Browsing articles tagged with "Kate Betts Hats Archives - I Love Saturday"
Dec 5, 2013

Merry Dublin! Twelve Shops of Christmas

Dublin city centre is looking really smart right now. Twinkling lights, winding lane ways and lots of lovely shops. Forget suburban Yummy Drummie malls and get where the action’s at. And you can have a pint after a hard days shopping! Town is back with a bang this Christmas. Dublin has reinvented itself as a cool city, following some lean years, and paved the way for a fresh mix of creative retailers and arty shops.

Okay, first thing for out of towners – keep off Grafton Street and Henry Street. The really interesting shops are behind the scenes. Dublin’s Creative Quarter is a buzzing hive between Wicklow, Georges and South William Streets. Lots to do and see here! From so hip it hurts to vintage gems and artisan foods to quirky boutiques, this jam packed area keeps on giving. Other side of the Liffey, Moore and Capel Streets are festive hotspots.

It’s tradition chez moi to do a family shopping day every Christmas. We meet at midday, fuel up on coffee and cake, mill about town picking out our pressies and finish with pub grub and some well earned pints. We get to soak in the Christmas vibes and ensure that nobody receives rubbish gifts. Winner! Dad likes books, the Bruv likes music and Mother loves hand crafts. Here’s where we’ll be heading…

1.) Makers & Brothers & Others. When I first chanced upon this new shop on Dame Lane, I was intrigued. There was cakes in the window, what can I say… I wanted to know what was inside. This smart lifestyle pop-up is the work of the Jonathan and Mark Legge, the crafty siblings behind Makers & Brothers. They’ve collaborated with a hip set of Irish designers to bring us some pretty cool stuff.

Cakes are from The Wild Flower Bakery and look almost too good to eat. Billed as a tiny seasonal department store, Makers & Brothers & Others is a joy to explore. The antidote to commercial Christmas. I liked twisty wooden stools from James Carroll, tableware from Jerpoint Irish Glass and a fun knitted fox from Claire-Anne O’Brien. Go here for housey things and kiddie gifts. And a cup of tea.

2.) Clerys. It’s back! After a devastating flood this summer, Dublin’s fave department store was closed for a five month refurbishment. Although Clerys has been a much loved haunt of mine, it was seriously in need of a facelift. And here it is, all shiny and bouncy, but retaining it’s old skool charm. Perfect. I was afraid I wouldn’t recognise it, but fear not – it’s Clerys, only better. The shop floor is bright and uncluttered with original features polished. And, well, modrin. Christmas under one brand new roof.

Chic newbies include – Moda in Pelle, True Decadence and Apanage. Gone are the granny wedding hats and in are quality handbags, scarves and shoes you really want in your wardrobe. Clerys offers substance and style. Send Himself to Carphone Warehouse, new on the ground floor, while you browse Benetton, Mexx and Mango. Meet Mother at The Tea Rooms and bring the kids to Santa’s Joy Factory.

3.) Powerscourt Townhouse Centre. I do love this place. It’s like a calm oasis in, y’know, the sprawling metropolis that is Dublin… Powerscourt is the ideal Christmas venue with plenty of artisan shops, galleries and cafes. First up, party outfits. Go vintage at The Loft Market and Irish at Marion Cuddy, both regular spots for yours truly. Up the glamour stakes at Covet, Design Centre and Dawn Fitzgerald. Genius for cool casuals.

Gift-wise, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre caters well for the hard-to-buy-for crowd. For something unique head to Article, an eclectic collection of funky objets and house wares. Bow for pretty little things. A Rubenesque and The Garden for decorations and flowers. Try the Bonsai Shop for an alternative Crimbo tree. Kennedy and McSharry for a tweed flat cap. The Bloke loves his! Rosemantic fellas who are thinking of popping the ultimate Christmas surprise… The best antique jewellery in Dublin. She’ll love it. And you!

4.) Ferocious Mingle Marcade. Believe it or not you can buy your Crimbo pressies second hand. Simply vintage, Darling! With so much post-recessionary re-purposing going on these days, markets are super spots to pick up something a bit different. The Marcade has moved from it’s old location to a bohemian den on Camden Street. I used to live in this part of town and am so excited by how lively it’s become. Wind your way up from the city with leisure.

Shopping, entertainment and food. What more do you want? These guys know how to throw a party too! Open every Thursday to Sunday, join in the fun with stalls selling everything from antique clocks and mirrors and grunge princess fashions to pre-loved books and handmade soaps. Relax after a hard days shopping at Dublin’s tiniest cinema and munch on home baked goodies from Oscar Verne’s Coffee Bar.

5.) Cocoa Atelier. Christmas is the one time of the year that you’re allowed to stuff your chops and get away with it. But I call quality over quantity. Instead of reaching into a tin of Roses, I’ll be savouring artisan chocolates from Cocoa Atelier. This is my (the Bloke’s) go-to place for sweet treats. Cocoa Atelier was born when French chef, Marc Amand, spotted a gap in the market for gourmet chocs in Ireland. Good work!

The shop, on Drury Street, is like stepping through a portal to Paris. Chic black and white detail show the exquisite chocolates off to their best, but it’s the taste that counts. There’s a range of flavours to choose from, including – salted caramel, ginger, lime, mango, chestnut honey and Earl Grey – as well as myriad bars and luxe foodie gifts. The chocolate Christmas baubles are too cute! Buy colourful macaroons and delicate eclairs for your Christmas table. And hot chocolate for now!

6.) Georges Street Arcade. I’ve been shopping here since my teenage days, when I was first allowed into town all by myself. Me & my best mate used to browse records and smoke ciggies. Good times! So the Arcade has a special place in my heart. The shops have changed over the years, new ones popping up all the time. But some things remain the same, like Simon’s Place, the cosy cafe that keeps me and the Bloke so well fed.

Housed in a Victorian redbrick market, Georges Street Arcade offers a quirky collection of shops. Pick up retro vinyl at Spindizzy Records (Himself is a regular), silver and stones at New Moon Jewellery and stocking fillers at Bombay Banshee. Make like Uncle Gaybo and hit Beaux Bows for your geansai Nollaig. Or try sheepskin in The Gift of Warmth to keep the chill out. And a Pieminister with mushy peas & mash!

7.) Siopaella. Can’t afford Brown Thomas? Then get down to Temple Bar. They say you can’t put a price on love, but at Siopaella you’ll find great deals on Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs. And just about every designer you can think of. Items are selected by owner, Ella, who picks the cream of pre-loved, worn once and labels on fashion. She’ll even style you a fabulous party outfit.

The great thing about Siopaella is you’ll find something that nobody else has. With two stores, one on Crow Street the other on Temple Lane, offering high street to high end there’s plenty to suit your budget. I’ve scored a Rachel Mackey cashmere cardi, silk Custo dress and a Chesneau handbag among many bargains. Watch out for box fresh Louboutins. Siopaella’s menswear is the best pre-loved in town. Mother loves their vintage jewellery.

8.) Project 51. Tucked away on Dublin’s premier hipster strip, South William Street, this Irish design collective has it’s finger on the pulse. Project 51 is a creative hub and retail space. Hannah Flew runs things front of house, where there’s a great selection of gifts and home grown wedding items. I love Anita Conway handmade lace garters, intricate Grace O’Reilly Jewellery and stunning Kate Betts Hats.

Finding surprises is one thing I really enjoy when shopping, and out the back of Project 51 is a fun place to nose around. Funky neon clubwear brought me back to 90s London where I spent my college days wandering around Camden Market. Only for the young and daring! Meanwhile, there’s plenty in for Christmas. Nik’s Tea gift sets, Gillian Field illustrated mugs and Airmid Natural handmade soaps.

9.) Chapters. Here’s a place me and the Bloke could spend hours happily ignoring each other, lost in row after row of books. Chapters is spread out over two gigantic floors, new books on the ground floor and second hand upstairs. Stocking the whole gamut of readables from fiction and biography to reference and educational. There’s more art, photography, fashion and cookery books than you can shake a stick at. Chapters is also a great source for Irish books and lesser known titles.

It’s not just books here. Chapters does a great range of stationery too, including cards, notebooks and diaries. Brilliant stocking fillers. I went in to get a book for the Bruv’s birthday and these guys ordered it specially, with only one day delivery. The service is top notch. Upstairs is the place for random finds – the best way to buy books! Swing by Moore Street afterwards for fresh fruit and Paris Bakery for cakes.

10.) Cows Lane Designer Studio. Mother and me love this place. At the cool end of Temple Bar, Cow Lane Designer Studio showcases the best of Irish design and crafts. We’re big fans of Deirdre Griffin glass fusion jewellery. Her rings and earrings are simple yet striking. Manned by the designers themselves you can chat about creative techniques or commission a special piece in person. The atmosphere here is open and friendly.

A nice present-to-self (g’wan. I won’t tell anyone) would be a hat from Shevlin Millinery. John Shevlin’s head wear is beautifully made and well established in the Irish fashion world. Wear it on Christmas Day! Choose unique gifts from handmade Brookwood Pottery, fresh on the shelves, Bouji Organic candles and the softest scarves from Daiva’s Textiles. Cows Lane Designer Studio is also home to great prints and artwork. Come here for house inspiration.

11.) Fallon & Byrne. A top spot for posh foodie gifts, this place stocks a mouthwatering array of Christmas treats. Their fabulous hampers include a hand picked selection of the best artisan produce. Try the Gourmet Irish, which includes – Cashel Blue cheese, Pandora Bell nougat, Ummera Organic Irish smoked salmon, Mella’s butter fudge and Fallon & Byrne’s famous house granola. The food of life!

The Food Hall provides all you need for a tasty Christmas dinner table. Organic fruit and veg, fresh meat and fish, charcuterie and antipasti. There’s also amazing choice when it comes to the high end pantry – Italian extra virgin olive oils, French mustards and teas from around the world. The wine shop is well worth a visit too. Grab a seat by the front window and people watch Wicklow Street with delectable cakes and Dublin’s best latte. Yes Sir!

12.) Avoca. I’ve always loved Avoca, just for the pure chance to channel one’s fantasy lifestyle through their dotty displays and dreamy scenarios. I often picture myself wrapped up in a lambswool blanket, taking Ceylon and scones by a blazing fireside. Bliss. My most recent purchase was, in fact, one of their mill woven blankets as a wedding gift for friends. There’s a rainbow of jewel colours to pick from.

Appealing to the girl in me, Avoca does everything pretty. Kitsch even. Patterned plates, quirky teapots, ceramic door knobs, glass jewellery and cutesy hats. Clothes are whimsical yet totally wearable. The kids section is great fun with adorable wooly jumpers, Jellycat teddies and a sugar rush sweetie hamper. For the chef in your life, head for the kitchen gear, delicatessen and super yummy cookbooks.

So now you know where to go! I’ve gotta say, Dublin has become a real arty little city over the last few years, now that we’re out of the Tiger’s claw. I love nothing more than mooching around town – the Creative Quarter, Temple Bar, Capel Street – and chancing upon new shops and cafes. Do check out as many independent stores as you can, they’re so much more exciting and original. Happy shopping!

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Jun 22, 2012

The Grand Social – Vintage Tea Dance!

Last Tuesday night, I found myself footloose and fancy free. Sure aren’t I always, you ask? Anyway I was stuck betwixt footie and beer, England v Ukraine, and a lovely Vintage Tea Dance. A girl and her whims… As it happens I rocked up to The Grand Social just in time for Rooney’s wicked header, so Euro 2012 fix sorted, I wafted upstairs where the main action was. Oooh, what a treat I was in for!

The beer garden / terrace had been transformed into a mini market, with second hand clothes, accessories and a pop up beauty parlour. And a barbie on the go – burger and beer only five euro! I had a giggle with a pretty young thing having a bouffant make over from Hair Through the Ages – suits you Sir! Then to Kate Betts Hats, where the lovely Kate offered a box of her creations for me to try on.

Inside, the vaulted room had been transformed into an Alice in Wonderland delight with circus bunting and candy stripes enveloping a floor of round tables and a bright satin draped stage. Tea and homemade cakes were on hand, each confection numbered and ready to be judged as well as enjoyed, like little butter icing jewels. It really was charming as dressed up boys and girls waltzed away with abandon.

The Dolly Mixture Cabaret turned up the entertainment with a brilliantly silly stage show. Our foxy maestro Kat, fabulous in fishnets and tails, introduced us to The Protectors, a quirky drama act whose childlike simplicity was a tonic to the big bad world outside. Next up was marvelous storyteller, Paul Timoney, who had us enthralled with a highly energetic rendition his urban tale of “Mr Faraway Fox”.

I munched on a pink sprinkles cupcake as Paul read us some of his original poems, and showed us his drawings. Very talented guy! It was time for a bit more singing and dancing as a band of beautiful flappers took the stage for a rousing performance, followed by the honey voiced pirate Bepo. He serenaded us on guitar with his unique songs, while the best dressed lady and gentleman were chosen.

My cheeks were a-glow by the end of the night with fun of it all – an interactive finale story by Paul Timoney brought the house down. The Grand Social is an excellent venue for showcasing such events, with folk seeking out an alternative pub experience nowadays. Rumours reach me that the Ha’penny Flea Market is no more, but in a city crackling with creativity something will surely rise from it’s ashes.

The Grand Social, 35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1 / www.the grandsocial.ie

Apr 4, 2012

Film Fatale – North By Northwest

There’s something about the Sugar Club that evokes old school glamour. Going back to it’s cinematic roots, it was the perfect venue to host Film Fatale’s “North By Northwest” screening on Saturday night. The event was a dress up affair, beginning with the Hitchcock classic, followed by a live set from Jaime Nanci and The Blue Boys, finishing with DJs the Andrews Sisters’ Brothers.

Channeling the Mad Men theme, I slipped into a slinky LBD, killer heels and topped off my retro look with a Kate Betts pill box hat. And a feather boa for some OTT glam – why not? The Sugar Club was packed with gorgeous guys and dolls all working different vibes, from Teddy Boy to Va Va Voom. Special house cocktails added extra sophistication to the occasion.

Spiced gin cocktail in hand, I asked a handsome usher if the popcorn was complimentary. As I paid for my snack he winked and said “Fabulous hat”. Ooh sir… North By Northwest is one of Hitch’s best loved films, a clever thriller featuring the suave Cary Grant and an ice cool Eva Marie Saint. The movie is widely regarded as a huge influence on subsequent spy romps.

Everything from the suspense and the innuendo to the fashion and the interiors are a joy to watch. Seamless Hitchcock. And it’s funny too, in that innocent way that a 1950’s production can be. However, the film was made on the cusp of the 1960’s and reflects changing times in the US. Even Cary Grant’s grey suit was revolutionary in it’s tailoring. Debonair indeed.

Apres movie we enjoyed the sounds of Jaime Nanci and The Blue Boys, four piece jazz ensemble who play contemporary as well as vintage tunes. They warmed up the dance floor for the Andrews Sisters’ Brothers, who kept the house a rockin’ and a rollin’ until 3am. I was very impressed by some of the jives my gang were pulling off. Those crazy cats.

Film Fatale organiser Fernanda told me that the night had been a great success. She thinks people just like the fun of it all, something a bit different to your average Saturday night. As we were celebrating a birthday, my mates were in the party mood and suggested a nightcap in Leggs. But, your Girl Friday was done. I flagged the nearest cab and got outta Dodge.

The Sugar Club, 8 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2 / flimfataleevents.blogspot.com

Jan 20, 2012

Hats Off to Kate Betts!

Having met the lovely Kate Betts and tried on some of her gorgeous hats last summer, I was delighted to bump into her again. A walk through the leafy SoCoDu hamlet of Monkstown saw me stumble upon Kate’s beautiful creations. Lulu French Vintage Boutique was the location – I’d been pressing my nose against window for a while, so finally inside I was like a kid in a candy shop!

The pretty salon is run by Veronique Piales, who sources her vintage treasures in Paris. It’s a very special place, with rows of couture pieces and handmade originals punctuated by silk scarves, chic handbags and delicious shoes. Kate’s hats are dotted around and it’s so much fun to match her hats to the lovely clothes. You could leave with a whole new look!

Kate’s a girl after my own heart – we chatted about the colours we could contrast, the way we can wear our hair and the joy of hats. Of which Kate is course an expert. She got into the millinery business after winning a hat making competition. Noting the great personal style of the judge, Kate took her prize as a sign and started producing her own head wear.

Creating one off pieces and bespoke orders, Kate has the hand for wonderful confections that are as well built as they are whimsical. When I bought her black and pink pillbox hat I knew it a unique piece as well as a hat for life. I also invested in one of her bows, pink with a small veil, it’s perfect for dressing up an outfit.

Kate’s background is in print making, having studied fine art, but she told me that her hat making is an outlet for her love of textiles. She is inspired by her materials – felt, silk, straw – and by the wearable styles of the 1930’s and 40’s. When everyday head wear, like a saucy little beret, were in vogue Kate smiled.

Originally from Newcastle in the North of England, Kate arrived in Dublin almost fifteen years ago and liked it so much she stayed. She told me that the attraction is being in a city where you can easily do anything – dancing, shopping, cycling. All while wearing a hat we agree! Whether it’s a quirky find or a for chic occasion Kate Betts is your lady.

www.katebetts.eu / Lulu French Vintage, 93 Monkstown Road, Co. Dublin