In the next instalment of ‘A Local’s Guide To‘ we are lucky enough to have photographer and stylist Sascha Vine, from super pretty blog Drops of Elixir, share her tantalising shopping secrets for her home town of Brighton. Sascha’s images of the vintage dresses and dreamy cupcakes of this British seaside town are sure to have you hopping on a train in no time!
Don’t get me wrong I love heading to Primark for cheap high street bargains as much as the next girl, but shopping in high street stores is not what attracts me to a city as diverse as Brighton. The nice thing about shopping in a place like this is even after living here 22 years, you still manage to find little hidden gems every now and then. The two Lanes are the creative heart of Brighton; this is where you’ll find all those charming assortment of specialist stores and independent boutiques, which people seem to flock to. The city is made up of 5 shopping areas; The Lanes, North Laine, Kemp Town, North Street and Churchill Square. Having travelled to some of the world’s most stylish cities, Brighton is definitely up there amongst the best! To me fashion capitals such as Milan and Paris, have nothing on this bohemian vibe we have going on. One of the many beautiful things about living in a place like Brighton is the freedom. You have freedom to walk everywhere, no need for hoping on and off underground or metro systems. Not to mention Brightonians are also rather liberal people; we embrace the differences that set ourselves apart from one another, whether it be culture, race or sexuality. We also happen to be a pretty stylish bunch of people too. Whether your an artsy bohemian type, laid-back hippy or a smartly dressed lady, know-one really tends to give a damn what anyone thinks, which is why people love Brighton so much!
Hope & Harlequin
Hope & Harlequin is located along one of my best loved places to shop; The North Laine. It’s so easy to fall in love with this charismatic specialist boutique. Having caught my eye many moons ago with their twinkling window display, I was drawn in like a moth to flame. Stocking unique vintage pieces, from bespoke vintage wedding gowns to must have modern collectibles, ideal for those with magpie tendencies. Everything you see in Hope & Harlequin has been carefully chosen, as pieces that can be cherished for years to come. So if you’re looking for a beautifully made investment piece then look no further than this hidden gem.
Buy It: I spotted a stunning 1950’s blue daisy dress hanging in the window, only to find out it were a petite size 6, however I was flattered that the lovely boutique owner presumed it would fit me – oh if only!
Find It: 31 Sydney Street, Brighton, BN1 4EP
If you’re ever wandering through the maze that is; The Laines, then take a stroll to Papillon. Having opened in 2009, Papillon has rapidly become one of my favourite’s places in all of Brighton to visit. With an eclectic mix of interiors and certain tranquillity, this independent boutique opened with the intention of nurturing harmonious living. And harmonious it is- full of beautiful smelling scents, inspiring interiors and stylish gifts, this boutique is simply dreamy. No doubt after one trip to Papillon you will want to transform your entire home to look like a section of the boutique. I certainly know I did.
Buy It: The Fairy Tales of the Brother Grimm. One of the many appealing books they feature in their charming boutique. Perfect for unique gift ideas!
Find It: 8 Union St Brighton BN1 1HA
Angel Food Bakery
If you have a not-so-secret sweet tooth like me, then head over to Angel Bakery for a spot of tea & cake. Hidden within The Laines. Offering a selection of freshly made and beautifully presented cakes to tempt you to try more than one. Angel Bakery remains a very popular place for tourists to visit when visiting Brighton at the weekend. However during the week the bakery remains’ rather peaceful, which is the best time to visit this piece of cupcake heaven. Angel Bakery has a small cafe section where you can take a seat to enjoy their delicious selection of cakes. Yes, they even bake ones suitable for Vegans. I was lucky enough to of been treated to one of their bespoke occasion cakes for my birthday this year. Of course I went for my favourite; The Red Velvet Cupcake, big enough to generously feed 10 people!
Try It: The red velvet cupcake. It’s hard to pass this place and not buy one!
Find It: 20 Meeting House Lane, Brighton, BN1 1HB
Rose Hill Boutique
Don’t you just love the warm greeting you get when you walk in to an independent store? Suddenly manner’s are bought back into the shopping experience with simply things like ‘Hello, how are you?’ and ‘Thank you for visiting’. Independent stores are also perfect for gift hunting- often stocking a unique selection trinkets and finds that you certainly wouldn’t spot in any high street shop. Rose Hill Boutique however is one of these rare special finds, situated amongst the hustle and bustle of Kensington Gardens. I simply can’t pass without having a nose around this delicate boutique, as every piece is so carefully presented, almost as though their too beautiful to touch. Over the past year I have purchased many pieces; from a skull & antler wall hanging, to soap and bath salts- Rose Hill Boutique constantly brings in new stock, making sure it’s always filled to the brim with feminine must-have pieces.
Buy It: Glass Perfume Atomizer. Every woman needs one!
Find It: 3b Kensington Gardens, Brighton, BN1 4AL
- Tea Cosy– Eccentric English Tea Room
3 George Street, Kemp Town, Brighton
- Small Batch Coffee– Luxury Coffee House
17 Jubilee Street, Brighton, BN1 1GE
- England at Home– Individual and Stylish Homeware & Gifts
22b Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AD
- Cyber Candy– Imported Candy from around the world
15 Gardener Street, Brighton, BN1 1UP
- Lavender Rooms– Delicate and Feminine style trinkets
16 Bond Street, North Laine, Brighton, BN1 1RD
- This is Ape– Independent Record store
25 North Street, Brighton BN1 1EB
- This is not a Butchers- Best for quirky gifts and gadgets
28 Bond Street, Brighton, BN1 1RD
- Wolf & Gypsy– Stunning Vintage pieces
30 Sydney Street, Brighton, BN1 4EP
- Snoopers Paradise– Antique & Vintage indoor flea market
7 Kensington Gardens, Brighton, BN1 4AL
About the Author:
Sascha Vine was born and raised by the not so sunny seaside city; Brighton. After studying Fashion Image at London College of Fashion, she left to pursue her freelance career as a photographer, stylist and writer, with hopes of one day becoming a Photojournalist. In June 2012 she founded her lifestyle blog; Drop’s of Elixir, which features travel, arts and fashion.