Last week I was in London for the Amara Interior Blog Awards. (Thank-you so much if you voted for me, it was such a fun night.) It was just a flying trip to London for us. We arrived with just enough time to get glammed up and go out. However, the following day we had time to check out a couple of things.
Liberty of London
First off we headed to Liberty. Opened in 1875, this iconic department store is housed in a lovely Grade II Tudor Revival building. I love the juxtaposition of the old style timber building with cutting edge fashion and homewares. If you don’t know Liberty, they are known for their colourful, floral and graphic printed fabrics.
From the street the half timbered building is pretty imposing but it also looks warm and enticing. Inside the lighting is soft and the atmosphere is quite homely.
The main hall has tiers of wooden balconies circling the basement floor, which houses handbags and accessories. Right now they have an enormous blue and fuchsia tree suspended from the ceiling for Christmas. Apologies for the lights in these photos – I only had my iPhone on me. Featured image is from Liberty’s LinkedIn page.
Named the Tree of Liberty, it is a giant bonsai….isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron?! Apparently the pink puffs are apparently reindeer moss. Oversized baubles hang from these and gifts rest on top. There is even a peacock on one, as you can see in the photo above.
One of the side halls is the womenswear section, here again balconies overlook the basement floor which has a small blossom orchard. Everything is laid out in such an appealing way.
Up on the third floor is the interior emporium which, of course, is my favourite floor. Full of colour and abundance, particularly appealing was this colourful whimsical display of tableware from Avenida Home (currently 20% off). I am looking to inject our sailing boat with some colour and whimsy to create a fun vibe aboard. But, I’ve promised myself that I’ll see choose the fabrics before any (more) accessories!
Liberty @ Amara
This weekend Amara has some Liberty items discounted in their Black Friday sale. My top picks are the vibrant Tamberlane Cushion (above). And the Ianthe Duvet Set (below), which is a great way to add florals to your home without going to wild.
A couple of years ago I read this book by the, now ex, Managing Director of Liberty, Ed Burstell. A fun and inspiring tale of his rise to the top of the retail world. I would say a must read for anyone considering a career in fashion or retail.
After that we headed back towards our hotel. We had stayed in Marylebone because it was close to the blog awards. We had a late lunch at Jikoni on Blandford Street. This lovely restaurant also had a homely feel with it’s colourful, floral print tablecloths, relaxed friendly waiting staff and delicious food.
The owner/Chef Ravinder Bhogal was born in Kenya to Indian parents. She was brought up in London. This mixture of cultures is reflected in her cooking. The menu is short but with something for meat eaters. pescatarians and vegetarians. The prices are not astronomical and the cooking was full of flavour. We started with a prawn sesame scotch egg which was great. It was served with a banana ketchup that was very tasty but slightly overwhelmed the taste of the prawns. My Aussie and I were both impressed with with the Brussels sprouts with hot and sour dressing, crispy shallots and bonito. It was like a flavour bomb going off in your mouth. Delicious. For mains I had the sweet potato gnocchi with a wild mushroom ragout and the Aussie had Kuku Paka, an East African, coconut based, chicken curry. Both very good. I would totally recommend Jikoni.