Monday, May 14, 2012

London: Shopping

Did you know that you can check one bag for free for transatlantic flights?  This was a huge relief for me.  I checked one bag and carried on another.  I made sure my carry-on had a couple of days' worth of clothing and my toiletries, just in case my checked bag got on the wrong plane.  Inside my checked bag I stashed an empty duffle bag.  An empty bag--clearly I was planning on coming home with more than I brought.

The London Eye and Westminster Abbey as viewed from St. Paul's Cathedral.

That duffle bag went home just as it came over--stuffed into the bottom of my suitcase. 

Passing under the Tower Bridge.

It's not that I didn't buy any souvenirs--I just didn't come home with a truckload of stuff.  And really, even if money were no object, I probably wouldn't have gone completely overboard (though it is fun to dream about). 

I wanted to bring home things that I would enjoy, things that I could only get in England, and/or things that I would use.  I definitely wanted to go to a Cath Kidston store, and I wanted to go to Liberty, and I wanted to go to a bookstore.  An oddly specific list, I know, but specificity is good!

We try to make a point to purchase a coffee mug (or two) and a Christmas tree ornament whenever we go on a trip.  Sometimes the coffee mugs don't make it home in one piece, but we are willing to assume the risk.  We each (safely) brought home a mug, and our Christmas ornament is hanging from a knob on one of our kitchen cabinets right now.  Eventually I'll put it with the others.

I had a brief internal debate over whether to purchase a new purse from Cath Kidston, but since I had walked in there without a specific bag in mind, I decided that I needed to refrain from the impulse purchase.  I did come out with some lovely tea towels--and they have been in the rotation since returning home. 

Liberty...oh, Liberty.  If only I had won the lottery.  There is a yarn section, there is a huge fabric section--so much Tana Lawn fabric.  It's all so gorgeous, and it's all so very expensive.  I didn't see anything that I could live without, so I just treated this as a visual feast. 

And the bookstore?  A five-story Waterstone's.  I love bookstores, and if I hadn't had a companion to consider, I might well have spent most of an afternoon in there.  My goal here was to bring home at least one Harry Potter book.  I bought the first one for the kids.  I also purchased a mystery novel that I had read in college and is now out of print in the U.S., and I threw in an Agatha Christie for good measure.  This was not the only time on the trip that I had to fight the urge to load up on books.  The gift shop at the Globe Theatre was also full of interesting-looking books.

I have been taking great pleasure in drinking coffee from my London mug--it has a portion of the Underground map on it, and I love looking at all the stations that we went through.  I am glad I decided not to load up the duffle bag with trinkets that would collect dust.


stitching under oaks said...

I would have hit the exact same stores as you! Fabric, yarn and books...sounds perfect to me!

Larissa said...

Me too! fabric, yarn and books for looking - maybe i would buy myself a t-shirt. Sounds like you had a blast. It's the photos and memories that count - not all the stuff! Thanks so much for sharing your trip. I look forward to the next installment.