Freelance photographer Liz Johnson Arthur has worked for everyone from Sunday Times, Observer magazine, ID, Dazed & Confused, the Face, Fader magazine. Toured with M.I.A, Blur, Seun Kuti and Lady Gaga to name a few, and during all this time her Black Balloon Archive has been growing and growing - with no end in sight.
I love this building and always visit if I’m in the area to look at their great window displays, travel up in the beautiful wood paneled lift and wander down the creaky oak staircase. The exterior and interior woodwork is from two old Men-of-War ships, the flooring made from their deck timbers. I normally head straight to the fabric department to see what new seasonal prints they have in, though only buy a metre’s worth so not quite sure what I’ll ever make from them. My most treasured prints are those designed by Grayson Perry of polluted factories, teddy bears, knuckle-dusters and hand grenades. They also sell oversized gift coins produced by the Royal Mint and packaged beautifully in a velvet pouch, which appeal to my love of all things out-sized.
A traditional pie, mash and liquor shop in south west London that is run by the latest generation of the Harrington family who opened it in 1908. It looks like it hasn't changed since the day it first opened but it's a place with absolutely no pretentiousness to it at all, this is unapologetically working class and down to earth. If you want an overpriced cappuccino and wi-fi there's a Cafe Nerro down the road but if you want fantastic traditional London food you won't find anywhere better in the city. They even do pie and mash to take-away. I just wish it wasn't closed on Sundays.
The gallery was extended into a neighbouring Victorian House space about a year and a half ago, with a real skill in judging the meeting point between the contemporary and the conserved. The architects — 6a — were also responsible for Raven Row near Spitalfields (another favourite place). I'm lucky enough to work part of the week next door, at Camberwell College of Arts. This is about great food and good books. The café — a real haven at breakfast time before work — is run by the nicest team of people, with intertwined relationships to Camberwell. This book, designed by James Langdon, represents the kind of find possible in the bookshop and also the quality of conversation content had, over the best coffee.
Sans Pere is my new favourite place to have breakfast, café or lunch. In the heart of Shoreditch it really feels like a modern home. Their quiches are delicious and they have an in-house patisserie kitchen and let me tell you their cute bite-size choux and bronuts (brioche-donuts) are worth the detour.