In case you missed it, we kicked off December with a lovely high in the mid-50's here in NYC. My first though was if winter keeps this up, we might actually learn to be amiable, if not quite friends, but then I left my apartment today and it smelled like winter.
Work is slowly winding down for the remainder of the year (of which there isn't all that much, but there's also only 108 days until spring…not that I'm counting), and I'm trying to convince myself I'm going to get my sh*t together and make some more frequent appearance around here, but as always, it remains to be seen if that will hold true.
In the meantime, though, I've been culling my favorite snaps from my trip to London (no outfit photos here, mostly because my jeans-sweaters-boots/sneakers look was pretty repetitive and boring, albeit comfortable), so today is the first of a few photo diaries to come!
I'd never been to London before, and to be honest I didn't really expect to like it much—I've always dreamed of visiting Paris, Provence, the Côte d'Azur…places where I could put the language I studied for ten years to good use. Plus, London is basically NYC in Europe, right? I made the trip to see a friend of mine who's studying there right now, because when you basically only have to pay for airfare and not accommodations, it's hard to turn down a chance to visit Europe.
She lived in NYC for a few years before taking off for London, so we spent a good amount of time telling all the Londoners how great NYC is and all the things it has over London, from cost (London is ridiculously expensive) to late-night bars and restaurants, plus that good ol' fashioned NYC-grit...fast forward to 24 hours after I got back, and I found myself in a cab coming up Sixth Avenue at 11p, looking at the window, thinking how everything here looks so new and boring and the same. European architecture will always, always win over America, especially when we keep tearing beautiful old buildings down to build ugly glass monstrosities.
Anyway, back to my travels. I left NYC around 10:30p and arrived in London shortly before 11a the next morning. My friend had to work at noon, so I had an hour to get out of the airport, figure out the underground (piece of cake when you live in NYC!) and meet her near Leicester Square. Thankfully, I only brought a carry-on and my Lo & Sons bag (more on that here). She gave me a brief little tour of the area, which spanned between Leicester Square and Covent Garden, and pointed out which directions would take me towards different neighborhoods and also across the river. I swapped some stuff into my Sole Society bucket bag, made plans to meet her once she got off, and set out exploring.
First on my agenda: coffee and a croissant. Flying always messes up my stomach's schedule, and I'd eaten pretty much everything available to me on the plane, so I didn't need much other than caffeine to get me going. Since I was near the beautiful little covered market, I popped in there first. The land around Covent Garden has gone through a variety of phases since it was first claimed in the 1500's (!) and became best known as an outdoor vegetable market before turning into the somewhat tourist-y shopping area it is today. I didn't spend too much time here in anything here, as most of the shops were ones I could find elsewhere and I have a rule about only shopping/buying things I can't find back home (which, since I live in NYC, rules out a lot). Re-fueled by coffee, I headed out to see what else I could find for the day and make some sort of plan to cross a few things off my list.
I did have one specific purchase on my mind, though—a new scent. I'm an admitted beauty junkie, but in particular I love experimenting with new scents and perfumes. I also had to skip packing one of my usual perfumes since I was carrying on and needed to fit all my liquids in one small bag, and I feel naked without perfume. I'm planning a post to elaborate more later, but I've become particularly drawn to niche, harder-to-find and indie-boutique brands and scents. I did a little research before leaving and ended up stumbling across one of the stores within a few hours of landing. Fate, no?
Penhaligon's is an English perfume house, founded in the late 1860's, making it one of the oldest perfumeries in London. I visited the shop on Wellington Street (there's a smaller one inside the Covent Garden market as well), and after a few rounds of questions and tester strips with an incredibly helpful member of their team, zeroed in on a few scents to try on my skin. I've been experimenting a lot with scent layering over the last few years, usually pairing a more woodsy, warm scent under one a little more light and citrusy, both with a masculine base. I finally settled on Lothair, a newer addition developed by renowned French perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, but was incredibly tempted by Opus, a peppery, citrus-tinged fragrance that I happily discovered is sold at their only U.S. stockist, Saks Fifth Avenue! Each bottle is like a work of art itself, too, with a beautiful shape and label, wrapped in a satin ribbon.
A few other snaps from my morning wanderings above—the Christmas tree at Covent Garden may not be quite as big as Rockefeller Center, but it certainly rivals several others you can find around NYC this time of year. I'd forgotten about the lack of Thanksgiving celebrations in England, so most shops were already quite well set up for Christmas by the time I arrived in early November...which really screwed with my head when I got back to NYC and the temps were still near 60 most of that week.
More photos to come—I'd love to hear what you think of London! Have you visited? Where should I have checked out that I might not have made it to? I'm hoping to make another trip back in the spring and can't wait to explore more.