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Vx / SSOV Vegan Shop

Vx (Vee Cross) is a an all-vegan boutique shop in London! They sell cupcakes from Mrs. Cupcake and Cat & the Cream, groceries, sandwiches, shoes, clothing by SSOV (The Secret Society of Vegans), books, SSOV accessories etc.

Check them out for some great stuff and not having to check anything, its all vegan!

Mon – 11:00 ~ 19:30
Tues – Sun – 10:00 ~ 18:30

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Ellis Brigham

Ellis Brigham is like a hard-core version of Kathmandu, in terms of their gear, customers, and prices. They sell very high quality (and priced) products for extreme adventures. Like real mountain climbing, as opposed to hiking. They even have a friggin’ ICE WALL inside their Covent Garden branch so you can try the gear and learn how to use it before you buy it.

They also have Ski & Snowboarding gear, and general stuff for hiking, biking, camping etc. I think a lot of their stuff is overkill for the average traveller, but perfect for the hard-core adventurer. Their prices are also only for the hard-core, so if its more standard gear you want, try elsewhere. But if you really are going to the extremes, Ellis Brigham will kit you out with gear that won’t let you down.

Mon – Fri – 10:00 ~ 20:00
Sat – 09:30 ~ 18:30
Sun – 11:30 ~ 17:30

Japan Center

Japan Center is a large Japanese produce store, with tofu, rice, seaweed, sauces, curries, rice crackers etc. They also make fresh Sushi daily (including vegan options of Seaweed Onigiri, avocado roll, cucumber roll & Inari Sushi) which is good for a quick lunch or snack. You can also buy their sushi from Umai in Soho.

It’s a little more expensive than Arigato or Rice Wine, but if you can’t find something there, they probably have it here.

On Lower Regent Street, just South of Piccadilly Circus Tube Station.

Mon – Sat – 10:00~21:00
Sun – 11:00~19:00

Arigatou & Rice Wine

Arigato and Rice Wine are both small Japanese supermarkets on Brewer Street, just up from Piccadilly Circus. I find these two the best places to buy Tofu and other Japanese foods in London, with Arigato being my preference as although Rice Wine is a little cheaper, they are often out of stock on my favourite items. They are both cheaper than the places I used to go in China Town too.

A big block of Tofu is roughly £1.20-£1.60. You can also get Japanese rice, miso paste, kimchi, sushi nori, soya sauce, bulldog sauce etc.

Arigato also serves food from a small restaurant within the shop, I have never eaten there however.

Arigato
Mon – Sat 10:00~21:00
Sun – 11:00~20:00

Rice Wine
Mon – Sat 10:00~22:00
Sun – 12:00~21:00

Kathmandu, London

Kathmandu is “New Zealand’s No.1 Outdoor Store”, selling everything from socks, pocket knives, and locks to backpacks, sleeping bags, adventure clothing and equipment. Every time I go here I want to buy one of their cool travel-gadgets.

The best thing about Kathmandu is their huge range of backpacks in many styles and sizes, Gore-Tex jackets, fleece Jackets, and thermal under garments. Most products are their own brand and are great quality. I have been using the same large backpack for 6 years!

In general, I think Kathmandu can be a little expensive. However, twice a year they have sales. BIG sales. Up to 60% off. This brings a £300 backpack down to a much more reasonable £120 for example. So check out the store, work out what you need, and if you can, hold out till one of their sales.

Kathmandu London

Lush, London

Lush is a UK based cosmetics company selling natural skin, hair, bath and shower products; like handmade soaps, lotions, bath bombs, shampoo etc. Lush is against animal testing, all of their products are vegetarian, and many are Vegan and labelled as such on their website and in-store.

Lush uses natural ingredients like fruits, vegetables, essential oils (no animal fats) and some synthetic materials. Some of their products contain beeswax, lanolin, honey or free-range eggs and hence are not vegan. All products are purchased from companies that are against animal testing, and Lush test their own products on human volunteers before sale!

Everything inside the shop looks and smells great. Some of it even looks edible! It all sits in the open (Lush use minimal packaging) and blocks of soap are sold by weight. As they are fresh and natural, some of the products even have use-by-dates.

Lush products make great gifts, and they sell box packages at £10, £20 etc already wrapped up and ready to go. Staff are friendly and helpful in picking the right thing, either for you or someone else.

Lush now has over 600 stores Worldwide, with stores all over London. You can find more branches here.

London Aug 2011London Aug 2011

National Geographic Store

Everyone knows (and loves) National Geographic Magazine, & they continue the theme in their Regent Street store, to inform, amaze and inspire us. With products and information related to travel, adventure and culture, items include clothing, gear, books, educational toys, and art works from around the world.

They also have a nice cafe in-store.

Just north of Piccadilly Circus on Regent Street.

Mon – Sat – 10:00~20:00
Sun – 12:00~18:00

London Aug 2011

Hamleys Toy Shop

Hamleys is the coolest Toy Shop in London, with roots going back to 1780! Their flagship store on Regent street is 5 levels of fun, and while it may be (mostly) for kids, I love this store & so do my mates. There are staff standing out the front in costumes with bubble-guns, and inside the shop demonstrating the toys. The floors are divided into age groups, boys and girls to make it easy to find things. They do have toys for grown-ups too, with puzzles, chess boards, video games etc.

There’s also a Build-A-Bear Workshop in-store, where you select your fuzzy, clothing, custom-voice recordings, stuffing etc and build your new friend! Materials are natural or high-quality man made fibres.

Walk South on Regent Street from Oxford Circus, or North from Piccadilly Circus.

London Aug 2011