This was originally supposed to be a very different post.
I was recently put in touch with gift experience company Wish, who offer vouchers for purchase which can be exchanged for days out, pamper treatments and that sort of thing. They had a limited selection of vouchers they wanted to offer bloggers a chance to try out, and I told them I’d be up for what they billed as the “goddess” photoshoot providing my being in Glasgow wouldn’t prevent me taking part. The voucher duly arrived… but Glasgow wasn’t listed as a possible location. It wasn’t a big hassle though: with a trip to London imminent I told my contact I’d take part a little later than pla… oh. No availability. Maybe not, then. Curiously, the “experience” is no longer available on the website.
In exchange, and since the lovely Kaite had already taken the day off work on the promise of some good old-fashioned “junket journalism”, we were told we were booked in for afternoon tea at the Radisson Edwardian Vanderbilt, Kensington. After a morning in the office, during which K amused herself with a spot of window-shopping, we were both pretty ravenous – so it was a bit of a gutter to show up at the hotel and be informed that they had no record of any booking being made in our name.
Fair play to Wish though, who went above and beyond in trying to make it up to us for the hassle and potential embarrassment their mix-up caused. As you’re probably aware I’m not a fan of moaning for moaning’s sake – while it’s easy to pat yourself on the back and RT every positive mention your company receives in real life things can and will go wrong, and it’s how you make it up to your customers that counts. Wish not only paid for the lunch we decided to have at the hotel anyway, since they were super nice to us, but brightened up my return to work considerably with the arrival of a suitably festive floral arrangement earlier in the week. For that they definitely get another chance to get it right, and I’m looking forward to putting together some sort of feature in the New Year.
But I’d promised Kaite a fancy lunch, and a fancy lunch we were going to have. Feeling sorry for us in our predicament the Radisson Edwardian’s charming maître d’ had told us that if money was an object nobody was going to throw us out for taking one tea between the two of us with as much as we wanted to drink, but in the end we picked from the bar menu. Kaite had calamari and sweet potato chips, beautifully presented in faux-newspaper, and I ordered some scones and clotted cream. Previous posts will have probably clued you into the fact that I tend to prefer melty butter to the Devonshire delicacy, but luckily I had K on hand to show me how these things should be done (below, centre). The verdict? “As a connosieur of scones, I can safely say that these are amazing,” she said.
What with Kaite having taken the day off, the pair of us decided we’d just spend the day as if we were still living in Edinburgh as students – a task that called for lipgloss, sweet treats and cocktails flavoured with passionfruit. It’s a good thing the pair of us don’t currently live in the same city, because together we tend to have the sort of effect on bank accounts that my bezzer/K’s missus wouldn’t let us away with very often. There was a wander around Selfridges, where I gawped at some of the fancier gins on offer, and a trip to the underground Covent Garden Cocktail Club. The Porn Star Martini might have a terrible name, but served with fresh passionfruit and a shot of champagne on the side it’s marvellous – particularly during happy hour when all drinks are buy one get one free. It might say “member’s only” on the door, but if you’re as pretty as we are and it’s technically still afternoon you can probably get away with it. “You never could eat passionfruit in a dignified manner,” Kaite despaired.
On Kaite’s insistence, I also had another attempt at the iconic Hummingbird Bakery which had so disappointed me on my last trip to the capital. Fair play to my girl, she had done her research – the company’s Christmas specials, although pricey, would tempt even the hardiest of cupcake humbuggers. As you can see from my face below, their chocolate orange flavoured one was particularly pleasing – the next day’s gingerbread special suffered from having a cream cheese frosting rather than a buttercream one. Also, from me sitting on it.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Death’s Door gin, Selfridges; the menu at Drink, Shop & Do; Hummingbird Bakery
Although not involving Kaite it wouldn’t feel right to conclude this post on the eats and drinks of London without a reference to the charming Drink, Shop and Do in King’s Cross, where Jo took me for a pre-Wild Flag cocktail the following evening. Stocked with quirky gifts and serving tasty drinks (we had a Ruby Shoes apiece) the place would have been guaranteed a Last Year’s Girl thumbs-up even if it hadn’t featured what must have been the greatest menu I have ever seen: ONE POUND FIFTY for a china teacup full of old-skool sherbet served with a lollipop to enjoy it with. My tongue was rough as a kitten’s for days afterwards, mind.