An Evening of Christmas Shopping in London’s West End & Paddington Bear too!

My earliest memory of Christmas shopping in London harks back to the late 1970’s. I was about 7 years old and it was my first ever visit to Liberty. Walking through the large wooden porch I saw the biggest Christmas tree I had ever seen. It filled the whole central atrium with the light and fragrance of Christmas. Since then, Liberty has had a very special place in my heart.
This year the magic continues with a nautical feel harking back to the building’s timber construction – created from the reclaimed wood of two ships – HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan.  Here are some pictures of the fabulous store’s festive ship’s mast.


Liberty print fabric sails and gifts in the crows nest
The crisp, clear air and the hustle and bustle along Oxford Street created the perfect atmosphere to set off the stunning Christmas lights along each major shopping street in the West End. I adore the individuality of each street which is reflected in their choice of lights. Carnaby Street has very retro look compared to the more refined lighting of New Bond Street.
Carnaby Street
A street off Carnaby Street


The famous Hamleys toy shop on Regent Street
New Bond Street
Boots on Oxford Street
St Christopher Place
Selfridges on Oxford Street
House of Fraser and John Lewis stores in Oxford Street


The Barbara Hepworth sculpture lit up on the John Lewis Building
A beautifully beaded catwalk piece on show in Victoria’s Secret
To make the trip even more special, Selfridges had a lovely little Paddington Bear pop-up shop displaying the movie costumes of Mr Brown (Hugh Bonneville), Mrs Brown (Sally Hawkins) and Mrs Bird (Julie Walters) ……
Mrs Brown (played by Sally Hawkins)
Mrs Bird (played by Julie Walters)
Mr Brown (played by Hugh Bonneville)


                            ………and of course Paddington Bears for sale.

The Mister Finch Exhibition, London

Following the launch of his very first book earlier this year, the fairy tale-inspired world of Mister Finch has touched down – for a very short time – in the beautiful Anthropologie shop on the Kings Road in London, where it will be on display until January 4th 2015. The bay fronted shop is crammed full of huge vintage books, curiosities and  beautifully-crafted fabric creatures.

Inspired by the Parisian taxidermy
shop Deyrolle, the show comprises 15 pieces of soft sculpture: a crowned swan,
suitcase- carrying toadstool and seven-foot fox, among other creatures.

Here are some of the pieces from the collection and they are much larger than I thought they would be.  Sit back and enjoy.


Fabulous pin cushion crown


Over-sized Textile Moths



This piece is for sale for £1,800



A closer look at the spider
The shop windows are a magical delight.
A panoramic picture of the exhibition space.

The Very Last Poppy at the Tower of London

The very last ceramic poppy was removed from the moat at the Tower of London last Friday and I was honoured to be part of it.

The very last poppy in the moat

The night before a last dashed email had been sent out asking for a final batch of volunteers to clear and tidy up the moat, ‘reply if you can make it’. I rearranged things and replied “YES”.

Friday was a beautiful day and the sun was shining. Perfect. The volunteers were split into teams to tackle the last two areas of poppies. I was first tasked to clear the poppies from around the pet cemetery near Traitors Gate.

The view from the path before the poppies were removed
The processing boxes & tables and the poppies at the base of the distant tower
It was so strange when the tourists started flocking and photographing us doing the clearing up
One of the first pets to be buried on the pet cemetery
The Poppies and their stems were dismantled. Poppies carefully placed into boxes
After the clear-up

Following the clear up we moved to the moat at Cradle Tower where the last poppy was picked by the youngest and eldest volunteer.

The youngest and eldest volunteer and the last poppy: Eileen (82) and Alexandria (18)
The latter part of my day was spent collecting money thrown into the moat at Traitors Gate. All money goes to the British Legion.


There is more money than you think.
Some coins have left their mark
Found Objects – thrown down by tourists, collected and displayed in the moat



So much mud ! Back to get washed up. What was a brilliant experience.