Har Gau


Monday, 8 December 2008

Pre-Christmas shopping in London

You know it's December when the train station has a Christmas tree up. This is Marylebone station in London. If you've always wondered what train stations look like in London, wonder no more. Look below.

Spent Saturday going around London town in a frenzied attempt at taking pictures for this blog. When you've not been dining out, and have a food blog, there is a certain sense of not wanting to disappoint, and when you don't blog about food for more than a week, this disappoints.

Although, I'm sure those 5 readers have found something else to occupy themselves with. The weather, for example.

While going from Marylebone to Oxford Street, I went by Seashell (Lisson Grove) which is a very well-known fish and chips restaurant in London. It's been around for more than 30 years, and the fish and chips are expensive, and perhaps slightly too expensive for what it is (fish. And chips) but no doubt it's very fresh, and very nicely cooked. If you're in London, and have about £15 to spend, you could come here.

You could also go to Primark and buy a month's worth of clothes, but that's another story.

On the way to Oxford Street, we stopped at Alfie's, a large 'departmental' store for antiques. It's one big building, full of antiques and definitely not recommended for the spatially-unaware. Once you're in the building, it's quite difficult to know where you are, but don't you worry. Just follow the signs to the rooftop restaurant, and you'll eventually come to Alfie's Rooftop Cafe.

It definitely doesn't have a big menu. In fact, the menu is smaller than the napkin that came with my order of coffee, but that's a good thing.

Alfie's has an open-air dining area outside the building (on the rooftop). We didn't sit there as we feared frost-bite, and didn't fancy sharing our apple pie with the pigeons.

This is a small cafe, with about 10 tables, and one chef. As it serves pretty much cafe-style food, there isn't much on the hot menu. Prices are reasonable, and the main dishes start from about £5.60. There are steaks, burgers, lasagne, pie, bangers and mash, that sort of thing on the menu. Although we didn't actually try the food there that day, we've heard from other diners that the portions are large, and for those prices, I'd say that this is a good place for a little bite if you're in Marylebone.

After the coffee break, the battle down Oxford Street began. Starting point: Baker St. station.

After a bus journey which saw snails racing by the bus, cyclists overlapping us, pedestrians jogging casually along, waving as they overtook us, we finally decided to get off the bus.

This is the end of Oxford St where Primark is. Primark, to the uninitiated, is a clothing store which sells really, really cheap clothes. How cheap? Well, for the price of a meal (approximately £5), you could get an entire outfit, without the shoes. Which is why, on most days, half of London is found in here, elbows ready for defending against frenzied, wild women shoppers.

The streets have been closed for traffic, to allow pedestrians more space to jostle in.

Stalls selling touristy souvenirs are located all along Oxford St. With the sales and 20% off discounts going on in almost all the shops, these stalls are more expensive than the high-street shops themselves.

Modern day Santa
Selfridges on Oxford St. has fabulous window displays. For the festive season, all the windows have Santa in them. This one here shows what men all over should be doing. Grocery shopping. The shelves around him have massive versions of everyday tinned food. Look to the left of the picture, there are huge tins of Heinz beans, popcorn buckets (literally), and to the right, huuuuuuuge tins of tomatos.

Santa at a tea-party.

Santa in a kitchen (?) with a bathtub, and lots and lots of champers in the Smeg fridge. Oh the blatant advertising.

I would like a Smeg fridge.

Next, Santa is now in a laundrette, with lots of hangers, an ironing board and plenty of washing to do. You wanted to make a list? Wanted to say who was naughty or nice? Wanted some pressies?
Tough. He's doing the ironing.

Many people are under the perception that Santa travels on a sleigh pulled by reindeers. Many people do not know, however, that while in London, he takes the Northern line just like everyone else.
After all that cooking, washing, ironing and travelling by tube, he now has to sort out the paperwork.

The bulb party
Ever wondered where lightbulbs go to have fun? Debenhams.
Every December, lightbulbs travel the country to come to their annual meeting on Oxford St.

I took these pictures inside Debenhams to show you what a departmental store in London looks like. From what I've seen, departmental stores, from Europe to Asia, have a ground floor section which smells like perfume. At every counter, there are ladies holding perfume bottles, with questioning looks on their faces as you approach them. You can see them almost swaying with the excitement of the possibility of spritzing you with some perfume.

A hundred perfume bottles, sitting on the wall. A hundred perfume bottles, sitting on the wall. And if one perfume bottle, should accidentally fall, there'll be security guards hauling you out the door.

It was said somewhere that the women's department is usually on the first or second floor, and the men's department is on the ground floor. The reason for this is because market researchers found that men buy things that catch their eye, so if it's on the ground floor, it's quite likely that it'll be more obvious to them.
Women actually go shopping to buy stuff, whether they need it or not, so there is less of a need to lure them into a shop.
Jelly beans, located on the first floor and very brightly labelled. The little bottles, in the middle, are priced at £2 (or £1.80 after the discount). The little mugs in the middle shelve, those were about £3 before discount. The large jars however, they're priced at ...
Fifteen pounds?!?!?!? For some jelly beans?
A gigantic snowman on Carnaby Street
Carnaby Street is where most of the, how should I put it, higher-than-high-street shops are located. These are clothing stores with glass doors and bouncers who decide whether or not your attire fit in with the decor of the shop before allowing you in to window shop.

Santa on a cycle-shaw (congestion charges apply to all).

Little London street.

Festive wishes to everyone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow what a complete comprehensive write on the mood of Christmas in London Oxford Street that one immeadiately forgot the financial meltdowning!! ha

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