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Discovering Glasgow: The West End

Do you ever have days when you really have to push yourself to do something a little different? In our experience, those days have always been the ones worth remembering. While not miles away, travelling through to Glasgow for the day was just the right amount of change to help us get inspired for the festive season. While the weather may have been dull and grey, we managed to find havens of colour and warmth, making the trip both unique and memorable.

Fuelled on caffeine before catching the morning train, we were set up for the day. Flicking through the latest edition of Elle Magazine while keeping nice and cosy in our Maggie Scarf,  rushing past a mixture of green fields and housing estates.

As we wanted to avoid the hectic main shopping streets, filled with traffic, people, and the same shops you’d get anywhere else, we headed towards the West End side of the city for something a little more special.

BRUNCH AT PAPERCUP

After an early start, surviving on coffee and a muffin, we knew that our first point of call would be to get a spot of brunch. In our opinion, there is no better place in Glasgow for it than Papercup. Situated on Great Western Road, it’s a local favourite with students and creatives, giving a very cosy and relaxed atmosphere, where the skilled baristas are able to do full justice to a fantastic cup coffee and the food sets you up for the rest of the day!

All the food that they serve is focused on ethical and sustainable raw materials such as organic meats or fresh farm eggs. We decided to go with the vegan breakfast as well as two delicious green smoothies followed by another steaming cup of coffee.

GOING GREEN AT THE GLASGOW BOTANICAL GARDENS

Now that our hunger had subsided, we went for a walk around the Glasgow Botanical Gardens, one of our favourite locations. Not only did it save us from the sprinkle of rain that had started, it also took our minds to a more tropical place. There’s nothing better than getting lost in your own thoughts, dreaming up sunnier escapes while finding inspiration in the smallest of things, from the detail in a flower to how a leaf falls upon another. It really is a place where time stops – the sketch books will have to be packed for next time!

VINTAGE FINDS

As expected, we soon found ourselves wandering out of the Botanical Gardens and into one or two shops. The first one we came across was West Vintage; a vintage store situated between Kelvinbridge and Byres Road, full of the hippest vintage clothing. As the store is not far from The University of Glasgow - we have no doubt that it'll be a favourite with local students on the hunt for some vintage finds. The racks were full of branded sweaters, jeans, crop tops, pattern bombers, sport tops, 70s knits and jumpsuits. There’s nothing quite like the colours and prints of vintage to get our creative juices flowing!

CASSIOPEIA

A trip to the West End wouldn’t be a trip to the West End without going in to see Lyudmila and Mabel at the fabulous Cassiopeia Gift and Home Boutique! Their store is always such a delight to pop into, not only are they two of the loveliest ladies you’ll meet, they also stock so many beautiful products and gifts – so many that you’ll spend half your day browsing through all their items. It was extra special this time however, as they had just revealed their new store front and were currently putting the finishing touches to their festive decorations! If you’re looking for fairy lights and sparkles to help get you in the mood – it’s the place to go.

The story behind the name came from a fascination with the night sky and a beautiful constellation of stars called "Cassiopeia". A star will glitter and shine and is one of life's wonderful joys. Even before you enter, just looking in the window, you can see how this philosophy has been reflected in the store and its fabulous items.

Lyudmila and Mabel aim to source unique items from around the world, focusing particularly on local artists and Scottish design. We all too eagerly had our noses in candles and diffusers, with our eyes catching glimmers of their fabulous jewellery collections!

They also stock a number of Powder products to help you keep cosier on the colder days! Why not pick up a pair of our quirky Cosy Mittens, or a pair of our Tamara Gloves? They'll definitely help keep your hands nice and warm on the colder days!

It’s hard not to notice the colourful collection of scarves by the door too, a mixture of our Morag, Maggie, Molly and Umbrella Chums Scarves – perfect for wrapping up in while still managing to look stylish!

Aiming to put a sprinkling of sparkle and glamour into everyone's lives and homes, Lyudmila and Mabel pride themselves on offering individual attention to their customers, always happy to help and be on hand for additional information or advice!

As expected, we couldn't help but throw on our Umbrella Chums Scarf and pair of Tamara Gloves in Coral, we love how the stunning blue of the store front matched the pattern in the scarf. As you can see by their window display, things are getting festive!

If you're in or around Glasgow, why not pay them a visit and see how you can help add a little bit of sparkle into your festive gifting! 

AUTUMN STILL OUT

After filling our bags with gorgeous gifts – the majority for ourselves – we ventured out again, taking in the last of the autumnal colours of the trees before the leaves start to fall. It was lovely to see the architectural differences of the city in comparison to those of Edinburgh, wandering through streets and only slightly getting lost before the dark descended.

GLASGOW NIGHT LIGHTS

Before we left, we noticed a line of crowds and bright lights coming from the Glasgow Botanical Gardens. As it turns out, this was part of a brand-new event of sound and light called GlasGLOW. While we didn’t have tickets for it this time round, we’re hoping that it’ll return next year! From the outside it looked stunning! 

We can't wait to come back to Glasgow's West End - it's amazing what a quick train journey to a different city can help do to re-energize you for the week ahead! We'll need to get a couple of trips in before the end of the year - festive markets, mulled wine, and catching up with Lyudmila and Mabel again at Cassiopeia is a must!