For four years now I have been lucky enough to call London my home. I arrived not aware of how much the city would challenge me and I often tell people who have just moved – be patient, it’s you against London until you manage its rhythm – at which point you will never experience anything like it. When you leave for holidays or to visit family, like an addiction you feel the need to get back to it.
In a city that can consume you it’s important to also find your own version of London. Where you can be alone with the city doing what, you love. For me this is at least one Saturday a month where I have some ‘alone time’ with London town. Given my obsession with finding new pieces and educating myself on fashion and the art of I decided to share with you my London circuit and how to cover all the retail areas in one day. Lunch included of course.
9am: Prepare – Having checked the weather and chosen an appropriate outfit for shopping – something easily to slip on and off and flat shoes! I make an inventory of wants and needs. This helps you also remain productive while you explore boutiques and get distracted with new finds.
10am: Pre-Circuit – Living in Notting Hill I start by passing the local Bodyism Gym and Café for their signature protein shake called Body Brilliance with an extra shot of espresso. This is a great way to give you some stamina until lunch. It also allows you to pass the boutiques of Westbourne Grove before heading onto the circuit. These include Maje, Bimba i Lola and Joseph – it’s also a good time to peruse trends and see what might inspire you for the day.
11am: Arrive St James – Tube to St James allows me to stroll up to Haymarket, the new home of concept department stores and artistic displays from designers, by non-other than Dover St Market. Here I am on the hunt for Gucci motif tee, the Gucci website is telling me there is one left so I head to Level 3 first to assess but am distracted by a suede pair of loafers by The Row. After deciding I didn’t need them onto the T-shirt, jackpot! I stroll down the levels and only to appreciate the displays by Saint Laurent and Celine. On the way, out I also pick up a limited addition Comme de Garcon Dover St White T-shirt. Just because. If it is your first time to Dover St Market allow 2 hours to wander and absorb.
12pm: Onto Mayfair and Lunch: From Haymarket, it’s a short walk to Jermyn street where you can admire the art of tailoring and explore the arcades that link you to Mayfair. My favourite is Burlington Arcade that has wonder perfume and milliners as well as Manolo Blahnik boutique loaded with their most artistic designs. Through the Burlington Arcade and turning right I stop for lunch at Cecconis – enough said except that lunch at the bar is required with a chopped salad, burrata and zucchini fries, washed down with an Italia Chardonnay.
12.30pm: Mayfair calls as Bond street is only a short walk away. But today I am focused on visiting Victoria Beckham as I have a text telling me the retro aviator opticals I wanted have finally arrived – thank you Conner West. Over to Dover Street a five-minute walk to try them on, of course they are perfect and after a tour of the collection and a catch up with the wonderful team at VB it’s time to move on. VB Dover St is an incredible space filled with VB pieces as if they were artwork in a gallery while fig Diptique candles fill the air. This is a must see for fashion lovers.
1.30pm: Regent St – Remembering at the start of the day I had a list. I need a new Ralph Lauren Shirt for work and the beach. If you read my previous posts you would know my RL White Shirt has been my uniform at the back for a while now and something I recommend to all my friends and family. Its cotton, it breathes and it protects you from the sun and it’s so chic and minimal. So, Regent St, 10 mins walk from Mayfair and full of flagships I make my way to RL and pick up my new shirt and some socks for my other half – they really are great socks for men, in bright blue red and stripes!
2pm: Soho: by now I realise I need a coffee and make my way across Regent St into Soho to the Australiancoffee shop Flat White, only take way for me as I need to move on and finish my list. I need perfume, although my Tom Ford Black Orchid will never leave my dresser I want something fresh for summer, light and fresh so I make my way to Le Labo, after reading about them recently I am making a special effort to the concept store, where every bottle is personally labelled with your name. I purchase after a long conversation about the brand with the shop assistant and I am sold, purchased my first bottled from Soho and tick one more thing is off the list.
2.30pm: Selfridges – Realising I need to end my day at Selfridges Oxford Street I slowly make my way out of Soho down Oxford St. Selfridges in my opinion is the best one stop shop in London and is filled with beautiful things. I also believe the beauty floor, which upon arrival fills you with excitement and nice smelling things is the best in the world. Knowing I have a list at MAC, YLS and Aesop I go upstairs first to admire the new book section filled with Tachen books on all topics but mostly fashion, and to see the RTW collections in their natural state. Selfridges will consume you for at least 3 hours at which point its now 5.30pm, and filled with shopping bags it’s time to go home.
5.30pm: Granger and Co – having made my way back to Notting Hill I am happy and so is London as another day of bonding ends. Every experience is like I just arrived four years ago, with the same excitement and challenges and yes although I am exhausted I never want to leave. It’s time for a wine at Granger and Co on Westbourne Grove and some fresh Australian cooking to make me feel more at home.
And there you have it lovers, My London.
with Love. L.