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U.K. Girlfriends Share London Shopping Secrets

 

Ask any woman and she'll tell you that there is nothing like a girlfriend when it comes to getting advice on where to shop at home or around the world. Since one of Journeywoman's largest reading audiences is in London, England, we knew exactly where we should go to get the best shopping tips for that wonderful city. We put the word out online and within days we had a treasure trove of 24 unique shopping destinations submitted by the British arm of our Journeywoman Network. These ladies rock!

We've included a mini bio for each woman who submitted a tip. Their Twitter addresses are included as well in case you'd like to 'follow' them.

Enjoy, everybody and be sure to print this article the next time you are 'en route' to visit the fabulous city that's home to Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Gwyneth Paltrow and the Queen of England.

 

Divertimenti...

Divertimenti would never claim to be London’s cheapest kitchenware shop, but it’s certainly one of the best. Its two floors display over 5000 items of cookware, bakeware, kitchen tools and accessories, ranging from wooden spoons, corkscrews and bread baskets through to canteens of cutlery, sets of copper saucepans and state-of-the-art coffee machines. There’s also an impressive selection of tableware, including brightly colored, hand-painted plates, platters and bowls, and classic white porcelain that’s suitable for both everyday and formal meals.

The store is also a brilliant place to buy presents for those people who seem to have everything, and before Christmas I’ll be stocking up on snail plates, grape scissors and mussel pincers for my foodie friends. The beautifully packaged olive oils, mustards and jams also make great gifts, though it’s very tempting to keep them yourself! For those wishing to learn new culinary skills and techniques – or brush up on old ones – Divertimenti’s cookery school runs a wide choice of one-off courses. These tend to be very popular, so book well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Address: 33/34 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4PT
Nearest tube: Baker Street or Bond Street
Website: www.divertimenti.co.uk
Bio: Andrea Dean is a homes and property journalist, writing for UK magazines and newspapers. She's lucky enough to visit a lot of shops in her line of work!
Twitter address: www.twitter.com/giornalista1

 

The Shop at Bluebird...

Think understated presentation of hip and desirable goodies. The large retail space below Terence Conran's Bluebird Restaurant is a trendy, design-led boutique where the stock changes faster than the English weather. Chelsea shop hounds stop in to catch the latest wave in designer clothes, housewares, shoes, arty books, home accessories, jewelry, spa and treatment products and whatever else catches the mood of the minute. Despite the casual, market ambiance, this is designer clobber at designer prices. But don't let that put you off. Come to admire the glistening white Bluebird Garage building, a 1925 Kings Road landmark that was once associated with land speed record setter Malcolm Campbell.

Address: 350 Kings Road, London SW3 5UU
Nearest tube: Sloane Square or Earls Court (about a mile from either).
Website: www.theshopatbluebird.com
Bio: Ferne Arfin is a London travel writer, dedicated shop hound and About.com's Guide to United Kingdom Travel. She is currently writing "London Shophound" an iPhone app. Follow Ferne's United Kingdom Blog and her international travel blog TimeZoneTraveler.
Twitter address: www.twitter.com/UKTravelatAbout

 

Labour & Wait...

Could a store be more English than Labour & Wait? The cute spin on the name is only the beginning of this shop's old school charm. It specialises in crafted household goods, hardware and dry goods. There are paint brushes that look like pieces of art in themselves, antique country-style wool blankets, durable steel hurricane lamps and beautiful enamel cooking implements. The style of the pieces here is a contemporary, yet old fashioned nostalgia, bringing back memories of toffee apples at country fairs and cold winters spent underneath handmade quilts. The store sells other practical, beautifully made household items like breadboxes, pails, gardening tools, teapots and cosies, soaps and brushes. For a piece of complete Britishness, nothing beats buying a little something from Labour & Wait to bring home. The store does not ship internationally, so all items bought here are uniquely English.

Address: 18 Cheshire Street, E2
Closest tube: Liverpool Street
Website: http://www.labourandwait.co.uk
Bio: Freelance writer, avid traveller, and photographer, Peggy is happiest when discovering and exploring. She has lived in Asia, Australia, Europe, and is now based in New York City. A selection of her articles can be viewed at http://www.helium.com/users/513635.
Twitter address: http://twitter.com/peggy_tee

 

Absolute Vintage...

Located in the very cool area of East London near the culture and chaos of Brick Lane, Absolute Vintage is a gorgeous shop filled with clean, well curated vintage clothes. Both mens and womenswear can be found here, as well as a selection of shoes, bags and accessories. The items here date from the 1920s to the 1990s and are very reasonably priced, usually from £5 to about £100 for rarer pieces. You can find casual retro clothes, sparkling diamante belts and dressy formal outfits here. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the decor pays tribute to the shop's original set up as a market stall in nearby Spitalfields. Start with coffee and breakfast at The Market House nearby, then work your way through the unique shops on Hanbury Street before hitting the rails here at Absolute Vintage for the perfect East Londoner's shopping trip.

Address: 15 Hanbury Street E1 6QR
Closest tube: Liverpool Street
Website: http://www.absolutevintage.co.uk
Bio: Freelance writer, avid traveller, and photographer, Peggy is happiest when discovering and exploring. She has lived in Asia, Australia, Europe, and is now based in New York City. A selection of her articles can be viewed at http://www.helium.com/users/513635.
Twitter address: http://twitter.com/peggy_tee

 

Bonus -- I love Muji in London...

Just wanted to share with other JW readers my new favourite shop in London. When I was there in June, I got a chance to visit MUJI and fell in love. MUJI has something for everyone - office/school supplies, home wares, clothes, toileteries and best of all, travel products. I bought their stackable pots (a steal at 5 for £1.95), their P.E.T. travel bottles, the multi-tool, some beautiful sleeveless sweaters and my new favourite bag. Next time, I'll be sure to pick up their portable cardboard speakers. There are eight stores in London, including a branch in Selfridges & Co. on Oxford Street. Apparently, there are also stores in Nottingham, Reading, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. Their website is www.mujionline.co.uk.

Submitted by Nicole, Ottawa, Canada

 

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