I’ll refrain myself from using the word “Always”, because using it would probably be a slight exaggeration – so for a very, very long time I have been a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. To say that I’m not a Christmas person is an understatement – I cringe and pretty much mentally vomit when people come out with lines like “Only six weeks left ’till Christmas!” and hate the societal pressures surrounding this season. But what is it that stops me from being a full-on Bah humbug? The decorations. I freaking love Christmas decorations. Not so much home decorations, but more the ones you can find scattered all over a city, and specifically the city of London. I don’t like Christmas, I don’t like the cold – but I love how London looks during the festive season (FYI, I’ve written about Christmas window displays here and here).
Yesterday my friend and I visited the Ivy restaurant in Chelsea, which has become one of London’s most photographed restaurants due to giving its facade a striking makeover every few months. The latest instalment is the absolute gingerbread house of dreams, and in my opinion, its best one yet.
I don’t just love it, I am obsessed with it. I want to move in. I want to keep it. I want to hug it. I was so taken with it that I couldn’t help but force my friend to do a quickie photoshoot in front of it. Of course I wanted a picture for the ‘gram, but as we ended up taking quite a few pictures, I thought I should put them to good use and include them in a blog post.
Coat, Daisy Street (seen here). Jumper, New Look. Blouse, The Fold. Trousers, Topshop. Brogues, Zara (seen here). Beret, Accessorize. Bag, Lavand (seen here). Earrings, Boohoo (seen here). Ring, Bimba & Lola.
To be honest all I initially wanted to do was talk about this decoration, and not about my outfit. Because my outfit’s got nothing on this beauty. Look at those colours! The attention to detail! The love hearts! The candy canes and gingerbread men! As someone who has a very sweet tooth and has a love for bright colours and cute things, I could only ever wish to look as fantastic as this creation. But, having said that, I will briefly talk about my outfit, because I still think it’s cute nevertheless.
It was very cold yesterday but at least that meant I could bring out my Daisy Street heart print faux fur coat – which sorta complements this gingerbread house? I felt pretty cute and snuggly and loved wearing this coat (which got complements from two strangers – #validateme), which I teamed with a red slogan jumper that says “La Femme” bought much earlier this year, a silk blouse I got on Saturday at a Fold sample sale, these wide-legged blue trousers (a sale find bought last month), these super old brogues, my red beret and red bag. I’ve decided I’m cool with the wide-legged look and letting my ankles freeze this winter – in fact, I overall felt pretty cool in this outfit.
At first all I was going to do was simply write a love letter to this gingerbread house, but as well as touching on my #ootd, this morning I came up with the idea of making a little list of the best Christmas decorations in London. It’s fair to say this is by far the most spontaneous blog post I have ever done! So, if like me you love a good Christmas decoration (and love to photograph them too), here is my little list of places that dolly up for the festive season in London, making it a truly lovely city.
- The Ivy (various locations): The team behind this magical gingerbread house are called Early Hours (it’s worth following them on Instagram – @earlyhoursltd – if you are a fan of floral backdrops, as they’re behind many of London’s most Instagrammable decorations and share their latest creations on there regularly). Early Hours decorate many of the Ivy locations around London, and whilst in my humble opinion nothing can top the gingerbread house, they’ve unsurprisingly made the Soho and Covent Garden branches look pretty divine too.
- Annabel’s: Annabel’s is a private members club in London that has been going for decades and came to prominence (well, the Instagram scene) earlier this year when it covered its whole facade in red flowers (I so regret not getting to see it). It’s no surprise then that it’s gone all out for Christmas 2018 – I’m planning to get my butt over there ASAP.
- Covent Garden: It’s so surprise that one of London’s most iconic districts looks stunning every Christmas, with gigantic Christmas trees and beautiful lights within its market area.
- Carnaby Street: The Christmas lights of Carnaby Street are also very iconic, with a new theme every year. I love that this year the lights are honouring rock band Queen.
- Oxford Street, Regent Street, South Molton Street, Bond Street: Whilst Regent Street and Oxford Street’s lights usually do have a theme or tie in with the release of a film, a good part of the design of these lights has remained the same for a few years. But, for some reason, they don’t seem to lose any of their charm – and make these dreadfully jam-packed streets so much more bearable on those dark winter nights.
- Maddox Gallery: This art gallery (which also has various locations in London) got on the floral facade background a while back (see my posts featuring them here and here) and has since become a highly popular picture amongst ‘grammers. The best location of all is probably the one on Maddox Street, and even though I’m not sure if they’re planning to have a Christmas-themed decoration as such, the one that’s been there since October is beautiful and suits the festive season perfectly.
- Queen of Hoxton: My favourite rooftop bar in East London has been doing incredible setups on its rooftop for years. Their most recent creation is a Moulin Rouge-inspired scene – which may not be Christmassy as such but is still spectacular and worth getting a bit chilly for.
- Cartier: The iconic jewellery brand had a fantastic facade last year on its New Bond Street store – the store is currently closed for refurbishment and was supposed to open up again this autumn… maybe it’ll surprise us with a striking Christmas facade?
- Claridge’s: This world-famous hotel located in Mayfair always seems to have a refined, elegant albeit charming way of doing Christmas decorations at its entrance.
- Big retailers’ window displays worth checking out: Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Selfridges, House of Fraser, Liberty, Fortnum & Mason.
- Instagrammers to follow for the best Christmas decoration images and ‘updates’: @lukecabrahams, @ritafarhinoirot, @bei.bei.wei, @wanderforawhile, @crazycatladyldn.
I’ve probably missed a bunch of spots but I think this is a pretty good start! Let me know if there are any more hidden gems and hey, I might as well end this post with a cheeky little plug to my Instagram (@stylewanderings), as I’m planning to post some Christmassy imagery on my feed over the next few weeks here and there – I suppose you could say I’m getting into the Christmas spirit, miracles do happen!
Pictures taken in front of the Ivy on Kings Road, Chelsea, London on November 19th, 2018.