Tag Archives: Knightsbridge

Green Card Celebrations

One of the perks of marrying an American, besides the great chat and endless fun, is getting one of those coveted green card thingys. I don’t see what all the fuss is about, but my better half thought it might be novel to have one to pad his wallet. So we hit the gilded streets of Mayfair on a glorious golden morning for our prescheduled appointment at the American Embassy.

London Mount Street Mayfair

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, Mayfair

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, Mayfair

Embassy of the United States, London

Embassy of the United States, London

We arrived at Grosvenor Square and were promptly processed through a few lines, then hung out briefly in the main waiting room watching enticing American travel videos on a big screen, before our number was called. After a quick chat, everything was deemed to be in order, and the application was approved!

US Embassy Visa Success

Feeling very accomplished, we headed off to celebrate over a meal…

At my all-time favourite lunch spot, The River Cafe.

River Cafe Lunch Outside

Sipping prosecco with fresh blood orange, we attempted the universal puzzle of deciding what dishes to order.

River Cafe Lunch Menu

Which is no problem, because you simply cannot go wrong!

Insalata di Carciofi - raw Violetta artichoke salad with Parmigiano Reggiano

Insalata di Carciofi – raw Violetta artichoke salad with Parmigiano Reggiano

Calamari ai ferri - chargrilled squid with fresh red chilli & wild rocket

Calamari ai ferri – chargrilled squid with fresh red chilli & wild rocket

Calamari ai ferri - chargrilled squid with fresh chilli & wild rocket

Calamari ai ferri – chargrilled squid with fresh chilli & wild rocket

River Cafe Lunch beer cheers

Spiedino ai ferri - chargrilled scallops & monkfish on a rosemary stick with sea kale, risina beans and anchovy and rosemary sauce

Spiedino ai ferri – chargrilled scallops & monkfish on a rosemary stick with sea kale, risina beans and anchovy and rosemary sauce

Piccione al forno - whole Anjou pigeon wood-roasted in Brunello di Montalcino with potato, radicchio, sage & pancetta al forno

Piccione al forno – whole Anjou pigeon wood-roasted in Brunello di Montalcino with potato, radicchio, sage & pancetta al forno

This pigeon was declared in “the top three” dishes, ever. Which, in other words, is about as good as it gets!

Dessert had to be accompanied by a frosty glass of limoncello. And even after, pleasantly stuffed, we were still reluctant to peel ourselves away from the table.

Pannacotta with Grappa & Rhubarb

Pannacotta with Grappa & Rhubarb

Strolling along the banks of the Thames, we passed Hammersmith Bridge and all the grand residences lining the Lower Mall.

Hammersmith Bridge

Hammersmith Riverside House

We came across The Dove, a pub we’ve been aching to visit, so we wandered in for a drink and a look around. The Dove sits right on the water, making it a popular place to watch the annual boat race.

Hammersmith The Dove

Hammersmith The Dove Front

Hammersmith the Dove Seating Inside

Hammersmith The Dove Drink

Hammersmith The Dove Rainy Day

A cosy place to while away a rainy London afternoon. And now that our days here are numbered, we are clinging to the romance of these bleak and wet days more than ever!

Tote to Self

Now that I’m married, I’ve been having that feeling of “what next?

And the only logical conclusion I could come to is – a new baby.

God no, not a child!

This baby…

J Crew Darlington Bag Navy

The J Crew Downing tote – monogrammed with my new initials of course!

Because why would I want to carry any other logo but my own?

J Crew Bag Detail

J Crew Bag Raw Monogram

J Crew Bag Pouch

I tucked the only two cards a Londoner needs into the interior wristlet – and headed off for dinner!

Destination Hawksmoor Knightsbridge to meet my fine lady friend for some goss, red wine..

Hawksmoor Chelsea and Me

And to eat like dudes!

350 g’s of 55-day-aged rump steak, cooked medium rare, and drizzled with Stilton hollandaise? Don’t worry, I got this!

Hawksmoor Rump

Macaroni cheese

Macaroni cheese

 

Lobster roll with sriracha mayonnaise & yuzu

Lobster roll with sriracha mayonnaise & yuzu

We were so boss, in fact, we even manned up for dessert.

Hawksmoor Dessert

That peanut butter shortbread with salted caramel ice cream never saw what hit it…

Two London girls with callous appetites!

Shop and Chop

Two weeks to go until we jet to America for our nuptials, and another weekend closer to ticking all the boxes of our pre-wedding checklist.

This weekend it was gift shopping and my pre-wedding hair cut!

There was really only one place that would do for all the gifts to our wedding attendants – a place very dear to me, which has a very special story – The Victoria & Albert Museum.

V&A front

V&A road

When Queen Victoria got married in February 1840, she wrote in her journal: “I felt so happy when the ring was put on, and by my precious Albert.”

She went on to recount it as the happiest day of her life.

“He clasped me in his arms, and we kissed each other again and again! His beauty, his sweetness and gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband!”

Victoriaandalbertwedding photo

I think her notes about her special day are quite romantic considering the English monarchy are usually known for their restraint and “stiff upper lip” – and this was during austere Victorian times!

Victoria and Albert’s marriage was the beginning of an enduring love story.

Likewise, the museum dedicated to the couple has also endured a lot. The building still bears visible scars from the Blitz of World War II.

V&Afacade

The pockmarked damage on the walls caused by shrapnel from the bombs was left as a memorial to the enduring values of the museum.

V&Afacadebombmarks

According to the V&A’s mission statement, it aims to be the world’s leading museum of art and design.

And therefore, a totally appropriate place to pop in and shop for my wedding!

V&A telephone booth

V&A stairs bag

The V&A Shop is amazing for finding unique gifts to suit all ages and pockets – and I easily came away with a couple of hefty bags filled with booty.

V&A bag

After the buzz of a successful shop, it was time to hit the salon and relax.

I’m flat out obsessed with Paul Edmonds salon at the moment. Just steps away from the V&A on Old Brompton Road, it couldn’t have been more convenient. I wasn’t going to get a haircut before the wedding, but everyone kept telling me I had to. So I caved in and booked a trim and a blowout with Emma. So glad I did, because she was a doll.. who did a total makeover on my hair.

Here’s the before (wince):

Paul Edmonds Har before

First, Emma hooked me up with a freshly-pressed veggie detox juice from the menu.

Paul Edmonds menu

Paul Edmonds green juice

Then the wash, after which Emma applied a Kérastase hair mask. Can I just say, I’ve never had a more relaxing head massage? Maybe it’s my stressful life as a bride-to-be, but I swear reclining in that shampoo chair was the first time my mind’s felt clear all week!

Back in the styling chair, after a few snips and quick dry, wonders had been worked on my hair. And I somehow ended up walking out like this:

Paul Edmonds Hair after

Paul Edmonds after

Knightsbridge Egerton crescent

And so I had a bounce in my curls, as well as my step, as I made my way through Knightsbridge that afternoon.

Hair outdoors Knightsbridge

Knightsbridge Hair

Knightsbridge hair back

Getting more and more wedding-ready by the day!

Post on my fitness regimen next! xx

 

 

Harvey Nichols Spring Beauty Event

So I’m a beauty junkie. Sue me.

It’s SPRING! And after a relentless winter, my skincare and beauty regimes could definitely use a shape-up. The Harvey Nichols beauty event comes at an opportune time. Usually, I just stock up in America or France, but in England it always takes a little swag to get me to cave. Afterall, it’s the only acceptable incentive to justify spending crazy insane London prices (and that pesky 20% VAT) on retail beauty products!

Here’s the deal: spend £135 at Harvey Nichols this month, and you come out with quite a haul of free samples. Easy peasy.

Here is a list of some of my must-have beauty products for spring!

1. Joy Forever Eau de Parfum | by Jean Patou

5It’s a brand new fragrance from the fabled Maison Jean Patau and it’s heavenly! I bought it as my wedding fragrance, but I am already sneaking little spritzes here and there. It’s amazing.

 

2. Yves Saint Laurent Rogue Volupté Shine

7Another wedding day beauty essential which I’m happily road-testing this spring. It’s a lipstick, but it looks and feels like a gloss. Pinken your pout with this lush Pink In Confidence shade.

 

3. Le Coton | Clé de Peau Beauté Laboratories

3This company has a French name, but is actually a Japanese brand that has not yet emerged in the European market, despite turning out an exquisite spectrum of luxury beauty products for the last 30 years. These ultra-posh cotton pads are ensconced in natural silk fibers, exfoliating and aiding absorption as you apply your potions and lotions.

 

4. Eve Lom | Kiss Mix

18The best thing that’s ever happened to my dry, chapped lips. I’m slathering this on non-stop for spring. It heals and moisturizes like no other, and can also be used as a lipstick base. It’s already won numerous beauty awards, so it’s street-cred is completely locked down.  And, gosh, it’s good!

 

5. Nails Inc. London | nail varnish

8Brits call it “varnish” which sounds like a dented tin you’d find in a tool shed to my American ears. But actually this London brand makes perfectly good nail polish! Love this feminine shade, Basil Street.

 

6. Dermalogica | Daily Microfoliant

4This product was a free sample, which I’m already hooked on. You tap a little bit of this powder on wet hands, activating salicylic acid and rice enzymes and buff away! The creamy paste removes dead skin, and leaves you with bright rosy cheeks for that fresh springtime glow!

 

7. Kiehl’s Super Multi Corrective Cream

19I’m using this daily corrective cream with gusto. I find it’s the perfect balm to boost my skin after a morning workout. I hate when products are pitched as “anti-aging”, since we all know there’s no such thing. But I do believe this cream helps prevent damage to the skin that exercizing definitely does – especially to the face. And the zingy scent is like a little pinprick of aromatherapy to awaken my senses!

 

8. Tangle Teezer Compact Styler and 9. SpaceNK Eyelash Curler

6These are two tools I can’t live without – and both are made in the UK. The instant detangling hairbrush now comes in a compact size in gold; it never leaves my gym bag.

And for lashes… a simple, affordable whatchamacallit that gives your peepers that glamorous pop! Easy on your lashes, easy to use – these babies make it fuss-free.

 

10. RéVive | Glycolic Renewal Peel

17 And drumroll…. now, it’s time to bring out the big guns. This two-step facial is the real McCoy of at home skin treatments. I can’t even to begin to unfurl the scroll of results this treatment delivers. I just had to give it a go on my busted winter-ravaged complexion. It worked like a treat!

This is by far my favorite beauty buy for dewy spring skin.

First, you prep your skin with a slightly scratchy cleansing pad.

15

Then apply the glycolic serum and leave on for up to 5 minutes. You can feel a cool, tingly sensation almost immediately.

10

Rinse!

14

Then pat dry and you’re ready for spring!

Outside

I had to get outside and catch some of this golden afternoon!

Outside2

The Harvey Nichols Beauty Event is on through the weekend so there’s still time to pop in and stock up. What are you waiting for, beautiful?

Dinner & Dancing to a London Beat

“What have I missed?” is my first thought whenever I return to London. I immediately want to make up for lost time. So I didn’t miss a beat hitting the town on Saturday night.

First item on the docket: some honest British nosh. And for that, it doesn’t get more genuine than English celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is inside the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Knightsbridge. The concept here is to redefine the identity of British gastronomy, reinventing historic dishes with Heston’s molecular tweaks. Ensconced in the ruby-red decadence of the private dining room, we got stuck in with some classics.

tab table table7

Two signature plates are the Meat Fruit and the Tipsy Cake. The Meat Fruit is an iconic dish that dates back to Tudor times. Blumenthal’s interpretation of it translates to the richest, silkiest paté – disguised as a tangerine in a dimpled orange gelatin complete with a stem and leaf.

Meat Fruit (c. 1500)

Meat Fruit (c. 1500)

Mandarin, chicken liver & foie gras parfait, grilled bread

Mandarin, chicken liver & foie gras parfait, grilled bread

table3

Spicy Pigeon (c. 1780) | Ale & artichokes

Spicy Pigeon (c. 1780) | Ale & artichokes

table5

The Tipsy Cake is a cushy brioche bun soaked in alcohol and served with spit-roasted pineapple. It is probably one of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted.

Tipsy Cake (c.1810) | Spit roast pineapple

Tipsy Cake (c.1810) | Spit roast pineapple

After a scrumptious dinner, we all spilled into a pair of black cabs and rumbled down the street to Ruski’s Caviar and Vodka Tavern. Like a plethora of London’s themed nightclubs, it’s contrived. Blatantly so. It’s a pastiche of a Soviet Russia theme. Supposedly, there’s a thoughtful Art Deco-ish design in there somewhere, but you’d never find it through all the fog machine haze hanging in the air. The place is absolutely steaming – from the unventilated smoke of sparkler fountains, from the dank basement humidity, from uncorked teen spirit.

But the music is great – and it’s thumping through the whole place, and everyone is energetic, so you get swept up in all the furor.

And you drink a few potent shots delivered in a Russian space helmet.

And you dance!

rusk rusk2 Rusk3 rusk4

rusk5 rusk5.5 Rusk6 rusk8 rusk7 rusk11

It was an excellent evening partying with my comrades.

London, it’s good to back.