Simms’ city: Jill Scott at Somerset House, diamonds and midsummer madness

Our diarist Freya Simms offers her fortnightly previews of her favourite London haunts…

Masterpiece London

The ever glamorous Masterpiece London Fair had the tram camping out for the week (27 June – 4 July) as we managed the specialist press and American committee visiting the event. This meant courting the great and the good from Upper East Side Manhattan to Beverly Hills.

American collectors and designers with fabulous homes and A-lister clients including Oprah Winfrey and The Boss (aka Bruce Springsteen) all had a presence at the event.

Lord Frederick Windsor and Sophie Winkleman

Left: Lord Frederick Windsor and Sophie Winkleman Right: Freya Simms wears a diamond fringe necklace by Mauboussin. Lucy Barry wears a diamond and ruby necklace by Harry Winston

On the penultimate evening the New York Social Diary was commissioned to write a piece on the charity gala and it fell to us to help the eager journos identify noteworthy guests. (It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.)

With Lady Helen Taylor as a patron, the room was teaming with known faces including the model Olivia Inge, football pundit Alan Hansen, Lord Frederick Windsor and Sophie Winkleman.

An added bonus was that fellow Musette Lucy and I were frosted for the night! Burlington Arcade jewellers Hancocks lent us two stunning pieces. Lucy sparkled in a diamond and ruby necklace by Harry Winston and I wore a beautiful diamond fringe necklace by Mauboussin.

Sadly at 10pm it was time to give back our jewels and return to our pumpkin existence.

Drinks afterwards at The Botanist

The Botanist, Chelsea

Post event, with the adrenalin still pumping, we stopped off for a cheeky one at a Sloane Square favourite hangout, The Botanist.

The wine list, if not inexpensive is at least extensive featuring some delicious wines by the glass. And its buzzy bar – complete with shining metalwork and cream leather sofas – is always a welcoming place to indulge in a glass or two.

Midsummer Madness

Rebecca Knight (left) and Harry Hadden-Paton (right) at the Bloomsbury Art Fair Midsummer Party

Rebecca Knight (left) and Harry Hadden-Paton (right) at the Bloomsbury Art Fair Midsummer Party

The following night we were back on duty for the Midsummer Party at the Bloomsbury Art Fair. The evening’s live auction, led by Will O’Reilly, raised over £25,000 for its three charities; Motivation, the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust and Walking With The Wounded. 

Dubbed as the “art fair for people that hate art fairs”, the event opened with a spray paint battle, live music and tipi entertainment in the grounds of Goodenough College. Giving was made extremely enjoyable thanks to the great auction prizes available and the delectable oysters shucked there and then for a small donation.

Notable guests included the BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner OBE; presenter Amy Lamé, General Sir Mike Jackson; the Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Georgia to the UK, Giorgi Badridze; Kate Chapple; actress Rebecca Knight, the Australian opera soprano Taryn Fiebig ; interior designer Alison Henry, the actor Harry Hadden-Paton , the actress Nina Sosanya and The Times columnist Melanie Reid.

Best of all though, I secured this season’s Chelsea strip signed by the players in the silent auction! It will soon be framed to hang pride of place chez moi.

Jill Scott at Somerset House

Jill Scott

Jill Scott performs at Somerset House

Forget jumping on the ‘Shades of Grey’ bandwagon, if you want to channel pure sex appeal this summer then an encounter with Jill Scott is a very good place to start. My lovely sister Louisa secured tickets for her concert at Somerset House for part of their Summer Series.

After four weeks without a day or evening off it was the perfect chance for a blow-out – despite the rain! Scott is a great performer, with a honey-like voice issuing forth some fairly graphic and sensual lyrics as well as an impressive array of wigs!


Freya Simms is managing director of Gong Muse a Strategic Communications agency for the art and luxury markets and winner of PRCA Agency Campaign of the year 2011.


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