Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My English Adventure!




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.




 One look at this snap I took of this cute couple should tell you it wasn't summery weather when we arrived. Yes it was June. You never know what to expect. Last time I was in London they had the hottest summer in 40 years!


 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 love how all the streets were festooned for the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation.




Mission accomplished. Right away my kids were drawn into this fun catching game by one of their toy barkers. Lots of toy interaction here.
Sorry for the rough photo.



Of course we bought one! Good souvenirs here too. This is a great stop to bring a gift back home from.. I particularly like their Union Jack umbrellas which are nicely made and not too expensive.





Around the corner is the famous Carnaby Street with everyone celebrating Brittania. I loved it! Carnaby is another fun area to shop or eat at...












A hat shop window!

I stumbled on this uniquely British shoe store and was enchanted...


So alternative.



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. 

Out in the air again we wandered the streets. Make sure you have time to wander! This is a great city to do it in and one of my favorite things to do on my travels.




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.

Other things I love about wandering London...


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!




 Well, I hope you enjoyed a little bit of what charmed me on this trip!
 Next up I'll show you the rest of my London visit and some pubs, parks and palaces!

Stay tuned!

Kim

26 comments :

  1. Fabulous photos Kim.I love visiting Liberty when I go to London:) It is actually roasting at the moment over there now!
    ~Anne

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    1. Thanks Anne. You are fortunate to be a lot closer. Of course it's warm there now. I had so many cute things to wear too!

      xx

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  2. Lovely, lovely, lovely but by golly, what's up with those bunny heels ? I have to protest most vigorously !!!xx

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    1. Dear SB, I was wondering what you would think of those!! Crazy right?

      xo

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  3. What a wonderful and fun trip to London with your family. I miss London now. I am glad you enjoyed all of those shopping especially at Fortnum & Mason. I would like to buy those Proven├žal sandals too. Amazing photos.

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    1. Pam, You inspired me to get to Fortnum & Mason and I'm so glad I did. What a wonderful place! Wish I could go back.

      xo

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  4. Wow! Now that's a library! Such an amazing trip Kim and your pictures are fantastic. Funny about missing your stop on THE TUBE.. after going to Paris last year and getting on and off the Metro, I understand the importance of keeping track of where you are. I've not been to London. We tried to go last year and it didn't work with our itinerary. I look forward to going sometime in the future!

    xxleslie

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    1. Leslie, You would love it! Thanks for you nice note!
      xx

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  5. The lending library - we have a local coffee shop that has one and they have a couple of shelves of "For Sale" that benefits a charity.
    The flowers on the shoes! I would have a pair of those in a minute - just for weddings and tea time. :-)
    Thanks for the tour Kim. I've not been to London and this was a satisfying trip with my breakfast in hand. Cheers!

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    1. Thanks Linda! I think you could find a pair you loved there!

      xo

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  6. Hello!
    I'm your newest follower.
    I really like your blog! It seems you had a great time in London. I love shopping at Primark when I go.

    See you through future posts!

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    1. Hi Evi,
      Thanks for your note! I will pop over and check out your blog. I never did get to Primark, but it was right across the street from where we stayed. It looked busy!

      xx

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  7. welcome home!

    I have been waiting for a post and LOVED the trip to England!

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    1. Camille,
      Thanks so much for reading and for your note!

      xx

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  8. I have been waiting too and the wait is worth it for this fun frolic with you. Thanks for taking these great pictures to share and I look forward to reading/seeing more of this adventure - xoxo - ps, I'm glad you all reconnected ok from the tube experience - I would have freaked!

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    1. Hi Jen!
      That is nice of you to say! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, thank goodness I made it out of the Tube alive! Lol.

      xx

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  9. Hi Kim! I am having so much fun catching up on my favorite blogs-like yours.:) This is such a charming post. It makes me long for London though I was just there over the holidays. The shopping, the culture, the history and the charming doorways. You show both the whimsy and the elegance that is London. What a fantastic family trip Kim.
    I look forward to hearing more about your summer getaway.
    xx, Heather

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    1. Heather,
      I loved your trip to London too and your photos! Thanks so much for your sweet note!

      xo

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  10. So much to comment on! You say the sweetest things about England. I suppose we sometimes take things for granted and I'm fortunate to live just two hours by train from London which you have captured so well in your gorgeous photos. I was down there earlier this year and took similar photos like the Selfridges sign (it's a great series!) and the Liberty flowers - my favourite department store. Great post!
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Dear Miss b,

      Love seeing England through your blog! Thanks I hope I did England proud. You are so fortunate to live in such a marvelous spot with amazing places and people! Love it! Thanks for your note!

      xx

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  11. I am a Brit so lovely to read such lovely things about my city (having not lived in London for 13 years!). Pity you are not here now as we are having the most gorgeous weather. I seem to have grown up always being in Liberty's as my Godmother was a buyer for them. It's still my fav shop decades later (even more than Selfridges which has become SO big and impersonal now).

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    1. Vanessa, That must have been really fun having a godmother who worked at Liberty! I agree I thought Selfridges was a bit too much. Not so impressive.

      I have friends there now and they say the weather is beautiful! Oh well. Still feel lucky to have been there and cannot wait to return. Thanks for stopping by!

      xx

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    2. Maybe next time I can show you some lovely spots off the tourist trail ;-)

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  12. I so love London too and was happy to get to travel a little vicariously through you...wonderful images!

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  13. You have the kind of vacations I love: full of exploring, walking around, shopping, sightseeing, etc. And I completely agree that men should wear a suit made to measure or at least tailored properly...so many men wear ill-fitting suits, ugh! lol

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