‘Post-Lockdown London Looks’, try saying that quickly… Nearly a year ago I wrote a blog about all the things I was looking forward to doing once lockdown ended. Little did we know that over a year later we would still be in this position. At least this time there’s a bit more hope on the horizon. There are vaccines rolling out that are going to get us ‘back-to-normal’, whatever ‘normal’ may be, at some point soon. Although I’m glad I had the foresight to book only UK holidays again this year because the abroad dream feels like it’s fading away.
I was very lucky that I did manage to realise almost all of my post-lockdown weekend dreams. I didn’t get to go to any parties obviously, but in the summer we had lunches, we went to pubs and back in early December I even got to go to a football match at my beloved Brentford. It was the MOST thrilling 0–0 draw ever! We were just beside ourselves to be there. Then it all stopped again.
I’ve said it before, I’m very lucky and grateful to be of a certain age. I’ve done my partying: as a teenager I went to the festivals, the parties, the gigs, the raves, the cheap package holidays with friends. My teens haven’t. They should be out there doing all that. I’m fed up with saying ‘maybe next year’. Please god, ‘maybe next year’ will actually be next year this time. The things I’m looking forward to doing are really just things that were part of normal life two years ago, things we very much took for granted. This is what I want to do here in London and what I’d like to wear while doing it. Most of these clothes I already own, or have similar, so excuse the fact that this is a very self-indulgent post and you may have seen these things before…
GOING TO LIBERTY
During Lockdown Parts 1 and 2, I didn’t really miss the shops at all. But in these past few months since Christmas I’ve really been craving a mooch around the shops. I’m not really talking about the regular high street shops; sorry to say but I don’t think they will ever really hold that much pull for me anymore, it’s so easy to shop online. If they don’t offer me the sights, sounds and smells that a shop like Liberty does then I really don’t have a huge desire to visit. I think moving forward it will be that individuality, that sense of ‘experience’ and inclusion that will draw shoppers back into bricks and mortar shops.
I like to think that smaller boutiques with that personal touch will also feel this benefit. You’ll want to go somewhere that knows you, that gives you advice, places where you’ll come out with maybe just one thing that you’ll wear over and over rather than five from Zara that only get worn once.
PUB GARDEN LUNCH
Part of our family routine was to have lunch or dinner at the pub about once a week. Being away from the kitchen table does force us to actually have proper conversations with each other. Especially as recently my husband insists on having Bob Ross on the TV while we eat dinner. I know he’s calming and relaxing but frankly I’m sick of his mountainscapes and his perm every night. I want to be able to take Thomas Frank the dog for a nice long walk on a Sunday and end up in the pub for lunch. It’s the only way we’ll get the teens to come with us on said walk.
I know that when the pubs do finally open next month it will be gardens only. I’m happy with that, it just means you might need a few extra layers. I’ll even wear my completely impractical Oliver Cromwell shoes from JW Anderson that I bought myself for Christmas, but I’ll probably take a puffer jacket with me too.
1. La Redoute Striped Breton Cardigan
2. APC Demi Lune Tan Leather Bag
3. Arket Heavyweight White T Shirt (best White T Shirt EVER)
4. Whistles India Pleat Detail Jeans
5. JW Anderson Gold Buckle Mules
HAVING AN ACTUAL HAIRCUT
The last time I went to a hairdressers salon was on Feb 18th 2020. This is definitely the longest I’ve gone without a haircut ever and also the longest I’ve had my hair too. I’m kind of keen on my new long hair, but it does now need an actual style. Luckily, (and I may not have discovered this if I hadn’t got to know all my neighbours so much better over the past year), there is a lovely lady over the road who is an excellent colourist. At my age colour is far more important to me than cut. Why is it grey hairs just grow upwards? Completely different texture too.
I’m splashing out on a full head of highlights on April 12th and have booked an actual haircut with The Hair Bros (who were recommended to me by many people on Instagram) on April 21st. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to my big day out to a real salon. I’m also expecting some kind of hair miracle. No pressure.
A WALK ALONG THE SOUTH BANK
Ever since the kids were tiny, one of our favourite things to do at a weekend was to walk along the South Bank. It’s a walk I’d always recommend to people who come to London. Start at Waterloo station and cross over the road to the riverside. This way you avoid the tacky part around the Wheel with all the mime artists and the fire jugglers. I wonder what they’ve done during this time? Has there been some kind of government human statue grant?
You’ll walk past Gabriel’s Wharf with its quirky little shops, past the Tate Modern, where you can go in for free and see all kinds of excellent art, or just let your small children run down the slope in the Turbine Hall, then we’d always have lunch at the Pizza Express next to the Globe Theatre and along from my favourite ever row of houses in London. Legend has it that Sir Christopher Wren lived at 49 Bankside during the construction of St Paul’s Cathedral just over the river, so he could keep an eye on progress. Legend also states that the small alley between the house, Cardinal Cap Alley, led directly to a brothel.
After you’ve had your pizza, continue along, pop into Borough Market, go past HMS Belfast, cross over Tower Bridge, along past the Tower of London (a fine fine castle if ever there was one). If you can score a ticket, go along to the Sky Garden, it’s free but you need to book in advance. The view from there is so cool, there’s a bar where you can have an over-priced cocktail with the money you saved getting in.
Sorry, this post seems to have morphed into a love letter to London. A city that I miss so much even though I live in it. I long to get back into the city to do all these things again. Once we are allowed that is just what we will be doing. There’s so much to explore and it really doesn’t have to cost much.
1. Monsoon Artisan Floral Quilted Jacket
2. & Other Stories Broderie Anglaise Blouse
3. Genevieve Sweeney Brushed Wool Knitted Vest
4. Me + Em Wide Leg High Waisted Jeans
5. All Saints Donita Snake Embossed Leather Boots
AFTERNOON TEA FOR TWO
Going to tea at Claridges with Mother was one of the last ever things I did before Lockdown Part 1 in March last year. If you want a special treat then afternoon tea is the thing to do. It’s a close-run tie between Claridges and The Berkeley for the best one. The Berkeley does a fashion-themed high tea called ‘Pret-A-Port-Tea’ and it looks almost too good to eat. Claridges is just such an experience, they treat everyone like royalty no matter who you are or what you look like. They made a special version of the cakes for my mum because she’s a diabetic. Also, Selfridges is just over the road so you can have a little shop up afterwards.
I once got so drunk in Claridges at Christmas that I went over to Selfridges and bought a Chanel handbag. Well, a wallet-on-a-chain; even when light-headed, I knew I couldn’t stretch to a ‘proper’ one. But drunken shopping is the best. I miss that. Although I do often suffer from a twitching finger on Friday evenings and am then surprised when something totally unsuitable arrives on a Tuesday.
Thanks for reading as ever. i hope you have some exciting outdoor plans for this week. Rumour is, it could be shorts weather in London on Tuesday, but back to hat, scarf and gloves by Easter, so make the most of it!