Hi, I'm back! London was fabulous! Loads of cool and crazy stuff happened and it flew by. On the train there a girl got on and a man with a huge TV style camera was interviewing her and filming her looking out the window dreamily, who knows what for!
We stayed on Portobello Road in a pub/hotel called the Portobello Gold; my Mom ate there before and liked it so we went straight there on the tube, although got off at totally the wrong station but managed to find it! I love Notting Hill if only for the candy coloured houses. We passed an estate agents and they're worth like £3 million each! As we were trailing suitcases up Portobello Road we saw a model on a photo shoot! This was really cool as she was amazingly tall and lithe with stunning long, blonde hair and the most amazing shoes ever, complete with giant feathery wings! I didn't recognise her but I'll be monitoring foto_decadent in hope of seeing the shoot!
The hotel was really laid back and casual but we found the room we'd booked only had one double bed and was the size of a shoe box, the bathroom could have been a wardrobe! They very nicely upgraded us for that night to the next available room which was more of a flat! It even has it's own roof garden with mini golf and a barbecue!
We got sorted and planned a trip to Camden, mainly for an art project Chloe has to do and also for cheapie goodness. I ended up with an excessive amount of pastel house photos.
I love the way London is half full of tourists who are oohing and ahhing at stuff like you but half actual Londoners, who I looked at with the awe of wow, you live in London! As far as fashion goes, it's almost like there is no excuse to not have some interest as there are so many fabulous shops and amazing places to go. Compared to average city streets, there are so many people that you wouldn't have time to stare at someone or make a catty remark, as you pass just loads and everyone must have their own agenda, whereas in a normal town it's like people think they know about you and can judge you or call out because they don't see anyone more interesting. I can definitely see why London is a fashion capital, there is so much more respect for different styles and lives. I've never seen anyone before like the punks in Camden! I love how the shops have protruding, random objects as signs. I didn't know all the vintage stables had closed but we wandered and wandered round the markets and in and out of cheap shoe stores.
In one next to the orange juice stall in the picture below I saw the shoes of perfection. They were literally just my dream shoes! As I took a photo of the sailor style boots below the SA said I couldn't take photos so I can only describe them. They were patent and the toe had more of a curved point rather than a round toe and the front at the start of the toes was more of a V shape too so they were super flattering. Instead of a mary jane style strap they had a huge velvet bow across which stood out far and combined with the point/curve toe and cut, it was just perfection! They also had a low heel that was a wedge, but still patent too so from the side they were divine and curved under the heel with the big bow, ah lush! Of course their 39 was too small. I tried to reason, imagining every single outfit I own going with them and judging just how far I'd be able to walk, but a few steps wouldn't cut it! I'm still thinking about my white tights ending with little patent shoes with two velvet bows, oh the pain! I tried on the sailor style boots and they were great but had no comparison.
So a lot of browsing ensued and I weighed up the cheap but super cute dresses all around with their all one size-fitting shirred backs and least material as possible-hem lines but nothing tickled my pickle as they say! It was fun trying to photograph punks without them seeing but having to stalk them down the street! There was a huge amount to look at and browse through and we spent a good few hours going in and out of shops and round the market.
I weighed up doing the whole Brick Lane thing but I've been there before and after a whole summer of buying and selling vintage, there are only so many more patterned dresses I can browse through!! A main goal was to visit American Apparel, which might seem weird to someone who can go there regularly but I wanted to see all that cotton in person! We didn't even know there was one on Portobello Road and walked down a busy Regent Street to find the branch, which I thought would be tons bigger. I tried on a few things including a pastel striped U-neck leotard but to no avail. My sister loved the skater skirt but got a much cuter dress later so made up for not spending £30 on it. By now we were tired but decided to brave the four floor Topshop on Oxford Street. Wow! It's just crazy! The floors are so huge, it makes any local store look like a market stall with the massive space covered in what looks like any item you would want, not to mention the hair salon, nail bar, huge confectionery area and cafe. After loosing my Mom and sister when browsing the hefty independent designer section, I just sat in the shoe bit and people watched. I saw such amazing girls, the kind I've only seen through a computer screen! Twice in the space of ten minutes I saw those humongous TS black platform wedge shoes that looked like you were walking on black bricks on two girls who were just milling around browsing the racks. One was super tall with a bowler hat and cropped brown hair in skinny black trousers and a tuxedo jacket and the other was a very small, dainty Asian girl in a long, light skirt and over sized shawl.
We trekked back to the hotel after about seven hours and ate there with my Mom's friend Sharon who has cool dreadlocks and could take us on the right buses. If I lived in London I think I'd use the bus rather than the tube as it's much more fun to look at your surroundings and it's much more pleasant, plus less scary and fast paced! Much to our delight, Chloe and I found that at night the hotel was frequented by hot student types! Even the bar staff wore the tightest jeans and vests, one guy even had a moustache that flicked into little points sticking straight out, there were so many times I just wanted to say 'your moustache is so cool!'
In the morning we were woken by the famous Portobello market setting up, a major highlight of staying on the road. We spent almost the whole day going up and down and in and out of the hundreds of stalls. It seemed that they were either really cheap of quite pricey. I got lots of dresses for eBay for mere fivers but coveted lots of dresses that were priced at beyond £60. I think I must move to a hot European country because tourists kept fussing over my hair and I kept seeing people take photos of me, so who knows where my face is?!
Chloe got the coolest halter tie dress which I think has a kind of clown vibe and I picked up a little floral bustier in the pink shops below. On a military and army wear stall I got a sailor collar which you can attach and wear with anything!! You can see this stuff in the video clips I've put together below.
We went in lots of the boutiques too, a special one being One of a Kind which had photos of loads of celebs that had been in there, from Kate Moss to Sienna Miller to Lindsay Lohan! Inside was jam packed with stuff, so much so that it would have been better to ask about a certain thing rather than browse. I expect it's used for film sets and the like? Also we found a shop called I Saved Laurence which my youngest brother would have liked, that being his namesake!
We had some lunch and then some drinks with a paper and Chloe and I went off to browse Notting Hill. I assumed it would be so posh but it had lots of bargain shops with cheapie stuff and little second hand shops. This is where we went in an awful shop that I won't name but it has a pink front and stocks random dresses and skirts with huge price tags.
In Birmingham, and I'm sure other places, in a few vintage stores they have dresses made by people from vintage skirts and more importantly, vintage scarfs sewn together. My sister was looking for nice scarfs to make one of these dresses from, which is basically a stretch boob tube or top with a few scarfs sewn together as the skirt. This shop happened to sell them right in the door and the middle aged lady smiled as we went in and said 'those are as skirts, dresses and tops.' I looked at one and said to Chloe 'ah see, you could just get a boob tube from Primark for like £1 to sew the scarfs off,' and the lady who was listening said 'excuse me, what did she just say?' and I said, not realising she was saying it crossly, 'this can be just a strapless top with the scarfs coming off it, we've been looking at scarfs today.' The lady stood up from behind the till and said 'I've been making these dresses all my life and it's ridiculous how people always come in and say they could make them, just because you've got a sewing machine doesn't mean you could do anything, I don't go into an art gallery and say oh, I have paints, I could do this. Well there you go, your friend's going to make you one, it will turn out crap anyway.' I was totally surprised for one thing by a posh lady saying crap and another that she'd launched into a rant at some random customers! I didn't know she'd made the dresses and just assumed they'd been ordered in like every other shop we'd seen that day. I wasn't trashing her designs or skills, just commenting and didn't meant to offend! I stared at her in disbelief not knowing what to saw and she smiled at me sarcastically. I was trying to think of something to say but couldn't find the words and just said lets go and we walked out sharpish!
That was the only mishap, we had a cool time looking at all the designer shoes in the charity shop windows in Notting Hill! Later we went to eat and went to some pubs in Camden before squeezing into the box room for the worst nights sleep ever! I nearly forgot, Chloe asked if she could buy alcohol and the bar manager said only if she was 18, and then asked me if I was 18 so I said I was 19 in a few days and he said he thought I was about 14! I think this may be a turning point for my bows and frills! Here are some clips I took, most of the time accidentally on camera setting. I'll show my purchases tomorrow...!