Taking a Winter Break

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone is enjoying their day and having the most wonderful dinner and enjoying the company of friends and family today. 


I have been thinking a lot about Thanksgiving and I now wish that I had organised a Thanksgiving Dinner (maybe next year) to celebrate friends and family.  I have a lot to be grateful for.  This morning I sobbed at work and a friend was a wonderful comfort to me.  I am very thankful. 


I will be back on Tuesday after a weekend Christmas shopping in Cologne, Germany.  I cannot wait.  Hopefully WordPress won’t let me down and my Daring Bakers challenge and Martha Mondays task will both magically appear!


For as long as I can remember I have always thought of Harrods as being the most luxurious shop.  I find that no store around the world has never come close to matching it.  When my sister and were little I cannot remember mum and dad taking us to Harrods, and sadly we never saw Santa in his grotto at Christmas.  I think the shop has changed over the years from being just for the rich and famous to be accessible to everyone now.  Even the dress code is more relaxed. 

Harrods came alive for me a few years back when I was helping a friend prepare for her wedding and visits to the departments in Harrods became quite frequent.  I now use Harrods quite often every couple of months I push the heavy doors and feel happy.  I never find myself getting bored of walking through the rooms and viewing all that the store has to offer.  In fact Harrods is one of my ‘calming places’ of which there are two – Waterstones at Piccadilly and Harrods.  If I get stressed or just need to calm down, you will find me wandering around either place and when I emerge I always feel so much better.

Recently I have started to use Urban Retreat, Harrods’ beauty spa on the fifth floor.  This is where ‘ladies who lunch’ can be found having their hair and manicures done before sipping coffee in one of the many restaurants either in Harrods or in Knightsbridge.  But don’t let that put you off.  Urban Retreat is modern, their service is wonderful, and most importantly their staff are superb. 

That’s the thing I like about Harrods the best – the service.  Never have I found that the staff turn down their noses when I look at the expensive jewellery and handbags, or even when mum and I were looking at a £51,000 bed the other day.

Harrods is a must for any tourist coming to London.  I suggest going either first thing in the morning or at about 6.00pm (my favourite time).  Make sure you have plenty of time to wander around the five floors, 330 departments and enjoy every minute of it.  Checking out some of the 30 restaurants and cafes dotted about to see what takes your fancy before sitting down is a good idea.  The Harrods’ Chocolate Bar on the second floor (near kitchenware) is always fun if you like chocolate fondue and anything chocolate, and Morelli’s for their fantastic range of ice creams in the foodhall  is lovely in the summer (apple ice cream is my favourite).

The Shoe Boudoir (1st floor) is beautiful and highlights creations by Christian Louboutain and René Caovilla where shoes sit on individual pedestals to be admired.  No visit, of course,  would be complete without a visit to the many rooms of the food hall.  The cakes are as good as they look and I recommend buying a cake/pastry and taking it into Hyde Park to enjoy.  And you should also buy a tin of shortbread to take home for friends and family, they will definitely be happy.

There are so many things to see in Harrods, the displays continually change, but the experience never gets boring. 


[Photo from www.thegirlinthecafe.com].

Martha Merchandise

A trip to New York and a morning spent seeing a live taping of the Martha show would not have been complete for me if I hadn’t bought lots of Martha products.  Apart from the magazines, Wedgwood collection and books (which I order on-line as book shops over here rarely have Martha books in stock) there are no other Martha products to be found.  I always hope that Martha will find a supplier over here to carry her products – Harrods would be ideal for me. 
So, mum and I took ourselves to Macy’s in New York.  Mum and I had both been to Macy’s years ago and never thought too highly of it then.  We still don’t.   I find the staff to be pretty rude, the building quite shabby and the products are never displayed greatly.  I think Martha could do with making a one of her staff from head office go in and neaten it all up (something that mum and I took to doing whilst we were in there).  We didn’t purchase bed linens (something that I had wanted to do) due to their price, which maybe if the pound had been stronger against the dollar I would have done.  We didn’t buy Christmas items either as there was very little displayed and I didn’t like the glittered seashells that they had in store.  However, I did find the Martha products for kitchenware to be in good order (I hate having to hunt around for products too much and as such am never a good shopper in the sales) and purchased a bowl for utensils, a cake tester, a recipe calculator (so clever – it divides the measures, multiplies them and triples them) and measuring cups.  Bearing in mind that we had our luggage allowance otherwise I would have been tempted to buy more.  A skillet was on my list but I never found one.  I had also wanted a Martha Stewart mug, with the logo but it seems that they didn’t do them.  Maybe they don’t do them at all.
On the day of the Martha show mum and I stood in line with our Martha merchandise order forms which a member of staff had been handing out and ordered two aprons (one for me one for mum, a tote bag and a hooded jumper).
We are both so pleased with our purchases.  I have used all of the items and they are great.  The measuring cups are especially great as you fill them to the top as opposed to the old ones I had (Nigella Lawson ones) which had the measure inside the cup.  The hooded jumper has proved to be warm and soft and although I do not usually wear clothing with names or logos on it, I am happy to have the logo of the show on my right arm.  The tote bag is sturdy and carried Christmas presents into work with ease. 
A trip to Kate’s Paperie also saw the purchase of Martha’s Crane & Co. Christmas cards which are beautifully designed and I will take great delight in sending these next year. 
The products we picked really were ‘good things’.

Anthropologie Purchases

I’m just back from a trip into London to Anthropologie on Regent Street.  After hearing about the sale in US stores I figured a trip was due to the one here.  I am so happy that I went.  Anthropologie prices are pretty expensive and I still think that they changed the dollar for pound sign on the price tickets without changing the prices but I will have to overcome that. 

Two tops, a scarf and a paperweight for my boss’s upcoming birthday were purchased and I couldn’t be happier.