Hello everyone

I don’t know about you but I love living near a vibrant city like London.  In my head, I think I go up to it quite a lot. In actuality we hadn’t visited the capital since the summer. So on a whim, off we went, and using an offer at our favourite hotel (in Bermondsey) we also stayed overnight – woo hoo.

We had a great time, and did what we love best, which is visit exhibitions, starting with the V&A.  And as I was with my other half, no it wasn’t the Balenciaga, but the one on Plywood.  Yes, that’s right, plywood!  This isn’t on any more as that was its last weekend, but so interesting.  The next day we mooched around Bermondsey, and then walked through Borough Market where there’s a great food market on Saturday, and onwards to the Tate Modern – I did nearly 13,000 steps that day!

The Tate Modern has expanded enormously since we last went, which meant a lot of wandering around finding new exhibits and areas to explore.  After a cup of tea and a really outstanding slice of cake we left to go home via the new Blackfriars station feeling both exhilarated and exhausted!

Apart from the above (which is the view from the station) I’m a hopeless street photographer, so no pics of markets or people or London, but here are two observations. One is that London is just the greatest (I know there are fab cities elsewhere) but it’s just so alive!  Has anyone seen the documentary London: The Modern Babylon?  Do search it out if you can – it’s written and directed by Julian Temple. In this doc you see London as the living entity it is, with all its people, cultures and buildings. And buildings, oh my. Always, always there is building going on leaving London with an ever changing skyline – so exciting! Here’s the thing, I felt so stimulated by my surroundings I completely forgot the past week’s experience of doing something to my back, which left me feeling and looking fragile and ancient. The irony is that the muscle strain (that’s all it was) was caused by me shooting out of bed because I thought I was going to be late for an early morning exercise class – which I didn’t get to!  My muscles over-reacted and I got stuck in my slanted position for most of the day (usually I uncurl in around an hour).  Over the next couple of days this gradually went away, but the whole experience left me feeling a bit chastened.  Being up in London, though, made up for that, and some.  Lessons learnt – don’t rush out of bed, take your time! And do go up to London more often.

And second, I saw a lot of women wearing great clothes.  And the ones that stood out were the women who seemed to have an overall coherence to their look.  One wore a long, almost down to the ground, well-cut coat in a beautiful stand-out purple, and with this went a matching purple hat.  Now this woman wasn’t a striking beauty, on the contrary, she was quite ordinary, but her co-ordinated look was something that I really admired.

I dare say the fashion on the streets and in the shops was way over my budget.  But the thing is, you look, then you search out for similar items in the charity shops.  So, my view, is look, always look. Look at everything. Then go and adapt what you’ve seen to your shape, taste and budget.

Here are a few pics that Mr Frugalfashionshopper took of me. Here I am with my hat bought in Toulouse a year ago and the brocante jacket bought last month for 5 Euros. The train was crowded. I used to love train travel but nowadays it can be a bit of a cattle truck experience. At least we got a seat.

That’s a shadow or something above my left eye, btw, and not my makeup!  Or maybe it is, hmm!

This is outside the front of the V&A and note the charity shop yellow coat, which has not been put in a cupboard for best, but is out and about in London!

Also, see the charity shop shoes – aren’t they great!

The V&A has a new, very swish entrance at the back. The scarf and bag were bought new in charity shops.

And here I am the following day. The necklace was bought at the V&A on one of my frequent visits and the top is new from Hennes at £8.99. Note the glasses.

That morning I lost one of my contact lenses down the basin plughole – blast!  I don’t like myself in glasses, but, it’s not the end of the world, we still had a great day.  This was taken in a great little coffee shop called Hej, where we were waiting for the rain to stop, which it did, but not until we had two coffees!

That’s all for now, but what’s your favourite city?  With love

Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

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41 thoughts on “Up to London again!

  • 13th November 2017 at 7:36 am

    I love London too , and Borough Market a favourite esp with their large glass sheltered seating area now ! Also note a great coffe shop called Rabot1745 look it up as my daughter said best coffee she had !

    • 14th November 2017 at 8:24 am

      I see the coffee shop is linked to Hotel Chocolat! But looking at the Borough Market site I note that the coffee comes from St. Lucia. I simply must have a coffee there as I have a friend in St Lucia and have visited St. Lucia twice. Anything to support the economies of those islands is a good thing. Will email you x

  • 13th November 2017 at 7:41 am

    It’s London for me everytime. I live near Madrid which has some good exhibitions, shops and thousands of bars etc. But for me there is something lacking. I never come home feeling exhilarated like I do after a trip to London. But then maybe its because I’m a Londoner………… By the way Penny, I love all your London clothes, and the colours are great,

    • 14th November 2017 at 8:26 am

      London is amazing, but I feel I haven’t visited Spain enough and don’t know Madrid at all. Next year though, we are cruising round the main cities of Spain and I’m looking forward to that.

    • 14th November 2017 at 8:27 am

      One day Nancy…… xxx

  • 13th November 2017 at 7:45 am

    Love the photos. Glad you had a great time in London.

    • 14th November 2017 at 8:28 am

      We did have a good time. And all pics taken on our phones – isn’t that amazing!

  • 13th November 2017 at 8:37 am

    So look forward to all your posts, Thank you x

    • 14th November 2017 at 8:29 am

      Stella, thanks so much for the feedback – much appreciated.

  • 13th November 2017 at 8:50 am

    London is always a joy. I was born in London but have lived in Norfolk for 30 years. Great contrast. I love being in our great capital city. My favourite places to go are: British Museum, Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery. Also, love the South Bank. Your yellow coat looks wonderful, btw.

    • 14th November 2017 at 8:30 am

      Yes, to all those places. Plus I think, the Royal Academy and also the Tate Britain. Must go and explore the South Bank though as I haven’t for some time.

  • 13th November 2017 at 9:17 am

    Very glam. Your yellow coat is a stunner.
    Was the socialist Realist Art exhibition on in Tate Modern? Cos am hoping to see it next week.
    I agree London is a buzzy place, and visiting is great, but glad I do not live there as I prefer the countryside.

    • 14th November 2017 at 8:39 am

      Red Star Over Russia. A Revolution in Visual Culture was on but we’ll have to go again as we realise that this is one not to be missed. No, this visit was about exploring the new spaces – we went on a tour and then looked all round the new building until we were bug-eyed! My only comment is perhaps don’t go on a Saturday – it was so crowded and actually we barely scratched the surface of what’s on – in fact, there’s almost too much! So next time, we’ll focus more on one exhibition and a coffee. There’s so much to see it’ll take another few years to cover it all!

      I love the buzz of a city – Brighton is noisy and buzzy. Glad we’re all different as I couldn’t live in the country!

  • 13th November 2017 at 9:56 am

    Posts like this make me want to leave France and move back to the UK!

    • 14th November 2017 at 8:47 am

      Oh, no, France is lovely, but of course, very different, and I don’t live in France. Each in its way is unique and interesting and good to live in. It’s the city life that I love. I thought Toulouse was a great place, I feel I know it better than Paris, which I haven’t visited for some time. Remember the UK can be very grey – like today!

  • 13th November 2017 at 11:10 am

    I love your posts. They resonate totally with me. I am always on the look out for places to stay that have been recommended, so please – where is your hotel in Bermondsey? I just LOVE that yellow coat!

    Kind regards
    Lily Bollinger

    • 14th November 2017 at 8:52 am

      Hi Lily, it was the Bermondsey Square Hotel, which we stay in whenever we can get a deal. Food is Ok, not brill, but not bad, breakfast is good though, and the rooms are very good. But if breakfast is not included in the deal, go across the square to Hej where the coffee is wonderful and the breakfasts look amazing. Also very near the Fashion and Textile Museum http://www.ftmlondon.org and also Borough Market and the Tate Modern. The C10 from Victoria stops outside. There’s a tiny cinema in the square which we often go to.


  • 13th November 2017 at 10:10 pm

    I only found your blog a few weeks ago, and am really enjoying your posts. I love trawling through charity shops but never find anything half as nice as some of your finds. I live in Dundee, and next year the V&A Museum of Design Dundee opens which is going to be fantastic for the city in terms of increased tourism and a huge factor in our applying to be European City of Culture in 2023. I love London but only to visit, it’s always a bit of a relief to walk into KingsCross and know you’re going home.

    • 14th November 2017 at 9:04 am

      The opening of the V&A in Dundee should, indeed, be a great boost to your tourism. Sounds so interesting! Hope you get the City of Culture in 2023!

      The thing about charity shop shopping is that it’s only now and then you find a bargain – it’s often the case I walk out with nothing. But always look as you never know…. !

  • 13th November 2017 at 10:44 pm

    Love London, and only live a hour’s drive away. Plenty of wonderful places to visit and see. Hope you had a super times. Love your hat too, I’m thinking of buying one similar. x Jacqui

    • 14th November 2017 at 9:07 am

      London’s great isn’t it. I have a tan version of the hat. Plus just bought a similar shape hat in green!

  • 13th November 2017 at 11:07 pm

    It’s so nice to see your photos in London. It brings back happy memories of traveling there last year. I live in Norfolk, Virginia in the U.S., and enjoy any chance I have to go to England. My traveler friend and I bought short coats in London similar to your wonderful long yellow one. They are felt, mine is tan and hers is navy blue. I pondered long whether to buy the mustard yellow one, really wanted it, but decided on tan (?). Now I’ve been looking for a very long felt coat in thrift stores, hoping it will show up. I love the drapey style and the soft, smooth fabric. Love thrift-shopping, and I’m so glad I discovered your blog recently.

    • 14th November 2017 at 9:10 am

      Yes, someone commenting on the yellow coat said that they are to be found in London. None are down in Brighton that I can see so far! apart that is from the one I found in a charity shop. The yellow is a great colour – do hope you find similar. And thanks so much for your kind comments on the blog.

  • 14th November 2017 at 8:46 am

    Bristol is fab. Can’t get to London much so thoroughly recommend Bristol, especially Clifton, Clifton Village. Superb Charity shops and reasonable boutique. Students busying around and quaint coffee shops.

    • 17th November 2017 at 8:24 am

      Yes, I must explore Bristol – will have to spend a short city break there. Thanks so much for the tip

  • 14th November 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Your enthusiasm for London is infectious and delightful because it seems so many criticise our great capital. When I wasn’t working recently I did a lot of exploring and sightseeing in London, and it was just wonderful. The other city I love is Munich – totally different!

    • 17th November 2017 at 8:12 am

      Now that’s an idea – to go explore Munich. We haven’t yet, thanks for the tip. Yes, London is great, I mean there are problems but I wouldn’t criticise it, no way. It’s large metropolitan city and it is what it is, alive and full of culture – indeed, so much to see we barely scrape the surface! But again, thanks for the tip about Munich.

  • 14th November 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Some great photos, Penny. I love the one with the leopard print bag etc. You really rock the yellow coat. Ah London! I moved to London as an 18 year old student & stayed there for another eighteen years. As we’re in SW Surrey, I often meet friends on the South Bank for a fab day/evening out. If I ever win the lottery – which would be difficult as I don’t do it! – I’ll buy a flat, near Tower Bridge. Imagine the views!

    • 17th November 2017 at 8:21 am

      I too moved to London when I was 18. That was for nursing, which was very different to how nursing is now (don’t start me on this subject!). Anyway, I remained in London, and then its outskirts, for about the same time as you! And I sometimes wonder (if I won that elusive lottery) whether I would buy a flat or just go up more often and stay in posher hotels! But there’s nothing like views across the Thames. Actually you’ve reminded me that I don’t go to the South Bank much at all. I’ll have to remedy that.

  • 16th November 2017 at 12:03 pm

    London is my favourite, BUT very closely followed by Paris.

    • 17th November 2017 at 8:26 am

      I haven’t been to Paris as much as some people. However, I do feel I know Toulouse fairly well – we’ll definitely go there again.

  • 16th November 2017 at 6:12 pm

    I really like your mustard coat. I visited London in my early 70’s for a very short trip. I know it’s such an impressive city with culture and history and enjoy reading about your experiences there. We just got back from the Grand Canyon which is mind blowing and inspiring, but in a different way.

    • 17th November 2017 at 8:40 am

      The Grand Canyon is on my bucket list, and one that is very near top of my list! We do have British friends in Utah who live permanently in the US and we’ll use them as a base and then explore. For about 5 years they ran a B&B in Zion, which I think is kind of near(ish) to the Grand Canyon – might be wrong!
      They were asked so many times, ‘now what are you two Brits doing here?’ They printed a card. They sold it, but here’s the link https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g61001-d82466-Reviews-Under_The_Eaves-Springdale_Utah.html

  • 16th November 2017 at 6:12 pm

    It’s a while since I was in London but when we’ve been we buy picnic items in Harrods food hall and eat picnic style by the Serpentine. My favourite UK city is Worcester. I love the walk along the river and the old buildings. Oxford and Chester are great too. Outside the UK, Amsterdam is the city for me. I can still taste the sublime Dutch apple cake in the Nieuw Kafe in Dam Square. Love the black hat.

    • 17th November 2017 at 8:42 am

      Your comment is so interesting as I would never have put Worcester on my list – which it is now! And yes, Amsterdam is great!

  • 16th November 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Oh Penny – loved this post . It brought back so many happy memories. London is my soul city. I lived there, in South Ken, in the ’70s & married there so it is very special to me. I live in Sydney now, but my husband & I try to visit as often as we can now that we have both retired. We were very fortunate to be able to spend 5 weeks there last year – had a flat in the east end. What an eye opener – loved loved loved it. So alive. It was like exploring a new city for us. Can’t wait to visit again. PS I think I acquired my coat & jacket addiction in London.

    • 17th November 2017 at 8:45 am

      Living in a flat in the East End for 5 weeks – that must have been so interesting! The way to understand a city, or anywhere really, is to live there rather than be a tourist. Our 4 weeks in France was also a good way to get to know the country better. Thanks so much for your comment!

  • 19th November 2017 at 10:57 pm

    I agree with Eloise, Amsterdam is one top city. Ditto New York and San Francisco, and Hong Kong. The Grand Canyon? Best viewed from a helicopter, but be prepared for a long ride above truly boring trees first. (And I never thought I’d ever call trees boring!)
    As for London, nah. Sorry, as I know you have a soft spot for it. I don’t know it well so shouldn’t knock it, but apart from a few bucket-list places, I’d choose rather be in my own patch of countryside or small town America – but only for so long, I have to admit!

    I visited a couple of charity shops last week and thought, Now, what would Penny be looking for? Still didn’t find anything but, my bestest ever buy was down to my husband a couple of years ago when he spotted a full length winter coat, all-wool, Irish tweed, not a thing wrong with it, just my size. It’s kept me snug from Budapest to mid-Atlantic and through NY chillys and snowstorm. And all for a fiver! Every time I put it on I thank the lady who owned it first.

    Sorry, Penny, I didn’t intend this reply to be all about me, as Jetemy Clarkson would say; got a bit carried away! I meant to say how nice and glam you looked and that as a ‘speccy’ myself
    I think you look good in your glasses.

  • 22nd November 2017 at 9:05 am

    Thanks for linking up to the Top of the World Style party. Nicole of High Latitude Style

  • 6th December 2017 at 8:30 pm

    You have a marvelous vintage collection! London looks beautiful. Your hat is the perfect head wear for both sunny and cloudy days. Thank you for sharing your love of hats with hat Attack!

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