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Saturday, 1 December 2012

Help! Why is a Chanel 2.55 Handbag called a 2.55 handbag?

I Heart London by Lindsey Kelk

(or, Angela's guide to London)

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Hear ye, hear ye (the cry of the olde worlde British town cryer)....Get a glimpse of Britishness here! Author Lindsey Kelk flies her readers to London, immersing them into life in the metropolis, offering an experience that can only be enjoyed by being there. 
Descending into Heathrow, Angela, our guide and central character describes the approach, through champagne bleary eyes and this is what she sees:.... "And then it appeared. The opening titles of Eastenders* rolled out underneath me, the ribbon of river curling up and stretching out across the landscape, punctuated by large patches of green. My stomach slipped when I spotted the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye..."

The reader has landed in this, a bang on British book! Whether you long for M & S** knickers, a troll round Waitrose***, a browse in Topshop**** or the unique taste of a Penguin Bar ***** you can't get more British than this delicious story and how to plan a wedding 'Brit style'.

Based in south-west London with her parents, Angela is cajoled into organising her wedding to musician Alex, in her parents' garden, which smells  enticingly of newly mown grass (a very english smell indeed!). Will it actually go ahead? Will the caterers turn up?  Will Mark the ex appear? This book is a tour around London, a visit to some of the capital's wonderful shopping destinations and has a treasure of "names" - Marchesa for the bridesmaids; Jenny's Proenza Schouler bag for "stuff" and of course mention of the Chanel 2.55 bag (do leave a comment if you know why it is called this! Angela does but she's not telling!). And more....Magic FM and drizzle. Primrose Hill and London Zoo. Mahiki and Harvey Nicks.The Gherkin (Angela likes it!). And finally, the decision where to have the quintessential English afternoon tea? Should it be the Ritz or the Wolseley? Angela and her team are quite clear on this one but you will have to read the book to find out! This book really is a case of "seeing a place through an author's eyes" Enjoy! And click on the cover to find out more.

A Glossary of * Terms for non-Brits

* Easternders is a soap that has been on the BBC since time began - or long before salami became popular in the UK (see our last blogpost)
** M & S brings comfort shopping to most British folk (even if they don't all admit it!) - and as a true Brit you must buy your knickers and lunchtime sandwiches here (not necessarily at the same time)
*** Waitrose is an up-market supermarket and the food arm of John Lewis - the comfy-slipper department store where Middle England shops, and where "nothing is knowingly undersold" - the perfect reassurance for the perfect shopping experience
**** TopShop for that vital garment with good design and value price tag - every English woman will have one item somewhere in her wardrobe that originates from TopShop à la Kate Middleton or Kate Moss
***** Ah, Penguin Bars, a mix of crisp biscuit and chocolate covering, bars that cannot be bought individually but come in packs of 6. The typical Brit gets hooked on them, along with Mother's Milk, that is to say they make a frequent appearance on school menus (wonder what Jamie thinks of them?)

Photo courtesy of Google

So, to help out travellers to London, what might you suggest as a small, but truly English Experience for someone who wants just a touch of non-maninstream british culture? Where would you suggest afternoon tea? Which type of sandwich would you rate at M & S? Would you recommend a Penguin bar? Bourne and Hollingsworth...Beyond Retro....Liberty...

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