Best retail fun of 2010

As always there's been a lot of 'best new shops of 2010' round ups on retail and fashion blogs this week, which I always love to read to check I haven't missed anything. Looking back on the year, I think for Jane and I, it's not been about the best sparkly new stores that opened, but where we REALLY had a good time shopping. Indeed some of our worst retail moments of 2010 were  in new stores.

Increasingly, we are also learning to have a good time shopping on line (although admittedly the fun is thin on the ground) so shlepping out in the snow to visit a store becomes less appealing unless we KNOW we are going to love it.

So our round up today (a mix of old and new) is of stores where we had fun and loved the experience in 2010, either because the store WAS lovely/different/atmospheric/perfect for our needs or because we always have fun (and usually buy) every time we go there. Later in the week we'll do our favourite online retail fun from 2010.

 The Last Tuesday Society

Pics top top 10 last tues

First up is The Last Tuesday Society, where Jane and I were scared/amazed/a little freaked out/laughed out loud at the inspiring mix of this shop, art gallery, museum, party organiser, educational establishment and website combination. It's also in one of our favourite areas of London, have you been to the Saturday Broadway Market yet? Fabulous, don't eat before you go.

Anthropologie, Kings Road 

Pics for top 10

Then we have the new Anthropologie Kings Road, which is still one of our favourite places to go and get inspired, old hippie creatives that we are. The last visit I made, I fell in love with these Still Life bags by Leslie Oschmann, stupidly expensive (and not in the sale yet I notice) but I came away thinking I could possibly make one myself from some of MAD's old canvasses (I haven't, obvs). Could we have a coffee shop please, if you're reading us Anthro? we need somewhere to sit and gaze.

Hub, Stoke Newington


Hub is a lovely little independent store situated in Jane's local High Street, Stoke Newington and is full of wonderful, wearable modern clothes. It's the sort of shop that should be on everyone's local high street, but we all know what's happening there…..We should make 2011 the year we all aim to support our independent stores and buy more local stuff, don't you think? 

Hostem, Redchurch Street

Still in the East End, Hostem is a store that makes you go 'ooooh lovely' when you go in, so wonderful is the Dickensian/Napoleonic campaign tent style store design (by our current favourite design duo JamesPlumb). This is NOT a very scientific guide to a good store, but we find if entry to a shop makes our hearts beat a little faster due to its wonderful vibe, then it's a winner. Hostem is still menswear, although there is one dress on the website, and expensive, being mostly designer, but a visit does lift your spirits, and you can always nip into Caravan a few doors down and buy something.

Selfridges Shoe Galleries

Pics for top 10

Then there's the lovely Shoe Galleries in Selfridges (second floor), where shoes from Topshop and River Island are perched close to (remarkably similar) ones from Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Marc Jacobs, allowing all budgets to enjoy the chocolate box assortment of styles. Definitely somewhere to go with friends, it's big, too.

Butler's Emporium, Hastings


Our newest retail discovery is in Hastings, Butlers Emporium is another of those perfect shops you wish you had at the end of your road, a bit like RE or Rossana Orlandi…We can but dream. Watch out for the mad rush to buy a second home here too….quite what with, we haven't worked out yet, but as we said, we can dream.

Sunbury Park antique fair


And finally the positively ancient Sunbury Antiques fair at Kempton Park, where we reckon every bit of antique furniture and decorative object in the world gets sold at least once in its lifetime. It was Amanda's favourite retail experience of 2010, despite the early start, cold chill and rubbish coffee. It had all the elements of a great retail experience: rummaging and discovery, excitement, great product and a chance to negotiate the price downwards. Go with friends and its double the fun. We're definitely going again in 2011.

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