If you've read yesterday's post, you might have already have made up your mind about what gifts to buy this Christmas. If you haven't (either read or decided), then maybe this will help. Three really fabulous, beautiful and unique shops on Lambs Conduit Street in London's West End. Don't worry if you don't live in London though as they all have websites and I have of course put a little link under the first image of each shop for your convenience.
These three shops are The French House, Persephone Books and Penreath & Hall. All three have a beautiful selection of good for sale and friendly service. From items crafted by French artisans in family run businesses and uniquely stylish home accessories to the most interesting (not to mention beautiful) reprints of neglected book titles by mid-twentieth century female writers, these are certainly not the usual run-of-the-mill kind of shops. Buying gifts (for others or yourself) in small shops like these really does make a difference to the whole shopping experience. To me, it makes a difference because I tend to think far more about getting a beautiful and thoughtful gift for somebody when I am surrounded by fewer but well chosen items. There is a thoughtfulness about browsing the wares that gets lost in a large department store. Of course it limits our choices a little, but if I had to choose between browsing through thousands of mass produced items in a crowded store or a hundred well curated ones in a small, independent shop, I know exactly which one I'd choose. Besides, as I mentioned yesterday, if we ignore the small independent retailers, then we run the risk of our town centres being taken over by chains and losing all the charm and individuality they once had. It is already happening and I for one find the thought sad and more than a little frightening. Maybe I'm overly optimistic, but if enough of us do their shopping with small retailers, maybe, just maybe, we can stop the tide of big businesses taking over every last little bit of our lives. It's certainly worth the effort and I hope my images will inspire you and help with some of your gift decisions.