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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Accessorize: Always Cute, Often Pricey
Whenever there’s an Accessorize in sight in Cairo, our eyes can’t help but wander over to ogle what colourful, tropical and floral designs they’re offering lately. Always carrying the most adorable bags and jewellery of the season, Accessorize is also unfortunately overpriced, given that their adorable bags are mostly cotton cloth and pleather, and sell for around £65 in the UK, around 420LE here.
The British accessories brand was born out of the Monsoon ‘ethnic’ clothing store in the early 80s, when they began to sell accessories that were so popular; they decided to dedicate a separate store to them in London’s Covent Garden piazza in 1984.
Now Accessorize has over 240 stores in the UK and 600 stores worldwide. The label’s Mohandiseen branch is absolutely tiny, taking up a chip of a corner on Lebanon Street. Nonetheless, the store manages to pack a decent selection of jewellery, bags, and scarves as well as flip flops into the little space.
Arranged by colour, the jewellery is definitely funky, original and too cute at fairly reasonable prices. Delicate leaf pendants were 90LE, chunky oversized colourful bead necklaces were about 140LE, and chandelier earrings were 100LE– which were on the pricier side since we’ve bought silver for less and they looked like they wouldn’t hold up for more than a week. Scarves too were about 90LE, and standard flip flops about 140LE
We also noticed that their stock was less than fresh: despite carrying items from their newest collection, we also spotted frameless sunglasses that are at least three years old, and turquoise stud earrings from last summer’s collection. The pricing is actually quite impressive though, considering that most international brands carry a hefty import charge swallowed by the consumer, when doing the conversion their stock here is actually sometimes cheaper than it is in the UK.
Accessorize’s current collection is inspired by the vibrant colours, prints and embroidery of Mexico, and vibrant, printed, and embroidered they all are, though not looking too different from their usual fare, and in fact quite similar to the beautiful 2009 summer collection– which is certainly not a bad thing.
With an abundance of shops in Cairo geared more towards fashion, many pet owners often feel frustrated with the meager selection of pet shops, food and accessories available to cater for their four-legged companions. However, this growing demand has seen many pet shops competing in the market.
Tucked away as a small kiosk in Citystars’ Hhase Two corridor, Pet Shop draws in a crowd eager to view the various small animals available for purchase.
Quite unassuming in size, the shop is largely noticeable by the melodic chirping of parakeets on display. In addition to birds, the shop also sells numerous Red-Eared Snappers and tortoises lounging in aquarium habitats. Fish are also plentiful, with the typical breeds of Goldfish to the more exotic Japanese Fighting Fish and beautiful Koi.
The main attraction, however, are the stoic iguana and chameleon placed at the front of the shop. The shop keepers are incredibly friendly and allow gentle handling of some of the animals - under intense supervision, of course.
Most of these small pets are priced rather high when comparing to other, more low-key pet shops in less expensive venues. The Red-Eared Snappers start at 50LE, but can be haggled down to 30LE, or 20LE if you’re a persistent negotiator.
Pet Shop also sells accessories and food for your small and furry friends. Dog collars and leashes are on display in standard chain-link and fabric, with the latter available in various colours and designs. Chew toys and other playthings are also available, though are kept to a scarce few.
Dog and cat treats are not in an immense variety, but are diverse enough to break brand monotony. The most abundant of ranges in food are for the animals on display, such as turtle (15LE), fish, and bird food.
Cages, aquarium and tank decorations are on offer, with a medium sized enclosure suitable for two turtles going for around 250LE.
Although nowhere near as impressive as the larger stores, Pet Shop is a fresh addition to the invariability of clothes shops and restaurants on the same floor.