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Raw, Retro-Chic Gifting in London

December 2013

By Martha Alexander, London

Only in London could the prices of re-sold items be unaffordable, but resalvaged is definitely in this season, along with sweating out the extra holiday-induced kilo(s)!

1. I want furniture from Retrouvius on Harrow Road, or a similar antique restorer. I have my eye on a rocking chair, or maybe the flip-down, old-fashioned classroom pews. I picked up this little folky chair from a private restorer who lives on my road, and it has been painted using an Annie Sloan chalk-based paint.

2. I also want a coat that meets the holy trinity criteria of the Londoner in winter: warm, stylish and unique enough that you don't see at least one other person in it on your morning commute. Zara has great coats, but everyone knows that, and that’s the trouble. The search is a tough one, as everyone is hunting for the perfect coat. I still haven't found one, but I am going to start the search on Portobello Road and Carnaby Street.

3. I would also like membership to a proper boxing gym-- not hitting pads in a clean middle-class gym with crisp white towels and Molten Brown products in the spa bathrooms. I want to learn how to do the sport properly, being trained with boxers, by boxers. It's a sentiment shared by Londoners who want a bit of rough when it comes to exercise. They don't want things to be dumbed down. The All Stars Boxing Gym in West London is a perfect example; it trains world-class boxers and office workers alike. There are many more of its kind all over London.

Drink of choice: My Christmas tipple has to be port. Not straight, I hasten to add, but in a cocktail. The best I have tasted are at Bourne and Hollingsworth on Rathbone Place, where port is mixed with ginger beer and lime to create a long, tasty treat that’s easy to recreate at home.

Retail & Dining
Liquor, Beer & Wine
Health & Fitness
Fashion & Style
Gloves fit to punch some bags at London's All Star Boxing Gym
Vintage pea coat found on Carnaby Street
Vintage piece found at Retrouvius on Harrow Road

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