Keep calm and go shopping!
Do you know what a wonderful city London is in the sunlight? Have I mentioned this to you before? Yawn… Yes I guess I have… Being able to walk around the bustling streets is however not for the faint hearted especially in the summer. When London is hot, it’s hot… I mean you feel like the other pedestrians are too close to you as you try and manoeuvre your way around them… Chinese tourists dangling on the sides of the roads with their selfie sticks trying to get a picture of themselves and the sites behind… Giggly teenagers with fewer clothes than their bodies should allow trying to keep to their groups as they run hurriedly through the streets with their H&M Bags around their wrists.
As I mentioned last week, it was nearing the end of my quick trip to the UK and my sister and I went into London to get our hair done and catch a show. We decided to park in a car park nearby the hair salon, knowing that we might need to take out a second mortgage to pay it; however the car would be safe and it was close by so we could shop too. The famous London hairdresser is quite upmarket; whenever I go there, I never feel like I fit in. It’s a bit like my experience with the massage – I never know where to put myself. When you walk in skinny pretty young girls with earphones and a tablet usher you in and find your name on their roster for the day. According to what you are having done, you are given a gown and taken to the relevant station. In Cyprus my colourist also washes and cuts my hair and blow dries too. This posh hair salon has a different person for each job! Ah how the other half live!
We were having our colour topped up. When the greys started to become a pain in the proverbial, I decided that the only way to combat them was to go blonde! Kim our colourist is amazing… When I explained the kind of natural colour I wanted about two years ago, she granted me my wish. She was the fairy godmother to my Cinderella story. And as always she delivered once more. Prettified we made our way through the bustle of Regents Street towards Piccadilly. We were going to a matinee theatre to see the Book of Mormon followed by a little light retail therapy. If you read last week’s article, you will know that the satirical comedy is one to see.
We meandered in and out of the shops down Regent’s Street not particularly looking for anything specific but more rightly soaking in the atmosphere. Pimms gardens with huge TV screens were set up in the side streets for weary shoppers and workers in the area; the familiar sound of ball on racket signalled that Wimbledon was on. We had one task to complete however; it was our niece’s 4th birthday soon and my sister and I decided to get her what every little girl her age wants – a dress up costume! There was a Disney store nearby so we made our way towards it, discussing what we would get her. The flavour of the month in our niece’s eyes was Princess Sofia. For anyone who doesn’t know her, she is a little girl who became a princess when her mother married a King. Every little girls dream right? Anyhow if you have never been to a Disney store, go! You are transported to your childhood again and want to buy everything in the shop! Armed with the Princess Sofia shoes, dress, tiara, necklace and doll, we left the shop knowing we would make one little girl very happy.
And then my final day arrived… I woke up with a heavy heart and an even heavier suitcase. I knew this was going to happen so I ‘bought’ another one online instead of paying excess baggage. We got to the airport early as I wanted to get some bits in duty free. Yes ok, I shop at the airport… And? What is wrong with that? Have you been to Terminal 5? It’s awesome… It’s like Bicester Village but with airplanes! If I could, I would find a job in Terminal 5 and work there… It’s not just the shops… It’s the thousands of people milling through the airport… each with their own story and destination. I hugged my sister goodbye, half-heartedly not wanting to leave and made my way to the very long queue at the British Airways check-in desk. I had already checked in online and was just going to drop off my luggage.
However the lady at check-in turned out to be a monster! Despite one suitcase weighing below the normal weight and the other 2 kilos over, this dragon lady made me open the heavier one to ‘move a few things’ to the lighter one. I was mortified. After three humiliating attempts she relented. She must have noticed the purple colour I had turned from the degradation she put me through! She had the audacity to tell me BA might charge me for the extra kilo until I spat back that British Airways should firstly serve food on the flight they overly charged me for in the first place! I took my passport, head held high and didn’t even turn around to see who had witnessed this turn of events. Terminal 5 retail was waiting to entice me.
I walked in and out of the stores even though I was not going to buy anything but the essential make-up and perfume. I thought breakfast might help to quell the feeling of sadness of leaving my sister behind and this longing for London in my heart… I went to the second floor and took a seat in Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant ‘Plane Food’.
It was time however… My gate had opened and it signalled my full but brief stint… It was time to return to reality… And when I got back, my credit card bill hit me like the scorching oven the island had become. A word of advice; when you are shopping in the UK, try and use cash! Because the credit card company converts your hard earned cash at a rate that suits them at cut-off date. So those sexy heels you thought were a bargain – not so much come pay day!