In my bag . . .

Arran Aromatics honey and lemon lip balm

Arran Aromatics honey and lemon lip balm - Credit: IAN BURT

When Sally Reynolds opened Mermaid’s Purse in Wells 11 years ago, it marked a huge change in direction for the mother-of-three.

Waldo Pancake pen and Cath Kidston notebook

Waldo Pancake pen and Cath Kidston notebook - Credit: IAN BURT

“I studied geology at university and had worked for years in environmental education, which I really enjoyed. But when the chance came up to take over this building and start a new business I just felt the time was right.

Ila Dusk personal alarm

Ila Dusk personal alarm - Credit: IAN BURT

“My daughter and son-in-law came on board and although it was a massive leap, I absolutely love it. I love meeting people and the fact that no day is ever the same.”


Fossils - Credit: IAN BURT

The shop and café is in the heart of Wells on Staithe Street and Sally loves being part of the community. She is very much a hands on boss and subsequently her handbag has become her mobile office.

Cath Kidston red polka dot purse

Cath Kidston red polka dot purse - Credit: IAN BURT

“My daughter bought me this handbag from Fat Face. I use it for work and pleasure, it is like my companion. It is red leather and, most importantl, very roomy which it needs to be. I often accompany it with my Waitrose jute bag which is full of anything I can’t squeeze in my bag. It makes everyone laugh.”

Canon Ixus 800is

Canon Ixus 800is - Credit: IAN BURT

Cath Kidston red polka dot purse, from £28

I think red is a real statement colour, but also it looks really feminine. Cath Kidston purses are so sturdy and such good quality. Best of all it is big enough to get all my bits and pieces in.

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Ila Dusk personal alarm, from £10.

Thankfully I have never had any reason to use it, but it is a reassuring presence. It doesn’t look like an alarm, it has a lovely cherry blossom pattern on it. But when you pull the plug, it is scary how loud it is.

Waldo Pancake pen (£1.95) and Cath Kidston notebook (from £5).

I have to have pens and a notebook. At the moment I have a funny Waldo Pancake pen which we sell a lot of. I write down everything, from todo lists and shopping reminders to things I hear which I don’t think I will hear again.

Arran Aromatics honey and lemon lip balm with UV protector, £3.50 for 15ml

I love Arran Aromatics, the quality is so good. They say honey and lemon is a natural cure all and this feels like it is. I go to a lot of trade shows and with all the air conditioning your skin and lips get so dry, so lip balms are a must.

Camera, Canon Ixus 800is, prices vary.

You never know when a great photo opportunity might crop up. I love getting pictures for our Facebook page, to show life at the café and in Wells itself. During carnival week, the ladies at the Post Office wore different fancy dress outfits everyday which made great photographs.

And a little something else . . .

I would walk on freshly ploughed fields with my mum, learning to find fossils and have collected them ever since. At the moment I have a little belemnite fossil in my bag and a traditional worry stone from Ireland. Women used to keep them in their apron pocket and roll them round in their fingers.

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