For London editors the first half of February always feels as though a month’s worth of events has been squeezed into a week or so. No one wants to clash with fashion week (month), and guests don’t particularly want to leave the house in January. The moment the 1st of Feb rolls around it’s perfectly possible to be out every single night. (Truly my idea of hell.) And all day too.
That being said, even turning down a bunch of things, I still managed to pack in an awful lot last week. I started Monday with a breakfast meeting at Claridge’s, over poached eggs and avocado, filled the day with admin and email, and ended it by driving down to Putney in South West London for supper (fennel salad, mushroom ragu, clafoutis) with Hannah and Mark, to meet her lovely parents, over from New Zealand.
Tuesday got off to a terrible start: I couldn’t find anywhere to park around Bond Street, thanks to ongoing engineering and construction work for Crossrail, so missed the Tod’s Valentine’s breakfast and then fruitlessly spent an hour in traffic trying to drive the fifteen minute journey home.
A few hours later I pinged back in to Covent Garden, to The Savoy for a lunch given by the Mexican Embassy to celebrate the modern gastronomy of Mexico. The food was exquisite (not an enchilada or burrito in sight), the company fantastic – I was sitting with Meera Syal, and the Margaritas lethal. (And I got to see Tara, who was there too.)
Then it was back home to do emailing and admin, before a client meeting in Oxford Circus. Home again to squeeze in more emailing, and to dress for dinner with Julie Deane at The Cambridge Satchel Company’s beautiful flagship store in Covent Garden, to celebrate their exciting new satchel and pochette collaboration with Peanuts. (Launching imminently.)
After dinner I walked through the near deserted market buildings to get back to my car. (There is a fantastic display of photographs mounted on the cross walks, showing Covent Garden in the 60s and 70s when it was still a fruit and veg market.)
On Wednesday morning I was up at 0530hrs to head to New Covent Garden Flower Market – which is now in Nine Elms, down in Vauxhall south of the river and close to the site of where the new American Embassy will be built – to buy armfuls of flowers for an event later in the week.
That night it was back to (Old) Covent Garden – it’s funny how some weeks seem to end up being spent in the same small part of the city – to get my make up done by the excellent Elena at the MAC store on James Street
En route to Blow I popped into the Hobbs store on Long Acre to check out the lovely floral pop up shop from the girls at The Flower Appreciation Society.
Thursday morning I had an event, which saw me arrive at the venue at a distinctly body shocking 7am to set up. Afterwards I grabbed a croissant at Balthazar with the Karen Millen team mid-morning, and checked out their beautiful new store on, guess, yup, James Street in Covent Garden, right opposite both MAC and The Cambridge Satchel Company.
Then it was off to the Royal Opera House around the corner at 11am for Metzendorff’s Annual Portfolio Wine Tasting and the launch of the 2005 vintage of Bollinger La Grande Année.
Then I climbed thankfully into a cab and hopped it home for baked beans on toast for lunch, and to tackle the growing email mountain.
I spent Thursday night in the most wonderful way: Chloe and I started our evening as guests of the London Eye, illuminated in honour of Valentine’s Day. I haven’t been up for years and not, I think, ever at night. It’s a glorious experience, which I heartily recommend.
The view south over the huge roof of Waterloo station.
The view north over the Thames, over Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Hungerford pedestrian bridge, and Sir Terry Farrell’s Charing Cross terminus towards the Post Office Tower and home in Camden. That’s The Savoy Hotel to the far right.
Afterwards we hopped off and walked east on the South Bank towards the OXO Tower. We popped into Foyles en route, and I was pleased to see their excellent book buying choices.
We ended up briefly at the John Frieda party at the OXO to celebrate their 2015 innovations, before having a lovely quiet Thai supper down by the river. Here I am snuggling with the lovely and debonair Henry Conway at the party.
I was up early the next morning for a breakfast meeting at The Chiltern Firehouse. Although they’ve removed the delicious chawanmushi (steamed egg white custard, topped there with enoki mushrooms), it’s been replaced by a bowl of soft, barely set scrambled eggs with truffles. The most decadent way to end the working part of a week where I wasn’t sure if I was coming or going.
Then I rescued Lettice from my sister’s, (she lives just up the road), where she had been all week whilst I ran about. We met Chloe and Zelda for a lovely long walk around Regent’s Park – my first chance at exercise all week, before spending the rest of the day, yup, emailing, and tidying the appalling mess in my flat and office that I had created by whirlwinding through each day.
I was more than thankful to escape the tidying and incessant emailing in the evening and head to Highgate with Lettice, dressed in a huge baggy sweater and tights, to spend the evening with Clare, Phillip and the kids. Heaven is quite possibly a kitchen supper with your oldest schoolfriend, dogs and children, with not a truffle or camera in sight.