Reiko Kaneko Chimera baubles at Dalston Christmas Market
On Fridays, as London starts going off for the weekend, the City Showcase team cranks into gear to research and scout. City Showcase is a not- for- profit company that supports new and emerging talent, be it an undiscovered musician or a stunning new designer, and at weekends we give ourselves the time to dig around to find the new talent that we love to help.
On Friday afternoon I catch up on magazines, newspapers and articles looking for news of the designers and musicians that we are already supporting like Melanie Porter, The Meringue Girls taking the world by storm since Soho Flea Market 2013, and Josephine, who has announced her headline Continental tour (will 2014 be her year?) and then scour the small print for names that we have not yet featured. Have the bloggers spotted anyone new? Who are the record labels signing? What are the latest trends in retail? We add names to the database and listen and watch and make notes.
Youchka Swans at Dalston Christmas Market
Before the end of the day we send out emails to new talent that our wonderful curation panel (Lucy McMenemy (Hackney Borough Council), Karim Ladak (Potassium), local Hackney designer and business woman Fiona Duffelen (Fee Fee La Fou) and Donna Lambert, Hackney based PR guru Lamb to the Slaughter) would like to sound out for Dalston Christmas Market. We had a call out for applications across Hackney and now over half the people involved are local. We got an immediate response from Hackney- based Plane Clothing, as well as brilliant Dalstonista wool knits designer Catherine Tough, and the yummy What The Dickens crew and their British fare. The brilliant designer Drew Barton is also taking part (I bought an original from him that will look fantastic in my sitting room), as well as youchka.com and Reiko Kaneko,We had two months to curate all 40 or so designers from the hundreds of applications, not to mention the stage entertainment
At the end of the day Im off for a well-earned glass of wine on the 5th Floor in Waterstone's Piccadilly, which has amazing views (5th View, Waterstones, 203-205 Piccadilly, W1J 9LE, +44 20 7851 2433, 5thview.co.uk.
Then off to an early supper with a colleague at Salt Yard, above, 54 Goodge St, W1T 4NA, 020 7637 0657, salt yard.co.uk. I have been going to Salt Yard since it opened and recommend it to everyone. The last time my lunch date invited them to open in Soho and the resulting - and equally brilliant - Dehesa, below, is definitely worth a visit. Dehesa, 25 Ganton St, W1F 9BP, 020 7494 4170, dehesa.co.uk
Well often end the meal with a cocktail at The Heights another old haunt from when I worked in ITV - I have a thing about views! The Heights, St Georges Hotel, Langham Place, W1B 2QS, 020 7580 0111 saintgeorgeshotel.com/the-heights-restaurant-and-bar-
On Saturdays, if Im in London, Ill pop into Milk Bar in Soho, below, Milk Bar, 3 Bateman Street,W1D 4AG, 020 7287 4796.flatwhitecafe.com/milkbar.html for a Flat White now that is what good coffee really is.
Then off to a recce for the Christmas Market and a bite to eat at my favourite new haunt, White Rabbit, Bradbury Street, Dalston, N16 8JN, 020 7682 0163, whiterabbitdalston.com/342160 This terrific eatery is run by sympatico musos and promoted by one of my market curatorial groups, Lamb to the Slaughter. They do really terrific, good quality food, below, cooked well.
It is opposite Fee Fee La Fou, 6 Bradbury St, London N16 8JN, 020 7249 1238, feefeelafouenterprises.com/ so I get to check out great new design as well.
Then Ill head to the Tate Britain, below, to see Walk Through British Art, which sounds really fascinating and inspiring, Tate Britain, Millbank SW1P 4RG, 020 7887 8888, tate.org , I want to buy some of the Formation Collection on sale in the shop - they are perfect for Christmas presents.
For supper I love Burger & Lobster, 36 Dean St, W1D 4PS, 020 7432 4800, burgerandlobster.com, for the lobster sandwiches. And before that, theres time for a quick drink at Cellar Gascon, 59 W Smithfield, EC1A 9DS, 020 7600 7561, clubgascon.com/cellar/about.php, the sister to Club Gascon. It has a brilliant wine list and unique bar snacks.
Typically Sunday lunch is on the run a quick meal at Yming, 35-36 Greek St, W1D 5DL, 020 7734 2721, yming.co.uk owned by Chinatown and The Soho Societys Christine Yau, it serves really authentic Chinese food.
With only a week to go, Dalston Christmas Market is taking up all my time. We've booked two amazing acts: Akayzia and Tom Tyler - definitely ones to watch - as well as local Hackney school and community choirs, so we can have a great sing-a-long. This will be a Christmas Market with a difference: traditional but spiced up.
Dalston Christmas Market takes place on Sunday, 1 December 2013, in newly built Dalston Square, Hackney, E8 from 11am to 7pm.