“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” – Samuel Johnson
This is true.
Last week, I hopped on a plane and crossed the Atlantic for the second time in my 28 year existence. Alone, I traversed the city of London for a week, first teaching two back-to-back bra workshops and then stomping around the city. I never traveled when I was younger. My mom’s spine collapsed when I was just a teenager – breast cancer ate her bones. She had metal rods holding her up, and thus, couldn’t sit for long periods of time. So a long plane ride was out of the question. It was 10 years after she passed away that I made my first international jaunt – Paris stole my heart last July. Swoon. That trip taught me the importance of traveling. It really does feed your soul. On my last day in the UK, I was on the platform at the Hammersmith waiting for my train back to the Victoria station when I texted my dad this, which sums of how I feel about traveling: “You realize how big the world is. On the contrary, you realize how small you are in the world.” If you’re hesitating to travel for whatever reason, stop right now. Just do it! Oh geese… I just made Nike reference.
Okay, those are my Socratic words for the day. Now onto the fun stuff!
If you want the lowdown on the two bra workshops, which were on Saturday and Sunday, you can read my recap here. After both classes, I was a tourist through and though. I first met up with a friend who used to live in Philly, but now lives in Ukraine, and flew in to hang out. Say that three times fast. Lol. He is a super cool dude and we share a love of history. Our first stop, after a cup of coffee (duh!), was The Tower of London. So neat! Seeing it in person gave me a different level of understanding that my European history textbook, which I still read from time to time. Nerd. (extra: there is a great PBS series about the “secrets of London” – highly recommend it!). In town through Tuesday, we also made time to visit Sketch for macarons and magaritas, The London Eye to conquer my fear of heights, Harrod’s for damn good (free) chocolate samples, equally damn good lingerie shopping, and a Tina Fey movie. Or as the Brits say, film. Thanks JD for being my wing man!
Wednesday and Thursday, I hit up the fabric stores on Berwick Street and Goldhawk Roads and The V&A Museum to see the exhibit “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear.” First, the exhibit. It was a smaller than I expected – hence the name – but well done. For how big it was, it covered a lot, including men’s underwear. Interestingly, it had a section on maternity undergarments and lingerie for reconstructive surgery. Equally interesting, it didn’t have a section on periods or menstruation. Maybe it’s still too taboo a subject? Who knows.
Word of caution – stay away from the gift shop at the V&A. I spent more money there than anywhere else on the trip!
Fabric shopping! I was so impressed with what London has to offer in terms of fabric for lingerie. They definitely lack in the trimming department – I didn’t see one store with lingerie elastic, hooks + eyes or rings + sliders – but their lace and Lycra were on point. On Berwick Street, my favorite shop was Cloth House. So cute and quaint! The ground floor has mostly wovens, but the basement stocks good quality Lycra, mesh and power net. On Goldhawk Road, there were a slew of stores I’d also recommend for lingerie fabrics – Fabric X, Brilliant Fabrics, A to Z Fabrics, Al-Anaka, and Goldbrick Fabrics (super, super expensive). I also stopped by Liberty, but their fabrics aren’t my style. Loved their stationery section though! Note: Tilly has a fantastic fabric shopping guide for London, if you’re looking for a more extensive list.
In between all of this, I squeezed in bits here and there to catch up with an old friend at Ozone Coffee Roasters in Shoreditch, brainstorm with an artist friend at an excellent restaurant + bar in Central London, and walk through St. James Park.
Until next time London. Cheers!