Monday, October 11, 2010

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: The Eyes Have It

Left over from my London visit.  Can I suggest another nice walk?  Are you one of those people who LOVES London? But?  Sometimes the rain and the crowds, the jet lag and having to think about which way to look before you cross the street, gets a little overwhelming?  If you are one of those people, then this is the stroll for you.  Which is easy on the eyes, as well as the nerves.  The sidewalks are broad, the other shoppers are attractive (rich) and relaxed, you will only be required to make two 90 degree turns, and you will never be faced with one of those intersections where six curving streets come together and you have to figure out which one to cross first.  

And this one is for a weekend, too, when bargains are to be had:

On decorative tomes.  Featuring those you know and love.  Really, how can you lose, on faded jewel colored covers with gilt imprint titles?  These were all a pound a piece (about $1.50) you could (I should have!) bring a whole box home to beautify your library and lend it some distinction.

Find this bookshop at "Worlds End", a part of the King's Road where the (Rolling) Stone's used to spend quite alot of time in the early 60's.  And where you'll still find Vivienne Westwood's shop with its wonky clock outside.  This bookshop also has a good selection of gently used gardening and art books.  It is tiny so you won't use up all your day getting lost in its offerings.

Heading east it will be hard to miss Bluebird (see also first picture) on the left, Sir Terence Conran's long converted car salesroom which is now a destination cafe/restaurant/boutique/deli

Where you'll find sandwiches, pastries, charcuterie, salads and other little things to take with you

that are slightly special.  But save room somewhere (or think of a friend) because.......

right across the street is Rococo Chocolates (definitely click the link, their site is gorgeous and includes a map).  And what is more exciting when shopping here, what's inside the wrappings or the wrappings themselves?

Further along you will find Designers Guild where you can buy the cloud lamps that once were sold in in Paris out of that tiny shop behind the Bastille.  If you missed my Designers Guild post, you can find it here.

Next stop, Green and Stone, where all you could want in the way of art supplies and some very vintage home and studio accessories is on offer.  For beautiful (still?) life making.

After Noah (below) specializes in an offbeat sepia colored, American noir, style of furnishings

augmented by fun accessories to fill your oak desks and gracefully distressed steelcase cabinets with.

If you were to turn left at Sydney Street, just at the could pass the Chelsea Gardener (on the left) and find yourself shortly at Fulham Road via posh dress shops (of the new AND used persuasion) once frequented by a certain blonde storybook Princess. Turning right onto the Fulham Road, find yourself soon, (if you don't dally too long at Ralph Lauren or Agnes B en route, or Butler and Wilson)

at the Conran Shop which has ideas for home and hearth

that will never leave you feeling "olde world-ey".  This Conran family, Sir Terence, his sister Priscilla,

and now offspring Jasper, Tom and Kate have succeeded fabulously over many years in implanting

'''jolly old" in the terra firma of the NOW,  With nonetheless, a stalwart

and savvy commitment to what is classic and enduringly relevant when it comes to the very-est essential accoutrements of life.

Such as, here at Priscilla Conran Carluccio's Few and Far, (follow Fulham Road as it curves left past Aubaine across the street and when you see the Brompton Oratory - that big white cake building ahead - Few and Far will be beckoning on the left) the perfect wooly sweater to go from country to city

and then city to country, with the classic clean summer ensemble, both in colors that whisper of the ocean.

Also to be found at Few and Far, Fermob. (again!)  Well that is kind of a no-brainer.  What else can I say?

Now.  OK.

Time for a cup of tea.  Having lingeringly exited Few and Far with it's quirky elegant mix of arty, classic, ethnic, high, and low brow, enticements, you will now be in spitting distance in one direction, of Harvey Nichols and Harrods, and in the other, the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Inside of each of which and in- between, every choice of pub, tea, cake and sandwich shop, or wine bar that a weary tourist could desire, so I will let you contemplate your next direction and any damage done to the credit cards.  While you rest your weary feet and shed any chills.


Now.  ALTERNATIVELY.  If you, instead of turning left at Sydney St., had continued straight at Heals along the Kings Road,  past the red-brick Chelsea Town Hall on the right, and its windowboxes full of begonias and confetti on the pavement from a recent wedding......

You would have had the option of the Barclay Bike (brand new and just like the Paris Velib's - only you have to register in advance to use them) before or after sticking your nose into the Habitat and the new

Anthropologie store.  You could have snuck pictures of the Kings Road fashion kids, or the Golden People and their Rolls/Ferraris that particularly populate this stretch of retail paradise.  OR you could have gone straight  (if you manage it tell me, but I won't believe it!)

to Peter Jones.  The erstwhile department store that anchors the east end of the Kings Road at Sloane Square (see also my post).  Where EVERYBODY in West London shops for EVERYTHING from school uniforms, stripey jumpers, fancy crystal, to toasters.  And where the art of MAKING continues to be a legitimate and life-enhancing accessible-to-all philosophy.  Witness:

Pink.  Yes, I said PINK!!!!!!  sewing machines (to match your Smeg refrigerator, no? They also come in fire engine red and at least two other colors) for 50 pounds.  That is about 75 dollars in case you're wondering.  (DEAL!?, BARGAIN?!)  (A whole lot of form and function in a perfect candy-colored package?  Say yes!)

And if you're afraid of needles, maybe you won't need one for this: Nifty.  Colorful.  Kit.  (Just one of many!)

  OK, I rest my case.  Tell me, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is it true or is it not?

Do the Eyes Have It?  (Good?)

(For more London shopping neighborhoods see also this link)


  1. Oui!!! moi aussi j'adore Londres, et j'y vais jeudi pour quelques jours (merci l'eurostar!) Je garde donc précieusement toutes les bonnes adresses, notamment le Rococo chocolate...Few and far, et je veux la machine à coudre rose♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡

  2. How wonderful! Now my travel fever has been cured! I need a good time shopping and walking!

  3. I loved this walk, Paradis. Especially all those marvy books. :-)

  4. Love the books and the Epicerie! You are cordially invited to a cup of tea!
    Thanks for your kind comments. And the cookies you mentioned are known as "kaab al ghazal" which means the horns of gazelles. When I am a bit settled I'll send the recipe your way, and in the meantime I will ask an aunt of mine who is a genius in the kitchen!

  5. These days I'm lucky to walk around Oxnard! so thanks for the wonderful walking tour and thanks for the vivd comments at Hf,K. You made my day.

  6. My oh my, I would love for you to be my tour guide on one of these walks.

    So much fun!

    Hey -- today's pink post is dedicated to you:

    As you will see, I was on a MISSION.


    Laurie AE
    Buttercup Bungalow

  7. Almost forgotten memories of catching the bus over here from my place at Clapham Junction... long time ago...would love to wriggle my nose and just be back for a chance to do one of your walks MP!
    Where to start really!!!! It all looked so good!
    ps rococo chocolates sell at a little store near my studio ... recognise the packaging...have not tried them...but they look fab!

  8. Glad you enjoyed our lovely city - I've lived here all my life. Do you know I haven't been to the King's Road for years!!! How silly of me... I really loved the pictures.