Tuesday, 22 November 2011


It's party season, and the invitations are already dropping into my inbox, including one that requests I come as my favourite Hitchcock character ! For guys the choice is rather limited. I've considered putting on a suit, lots of bronze foundation and dying my hair a shade of bluish grey, and going as Cary Grant in any role. Alternatively, I could just grab my camera, slip into some pyjamas, a dressing gown, and crutches, and make a plausible James Stewart in Rear Window. Girls on the other hand, have it much easier. They could simply nip down to Heather at No.47, who would whip up a Grace Kelly or Tippi Hedren hairdo with ease (and a few hairpieces.)

Heather Morris trained as a hairdresser back in the late 80s, and quickly specialised in wig making. She set up her salon in pharmacist, John Bell & Croyden, which you may know happens to be on Wigmore Street. How apt. A few years ago, Heather and her husband Sami decided to set up shop nearer home in South London. From the outset, it was to be more than just a hairdressers, both in terms of the ambience, and the fact that they sell clothing and accessories. The starting point for the interior, was the contents of a powder compact, so a foundation of flesh tones is highlighted with lipstick red and shimmering gold. The mix and match furnishings which range from local vintage finds, to ebay purchases, to Ikea basics, creates a relaxed boudoir space, in which clients are free to wander. 

Sadly, just as fortyseven had established itself on the Triangle, Heather's husband Sami passed away. Briefly, Heather considered shutting the business, but then realised that throwing away her dream was not going to improve a tragic situation. After all, she'd been cutting hair and making clothes since school, when as a 14 year old she should have been doing her homework, but knowing that one day she would have her own business. Hopefully Heather & the team at fortyseven will be adding sparkle to Westow Street for many years to come.

020 8771 7170

Graffiti by Paintshop Studio

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Popiel Cycles

Before 'Boris Bikes' became a familiar sight on London's streets, Wojtek Popiel had his own bike hire business. But after the Barclays branded docking stations started springing up all over town, Wojtek quickly realised that the competition was overwhelming. He had also grown tired of spending 10 hours a day in his van, delivering and picking up cycles from customers. What he needed was to open a shop and start selling the Dutch brand, Gazelle, that he was previously hiring. Ironically he chose a site at the top of one of South London's steepest inclines. You may remember the premises had previously been the demurely named, Pillow Talk. 

He couldn't have timed it better, with the huge resurgence in cycling. This can be put down to several factors, from the success of our olympic cyclists, to concern for the environment, but as I've discovered, it's mainly to do with the pure joy of whizzing around on 2 wheels. 

In addition to selling both adult's and children's bikes, the shop has an enthusiastic mechanic, Damian on hand to keep all types of bike running smoothly (not just Dutch ones!), and there are plans to expand into the space upstairs, when they will start selling another  brand, Koga.

Originally from Gliwice in southern Poland, Wojtek has lived in London for 8 years, including stints in everywhere from Clapham to Willesden. However, he is now firmly rooted in West Norwood with a young family. Despite an obvious passion for 2 wheels, the demands of business and family mean that he very rarely gets in the saddle himself these days. One exception being the London to Brighton bike ride, which next year he is planning to do with a handful of customers.

Wojtek Popiel

No.1 Westow Street
Tel: 020 3441 5298