The weather has been brilliant lately.
That's a shade of blue I am always happy to see.
People here seem to dress rather foolishly. Instead of easing into a spring wardrobe, they shed their winter coats to reveal so much skin. It's slightly hilarious- the first day where it hits 60, people dress for the beach with no real though about the late afternoon chill that is bound to set in, and I've seen more crop-tops and tube tops than I did these past couple weeks than two years in Paris combined. The men automatically switch to shorts and t-shirts and flipflops, which just seems odd granted that it's really not THAT warm out. It's very casual here.
Despite the warm early-spring breezes and squint-inducing sunlight, I ducked into the Victoria and Albert museum, if only because I was in the neighborhood and it's a fantastic place. I haven't been in years.
The museum is art and design textile-oriented, and it is packed with treasures. Kind of an arts-and-crafts greatest hits collection.
It's so much bigger than I remember it. There's beautiful embroidery, decorative glass, sculpture. There's a huge costume section that I couldn't even find. The Islamic section was full of iznik tiles and carpets that would just have looked stunning in my new pad.
They also have an amazing gift shop, with lots of crafty material. Special-run of Liberty Fabric based on pieces in the collection, reproduction jewelry, a library of books that makes me re-think the 'no books' policy I have, and just lots of unique little enviable treasures to browse through. Rather fortuitously, I bumped into a friend from Paris in the gift shop. It's super crazy to bump into people randomly in a big city, but to do that when I have only been here for two month was kind of spectacular.
Afterwards, a walk through upscale Kensington, stopping in their rather awesome charity shops every chance I got. Upscale neighborhoods have much better overall stock, and I've been on a hunt for a spring coat that is cute and classic. No luck on that front so far, but it's never a waste as I've found loads of vintage buttons, and sometimes even fancy gift boxes of French cosmetics I use (Nuxe, Caudalie) for just a couple quid, plus my kitchen is for want of nothing. Paris had brocantes, big flea markets, overpriced hipster vintage and bric-brac sales, but they don't have networks of charity shops like they do here.
Afterwards, on to Hyde Park (or is it Kensington Gardens I was in? I haven't figured that out yet). I didn't quite make it to my goal of seeing Kensington Palace, but I was just overwhelmed with the color and the springyness of it all.
Everyone loves springtime.