Editor’s letter: My new local hero? The corner shop

For so many of us right now, shopping as a leisure activity is way down the list of priorities. It feels so frivolous, doesn’t it, when we’re fretting for our health and that of our loved ones, and keeping a cautious eye on our outgoings in this climate of economic uncertainty.

It’s also true, however, that with this wretched pandemic dominating every aspect of life and every conversation, who could blame us for wanting the distraction of a little online browse and the occasional treat for ourselves? There are only so many books you can read, FaceTime chats you can have and games of Monopoly you can go to war with your family over. Even our dog has started turning her nose up at those government-approved walks. Sooner or later, the lure of browsing internet shopping sites with a glass of wine in our hand is going to seduce even the strongest among us. Is that a crime? No. And, actually, there are ways in which a cheeky little shopping treat can be a true public duty. (No, really, stay with me on this.)

Our fashion special in this issue is dedicated entirely to some of our favourite small and independent British businesses. The kind who don’t have massive marketing budgets or the economies of scale enjoyed by global brands. Often they’re family-run enterprises that have literally started at someone’s kitchen table. They’re businesses that must be shrewd about every production cost in even the most buoyant of economic times. So if you are in the mood to treat yourself, or perhaps you have a special occasion such as a birthday to buy for, we thought we’d showcase some of the ‘little guys’ to inspire you. And no one knows more than our fashion director Shelly Vella about which labels make for great discoveries.

In fact, even in my own London neighbourhood I’ve rediscovered a lot of the smaller businesses, and it’s been a joy. My husband was the only person in the tiny corner shop near our house and he returned triumphantly brandishing a nine-pack of loo roll and the 2020 version of hen’s teeth: a packet of flour. Later that same day, the police were called to the big-name supermarket right across the road, to break up a brawl about – you guessed it – toilet paper. I think there’s a moral to the story in there somewhere: shopping small will keep both us and the small shopkeeper out of trouble.

If shopping’s not your thing, there are plenty of other distractions in this very packed issue, so I hope it makes another lockdown Sunday a bit brighter!

Editor’s picks

A few things I’m coveting this week

Exquisite jewellery by South London designer Sallyanne Lowe. Earrings, £49, notonthehighstreet.com

I’m sending friends notes by post – something kind to land on the doormat. Notelets, £20 for ten, papier.com

So cosy, so silly. Slippers, £30, Laines London, wolfandbadger.com