Even if the weather hasn’t played ball recently, June was still pretty special. I was lucky to have some amazing luxury June adventures, travelling to Hampshire, Hamburg, Windsor and enjoying a brilliant staycation in London. Here’s hoping for some proper sunshine in July! One thing that London has in abundance are great cafés, and you could win 1 of 5 copies of Café London to help you choose the very best ones – read on to be in with a chance of winning one.
I was excited to attend the new Tate Modern preview. I used to be a member here and it’s fascinating to see how the building has evolved over the years. On the whole, I was impressed with the design of The Switch House, the new wing, although some sections feel a little empty for now – no doubt they’ll be filled up quickly with works from the vast art collection. It’s nice to see a whole room dedicated to Louise Bourgeois, the late great sculptor. Make sure to check out the viewing platform on level 10.
I also popped into the opening of the Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels – definitely worth a visit if you’re in Hyde Park. I’m also planning on visiting the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, there’s always an interesting mix of artworks! Today I’m heading to Masterpiece London, it’s always a great selection of art, design and antiques.
One of the highlights of the Summer season is polo and for a relaxed take on it, you can’t beat Polo in the Park at the Hurlingham Club. I was invited by La Martina, the famous polo lifestyle company. They had the most popular stand with an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, enabling visitors to experience a polo match up close. Of course, I did the obligatory stomping the divots at half time!
Wedding season is in full swing so I rounded up some tips on setting up your gift registry which will hopefully prove helpful to brides or friends of the bride. This month, I tried out an exceptional aesthetic treatment, CoolSculpting, at Lazeo Clinic in Notting Hill. It’s the only FDA approved procedure for stubborn fat that remains after you’ve achieved your ideal weight. I should be seeing the results within a few weeks so will be sharing details with you.
We also popped into the launch of Lalique’s new men’s fragrance, L’Insoumis. Taking place in what could well be the nicest roof terrace in London at Ham Yard Hotel, it was a lovely evening of cocktails and canapés. Both Paul and I love the bottle’s Art Deco design, based on a fern motif used on Lalique’s Tourbillons vase in 1926. The scent is an aromatic fougere, combining basil, bergamot and rum with lavender, moss, vetiver, black pepper, sage and patchouli.
We had a truly inspiring visit to The Greyhound on the Test in Hampshire – the interior designer has overcome horrendous adversity and created a welcoming retreat for guests with his partner, the owner of the inn. Later in the month I returned to Hamburg, an elegant city with some fantastic cultural and sporting attractions.
Finally, it was a pleasure to be named one of Market Inspector’s Top 50 Travel Blogs 2016.
WINING AND DINING
This month was a feast for the senses and a challenge for my waistline with a delicious North Indian meal at Thali, a champagne supperclub with Laurent-Perrier at 12 Hay Hill private members’ club and the UK & Ireland final of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 competition. I enjoyed South African cuisine and wine at High Timber with Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve.
I had some amazing dining experiences at Pied à Terre, the Dorchester Grill with Laurent-Perrier and the Royal Garden Hotel, sampling their Bobby Moore menu. I also had great fun at Duck and Waffle…I just had to go for their signature dish!
Yesterday I checked out the cuisine and Bombay Sapphire cocktails at the Terrace of the Jumeirah Lowndes and popped round the corner for a Bacardi Summer Terrace cocktail at the iconic Rib Room in the Jumeirah Carlton Tower.
Being a chocoholic, I loved these new Choconut delicacies. They’re the only UK brand to use 100% Valhrona chocolate and their flavours are so innovative – check out their black forest, lemon meringue or gin and tonic flavours! Their head chocolatier, Xavier Parcerisa, used to be Head Pastry Chef at The Goring Hotel. Their delicious chocolates are available at the boutique store at 161 Great Portland Street, together with the best fair-trade coffee and a huge selection of nuts and baked goods. Halal and kosher products are available and there’s a bespoke counter where you can create your very own chocolate, prepared in under 15 minutes.
COMING SOON IN JULY
WIN ONE OF FIVE CAFE LONDON GUIDES
Looking for the best cafés in London? Café London sorts the wheat from the chaff or should I say the flat white from the instant blend ;-). With more than 100 recommendations, you’re sure to find some great spots for brunch or afternoon tea. The giveaway is open to UK residents only. Just follow the steps and tell me what is your favourite London café?