4 Reasons To Go Shopping ‘I.R.L’

4 Reasons To Go Shopping 'I.R.L'


by Lizzy Dening |
Published on

Lizzy Dening betrays the internet to rekindle her first sartorial love…

"Don’t get me wrong – I love shopping online. I love the convenience, the variety and the fact that it doesn’t really feel like spending actual money (ok, so maybe that’s a bad thing…) But sometimes I miss my teenage weekend routine of meeting up with friends for a day of trawling the city centre for the perfect outfit (one which would help us get served at the pub), accompanied with plenty of chatting and usually chips.

There’s a time and a place for both types of retail, but I spent a weekend in Marylebone’s Portman Village to recapture my lost youth – I mean, explore the benefits of shopping in real life.

** Meeting Experts **


The independent shops in Portman Village are a hot-bed of specialist knowledge – whether you want help picking the perfect wine for a dinner party courtesy of Philglas & Swiggot, or inside knowledge on what the celebrities are wearing from Suzannah – there’s always someone close by to advise. I could listen to interior expert Eliska Sapera, owner of Eliska Interiors, all day – she’s a wealth of knowledge about unusual and vintage curios. For example, I now know I need a set of silver cheese mice (cute critters to help label the cheeses on a board) as well as a sterling silver cigar holder (and to take up smoking cigars) – all of which would make adorably quirky wedding presents, but I wouldn’t know the first thing about had I not been talked through them in person.

Set of 3 Sterling Silver Cheese Mice Handmade in Zimbabwe, £120

Bespoke Beauties

Wilbur & Gussie Charlie Clutch, £160

Pop into handbag heaven, aka Wilbur and Gussie (hands off the samurai print silver clutch – it’s mine) and you can play at being a designer for the day. It’s essentially Build-A-Bear from grown-ups as you select your fabric and unique brooch to customise your own accessory. So. Much. Fun. It’s a service currently unavailable online, and while owner Brett Tyne has plans to offer it as a virtual service in the near future, it just wouldn’t be as fun as the pic ‘n’ mix excitement of choosing in person.

Next head to perfume wonderland Les Senteurs (srsly, my favourite place ever) where you can browse and spritz to your heart’s content, or chat to one of their expert staff who will listen to your tastes and magically appear with your perfect signature scent. An A-List service for mere mortals.

Touch The Chanel

Buy My Wardrobe, W1H 5BF

Online shopping lacks the tactile pleasures of flicking through a rail of clothing, holding items up against you and, of course, checking that they actually fit before handing over your credit card. BuyMyWardrobe is a second-hand designer store (man, I wish my cast-offs were Prada) where no one minds if you jealously guard a Chanel bag in front of the mirror for longer than is considered polite.

**The Social Stuff **

Superior Room at The Grazing Goat

M favourite reason for hitting the shops is that it’s a great excuse to catch up with friends, because after all, you can’t make a weekend out of mouse clicks.

My friend and I made a weekend of it, kicking off with (several) glasses of prosecco at the charming Grazing Goat. Our room was rustically chic (hello roll-top bath and enormo-bed), and we only had to crawl downstairs for incredible, classy pub grub. Try the nettle dumplings – game changing. Special mention to the staff, for whom nothing is too much trouble.

Daisy Green, W1H 7HX

The next day, go for brunch at Daisy Green where they make their own granola, frozen yoghurts, protein bites and other yummy nutrious treats. No matter how full you are post-brunch, you MUST try the banana bread. Honestly, it’s so good I had to make a second stop off before heading home, and inspired some serious food envy on the train home.

Beauty Rose, W1H 7DE

After a hard day’s shopping, unwind with a facial, massage or hair cut/colour at Beauty Rose because, in case you hadn’t guessed already, the real benefit of shopping in person is to utterly spoil yourself".

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