Earlier this month, I found myself in London. It was a gorgeous day, I was completely alone so no parenting duties to worry about. It was just me, my headphones, and my camera for snapping.
And as always when I’m alone, I get snapping all sorts of bits and bobs that inspire me.
I had an hour to kill before an event, so I decided to give a few shops a visit – homewares OBVS.
Now, I know this might sound a bit mad for those who visit London all the time or who know it really well. But for me, it was a real novelty. Because to put it simply, there are some brands which simply don’t have bricks and mortar stores here oop North, so if I want to see what their merch is like, I’d have to order online and hope for the best.
I suppose it’s the same as when people come from afar to see the Trafford Centre. To me, it’s just another mall that just so happens to be right on my doorstep. But every day, thousands of people flock there. They take pictures of the marble staircase and designer stores. It’s something I take for granted because to me, it’s my place to go and get sushi lunch sometimes or pick up a birthday card last minute.
So the stores I wanted to see what all the fuss was about include – Liberty, Oliver Bonas, Conran and Urban Outfitters.
I hope you don’t mind the brain dump of images. If you’re anything like me and whip out your phone at the slightest whiff of something pretty, I think you’ll wanna keep reading…
Oh my God. What a gorgeous building. It’s one of those stores which is just worth the hype y’know? But it’s certainly not a place to buy if you’re on a budget. So naturally I took a billion pictures making a mental shopping list, and then vomited a little in my mouth when I saw the price tag. But a girl can dream right?
The building is beautiful. It’s a real period property with huge bannisters, original staircases and ornate balconies – all in the deepest of dark woods. You’ll know the type! Wooden beams matched against the ultra-modern interiors was just heavenly, and even the sections which didn’t cover homewares were simply gorgeous. Those guys know how to style a room for sure!
Below are some of my faves from the store, with special shout outs to the now legendary floral display on entry – which BTW, smelled insanely good – the cat in monocle plates, the baby face lamp stand (Do I love it or hate it? Haven’t decided yet), and the tray display showcasing animals in a family portrait style. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
I know this might sound like an odd one to include. We have an Urban Outfitters in Manchester and it’s pretty decent! But I wanted to see if we were getting a bum deal. After all, sometimes the London offerings are just so much more extensive it’s easy to feel a little short-changed when it comes to the high street homewares here in the North.
However, I actually think that it was on par with our own! It feels a little out of sorts to talk about big chain names in this way, but sometimes I just don’t take the time to visit the physical stores, when it’s so easy to sit on my phone and scroll. But from time to time, I want to visit and I want to become totally engulfed in what they’re offering. And I know I’m not alone, otherwise there wouldn’t be such things as visual merchandisers.
Currently loving in Urban Outfitters: Cacti heaven for sure. They are really cashing in on the terrarium trend. I really love that their store’s vibes aren’t just an afterthought too, stuck in a forgotten homeware corner. I thought it was pretty neat that the obligatory seating area outside of the changing rooms was a gorgeous weathered leather chair, next to exposed brickwork, with tropical flowers everywhere. Bravo, Oxford Circus store.
I know the flagship store is elsewhere but I’ve only ever seen this brand on other blogger’s sites so bear with me if Oliver Bonas is old news for you!
For starters, any store with copper shopping baskets is just fine by me. Secondly, I’m considering these images a shopping list. I’m sure my mum would love everything in there and she’s about to start a complete redecoration of her entire house, so watch out Oliver Bonas – we’re coming for you.
Favourite spots include: Showcasing artwork on pegboards (Making a mental reminder to myself to make better use of my pegboard!), hex mirrors, bold and colourful patterns on card and gift wrap, pomp oms, palms, and pastel furniture. Lots to be happy with their homewares!
The Conran Shop
Well this was a dream. I don’t think I’d heard of The Conran Shop before, but I’m so glad I stumbled across this STUNNING brand. It was the geometric feature wall that I saw through the window that drew me in and I’m now absolutely dying to recreate it somehow in my house. Bear with me, it might take some persuading with the hubby… And then there was THAT living wall. I love the complete OTT nature of the planted wall. I’d love to do this in my mum’s lounge as it’s big enough to pull it off. Again, I’m working on it…
Other finds that I couldn’t resist getting snap happy with include: the adjoining café full of tropical plants and hanging bulbs. Beautiful. And the kids section was just dreamy. The tree-house style bed is exactly something my little climber would love. It looked so snug and whimsical. And the little reading corner for kids even had a miniature Ghost chair which was just right up my street.
Well done if you made it this far!
I did warn you about all the pictures…
You can probably see now why my phone is always full! So, I’m likely heading back to London again soon and this time I’d really love to take my cameraphone on a hot date to some independent stores, so throw me over your recommendations!