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It’s Christmastime! All the streets of Amsterdam have sprung lights, and olliebollen carts are selling their fried treats on every corner. London was decorated in Christmas finery as well. Without Thanksgiving to get in the way, European cities start the festivities much earlier, and with none of the guilt that Americans have!

Christmastime means shopping, of course, and London has plenty of options. While we didn’t buy much, we did wander around the posh districts and the smaller neighborhoods. Jesse, my dapper fellow, had the time of his life finding shop after shop with shaving accoutrements, pipes, bespoke suits, leather shoes and bags, and fine tweed caps. I swear that man has more expensive taste than I do.

We visited Harrods, which was completely over the top and way too much for me. Next time I’m in the market for Vera Wang, a diamond encrusted watch, a sushi bar, and a Louis Vuitton bag I’ll know where to go, though.  We also found Twinings Tea shop, tucked into a little corner on Fleet Street. Bedecked in Christmas finery, it was such a cozy store.

By far my favorite shopping experience, though, was finding Liberty of London. An old department store dating from the late 1800s, it’s been on Regent Street since it opened, and such is a beautiful building, especially at Christmas!

Liberty is known for it’s fabric, specifically it’s Cotton Tana lawn, a soft and silky cotton fabric with intricate flowery designs. A tiny spark of the bright patterns in a sewing project makes it special. I’ve bought small cuts of it at stores in Portland, and it’s some of my favorite, but to be confronted with an entire wall showing the whole collection of designs was a bit magical for me. I made small happy squeaks the entire time, walking down the aisles and touching everything.

I finally (finally) came away with this choice:

I splurged and got an entire meter of it, and I’m planning to make a lightweight scarf for myself. According to the sign beside the shelf, the design used to be very popular in the 1920s and 30s, and was chosen from the Liberty archives by Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine). Pretty cool, if I do say so myself. I love the peacocks and the tiny jumping deer.

I know, my first Christmastime purchase was for myself–Sinterklaas/Santa would not be impressed. But one glimpse and a touch of this fabric, and I think he’d understand.

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