Skip to main content


Around Town - 2 In praise of small shops

 Inviting display at merchant - Liverpool Street
While doing a mad dash around town the other day looking for birthday cards, I discovered some delightful new shops. I do love small shops. They may be a bit more expensive but they are full of personality and you are sure to find something original and different. Here are a couple of my favourites of the moment.

Colourful enamelware occupies one niche at the merchant

merchant in Liverpool Street caught my eye because of the flowers outside and the lovely old typewriters in the window.  With  it’s bizarre collection of stuffed animals of the taxidermic  kind– and I am not quite sure how I feel about those - one hopes no animals were harmed etc., it’s a bit like Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and you just know there will be surprises inside.Right at the door there is a collection of succulents in unusual containers. On the opposite wall, old fashioned enamelware jostles with Tasmanian woodwork, handmade gifts and cosmetics . At the far end, handmade clothing and leather goods compete for attention among vintage treasures such as old Gladstone bags, while fudge and handmade chocolates take up the counter.  Sounds crazy I know, but somehow this all works.

Succulents - perhaps the hardiest of house plants- no amount of neglect seems to kill them

Succulents also form part of the display at Augustus in Collins Street but here ceramic ware appears to be the main feature. I finally bought my card here, however, they also sell handmade chocolates and novel gifts, particularly for babies and young children. They also have a little cafĂ© on the side – not so unusual these days, but it has the biggest slices of cake I have ever seen.

You can tell by the size of the coffee cup how enormous the cakes are at Augustus.

Tiny Footprints in Murray Street also specialises in things for babies and toddlers, but with an eco-twist. They have things like wooden toys, reusable nappies and environmentally friendly detergents to wash them with. I was a bit shocked at the price, but disposables aren’t exactly cheap either, and these are much better for the environment*. Interestingly, they also had two types of reusable straws which were not too expensive  - one sort made of bamboo and the other of stainless steel.

Eco - friendly things for children at Tiny Footprints

If you watched the latest episode of “War on Waste" - you will know why they are becoming a big no, no, along with disposable drink cups. If not,  find out why Straws Suck on 10 year -old Molly’s page  “Straw No More."  The turtles and many other creatures will surely thank you for it.

Could this be the last straw?  Packs of straws - bamboo or steel, come with their own cleaning brush

In keeping with its philosophy, Tiny Footprints is also a collection point for the Nappy Collective  which redistributes your unused disposable nappies to families in need. With October -one of the prime collection months,  just around the corner, now is the perfect time to mention it.

* Just read in "The Conversation" that disposable nappies are the "third-largest single consumer item in landfills, and their production requires some 7 billion gallons of oil each year.)"