Monday, 11 November 2013

Bye Bye Belfast

Hello dear readers! It's been a little while since my last post. A lot has happened in my life in the mean time. After finishing up work in Belfast, my husband and I decided - rather suddenly - to move back to my home country. So now, a month later, we are sort of settled in lovely, chilly and hopefully-soon-snowy Switzerland. I'll be sharing my thoughts on the future of FairEnough soon, but for now, it is time to take stock, look back and say Good-Bye to my dear Belfast.We had a great year in this beautiful city. We met great people and discovered amazing places. As my tribute to Belfast, I thought I would share some of my favourite vintage, second-hand and creative spots with you!


Rusty Zip
Rusty Zip * 28 Botanic Avenue * Belfast
On the beautiful Botanic Avenue, home to many Queens University students, you'll find Belfast's oldest vintage and second-hand store; Rusty Zip. This gem of a shop has been a huge help to me in my challenge to only wear vintage and second-hand for a year. On its - now much brighter and lighter - shelves and racks you will find an excellent selection of vintage clothes and accessories from a range of decades. The emphasis is on the 60's and 70's, but you may find some 20's and 40's pieces too. Rusty Zip also has a brilliant second-hand selection featuring most high-street brand names, such as Topshop or French Connection. This is a great place to find a real treasure at a bargain price and on Sunday, there's a 10% Discount for students!

Oxfam Botanic
Oxfam Botanic * 88 Botanic Avenue *Belfast
A little up the road you'll find what I think is one of the best Oxfam shops. Those of you who follow my blog will recognize this as the shop I worked in for a day for my Charity Shop post. Oxfam Botanic sells lots of high quality second-hand and great and very cheap vintage clothes. The shop also has a great jewellery selection. The staff in both shops are lovely, friendly and very helpful.

Vintage * 78 - 80 Royal Avenue * Belfast
It may not look like much from the outside, but Vintage is a great little charity shop. To be fair, the majority of clothes are second-hand rather than vintage, but I've discovered some real treasures here, including a Vivienne Westwood dress.
Nestled at the top of the Royal Avenue, Vintage is run by the East Belfast Mission. The charity is behind a number of other cool social enterprises, such as Recycle, a bicycle upcycling service.
Out of the three shops, Vintage is by far the cheapest. So why don't you pop down, have a nosy and support the work of this great charity.

ReFound * 7 Wellington Place * Belfast
I know, I know, I keep going on about this place, but it really was one of my favourites in Belfast, so I just have to mention it again here. ReFound is a great shop based on a brilliant concept. Behind ReFound stands an artist collective that - using their impressive skills - breathes new life into old and unwanted furniture. In ReFound you will find the most unique and most imaginative things to decorate your house with.
All of this is organized by the lovely Jill, who I had the pleasure of working with on different occasions, including the fun 5-9 talks we organized. I will miss this place badly and I wish Jill and her artists all the success in the world. I really hope this place takes off even more than it already has. If you visit Belfast, this is a MUST-SEE!


I love going to markets and in this respect, Belfast has lots to offer. 

St. George's Market
St. George's Market * 12 - 20 East Bridge Street
Known and loved by all Belfastians, the St. George's market happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Friday Variety Market dates back to 1604 (!) and sells a tempting mix of products including local fruit, veg and fish, antiques, books or clothes. The Saturday market focusses on local and continental specialty food and on the Sunday, you will find a mix of both of them, accentuated by a different musical entertainment every week. Lots of local craftspeople and artists sell their goodies at this market. It is a great place to find unique gifts and stuff your tummy with gorgeous food!

Fashion Souk
The Fashion Souk * Spires Mall *Belfast

Wanting to make fashion and shopping greener and more environmentally friendly, founders Aly and Linzi started the Fashion Souk. The bi-monthly market takes place at Spires Mall in the heart of Belfast city centre and offers fashionistas a huge choice of preloved luxury labels, vintage and retro items, as well as locally designed accessories and furnishings. There's always a great atmosphere at the Souk with music and fashion shows making this a truly unique shopping event.
The Souk is now no longer confined to Belfast, but has expanded and is happening all over Northern Ireland. Check out their webiste for locations. The next Belfast market is happening on the 7th of December. Don't miss it!

Frock Around the Clock
Frock Around the Clock Vintage
Featuring up to 50 stalls at any given event, the Frock around the Clock Vintage fairs unite vintage dealers from all over Ireland and the UK. The markets usually take place in gorgeous locations; such as country houses, grand estates and castles. At Frock Around the Clock you'll find high quality vintage and vintage-inspired garments, accessories and home-wares. Prices tend to be a little higher, but you can also catch some real bargains. In conjunction with their vintage markets, they also run the stunning vintage bridal fairs Rock the Frock. If I could get married again, I would definitely go looking for my dress there!


Finally I wanted to share two of my favourite places to hang out and spend time in Belfast.

Black Bear Café
Black Bear Café * 17 Stranmillis Road * Belfast, Pics: Tripadvisor
 Right across from the Ulster Museum is the cozy Black Bear Café in which I spent many hours drinking good coffee and looking though their hipster magazines. Black Bear frequently displays art by local and emerging artists and sells gorgeous organic and vegan food. Their lunches are delicious and they make superb scrambled eggs!

The Black Box
The Black Box * 18 - 22 Hill Street
The Black Box is one of the most versatile venues I've ever come across. The events here cater to even the most obscure and diverse tastes. I visited it for the first time at an upcycling fashion show, which was great fun.
The Black Box gives local artists from every artform a platform to show their work. I love their little café and bar - the Green Room. On the first Thursday of every month, after Late Night Art, one of my favourite events happens here. Real Sketchy invites artists and common folk into the Green room for a sketch fest. You can have a drink, watch people sketch and draw, have a go yourself and buy any sketches you like! Genius!

It seems I could go on about Belfast forever, but now it really is time to say good-bye. Take care, dear Belfast - You will be missed and I promise I'll come back to visit soon!


  1. Hi Sarah, and thanks for this great summary. Lots of places for me to check out.

    I only came across your blog today, and so I apologise if you've covered my question in previous posts, but do you have any suggestions on where to find larger vintage items in Belfast... e.g., furniture (I noticed that "Vintage" has some of this), electronics (old TVs, radios, record players), boxes, etc. etc.?

    Many thanks!

  2. Hi Paul, Thanks, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Yes there's a number of places. As you say 'Vintage' has some of these items... the same charity, the east belfast mission, also runs the ReStore shops ( which focus even more on furniture.
    In ReFound you will find beautiful furniture, but it is all mostly upcycled, so if that's not what you want then in the same building, just above ReFound is another vintage shop that mainly focusses on mid century vintage furniture. It's two different dealers actually I think, called Twisted Vintage ( and Atelier Design (
    Otherwise you can always try the Oxfam home shops... there's one next to the Dublin Road cinema. I hope this helps!
    cheers Sarah

  3. Hi Sarah, I just found your blog today, thanks to the Re-found facebook page! I'm so sorry, it is hello and goodbye. I am in Belfast in a few weeks so I will be checking out all those great shops as I am moving away from the high street myself thanks to the appalling conditions the labour force in developing countries suffers to supply our demand for cheaper and cheaper clothes. Have you encountered any good sources for children's clothes?
    Every good wish for your future endeavours!
    Shauna. x

    1. Hi Shauna, I'm glad you liked the post and I'm sure you will enjoy your trip to Belfast! I hope you have a fantastic time. Don't worry, FairEnough won't be gone, just because I've moved to Switzerland. I will try and maintain the site as much as I can... I've come across a number of fair trade children's labels, but can't think of them off the top of my head! You'll find good children's clothes in charity shops... and if you watch this space, I'll do a bit of research and write up a feature on children's clothes soon!