Eleven miles and 25,000 steps later, we had walked ALL over London. Literally. We embraced “shop till you drop” and had fun doing it. Starting at our historic boutique hotel, St. Ermin’s, at noon after sleeping in (jet lag sucks) we walked to Notting Hill. Yes, that Notting Hill but, alas, we didn’t run into Hugh Grant. Buggers!
This terribly charming area has shops galore including Portobello Market, a street filled with stalls featuring furs, teapots and more. But first, it was National Record Store Day and we were looking for vinyl and lucky enough to stumble upon the Music & Goods Exchange. Searching for treasures among the used vinyl, I found “Stompin’ at the Savoy”, a compilation of 19 classic cuts from the archives of the Savoy featuring pioneer jazz, be-bop, rhythm and blues. Dedicated to and featuring Charlie Parker, the tracks are from 1940-1960. Thom picked up singles from Elvis Costello as much for the covers, which we will frame, as for the music. Can’t wait to spin some tunes when we get home!
I love bookstores second to none so imagine my excitement to not only find the original bookstore featured in the movie, Notting Hill, but we also found a great sale at another bookstore. Picking up a “Royal Snap” very British card game, I now have a plan to play cards with Mia next time we go to Boise. “Albie and the Space Rocket” was another purchase. “It seems like just another ordinary night to Albie until he wakes up to find…penguins stealing the furniture, moose tangoing in the toilet and zebras asleep in the kitchen cupboard. But who has left a trail of baked beans?” Can’t wait to read this silly tale of adventure to Mia! Of course, I’ll have to explain what a “bloke” is and so on. Love those British terms especially “cheeky”. I got Thom “From Churchill’s War Rooms” as he plans to visit the actual war rooms while I am working this week. Booorrring! He knows that would not be at the top of my “go do” list so off he goes by himself. Yet another bookstore we stumbled on wasn’t open but we read the sign by the door which shared that this shop was the inspiration for the travel bookshop featured in the movie.
Finally reaching Portobello Market, we navigated the crowds to find Mary’s Living and Giving, a thrift store that benefits Save The Children. I had read about this amazing shop and it did not disappoint. From Kate Spade to DVF, there were bargains galore and a friendly clerk to assist. I’ve decided to start a new tradition and get Hannah vintage fashion wherever I travel and this time she’ll be gaining a black sheath with fringe and zipper treatment. Super cheeky and all proceeds to a worthy cause!
Around the corner, we found another vinyl store, Rough Trade, where we browsed until we were informed that closing time was upon us so basically, “GET OUT!” Now dark, we started our long journey home. Walking in front of a group of millennials at one point, we chuckled at their conversation discussing a game they like to play in the pubs called, “Daddy or Sugar Daddy?” asking women with older companions to share the truth. Wonder how many cocktails they get thrown in their faces while playing this cute game. I’m betting quite a few.
At one point along a lonely, creepy stretch of road, I was ready to try to hail a cab. My back hurt, my feet ached and I was a little bit scared. “Princess Snowflake get your ass moving” was my compassionate husband’s response to that idea. Hitting 11 miles on my overworked Fitbit, we finally arrived back at St. Ermin’s. Time for an adult beverage. Cheers!