Hotels du Swank and @Simplybeeflamb
This week kicked off with the nervous apprehension and fervour of a referendum that took my country to division (liddlebiddapolitics) that will no doubt last longer than we’d care it to. Families and friends pitched against one another on either side of the debate (still are), while it has changed the political outlook nationwide. And there’s still political instigators who will not die down. Not good.
Anyway, post voting very early o’clock, I headed into work, case in hand, before catching the train to lovely London (and sanity). No people shoving leaflets in your faces, flag flying masses high on emotion and, in addition, sweltering hot to boot. I swear London gets the best weather in the UK.
Following my late arrival, I checked into my hotel before heading off to meet my partner in crime for a couple of ‘hotel du swank’ events.
The first was at the modernist Citizen M Hotel on Bankside after picking up ‘P in C’ from her offices at Blue Fin Building. Citizen M is one of those hotels that looks terribly designer with its splashes of red, Eames chairs and ‘60s vibe. Rather wowtastic on entrance. Perfectly situated for the media crowd from the fash & design mags at Blue Fin, its expansive bar area even ventures into an indoor garden area, in this case, replete with DJ and chill-out tunes for the ‘Secret Garden’ celebration of London Design Festival. Necking back prosseco and catching up, we were joined by Sam at Citizen M, another Glaswegian and a great host.
After a couple of drinks, we then headed to Flemings, Mayfair, one of my favourite hidey-holes in London. Flemings is beautifully and tastefully designed mixing old world style and luxe modernsim perfectly. Its bar and dining area is ‘reserved’ to say the least – perfect date fodder. But in this case, it was to the fantastically named ‘Meat Elite’ that we were headed, sounding rather like a branch of Grindr. The Meat Elite is dedicated to furthering the cause of all things meat. And, in this case, pairing it with cocktails. Win win. We bumped into an old friend from and, while devouring beautiful beef canapés and cocktails made with Tanqueray gin, ‘P in C’ and I had to suppress a giggle when told that the twitter handle for the event was @simplybeeflamb. I proffered it sounded that it sounded like an act from X Factor auditions. This is no bad thing.
After staying up all night to watch the referendum results, I headed to House of Fraser in Oxford Street where I was to mentor their competition winner and budding journalist, Cindy Hudson, who’d won the Oxford Street Showcase competition to find the new voice of London fashion blogging.
Set up as a collaboration between Oxford Street and the British Fashion Council during London Fashion Week, the Showcase is a way of bringing a taste of LFW to everyday shoppers. And, also hopes to discover new talent, like Cindy, along the way, via House of Fraser’s competition.
Cindy’s prize was to interview fashion icon, designer, toy store owner and general lovely Bohemian queen-about-town, Jasmine Guinness. It was my role to mentor Cindy, give her tips, give her some direction (not that she needed much as she was terrific!) and also make her feel comfortable.
Jasmine was a glorious and charming interviewee. I can say without any doubt that Jasmine is one of the nicest and most genuine ladies who hit the party scene in London and it’s been a privilege to bump into her and chat on many occasions, so it was nice to catch up, yet again albeit it through a professional route.
Cindy’s interview was well researched and professional and she quickly dived into it with Jasmine making her feel very much at ease. I think House of Fraser has discovered a little goldmine in Cindy. Check out her blog on http://riledbystyle.wordpress.com/.
After a quick dash to the Temperley sample sale (a dress and a bag if you must ask), I dropped my bags at my friend’s place before heading to Boots Christmas Beauty event held at the swish Me Hotel (another stomping ground of the LFW wcene scene as it’s so close to Somerset House) before heading to one of my fave hotels in London, One Aldwych to sample some extremely pretty but deadly Tanqueray cocktails that celebrated London, New York, Milan and Paris fashion weeks as part of #Cocktailcouture. I fear I was led astray by my designer loves. The English Rose I sampled was bliss. Based on Alice Temperley and featured Tanqueray dry gin, rose liqueur, home-made jasmine syrup and lemon juice, topped by bergamot foam. This was quickly followed by the Blanc et Noir inspired by Chanel; Tanqueray London Dry Gin, lemon juice, Chartreuse, elderflower cordial and citrus bitters, topped with lemongrass foam.
Saturday, I headed to the commercial arm which follows LFW, Vodafone sponsored London Fashion Weekend, a hive of women hell-bent on bargains and good times. The designers and brands taking part were impressive including Joseph, theoutnet.com, Lulu Guinness, Amanda Wakeley, Kat Maconie, Muubaa and Mawi. Again, I walked away with a pair of gorg Kat Maconie velvet boots and a couple of other small bits. Job done. I headed for Euston station and Northwards. London, missing you already.