A Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Harry Gordon's Bar, Selfridges

Have you been watching Mr. Selfridge?
This question sounds so naughty when you read it out loud!  
The very charming and mischievous founder of Selfridge's had us hooked from the first series last winter! So, when Harry Gordon's Bar opened in Selfridges last month we had to try it out.

To be fair, they never claimed that the Bar would be inspired by the TV series but for some reason my expectations evolved around 20's surroundings and belle époque music...
Oh well, it didn't turn out to be exactly that but it certainly features a grand marble bar to accommodate the patrons, very much in style with an oldy worlde gentlemen's club. 
Oh! And the copper cocktail shakers! I want one!  

On to the important matters now: the drinks!
We did try Gaia's Assyrtiko, a smoother white wine from a boutique winery in Santorini island, Greece; not too dry, not too sweet, smells slightly like Retsina.

Moving on: Marmalade and black tea? You hardly call it a cocktail so I'd be forgiven for carrying on with more than one. But since it also includes Sacred Gin, (oops, see how I almost forgot to mention that?) I behaved and made the most of my one fragrant potion!

Next up Lyan's Tail, a classic martini with infused wine, quite fragrant but with a kick! 
To eat, we had crab with mayo to compliment smoked salmon on soft ciabatta...now that's what I call brunch!

And in case you were wondering, we didn't bump into the charming Jeremy Piven either...oh well, the drinks were rocking either way!

Dubonnet & Gin tea at Sketch

When you visit Sketch you come out talking about two things: the eccentric design and the loos!
I'll elaborate.

If you have been looking for a special place to have afternoon tea in London, you must have noticed Sketch featuring in the top-ten lists. Truth be told, I was a bit in doubt when my friend said she'd booked us a table for a girlie afternoon tea. I remember visiting six years ago for dinner and being a bit disappointed because the food did not measure up to the interesting decoration and design.

So, after you pass the "bloody" staircase - no I'm not swearing, it is actually freaky - you get to the domed gallery downstairs. The room was buzzing on Saturday afternoon, mainly with girlfriends nesting around cakes, tea and cocktails. We did giggle over the fact that the very few boys in the room must have been whacked with a bat over the head and dragged to have tea by their girlfriends... naughty!

I loved the table we were sat at; it reminded me of a wonky chessboard, straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Drinks of choice: vanilla tea, a very subtle and fragrant black tea option and Dubonnet & Gin cocktail, strong and full of attitude, to honour the Queen's favourite drink! Here lies the dilemma, what to drink first? sweet and flavoursome tea or strong and invigorating gin cocktail?

Cakes, pastries and sandwiches certainly made an impressive entrance:

Cucumber sandwich with asparagus,

buttery croque monsieur wrapped in parchment paper,

egg sandwich topped with quail egg and caviar,

and finally salmon blinis.

I did enjoy unwrapping the little yummy croque monsieur parcel!

We found the miniature pastries a bit too sweet, but there were loads of them:

chocolate cake, raspberry macaroons, Coffee éclair...and a shot-glass of deconstructed cheesecake.

Not to forget the customary fluffy scone with rich clotted cream and jam! Needless to say we couldn't finish it off but we agreed that we could have had more of the salty treats.

Now, as promised: the loos...well, think dinosaur egg nest and you are half way there!

Each cubicle looks like an egg and I imagine trying to find your way around them when you are a bit tipsy could be a slightly confusing experience.

What is weird is that once you close the door there are very realistic swamp sounds in the background, so much so that I was convinced that I would see little toads hopping around my feet next.

Funny thought: girls posing for pictures with the cubicles, I wonder...did they realise they were really hugging the loo? x

Sudeley Castle, Cotswolds

England really is the land of kings, princesses and fairy tales! Why is that? Well, last Bank holiday Sunday we stumbled across the entrance to Sudeley Castle and had a long walk around the grounds. So we found out that this magnificent blend of manicured gardens, old castle ruins, standing working quarters, pheasantry and chapel are actually very much inhabited by the family who owns it! I don't know how much they actually get to enjoy the grounds but we certainly did!

The gardens are a lovely amalgam of long stretches of lawns, rustic grasslands under big trees and intriguing, geometric arrangements, around water features. Pure bliss on a sunny spring day! If it's raining...just stay in the village pub for cream tea instead! This place has so much of its' history interconnected with Henry VII and Catherine Parr, in particular. She resided here after her marriage to Thomas Seymour. See how history crawls out of every corner in this part of the English countryside?

Cloudy Strawberry Lemonade

There is something so old fashioned about homemade lemonade...kinda Desperate Housewives with a twist!

There is no other way to have the freshness of a lemon, in a sweet, smooth syrupy drink, with a strawberry aftertaste!

For two glasses all you need is:
- one whole unwaxed lemon
- a handful of strawberries (5-6 if must be precise) 
- three spoonfuls of caster sugar 
- a cup and a half of water
- vanilla essence to taste
- crushed ice
Wash the lemon and strawberries thoroughly.
Cut them in big pieces and pop them in the blender with three spoonfuls of sugar, vanilla essence and water. Don't worry about the zest and flesh, it all adds up to create a super fragrant, fabulously delicious drink.
Blend until you have a smooth pulp. Fill two glasses with crushed ice and strain the glorious liquid through a fine sieve, into each glass. If you have rustic tumblers it's going to look even better. 

If everything else fails, this drink has such a great bright pink colour.
My fiancé said so too... and he is a boy! 

Daylesford Farm, Cotswolds

The Cotswolds might not feature night clubs and shopping districts for people to play and mingle at, but Daylesford is where everybody who is somebody - or thinks they are somebody - comes to eat, shop and socialize!
This is where Westbourne Grove meets the Cotswolds!
My first encounter with Daylesford produce was on the rooftop of Selfridges a couple of summers ago, at a popup jelly-mini-golf feature, alongside which Daylesford had set up shop.
The farm is where it all started.
Gloriously British, everything is produced locally, vegetables, cheese, jams, breads and the rest of it.

There is a café on site, for lunch, tea and dinner.
We got there on the bank holiday Monday afternoon, eager for a hearty cream tea but... scones - finished. Salad - finished. Busy days or what?
I thought that with all the produce at hand nothing would ever run out! Anyway, good excuse to attack the cheese board!
My favourite: Oddington Pepper. Goats cheese rolled in pink peppercorns.
Off course, we visited the farm shop to take some of this delicious creamy cheese home with us. But that's easier said than done when you step into a walk-in fridge turned-cheese-shrine!

Next time I think we should try one of their cooking courses; artisan bread making or perfect summer barbeque? Should be a fun day out, are you free to join us?

so vibrant and fresh - imagine the lovely pink colour this rhubarb will give to jelly, drinks, puddings...can't wait to try it!
© Life Love London

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