In Oxford on 1 May, the town wakes up early [or stays up late] to gather by Magdalen Tower to be welcomed into spring by the choir boys.
Flowers are worn.
Cows are present.
I’ve been busy hopping from shop to independent shop this Easter season, following Oxford’s Indie Easter Egg hunt!
Minimalism and indie shops go hand in hand – when I’m mindful about how much I own, I also became more mindful about what I own. Each possession should tell a story, ideally, and often the best stories come from indie shops, where conversations with shopkeepers tend to be more inspiring and personal.
10. Casa Rose Boudoir, 74a Walton Street
As soon as I saw the pink-and-white exterior, I knew Casa Rose and I would get along. The shop, Hollywood-ly postered, has a lovely range of clothing and accessories.
11. Frog Orange, 179 Kingston Road
What a whimsical party shop! They specialise in quirky balloons, including ones that float in the middle of the room like this dog above. Makes me giggle. Also check out the themed sweets cups – there’s even a “Man Sweets” variety.
12. Walton Street Cycles, 78 Walton Street
First I’d like to point out that Walton Street Cycles owns spoke.co.uk. I found that cute. If you, like I, already own a bicycle, it’s still a great place to browse helmets, which will please the cyclistas who want a bit more style.
13. Fabulous Flowers Oxford, 63 Banbury Road
A rustically gorgeous flower shop that sells bulbs in tea cups. Nuff said.
14. Exclusive Roots, 8 Woodstock Road
The journey started and ended at Exclusive Roots, a Fair Trade shop that sells beautiful and inspiring pieces, straight from the artists, to benefit the charity Tabeisa UK, which promotes the social and economic development of African communities. From bike baskets to ceramics to chocolate, there’s more to every piece than it seems – make sure to ask about what makes each unique!
I’m super excited for this Saturday’s Fe-Line Frock Swap. The premise is simple – bring some nice clothes that you no longer want and swap for an item of similar value!
When it comes to getting rid of clothing, I find these barely-used items to be the hardest to give away. Back at home I drop off pieces like this at Closet Exchange in Needham, where they pay you if the items sell and donate them to a women’s charity if they don’t. I’ve tried Ebay, but don’t usually make much money, especially with the hassle of shipping and dealing with customers. For items bringing in $20 or less it’s just not worth it for me.
So if you’re in Oxford and going through spring cleaning, here’s a fun and eco-friendly way to shop and purge all at once. Here’s what I’m bringing and why:
The Fe-Line Frock Swap is at Big Society Oxford this Saturday 27 April from 12:30pm – 6pm.
Will I be seeing your fabulous self there?
P.S. My tips on How to Pare Down Your Wardrobe ~ Getting Started
Last week I started the Oxford Indie Easter Trail, a super-fun way to discover new shops, even just to pop in, get a free sticker, and say hello! Plus, there’s chocolate at the end.
5. Will’s Deli, 5 Woodstock Road
Brought to you by the makers of the Vaults & Garden and Alpha Bar, Will’s Deli (formerly Woodstock Road Delicatessen) is a fabulously deliciously healthy yummy comfy place to eat. Can you tell I love it? Oh and they do vegan cake.
6. Cowboy Mod, 33 Walton Street
Would you guess that this is the decor for a barber shop? No, neither would I. Oh man, looks like I’ve found the perfect place to get dolled up to go to Atomic Burger. They do discounted rates for students (guys and girls) and would generally make an awesome atmosphere for a haircut, doncha think?
7. Oxford Yarn Store, 3 North Parade Avenue
8. The Oxford Ceramics Gallery, 29 Walton Street
Minimalist eye candy. This shop features some of the world’s top potters. Oh the zen of tea.
9. Daisies Flower Shop, 106 Walton Street
Isn’t the storefront adorably English? The scent inside is just heavenly, as are the bright bouquets (or tiny ones like the above) for sale. The sign says “Come inside for a dose of spring!” I second that!
You can hop on the Easter trail by stopping at any of the shops on the map – it’s on until 14 April. Happy sticker-hunting!
Hey Oxford residents! Do you want free Fair Trade chocolate?
It’s the prize for completing the Oxford Indie Easter Egg Hunt!
But more so than the chocolate – yes this is possible – I was excited to walk the trail to discover new independent shops and chat with their awesome owners (hello!). I love to shop independent for the carefully selected objects and the stories behind them – and who better to tell these stories than the shopkeepers who often hand-picked these things in the first place?
Besides personal preference, shopping local and indie is awesome for supporting local Oxford shops: for every £1 spent at a local independent business, 50-70p circulates back into the local economy (as opposed to only 5p if you shop online or out of town).
So off I went, and here are the first steps of my journey!
1. The Oxford Pantry, 3 Little Clarendon Street
Home to domestic brilliance, Oxford Pantry makes me yearn for my own kitchen even more than usual. It’s clear that the suppliers are handpicked with care, and it’s just the kind of place that, when I step inside, I think ahhh…
2. Oxford City Barbers, 21 Little Clarendon Street
Now, without the egg hunt I don’t think I would have ever gone inside. Simply put, it’s a barber shop and I’m a girl. But with map in hand, I had a lovely conversation with Oxford City Barbers’ Danny, and got to see the cool chairs the young men have the option to, uh, ride, during their haircuts!
3. Mumu’s Gelaterie Cafe, 22 Little Clarendon Street
Mumu’s offers an array of fabulously bright Italian gelato that is difficult to resist. I went in guiltily expecting to cheat on my sugar-free pre-half-marathon week, but was ever so pleased to find their two sugar-free options! Win!
4. Central, 33-35 Little Clarendon Street
Central has been one of my favourite shops in Oxford for years – home to not only funky furniture, but fun gifty things like Lego containers and bento box cook books. It is so worth a wander.
Check back next week for Part 2! If you’re in town, pick up your map from any of these stores. Everyone in the UK can check out the Independent Shops directory online too (how cool!).
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