A shop is for life not just for Christmas

In England we have a saying " A dog is for life not just for Christmas". The inference being that a lot of puppies are given as surprise presents at Christmas only to be abandoned as unwanted on the streets in the New Year. Nowhere are there more stray and abandoned dogs as here on the streets in Portugal. On a quiet Lisbon back street in the very stroll-worthy neighbourhood of Chiado, the fashionable shopping quarter of Lisbon, we found not an abandoned dog but a converted soap factory.What was to greet us when we crossed the threshold was truly a revelation. Stepping back in time from the modern world outside we wandered through a Santa´s grotto of Portuguese retro. One room after another filled with glass panelled cabinets full of gorgeousness. At times you feel as if you are browsing  Portugal´s near equivalent of the Robert Opie Collection. Within five minutes I was speechless. As I passed by one cabinet I was overcome by the heady aroma of soaps by Claus Porto in art deco boxes. I was breathless and ready to Plotz.

Tricana branded canned fish
 I have always loved beautiful packaging and everything retro, and if you covet anything "old fashioned", you'll find it here at A Vida  Portuguesa.Run by Portuguese Journalist Caterina Portas, she opened Lisbon's A Vida Portuguesa shop in 2007. It is as if she has created a museum in which she curates more than 1000 products made by Portuguese manufacturers who've deliberately resisted globalization. In many cases apparently, she had to hunt down brands that were near extinction.Her cornucopia allows you explore display after display of unique items—from tea and toothpaste to fabric and tambourines—that are all handmade, Portuguese-crafted or have been around forever. It successfully celebrates something that small-batch and one -off producers and locavores work to champion.Alongside slow food we now have slow
Self-adhesive labels
Surprisingly her surname is synonymous with another Portas, Mary, renowned for innovation and make overs on the British high street.This project is absolutely the  opposite of cheaper, faster internet shopping and ship-it-to-your-door retail. This is no abandoned pooch but the most gorgeous and unusual of general stores and is here to stay for ever.I implore you if you haven´t already,to boogie on down there and ensure bygones live on.

Rua Anchieta 11
Lisbon, Portugal
Tel: 213 465 073


  1. What a lovely success story. I would love to shop here . . . being a bit retro myself.


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