Bristol

Cycle shop meets restaurant - a Bristol institution

by Victoria Broadhead

Marunouchi, Tokyo

First class public realm creates a calm, relaxed, atmosphere so contrasted to the rest of Tokyo

by Tracey Pollard

Otto Restaurant, Sydney

A Sydneysider's perspective

by Jane Horton

In celebrity interviews, they often ask what would be your last meal ever. Well, for me it would have to be at Otto Ristorante in Sydney, New South Wales. Not for the waterfront views or the sunshine that warms your face as you sit on the terrace with your first…

Eliseyev Emporium, St Petersburg

A luxury food emporium in the heart of St Petersburg

by Emily Dumbell

Nevsky Prospect is the famous street that cuts through the centre of St Petersburg and bustles with life as it is lined with restaurants, bars and shops.  At the crossroads with the Kazan Cathedral is the beautiful Art Nouveau building of the Eliseyev Emporium. With its prominent corner position, beautiful…

Bristol Lido

The oldest surviving Lido in the UK

Rupert Bentley-Smith

Dating back to 1849 this is the oldest surviving lido in the UK which allows all year round swimming.  Tucked away in the heart of Clifton, the posh residential area of Bristol, the Bristol Lido was rescued by a group of local campaigners after being derelict for 20 years. The…

The Chiltern Firehouse

Our Ruby Wedding Anniversary at Chiltern Firehouse
by Maureen Buckley

In March, we were lucky to celebrate our Ruby Wedding anniversary. Forty years, where has it gone? As a truly memorable treat, our daughters [not forgetting our son-in-laws] planned and organised a stay at the Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone. This was particularly special as the building holds wonderful memories for us both. Firstly, my husband was a fire-fighter and started his career at this station in 1969. But also, in 1970 my own family were very fortunate to move in to the top flat above the fire station, as my Dad was a Senior Fire Officer. After some time, a romance evolved between us. We went on to plan a wedding for March 1974.

On the morning of our wedding I was thrilled to walk, on the arm of my dad through a ‘Guard of honour’ of fire-fighters, assembled in the appliance room. The appliance room is now a buzzing restaurant offering a delightful menu! It was here that we had lunch to celebrate, accompanied by our daughters and son-in-laws. Not only that, but they arranged an overnight stay in this superb hotel, where we were greeted by a wonderful team of staff, who showed genuine interest in our story.  They gave us a tour of the building, including the look-out tower, with the most amazing views.

To be able to return to the Firehouse and be upgraded to the most superb suite, made our celebration ever more exceptional, not to mention at times emotional for me. I would truly recommend a visit to this beautiful building which has been sympathetically renovated, in itself an experience, but you will be guaranteed a wonderful time.