In our series of Shops We’s Like To Move Into, Tobias And The Angel must come close to the top of the list, it’s even got a bed and a kitchen. Angel Hughes rules the space like a craftwork queen and can often be found on her throne (see picture below) or cooking something that smells delicious in the photogenic kitchen. She and her team sell antiques, furniture and decorative crafty things such as hand made Christmas decorations and for me, Christmas begins properly when Angel has her annual Christmas Show, which involves closing for three days to properly prepare for.
I have written about my Christmas Angel previously and since I bought mine the range has been extended to include smaller fairies, indeed the Christmas decorations are now so extensive they have a room of their own. This year Angel is particularly proud of the Box of Party Hats (below), which includes six beautifully crafted hats decorated with silk ribbons, gilded feathers and pom-poms, all made in the store. She told us “We think they are very chic and everyone hates wearing those ghastly paper crowns, these are a much better investment and you can get them out again next year’. Very eco-friendly.
Angel has a flair for decoration, you step into her world and are aware of an aspirational level of presentation not often found in a shop, I bet half the people who visit would swap everything in their house for just one of Angel’s room sets. For me it’s the way every wood surface is beeswax polished to within an inch of its life, each trinket looks as if it is really loved. She’s so darn clever with her homey styling you feel the antique giant stone urns filled with budding hyacinths and lined with moss ABSOLUTELY need to be in your house (I’m sorry, I’m starting to sound at bit Eddy from Ab Fab here…I’ll stop now).
What tips does she have for TWR readers when ‘doing’ Christmas? ‘Be generous with everything” she says ‘generosity is what celebrating is all about and don’t feel pressured by magazines to do a ‘style’, make your own up’.
She is also dismissive of the minimalist aesthetic ‘I can’t understand when people say things have no use, if my mother had a box, she’d always fill it up with something and it was always such a joy to unpack it and rediscover what was in it. Children especially, love unpacking and finding things in special cupboards and boxes.”
All Angel’s decorations, such as the hand knitted Father Christmas above are made in the UK by skilled crafts people, lots of the items are made in the shop or at the block print studio, which turns out the gorgeous hand printed and lined notebooks, folders and boxes. The block print silk scarves are also lovely colours and feather light to wear.
Here are the new fairies, which come in a broad range of ethnicities….
This is Angel and her throne, the store also offers beautiful furniture, made by Angel’s brother Sean.
And at the back of the shop, making the whole place smell divine is Angel’s sister Barbara at Knots Elementals, selling a range of oils and potions that will make you feel better, including the Aches and Sprains range of soothing balms, which you can get in vintage bottles for presents and the Five Lavenders cream, for which Barbara is renowned.
Barbara also does interesting things with hair (she analysis it and points out your weak spots) so we might come back to her in a future post when we all need a bit of healing, although if you can’t wait she’ll be in the Barnes shop every Wednesday and Saturday until Christmas. She’ll even treat your dog.
Tobias and the Angel, White Hart Lane, Barnes. website here, but really you’re depriving yourself if you don’t visit in person.