Goodbye, old England! The memories I made on this trip will remain as sentimental and nostalgic to me as an aged bird woman on the steps of St. Paul’s, reminding us that sometimes the frivolous expenses turn out to be the most meaningful. I have been blessed by this trip and the opportunities it has presented. Thank you for reading along and sharing those adventures with me. ❤ Outfit Details: Hat: vintage from Venice (shown here, Sweater: GAP, Jacket: Barbour, Scarf: Pashmina (bought off the street in New York), Skirt: vintage, Tights: H&M, Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger, Bag: Ba&sh
One of my favorite areas I discovered in London is Shoreditch. What became a constant hangout started by chance; I wanted a bagel shop. Now, London differs from New York in a lot of good ways, but ranking the top of the list as to London’s deficits is this city’s dearth of bagels. However, despite the inability to locate a single bagel shop on any given street, Shoreditch, specifically Brick Lane, hosts a whopping two bagel shops almost next door. Arriving at them is like a pilgrimage. If you start at the beginning of Brick Lane (and don’t take the much more practical route through Bishopsgate), you have to battle through about a half mile of very enthusiastic resteraunters vying to lure you into their pan-Asian establishments. About the time you reach a very sketchy bridge, the restaurants begin to be replaced by bookshops and coffee shops; it’s then you find yourself in the middle of hipsterdom. You must cooly continue past all the overpriced Americanos in their minimalistic surroundings and proceed onwards, but this is the hard part. Hipster central makes way for some of the coolest vintage shops in London. If you want a 15 pence bagel (that’s right, the bagels are criminally cheap), you have to travel onwards. I have to confess I regularly failed.
It was on one such day that I discovered this LOVE Moschino dress. When I arrived home, one of my former Disney colleagues took one look at it and said, “Oh, how cute, it’s Jane!” Hitherto, “safari” had been the only word to come to my mind, but I had to concede she was right. For fun, we started trying to put a “Jane” look together, and somehow, even with my limited wardrobe, I managed to have virtually the whole outfit amongst my belongings.
I wanted to visit the Imperial War Museum before I left and thought this would make the perfect ensemble. Little did I know before arrival, the Imperial War Museum is imperial only in name. Nothing there predates WWI. Then again, if we were being truly authentic, there was no way Jane would be showing her knees. So with that, I hope you enjoy my modern interpretation of Jane Porter.
Remember I told you about visiting the Sandro Sample Sale? While there I couldn’t help but splurge on a (you guessed it) drop waist dress. Navy and black has been so sleek and minimal this Winter, so I thought I’d try it myself. To do so, I wore it to a place equally sleek but certainly not minimalistic- the National Gallery. My school is about two streets away, so I passed by here every morning and payed homage to old Nelson. I think he’d be fine if he could just column–down. Wow… ok on to pictures.
The woman security guard started cracking up when I took this picture, so I feel like I won the National Gallery. If they watch people take stupid selfies all day and you make them laugh with your stupidity, then you must be doing something right…
Outfit Details: Dress: Sandro | Bag: Kate Spade | Shoes: Michael Kors | Earrings: Portabello Road
P.S. A few weeks ago on my instagram I asked what building has a mosaic of the word “Curiosity.” Well, this is the place! It’s up the stairway at the top of the landing when you walk in.
The British Romantic poets and writers were profoundly affected by the vision of the Swiss Alps. After the dreary slopes of the English countryside, the towering edifices were the embodiment of mystery, the promise of adventure and peril, and the unspeakably delicious thrill of the unknown. Now, their radical break from the orderly and structure-loving conventions exemplified in the Enlightenment is commonly interpreted to be the stuff of surprise flower deliveries. But rather than humming “your song” (if you’re with someone) or daydreaming about their sense of humor (if you’re not), as we stare into the abyss of uncertainty buzzing around a new year, I have chosen to resurrect the true Romantic meaning.
As we look towards the frightful and awesome unknown that is 2015, instead of approaching it with trepidation or even boredom, I will choose to see it for the huge opportunities (or obstacles) it can bring… even if the wind is an absolute torrent along the way. Make sure to take a moment to reflect on the romantic possibilities that lie ahead!
Outfit Details: Coat: Vintage (estate sale find) | Blouse: Talbots (passed down from Mimi’s closet- I would highly recommend this route for finding good blouses) | Leather Gloves: vintage | Belt: thrifted | Skirt: New Look | Tights: Wolford | Shoes: MICHAEL Michael Kors | Purse: Kate Spade
Christmas at Somerset House is absolutely beautiful! Fortnum and Mason sponsors a huge ice skating rink and puts up a huge tree complete with F&M baskets. The sign up says “SKATE” and that is exactly what we did, but not without some trouble. The rink is packed to capacity- so for those of us trying our ice legs after a few stagnant winters, this isn’t the place to learn (though they do keep a little training area off to the side if you are desperate). You are often tripped or tussled by other uncertain skaters or self-proclaimed experts (you can imagine me wagging my fist at the show-offs). But even if you can’t skate, it’s worth stopping by to see the spectacle. With the giant tree and the rink there, it’s the perfect catalyst for Christmas cheer. Outfit Details: Hat: Joy (in stores now) | Sweater: Helmut Lang | Jacket: Barbour Wax | Jeans: Acne | Socks & Gloves: Primark | Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger | Necklace: old | Bag: Kate Spade
The Occasion: Last time I went to England, I didn’t have tea at the Ritz. Now, you’ll see in lots of the upscale touristy books that “tea at the Ritz is a simply a must;” what they neglect to mention is that “must” is nearly 100 dollars a head for the same high tea offered throughout London. So last time an emphasis on practicality, frugality, and poor planning prevented my dining in style. This time around, with most of the other big tourist attractions behind me, I decided to budget and see what the hubbub was about. For our group of five, I booked in September for an early December tea slot around noon. At the time, I didn’t account for the Christmas fever that would be spreading, but what a catching epidemic! Everything looked very snappy.
The Tea: I must declare everything was simply topping. Between the seven types of sandwiches, the luxurious ambiance, the smart tidbits of conversation, and the cake man bringing more delicious options to choose from, the Ritz was lovely! But to be honest, I think part of the reason I enjoyed it was because of the mounting anticipation and the planning and waiting that went into it. There’s a sense that if you’re going to spend every dime on the tea, it better be worth it, so you might try a bit harder at witty conversation, I picked a dress that I thought had a twenties vibe, and then I went all out with my fancy daycoat. If you are looking to just get high tea in London, don’t come to the Ritz, but if you want to feel like a million dollar trooper drinking the same tea, you’ve found your outlet (but book now).
Coat: Tally Weijl | Fur: from estate sale (shown here and here)| Dress: BCBG | Tights: Primark | Shoes: Pour La Victoire | Shoe Clips: Vintage Clip-on earrings | Purse: Kate Spade | Leather Gloves: Vintage
And for a bit of last minute tree-decorating inspiration, I’d recommend Mr. Astaire singing this little ditty.
I am now officially home from England, but I probably have another week or two of posts (depending on my procrastination) to put up before the landscape changes back to Georgia. I’ll get to the bittersweet bits later.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share my experience riding the Eye at night and eating at the OXO Tower. I’ve ridden the eye twice during the day (though once was arguably near dusk), and both times the view has been fantastic. However, what happens at night that you don’t get during the day is better signaling. During the day, all the buildings are equally lit, making the important ones vaguer and less distinguishable at first glance. At night, all the lights go out, except the important ones. Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but it is easier to identify the more relevant places, as generally they are the ones whose lights stay on. Even still, there are a lot of lights. Come on, this is London we’re talking about.
Next, I walked down the Bankside (past an adorable Christmas market installed for the season) to eat at the fabulous OXO Tower. A quick fun fact that I ran across the other day– the OXO Tower was originally a power station (to rival Battersea) but was purchased in the 1920s by Liebeg Extract of Meat Company, producer of the OXO Cube. At the time, there was a ban on skyline advertising, so in converting the old power station, windows in the shape of “OXO” were added to establish a sort of advertising dominance across the central London skyline. Though the company has passed, the windows have become so iconic that they survived a 1970s plan to demolish the building.
Today, there is a brasserie and restaurant (recommended in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die) sponsored by Harvey Nichols. We ate in the brasserie (it was about 10 pounds cheaper per person), and I was very delighted. You can see my meals below. I especially like the cider soaked pear.
Outfit Details: Shirt: Gap | Choker: H&M | Jacket: Tally Weijl | Trousers: Isabel Marant | Shoes: Pour La Victoire | Purse: Kate Spade
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” ~Anais Nin
While I love my friends in England (don’t get me wrong), I have to say, seeing a friendly face this side of the pond is an irreplaceable feeling. So when my friend said she’d be coming three days earlier than expected, I wiped out my Wednesday afternoon schedule, so we could have a less-crowded day to romp around London. As it was, we ended up getting ready for an hour, sitting at lunch for about two hours (at the marvelous Delaunay counter– by far my favorite cafe in London), before we finally got over to Covent Market and the British Museum. Lucky for us, without the hindrance of Thanksgiving, they had just begun putting Christmas decorations up (though they haven’t quite lit up the Rosetta Stone yet). So it got dark early on us, but it didn’t at all impede our afternoon. Such is the glow
Outfit Details: Hat: H&M | Scarf: Vintage | Sweater: Burberry Prorsum | Cape: Vintage | Bag and Phone Case: Ba&Sh (you can find similar here) | Leggings: The Row | Boots: Michael Kors
The moral of the outfit is that when you start with a black palette, you can really jazz things up with a few accessories (which I’ve included here, complete with phone case).
But the event itself was really fun! I had never been to a Sample Sale before, but as you probably know, they are synonymous with heavenly blessings to the average clothes horse. So when I received a last minute invite, I thought I’d go experience this oft-discussed phenomenon for myself.
On the whole, I was rather surprised. I had expected only a few offerings, all too small for anyone busty, at ridiculously low prices. What I met was a veritable warehouse full of ladies and gentleman shedding layers in a race to try on as fast as possible (without exposing anything) to the open air. There were also racks upon racks of clothes, though not as nicely priced as I had hoped. T-shirts were 30 pounds, and from there it started at 50 for everything else. Sunglasses and accessories bottomed out at 20 pounds, which as far as home currency goes, is still a fantastic price for brand new designer wear. Since the conversion put everything right around 100 dollars, I had a little less luck. Still, it was fun to go and be among the style-hungry men and women caught up in the flurry of a well-tailored sale. While I tried to keep my pictures clear, the one below shows a bit more of the bustle of what it really felt like with people crowding mirrors and trying on handfuls of stuff all at once in front of everyone else. Next week, they are holding a Vanessa Bruno one with vintage handbags– if you’ll be around Shoreditch next weekend, message me below, and I can forward you the invitation information/ code (as I can get in a few people).
I am constantly thankful that I have the opportunity to temporarily live in Zone 1 of London at this season in my life. Even while juggling my internship, law school, and my recently hectic travel schedule, I always try to make time one afternoon a week to discover something I don’t know about this awesome city. Virtually any brand I’ve wondered about is within walking distance, and the exhibitions that I see advertised at home open here. In a bit of shameless self-promotion on the city’s part, I often see the Samuel Johnson quote “when a [wo]man is tired of London, [s]he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” If you excuse my tweaking, I would have to say that Mr. Johnson unequivocally encompassed my emotions on the subject. Therefore, when my trip to Paris was unexpectedly canceled, it was no great loss to spend a languorous Sunday roaming, Mrs. Dalloway-style, around Covent Garden.
So morning coffee at Somerset House (where there is now an ice skating rink I need to try), Ben’s Cookies and window shopping at Covent Garden Market, lunch at the Delauney Counter, and general tour-estrial bliss on Waterloo Bridge — altogether a halcyon day.
by Walt Whitman
Not from successful love alone,
Nor wealth, nor honor’d middle age, nor victories of politics or war;
But as life wanes, and all the turbulent passions calm,
As gorgeous, vapory, silent hues cover the evening sky,
As softness, fulness, rest, suffuse the frame, like freshier, balmier air,
As the days take on a mellower light, and the apple at last hangs
really finish’d and indolent-ripe on the tree,
Then for the teeming quietest, happiest days of all!
The brooding and blissful halcyon days!