Saturday Shopping: Herne Hill SE24

The lucky residents of Herne Hill, SE24, must feel like they have it all, probably because they pretty much have; one of London’s finest parks, probably the best open air swimming in London, traditional ‘village’ style shops and some exceptional independent boutiques. The area boasts an array of restaurants, cafés and bars for all tastes; and all of this with unbelievably excellent travel links to town - Victoria is less than 10 minutes away by train. 

Half Moon Lane 

I spent many a night in the late seventies / early eighties at the poetically named Half Moon, which was an important part of the new wave, indy post-punk scene. My diaries from those years are filled with names such as The Police, The Young Marble Giants, Holly and the Italians, Siam, The Venigmas, Screen 3, The Belle Stars, The Piranhas, The Alarm, The Europeans, The Gym Slips, The Sinceros, The Comsat Angels, The Godfathers and my favourite two new wave bands at the time; Bim and the Photos, all of whom I saw there.

Still a venue for live music and comedy this historic pub is worth a visit even if it is just for a beer and to admire the splendour of its original Victorian interior with engraved mirrors, paneled walls and full length bar. Check out the Half Moon website here

Artemidorus sells work and applied arts by British designers, including jewellery and ceramics. I was rather taken by a selection of Cumbrian angora socks (from £21.99). The shop has a fine selection of cards and wrap and I loved the extremely smart Christian Lacrox notebooks (£16.99).
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Bon Velo is a super friendly bike shop, where expert advice is delivered with charm and a smile. Servicing starts at £35 and the shop also stocks a well selected range of clothing and accessories. The Pitango red bikes are so beautiful I am almost tempted to mount one on a white wall as art. Visit the Bon Velo website here

Tales on Moon Lane is the destination for children’s books, this glorious shop with its impactful and bright window displays, caters from tots to teens. The shop organises an ambitious programme of events with high profile authors – check the Tales on Moon Lane website for details. 

Kindred Bakery is a proper old-fashioned village bakery which has been baking bread since the 1600's, and not only supplying retail and also to the trade. This bakery has all the traditional loves and pastries one would expect, plus alternatives to suit modern tastes and diets including; wheat free, gluten free, yeast free, low GI, vegetarian and vegan. The company offers a full custom celebration cake service too. Check the Kindred Bakery website here

The Illusioneer, is a miniscule magic theatre, workshop and tuition centre and magic emporium selling gift vouchers and three carefully selected magic trick sets. The theatre is the perfect venue for a child’s party, check the Illusioneer website here

Duo Dance is a specialist dance shoe store and one of the few and best in London, certainly with the largest selection. Not just for the dance floor, some of the styles such as these Supadance 1039 red satin salsa pumps are perfect for completing this season’s Great Gatsby art deco inspired look – pair with matching long gloves (£9.95). The shop also sells dance wear and has a selection of gifts and accessories that are perfect for the ballet obsessed girl. I spotted great animal masks and tails (both below £5 each) that will take a lot of trauma out of Halloween preparations this year. Visit the Duo Dance website here

Mimosa is a gorgeous, gorgeous deli, where you can delight on a whole host of freshly prepared and inspiring salads, I am addicted to their selection of Moroccan dips and always walk out with tubs of tchoutchouka (roasted vegetable), babaganosh (aubergine) and houriya (carrot and cumin). The café has a garden at the back and the shop sells a delightful range of ambient food stuffs which make perfect gifts. Mimosa will cater your event or business lunch; more information online

The excellent Oxfam bookshop is always worth a browse and it is delight to do so, as it is clearly laid out and well displayed. It is also very conveniently situated by the bus stop, I imagine many a number 37 has been missed due distracting draw of this excellent shop.

Number 22 has long been a favourite haunt of mine and my friends. When we want a leisurely catch up over some delicious food and interesting wine, this is one of the places we chose. This excellent Spanish tapas restaurant serves authentic food that is carefully prepared from the finest ingredients, and offer outside catering too. The restaurant has a patio garden at the back. View the menu or book a table online here

Milkwood Road 

White Feather is ultra elegant boutique with a stunning selection of clothes and accessories that is well worth a visit.  I was delighted to see some unfamiliar names and impressed by the calm professionalism of the shop. I really liked the scarves by Becksöndergaard (£65), which are well priced and come in gorgeous colour combination, check out the red on buff.

White Feather is definitely worth a visit so do pop along. Full contact details here

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Railton Road 

Bleu Fine Furniture has an eclectic collection of ever changing mid century, and later, furniture and accessories. The selection has an urban, industrial slant and is unfussy and utilitarian in feel. Bleu Fine Furniture is full of unimagined finds, I was impressed with the desks and storage items that are perfect for many who now work from home, but for whom the thought of anything flat packed feels them with horror. Look online here

Railton Road is home to a butcher’s, a baker’s, green grocer’s and a traditional hardware store. 

Sesami is a lovely Greek Turkish Middle Eastern café and deli full of tasty treats. Sesami will cater your event, see their website for more details. I bought flaounas (£1.50), cheese and sultana filled bread, a pack of Chai Latte (£2.50) and some truffles which were excellent value – and great teacher’s gifts – at £1.95.
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Talking of gifts for teachers, opposite, Gerty’s Gumballs is an old-fashioned style sweet shop, milk bar and ice cream parlour. The shop sells glass bottles of sweets with a greeting attached; such as Number One Teacher and Thank You – and they are only £3.50 each. I bought a couple of Thank You bottles to keep as handy gifts. This lovely and innovative business has only been trading for three weeks and we should all support it as best we can. I love seeing things done as cleverly as this. You can find Gerty’s Gumballs on Facebook

Another skillful retailer is Sharpworks, a haberdashery and knitting shop that sells yarns, patterns and accessories. I loved the colour palette of the Erika Knight British wools, a bundle of which would make a perfect gift either for an avid or casual knitter or balls piled in a wooden bowl on a refractory table. Sharpworks is not open all week so check the website for opening times and details of events. 

Whenever I get the opportunity I mention the many virtues of Blackbird Bakery, the bakery’s new larger premises is a boon, and it was as bustling as ever when I went in for my Hand Knitted Muesli £4. No one could tell me why it is called hand knitted muesli but presumably this refers to its chunky wholesome nature, whatever, it is delicious and good value at £4. Find out more about the Blackbird Bakery and its branches here.

I admired the array of garden plants outside the Flower Lady by the station and popped into Herne Hill books. This tiny store is a testament to what can be achieved in a small space, with the added advantage of the titles one might pass by in a larger space, you linger longer over and give proper consideration to. I bought Edward St Aubyn’s Bad News and The Herne Hill Society’s A Short History of Herne Hill. Check Herne Hill Books opening times here

Brockwell Art Services has limited edition prints of Dulwich by Camberwell based artist, Mark McLaughlin at a very reasonable £85 each. The shop offers a picture framing service too. Check out Brockwell Art Services online here and find out more about Mark McLaughlin and his work on his website here.

At Wish you can buy original canvas print wall art very reasonably, there is much local and London imagery as well as photographs from nature. Stunning 86cm panoramic landscapes, including some of Brockwell Park, are real statement pieces. The photography is by business owner Tim Healy, and the shop also stocks paintings by his wife, Jan; the pair met at the London College of Printing. Look online here

Louise Taylor’s Flower Shop is a joy to visit and always a hive of activity as the busy florists bustle away assembling wedding bouquets, centre pieces and floral tributes. I was smitten with some Red Sensation potted hydrangeas but unsurprisingly they were all spoken for. I got some brilliantly priced beeswax candles, £6 for three, and a bluebell flower pot candle for £6.95. I will be back very, very soon, hardworking and cheerful Louise is a joy to buy from. Visit Louise Talyor’s website here for opening times and contact details to order flowers for delivery.
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I LOVE I Love Lowie; an absolutely stunning selection of own-designed hand-made clothes, vintage in feel, quirky, fun and fabulous. The garments and accessories are girly without being twee and sweetly elegant. No wonder Bronwyn Lowenthal’s clothes are worn by the likes of Liberty Ross and Erin O’Connor. The items are carefully and lovingly displayed and every minute spent in this store was a pleasure. But don’t take my word for it pop along to Herne Hill today! 

Check out the I Love Lowie website here.

Lawrence's monthly shopping column appears in the SE Magazines group of publications, click here to read online. 

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