Sunday, 28 June 2015

A Downton Abbey Evening at The Savile.

If you've read this blog for a while you'll probably know by now that the Savile is my favourite private members club in London. Only men are allowed to be members, but it's without a doubt the most fun club of all of the clubs, basically anything goes. Last week I went to the Savile for a black tie Downton Abbey dinner and talk, as they've filmed quite a few episodes inside the club.

The evening started with a talk from Gareth Neame, who's the Producer of Downton Abbey and a member of the Savile. I missed most of this as I was running late, but I caught the end where he told us how they transformed the ballroom into a Jazz club for the show. They then showed us a video of the scene, before we moved upstairs to the ballroom for dinner.


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Updated Travel Plans 2015.

Back in the January travel linkup I posted all about my travel plans for the year and where I wanted to go! Some were dreams and some more doable. Well, the unexpected has happened, and rather than doing the doable ones, I'm actually doing the dream one...

I'm very lucky with my holiday days, despite working full time for a media agency in London, I get 35 holiday days a year including bank holidays which is a lot more than most people. This year however, I had a few extra as I rolled some over from last year. I started the year with a long weekend trip to the Slovakian High Tatry Mountains, where I went to the top of a mountain and learnt to ski for the very first time. 

Then just a week later I flew to Australia for 2.5 weeks for my annual visit to see my friends and stay with Aunty Wyn & Uncle Gray and my family.

Originally I was supposed to go to Russia for the May bank holiday, we had the hotels booked; Ritz-Carlton in Moscow and Four Seasons in St Petersburg, I was unbelievably excited, but then the rest of it fell through (it takes a while to get visas and I didn't have enough time to send my visa off as I was in Australia). So that got cancelled. One day I will get there! 

So I've had a couple of months with no travel, and I have serious wanderlust. I'm off to Paris with Air France in August, where I'll be staying at a sister hotel of Fraser Suites Perth, which I stayed at for my first night back in Aus, so I have high hopes as the Perth one was incredible! Then I might potentially have a much bigger trip with them in October if it all gets signed off (fingers crossed!). 

I'm then off to Cornwall with the family in September, and two weeks later is the big one...I'm flying to St Vincent and the Grenadines. Yes. The dream trip I told you all about in January is actually happening. This incredible opportunity is very kindly being given to me by the amazing team at the Palm Island Resort. I fly to Barbados from London with Virgin Holidays, where I'm meeting my best friend from Australia, and then we fly to Union Island, before getting a boat to the private island of Palm Island.

Our plan is to spend the week relaxing, reading books, drinking cocktails, and exploring the islands. There are some excursions we're planning on taking; one to swim with the sea turtles in the Tobago Cays, and another to the main island of St Vincent where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed. It's been a dream of mine to swim with sea turtles since I was about 8 years old - my favourite dinner lady at school did it and told us all about it! I told Rach I might cry when we finally get to do it, so she assured me she'll be there to photograph me 'ugly crying', she's such a good friend.

Words can't even describe how excited or grateful I am; Rach and I only get to see each other once a year these days due to work (when I was at Uni I used to go back twice a year for 4-5 weeks at a time), so to see her twice this year is such a treat! She also loves the blog and basically being a general camera whore, so I'm super excited to be able to take thousands of photos and videos with her and not worry about her being camera shy! 

So, what about the other places I wanted to visit? 

Ukraine/Chernobyl won't be happening for obvious reasons (why can't everyone just get along and be nice to each other?), also, you'd expect it to be cheap given the current 'war' situation, but the hotels are really expensive! Estonia isn't happening because the flight times are super awkward and I'd have to spend an extra day there which I don't have the holiday time for. Russia, see above. New York I'm going to save for next year and incorporate it into a much bigger US roadtrip. Iceland I'm potentially doing early next year with my brother. Morocco I'm potentially doing this year for a weekend with the girls. Croatia/Montenegro/Bosnia - *sigh* who knows, I'm not sure I'll ever get there at this rate. There are just too many places to visit and not enough time! 

So, so far this year I have 20 holiday days booked in/used up. I have 8 left to use (I need to take a few over Christmas obviously!), so at the moment the very loose plan is to do a long weekend in Morocco and use one for that, a long weekend in Croatia and use two for that, and then use five for the bigger trip with Air France. 

What are your travel plans for the year?

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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Royal Ascot Royal Enclosure 2015.

Despite the pouring rain, I think this year's Royal Ascot was the best yet. If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that I go to Ascot every year with friends (see here and here), apart from last year when we decided to skip it in favour of a day in London. However this year I had a bit of a kerfuffle, I'm not a member of the enclosure, and my friend who I usually go with as their guest was away for Ascot this year, and stupidly I didn't realise until it was too late to get any of my other friends to get me a badge as they closed the applications really early this year. But these things always have a way of materializing...


Sunday, 21 June 2015

White Nights in London.

Last week I had a bit of a kerfuffle. I had two events in one night. I never usually do that, as I like to devote my whole evening and attention to one event, but after working out timings I figured, why not try it! 

Serpentine Lido Club Terrace

I started my evening at Lima Floral in Covent Garden eating the most delicious food and drinking the insanely alcoholic Pisco cocktails. Jasiminne and Suze were both there too, so it was lovely to have a quick catch up. We were seated in the bar downstairs, but unfortunately I'd left my DSLR at home due to all the travelling I had to do that day, and sadly my little GF5 just didn't like the low light so the photos didn't come out too great. Next time I'm just gonna suck it up and lug the DSLR around with me! 

Pisco Sour Cocktail from Lima Floral

I had a really wonderful hour or so there though, which included tasting some very potent Pisco Sours, as well as straight Pisco, and the cream that goes on top of Pisco (which is more alcoholic than the actual drink!). We also had this delicious Ceviche dish...just look at all those colours!

Ceviche at Lima Floral London

I then dashed over to the Serpentine in Hyde Park to meet Henry, as I was dragging him along to the Visit Finland #WhiteNightLondon event, which was being held on the terrace of the Serpentine Lido at sunset!

Hyde Park Serpentine Lido Club Terrace

Serpentine Lido Club Terrace

We started with Finlandia vodka and tonic, and then had some delicious food; Traditional sausage with potato salad, salad, and asparagus with hollandaise sauce. There was also the fish option of salmon, but as you all know by now, I'm really not the biggest fan of salmon and red fish.

Finlandia vodka at the Visit Finland White Nights event

Summer BBQ at Serpentine Lido

Flowers at Serpentine Lido event

The theme for the event was white, I'm not the best with white - I tend to spill food and drink down myself whenever I wear white, so I wore my classic Breton striped dress which is my summer staple. I actually don't know what I'd do without this dress, I absolutely love it. It's perfect for work and perfect for smart/casual events after work. 

Hyde Park Serpentine Lido Club Terrace

The sunset was pretty beautiful, and the weather was just perfect! Look at that sky!

The event was to celebrate the Finnish White Nights, which happen during the summer months in Finland. Because Finland is so close to the arctic circle, the sun only sets very briefly before rising again, meaning it doesn't get dark throughout the summer. 

Hyde Park Serpentine Lido Club Terrace pool

Serpentine Lido Club Terrace Pool

London sky at dusk

Sunset at Hyde Park Serpentine Lido

Visit Finland White Night London event

We had such a lovely evening, with great food, some interesting Finnish music, and a really gorgeous setting! Then Henry and I got really excited when Hannah arrived...

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Thursday, 18 June 2015

Hampton Court Palace Festival 2015.

On Sunday my brother and I went to see the John Wilson Orchestra at the Hampton Court Place Festival. We've seen the John Wilson Orchestra previously at a BBC Proms and it was fantastic, but sadly missed out on tickets to his show this year at the Proms. Luckily tickets to the Hampton Court Palace Festival arrived through the letterbox, so we were super excited to get the chance to see the JWO again!

Catherine Lux at Hampton Court Palace Festival
Wearing: Barbour Jacket, Primarni Tee, Mango Jeans.
We got to Hampton Court for 6:30pm, and easily found the parking towards the back of the palace. We parked in a field within the grounds along with everyone else, then walked the short distance to the gardens. 

Hampton Court Palace Festival gardens

Everyone was sprawled on the ground, laying on picnic blankets with their picnic baskets, popping champagne bottles, and just generally being very very British. It was fabulous! 

Hampton Court Palace Festival gardens

We were getting quite hungry and didn't bring a picnic with us as we were feeling quite lazy, plus we had to test out the food vans on offer! I opted for the woodfired pizza, while my brother Chris went for the Venison burger. 

Gamekeeper burgers at Hampton Court Palace Festival

My pizza was delicious, absolutely perfect, but slightly too much truffle oil (my mouth still tasted of it the next day, even after two-teeth-brushes...). The burger also looked insanely good, and it got a big seal of approval from Chris!

Venison burger at Hampton Court Palace Festival

Woodfired pizza at Hampton Court Palace Festival

This was his face when I was photographing the of despair! 

We had some time to kill before going in so we had a walk around the grounds and took some photos. They're so beautiful, I love all the flowers! Hampton Court Palace is one of my favourite historic places to visit, it's so close to where we live and is such a beautiful place. It's crazy to think that the majority of it is over 500 years old! It's just fascinating and completely mind blowing.

Hampton Court Palace gardens

Hampton Court Palace gardens

I wasn't sure what to wear, usually I go smart casual to concerts, but the weather was awful and absolutely freezing, so I went comfy instead. I mean, we were gonna be sitting outside!

Catherine from Lux Life blog at Hampton Court Palace

We noticed people starting to drift inside so we thought we'd join them. I mean, we're British, so we're basically human sheep who love to join a queue. We joined the queue and soon were walking through the palace towards the Tudor Court. This has to be one of the most amazing locations I have ever seen a concert!

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Just look at it! 

Hampton Court Palace Festival

Hampton Court Palace Festival

Sitting there listening to music surrounded by a 500 year old palace with so much history that shaped the country you live in today - incredible! 

It was such great fun listening to all of the show tunes from the famous MGM Musicals, and the orchestra were fantastic. It was wonderful to see the seats so full as well, John Wilson is famous for selling out his shows, and it was nice to see a variety of ages there - not just the oldies!

Hampton Court Palace FestivalAnd of course this post would not be complete without a photo the man himself, John Wilson!

John Wilson from the John Wilson Orchestra

Thank you for inviting us along HCP Festival - we had a ball! If you're thinking of going to the Hampton Court Palace Festival, GO! There's still time to get last minute tickets for Alfie Boe (who I've seen before and is just incredible), Peter Andre, and Burt Bacharach. Sadly the Paloma Faith shows are already sold out! If you do miss out this year though, there's always next year! 

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*Our tickets were complimentary, but this does not in any way influence my views.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Roka, Charlotte Street.

Roka on Charlotte Street has been one of my favourite luxury Japanese restaurants for a while. I first went there with work on a work lunch, and ever since I first tasted their sashimi and black cod, I have been in love. Jasiminne and I were long overdue for one of our London restaurant reviews, so I pinged her a message and we arrange a day to go and get our raw fish fix.

Photo from Jasiminne
I love the photo above that Jasiminne took! Is it weird that I like the fact I'm in it, but that I'm out of focus?! Anyway, I started with a cocktail and Jasiminne a glass of champagne. I usually go for traditional Sake when I'm at a Japanese restaurant, but it was a Friday evening and I just really wanted a cocktail. I can't for the life of me remember which one it was, but it was pretty delicious! It was very light and summery, perfect for the beautiful sunny evening we were blessed with.

We ordered loads of food, and started with a sashimi platter and my favourite type of sushi; California Maki Rolls!

We then moved on to the spicy soft shell crab. Omg. So moreish. I'm not a massive spicy fan, but I always get this, eat it and burn my mouth, but continuously go back for more.

Now, the Black Cod is usually heavenly. But for some reason it wasn't as good as previously. Jasiminne loved it, and don't get me wrong, I did too. I just don't think it was as good as I've had it before.

Now, after the Black Cod we decided to order the Beef Dumplings as well, but then they arrived and we realised we didn't actually want them. I don't know if it's because we realised we felt quite full when they arrived, but I wasn't particularly impressed by them. They were ok, but I've had better.

The desserts however were without a doubt the cherry on the cake. Jasiminne opted for the Green tea chocolate cake which oozed a brightly coloured green tea liquid from the centre when she cut into it.

I had a fruitier option, yoghurt and almond cake, with mango toffee, and caramel miso ice-cream. It was absolutely heavenly! Definitely one of the best desserts I've ever had. It really was the perfect summer dessert; the cake was so light and had so much flavour to it, and the mango toffee and caramel miso ice-cream complimented it perfectly.

We had such a lovely evening catching up and having a gossip, and before we knew it we looked around us to find the restaurant filling up fast! We'd purposely got there early and sat by the window for prime photo-taking without annoying other diners, and had been so lost in our discussions and food that we'd totally missed everyone else arriving! I love how Roka is open and so light and airy, ideal for any type of group, whether you're just there with friends or for a more special occasion.

Have you been to Roka? What's your favourite Japanese restaurant in London?

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