Thursday, 24 September 2009

Pharmacy Bliss/ Bliss Pharmacy

No doubt I have mentioned my love of French pharmacies before- but I actually love British ones too- I love them all!

I was always fond of a tiny place, what I called a pharmacy but actually I’m not sure if they dispensed medicine or not, at the opening of the Royal Arcade on Piccadily. I walked past recently and it was gone- I stood staring into the window with sadness.

Where could I go for real sponges, hairbrushes with different thicknesses of bristle and 4711 now that this place was closed? It was so perfectly Edwardian looking, it could have featured in a Poirot or any number of costume dramas. A little bit of London is gone. I suspect the problem is that no shop can survive on the sales of sponges and Marvis toothpaste alone- and that although I loved looking at this place I only ever went in once a year- always at Christmas, always to buy little stocking fillers.

Thankfully my favourite pharmacy of all, Bliss Pharmacy at the very bottom of the Marble Arch end of Oxford street, is still going strong. I went in for a visit earlier this week and it’s still fantastic. Not only does it have all the weird and wonderful things pharmacies should sell, corn plasters, 4711 (again), things from Bronley/ Yardley and so on but it also has loads of hip brands- it was the first place I ever found Essie nail polish in this country. They also sell a beloved shade of Dior lipstick that seems to have been discontinued everywhere else, Rosebud salve, all kinds of manicure and pedicure equipment and of course medicine!

If you need a pharmacy in the Marble Arch area give Bliss a try- we need to save our strange and eccentric pharmacies.

13 comments:

chicncheap said...

Thanks for the recommendation! Is Essie nail polish very hard to find here? So far I've only seen Boots!

vicki archer said...

I was so sorry to see that pharmacy on Piccadilly close Rose - I too love an old fashioned pharmacy, xv.

Rose said...

Hi chicncheap- Essie used to be hard to find here- you can get it much more easily now but a couple of years ago no where had it. Boots is great too!

Hi Vicki- you know the one, it's so sad isn't it. Soon I don't think there will be any old ones left- i think there is one off Bond st but I have been passed for a long time. It made me really melancholy actually- so i cheered myself up with some pink grapefruit sorbet from hotel chocolat!

ScentScelf said...

True pharmacies/apothecaries are hard to come by in the States. I am lucky enough to live within visiting distance of a venerable apothecary in my area, and it is worth the effort. Such a pleasure merely to walk inside.

I shall add your recommendation to my "when in London" list--because someday, I *shall* go! :)

Marie said...

Oooh, I shall have to take a look. It sounds great. Where I grew up had a traditional pharmacy which sold all the extras, and it was just lovely too.

Jenavira13 said...

If there is one thing I am jealous of its pharmacies. I think they might be more common on the West Coast here, but on the East Coast, sigh, we have the very unromantic drug stores.

Rose said...

Hi Scentscelf- The pharmacy that closed was the real thing but Bliss, although lovely, is probably more like a drugstore in looks. However although it isn't as pleasing to look at it has the best range for rummaging and is open insanely late for the UK- I'm sure I've bought lipstick there at gone 11 at night! The best place I have found for real apothocaries in Europe- so far- is Austria- lots of them with big wooden draws and labels from the nineteenth century- loved it! You will get here one day I hope! And one day I will get to all the places I'd love to go.

Hi Marie- oh I'm worried now that everyone thinks Bliss is a beauty- it really isn't, it looks like any British shop from the outside- but inside it has so much weird, wonderful and sometimes trendy stuff.

Hi Jen- as I say above I think I have given the wrong idea- the place that shut was the beauty but Bliss has lots of substance! I thought CE Bigelow was the ultimate apothocary when I went to New York- but it was the only one like that I saw. All the drugstores in America are fun though- and I seriously envy you bath and body works- I got crazy in there whenever I visit.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Eccentric pharmacies are the best! I love getting unique beauty products with vintage packaging... I'll have to try out Bliss the next time I am in London xo

Rose said...

Hi Daily- yes it's fun! Kind of quirky and a bit random but fun!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I so agree. A great pharmacy is just the best place to shop. My favourite here in town closed last year, to much moaning and sobbing by many. It was the place to buy everything. Mason Pearson hairbrushes and aspirin. L'aromarine bubble bath and baby powder. Then one day, Poof, it was no more. The corporate chain stores just aren't the same.

Rose said...

Hi Pamela- it's sad when this happens isn't it, it leave you feeling a bit numb. I love a big pharmacy too i have to say- the one that rules the high street in the UK has been going well over a hundred years and is sort of a national institution but still, I like the mixture of big and small.

Top Bird @ Wee Birdy said...

Oh I know the one you're talking about. That's a tragedy! I shall do some digging and find a good alternative. Fingers' crossed! xx

Rose said...

Hi Top Bird- please do! I'm sure there must be some out there. I would think sea side towns might a good bet but not sure where in London to go.