Small Business Saturday: The Best Independents in Cambridge

A Girl, A Style _ Small Business Saturday Cambridge Wine MerchantsI’ve lived in Cambridge for nearly eight years now, and it’s been a delight to build a collection of favourite local shops, cafés and the likes that I treasure (as well as discovering new gems that continue to pop up) over the years. To me, it’s the small independent boutiques, the local baristas (who know you by name), and the local neighbourhood cafés that really make a community (and which have helped make this adopted city feel like home for me).

This weekend, the UK celebrates Small Business Saturday; a day when people across the country are encouraged to get out support their local small businesses.

I’m always asked about my favourite places in Cambridge (and to be honest I think this warrants at least three separate posts), so when American Express – founder and ongoing supporter of the campaign – asked me to team up to highlight some of my favourite local independents, I was delighted to take part.

A Girl, A Style _ Small Business Saturday Hot Numbers Coffee CambridgeA Girl, A Style _ Small Business Saturday The Pint Shop CambridgeWhilst this list is far from exhaustive, here are a few of my favourite local shops and eateries in Cambridge that I regularly visit:

Hot Numbers // For me, Hot Numbers is the authority on good coffee in Cambridge (to the extent that most of the best cafés in town serve the coffee roasted in the café). At the original Gwydir Street location (just off Mill Road), its signature flat whites come with a side of jazz with live music on Thursday and Friday evenings, as well as on Sunday afternoons, and a rotation of local art on the walls. This is the perfect spot to read the Saturday papers or work on your creative idea (the staff don’t mind how long you loiter with your laptop); and you’re just as likely to pull up a chair beside a Nobel laureate as you are a tech founder.

Pint Shop // Bene’t Street is my favourite foodie destination in the city (I send all my friends there if they’re new to town), and Pint Shop is one of the best on the block. Granted, I don’t partake in two out of the three things it’s famous for (beer, bread and meat), but it’s still one of my favourite cosy spots to while away a lazy afternoon. This is a firm local favourite beloved for its craft beers and modern twists on British classic dishes.

A Girl, A Style _ Small Business Saturday 6 Ice Cream CambridgeA Girl, A Style _ Small Business Saturday The Urban Larder Cambridge6 Ice Cream // Hands-down my favourite ice cream in Cambridge. Aside from the Cambridge Cream (its signature combination of honey, lavender and burnt cream), its flavours change daily depending on what’s in season, so you never know what you’re going to find on the menu (which is half the fun), but expect unusual flavours like salted dark chocolate, blackberry sorbet, or strawberry and rose.

Urban Larder // Over on Mill Road – which is home to lots of independent grocery stores and eateries – you’ll find Urban Larder. It’s exactly what you want a local neighbourhood café to be, and serves up delicious coffee and snacks (made from locally-sourced ingredients) with a smile. Its three-cheese toasties are something else.

Garden Café // One of my favourite ways to spend a lazy Saturday is to find a seat beneath a big tree in the Botanical Gardens and spend a peaceful few hours with a good book and the weekend papers. I always stop at the Garden Café on my way in for a picnic to complete my perfect afternoon (its home-made sausage rolls, salads and cakes are excellent).

A Girl, A Style _ Small Business Saturday Cambridge Wine MerchantsA Girl, A Style _ Small Business Saturday Boudoir Femme CambridgeCambridge Wine Merchants // Although I rarely drink, this is one of my favourite local gems and where I always head when I want to treat the wine-enthusiasts in my life. The staff are all oenophiles and have an encyclopaedic knowledge of wine, and it stocks both well-known and hard-to-find wines from all the best regions. The beautiful Kings Parade location (right opposite Kings College) also serves up Jack’s Gelato and Pimm’s from the window in the summer months, and hot mulled wine in winter.

Boudoir Femme // This award-winning independent fashion boutique is always one of my first stops in Cambridge for wardrobe basics; the perfect pair of MiH jeans, American Vintage tees, cashmere scarves and Yawn pyjamas.

Cambridge Satchel Co // Without a doubt my favourite Cambridge-based brand. This label has grown from humble beginnings – founder Julie Deane started the label from her kitchen table in Cambridge when she couldn’t find a proper leather schoolbag for her children – to become a global success story. Beloved by preppy students and fashion editors alike, its chic leather bags are entirely desirable. If in doubt, go for the classic satchel in tan, navy or oxblood.

A Girl, A Style _ Small Business Saturday Cambridge Satchel CoLove, Miss B xx

This post is in partnership with American Express and Small Business Saturday (but I couldn’t be more proud to support the ‘shop small’ initiative). Visit amexshopsmall.co.uk to learn more about Shop Small in your city. What’s more, American Express Cardmembers will receive a £5 statement credit when they spend £10 or more in a single transaction at a participating small business during the campaign period (3 to 18 December 2016). There is no limit to the number of participating small businesses you can receive your £5 statement from, however, you can only claim this offer once at each small business (terms apply). 

Promoter: American Express Services Europe Limited has its registered office at Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. It is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139 and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Shopbop Friends & Family Sale

A Girl, A Style _ Shopbop Friends & Family Sale

Pictured: Kate Spade heels // Charlotte Olympia ‘kitty’ flats // Porcelain dish // earrings // West Elm gold wishbone // Kiehl’s lip balm.

These days, I’m a firm believer in investing in gorgeous wardrobe classics that I’ll (hopefully) wear and love for years and years vs filling my closet as many cheap sartorial thrills as I can manage.  While experience tells me that the designer version is usually a better investment when it comes to the staples in my wardrobe (the shoes, bags, dresses and accessories I reach for most days), I hate spending too much on one piece and so always try to shop during store promotions and sales wherever possible.

My favourite is always the Shopbop Friends & Family sale and twice a year when the sale rolls around, I re-stock my closet with those very wardrobe classics (the perfect crystal earrings that I wear year after year, another silk Equipment shirt that I reach for almost every day for work, my favourite sunglasses), as well as a few fun new treasures that I probably wouldn’t buy at full price and some essential pieces to take me through the new season.

For those of us in the UK, it’s the best time to buy US brands because the discount more than makes up for the import duties so it’s the cheapest you’ll ever find those current season pieces. For everyone else, it’s the only time some of these items ever go on sale (I’m talking about my darling Charlotte Olympia kitty flats and those wonderful Bella Freud sweaters that you’ll wear season after season) and is so much better than waiting for the end-of-season sales (when only the unwanted pieces remain).

Use code ‘INTHEFAM’ here to get 25% off just about everything site-wide (the sale is on until from today until Thursday night, so be quick!).

And because I practice what I preach, here’s what I’ve recently picked up from the site or will be adding to my basket today: a few old favourites, some new classics and a few fun little extras. Happy shopping!

Shop my favourite picks here:

Love, Miss B xx

 

Shopbop Friends & Family Sale

A Girl, A Style _ Fall ShoesPictured: Christian Louboutin leopard pumps (not at Shopbop, but very similar style available at J.Crew and Net-a-Porter) // Salvatore Ferragamo flats // Ash suede boots (also available at Harvey Nichols)

These days, I’m a firm believer in investing in gorgeous wardrobe classics that I’ll (hopefully) wear and love for years and years vs filling my closet as many cheap sartorial thrills as I can manage.  While experience tells me that the designer version is usually a better investment when it comes to the staples in my wardrobe (the shoes, bags, dresses and coats I reach for most days), I hate spending too much on one piece and so always try to shop during store promotions and sales wherever possible.

My favourite is always the Shopbop Friends & Family sale and every October when the sale rolls around, I re-stock my closet with those very wardrobe classics (the perfect little black dress that takes me everywhere from work to a fancy soiree, another silk Equipment shirt that I reach for almost every day for work, a new necklace by Lulu Frost to add to my growing collection), as well as a few few treasures for my house and some essential pieces to take me through the new season (a cosy sweater that will go with everything, the perfect suede ankle boots and some cute leather gloves for winter).

For those of us in the UK, it’s the best time to buy US brands because the discount more than makes up for the import duties so it’s the cheapest you’ll ever find those current season pieces. For everyone else, it’s the only time some of these items ever go on sale (I’m talking about my favourite Karen Walker sunglasses and the classic Self Portrait LBD that you’ll wear season after season) and is so much better than waiting for the end-of-season sales (when only the unwanted pieces remain).

Use code ‘INTHEFAM25’ here to get 25% off just about everything site-wide (the sale is on until from today until Thursday night, so be quick!).

And because I practice what I preach, here’s what I’ve recently picked up from the site or will be adding to my basket today: a few old favourites, some new classics and a few little presents for friends. Happy shopping!

What wardrobe pieces to you invest in? I’d love to hear which staples you re-purchase season after season. 

Love, Miss B xx

 

May in Pictures

London in the rain (as April’s showers insist on continuing). Exploring Columbia Road. Filling my home with armfuls of Spring flowers. Pear milkshakes and strawberry poppy macarons at Laduree with my friend Charlotte. Wearing the brightest colours in my wardrobe and filling my wrist with arm candy. Choos galore arrive at my house for a fun collaboration with Jimmy Choo. After work trips to the farmers market and rides on my PashleyWarm evenings spent beside the river in Cambridge. Thatched cottages, tiny villages, antique shops and Shakespeare on a long weekend in the Cotswolds (another of my ’30 things to do before I’m 30′ goals). Walks to Grantchester in Cambridge for picnics, countryside air and tea beneath the apple trees at The Orchard. Darling English bluebell season. Watching the Clever Boyfriend collect his PhD from Cambridge University (and bubbling over with pride). Climbing to the top of the Kings College Chapel roof (a very rare Cambridge privilege) as a celebratory treat. New Mulberry shoes and other treasures that make me smile. A trip to the London Zoo. Raspberry ice cream in the blazing sunshine in Regent’s Park.A trip to Bicester Village (a mecca for discounted designer treats) with Alice Temperley. Staying in Mayfair with family and waking up to the glorious view of plush townhouses and treetops. Window shopping in the neighbourhood; Miu Miu and Chanel and Penhaligon’s, oh my! Evening walks around Piccadilly and Chinatown. Pret-a-Portea with my friend Dearne at the Berkeley. Lazing in Hyde Park on balmy evenings. Violet cocktails at the Rose Bar for a dose of old-London decadence.

I hope you all had a wonderful month!

Love, Miss B xx