What a month it was! Our feet barely touched the ground with trips to Switzerland, Dorset and Italy, interspersed with lots of fun outings in London. We had some incredible March moments and hope your month was just as fun.
This month we visited a stunning botanical garden in Switzerland, Parco Scherrer pictured above, as well as Fondazione Prada in Milan, with its cool café designed by Wes Anderson. I’ll be writing about them both soon!
Lalique is known for its stunning glassware including its perfume bottles, but it also creates some gorgeous fragrances. The new scent for women, Rêve d’Infini, is feminine yet modern. The name means “infinite dream” and it is inspired by the number 8, representing infinity. This symbol was often found in René Lalique’s Art Nouveau designs and the perfume bottle reflects this beautifully. As for the scent itself, its a pleasing combination of bergamot, freesia, lychee, rose, cedarwood, musk, vanilla and sandalwood.
We’ve been trialling a new suitcase recently, the Samsonite Curv. Part of the Lite-Shock collection, it’s the lightest case that I’ve come across, and is made by a revolutionary new process, where polypropylene is melted into sheets, then stretched 10-15 times to make them extremely strong. It’s pictured here at Milan’s main train station – we found it really easy to wheel around. I love the bronze colour and there’s also a cool personalized engraving option. We were surprised at how spacious it is, and the fact that our luggage weighed several kilos less on the way out, leaving us more potential to shop and bring back souvenirs from abroad!
With the weather improving, have you considered updating your sunglasses? I managed to lose my last pair of Fendi sunglasses, so was pleased to find a similar cool pair at Smartbuyglasses. I couldn’t resist the Fendi FF 0137/S PARADEYES sunglasses in pink/glitter but they also come in gold/peach and red mirror frames. They’re made from Optyl and Nylon, making them really lightweight. I also liked the fact that SmartBuyGlasses UK offer free shipping and a 2-year warranty. Plus, many of their models are a lot cheaper than what you’d pay on the high street.
Afterwards we took the train to Milan and crammed in so much over two days, including some great hidden gems that I’ll be writing about soon. It was also great to spend a bit of time in London, finding out more about two upcoming hotel openings, Rosewood Little Dix Bay in the British Virgin Islands and Rosewood Phuket in Thailand – both on my to visit list! We’ve had fun this month exploring some of the capital’s best hidden gems. Very recently, were lucky to enjoy a private tour of the City of London with GoBe on the hottest day of the year so far!
WINING AND DINING
If you follow me on Instagram you may well have seen my Instasory unboxing some fantastic Nicolas Feuillatte champagne. It’s one of my favourites and close to my heart as it’s the one that we served at our wedding. The Brut Rosé has a really delicate flavour and is not too sweet – perfect for a celebration!
It’s always good to encourage new talent, and S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2017 does just that. This international competition encourages chefs under 30 to apply, so if you know of anyone who fits the bill, make sure to encourage them to enter! This year, the UK launch of the competition was held at Cafe Murano Covent Garden, where chef-owner Angela Hartnett was joined by many other well established chefs such as Alyn Williams and Phil Howard.
It’s been a while since I went to Bar Boulud, in the Mandarin Oriental, Knightsbridge. The bar and restaurant have been updated to give a more casual feel, and the cocktails are a real highlight. I just had to try what Daniel Boulud calls the sexiest cocktail ever…his signature White Cosmopolitan Martini. It’s a tasty combination of vodka, St Germain liqueur, lime and cranberry juice but the real wow factor comes from the huge ice cube encasing a lovely purple orchid.
I took a step back in time to the 1930s for a delightful afternoon tea at Park Chinois in Mayfair. The decor of this restaurant is simply stunning, with opulent tones of red and gold. We enjoyed the live band, Orchestre de Chinois, singing vintage tunes as we sipped rosé champagne. From start to finish, it was a real treat with delicious sandwiches, tasty scones and a fabulous selection of sweet pastries. The loose tea menu is very impressive here too. I’d love to see an option of dim sum afternoon tea too, as Park Chinois is particularly well known for its refined Chinese cuisine.
Another of my favourite March moments was at Aquavit with Paul for their Nordic brunch. Located in the new St James’s Market area, it’s a spectacular space. Light and airy, with floor to ceiling windows, it’s the perfect spot for a breakfast meeting, brunch or leisurely lunch. The original Aquavit in New York boasts 2 Michelin stars and I wouldn’t be surprised if the London outpost follows suit. The dishes have a real flair, from my Raggmunk aka Swedish potato pancake with bacon and lingonberries to Paul’s Eel Benedict. Yes you read that right, it’s a new take on the perennial Eggs Benedict and it works really well. We loved the fresh fruit juices too.
Another highlight was my afternoon tea at Voltaire Cocktails & Champagne Bar, in the heart of the City. It’s located on the site of King Henry VIII’s Bridewell Palace, where prisoners were locked in the vaults, before becoming a bank and now a stylish bar. The original cells are still here on the outdoor terrace and now transformed into heated private VIP areas. We chose to take our tea inside but I’d definitely return to have a cocktail and gourmet burger in the vaults in the evening. We really enjoyed the Classic Afternoon Tea, with its choice of 24 teas, tasty finger sandwiches, savouries, fruit and plain scones and a wide array of pastries and cakes. It was accompanied by three mini cocktails, one to go with each course. First up was a Pumpkin with Rosemary Infused Vodka for the sandwiches, then a Hendricks, Elderflower & Cucumber Martini to go with the scones, and finally a Lemon, Limoncello & Lemon Syrup Fizz that went perfectly with the desserts.served with a selection of cakes and pastries. If you prefer it you can swap the cocktails for a chilled glass of Pommery NV champagne.
I also savoured a special Floridian pancake with Visit Florida at the appropriately named, Where the Pancakes Are, as well as the coffee experience at Montague on the Gardens with South African Tourism, and Cathay Pacific’s new Betsy beer at Duck and Rice in Soho.
COMING SOON IN APRIL
I’m really excited to spend 48 hours in Verona and then Venice. No doubt we’ll be photo bombing Juliet’s balcony!
What were your own favourite March moments? Do you have any recommendations for restaurants in Venice or Verona?