Things are definitely feeling festive in Britain right now as the days are short and the frost has been setting in! I come from a partly German household so this time of year is BIG in my family; we celebrate Advent by leaving chocolates and satsumas in one another’s slippers over night, and we still write a Christmas list! (Don’t judge me – you’re never too old in my book! It’s both fun and practical I tell you!).
Now, I do I know that winter has its draw backs. I won’t lie, being a cyclist in the country at this time of year has gotten old very quickly; it is now completely normal for me to arrive at work sweating, covered head to toe in mud-slathered waterproofs. I made the foolish mistake of wearing my gorgeous white brogues to work this week. It was a dry day, I thought I was safe. I think you know how that turned out.
BUT! This weekend I am homeward-bound to the bright lights of London which means concrete beneath my feet and a host of gorgeous things to prepare for the festive season. So, here’s my advent weekend round up!
First up, lets head to Islington to get to the brilliant stationary store Present & Correct over on Arlington Way. I have some paper goods on my shopping list to make Christmas decorations with and this is the place I’m going to find them. Check out their super cool crackers!
Then take a short walk from there along Upper Street, hop along Camden Passage and you will find a gem of a store tucked away called SMUG. A great place to look for some quality gifts, with a new coffee shop downstairs that I still have yet to check out, so it has to be only list for the day. If you like objects of integrity and chic handmade gifts then this is the place for you.
Hop on the Underground at Angel and resurface at London Bridge to visit the fantastic Borough food market across the street. Here is the place to take a pit stop for the perfect flat white at Monmouth coffee shop – before visiting the German Deli. This is where i’ll stock up on all my German cookies for the season; there is usually a queue out the door of people with the same thought on their minds so it’s best to get in early!
Hop on the Tube once more at London Bridge, and 2 changes and 16 minutes later you can find yourself at Covent Garden, which is where the sweet shop Hope & Greenwood is to be found on Russell Street. Such a cheerful store, painted bright London red this is the place of your childhood dreams. I’ll admit it has the whiff of the mainstream about the brand now, and there is no escaping the fact that it is 2014, not 1954, but it is still such a nostalgic experience that frankly I welcome the suspension disbelief. The worst thing to happen in this happy place is having to choose between the pink sugared mice and the flying saucers!
If you want to see some London Christmas lights but fear the crowds of Oxford Circus (and quite rightly so!) I recommend finding the small streets; my favourites to see are Carnaby Street and the Liberty windows display, or take a stroll along New Bond Street, then cut through to South Molten Street and Avery Row where you can enjoy a glass of wine in the romantic cobbled London courtyard, its terribly atmospheric!