Tuesday, August 25, 2009

To Market, To Market

Hello, friends!  We've returned from England, so I'm back on the blog with too many photos and adventures to share.  I'll sift through and show you just a few highlights in the coming days, I promise.  We travel to the UK every couple of years, so it's a place that feels more and more welcoming, but it never gets old for me.  Each trip I find myself more attached to certain places and more intrigued by new discoveries.  This visit was especially wonderful because we had so much time to explore, plus my mother flew over for part of the trip, and it was a joy to share some time with her in London, Greenwich, and Bath.
Ever the magpie, I thought I'd show you some highlights from a few markets for this post.  Borough and Greenwich remain my favorite markets, partly because they are not overwhelmingly huge and partly because they are just so damn beautiful, but I love the atmosphere of most of London's markets.    

Borough is not only one of my favorite markets, it's one of my favorite places in London.  Period.  It's strictly food and flowers, and the spot--right next to Southwark Cathedral on the South Bank--couldn't be more magical.  There's a wonderful mix of people here, but without the horrendous crush that one sometimes finds at Portobello or Camden or Greenwich.  When your feet get tired, you can pop into Monmouth coffee house for truly great fair trade coffee and fantastic atmosphere.  On a long wooden farm table they plunk down a trencher of fresh bread alongside several kinds of jams and butters.  You can help yourself and pay at the counter.  My kind of place!

The picture above is of Spitalfields at about 10:30--before the real crush of the day begins.  

A lot of young designers sell their wares at Spitalfields.

Elements is the shop of my dreams.  It's one of the permanent stores that edges the market stalls at Spitalfields, and they specialize in items like vintage metals and old industrial and film lighting.  I want almost everything in the store!

These shawls come in every pretty gelato shade you can imagine.

Brick Lane is the most flea-markety of all the markets I've been to in London.  Many young people simply throw a blanket on the ground and spread out anything from old albums to can openers to beat-up sneakers to worn purses.  There are a few great things to be found, but be ready for a lot of junk.  I enjoyed it more for the entertainment and sights.

Lovely soaps.  These are at Covent Garden, but you can find them at Greenwich, too.  Covent is tourist central, but fun.  I like going there on Monday for antiques day.  Most of the antiques vendors bring small items, so it's easy to find a few trinkets to tuck inside your luggage!  

I took this photo at Portobello Road, but I saw these wonderful vendors at Covent Garden, too, later that week.  The crush of people at Portobello is intense on a Saturday.  Arrive before ten if you want to actually see and shop without being crushed.  

The food stalls at Portobello are endless.  Come hungry.

There's a bit of everything here--even pretty handmade undies!

I love this shot!  Here are the famous Portobello row houses, the crushing crowds, and in the middle of it all, this woman on the left appears to be experiencing her own moment of zen.  I wish I could achieve that without the help of a chair and an iced tea in some little cafe, but I admired her ability to not get totally overwhelmed by the crowds!  

More later this week from our trip to Lewes and Charleston Farmhouse, plus a few other beautiful sights.  I can't wait to catch up on everyone's blogs now that I'm back!  xoxo Gigi    


  1. Hi there, so nice to have you back. I just love love the photo's. I can just get a little peek into the experience. Just so much fun, like a treasure trove.
    thank you for your lovely comments too :)

  2. Welcome back! I've been anticipating your photos and descriptions of England. These markets made me drool this morning, sitting at my desk trying to ease into work. Especially the food stalls full of fresh breads and meats — picnic fare!

  3. Welcome home, Gigi! And what a welcome back you have for us here...these photos are sensational! I just love London and the UK, you know... The London markets are fantastic! Hubby & I love Borough Market and the fun of Brick Lane and Portobello Markets too. I could just pick around and eat at Borough Market all day...LOL! So wonderful your mom was with you part of the time. We were in Bath last time we were in England and just fell in love with that beautiful little city. That's the thing about the UK it has always felt like home to me--it's my heart home in so many ways. Can't wait to hear and see more about your trip--Lewes and Charleston *sigh* So glad you had a terrific time... Hope you are well, settling in home again and basking in the glow of memories of your trip. :o) Happy Days, my friend--great to have you back! ((HUGS))

  4. Welcome back my dear friend! These photographs are delightful and make me yearn to return to London again soon! I especially love the EGGS history on the chalkboard and the handmade undies! Such wonderful treasures you always share with us.

  5. Welcome back! Looks like you had a wonderful time. Those market photos are great. Love the red coat, bread, shawls and garden shop. :)

  6. Oh, that makes me yearn to go back to England myself! I hadn't been to the other markets you mentionned but Covent Garden is so amazing. I always manage to bring back a few treasures... last time a silverplated hotel tea pot! So cool! Saw your Mom who is still suffering from her back pain, but glowing with the memories of the trip all the same!

  7. Welcome back!
    Visual feast...love those old cameras & of course the handmade undies! Thank you for sharing these with us!! xo*

  8. oh wow.... the SHOPPING!! Yipeee x

  9. Gigi! Welcome back! You had a long stay away...lucky thing! So glad you enjoyed your time in London...this post on the various markets is great and love your photographs - looking forward to seeing lots more!

  10. Welcome back!...Such wonderful markets!...Such wonderful photos!...and handmade undies? Wonderful!

  11. oh my goodness goodness ... can you BELIEVE all the incredible sights you saw? i thought i didn't need to go past 'chez michele' ~ could have seriously gotten lost there for days ... but then i would have missed everything else, especially the food stalls at portobello! you've really captured the beauty of each of these spots ... oh, and aren't those handmade panties sweet?
    thanks so much ~ i have missed visiting this week, so lots to catch up on ... (and it appears we had the same title thoughts as you will notice today ...)
    so happy you are home safe and sound and sharing so freely with us!
    prairiegirl xo

  12. OH, what yummy, yummy shopping! Heaven, pure heaven just to be there looking and recording. I do love how the rows of colors in the row houses are echoed in the silk scarves.


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