LLG in London: From Eros to Claridges…

by Sasha Wilkins on January 16, 2013 · 5 comments

Claridges Hotel Flowers

Three days in, and this week is reeaaaally dragging. There is a conspicuous lack of snow here in London. I woke to a light dusting on Monday, which soon turned into nothing as it rained torrentially all day whilst I sat in the office tackling admin. The sky is now clear, but it’s -4C outside and I am writing this in bed with two hot water bottles. (Sadly not a canine one, as my sister tends to have Posetta Baddog in the week, and I take her at weekends so my sis can have a lie-in.)

The only place where spring seems around the corner is in Claridges Hotel. Wednesday is flower change over day, and they had filled the entrance hallway with the palest pink tulips in countless glass bottles on every table and in each embrasure. It looked ravishing, Worth popping into the hotel just for a peek.

Farfetch

After spending Monday chip, chip, chipping away at the admin mountain in the office, I winkled my sister out of her shell and drove her off to eat Chinese food & half price dim sum in Camden at Yum Cha Silks & Spice on Chalk Farm Road.

Tuesday morning I went to The Soho Hotel first thing to listen to Farfetch.com’s state of the nation presentation, which made fascinating listening. It seems that the global appetite for online retail (and in this case, sourced from interesting boutiques from every corner of the world) is proving insatiable.

Afterwards I walked over to Piccadilly to visit the offices of Curtis Brown, who represent me. I had made my agent and his team Kilner jars of my home made granola as a New Year present. (Last year – 2011 – I made them all VAST quantities of cake, muffins & brownies at Christmas, but this year I thought I would wait until January and give them something healthy instead.)

Piccadilly Circus

Nespresso on Regent Street was just around the corner, so I had virtuously brought in all my used capsules to recycle in-store – I strolled over there during lunchtime through Piccadilly Circus, pretending I was a tourist in my own city. It’s so easy to just rush on by, head down, and I need to take time to look around me more.

Eros Piccadilly Circus

The rest of Tuesday disappeared in a whirl of production meetings and phone calls for a London Fashion Week film project that I am co-producing, and then I headed over to Claridges in the evening to share a bottle of Bollinger in the Fumoir with the Champagne’s PR. When work meetings look like this, January suddenly perks up no end.

This morning started back from whence I had come only not so many hours previously: Claridges Hotel. Although this time I was in the dining room for a breakfast meeting with a brace of delightful beauty PRs. Claridges do the most delicious breakfasts, with so many wondrous things on offer from fluffy pancakes to baked beans that it always feels like a festive occasion, and I tend to throw caution to the winds and just order EXACTLY what I feel like.

And that my friends is one of the very good reasons why, when I weighed myself last weekend, I was 23lbs heavier than I was two years ago. I take an awful lot of  meetings in some very nice places, with very nice food and drink, and I need to reign in the greed.

But oof, keeping to my new self-enforced regime was a stretch this morning. But I held out and, instead of a rack of toast slathered with butter and a full cooked breakfast, I ordered two poached eggs on one very small piece of rye toast, accompanied by half a sliced avocado, and a bowl of mixed berries. And, of course, the stupid thing is that I enjoyed my perfectly cooked and presented breakfast just as much as if I had gone for the ‘entire day’s worth of calories in one go‘ option.

Claridges Hotel Breakfast

Next up, I headed to Percy & Reed on Great Portland Street to get my highlights seen to, (another NY resolution: attend to grooming when it needs to be done instead of at the last minute because I realise I have a shoot/date/event), and discovered I was two days early for my appointment. I was rather gleeful, because that was an entire two extra unaccounted for hours in my day, so I sped off home – luckily only ten minutes away, and attacked the email mountain. And the tax return mountain…oh January, with these treats you are really spoiling us. Poor Emily: she hates doing receipts almost as much as I do.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Becky | lifestyleflash.com January 16, 2013 at 19:44

I hope you take this the way it’s meant but I often tell my (NW3-born) boyfriend that Londoners are blind to how amazing the city is. I’ve lived down here for a couple of years on-and-off and I just think it’s wonderful, though of course exasperating at times (where isn’t?).

Glad to see you enjoyed a little date with your city. Don’t take it for granted :)

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Rebecca January 16, 2013 at 19:55

This is exactly my favorite type of post: a mish mash of food, flowers, events and just general life of Sasha.

But, listen, have you looked into Expensify or something like it? Take photos of your receipts with your phone and have the info on them automatically logged in to reports as you go along. Although free for individual users, they only get ten scans a month & you probably need way more than that.

Though some of the corporate stuff won’t apply to you, such as approval for expenses, a lot of it may be helpful: logging time, travel expenses and the like. So you may find that the pro upgrades at $5 or $10 a month are well worth the cost. And this must certainly qualify as a deductible business expense.

I have to say that just assigning receipts to certain categories with all the dates & numbers auto filled is SUCH a huge help. Even if you don’t get every single thing entered, having so much already organized at the end of the year can make you weep with joy at how much less you have to do.

Anyway, take a look at this review of Expensify and then you can check around and see if there is anything you like better. But it does sound to me as though something like this can be a big help to you, not only with receipts – which I’m sure are universally hated, but maybe with some other business accounting, as well.

http://www.business-software.com/blog/mobile-business-apps-expensify-review/

Of course, it is American software, but I would imagine it – or something like it – must be available for the UK. Or maybe convertible to different currencies. Good luck!

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Cheryl from BusinessChic January 16, 2013 at 21:11

Well should you ever wish to go somewhere warm in January, consider coming down to Australia. Today in Melbourne we’re facing a top temperature of 39C!
I totally hear you on needing to indulge less during business meetings in venues where there are many delicious temptations. Just the other day when meeting with my mentor over breakfast at Cumulus Inc, I bypassed the farmhouse slab of bacon with side of black pudding (oh how I love!) for the watermelon, strawberry and blueberry salad with mint. Fresh, healthy and totally perfect for Summer so there’s another win for going for the “healthy option”.

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Taurean Coughlan January 17, 2013 at 01:50

Oh here is another place I will have to visit now……

I cant thank you enough for the tweets over the festive season when I visited London recommending where to dine. Spuntino was cool. Reminds me of NYC/Melbourne…slightly grungy. The mac and cheese was AMAZING. The Delaunay was delish also. Smoked salmon, cream cheese and toasted bagel. The ultimate comfort food. I felt really spoiled going there. Oh wait I paid for myself….nonetheless I felt like a prince eating there. And lastly Dean Street Townhouse…..a piece of heaven smack bang in the centre of all the chaos of Soho. I loved it. Sat at the bar for hours sipping coffees (best I had in LDN by a mile) and basil margaritias…..I had to leave at 3 to grab my flight back to Dublin but I could have stayed there all night long. It was such a great place.

Thank you again for your suggestions. If you ever hit Melbourne I’m your guy for dining suggestions.

Taurean x

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Geraldine Looker January 17, 2013 at 16:48

Oh How I love Claridges and tulips. Didnt get the chance to pop in this year when I came back to the UK. We stayed at the Sheraton on Park Lane for a few days. The location was just perfect being central for most places, but all too quickly our London visit came to an end, well for this visit anyway.

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