The English know better than anyone to never waste a glorious day. So the other day, in the midst of an English heatwave, I escaped the office to meet my best friend and tiny godson for a lunchtime date. Not wanting to miss the blazing sunshine (or an opportunity for an outing of my new Self Portrait dress), we headed to the beautiful Queen Mary rose garden in the middle of Regent’s Park. When the sun is shining, I’m always happiest in a gorgeous English garden and this one is a lush idyll in the centre London.
The garden was at its summer peak, and the smell of the perfumed roses filled the air in the most wonderful sensory experience. We spent a happy hour lazing in the garden; smelling almost every variety we passed (there are some 12,000 roses planted in the garden), stopping to say hello to the ducks, and afterwards strolling to Marylebone high street for lunch.
It was the perfect way to spend a spare hour in London.
I’m not sure about you, but when I look my best I feel I can conquer anything. I know so many people who buy fabulous things (be it a party dress, gorgeous jewellery, beautiful perfume or even the finest china), only to “save them for a special occasion” and instead spend the day in things which make them feel lacklustre. In my view, life is just too short to feel anything but your best.
Personally, I’m never one to wait for an excuse to dress up or to be too concerned by dressing ‘sensibly’; you won’t ever find me in a pair of sweat pants, for example. But putting on lipstick and jewels to run errands around town, teaming a pair of jeans with some fabulous heels or creating a reason to get dressed up and have an adventure? Absolutely!
This was just an ordinary weekday in London, but by adding a swipe of red lipstick and a few extra jewels to counteract the grey skies, and swapping an office-appropriate blazer and black pumps for glittery Miu Miu heels for coffee at Claridges after work, it felt a little more fabulous.
Because, really, life is the special occasion, so why let your treasured possessions sit in a cupboard gathering dust when should enjoy them every day?
I just adore the ballet. If you ask me, there are few things more enchanting than the sound of an orchestra tuning, the lights dimming in a grand old theatre, and the red velvet curtains raising to reveal a line of ballerinas pirouetting in their tutus like the most graceful creatures alive. As a girl, I used to dream of growing up to be a ballerina for the Royal Ballet. Alas, my ballet years came to an end at 16, but spending an evening at the ballet is still one of my favourite things to do in London.
After I posted a picture from The Nutcracker at Christmas, I bonded with Roberta Marquez (my favourite principal ballerina at the Royal Ballet) on Instagram over our love for… well, all the same things. A few weeks ago, she very sweetly invited me to come and see her perform in Giselle, one of the great romantic ballets.
Before the performance, Charlotte (my date for the evening) and I were lucky enough to have our very own tour behind the scenes of the Royal Opera House with Roberta. Entering the stage door and being able to see the ballerinas dancing around the rehearsal room, the company’s spectacular costumes and props, the makeup artists at work and best of all, Roberta’s private dressing room (complete with film star lights around the mirror and an entire wall of ballet slippers) was such an honour.
The performance itself was breathtaking, and Roberta dances so beautifully that it is hard not to fall in love with her just a little bit. As she twirled across the stage in that majestic theatre, it was like watching a dream come true.
Thank you, Roberta, for one of the most wonderful evenings of my life!
Friends who send surprise packages and confetti in the mail. Feeling giddy at the arrival of Spring. Daylight savings = hello long, golden evenings. Bunches of pink hyacinths and heavenly-scented white narcissi from the market. Filling every available surface in my house with spring flowers. Pastel manicures (specifically this shade of powder blue by Deborah Lippmann) + bright pink lipstick. Diptyque candles that smell like spring. Wearing lolly pink Prada heels to the office (just because). The joy of packing away the winter coats. Spring cleaning my entire place. Blue skies and bike rides.
Cambridge weekend rituals: brunch, bookshops and shopping at the farmer’s market. Gossip + red velvet cupcakes with my girlfriends. Playing tourist in Cambridge with Nicolette and Ali. Weekend walks through the colleges. The banks of the River Cam awash with a sea of sunshine yellow daffodils. Wearing this glittery Lulu Guinness clutch with everything. Jazz + bespoke apricot martinis at my favourite secret Cambridge speakeasy. Getting all dressed up for grand college dinners with the Clever Boyfriend. Ball skirts and shoes that make my feet look like presents.
Wandering the cherry blossom-lined pastel streets of Notting Hill. Ottolenghi desserts for lunch and treasure-hunting vintage jewels and tea sets on Portobello Road with Nicolette. Decadent dinner dates with my favourite girls. Pear bellinis and lobster everything at Bob Bob Ricard. Press for champagne! Lunchtime walks around Westminster in the sunshine. Much-needed primping at my favourite hair salon (that feels more like going to a fancy tea party). Rose petal macarons from Laduree. A rainbow of Manolo princess shoes at Liberty (that I can’t stop thinking about). Planning spring adventures to new European cities.