Cute Shop – Nima

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Last week I was on my way to a cafe to meet a friend when I came across the CUTEST little shop called Nima. I was drawn in by a window display that seemed to have the theme “all the things Charlotte would like”.

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I loved how things weren’t so organised, just placed in every available space. Like these adorable books.

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I very nearly bought these…in fact, I may have to go back and buy them…

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I WANT IT ALL.

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In the end, what I did buy was a map of the world with a layer of scratch away surface on it, and you have to scratch away countries that you’ve been to. I also bought two water glasses with funny fake branding for tap water on them.

If you have someone to buy a gift for I think this would be the perfect place to find a chic gift! The only downside is that the woman running it doesn’t seem to want to be friendly at all, and when I asked if I could take photos for my blog she was like “yeah, whatever”. I think if this was in England they’d love to know who is giving them free advertising…but anyway…

Find Nima at - Koselstraße 57 60318 Frankfurt

Liberty London

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While I was in London I happened to take a new turn and found one of the oldest department stores in Britain – Liberty. I decided to brave this shop in the busiest shopping period of the year in order to get some presents for both my Grandmas and one of my sisters.

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First stop – beauty. It’s really awesome because there are loads of signs explaining why the products are great.

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Grandmas – SORTED. Even though it was packed, the staff still had the time to advise me which was nice.

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Spent way too much time looking over all the different cards. One thing Germany can’t do is cards.

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Onward to the home department…then through to the Christmas shop…

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So many pretty sparkly things!! The head home buyer spends the whole year looking for the perfect collections – and it really shows.

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LOVED these. If I thought I could take them home without ruining them, I would have bought them in a flash.

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Look at this cheeky chappy!

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There’s a fab new show on channel 4 about this very department store – and I’m addicted. I was in the shop before I saw the show, and there really is an amazing feeling about the place. It’s like magic.

Here’s an advert for the show. If you have access to UK tv (*cough*proxy*cough*) then go for it and have a look on the channel 4 website!

How to Survive in Primark

Primark is a wonderful Irish invention; a shop that sells very very cheap clothes for those who have no sweat-shop related social conscience. You can buy t-shirts for 4 euros, jeans for 8 and a dress for that party you wanted to go to for less than 20. It was my savior at uni – I could be dressed fashionably AND have enough money to buy ridic expensive Japanese textbooks!

Then I came to Frankfurt. Frankfurt has CRAP shopping. Seriously, if you are visiting here and want to spend the day shopping, save your time and money and just don’t. There is a Primark up in a shopping centre in the north and it was nice to make a day trip there once every few months and just buy EVERYTHING – because it was the closest thing to home fashion as I could get. But now there is a new Primark that opened on Frankfurt high street and so you can’t shop there anymore because every spotty teenager from Dornbusch to Darmstadt will have the same items.

BUT since I know a lot of people here are new to Primark, I will tell you as a Primark pro how to work your way around these battlefields.

Rule number 1 – Only bring with you fellow Primark warriors.

Got kids? Nope, try for Primark at 10am on a week day. Leave your boyfriend/husband/non-shopper at home because children and stragglers will only get kicked to the side when all the serious shopping starts. They will get in your way, they will get in my way. We will all be sad.

Rule number 2 – Don’t try it on.

Are you seriously going to wait in that queue for 40 minutes to try on a top that costs 12 euros? Buy it, and if it doesn’t fit, take it back. Or, go at 10am on a weekday.

Rule number 3 – Don’t make it more difficult for staff.

In terms of hardcore levels, you have your That-Guy-Who-Jumped-Out-The-Rockets, you have your Chuck Norris’. Then you have Primark staff. They cannot just throw down their baskets and say “I’m outta here” when the Primarkers get crazy – they HAVE to be there. So even though you picked that Mickey Mouse t-shirt from a mountain, don’t just throw it on the floor after you’ve opened it to see what the rest of Mickey’s face looks like – attempt to fold it and put it back where it should be.

Rule number 4 – This is a battle ground.

Your buggy is in my way. I will move it to the side politely because it’s in my way. You yourself are in my way. I will put my hand on your shoulder and ask you politely to let me past. We are all in each others’ ways. But let’s not be dicks about it, ok? We are not heathens! Let’s not ram past or send each other flying or huff and puff when you can’t get past. After all, we are all here for the love of cheap fashion. And that is a glorious love to have.

Rule number 5 – Don’t be Those Primark People.

You know Those Primark People. Usually a small group of girls or young women, they’ve filled their baskets up want to assess their purchases and maybe try a few things on. So they set up camp in the corner, building a small wall of clothes around them so that no one can get by, and they sort their clothes out, and try on anything they want to try on. Look…this is annoying. You’re blocking a load of clothes, you’re blocking the way, you’re being stupid. If you don’t like something, don’t put it into your basket. Simple as that.

So there we have it – my top Primark tips. If any fellow Primark warriors happen to be reading this and have some tips, please do let me know in the comments!

A Handfull of Bookshops

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While in Paris I came across two amazing bookshops and just had to share them with you. The first was a Japanese bookshop called Junku, a Japanese bookshop. Walking into that shop was like walking through a dokodemo door to Japan. There were all the fashion magazines I loved. There were the stacks of books by that author I like. There were the Japanese study books I’d been browsing online. Heaven.

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I found one book I wanted to buy, a translation book that looked really useful. It was ¥900 normally but over 20 euros in that shop. I decided against buying it – not because I couldn’t afford it, but because I flat out disagree with them pricing it over double what it would normally cost. If they had more reasonable prices I would have spent a whole lot of money in there.

If you are in Paris and are ok with overpriced Japanese books (or want to have a look around like I did!!) then you can find Junku bookshop at 18 rue de Pyramides 75001 Paris France.

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Walking a bit further from Junku, I came across an “American” bookshop called Brentano’s. This place was HEAVEN. There were SO many books I wanted to buy there that I had to limit myself and take photos of the others I wanted to buy, so I could pick them up at another time. I got an amazing travel guide for Goa, a really funny travel diary and many other little trinkets I found in the shop.

It starts off as a normal bookshop, then as you wander through it takes you through art, diaries, postcards, ornaments and lots of other little things at the back. As I paid for my stash, I told the woman I could become very poor in her shop, to which she replied “Good! It’s good business for us!”

I really highly recommend this bookshop – Find it at 37 Avenue de l’Opéra  75002 Paris

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The last bookshop was a place that I almost didn’t go to. Shakespeare and Company was recommended to me by my friend, but I wasn’t really in that part of town (just opposite Notre Dame) to be able to visit. On the first floor, the bookshop has books crammed into every little space. It was a shame it was also crammed with people in every little space, because I could have spent a LONG time in there.

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Upstairs there is a piano (when I was there it was being played by a handsome young man) and two typewriters for people to use. Little scraps of paper with messages on are pinned all over the walls and ceiling; I’d liked to have stopped to read them a little more but I was being dragged around by my tour guide (who was a minor French celeb – a guy from a reality tv show! Get me!)

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Shakespeare and Company is well worth a visit (though probably in the morning when I guess it would be much quieter) and can be found at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie  75005 Paris.

My First Sephora Experience

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About a year ago, I noticed bloggers from other countries talking about this place called “Sephora”. I didn’t get it… I even asked one blogger to explain what it was. Sephora is a (high end) beauty shop – like the cosmetics part of the department store… minus the department store.

Sephora apparently tried opening in Britain, but didn’t do so well for some reason (well, with Boots and Superdrug around I guess everyone is sorted on the beauty front…) so I’d never seen one before. I knew they had stores in Paris so I was SO excited to go check it out!

As I entered, there were two rows of staff welcoming me. I found in general the staff are pretty annoying there; I can’t take 2 steps without them asking if I need help. I just wanted to look around for a while and take it all in – I had no idea what I wanted to buy. And there was a LOT to take in…

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Look at all those lipsticks!! That’s only Sephora’s own brand ones, as well!

I saw some brands I’d not come across in the flesh before, like Bumble & Bumble haircare, so I splashed out on a hairspray from them. I was really shocked at how expensive their stuff is – 25 euros just for a shampoo? And the same again for a matching conditioner?! I know it’s a common rant of mine but I have no idea how the beauty blogger girls do it – that’s just way too much!

I also ended up treating myself to the Urban Decay Naked Palate as well, as a little Christmas present to myself.

All in all I was a little disappointed with Sephora… the staff’s constant questions made it hard for me to just relax and look around, but the things there were all really high end stuff… It would have been nice if they had a wider range of things, and some cheaper brands too. I think I’ll stick with my favourite Douglas!

Jumping Jumpers

 

As much as I don’t like haul posts (because it often leads me to wonder how on earth girls can afford all they buy… it’s totally OK not to spend so much money all the time, girls!!) I bought three jumpers at the weekend – all from Primark – and I wanted to share them with you!

The first is this owl jumper, which I bought a few sizes too big so it would be a baggy, cuddly fit. The owl bit of it is SO soft. Someone the other day said that people usually have one main sense – and I think mine is touch. When shopping I always go round feeling things even before properly looking at things.

 

I loved the speckled colours of this one, but then I saw the sleeves. And I fell in love. If I was a jumper, this would be me. AND I can say that I wear my heart on my sleeve!!

 

This last one is very bright. I think I’ll have to wear this on a Mutiger Montag or something!

None of these jumpers were more than 15 euros. I don’t like spending more than… say, 30 euros on a jumper. I don’t think it’s needed. On the other hand, I feel guilty about child labor and so on. But even the high end brands use sweat shops, so as a consumer, there’s not a lot we can do, I think. I would love for there to be a clear list of shops that treated its factory workers well, so I could know where is good to shop…

Woah, what a sad ending to a happy jumper post! Talk to me! Talk about jumpers, Primark, cheap jumpers and sweatshops!!

 

OMG Things I Want Right Now

Here is a small collection of the things I want right now…

Isn’t this so cute!! And less than 3 pounds on Ebay!! SO cute.

EVEN cuter is this twin ring from Olive and Frank!! It seems that the site does Korean fashion, so their sizes are pretty small. But this ring is so very cute…

Now for ANOTHER ring…

I guess you can tell I love animal based jewlery… This mega cute ring is from Etsy, so it’s a nice place to buy from!

I’ve been looking for a new coat recently… I love this style, but a) every time I try one on, it just looks lumpy and b) it’s often a real fur trim. YUCK. But this one is pretty cute.

 THIS COLLAR. In my quest for a new coat, I decided that I didn’t need a new coat – my current coat is fine, it just needs updating. SO I bought this. I’m waiting for it to arrive and I’m SO excited.

Are you the type of person why buys on impulse? I seem to be stingy 99% of the time then I’ll just blow a load of money all at once.

Camden Market for Dummies

 

Aged 16, I stood in London with my friend, and gazed around at the people going by and at the crazy coloured shop fronts. We were stood at the station by Camden Market. As we walked towards the stalls, someone offered my friend some magic mushrooms. We bought a tray of Chinese food and sat on a wall to eat it. Minutes later, a big black car pulled up with Sharon Osbourne in it. We were sat outside MTV studios. The sights, the smells, the cheap food, the feeling that we were rebels… from that moment on Camden Market has been my favourite place in the world and no trip to London is complete without a visit.

 

Camden is no longer the lawless place it once was – in fact it’s pretty mainstream these days. But even so, it’s a great place to shop – if you know what you’re doing! Here’s my Camden guide, to help you through the maze!

 

As you step out of Camden Town station, turn right and head down the road. There is one big market on your right. Use this market as a good preview of what’s coming up – but don’t buy from here until the end. The reason being is that the stuff here is more expensive and you’ll see the same items down the road for a lot cheaper. A novice will buy a t-shirt from here for 15 pounds then find it for 7 or 8 down the road!

If you do want to buy something from here, haggle. Never accept the first offer as it’s always overpriced.

 

Along the side of the road there are lots of pretty cool shops. Punky Fish has always been popular here. I was just sad to see they’ve taken their super cool “manga” style mannequins away and replaced them with boring ones. The shops along here are a good place to find cheap shoes.

 

Cross over the road and the markets continue inside a small building by the canal. This is the place to buy handmade jewellery.

 

And outside the back of this, there is some awesome food and nice places by the canal to sit and eat. The tea shop up the top of the building is a recommendation of mine!

 

The last stage of the journey I can’t help you much with – you go into the biggest market at the back of the canal building and just walk until you get lots. There are lots of different areas (like “designers’s row”) but the best thing is to just keep walking and discover amazing stalls. The food isn’t as good round this part (the stuff by the lock is better) but for home made clothes, Korean imports and just general awesomeness, this is THE place to be.

I feel as though Camden has grown up with me. When I was a rebellious (hahahaha…) kid, it was the place that made me feel like I was breaking rules. With the fire that happened a few years ago, Camden has grown and become more mainstream – added Asian fashion, and added to its culinary areas. It’s really the spirit of London, with such unique people and amazing views.

If you are visiting London and like walking and shopping, you need to go to Camden! You can get to it on the Northern Line.

My First Etsy Purchase

 

The thing with me is that I love nothing more than supporting small businesses. I flat out refuse to shop at Urban Outfitters because I know they steal the designs of independent designers. I avoid chains if I can and try to actively promote smaller shops through my blog.

So it’s pretty strange that I’ve never used Etsy before. I mean, I joined a long time ago, but I’ve always shied away from actually buying something on there. However, I took the first step into the world of Etsy!

I needed a backpack to use when I’m riding my bike – my Accessorize satchel hurts my back as I’m bend over my handle bar, and it doesn’t fit that much anyway. Etsy lead me to the wonderful Sheri. I looked over her shop and spent… I don’t even know how long – toooooo much time trying to decide between this llama print and a British print one. I settled for the llama because it is so undeniably cute! Sheri was so nice and gave me the print that it’s based on as well! It’s going up on my wall above my bed, I think. Llamas rule!

I hope people start using Etsy more. I walk through shops these days thinking that I could get everything I see from Etsy – and help people with their own businesses. I’m going to try hard to buy as much as possible from there from now on.