Monday, 24 August 2015

Shopping and eating out in Milano

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
If you follow my blog you will already know that I go to Milan the second to last weekend in August every year. It has now become almost a tradition as my friend and I have been going since the year 2000 without fail. 
The primary reason for going is to shop the upcoming winter collections but also to enjoy girl time - good food, wine and of course, the good weather is usually a given! The most noticeable thing is that everyone now speaks English which wasn't the case 15 years ago. Some of the shop assistants also speak Arabic, Chinese and Russian as the tourism has increased substantially from those regions.

As each year passes we have come to the conclusion that the only things worth buying as far as good value goes, are Italian brands as they can be
Window display Prada
considerably cheaper than the UK and most definitely the USA which hikes up the prices by more than double. Most cities around the globe are pretty similar when it comes to big name brands and although there are slight variations in collections, you may as well shop for them at home. Of course there are always independent boutiques which are worth browsing and for finding something unusual and stylish. With the Euro being weak right now, the exchange from Stirling gave us considerable savings from the prices quoted for the same items in England. And we're not talking a few pounds but up to £150 on a coat that I purchased. A bargain indeed!


Boutique in Brera
In my humble opinion, the collections this year were not that exciting .. they were a mishmash of slight variations from last year to a kaleidoscope of clashing colours with '70s undertones - great if you're 18-25. No clear direction that I could see and some of my favourite shops had nothing that I wanted. I like quirky and different but as you get older you have to be careful not to look too eccentric (unless you want to) and if you're young enough you can literally get away with almost anything. Having said that, I did find a few great pieces and I know that I am unlikely to see them on anyone else in London - I don't think I will look like a mad woman either! Happy HQ!

Half a club sandwich for lunch at Park Hyatt
Eating out is always a joy in Italy. Most restaurants give you a complimentary apĂ©ritif of Prosecco while you peruse the menu and wine list. We were able to eat al fresco on Friday and Saturday for both lunch and dinner thankfully, as by Sunday the weather had turned, starting off cloudy with drizzle, to showers all day, so we opted for an indoor lunch before we headed for home. 

Cobbled streets
Saturday night we ate in the Brera district ..at a restaurant we had been to before Osteria di Brera. The tables outside are very close together so be prepared to share your conversation with your neighbour if need be! The food was delicious and very reasonably priced although the service was a little lax.  

After dinner we strolled back to the hotel in the warm night air .. digesting our food, passing the tarot card readers and window shopping all the little stores along the way. Milan is quiet in the evenings .. not much traffic and just the sound of people walking along the cobbled streets chatting. 
To be fair, August is relatively quiet anyway as a lot of the locals are away on vacation for the whole month. It used to be that there weren't many shops and restaurants open but all that has changed. Even the department store La Rinascente stayed open till midnight on Friday and shops are open on Sundays now too!

I also love buying food in Italy - olives, oil, Italian marmalade and biscotti. The supermarket in the city centre has now closed so the nearest place to shop is the 7th floor at La Rinascente, and the lower ground floor at Excelsior - both stores are nearby the Duomo.

Looking forward, maybe next year the collections will be a bit more exciting - although it's good for the budget when it's not.

They love a dog in Italy


Italian brands that we like - 
Max & Co  
Marella  
Max Mara
Penny Black
iBlues
Liu Jo 
Pinko

HQ flew from London City Airport to Linate, Milano via Alitalia

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