Photo Diary of an Interiors Mad Northerner Let Loose in London

Photo Diary of an Interiors Mad Northerner Let Loose in London

Earlier this month, I found myself in London. It was a gorgeous day, I was completely alone so no parenting duties to worry about. It was just me, my headphones, and my camera for snapping.

And as always when I’m alone, I get snapping all sorts of bits and bobs that inspire me.

I had an hour to kill before an event, so I decided to give a few shops a visit – homewares OBVS.

Now, I know this might sound a bit mad for those who visit London all the time or who know it really well. But for me, it was a real novelty. Because to put it simply, there are some brands which simply don’t have bricks and mortar stores here oop North, so if I want to see what their merch is like, I’d have to order online and hope for the best.

I suppose it’s the same as when people come from afar to see the Trafford Centre. To me, it’s just another mall that just so happens to be right on my doorstep. But every day, thousands of people flock there. They take pictures of the marble staircase and designer stores. It’s something I take for granted because to me, it’s my place to go and get sushi lunch sometimes or pick up a birthday card last minute.

So the stores I wanted to see what all the fuss was about include – Liberty, Oliver Bonas, Conran and Urban Outfitters.

I hope you don’t mind the brain dump of images. If you’re anything like me and whip out your phone at the slightest whiff of something pretty, I think you’ll wanna keep reading…

Liberty London

Oh my God. What a gorgeous building. It’s one of those stores which is just worth the hype y’know? But it’s certainly not a place to buy if you’re on a budget. So naturally I took a billion pictures making a mental shopping list, and then vomited a little in my mouth when I saw the price tag. But a girl can dream right?

The building is beautiful. It’s a real period property with huge bannisters, original staircases and ornate balconies – all in the deepest of dark woods. You’ll know the type! Wooden beams matched against the ultra-modern interiors was just heavenly, and even the sections which didn’t cover homewares were simply gorgeous. Those guys know how to style a room for sure!

Below are some of my faves from the store, with special shout outs to the now legendary floral display on entry – which BTW, smelled insanely good – the cat in monocle plates, the baby face lamp stand (Do I love it or hate it? Haven’t decided yet), and the tray display showcasing animals in a family portrait style. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Urban Outfitters

I know this might sound like an odd one to include. We have an Urban Outfitters in Manchester and it’s pretty decent! But I wanted to see if we were getting a bum deal. After all, sometimes the London offerings are just so much more extensive it’s easy to feel a little short-changed when it comes to the high street homewares here in the North.

However, I actually think that it was on par with our own! It feels a little out of sorts to talk about big chain names in this way, but sometimes I just don’t take the time to visit the physical stores, when it’s so easy to sit on my phone and scroll. But from time to time, I want to visit and I want to become totally engulfed in what they’re offering. And I know I’m not alone, otherwise there wouldn’t be such things as visual merchandisers.

Currently loving in Urban Outfitters: Cacti heaven for sure. They are really cashing in on the terrarium trend. I really love that their store’s vibes aren’t just an afterthought too, stuck in a forgotten homeware corner. I thought it was pretty neat that the obligatory seating area outside of the changing rooms was a gorgeous weathered leather chair, next to exposed brickwork, with tropical flowers everywhere. Bravo, Oxford Circus store.

image

image

image

image

image

Oliver Bonas

I know the flagship store is elsewhere but I’ve only ever seen this brand on other blogger’s sites so bear with me if Oliver Bonas is old news for you!

For starters, any store with copper shopping baskets is just fine by me. Secondly, I’m considering these images a shopping list. I’m sure my mum would love everything in there and she’s about to start a complete redecoration of her entire house, so watch out Oliver Bonas – we’re coming for you.

Favourite spots include: Showcasing artwork on pegboards (Making a mental reminder to myself to make better use of my pegboard!), hex mirrors, bold and colourful patterns on card and gift wrap, pomp oms, palms, and pastel furniture. Lots to be happy with their homewares!

image

image

image

image

image

image

 

The Conran Shop

Well this was a dream. I don’t think I’d heard of The Conran Shop before, but I’m so glad I stumbled across this STUNNING brand. It was the geometric feature wall that I saw through the window that drew me in and I’m now absolutely dying to recreate it somehow in my house. Bear with me, it might take some persuading with the hubby… And then there was THAT living wall. I love the complete OTT nature of the planted wall. I’d love to do this in my mum’s lounge as it’s big enough to pull it off. Again, I’m working on it…

Other finds that I couldn’t resist getting snap happy with include: the adjoining café full of tropical plants and hanging bulbs. Beautiful. And the kids section was just dreamy. The tree-house style bed is exactly something my little climber would love. It looked so snug and whimsical. And the little reading corner for kids even had a miniature Ghost chair which was just right up my street.

image

image

image

image

image

Well done if you made it this far!

I did warn you about all the pictures…

You can probably see now why my phone is always full! So, I’m likely heading back to London again soon and this time I’d really love to take my cameraphone on a hot date to some independent stores, so throw me over your recommendations!

Follow:
  • Fantastic images and I have that same phone! This is what I was like when I stumbled across West Elm recently while I was in the Tottenham Court Road area. There were loads of other large homeware stores – Heals, Habitat etc. Such a treat having time to browse and snap away!

    • It’s a great phone for days out isn’t it? 🙂
      You’re so right though. Sometimes just having the time to yourself and indulging in looking at all the pretty things can be really inspiring. I know it is for me anyway. Great to see you at the weekend, lovely x

  • You’ve certainly made the most of your day out in London. Even living here, a visit to Liberty is always great for inspiration and to just wander around and check out what’s on display. Lovely post 🙂

    • Thank you Carole 🙂 Thankfully everything was pretty close to each other and I didn’t get lost in London for the first time ever woohoo! x

  • Old Fashioned Susie

    Oh I’ve still not been to an Oliver Bonas! Love those animal portraits at Liberty, next time get yourself to Anthropologie! xx

    • Ooo great recommendation! I’ll add it to my list 🙂
      And yes I made my way to find an Oliver Bonas store only to find on my way back that there is now one at Euston train station too haha x

      • Old Fashioned Susie

        Oh really!!! That’ll be perfect next time I’m waiting for my train back up north then!!

  • fabricofmylife

    Lovely snaps Karen! All stores I go in frequently so forget to get excited about them but they really are lovely – and I really am spoilt being in London. In fact, the original OB is just round the corner from my home in Fulham! Excited to meet you in Manchester this week – you’ll have to tell me all the places I should be visiting that we don’t have down in London xx

    • Thank you lovely! Excited to meet you too 🙂
      Head to a shop called Oklahoma in the Northern Quarter. It’s an independent store and does lots of quirky and kitsch stuff. Not everyone’s cup of tea but absolutely a little different than the average high street store xx

  • katyatapartmentapothecary

    Liberty is definitely my fave and your photos are beautiful! I feel like it’s a treat going into shops now too as I shop online so much. It’s good to be reminded to make more of an effort sometimes x

    • Thank you Katy 🙂
      You’re so right – it’s a treat! If I’m out at the shops these days it’s because I need something fast. Long gone are the days of just wandering round without a care in the world, so it was ace to actually do that for a change! xx

  • Well I love them – I’ve lived in London for 14 years and just the other weekend we headed up to Tottenham Court Road where all the main home stores are and I snapped away. So yes next time you’re here, head there and we have another Oliver Bonas but also Heals, the Habitat flagship, Dwell, Westelm and Lombok, and also a 3 or 4 storey Paperchase!! Plenty of inspiration and (and Anthropologie is on Regent Street for the win!) X

    • Fab recommendations, thank you! Maybe I’ll make this a regular series? 🙂 x

  • I could have absolutely written this post myself. I sit in Five Guys at the Trafford Centre completely bewildered as to why so many people have their photo taken in front of the steps but the moment I step foot in London, I photograph absolutely anything and everything. SO funny!

    • haha Five Guys FTW! You’re so right though. I get a little hot and bothered when ‘tourists’ are in my way, but I got to be the tourist this time around, ha! xx

  • Michelle Millar

    Noooooo to the baby head lamps and the pigeon with ze big boobies! That’s stuff nightmares are made of! Gorgeous otherwise. Looks like you had a lovely day!

    • haha it IS a little creepy…Certainly a conversation starter though! x

  • Lovely photos! I did exactly the same (visit those stores) when I was in London for the day, and for the same reasons. Plus Anthropologie, H&M Home and Zara Home as we don’t have them down South. It made me think how lucky London-based interiors bloggers are!

    • Thank you Molly 🙂
      I did think the same. So much on your doorstep in London, but then I think sometimes when it’s so close you don’t take advantage of it. Maybe I should do a version of Manchester stores and see what’s on my own doorstep xx

  • Gorgeous photos! I remember my Mum taking me to Liberty when I was little for the first time and loving it, I always try and pop in if I’m in the area just to look around! Really not sure about those baby head lamps though!

    • Thanks Jennifer 🙂
      I know what you mean about the baby lamps. Definitely a little odd. Don’t know if I could pull them off to be honest! x

  • You have really reminded me that getting out and about really helps me to get inspired too, I came back from Madrid full of ideas and enthusiasm for interiors after an exhausting office makeover! I loved coming shopping with you, albeit virtually, your enthusiasm is contagious and your pictures are gorgeous. Can I ask, what did you buy? Window shopping cant have been easy! 😉 Thanks for joining #happyandhome

    • Absolutely! I always find that getting out of the house does wonders for giving me a boost 🙂 I was really good actually and didn’t buy anything! I have pretty good willpower haha
      Thank you so much for stopping by xxx

  • Wow – you were busy in that hour. I love Liberty’s – it’s about time I visited again I think :0 #happyandhome

    • I was a woman on a mission for sure haha x

  • smallspacepeople

    Loved this! I live here and it made me feel like I take these great places for granted a bit!