Clifton Greens

MAIDA VALE, LONDON - One of my favourite outings for the week is heading off to Clifton Greens in Maida Vale to do my fruit and vegetable shopping.

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Clifton Road is a busy street in Maida Vale that serves the local area with all your necessities. There are several independent shops such as the organic butcher, this gem of a fruit and veg shop, Clifton Greens, as well as some cafes (I love Baker & Spice’s almond croissants) and a beautiful florist.

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In the past I’ve headed to Tesco (I’m weaning myself off of this convenience store in London) and heading to more mom and pop places. I think I overspend on food. And worse, I waste a lot of  food too.  I think I spend too much because I go into a shop to buy milk, but come out having purchased many items that are not necessary but simply wanted.

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So I’m now trying specialist shops and seeing if I spend less and also less frequently.

Clifton Greens has a good selection of fresh fruit. A great deal of the fruit is imported in the UK so you don’t get the quality you want sometimes, but this shop hasn’t disappointed me and as a result, I’m eating more fruit and hopefully I’ll stop reaching for the junk food…i.e. chocolate and pastries all the time! Price wise it’s a fraction more. But worth it.

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The last days of Christmas

LONDON - It’s sales season now in London and I hit the stores in search of a bargain. There were thousands of people on the streets carrying bags with recent purchases. I forced myself not to buy anything until after Christmas and it was well worth it because so many shops are doing 50% off. Bargain time!

Anyway, here’s a few snaps I took that capture the last days of Christmas.

This reindeer is enormous!

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Okay, I know I’ve posted a photo of this tree earlier, but it looked so great again today. I love it. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This was by far the oddest tree I’ve seen this year. It’s sponsored by a liquor company. I loved the older man in front of me gazing up at it. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just around the corner from the Covent Garden High Street is an area that sells supplies for dancers. I find them a bit intimidating to be honest. Reminds me that I can’t dance and that I eat too much. But I loved this Christmas tree of ballet shoes. So cute.  Christmas collage1

Anyway, that’s all. Got any great Christmas photos from your area?

Vintage postcards

LONDON - I wasn’t looking for a shop that sold yesteryear stuff, but I found this one quite by accident, and it had a little surprise in store for me. It’s called A. Gold and it’s close to Spitalfields market between the City and the East End.

During the week it sells ready-to-order sandwiches and coffee to the lunch crowd. But they also sell traditional products sourced from around the UK that look like something your grandmother ate during the war.

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I slowly wondered to the back of the shop and took a look at all the different products neatly placed on the shelves but I soon got lost while rummaging through a large pile of vintage postcards. They were being sold for 50p each so I bought a few.

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This one reminded me of the Victorians. They loved their seaside holidays. It is dated June 25th 1907. It was posted from Littlehampton at 11:15 am and reached London by 2:30pm on the same day. Here’s the reverse. It reads:

Dear Ethel

Thanks for P.C. Weather is fine but very windy.

Love from Elsie.

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I love how the English always worry about the weather. I’m not to sure what P.C. is though.

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And here’s what it says on the back. It’s dated 18th August 1906 and was sent from Gateshead. I can’t quite make out the destination address and I’m puzzled as to why the sender would write upside down…

Dear Miss Soulsby

I am coming tomorrow by the train you mentioned. Sorry I could not send word before but mother only came today so Lucy won’t be coming.

Janet.

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How interesting that a postcard was used to send word rather than a telegram. It’s all so different from our world today where we chat online and text each other instantly.

Now here’s another interesting postcard.

John Bull, the man drawn below, is a personification of Britain in general and England in particular, and his character was often used in political cartoons back in the day. This postcard was mailed to someone in Surrey on the 10th May 1906. And I’m assuming at this time that England/Britain was worried about foreign imports surpluses and trade in general.  See how the crate in the front with the writing MADE IN GERMANY is so prominent as is a second crate that has MANUFACTURED IN USA written on it. Two big economic threats, still to this day. As this was before the First World War, this period would be the last time that Britain would be a superpower before it gave way to the US.

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Here’s what’s written on the postcard.

I hope you will not forget the rollers (sp? not too sure of this word) as promised. I hope you are all quite well. P O’Larey.

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The final postcard is bit more fun. It was send in 1905 to Miss K Gay in Norfolk.

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Notice anything unusual about the message on the left?

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Take a closer look.

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The author wrote the message back to front. You need to read it with a mirror to make out what it says. Here is what I think it says.

Dear K

Could not resist sending this card, but could not find Egypt. Do you happen to have it___way. Should like it so much. Am going home Friday, worse luck. I will write a letter next for I have such a lot of news. With love from Mary.

Hmmm…I really hoped I was going to be decoding some lost WW2 message written for the allies, but instead, it’s just a missive from Mary to K about nothing!

Did you read the poem as well? Notice anything a bit controversial? Glad that word is no longer in circulation.

I really loved browsing through these postcards. So many of the others mentioned the weather. I suppose that’s something we want when we’re on holiday, good weather. But I do love the sense of nostalgia you get from a postcard and who doesn’t love getting mail in the post. The only thing I receive in the mail are my bank statements.

Beautiful square tiles as coasters

LONDON - I’ve been in London for over two years now. Since I arrived, I’ve always lived with others and I’ve never spent money on buying household items as most of the homes I’ve lived in are well stocked. But now I’m slowly building up my stash. I’ve purchased plates, tea cups and glasses and I’ve got my eye on lots of other things coz there are so many great things to buy here in London.

I’ve never been one to insist on using coasters and to be honest, I’ve never really used them. But when I saw these tiles, for 60 cents each, I thought they’d make great coasters. I bought eight as I didn’t have enough cash on me at the time, but I’d like to get two more.