HAPPY SHOPPING! HAPPY WALKING! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
By Anne Marie Hillan
Now I don’t mean to be controversial, but let’s face it January and February in Glasgow are not our best months. The days are short, the weather tends to be a bit grim and unless we make an effort it can feel like a long slog till spring! But fear not, without exposing yourself too much to the elements, you can take a smashing wee uplifting walking tour around some fabulous local shops and have a look at some beautiful buys for your home. You will be combining exercising, exploring your local area and shopping small. How good will that feel?
And given that January is the month of Burns Night, I thought it might be fun to look and see what hidden treasures we could find that were made and designed in Scotland. Too easy? Well to make this a tad more challenging, I decided to restrict myself to items which were not connected with the perhaps more obvious whisky, tartan or haggis.
Chancellor Street/Hyndland Street
My suggested walking tour starts at the bottom of Byres Road just on Chancellor Street where there is a new shop on the interiors circuit. ‘WEST’ by Dykes and Dykes Interiors is just gorgeous. You enter into a beautiful display of earthy ceramics and unusual sculptures with candles, candleholders, cushions and amazing faux flowers. I recognised the style of the Abigail Ahern collection straight away. How fabulous to have a local stockist of Abigail Ahern in the West End! But my Scottish pick from WEST are these amazing cushions from the Edinburgh Studio of TBCo. The cushions come in two colour ways as a cushion cover at £42 or with feather insert for £52. The rear of the shop is a consulting room for Dykes and Dykes Interior Design too. As stop No 1 of my walking tour this was a smashing start.
From Chancellor Street I then walked on to Hyndland Street and stopped off at the also relatively new Hyndland Home shop.
Hyndland Home stocks Scottish textiles and soap from the Highland Soap Company and candles from Shearer Candles but my Scottish pick, a pair of fantastic Edwardian chairs, fully restored and reupholstered in Timorous Beasties Fabric. Given the work in the chair and the fabric it’s maybe no surprise that these are £895 each but these are beauties! Hyndland Home has an eclectic mix of modern, retro, vintage and antique styles and is definitely well worth a visit.
From here we are going to walk up to Hyndland Road to visit two of my favourite shops but you may well be in need of a refreshment by now – or maybe that’s just me. But if you are, as you walk up Hyndland Street stop off at Ziques or The Skillet on the right-hand side (that’s the good thing about this walking tour, there are so many lovely places for a pit stop).
Suitably refreshed head up to the Hyndland Road shops and visit Cassiopeia Gifts. In Cassiopeia I was absolutely spoilt for choice for Scottish items in every price range. They have Little Weaver Ceramics, tableware from Cath Waters, Scottish candles by Timeless by Liana and much more. But I was immediately drawn to the prints by Andy Hurst.
The large print is inspired by stained glass windows and is called Half Landing Fantasy and costs £350 framed. The colours in this are just incredible.
They also have Timorous Beastie cushions in two sizes from £50 and the most wonderful bench made from the reclaimed wood of vintage whisky barrels covered in Harris Tweed. NB. I decided the bench met my criteria notwithstanding the whisky connection just because it looked so great and was made with whisky barrels and not whisky.
Brimming with Scottish Fayre
Cassiopeia’s star of the Scottish show though was a terrific, unusual footstool in the style of a Highland Cow handmade in the Highlands with sheepskin and solid wood. It just made me smile! Cassiopeia is honestly a magical shop. Genuinely packed full of unusual, beautiful things and they sell cards and have a free gift-wrapping service too.
Across the road is another favourite, Bluebellgray. A shop just bursting with colour which will always cheer you up on a grey day. The cushions in here are my Scottish pick. They are just glorious. So many amazing patterns and prints designed by Fi, plus the cushions are all sewn in Scotland. It’s a fantastic shop for a wander any time of the year. And as well as the cushions, their bed linen and lamps and lampshades are just to die for.
For my last stop we are going to nip along to Byres Road. A visit to The Nancy Smillie Shop on Cresswell Lane. Believe me – that’s just a wee 15 minute walk. And here my Scottish pick is definitely the pottery of Nancy Smillie herself. Every piece is unique and has been hand thrown and hand glazed in Glasgow. Prices of pieces currently available range from £25 to £75. They are marvellous and I love the idea that every piece is a one off.
So here is where my mini walking tour comes to an end as thoughts wander to which West End eatery is in the vicinity. What’s the verdict on my Scottish challenge? Well, I know I have not even scratched the surface of all our West End shops, but it was truly marvellous to find such varied Scottish made items even in this wee corner of the West End.
All our West End shop owners were so helpful and so knowledgeable about their products. You really do get great customer service. And for me, there is a great satisfaction from knowing any purchase would support Scottish creators and makers as well as small local businesses.
So, despite our winter weather, brave the elements – go for that walk! And tell them Anne Marie sent you!
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