One of the very, very few downsides of running one’s own business is that it is all too easy to forget to take time out from work, both for oneself, and for one’s friends. It’s easy to get caught up in what seem like compelling minutiae both day and night, especially if, like me, you really do love what you do. So my New Year’s resolution was to consciously turn off from work, spend more time with my friends. I can’t say I’ve been succeeding too well at this, so when Molton Brown asked if I would like to take some time out at The Goring, scene of their AW13 advertising campaign, I was all too keen to say ‘yes, please’, and ‘when’?
So last Thursday I checked into a Belgravia Suite at The Goring Hotel in London, and slipped out of my life for twenty four hours. I packed an overnight bag with some of my favourite comfort reading, and my beautiful Dote nightgown, and invited three friends to join me for supper. (Yes, The Goring is where the Duchess of Cambridge and her family spent the night before the Royal Wedding.)
My comfort reads for a stolen night away: Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer, Magic Hour: A Life in Movies by Jack Cardiff, The Heart of the Family by Elizabeth Goudge, and a proof copy of Jeeves and The Weddings Bells by Sebastian Faulks (out in November). All topped off with a Molton Brown Paradisiac Pink Pepperpod scented candle.
(Pleat detail dress by Cos)
After a quick scout around my suite, I went downstairs to meet Head Barman Brian Kinsella. The first challenge of my stay was to develop a cocktail using the aromatics in the Black Peppercorn and Pink Pepperpod fragrances.
This was not particularly arduous (more of this later), and Brian duly delivered four of our inventions to the suite at 7pm.
I think it is fair to say that Tara approved of the Black Peppercorn version. And, please, a moment to admire Brig’s new Louboutins:
I had booked a table downstairs for 8pm in The Goring Restaurant: there is something wholly indulgent and cosseting about not even having to leave one’s hotel to eat, and it certainly continues the fantasy that one is on holiday, far removed from the daily grind.
We were given a corner table, sensible given the gales of laughter emanating from our section of the dining room. (Don’t be misled into thinking this is a synchronised-dome-lifting kind of place — Hannah left the table momentarily, so they kept her food warm with one.)
I ordered leek and potato cakes with courgette flowers.
There was some resistance to ordering pudding from one of our party. We duly ordered four, just in case she changed her mind. (She did.)
A special mention in dispatches for the Baked Alaska, truly the best version I have ever eaten it (knocking The Ivy’s into a cocked hat) and quite possibly the best pudding ever.
Lolling across the sofas in the bar after supper with a glass of Champagne to aid digestion, I felt very blessed to have such girlfriends in my life.
Waving them goodbye an hour later, I wandered upstairs to the suite, which was gently glowing in the candlelight: how glorious to have a hotel room with real candles. I lit all the Molton Brown Paradisiac Pink Pepperpod scented candles, which filled the rooms with a spicy floral scent, put London Grammar on the stereo, and ran a huge bubble bath.
(Here’s a little 30sec film I made on Instagram video of my room)
And so to bed.
One of the glories of The Goring is that it feels wholly removed from the city, whilst being in the heart of London. So one can wake up, fling open the curtains and see only trees and sky.
Of course a staycation must include breakfast in bed — I love eating in hotel dining rooms, so I can watch all the busy-ness and interesting people around me, but I think the easiest way in which to prolong the idea of escape from daily life is to order a lavish breakfast and eat it as a counterpane picnic.
And then it was sadly back to Camden, to the office and my inbox…
The Goring Hotel, 15 Beeston Place, London, SW1W 0JW
Huge thanks to Molton Brown for arranging my stay at The Goring Hotel. As part of this sponsored series in association with Molton Brown I ran this behind the scenes post on the set of their AW13 advertising campaign, and I’ll be running one more insight post.