I have come to the conclusion this year that, whilst things are always nice to receive, experiences are so much better. So I decided to plan Christmas treats for each of my parents: in exactly the same way as the treats we were taken on as children, but involving a lot more alcohol. Oh, and with me paying.
My mother’s treat was first up. She came down on the Sunday morning, left Billy the Whippet with my sister, and drove me to Columbia Road (her car is bigger than mine). She found armfuls of berried holly to decorate her cottage – the birds get the berries before humans do in the country – and tall spikes of Amaryllis.
I bought her eighty white roses, and twelve bunches of tightly furled red and cream parrot tulips as an advance present. (I’d much rather spend £40 on all that gloriousness, than the same on a dreary bunch over the telephone, which would have maybe four roses and rather too much foliage.)
Marketing done, we stashed the flowers in the boot of the car, and headed to Shoreditch House for Sunday lunch on the roof. I chose it because the view is so tremendous and because, frankly, my mother can only go there with me, as I am a member, and because non-members aren’t allowed to settle bills, so there could be no argy bargy over the check. Chloe joined us too in my sister’s stead, as she had felt too tired at the last minute.
My mother handed over my birthday present – these ravishing chandelier earrings.
Of course, it is obligatory to feed one’s mother Champagne on her Christmas treat.
It will be a long time before I forget her face upon gingerly trying her first ever kale chip. Emperor’s new Clothes of food she decided. I fear she may be right.
Of course we did pud. Times two, with three spoons.
Then I dragged her into the photo booth.
Depositing my mother chez sister, Holly and I scooped up all three dogs to head to Primrose Hill for a brisk late afternoon constitutional. Billy spent quite some time putting up squirrels and then staring mournfully as they chattered at him from the safety of the tree tops.
Next day we kicked off early afternoon with stage two of the Grand Treat.
We convened at Jaeger’s shiny refurbed store on the King’s Road/ Jaeger’s current campaign is all about mothers and daughters, and they had kindly invited my mother and I to choose something lovely to wear. (I was quite impressed that both my mama and I turned up wearing own own Jaeger coats – see photo at top. We are soooo on brand!)
My mother picked this great sweater, and a pair of black crepe trousers – she was going to go for a sparkly sweater but decided that Christmas parties in inevitably cold country houses need warm clothes. I picked out this FAB double faced grey/camel coat, which will be great for aeroplane travelling as it is so lightweight.
Then it was into the car and off to divine Claridge’s for their Christmas afternoon tea.
I always feel like nothing bad could ever happen in that hotel.
Especially when one has pink Laurent-Perrier to drink and flamed Christmas pud with creme Anglaise to guzzle. And I don’t even like Christmas Pudding – well, I do now. This was quite wonderful.
After plates of perfect sandwiches, and hot scones slathered in clotted cream and jam, I am afraid we were defeated by the cake, and had to ask for it to be boxed up to come home with us.
One of the reasons why we went for tea is because the evening’s event was a pair of tickets for Wicked. I don’t particularly want to eat my supper at 6pm, nor do I want it at 10pm. Having poached eggs for breakfast, eschewing lunch and eating a vast proper tea is the perfect way to not be hungry during the theatre.
The musical was, predictably, brilliant. There is, after all, a reason why 2000+ bottoms have packed out the Apollo Victoria every night in London since 2006. I don’t know that the book’s end is enormously convincing, but the music is so very good, and the actors so engaging that it just sweeps you along. We loved every minute, so much so that we were still joyfully belting out Defying Gravity to the tinny sound of my iPhone as we rounded Hyde Park Corner in my tiny car on the way home.
And that was the end to a perfect Christmas Treat. Which would not have been possible without the generosity of my friends at Jaeger, and Paula Fitzherbert at Claridge’s, who is truly the most generous, kind, lovely, thoughtful friend.
(I bought our tickets online through the theatre – there is plenty of availability. Do go – we highly recommend it!)
Information on Claridge’s Afternoon Tea may be found here.
My beautiful Jaeger grey wool coat has just been reduced to £199 from £399 in the Jaeger sale here
My sensational Nicholas Kirkwood ankle boots (which were a gift) are sadly no longer available in scarlet, but The Outnet has the black pair reduced by 50%
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