In the first of a new series exploring the funkiest boutiques, vintage shops and beauty, here are the best discoveries in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.
Stockbridge, recently named as one of Britain's coolest places to live, is a ramshackled and bohemian enclave, with cobbled streets, the Water of Leith running through and a weekend market. It has that juxtaposition of being studenty, exclusive and with some wonderfully seedy history. The basement shops on St Stephen Street were once rumoured to be dens of iniquity while the Danube Street brothel was notorious from the 2nd world war until the 1970s.
Despite a heavy dose of charity shops and coffee chains, Stockbridge has managed to retain a sense of independence with its small boutique shops and funky bars, harking back to the days of Madame Doubtfire's eclectic rag and bone shop from the 1920s.
Here are my picks for the places to go to in Stockbridge.
Those Were the Days Vintage, 26 St Stephen Street
This vintage lover's paradise sells luxurious pieces from the 1930s to the 1980s sourced from around the world. There's glitzy Studio 54 styling, 1950s prom dresses, sharp 60s coats and heaps of beautiful accessories. The racks are not over crammed so it's easy to search out treasures.
Elaine's Vintage Clothing, 55 St Stephen Street
I absolutely adore the mint green Art Nouveau shutters that welcome you into the shop- just like Mr Ben come to life. There's an air of old Hollywood glamour with silk slips, lace garments and dressing gowns.
Chic and Unique, 8 Deanhaugh Street
This is the place for delectable vintage costume jewellery, scarves and carnival masks, beautiful Art Deco dress clips, 1930s necklaces, hat pins and 1980s Dynasty brooches. While many are collector's pieces, you can also find items for under £30.
Hibiscus Flower, 48 St Stephen Street
Specialising in ethical women's clothing, Hibiscus Flower only sells garments and accessories that comply with international Fairtrade standards, including brands such as People Tree, Komodo and Peter Jensen. The perfect place to feel virtuous while picking up a striped t-shirt or printed scarf.
The Stockbridge Boutique, 20 Deanhaugh Street
This new boutique stocks brands such as Sugarhill and Lucy Paris in lux and light surroundings- there are plenty of cute polka dot dresses, printed trousers, and my favourite, a polar bear printed sweater.
The Brotique, 41 St Stephen Street
For the guys, this is the place for stylish hipsters to stock up on male grooming, moleskin notebooks, adventure equipment, cycling gear and a range of books specially selected for gents.
And to unwind…
Peter's Yard, 3 Deanhaugh Street
For a coffee break, try this Swedish bakery inspired by the concept of Fika, a Swedish word for a chat over food and coffee. They specialise in sourdough crisp breads but there are plenty of pastries, and cakes to devour at one of the wide wooden tables.
Last Word Saloon, 44 St Stephen Street
The Last Word Saloon pays tribute to the 1920s era speakeasy with an old world feel lit by the glow of candlelight. The cocktails aren't the type that comes with an umbrella - they are strong, sharp and flavoursome. Try their signature Last Word cocktail originally created at the Detroit Athletic Club - with fifty pounds, green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and fresh lime juice.