I’ve now returned home to Tokyo, Japan and to fête the occasion I was indulged with a wonderfully luxurious evening spent at Bvlgari Ginza Tower. The evening included exceptional live Italian jazz music by Francesco Lomagistro & Berardi Jazz Connection Quintet enjoyed in great company and with flowing Dom Pérignon vintage champagne alongside a selection of small bite creations by Michelin starred executive chef Luca Fantin.
As the days are still short, dark and cold, I find myself increasingly relying on the comfortable light and warmth provided by candles. One of my favorite candle boutiques is Cire Trudon that lies tucked away on 36 Chiltern Street, a quite street in Marylebone, only a short walk from my second home the Wallace Collection.
The beautiful little boutique stocks a full range of iconic pillar candles with cameos, wax busts, perfumed candles and room sprays that are simply oh so decadent. One of my favorite perfumed candle scents would probably have to be Abd El Kader with top notes of spearmint, lemon, blackcurrant bud, apple, ginger, clover, a middle of jasmin and a base of vanilla.
Although it’s no secret that I enjoy frequenting the luxury lined streets of Tokyo’s Ginza district, the best part has to be when I stumble upon something new and slightly out of the ordinary that isn’t part of the big brand names that fill the advert sections of magazines. So, tucked away on Suzuran-Dori, one of the quieter streets of Ginza I found the charming French luxury tea emporium Mariage Frères.
The boutique’s walls are lined with a vast selection of exotic loose-leaf teas and everything else that you could possibly need to enjoy a good cuppa tea. I picked up a box of thé blanc au parfum de fleurs de cerisier (white tea with cherry blossom flavor) that smells like candy. Other amusing flavors that I’ll have to try at some point includes ‘sexy tea’ a ‘floral black tea, with seductive notes of red berries’ and ‘black opera’ a ‘velvety black tea with rich notes of fruit and vanilla’.
Greetings from the gorgeous and grandiose Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England! The stunning French chateau inspired mansion once owned in entirety by the Rothschild family could easily be described as a dream home and I for one wouldn’t mind moving in immediately. Granted, it’s no Versailles but in England I believe this is as close as one can possibly get.
I’ll be asking my darling grandmother for a refresher course in proper napkin folding so that one day perhaps my own dining table will look as triumphant as this. Luckily, I already have some of the tools necessary with a set of white table cloth napkins with my monogram. My dream of a palace is quickly becoming a reality.
If you’ve yet to spend any time in the charming/luxurious Sloane Square neighborhood I’d suggest venturing over on a Saturday to take full advantage of their tasty Duke of York Square food market just a couple of minutes walk from the tube station. Highlights include the freshly baked patisserie, desserts, breads, cheese and worldly cuisine on offer.
Homemade fudge that blew my tastebuds! As usual I wanted to try them all and couldn’t settle on just one flavor so ultimately I decided to go for a bar of chocolate marshmallow, maltesers, and a pistachio bar. Naughty but oh so delicious.
Although I find myself physically in Brighton it’s as if I’ve been transported to a foreign, exotic place when looking at and exploring the interiors of the Royal Pavilion. Think Taj Mahal meets Disneyland mixed with lots of chinoiserie and scattered empire style furniture. A bit of a hot mess stylistically which only goes to show the eccentricity and eclectic taste of it’s creator.
After wandering the long corridors of the Royal Pavilion a hit of sugary, indulgent ice cream seemed only appropriate. Queue Gelato Gusto located in the heart of Brighton’s North Laine serving “artisan gelato” which might just sound like a fancy name for ice cream but given their selection of flavors, they certainly earned the title. Stocking flavors as wild and unique as Turkish delight, red bull sorbet, banoffee pie, maltesers, and blood orange sorbet to name but a few.
Ah I wish I could have bought a big cup with at least 10 different flavors giving me the chance to try the most intriguing ones on offer but alas I settled for a cup with two generous scoops, one of their sea salt caramel and the other maltesers. Yum, worth a trip to Brighton in itself!
I even found Bond Street in Brighton – not London and the excitement started brewing immediately but ultimately the experience was short lived upon realizing that the luxury boutiques I was expecting were nowhere to be found.
When planning my escape to Brighton I had hoped for sunshine and nice weather but instead I got chilly winds hmph…. However, I wouldn’t let a little bad weather get in the way of my big adventure so I carried on like a trooper and had a fabulous time.
For lunch I went full on British and indulged in some of “the best fish ‘n’ chips in Brighton” from the Palm Court restaurant on Brighton Pier before heading on towards the entertainment and rides offered a bit further down on the Pier.
I imagined Brighton to be a relatively small, picturesque beach front town but instead I experienced it as any other modern town filled with a mix of unique beautiful little shops and then the typical unattractive tourist shops and fast food chains. There was even a version of the London Eye!
Whilst on the Brighton Pier I got a total déjà vu of the first time that I visited Santa Monica Pier in California. Piers can be so much fun and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the view tends to be great.