"Cheap & Crafty" revealed yet again


What is CHOOP?

CHOOP is not GOOP. CHOOP is the antithesis of GOOP.

GOOP is a night at a hotel no one can afford. GOOP is accessorising with Chopard. GOOP is using tuna steaks for tuna sandwiches. GOOP is emailing Deepak Chopra for a tea leaf interpretation whenever your daughter has a bad dream.

In other words, GOOP is what Gwynnie would do.

CHOOP on the other hand is what we did. CHOOP became our mission and we endeavoured to do Europe in the CHOOPiest way possible. CH is for Chav. CH is for Chinese. CHOOP is the ultimate low classy guide to Paris and France.

At any of the Firmdale establishments – we were at the Haymarket and then the Charlotte Street Hotel, two boutique hotels so charming and so adorable you will never want to leave. Not exactly Best Western but in London terms it’s actually not bad. Besides, you’re only getting one room and splitting it three ways, right? Because they will happily roll a cot out for you and a slumber party CHOOPy styles every night with the girls is more fun anyway.

Don’t however be fooled by the lobby Honour Bar and assume that it’ll be cheaper than the mini bar in your room just because it’s self serve. If you’re going to be honest and write down everything you take, it really starts adding up. The Honour Bar is GOOP. Tesco on the other hand is CHOOP. Soda, lemon, snackies, and Grey Goose without the shock of seeing it showing up on your bill almost 50 pounds later.

Another great feature about the Firmdales? They use Miller Harris products in perfectly sized dispensers. The ultimate in CHOOPness is to take the shampoo and the body wash for future purposes. These are the ones you won’t find at Walmart – they don’t look like Tupperware and will last until you come back. Rachel Weisz would be proud.

Don’t be afraid to spill cranberry juice, or olive juice (as Duana did our last night after busting open a container full of olives we brought home from Carluccio’s to go along with the buffalo mozzarella that has spoiled us for buffalo mozzarella forever in North America) because they’ll come up the next morning and clean the carpets.

Finally… the Haymarket and the Charlotte Street are all about the design and refreshingly enough it’s not an imitation Pottery Barn. Beautiful wallpaper, wainscoting, upholstery, distressed vanity tables, whimsical little touches like these striped pencils in the lobby: orange at the Charlotte, purple at the Haymarket.

Make it CHOOPy by grabbing a handful, like Michelle, for a similar display at home. Yes… we’re pilfering pencils now. But they let you. And they’ll look so cute in your den. And what was the ultimate objective?

Gwyneth would never.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 10:05 AM
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