Rooftop Garden at John Lewis

A new garden opened in Marylebone this month, and this is how you get there.

John Lewis escalators

If that seems unlikely, bear with me: the garden is on the roof of a shop.  This year, the British retailer John Lewis celebrates its 150th anniversary, and the flagship store on Oxford Street has opened a roof garden.

John Lewis 150 anniversary sign

The planting is lovely, but the main attraction for me was getting away from the busy shop and out into the sunshine and fresh-ish London air.  Drinks are on sale at the rooftop kiosk, for savouring as you sink into the summery furniture.

joe&thejuice john lewis

John Lewis deckchair

To get to the roof garden, head for the cafe “The Place to Eat” on the 5th floor of John Lewis, and follow the signs.  There is also a new exhibition on the 3rd floor exploring 150 years of John Lewis.  There is no entrance fee, nor do you have to buy anything in the shop before you visit the rooftop garden or the exhibition, but if you prefer green space unconnected to shops, just walk round the back of John Lewis, and cross the street into Cavendish Square, where a garden is maintained by Westminster Council.

John Lewis shop paper bag display

Life in Marylebone: a photo competition

There is a local photography competition coming up soon, called “Life in Marylebone”.  I enjoy seeing new pictures of my neighbourhood, so please do enter the competition!

Marylebone High Street shop signs
Shops and restaurants on Marylebone High Street

The organisers are looking for images that evoke the people, landscape, scenes, or any detail of daily life in Marylebone.


La Fromagerie
It may look rural and French, but honestly, it’s a detail of daily life in Marylebone….for those who like cheese, at least.


I am planning to enter the contest, so I shouldn’t be encouraging competitors, should I?  Never mind, here is what you need to know.

Photos must be taken within the area defined as the old Borough of Marylebone, and must be taken between 18 and 27 April 2014 (so I can’t just re-use old photos from this blog!).

Click here for more details of the competition.

So where are the boundaries of Marylebone?

What is the adjective for Marylebone? Marylebonic? This photo must qualify as Marylebonic.
Definitely inside the Old Borough of Marylebone…in fact maybe I’m locked inside.

For this competition, most of Regent’s Park is included, but not all.  So I’d better be careful when I’m taking photos in case my goslings stray over the border.  Oxford Street marks the southern border, separating us from Mayfair.  On the western side, the Edgware Road divides Marylebone from Bayswater and Hyde Park.

To the east of Marylebone is the district of Fitzrovia.  The local website Fitzrovia News reported the recent discussion at our local council about this boundary in the context of town planning.  There was a big tussle over Great Portland Street before it finally landed in Fitzrovia.  However, we can take our photos as far east as Cleveland Street for this competition.

So don’t forget, if you’re in Marylebone, carry your camera from 18th April.

Santa spotted in London

Today is Christmas Eve, and Santa Claus has been spotted in London.  He was encouraging Cath Kidston to decorate her shop on Piccadilly with paper chains, but that job is all done now.

Cath Kidston bag and paperchains

Off-duty, Santa visits the shop windows of Selfridges department store on Oxford Street.
Selfridges phone box
Santa is waiting for a train, because his reindeer have gone off to J P Guivier music shop on Mortimer Street, to pick up some violins.

J P Guivier

reindeer violins 2
This is my last blog from London in the Christmas season, and I’m finishing with a photo of me in Trafalgar Square, wearing a Santa hat, and wishing you all a HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

KC Santa Hat

Balls and Baubles in Mayfair

Christmas baubles come in many colours.  In one shop, Mont Blanc pens are displayed beside red balls and Christmas greetings.  Especially for Japanese readers, there is a clear メリークリスマス above the balls.

mont blanc baubles

There seems to be a trend towards blue in New Bond Street.

blue balls on bond street
The green ball was part of Rolex’s Christmas decorations.

green Rolex ball
The purple and gold combination looks exciting, but would be better without my reflection!

Anoushka purple balls.

The Cuddliest Turkey in London

Are you preparing to cook a Christmas dinner in London?  One popular tradition is to eat a roast turkey.

You can find your bird on Oxford Street, made of towels.

Towel Turkey

I found the cuddly towel-turkey in the shop windows of the John Lewis department store, along with penguins made from kettles, and reindeer made from vacuum cleaners.

John Lewis corner lights

Oboes, Coffee and Stars in Marylebone

Enough of those big department stores – today I’ve got some photos of a five-star walk around the quieter streets of Marylebone.

Start on Marylebone High Street, where you can choose a Christmas tree (to buy at the end of your walk).

Marylebone High Street Christmas trees for sale

Find the first two stars on Moxon Street, at the Marylebone bar.

Marylebone Pub bicycle

Walk through Paddington Street Gardens to Chiltern Street.  Enjoy the bridal shops and the shoe shops, but just for today pay special attention to this window at Howarth, with musical instruments and one Christmas star.

Howarth Musical Instruments

Stop for coffee at Monocle, with a two-star window.


Then walk back to the High Street along Blandford Street and pick up your Christmas tree.

Tiffany and Tesco

Are these presents coming to my house?

Tiffany sleigh

I found that beautiful sleigh in the Tiffany & Co shop on Old Bond Street.  But, no, I don’t think that’s me under the mistletoe.

Tiffany doorstep

Blogging about Tiffany didn’t work last year, so maybe I should lower my sights, and hope for something from Tesco – after all, our local shop on Marylebone High Street is wearing a festive hat.

Tesco hat

Origami Christmas Tree at Minamoto

When I left Fortnum & Mason, I walked across the street to the Japanese bakery Minamoto Kitchoan and found this golden origami Christmas tree.
Minamoto kitchen tree
The shop’s own sign explains that the tree combines western culture (the Christmas tree) and Japanese art (origami).  Three thousand square sheets of paper were each folded into the shape of a bird without using paste or scissors.
Minamoto kitchen sign
Can you see the shape of the birds in the next photo?
Minamoto cranes 2

[UPDATE: In response to the challenge in the comments below, I’m standing up in defence of Japanese sweets.  Maybe “bakery” wasn’t the right word.  Would “confectioner” be better? I bought  chocolate mochi, apple jellies and matcha pancakes, as shown in the next photo.]

Minamoto sweets