London embraces the Christmas spirit and despite the crowds is buzzing with atmosphere and a feast for the eyes. Retailers excel themselves with spectacular displays and an outstanding collection of great gift ideas and products. I have been enjoying a glut of retail window shopping to inspire some original gifts for family and friends this year.
Liberty of London is a pleasure to visit and full of eclectic and original ideas.I feel that Liberty has always championed and supported the designers and its industry. Their fragrance department is an inspiration with the very latest in perfumery and the science and creativity of this very niche industry. In the jewellery department you are sure to find an original piece from originals to vintage collections. Liberty textiles and traditional merchandise still holds its own and has been given an up to date twist mimicking more contemporary bag designs and now offering personalisation and monogramming services. They have even snazzed up their gift vouchers which now come in the form of a heavy embossed minted style coin in bronze silver or gold. Again an original and distinguished gift. From Tableware to gems,jewels and fragrance Liberty remains an inspirational store.
For the more green fingered and outdoor gifts I was enchanted at the Petersham Nurseries where they have transformed one of the greenhouses into an additional garden store and as one would expect it is magical. Many of the garden tools have a handcrafted look an item that needs to not only be used but treasured! The plants are all of architectural interest with beautiful foliage and an aladdins cave of beautiful planters to enhance any interior or exterior. The remaining greenhouses also host beautiful glittering gifts and we stopped for lunch in the cafe and enjoyed the most outstanding recipes which inspire you to go home and cook. The vegetables were so delicious I also felt I should be converting a corner of my garden into a vegetable patch. Although a little off the beaten track this is well worth a visit and the wonderful lunch enables you to combine some shopping with a feast prepared by Damian Clisby (previously of Hix restaurant) who works closely with Lucy Boyd (the daughter of Rose Gray of Riverhouse cafe fame). Lucy not only helps with planning and cooking the recipes but is also responsible for the outstanding produce that we so enjoyed. If you feel like a more mellow Christmas Shopping experience and a bit of a treat this is such a wonderful place.