Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Savoy lunch

This week I was invited to a business lunch at the Savoy, I wore a Coast skirt, Valentino lace top, Herve Leger short sleeved knit and classic YSL ruffle bag (and I need to clean my mirror...)

Thank goodness for the layers as the restaurant was HOT, I'm  not sure if they have the air conditioning worked out yet.

This is the entry foyer with the beautiful afternoon tea selection , they tea room is just beyond the pink flowers below.

The restaurant is very calm, art deco in style, it reminded my of Mirabelle which used to be a favourite.

 The set menu was £24 for two courses and £28 for 3.  A la carte was an average of £15 for starter and £25 for main.
 The choice was good and the food delicious, my colleague ordered from the a la carte and I chose from the set, unusually there wasn't a discernible difference in presentation and quantity when the dishes arrived.

I will definitely return, it would be a lovely evening destination with a few drinks in the stunning bar before hand.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A Spa day at Coworth Park

A few days ago  visited heaven; the new spa at the Coworth Park.
It is probably one of the most perfect spas that I have ever been to and it is only just over a year old, so everything is pristine and it is not overly busy.
Coworth Park is a very grand hotel that is part of the Dorchester group of hotels, it is located just outside of Ascot.  The main hotel is quite classic...

 The spa however is a little different, I walked past this lovely water feature which is the link between the old and the new....
 It is a state of the art modern eco building, not normally my preferred aesthetic, but there was something very feminine and homely about this building and the interior light was beautiful.

Everything is natural, the interior brings the garden into the spa.

The gym wasn't huge, but with only a handful of guests it was adequate.

 The pool was beautiful and opened on to the grounds, it had piped music playing under the water.

The changing rooms were more of a nod to the Dorchester in London, with those luxurious slightly deco touches.
 I loved the lucite tables that I wanted to take home.
 I had a brilliant facial which used this Swedish brand, it was nice to have a change from Aromatherapy Associates, these smelt just as lovely and were all organic.
The nail area isn't quite as spectacular as at the London one, but is very well equipped.

The relaxation area was really fresh and uplifting, infinitely better than all those dark zen style rooms where you just feel that you want to escape.

There were four of us having lunch, it was absolutely delicious, we had healthy salads, and rather unhealthy indulgent cream puddings.

Unfortunately all of my gym kit was in the wash, luckily I never throw anything away so still had these blue and purple marble effect leggings, yes I really did buy these in about 1985, the photo doesn't to justice to quite how hideous they are!
The day cost £115 for a facial, unlimited use of the spa and grounds, a two course lunch, a glass of champagne, unlimited lattes and cappucinos and a fresh fruit juice. It is a great deal and will be much more expensive (if available at all) once the hotel and spa is fully established.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Approved food delivery

 I discovered Approved Food via Frugal Queen.  This is my first delivery and I was like a child on Christmas morning when it arrived.  In total the order would normally have cost over £300, and I paid only £60 for the whole lot.  It is quite tempting to buy everything on the website, but as we don't normally eat many of the foods that they offer, I tried to stick to what I know I would normally buy.
Many of the items are luxury extras that I might buy as a treat, run out of and forget to repurchase.  There were also many of the items that I would normally find in Wholefoods and pay a small fortune for.
Some of the best deals was the 2 kg mango chutney and 2kg capers at £1.99.  The Elizabeth Shaw mints were 30p each, perfect for when I need just a bite of dark chocolate and don't want to be tempted by a big box.  The balsamic glaze sells in the local deli for £12, it was 69p!

 These seed packs sell for over £2 in Wholefoods and were 50p each. They are a little out of date, but seeing as they need to be sprouted to become edible, I am not sure that it matters at all.
 The Provamel cream tastes delicious with coffee, it is soya based and has none of the calories of real cream, but the same taste and texture, it is a real treat and I usually buy it (when I remember in Wholefoods for around £2) it was about 30p a pack.
 The crisps were literally a few days out of date, they didn't last long, I have ordered about 20 more packs!

This was most of the haul, although the really yummy stuff was already being sampled.  There were some fantastic marron glace that were eaten as they came out of the box and with what it left I was going to try to make this...

For lunch I made the spelt and tomato on a bed of lettuce and peppers, it was delicious and really filling, no carb spike and ravenous hunger, kept me going until tea time no problem at all.

 I was slightly overdressed for a morning of unpacking and dividing shopping between friends and family, this dress was an ebay purchase from Coast, I was really pleased with the cut and fit, it reminds me of the Dolce e Gabanna lace dresses from last season, I tracked them down at Bicester, but they were a little disappointing and unflattering for my shape.  I am however very pleased with the fake tan! By this time in the year my skin is usually blue-y grey and I have a UV requirement to avoid looking like a corpse.  I tanned with a new formulation made by a friend of mine a week or so back (in the Connaught post) and I am really pleased with how the tan wears off, not only does it seem to have exceptional staying power, but I am not getting the usual scaley look that is more of a give away for fake tanning than the orange streaks.  As soon as I can name it, I will!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Daily Diet Update and Reasons to be cheerful

Today current weight: 63kg, 139pounds, 9 stone 12
Yesterday Exercise; 30 mins dog walking
Yesterday Food intake; 
Breakfast; coffee, banana
Mid morning snack; coffee, licorice sweets 
Lunch; Home made burger, salad, whole avocado, bowl of Harvest crunch cereal
Afternoon; fruit cake and tea and bowl of cereal
Dinner; large salad, Veal Milanaise (trying to eat lots of veal as read in Country Life that due to people not eating British veal because of cruelty, ironically it makes life WORSE for the poor male calves who are either slaughtered within minutes of birth or shipped to another country where standards are much lower than here.  So if you eat meat, start buying veal, it MUST be British and ideally Rose Veal that has lived outside)
Evening snack; Camomile tea with honey and bowl of Harvest Crunch cereal

Today current weight: as above
Yesterday Exercise; 1hour running with dog, 15 minutes rowing, 15 minutes cross trainer
Breakfast; Coffee and handful of seeds
Midmorning snack; Cappucino and biscuits
Lunch; Chicken Caesar Salad, apple and carrot juice, hazelnut meringue and coffee cream sauce, glass of champagne
Afternoon; Tea and Bonne Maman cake
Dinner; Venison steaks, broccoli, salad and gnocchi (venison is another rare meat, that tastes better than steak and needs to be bought in order to create a market that support the British countryside)
Evening snack; Decaff coffee, marrons glaces (sweetened chestnuts)

Today current weight; As above
Yesterday Exercise; Body balance class, 20 minutes dog walking
Breakfast; Coffee and vitamin drink
Midmorning snack; coffee
Lunch; Spelt, whole red pepper, seeds, salad
Afternoon; Tea and Bonne Maman cake, bag of dried apple rings
Dinner: Organic serloin steak, salad and french style lentils
Evening snack; Decaff coffee, marrons glaces (sweetened chestnuts)

Reasons to be Cheerful;
Weather beautiful.
Definitely getting fitter, ran (properly running not my usual plodding jogging) for two lots of half an hour and didn't stop once.
Met with friends who are a pleasure to be with, no having to be careful about saying the wrong thing, all very relaxed and informal.
I have seen a lot of family members who I don't usually catch up with, but keep doing things nearby and popping in for cups of tea.
My approved food box arrived and it is fab (will do a post on this)
Finally labelled and posted about 100 items sold on ebay hurrah!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

A meeting in Westbourne Grove

Westbourne Grove is my favourite part of London.  It is like a perfect village, there is not an excess of anything, but everything is just so and it is the ideal place to while away an hour between meetings.
Who can resist these gorgeous clothes, thank goodness for a God-daughter so that I now have an excuse to indulge.

The food is terrible the wine is warm and the cocktails dire and overpriced, and yet I still love this place.  It reminds me of first arriving in London in the 80s as a wide eyed country girl, this was quite the most sophisticated place that I had ever come across. Combine that with the Armistead Maupin link and the joyous Tales of the City series that were my favourite read at the time and it brings back the happiest memories of long summer evenings when everything was possible.

The interior is a little eclectic, but I love the drama.
Diptyque is my favourite for fragrance, currently my obsession is L'Ombre dans L'Eau (shadow in water), it is the fragrance of mermaids at midnight, the antidote to the slightly insipid Issey Miyake, L'Eau d'Issey which was my memory of the smell of the early 90s.  Although it is quite specific and one that is a real love it or hate it.
Brissi looking like it is morphing into Cabbages and Roses or Runaway Coast, I am not to sure about the pastel stripes, Brissi is best when it is powder grey, ivory aged wood and silver plated baths, definitely not Shabby Chic, a hybrid of Scandinavian, Italian and French all put together to perfection.
Dogs at Emma Hope, this is her flagship shop and the collection is stunning this year, these are shoes that you will never find copied in China and precisely because they are not the cutting edge of fashion they are chic forever. A pair of Emma Hope shoes can be spotted a mile off, because her design and quality of workmanship, no need for any statement red soles to make the point.
 The pots were waiting to be arranged into a garden that is maintained outside the store through out the summer.

Cute dresses at Nanette Lepore.

 Easter at Tom's Deli.
 Possibly the most expensive flower stall in London.
 Dreaming of summer at Heidi Klein, who do fantastic spray tans to get you in the mood.

 The new sea green at Smythson,  it is not as turquoise as these pics would suggest.
 My favourite boutique in London, Feathers maintains quite its own look; bias cut silk John Galliano dresses worn with oversized embellished shearlings and biker boots.  Or super body hugging Rag and Bone dresses worn with leggings, shoe boots and fitted leather jackets.  The looks work on any age from 16-80, although I don't quite carry off the rag nymph and look more like a post apocalyptic warrior with my stringy hair and american footballer's shoulders.
 Twenty Twelve (the Miller sisters) doing yellow and denim for S/S12.

It's just a regular residential road, that is what makes this place so unique.
 Daylesford; the best place to drink frothy coffee and sit and watch the world go by...

Which are your favourite 'villages'?