The Hambledon always wanted to be a shop which sold things the owners loved, in a space they loved, to customers they would grow to love.
It’s a sentimental and very honourable kind of aspiration borne out of a genuine belief in the worth of shops and shopping and shopgirls (and boys).
They opened in September 1999 in a beautiful double fronted Georgian building in Winchester’s Cathedral Square, the scale of which was somewhat daunting. The past decade and a bit has seen their team refining and developing what they want The Hambledon to be: a really good shop by any measure, uncompromising in its choices, entertaining in its presentation and always super-friendly in its approach. Yay!
They have extended womenswear into three rooms on the first floor with enough space for key British labels to rub shoulders with US and European brands without getting in a tangle. The Norman basement (once a warren of spooky stockrooms) is now a happy home for a fully fledged menswear offer.
Homeware and all its associated friends live on the ground floor.
The first mezzanine level is a brand new, and indeed quite a grown up bath and beauty department. The Tudor rooms at the rear of the building are now a stationery and book department and a project space to house temporary exhibitions and collaborations.
Old fashioned shop keeping is a brilliant, hugely varied and funny business.
And we wouldn’t want them to do anything else.
Yesterday I thought I’d actually go and look at clothes for myself instead of looking in the children’s section or the food appliances section – at John Lewis. And what an amazing surprise! They had loads of really great clothing brands – some I knew and some that weren’t so familiar. I looked around the fancy nice clothes area for ages and didn’t find anything I liked – and then I came across the mumsy-country department with Barbour, Fat Face, Seasalt and John Lewis weekend.
Well I am most definitely mumsy-country and I scanned the mumsy-country section and headed straight for White Stuff. I’d never heard of them but all their clothes were great! Lovely pretty dresses in good muted colours. They had a great little selection there – woollen skirts, knitted fairisle dresses, the best short straight skirts (over the knee and not the dreaded at the knee length) and great little jumpers – again all in good colours.
The best bit? The price. I bought a new dress, new skirt and a lovely woollen jumper for around £50 each.
Thanks White Stuff – what a brilliant discovery you are.
If you’re a fan of Smallable and a fan of sales (I am both) you will love So Small. They really know how to do a sale. These are sales where you know you’ve got yourself a fantastic bargain. Postage is more expensive than Smallable so its best to buy enough to justify 16 euros postage when your favourite designer comes up.
And you have to be quick. They put a countdown timer on your shopping bakset. So you get 45 minutes from getting the sale email to login, decide what you want and pay.
It would seem there are a few mums out there looking to buy pink things in size 6.
Nothing like a bit of sales pressure to get the adrenaline going.
Clockwise from top left:
Duffle jersey sweatshirt – Mauve by Emile et Ida, Loose-fitting Dress – Charcoal Grey by L’Esprit de Luna, Tomas sweatshirt – Navy blue by Tuss, T-shirt – Old rose by L’Esprit de Luna, Jersey blouse – Taupe brown by Emile et Ida
This winter in the Lovely Shops household we are sewing up a storm of dresses and buying up a storm of tops from the most wonderful SMALLable. It’s the best children’s fashion shop we’ve ever come across – with a brilliant range of clothes in our favourite colours; slate grey and dusty pink. The fabrics are thick and soft and utterly delicious for a wonderful start to our favourite season, Autumn.
SMALLable says “Our idea is to offer very beautiful things (not necessarily outrageously expensive, it’s worth pointing out !) for all children from 0 to 12 years, in the world of fashion, design, decoration and toys.”