Coming back from unusually warm and sunny weather on holiday in the US (lovely enough to swim in outdoor pools) to the cold streets of London was rather disheartening except that we planned it so we would arrive just in time for the Christmas lights to go up over England.
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Duke of York Square and my (very many) opinions are only ever my own.
Almost everywhere you go (spot those carol lyrics) the trees and lanes of London are twinkling gently as each area of the city lofts their take on the festive season. Some of our favourite areas are the titans of seasonal decoration – Oxford Street, Marylebone, Regent Street and along the more exclusive Mayfair Streets – but it is the smaller, more intimate squares that often surprise and delight merrymakers the most.
Speaking of which, fresh off the flight (almost), a few of us were invited to celebrate the atmosphere of Duke of York Square, awash with gently waving sparkle, the contented hum of shoppers dodging the cool and the pop of corks in the many nooks of Sir Sloane’s old area. Just what the doctor ordered to ward off the unexpected shock of the winter chill.
We were there to, er, quality check the beautifully snugly cashmere scarves crowned with pompoms, taste perfectly proportioned slices of pumpkin pie, giggle at the joyous laughter of bloggers attempting wreath making (themed to correspond with delicious skincare ingredients) and sample the plates of winter warmers.
It really was a delectable evening.
(Ok, being honest I’ve already actually been back for a few goodies. Don’t tell anyone.)
We all arrived in Chelsea fresh from a day of our usual various mischiefs – Angie, Aftab, Mina, Jaime and the lovely Hattie – to be greeted with glasses of bubbles and an array of festive hors d’oeuvres outside the elegant façade of Partridges. We tasted platters of pecan pie, sipped flutes of champagne and stumbled across one of the cutest in-store Snowman guarding an advent calendar ever. I have to admit that I can’t ever resist filling up my shopping bag whenever we pop into the weekly market outside and then wandering through the aisles of the family run luxury store – one with a sought after Queen’s Warrant no less – and made a mental note to pop back before Christmas for goodies.
Trooping onward, LK Bennett introduced us to their Christmas range (aka. filled in most of my mental shopping list for the ladies in my life, luckily they don’t really read the blog). There were beautifully scented candles redolent with cheer, cute bags in metallic hues perfect for nipping from office to party and jewel-hued winter wear that made me wish for more cold weather. I never thought I’d say those words. Ever.
(Sidenote: If one day I had half the poise and posing skills of this mannequin I would be a very happy lady)
Introduced to the wonderful skin products of Liz Earle several months ago, I’ve been using their products ever since and become an absolute convert. It hasn’t only passed the ‘best friend recommendation’ test, it has markedly cleared up my skin (even working on flight-affected pores) – I could even produce an empties vlog worthy of a beauty blogger – except for not being organised enough. They use botanicals that make the products smell like springtime which we utilised to decorate our ivy garlanded wreaths – eucalyptus, apple, lavender, cranberries,
We rounded out our evening with sampling Gallery Mess‘ festive menu – moat of use tried the twist of Barbary duck breast on a bed of mulled red cabbage and lovely smoked clementine segments for most of the table (Angie especially enjoying her stone bass with sage roasted parsnip, salsify and kale – the broccoli and blue cheese souffle with salt baked celeriac, shaved celery and candied walnut also sounded beautiful.)
Afters were chocolate fondants with salted caramel ice cream (Aftab got the festive memo and ordered the Christmas pudding) and how good they were was evident in our empty plates. The atmosphere and quirky art never fails to make me smile (a full review of Gallery Mess is here.)
We left the square full of glad tidings and gifted with arms for of lovely goodies from each of the places we visited, as reminders of our fun evening.
Have you started to get cozy for Christmas yet?