Luck of the Irish


I’m usually pretty clueless with wedding anniversary presents as it’s overshadowed by our daughter’s birthday a couple of days before.

But shortly before this year’s (back in late September), I was in County Waterford, Ireland on a travel shoot for Conde Nast Traveller. The final location on the last day was Ardmore, a lovely little seaside village. This was where I stumbled upon Ardmore Pottery & Gallery run by the charming Mary Lincoln.

The stars had clearly aligned. It was our ninth anniversary – for which the traditional present was pottery. I was quickly drawn to the simple forms of Mary’s green pottery which was reminiscent of the malachite colour of copper roofs. She explained that the glaze was made from copper, a local metal that used to be mined nearby. It’s this mining heritage that gives rise to the name Copper Coast for the UNESCO Geopark to the east.

Within ten minutes I had a card, and a lovely cup and bowl gift-wrapped (my wife’s a breakfast cup kinda girl, and I’m a coffee bowl kinda guy). A leisurely browse around the wares of the other Irish craftworkers in stock and I was soon on the road to Cork for the flight home. Job done!

The gentle charm of Ardmore belies some real gems such as the White Horses restaurant run by the three Flavin sisters and the astonishing Michelin-starred House Restaurant. I’d definitely consider a return holiday there, and Mary even rents out a charming wooden chalet overlooking the sea, called Mullarkey’s


Best foot forward

Yiannis (L), Harry (centre), Gerry (R) Demopoulos, directors of Tower London

It’s not every day I get to shoot so close to home for Drapers Magazine. In the current issue, I photographed the father (Harry) and sons (Yiannis and Gerry) team behind Tower London at their latest store in Wood Green.

Recent winners of the 2014 Drapers Footwear & Accessories Awards Independent Retailer of the Year, they proudly showed off their new concept store and explained the secret to their success. Despite heavy competition from the big chains, doom and gloom on the high street and online price slashing, their key has been the resurgence of the independent sector and good old-fashioned personal service.

The family-run business may only be small at the moment, but it’s ambitious and looking to open many more stores over the coming years, with the next one due on Brick Lane in 2015.