Seduced by Sequins: Spotlight on Marylebone
On Saturday, I spent most of the afternoon in Regent’s Park at the Taste of London food festival, scoffing gourmet food and and bagging as many freebies as I could. Anyone for crab salad with avocado puree and sweetcorn mousse? How about pan fried scallops served in the shell with pancetta, red chilli, parsley, capers, lentis de Castelluccio and chopped rocket? This was nice food!
Anyway… stumbling out of the park after washing all this down with a generous helping of gin, cider, rum, toffee vodka, liquor 42, and I’ve forgotten what else, I suddenly realized we were very close to Marylebone High Street and it would have been extremely rude not to swing by the charity shops lightly peppered down that road. (See what I did there? Ahem…) Plus, after dining elegantly all day, it’d be nice to continue experiencing the finer things in life by bagging some designer bargains.
If you live near Marylebone High Street, you’re probably loaded. So if the locals are donating to these shops, just imagine the sort of designer stuff coming through these shop doors.
There are 4 shops in and off of the high street; Cancer Research, Oxfam music and books, Barnardo’s and Geranium for the Blind.
Marylebone High Street is situated between Regent’s Park and Oxford Street. Tonnes of tube stops make this area easy peasy to get to. Jump off at Baker Street, Regent’s Park or Great Portland Street and walk down, or get the tube to Bond Street or Oxford Street and walk up.
Working down from the park, the first shop you’ll hit is Oxfam. (91 Marylebone High Street London W1U 4RB. Tel: 020 7487 35700) This is a specialist shop for both books and music. It’s crammed full of quality stuff. Pop in and browse the shelves- I guarantee you won’t be able to leave without buying something.
I didn’t pop in on this visit, but did spot Vanessa Feltz scurrying past… That’s the other bonus about Marylebone High Street- it’s a great place for celebrity spotting. Fair enough, Ms Feltz isn’t exactly A-list, but my friend Yaz, tells me she recently spotted Sienna Miller mooching around, and the legend that is Ozzy Osbourne, so keep your eyes peeled for famous faces as well as brilliant bargains.
A little way up and on the other side of the road, you’ll come to Cancer Research (24 Marylebone High Street London. Tel: 020 7487 4986)
They’ve had a bit of a layout re-shuffle since I was last here. A well maintained, bright store, this shop always seems to have a quality shoe selection as well as a decent offering of bloke’s clothing (not always the case in other shops). I didn’t find anything that took my fancy, there was a lot of high-street bits and bobs, but I was here quite late in the day Saturday so I presumed that perhaps the early-birds had got the worm and beaten me to it.
I do know that you can get incredible bits from this store- a few months ago, I got perhaps my best charity shop buy ever from this very shop… A light green, DKNY stretch pencil skirt for £15, which still had it’s originally tag in displaying it’s original price of £315!!!!! I couldn’t believe the shop had priced the skirt so low- I thought they were going to tell me there had been a mistake when I took it to the cash desk. I actually kept the label in the skirt the first few times I wore it- I wanted to be able to prove the ridiculous bargain to anyone that would listen… In the end I cut it out as the tag was bloody ginormous and I think people had started to think I had a strange rectangular device strapped to my bum. (Odd…)
Working your way further down the high street, you will need to take a right onto George Street. Here you will find Barnardo’s on the left at number 7 and the Geranium Shop for the Blind on the right at number 4.
I reckon these 2 shops are slightly less visited by passers-by as they are tucked away a little- good news for us as it means the good stuff stays about longer and that certainly seemed to be the case at Barnardo’s (7 George St Marylebone London London W1U 3QH Tel: 020 7935 2946).
I bloody love this shop!! Last time I visited, I bagged an amazing Diane Von Furstenberg shirt dress for a measly £15. (I ended up selling it as it was a little bit too long for me and I concluded that if I only had a slightly more orange fact, I’d look like one of those birds on the make-up counter in Selfridges). This is another shop worth scanning every single rail to make sure you don’t miss anything. And whatever you do, don’t forget to check out the display cabinets- this time they were coveting beautiful designer handbags going for between £100 and £150. I forget which brands they were, but they were all in amazing condition.
Again, this shop has a good men’s selection so it’s worth having a dig around for the Mr. (Incidently, how many of you have managed to convert men to charity shopping? I don’t bother trying to convert people anymore- I think the bargains speak for themselves and if people aren’t interested, then that’s fine as that means there’s more goodies left for me! But I really think men are missing out on the old charity shop hunt as they just can’t seem to be at all bothered with spending time hunting or rummaging for bargains…)
I bet this shop’s back room is bursting with amazing goodies just waiting to be discovered and put on the shop floor.
The magpie in me spotted this peach sequined top from Reiss.
At £25 it was a little steep, but I love it for it’s girly elegance and the quantity of alcohol I had consumed that afternoon may have had something to do with the credit card coming out… I reckon it’s a good buy though- Reiss make such high quality clothes that last and I think this top will prove to be quite versatile as it can instantly glam up an otherwise boring jeans and top combo and can be worn in summer due to the soft pastel colouring, as well as winter due to the sparkley sequins.
Another thing to note about this shop is that Dame Shirley Bassey regularly donates her clothes here- both times I’ve visited lately, there has been a special area dedicated to the clothes she’s bought in. Check out this news article talking about Ms Bassey’s donations plus other celebs visits: http://sosogay.co.uk/2011/want-to-get-your-hands-on-shirley-basseys-jimmy-choos-try-barnardos/
Random, but different… Pop along and become a Big Spender! …(Sorrrrrry, couldn’t resist.)
Literally opposite Barnadoes is Geranium for the Blind, 4 George St London, W1U 3QU. Tel: 020 7935 1790
This shop has an entirely different feel to the other shops. Its your classic old fashioned, musty style charity shop here. But it’s charming, and you never know what a visit here might turn up. On this visit I spied a vintage grey fluffy Armani skirt suit for £50 which I would love to have taken home, but would have looked absolutely insane in. That said, this shop is less clothing orientated, this shop has with more of a focus on bric-a-brac, pictures and general bits and bobs- I reckon a few treasures have been unearthed in this place in the past.
So… that’s Marylebone. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in central London- and all these bargains are just a stone’s throw from Selfridges, Bond Street and Oxford Street where the unsuspecting men and women on the street are happily paying over the odds for their designer stuff, only to bump into someone else wearing exactly the same thing… I know where I’d check out first… Happy Shopping!