Mad About . . .

The Shops are Open

16th June 2020
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And lo the lockdown did end and the so-called non-essential shops did start to open their doors once more. And the Chancellor said it was our civic duty to spend our money and one in five people responded by saying they would never go into a clothes store again. And some of the shops were not able to open their doors and some were, to continue in this vein, sore afraid and went online only. But the sun kept rising and the world kept turning and after three months of looking at the same four walls and the same six cushions, many of the people said “Sod it I just want something new.”

candle from polkra

candle from polkra, tall hand from home barn, wooden hand from the old potato store, brass paperweight: bert frank

So here are a few places and a few things you might like. Obviously I can’t include them all but I’m sure you will do your own rummaging. What I have done is stick to small businesses. You can all find your own way to the high street and while I’m sure we’ll get to that, I think it’s priority to the smaller stores.

preta tableware from WA Green

preta tableware from WA Green

The first store, which I have loved for ages, and whose owner Zoe I met on the way back from a trade show where we bonded over our eldest children leaving home for university, is WA Green which has just announced that it is to close its bricks and mortar store and move online only. So I am including them to give Zoe support and let her know we will still be there for her. In this post she writes about how her inspiration and how she named the shop. There are lots of very beautiful items so make a cup of coffee before you sit down…

ochre cushion from the people shop

ochre cushion from the people shop 

Next I wanted to flag up The People Shop,  in Birmingham run by Alison Sadler, who has organised a raffle to raise money for Black Minds Matter. Buy a £5 ticket and be entered into a prize draw to win £350 of beautiful things include a basket, a pair of leather slippers, a cushion and candle.

trio of vases from grain and knot

trio of vases from grain and knot

Grain and Knot sells beautiful hand-carved wooden items including vases and candlesticks. Demand has been high and I think she has sold out of everything but there is an update due soon and it’s definitely one to bookmark.

And before I forget that I came in promising cushions, don’t forget to take a look at Bespoke Binny, who also offers lampshade making classes if you fancy a change of lighting too.

cushions by bespoke binny

cushions by bespoke binny 

In contrast to WA Green closing her shop, Lisa Brass, of Design Vintage, has three stores, one of which is newly built. Long term readers will know I have regularly featured Lisa on these pages and if you are near Notting Hill, Chichester or Guildford, you can now browse in person.

brass tray from design vintage

brass tray from design vintage

Then Polkra, is an online store selling gorgeous tea towels and candles. Those who follow me on instagram will know they recently send me a candle from their collaboration with the artist Katie Scott, which fitted perfectly with the Percy Jackson stories I read on instagram every day during lockdown.

ondine candle from polka with katie scott

ondine candle from polkra

And finally, a store local to me, Indish, which has been there for many years and will continue, I hope for many more.

junto bottle by normann copenhagen at indish

junto bottle by normann copenhagen at indish


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  • Erin 17th June 2020 at 5:48 pm

    Just came to say that your biblically-inspired intro made me laugh out loud.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 18th June 2020 at 8:59 am

      I’m so glad! It sort of headed that way and I decided to run with it!!

  • Katie Sears 16th June 2020 at 12:02 pm

    Lovely things – it seems what I need most in the world now is a parrot for the table! Have really enjoyed the last few posts including designers and individuals who often offer a different perspective and always loads of personality. It’s always hard to find new and interesting things and ideas, so these are fab. thank you!

  • Longdenlife 16th June 2020 at 10:21 am

    I will be supporting local businesses and shops, as I have been with food outlets local to me over the lockdown period. Based on the queues seen on the news last night I don’t think I will be visiting the High Street for a few weeks yet, I don’t need anything that urgently.

    Sadly I had an email from my hair salon who have decided to call it a day and not reopen as they wont be able to meet any social distancing guidelines should they open.

  • Angie 16th June 2020 at 9:27 am

    Thanks for sharing Kate these lovely indies! So important to support them and you’ve shown us some gorge products. I’ve always preferred to shop local and small where I can! Xx

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