What do Columbia, London and Johnny Depp have in common?

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Well, that’s an easy one! Columbia is a flea market in London where Johnny Depp buys his hats from! How do I know that? I have to confess, I’m a huge fan of flea markets. One day, while being in the Columbia market, I saw a hat store that I simply had to visit. Soon enough I found out from a discussion with the salesman that was the store where Johnny Depp comes and buys 20 hats at once. So imagine: I was his biggest fan even before I learnt that he loves hats as well; now I just love him!

And don’t you know, London has more than 100 markets! Columbia I’ve already mentioned, Portobello (yeah it has a Spanish name; quite weird or just political correctness as loads of Spanish live in London, innit?); it is located in the area where I’m living and Brick Lane, aka my inspiration place where I write my posts, drink the best coffee in town and look for fresh street art, are only some of them world famous.

As you can see, London is not all about museums, monuments, cathedrals and palaces. The many markets, big and small, that one can find sprinkled throughout London add vibrancy and colour. In Napoleon’s own words, ‘England is a nation of shopkeepers’. Of course, we all heard of a certain place call Waterloo. 😉

Within English culture they have a very popular weekend occurrence called a flea market. “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” Today, shopping has to a great extent replaced hunting as a national pastime. Finding something unusual or unique gives people a sense of accomplishment. Let me tell you something about each of the places.

Brick lane market

For me, every time I visit this place, it is like being ‘Alice in Vintage-land’. When you arrive you have no idea what you might find and that is part of the charm of the place, as is the usual East End friendliness. With stalls selling items from second-hand furniture to vintage clothing and bric-a-brac, you never know what treasures you might find on a visit to Brick Lane.

There are also street performers to enhance the vibrant&lively atmosphere and loads of Londoners in search of “the black pearl” will finish with an inexpensive lunch in one of the many ethnic restaurants and cafes lining the street. I don’t know how to put it any other way – I bloody love this place.

Portobello Road & Market

Well, hello to you blast of colors, goodbye boredom. This is exactly how I feel each time I visit Portobello Road. It’s different, it’s a delight, and it’s delightfully different. London has many markets, but one of the best is most definitely the world-famous Portobello Road & Market, an eclectic mix of just about everything: antiques, vintage clothes, new designers, great food, music, variety of knick knacks, perhaps some handcrafted items, unusual one-off items and similar and languages from all over the world. I remember I made my first visit  on a Tuesday afternoon and it was very quiet. What a contrast on Saturday afternoon when it is packed with all stalls and shops open and loads of people. In fact, the entire area was never the same after Notting Hill, a romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, became a runaway hit in 1999.

Columbia market

I admit I don’t know the first thing about flowers or plants, but this place is definitely worth the visit even if you’re not into flowers! If you can get past that, it’s quite a treat indeed. Besides the flowers being fresh, fragrant, beautiful, plentiful, colorful and inexpensive, it’s an experience. Columbia Road crowds from end to end with vendors beckoning you to buy all types of flowery indulgences: “Mix and match a bunch of flowers for £3!” Yes! They were £5 but went down in price, woohoo!

What a bargain you can find at the flea market and I’m not talking about buying, but shooting photos. Let’s have a look on a tiny set of colorful photos and hopefully you will find them interesting. Enjoy it and….mon the biff!

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I came into this world on a cold morning of January in a small town in the south of Romania. So that, I really enjoy dressing for winter. Layering up a winter look is very challenging and creative process, isn't it? I moved to London coz everyone wears bright colors. And I love colors. In Bucharest, everybody is in black! When I was in my late teens, I was really into hair; I dyed it different colors and had loads of haircuts. After graduating marketing in Bucharest and working for a couple of years in advertising, I've taken up fashion art direction, here in London. As John Galliano observes, London is the essence of fashion, it is the most cosmopolitan city in the world. Hunger, curiosity and its eclectic, electrifying surroundings make it very inspiring. Some people call me a rebel, but I just feel like I'm living my life and doing what I want to do. Aaaaa foremost, I never go out without my biffy tote :)

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