Good God I love Christmas. No matter now technically grown up I get, the mere thought of my favourite festive pastimes puts a big, fat grin on my face. London is especially gorgeous this time of year. Even the inevitable rain doesn’t completely piss on the proverbial parade thanks to indoor emporiums of general jollity and nice stuff to eat, drink and buy like Fortnum & Mason. If you’ve never been to fortnums, you absolutely must. Less a department store than a giant, charming, old fashioned boutique stuffed with lovely stuff. At Christmas, the whole place resembles a twinkling, glittering dolls house… In a tasteful, unassuming English way of course. It’s cafés also do some of the finest afternoon teas in town but Earl Grey and scones aren’t the point of this post. Having not been able to indulge in the treats I usually do this time of year thanks to the whole final-year-uni-deadlines thing getting in the way, I was extremely excited to get myself in the festive mood with an evening at the Fortnum’s Christmas Fayre. Actually, the event’s full title was the “Fortnum & Mason and Quintessentially Foundation ‘Fayre of St James’ in association with The Crown Estate” but thats a wee bit wordy.
PPQ’s Amy Molyneux
After managing to guilt trip my dad into taking me out for dinner (mwahahaha) I headed to Piccadilly where Fortnum and Mason was already bustling with fashion, art, media and assorted London society types ready to enjoy the thrill of being in a department store after hours coupled with the obvious perks of an open bar… Or maybe that was just me and everyone else was in it purely for the charity auction. On the subject of said auction, the evening was in aid of Rays of Sunshine, a UK charity devoted to granting wishes for seriously and terminally ill children and about the worthiest cause imaginable. If ever there were a reason to drop big bucks on something fabulous that, my friends, would be it.
Within seconds of arriving I spotted the usual party suspects, Alistair Guy, Lilah Parsons, Henry Conway, Oliver Cheshire, Olivia Grant and Pixie Lott. I also spied The Noisettes Shingai Soniwa looking stunning as per always and a dashing Alex Pettyfer getting shamelessly ogled (by me). Fortnum and Masons always boasts divine decor but on this occasion the it had been rigged out with an illuminated dance floor (in a non tacky way), a caviar bar, two champagne bars and a stage where we were treated to a succession of live music performances. On top of all that, they’d also laid on THE most awesome quintessentially (no pun intended) British banquet imaginable and despite having just come from a delicious dinner, I found myself joining Alistair on a battenburg cake hunt. FYI, we found it and it was awesome.
Me & Lilah
Me & Alistair (apologies for the deeply un-chic bra strap situation)
Eventually my serial partners in crime, wine and general fun times, Millie Cotton, Nik Thakkar and Christian arrived just as the main event began. In case you’d forgotten (I kind of had… blame it on the boogie, or the booze, or both) the point of the event was a live silent auction in aid of Rays of Sunshine. We all gathered round and Sotheby’s Chairman Henry Wyndham read out the jealous making lots which raised a whopping £200,000! Then, of course, it was back to the dance floor for one last whirl before it was time for us to hit the road. Things were about to get pretty wild at party number two but that, mes amies, is a tale for another post.
Love Ella x