Ah Christmas shopping! Are you one that loves the experience? Pootling/scrolling the shop wares, peacefully choosing bits and pieces for loved ones, no? Oh well anyone that knows me knows I love it. I've been happily singing carols and working out what to buy people since the second the fireworks stopped on November 5th. That said I get its not all rainbows and unicorns for everyone and can result in a fruitless search for that one awkward member of your family. You know like a father that asks for a shirt in a shade of I’m-not-really-sure-it-exists-but-I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it’ silver/grey. Or a grandmother who has had 91 Christmases’ already and therefore says ‘nah’ to everything single possible idea of a present you could come up with.
While I admit to doing some of my shopping in that place where, this year, they’ve sent some poor old sod to the blinkin’ moon just to film their advert, I do try to get at least a few of my presents from independents. This year I’ve discovered the adorable shops of Camden Passage in Islington and highly suggest you get yourself down there if you're looking for something a little less main steam (hang on to your baubles, it's a picture heavy post!)
Modern Times - I can honestly say my images didn’t do this place justice. The genuine vintage 1950’s trio sets (cup, saucer and plate) are stupidly cute. They do vintage wedding lists as well should you be up for gifts from not the ‘moon advert’ people.
Spice Shoes - Independent shoe shops are a bit of a weakness of mine…. OK ANY shoe shop is a weakness of mine but the accessories and footwear of Spice, with their cosy, chic designs and reasonable prices is a proper find!
Annie’s Vintage - My favourite shop on the road. It has a sort of Narnian style winter coat vibe mixed with the elegance of the 1920’s. This shop is a museum of joy even if you’re not that into vintage.
Japanese Gallery – Open since the year after I was born, Japanese Gallery has contemporary and traditional styled art to suit many a pocket. These images would make any wall feel a million dollars…. If walls had feelings… and cared about currency.
Stalls: Glynis E.M. Brown & Nigel Smeeton - For that seriously difficult older giftee a 17th Century book from Nigel or individual kitchenware from Glynis may be just the trick. And if not you’ll probably want to go back anyway just to see what else they've picked up since your last visit.
Home & Pantry - The kind of shop I could spend years and thousands in. Cute little decorations, trinkets, bobble hats and inscribed kitchenware. Home & Pantry couldn't be any cuter if it was filled with baby rabbits. Okay that would be cuter but possibly a tad chaotic after a couple of minutes.
Designer Outlet by Eve - All unused or returned items, Eve’s is a bit like an Aladdin’s cave. If I'm honest the wares aren’t all my cup of tea but that, conversely, is what I like about it and what makes it so interesting! She caters for a whole heap of different styles and has both high end high street and designer items at a fraction of the price. Dig around and come up with a gem.
I’ve not even spoken of half the stores along this passageway, not to mention the stands which pop up over the weekend. So there’s nothing for it, I’ll just have to go back and do another post. All in the name of research obviously. No no, don’t thank me, I live to serve.
What’s your favourite independent?