I haven’t had much chance to sort out my jetlag as I have gone full swing into this week. On Tuesday night I took part in a panel discussion at Shanghai Tang on Sloane Street, hosted by Harper’s Bazaar on the subject of China and its luxury markets.

Chaired by Bazaar’s deputy editor Sasha Slater, I was seated with Jane Macartney, China Correspondent at The Times,  Bazaar’s assistant features editor Helena Lee, and Raphael le Masne De Chermont, Executive Chairman of Shanghai Tang. (Their report is here.) It all went well, and I learnt so much from my fellow panellists: Jane, in particular, has a wealth of knowledge about Chinese customs.

The only downside was that I pushed my chair back so that Sasha would have a clear view of Raphael to my right, and promptly pushed it off the podium, and found myself on my back on the floor, legs in the air, and wedged under a clothes rack. In front of the entire audience. I really am spectacularly good at losing my dignity in public arenas.

The previous day I was in Paris, as a guest of Cartier, to meet the twenty finalists for the 2013 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. The awards are an entrepreneurship programme created in 2006 by Cartier, the Women’s Forum, McKinsey & Company and INSEAD, which aim to identify, support and encourage projects by women entrepreneurs. So, of course, it’s right up my street.

Each year applicants submit business plans, and each regional jury selects the top three projects of their continents (Latin America, North America, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East & North Africa, Asia-Pacific). I met some truly extraordinary women, and you’ll be hearing from several as them as guest bloggers here on LLG.

I’v spent so much time in Paris this year that the Eurostar Business Premier breakfast is starting to feel very familiar.


Although I usually supplement it with a granola pot from Peyton & Byrne


The Gare du Nord:


This is possibly one of the most beautiful hotel flower displays I’ve seen in years, in the reception of the Hotel Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg, where the Awards reception was being held.


On Wednesday night, lil’sis and I were invited to the House of Lords, for a reception for key fundraisers for The MS Trust. I’ve never been inside the House of Parliament, so this was a particular treat, one made extra special by being there to support the charity that is most dear to my heart.

Parliament Square never fails to impress, especially when the light starts to thicken.

parliament square


I didn’t feel comfortable taking photographs inside for security reasons, but this is the jaw dropping view from the River Room over the Houses of Parliament and the River Thames.


And this is one of the entrances inside the courtyard of the House of Lords.



Although lil’sis and I live five minutes from each other, I’ve been travelling so much that we haven’t had a chance to catch up properly, so we hopped in a cab to Soho’s Chinatown, and walked down Lisle Street looking for a restaurant to eat in. (I tend to gravitate to Lisle rather than Gerrard Street, as there are fewer tourists, and you aren’t paying for shiny shiny.) We picked Young Cheng in the end as it had most of the things we like on the menu,

We grew up ordering lots to share family-style in Chinese restaurants, and don’t seem to have kicked the habit. So much so that our waiter made us move to a bigger table. I had possibly the best deep fried tofu with salt and chilli I’ve had in years (I ordered this off menu), the crystal dumpling dim sum were exemplary, and lil’sis’ crispy aromatic duck disappeared sharpish. My pak choy and Chinese mushrooms was a bit meh: covered in greasy standard brown sauce with little flavour, but still edible. But overall, we would go back.


Young Cheng
Address: 22 Lisle St, London WC2H 7BY
Telephone: 020 7287 3045

Hotel Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg
15, rue Boissy d’Anglas
75008 – PARIS
Telephone: (+33)1/44941414

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Don’t see it as losing your dignity in public arenas; instead see it as showing a flair for slapstick humour. ( I speak as one who has made spectacular blunders in public places…)

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