Last Saturday was riding on the crest of a mini heatwave, so once the housework was out of the way I made for Sandymount strand. Rocking a strappy summer dress, sans uniform tights, I brought my milk bottle legs for a nice walk on the beach. It was like being on holiday! But no rest for the wicked, as I stopped into the supermarket to pick up my groceries.
Sandymount village is one of those suburban pockets that seems quite exotic compared to other Dublin neighbourhoods. It retains a quaint air, thanks to local businesses – Books On The Green, Murtagh’s Hardware, Michael Byrne Fine Foods and Mira Mira. Sandymount Pharmacy is a particular joy to shop in, the place trading on it’s olde apothecary style.
Of course, a crop of chic boutiques is something I just can’t walk past and I was sad to note that a couple of my faves are closing down. A sign of the times I suppose. But where one thing perishes another flourishes. I nipped into Second Avenue, a gorgeous little second hand store tucked away on Seafort Avenue, to get my weekly fash fix.
Fashion exchanges and worn once shops are becoming evermore popular, with plenty of well heeled women clearing out their designer cast offs. Any bargainista worth her salt will do well in Second Avenue. The shop is bijou but well laid out, with rails colour and size coded. What I love about this kind of shop is the element of surprise, when a must-have jumps out at me.
The shop was buzzing thanks to owner Aisling, who was holding court with two ladies she was kitting out. Effervescent and enthusiastic, Aisling recently took over the shop from it’s long time owner. She told me that the place is thriving and so is she. Connecting with her customers is what drives Aisling and she loves helping put together the perfect outfit.
I spied a divine Nanette Lepore gold party dress and Aisling revealed that a few had tried it on already. We joked that it’s waiting for the right person and I promised to try it on next time. If it’s not snapped up by Miss Right… An embellished blue cashmere cardigan by Karen Millen is also on my retail wish list. Second Avenue, you know me too well.
Needless to say, I didn’t leave empty handed. A gorgeous pair of box fresh Marc Jacobs summer peep toes had been winking at me from the window display until I finally slipped them on. My feet said yes. Aisling named her very reasonable price – a fraction of what a girl might pay at BT. I waved her goodbye and skipped back into the sunshine, bag swinging on my arm.
Second Avenue, 22 Seafort Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin 4
Running an errand in Sandymount this morning I decided to stick around and have an aul potter. It’s that kind of place with the Green, all those pretty houses and a nice crop of little boutiques. Mira Mira was my first port of call. I just can’t walk past that place! Like an Aladdin’s cave of super girly stuff Mira Mira is my go to shop for presents and housey things.
Owner Bronwyn Thomson sources her eclectic stock from all over the globe and has an eye for unique jewellery, Fairtrade homeware and sweet babywear. In fact all of my friend’s kiddies own something from Mira Mira’s organic cotton ranges – thanks Aunty Lorna! Today I picked up a gorgeous mosaic mirror for Rainbow Cottage – a girl likes to reflect…
Next stop Butler’s Pantry where I bought a single wodge of Victoria sponge – very handy when I fancy a tea time treat, but don’t want to stuff my chops with cake! Then into Books on the Green for a quick browse. They always have unusual reads, lovely cards and a colourful children’s toy section that’s popular with locals big and small.
I had a mooch around the boutiques – just looking! – before landing in Tesco. Well I had to do something domestic… Every little helps but I don’t mind admitting cash register rage. The self service ones. “Unexpected item in bagging area” said robot chick. Shut up and give me my change!
Then over to Michael Byrne Fine Foods for everything I can’t get in the supermarket – artisan breads, fresh cheese and a well stocked delicatessen. A great epicerie if you want special bites for a dinner party – or Chez Emily chocolates for someone else’s. Ravenous after all my larking, I made my way to Brownes for a nice sit down.
Brownes is very much a Sandymount hub with Yummy Mummies, well groomed Dames and retired Gentlemen all jostling together in the twin dining rooms. It’s a top spot for weekend brunch and does brisk trade all day Saturday and Sunday. But during the week it’s easy pace is good for getting out the papers and enjoying a cuppa.
The breakfast and lunch menus offer plenty of choice and there’s smart French style bistro fare in the evening. I went for the veggie breakfast which came with big juicy mushrooms, a perfectly poached egg and lots of granary toast. Just what the doctor ordered! I needed a perk so I got a latte – coffee is a bold move for a tea lady y’know…
The service in Brownes can be as charming as the decor – country kitchen with paintings by local artists – or not. But I was looked after by a very efficient chap today. I strolled home a happy camper but couldn’t resist a cheeky peek into my local charity shop en route. Ooh, a red polka dot silk dress for a fiver – mad not to…
Brownes Deli and Cafe, 18 Sandymount Green, Sandymount, Dublin 4