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...That's an order. It's a dizzying, nightmarish place where history and craft go to die. Besides, the Birmingham branch is a colossal pain to get to. No, IKEA just won't do.
What you want to be doing is shopping retro. Filling your home with previously loved curios that have stories to tell, even if you don't know what those stories are. And Birmingham is full of vintage wonders. Here's just 5 places you need to be visiting, even if you're not necessarily buying. 

Antiques: Moseley Emporium Antiques

Located in a stunning Victorian villa for over 20 years it provides an eclectic selection of antiques. The shop used to stock exclusively pre-30s furniture, specialising in Edwardian and Victorian items. However, recently the owner, Maurice Dorney, expanded to include retro furniture from the '30s to the '70s. Spread across three floors, Moseley Emporium hosts a range of pieces, from intricate classic furniture to antique glassware. These glass tantalus (£165) are from the Edwardian period and offer a sophisticated way to store your liquor. (07973 156 902, 116 Alcester Road, B13 8EE. moseleyemporiumantiques.com)

Collectables: Urban Village

Well known for providing vintage clothing over the last 14 years, hidden in the basement of the shop is a world of wonderful collectables. Retro radios, old vinyl records, model cars and memorabilia are displayed throughout. Owned by Frankie Johns, Urban Village is not only a haven for retro finds, it also hosts a wealth of wicked events. Yeah, we used the word 'wicked'. These vintage tins (£6-£8) are very in right now. The commemorative tin dates back to the 1950s, while the Jacobs Crackers tin is from the 1960s. Stick them in your kitchen. (0121 224 7367, The Custard Factory, B9 4AA. urban-village.co.uk)

Fashion: Cow Birmingham

The Cow warehouse isn’t hard to miss; its bold yellow shop front is as eye catching as the vintage brilliance inside. Since they opened their Birmingham branch, they have become a second hand clothing goldmine. The warehouse is lined with rails of clothes, from chunky jumpers to shirt dresses, and a selection of accessories and shoes. Cow’s creative team ‘rework’ certain pieces in store, making them truly one of a kind. This reworked ladies shirt with a velvet collar (above left, £30) offers a bit of glamour to a second hand item. For men, this untouched duffle coat (above right, £68) is our pick. (0844 504 000, 82 Digbeth B5 6DY. wearecow.com)

Furniture and home décor: Blakeley-Browns

Established in the 1970s, when Mr Brown opened Brown’s Antiques in Bearwood, his daughter, Vicki Spencer-Brown, has taken on the business and developed it into a quirky vintage furniture and décor specialist, in the Custard Factory. Full of fashionable items including retro signs and filing cabinets, everything on offer has been carefully selected and reflects the current second-hand trends. Some furniture is custom made using upcycled items, like this table. Vicki's become famous for these made-to-order tabletops (£175) which are unique and patterned using vintage printing blocks. (07769 871 844, Shop 18, The Custard Factory, B9 4AA. blakeley-browns.co.uk)


Winter doesn't spell the death of the barbecue. Far from it. Birmingham's most famous grillers are going tongs-to-tongs, next week (Sunday Dec 1, 6pm), in the first of a series of cook-offs to find the best ribs in the city. First up, Low 'n' Slow take on the Backyard Brummies at The Church, Jewellery Quarter. Tickets cost £20 which includes a selection of ribs, sides, a pickleback and entertainment. Head this way


If you're looking for something to do this very weekend and you have even just a passing interest in photography, then we've only gone and blooming well sorted you out. Photographer Pete Ashton has teamed up with local sound artists to run two photo walks this weekend that are part of the culmination of four months of research. The idea is, camera in hand, you listen to the sounds of the city and allow what you hear to influence what, and how, you photograph. It's a snip at just £5. More info and ticket purchase, right here
Words: Kat Bush / Images: Flickr thebittenword.com, Andrew Dubber
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