Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Shop 'til You Drop

My sister is currently visiting for our every-few-monthly shopping, nattering, eating, crafting and reading fest.  Today being the Munchkin's last day in school, we thought we had better head into central London and get on with our shopping mission.  For something a little different, we decided to venture to Marylebone to the infamous Alfie's Antique Market.

We ogled the windows for a good while before venturing inside.

Alfie's Antique Market is made up of lots of little stalls which are all leased by different dealers. The main focus of the stock is the Twentieth Century.  There is a lot of mid-century furniture and lighting which didn't really thrill us but there were other bits which certainly did!

My favourite was "The Girl Can't Help It", an absolute treasure trove of vintage clothing and accessories with a very stylish and characterful owner.  It was F-A-B!  I wanted everything, of course (bad girl), although when looking at vintage clothing it would generally help to be a stick insect (a criterion I really come nowhere near fulfilling!) We oohed and aahed over the goods for a long while.  It was all beautifully displayed, too.  The lady kindly allowed us to take a few photos.

Upstairs, we were equally captivated by all the advertising ephemera. 

Meanwhile, I was falling in love with these vintage "Symington's" signs - until I heard they were £130 each.  Ah, maybe not.

On the top floor, we found another Aladdin's cave of haberdashery.  Eeek, dangerous territory!
The cabinets alone were drool-worthy let alone the contents!  The owner was lovely and very chatty and happy for us to browse and pull out loads of bits of fabrics, flowers and goodies.

We picked up a few bits and pieces in Alfie's (more of that further down) and headed off towards Marylebone High Street.  That entailed quite a walk as it turned out, but these things are immaterial when you are on a pilgrimage...

This shop, I know, needs no introduction.  There was a double whammy of sale bargains and new stock!  Aaarrrgghhh!!!

There were various bag styles in these new oilcloth designs.

And very exciting things in the window.  This messenger style bag is now available in several new fabrics, this pretty tulip print being one of them.  The glasses case (and several other small accessories) bear this divine green cameo-style print fabric (oilcloth).

The bright modern flower print is one I've not seen before, either.

Wow!  Trolley Dollies everywhere will want one of these.  

After a quick nip into Emma Bridgewater, Cologne and Cotton and of course, Patisserie Valerie, we had to rush back to pick up a very over-excited "it's my last day, school is over" Munchkin. Time to re-fuel.  Ah, the joys of having a blog where you can prevent your own picture (showing you stuffing your face with a very big, fat cake) appearing, but publish that of your sister!

So, today's haul was particularly pleasing.  In Cath K, I was chuffed to lay my hands on some divine dress fabric.  I have been lusting over the white floral tea dress and wishing I had bought it when it was available a while back but now I have the next best thing, some of the fabric.  At £20 for 3m I thought it was a very good buy.  The blue fabric is also dress fabric, the fabric on the left is in the sale and as I don't have it already, I felt duty bound to add some to the stash. As you do.  Stash maintenance is a serious matter.

I really liked the new green oilcloth print so I bought a little key fob, thinking it will bring a smile to my face when I use it each day.  I do hope this is produced in cotton duck to buy by the metre.

Loving this new London print hanky.

Onto goodies from Alfie's, now.  This little haul is mainly from the haberdashery shop unit: a couple of vintage patterns (a bargain at £3 each), some millinery flowers and a couple of woven transfer motifs.  The scarf in the background was from the fabby vintage clothing shop unit.

The scarf is a large square of silk and has beautiful flowers round the edges and then circular motifs in the centre, as you can see.

And finally, these lovely teacups were free.

At least they were to me, in exchange for my sister's room and board for a few days.  The best sort of guest!


  1. Oh Hen it's all gorgeus!! Hope you have fun with your sister x x

  2. I have loved reading this posting, it reminded me of some of my trips down to London with my daughter. We went on the long walk down the Marleybone Rd to Alfies and like you loved the vintage clothes. I also loved the advertising ephemera but it was outside of my price range I am afraid. It was worth the trip but I am not sure I would go again. I enjoyed walking around Camden Passage and browsing the little collectables and antique shops there. They also have a flea market on certain days.
    It sounds like you had a perfect day particularly rounding it off with a slice of delicious looking cake !

  3. Cor! What a fab day out! Your sister is a good sport letting you show a picture of her devouring a huge chunk of cake! Does she know?!!! x

  4. wow what a great post!
    You must have read my mind as I was looking on the web today for new CK products... thanks for this 'cos I found nothing!! I love the new green design, the key ring is great. I'm coming to London on the 1st so I'm hoping I can fit in a trip, will be with OH :(
    Alfies.... where do I start? Me & a friend I work with have been planning a visit for about a year now but find it hard to get the same day off. There's not much on the web site but it sounded better then you say. When we do make it I'm sure we'll visit other places as! I have a giveaway if you want to join in :) x

  5. What a heavenly day! I haven't been to Marylebone High Street for ages so it was fantastic to get my fix from you! Oh dear - I am already beating a path to Ms.Kidston's door as I am reeling from missing out on the Stone Roses Tablecloth in the sale, gone on the first Day, boo hiss. Loving the London Hankie and I agree the new green print is totally stella. I would have killed you for showing me eating cake....after I had finnished it of course!
    Happy holdays, love Sarah x

  6. Sounds like a fantastic day, and now you have the Munchkin home for the holidays and the fun can begin. Enjoy!

    Sue xx

  7. Thank you, Hen! I have to drop off Princess Bunchy at Marylebone Station this weekend - now I know where to go to assuage my maternal grief!

    Pomona x

  8. Alfie's! Lucky you to have a visit there. I think that over the years the dealers have changed quite a bit.

    When I first climbed up and down and all around that warren, there were lots of dealers with old silverware, china, household bits and lots of old jewelry, too. Some haberdashery and furniture.

    Last time I was there was 2006 and sad to say, one of my favorite tea cup sellers told me she was closing up. The painting on my avatar is of the blue and white china cup and saucer I bought from her.

    The gallery of Antique Textiles used to be across Church St, and also on the same block was Beverley's with fantastic china. Antique Textiles is long gone (I think) but wonder if Beverley is still there. I could never afford her prices!

    Thank you again for the reminiscence. xo

  9. Wow I'm off to Alfies! Is it all very expensive?

    Great post = thank you!!!!!


  10. Thank you for the lovely comment that you left on my blog earlier!
    Alfie's looks really good; it is somewhere that I have been meaning to visit for a while and I am sure that I shall get there one day!
    And, of course, it would be rude not to visit a certain shop whilst you were in that neck of the woods! x

  11. All those goodies, CK and EB and chocolate cake, now that's a great day!
    Lisa x

  12. Always love your shopping trips - love all the vintage finds! That cake looks lovely too. Gillian

  13. Hi Hen!
    Thank your for sharing your lovely shopping day (and CK new items)..
    How could you resist at those fabby vintage tins???
    And who's the intruder behind Adele???
    Happy summer holiday to little Munchkin!!!

  14. what a great day you both had, I wish I could have joined you......

  15. Lovely day it looks! what with all the vintage pretties and ck AND cake! cant get any better than that!

    Mind dont you just hate it when you go into these shops see something you fall in love with, mentally found somewhere to put it in your home, only to find its waaaaay out of your price range! gutting!

    Hope your sis forgives you for the cakegate pic! lol.


  16. Oh, I wish I could go. What a fun day. Love the Cath K items & the key jealous.

  17. Hen, looks like you had an amazing day out and about, your purchases are beautiful and bagrainous too.
    Enjoy the holidays.
    Sophie xx

  18. OOOhhh the temptation!

    LOVE the London hankie/!!!!
    I will have to have one!

    I really like the new prints....super, such a pretty design!
    Thank you Hen....really enjoyed the shopping trip!xxx

  19. oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
    i think i love it all!!! really liking the new green cameoy print in CK its lovely :-)
    your a shopping queen I need lessons from you i think!
    (dont think you get away with my dragging you around london by the way as I am planning that repeat visit in September ;-) enjoy your sister time and enjoy your first day of school hols!

  20. Hen, that new oilcloth design is absolutely so excting, I love it! Thank you so much for the lovely preview, very exciting new Cath K stuff. I've known about Alfie's Antique Market, but never ventured there, best for my purse to stay clear of places like that! So it was GREAT to see it through your camera lens.
    You really got a wonderful haul there, that dress fabric is gorgeous!
    I do feel like I go on the most wonderful shopping trips with you Hen!
    Love Vanessa xxx (do you mind if i knit)

  21. Hi Hen, seems that you and your sister had a fantastic day out! All looks so lovely and the new CK prints are to die for as always.
    I will have to check the shop here in Winchester soon. :)
    Take care.x

  22. Ooh my idea of heaven! I love that new tulip design in CK. Sounds like you had a wonderful day.

  23. What a great day out thanks for sharing with us all, just wish I'd been there to share the cake!

  24. Your shopping trips always sound such fun and make me jealous!

  25. Hi Hen,

    What a fab day out. Isn't Alfie's great if a little pricey! I'm sure when I went I spent more time walking round in circles though, it's a right rabbits warren. The Girl shop is wonderful but alas I'm not blessed with a vintage figure either!

    I'm loving the new CK patterns and colours. I really would like a shopping trolley, maybe that's one for the Christmas list.

    Victoria xxx

  26. Wow , I só want to go there ....

  27. Hi Hen
    What a fabulous day out. Just my idea of a great day out shopping! I have not been to Alfie's before and will make a point of going there next time I visit London. The new Cath Kidston items look promissing. I have been given some CK vouchers for my birthday and decided to keep them for when some of the new arrivals come in to the CK in Bath. You've had the kind of day out my sister and I used to have regularly when we used to live in Kent. We haven't done that in ages! Glad you had a great time with your sister.
    Take care
    Isabelle x

  28. Crikey! I'm hyperventilating with such loveliness on show. But rats none of the new CK stock is online yet and patience isn't my strong point.

    Alfie's looks a wonderful place, love the vintage scarf.
    Can't wait to see what you run up with all that lovley fabric. Happy holidays!

  29. Great day out! Thanks for sharing it. Yes, those jelly signs are worth mortgaging the house for ... fantastic!
    Lesley X

  30. what a fantastic shopping day, and yes they were all stick insects in the day of lovely frocks! Shame for me too!

  31. I loved the- "stash maintenance is a serious matter"-just fabulous, a girl after my own heart!!

  32. I'm so smitten with the same design as you, how pretty it is, I too wish they would do more with it!
    A bag would be fab!
    Fabric ACE!!!


  33. Hi
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