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You’ve probably spotted Astrid Vella on TV or in the news fighting for the environment on behalf of Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA – Together for a Better Environment). As co-founder of the organisation, Astrid has worked tirelessly to protect and safeguard Malta’s built and natural environment for the last 15 years. Today, we’re sitting down with her to discuss some of her favourite We Are Not A Shop picks.

Astrid, we’re so happy you took the time to chat to us today! Could you talk us through some of your favourite pieces?

I would love to. For starters, I love vintage costume jewellery; I once read “Women who wear real jewellery are rich, but those who wear costume jewellery are more interesting”, which is so true! The We Are Not A Shop website is a total treasure trove of all things vintage, so I was spoiled for choice in that department. I am particularly fond these earrings – I can’t wait to wear them.

Then, I just had to pick this gorgeous blue bottle from the 1930s. I’ve been collecting old-school soda bottles for a while now and this would make the perfect addition to my collection!

I also love suffragette jewellery and this piece was clearly inspired by the movement. Everything from the colours to the craftsmanship and the general feel of the piece are indicative of that era, so I couldn’t not have it.

Admittedly, I’m a sucker for any Malta-related books and these two instantly caught my eye. I actually studied Coleridge at University, so this book on his trip to Malta was a natural choice. Then, I was drawn to this one because I’ve always been fascinated by images of Valletta from the past. That’s probably because my mother was a Valletta girl through and through, and would often recount stories of the city to me as a child. I think the images in this book really encapsulate the essence of the Valletta, which is truly spectacular.

Finally, this handbag is both practical and fun. I can style it with anything and take it anywhere and everywhere: whether that’s to the beach on a hot summer’s day or to a more formal business meeting in the afternoon. It’s also the perfect size to store my tablet or other important day-to-day items – ultra convenient!

Great picks, Astrid! Did you pick any items with someone specific in mind?

Well, I find the website terrific for gifts for oversees friends and relatives. I’ve already sent these coasters to a friend abroad, and plan to send something else soon because they were a total hit!

The website has proven to be super convenient for finding Christmas presents for my (impossible-to-buy-for) husband, too. There’s such a vast selection of original items available that you’re bound to find something for anyone – even the most particular of people.

We know this is a tough question, but do you have a favourite item?

This pendant, which I’m definitely buying.

How would you describe We Are Not A Shop to someone who doesn’t know about it?

That’s easy: “A treasure trove of whimsical and original gems.”

That’s quite the description – we love it! Now, what do you like most about the We Are Not A Shop concept?

What’s not to like? At We Are Not A Shop, you can treat yourself and other to wonderful gifts while also helping preserve Malta’s heritage. Win, win!

Finally, would you recommend We Are Not A Shop to a friend?

Oh absolutely. Like a shot.

Check out Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar’s website for regular updates on their work preserving Malta’s built and natural heritage.

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