If you are visiting Bridport in Dorset make sure you visit Girls Own Store on South Street. You will be absolutely amazed at the talent of owner Sarah Mahon: from her hand-knitted Fair Isle berets, mittens and children’s tank tops, to her carefully edited homewares collection and her vintage finds, this is a one-stop shop for all your kitchen, larder, garden and gift needs.
Our favourites are her red and white polka dot teapots, flowery bowls, stripey tea towels, enamel cake tins, wirework cake stands and St.Jude’s stationery. She even has hand knitted dish cloths.
In the gardening section take a look at the picnic ware, the tweedy rugs, Nutscene twines and strings, painted trugs and hand tools.
Everything in the shop is carefully chosen, reasonably priced, beautifully presented and scrupulously edited. So many of these lifestyle shops are packed to the gunnels with all sort of industrially, mass made paraphenalia of poor quality.
Sarah’s gentle lurcher Merle sits quietly next to the cash desk. Sarah opened the shop in 2005 and even back then she could feel a certain buzz and energy in the town. “I remember sitting in a café here, as a visitor from the time when I used to live in West Sussex. As I looked around I could see the sorts of people who were just like me. Bridport is quite arty, creative and artisanal: there are a lot of people who make a living out of creative craft and hand made objects here,” she told me.
And just as she finished the sentence in walked a very elegant lady dressed from head to toe in 1940’s retro clothes, looking for a small brush to clean her tea pot spout.
It is this mix of the domestic find, the handmade, the vintage, the bright and sparkly and the weathered that makes Girls Own Store so appealing and comforting: it is a haven of shelter and solace in life’s cruel storms. Nothing bad could ever happen in such a place.