Notting Hill, London

by Rachel on October 3, 2009

Graffiti, Notting Hill

I had actually resisted spending a day in Notting Hill. I’m not sure what my worry was, perhaps a nasty run-in with Hugh Grant, he can be quite the scoundrel, if memory serves. It just seemed touristy and required using one’s Mastercard. I was quite the non-shopper over the summer and I thought, why give up a good thing? Anyway, I had the chance to spend a day there with my once American, now half-Irish friend Wendy who lives in rural England but works in Doha, Quatar, and my junior high-school friend who was once Linda and is now Helen. If you’re lost, not to worry, just take a Zen breath and move on. I hate to admit it, but I loved my day in Notting Hill so much that I dragged my children back there for a second round of exploring and it turns out, using my Mastercard. Unlike our Sloan Square neighborhood of higher-end chain stores, Notting Hill, and particularly Portobello Road, boasts a myriad of eccentric, one-of-a-kind shops, offering everything from antiques, to natty hats and crazy band t-shirts. Wendy, Helen and I wandered in and out, chatting up a storm. We had a lovely lunch at 202 Westbourne Grove (a must if you end up in Notting Hill – order the haddock cakes with poached egg and hollandaise, absolutely delicious) alongside a horde of handsome wives who spend their mid-days lunching in loud groups, white wines in one hand, recent purchases in the other. Hard working Wendy (IT Manager) and Helen (Lawyer) found the droves of pretty girls only slightly amusing. The food was really, really good and the conversation stellar, so we survived.

I brought the boys back to Notting Hill to help celebrate our babysitter’s last day with us in London. I was determined to send her home with at least one or two London purchases. She’s a devout non-shopper but we stumbled upon the most fabulous and cheap hat store and I finally broke her. I bought hats for all of us. The four of us wandered the streets of Notting Hill looking dapper and slightly odd. We didn’t care. We seldom do.

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