Journal

  • Carbon Steel Care

    Saturday Jul 29 2017


    We recently started stocking a new range of kitchen knives made and hand sharpened in Spain by Palleres. The blades of these knives are made of carbon steel instead of Stainless steel used on many knives, such as Opinel folding and table knives.

    Stainless Steel has chromium added which helps prevent rust and corrosion. As a result Stainless steel is often softer than carbon steel, which basically means Carbon Steel will stay sharper for longer! Its also said to be easier to sharpen. 

    Carbon steel does need to be treated a bit differently to stainless and if you have any cast iron kitchen items, the same principles apply in general to caring for Carbon steel...

    Wash up and dry up. Its important to wash and dry the blade straight after use. Moisture sitting on the metal can cause it rust.


    Sharpen regularly. Its general good practice with any knife to sharpen it regularly, this will keep the blade working as efficiently as possible.


    Over time the blade will develop a patina which is normal and adds to the character of the knife. This in turn helps protect the steel from particularly acidic foods such as citrus fruit and tomatoes. Ideally its best to wait until a patina has formed before cutting foods like this. 


    Oil. Its a good idea to rub some mineral oil over the blade surface after drying for further protection.


    If the knife does rust, try rubbing some fine wirewool on the surface and coating with oil. 

    • Cast Iron Care

      Friday Jul 21 2017


      Cast Iron is a fantastic material used to make many kitchen items. Its extremely strong and with a little care and attention will last for many years and do the job superbly. At Nook we currently stock two cast iron items; a Pestle and Mortar and Nutcracker. Here are a few tips for day-to-day care of your cast iron...

      For the pestle and mortar, if you are grinding dry herbs and spices, you may well not need to clean it after use, a quick wipe with a kitchen towel is enough. If you notice the smells of strong spices are retaining on the surface of the mortar, grind some dry white rice until the aroma has gone and discard the rice.

      Dry up! Its important to keep cast iron dry between use, this means not allowing it to sit in water and drying thoroughly with a tea-towel after washing. Cast Iron can rust if not kept nice and dry! 

      Oil. Regularly wiping a small amount of cooking oil (such as sunflower or vegetable) over the entire surface of the cast iron will help protect it from rusting. If rust does form, scrub with wire wool and coat with oil.  

    • Fittonia

      Wednesday Jul 12 2017


      With their leaves coming in various dazzling shades of pink and green, Fittonia (or Nerve plants) make a great colourful addition to your home. These plants are native ground cover in South American rain-forests, you could grow yours in a terrarium to imitate these conditions. We love to plant ours in closed terrariums, they love the humid environment. 

      Plant Care:

      Keep warm (above 13 degrees Celsius) and as humid as possible, use a mister if needed.

      Water when topsoil dries out, the roots will rot if over watered, allow water to drain after watering. You might find the plant droops quite dramatically if without enough water, give it a drink, it should perk up! Use water at room temperature, rainwater is ideal.

      Fertilise regularly, once every 2 weeks or so. If you are re-potting your Fittonia, use regular indoor potting soil. The soil needs to hold moisture but drain well.

      Fittonia are safe for dogs and cats!

       

    • Asparagus Fern

      Sunday Jun 25 2017


      Not infact a fern as its name and its feathery, bright green foliage would suggest, the Asparagus Fern originates from South and East Africa and is known for being a reliable and hardy houseplant. Its fronds can either climb or hang and it responds well to trimming and pruning. It has delicate white/pink flowers followed by red berries.

      Plant Care:

      Keep in a space with plenty of light, direct sun is not needed but will speed up growth.

      Allow the topsoil to dry before watering. Keep the plant in a fairly humid environment and mist occasionally, our brass mister does the job perfectly! If the leaves are turning yellow, try watering more. If they are browning, you may be watering too much.

      Sandy or Loamy soil is best suited for Asparagus Ferns and fertilise once a month if its in full sun, more often if not. 

      Although related to cultivated asparagus spears that are eaten, this plant isn't edible and should be kept out of reach of pets.

       

       

    • Monstera

      Monday Jun 19 2017


      You may well know it as the Cheeseplant, the Monstera Deliciosa is a climbing shrub with distinctive large leaves, ideal for growing indoors. Its native to Central and South America and in full maturity can grow up to 10 feet tall... if you let it! If you want it grow tall, train it up a moss pole.

      Ideally keep Monstera between 18 and 27 degrees. Below this, growth will slow down or stop. 

      Best kept in a bright room with plenty of shade, direct sunlight can burn the leaves.

      Water only when top soil has dried out. Yellowing of the leaves is a sign that you're watering too much! The plant does like to be kept in a humid environment, mist the leaves if their edges start to brown.

      Re-pot every two years in well draining soil and feed monthly to maintain healthy growth. To keep control of the plant's size, cut as many stems as needed back to the node in the spring.

       

       

    • Maranta & Calathea Ornata

      Friday Jun 09 2017


      The Calathea Ornata is a perennial plant from the Maranta family. Its also known as the Prayer Plant. Native to South America, they are known for their large leaves that have distinctive patterns and colours and grow up to 60cm high and wide.

      Plant Care:

      They like bright indirect light, direct sunlight will burn their leaves and you'll loose the vibrant colours.

      They like to sit in moist soil, but not at all soggy. Let the top 5cm or so of soil dry out before watering again.The leaves can be affected by the chemicals in the water you use to water the plant with. If your water is very hard or soft, its best to use rain water or distilled water.

      Best kept between 15 and 25 degrees. Keep in a humid space. To increase the humidity you could try placing plants close together, spraying daily with a mister in summer or using a humidifier nearby. 

      If you need to re-pot your Calathea/Maranta, use free draining, moisture-retaining soil.

       

    • Epipremnum Pinatum

      Friday May 26 2017


      Continuing our plant care series, today we welcome Epipremnum Pinatum to the blog. Also known as Devil's Ivy. 

      Epipremnum Pinatum is a native of South-East Asia, Indonesia and on the Solomon Islands. It has shiny green heart-shaped leaves, sometimes with flame like yellow and white markings. The leaves can either climb or hang. It has been proven that the leaves of Devil's Ivy can take certain harmful substances from the air.

      Plant Care:

      This plant likes to be warm, ideally at least 15 degrees. It enjoys partial shade, as full sun can burn the leaves.

      Only water when the top soil has dried out. If over watered the roots can rot. Adding gravel or pebbles to the bottom of the pot will help with drainage.

      Feeding the soil once a month is recommended.

      Devil's Ivy is toxic to all domestic animals.

       

    • Pilea Pepermoides

      Friday May 19 2017


       

      At Nook, we love our plants and this Spring we will be posting on the blog all about the plants you can buy in-store and how to keep them happy and healthy. 

      We'll start off with a firm favourite of ours the Pilea Peperomoides. Also known as Chinese Money Plant or Missionary Plant. 

      It originates from SW China and W Indies and grows upright up to 30cm or more. It has tiny Green/pink flowers.

      Plant Care:

      Water approx. once a week, when soil is starting to dry and leaves just start to droop. Don’t let the plant sit in wet soil.

      Ideal in partial shade. They are very light-responsive so its good practice to rotate the plant every few days to avoid a slanted stem.

      As the plant grows, small suckers might grow from near the base, these can be removed and rooted into new plants in soil or water.

    • Christmas Gift Guides

      Saturday Dec 10 2016


      We've put together a selection of gift edits to make your Christmas shopping easier than ever!

      Browse our selection of perfect gifts for all your friends and family.

       

      STOCKING FILLERS

       

      GIFTS FOR THE EXPLORER

       

      GIFTS FOR FOODIES

       

      GIFTS FOR HIM

       

      GIFTS FOR HER

       

      GIFTS FOR THE CREATIVE

    • Tilly Hemingway X Nook

      Monday Oct 17 2016


      London based ceramicist and designer Tilly Hemingway is launching her tableware collection exclusively in Nook this Saturday, 22 October.

       

      As an existing stockist of Tilly’s ceramic planters, we are delighted to be showcasing this unique collection in our Stoke Newington store. The range includes plates, mugs, jugs, butter dishes and more, all Tilly's distinctive style. Using a mix of painted glaze and raw stoneware, each piece is individually handmade, and a one-off. The full collection will be showcased in store, and selected pieces will be available online.

       

      Styles are limited and won't hang around - don't miss out! 

       

       

       

    • Pilea Peperomioides , the 'Chinese Money Plant'

      Wednesday Aug 31 2016


       

      The Chinese Money Plant, or it's Latin name, Pilea Peperomioides, is native to the Yunnan province of Southern China where a missionary took clippings from it back to Norway in 1946.

      An evergreen perennial with thick, round, dark green, succulent like leaves, it can grow to 30cm tall. 

      Ideally suited to a partially shaded position in the house, the plants prefer well drained soil but are relatively easy to care for. Water more during the hotter, summer months and it is recommended you re-pot your Pilea every 2 - 3 years. Remove any old leggy foliage to keep the plant healthy and to encourage new growth. 

    • Nook at GROW London!

      Tuesday Jun 14 2016


       

      We are delighted to be taking part in GROW London this month, taking place on Hampstead Heath.

      We will be there to showcase a carefully edited selection of our collection including plants, pots and gardening items, as well as a range of our hand picked interior and lifestyle pieces, so do come and say hello! 

      Bringing together a selection of the best contemporary gardening and lifestyle design from across the UK and beyond, GROW promises to be an exciting and inspiring event.

      Opening with a Garden Party Gala evening on Thursday 23rd June, the show runs until Sunday 26th June and will be showcasing ideas on how best to use your outside space, as well as your interior. There will be talks, demonstrations and stalls, as well as places to enjoy a drink or snack. 

      We have some tickets to give away for GROW London, so do pop into the store and find out how to claim your FREE tickets. 

      You can also purchase half price tickets online using the special offer code: VISIT. Just go to the GROW London website: http://growlondon.com/london/

       

       

    • Let's Meet... Miranda West from 'DO' Books

      Wednesday May 11 2016


       

      We meet London based Miranda West, publisher of DO Books, to ask her about a day in the life and how DO Books came to be.  

       

      Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and how DO books came about:

      I had been working in book publishing – mostly commissioning and editorial – for around 15 years when I felt I was ready for a new challenge. This coincided with a forced break from my job at a major publishing house when we moved abroad for a couple of years with my husband’s job (we always knew we’d come back to London though!) and two small children. During this time I was playing around with ideas for my own business when I was sent a link to a Do Lecture by a friend. It was about the future of the book in the era of the iPad and chimed with what I was reading up on at the time.  I spent some time on the Do Lectures website as hadn’t come across them before and by the afternoon had emailed the info@ address asking if they had considered publishing books by their speakers.

      What's the 'philosophy’ behind the DO books?

      The books, like the lectures, are based around the idea of positive change. For me, the physical book remains the perfect vehicle – in terms of design and practicality - to get ideas, information and inspiration into people’s hands, and lives. Our books are written by some pretty incredible individuals who have pushed boundaries, brought about change, and have gone on to share their story at the Do Lectures. Our readers are those who have attended, or might love to one day. They are creative with a love of new ideas, innovation, new technology, sustainable living and the environment - and they appreciate good design and a well-crafted product. They are smart, fun, engaged, entrepreneurial and naturally curious. The books have to challenge them – or at least intrigue them. If that ever stops, we’ll have lost something valuable.  

      For us it’s about producing genuinely useful books. They are small format paperbacks, affordable and don’t compromise on design and quality. It doesn’t cost much more to work with really good designers, photographers and illustrators.

      Where do you find inspiration for new titles?

      Hard to say. I may come up with a title or concept then create a book around that – for example, Do Smoke. I have now commissioned an author (an amazing chef who has a smokehouse). Similarly I knew I wanted to have a photography book on the list and came up with Do Capture. Again, I’ve found the perfect author – he just needs to stop going on location all the time so he can write it! Other times, I’ll listen to a Do Lecture – I attend the event in Wales each year – and a sentence within a talk might resonate or spark an idea. It’s a fairly organic process and I realise now it’s not something you can really force. Before I sign up a new book I run the idea past David Hieatt, co-founder of the Do Lectures (and Hiut Denim). He’s a good barometer, plus the Do Lecture receive a royalty from each copy sold.

      What is your studio/office like?

      I work in a shared office space on Redchurch Street at the back of a vintage designer sunglasses shop. What it lacks in large windows and views, it makes up for in location and great coffee shops.

      What’s coming up next for DO books?

      More books and more events! We have 3-4 new titles in the pipeline – all at embryonic stages. Our problem is that all our authors are ‘Doers’ not writers, and generally time poor. So we try and make it as easy as possible by doing lots of upfront work at proposal stage so the task of writing isn’t quite so onerous. Plus the books are fairly short, 20-30k words (about 100 pages) as they focus on the doing, not the background theory.

      Describe a typical day in the life of you…

      I’m more lark than owl, so wake around 6-6.30am and tend to get up soon after. If things are super busy, especially with editorial work, this quieter time can be perfect for a coffee and some editorial work. Mornings can be a quite full on with two children to get up and out; plus we have a small dog called Nimbus who requires walking. If it’s my turn, it can be a nice way to start the day as we live in Clapton and are only 10 minutes from the river Lea. We walk to school at 9am then I cycle on to the office in Shoreditch – about a 15 minute bike ride through Hackney, London Fields, Broadway Market and Columbia Ride. It’s a good route, popular with cyclists and avoids the really busy roads. Tuesdays I stop off at a morning yoga class on Broadway Market – mostly for exercise but my favourite part is the relaxation at the end.

      The office is shared between a number of small (1-2 people) creative businesses – an interior designer, three architects, a digital publishing consultancy and Do Books. I like working alongside other ‘industries’ and it’s always impressive to see these so-called small businesses working with major clients and making a real impact. Productivity is high - we’re all busy so it’s generally heads down. That said, I like the ebb and flow of morning chat then periods of quiet - and we often have music playing. It’s a nice environment and three of us there have been friends for 20 years! (the long tenancy explains how we can still afford to be on Redchurch Street!). I try and work from home on Thursdays. It breaks up the week and allows me to catch up on non-work things. I don’t have a lunch break – but do eat! – as I often have to leave by 3pm to pick up the children. Having your working day condensed into a few hours makes you insanely productive. As the business grows, there is far more admin and logistical things to do, rather than creative dreaming about how we could be doing things more innovatively or brilliant ideas for new books. My normal day might involve arranging for books to be shipped to the US, filling mail order. But also the time of year dictates what we prioritise. Spring is often for PR and marketing ahead of the new title releases in May; summer for author appearances at festivals and checking in with new authors starting to write their books – we do a lot of title development work together around structure and content; delivery of manuscripts is around October then editorial work begins – we use freelance copy-editors and proofreaders. Around Christmas the focus shifts to sales of existing books – this is the case throughout the year too! – and fun events like Christmas markets. Design of the new titles happens around January-February. Then it’s off to print and a nervous wait until the finished copies arrive!

    • Ukrainian Yogurt Pancakes

      Monday Feb 08 2016


       

      It's Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday) on February 9th - our favourite is the classic lemon and sugar combination, however this year we are going to give these Ukrainian yogurt pancakes a try, they also work well for a weekend breakfast. 

      Ingredients:
      2 x large eggs
      4 x tbsp milk
      2/3 cups greek yogurt
      1 x tsp baking powder
      3/4 cup plain flour
      Butter or oil for frying

      Method:

      1. Mix together the eggs, milk and greek yogurt

      2. Stir together the flour and baking powder, then mix into the wet ingredients

      3. Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan

      4. Add spoonfuls of the batter into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden. You should be able to make about 10 from the mixture.

      5. Serve hot with more yogurt, fresh fruit and honey

       

    • Focus on: Iris Hantverk

      Thursday Jan 28 2016


      Based in Sweden, Iris Hantverk have been hand making household brushes for over 100 years, primarily employing partially sighted people, the company began in 1906 and has been producing high quality brushes ever since.

      Iris Hantverk's brushes are all unique designs to them and they aim to work with almost all natural materials, including coconut fibre, goat and horse hair and cereal root - each material has it's own unique set of properties. The brushes are all designed to be long lasting and if looked after properly will age beautifully, brushes should be washed from time to time in warm, soapy water and dried with the bristles facing down, the wooden parts should be oiled occasionally with an oil such as linseed. 

       

      Shop our selection of Iris Hantverk brushes here.

       

       

    • Another date with London Terrariums!

      Thursday Jan 14 2016


      In this workshop you will learn how a terrarium works; how these self-contained ecosystems survive so well on their own and how to look after them. Starting with a short introduction explaining the history and science that goes into building a terrarium, from the different plants you can use, to why activated charcoal is a key component - then it will be your turn to and build your own.
      You will be able to ask Tom and Emma any questions you have, and by the end of the session you will have your own terrarium to take away and watch develop over the upcoming months and years. 
      All plants, contents, terrarium vessels and tools will be supplied, and you will leave with a London Terrariums tote bag to carry your creation home in, and a fully comprehensive care guide.
      The workshop will take place on Thursday 3rd March from 7pm, at our shop on Stoke Newington Church Street, N16. Each workshop costs £40 per person
      Book here for tickets

    • Meat N16's top tips for Turkey

      Tuesday Dec 15 2015


       

      We asked our neighbours at Meat N16 for their top Turkey tips for cooking the perfect Christmas dinner.

      Their turkeys are reared in a farm in Essex and hatch in July/August, starting life indoors then moving outside when they are strong enough to fend for themselves and can run free in the fields, before coming in for the night. Meat N16 favour the slow growing, traditional Norfolk Bronze breed of Turkey. 

      Here are their top tips:
      • When ordering, allow about 500g per person
      • Don’t be tempted to overcook your bird. Allow 30 minutes per kg and 30 minutes extra.
      • Pay attention to your bird and baste well every 30 minutes
      • For bigger birds, it is sometime worth asking your butcher to take the legs off and cook them separately.
      • Buy a decent meat thermometer. Your Christmas bird will be the focus of your groaning table and you want to make sure it’s cooked perfectly. Make sure that it gets to 70 degrees.

       

      For some wine tips, another of our neighbours, Borough Wines, are doing an advent calendar of their wine choices for the festive period, with free tastings in the store every day between now and Christmas, so get tasting and pick your perfect tipple.

    • More dates for London Terrariums in 2016

      Tuesday Dec 08 2015


      What a great way to start the New Year, we have more dates for London Terrariums in 2016!
      In this workshop you will learn how a terrarium works; how these self-contained ecosystems survive so well on their own and how to look after them. Starting with a short introduction explaining the history and science that goes into building a terrarium, from the different plants you can use, to why activated charcoal is a key component - then it will be your turn to and build your own.
      You will be able to ask Tom and Emma any questions you have, and by the end of the session you will have your own terrarium to take away and watch develop over the upcoming months and years. 
      All plants, contents, terrarium vessels and tools will be supplied, and you will leave with a London Terrariums tote bag to carry your creation home in, and a fully comprehensive care guide.
      The workshop will take place on Thursday 21 January from 7pm, at our shop on Stoke Newington Church Street, N16. Each workshop costs £40 per person
      Book here for Thursday 21 January

    • Terrarium Workshops for Winter

      Monday Oct 12 2015


      After the success of our previous terrarium workshops, we have added two new dates for winter. Come and join Emma and Tom from London Terrariums at Nook for an evening of getting your hands dirty!

      In this workshop you will learn how a terrarium works; how these self-contained ecosystems survive so well on their own and how to look after them. Starting with a short introduction explaining the history and science that goes into building a terrarium, from the different plants you can use, to why activated charcoal is a key component - then it will be your turn to and build your own.

      You will be able to ask Tom and Emma any questions you have, and by the end of the session you will have your own terrarium to take away and watch develop over the upcoming months and years. 

      All plants, contents, terrarium vessels and tools will be supplied, and you will leave with a London Terrariums tote bag to carry your creation home in, and a fully comprehensive care guide.

      The workshops will take place on Thursday 12 November and Thursday 10 December from 7pm, at our shop on Stoke Newington Church Street, N16. Each workshop costs £40 per person and is limited to 11 people, so be quick!

      Book here for Thursday 12 November.

      Book here for Thursday 10 December 

    • Splendid Sloe Gin!

      Monday Sep 14 2015


      This is the perfect time of year to make sloe gin, with sloes freely available throughout the UK, they are often found growing in hedgerows - though be careful of their thorny branches. When left to steep in gin, with sugar, these small purple fruit make a delicious winter tipple. 

      Simple to make, all that's required is a little patience, but it's well worth the wait! 

      Ingredients:

       - Sloes

       - Gin

       - Caster Sugar

      Method:

      The measurements don't need to be exact, just pick enough sloes to half fill your chosen container, one of our glass Weck carafes would be ideal. Next put the sloes in the freezer overnight, this simulates the first frost (traditionally when you are supposed to pick sloes) and helps release the flavour of the fruit. Once frozen, add the fruit to your container, top it up with the gin then add a couple of large spoonfuls of sugar. The exact amount depends on how sweet you like your gin. Then you must be patient! Leave the gin for at least two months, longer if you can. Turn the container regularly, or give it a shake, this helps the sugar dissolves and get the full flavour from the fruit. After two to three months your gin is ready! It is delicious as a gin and tonic, or just straight up.

      You can substitute vodka for gin, if you prefer, or try other seasonal fruit, such as damsons, for an alternative flavour. 

    • Let's meet... Mr Gresty

      Wednesday Aug 26 2015


       

      Mr Gresty has used 800m of our Baker's Twine to create a 3m x 2m window installation for our Stoke Newington shop, his largest piece of StringFold work to date! We chat to the man himself about setting up solo and how variety is the spice of life.

       

      Tell us a bit about yourself and your background:
      I am originally from the North West of England, I moved down to London when I graduated a degree in Graphic Design & Illustration, in Oxfordshire. I worked for a number branding and design agencies before setting up on my own. Alongside my work I run an open submission and themed series of exhibitions, that take place in Islington and Hackney, called LHR Exhibitions. The 14th exhibition, Love Me / Love Me Not, opening 11th September.
       
      What's the 'philosophy behind the product?
      Making simplicity complicated.
       
      Where do you find inspiration?
      I scroll up and down the pages of Instagram and Pinterest countless times a day. Plus my studio and home are both in Hackney, just walking between the two I am bombarded by visual stimulation.
       
      Where are your products made?
      All of my StringFold pieces are made by hand, at home or in my studio, near London Fields.
       
      What is your studio/office like?
      I share my studio with a great mix of creatives: graphic designers, illustrators, fashion designers, home wares designer, a gallerist and photographer. My own area of the studio is brimming with colour, collections, stationery and tools. It’s a seven storey building at the end of Broadway Market, with great views across London.
       

      Describe a typical day in the life of you…

      Working on my own I find I need to be strict with myself, so I am here 9 to 6 most week days (and some weekends). I can be working on branding a company, then an art piece for a client or one of my own exhibitions. Then later that same week an illustration commission and then a corporate brochure. Variety and variation keeps me interested and infused.

      www.mrgresty.com

    • Let's meet... Tilly Hemingway

      Tuesday Aug 25 2015


       

      We have a chat with local ceramicist Tilly Hemingway about working for the family business, and how she got into making ceramics. Check out our range of her work here.

       

      Tell us a bit about yourself and your background

      I was born in Wembley in 1987. My parents moved down from Lancashire in the early 80s and set up a fashion label, which by the time I was born was on its way to becoming a success. My parents included us in everything they did so a lot of our childhood (I'm one of four kids) was spent running around their warehouses and causing mischief behind the scenes at London fashion week. In 1999 my parents decided they had had enough of the fashion industry and sold the label before setting up a multidisciplinary design firm specialising in affordable and social design. Instead of the usual beach holidays, our family holidays would consist of trips to Sweden and Switzerland visiting architectural expos and the best examples of social/affordable housing developments in Germany. Unsurprisingly I developed an interest in people, spaces and place making and went on to get a degree in Urban Design and Regeneration at UCL. After graduating, I joined the family design business (alongside my older brother) where I had the opportunity to work on social housing and regen projects as well as try my hand at interior and product design. It was at this point I really got in to ceramics. I started attending the walk in sessions at Hackney City Farm on a Wednesday night and by the time I got round to using the wheel last December I was completely hooked. I had a shop show interest in my work and thought sod it, I'm going to give this a go, found a studio and the rest is history. 

       

      What's the 'philosophy behind the product?

      Graphic ceramics, made to last and stand the test of time. I'd wouldn't like to create a product that is throw away or 'in fashion'. I'd love for someone to by a piece and still cherish it in 50 years time. That would be ace. 

       

      Where do you find inspiration?

      Everywhere! Some of the prints featured on  my ceramics for example have been inspired by everyday materials such textures/patterns on flooring (London underground trains), building materials etc.  

       

      Where are your products made?

      In a small studio in North London shared with a dozen other ceramicists.

       

      What is your studio/office like?

      The work office is actually in the family home I grew up in. Visitors are always shocked when then come for meetings, they think they've got the wrong address, its lovely, there's a nice garden and bedrooms upstairs, which is handy if i'm having to work late. In contrast, the studio in which I make the ceramics is in an old industrial warehouse, shared with a total mix of businesses.

       

      Describe a typical day in the life of you...

      Up at 6.30 and at work for 8. I'm really lucky in that I get to work across various design fields. One day I could be working on a regeneration project, the next designing furniture. I usually finish work around 6.30, and head straight to the studio for a few hours of making. It's a busy schedule so I always make sure I have a few days away from the studio to eat good food, see my pals and enjoy all the great things London has to offer.

       

    • NOOK X LONDON TERRARIUMS - TAKE 2

      Saturday Aug 15 2015


      Due to popular demand, we have added another date to our sell-out workshop with London Terrariums.

      Join Emma and Tom from London Terrariums and Nook for an evening of getting your hands dirty!

      In this workshop you will learn how a terrarium works; how these self-contained ecosystems survive so well on their own and how to look after them.

      Starting with a short introduction explaining the history and science that goes into building a terrarium, from the different plants you can use to why activated charcoal is a key component. Then it will be your turn to get your hands dirty, and build your own in one of our Weck jars.

      You will be able to ask Tom and Emma any questions you have, and by the end of the session you will have your own terrarium to take away and watch develop over the upcoming months and years. 

      All plants, contents, terrarium vessels and tools will be supplied, and you will go home with a London Terrariums tote bag to carry your creation home in, and a fully comprehensive care guide.

      The workshop will take place on Thursday 1 October from 6.30pm, at our shop on Stoke Newington Church Street, N16. The workshop costs £40 per person and is limited to 10 people, so be quick!

      Book here

    • Let's meet... London Terrariums

      Wednesday Aug 12 2015


      We had a chat with Emma, one half of the team behind London Terrariums to find out more about their passion for plants! 

       

      Tell us a bit about your background & how London Terrariums came about?

      Neither Tom nor myself had a background in horticulture, we both studied design at university, however we have both always had a very keen interest in gardening. Both of us were very lucky to have someone in each of our lives that sewed the seeds for a future interest in horticulture. For Tom it was his mother, Susan, his house when he was younger was practically like stepping into the Amazon. For me it was my grandparents, I would spend summers making miniature gardens with them. Neither influence was academic in any way but just gave us that nudge in the right direction.  We started about 18 months ago on one Saturday afternoon just using what we could find in the local area; stones and moss from my front garden and cuttings from our own house plants. We used a pickle jar that we had lying around and soon realised that making terrariums was highly addictive, before we knew it both our houses were over flowing with these little eco-systems. We then started making them for friends and then friends of friends and after a while we were making them for people we didn't even know - this was the moment we realised 'London Terrariums' had been born.

       

      What is the London Terrarium HQ like?

      We recently moved into a Studio in Bermondsey which has become our haven, it makes such a difference when you can make as much mess as you want and being surrounded by the plants and terrariums is amazing! Both Tom and myself had very similar visions for the studio and luckily Tom’s dad is a carpenter so he was a massive help and built up the studio as we needed. One wall is full of small shelves that house plants for the terrariums, we also have a lot of shelves for storing the clean vessels and copious amounts of stones and compost! We have recently used the studio to shoot our product shots, its great having a space that can be used in so many ways to help us out. 

       

      Describe a typical day in the life...

      Both Tom and myself still work full time as well as juggling London Terrariums so a typical day for us is generally jam packed! Often it will start with an early morning trip to New Covent Garden Flower Market to collect our supply of Fittonias and Ivy for the weeks workshops and events. We have built up quite a good relationship with the guys who work there and order ahead, often coming out with a lot more than we had planned though. We are most productive during evenings and weekends, that’s when we both meet up and discuss the weeks orders and prepare the upcoming workshops. Quite often we will spend the whole Sunday in the studio pottering and trying out new ideas for LT.

       

      What are your plans going forward?

      We are looking into expanding from only terrariums to start to concentrate on gardening under glass as a whole, especially in the urban environment. The fact that people living in cities may not have a garden or much room to grow plants inside is something that we really want to consider in our future plans. We also would like to concentrate more on the workshops, we want to focus on children and show how accessible making terrariums can be, you can make one in an old jam jar and all you need is some compost and then whichever plants you can find small enough to fit in, part of the excitement of terrariums for us is the experimentation and not ever really knowing what will grow from the initial components in the terrarium.

       

      What are your best tips for someone wanting to create a terrarium?

      A lot of patience, practice and finding the best tool for the job. We hand make pretty much all of our tools, but this is nothing too fancy, usually a cotton reel stuck to the end of a stick to pat the soil down or a corn on the cob skewer on the end of a stick for when things need to be take out of the terrariums. We just want to show how accessible it is to make a terrarium at home, you can find everything you need around the house and that is part of the fun!

       

      Join us for a workshop with Tom & Emma taking place at Nook on Thursday 10 September, further details are available here. Please contact us if you are interested in future workshops taking place at Nook. 

       

    • Nook X London Terrariums: Join us for a workshop!

      Wednesday Aug 12 2015


       

      Join Emma and Tom from London Terrariums and Nook for an evening of getting your hands dirty!
      In this workshop you will learn how a terrarium works; how these self-contained ecosystems survive so well on their own and how to look after them.
      Starting with a short introduction explaining the history and science that goes into building a terrarium, from the different plants you can use to why activated charcoal is a key component. Then it will be your turn to get your hands dirty, and build your own.
      You will be able to ask Tom and Emma any questions you have, and by the end of the session you will have your own terrarium to take away and watch develop over the upcoming months and years. 
      All plants, contents, terrarium vessels and tools will be supplied, and you will go home with a London Terrariums tote bag to carry your creation home in, and a fully comprehensive care guide.
      The workshop will take place on Thursday 10 September from 6.30pm, at our shop on Stoke Newington Church Street, N16. The workshop costs £40 per person and is limited to 10 people, so be quick!

      Book here.

    • Let's meet... James Brown, Printmaker

      Monday Jul 27 2015


       

      We have a chat with printmaker, James Brown, based in Hackney Wick we have been stocking James' prints almost since day one. James specialises in information based graphic screenprints, which we stock a selection of both online, and in store. Take a look at James' work here.

       

      Tell us a bit about yourself and your background

      I trained as a textile designer and working in the clothing industry for many years before jacking it all in in 2007 when I decided to become an illustrator. I started making screen prints as a bit of a hobby and tentatively started showing them on a very local level, in local cafes and at my son’s school arts ‘n’ crafts fair. It was a very organic evolution and I never set out to make a living out of selling prints.

       

      What’s the ‘philosophy’ behind the product?

      I started making prints for my own amusement and enjoyment that is still the case today.

       

      Where do you find inspiration?

      All over the place. Being nosey and inquisitive helps. Collecting and searching for ‘stuff’ and old books are a constant source of inspiration, visually and for content.

       

      Where are your products made?

      All my printing is done by me in my studio in Hackney Wick, London.

       

      What is your studio like?

      My studio, like my practice, has grown organically so I haven’t really spent any money on flashy printing kit, it’s all quite lo-fi but it works for me. I have a good amount of space so have the luxury of being able to hoard a load of stuff that I don’t need ’but might make use of one day’. I really do need a bit of a sort out.

       

      Describe a day in the life of you…

      My cycle to work through the Olympic park is brilliant, I live on one side and work on the other so hardly have to use roads, it’s an entire journey of cycle paths, river and canal paths and green space. A good start to the day. When I get to my studio it’s usually a day of printing, packing wholesale and online orders, visits to the Post Office, paper work, replying to emails or ordering supplies. All this keeps me very busy and tends to fill my days without leaving me the time to sit down and be creative. Actually sitting down to design is a luxury and something that I tend to do in my home office where I feel I can concentrate better and where I am more inspired because I have lots of lovely reference books to thumb through and a lovely garden to stare out of the window at.

    • Studio Visit: One We Made Earlier

      Friday Jun 19 2015


      We recently took a trip across the river and down to Deptford to visit husband and wife team, Emma & Rob Orchardson, of One We Made Earlier and discuss ideas for our latest exclusive necklace design. 

       

      Their studio is in an impressive old warehouse building, with large windows over looking South East London where the duo work alongside one another. Rob is also a trained sculptor and the studio is full of his works in progress, this shared space is clearly inspirational to both of them. 

       

      We already had in mind some ideas for what we wanted from our design so it great to have a play around with the different materials. Corian, which is the main material the duo use, is an acrylic/mineral combination that is primarily used for kitchen work surfaces due to it's hardwearing nature and the huge range of colours. Emma explained how they sometimes struggle to find the pieces they want, relying on a number of suppliers and ends of lines - and often find themselves digging through odds and ends in kitchen showrooms or going on wild goose chases to find a particular favourite colourway. 

       

      We took a look at the prototypes and 'works in progress' that made the basis of the new collection, and pulled out the colours and shapes we felt would be right for our exclusive design. The options are seemingly endless and it's easy to see why the pair have grown the collection for the upcoming season, including previous favourties alongside brand new shapes and designs. 

       

      Once satisfied with our choices, we left the pair to it, and headed back up North, already excited to see our second necklace collaboration with One We Made Earlier.

       

      Shop the full range, including Agnes - our exclusive - here

       

       

       

    • It's a Snip!

      Tuesday May 26 2015


       

      We have recently introduced a range of scissors to our collection from William Whiteley & Sons, a scissor manufacturer based in Sheffield. The company started in the trade in 1760, making it over 250 years old, and one of the last two remaining scissor factories in Sheffield - down from over 150 as recently as the 1970s. The company has now passed through eleven generations of the same family. William Whitely & Sons was awarded prize medals at the London Exhibitions of 1851, and 1862. 

      The company is proud of it's reputation for producing high quality products and continues today to invent and innovate to match the requirements of modern manufacturers. Their precisely made products have a wide range of uses, and are used in every industry from fly fishing to Formula One racing car construction! 

      Shop from our collection, including these super useful Kitchen Scissors, a classic pair of weighty Paper Scissors, Pruning Scissors for all your gardening needs or these neat Weaver's Shears

    • Making the most of your scented candles

      Friday May 08 2015


       

       

      Scented candles are always a treat to have at home, and can be enjoyed throughout the year - here we look at the range we stock at Nook and have some tips for how to make them last as long as possible...

      At Nook, we stock a selection of what we believe are some of the best scented candles out there; Skandinavisk, made by an English duo based between Denmark and Sweden, Laboratory Perfumes created and made right here in London. And recent additions to our range are Couso De Fil Blanc, handmade in France and, also based in France, Kerzon, where each candles comes accompanied by a scented sachet to pop in your bag or drawer. 

      By taking a little extra care when burning your candles you can ensure you get the most out of them, here are a few tips:

       - It is always better to light scented candles for shorter lengths of time, rather than for an entire evening. This maximises the scent, and will make them last longer. Try to ensure the wax has burnt evenly around the wick before blowing them out. 
       - Cut the wick to a length of 1cm before lighting it, and make sure it doesn't exceed this - it will cause your candle to smoke and burn more quickly. Also avoid letting any bits of wick or spent matches fall into the candle, these can also cause smoking. 
       - Make sure you protect any delicate surfaces below a burning candle by placing it on something, a mat or a saucer, to prevent heat reaching the surface, should it burn down.
       - Keep your candles out of drafts, this will make them burn unevenly. 
       - And most importantly, NEVER leave a candle burning unattended! 

       

       

    • Three of the best!

      Monday Apr 27 2015


      To mark our third birthday, we look back over the many products we stock and have picked out some of our favourites, here's what and why:

       

      Jack: "We've recently started working with Kerzon, a French based scent company we met in Paris, having been introduced to them by another of our favourite's - Papier Tigre. Kerzon make scented candles, but also scented sachets which allow you to take the scent with you when you travel, a really clever idea and our customers have got on board, which is always satisfying." 

       

      Gemma: "Haws brass plant misters are a great product, as they fulfill so much of what we are looking for at Nook. They are a classic, timeless British company, they have a really useful function and they are beautiful to look at - all for such a great price. What more could you want?"

       

      Kate: "These metal letter racks by By... are becoming a firm favourite. We love to seek out small designers and makers who are creating products that look good and making them really well. These letter racks are so pleasing in their simplicity, they are modern and colourful, yet still have a proper use. That's good design. They're also made just down the road in Tottenham!"

    • Nautical but Nice!

      Tuesday Apr 07 2015


      Nautical vibes with deep blue hues, classic stripes and scents of the Sea:

      Left to right:

      Mast Brothers Almond Chocolate, Oxford Blue Baker's Twine, Swedish Dream Sea Salt Soap, Skandinavisk HAV Scented Candle, Baggu Canvas Duck Bag

    • Cook Roast Lamb with Meat N16

      Monday Mar 30 2015


      From left to right: Enamel Roasting TrayTea Towel, Opinel Pen Knife (available in store), Hampson Woods Board & Baker's Twine

       

      We are very fortunate to have such excellent neighbours in Stoke Newington, and as Easter is upon us, we asked Paul Grout, the main meat man at our brilliant local butcher, Meat N16 on Church Street for some top tips on roasting your Spring lamb as part of a delicious Easter meal. (www.meatlondon.co.uk)
       
      Paul told us:
      'The arrival of Easter often coincides with the arrival of New Season Lamb. This year will be no exception and we will have beautiful, delicious lamb from the farms in West Sussex and Essex.
      At Meat N16 our focus is on creating lasting relationships with our farmers and producers. It is paramount that we know how our Lambs are bred. We want to know that they are born on the land and live on the land in a non-intensive environment, with space to roam and the opportunity to feed naturally.
      For the Easter weekend, we will have a full display of the finest lamb that we can find. A leg on the bone, or boneless, is always the most popular and most traditional family cut, but more recently many of our customers have been experimenting with slow cooked Shoulders. A boneless, rolled Saddle always seems a bit more decadent to me, and equally as tasty. If you are thinking about a more personal Easter lunch for two, maybe a Lamb Rump will be the answer for you.
       

      Here are my tips for cooking your own Leg of Lamb (circa 2kg / 2.5kg)' 

       

      • Always make sure you have a big enough roasting tin. Give the meat room to cook.
      • Pre-heat the oven to 190° (Gas 6 / 7). Peel and roughly chop some root vegetables and scatter them over the base of the roasting tin with some fresh rosemary.
      • Season the leg. With a sharp pointed knife, pierce the leg in about ten places. Push a small amount of rosemary into each hole. Some people like to push sliced garlic into the holes as well, or even anchovies. This is purely dependant on your own taste. Rub olive oil all over the leg and sprinkle well with ground black pepper.
      • Place the leg on top of the vegetables in the roasting tin and move to the oven for 45mins. As the leg starts to give off some juices, stir the veg in the bottom of the pan and baste the leg.
      • At the halfway stage, it’s worth adding a healthy splash of red or white wine to the roasting tin. This will start to create a juice in the bottom of the pan that will eventually make delicious gravy.
      • Return the leg to the oven. Another 25mins will cook your leg to the ‘Pink’ stage and another 45mins will get you to ‘Medium’ stage.
      • Remove the Lamb from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Allow to cool for about 15mins before carving.

       

    • Bialetti - Get the best from your coffee pot

      Monday Feb 09 2015


      The Bialetti 'Moka Express' coffee pot was designed in 1933 by Itailian egineer, Alphonso Bialetti. By the 1950s it had become a design classic and staple of many Italian kitchens. The aluminium pot features an image of a mustachioed man based on a cartoon drawing of Alphonso.

      The pot is credited as being part of the movement which brought coffee to the masses, previously thought of as a drink for the upper and middle classes due to the fact it was only available in coffee bars, pots like the 'Moka Express' were small, affordable and widely available. Coffee was soon available to drink in the comfort of your own home, and the rest as they say, is history.

      At Nook, we sell three sizes of the Bialetti 'Moka Express' - 1 cup, 3 cup and 6 cup.

      A few tips for getting the best from your 'Moka Express':
       - Don't use coffee that is too finely ground, medium or course ground coffee is a better choice. 
       - Only wash your pot with water, don't use anything abrasive such as wire wool. Also, if possible, wash by hand as the dishwasher can affect its performance.
       - Make sure the pot is completely dry when you put it away after use, and don't screw the parts together too tightly.

      Did you know? Alphonso Bialetti is the grandfather of designer Alberto Alessi.

       

    • Let's Meet... Barnes & Webb, Urban Beekeepers

      Monday Feb 02 2015


      Barnes & Webb are a London based beehive rental company set up in 2013 by Chris Barnes and Paul Webb. With hives across the capital the honey is labelled with the postcode where it's made - here at Nook we stock the N16 honey, which is harvested from hives placed on Cazenove Road in Stoke Newington. 
       
      Tell us a bit about your background & how you met
      We both studied graphic design and met when working for a London design agency many, many, years ago. We've just about remained good friends ever since.
       
      How did you get into beekeeping?
      We took a mutual friend on an introductory beekeeping course with the LBKA for his Birthday. Chris and I got the bug and took further courses. During some time travelling around New Zealand, Chris sought out a bee farm where he worked for a season. They place hives in private gardens around Auckland which Chris helped to maintain and harvest.
       
      Which areas do you currently have hives in?
      Mainly in East London. Shoreditch, Aldgate, London Fields, Homerton, and Clapton. Some on roofs, others in private gardens. This year we'll be spreading further North and West. We have to be conscious of over saturating an area with hives. London has incredible diversity and wealth of nectar and pollen sources for bees, but too much competition means a lower honey harvest. That's why we don't place bees in the South East as it's a very popular spot already for beekeepers.
       
      What are the benefits of eating local honey?
      Local honey can contain traces of the same pollens that cause your hay fever. Consuming them regularly could increase your tolerance and reduce symptoms. Supermarket honeys are generally blended from many sources which creates a generic taste. We're always surprised by the complexity and difference in flavour from one hive to the next. Supermarket brands are also heated which removes some of the healthy stuff which you find in our raw honey. It's a great boost for the immune system. You're also supporting a local business and the production of local food.
       
      Describe a typical day in the life...
      One of the best things about a typical day in the life is it's unpredictability. The bees are always doing something unexpected which means you're constantly being challenged and learning something new. There's also so many things going on outside of the actual beekeeping. Chris and I tend to inspect a lot of the hives individually now to save time. We could both visit 3 or 4 sites in a day, checking the hives for eggs, signs of swarming and disease. We might be jarring and labelling honey and also delivering it to our customers.
       
      What are your plans for 2015?
      Barnes & Webb is becoming a not for profit venture which will increase our focus on it's benefit to the communities where we operate. This means employing retired beekeepers to look after hives as well as training the unemployed. This Spring we'll be installing our first community hives which were funded by our art auction last year. These hives will provide a local free food source for residents as well as a focal point for education and awareness regarding bees and wider environmental concerns. We'll have more varieties of London Postcode Honey available as well as completely new products sourced from our hives.
       
      To find out more about Barnes & Webb and to hire hives check out their website: www.barnesandwebb.com

    • Chicken & Leek Pie with Chestnut Pastry

      Tuesday Jan 20 2015



      Warm up with this perfect wintery pie which uses chicken and sweet leeks, and a deliciously simple chestnut pastry.

      Ingredients:

      2 rashers of streaky bacon, finely chopped
      ½ bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked
      olive oil
      2 kg leeks, washed, trimmed; white end chopped into chunks, green end finely sliced
      sea salt
      freshly ground black pepper
      800 g cooked chicken, torn into big chunks
      2 heaped tablespoons plain flour, plus extra for dusting
      2 pints chicken or vegetable stock
      2 tablespoons crème fraîche
      500 g puff pastry
      12 jarred or vac-packed chestnuts, roasted and peeled
      2 sprigs of fresh sage, leaves picked
      1 free-range egg, beaten

      Method:
      Preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5.
       
      Put the chopped bacon into a large lidded pan on a medium heat and add your thyme leaves. Add a glug of olive oil and let it all fry off a few minutes. Add the prepped leeks and fry them for about 3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper then put the lid on, turn the heat down to medium and let them cook away gently for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes to make sure they don't catch. 
      When your leeks are ready, add the chicken and stir. Add the flour, mix well then pour in your stock and stir again. Add the crème fraîche then turn the heat up and bring everything back up to the boil. Have a taste and add more salt and pepper if it needs it, then turn the heat off. Pour the mixture through a sieve over a large pan and let the sauce from the mixture drip into the pan while you prepare your pastry.

      Using the largest Falcon Enamel pie dish (30cm). Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with a bit of flour and roll your pastry out so it's about double the size of your dish. Crumble the chestnuts over one half of the pastry then tear a few of the sage leaves over the chestnuts. Fold the other half of pastry on top then roll it out carefully and evenly so you have a rectangle big enough to cover your baking tray.

      Spoon the thick leek mixture from your sieve into the pie dish and spread it out evenly. Lay your pastry on top, tuck the ends under then gently score the pastry diagonally with your knife. Using a pastry brush paint the beaten egg wash over the top of your pastry. Put a pie funnel in the centre of the pie dish surrounded by the mixture and cut a hole in the lid for it to poke through - this will prevent the pastry from collapsing and allow steam to escape from the middle of the pie when cooking. Pop the pie in the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown. When the pie is cooked, re-heat the sauce you strained off earlier and serve with your pie, along with some peas tossed in butter, lemon, salt and pepper.
      (Adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe)

    • Classic Spiced Gingerbread Recipe

      Tuesday Nov 11 2014


       

       

      Make a batch of delicious spiced gingerbread using this classic recipe and our copper biscuit cutters.
       
      Ingredients:
      75g soft brown sugar
      2 tablespoons golden syrup
      1 tablespoon black treacle
      1 tablespoon water
      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
      1 teaspoon ground ginger
      Grated zest of half an orange
      95g butter
      1/2 teaspoon bicarb. of soda
      225g plain flour, sifted
       
      Method:
      Put the sugar, syrup, treacle, water, spices and zest together in a large saucepan, bring them to the boil, stirring all the time. Now remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter (cut into lumps) and the bicarbonate of soda.

      Next stir in the flour gradually until you have a smooth manageable dough – add a little more flour if you think it needs it.

      Now leave the dough covered in a cool place to become firm (approximately 30 minutes).

      Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.

      Now roll the dough out to 3mm thick on a lightly floured surface and cut into shapes with your biscuit cutters.

      Arrange them on the baking sheets and bake near the centre of the oven, one sheet at a time, for 10–15 minutes until the biscuits feel firm when lightly pressed.

      Leave them to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.

      Decorate using white icing, if you wish.

      Now eat & enjoy! (they will also keep for a few days when stored in an airtight container).

       

    • Let's meet... John Dilnot

      Thursday Oct 30 2014


      We have a chat with one of our favourite printmakers, John Dilnot, based in Sussex, John creates detailed hand screen prints which show his keen interest in the minutiae of bird, plant and insect life. We ask him about his creative background and find out how his grandparents garden has remained a key influence in his work.
       
      Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
      I have always liked screen printing, because it is bold and direct. I set up screen printing, letterpress and developing and printing black and white photography at home when I was a teenager. I taught myself all these things from books as I didn’t have art at school. They were not always successful, I think it must have been net curtains I used for screen printing mesh so the results were a bit rough!
      I studied both graphic design and fine art enjoying a lot of drawing and printmaking on both courses and then going on to study postgraduate printmaking.
       
      What's the 'philosophy' behind the product?
      I’m just making something that means something to me and hoping that the work will mean something to others.
       
      Where do you find inspiration?
      Ideas come from childhood experiences and inspiration comes from seeing something that triggers off childhood memories.I spent much of my childhood exploring nature in my grandparent's large garden, getting down in the soil and observing in detail!
       
      Where are your products made?
      I make all of my own work in my studio. Apart from a few commercially printed cards I make everything myself, boxes, prints, paintings, cards and books.
       
      What is your studio like? 
      I dream of a spacious airy studio with plenty of room to move things around. However I do make a lot of different things, I have a lot of printing equipment, a lot of paper stock and stored prints, boxes that I’m working on, and a lot of materials and tools for box making, reference books and lots of things that might come in useful one day. My studio is therefore crammed with stuff!
       
      Describe a typical day in the life of you…
      I follow my nose.

    • Nook X One We Made Earlier

      Monday Oct 20 2014


       

       

      As you will know, we are massive fans of the One We Made Earlier's signature bold, geometric, Memphis style necklaces. We have teamed up with the lovely folks at One We Made Earlier to create our very own exclusive design, introducing Varvara, with bold monochrome and classic 'Nook' grey. Only available in store and online at Nook!

    • Let's meet.... Matt Pugh

      Wednesday Oct 01 2014


      Matt Pugh is well known for his signature wooden owls, of which we are delighted to have our very own exclusive Nook colourway, 'Aqua', only available instore and online. We speak to Matt about his working life in the rolling hills near Bath. 
       
      Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
      Matt Pugh launched onto the international design scene in 2009 at 100% Design. Since then his signature owls, lamps and furniture have been snapped up across the globe, with the Scandinavians particularly collecting his work. Matt began designing as a teenager, studying ceramics, followed by 3D Design and model making. With a stint building theatre sets and working at architectural model makers in London and Bristol, Matt’s design experience is wide-ranging. It was during his time as a partner in a West Country furniture design workshop that Matt’s desire to create his own collection began. Now with his own studio and workshop situated in rural Wiltshire and his ever growing portfolio of thoughtfully crafted designs, Matt Pugh is firmly established as one of Britain’s brightest designer makers.
       
      What's the 'philosophy' behind the product?
      Using natural sustainable materials to a make a beautiful and long lasting object to be cherished.
       
      Where do you find inspiration?
      Modern architecture, Scandinavian design and mid century furniture.
       
      Where are your products made?
      In our workshop nestled in the rolling hills just outside of Bath.
       
      What is your studio like?
      There are beautiful and uplifting views across the valley. It's a large open plan workshop downstairs full of wood and prototypes with an office and studio upstairs. Perched on a hill just 10 minutes from my home, I'm very lucky to have found such a nice space.
       
      Describe a typical day in the life of you...
      Breakfast with my little son, head to the workshop with Sampson my dog and knuckle down to the days tasks, probably an hour doing admin upstairs in the office followed by making in the workshop. At lunchtime I take Sampson for a walk exploring the local woods. In the winter the kettle goes on first thing then I get the wood burning stove stocked up to keep us all warm.
       
      We also stock Matt Pugh's owls in classic white and natural as well as in the larger size, where our exclusive 'Aqua' colourway is also available.

       

    • 'The Great Outdoors': Matt Sewell

      Wednesday Sep 24 2014


      Shrewsbury based ornithologist Matt Sewell, is an illustrator and author of four books about British birds; Our Garden Birds, Our Woodland BirdsOur Songbirds and Owls. The exclusive Giclee print of a Wheatear illustrated especially for 'The Great Outdoors', ''White Arse on Purple Stone'' is a limited edition of 6, signed and numbered by Matt - only available from Nook, both instore and here, online.

    • 'The Great Outdoors': Paul Farrell

      Monday Sep 22 2014


      At Nook, we have worked with Bristol based print maker Paul Farrell for a while now and his work, inspired by the natural world, was an obvious choice for 'The Great Outdoors', for Design Week 2014. Now available to buy instore and online, Paul created this exclusive print, 'Night Owl', especially for us.
       
      Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
      I've always enjoyed the outdoors and art from a very young age. I completed a Foundation course in Art and Design in Bristol, my hometown, followed by a degree in Graphic Design at Middlesex Polytechnic. Since graduating I worked as a a graphic designer in London for 20 years before becoming self employed and returning to Bristol where I now share my time between my home studio and print making at Spike Island print studio. I've always had a illustrative interest as a designer when, for example, creating brands and not always relying on the computer. Graphic art, colour, form and nature are my inspiration. 
       
      What's the 'philosophy' behind the product?
      Philosophy is a grand word not often used here but if it refers to what my working beliefs and principles then it's really about simplicity. My days as a designer taught me to communicate clearly and the most successful and effective design was the simplest. I enjoy illustrating a subject using colour and form, reducing it to its basic and characteristic features. Colour is my important tool and it's experimentation is the essence of print making.
       
      Where do you find inspiration?
      I find inspiration everywhere I guess as I'm always looking, but more so in the countryside where our traditions, flora and fauna take over. Folk art is a key and if I was to be really honest it is found in my head also with images of old children's programmes I used to watch, and books I used to read, and toy shops I visited during the 1970s.
       
      Where are your products made?
      My products are made in the UK. I did trial several items overseas but the quality was too poor. I like to source British makers and in particular those close to me here in the South West. My current work is hand printed by myself and stationery out sourced. Where I can I try and ensure most materials are from a sustainable source or use processes that are kinder to the environment.
       
      What is your studio like? 
      My studio is nothing special but an upstairs room in my house. I've recently moved so there are still a few boxes about and little on the walls. It's mainly centred around the computer but there's room enough for a plan chest and collections of ephemera, books and samples with boxes of colour combinations, printing techniques and stationery favourites. It's peaceful and allows me to concentrate.
       
      Describe a typical day in the life of you...
      My days are very varied. Black coffee, sourdough toast normally starts it and me and then the time is either spent packing orders, doing admin, and the least time is spent creating new work which is the best time. When there is new work to print then I have the opportunity to visit Spike Island print studio and escape. Being at home I have to place a divide between work and life but we have a young daughter that takes up some of my week but this is good time. Generally there's a lot of coming and going and formatting work for online retailers or my site, blog, twitter etc etc.
       
      Is there anything you are looking forward to during Design Week?
      I'm looking forward to gathering enough new inspiration and finding out what new ideas have been created in the space of a year as so much is produced and promoted. Design Junction always collects the movers and shakers and I'm very interested in product design so this should float my boat. You can't do it all when you visit the design capital of the world, from Bristol.
       
      Where's your favourite (Great) outdoors space?
      It is a small village called Angle in Pembrokeshire where I have holidayed for the last 35 years. It's by the sea and within the National Park. The sunsets, remote location, simple life, friendly community, wildlife, smell of the sea and any weather always remind me why the outdoors are great.
       
      Paul's print, 'Night Owl' is available to buy instore and here, on the website.

    • 'The Great Outdoors': Forge Creative

      Thursday Sep 18 2014


       

      We love these mini trees made from off cuts by furniture makers, Forge Creative, which we are displaying as part of our showcase for LDF14, 'The Great Outdoors'. We meet Oli and Josh, the duo behind the design, to find out more.

       

      Tell us a bit about yourselves and your backgrounds

      Forge Creative was founded at the beginning of last year (2013) by two friends, Furniture Maker Josh Kennard and Graphic Designer Oli Milne. Both driven to be their own boss, and with a passion for creativity, they decided to combine their skills to achieve their ambitions. 

      Our combination of skill-sets is useful as Josh has a lot of practical and technical know-how and skill when it comes to putting a product together and my graphic design skills come in handy for marketing material and packaging. Despite each other's unique skills there is a lot of crossover and we both contribute to aspects such as product design.

      Josh continues to work for another furniture making company half of the week and I currently work full time as a graphic designer, so our Forge work has to be fitted into evenings, weekends, and Josh's two week days. Our hope and motivation is that the business will reach a level that will enable us to work solely for Forge.

      What's the 'philosophy' behind the product?
      The trees came into being from a happy accident - the first tree shape was just a by-product of something else that was being turned at the time but now they are a firm favourite and have evolved into numerous shapes, sizes and wood types. One of the joys of making the trees is that each one is individual and, by using off-cuts and waste wood, not only is every tree different but they're pretty green too, reducing wood waste that would otherwise be burnt.

      

The main 'philosophy' we have surrounding everything we make is this idea of ‘Heirloom Quality’. We want to make cherished items that will live on in the same way as old antique items you find today.

       

      Where do you find inspiration?

      We're inspired by the outdoors. We get our creative inspiration from nature's design, from which we draw both ideas and materials. We want to celebrate natural materials and their imperfect characteristics, leaving their colours and textures as a main feature.


      Where are your products made?
      Our Trees our made in a small cabin in Josh's garden. It's set up with a woodturning lathe and a bandsaw and is great for making trees and doing other small jobs, but for larger work we have to pay to use a larger more equipped workshop. Setting up a proper workshop of our own is something that is high on our list of things to do, when we can afford it.

       

      Where's your favourite 'Great Outdoors'?

      Josh explains his favourite outdoor space could be a place called the hidden valley in Scotland, "It seemed so remote but still surprisingly lush everywhere, I could happily lose myself there for a while." We visited this, as well as many other stunning places, while doing 'the three peaks' earlier this year. 

      I'm finding it hard to pick one favourite place. We are based in Sussex so have spent a lot of time exploring its great outdoors and discovered many favourite places. I also agree with Josh though, the mountainous areas that we saw in Scotland are certainly within my favourite outdoor places. I know we're both really hoping to go back soon and explore more of them. 

       

      Forge Creative's mini trees are now available to buy instore and online.

    • 'The Great Outdoors': Katy Parkes AKA Dereks

      Tuesday Sep 16 2014


      Katy Parkes started her company Dereks in 2013 designing and making hard wearing, good looking outdoor bags. We are delighted to have collaborated with Katy to design an exclusive bag for Nook as part of 'The Great Outdoors' for London Design Week, 2014.
       
      Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
       
      After I had left university and spent a few years applying for jobs in the ‘creative industry’ and getting nowhere I decided to pause and pull together the things I really enjoy with the hope that a career direction would become more obvious. Making things with my hands and climbing mountains were at the top of that list. About the same time, two friends who were traveling around the world on £20 a day came to London and told me story after story. Logistically all they needed to gather their tales was a backpack, all the details they had left behind were incidental. The shift from a flat pack to a back pack life became an idea that didn’t go away.
       
      What's the 'philosophy' behind the product?
       
      The big idea behind Dereks is 'built to begin’; we really wanted to establish a business that would encourage an active, outdoor and adventurous lifestyle. Everything we make is built to last and not be disposable, to be functional and not be unnecessary, to look good and not be a fast trend, to be transparent and not anonymous. Something along the line of buy less and choose well.
       
      Where do you find inspiration?
       
      The attic at home, Dads 70’s Karrimor rucksacks (still in use), old Lego adverts, Lou Doillon, Miscellaneous Adventures, the great outdoors, Kickstarter, carpentry, anything made by hand. I am always surprised how seemingly completely unrelated things form the basis of an idea. At the moment an old Lego advert (as above) and a photo essay of a space-training centre are what I keep referring back to.
       
      Where are your products made?
       
      All Dereks bags are made by hand in the studio. It is great fun trying to re create the more technical elements of bags by hand, dimensions and patience are key. A great moment is when the bag transforms from being a series of one dimensional panels into a three dimensional shape. An on going process is sourcing the hardware and materials in the best way possible, we recently started using hardware that is old brass taps and door knobs repurposed into buckles in a foundry in Walsall.
       
      What is your studio like? 
       
      The studio is the downstairs of my London flat. It is light and full of books and comfy chairs. All the work takes place on two large trestle tables. I would love to have a space outside of home but any way of keeping costs low when you are starting out is very important. Sometimes my commute of walking down stairs is a wonderful thing, sometimes I would love to have to jump on my bike and cycle a few miles.
       
      Describe a typical day in the life of you...
       
      I think one of the many things that attracted me to self employment and running a business is the flexibility it allows. I am not sure there is a typical day. Yesterday I spent meeting climbers, cyclists and graphic designers for consecutive coffees in Brixton and the day before I spent sewing and listening to Kraftwerk. When things calm down I am sure a routine will develop and it will consist of a balance of sewing, marketing, photography and going outside to use the bags. Saying all that every day starts with the same early alarm followed by toast and marmalade.
       
      Is there anything you are looking forward to during Design Week?
       
      Really excited about ‘Celebrating the Mundane’ that will provide answers to a lot of questions. Also I will definitely have a look at Working Artisans Club and Nook of course, many many places have interesting and exciting ideas on display. There are a few work meetings that I am looking forward to, I think, meeting people face to face is a very important part of being a startup.
       
      Where's your favourite 'Great Outdoors'?
       
      Hmmm, it would have to be up on the South Downs. It is where I grew up and have spent the most time, Harting Down would be cross if I said anywhere else.
       
      Please contact us for further information on: info@nookshop.co.uk

    • 'The Great Outdoors': Tessa Silva-Dawson

      Sunday Sep 14 2014



      Tessa Dawson-Silva is a London based designer and maker of unique hand carved wooden spoons and utensils, which we are thrilled to be selling in store and online throughout 'The Great Outdoors', as part of London Design Week, 2014. Tessa's work is available to buy in store, and we have a selection available online

       

      Tell us a bit about yourself and your background

      Having been raised by a carpenter, and grown up surrounded by wood, I have an inherent attachment to the material. I have been working as a freelance artist/designer, specialising in wood, since completing my BA in Interior Architecture in 2012. From then I went on to work at a 3D Design Studio, developing an affiliation with smaller scale design, fabrication, and hands-on making. It was during this time that I applied for an MA in Design Products at the RCA, which I am due to start this year. 
        
      What's the 'philosophy' behind the product?
      The product is rooted in a simple belief in quality material and honest craftsmanship. Every spoon is carefully and laboriously crafted by myself, to the point where letting them go is always difficult! They champion the variety and beauty of British hardwoods, resulting in a product that combines sculptural aesthetic with practicality. 
        
      Where do you find inspiration?
      I try to let the material I am working with be my source of inspiration. For example, the form, shape, size, and colouring of my spoons is always determined by the grain of the wood. I like to work with the imperfections of the wood, utilising as best I can the beautiful patterns of the grain, letting the wood govern my hand in sculpting it. Working like this has resulted in unexpected shapes and patterns in my spoons, which are always welcome surprises. 
       
      Where are your products made?
      I make all of my products from my small studio/workshop at home. It is just big enough for me to work in, but is fully equipped for all my woodworking needs! As it is a small space it is always kept tidy - every tool has its own hook on the wall or niche on a shelf, and every nook is brimming with some sort of carpentry apparatus. It is my Aladdin's cave!
       
      Describe a typical day in the life of you...
      A day in the life of spoon-making would start with a visit to the timber merchants, or local building/construction sites to rummage for reclaimed timber! I'll have my eyes peeled for hardwoods with particularly beautiful grain or colouring. Back in the workshop, I plan and draw out the spoon shapes. A multitude of different processes are then applied to finish each spoon, including the use of both power and hand tools. The final stages of the spoon involve a lot of filing, sanding, and polishing by hand, loud music and ample cups of coffee! 
       
      Is there anything you are looking forward to during Design Week?
      The general buzz of London Design Festival is always fun; it's inspiring and overwhelming to see the abundance of talent out there! I make sure to look out for projects by friends or colleagues during design week. Furniture designer Sebastian Cox is has got an exciting project on display at the V&A this year, which I am really looking forward to seeing. Also, 3D design studio, JAILmake, always have something interesting up their sleeve. I'll be keeping an eye out for any projects they may be planning in Peckham.  
       
      Where's your favourite (Great) outdoors space?
      I have a strong relationship with a very small and very beautiful corner of Cornwall, which will always be my ultimate 'Great Outdoors'. As a craftsperson, London can be quite restricting, especially in terms of space. I am keen to do some site visits to learn more about indigenous resources and materials, perhaps devoting a new project to my favourite countryside spot. 

       

    • 'The Great Outdoors': London Design Week 2014 at Nook

      Friday Sep 12 2014


      Nook are delighted to be taking part in the London Design Festival for the third year running, as part of the ICON design trail, 'The Great Outdoors' will be instore, and online for the first time, from 13th September to 28 September.

      Showcasing products made from, and inspired by, the natural world created by some of Nook's favourite designers and makers, with exclusive prints by bird lover Matt Sewell, and nature enthusiast Paul Farrell, as well as introducing exciting new faces; Tessa Silva Dawson with her beautiful unique hand-carved spoons, traditionally hand woven rush mats, our very own exclusive backpack from Derek's Bags, one off mini hand carved trees by Forge Creative, as well as our exclusive 'Aqua' owl from Matt Pugh and more surprises along the way.

      All products featured in 'The Great Outdoors' are proudly made, and designed, in the UK and will be available for sale, both instore and online at www.nookshop.co.uk

      Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Instragram for the latest pictures, updates and news, there'll also be interviews and features on our blog, so keep your eyes peeled and join us as we venture into 'The Great Outdoors'...
      #TheGreatOutdoors

    • Let's Meet... 'One We Made Earlier'

      Friday Aug 15 2014


      We spoke to Emma, one half of the husband and wife team, 'One We Made Earlier' about their background, inspiration for their resin and cord necklaces, and a 'typical' day in the life.
       
      Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
       
      One We Made Earlier are Rob and Emma Orchardson...a husband and wife team with backgrounds in fine art and design. We met at art college in Scotland before moving to London to study some more at Goldsmiths college. London has been home for many years now and Rob works mainly as a contemporary artist and I run One We Made Earlier in the day to day alongside juggling caring for our two young children! We have been keen to work on a collaborative project for a while, so in 2013 One We Made Earlier was born!

      What's the 'philosophy behind the product?
       
      We make bold products that combine a simple, refined aesthetic with a sense of fun! 
       
      We hope that people will enjoy both wearing our necklaces or even looking at them hanging on a wall as an object!

      Where do you find inspiration?
       
      Everywhere! We read widely and visit exhibitions regularly but also find inspiration wandering around interesting shops or through taking photographs of daily London life. (See our Instagram account for daily shots of London life @onewemadeearlier) 
       
      More specifically, if we had to name a few things...Bauhaus simplicity, the rawness and sculptural ambition of brutalist architecture, Memphis use of colour and pattern, the boldness of Constructivist design, the sense of fun in futurist stage set design.
       
      Where are your products made?
       
      We make our necklaces in our main studio in Deptford, south east London or in our new garden studio. Rob is mainly found in our studio whilst it is easier for me to work from home in south east London. 
       
      What is your studio/office like?
      Our Deptford studio is populated with a wide range of wood working tools and equipment to cut and drill the parts for our necklaces.  It is a lovely light space with big windows and wooden floor.  Most of the initial machining and drilling happens there.
       
      In our garden, we have a small studio where I work on hand finishing the parts, assembling the necklaces and packaging orders for customers or shops.
       
      Describe a typical day in the life of you...
       
      No day is ever the same for us so it is hard to describe a 'typical' day!
      We have young children so each day does involve working around school runs and childcare.  
       
      There are always parts that need sanded and assembled so I am often working on that while running the administrative side of things - from keeping on top of orders and liaising with stockists, to ensuring we have raw materials and parts we need and managing accounts or updating social media.  
       
      Rob focuses on machining and drilling parts in the Deptford studio which he then brings back home to be finished off by me.  
       
      When particularly busy, work often spills into evenings and weekends to keep on top of things. It can be a bit crazy, but we are working on a project we feel excited by and it is great to see people enjoying wearing the necklaces we have designed! It's also lovely to see our work sit amongst other beautiful products in shops that stock them.
       
      Shop for products from 'One We Made Earlier' here.

    • Some recent press

      Monday Aug 11 2014


      We've had a couple of nice bits of press recently, firstly our nickle plant mister was featured on Red Magazine's RedOnline as one of their 'products of the day'.

       

      http://www.redonline.co.uk/interiors/editor-s-choice/products-of-the-day

       

       

      And then we popped up in the Mail on Sunday's YOU magazine with our wooden line clock from 'by...'.

       

       

       

       For more press features and information about how to contact us, check out our PRESS page.
       

    • Pickling & preserving: A brief history.

      Wednesday Aug 06 2014


      Preserving food has been around for centuries in varying forms, originally food was dried in the sun in hot climates and frozen in ice in cold ones. Since then we have been curing, pickling, jamming and fermenting all manner of foods to preserve them throughout seasons and on long journeys, as well as for cultural and religious reasons. Today as more and more of us have access to all kinds of foods throughout the year, we preserve food because we want to, rather than because we have to.

      Napoleon is often credited with inventing modern canning, in 1795 the French military offered a cash prize for anyone who could come up with a new method to preserve food. Nicolas Appert put forward the suggestion of canning food and it was first proven to work in 1806. This original method of canning used a glass jar, a flat tin lid and sealing wax.

      Since then many companies have followed suite creating less messy, re-useable canning methods which have become popular throughout Europe and America. Weck jars, as stocked by us, are made in Germany as they have been since the early 1900s when they soon became one of the most popular ranges of preserving jars. This was due to their wide openings for easy filling, large selection of shapes and sizes, re-sealable lids and neat stackable design. for further information on Weck's home canning system, go to the Weck website and follow their expert instructions. 

      Weck jars are ideal for bottling, pickling, preserving and curing, and they also look good as neat kitchen storage for all manner of food stuff. Check out our recipes for tomato ketchup, elderflower cordial and preserved lemons.

    • Tomato Ketchup in Weck carafes

      Tuesday Aug 05 2014


      At this time of year our local Turkish green grocers are bursting with fresh tomatoes, it is the season to buy them by the tray-full and make the most of them in Gazpacho, salads, sauces and preserves. We made ketchup and this is how. This recipe will fill two of our 1/4 litre Weck carafes.

      Ingredients:

      1 red onion chopped

      1 stick of celery chopped

      1 thumb sized piece of ginger peeled and chopped

      3 cloves of garlic

      1 tablespoon of coriander seeds

      3 cloves

      1.25kg fresh tomatoes chopped

      100ml red wine vinegar

      50g soft brown sugar

      black pepper

      sea salt

      1 dash olive oil 

       

      Method:

      Place all the vegetables in a heavy based pan along with a dash of olive oil, ginger, coriander seeds and cloves and season with salt and pepper.

      Cook over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until softened, stirring now and then.

      Add the tomatoes and 400ml of cold water. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer, reducing the sauce by half.

      Blend the sauce in a blender and then pass through a sieve.

      Now transfer the sauce to a clean saucepan and add the vinegar and sugar. Place on a low heat and allow to thicken to the consistancy of ketchup!

      Fill your sterilized Weck carafes with the ketchup and store in a cool dark place until you're ready to tuck in. It should keep for six months.

    • Miami Vice!

      Friday Aug 01 2014


      With these soaring temperatures and summer vibes, we feel like we're on holiday and what could be more exciting than a trip to Miami? Inspired by the city's famous colour palette we have put together a collection that is getting us in the mood for some fun in the sun!