Tag Archives: Weekend

Jekyll Island Club

Jakyll Island Club frontage

Last weekend we snuck off to the Georgia coast for a little getaway on Jekyll Island. The island used to be an entirely private hunting grounds and site of the members-only Jekyll Island Club, which was once described as “the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world.”

Notable members included the likes of J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Vincent Astor, and Joseph Pulitzer.

The club has a sinister history as the clandestine meeting place of a group of New York bankers, who met here in secret in 1907 to create the Federal Reserve. But in the bright light of modern day, it is now an inviting and gorgeous coastal retreat.

Jakyll Island Club front

Jakyll Island Club Room

We sprang from bed and headed for breakfast in the Grand Dining Room, enjoying the beautiful grounds bathed in glorious morning sunshine.

Jakyll Island Club

Jakyll Island Club outside

Jakyll Island Club outside walk

Jakyll Island Club Breakfast

Jakyll Island Club Breakfast face

Jakyll Island Club Hotel Fire

Jakyll Island Club walk

Walking back after breakfast we passed several cottages on the island, which would have been luxurious winter homes for members of the club.

Jakyll Island Club chairs

Jakyll Island Club Cottage

Jakyll Island Club Cottage Garden

Jakyll Island Club Cottage front

Jakyll Island Club wicker rockers

Jakyll Island Club wicker rockers gaze

As Savannah is close by, we decided to pop in for a look around and a bit of lunch.

Savannah Steamboat Georgia Queen Kirks

Savannah Zos Tara Kirks

Savannah Collins Quarter_

Savannah Collins Quarter Mirror

Collins Quarter is a great little Savannah eatery on the corner of Bull Street and Oglethorpe Avenue. The menu has a distinctly Australian influence, and is an excellent choice for brunch!

Savannah Collins Quarter E

Savannah Collins Quarter Chai latte

The chai latte was exceptional! And so begins my new addiction to chai….

Savannah Collins Quarter Chai

Savannah Collins Quarter  E Zos

Savannah Collins Quarter Salmon

Poached Egg, House Cured Salmon, Potato Rosti, Cherry Tomatoes, Micro Herbs and House made Hollandaise served with Green Salad

Savannah Collins Quarter Avo Toast

Smashed Avocado served on Beaufort Artisan Bakery Toast with Feta, Heirloom Tomatoes, Micro Herbs, and Shaved Radishes topped with a Poached Egg

Savannah Collins Quarter Aussie Breakfast

Leo’s Aussie Brekkie: Chorizo Sausage, Savannah River Farms Bacon, Eggs, Sautéed Mushroom, Baked Beans & Grilled Tomato served with Beaufort Artisan Bakery Toast

Savannah Collins Quarter S tara

Jakyll Island Club Hotel Side

Back on Jekyll Island, we headed down to the “Rah” Bar on the riverside just as the sun was setting.

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar View

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar Sign

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar View Flowers

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar Paradise

It was such a peaceful setting for a drink and to appreciate the beauty of the waterfront.

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar S

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar E Zos

Jakyll Island Club Rah Bar Sky

What a delightful and relaxing weekend away enjoying the stunning scenery of the south!

Garden & Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast

Garden & Gun is a southern lifestyle magazine which hosts an annual Jubilee outside of Charleston. The weekend of events kicked off last night with the hotly anticipated oyster roast at Charles Towne Landing.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast entrance

We arrived after dark to the wooded winter wonderland, with bluegrass singers greeting us at the gates.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Reindeer

Garden Gun Jubliee Oyster Roast entrance walkway

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast entrance bluegrass

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast view

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast beer

We snagged some drinks and had a wander round.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast drinks

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast roaming

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Steamed Oysters

Rappahannock Oyster Co. out of Richmond, VA was was churning out heaps of steamed oysters.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Shucking

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Shucked

Once you manage to shuck them from their shells, they are a tremendous salty, juicy treat!

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast sign

The Jubilee is a festive seasonal marketplace showcasing some brilliant vendors and designs that represent the best of the south.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Vendor Sara Grimshaw Designs

Sara York Grimshaw Designs

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Vendor Goat Sheep Cow

Goat.Sheep.Cow.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Farmshed

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Swing

The catering was deliciously southern.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Chile Verde Merroir Tasting Room

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Tuna

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Tuna plate

Tuna with kimchi & black rice | Rappahannock Oyster Co., Richmond, VA

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Weiner fixins

Toward the end of the evening, Wild Weiners of Charleston was providing hot dogs with all the fixin’s.

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Vendor Weiners

Garden Gun Jubilee Oyster Roast Hot Dog

A nice bite before carriages!

It definitely looks to be a wonderful weekend at the Jubilee. Get your tickets and go!

Savannah

There are so many great road trips in the South. It seems like all we need to do is cover our eyes and pick and spot on the map. Ever since we moved down here, I’ve had Georgia on my mind. So this weekend we put the top down and headed for the border – to Savannah!

Savannah Wright Square

Savannah Scottish Rite Temple

Savannah Sqaure Statue

The first thing you’ll notice about Savannah is its design. It’s one of the greenest cities I’ve ever seen, thanks to its vast network of squares. Every few blocks you’ll come across one – vibrantly landscaped and draped in Spanish moss. These squares were once used for communal purposes – fetching water, baking bread, hosting celebrations, even a place to gather livestock.

Everywhere you look, it’s green!

Savannah Jasmine Arch

Savannah Horse Drawn Carriage

Savannah Barber

Savannah has so much American charm, it’s silly! A real effort has been made here to preserve some of the old way of life – like this barber shop, where you can still get a haircut and shoe shine.

This place is really famous for its antique shops. There are over 35 of them within walking distance, and we set off to explore a few of the best.

Savannah Everett and Cobb Antiques and Interiors Sign

Savannah Everett and Cobb Antiques and Interiors

Savannah Everett and Cobb Antiques and Interiors Display

Our favourite was Alex Raskin Antiques on Bull Street. It’s located within the gilded Italianate Noble Hardee Mansion. Overlooking Forsyth Square, it’s four stories of completely unrestored architecture. This building has not been touched in years, it creaks and groans and it’s covered in a thin veneer of dust, but the antiques covering the 12,000 square feet inside it are incredible!

Savannah Raskin Antiques Outside Exterior

Savannah Raskin Antiques Interior

Savannah Raskin Antiques Old Gilt Frames

Savannah Raskin Antiques Interior Hallway

I’ve never seen so many American and European antiques in one place.

Savannah Raskin Antiques Bits

Savannah Raskin Antiques Chests

Everything is for sale, even if there’s no price tag. Alex roams around the store and is on hand if you need a quote on anything. He has lived in Savannah most of his life, travelling the world going to estate sales and auctions, and filling this mansion with historic treasures. It was such a cool experience wandering all the rooms in here, tightly packed with wonderful finds.

Savannah Raskin Antiques Waring Painting

Savannah Raskin Antiques Old Vintage Black and White Portraits Victorian

After we had explored every nook of the building, it was time to hit the road back to Charleston. On our way out of town, we passed the Carolina Cider Company roadside stand. It was a nice excuse to stop and stretch our legs, plus check out all the local goods for sale. It was like walking into a Southern granny’s pantry – wall-to-wall jars of canned goods, jams, pickles, relishes, and cider.

Roadside Stand Carolina Cider Company Historic Country Store

Roadside Stand

Roadside Stand Carolina Cider Company Historic Country Store Wall of Jars

Roadside Stand Carolina Cider Company Historic Country Store Jars Grits

Roadside Stand Carolina Cider Company Cotton Wreath

They sold boiled peanuts, so I scooped a pot of the Cajun-flavoured ones. And then we set off into the low country.

Roadside Stand Carolina Cider Company Historic Country Store Boiled Peanuts

Tomotely Plantation Drive Mossy Oaks

We stopped just a while later outside of Beaufort, to see the Old Sheldon Church ruins. It was an old church built in the 1700s and burnt by the (you guessed it!) British during the Revolutionary War. It was rebuilt, only to be burned again during the Civil War. The ruins are ghostly, eerie – but so serene. It’s hard to describe.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins

Old Sheldon Church Ruins Front

Old Sheldon Church Ruins Spanish Moss

Old Sheldon Church Ruins Arch

Old Sheldon Church Ruins Sunny Moss

Old Sheldon Church Ruins Wall

We stayed here a while, enjoying the golden evening light and eating our boiled peanuts. Then we quietly walked back to the car, and hopped back on the country road home.

Babington House

Babington House Drive

Miles from London, in a faraway land called Somerset, there’s a long tree-lined lane. It leads to a pocket-sized chapel, St Margarets, and just beyond it, the dour Georgian manor that is Babington House.

Part of the Soho House portfolio, I was expecting a snazzy English countryclub scene, but the other guests were mainly just local mums bringing the kids swimming, and a few other couples in for the weekend from London. But mostly, we had the place to ourselves.

Babington House St Margarets Sign

Babington House Lawn

Babington House Lawn Chapel

Babington House Cobblestone Path

We stayed in the Coach House, in a delightful room over two stories. Sweet touches were everywhere you looked – fresh flowers, vintage books with winsome titles, a silver tin of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies.

Babington House Coach House

Babington House Do Not Disturb Door Soho House

Babington House Coach House Room Velvet Sofa

Babington House Room Coach House Dressing Table

Babington House Room Coach house Spiral Staircase

Babington House Room Coach House Loft Bed

Babington House Room Coach House Bed

Babington House Room Coach House Loft view

Babington House Room Cabbages and Roses Blue Velvet Dress Knit Bobble Hat

Babington House Room Bathroom Tub White Tile

Babington House Room Bathroom Clawfoot Tub

Babington House Room Robes Big Feet Little Feet

Babington House Room Coach House

Babington House Coach house room Flowers

Babington House Room Fresh Flowers

Babington House Eat Sleep Nap

Babington House Room Tea

Babington House Room Tea Treats

We couldn’t resist a spot of tea before heading outside for an afternoon of countryside pursuits – strolling the sprawling grounds, going for a bike ride, and then a swim.

Babington House Wellies

Babington House Walled Garden Green Grass

Babington House Walled Garden Cabbages and Roses Velvet Dress

Babington House Walled Garden Spa Cabbages and Roses Blue Velvet Dress

Babington House Pond Rear

Babington House Backyard Tree Pond

Babington House Bicycle Cabbages and Roses Velvet Dress

Babington House Bicycle Path

Babington House Bicycle Cabbages and Roses Blue Dress

Babington House

Babington House Chapel

Babington House Chapel View

The outdoor heated pool is a perfect warm-up for these chilly February days.

We raced to see which one of us could shimmy back into their hooded robe the fastest, thick clouds of vapor wafting off our poached bodies like a pair of Chinese steamed buns!

Babington House Pool

Babington House Pool Steam Sun

Babington House Pool Swim Bun

Back in the room, we opened a bottle of champers, but before you could say “Pop, fizz, clink!” I was already in a clawfoot tub full of bubbles, where I had a good long soak before dinner.

The bathroom was stocked with shelves of Cowshed products, so no shortage of goops and creams to daub on.

Babington House Bathtub Clawfoot White Tiles

Babington House Bathtub Bubbles

Dinner was A-OK. Candlelight, dainty flowers on the table, the universal Soho House playlist audible above the din of the orangery. It felt a bit like going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, surrounded by other couples.  But we are far too diffident to canoodle publicly at the dining table. (As my husband likes to chide, “We’re English, not savages, Sarah!”)

Instead, we sipped our Babington martinis (amazing, with Noilly Prat, Tokaji and grapefruit oils, by the way) and nearly choked with laughter piling up a tower of mussel shells, a perilous house of cards of molluscs, which eventually gave way and sent a few shells toppling to the floor!

Most-meal pastimes, such as pool, were on hand, but we found we were happiest in the Study sipping Moscow Mules by the fire.

Babington House Lobby Mirror Flowers

Babington House Games Room

Babington House Study Fireplace Light

Babington House Study Fireplace Drinks

Yes, it’s a chain and not really a country club in the true sense, but Babington House is a great choice for a relaxing and romantic weekend.

I can say I was actually sad to leave. But London missed me, I had to get back! Lots more city adventures coming soon…

Sea Containers

Mondrian has arrived in London!  A familiar name we all know and love. For me, the brand conjures memories of an epic stay in Miami celebrating Art Basel many, many moons ago. This one is decidedly more Southbank than South Beach, but sits proudly on the water, the mighty River Thames. Housed in part of the old Sea Containers building, the new hotel has an understated nautical theme, and vibrant river views from its new ground floor restaurant.

We went to check it out on a blazingly bright afternoon for lunch.

Sea Containers From Blackfriars Bridge

Blackfriars Bridge Treacy Black Felt Hat

Sea Containers Dining Room

Sea Containers Dining Room Crest We Serve

Never take pils on an empty stomach.

Never take pils on an empty stomach.

There’s quite a bit of seafood on the menu, which is no problem for me! We ordered a selection of starters, then shared a chicken and a sea bass.

Raw scallops with cilantro, espelette pepper and drizzled with Arbequina olive oil

Raw scallops with cilantro, espelette pepper and drizzled with Arbequina olive oil

Crab salad on toast, with pickled peppers & citrus aioli

Crab salad on toast, with pickled peppers & citrus aioli

Oven-roasted Lamb Meatballs with soft sheep's milk cheese, cucumber and a Moroccan spiced vinaigrette

Oven-roasted Lamb Meatballs with soft sheep’s milk cheese, cucumber and a Moroccan spiced vinaigrette

Smoked and Roasted Corn-fed Chicken with  charred lemon vinaigrette

Smoked and Roasted Corn-fed Chicken with
charred lemon vinaigrette

Shredded Kale Salad with apple, pecans, avocado, yoghurt, chilies and a dill vinaigrette

Shredded Kale Salad with apple, pecans, avocado, yoghurt, chilies and a dill vinaigrette

Roasted Mediterranean Sea Bass  with citrus, salsa verde

Roasted Mediterranean Sea Bass with
citrus, salsa verde

Sea Containers Lunch Apple Pie

The desserts were great, and they even let us order a crème brulee off menu.

Sea Containers Lunch Creme Brulee

Sea Containers Faces

Sea Containers Faces Smiles

The sun was setting as we finished lunch (damn you, winter days!), so we headed upstairs to the rooftop bar, Rumpus Room, for the view – and ended up staying a little bit longer than planned.

Rumpus Room Signage

Rumpus Room Area

Rumpus Room Bar

With unobstructed views across the pulsing heart of London’s business and financial district, the rooftop terrace is no doubt going to be a popular al fresco destination this spring and summer. Have fun, people!

Rumpus Room Outside Rooftop Bar

Rumpus Room View

Rumpus Room View Rooftop Thames

Rumpus Room Drinks Table

The drinks were impressive (aka exceptionally strong) and before we knew it, we were all a bit sozzled.

Rumpus Room Drinks

Rumpus Room Rooftop Silly face

The only thing I would say if you visit Rumpus Room (and you aren’t expensing it to the bank you work for) – check your itemized bill before paying. The service is attentive and pleasant, but they definitely added extra items to our check that we didn’t order. Other than that, go forth and enjoy!

All-Day London Brunch

It’s a well known fact that January is a month for New Year’s resolutions, detoxing, hitting the gym, and swearing off booze and other forms of excess.

At least for some people it is!

For me, it’s about “how am I going to get through the bore and chill of another wintery month in this great city when most of my friends are off on a wagon ride somewhere?”

So my enabler and I hit the town on Saturday chasing the perfect all-day brunch.

Pearl Bracelet

Rocking my new arm candy, an oversized pearl cuff, and bundled up in layers, I set my sights north to Marylebone. Our destination was a London brunch institution, The Providores.

Leather Leggings Marylebone

Providores Downstairs

We bypassed the communal tables of the popular ground floor Tapas Room, and headed upstairs to the bright dining room. I need lots of elbow room when I have a breakfast this good!

Grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso hash, a soft-boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut praline

Grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso hash, a soft-boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut praline

French toast stuffed with bananas and pecans, with grilled smoked streaky bacon and vanilla verjus syrup

French toast stuffed with bananas and pecans, with grilled smoked streaky bacon and vanilla verjus syrup

I’m not normally a fan of sweet and savoury combinations, but this French toast had me changing my tune on that rule, especially as the syrup was so light and not too cloying.

Although the food is wonderful, The Providores is not the type of place you can settle back and linger over a long chat and bottomless cups of coffee. It’s very busy at the weekends, and once our plates were cleared, the wait staff’s expectant eyes were upon us. We didn’t feel rushed; but there was an inherent understanding. We get the picture; so it was “check please” and we were back on the streets.

Titiana's Garden Marylebone

Church on Wyndham Place

Ginger Pig

Smily Face

Cool Guy Cool Shwood Sunglasses

Walking to Chiltern

Now what to do? We strolled for a bit, then headed for a comfy place to chill with a decent wine list, Chiltern Firehouse.

Chiltern Firehouse bar

Chiltern Firehouse Wine Drinking

Crab donuts

Crab donuts

Fried chicken with bacon aioli

Fried chicken with bacon aioli

Spicy tuna tartare deviled eggs

Spicy tuna tartare deviled eggs

Chiltern Lounging Text Messaging

We spent the afternoon lazily chatting, nibbling (and even distractedly checking BBC football scores on our mobiles) – all perfectly justified ways to waste a January Saturday.

Sometimes you just have to shrug off the virtue of moderation, and enjoy a day of self-appointed gratuity! It sure helped this lychee martini go down rather well.

Chiltern Firehouse Lychee Martini

With the day well and truly spent, we retreated from our cozy den of inequity and out into the twinkling lights of Marylebone – after the perfect all-day London brunch.

Chiltern Firehouse Outdoor Front Garden Patio Pots

 

 

Walk This Way: Shaftesbury, Dorset

Following the end of the festive season, I needed nothing more than a quick escape from the city to unwind before starting the New Year afresh.

Loaded with refreshments and entertainment for the train journey, we departed Waterloo station and hurtled down to the lush pastoral lands of Dorset.

Train Journey Reading Drinks

We arrived in the picture-perfect hilltop town of Shaftesbury and checked in at The Grosvenor Hotel, formerly a busy Georgian coaching inn.

Shaftesbury Grovesnor Hotel Sofa

Grovesnor Hotel Lounge

Shaftesbury Grovesnor Hotel Dining Room

We had a perfect lunch of pizza, cooked while we watched in the brick wood-fired oven.

Grovesnor Hotel Pizza Counter

Grovesnor Hotel Pizza Room

Grovesnor Hotel Pizza Oven

Grovesnor Hotel Pizza in Oven

Grovesnor Hotel Pizza

After polishing off our pies, we took a walk around town, past the old 14th century church, down the scenic Park Walk, and to the summit of Gold Hill.

Gold Hill is famous for its striking views across Blackmore Vale and Cranbourne Chase. If you’re English, you might recognize it from Ridley Scott’s memorable commercial for Hovis bread.

Shatesbury Gold Hill Cover

Shaftesbury Gold Hill Morning

Shaftesbury Gold Hill Back View

Shaftesbury Gold Hill View Down

Shaftesbury Gold Hill Cottages

Park Walk is a wonderful, spacious promenade with serene southerly views across the Dorset countryside. From the viewpoint near the sundial you can see for twenty miles on a clear day. I strained my vision to see Dunclie Hill and Gillingham in the distance.

Shaftesbury Lovers Walk Countryside View

Shaftesbury Sundial

Shaftesbury Lover's Walk Downhill Path

Shaftesbury Town Wreath Door

We passed by the old Pump yard – a quaint reminder of Shaftesbury’s need to pump water from the wells in St James up the hill into town until a pipe network was laid in the mid-19th century.

Shaftesbury Pump Yard Gate

Shaftesbury Pump Yard

Our Shaftesbury walk looped us back to Gold Hill, and this time we heaved ourselves up the steep cobbled path.

Shaftesbury Gold Hill Walking Up

Shaftesbury Gold Hill Walking Up Swing

Shaftesbury Gold Hill Hanging Basket

Gold Hill Eddie

Huffing and puffing, we reached the summit and staggered back to the hotel just before dinnertime. We had an outstanding supper at the Grosvenor, arguably some of the best gnocchi ever…

Gnocchi, cavolo nero, chanterelles, parmesan cream

Gnocchi, cavolo nero, chanterelles, parmesan cream

Filet of hake, baby spinach, trumpets, capers and brown shrimp

Filet of hake, baby spinach, trumpets, capers and brown shrimp

Shaftesbury Grovesnor Olives

If you visit Shaftesbury, definitely pick up a complimentary copy of the Grosvenor Arms Walk booklet. It gives some excellent routes to help you explore this lovely historic town and surrounding countryside.