Wakey wakey rise and shine... and what a place this was to wake up.
The moment we returned from our night out we did a run and jump into the bed and we were just so happy to lie in what felt like one of the most comfortable beds we have ever experienced. Within minutes we were fast asleep.
Due to the fact that we didn't spend much time in the hotel the night before we decided to have a longer lie-in that morning and even decided to treat ourselves to breakfast in bed. The hotel unfortunately didn't have any vegan options but they were really helpful and accommodating and offered to make us up potatoes, toast and avocado,asparagus and spinach with tomatoes. All served with a soy latte, fresh juice and a good chat about what we were going to do for the day ahead, so we programmed the St James website in to our phones again to see where we should head out to today.
We started day two of our exploring just a stones throw away from the hotel in the store of Osprey London. We had walked past the day before and admired many of the leather bags that were placed carefully in the beautifully dressed South African inspired window display and we knew we had to go back for a more in depth look.
Osprey London is a family run business which started in 1980 with a only a small initial investment of £500 and was originally just producing handmade leather belts. Owner Graeme was having huge success with this but he felt that he needed to move the product away from the waist and diverse further towards additional items in which he could continue to utilise his love and passion for quality leather handmade goods.
On entering the store, it was clear that it wasn't just a home for leather goods, it was also a step into the personal collection of Graeme's taxidermy butterflies and beetles, with something unusual to look at every turn. Before we started our search for a bag, we wandered downstairs to look at the vast collection of homeware products which have been sourced from all over the world, we learnt that owner Graeme had made a selection of all the things he loved from his travels to Africa, India, Europe and the east to have in store. Osprey London also boasts the Saddlery Cafe where we sat down for a morning espresso and subsequently, a fruit tea. The manager, Rafael, informed us that the building in which we were in was once a bank and they had cleverly converted the old vaults into a cave style seated area to not only give you a place to shop, but a place to relax and socialise.
Feeling refreshed from the gorgeous rose hip and hibiscus tea we decided head back upstairs to take some time to look through the selection bags we had been eyeballing earlier on in our visit.
There is a clear vintage inspired yet modern twist that runs through the brand. We've always been a big fan of vintage clothing / accessories and still enjoy a good rummage for that magical find once in a while but as we've got older we definitely appreciate investing in something which carries the vintage look but that we can enjoy from the start of it's life, which is exactly what Osprey London offers. It was a match made and we easily found two bags that we fell in love with. For Jenna it was a small every day black saddle style bag with large gold clasps called the Hexham mini and for Carlos it was Banbury tan leather holdall bag which is the type of bag he uses regularly for weekends away and even day trips to London to hold the laptop and camera comfortably.
The first things you see when you walk into our home in Bournemouth are hats. We have a huge wall of them and we are rarely caught out without one on so it was inevitable that we would find ourselves wandering into one of the hat stores based in the area and just tucked down Jermyn Street we found Bates hats. Although the store caters solely for the gentleman, we had great fun looking through the huge collection of various styles and colour combination hats. We were even shown hats that you can roll up in your suitcase which then spring back into shape (we need to get some of these!) as well as hats that take 10 months to make and cost £16,000 to buy!! Those won't be something we will be adding to our collection anytime soon but it was amazing to see and feel the workmanship that went into the intricate weaving of the hat and how they first arrive before the customer decides what shape they would prefer for it to be moulded into.
The small quaint shop has been there since 1898 and stocks types for all hat lovers; from fedoras to flat caps to even a far more casual beanie if you prefer. The shop can tailor any hat to a colour combination of your choice by easily changing the ribbon at the back on the shop from their extensive selection of colours. Carlos fell for their Charlie hat in Nogal with contrasting black banding and ribbon. Unfortunately this particular hat isn't sold on their website as they have lots of additional options in store than they do online.
During our visit the previous day to the oldest barbers in the world we were discussing other stores in the area and we were told about a store just across the road which is home to what is to believed to be the oldest cigar shop in the world; J James Fox. As it has been trading for over 225 years the clientele list is somewhat similar to the impressive list held at Truefitt and Hill.
In the basement of the three story building is a small museum which holds homage to some of their most famous customers; many members of British (and International) Royalty, Oscar Wilde and most predominantly Sir Winston Churchill. The glass cabinets contain items such as his last box of cigars, his purchase ledger and even his smoking chair (which of course Carlos couldn't resist a photo opportunity in).
The building housed an enormous variety of cigars types, tobacco product and smoking equipment and there is even a sampling room on the third floor for customers who wished to sit, relax and enjoy a cigar before buying. This is the only exception to smoking indoors that is still allowed and the store hold a special license to allow it.
We have immensely enjoyed our weekend stay in St James and have been been blown away by what you can learn in a short space of time about an area of the city that you have never explored. St James is an area that we had passed through previously during our time in London but never taken the time to visit and discover what can be found and never thought about learning the history and pride behind it.
We've really only scratched the surface on this visit but one thing is for sure; this will now become somewhere we visit often and we definitely plan to explore the area further with some firm favourites already on the list.
During our time in the area we also documented our weekend via video for us to share with you. We want to do more video based posts for you so watch this space as there will be plenty more to come and we always love to hear your requests or suggestions.
If anyone has any questions about our time in St James or the products, brands, areas or shops we visited please do ask us, as we'd be more than happy to help you or point you in the right direction.