Its been a very busy few weeks with the Easter holidays taking up a healthy chunk of April, my shopping this week was done with a sense of mild panic. I took myself to Oxford Street, not sure what I was looking for. I don’t know about you, but for me, shopping without a purpose is a dangerous thing. As I was travelling there, the thing that was at the forefront of my (chaotic and untethered) mind was the Harrods afternoon tea I have planned for this weekend. It has been a very long time since I have been to Harrods, this afternoon tea was a gift to a friend for her 40th birthday. Naturally hoping that she’d choose to take me, because Harrods is where our journey started.
April is the anniversary of my twentieth year in England. I was coming to London to see the world. I grew up in South Africa during a time when there were sanctions and we weren’t easily able to travel abroad unless we had dual citizenship of some form (not me). When sanctions were lifted, a lot of things changed. Young people were suddenly allowed visas to work in the UK. Yes, not the most important change in South Africa, but it was a very exciting thing.
Bright eyed, very young and a 20kg backpack, I still remember what I was wearing the day I arrived.
Shortly after arriving in London, I registered with an agency for retail placements. My first job was in Harrods and I worked in a few departments before a new Armani concession opened and I was offered a full-time position. It was here that I met Jo, 20 years ago.
We went out most nights after work, along with a few girls from the department. We’d stay out late, get a taxi home, Jo would sit at the front (poor cabbie) and she would whip out a cassette tape (yes!) to play Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car. Back at the flat (usually in lovely Leytonstone) we would listen to Pearl Jam until the small hours of the morning before crashing for a few hours to go back to work at Harrods in our little Armani suits, groomed to perfection, hungover as hell.
And so we are celebrating 20 years of friendship at the scene of the crime on Saturday afternoon.
In reality, we probably don’t need to make all that much effort for an afternoon tea (even at Harrods), but we’re a little giddy with excitement. I still have a few of my Armani suits and joked that I would wear one (yes, it’s a miracle, they have survived and just about fit), but on this occasion, we don’t want to blend in with the staff.
I very rarely go into River Island, but I decided to have a quick look and came across a lovely embroidered, striped jacket with a bit of fringe detail for £65. I like this jacket because it can be dressed up for a special occasion, but it will look equally as good with jeans and a t-shirt.
Oh this skirt. Could one make a better statement? It is one of those items where you might possibly cry (ok, a bit dramatic maybe) if you can’t have it in your wardrobe. No occasion? Just wear it with trainers and a sweatshirt, walk down the street and defy anyone not to stop and stare. The Rose print skirt is from Topshop, it can be yours for £68.
I doubt that I would normally wear the embroidered jacket with skirt I have selected, it is a little too far on the wedding outfit spectrum for me, I am more likely to wear it with a cropped, fitted blazer for this occasion.
Warehouse’s broderie peplum shirt (£49) is totally gorgeous. It is one of those items you could keep in your wardrobe and it will look good with anything that new fashion and trends throw at you. To wear it with the skirt, I would tuck it in, but with the understated peplum, it will look amazing with a pair of skinny trousers too.
The skirt and jacket both have navy in them rather than black, but I’ve selected these Topshop shoes (apart from the fact that they are incredibly nice) because the skirt is quite girly and prom-like and these shoes will tone that down a bit (because I’m a rock girl at heart and too much pretty scares me).
Since there is quite a lot going on in terms of textures, pattern and stripes, I am keeping the handbag choice simple. The white clutch shown here is by Koko Couture and is available from Topshop for £23.
I very rarely wear earrings, apart from special occasions, so H&M’s White tassel earrings are a perfect choice for me at £7.99 as I won’t feel guilty throwing them into the back of the drawer, forgotten until another occasion.
If you want to find out if our afternoon tea ends in taxis with Fast car and singalong to Pearl Jam, follow me on Instagram. Maybe 20 years on we will drink cups of tea, go home at a sensible time and hang our skirts neatly in our wardrobes . Not likely, maybe in another 20 years 🙂 xx