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Places We Go : Bloomin' London

Afer twenty-five years, it was way beyond time to head back to London & Paris for a look-see. Traveling with friends John&Jim, I was gone just 12 days, returning last Tuesday. Those days were packed with more than enough to get my creative juices flowing. It turns out, London was bloomin' with flowers. I especially marveled at how London shops celebrate spring. When will our US stores make this joyful move? Let's take a look.

A restaurant near St. Paul's Cathedral had a Lillet (a French aperitif) promo. The whole exterior was decorated in shade of reds.

Their displays were out of the world, including the planters.

This Sloane Square store had a stunning floral arrangment but ironically, uninspired mannequin's clothes.

Near Covent Garden, Bloomsbury Flowers didn't disappoint.

Leaving flowers for a minute, Dale Chihuly's 2001 chandelier was made for the Victoria&Albert Museum lobby. It's 27' tall and on loan from the Chihuly Studio in Seattle, WA.

Victoria & Albert Museum

I couldn't resist finding a photo showing it at night. Incredible!

The Kensington Italian family restaurant, Da Mario, is super popular. Turns out Princess Diana regularly brought her boys here for pizza when they lived at Kensington Palace.

Can't beat a perfect Tiramisu with 3 forks - this one was particularly good.

One night, John, Jim and I landed at Memories of India for dinner. Sitting on the sidewalk was fun as we could watch our waiter work the street. He talked to everyone including a grey-haired man wearing a maroon velvet jacket. Later, our waiter pointed out a Victorian wedding cake-style house across the street where the man lived. The waiter looked me over and said, "He's a Lord and he's really lonely." Huh? That was good for a laugh. After dinner, we walked around the neighborhood.

Here's where the Lord lived - wish we could have had a house tour. The houses were designed and built by the architect Alfred Cubitt Bean between 1850 and 1852. All twenty-nine houses on the street are in the Italianate style, and are faced with stucco and painted white.

Another view of his corner house. Kensingston Gate is a small enclave (please see my PS) with houses selling in the $USD15 to $20M range for a 3-5 bedroom multifloor home.

Russell Simpson

I grabbed this photo from an online sales brochure for one of the street's semi-detached houses which sold for  $USD9,872,891 back in 2013. No telling what the market price is now.

Our walk ended at sunset in Kensington Park, home to Kensington Palace where William and Kate live. This photo shows just one small portion of a very large building. I'll write about more of my adventure in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please enjoy your Memorial Day, a special day to hold tight the memories of our departed loved ones. May those memories be a comfort to us all.

top photo : Inside Selfridges department store

PS - Kensington Gate (the street of white houses shown above) -

"It is a prestigious garden square with a unique history. It was once the site of the Kensington Workhouse, which inspired Charles Dickens’s celebrated novel Oliver Twist. In the mid-nineteenth century, that building was replaced by the Italianate houses which now line the square, which were popular with aristocrats and politicians in the late Victorian Era. It remains a desirable address, well placed for many of the neighbourhood’s excellent schools. - Russell Simpson


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