THE FOODIE BUGLE, BATH
A cornucopia of home wares, contemporary and vintage, from a ball of string to a beautifully upholstered armchair – and some tempting artisan food and drink
Now I love a bit of louche luxe but there’s something about simply designed, useful things that I just can’t resist – and The Foodie Bugle, just around the corner from the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey on Abbey Green, is filled with them. It’s a cornucopia of home wares, contemporary and vintage – everything from a ball of string to a beautifully upholstered armchair – and interesting artisan foods and drink. Oh and they serve up a great cup of coffee and cake, too.
The foodie blowing the bugle is Silvana de Soissons. Eritrean born and raised and of Italian descent, the effervescent Silvana is the creator of the Foodie Bugle blog which is dedicated to ordinary people producing extraordinary food and which won The Guild of Food Writers New Media Award in 2011. It was a natural progression to opening up a shop dedicated to artisan food and home wares, first in her own home, then in Bath’s Margaret Street and from this January here on Abbey Green.
The shop’s spread over several floors with tables at the front for coffee and cake (or a glass of Prosecco if the mood takes you), though there are tables upstairs too if you prefer a quiet tête-à-tête.
The shop goes onwards – and upwards – a warren of rooms, different spaces and little corners, with every surface covered with all manner of things you need, things you didn’t know you needed until you saw them, things to keep and things to give away.
Silvana has put together a mix of new and vintage, iconic classic designs and contemporary home wares, most of them made in Britain. What everything has in common is that form and function are in perfect harmony. Falcon Enamelware has been around since the 1920s and the design hasn’t really changed much. Made from porcelain fused onto heavy-gauge steel, they can be used in the oven or on the hob and are virtually indestructible.
Very different, but equally pleasing is potter Andrew Pentland’s contemporary range of earthy yet practical ceramic ware.
You’ll have the best stocked utility drawer with brushes, string, scissors…
Bone up on your cuts of meat while you (or preferably someone else) is drying up with one of these Butcher’s Cut’s linen tea towels from the Ulster Weaving Company.
I’m a bit of a slut (in the housework stakes) and my house isn’t the most pristine (I’m building up the kids’ immunity, aren’t I?) but even I couldn’t resist the natural cleaning products by Mangle & Wringer. Nor the selection of paper, notebooks, cards and postcards which aren’t twee.
You’ll come across all sorts of quirky vintage finds for the house – old scales, jelly moulds, china and tableware – and tools for the garden. These metal signs from a croquet lawn or a pitch and putt (?) caught my eye.
Love these crochet blankets – for your bed or to take on a picnic?
You can even buy a re-upholstered chair or two.
It’s not all for the home: there are organic toiletries like Dr Bronner and Just Bee, bags, socks and gloves. Then of course, there’s the food and drink: lots of artisan oils and spices, preserves, crispbreads and crackers, chocolates and confectionery, teas, coffees, juices, cordials, liqueurs and craft beers to tempt. And new and pre-loved cookbooks to inspire.
You’ll need a bag to take it all away in (well, apart from the chairs – I’m not Mary Poppins). I liked this one made from palm leaves and with rope handles.
If you can’t get to the shop, you can buy lots of goods online, including bespoke gift baskets, boxes and hampers. They also run craft and life skills courses – I picked up leaflets for workshops on houseplants, photography, embroidery and floristry, each one run by experts in the field.
I defy anyone to go into this shop and come away empty handed!
The Foodie Bugle, 2 Abbey Street, Abbey Green, Bath, BA1 1NN. Tel 077 thefoodiebugle.com