photo by Alan Klim
I’ve talked at exhaustive length about my love of Paris and Sweden, but it’s only fair to give some special attention to my other favorite city in the world: London. I have family right outside the city and along the southeast coast, and on all of my trips across the pond I fall more and more in love with the country. It boasts one of the most easily navigable public transit systems in the world, and some of the craziest, most bi-polar weather as well. The accents, the countryside, the history, the architecture, the food (yes, I said food. I’m part English, I can’t deny my love for Yorkshire pudding), and the television shows and movies that come out of that country (my dad and I broke our VHS tape of Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” from watching it so many times), are some of my favorite things in the world. So what better way to celebrate jolly old Grey Britain than by turning it into a retail experience? Love London? Here’s how to incorporate it into your every day life:
1. A to Z of London Tea Towel, Keep Calm Gallery / I love tea towels to begin with, and on my most recent trip across the pond, I bought back this one for like, 5 different people. I love tea towels more than standard American dish towels, and this one, which highlights 26 different London attractions (did you notice “I” is used for the London Eye?) is too adorable for words.
2. Underground Map Jute bag, London Transport Museum / I almost bought this from some vendor or souvenir shop on my last trip but didn’t, deciding I had enough things in my life emblazoned with the map of the Underground. But I’ve regretted it ever since. I can just picture carrying this tote around farmer’s markets, stuffed with fresh local veggies and a giant bouquet of wild flowers.
3. PG Tips Tea / This is the best tea in the entire universe. The end. No arguments. I’ve never ever been a coffee drinker, and since I can’t really handle caffeine at all, I don’t really have tea too often, but (I’m about to rip off the Dos Equis commercial) when I do, I prefer PG Tips. My mom and I used to smuggle it back in our suitcases by the hundreds to stock up on it, and this is the tea my family overseas drinks exclusively. And now we can finally get it in the states, but it just isn’t the same as when my cousin would make me a cuppa. It still comes pretty close though.
4. Aero Candy Bars / Something happens to me when I get around Aero bars, the delicious chocolate bar that is filled with air bubbles, and it is similar to the behavior exhibited in primates when they go into heat. I am crazy about these candy bars. I can’t ever eat just one, no no. I consume probably 10-15 bars A DAY when I’m in England, and then I take tons back with me. I bought 5 giant size bars in the Heathrow airport before my last flight out and only made it off the plane in New York with 1. A former co-worker had a lay-over in London last summer and picked me a few bars up…and then I promptly asked him for his hand in marriage.
5. Union Jack Dog Bed, Unleashed Life / This is just adorable. I’m pretty sure I just figured out what Fitz is getting for Christmas. Beagles are, after all, an English breed, so this Union Jack doggie bed is quite fitting (quite!) for him, don’t you think?
6. Waving Queen, Museum of London / And speaking of adorable, someone over at the Ministry of Adorability needs a raise for coming up with a little model of the Queen that is solar-powered (see the panel on her purse?) and waves, smiling cheerily all the while. I want one of these SO BAD. Can you imagine the non-stop giggling?
7. Melamine Tray, Transport for London / Can’t you just imagine serving afternoon tea and bickies on this, or even leaning it on the counter behind your sink for a gorgeous visual element in your kitchen? It’s so graphic and hip while still managing to incorporate all of the iconic London architecture (Tower Bridge, Big Ben, the Eye) without being too clichéd. I absolutely adore it and think it could work as wall-art.
8. Red Telephone Box Cabinet, Amazon / Don’t be fooled, this is not just any ordinary red telephone box replica. This is a 4′ tall storage cabinet, inside which you can store DVDs (like your very own copy of “Midnight in Paris”, ahem ahem) or trinkets, or maybe other London souvenirs. I keep thinking this would make an adorable toy chest for a kid’s room. Or a liquor cabinet. OR, if you still own a landline phone, you could route out a hole in the back for the cord and put your phone inside and make it an actual phone booth. Assuming you put it on a table or dias or something, because it would be annoying to have to bend over to answer the phone. Um. I kind of want this. I’m seriously debating buying it.
Well, there you go. And of course, I can’t forget to mention my favorite piece of London transit memorabilia, my travelcard cushion!
And, because I’m feeling extra generous, some pictures of London by yours truly from my most recent trip:
taken from the top of the London Eye
This is me and my cousin, Nicky. He was born, raised, and still lives in England, and the poor sod agreed to take super tourist-y pictures with me around London one afternoon, including up in the London Eye. He was such a good sport about it, and we had a ton of fun and laughed the whole time. Although, he did apologize to that guard by saying, “I’m from here.” The rest of the trip the whole family kept giving each other thumbs up. Nicky also now calls Aero bars “Erin bars” because I ate so many of them. And, knowing how much I love Big Ben, he popped into a souvenir shop and bought me a small glass figurine with Big Ben etched inside. It has been sitting on my desk ever since.
See you tomorrow morning with another post! (I’m really on a roll here!) Oh, and happy hump day! I’ve always hated calling Wednesdays that. Can we think up a new name for it? Like Joey did on Friends? “Monday, one day. Tuesday, two days. Wednesday, huh? what, when? Thursday, the third day.”