Been to That London

The Liberty store, LondonSaturday saw me off to London again, to visit my friend Sam once more. Because we're about to go into my busy period at work, I probably won't see her now until the New Year. Of course, the British railways being what they are, I was sensible and pre-booked a ticket to get it cheap... and then the staff on that part of the network (South West Trains) decided to have a day's strike, so I had to get my money back and book a more expensive one with Great Western. And because part of the South West network wasn't running, everyone had to use the same route, which meant the train was heaving and I had to stand all the way to London.

I have travelled on trains in Europe, I have travelled on trains in Asia, and British trains are the worst. By far the most expensive, and definitely the least reliable.

Anyway, I got there.

I always try to have a plan of sorts when I go to London, a vague aim. This time I wanted to go back to a particular fabric shop I went in with my friend Jenna to see Black Sabbath; it had a basement full of amazing tweeds. Sam and I met at Oxford Circus tube station. First we ponked around Liberty, where I dragged her round the perfume section. I wasn't sure if we were getting the side-eye from the start, but if we were, joke's on them, because I know (and spend big on) my 'fumes. We also went up to the fabric department on the third floor to look at the new season's Tana Lawn prints. They've got a number of very deco-looking designs this autumn/winter, and I wanted to see them on the bolt to get a better idea of colour and scale than you get online. AAAAH! They were all so beautiful. I want them ALL. If you're a 1920s/1930s lover, you need to see them.
Liberty Full bloom fabric; a deco-style print
We went into a shop on Oxford Street, then to haberdasher MacCulloch and Wallis where I got bias binding, as I'll need it to make my space rocket top. That's another shop I'd only 'visited' online before, and I will definitely go back. It really was notions heaven.

The fabric shop I'd really wanted to go to was a massive disappointment this time. I'd been thinking of getting some wool tweed to have a go at the dress variant of that 60s top I keep making, but the basement was closed and it had all been merged in with the fabrics upstairs and the selection wasn't very inspiring. On reflection, I do have an awful lot of fabric now anyway, and perhaps the time has come for me to use some of my vintage fabric; I'm confident enough at making that top that the dress version shouldn't be a massive problem.
An arch in Chinatown, London
So Sam and I bimbled around some more. The fabric shops are in Soho – it's not just for sauce! – which has plenty of places to eat. We stopped off for a burger and I tried my very first seitan burger. Yes, vegan. It was... filling. When I was a kid we'd chew up grains of wheat off the ear and it'd turn into a sort of gummy stuff, and that's pretty much what seitan is as far as I can tell. All the veggies I know rave about it because it has a more chewy texture than a lot of veggie offerings. I liked it at first but was struggling by the end. Still, you definitely don't get hungry quickly after one of those.

We walked as far as Chinatown, then headed back to Oxford Circus, stopping in a chocolate shop for some incredible hot chocolate on the way. The picture doesn't do it justice. It was pretty much a cup of melted chocolate. We nattered constantly. I had a great day!
Two cups of hot chocolate
And then I got AN ACTUAL SEAT on the train home...

I hope your weekend was as much fun. Did you get up to much?


  1. Oh Mim, a cup of melted chocolate sounds like heaven to me!

    I am going to add in a visit to Liberty to look at their haberdashery, when I next go to London where I can treat my eyes to some vintage print fabulousness.

    It's disgraceful that you had to stand on your outbound journey. I've seen it even on the trains after 7 pm from St. Pancras to Bedford - why? I just thank the Lord I don't have to travel on a train very often...

    Hope you have a great week and that it's not frantically busy.

  2. And I thought Belgian trains were bad ... It's been far too long since I was in London, and I'm really thinking of doing a city trip once the sale of my Dad's house has been sorted out. If I do, I'll need the address of that hot chocolate place, obviously ;-) I used to have a colleague who raved about seitan. I never understood why, but I thought it was just me! xxx

  3. That's awful that the trains are so over-booked that you had to stand. That's routine in the US but I thought you were better at the whole railroad thing than we are.

    I've had good things made from seitan and...less good things. A burger seems like too much at once. If you find yourself in an Asian supermarket, try a tin of "Mock Duck." It is made from seitan and adds some interest to vegetarian stir fry.

  4. That chocolate looks like a cup of heaven! I think I'll have to indulge myself to one. Home made as I'm nowhere near London. Fabric shopping is the best hobby there is. Feeling for textures and dreaming about the garments you'll turn them into. I'm planning on sewing up new trousers for Autumn and Winter. I'll keep an eye out for mustard yellow suiting fabric on my next fabric hunt :)

  5. O that chocolate looks scrummy!
    Indian trains aren't exactly glamorous but they get you where you need to go comfortably!
    Fabric shopping sounds like fun. I bought some gorgeous blockprint in Delhi that I'll have made into suits when I'm done using them as backgrounds in my blog photos.

  6. God, I hate our trains! India's certainly put ours to shame, don't they? A Facebook friend came from Birmingham to see us yesterday and took the coach, said it was loads cheaper, not much slower plus seats were guaranteed.
    That Tana lawn print is a beauty. I've never been fabric shopping 'cos I'm completely clueless about yardage and meterage and know I'd end up cocking up! xxx

  7. Ah Liberty's where I literally had to force a shop assistant to notice and serve me because I was no make-up, possibly unbrushed hair and in very tatty denim, then the minute I got my platinum credit card out (before you wonder I was sent it in error!) she fawned over me in such a sickening fashion I couldn't get away fast enough.


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