Diane’s Ideal Shopping Trip

Okay. Friday on Megan’s blog, I exposed my family’s “non-shopping” habits as we prepare for the Christmas holiday. It isn’t that I don’t LOVE to go shopping; it’s just that I’m not very good at selecting gifts.

I think my problem is that I need to go shopping in Regency England–I will, of course, possess the fortune of one of our fictional dukes and I’ll start my shopping in Mayfair.

I’ll stop at Hatchard’s and select the perfect books for my friends, perhaps some books “By a Lady.” Perhaps I will climb the stairs and find the book I desire there. In my two trips to England, I can remember feeling awed that I was shopping for books at Hatchard’s and climbing stairs I can imagine being climbed by Byron and Brummell and all sorts of Regency characters.

I’ll walk around the block and stop in the Floris shop and purchase some scent for my sister, Marilyn. I actually did this on my 2005 trip to England and the store was wonderful. I thought I’d stepped back into the Regency. The shop was bare except for a long mahogany trimmed glass counter, with two young men in black suits waiting behind the counter to assist me. At first I thought there would be nothing there I could afford, but I told the young man my price range and he found me a lovely gift.

My friend Mary Blayney says that you can never go wrong if your gift is something good to eat, so perhaps I could stop in Fortnum and Mason and purchase some lovely jams and cheeses. Or the new-fangled tinned foods that are such a novelty.

I never made it to Fortnum and Mason on my England trips, preferring to spend my shopping time in Hatchard’s, but there is always next time.

Perhaps I’ll buy my husband a hat at Lock’s, where both Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington purchased their hats.

I’d give anything if I could also visit some shops that no longer grace the streets of Mayfair. I’d love to pour through the prints at Ackermann’s, to pick out a lovely ruby necklace at Rundell and Bridge, be fitted for a new ball gown at Mrs. Bell’s. I think a visit to Gunter’s for an ice would be the perfect end to my shopping day.

So, my excuse for being a lousy gift shopper is that I cannot shop in Regency England.

If you could be transported to Regency England, like Celia May Hart’s heroine, where would you want to shop?

Check out my website for the December updates and my contest, the Grand Finale of the Contest Countdown to The Vanishing Viscountess.

If you simply cannot wait until January for The Vanishing Viscountess, it’s available now from eHarlequin and from MillsandBoon.co.uk

The Mills and Boon version has a special bonus included in it – The Mysterious Miss M!

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Megan Frampton
14 years ago

Books and cheese! What more could I want?

For the Spouse, if it were Regency England, I’d buy him some exceedingly snug fawn-colored trousers to show off his long legs.

Of course, I have NO IDEA what to get him in this day and age. A gift card is looking better all the time!

Maggie Robinson
14 years ago

I’d want to go to Gunter’s too…see just how those ices tasted.

And just for one boring night at Alamck’s to see what the fuss was about.

14 years ago

What a delightful post. Shopping in the Regency, now there is a time-travel story I would love to star in! For me Hatchard’s would be a must. I would probably devote two full days to that alone. If gas prices go much higher I would want to stop at Tattersall’s and buy a horse or two. Fortnum and Mason’s and Gunter’s because I LOVE to eat. Just to stroll down Bond Street and see the ballet of Regency folk in full shopping mode would be a treat! I was SO born in the wrong treat. The best part? Putting every thing on account, of course!

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Diane, what fun! And can we also visit a milliner and a mantua maker on our shopping trip? After all, we’d each have a tall strapping footman to carry our packages (and us, in case we drop from all that shopping). 🙂

14 years ago

I’d want to shop on Bond Street and get some of those fabulous baubles those courtesans always get.

Not that I’d be a courtesan or anything! Why the idea!

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
14 years ago

I would definitely hit Hatchard’s for the latest novels. As well as the milliner and the dressmaker to see what new fashions were coming out. I might need a new dress for an upcoming ball.

I’ve had the pleasure of going to Fortnam and Mason on previous trips and it’s wonderful. Also the Royal Academy to see the art.

Margaret Evans Porter
14 years ago

Over the past fortnight, I’ve done all the shopping you imagine, in exactly those places! (Except Lock’s, as my spouse isn’t a hat man.) I was doing my Christmas shop…but I confess in Hatchard’s, Floris, and Fortnum’s I couldn’t resist getting a few things for myself….

Oh, and I visited the mantua-makers Debenhams, Selfridges, Fenwick’s, Harvey Nichols, and Laura Ashley. I can report that the current modes are very pretty….

Judy T
Judy T
14 years ago

Hatchard’s and Gunter’s are musts, and, along with doglady, Tattersall’s! Because, of course, I can magically afford it all. LOL!

(And I ordered my copy of VV on Sat. My sister says she wants to read it.)

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

I love being among like-minded people!!

Margaret, you have the rest of us drooling with envy. I confess, I would have gone inside Lock’s just to stare at Wellington’s hat.

Cara King
14 years ago

I’m not much of a clothes person in real life, but if I went back to the Regency I’d want to look at the fabrics and feathers and ribbons… Then after buying a bunch of books and trying a whitecurrant ice at Gunter’s, I’d spend the rest of my time at the theatre. (Yes, I know that wasn’t one of the choices, but I don’t much like to shop!) 🙂


14 years ago

Hmm. . . well, the bookstore absolutely. . . but maybe as a gift a day at the theater. That’s what we’re doing on the 15th, going to see a stage version of A Christmas Carol (for those that might know of it, the one that’s part of the NJ Shakespeare Festival at Drew UNiversity, same place as Pride and Prejudice last year that we went to see) 🙂 Other than that, I think I’d have to steal a few of the other ideas already mentioned!! LOL


Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

I guess I do a sort of modern-day Regency shopping! I got a box from Hatchard’s aka Barnes and Noble.com with books and DVDs for my parents and brother (okay, the DVD part not Regency so much), a fancy food hamper for my parents, and sweaters from the modiste de canine for the dogs. And I asked for perfume! And jewelry. 🙂

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Cara, of course we would go to the theatre! Except on Wednesdays when the Almack’s assembly is held.

Lois, what fun to see A Christmas Carol as a stage performance.

Amanda, you are the PERFECT Regency shopper!

14 years ago

Like Cara, I am not the world’s most diligent shopper. Except for books, and a (very few) other things. On our last trip abroad I did find a lovely 18th-century fencing print, so that was one bit of shopping I enjoyed. (Transporting it home was another story. 🙂

Of course, on that same trip we had to search long and hard to find Cara the Perfect Hat for the beach at Nice. That was a bit of an ordeal for all concerned. But she did look absolutely darling. 🙂


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