I don't normally do celeb style posts, but I couldn't help posting Emma Watson at the opening of Somerset House's ice rink on Tuesday night. Love her black eye make-up, festive red knotted scarf, and polka dot dress. Somerset House is my favourite ice rink in London – and it's always that wee bit more fun after a glass of spicy mulled wine!
I went for a stroll around central London and Marylebone last night, and found that it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. My vote for the most charming Christmas window? The vintage decoration display in the window at Content Beauty/Wellbeing (above). I don't know how store owner, Imelda Burke, managed to colour-co-ordinate so many beautiful vintage glass decorations, but she did a mighy fine job. So pretty.
I also really liked the sculptural magazine "tree" in the window at KJ's Laundry…
I was at the British Museum on Saturday and stumbled upon a display case full of the most amazing English and European bird-themed jewellery from the mid-19th century. Those Romantics couldn’t get enough of nature!
It reminded me of the latest collection by London jewellery designer Alex Monroe, whose work recalls the endeavours of the Romantic artists to reflect the fragility of nature through the use of delicate materials and precious gems.
Alex's birdy necklaces with pearl “eggs” are irresistibly pretty and somehow manage to look simultaneously modern and vintage. And I love how Mr Bird is sheltering Mrs Bird as they perch on a wire – how romantic!
If you’re in London, you might want to keep the 29th and 30th of November open as Alex will be hosting a special in-store event at Liberty to celebrate their Jewellery Month. There will be some exclusive, hand-made, one-off pieces for the show, and Alex and his team will be on hand for a chat and advise on styles.
I may also be revisiting A Week of Tea in future Wee Birdy posts – there are so many excellent tea destinations in London that it's been difficult to fit them into just one week of blogging. So please bear with me…
I first came across the wonderfully quirky work by London-based jewellery designer Buddug Humphreys at the market stall she shares with Jessie Chorley at Broadway Market. It’s difficult to resist the charms of her teapot and teacup enamel jewellery range, which were inspired by her grandmother’s tea set. They’re also available to purchase online from her website or from Lapin and Me.
With a reputation for displaying cakes “like jewels” (The Goddess Guide by Gisele Scanlon), it didn’t take long for me to sniff out The Parlour at Sketch when I first arrived in London.
Located across the road from Vivienne Westwood on Conduit Street, it offers an avant-garde setting for taking tea. Think traditional private men’s club complete with dark-wood panelling meets edgy gallery with odd-matching furniture and a chandelier fashioned out of Angelpoise lamps. It’s the sort of place where a live bird in a Victorian wire cage is replaced by a mini LCD screen playing looping clips of the real thing. And the toilets? Let’s just say that Kubrick wouldn’t be disappointed.
I was delighted to discover that said cakes were, in fact, exquisitely displayed in a carefully lighted glass showcase, and considering the location and setting, a reasonably-priced menu. Here, a delicious cream tea (fruit scones served with jam and clotted cream with a choice of tea) is £7.75 per person, compared to £10.75 at Liberty. Afternoon tea is also competitively-priced at £18.50 for the traditional line-up of assorted finger sandwiches, fruit scones served with jam and clotted cream, a selection of pastries and choice of teas.
The tea menu offers an excellent range catering for all tastes, with traditional blends and herbal infusions starting at £3. My pick is the deliciously-fragrant Jasmine Silver Fur for £4. There’s also a rather handy free Wi-Fi service, which I noticed quite a few people taking advantage of on both occasions I visited.
Just keep in mind that despite the fabulous cakes and edgy gallery setting, the service is notoriously snail-paced. But what does that matter if you’ve got all the time in the world (or a few emails to write). And did I mention the toilets?