Last week, I had a date with the King’s Road. I’m in London all the time these days, but it’s always on a tight time schedule. Dashing from one train station to next, from one appointment to another, always with one too many or too few layers on and an undercurrent feeling of being harried and stressed.
So on Friday, I took the day off. I needed to be in London at 7pm to see my friend performing in a show over in Belsize Park, so headed up on a late morning train with the intention of visiting to a museum or gallery first, then going over to the King’s Road for a spot of Christmas shopping later on. But once I arrived in Waterloo I thought, well, maybe I should go and do my shopping first! My excuse was that I wasn’t sure what the Black Friday crowds would be like so thought it would be best to tackle them fresh in the day, but really- really and truly- I just wanted to get on with the shopping. ‘I’ll go to a gallery later!’ I told myself. Ha!
You can guess what happened. Hours, and hours, and hours of shopping and stopping for coffee breaks and lunch, and I never once made it anywhere more cultural than a quick sit down outside the Saatchi gallery. Not inside it, mind you. Just outside. All plans of spending a civilised couple of hours wandering solo through the National Gallery or the Tate, with coffee in one hand and camera in the other, were lost the minute I found King’s Road to be relatively quiet, and the sales to be generous. Coffee was bought and photos were taken though, of course…
Most of my time spent shopping was for other people (hand on heart, I promise!), though I couldn’t resist picking up one of the Christmas Pine scented candles in The White Company. Even if I’d intended to walk right by the shop (which I didn’t, since I needed to pick up a few other bits for gifts) the smell of the store alone would’ve tempted me in. It’s the very essence of Christmas!
I got peckish after a few hours of shopping (‘shopping is my cardio’), so stopped into an Italian cafe I’ve been wanting to visit for years now- Ca’puccino. And since I’ve always wanted to eat at that cafe AND sit outside doing a spot of people watching, that’s exactly what I did! November chill be damned! I’m eating al-fresco!
The cold didn’t wasn’t able to get to me for long, thanks to the big mug of ‘cioccolata calda’ that my waiter brought over (at my request, of course, not just because he was kind like that). That hot chocolate was incredible, worthy of a place on that Buzzfeed article I mentioned last week! Ca’puccino itself is a delight- minimalist, and with a light, modern Italian menu. And they had patio heaters outside, which is always a winner in my book!
I spent my shopping lunch break reading Christmas magazines (Country Homes all the way!), watching elegant Italian couples and Mums with Bugaboos and well-groomed men with even better groomed dogs walking past the cafe, and eating a cheese and ham frittata that came served in its own (totally adorable!) mini frying pan. It was peaceful beyond belief, that mellow half hour or so lunchtime. I could’ve sat there all day long, just revelling in the quiet and watching the sun sink lower in the sky- but no! There was more shopping to be done!
Last on my hit-list for the day was Anthropologie- not least because they had a 20% off everything sale! I found the hat of my dreams (honestly, it would’ve looked good with every single item of clothing I own), but kissed it goodbye in favour of buying Christmas gifts instead. A feat of self-control if ever there was one ;)
Call me an introvert (and you’d be right!) but it really was one of the nicest days I’ve spent in London in a long time. There’s something to be said for taking a whole day to yourself, every once in a while. Even though I’m home solo a fair bit, what with social media pinging non-stop and emails filling the gaps in between, it’s rare that I feel truly, nourishingly, soul-soothingly alone. And I hadn’t really realised that until I took a day away from it all, and didn’t say much besides ‘another hot chocolate, please’, the whole day long.