Monday, July 25, 2011

London Memories: Pretty in Pink

At Broadwick Silks
Mr. Magpie is a British Literature scholar who focuses on the Modernist Period.  That means many things: he owns a lot of books, he writes a lot of books, he knows a thing or two about the Bloomsbury Group (especially Lytton Strachey), he racks up many hours in archives working on his library tan, and, of course, he's wicked smart.  

At St Luke's in Chelsea
Fortunately for me, it also means he has to travel to England every year or two for research, and I get to tag along.  While he's holed away in the British Library or the BBC archives, diligently transcribing manuscripts, I'm usually off gallivanting about London, soaking up every bit of the city I can, from Bloomsbury to Borough Market and beyond.

Looking up in the rose garden at St Paul's Cathedral
This year, though, we won't be making a trek to London.  We've got too much on our plates already, so the next trip will have to wait another year.  In the meantime I'm missing it something fierce.  

At Spitalfields Market

And so, this past weekend my longing led me to dig back through photos from our last stay.  As I dug, I discovered a plethora of pinks.  I'd never realized just how much pink I'd managed to capture on that trip.  There it was in everything from the pink-netted fabric at Broadwick Silks in Soho (see top photo) to the lush heirloom roses at St Luke's in Chelsea (second photo) and the stunning St Paul's Cathedral in the center of London.  And again I spotted it in the handmade shawls in the stalls at Spitalfields Market on a Sunday morning.

Snog Frozen Yogurt, Soho
Even at night, hot pink shimmered in shop windows on that trip, whether I fancied a Snog . . .  

or a velveteen-flocked chandelier.  Note: I said yes to the snog, but no to the light.  Can't quite picture it in my house!

Portobello Road
And then there's Notting Hill's Portobello Road on a Saturday morning in August.  Even though the shot above isn't entirely pink, something about all those girls shopping for vintage bling screams pink, pink, pinkity-pink to me.

Who can resist the pastel homes in Notting Hill?  My favorite facades are those painted unabashedly Neopolitan-pink.

But always, I come back to the roses.  London has heaps of them in gardens and shops and hidden spots.  Here are a few for sale at Borough Market.  If you've never been to this Market, you must go.  It truly is one of my favorite places on Earth.  Buy yourself some lunch late on a Saturday morning: a loaf of bread, some cheese from Neal's Yard Dairy, some gorgeous fruit, and a cup of incredible coffee from Monmouth Coffee Co.  And don't forget to buy yourself a rose.  Then sit by the Thames with your delicious treasures and your gorgeous pink bloom, watching the river flow.  

I think I'll do just this on my next London visit.  Maybe I'll even coax Mr. Magpie from his dusty archives long enough to join me.  If so, I'll give him a dark pink rose of his very own.


  1. What a beautiful and timely post, as we are heading to London in 15 days...!! I will definitely be heading to the Boroughs Market! xxoo :)

  2. What a wonderful photo journal of your last trip! I have to say all those pinks are gorgeous!!
    Lucky you, having a wicked smart husband so you can tour London!


  3. My thoughts entirely were yay for those wicked smart husbands!

    Love this pinkalicious post!

  4. My favourite city. Just an endless source of fascination for me. I was there in February and I would leave again tomorrow if I could! Wonderful post!!

  5. Dearest Gigi,

    Well, your photos will bring back such vivid memories that you surely can re-live your trip and make do with that.
    Each world city has its charm, as long as you know where to look for it. We've been several times to London but always limited to roam around as both of us were doing consulting. But at least we've inhaled it many times. My husband went to London for summer school one year as a student, so he really got to LIVE it...

    Lots of love,


  6. Oh Gigi,
    You have painted the most wonderful picture of London with your briliant photographs. We frequent all of the places that you have mentioned as often as we can. We love Borough Market as are our children and we all buy wonderful things there. If you haven't been before, you must go to Columbia Road Market. It is only there on a Sunday and it only sells plants and flowers which is wonderful and, there are some brilliant individual shops as well. We are only 20 minutes from Spitalfields so, when you come over next year, we must meet up.
    I know that I'm biased but, London is my favourite city in the world, and, I've been to quite a few!
    I think that this is my favourite post of the Summer. XXXX

  7. Oh my goodness Gigi,
    I've made a few spelling and grammer mistakes !!! That's because I typed so quickly as I was so excited about your post and, I didn't check it before I pressed 'publish comment'. I HATE doing that on your blog ..... just don't show Mr. Magpie pleeeeeease !!!! XXXX

  8. i never associated London with pink but I will now Gigi! Could easily just go visit the spots you have photographed so beautifully (love the bling shot). A fun and pinkish post. Much love XO

  9. Gigi I've been saving you up for last. Like the last piece of sticky date pudding to savour. I want to meet you in London next time you come back. I love to see life through your eyes. This evening however I will just settle for reading through all the posts I've missed on your two beautiful blogs. They can't be rushed for they are too rich. Coming here is a bit like sitting in a softly lit room as the sun slowly sets, mesmerised at the particles of magic that dance on the rays as they pass effortlessly through the window pane. Sigh - I never ever want to leave here...

  10. Love Ange's comment above :)
    I have lived near London forever it seems, and have absolutely never seen it look like this... I think of London as charcoal and grey... But this? This is your London??
    Come back soon! And after you've hung out in Cambridge, I shall be the tourist to your London, in pinks and greens...

  11. I have never been to London, I know not why.

    But I always think of it with splashes of red.

    I've loved your version.

    Must go.

    xo Jane

  12. Thanks for the comments, friends!

    I never think of London as pink either, but there it was in so many of my photos--these and others I didn't include. I like seeing this part of it, and I'm so glad I discovered it in the photos!

  13. **SUPER SWOON**... oh, you know I'm falling fast with all this London lusciousness...and so much pink too! ;o) We're just back from long weekend to London but 2 weeks ago, and already I'm missing it something fierce...*sigh*... It is our fave city, fave place. Hope we can get back. And hoping very much your London dreams for next summer come true, and more, Gigi! These photos are just delicious... ((HUGS))

  14. Hey Gigi, I so enjoyed your images here, all just beautiful!
    And I loved learning more about Mr. Magpie, too!

  15. Loving pink here today. I haven't spent much time in London, but oh now I would love to go and discover pink. The shawls are to wonderful for words, the roses are as always gorgeous in pink, and the facades of the homes just delightful in pink. I hope you get to get soon in 2012.

  16. i so miss london and want to visit again.. well, thanks to you i just did! - the most wonderful hot chocolate i ever had.... xx enjoy your weekend gigi.....

  17. so magical-- I've never been but will share this post with my English friends!

    xo xo from Miami Beach

  18. this post made my day!
    thanks for helping me see the world in a more 'rosy' light; here's hoping the mood sees me through work!

  19. I must admit, I am a little bit envious of this marvelous trip. And, shame on me - I sure shouldn't be. I'm in the midst of a wonderful trip of my own. I've been a blogging slacker lately because I am on a long trip of my own. We're in Arizona now and it feels like we've been ALL OVER the West. have a bit of time on the computer - finally! I was having withdrawls from being away from my blogger buddies so long, I tell you. I hope your summer continues to be as beautiful as it looks here. Love to you.

  20. Wow. Gigi, your photographs are out of this world.....


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