Commercial: The Monocle Shop
So Saturday saw Ms Beta and me mooching in Marylebone for the first time in ages. There was an ulterior motive, and not just a desire to go star-spotting on the High Street (hello Rosie Boycott! And Lenny and Dawn!) or complete some early Christmas shopping.
Nope; instead I was frankly over-excited and eager to dash to the Monocle Shop, the pop-up retail concept from the magazine of the same name.
Over the course of the last 19 issues or so, the title has been a champion of amongst other things, good design and well-curated retail spaces that add to the pleasure of urban living. Happily, the shop lives up to the promise of the magazine.
It's tiny, only 9m sq in size, which at it's peak I guess can fit about 8 people at a squeeze. Despite this, plenty has been crammed in - shelves of back issues, Drakes scarves, Smedley jumpers, Archie Grand notebooks and the fabulous Porter bags.
You're greeted personally, no matter how busy the shop is - and Sophie was doing fab job of being friendly while serving and gift-wrapping the notebook I bought. And as it is an extension of the brand, there was also a brand bible to browse. I loved the fact that Monocle subscribers are now more likely to take a copy of the magazine to dinner parties. I need to start doing that.
Undoubtedly it'll be crazy busy in the run up to Christmas, so you might have to wait a wee while before being served. But fingers crossed the shop will be a success, and I hope it becomes a permanent feature of London shopping.
The only thing that let it down for me was that I couldn't get one of the new tote bags that are part of the gift subscription promotion. Seriously, if anyone wants a sub, I could be easily persuaded...