Can you believe how quickly the festive season has swung round again? While it’s tempting to stay indoors and hibernate with a stash of hot chocolate and marshmallows, here are a few good reasons why you should get out. There are some great December events, festive dining, style and travel to enjoy.
The V&A Museum has an exhibition coming up that should be fun for children and adults too – Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic. From 9 December 2017 to mid April 2018, it will showcase the wonderful world of this beloved bear. Learn more about the partnership between the author, A.A. Milne and the book’s illustrator, E.H. Shepard through photographs, sketches, letters and fashion.
A great way to brighten up the dark Winter days is to inject a bit of Danish hygge into your home and wardrobe. Find out how to get the look and discover some great hygge recipes too.
Starting an exercise plan in the New Year isn’t a bad idea but if you want to get a head start there’s no time like the present. We’ve rounded up our favourite plyometrics exercises and luxury activewear so you can work out in style. Another way to look your best is by choosing the right sunglasses for your face shape. ‘Tis the season to be shopping and you can Shop Till You Drop with Bicester Village and the Landmark London. Their spa and shopping package would make a great gift for a loved one or yourself
A great way to banish those Winter blues is with a glass or two of Prosecco. This gorgeous Glitz Prosecco Flute Pair by Dartington Crystal are the prettiest we have seen and would make a lovely gift. You can add engraving or gift wrapping for a small extra cost. With real Swarovski elements, they catch the light beautifully.
For the most stunning bespoke Christmas wreaths, Phillo Flowers are the perfect choice. If you’re in London, head to their Notting Hill boutique to marvel at their designs. There’s a great selection in their online store too.
If your skin is suffering with the cold and rain, then the new Eye and Smile Line patches from Realine will work wonders. With high grade hyaluronic acid and anti-ageing marine extract, they visibly plump skin and reduce puffiness. 84% of clinical trial participants said their frown lines appear smoother after using the patch. It’s great to find a product that works on smile lines as well as eyes and these masks are free from parabens, fragrances, silicones and colourants too. They’re available nationwide from Realinebeauty.com, Amazon and Fenwick of Bond Street.
Now’s the time to start planning your seasonal getaways and what could be better than some Winter sunshine? You’ll find it in abundance in Tenerife, with the added bonus of beautiful flowers and delicious food. Hotel Botanico is one of our favourite hotels on the island, thanks to its Asian inspired spa and stunning gardens.
Cyprus is another great choice for Winter sun, whether for a cultural and foodie trip to Nicosia, or an agro-tourism mountain break. The people are so friendly and there’s so much to do for travellers of all ages.
We’re always seeking out hidden gems on our travels, and Museum Van Loon in Amsterdam certainly fits that description! Many of the locals haven’t heard of it, yet it’s a beautiful mansion filled with antique furniture and with an elegant garden. There’s an exhibition about the Dutch painter Ferdinand Bol, who used to live there. Stay in style at The Pulitzer, a charming collection of historic canalside townhouses.
Skiing is the perfect Winter activity and staying in a luxury chalet is the ideal way to enjoy it. Consensio Chalets are known for their exclusive properties in the French and Swiss Alps, with features such as hot tubs and swimming pools. They have teamed up with SUSHISAMBA London to offer guests a unique après-ski experience – a selection of 3 signature SUSHISAMBA cocktails with accompanying canapés. Take your pick from a powerful Kaffirinha, a citrusy Samba Sour or a fruity Seasonal Sake Spritz.
Wining and Dining
Red King Crab is a rare delicacy for its subtle taste and versatility. It’s hard to get it in London but now you can with the opening of Fancy Crab. Located in a lovely building on Wigmore Street in Marylebone, King Crab offers a range of delicious seafood and steak dishes. Their wild Red King crab is caught in the Atlantic Ocean just once a year in order to preserve stocks, then expertly prepared in the restaurant. Our friendly waiter brought a whole crab to the table and expertly talked us through all the options. Our starters of crab cakes and crab bites were bursting with flavour. For our mains, we savoured a signature Singapore Chilli Crab and Fancy King Crab Burger with potato fries and coleslaw, which were both excellent. I’d highly recommend the chocolate fondant for dessert, which comes with home made salted caramel ice cream.
Coq d’Argent has been a stalwart of the London dining scene for many years. Popular for its rooftop bar and accomplished French cuisine, it’s now launched regular weekend jazz brunches. If the launch event of Le Brunch is anything to go by, they’ll be a resounding success. We tried a variety of excellent brunch dishes whilst enjoying free-flowing Moët & Chandon champagne. A talented saxophonist played songs with a DJ backing for added ambiance. Guests can choose from delicious dishes such as poached eggs with smashed avocado and crushed hazelnuts on toast, Poitou goat’s cheese parcel with honey, moules frites and more. A fun option is to build your own benedict, from a selection of toppings including smoked salmon, mushrooms or Bayonne ham with either classic, Nori or truffle Hollandaise sauce. Desserts are equally impressive, particularly the Granny Smith apple parfait and the Tarte Tatin. Le Brunch is £26.50 for two courses, £29.50 for three courses and you can add bottomless champagne for £38 per person. Each Winter, the rooftop terrace transforms into Lodge d’Argent, a stylish mountain themed bar in the City, and we can’t wait to revisit this year.
Caviar House & Prunier is a place that we’ve often admired whilst strolling along Piccadilly yet hadn’t visited until recently. Step away from the hustle and bustle of Mayfair into an oasis of tranquility. They also have seafood and caviar bars in Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Qatar, Spain, Turkey, the UAE and USA as well as London outlets in Harrods, Selfridges and Gatwick and Heathrow airports. As you’d imagine, the caviar here is exceptional, but they also have some outstanding seafood and champagne. We tasted a Tsarine Cuvée Premium Brut NV champagne with our Prunier caviar. Tsarine is part of the Champagne Lanson group who recently won the prestigious Sommelier Wine Award 2017 for Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year. Created as a tribute to the Czars of Russia and their interest in French culture, Tsarine has a distinctive bottle reminiscent of St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. This successful blend of three grape varieties, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay combines white peach, grape and citrus notes to great effect. We moved on to the Tsarine Rosé Brut NV Champagne to go our smoked salmon and oysters. It has accents of wild blackcurrant and strawberries and is perfect for parties and fine dining. The salmon itself is superb, having been smoked and prepared in Caviar Prunier’s own original Balik oven. I particularly liked the fillet Tsar Nikolaj, which is carved from the rear fillet and the most tender part of the salmon. Tsarine is available at Caviar House & Prunier as well as Ocado and other leading outlets.
Well established on the London dining scene, Cantina Laredo is a family run restaurant which specializes in traditional Mexican cooking with a contemporary twist.This light and airy restaurant in Covent Garden is popular with locals and visitors alike. Try their signature cocktails such as the Have a Little [Paloma] Faith with AquaRiva Reposado, agave nectar, grapefruit and passion fruit. The Ice Ice Baby is a tasty blend of Casa Ambar Blanco, Cointreau, lime and mango served frozen in a cool box. We really liked the guacamole de queso azul, with avocado, creamy blue cheese, sour cream, roasted jalapeno and warm corn tortilla chips. Purists can opt for the classic version which has the advantage of being prepared at your table. I’d also recommend the entradas, which are small dishes that are ideal for sharing. Sashimi yellowtail with a jicama, cucumber and radish salad was really fresh while our main course of jumbo prawn with guajillo achiote butter was melt in your mouth delicious. I finished with a decadent chocolate brownie that a foodie friend had recommended to me. I can see why as it oozed sweet indulgence. My friend’s churros looked pretty tempting too! Cantina Laredo is definitely somewhere that I’d return too as a great dining option in Covent Garden.
Connoisseurs of fine wine, champagne and spirits have been hard pressed to find their favourites online until now. However the recent launch of Clos19 has changed all that. This luxury online lifestyle retail brand offers some truly exclusive experiences such as a visit to the Dom Pérignon atelier in Champagne, France. Founder Stephanie Watine-Arnault and her team work closely with LVMH to make the very best wine and spirits available to discerning customers worldwide. We were fortunate to attend a dinner on the art of hosting at new members club Mortimer House where they skilfully matched wines and spirits to each delicious course. The beautiful paper table decorations are by Marianne Guély paper-art table decorations and part of the bespoke festive dinner package. With Clos19’s Become The Host experience you can host a tailor-made festive dinner with private chef and sommelier in your own home.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this round up of December events and thanks for your support and friendship throughout the year. What do you have planned for the festive season?
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