Over the last year we’ve had international YLF gatherings in Rotterdam, Brussels and Antwerp, and Edinburgh. Wow! I can scarcely believe it. And we’ve just had a gathering in London. So today’s post is written by fabulous forum member Fiona (londonkiwi) who hails from New Zealand but lives in London. Fi works for an arts charity and loves living in what happens to be one of my very favourite cities. She recently met up with other UK based YLF’ers and the city had to brace itself for their stunning arrival!
What happens when an English woman, Irish woman, American, Canadian and a New Zealander start planning? You have the first YLF meeting in London of course!
It was a post by Jean (Greenglove) on the YLF forum saying that she would be visiting London from Boston in August that started the planning. This was quickly followed by Louise arranging train tickets to come down from Birmingham and Dawn organizing flights from Ireland and Ele and I ensuring that our diaries were indeed free that resulted in us meeting at Sacred Cafe in Covent Garden on a Saturday morning in early August.
I was initially worried that it would be difficult to spot the others but as soon as Louise and I walked in we immediately spotted Dawn. Ele and Jean didn’t have any trouble finding us either – I think that YLF imbibes a certain confidence in style amongst its followers! As I think Ele remarked, everyone looked exactly how you would expect them to look.
Over coffee, tea, scrambled eggs, bagels, chocolate croissant and an almost forgotten caramel pecan slice we spent the next hour and a half getting to know each other. Topics ranged from the fashion related – (a shared love of Uniqlo, is Clarks in the USA better than the UK version?, what about Gap?) to the non-fashion related, from what we all did when we were not on YLF through to midwifery! Jean asked us for advice on a military inspired jacket she had purchased at H&M the day before – which, of course, looked amazing.
Then it was time to shop. The Covent Garden area of London (including Long Acre and the Seven Dials) offers many of the same shops as Oxford Street, but in my opinion it is not quite as busy and there are also some more unique shops as well. There are also lots cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars should you have forgotten your eight hour shoes and need a rest or have an urgent desire to indulge a craving for pastries or tea.
Our first stop was Hobbs – a lot of bright colours here and lots of fun prints too (a blouse with a pattern of terrier dogs anyone?). Then we popped into Cos, H&M’s grown up sister, the simple clean lines of their clothing were admired. After this stop, more browsing was done in Reiss, Dune, Ted Baker (free drinks on Saturday) and L.K Bennett, plus a few others that I am sure I have forgotten. Along the way there were many exclamations of – “that is so Angie!” and “I could see [insert YLF forum member] in that!”
It took perhaps longer than I expected for the first purchase of the day. Jean picked up a gorgeous red/brown scarf at a little ethnic shop. Unfortunately I didn’t note the name of this shop, but hopefully Jean will add it in a comment.
The next shop we visited was Banana Republic. This might seem like a strange choice of shop to pop into on a London trip, but they have only recently opened in the UK and are only in London at the moment, so Dawn and Louise had never been in to one. I think we spent more time here than any other shop, mostly because of the long lines for the changing room. I tried on the Martin skinny trousers (don’t work, but that is another story) and Ele tried on a very sweet green dress, but settled for a lovely necklace instead. But it was Louise who picked up the bargain of the day (if not in the history of YLF meet-ups) a leather belt reduced by 90%!
After BR, it was time for a few more photos, a quick stop in a vintage shop before it was time for Louise and Jean to head off home. Ele left shortly after as she had to pack for her holiday and Dawn and I finished the day by having lunch together.
For me, one of the best parts of the day was benefitting from Jean expertise about colour and Ele’s technical know-how having studied fashion. I never had quite appreciated the subtle difference that means one shade of brown could suit me, even though generally that colour doesn’t work on me, or that even though Louise, Dawn and I share fair skin, different shades of colour work on each of us.
To Dawn, Louise, Jean, and Ele it was a pleasure to meet you all, I had a fantastic day and I hope you did too. Hopefully, it will be the first meeting of many and perhaps next time we will be joined by others!
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the most fabulous Angie and her super husband Greg. Thank you so much for creating this wonderful community!