Interview With Mary from Mary’s Milk Bar!

Posted on by in Designer Interviews, Edinburgh, Everything Else, Fashion & Styling, Lifestyle.

July is officially Indie Retail Month, a time to celebrate and connect with local independent businesses.With Hannah Zakari being situated close to Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, we’re spoilt for choice being surrounded by cool, indie businesses and love the variety of restaurants, shops and bars on offer in the area.

We thought we’d share some of our favourites on the blog, starting with Mary who opened Mary’s Milk Bar about a year ago. We’ve become slightly *too* dependant on her gelato (she does takeaway too!) and she also makes a delicious range of chocolates. Steph spoke to Mary to find out a little bit more about the Milk Bar…


Mary serving gelato from behind the counter.

Mary serving gelato from behind the counter.

How did you get into gelato making? Have you always wanted to open a shop or did it just sort of happen?

I worked as a chocolatier for five years and fancied a change. Having no luck in getting a job(who knew a tapestry degree and knowledge of soft centres weren’t what the job market was looking for), I decided to create my own job. I have frequented many milk bars in my time and one thing lead to another and the shop was born. I went to Bologna’s Gelato University for a February course in gelato algebra, found the perfect location in May and opened the shop in July!

What is a milk bar?

Milk Bars were an Australian invention, adopted by Britain after the first world war. Milk was subsided by the government so that the bars could provide cheap, nourishing meals to the young. They became a haven for the new teenage generation, serving milkshakes, milk soups (erm no comment), and dairy ice cream. Many still exist or have morphed into greasy spoons or Fish and Chip shops.


An example of delicious daily gelato offerings!

An example of delicious daily gelato offerings!

What is the difference between gelato and ice cream?

Gelato is the Italian’s word for ice cream. However, those Italians know that only the best, freshest ingredients make the most delicious ice cream. Britain, until recently, only really enjoyed a Mr Whippy at the seaside or a tub of yellow dairy ice cream at home and never ventured beyond that. Convenience took precedence over quality. Gelato should only use fresh milk and/or cream, fresh fruit and no colourings or preservatives. It means the shelf-life is greatly reduced but, hey, it tastes good!

What’s your typical working day like?

As time goes on, I’m getting better at making gelato. Now I can just about manage to make everything in about 2 or 3 hours in the morning and open by 11am. On those sunny days, you may have spotted me making more throughout the day – now that’s fresh! I sell the gelato through the afternoon, sampling as I go along of course, finish by 6 or 7 pm and toddle off home to watch some Law and Order repeats.

The exterior of Mary's Milk Bar.

The exterior of Mary’s Milk Bar.

What are your favourite places to visit in Edinburgh?

Machina Espresso for a morning coffee

Lovecrumbs for a cherry brownie

Hannah Zakari for many treats I shouldn’t partake in and presents I buy for others and keep for myself

Drill Hall for flea markets

Blackfriars for a nice tea

Hanging Bat for ultimate nacho craving

Falko for a slice of something to devour at home

My walk to and from the Grassmarket for dog/people watching


And last but certainly not least…Your fave gelato flavour?

It’s hard to pick a top flavour but here’s a few I can’t hold back from…

Black Sesame Seed, White Chocolate and Thyme, Dark Chocolate, Raspberry Sorbet, Toasted Coconut, White Chocolate, Chilli and Lime, Hazelnut when floating atop of a hot chocolate….


Inspired by the cool 50′s style of Mary’s Milk Bar, and the lovely lady herself; we’ve created a Milk Bar style outfit on Polyvore!


We've blended (!) the style of Mary's Milk Bar with some cool ice-cream inspired accessories we sell in the shoppe!

We’ve blended (!) the style of Mary’s Milk Bar with some cool ice-cream inspired accessories we sell in the shoppe!

Love Hate Range Now Online

Posted on by in At the HZ Shoppe..., Everything Else, Fashion & Styling, HZ Oufits, Lifestyle, New Collections and Designers, Travel.

We’ve just updated our webshoppe with some fab, fresh offerings from Love Hate.

Love Hate are an Australian businesss set up by Geneine Honey in 2003 producing homewares, clothing, shoes, hosiery and accessories. They produce seasonal collections with cute key motifs carried through their work such as their ginko pattern, producing a delicate looking range which is fresh and summery!

 I’ve never been a really girly girl, but recently I took the plunge and grabbed the hair bleach and dyed my hair brown to a sugary peachy pink colour. Ever since, I’ve been a sucker for pastel pink accessories in the Shoppe (and even co-ordinate with the new pink wall!)  so I love the subtle and stylish tones of Love Hate range. I’m still a fan of the return of denim dungaree dress and this outfit is almost exactly what I wore on a recent trip to Barcelona, perfect for exploring the city and parks!


Screenshot from 2014-07-09 14:19:17

Style a casual daytime outfit with accessories from Love Hate, perfect for picnics or city day-tripping!



Gaudi and peachy pastel pinks in Park Guell, Barcelona.

Here are some of my favourites from their range, now available to buy online:


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This pretty ginko pattern canvas bag converts between backpack and shoulder bag. £80.



Pastel blue, wave-patterned ceramic earrings. £20.



Gingko double ceramic pendant. £25.



Pretty sheer polka dot tights in pastel colours. Mustard sheers, £17.



This lovely leather bag and canvas bag converts between two sizes. £60.



An adjustable necklace made from sustainably sourced wooden beads. £25.



Styling a Statement Necklace

Posted on by in Everything Else, Fashion & Styling, HZ Oufits, Lifestyle.

Hi again lovelies!

I’ve been mesmerised by this Koi Necklace by Rosa Pietsch since I first laid eyes on it. I’ve always been attracted to large statement necklaces like this, but when it comes down to it, I chicken out and opt for smaller, daintier pieces. I think I’m just intimidated about styling a piece like this. How to wear it? Where to wear it? Oh, the humanity. Woe is me. So, I set myself a little challenge to create one daytime and one PARTYtime outfit centred around this necklace, that I would actually wear. I realized it’s easier to incorporate something like this into an outfit than you might think!

I can’t be the only one in this predicament, so I thought I’d share the results here. Now, this is what worked for me, and basically it entailed keeping my usual silhouettes and shapes, but replacing my beloved prints with solids to keep the focus on the necklace. It might be something entirely different that works for you, but I encourage you to play around a bit and find out exactly what that is.

It’s fun, and next time a friend or family member asks you what you want for your birthday/Christmas/graduation/mid-week celebration, you can tell them A BIG OL’ STATEMENT NECKLACE PLEASE! :)


Get Festival-Ready!

Posted on by in Everything Else.

Hallo! Jenny here. I’m new to the Hannah Zakari team so you’ll be hearing loads from me…

Here at the shoppe we’re all very excited for August, which many of you will know is Edinburgh Festival and Festival Fringe time! The city explodes with shows, gigs, events, pop-up bars, and PEOPLE! It’s something not to miss, and if you’re lucky enough to be around for it, you’ll need to be prepared. To this end, I’ve made a wee collage of my ideal festival-ready outfit. For me, the essentials are comfy shoes (I don’t care if this makes me a billion years old!), a bag large enough to carry a rolled up Festival guide – but small enough to tote around all day, and of course at least one handmade item for good measure. Here it’s the sweet Black Origami Cat Necklace from Hug a Porcupine, available from the HZ webshop here.


Now tell me, what are you most excited for in the festival?

Interview with I Am Acrylic

Posted on by in At the HZ Shoppe..., British Designers, Designer Interviews, Everything Else, Inspiration, Lifestyle.

 We love peeking behind the scenes of the designers we stock in the Shoppe, so we caught up with Ruth and Brendan at I Am Acrylic to find out a bit more about their business, inspiration and their distinctive, handmade approach to their range of acrylic designs.


i am acrylic mugshot

Brendan and Ruth from I Am Acrylic.


Can you tell us a bit about your background? Have you always been creative?

Hello! We are Ruth and Brendan, we make individually hand cut stuff under the name I Am Acrylic!We both grew up in the countryside- I was born in Horsham, West Sussex and Brendan was born in Paulton, near Bath.

My Dad is a retired Design & Technology teacher, so I was running around with chisels and saws from an early age! Brendan was a bit of a spod (his words!) and got an A in Maths at A-level.

We met at Winchester School of Art in the late ‘90’s where we both studied Fine Art. The stuff we made back then was very different to what we make today. Brendan spent a lot of time sending out funny proposals to galleries and I cross-stitched onto toilet roll among other things…

Life was a bit simpler back then too. Uni was free, our entire portfolios would fit onto a 50MB Zip disc, Google was only two years old and very basic and there was no such thing as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! If I needed to contact Brendan I’d leave a message on his pager!

We moved to London in 2000 when we graduated, and then in about 2004 we started making things out of acrylic.



A short fact about acrylic!


It all started when Brendan made me a bird shaped keyring from some acrylic someone had left outside our flat. He used the fretsaw that we had borrowed from my dad (for some other project) and we’ve still not given it back!

I was working in the design shop Magma at the time and the buyer there said we should try selling the keyrings…so we did! Brendan then continued to work solo on the I Am Acrylic stuff developing the range to include necklaces and brooches. He also started to be stocked in some other shops too, including Hannah Zakari!

I finally quit my job in 2011 and joined Brendan full-time on I Am Acrylic!


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Wooden Birds in a Bush Brooch. £12.


What inspires you creatively?

It’s a bit corny to say that everything can inspire us, but that is kind of true! We both like looking at the graphics on the sides and backs of lorries when on a long drive, the ones transporting bread are quite nice, and some furniture removal companies have lovely simple graphics!

More normally, the countryside where we grew up plays a large part, as do trips to other cities, trips around London, trips to galleries and museums and also flicking through the vast collection of craft and art books, magazines, flyers, postcards etc that we’ve both amassed over the last 20 years of hoarding!!



The Anglesey Necklace, A new design inspired by trips to the seaside. £25.


How does your location relate to your work and lifestyle?

We are based in Spitalfields in East London so we are completely surrounded by creativity….markets, galleries, independent shops, amazing architecture (old and new)…it’s impossible not to be inspired by the creativity around us – I think it really spurs us on to try to come up with newer better stuff!

We’ve made some brooches of buildings in the area – Christ Church and The Bishopsgate Institute.

Living this close to Spitalfields market and the markets on Brick Lane it felt like the natural thing to do to get a market stall! This has been a great way to get out there and meet customers and meet other designer/makers too – some of whom are stocked by Hannah Zakari!


ruth studio2

Ruth in her studio.


brendan studio

Brendan working on his fretsaw in his studio.


Can you talk us through the making process? How long does it tend to take to make each piece?

Once we’ve settled on a design that we’re both happy with (this can take a while sometimes!) – we make a prototype and then a paper template.


our templates

Templates for the I Am Acrylic range.


We then draw all the component parts out onto a sheet of acrylic or wood and then cut each piece out using our mechanical fretsaw.

We then use needle files and wet and dry paper to clean up all the edges before piecing the whole thing together! The more we make, the quicker and better we become at making them!


our tools

The range of tools I Am Acrylic use in their designs.


cutting out cheese

Cutting out cheese.


cleaning up cheese

Cleaning up cheese!

This is the way that we used to make things when we were at school, in the time before lasers were being widely used, which is partly why we still use this technique. We also love the way that each one is unique!

We often marvel at the laser cut jewellery out there as it’s so detailed and complicated! Our hand-made technique can be a restriction sometimes, but also a great discipline to force us to really pare down the design so that we can cut it by hand.

Many a design has fallen by the wayside at the prototype stage, as it’s just proves far too difficult to make more than one an hour or something!

The time it takes to make each design varies greatly. We worked out that it takes a total of 25 minutes to make a pair of our Mouse & Cheese earrings (the metalwork for the mouse takes ages!) – but for a more simple design like a little Factory brooch, we’ve got the time down to about 6 minutes in total.


cutting out mice

Cutting out mice.


polishing mice

Polishing mice.



The finished Mouse and Cheese Earrings take on average 25 minutes to make.



The cute Factory Brooch takes a little less time to make and is £12.


What is an average working day like for you?

Most days start between 7.00 am and 10.30am!

A day will include some or all of the following:

  • Cutting, sanding, drilling and gluing stock for customer orders, shop orders and our market stall.
  • Mucking around on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Designing/researching/brainstorming new ideas.
  • A trip to the post office. (to send orders)
  • Setting up the market stall for the day.
  • Lunch break with Bargain Hunt.
  • Online scrabble. (Brendan)
  • Some sneaky working in front of the telly. (Ruth) (Diagnosis Murder)
  • Cycle ride. (Brendan)
  • Walk. (Ruth)
  • Listening to 6music. (Ruth)
  • Listening to Talk Sport. (Brendan)
  • Taking product shots.
  • Invoicing, accounts stuff.
  • Emails.
  • Updating the online shop.
  • Writing ‘to do’ lists. (Ruth)
brendan cutting

A rainy day task? Brendan cutting out clouds…



We love their new Mountain Sunset Brooches.


How do you like to spend your time when not working?

We both love exploring London town. Especially walking or cycling around the smaller streets, discovering new shops, cafes, buildings, green spaces, short cuts and most recently taking photos of our favourite door knockers for our blog.

There are so many museums and galleries here too – and so little time to see them all! – but we manage to get around to seeing about one a week. (Recent favourite discoveries have included the Fashion & Textile Museum in Berdmonsey and the tiny little gallery behind a shop called The Town House, right here in Spitalfields )

I love to sew and am currently trying to make a dress.

We’ve recently installed a bird feeder outside our window. A lot of time is spent watching a family of Bluetits feeding on the suet balls.

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Blue Bird In The Hand Ring. £10.


Is there a design or item you’ve made that you are most proud of?

Probably it would have to be an enamelled watermelon brooch I made at school! From the I Am Acrylic range, I think my current favourite design is the Vapour Trail Heart brooch.



Vapour Trail Heart Brooch. £15.


What advice would you give yourself if you were just starting out?

 Something that we actually need to advise ourselves to do now is to take ‘lifestyle’ shots of our work! It’s so important, online, for customers to be able to see the size and feel of a piece by modelling it! So, we need to listen to the voice in our head and get to it!


In terms of starting out, it would probably have been useful to do a market stall a lot sooner. We waited until we were working full-time on the business before we started doing a stall. Maybe if we had got out there sooner, and seen customer reaction and feedback, and met other designers in a similar position, we could have grown and improved our stock more quickly and maybe would have had the confidence to quit our jobs sooner!


little us autumnal market stall

A teeny tiny Brendan and Ruth with an autumnal market stall!


And finally (the big business question!) – Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Crikey! That feels like a long way-a-way! We don’t really have a formal business plan or life plan like that!

But, to be honest, we’d be very happy if we were still doing pretty much the same as we are doing now! We don’t have any world domination plans or anything, so more of the same would be lovely, thanks!nks

We have day-dreamed of having a workspace/shop (especially after seeing all the amazing shop/workshops in Copenhagen a few years ago). But whether we can ever make that a reality, we’ll have to wait and see!


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Mini Rocket Necklace £12.


Thanks so much to Brendan and Ruth for the interview! A selection of their designs can be found online at Hannah Zakari and in the Shoppe.


Tutti Frutti by Jennifer Loiselle

Posted on by in At the HZ Shoppe..., British Designers, Everything Else, Fashion & Styling, New Collections and Designers.

We’re in love with the new Tutti Frutti collection from Jennifer Loiselle, now available to buy online!

The collection combines luscious juicy fruit with a touch of Bauhaus style, creating truly unique statement pieces which are perfect for Summer and bang on trend with the current popularity for tropical-inspired fashion!

The pieces are made from mirrored perspex in a range of vivid colours and the necklaces come on an adjustable grosgrain ribbon.


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Jennifer wearing the Pineapples Forever Necklace. £80.




Add some wow factor to what you wear with these Watermelon Wow Earrings. £50.


Reminiscent of summer picnics, the cherry necklace is a great statement piece and looks great when paired with a classic Breton striped top or dress.


Cherry Crush Necklace. £80.


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Jennifer wearing her Cherry Crush Earrings. £45.





New Wolf and Moon Collection Now Online!

Posted on by in At the HZ Shoppe..., British Designers, Everything Else, New Collections and Designers.

We’ve just received a summery new collection from the ever so popular Wolf and Moon and some of the range is now available to buy online.

The new pieces include an update to some of their classic pieces in summery, sugary pastel colours as well as a few new designs.

We love the new Origami Heart collection with a dark wood geometrical heart design on top of colourful perspex available in a range of colours in necklace, earrings and brooch designs;



Teal Origami Heart Necklace. £18.



Pink Origami Stud Earrings. £15.




Black Origami Brooch. £15.

The Little Cluster range  is now available in lovely palette of sugary pastel pink and olive greens – perfect for adding a touch of Spring to your outfit.


Olive Little Cluster Necklace. £20.


Another new design is the Little Pyramid collection, a pretty kite-shaped range of necklaces and earrings, also in a summery palette of pink, olive grape and teal colours with silver and gold.


Pink Little Pyramid Studs. £12.



Gold Little Pyramid Necklace. £12.


All the above items are available to online here with a full range on display in our Shoppe.

Go Uchida Poetry Exhibition Part 2…

Posted on by in At the HZ Shoppe....

Tuesday was the last day of our poetry exhibition with Japanese poet Go Uchida. It was the first time I’d held an exhibition in the shoppe and the first time Go had exhibited outside of Japan!

It’s been a wonderful couple of weeks getting to know Go better and meet many new people coming into the shop to view his poetry posters and meet him in person. We’ve decided to keep the poem posters up in the shoppe for another week or so and you can still purchase these in person from Hannah Zakari.

On the opening night we had a reading where Go read his poems in both English and Japanese. I’ve finally uploaded these to YouTube so if you couldn’t be there and would like a listen now you can.

(Sorry for the extra people and traffic noise in the background – Candlemaker Row can get a bit rowdy on on a Friday night!)

Thanks again to everyone who came along to see the exhibition and make it such a success, and special thanks to Go for choosing Hannah Zakari as his gallery.

Rachael x

Hannah Zakari is Hiring!

Posted on by in Everything Else.

Hannah Zakari is looking for a permanent member of staff to join our very small team in our Edinburgh Shoppe.

The HZ Shoppe

The HZ Shoppe

The ideal candidate should be friendly and reliable, with a good understanding of Hannah Zakari and a passion for indie design. Some retail experience is preferred, ideally from working in a similar sized business.

Key tasks will include:
Serving customers
Preparation and displaying of stock
Opening and closing the shop (including cashing up)

The ability to work alone is a must as you will be responsible for looking after the shop alone on a Sunday, and the desire to be involved in blogging, social media and website promotion would be a definite plus.

Basic hours are as follows:
Saturday (11 – 5.30)
Sunday (12.30 – 5)
Monday (11 – 5.30)

Interested?! The please email your application to Rachael – with the heading ‘Job Application – Your Name’. If you have any questions then just email me too!

Rachael x

Go Uchida Poetry Exhibition Friday 18th April -Tuesday 29th April 2014

Posted on by in At the HZ Shoppe..., Events, Everything Else, Inspiration, Japan Trip, Lifestyle, News, Travel.


We’re doing something a little bit different at HZ this April; A poetry reading and exhibition by Japanese designer and poet Go Uchida.

We’ll be having an opening party and poetry reading with Go on Friday 18th April from 7pm – 9pm. Please see our facebook event for details and to RSVP. All welcome!

His exhibition of seven poems will run in the Shoppe from Friday April 18th to Tuesday 29th April.

In his own words:

[ Prologue ]
That was one winter. A poet came to our island to find silent verse. He walked the streets, danced on the snow field, played with a dog, he was blown by sea winds, got moderately drunk, and lived in a garret. He disappeared before we knew it, and there was no one left but seven poems…

[ Introduction ]
In the winter of 2013, a Japanese poet Go Uchida stayed in Scotland. While he lived in Edinburgh, he also travelled to the countryside, he saw a lot of scenery and met a lot of people and wrote seven poems. This spring, seven poems will change into seven handwritten posters, and return with him to Edinburgh, Scotland. Please listen to the new stories of Scotland written with a creative sense of a Japanese poet.

[ Profile ]
Go Uchida was born in Hiroshima Japan in 1983. He studied law at university as well as writing poems and designing graphic images on his own. His first book of poems “Backyard” and second book of poems “Confession” was privately published in 2003 and 2004. His picture book “Raven the storyteller” was published in 2009, and his allegory “Okonomori” was published in 2011, by the Sloth Club. And his third book of poems “Akichi-no-Katte (Rules in the vacant land)” was published in 2012, and his poetry card series “flower in the garden of poetry” was published in 2013, on his own . His creative works are full of allegory, satire, and humor.

Check out Go’s website here!



Signing and numbering the poetry posters.