coffee + cre8tive with a hint of romance! [mar 16 06]


If this doesn't inspire spring fever (see photos below), I don't know what will. These photos come to us from Paola, decor8 reader and Notting Hill resident. When I saw them on her blog, I immediately had to ask if I could share them with all of you. She lives just around the corner from Portobello Road, home of the world-famous Portobello Market in the heart of charming Notting Hill (perhaps scenes of the movie starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant flicker through your mind?).

With it's unique character, Notting Hill is a place that you'll visit vowing to return to again and again. It was on my 5th trip to Notting Hill that I received notice from the hotel concierge that my penpal left a message, he wanted to fly me to his city in Germany to finally meet him in person. Of course, since we had been emailing and calling eachother daily for nearly a year, this message intrigued me so I actually left Notting Hill early and flew to Germany. I still remember sitting in a nearby travel agency with butterflies asking myself if I had gone completely mad. That German penpal is now my husband of nearly 5 years. Seeing photos of Notting Hill reminds me of this amazing time of transformation in my life.

I still recall nights in Notting Hill very clearly, walking back to my hotel after I'd gone dancing with friends, all of us grabbing fish and chips wrapped in brown paper. Eating and walking at the same time, engaged in animated post-cocktail conversations with our giggles bouncing between buildings on narrow streets.

During the morning, I'd wake very early and explore Portobello Road, since I enjoyed watching the vendors set up their wares for the day. The sun fresh in the sky, bright fruit carts offering a bounty of goodness that I hoped to consume for breakfast. The morning midst cool around me. I relished such moments when I could have Portobello Road to enjoy before the crowds came.

Later in the day, it transformed into a colorful carnival of sights, smells and sounds set admist stunning Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian architecture. I'd often shop for vintage buttons, home accessories, handbags and colorful items from the far east. I purchased my favorite cashmere wool blend pea coat there in 1999, thankfully it's still in style because I can't seem to part with it. I purchased it since I was told Germany was about 15 degrees cooler and I knew I'd need it for my trip. A few days later, I was exchanging hellos in a German airport with my penpal, who later became my husband.

Have you been to Notting Hill? Please share your experience...

(Photos from Paola Thomas, who owns a lovely online store that reflects her amazing eye for color and texture. You'll swoon. Irresistible!)

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