Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Packing, packing, packing.

People, I know. I start blogging again with a bang, then ... radio silence.

The thing is, between the house being painted, the basement being flooded, and my entire family heading to England on Thursday, it's been busybusybusy around here.

See, we're not just going to England to visit the Tower of London to drool over the Royal Jewels. Although that's definitely in the itinerary.

Will you get a load of this? And this is the stuff that isn't locked up for tourists to gawk at.

We're also going to be spending the week in Canterbury, being a visiting choir at the cathedral. And the preparations are dizzying.

First of all, we had to watch Becket.

Richard Burton is OK, but Peter O'Toole leaves him sitting in the road.

Because it would be remiss to visit Canterbury and not understand why the characters in the  Tales were journeying to the cathedral in the first place.

Also, I'm very busy trying to plump up my family's flat American vowels so the tourists who hear us sing won't realize we're from Chicago.

Not that we won't sound good, but if I were a tourist at Canterbury Cathedral, I'd be a bit disappointed that the extremely professional-sounding choir (complete with angelic, soaring trebles) was actually American. I feel it only polite to disguise my Colonial origins. At least, while I'm singing.

The other thing keeping me busy is making sure we're all stocked with sufficient choir clothes. It is not, unfortunately, enough that we'll be wearing floor-length choir robes topped with knee-length surplices. We also have a dress code to adhere to as cathedral musicians: black skirts or pants topped with white blouses or shirts. Closed-toe black shoes. Neutral, white, or black hose. Or--thankfully--no hose.

Having done this before, I've managed to accumulate a significant stock of black pants (God bless Eileen Fisher)

sensible black closed-toe shoes,

Chanel Cambon ballerina flats--way too logo-y, but INCREDIBLY comfortable
Haute Footure wedges by the very clever Taryn Rose

and a nice collection of blouses.

Lafayette 148 is a favorite for these.

Dear Fashion Gods: Enough with the ruffles. Those of us with a lot on our balconies would appreciate it. Thanks! Love, Poppy

The gem of my blouse collection is one by Samuel Dong that I swear is made of the earth's supply of petroleum by-products. If I spill spaghetti sauce on it,  I could probably clean it off with Windex. Which makes it perfect for travel.
Let us not forget a stylish pair of wellies, should the weather prove inclement.
Getting the children properly kitted out has been A Mad Scramble, let me tell you.  Young Master Buxom is 16, and in the two years since we last went to England (and tried to trick American tourists into believing we were an English choir) he's gone from wearing a boy's size 20 shirt to a 15/33. Which makes for a lot of shopping.

And of course, there's the girl. Who is wont to declare that everything she once liked is now Woefully Out Of Style.

So while I get ready, do me a favor and come up with suggestions of fun, frivolous things to shop for in London. I plan to visit Boots and Top Shop. What about Mango? And are there any fabulous products for aging English complexions that I need to buy and bring back to the States? Any products that are imported to the U.K. but don't make it to the States?


  1. Poppy!
    Your travel plans sound divine...my HB would jump at the chance to visit Canterbury.
    Your wardrobe looks like it will keep you looking fresh and crisp...hope that you have made room in your suitcase for a few indulgences!

    Your children might like to shop over seas, especially your daughter...I have heard that Zara and Topshop are full of the hottest styles and are priced reasonably.

    In amy case have fun! Bon voyage.

  2. You are taking your daughter to Jack Wills, right? (http://www.jackwills.com/) We just got a store here in our town and my girls are beyond excited, as the store in Bath, England nearly blew their minds with its utter hipness.

  3. Neal's Yard has a good face cream and other useful products. Pink has very affordable ties for the barrister. Don't buy Italian products like Santa Maria Novella since they are way overpriced. Fill the suitcase with F&M tea for gifts. You might want to go to Liberty. I found shopping on Oxford Street and Carnaby to be lots of fun.

    Have a fabulous holiday!


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.