Armchair Souvenir Shopping: 8 Favorites from A Vida Portuguesa

Where do shopkeepers shop for fun and distraction? We recently featured the Winchester, England, home of Victoria Suffield, owner of the celebrated indie-department store The Hambledon, and asked her where she’s willing to pay retail. Her response didn’t surprise us: she loves A Vida Portuguesa, an emporium that we happen to have been perusing often of late—as both armchair travel and joy browsing.

Founded by Catarina Portas, a former journalist with a fondness for nostalgic design, A Vida Portuguesa has five locations (four in Lisbon, one in Porto), plus a well-stocked website dedicated to celebrating “the brands that have survived the passage of time and highlighting the quality of Portuguese manufacture.” These range from household tools to textiles, and from the very humble to the elaborate. Here are eight that speak to us.

Encerite wax paste A Vida Portuguesa. Above: For “guarding the beauty and health of wood,” Encerite Wax Paste, €4.85, is still sold in its original 1927 packaging. Available in five colors, including castanha (chestnut).
Embroidered tablecloth and napkins A Vida Portuguesa. Above: “Few regions in Europe boast the variety and richness of popular embroideries found in the Douro and Minho regions. And none are as original, innocent, and well-loved as the ones produced in the city of Viana do Castelo,” explains the A Vida Portuguesa catalogue. This 200-centimeter (78.7 -inch) Round Cotton Tablecloth comes with a set of 10 napkins; €212.
Fruit picker funnel A Vida Portuguesa. Above: To be filed under A Must-Have We Don’t Really Need and Never Knew Existed. This looks like a decorative funnel but in fact is a Fruit Picker, €11, for use in an orchard: you hold the base and angle the scalloped edges to catch and cut apples by the stem—the fruit neatly lands in the center hole.
Classic desk agenda 2020, A Vida Portuguesa. Above: Like everyone, we’re ready to see 2020 end. But come 2021, we’d love one of these classic Agenda Condor planners, available in mini for €3.70 and regular for €4.50.
Stainless steel olive oil dispenser, Yellow plaid cotton tablecloth, Classic desk agenda 2020, A Vida Portuguesa. Above: For pouring olive oil with precision and protecting it from sunlight: this stainless steel Guimaraes e Rosa Dispenser is €15.
Embroidered hanky, A Vida Portuguesa. Above: The Love-Kerchief, €54, is “an original, sweet, and moving invention of the Minho people,” traditionally bestowed as a surprise to be worn around the neck. This is one of several examples on offer.
Electric toaster, A Vida Portuguesa. Above: Julie has her eye on this old-fashioned Electric Toaster, €28.10.

Go to Shopper’s Diary to see more of our favorite browsing sites, including:

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