By Montana Hall

When in a new city, especially one as glamorous and exciting as London, what does every woman want to do just as quickly as she’s dropped off her bags, switched outfits, and applied a fresh coat of radiantly rouge lipstick?

Here’s a clue: It involves shuffling through a rack of bohemian dresses, the slide of changing room curtains, and a glow of satisfaction. 

You wander the streets, your arms, laden with shopping bags, are unable to deter you from swiping your credit card once–or more likely, a few times more. You feel like you’ve stepped into London’s version of, “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” and taken on the role as, The Girl in the Green Scarf. You decide you’ll add this experience to your self-care list under the expansive title: “Treat yourself.” 

With London’s underground transport pamphlet, offline Google maps loaded, and an Oyster card in hand–a must-have for hopping on and off buses, trains, and the underground–it’s your chance to discover this urban oasis that easily caters to these five different shopaholic archetypes:

Eco-Friendly Health Honey: Wholefoods  

To conjure up a picture of our first archetype, think endless scrolling through Instagram food accounts and the hashtag, #plasticfreemermaid. As an Eco-Friendly Health Honey, you’re likely to enjoy spending hours in a health shop, browsing, reading ingredients and absorbing the promise of vitality. You may leave with one product or a handful, yet the experience is just as nourishing. 

When walking into Wholefoods on Kensington High Street, you may need to catch your breath. It’s foodie-heaven that extends abundantly to those abiding by raw, vegan, paleo, or gluten-free diets. Within the three levels, it houses fresh organic produce, a make-your-own nut butter section, and a DIY muesli bar.

You’re bound to leave with a few bags full when you see their array of organic wines, healthy chocolates, and products to support nearly all types of recipes.

Tube Lines: Circle and District  Zone: 1 

Busy Butterfly: Oxford Street 

In order to cultivate an accurate picture of the Busy Butterfly Archetype, think Sex and the City. Imagine Carrie Bradshaw wandering around with a takeaway coffee–in her eco-friendly cup, of course–while spending an afternoon credit-card swiping. If you identify as the Busy Butterfly, you would likely be caught gazing up at skyscrapers in awe, relishing the flurry of people, and the loud, demanding cacophony of car horns. 

Your love affair with London is founded on the symbolism of life being lived out loud. Not only does the bustle of Oxford Street boast magnificently large and stylish shops within walking distance of each other, but its fresh-air setting is so totally different from the westernised shopping malls. With Topshop, H&M, Zara, Urban Outfitters, and Selfridges open daily until 8 pm, you could sight-see in the day then work up an appetite with those weighted bags in the evening.

Tube Lines: Bakerloo, Central, and Victoria Zone: 1

Bookworm Beauty: Waterstones 

If you dare not travel without your Kindle and half a suitcase worth of books, if you’re enthused by an evening curled up on the couch and a fictional world, you could be our Bookworm Beauty Archetype

The cosy yellow glow emanating from within Waterstones represents a haven for all book lovers that long to escape the city bustle and crowds. Each spine that rests upon the shelves holds the power of transportation. All you need to make it a pleasurable experience is a reading nook, time, and your imagination. Their genres range from cooking, biographies, and history to young adult, fashion, and self-help; there’s something for everyone’s interest.

They have stores in the city centre, Piccadilly, and Tottenham Court Road, as well as all around London.

However, the one on Gower Street has an arch made of books–which if you’ve ever wanted to walk into a literary fairytale–this may be the destination for you. 

Tube Lines: Northern, Victoria, Central, and Piccadilly Zone: 1

Vintage Queen: Retro And Thrift Stores

Think Abba’s hit song, Dancing Queen and what comes to mind is the Vintage Queen Archetype. If your Pinterest boards span the ages with inspiration for your next shopping expedition and you’ve got your seamstress on speed dial, you may be our Vintage Queen. Your Saturdays are reserved for markets, thrift stores, and vintage boutiques–all supporters of your cutting edge, off-the-cuff style.

Whether it’s the scruffy lines of a retro duffle bag or a fraying hem on a boho floral print dress, you appreciate them all. Each groove, mark, and scratch demonstrates history, character, and a story to tell.

Follow the call of the siren song; it’ll lead you to the Camden Lock Market, Brick Lane, Beyond Retro, Rokit, and Absolute Vintage. If you want to stretch your pounds, you’ll find items deemed one-hit wonders in Oxfam, Cancer Research, and The British Heart Foundation.

Tube Lines: Hammersmith and City, Northern, and Central
Zones: 1 and 2 

Spiritual Sister: Neal’s Yard 

To envision the Spiritual Sister archetype, picture a Saturday afternoon spent sipping superfood smoothies with girlfriends, incense drifting with the gentle breeze as you draw angel cards, gush about your latest horoscopes, and discuss ways to cleanse your growing collection of crystals. 

Your London haven awaits your arrival in Neal’s Yard. The quaint cobbled streets will lead you to The Astrology Shop which will indulge your mystic heart. They have a selection of sundials, tarot cards, sage sticks, and sun-catchers. After adding to your cluster of crystals, Neal’s Yard Remedies may entice you into topping up your bags with natural beauty options and tea blends freshly mixed from dried herbs behind their apothecary-style counter.

In the name of self-care, splurge on a holistic treatment session before enjoying a late lunch from Wild Food Cafe’s inclusive menu with raw and vegan options while overlooking the colourful yard. 

Before you embark on your London splurge, make sure you get out of bed on the right side–or at least the side that is abundant in patience and energy.

Top up your stainless steel water bottle and arm yourself with a bundle of those cute cotton bags you bought on an eco-friendly craze. You’re taking to the streets with a mind full of boutique promises and garment dreams.