Is your girlfriend the kind of woman who suppresses a yawn when you hand her a bouquet of red roses on Valentine’s Day? Does a box of chocolate hearts make her smile politely as she chucks them in the back of the fridge? You get her a scarf (yet again – making it a grand total of sixteen so far), or worse, a generic tube of Body Shop body butter, and she stashes them away to re-gift to her girlfriends. In all probability, then, as February 14 approaches, you are starting to look a little red-eyed and twitchy. Fear not. Women’s Aid and advertising giants Grey London may have just the ticket for your tree-hugging, soup-kitchen-loving girlfriend.
Take a walk through Soho and discover a little gem of a concept store on Noel Street. Domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid are giving you the chance this February (until Valentine’s Day) to visit this store front that houses a 3D installation of quaint bell-jars – some chocker-block with chewy sweets (A Portion of Spoilt Rotten, by Suck and Chew), others that house tiny Doll’s House type characters reading a book, enjoying a quiet moment together under a wintery tree and a romantic lantern (Some Old-fashioned Romance, by Marie-Louise Jones).
You can text the number written next to your favourite gift, and donate a little to Women’s Aid. Your girlfriend will receive her virtual gift via a text, telling her that you care about the very real problem of domestic abuse. The shop front includes interpretations and illustrations by London’s top artists, like Rob Rylan, Kyle Bean, Fred Butler, The Last Tuesday Society, and others
One in four women experience some kind of domestic abuse in their lifetime. As Nicola Harwin, Chief Executive for Women’s Aid reminds us, relationships based on abuse can often look perfectly innocent on the surface, but can revolve around a cycle of controlling behaviour and gift-giving. Women’s Aid work tirelessly to change national policy, raise awareness, and give advice and counselling to women in need. Give them a helping hand this February by buying a gift that really matters.
Cabinet of Dreams
The FrameStore, 9 Noel Street, W1
Until February 14, 2012