English Exploration Pt. 2: Beautiful Bars and Buns

Porter and I both have an incredible ability to sleep on planes, mouths agape, as if we've smuggled a propofol tank in our carry-on luggage and sucked on it all the way through security. I can't remember the last time I've seen a flight attendant whip out that little card and click the seat belt. On Saturday, after a 3:30 wake up, hour long ride to Gatwick and another to puddle jump to Manchester, we ended up on the plane back to the colonies and proceeded through the normal protocol. I stirred a couple hours later, pleased with my time lapse progress, expecting to be jetting over Reykjavik. Sadly, I peeked out the window to see Manchester and a monsoon. The plane, it turns out, was getting de-iced!

The English weather was absolutely unkind for the entire trip, but at least I found a used Barbour on day seven (they have loads for about £70 at the clothing section of the Portobello Road market that runs perpendicular to Portobello Road and spills out at the Ladbrook Grove tube station). The offerings at Norton & Sons on Savile Row (above) run a bit more.

The Churchill War Rooms at the Imperial War Museum are perfect time capsules of the era.

Hand printed Japanese book liners become beautiful wallpaper at London's most stunning bar, Bob Bob Ricard (the downstairs bar at Hawksmoor Spitalfields and the Connaught Bar in Mayfair are close rivals in the beauty department, though).

Vintage naval perfection at Walpole's on Portobello Road.

More from the Churchill War Rooms...

...and even more (and a backgammon floor!) at Bob Bob Ricard.

If you're ever kinda somewhat lost in West London, find Addison Road and you'll see home after home with front yards that rival the garden grooming of Versailles.

More evidence of the wonders at Walpole's

My favorite trees! (I love them less when they flourish and get their leaves. Is that telling?)

(I want to sincerely thank all the utterly kind - and tasteful - readers for their suggestions. I'm going to add them all to my map and make it free to all!).


  1. KAH says:

    I just wanted to say that I've thoroughly enjoyed your entire blog and this post in particular, as my husband and I are leaving for our third visit to London on Wednesday. As much as we thought we knew the city, you have given us new places to explore. We'd already planned to go shopping at Portobello Market on Saturday, but now I know where to find that vintage Barbour coat I've been coveting. Hopefully, I won't need it for the Tweed Run on Sunday though.

    Thanks for such a lovely blog!

  2. Oh - you'll have the most wonderful time! And hopefully it will STOP raining! Thank you so much for the kind words!

  3. ASL says:

    London Planetree?
    Your hair looks great and nothing like a kardashian... Japanese maybe (and that's a good thing)!

  4. Bad luck about the weather. Apparently last month was the wettest in recorded history.

  5. Unknown says:

    After watching this, I just have one thing to say to DaeSung…”GET SOMEEE!“

    Also, if you missed SBS Big Show, you can rewatch the Tonight, What Is Right, and Cafe performances on Big Bang’s official Youtube channel.


    JT’s 4th Mini-album Big Bang VN
    big bang
    I’m really impressed with this mini-album. It shows how much BB has grown in 2 years they’ve been away. I have to say, this whole mini-album was very J-Pop influenced, well considering “Hands Up” and “Somebody to Love” were originally Japanese songs.

    Yes, Cafe deserves it’s own paragraph. Cafe is really an amazing song. It’s like there’s a bunch of upbeat J-Pop-ish K-pop then there’s this one chill song at the end. Just like on the “Stand Up” mini-album, all K-pop songs, then there’s “Oh My Friend.” It’s one song that completely stands out. Just like DaeSung said during SBS The Big Bang Show…