If you’ve been in store lately you might have spied our homewares department looking particularly sunny in time for spring; loaded with colour and a good measure of kitsch, largely thanks to the arrival of Sun Jellies and their rainbow range of retro plastic baskets.
If they look vaguely familiar and resurface childhood memories then it’s probably little surprise that the bags are indeed an extension of the Sun Jellies brand which started out retailing the original jelly shoe. And we have a lovely lady called Kelly White to thank for bringing jelly bags and shoes back into our lives.
Having moved to Worthing to live the seaside dream with her family she found herself searching unsuccessfully for some jelly shoes to wear on the pebbly beach. It seemed jelly shoes had disappeared and no-one in the UK was selling them. What she did discover though was the story behind the jelly shoe – originally created in 1946 by Frenchman Monsieur Jean Dauphant in response to a worldwide leather shortage - and much to her delight, the classic t-bar fisherman weave design was still being made in France using the original moulds.
So excited to find plastic shoes not made in China, and convinced they could become a wardrobe staple, Kelly made it her mission to bring jelly shoes back, and in the process launched her own range of jelly bags in 2014, recreating classic styles crafted from 100% recyclable PVC. We're stocking the Carnival and Retro baskets, Fiesta shopper and Atomic tote, and finding them all kinds of useful for grocery shopping through to household storage. Thanks Kelly.
One of the favourite new reads we have our Newsstand Project to thank for, Pasture is a new bi-annual magazine inviting you behind the plate of food. Beautifully photographed, the magazine delivers stories delving into the environment, the product and people behind the food we eat. We had a chat with the magazine's founder, Samuel Moppett.
Tell us a bit about how Pasture magazine came to be & the inspiration behind it.
Pasture exists as a platform to explore everything and anything that happens before a finished plate of food arrives, in short, where things are from. It happened because I couldn’t source information in a way I felt would inspire or educate me, and I was clueless on far too much. The inspiration comes from the acceptance of not being afraid to always ask questions and do things a little different.
Describe your typical working day.
A typical day for Pasture; tea in bed (if I'm lucky), cycle to town, a Monmouth coffee, picking photographers, researching, reading numerous drafts, ignoring emails, lots of phone calls, charming whoever will listen, teamwork, not enough food, being stuck indoors when your magazine is the opposite of being sat at a desk, arguing with my sub-editor on whether jam jars can graduate, hobbling to the post office, staring at beautiful magazines in a pile and not reading them, planning a wedding, renovating a flat and meeting people for cake. Pasture is a personal project at the moment, I still work full-time as an art director 9-5, so technically I’m not* doing anything on Pasture, it's all early mornings and late evenings. *a lie
Who or what couldn't you work without?
Curiosity, honesty, and good people. I have no time for narcissism.
What is the most fascinating thing you've learned while working on Pasture?
How little exposure is given to the source. Luckily this seems to be changing.
Tell us about your ultimate supper date. Where would you go? Who with? And what would you eat & drink?
Italy. Cara and friends. Walk down to the veg stand at the end of one of the locals farms, pick up some Roma tomatoes, find the nearest market, pick up burrata and handfuls of basil, head to the beach, find a stall that sells deep fried calamari, wash the tomatoes in the sea, crack open a cold small can of local beer. Eat. Relax. Get burned.
Are there any foods that are strictly off the menu?
Brussel sprouts. I don’t get it.
You talk about the magazine taking readers on a food adventure. Which food adventure in the planning are you most excited about?
Soil. I am way too excited about this one. I hated science when I was younger,
it was too self-absorbed for me, here we are going at it with two wonderful
scientists and an ace photographer in a digestible way. It should be good.
What has been your proudest Pasture moment?
The acceptance of our first issue. It's gone above and beyond expectations.
What would you like to do in the future?
Become big enough to own a farm and run Pasture from the countryside.
Does team Pasture have any food-related guilty pleasures?
Cara and Frances’ favourite meal in the whole world is probably KFC, with Mcdonald's curry sauce.
Lastly, if we were to go on a foodie tour of any city in the world, where should we go & what should we eat?
If you read Lucky Peach, Tokyo is the place for everything. But my grandfather was born in India and so was Cara’s grandmother so I’d explore Kerala and hope Rick Stein comes away for the weekend.
The bath and beauty department is getting a bit of a re-jig for spring with lots of lovely new brands on the way. First up is Tangent GC, arriving in full spring clean style with their range of beautifully simple and natural products made in Sweden.
GC stands for 'Garment Care', something we've become woefully bad at in the age of mass production, according to co-founder David Samuelsson. Tangent GC have thus made it their business to "provide a superior range of garment care products that will naturally and effectively give your garments a long life."
We're stocking their delicate liquid detergent with orange oil as well their organic hand soaps. We've sampled a fair few hand soaps in our time and these are very, very good.
In the competitive world that is The Hambledon, we ask: New York City or National Exhibition Centre? Rob goes to New York for a week of shows; hangs with the fashion crowd; stays in Brooklyn's super nice Carroll Gardens with the lovely Emma and Roger; shops for rare vinyl; visits a very photogenic Coney Island; frequents jazz clubs and pizza parlours and attends parties with the great and the good of menswear. Lucy and Victoria head to the Midlands and Spring Fair for a day of strip lighting, Subway sandwiches and volume gifts. But who found the choicest pieces for the shop? The race is on.
Introducing the latest additions to our Newsstand project: The Moth and The Caterpillar - two very charming and beautiful quarterlies featuring poetry, short fiction and art by established and up-and-coming writers and artists.
Created in Ireland, The Moth (the grown-up one) launched in 2010, and has been described as a "a rare literary gem" and "exquisitely designed and choc-a-bloc with exciting new artworks and wordworks." It is indeed. As is The Caterpillar, The Moth's younger sibling. It's aimed at 7-11 year-olds though we're equally as taken with it so looks like we'll be starting yet another magazine collection.
Welcome to SS17 at The Hambledon. We’re calling it Miami Nice. Womenswear, menswear, homeware, it’s all feeling a bit ‘80s coming-of-age summer in a good way; endless sun-soaked days, beach loungers and pool parties. Basically, all the fun without the bad hair and shoulder pads.
Saturated pastels, metallics and strong prints feature across the board in Womenswear. Accessorised with turquoise and yellow Nailmatic, a rainbow of plastic baskets by Sun Jellies, and all kinds of ban.do attitude. Meri Meri and Rice flood Homeware with summer colour and everything to get a party started. And the fun and colour carries on down to Menswear too with pastel Ts, shorts and beach accessories. Game of frisbee anyone?
Australian mum-of-two, Kate Berry, launched Lunch Lady blog back in 2013 after her daughter was bullied at school for eating a homemade packed lunch. Her aim was to inspire parents to make delicious lunches for their children and it proved a huge hit. Fast forward a few years and issue 5 of Lunch Lady magazine is currently sitting pretty on the shelves of our Newsstand project.
Choc full of great recipes, inspiring family stories, beautiful photography, art and cooking projects, as well as funny opinion pieces about the ups and downs of raising kids - it's one of our favourite new reads. Plus we're a bit in love with Kate's gorgeous Instagram feed, so we asked her to pick some favourite moments from life behind the scenes at Lunch Lady.
So while we were stocking up on boxes of tissues and unpacking umpteen deliveries last week, Rob was hopping on a plane to NYC to hunt down exciting new things for AW17. We watched his Instagram feed with envy - record shopping in Brooklyn, nights out at the Blue Note Jazz Club, all-American diner breakfasts, buying appointmenets in trendy Hell’s Kitchen showrooms - but bless him, he saved the best pics just for us: Coney Island on a beautiful and deserted winter's day. Thanks Rob!
Just as the winter blues were threatening to set in, along come Meri Meri with a delivery stuffed full of fun, colour, new and exciting. Posters, totes, cushions, purses and partyware; cacti, pineapples, rainbows and an extra big YAY! Can always rely on this bunch to brighten our days.
Here it is. Our first project of 2017 and we’re playing newsagent. True to form, shelves are lined with nothing you can find in WHSmiths - and we have brown paper bags, Picnic bars and Polos.
Whatever your passion or pleasing we’ve gathered the most cool, most obscure and most inspiring reads from around the globe. Everyone from brewers and anglers to denim geeks and dog lovers will find their people among these pages.
Newsstand is here until 5 March. Come and have a read at your leisure. And watch this space for features and interviews on some of our favourite titles.