After a long absence …Faro

May 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

IMG_3605A recent trip to Portugal’s Algarve region went by pretty uneventfully until the last day. We had some time to kill before the afternoon flight back home, the tourist information guide for the Algarve mentioned that Faro was worth a visit and it certainly was! First we hit the local shopping area, which proved to be average. After a quick purchase of one single copper Cataplana (we only just managed to refrain ourselves from buying the whole set), we headed towards the Old Town (Cidade Velha). On our approach to the entrance of the old city gates we spotted Storks’ nesting on the roof of the gate and winding streets leading to an orange tree lined square, with cafe’s that were certainly beginning to make us think we should have come here first…. this was beginning to look up.

6, Rua Da Porta Nova

Inside the old city gates was quiet and full of old world charm, not a Costa Coffee in sight to spoil the view. Quickly regretted eating in the shopping centre as delightful cafes began to appear down interesting side roads, then just off the main square we saw a couple of people exiting from an almost hidden doorway.

I decide to investigate. As I stepped inside the doorway, I took a deep breath. Yes, I was happy now. I feasted my eyes on various eclectic objects and a whole world of antique tiles.

As we purchased a few tiles (aware that we really couldn’t carry huge amounts on the plane), we stuck up a conversation with the owner Mr Joaquim de Silva Carneiro.

Portugese Antique Tiles Purchase from Joacquim Da Silva

Portugese Antique Tiles

Cigdem in Rue Da Porta Nova

Cigdem in Rue Da Porta Nova

Having apologised for his lack of English (which made us feel very shameful for not knowing a word of Portuguese),he very kindly let us take some pictures of his shop and then told us he would show us his private collection housed next door.

What a pleasure it was to see such an amazing cornucopia of treasures in this private museum. Whether beautiful intact tile collections that far exceeded the wonders we had just seen in the shop, artefacts recovered from the cathedrals earthquake damage – including some stunning wooden statues and doors. An elegant Chinoise travel wardrobe – sourced from a hotel. A pair of deco chandeliers, a deco bathroom, a woodworm decimated monk, an unusual rounded wooden desk with so many secret drawers… and so much more.

The secret door with Joaquim Da Silva Carneiro

The secret door with Joaquim Da Silva Carneiro

The building itself was also interesting with its very modern graffiti backdrop, hand painted doors for storage, quirky stairs and balustrades, wooden doorways that might be part of the fixtures or another collectible from the cathedral… it turns out originally to be a simple boatman’s workshop. Outside the building is right on the harbour with no noticeable doors or windows you would easily walk past this hidden gem and never know what wonders you had just missed.

We are eternally grateful to Mr Joaquim de Silva Carneiro for sharing his collection with strangers.


Turning Japanese: here and now

June 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

japanese brass fine ballpoint pen (packed)

In the Baker household we are obsessed with all good things Japanese. At home, we have a multitude of origami paper, on Raw Dice we stock copious amounts of MT tape in various colours and have recently added various types of Japanese stationery to our list. I think we are naturally drawn to the ethos of Japanese design. It seems that our purchasing decisions for Raw Dice are pretty biased towards finding objects that we like to have in our home and work environment. I would describe our style as not so much as ostentatious but we aim to be as honest as possible. A product to be of good quality is always paramount to us as individuals. I think we are naturally drawn to clean and simple lines, with a view of the aesthetic.

I am no expert on Japanese design but it seems that cultural differences are prominent in all aspects of Japanese aesthetics . Theories behind Japanese design are based on 7 principles of Kanso, Fukinsei, Shibui, Shizen, Yugen, Datsuzoku and Seijaku.

Isabella, who is our budding craft maker is always busy making origami boxes, cranes, frogs etc. At the age of 11, she is already pretty entrepreneurial, having set up stalls on a couple of occasions to raise money for good causes. Selling  origami boxes filled with sweets is always a hit with her client base!  MT tape gets used to make pencil cases and books etc. Once we have a good art and craft portfolio, I shall post some of her creations here.

Here are some new stylish products we have in stock, which include pens, kraft envelopes, rulers, pencil cases, notebooks and brass implements such as number clips, label and index plates.Visit the website (Raw Dice) to see the full range.

Japanese brass ballpoint pen

Midori Kraft envelopes – set of 6


September 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

I went to see Evita at the Mayflower (Southampton) the other day. I always claim that I do not like musicals, but I really enjoyed this one though. I was singing ‘Don’t cry for me, Argentina’ to myself, thankfully no one overheard me! Abigail Jaye did fantastically well as Eva Peron. More than anything though I loved the costumes. The dresses that were worn by all the female characters were very much to my taste. At the interval, chatting away to friends, I realised that we were checking out the clothes on the ladies, rather the delightful men! A peculiarity of female species?

I desperately want to get my hands on some of these clothes. A quick search on the internet, revealed some websites that produce retro inspired clothes. In particular, clothes from 1930s and 40s and 50s. Heyday! Clothing have some fabulous dresses, high waisted trousers and more. The photos on the website are very good, the setting, hair and makeup reflect the era of the outfits. The clothes can also look contemporary too. Earlier on in the summer I was in Agnes B in Spitalfields and one of the shop assistants was wearing an Agnes B top, teamed with one of Heyday!’s trousers. It looked very chic and Parisian. I am planning on changing my wardrobe, hair and make-up for a little while. I recently got my long locks chopped to shoulder length. Inspired by watching Kristin Scott-Thomas in Betrayal at the Comedy Theatre (London). Whatever the reviews of the play, in my mind, Kristin S-T epitomises Parisian chic . I thought everybody knew her, but apparently not as I had to download a picture of her on my phone to show her hairstyle to my hairdresser!

On a recent visit to my mum’s house, I acquired some of her clothes from the 70s. I don’t think my mum has thrown anything away for over 30 years! As we were going through them, I kept rejecting items due to their material. I am afraid I can be pretty snobby about acrylic. Last year I bought a divine dress from Jigsaw, which fitted perfectly, only to discover when I brought it home that it was made of viscose. I have been assured by a friend that this is a quality fabric and not to be silly. Nevertheless, in my mind if I am to fork out £300 for a dress I expect it to be made of a natural fabric like silk! At the very least they could have mixed the fabric with a bit of silk. Lately though, I have started to regret taking it back and wish I had kept it. It is haunting me!

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