We love cherries and we love cake, and right now we also have a thing for La Cerise sur le Gâteau, the beautiful French linen which, quite true to its name, is setting the tone for SS/17 in homewares. All washed out pastels and trails of gold polka dots. Here, founder Anne Hubert talks us through the La Cerise sur le Gâteau story and some of the highlights from the brand's Instagram feed.
Summer term just started and we’re all taking that as a good excuse for a fresh new notebook courtesy of Write Sketch &, the latest addition to our stationery department. The collection caught the eye of Lucy and Victoria back in January at Maison&Objet. Our theme for summer, Miami Nice, was taking shape - all saturated pastels, strong prints and nods to fun days gone by - and Write Sketch & was the perfect addition with its bold colours and retro geometrics.
The brand was founded in 2014 by Italians Matteo Carrubba and Angela Tomasoni, two designers with a decade long partnership at the head of their own agency specialising in art direction in the design and fashion worlds. With Write Sketch &, the duo created something for themselves, combining their passion for print and obsession with quality.
The collection is inspired by the Memphis Group, an Italian design and architecture group founded in Milan by Ettore Sottsass in 1981 which designed postmodern furniture, fabrics, ceramics, glass and metal objects. Google the ‘Carlton’ room divider, the group’s most iconic design, and you instantly see where Write Sketch & is coming from. It’s a strong look and just the right amount of ‘80s throwback we’re loving right now.
Production is 100% Italian and uses Fedrigoni paper with Pantone inks and super strength thread stitched binding. The thing we're really loving though is the ability to fully open each page to 180 °. Not a design feature we’d really considered before now, but actually super practical. No more holding down pages that just want to jump up. These, stationery fans, are notebooks worth getting geeky about.
We had an inkling we were in for something quite special upon Meri Meri’s return to our Project Space, but wow. Stef and her team from Meri Meri HQ arrived on Tuesday, and here we are with the results of two full days spent transforming the window and mezzanine level.
We don't think we’ve ever seen a brand make the space their own quite so completely. It’s like walking into Meri Meri wonderland and we absolutely love it. Boughs of blossom, garlands of stars, mermaids and dream-catchers, rainbows and unicorns; colour, fun and gorgeous stuff everywhere you look. Plus a beautifully made bed to crash in when it all gets a bit too much.
Yes, we have a bed in the shop window, made up with Meri Meri’s new organic bedding range and cushions. We’ve got their storage baskets and soft toys, bunting and dream-catchers, totes and purses, badges and clothes patches, plus even more on the stationery and party front (including their Meri Meri Liberty collaboration).
Highly, highly tempting at every turn. Here until Sunday 23 July.
Easter isn’t egg-shaped here. Instead we’re focusing on the best quality chocolate we can get our hands on, serious artisan bars through to fun flavour combos. Here’s a tempting and timely round-up of our current confectionery scene.
OCELOT: New for spring, this is the eye-catcher of the pack. The pretty packaging is just the start though; gorgeous flavour combos, great quality and a commitment to sustainable, organic and fair-trade production pack substance. Founded by a married couple of former chefs from Edinburgh, Ocelot’s chocolate comes from Peru and the Eastern Congo, where the farmers and environment are cared for as much as the produce. Bee Pollen and Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla, Porcelana with Salted Almonds; we’re struggling to narrow down a favourite.
LAND: Another new arrival. Slightly more serious in tone, this is chocolate for connoisseurs, created by Phil Landers, a former BBC Radio production employee turned master chocolatier. The transformation took four years, a lot of time spent in south and central America learning about harvesting, fermentation and new cacao varieties, and a stint back in London training as a chef. This is his resulting collection of single origin and single bean bars, and they are very, very good. Our taste buds may be in training, but we can definitely detect the strong floral tones and underlying berry notes in the Nicaragua Dark. And we’re certainly growing very accustomed to Venezuelan Milk, which develops into a stronger fudge flavour and ends with a slight nuttyness. This is where it’s at, chocolate enthusiasts.
CREIGHTON'S: Our fondness for Creighton’s and their chocolate granny gnashers shows no sign of waning. This small, family-run business, is headed up by mother and daughter team, Andrea and Lucy, who are just lovely and know how to have fun in the serious world of artisan chocolate. Their new spring collection of breakfast bars has just arrived, and we’re seriously wondering if we can get away with meal replacement. Coffee and crumbs, a spoonful of cereal and maple and bacon, surely a fine way to proceed any day.
Pretty much every day at The Hambledon is a good mail day, but Monday was a particular highlight. After a long journey from downtown LA, Maison Louis Marie arrived to much anticipation and managed to wow us all within minutes.
We’ve opened some sweet smelling boxes in our time but this delivery literally wafted into store, displacing every lesser particle on the ground floor with some beautifully complex and delicate floral notes. And then there’s the packaging; so simple, so very elegant. It comes as no surprise then that the fancy French name is no marketing gimmick, and there’s a story here much further flung than the fragrance labs of downtown LA.
It starts in 1792 with Louis Marie Aubert du Petit Thouars, a pioneer in French botanical history. During the French revolution, he was exiled to Madagascar, La Reunion and Mauritius where he discovered a huge variety of plant specimens. After ten years he returned to France bearing a collection of over 2000 plants and was promptly elected a member of the prestigious Académie des Sciences.
Fast forward 200 years and Marie du Petit Thouars grew up in Belgium and France making candles and experimenting with scents in her mother’s greenhouse. She then embarked on a career in fashion, initially working for Isabella Blow and later becoming a fashion editor in London for The Sunday Times. Her next move was to LA to study fine art photography, eventually opening a studio, 1294 Sunset, where she went on to launch Maison Louis Marie in 2013.
Combining her lifelong interest in fragrance with respect for her family’s rich botanical history, the Maison Louis Marie line is centered around unique floral fragrances inspired by Marie’s childhood memories. While she has no formal training as a perfumer, the subtlety and delicacy of the fragrances are testament to a great deal of time, care and talent, and the slow and methodical process of building a scent that she describes.
No. 4 Bois de Balincourt combines sandalwood with subtle notes of cedar wood, vetiver, nutmeg and cinnamon to recall the smell of her family estate outside of Paris, and specifically the smell of the surrounding forests after heavy rain. While No. 10 is spicy yet floral, inspired by the site where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. Ancestor Louis Marie also makes an appearance, on the boxes of each candle. Drawings penned while in exile, capturing the Dryorkis Antidris Thouars orchid which he discovered and named.
All of it, perfection from start to finish, and we couldn’t be happier to be one of only a few stockists here in the UK; their candles, rollerball perfumes and luxe hand washes, making a final icing on the cake kind of addition to our new look bath and beauty department.