Carlisle's Warwick Bazaar: they don't make vintage emporiums like this anymore
I felt really lucky when I stumbled upon Warwick Bazaar in Carlisle.
I had spent the last two days at a spa with my mum at Lake Windemere, lounging around in hot tubs, reading, and eating all my meals in a dressing gown. And now I was about to indulge in my other favourite form of relaxation - digging through tat, or as it's also known, vintage shopping .
Located moments from the awesomely named Botchergate (which is home to TWO Wetherspoons!), I was actually mid-traipse around Carlisle's eight or so charity shops (looking for more fodder for our Book Club) when I spotted Warwick Bazaar.
After ticking off Cancer Research and Oxfam - both fruitless, but next to a geeky games shop that had giant models of Saw baddie Jigsaw AND Stripe the Gremlin in the window - I headed back to the Bazaar, unaware of what might be inside.
Entering via a set of winding stairs, I immediately knew this was my type of place, with an original Rambo poster looking down at me from the wall as I made my way to the first floor, which was home to beautifully displayed jewellery, kitsch homeware, vintage medical prints (I picked up a couple), and an eerie 'Creepy Clown'.
The clown reminded me a bit of Karl Pilkington, and not in a good way.
Heading upstairs, there were more treasures to be found. Old magazines, stacks of Fortean Times, art made from animal skulls and other trinkets that sparked a memory of being at an old relative's house and being told not to touch anything in case you break it.
One of my favourite foreign words that can't be translated in to English is, 'saudades', it's Portuguese and means you miss a memory of a time of your life that you know you can never return to.
One of the rooms, with its 70s print fabrics, Misfits artwork, records and fairy lights, definitely sparked a bit of a saudades moment for my early 20s, but actually what I really miss are places like Warwick Bazaar.
In London especially, places with character are few and far between, with places like Kensington Market now office blocks or flats. Growing up, hanging out in these places made me realise there were other people out there who didn't give a shit about fitting in, and that it was OK to just be yourself.
Warwick Bazaar is the kind of place that you can go in to and not know what treasures, trash or tat are waiting for you - and the same is true for the owner, who laughed as she told me that she has no idea what's in the shop as it's so densely packed.
But there is more than just shopping to be done in the Bazaar, she told me. Twice a month it hosts live music nights.
"You should come up from London for the next one," she said.
"I think I will," I said.
Taking in one last look at the treasures all around the shop I thought: "But next time I won't take the train - I'll be bringing a van!"
Warwick Bazaar, 1 Warwick Rd, Carlisle CA1 1DH - Find them on Facebook