London Calling

It’s our last day in London, and we go home tomorrow, and I am sad and happy. At the end of every trip is the time when it is almost over and you think of all the things you have seen and done, but you also yearn for home. For me, it is right at the two-week mark when I’m just done, time to wrap it up and find a plane to take me back to my kids, my dogs, my cats, my family, my comfy bed.

Apologies in advance for typos and grammar corrections I should make, but we are about to head out for the touristy part of our London visit today, so this has to be done in a hurry since I was so tired last night, I couldn’t type a sentence.

I’m not sure where I left off – I think where I was weary of the group aspect of group travel.  On Friday in Grasse, we were invited to Molinard, and it was amazing.  They were the most gracious hosts I think I’ve ever experienced. They took us through their operation, let us shop, took us to the special room they set up with 50 essences at each table and let us make perfume.  We didn’t get the essences that are necessary for making the perfumes we like, such as civet, castoreum, labdanum — well, you know.  So I did the best I could and made a perfume with heliotrope, jasmine, gardenia mostly.  After we finished making zee perfume, we saw another room across the way they use for perfume-making courses.  That room.  Oh, yes, it was full of the stuff I really needed in my perfume, and we couldn’t stay in there, unfortunately, or I would have just moved my suitcase in and camped out on the floor.

After an incredible lunch, we got the factory tour of Fragonard as well.  Did I know how good some of these Fragonards were? there’s a Men’s fragrance called F that’s made for men but belongs on women too.  More about that next week.

Saturday we  arrived in London late, with enough time to run to Liberty and buy scarves and perfumes and other stuff.  I don’t know why this happens every time I’m in Liberty, but they have a beautiful scarf department, and there are always about 2-4 scarves that cry for me as I walk by. This year I gave in and gave two of them new homes..  I totally neglected to finalize plans with Lee for Sunday because we just weren’t sure what we were doing exactly and how tired we were, which on a scale of 1-10, my exhaustion is hitting a 9 right now, so I missed seeing him because he just had the one day.  Missed Sylvia and Nicola too because we’ve had very spotty internet, and I didn’t get their e-mail until late last night. Okay, my profuse apologies. I will plan better next time. And there will be a next time!

I love London. I hate the crowds at Harrod’s, and it is such a distasteful task to plunge into that mess to try and find the sales, and it just makes me cranky. That’s how we wound up spending all of Sunday, though we finally finished just in time to get to Fortnum & Mason to do tea, which is the one thing we promised to do almost every day – have formal’ish tea.  So far, we’ve done it!  Couple of things we found that we had no idea were coming out. Jo Malone has four new ones – Iris & White Musk, Amber & Patchouli, Oud & Bergamot and Rose Water & Vanilla. They are Cologne Intense – not sure what that means exactly, I guess a step up from cologne.  They are nice, very Jo Malone’ish. More on those next week.

Monday we met up with Diane from London (she comments on here) for tea at the Berkeley.  The is the pret-a-porter tea, and it is tied to the latest season in fashion. We ate cookies shaped like Chanel shoes.  We ate a Anya Hindmarch handbag. It is really adorable, posh and lovely. If you ever pick one tea to do in London, do this one. It’s pricey, but I think so worth it.

We were supposed to just go to Harvey Nichols and then spend the afternoon after tea at the Victoria & Albert Museum, but instead we elected to go back to Harvey Nichols – a department store you can easily spend a day in, without the frenetic Harrod’s thing.  Another scarf had cried for me there as I walked by, a gorgeous Alexander McQueen. Yes, yes, I gave it a home!

And we are at today, the tourist part of our stay. The London Tower this morning, then the rest of the day for the Victoria & Albert Musuem, which has a Grace Kelly special exhibit. And tomorrow it is an early flight home. Thanks for letting me share my trip with you.  Oh, yes, as a thank you, I will do a draw for a couple of sample sets of those four new Jo Malones.  Just drop a comment to be entered.

  • Twitchly says:

    Great trip writeup, drooling with envy here. Would love to sniff the Jo Malones.

  • Jan L. says:

    London is the most sedate, exhilarating, pricey, affordable, beckoning, aloof contrast on the planet. What a fabulous stay you must’ve had *.* Tea at Fortnum is always a must-do, as are Harvey Nicks, Berkeley, etc., and I would’ve thrown in visits on the London Eye, Butler & Wilson costume jewellers, and of course, Asprey, where a tiara or two can be purchased for a mere six or seven digits!!

    Please enter me in the Jo Malone draw, as I’m newly acquainted with her “154” and “Fig & Cassis” potents and would like to sample her newer ones. Thanks! Enjoyed your review, as always, even though I rarely post comments.

  • Indigo says:

    Wow, the opportunity with Molinard must have been amazing! Sounds like you made something great-did it turn out like you hoped?

    P.S. Please enter me in the draw!

  • dremybluz says:

    glad you had such a wonderful trip. please enter me in the draw.

  • Daniele says:

    I think that Jo Malone is good times in the warmer seasons, though I find the fragrances too literal perhaps for fall and winter. Please enter me in the draw.

  • chrissyinoz says:

    Sounds like you’ve had a wonderful time Patty, very envious of the Molinard and Fragonard experiences. I’m a big fan of Jo Malone so please enter me in the draw. :”>

  • sunnlitt says:

    thanks for the giving us that sights and sniffs of London. I, too, want to see those scarves. It’s hard to pass up splashes of silky colors.
    I would love to be entered in the drawing, thanks..

  • Mimi Gardenia says:

    What a wonderful trip ! Wish I were in London……….Please enter me for the draw!Safe journey home and welcome home too for when you get back.

  • Dana says:

    I love hearing about your wonderful trips. My brief visit in London last year did not allow for much perfume shopping. We look forward to reading more.

  • Connie says:

    What a great trip, Patty! I loved reading about it. May your flight home be uneventful … the best kind to have. XO

  • Gretchen says:

    Jo Malone sample set straight from London! If I win one, that will take the edge off my envy of your trip. Although I still need a London trip, not a mention a voyage en Provence. . .

  • annie says:

    I LOOOOVE your travel posts,as much as I love Lee’s garden posts/pictures….and just where are your pics????…..Please enter me in the draw…drool…:d

  • Flora says:

    Oh, what a wonderful trip! I love the Molinards and Fragonards – I used to wear Fragonard’s Caresse before it was discontinued, or at least here in the U.S. – it was actually the first “serious” perfume I ever bought!

    Please enter me for the JM samples, they sound good! :)

  • odonata9 says:

    I’ve only been to London once, very briefly, and before my interest in perfume got serious, so I did no pefume shopping! It was wonderful, nonetheless, and I would love to go back. But this time, not in January! Loved hearing about your trip. Please enter me in the drawing!

  • smy says:

    Your trip sounded fantastic! Would love to try those new Jo Malones, so please enter me in the draw.

  • Lilybug says:

    Sounds like you’re having a fabulous time! I enjoy reading about your travels too – gives me ideas for what to do if I ever go. Can’t imagine we’ll be taking any overseas trips any time soon but can dream.

  • Shelley says:

    Since I’m arriving a bit late, my voice might be lost in the chorus, but let the chorus rise: Show the McQueen! :)

    I love tea. Both the beverage, and the event. How wonderful to take part. (Did it pain you to consume those handbag scrumptious things? Or did it feel cosmically correct?? ;) )

    My head spins with wondering which of your sniffing I wish to replicate. Including the Tower of London, LOL.

  • ScentRed says:

    Thanks for sharing your trip. Like being there. Sort of.

    Would love to be in the draw.


  • ElizabethC says:

    Hello! Longtime reader just wanting to let you know how amazing your trip sounds! Could you please enter me in the drawing – the vanilla/rose water sounds amazing!

  • k-scott says:

    Sounds like you’re having a fabulous time. I just love London! Please enter me in the draw, thanks!

  • Joanne says:

    the scarves sound amazing – and so too the Jo Malones.

  • Valentine says:

    I’ve always had a fascination with one day going to Harrod’s (I think ever since I heard that a lion was once bought there), and now I’m wondering if there’s an “off” day or season I could ever catch it uncrowded. Anyway, shame they wouldn’t let you play with any of the “fun” smells to your heart’s content, but at least you can nuzzle up to a few new scarves for comfort. Would love to try the Malones–especially that rose water and vanilla.

  • Claudia says:

    Sounds like a great trip. The only person I have ever traveled with who also likes to shop is my brother! So we are going to Portland (Oregon) this fall, and I am making him go to the Perfume Shop there with me. If anyone has any tips on what that store is like, please share….

  • AnnieA says:

    I too enjoy being an armchair traveller. It sounds like England still only has semi-annual sales. Do perfumes ever go on sale there?

  • Mary Beth says:

    I think I’m going to have to hunt down the new JMs.
    Meantime – I WANNA SEE THE SCARVES!!!!!

    I think your 2 week limit may have more to do with a too packed schedule. One tends to go on overload and long for the comfort of the familiar no matter how grand the activities. Probably all that wondrous food plays a part, too. ; )

    Safe travels!

  • LindaB says:

    How nice and thanks for sharing some of the details of your trip…so that we can all be insanely jealous! :-)
    I’m feeling ya on those scarves–just bought several in the past week myself. I’ve decided to be THAT person that just wears scarves all the time. It’s exciting and scarves don’t care if I cheat on my diet.
    The formal-ish teas sound glorious! Damn, why don’t they do more tea in the states?
    Can’t wait to hear more once you’re home and well rested. Safe trip!
    (Please enter me in the drawing…thank you!)

  • Aimee N says:

    Hi Patty,

    What a lovely trip! I was in England in May for my in-laws 40th anniversary party but did not make it into London (they live in a commuting town about a 40-minute train ride away), so I had to settle for duty free shopping at Heathrow :-{ Please enter me in the draw, Thank you!

  • June-bug says:

    Wow, Molinard and Fragonard all in one day! The heliotrop, jasmine and gardenia sounds lovely. Safe travels home.

  • Violette37 says:

    Thank you for allowing me to be the fly on the wall of your marvelous trip. My CEO and mastercard tremble at the thought of allowing me on the European continent since becoming a perfumista.

    Please do enter me in the drawing, thanks.

  • Tom says:

    I’m so glad you are having a great time- sorry you missed Lee though!

  • kjanicki says:

    Please enter me in the draw. And if you want to give a new home to that Alexander McQueen scarf too…

  • Olivia says:

    I’ve so enjoyed reading your travel entries! It’s been kind of a vicarious travel adventure :-) London sounds very fine, and I might just have to plan my next trip (whenever that’ll be) headed there. So, thank *you* for the inspiration! :-)

    The Jo Malones also sound lovely, and one way or the other, I think I’ll have to try them – I still haven’t tried any JM at all, and at this point I really must. Thanks for holding the drawing!

  • Todd T says:

    Sounds like you had a great time. Did you make it to the new Amouage store? I can’t wait to hear about the Jo Malone’s, that Oud one is the one I am really interested in. Have a safe flight home.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

  • chris g says:

    What a great trip you’ve had! But in the immortal words of Dorothy: “There’s no place like home.”
    Please enter me in the draw – Thanks!!

  • london says:

    Did you find anything decent in the Harrods sale? I can’t decide if it’s worth the trek. I would love to try the Jo Malones. They just sent me the picture booklet. I would much rather they had sent me samples…

  • Musette says:

    Show the McQueen!
    Show the McQueen!

    The Malones sound interesting – sort of. I haven’t loved a Malone in yonks but ya nebber know…

    Your whole trip sounds just delightful. That Grace Kelly exhibit…oooooh! Take photos of the handbags!!!

    xoxoxo >-)

  • Kitty says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us – so enjoyed hearing about your adventures! I would love to try the samples – my JM collection keeps growing…

  • kathleen says:

    Dead jealous of your being in London. I’ve always enjoyed Harvey Knickers much more than Harrods,as well. Enjoy the day, be safe…

  • Silviafunkly says:

    Too bad we missed you, but we look forward to your next visit !
    The Grasse part of the trip sounds totally enchanting too. Enjoy the V&A, it’s such a fabulous place :x

  • Jen says:

    Scarves, tea, and Jo Malone oh my. London sounds like a wonderfully dangerous place for my pocketbook!

  • Mrs.Honey says:

    Does Harvey Nichols carry perfume? I have never been there. (And when I lived in England, I didn’t have the perfume interest and so never went to the perfume department at Harrods.)

  • karin says:

    Loved reading about your trip, Patty! Living vicariously through you. Would love to try the Jo Malones. I’m a Christine Nagel fan…

  • Erin T says:

    Happy you’re gratefully/regretfully heading home, though I’ve enjoyed the posts from over the pond. Hope you post a pic of that McQueen scarf (and reviews of the Malones)! There was one at Fragonard that I really liked when I was there and have never been able to remember the name of… also always wanted to try the Cologne Grande Luxe. Drooled over you getting to go to Robertet (birthplace of my beloved Etros) and Mane, home of beautiful naturals.

  • Ida says:

    Really enjoying reading the travelogues. A trip that a budding, penniless perfumista like me can only dream of at the moment. The Jo Malones sound nice and pleasant. :)

  • Julia says:

    What a great trip, I’m not at all jealous=:)After reading lots and lots about shopping in London I think it’s time for me to find a cheap plane ticket and just go there. My VISA is trembeling at the thought. Please eneter me in the draw. Thanks!

  • Fiordiligi says:

    It was so fantastic to have tea with you yesterday! Great to catch up and so civilised (Jack loved his cakes, too). Not only is no perfume bottle in London safe while you are here, but scarves need to take care, too. There is going to be a national shortage soon.

    Have a lovely day in the English drizzle (that’s why we have nice complexions) and see you later xxxx

  • Sara K says:

    Sounds like a wonderful trip! Looking forward to hearing more, esp about those Jo Malones….