#VINOWEEKEND: Holiday Shopping & Sipping In London

Things to do in London in early December

Champagne and Shopping darlings.

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 3.02.29 PMIt’s going to be wet and cold in London this weekend. If you are one of those people who despises the holiday cheer and fervently wishes the Grinch had stolen Christmas, the lights, the noise, the music,  especially the music will drive you straight into the arms of a nervous breakdown. You can either spend the weekend whimpering under your duvet while having nightmares that all tunes except for ‘Jingle Bells’ have been declared contraband or you can play it smart. This is the time to start strategising on the legendary January sales at London’s top departments stores. By next weekend, a mouse won’t be able to fit into Knightsbridge and the tempers will really be fraying, so it’s now or never. This is the annual Iron Man challenge of the shopping year, Ab Fab style.

On this week-ends hit list: Harrods and Fortnum & Mason on Saturday, Harvey Nic’s on Sunday. This may be hedonistic, but it’s a physical, intellectual and psychological challenge which requires skill and determination as well as no small measure of self-control. You don’t make your way through three top-tier department stores without getting some blisters. You have to work that credit card so hard it feels the burn, but not so hard that it’s worn out by January which requires considerable fiscal responsibility. You also have to develop a callous and cruel heart and say ‘no, non, nyet’ to items that call your name and pitifully implore you to take them home.

The idea is start a light warm up at Harrods with a quick sweep of designer wear, with a quick break ILTG_Shoppingfor NV Pierre Peters Cuvee de Reserve and maybe a salmon sandwich at the Tea Room, tip toe past Victoria Beckham’s denim line and then launch into accessories because trying on a bag is a lot less damaging to the self-esteem than trying on a pair of skinny VB’s. Gifts for family and friends are best bought at Fortnum & Mason. They have fabulous items like Christian Lacroix notebooks (put that on my Wish list), huge sweetie jars (candy, if you’re in the U.S.), and Desmond & Dempsey pyjama sets that would make angels weep.

Harvey Nichols on Sunday starting with bottomless brunch, that includes unlimited house brand champers and peach, strawberry and raspberry purees for bellinis (we really love ours with Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label NV) that really do count as part of your daily fruit and vegetable tally if you think about it. Brunch is open until 3, and depending on how shameless you are prepared to be, you could spend the better part of a day there. It should end there, but I believe the new season’s shoes are in. You should also treat yourself to one more glass. Perhaps a flute of Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV?  A shopper’s work is never done. Cheers, darlings.


Marie-Ora de Villiers. Born in the far north of Namibia, I live in South Africa. I grew up in a multilingual home and spent a lot of time in Europe as a child, so I’ve always been fascinated with language and pronunciation. I love studying how food, wine, culture, and language combine organically over time to create new ideas. Huge animal lover with shoe and chocolate fetishes.

*Champagne recommendations from Master Sommelier, winery proprietor, James Beard award winning author, partner at the acclaimed RN74 in San Francisco, and photographer of an envy-ridden Instagram account Rajat Parr

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