Antique shopping in London begins at Alfies

LONDON – I took a look at my London travel book again, ‘London Style Guide’, by Saska Graville in order to find a new area to explore. I settled on North London as it’s not an area I’ve traipsed to much. I only had one stop in mind when I set out and that was to explore Alfies Antiques Market. For weeks now I’ve been on the look out for a pretty butter dish and I’m inclined to choose something vintage. Surely Alfies would have one, I thought.

It’s probably an 8 minute walk from Marylebone Tube Station and fairly easy to find. I was surprised as I turned on to Church Street because I was suddenly greeted by a busy market running down the middle. Ooh, I thought, a new market to explore! So I stepped inside. But lost interest just as quickly. It’s very much a low-income crowd pleaser for people who want to buy junk from China for £1 or really, really tacky gold jewellery from somewhere.

If you skip this scene, stick to the left hand side of the street and you’ll come to Alfies Antiques Market. For some reason, I simply thought it was going to be a warehouse of antiques sold by one vendor. Instead, it’s a warehouse of several floors that has several corridors, staircases and alcoves fulled with antiques sold by a plethora of antiques mavens from all different time periods.

As I browsed through the warehouse, I noticed that a lot of the sales people were antique themselves. They were able to answer questions with a thorough knowledge of their product and what I really appreciated was their lack of pushiness. Sometimes it’s so annoying when they just want to make a hard sell.

There were a lot of antiques from the early 1900s through to mid-century modern, a favourite these days with many decorators. I’m slowly warming up to it myself.

I loved the colours in so many of the furniture. Both of these sets of chairs really appealed to me.There were some amazing chandeliers and this one caught my attention right away.

I didn’t walk away from Alfies with my butter dish. I’m not sure what I’m looking for yet. So I’ll have to keep on looking. I have to warn you though, Alfies was pricey, even on the small things like paper weights. But if you’re serious about antiquing, I highly recommend Alfies. They have a large selection and you can really get lost in here for hours if you want to. See anything you like? I did. Just didn’t have the cash to buy it…yet.

It’s not just the little piggy who goes to the market

LONDON – Last Christmas I spent a few weeks in New York and of all the purchases that I made, it was a random glass jug from Hell’s Kitchen flea market that has become the one thing I cherish the most from my experience abroad. Since then, I’ve become quite keen to explore antique markets locally to see what’s available.

With this in mind, my friend Heather invited me to join her at Spitalfields market in London. On the last Saturday of the month, it’s all about antiques. Take a look at what I found.

I thought this table would be perfect for some outdoor picnics in the back garden.

These chairs really appealed to me. They’re low and have a lot of character. It’s always nice to see that polka dots never go out of fashion.

There was plenty of bric-a-brac for antique lovers.

I’m constantly drawn to mustard yellow, although I still don’t own anything in this colour.

In my flat back home, I have a stack of suitcases too. I thought the bottom one was beautiful. It was going for £60.

See anything that you like here?

Plenty of vintage clothes to go around too.

What would you use these crates for?

You should probably know that the folks at this market are a bit fussy about people taking photographs of their goods. You actually have to ask before you snap away. One man promptly told Heather off. “Don’t just assume you can take photos,” he said sharply…

Did you see anything that you like? Do you want to go to the Spitalfields market too?