Those of you who read this blog regularly know I'm an unabashed Anglomaniac. Is that a word? Well it's fitting for a girl like me who lives for visits to England. I ask you, what is not to love about a country filled with tiny thatched cottages, ancient castles, fabulous gardens, tea and scones and everything beautiful and romantic? I'm in my element there and so was thrilled to get another chance to visit even if it was just for four days.
I had a list so long of things to see and do that I actually needed a few months. I squeezed all the English culture I could into myself along with Pimms cups, scones, and clotted cream. Running about trying to see all I could may have prevented me from coming home 10 pounds heavier. Getting squished in the Tube doors a few times may have helped as well. :(
Typical arrival into Heathrow...
Right away I am hit with why London is a fabulous place...Just look at the cool Tube posters for summer exhibitions that I didn't have time to see!
By the way if you haven't been to London yet, let me say the Tube is the way to get around. So easy and safe and really makes London a breeze. Just make sure you pay attention to where you are getting off to connect. I started to get a bit relaxed and just let my husband do all the navigating until one stop where I got on with one son, but the he and another son didn't make it through the doors. The doors close fast...The look of horror on my face and my, "Oh no!" was enough to make the whole train chuckle.
I love how nice people are on the Tube and in general in the U.K. Luckily, I saw my husband throw up 2 fingers just as we were taking off and so I knew to get off after two stops for the next connection. I also got stuck in the door once. Not an uncommon occurrence during crazy times. My boys loved the Tube and the challenge of navigating it.
I was grateful to have my pashmina wrap (a blanket basically), I take on planes with me to use as a shield against the wind. Silly me packing dresses, skirts, and 3 pairs of sandals! What a California girl. Like I haven't traveled before or something.
I had to hit the ground as soon as we got there to look for warmer things. Selfridges was quite close and I wanted to snap a photo for my mom who just finished watching the Mr Selfridge series. Have you seen it yet? Is it as good as everyone says? I have downloaded it and I'm just waiting for a night when I won't pass out to start watching!
Selfridges is gorgeous and huge and a bit overwhelming. So many stores within a store.. It reminded me a bit of Harrods. They were just selling more summer things that no one could wear of course...
We wandered down to the Bond Street area for my boys who have been waiting five long years to get back to the 7-story kid's nirvana that is Hamley's Toy Store..
I stumbled on this uniquely British shoe store and was enchanted...
Yes, those are bunny heels!
They embrace the flower here...
And the frog!
Yes those are donuts.
I really wanted a pair of these Provencal inspired sandals, but never made it back.
The number one rule of travel shopping...Do not even think you'll get back because you won't! If you think you might want it- get it!
How cool is this? How many shopping areas would offer such a place? What a nice spot to hang out here while you peruse the books and inscriptions...
Around the corner is the bastion of British flowers, Liberty!
It just wouldn't be a trip to London without a stop at Liberty. So much to love here...
The building itself is half-timbered and so unique. It was constructed from the timbers of two old ships.
If you are a lover of florals this is your spot. You can see the famous Liberty prints that stores like J. Crew, Vans and so many others have been using in their recent collections. They also have a very fun housewares section as well as handbags, scarves and much more.
Last time I was here I bought the most wonderful toile sheets and a gorgeous make-up bag. This time I purchased a cute tote and a few beautiful lavender sachets for drawers.
Their outdoor flower shop. They aren't pretentious and sell bunches in jam jars as well. Another thing on my bucket list was to have tea here. The cafe has the most darling mis-matched china sets and just all that kind of girly goodness. Didn't make it. Maybe next time.
While we are talking shopping, Fortnum & Mason is not to be missed. It's been on Piccadilly St since 1707! I had never been before and I was in for a treat...
The display windows are fabulous!
Inside there is not just tea, but a gorgeous store filled with more treats and treasures. Here is another fabulous place to bring a souvenir home from. They are famous for their hampers, or what we call picnic baskets, filled with goodies. They sell high end teas, confections and foods as well as beauty, accessories, home goods and jewelry.
My shopping buddy checking out the top floor.
The honey section. I love how everything comes in a collectable container like these pretty honey pots.
Stiltons and blue cheeses come in cute crocks.
The biscuits (we say cookies) come in the most gorgeous tins.
The Prince of Wales has his own area of goods produced at Highgrove, his royal estate and farm. It's a large section and I believe he donates the proceeds to his charities which is nice.
The hot chocolate section.
You can have tea at three different restaurants here. They have high tea, lunch teas and just a spot to grab a scone and a cuppa. I needed more time here! I had to bribe the men with sweets and then they just expired.
I did get some wonderful Coronation loose tea and a little milk pitcher.
The fabulous view down The Mall with it's Union Jacks. Last time we caught the Queen's Guard coming down here on their horses. That is always a thrill.
Cute entries with umbrellas!
Everyone has flowers somewhere in their entry.
Boxwood is everywhere as well...
The men just look so dashing here.
Even the older gentleman step it up and I love that!
You will see men in bespoke (made to measure) suits all over London and yes it does make a difference. The men look impeccable and so handsome! Coming from California, and Silcon Valley, land of the work chino, I really can appreciate this.
I also like that English guys wear a button-down as we would a t-shirt. So much more attractive in my opinion!
Next up I'll show you the rest of my London visit and some pubs, parks and palaces!