Monday, May 16, 2016

Shopping in London

To be honest, I'm not a very good shopper. I like looking at things rather than buying them.

When I go to London, I always visit Liberty's to look at all the things I can't afford and admire the architecture.  I worked in their bookshop in the summer of 1972!

Such a splendid staircase

and such wonderful flowers!

I did buy four books at the Persephone bookshop which is exactly where I would like to work now - if I lived in London. Actually, I want to buy all the books - first for the content  and second for their looks. I recommend The Village by Margarita Laski  - a very clear-eyed look at a small village post World War Two.

This is a bookshop in Lewes which was fortunately closed - thus saving me the trouble of carting assorted  tempting retro books across the Atlantic.

This is the gift shop at Charleston farmhouse where one can stock up on Bloomsbury related reading matter  -  of which there is a great deal. I bought a very small coaster as a present for a friend.

This alarming shop in Berwick Street, Soho, was barred to prevent the clothes escaping to threaten us with the 1960's and the horrid odor of patchouli. 

Ah, Patisserie Valerie on Old Compton Street. Yes, I went in and had a croissant and a lovely hot chocolate.

How I admire the Queen for her resolve and endurance. Here she is on a biscuit tin. Lots of Queen's 90th birthday memorabilia.

Claudia and I made the awful mistake of going to Harrods where I hadn't been in many many years. (I worked in their bookshop in the summer of 1970). The lovely tiles were still there in the food halls. The rest of the shop was much altered. Bought some Charbonel & Walker chocolates as a present for a friend from a very sweet girl who gave us free samples of other choices. 
Total haul of London shopping: children's clothing and four books.... 


  1. I'm not much of a shopper either, except for books, but I enjoyed this tour. You make me miss England.

    1. Yes, England was lovely to visit. I wonder how often you manage to get there?
      I was with Beth Bonini on two of the shopping trips - she is a much better shopper than me. I was sort of glad the Lewes shop was closed----she was very sad and promises to go back when it is open. My first ever job was at Blackwell's Antiquarian bookshop in Oxford.

  2. My heart skipped several beats reading this, I miss it so. I associate good times with Patchouli so it is a fragrance that calms me, like simmering oatmeal. You found some treasure, London is full of adventure, wonderful walks, discovery charm, everything one could ever want! Harrods is to be avoided- I walked in the front door and promptly walked out again. Wonderful post, Ms WIX. of course I am jealous!

    1. Yes, England was great but astoundingly expensive.
      I'm not sure how the young make it there.
      Yes, I think I could love there again!

      Patchouli makes me almost physically ill! not sure if it mental or physical.
      A student was once wearing it and had to ask them to move to to the back of the room.
      Said I was perfectly certain it was illegal to comment on anyone's fragrance....
      but please please humor me!

  3. Oh, to have my face on a biscuit tin!!!
    I enjoyed shopping with you. I wish it was "for real"

    P.S. How do you get your blog onto facebook? Such a good idea.

  4. Hi Barbara
    the blog to Facebook thing is easy.
    At the very bottom of your post you will see a bar of little icons. Facebook Twitter etc
    you just hit that and your post comes up on Facebook. I find that more people are on Facebook and Instagram these days. With a try!

  5. I always choke at the prices too. Harrods was the most incredible shopping paradise when I went. Though I only bought souvenirs, it was worth the trip to London alone.

  6. Thanks for sharing your London shopping adventure. Another set of fine photos plus amusing memories as a bonus!

    1. Do hope things are going well with you? I had lunch with Nicola Beaumont at the cafe next to Persephone and it was lovely to see her.
      Please let me know if you are ever in Manhattan.
      Warmest wishes.

  7. Although living in England it is rare these days that I shop in London so it was lovely to join you on your shopping trip.

    1. I really loved my trip to London! How different it is from when I grew up there!

  8. Elizabeth, these marvelous photographs have transported me to places I do love to visit. Like you, I am more of a looker than a buyer. Just knowing that certain delights exist is great, without the need to possess them. Mostly.

    When I saw the Liberty staircase, I could hear the creaky sounds when one walks up or down those steps.

    The Lewes building brought back another good memory.

    I love my Charleston coaster! xo

  9. Elizabeth, I am swooning over every single impression of your trip! Such marvels!
    I wonder if I ever manage to see the promised land of England.

    1. I think you would love it, dear Merisi!
      Our daughter is there so I need to go to see her!

  10. My tourist bells are tingling.
    I love to window shop the windows displays are always so interesting. I must have visited every book shop I could in every town I visited when I was there. I did visit Harrods and bought the Harrods Dog collars for my Scotties.
    Despise patchouli. They used to drench in it to could up the lack of showering and drugs. To this day if I smell it I get an instant headache.

    Huggles to Buster
    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

    1. I must say it was a lovely visit with better weather than in New York.

  11. I would say you escaped and were left off easy. Only four books. When I saw that you were in London and then looked at that first photo before reading anything, I recognized Liberty! I love London, too. But yes, it's frightfully expensive in England so I'll live here and visit when I can.

  12. Beautiful photos, and I am not a great shopper, either! :)

  13. What wonderful photos! I lived in London for 30 years near Oxford Street and I am like you I enjoy looking but not buying. Who wants to faff about in hot changing room squeezing oneself into small dresses? LOVE Liberty's I am glad it hasn't changed. Oh yes, good lord, Harrods.....not the same is it?

  14. I loved your tour of London shops Elisabeth. It is now some years since I ventured down there, sadly.
    I used to adore Liberty's - mainly for the fabrics.
    Ah - mention of Marghanita Laski brought back memories - she used to be one of my heroines and was on our TV in various programmes in the old days.

  15. Hello Elizabeth!
    I am totally stuck with your outlook on the world, we really should experience every part of the world in very small and delicate pieces. Rushing by like tourists often do (me?) is a total waste of time. On the other hand, in the best of worlds you realize you have to go back, don't you, and pause in front of windows and doors, cakes and fabric. I'm such a rookie in blogging so I'll stay put for a while. You seem to have anchored here for quite a number of years. Instagram is not my cup of tea I think, until I change my mind on it, I'll walk slowly through Marrakesch, New York and other places with doors and windows and alleys. Nice to travel new roads!!

    1. Thank you for your kind words!
      Yes, I love taking photos - little meditations on things seen - sort of like a visual diary.
      Blogging is a lovely way to communicate.
      WArmest wishes from New York.


I look forward to hearing from you!