Emily Bronte, one of the finest and most gifted authors of literary classics and my favourite “Wuthering Heights” this line from her poem “Fall Leaves Fall” says it all….
As summer holidays draw to a close and the children go back to school, you can either cheer or feel deflated. After all, with the nights beginning to draw in and Christmas round the corner, it can either be 4 months of dread or 4 months of excitement and anticipation of what’s to come. Well, I’ve never really minded the fact that 1st of September is officially Autumn, I see Autumn as a magical and quite a romantic time of year with long walks crisp golden leaves crunching beneath boots and those cosy nights and log fires a la Hygge (this Skandi way of life is quite the rage now) spicy scented candles and twinkly fairy lights; it signals the start of all those wonderful celebrations to come – Halloween, Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving (for our American friends) Christmas and New Year. It’s a time to get organised, to sift through the cookbooks for those recipes you’ve always wanted to cook in anticipation of the celebrations to come. It’s a time perhaps to make a start on the Christmas shopping, yes I know no one wants to think of Christmas just yet but it seriously is just around the corner so is there really any harm in buying the wrap, the cards and the odd present or two?
No, I really don’t mind September at all but of course, I have another reason to love September, it’s my birthday!! On the 19th to be exact – no, I am not going to reveal my age, a lady never tells! It is also my daughter’s birthday on the 25th, she is my birthday present after three boys, she arrived making our family complete, she was the best birthday present anyone could wish for. There are other birthday’s to celebrate, my closest friend is a day after me as is my brother’s wife. My friend and I usually celebrate in October as we’re both so busy however I had the best birthday ever. Usually, my husband Andy and I are away for my birthday but this year, he celebrates a milestone birthday so I am surprising him with a weekend away, I am not going to reveal where or anything about it in case he see’s this blog post!!
So began the dilemma of where to go on my birthday. There was only ever going to be one place for me, Les 110 de Taillevent. Taillevent Paris is a very special fine dining restaurant that comes with a hefty price tag. I’ve always wanted to go but never quite got round to it during my many visits to Paris so when I discovered that they opened a branch in London; a less formal establishment than their Paris cousin, I was definitely going to make it my destination. We headed down there a couple of weeks ago and had an amazing evening. It is one of the most exciting dining experiences we’ve had in a long time. My husband isn’t very easily wowed whereas I am! He is quite critical but I am not; not where food is concerned, maybe because I’m too polite and greedy! but I am a typical Virgo in every other sense of the word. The last time he was so excited about a meal was when Gordon Ramsay opened his restaurant in Claridges back in 2001.We had two memorable dining experiences there and the only place that came close to that perfection was the restaurant Les Ambassadeurs at Paris’ HoteldeCrillon where we stayed for my birthday in 2006 (please note, restaurant no longer open since the hotels’ extensive refurbishment but a new restaurant/s under different names are now in operation in this classic luxurious hotel).
All I can say is, if you love good food, you MUST to go 110 Taillevent, you can read more about our visit here.
Les 110 de Taillevent London
On the day of my birthday, I had booked to have Afternoon Tea at the Rosewood Hotel in High Holborn. It’s their Arts Afternoon Tea at the Mirror Room, patisserie inspired by famous artists like Damien Hirst and Banksy. It was such an unusual afternoon tea, one of the most incredible I have ever had, I was completely blown away by the whole experience. The Mirror Room is such a stunning magical room with mirrors and lighting that bounce off the mirrors creating an illusion of three dimensional shapes. It’s definitely somewhere you should go if you like something quite different to traditional chintzy Afternoon Tea, you can read more of my wonderful experience here. I was delighted to be coming home to hardly any cooking as my son was at Wembley watching his beloved Spurs play so I made my daughter a simple dinner and I was looking forward to a meal out somewhere local to where we live. That place was Chuck Burgers in Hatch End, they really do serve the yummiest burgers even though I was still quite full after Afternoon Tea and it makes a change to eat something really gluttonous and dirty! All in all, it was a lovely day, I really felt the love. Also that week, I visited the CafeRoyal hotel for a Diptiyqe inspired Afternoon Tea, my new blog post about Tea at this iconic hotel where Andy and I got married will be on the blog next week.
Afternoon Tea the Mirror Room, Rosewood London.
I won’t bore you with a list of my “real” presents but I’ll tell you about some of the complimentary presents I gratefully receive from my much loved Dior and the iconic Italian perfume house, Aqua Di Parma. AquadiParma are always so generous in the present that they offer me every September. This year, it’s their very refreshing Aqua Colonia inside a beautiful box in their signature yellow and black containing shower gel, body cream and soap which are in handy 100ml sizes perfect for when you’re travelling. As Aqua di Parma’s scents are unisex, I will probably take them away with me when Andy and I go away for his birthday in November.
Dior’s present this year are samples of two perfumes from their La Collection Privee – Privee is their exclusive range of perfumes, an exquisite collection of rare and elegant perfumes quite a bit more expensive than their customary range, we have Sakura and Balade Sauvage. They’re unlike anything I have ever smelt before and I’m a real perfume “whore” as my cousins used to call me because I never stick to one perfume, I prefer to call myself a connoisseur of perfume & I have many to choose from to suit my given mood. Sakura is a base of cherry blossom and almond, sakura actually means cherry blossom in Japanese. Balade Sauvage has a base of fig which you can really identify in this light nonchalant perfume, it’s both cool and warm, it’s hard to say which ones I prefer, both are lovely and last all day, that’s the beauty of investing in an expensive perfume, it’s longevity but as with any perfume, it needs to sit on the skin for a few hours to truly get a sense of each individual layer and note. I believe these will be new additions to the Privee range along with a few more.
Another present from Dior is a white box containing 5 mini sizes of their iconic perfumes, the box is reminiscent of a jewellery box with a tray that slides out to reveal mini perfumes, so adorable! This box can be used again for knick knacks, make-up or costume jewellery. The perfumes are j’adore and Dior Addict, not a favourites of mine I have to say plus and the cutest Miss Dior, a mini size complete with the famous bow cap as the full size bottle. The real treats are favourites of mine, the classic Diorissimo and Forever and Ever Dior.
Gucci Bloom, from my mum, not a lover of florals, this however is gorgeous.
Such a gorgeous box too!
For my daughter’s birthday, I baked her a delicious hundreds and thousands cake which was full of the childhood favourite, sprinkles, which gave the cake an unexpected crunch. I also made her some chocolate dipped strawberries and chocolate milkshake, things I don’t often make as we’re all about healthy eating in our household, well most of the time, we do try! But it was her special day and it’s all the things she loves. Chocolate strawberries is something we both make for Valentine’s day and she is allowed a mini flute of champagne on her birthday, Christmas and Valentine’s Day when I have a bottle of pink bubbly on ice for Andy and I but a girl is never too young to have a little sip of this very special fizz. I also bought her a box of her favourite Fortnum and Mason’s Rose & Violet Creams, we both adore them and I sometimes have a box stashed away, it’s our special secret treat, we have one probably once or twice a week and no one else in the family know’s about our little secret. Many of the gifts she received were from her favourite “Pink” a younger range of casual wear from Victoria’s Secret and some bits and pieces from Hollister.
My daughter is a lover of sushi so when I asked her where she wanted to go for her birthday, it was only ever going to be one place, Sake no Hana won hands down like I suspected it would. We ate there in August which was amazing, a meal she still talks about so I was really happy to treat her last Saturday. We went for the Umai Sushi Saturday menu which is a whopping 7 course sharing menu with cocktails and half a bottle of champagne, she was allowed three mocktails in place of the champagne, something very special was happening there last Saturday, read more about our Umai Sushi Saturdays dining experience here. Later on that evening, she wanted to go to the cinema to watch a horror film, I know, I know, horror on a girls birthday? But my daughter is pretty awesome and fearless, we watched “It” let’s just say, we never want to see another clown ever again.
My daughter’s favourite Sushi, she could eat it until the cow’s came home!
It was a wonderful September and start to Autumn, October looks like it’s going to be equally fun with an Afternoon Tea planned at St Ermin’s Hotel, lunch at a really simple but authentic Japanese in Baker Street, brunch at the Ivy Soho Brasserie, dinner at the Savoy Grill, a Gordon Ramsay restaurant at my much loved Savoyhotel. We’ll be eating there early as we’re going to watch the lovely SarahHawkyard play at the Thames Foyer and Beaufort Bar. Sarah’s become a friend since I got to know her via Twitter and we’ve been trying to organise a meet-up for ages, drinks at the Savoy is the perfect venue so we’ll be having cocktails and listening to some nice jazzy music courtesy of Sarah!! Our fantastic Wedding Anniversary stay at the Savoy Hotel is on the blog, you can read more here. I’ve also got a three day visit to Paris on the 23rd taking my son and daughter this time round, it’s their second visit so we have lots planned and so I’ll be able to share with you what we got up to and where we ate, I am going to two fabulous bistros for dinner so really excited to be sharing that with you in my October round up and forthcoming Paris blog posts. I’ve also recently made that big step of going back to the gym, all the wonderful Afternoon Tea’s and meals I’m having are sure to add unwanted pounds so I’m happy to say it’s going well and given me back some lost vitality, I feel reinvigorated and energised, it’s cleared the cobwebs and it’s a good reason to get away from the computer!
Happy October everyone!
|Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.