Isn’t it wonderful to finally see some sunshine! One of my favourite things to do in Summer is to have a picnic. Bubbly is an essential ingredient, so I’ve teamed up with Luc Belaire, the well-known French sparkling wine brand, to give you the opportunity to win Luc Belaire bubbly and one-off designer picnic blankets. Read on to find out how to enter.
Another must-visit in Summer is Masterpiece London, the arts, antiques and design fair held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. We chatted with Lord Linley and admired the bespoke Girih Treasure Chest inspired by his visit to Doha. Like many of his company’s pieces, it has a series of hidden drawers to be found. There were also some striking objects on display at the Lalique stand. Of course, no visit to Masterpiece would be complete without a photo of one of the Chelsea Pensioners.
I had a blast at the Henley Royal Regatta with Chinawhite and later in the month, at the Gin Mare Mediterranean Rooftop pop up in Knightsbridge with Ayushi. With music by Jacob, resident DJ at Pacha Ibiza, sunnies by Flamingo and gin cocktails, it was a night to remember! We tucked into a Mediterranean menu created by Mark Hix, savouring a classic Bloody Mare.
Wimbledon is another British Summer institution, and I checked out the action at Strawberries and Screen at Duke of York Square.
There’s one of the best views in London at the rooftop bar at The Trafalgar Hotel. We admired it at the Vista Garden Party, hosted by Chase. It was part of their Above & Beyond event series for their British Airways Visa Credit Card. They had invited some lovely cardmembers from the United States. Food was by Stevie Parle, of The Dock Kitchen and newly opened neighbourhood restaurant Sardine. Did you know that there’s a caviar producer in the UK? I certainly didn’t, so it was fascinating to meet the owner of Exmoor Caviar. I’m not usually a fan but this was delicious.
I also went to an outdoor screening of Dirty Dancing but didn’t take photos, I was busy singing along!
I was lucky to experience a facial with the original skincare expert, Linda Meredith, who shared her top tips for perfect skin. It was also a treat to try out an Olaplex hair treatment at Nicky Clarke in Mayfair, and my review is coming soon. Earlier in the month, I shared my guide to buying vintage designer goods as well as tips on how to choose the ideal wedding gift.
Do you hate ironing? The brilliantly named I Hate Ironing invited us to trial their luxury on demand dry cleaning and laundry service this month. We found it really easy to use, from online booking to collection at home, to return delivery. I can see why it’s been named one of Britain’s best delivery services by GQ magazine. We chose some quite bulky items like sheets and a duvet, so collection was very handy. The returned, clean items were delivered back to us beautifully ironed, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the service – such a time saver!
Whilst computers are well and good, there’s something very special about a classic pen. Luxury gift hub, Pen Heaven, has one of the best selections out there, including fountain pens, calligraphy sets and more. They specialize in hard to find brands like Otto Hutt, as well as Graf von Faber, Castell, Yard-O-Led and more. They also sell some gorgeous leather goods, such as photo albums and diaries. I love my new Parker Jotter gold ballpoint pen, world map leather-bound journal and Laurige luggage label that they kindly sent, all beautifully gift-wrapped. Most items can be engraved and Pen Heaven offer the fastest online pen engraving service thanks to their in-house laser engraving technology, dispatching on the day that you order.
Have you ever flown somewhere just for the day? It feels a bit decadent, but that’s what I did when I explored Dublin in a day recently. Having said that, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Dublin for a whole weekend.
Closer to home, I went for a tour of the new Deluxe Riviera Rooms designed by Maison Christian Lacroix at The Mandeville Hotel in Marylebone. The entire Fifth Floor has been transformed, with each room telling a different story from the French Riviera. The black and white room was my favourite, but they’re all very unique. We then headed for drinks in the Art Deco inspired Reform Social & Grill bar on the ground floor.
This month I also shared some of my favourite European hidden gems for Pearlshare, a nifty new app, as well as mini-guides to Hamburg, Paris, London, Rome and Seville on their app.
We met up with friends recently at Knole House. It’s Kent’s last medieval deer park and there are lots of them! We had a surprise when one came up rather close, moving our food out of harm’s way as feeding them is not allowed.
One of our travel highlights this month was to the Isle of Wight for Panerai British Classic Week 2016. We enjoyed dinner at Osbourne House and the Royal Yacht Squadron as well as fantastic sailing action.
WINING AND DINING
The Waitrose Christmas Press Show was held at One Embankment, a huge space that showcased the many tempting treats that will soon be in store.We had some of the best steak and tuna in London at Macellaio on Exmouth Market. It would definitely be a contender for my top 10 London dining experiences. Later in the month, I headed to the inaugural London Afternoon Tea Awards with Miriam. Held at Grosvenor House Hotel, it’s soon to be followed by Afternoon Tea Week, from 8-14 August. The main awards were to Claridges’s for best traditional tea, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park for best contemporary tea, the Sanderson for best themed tea and Grosvenor House for its family friendly tea.
I’ve been to a few very cool casual eateries this month, Sardine, Dickie Fitz and the turkey specialists Strut & Cluck – all well worth a visit. If you’re looking to get in shape for Summer, UNI is a great healthy option.
I’ve long been a fan of S.Pellegrino, so when they invited me to experience James Lowe’s cuisine at the Harvey Nichols rooftop bar, who was I to resist! James has rapidly made a name for himself at his Shoreditch restaurant, Lyle’s. As you can see, the presentation is stunning.
COMING SOON IN AUGUST
WIN LUC BELAIRE BUBBLY & PICNIC BLANKETS
And now for the competition! Luc Belaire are a luxurious French sparkling wine brand, established in 1898. Their 6th generation winemakers oversee the production of every bottle of Belaire. Their Rosé, comes from the heart of Provence and their Brut is made in Burgundy from 100% French Chardonnay. I love the sleek design of the bottles, and the taste is even better. We enjoyed their sparkling rosé on a recent picnic. Made from Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault grapes, it’s a beautiful pinkish red colour with a well-balanced fruity bouquet. We have 3 bottles of rosé and 3 bottles of Brut to give away to one lucky winner, as well as a unique picnic blanket designed by famous artist Jon Burgerman. Inspired by Belaire’s iconic black bottle, the blankets aren’t for sale and would look beautiful as a throw too. The runner-up will receive a blanket and one bottle of sparkling wine, whilst a third lucky winner will receive a bottle of sparkling wine. Follow the steps below to win Luc Belaire bubbly and tell me, what are your favourite Summer activities?
Best of luck and stay tuned for another exciting competition coming soon – one for all you travel lovers!
The competition is open to residents of the UK and Ireland and there is no cash alternative.