Simms’ city: Royalty, table football and Madness

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

Burlington Arcade’s recently restored Ring Room at Richard Ogdens

Ring Room at Richard Ogden

Burlington Arcade launched the newly decorated Ring Room at Richard Ogden in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee and the company’s own 60th anniversary.

They have been at 28 Burlington Arcade since 1952 and to mark their longevity they transformed the room into a wedding salon of tulle, lace, silk, diamonds, crystals and delicious cakes and Macaroons. Stars of the evening included Andrew Prince’s fabulous faux tiaras - including pieces used in the third series of Downton Abbey when Matthew finally takes the plunge to marry Lady Mary Crawley (roll on winter Sunday nights).

Also stealing the spotlight were bridal gowns by Gwen Russell and Phillipa Lepley, millinery by Rachel Trevor-Morgan, shoes by Emmy - including Carol Middleton’s design for Kate and Wills wedding - and cakes by Peggy Porschen. We were all treated to exquisite goody bags (that got lots of attention on Twitter), among the goodies was from Andrew Prince necklace and a mini bottle of Grays and Feather champagne. 

I finished the evening off with a post event de-brief over a glass of Gavi de Gavi at neighbouring Cecconis with mural artist Christopher Lockwood.

Madame Gautier Traiteur

Madame Gautier Traiteur

Madame Gautier Traiteur has been doing the rounds at London’s local farmers’ markets for a while now, peddling its delicious, home-cooked fayre to Londoners trying to be a bit rural. 

The family-run business was started in 2005 by Mark and Corinne Gautier with their children Liana and Guy to sell freshly prepared and mouthwatering French regional food for everyday eating. 

Their idea of ‘everyday’ is more than impressive and they have recently opened a shop in Barnes so you no longer have to wait until the weekend to stand in line to bring home coq au vin or Hachis d’Agneau Parmentier (to then pass off as your own creation at a dinner party designed to impress). That said, it works for the small people too. My parents live in Barnes, so part of my two-year-old Josh’s weekly date with his grandparents is to go and buy a fish cake there. I couldn’t believe it when walking into our local Nisa on the Uxbridge Road I heard Josh saying “No - Madame Gautier please Mummy”. He soon learnt what ‘everyday’ means Chez Simms!

Bring out the Bunting for Suggs!

Madness singing on the roof of Buckingham Palace

I wouldn’t peg myself as a royalist, but I loved the celebratory atmosphere last weekend across the country, the amazing spectacles and the excuse to have a good knees up with friends and family swimming in bunting and union jacks.

I was invited to stay in a lovely village outside Winchester where we had a great time, but I have to admit to sneaking off back to town when a last minute call came in from the Tarnished Knight to go to the Jubilee concert. What a treat!

We met outside the Lanesborough where I saw statuesque Grace Jones arriving and making quite the impression even without her oiled thighs on display. It was a great night and the Tarnished Knight is now positively gleaming. The highlight has to be Madness singing ‘Our House’ from the top of Buckingham Palace – of course that could be an age thing! Post-concert we were buoyed along by the swaying crowds west and serendipitously found ourselves at late night drinking institution Janet’s, in South Ken, for drinks American style (read generous measures).

The Olympia International Fine Art and Antiques Fair

Art deco table football table on sale at Butchoff Antiques

Art Deco Table Football Game by Harold Searles Thornton, c.1930.

The Olympia International Fine Art and Antiques Fair previewed on 7 June to good numbers and a steady flow of prosecco.

The fair looked elegant and as always light and airy in the spectacular historic glass-domed grand hall. Even though I now work with its more glamorous cousin down the road in Chelsea, Masterpiece London, the fair occupies a very special place in my heart after working there for a years.

It is put together by a cracking team and has a wonderfully eclectic mix of dealers. Highlights for me included a fine art deco table football game for £18,500. This exquisite table is available from Butchoff Antiques and will be on show at Olympia, until the 17 June 2012. Other pieces that caught my eye was a lovely John Piper nude on Kay Michie’s stand, the fantastic array of the rare and unusual on the Hawkins stand, and Nicholas Daly who has a wonderful selection of art reference and interiors books many of which are out of print. (This is where I normally end up making a purchase and why I have to keep thinking of new and imaginative ways to create more book space in my home.)

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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