I know it has been quite some time since we were in London for the weekend, but I don’t think I had time to blog about it. And there were some fantastic experiences that weekend, that certainly require a mention.

Let’s go back a step. We decided to go down to London for a few reasons:
1. We were planning to go to Edinburgh that weekend with Tim’s sister and brother-in-law to see his niece and nephew who are at university there. However, the friends we wanted to stay with and see whilst there, were away that weekend. We didn’t really want to make a trip without seeing Dave and Cheryl (and wee Sophie), so we decided to postpone that trip.
2. Instead we decided to go to London to see Tim’s family: sister Sue, brother-in-law Chris and 15-going-on-25 niece Katy.
3. It also happened to be the Affordable Art fair in Battersea Park, which I have been trying to go to for about 7 years. Tim and I are looking for art for our house, but struggle to find anything we both like

I decided to go down a little earlier on the train, so I could go and meet up with my friend Leanne for lunch, before heading off to Uniqlo to buy a few jumpers for winter. We don’t have Uniqlo in Manchester, wish we did, because they have excellent quality, yet affordable cashmere jumpers. (£50 or £60 instead of double that at many places). I did manage to get a few, but the Oxford Street experience reminded me why I don’t think I will ever live in London again. Man, I hate being amongst so many people. It just isn’t fun for me.

Now, you’re looking at the heading of the post thinking: how can that be the best shopping experience ever? Patience. That is yet to come.

We had a wedding we were planning to go to over the Halloween weekend. Our friends Jon and Sarah, who had come to our wedding in South Africa 4 years ago, were getting married. I had lined up something to wear, but was told that it wasn’t quite that dressy, and I would probably need something different. Ah no! I had the “I don’t have anything to wear” dilemma. Let me rephrase that. I did have something I could wear, but I didn’t know whether it was completely appropriate. So I decided I would buy something new.

I decided to go and have a look in the little boutiques around Crouch End, where Tim’s sister lives. There is one shop in particular that I just love. The nice thing is: they aren’t really all that expensive, but you get a little more choice that your standard high street shops.

Unfortunately, that shop didn’t have anything appropriate. And neither did most of the other little shops I popped into. I was ready to give up, when we passed one last shop called “In Theory” at 50-52 Crouch End Hill, Crouch End, N8 8AA. As I walked in, the shop assistant asked me if I could help. I explained what I was looking for, and before I knew what hit me, I was in the changing room with a rack of hangered goods waiting to be tried on. This very friendly and efficient lady had by this time roped in her assistant to help too. They buzzed around the shop, bringing me more and more things to try on. Every now and then, I would step out and do a twirl for Tim, who was sitting quietly reading his newspaper. He would either nod his head or pull a funny face, which mean “I am not so sure”. Sometimes all that meant was that I had to remove my socks or add some shoes, so that he could get a proper look.

It looked like a bomb had hit the changing room. There was no time to put anything back on a hanger, so everything I didn’t like, got dumped on the floor. As I thought that I had possibly tried on everything in the shop in my size, another item would appear at the curtain. It was stress-free shopping at its best. They made me try on things I would never even considered looking at. They didn’t even ask me what size I was, they just eyed me out and guessed it.

The choice was difficult, but I opted for a ‘little black dress’ made from jersey (t-shirt) fabric. It looked stunning and was comfortable. But more than anything, it is versatile and doesn’t crease! Perfect for packing into a suitcase. And it didn’t break the bank!

But of course, it would be rude to buy only one thing after all that trouble, or so I tried to convince myself, so I ended up buying another fun skirt and shirt too.
I should mention that they insisted that I shouldn’t worry about all the discarded items. They would sort them all out. Fantastic!

All in all, that shopping experience was fantastic. So much so that I shall certainly go back again when I am next in London. And I shall be spreading the word. Service like that is, unfortunately, rare in this day and age, unless you are spending exorbitant amounts of money.