How lucky was I to not only to get a couple of days visit in London, but to be there during National Cupcake Week?!

If you love cupcakes as much as I do, you might be interested in this link to the winning cupcake recipes.

London is expensive these days, there’s no getting around it.  For example, a round trip Underground fare in the same London zone is the equivalent in today’s exchange rate of $9.73.  Don’t even ask about taxi fares!

I was only in London for a couple of days so this is really an addendum to last year’s article, but ASE wanted to share our recent discoveries.

Cultural activities:

The Museum of Everything (9/2/11 – 10/25/11) is a pop-up museum of over 15,000 square feet of space in Selfridges department store on Oxford Street.  This year’s show presents undiscovered artists, some with developmental disabilities, displaying 200 paintings, sculptures and drawings. The artists are international and contemporary.  This is the fourth exhibition and the first in Selfridges exhibition space.  The art is interesting and compelling.  It’s well worth a visit.

The pedestrian underpass walkways under Hyde Park Corner junction and Piccadilly have wonderful historical murals and carvings. Apsley House (Wellington Museum) is on the corner, and underneath are the murals that show the Duke of Wellington’s heroic military career.  They are quite unexpected and delightful.

I’m not sure what category of ‘culture’ these fall under, but the current Harrods window displays along the Brompton Road are unique and worth a stroll-by.  The Harrods blog describes them this way:

“The windows showcase Karl Lagerfeld’s autumn–winter 2011–12 collection in French fairy-tale settings, featuring, as the company puts it, ‘enchanted bestiary, fabled mise en scenes and a subtle layering of exquisitely refined fabrics.’”  They claim that all the stuffed animals used in the window displays died of natural causes.  Really?

Shopping:

Since we were in Selfridges at the ‘Lower Ground Level’ (aka the basement), we cruised through the floor.  We discovered the Pedlars section and LOVED it! Pedlars is a wonderful collection of ‘stuff we love’ as their website describes it.   Some items are made exclusively for them in collaborations with well-known companies.  They carry MS mugs, Big Tomato mugs, Rice melamine plates, Alpha Art letters, Virginia Casa distressed enamelware, and Newgate clocks.  They also have a selection of wonderful journalistic magazines we’d never seen before and loved.

 

OKA – I love, love, love this store.  So much so that I had to buy some things and pay the enormous shipping fees.  It carries fabulous home furnishings and accessories, many of which are clever items that I’ve never seen before.  Among my favorites – the water bottle sleeve to dress up the water bottle you leave in guest rooms, and the bamboo round lacquer placemats in four colors. You can browse and order on line, just be mindful of the shipping costs!

The Rare Tea Company is a British company that specializes in loose tea. We were served tea in their glass teapot at our hotel and I loved the look and size. This teapot makes 2 cups of tea and works with tea bags or loose tea.  There is a stainless steel strainer in front of the spout.  They also sell ‘DIY’ teabags.  There is not a retail store, only online, but the products are carried at Harrods.  The website is worth browsing for their recipes.

I find Liberty always worth a look but this time I never made it out of the stationary department on the first floor. They have a wonderful selection of cards, wrapping paper and ribbon, pens, colored pencils, writing papers and other odds and ends.

Cos is a Swedish store that was new to me and I liked it very much.  It sells high-fashion clothes for men and women at reasonable prices.  The products come from about 60 suppliers in Europe and Asia. I went to the branch at 222 Regent Street.

Have a great trip!