Thursday, May 12, 2011

London "Must Shop" Recap

Not only is there a lot to see, do and eat in London, there is plenty of shopping to make a girl dizzy.  Our hotel was right off Piccadilly and a little back alley led out to Regent Street where the magic begins.  You can walk straight up Regent and if you're not too distracted by the other stores calling your name (Uniqlo! Zara! LK Bennett!), you will hit Oxford Circus which has (no kidding) four H&M and three Zara stores on this single street.  To B's chagrin, I wanted to go into all of them.  However for this blog post sake, I'll just recap the highlights.

If you're in London, you have to visit the mothership, Topshop.  It is 4 floors and packed full of awesome fashion.  I was particularly drawn to the lower floor which housed shoes (Swedish Hasbeens!  Kurt Geiger!) and items by local independent designers.

Liberty of London was by far my favorite department store to browse.  It is housed in a gorgeous historic building (what building in London isn't historic?) and the selection of designer bags and scarves (Alexander Wang! Mulberry!) was fabulous.  There is a whole section just for the famous Liberty prints and fabrics and I also adored the house goods and china section.

One of my favorite unique finds was completely by accident.  We were searching for the Jas MB store (it's not on Carnaby by the way) and happened upon Mor jewelry at 12 Ganton Street.  This jewelry line is made in Turkey and features gorgeous hand crafted organic looking pieces in silver, bronze and precious stones.  I got a really beautiful ring from there and it serves as a distinctive memento of our trip.

We spent Saturday afternoon at the famed Portabello Market.  Even though the crowd was crazy, it was fun to rummage through antiques and vintage offerings and try different snacks from the food vendors (fresh nutella crepes!)

We walked through the vintage/antiques section and then the fresh flowers and fruit/vegetable market.  I wish we had more time (and energy) to make it to the Borough Market and the other market on Brick Lane.

Although I forgot to take pictures, I also want to do a special mention for a few outstanding department/grocery stores.  I always love visiting grocery stores in different countries and had a blast at Sainsbury's--their store brand chocolate is great and I filled my basket up with Cadbury goodies!  Marks and Spencer has an amazing food section as well and I particularly loved their trail mixes this time around along with their butter mints.  And finally Fortum & Mason was a grand experience with elegantly packaged clotted cream biscuits, tins of tea and coffee, and a staggering variety of fruit james and preserves.  Look out for the jam packed with tiny little strawberries!

Next post: Paris in a Day

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