Without a moment to spare, I threw myself into London Tuesday. There was much work to be done, and I was already on my second last day. Crazy!
Walking to Marylebone
I used the early morning trek to explore historic shopping precincts like Princes Arcade in Piccadilly and Burlington Arcade in the heart of Mayfair, running from Piccadilly to the very uptown chic of Bond Street. I managed to pass Carnaby St along the way, but I didn’t stop.
All the boutiques on my walk provided a festive VM feast for the eyes – there are loads of photos in the gallery below, including windows at HERMÈS, Matchesfashion.com and Burberry.
Based on my early research of Noel Gallagher‘s favourite London hang outs (I’m a bloody stalker, I’ll admit it), I finally found my way to Daunt Books on the Marylebone High Street. To my delight, the shop sits within an Edwardian terrace, with a long main room gallery, centred by a huge stain glassed window and grand staircase. I met possibly the most outgoing staff I’ve come yet across in a book shop – I was recommended a book for my eldest son Jai, originally described as extremely graphic (whoops, what I meant was….) We LOLed through the rest of the consultation, given the salesman’s questionable tactics. Though they worked, and I left with arm loads of extremely graphic stories for my sons at home in Australia.
From the High Street, I wandered through the Marylebone residential streets, en route to coffee on Brewer St at Damson & Co. on the fringe of Chinatown. When I told the friendly barista that I was from Australia and had found them on Instagram, he seemed very pleased, and even asked if I’d like a double shot, since that’s what most Aussies asked for. Given I had a brunch meeting within the same hour, I politely declined.
Setting off for St. Martins Lane Hotel on Brewer Street, I suddenly felt compelled to look up and left, and my eyes landed on the creepiest window in Maurice House, nestled between the neon lights and scaffolding of modern development. Chills.
Meeting Creative Director & Stylist Rebekah Roy
By the time I made my brunch date with London stylist Rebekah Roy, I was feeling a little like the Vicar of Dibley (so much coffee, and pastries for 1st breakfast), so I opted for an omelette with no toast. Our meeting went very quickly past what I would describe as a purely professional meeting of the minds. I announced early that I wouldn’t be recording anything while we chatted, and we told each other stories, shared laughs and almost tears. Rebekah was probably the first person who has told me genuinely how much they love the mix of stories that I put together on The Garb Wire. I wanted to sob with gratitude. Sometimes, you must agree that it’s like sending shooting stars into a starless sky. Our exchange quickly went from a friendly chat to a fully blown field trip to Browns and Selfridges, in search of Shrimps coats and in awe of Gucci. When we only found one rack of Shrimps, I showed Rebekah the Vivetta collar of my dreams. She nearly convinced me, but I decided to mull it over. My goodness, this wonderfully talented woman who I looked up on Instagram is now someone who I would consider a friend, and it’s because I’m pretty sure, we’re both good to the core, clever, and quite frankly, pretty expressive with style. Thank you.
A fleeting visit to Camden Town
That night I was with my dear friend Natalie, who I’d met in 2012 on holiday in Vanuatu. Here we were in 2016 London Winter, belly laughing at the same things. After a few fresh ginger pineapple cocktails at St. Martins Lane Hotel, I mentioned that I had promised my sister Tania that, for-the-love-of-Amy-Winehouse, I would try to get to her local pub. When Natalie proclaimed that she knew it, and had even danced on a bar just around the corner, we scrambled in to a black cab, on a mission to the Hawley Arms Hotel, in Camden Town. We stayed for 1 x bowl of hot chips and precisely one pint (or a friendly 40 minutes). I stared quietly at all of the Amy set lists and album covers adorning the walls. R.I.P. Amy Winehouse. We love you.