You guys may have heard a lot about glamping over the years: the luxe way to camp which basically involves turning up at a site to a premade semi-permanent dwelling, usually made of heavy canvas, to enjoy the outdoors without the slightest bit of inconvenience. Well, that’s all well and good if you have deep pockets and you don’t really enjoy camping, but if you’re into going outdoors and you want to introduce a bit of glam to your campsite on a budget, here’s the post for you! Get ready for possibly the most shallow discussion of tents and accessories you’ve probably ever read… Continue reading
Tag: Fortnum & Mason
Birthday Fun: Favourites This Week
I love October because it’s got all my favourite things – Halloween, the start of autumn… and my birthday! This year I went to an escape room in my home town before a meal at Mango Thai Tapas – the escape room honestly wasn’t that brilliant, but it did inspire me to try out my own!
My husband got me a beautiful pair of Monica Vinader earrings – as seen on the Duchess of Cambridge (naturally!). They’re my first pair of MV earrings and I absolutely love them – the packaging is gorgeous! (You can find the earrings online here.)
October is also the start of the party season for me – from here on in it’s three months of birthdays, celebrations and family meals. It can be difficult to find something sophisticated and low-effort to keep your guests happy in the time between when they arrive and the start of the festivities, so I was really excited when The Fish Society offered me some sturgeon pâté to try! It’s so handy to keep in the cupboard and bring out as a canapé! I heaped it on crackers with a slice of lemon, and Alastair Blair, founder of The Fish Society suggests serving it on Melba toast with a sliver of dried tomato – or for a luxury touch, some grains of caviar! Find the pâté here and the caviar here – and check out their gift section too for some great ideas for Christmas!
I’ve been spending a few days in London recently, mooning around Jo Malone counters and wishing I could nab one of those gorgeous advent calendars… But, they cost £280 and are sold out – my credit card breathes a sigh of relief!
I’m also still thrilled about the Halloween afternoon tea at Lancaster London – they have regular themed teas throughout the year so don’t worry if you missed out! Find them here (you won’t regret it – the head chef, Ben Purton – is a genius!)
Another tradition at this time of year is to head to Fortnum & Mason to check out their glorious Christmas room… I have to get some of the themed felt decorations; there are so many gorgeous London ones I just need. I mean, how can you resist?!
And while you’re there, go to the basement to check out their glorious food hall – if you pop in late there are some great reductions… let’s just say I came home with some reaaaaaally good ribeye!
Halloween at Fortnum and Mason
F&M have really knocked it out of the park with their seasonal selections this year. At the beginning of the month, I headed to London with my husband for my birthday and had a blast taking a look at both the Halloween and Christmas displays at the department store. I’ll save the Christmas pics for now, but I thought I’d share these spooky visual treats with you in celebration of Halloween tomorrow!
There will definitely be some lucky trick or treaters in London tomorrow if these goodies are anything to go by! You can order online at http://www.fortnumandmason.com/, or pop into the store at 181 Piccadilly. If you’ve never been, you really should visit this most beautiful and historic department store – and if you’re already a regular, I hope I’ve induced you to pop in again to see their amazing seasonal displays!
Personally, I am lusting over that lollipop, those skulls, and those darling little hampers. I’ve always wanted a F&M hamper, and those ones with the orange ribbons are just too adorable!
Shopping the French Sole Sale: A Mini Tour of London
As I may have mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of French Sole, and when a pair of sandals I’d been lusting after for weeks came up in their sale – but not in my size! – there was nothing to be done except to get myself posthaste to my nearest FS store in order to bag a pair in person. The only issue with that is that my nearest FS store is in King’s Road, about an hour and half by car or between two to three hours on public transport. So, of course, this meant a day trip to London, and negates any savings I may have actually made on buying the shoes full price. But that is just a minor detail, so there’s no need to bring that up.
In order to get to the French Sole shop on King’s Road via the Tube, you face a pretty long walk from Sloane Street or a shorter one from Kensington, which then takes you along Fulham Road. This then takes you past an Amanda Wakeley store (Kate Middleton fans take note!) and a Butler & Wilson shop, which is a treasure trove of gorgeously over the top accessories. You then can then pass through any of the residential streets that connect Fulham Road to King’s Road, and soak in the beauty of Chelsea living – I am so jealous of some of these beautiful front doors!
King’s Road itself is a stomping ground for the Middleton sisters (and their glam mother, Carole, of course), and Bluebird has hosted many a cosy family lunch and is definitely worth visiting. Quite a few of the shops on King’s Road will be recognisable to a Kate Middleton fan (like an awesome L.K. Bennett clearance store!), but it was one shop in particular that I was honing in on!
Inside French Sole’s Chelsea branch, the sales were in full swing and the sales assistants were run off their feet getting different sizes and styles for their customers – always with a smile, I have to add. Luckily, they had a pair of the beautiful sandals I was lusting after in my size, so after purchasing I immediately put them on in order to get some wear out of them before autumn well and truly took over!
After that it was time for me to run loose in London – I didn’t have a lot of time, but I was able to visit the Burberry store on Regent’s Street (more on that in another post!) as well as to pop into Fortnum & Mason!
I adore honey (on toast, mixed with yogurt and fruit, eaten straight from the honeycomb… Love it!) so I was really excited to see the display celebrating London honey (this festival continues until 13 October). Plus, there were loads of gorgeous Halloween goodies – and the Christmas store was open on floor three as well.
Yup, it was a pretty good day…
Pitcairn Honey: A Review
I’ve been fascinated by Pitcairn honey for a while. I have no idea how I first heard about it, but once I had, I was hooked on the concept. This honey is produced in very small quantities, and is one of the rarest honeys in all the world. It’s only produced on Pitcairn Island, which is where the survivors of the mutiny on the Bounty now live. Now, to me, that’s amazing. This tropical island, near New Zealand, received a grant from the UK government in 1998 in order to fund beekeeping on the island, and I think it was money well spent!
This honey is pretty hard to get hold of. You can order it directly from the island, but the shipping is expensive, and it takes a long while to turn up. I’m the only person who eats honey around here, so the idea of bulk buying honey from a tropical island seemed a bit insane, even by my standards, so I’d pretty much given up on getting any – until I found a pot in Fortnum & Mason last year! My lovely friend Lorraine bought me a pot for my birthday – and it was pretty steep, at £10.95. For novelty value (and because I wasn’t buying it…!) I thought it was a good deal – and then I tasted it.
This is the best honey I’ve ever had in my life.
I’m not a honey expert, but I do love eating it. My favourite kind of honey is the set type, on toast, but I love runny honey on yogurt, as a sweetener – I even love honeycomb. I’ve tried manuka honey, local honey, lavender honey – I’m a fan of honey, let’s just say that. But this honey is like honey made by the gods. It’s got a very weird texture – it’s grainy, and neither very clear, not set – and I think by the time it’s arrived in the UK, it’s slightly fermented as well, but the taste of it is just amazing. There’s a definite tang of tropical paradise in there – you can really taste the blossom of the island’s mango, guava and passion-flower trees. I even love the strange texture – it’s especially good on hot toast! To be honest, I’d never tasted a honey before with such a distinctive taste and personality – there’s no way I’ll ever forget the taste of Pitcairn honey. It’s a shame it’s so expensive, but then again, I’d happily pay £10.95 again for such a gorgeous product!
Foodie trip: Fortnum & Mason
I have to say, I’m a huge stickler for anything ‘British’. I’m a definite patriot, and there’s nothing more I love to do than indulge in quintessentially British experiences, like cream teas, picnics, visiting castles, and the like. I’m like a tourist in my own country, sometimes!
One of my favourite foodie places in London is Fortnum and Mason. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s like a foodie department store in Piccadilly, full to the brim with tourist-trap style products like biscuits in a tin, and the like. Because it has links going way back to the Royal family, and has a Royal warrant, the place is completely decked out to celebrate the Jubilee this year, with commemorative merchandise all over the place, including tea caddies, biscuit tins, and china. It’s the final day of February as I write this, and I’ve just realised I’ve been to F&M twice this year already – time to cut back and give another foodie destination a try, right?
Anyway, here’s a snap of the window display, featuring the aforementioned Jubilee products, all decked out in F&M blue (also pretty similar to Tiffany blue, am I right? Gotta love that hue!). I am coveting the tea cup and saucer set, but let’s just say they’re a bit beyond my price range…
Here’s a view down the staircase of the beautiful heraldic animals on display in the shop at the moment. There was also a really cool display of crafts from people who the queen had given grants too, including a couple of beautiful displays of millinery.
Do you see the detailing on these food-inspired hats? Gorgeous! I’m in the market for a hat for Ascot this year, but sadly – out of my price range again!
The real reason for my visit was to go to The Parlour with my husband. I’d been last year for my birthday, but it was a girls’ weekend and he stayed at home. Always good to have another reason to go back, right?
If this isn’t reason enough to go back, I don’t know what is! This is their banoffee ‘cocktail ice cream sundae’, which is listed in their menu as “sliced banana, drizzled with Coole Swan Irish Cream liqueur, scoops of smooth banana, toffee and Amedei chocolate ice creams, whipped cream, toffee sauce and with malt”. Delicious, is all I can say!
I also had tea, mostly because I just love their teapots. I actually found one on sale there this time – I’ll be buying extra lottery tickets so I can get one for the kitchen, I think… Hey, silver goes with everything, it’s an investment.
Needless to say, this was not a ‘fitness’ trip – although, the scales today say that eating a giant ice cream sundae, drinking a vanilla bean milkshake, plus downing coffees all day, snaffling a macaroon in a cafe, demolishing a bento box from the Japan Centre, and having okonomiyaki for lunch at Hyper Japan (and following it up with chocolate covered strawberries) had no ill effects. Well, it helps that I’ve been exercising like a fiend I suppose!