Shop Around

Our second day was spent browsing the shops. Although we were on our feet for a good six hours or so, there was so much more to see - we barely scratched the surface! 

I'll take you on a brief run through of our day. 

We started off in Covent Garden, upon a recommendation by a friend. The market was on and so we enjoyed the hustle and bustle, finding stalls with beautiful jewellery and pretty soaps. 

Live music is a highlight of being in the city - "Classy Cool" were a superb string quartet that dazzled us with their quick fingers! Being a violinist myself I find that I can appreciate the difficulties of playing the instrument myself and so I was amazed at their dexterity. 

We stopped for morning coffee in Le Pain Quotidien, which was packed full - the waiters were literally running around the café. It involved soft, flaky almond croissants with coffee; hot steamed milk mixed with warm chocolate syrup; buttery nutty pastries; fresh mint tea and a deliciously moist and light apple and cinnamon muffin. I hope to recreate the muffin at home and so I'll let you know how I get on!

Feeling suitably refreshed, we moved on to drool over the macarons in the Ladurée shop. No purchases, but a promise to visit next time!

Next was a journey through the city, calling in at the most famous shops on the way.

I finally found my true home. (No, really - if I could live in this shop, I would.)

Enter through the door and there are teas from all over the world. Admire the Christmas decorations (they're up already) hanging in the middle of the swirling marble staircase.

Now for my favourite part - cake! These wedding cakes were absolutely spectacular. Look at the detail! There are cakes for all tastes - a classic white one, the more contempory pink ombré version and a beautiful blue and pink flowered cake. (Matching biscuits available!) 
Unfortunately I don't think I'd be able to afford any of these cakes - some would set you back over a thousand pounds! 

There was also a delicious looking variety of sweet meats, nougat and sugared almonds. 

We only dared peep at the ground floor for fear of getting lost for ever. Bundling up our scarves and pulling on the gloves, it was off to one of London's most well-known stores - Liberty.

I'd wanted to go here ever since seeing an episode of The Apprentice where the contestants had to sell to the buyers at liberty. I was not disappointed! 

One of the best things about the shop is the incredible building. It's retained the dark wooden beams and they give it such character! Like Fortnum and Mason, they had decorated the centre of the shop with large suspended squares.

First floor - a beautiful variety of stationery and notebooks. Jewellery and a superb little chocolate shop! I bought a cute little elephant notebook (quite possibly one of the cheapest products in the whole place) and we decided to share some Montezuma dark chocolate flavoured with lemon and meringue pieces.

We avoided the clothes - after taking a sneaky look at a leather jacket (£2000+) we decided it would only depress us being able to look at all the luxurious clothes with no hope of buying them.

Therefore, we snuck up to the haberdashery section! Beautiful soft wools in every colour and style, cross-stitch kits, patchwork kits, a rainbow of threads and the famous Liberty print fabrics.

Highlights from the shop included a mug printed with a Tunnocks Tea Cake and silky scarves in smudgy jewel colours. However, time was racing on and it was with great regret that we finally left.

A train to Gatwick airport and a late lunch of mozzarella and tomato toasties finished off our day. We climbed onto the plane and watched as the street-lamp lit city disappeared into the dark. 'Till next time, London!