Monday, November 29, 2010

Best of London Shopping

Last night, as I drifted to sleep, I kept muttering "I can't wait for Charlie's Angels" which is a family slogan in my household that hails back to the 1970's when my late husband's daughter was a little girl. Now it's come to mean 'I'm excited about anything' and so I could barely sleep for knowing that today we were off to Bicester Village, the outlet mall near Oxford... as well as the adjoining Tesco.

We had a car and driver (Prius is fabulous from the back seat) and passed sheep in snow and frosty fields. The Tesco was not a great store and I was very upset to discover they were totally sold-out of Original Source TeaTree & Mint. I had planned to buy a dozen bottles for the hols and take advantage of the car service to not have to schelp. Ah yes. At least I was outta Tesco quickly and into the village style outlet mall with its big name designer shops and upmarket shoppers in search of discounts on designer goods.

Sarah scored a pair of Tod's for less than their regular USA price...and I bought well at Kenneth Turner, where I have been a sucker for their original scent-- all cinnamon and orange peel. Turner used to have a florist shop on South AUdley Street, near The Dorchester and is still famous for his candles and room scents. Diffusers are still a big deal here in U.K. and our hotel smells so good with our reed diffuser (in the loo) that I went all out with my 22 pounds to bring joy to my home in Paso Robles.

We came back into London via Kensington High Street and realized that a lot of our favorite stores were there, as well as a branch of TKMaxx the U.K. version of T.J. Maxx. Since we had never been to a British version of this off-price store, we felt compelled to shell out 10 pounds in taxi fare (tubes on strike-- traffic horrible) to get back there from our hotel. Afterall, we are working shoppers and the public wants to know.

Indeed, Kensington High Street was better than Oxford Street and far less crowded. This is the location of the Beauty Boots, a one-off Boots branch that is devoted to all sorts of beauty brands and even has a cosmetic dental clinic on premises. They carry Chanel and YSL makeup as well as more commercial brands. I loaded up on their cucumber moistering cream for 1.49 (about $2USD) which is very similar to the brand Say Yes to Cucumbers, which costs $14 USD for a small tube. Sarah and I have both tested the new bargain cukes and adore it. I also bouth some of the famous No. 7 Preserve & Protect, which sounds like something the police force has promised to do-- but it's a wrinkle cream. I bought the new intensive night cream but not the serum that goes underneath-- I was saving for my retirement and couldnt bear to part with yet another twenty pounds.

There's a wonderful branch of Marks & Spencer (with food hall in basement) and a TopShop in this neighborhood, as well as a large UniGlo (as good as Tokyo!)and several other multiples-- American stores as well as British-- and then there's Whole Foods and, across the street, TKMaxx which is so different from the US cousin that you could write your masters' dissertation about the two different versions of the same store. Most of the brands are European; many are names uncommon to the U.S. Prices were not give-away, but were in the fun category-- many stocking stuffers in the under 5 pounds price range.

Since I'd fallen for reed diffusers at Kenneth Turner, I bought more for 10 pounds per-- much less and not from a fancy, statusy brand.There were many big brand items and a number o fno-name items throughout the store, although I did not have the strength to shop every inch of the three floors of goodies.

It was a wonderful day of shopping-in-London, Christmas and Channukah shopping and has put us in a very good mood. Soon we will tackle the traffic and taxi fares to head to Langan's for bangers and mash. And then we will bid a fond farewell to the Queen and fly over the pond and home to our doxy boys.


  1. Am green with flat bed flight envy! Muffy

  2. Hi Susy,

    When will the Provence book be out?


  3. I am fond of shopping in all over the world. I heard that London shopping so costly. But I was wrong I like your blog about shopping experience in London.

    Pousada no litoral Paulista