taking liberty

by bellab

I had some time to kill yesterday between appointments so I thought I’d head to my spiritual shopping home, Liberty, to check out their new Bath Shop and, as the lucky recipient of a shiny new £50 gift coin, in search of something to splurge on. Needless to say I could have spent it 10 times over within the first 5 minutes. I sometimes wonder, in sliding doors fashion, how different my life would have been had I accepted the part time  job I was offered there in my post-university wilderness years before I got into journalism. The prospect of staff discount still makes me shudder… First on my ‘to covet’ list were these gorgeous print make-up and wash bags bags by Alexandra Mann. Fancy huh?

I’ve since done some investigating and found out via Susie Bubble, that Mann was selected as part of Liberty’s Best of British Design Open Call back in the summer. Read the original post here if like me, this is the first you’ve heard of it (HOW??). Now in it’s 3rd year, it’s a really exciting concept where designers pitch up to Liberty with their wares in a Dragons Den type scenario and the best, commercially viable labels are selected to secure a coveted spot on the shop floor. You gotta love Liberty for supporting British talent.

My second almost-purchase was one of these amazingly scented candles, £50, by Astier de Villatte, the French ceramic, paper and candle merchants exclusively at Liberty. Each is named after the destination that inspires the scent. Delhi (betel, benzoin, musk, myrhh & eucalyptus beedies aka ciggies) is sweet, spicy and exotic, if a little cloying, much like the city itself. But Honoulou (californian lemon, ylang ylang & vanilla) and Namche Bazar ( patchouli, maté and musk) are absolutely divine, want-to-line-the-inside-of-your-nostril type fragrances.

Last but not least, the new Andrea Garland collection of ‘Handmade in Hackney’ natural skincare and cosmetics housed in vintage charms and tins is so charmingly anti mass-market I have to applaud her for sticking to her guns and being one of the few beauty brands to be doing something genuinely different. The ‘Le Renarde‘ vixen ring lip balm, £34, being my absolute favourite but also check out the magical Sore Muscle Rub, £32, ointment in old puncture repair kit tins. Tres cute.