Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A wonderful wet afternoon in London

I am sure you think that is a rather strange title for a post but last Thursday really was a wonderful afternoon, despite the rain, as I went bridal gown browsing for the first time with my daughter..............
She had an afternoon off from work and had booked a "trying on" appointment at a wedding dress shop just off Oxford Street at 3.30pm. As any Mum of a grown up daughter knows it is always important to meet up first for tea and cake! We had arranged to meet at the John Lewis department store for afternoon tea at 2.30pm. As I don't work on a Thursday I thought it would also be ideal for me to nip up to Carnaby Street before hand and pay a visit to the shop where I buy many of my silver findings and semi precious stones from.

It was a very wet afternoon but I thought it would be fun to take my trusty camera with me and take you all with me on my journey. I really love seeing photos of places I have not visited before on other peoples blogs and I realise that what is almost ordinary for me is not for other people, especially my friends overseas.

So here we go, this was my journey. I have lived either in or just outside of London my whole life. Our house in Surrey is only a 25 minute journey to Victoria Station in London where I can jump on to the tube and actually be standing in Oxford Street in 45 minutes from leaving home. I love it.... My Hb works in London and commutes there every weekday.

I have an Oyster card which I swipe for all the parts of my journey. To explain to those of my friends who are abroad this is a "Pay as you go" system for all the transport modes in and around London...buses, train, trams and the tube. I can swipe in at my local train station and keep swiping all the time on buses, tubes etc and only have to pay a maximum capped fare. It is a very efficient system. Now usually Oyster cards are just boring with writing on but I have this one......

I bought it several years ago when the Tutankhamen exhibition was at the O2 exhibition centre. It came as part of a deal with the entrance ticket. I did not realise how rare it is....no one else, sometimes even ticket inspectors seem to be aware of its existence! It is fun to own...I just top it up with money when it runs low. My Hb owns one too and I have not seen any others although there must be a few more out there?

I travel up to Victoria Rail station from my local railway station ...Victoria is a busy London station...this is the platform I arrive at..

From Victoria I jumped on the tube, it is always a bustle and is busy at any time of the day. I love crowds though and people watching. Everyone is busy trying to get somewhere else. The good thing is that the underground trains arrive every few minutes so if you cannot squeeze onto one there is always one right behind!

Above is the entrance to the tube at Victoria, luckily it is inside the station so I could keep dry.

This is actually quite a quiet time would you believe!
I took the tube to Oxford Circus which is the nearest stop for both Carnaby Street and John Lewis.

Oxford Circus now has a rather interesting crossing where you are able to cross in any direction and it is now really easy to just walk diagonally across to Regent Street.

You can see on the left one of the last "Bendy buses" which are going to be phased out when the new Route Master buses are launched. I can remember travelling to school every day on the old Route Master buses. They were so easy to jump on and off as there was no door in those days, just a platform. There was no Oyster payment system, a conductor took your real money and gave you a ticket. I can remember sitting on the seats and my little legs did not quite reach the floor when I was small.

I walked down Regent Street under my brolly and nipped round the back of  Liberty's. The back entrance of this wonderful shop is just as interesting as the rest of this very beautiful building - but in the rain we tend to just hurry by.
My destination in Carnaby Street was a small Mall which has lots of specialist shops arranged on 3 levels around an open cafe area.

I also had to walk past one of my favourite shoe shops!!

After picking up my jewellery findings I made my way back up to John Lewis for our afternoon tea.

John Lewis is my Mum and my favourite shop and we have spent many hours over the years in here. When I was pregnant I used to meet my Mum in the coffee shop and then go to the baby department...that was nearly 25 years ago now.  Over the years the shop has been completely refurbished and hardly looks like the store I knew in the late 60s early 70s. It is now so light and airy, a real pleasure to shop there.

I met my daughter on time and we made our way to the cafe to share a cream tea......tea, freshly baked scone, raspberry jam and clotted cream. Mmmmmmmmmmm- I'm afraid we had already eaten if before I thought of taking a photo but believe me it was delicious!

It was then time for the appointment at the wedding dress shop. I cannot give much away as this part of her wedding plans is obviously secret ,but when my daughter came out from behind the curtain in the first dress I got the lump in the throat that only a Mum can get when she sees her darling daughter in a wedding dress. Yes she looked totally beautiful. I was really delighted. She tried lots of different designs on and there are other places to look at too but it was a wonderful start to this journey towards her wedding next year! It was a really wonderful wet afternoon in London.
We finished off our afternoon by meeting my Hb from work and the 3 of us enjoyed an Italian meal in Farringdon..... perfect!
I hope you enjoyed a trip around a very rainy Oxford Street, London too!
Bye for now,

Jane x


  1. I can imagine the emotion of seeing your daughter in a wedding dress!!
    We visited most of those places when we were in London at the end of August (apart from the wedding shop of course!), I can't believe that was 6 months ago!! Where does time go?
    Vivienne x

  2. Yes Vivienne, the emotions ran wild and it involved a sharp intake of air too; she looked beautiful! I think you had rather better weather in London when you visited? The months just fly by don't they.
    Jane x

  3. Fabulous :O) I haven't been to London for years. My father is from N.London and I spent many years in and around as a child on visits. The last time I went was when my daughter was 8/9 so a good 7 yrs ago...shocking! The stations look cleaner than I remember, is that a feather in Boris' cap I wonder. Gorgeous wedding dresses. I never wore one and when you see them like that, I wish I had 'but the bump would have spoiled the effect...shhh..' Wonderful read with fabulous pictures, you should share you pics on Flickr, they are lovely and lots of people will see them there. Lx

  4. You made me smile so much Laney...bump and all...I will not tell a soul! London is so much cleaner and tidier than it was years ago...it really has become a great city, roll on the Olympics next year.Thanks for your kind words about my photos, I had only thought about using Flickr for my jewellery? Food for thought,
    Jane x

  5. I loved your London post - and I love London too! I've visited it so many times since student days, often for work meetings and exhibitions, but for pleasure too, it's such a wonderful city. Your pictures were very evocative.
    I also liked hearing about choosing your daughter's wedding dress - such a lovely day! My elder daughter got married a few years ago. I helped her to choose her dress, and had that magical moment too of seeing her step out in her wedding dress for the first time! I'm sure you will enjoy all the wedding plans and the big day to the full. I also want to say thank you for your little 'roses are red' poem variation on my valentine blog, Jane. It was very sweet! Have a lovely romantic week! Helen x

  6. I totally agree Helen, London is fab, it's my very favourite city and even after all these years I find new parts to explore. I'm glad you liked my version of Roses are red, lucky, lucky winners too!
    We are just off out to our Valentine Ball, enjoy your evening,
    Jane x

  7. Oh Jane, I enjoyed it more than you can guess! I'm sure you had the best day with your daughter and this special occasion!
    I was in London at 17 years age, with my mom and sister. Then I was there 1 day when going to my sister's wedding to Rowland Castle,7 years ago. I can't remember well the places and names but I remember 'the feeling' and the atmosphere! I hope to come there again one day!
    Your Oyster card is really nice...do you know that Tutankhamon's grandmother was Teje and I got my name from her?!
    Thank you for this extra lovely post! xxx Teje

  8. Dear Jane, thanks for taking me on your shopping trip. I was born in Oklahoma and moved to Oregon when I was 4 and have only traveled out of the US to Mexico, Canada and across the sea to Hawaii. BUT.. I feel very deprived never to have been to England - as my ancestors trod that land. Hope to come before I die.


  9. Hi Jane,

    What a lovely day you had! Thank you so much for sharing, it's almost I was there with you and Milly! I am sure she was gorgeous in all the dresses! But one thing troubles me: You walked PAST your favorite shoe shop? I simply cannot believe that, dear ;)

    Happy and crisp (it's -30C this morning, lovely indeed) greetings from Finland!


  10. Thanks for sharing the highlights of this special afternoon- I'm sure it's just the beginning of many new and happy milestone events!
    Tea in London on a damp afternoon sends my imagination soaring! :o)

  11. Good morning everyone, thanks for all your lovely comments!

    Teje - how amazing that your name comes from King Tut's grandmother- I learn something new every single day!Thank you for that!
    Jane x


    Hi Teresa,I am glad you enjoyed your trip with me, you must come to England at least one in your life..especially as your ancestors hail from here.
    Jane x


    Good morning chilly Mia, it's not a bad day here, prob +9 today, keep snug my dear. I am pleased you enjoyed your virtual trip with us..such a lovely afternoon.
    Now I did look in the window of my shoe shop....but I did not venture in that time ;0)
    Have a great day,
    Jane x


    Hi Michele, I am so glad to share our visit, there will be plenty more to come!
    Jane x

  12. Jane, how MARVELOUS this post is. London is on my "must-see" list and this is so wonderful to get a feel for what it's like. It is so kind of you to post your experience..and especially fun to read of your times with your mum and now your daughter. What a special time this is to be in the planning stages of your daughter's wedding! I can't imagine how excited you all must be. And how wonderful that your husband can meet you for dinner too..fantastic!! Always great to read your posts..and your kind visits!

  13. Hi Shirley, oh yes London should be on that "must see" list, even in the rain it is a superb place to be! Have a great weekend,
    Jane x


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