Monday, 17 May 2010
A few weeks ago when we went up to London to visit The Transport Museum, we indulged in a spot of retail therapy... for me this involved a visit to two of my all time favourites and whilst no pennies left my purse I left the shops feeling as happy as if my shopping bag were full.
There are some shops you dream of owning, some shops you can't wait to leave, some shops you visit out of necessity and some out of curiosity. Well, Persephone Books and Penhaligon's belong firmly in the first category in my book, excuse the pun.
I love everything about a visit to the Persephone bookshop in Lambs Conduit Street, from its soft dove grey, modest exterior,
to the book lined shelves, the poster covered walls, the soft draping fabrics, the mugs,
notebooks and parcels waiting to be sent. I hear that they have had a bit of a turn around lately and the book covered table has changed but I can't imagine this making me love the place any the less.
There is a quietness and domesticity about the place that makes me feel instantly "at home".
The feeling that the women working in the shop love the books as much as the customer, that each title is revered and stands alone and really doesn't need much in terms of publicity and hype.
I could browse all day and even Mr Roses succumbed this time and left with a new book to add to his collection. Huge thank you to the staff for letting me take some photos to share.
Just off the hurly burly of Covent Garden sits Penhaligon's in Wellington Street. A beautiful old fashioned shop with wooden shelves filled with the most marvellous, marvellous scents and packaging. It's hard to refrain from trying them all, even Mr Roses left with his hands daubed in lily of the valley handcream and wandered round the streets and sniffing his hands and proclaiming loudly how good it was! For my eldest daughter it is the home of her dream perfume, Bluebell, her 16th birthday present, the chosen scent of her literary heroine, Cassandra from "I Capture the Castle". For my youngest daughter is a chance to smell as many flowers as possible and imagine herself camping in the woods, so evocative are the scents. For me it is a chance to indulge in my memories, on this last visit I was overcome by smells that reminded me of my mother's handbag and the staff told us that this was a frequent happening. People often visited the shop to smell again the favourite scents of lost loved ones, so strong and evocative is the association.
It is a very old fashioned shop with really friendly staff and if. like me, you don't have the pennies to indulge, this needn't stop you going along to take a sniff...
As we walked along the streets of Bloomsbury we gazed at the old beautiful Georgian buildings and did a spot of plaque reading, here lived Lytton Strachey, member of the Bloomsbury Group. We walked round the squares and followed their footsteps...
At lunch we sat and gazed out of the restaurant window and looked out onto the beautiful quintessentially English buildings through garlic string curtains.
And finally I popped into this shop, Anthropologie, not so much for me, but for all the blog readers that have fallen in love with this place.
It was a riot of flora and fauna, the shop window,
lighting and exotically planted walls were a sight for sore eyes, just amazing.
But if I had to choose, I'm sorry to say it would be the quieter shops that take my fancy. Give me a Persephone any day...