Award Winning Boutique
Award Winning Boutique
267-269 Coombe Lane SW20 0RH

Bak2u - Tales from the shop floor…

Hello Bakou Belles! Welcome to my new Blog where I’ll be trying to keep you up to date with all the goings on in my world; at the shop and at home, along with any news or ideas that I might have…without boring you rigid (hopefully)!

The Masked Shopkeeper

Published 1st May 2020

Hello lovely Bakou Belles!

Confused woman wearing face mask looking at ice cream cone!

I’ve been watching, learning and getting confused as the news and information seems to change every day

This weird situation we find ourselves in seems to be constantly changing. Like everyone, I’ve been watching, learning and getting confused as the news and information seems to change every day. I have hummed and hawed about the whole mask question but, as it looks like when we do come out of lockdown, we will probably all be advised to wear them or indeed we will feel more comfortable wearing them.

One of my favourite suppliers, Grizas, has started producing their own masks which are a wee bit more stylish then the ones you see around generally. They consist of 4 layers of natural 100% linen, can be washed up to 100 degrees and are very comfortable with an adjustable strap.

I’ve placed an order to see how they go but can order more if they fly out. There are lots of available colours so take your pick and let me know.

Face mask selection in various colours from Grizas

There are lots of available colours so take your pick and let me know. I will not be stocking colours 155 or 157.

Black – 17, White – 151, Light Grey – 154, Dark Grey – 150, Light Khaki – 189, Fuchsia – 144, Navy – 184, Teal – 156

I have spoken to Grizas and they say that the white masks could be dyed so you could customise your own mask to whatever colour you desire. They did however point out that there could be a small amount of shrinkage so be warned…

Pink and grey face mask
Pink splat print – P200
Blue and yellow splat mask
Blue and yellow splat print – P123
Floral design face mask
Floral multi coloured print – P113
Dalmatian face mask
Dalmatian black & white print – P62

Email or call 020 8947 9797

They are £8 including p&p and I will be giving £1 per mask to a local charity.  A group of ladies have set up a group called The Visor Project and have been making protective visors for the NHS.

“This group was set up in March 2020 to make full face PPE visors for any front-line individuals who need them. We are a team of over 30 working collaboratively to provide visors for as many people as we can. As of 21st April, we have produced over 2500 visors which have been given to over 40 health care teams. We provide visors for NHS hospital ICU, neonatal, anaesthetic and maternity teams. We also provide for local GP surgeries, care homes and retirement homes.”

I will be donating any money raised to their efforts and if they no longer need anything, it will go to other local projects or to local foodbanks. I will of course keep you updated with any funds raised.

I will largely just be covering costs with this so, on this occasion, points cannot be used to make purchases, sorry.

If these prove to be very popular I will be able to order more but a little patience may be required as it is just me doing everything. I will do my best to get them out as quickly as possible and will hope to accommodate everyone’s choice of colour too but, at the moment, there are limited quantities on all colours and prints.

Meanwhile, I don’t know about you but this seems to be me on a daily basis at the moment. Keeping it together relatively well during the day and then all hell breaks loose after 7pm! Thankfully I’m not seeing too many people right now

Daily calorie intake graphic - joke

I’m glad to hear so many of you enjoyed my little Youtube video last week and of course other pieces on the website are also available so do give me a call if I can help you with anything. The shop number will divert to my mobile so you can get hold of me easily or send an email and I’ll get back to you ASAP. In order to manage things as best as possible I will probably dedicate the mornings to the phone and emails and the afternoons to picking and packing but I will always get back to you, I promise.

Take care ladies and I’ll see you again soon.

Ali all wrapped warm even though she's inside!

New Tricks!

Published 24th Apri 2020

Hello lovely ladies…long time no see!

I did something new this week…

I did something new this week. No, it wasn’t Zumba, Tai Chi or crochet (still procrastinating on ALL my quarantine projects!). And no, I didn’t raise £28m for the NHS! (Sir) Captain Tom has been an inspiration to us all. The nation’s new sweetheart!

What I did was a Facetime shopping session with one of my fabulous customers, Chris in Andover. It was good fun and worked really well so I decided that maybe this is what I could do to show some of the things that might be of interest to you. If anyone else fancies this, then just give me a call or send me an email and we can set up a time that suits both of us. The shop phone number is now diverted to my mobile so you can get hold of me any time (I do switch it off when I’m sleeping though…)

I also thought I would do a little video in the shop to enable you to see some bits and pieces that might be of use/interest to you at the moment. Just me and my phone, so not a professional endeavour in any way, shape or form, but I hope you enjoy! I won’t be passing the QVC audition any time soon that’s for sure and I apologise for the ‘ums’!

I don’t know about you, but this really rang true for me! I am gobsmacked at just how much I can spend in the supermarket…and it’s just me and the dog! Quite extraordinary!

The new monthly budget allocation

… if you need anything, do give me a call

Remember, if you need anything, do give me a call. UK Mainland postage will be free and, if you live close enough, I’ll pop the parcel round to you myself and take some of the burden off the delivery services.

Meanwhile, having ordered the social distancing dresses last week, I’m contemplating stocking these in the Summer… Any takers?!  😊

The Trikini 2020 - the new beach wear no to be seen in!

Keep an eye out next week for very stylish linen face masks from Grizas. Due to arrive by the end of next week so I’ll be in touch to see if anyone wants one.

Stay safe and happy at home everyone!

Ali all wrapped warm even though she's inside!

The Heat is Rising

Published 14th Apri 2020
Happy Easter from Bakou

Hello lovely ladies. I hope you’re all doing well in this, the strangest of times.

With the temperatures rising, I found myself over the weekend, getting out my Summer wardrobe and realising, as usual, that I don’t fit in to half of it!

… by the time I’d finished I felt that I had a new rapport with Melissa the Mannequin

Made me think that perhaps some of you might be in need of some new bits to see you through the next few weeks so I popped to the shop to take some pics on the mannequins. It was a bit different from our usual shoots with Andy, our fabulous photographer, who keeps us entertained with his brilliant one liners, and Natasa, our gorgeous model whose energy is boundless and enviable! I missed the banter and the fun, but by the time I’d finished I felt that I had a new rapport with Melissa the Mannequin and we had found a mutual understanding and respect for each other and the important roles we both have to play in this current nightmare. I really have no idea why they keep talking about keeping your mind happy and healthy because Melissa and I agreed that we have no issues there at all…

Mellisa modelling Angel Circle Kaftan - Turq/Floral
Mellisa modelling That’s Me Jungle T-shirt

The Wash & Go shirts have also arrived now

So, I’ve tried to pick out some things I thought you might find useful in the current climate. All lightweight, comfortable and easy. Of course all the K J Brand Wash & Go trousers come into their own as soon as the temperatures start to rise and all you want is comfort (with no ironing!). The Wash & Go shirts have also arrived now. I’ve picked some Angel Circle as the viscose is so light and lovely and bright and who doesn’t love a ‘wafter’ (as I like to call the long kaftans) in the heat? The Robell ¾ trousers are great at this time of year, the Grizas silk and linens are breathable and beautiful, the Masai tops are colourful and stylish and the Pont Neuf, with its hugely eco friendly/sustainability message, is both classy and chic!

Mellisa modelling Doris Streich Camo Shirt
Mellisa modelling Grizas One Pocket Tunic

I know they’re not the greatest of pictures; just me and my phone in the shop. Not really ideal, but that’s all I can do for now and hope that the next shoot we do will be back to ‘business as usual’.

Call me if you need anything. I’ve actually had the shop phone diverted to my mobile which will make things easier.

Stay safe and well everyone.

Ali all wrapped warm even though she's inside!

Staying in is the new going out

Published 1st Apri 2020

Hello to all the lovely Bakou Belles out there in the bizarre world we’re now living in. I hope you are all staying happy, well (and sane!).

You’ll be delighted to know I am not sending out my “Covid-19 policy”! I don’t really have one… we’re closed! That’s the only policy I have.

This is simply a hello message because it was lovely to hear back from so many of you after my last email…

This is simply a hello message because it was lovely to hear back from so many of you after my last email and I’m really missing all the interaction in the shop every day and hearing everyone’s news. So sad to think of all those Spring/Summer events that have been cancelled but we’ll hopefully get back to some sort of normality in the not too distant future and everyone will be able to have their celebrations.

While missing everyone’s news at the shop, what I am finding lovely is having time to catch up with friends I haven’t spoken to for a long time. We all live life at such a fast pace, that taking some time out is really quite refreshing. And I’m loving having some extra time with the hound, especially as she’s an old lady now so I don’t know how much longer I’ll have with her.

Keep calm and carry on shopping graphic

I’m also really revelling in the new regime at the supermarket! Is it just me?! Does that make me weird?! Probably… but I like the orderly nature of queuing and shopping peacefully, just a few at a time! I know, I am a little peculiar, but a little oddness is what makes the world go round… doesn’t it?!

Unfortunately, I’m separated from my partner (how I hate that word!) as he’s still working ‘up north’ but that’s given me more time to really appreciate the amazing community I live in. I think a lot of people are getting to know their neighbours, even healing old neighbourly gripes and grievances, so that’s got to be a good thing, no? I’ve realised just how very lucky I am to live where I do. Everyone is really looking out for each other which is seriously heart-warming.

I’ve now come to realise that there is no point stressing about things over which I have absolutely no control

It took me a good few weeks to come to terms with the ‘new order’ when this nightmare started to spread, but I’ve now come to realise that there is no point stressing about things over which I have absolutely no control. So, I’m taking each day as it comes with whatever challenge it presents. Being the Queen of Procrastination I have, of course, not got round to any of my quarantine projects as yet. My ‘study’ remains full of boxes and junk that needs clearing but I’m definitely not going to stress about that. I’ll get to it… probably. It seems that time is one thing a lot of us have now. Enjoy it while you can! My Karcher is staring at me in the garage too… but that will wait until it’s warmer!

Stay safe and well and I’m really looking forward to seeing you all again soon, hopefully! British Summer Time has begun, in earnest! Hopefully this cold snap (it really is bitter out there) will be over soon and we will all be able to enjoy some sunshine. Nature is ready and waiting…so fabulous seeing the new shoots and flowers emerging everywhere (when I’m on my one walk a day…).

I’m also really revelling in the new regime at the supermarket!

Villa Dinari - frontage
My new social distancing outfit has arrived in the mail! (Bookroom.com)

Meanwhile, what do you think… a new range for the shop perhaps? I’m getting out my sewing machine and starting production pronto. Oh no wait, I can’t sew! 😊

Look after yourselves. Let me know if you need me to send anything out to you. I think I’m allowed to go to the shop on my tod and I have a DPD drop off opposite so very little interaction with anyone.

Ali all wrapped warm even though she's inside!

PS The March winner of our prize draw is Sally L from Wandsworth. Congratulations! I will send your vouchers as soon as I can 😊

Challenging Times

Published 14 Mar 2020

Hello lovely ladies. Oh boy, life doesn’t get any easier does it? I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are staying well and safe.

It goes without saying that we would dearly love to see you in the shop although I also realise it might not be top of your ‘to do’ list. We can always send things out to you if you’d prefer. Just give us a call or email, although of course we have much more in the shop than is currently online.

I just want to take this opportunity to reassure you that we are not taking this situation lightly and we are taking every precaution to keep the shop clean and safe.

I just want to take this opportunity to reassure you that we are not taking this situation lightly and we are taking every precaution to keep the shop clean and safe. We are not a high-volume retailer so there aren’t hundreds of people around (unlike the supermarkets) and we are cleaning everything down all the time; surfaces, door handles, phones, credit card machine etc etc. We’ve been taking these measures for the last few weeks. Just to reassure you, none of us has been to any of the ‘hot spots’ or near any known carriers.

Keep calm and carry on shopping graphic

As an added incentive to come to see us, we’re offering a fabulous 20% off everything this week, just in time for Mother’s Day! Do come in, we’d really love to see you.

Stay safe everyone.

Much love.

Ali all wrapped warm even though she's inside!

Weather it is, or weather it’s not!

Published 26 Feb 2020

“In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.” Mark Twain

Ain’t that the truth?! Blimey it’s chilly out there right now! But, with the arrival of our Spring collections, my mind is turning to holidays and sunnier climes! Especially as so many of you are coming in for your Spring wardrobes with tales of your upcoming travels. Jealous? Moi? Maybe just a wee bit!

The recent delivery of the gorgeous Kasbah collection made me take a peek at Heather’s divine boutique hotel, Villa Dinari, just outside Marrakesh. It’s where she photographs her lovely collection and it really is a little slice of heaven! I know some of you have been and loved it and I had a wonderful time when I visited. Have a look and see what you think. No wonder she’s so creative living there!

Villa Dinari - view of the gardens
Villa Dinari - frontage

… don’t miss out on the new arrivals

We’ve had so many deliveries since the last photoshoot and the new bits will be on the website as soon as possible but don’t miss out on the new arrivals. Some gorgeous Pont Neuf has just landed too which never fails to fly out!

Spring and Summer are just around the corner…

Ali all wrapped warm even though she's inside!

Spring and Summer are just around the corner… that’s what my daffodils are telling me anyway! The days are definitely getting longer and soon we’ll all be moaning that we’re too hot. But that’s because we’re British and that’s what we do and no-one can stop us! 

See you soon

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day…and I’m (almost) feeling good

Published 1 Feb 2020
New Dawn sunrise image

The Winter sale is ending, the new Spring collections are arriving, it’s stocktake time of year and I’m into buying season for Autumn/Winter 2020. Naturally that means my back decides to go into a massive spasm the day before I was heading off to Germany for a big trade show which made for an ‘interesting’ few days and a first-hand experience of airport assistance and German doctors (both of which I thoroughly recommend!).

I had to find some innovative ways to manage while I was out there, especially as the hotel wheelchair had flat tyres, so I was forced to walk everywhere…very, very slowly! But where there’s a will…and I couldn’t miss out on seeing all the Autumn/Winter collections, which I’m already getting excited about as there is so much gorgeous stuff around making it very difficult to choose. 

Ali in her make-shift wheelchair

A HUGE thank you to my amazing staff 

Since my return I’ve been pretty much bed-bound but feeling like I will be back on my feet very soon, thankfully. I want to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to my amazing staff for working even harder than usual and covering for me while I’ve been incapacitated. They are exceptional and I’m very lucky to have them!

Before my ‘demise’ we managed a photoshoot of some of the sensational new goodies that have already arrived and the website is now up to date with some of the gorgeous new pieces that are now in store. However, more boxes are arriving daily, so you’ll need to visit us to see everything we have. I’m really really pleased with this collection and I hope you will be too. You’ll see we’ve got loads of the ever-popular K J Brand Wash & Go crops and trousers in lots of great colours. Hopefully something for everyone as I know what an indispensable part of everyone’s Summer wardrobe these have become. There are also some matching vest tops this year and some shirts on the way too, but these haven’t arrived just yet. Arrival is imminent!

Robell Bella ¾ turn up crops…  in six great colours

I also listened to everyone asking for the Robell Bella ¾ turn up crops to return so that key piece of the Summer wardrobe is back too in six great colours, as well as in the stretch denim in black, white and navy.

Ali all wrapped warm even though she's inside!

I hope you’ll find that you’re spoilt for choice with this collection and we look forward to seeing you very soon!

Happy New Decade!

Published 2 Jan 2020

Happy new year lovely ladies!

I sincerely hope your new decade has started somewhat better than mine. I am currently lying in bed with a fever feeling very sorry for myself! But I had a lovely Christmas with family and friends so I mustn’t grumble.

Being on my ‘death bed’ hasn’t stopped me from making sure we’ve added more items to the sale and reduced many pieces to 50% off their original price so there are lots of bargains to be had before we fill the rails with new goodies. I’m trying to keep the website updated but there are more pieces in the shop too so make sure you come and see us when you can.

Happy New Year Graphic - with sad (not well) face

New Year’s resolution!

The new year always brings up the whole ‘resolution’ thing but as I’ve failed with every new year’s resolution I’ve ever made (usually to lose weight and get fit), I decided not to bother this year and to just stick to the idea of a year of positivity.

Ali all wrapped warm even though she's inside!

In the words of Roald Dahl, “If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely”.

Have a lovely, shiny day/week/month/year ladies!