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Reusing is no longer simply a passion, it’s a necessity.

With the overdue spring sunshine streaming in through the vast panelled windows, the aroma of freshly ground coffee and the wafts of just-baked pistachio cornetti - it’s hard to imagine a nicer place to while away a Thursday morning. We’re not here just for the food though, even better than that, we’re here to chat to Lamb & Newt and La Follia founder, Mariana Newton.

It’s fair to say that Lamb & Newt was born accidentally to some extent. With her daughter’s 21st birthday approaching, Mariana paired up with a great local friend, Kate, to bring her vision of a New York rooftop garden to life in Kate’s lambing barn. The search to fulfil the vision took them places in search of props to set the stage for the big birthday bash. “We had so much fun building this picture we’d created in our minds - the hunt was exhilarating, she recalls.” At the same time, somewhat parallel happenings were taking place in her day job - creative director for some of the UK’s best known fashion brands. “I’d got a bit disheartened on some of my shoots when I realised the props were becoming increasingly expected - same old thing, time and time again.” Before she knew it, Mariana was showing up to her shoots with armfuls of props she’d picked up at antiques markets, fairs or even pieces from around her own home. “I absolutely loved it and it opened up a whole new creative channel.I knew I wanted more.”

Mariana’s appreciation for beautiful things has taken her down the path she’s on today. What started out as a series of brilliant popup shopping/ foodie events in Kate’s barn, eventually led to the inspiration behind lifestyle antiques and vintage shop, Lamb & Newt and adjoining Italian cafe, La Follia. Never one to source based on trends, Mariana always leads from the heart - “If I love it, I buy it.” This mantra certainly appears to be working as we sip frothy cappuccinos, nestled amongst a treasure trove of pieces that make us feel decidedly young. Beautiful period chairs, chunky English earthenware and crystal cut chandeliers fresh from a chateau - it’s all here and it’s all for the taking. Literally, all for the taking. “I’m not a natural salesperson, but everything is for sale.” Interestingly, it’s only once you’ve sat down and realised the chair you’re sitting on has a ‘sold’ tag on it, or the bud vase is ‘reserved’, that you discover this. Half joking, I point to a small vintage wooden unit on the wall heaving with eclectic pieces and ask if she’d take the shelves down if someone wanted them. “Absolutely, even the plants are for sale, although I’m always a bit sad when my favourites go!”

There’s a magnetism to the space that I can’t put my finger on. Mariana says it herself, “even when we were knee deep in rubble with no windows and no clue how we were going to make this work, there was a vibe in here - a good feeling.” There may well be positivity in these walls, but there’s no doubt that the proprietor certainly plays a huge part in creating a space so divine. Her exquisite attention to detail and unnerving commitment to the space is admirable. “I rearrange the shop on a daily basis. I want it to stay fresh and for customers to experience different things when they come in.” It’s not only the physical space that sees this level of attention, Mariana freely admits that a single post on Instagram can take over an hour as she perfects each written word and pours over the photography. “I might be a bit of a control freak, but this is my baby.”

A sweeping, step-free path welcomes you into the space. That is, if Mariana hasn’t already welcomed you personally as you enter. “I truly value each individual that walks in the door. They have a choice and the fact that they’ve chosen to come here and enjoy this space means so much to me.” This deep gratitude for her customer is obvious as our conversation is frequently interrupted as someone enters or leaves. Mariana makes a point to acknowledge them - a hug, a smile, or a simple thank you. And, by the way, none of this feels forced - it’s entirely authentic, just like everything else at Lamb & Newt. Incredibly heartening in a world where customer service is crumbling before our very eyes.

As I scoop out the remaining chocolatey froth from my antique cup (also for sale), I begin to sense that perhaps this positive vibe has absolutely nothing to do with chance. Surely all the above ingredients, mixed in with a powerful mission to promote reusing, repurposing and repair - is the winning formula. As her website states, ‘Every piece from the past we introduce into the present is saving a little bit of our future’. This, and a killer cup of coffee. We can’t even say the rest is history, this feels like just the beginning - for Mariana and for each and every piece in her glorious space.

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Mariana is wearing our navy Dungarees and our cotton poplin Edwardian shirt with navy contrast stitching.