Simms' city

In the first batch of her 12 musings of Christmas, Freya Simms finds ‘tis the season to indulge your taste buds, your wallet and friends while, hopefully, practising the art of seduction

1. Christmas lights and Chateau Giscours

Decanter event on Bond St

The other week it was Bond Street’s turn to switch on the Christmas lights, and who better than oenophile Oz Clarke to do the honours? The occasion was marked by the Bond Street Members Association teaming up with the prestigious wine magazine Decanter for a very vogue night out - treating thirsty shoppers to a luxurious wine crawl.

The exclusive event (invitees were tied with gold ribbons around their wrists), saw over 30 participating retailers including Burberry, Mulberry, Rolex and Piaget offer some of the most prestigious wines and Champagnes in the world including Chateau Giscours, Petit Cheval, Louis Roederer and Billecart Salmon, alongside expert sommeliers to educate and entertain visitors about wine tasting. Proceeds went to the Great Ormond Street Hospital.

What a great way to keep you hostage and get you spending.

2. Christmas Cocktails with the Tarnished Knight

A week later, (and on a school night even), it was was Christmas Cocktails with the Tarnished Knight - who is conveniently a long standing member of the Soho House stable. He treated me to drinks which turned into a delicious dinner at the Dean Street Town House. There, nestled in the heart of Soho, and with flattering (subdued) lighting and a constant bustle, the hours quickly melted into one another making for a lovely spoiling soirée that had us stumbling out of there much later than I had anticipated…

3. Burlington Arcade’s Christmas festivities

Camilla Parker Bowles at the Burlington Arcade charity event

The Wednesday before last, Charlotte - my luxe partner-in-crime - accompanied me to the Burlington Arcade’s Christmas festivities organised by the ever social Trevor Pickett and in aid of Dec Aid.  

Charity patron, the Duchess of Cornwall, was asked to start the festivities with a rendition of We Wish you a Merry Christmas. She smiled demurely and politely declined, so a tenor from the Royal Opera House took to the floor.

Her Duchess seemed to be most struck with Somlo’s new puppy in residence Boris.

4. Mapping London

Bauerkeller’s rare and embossed map of London, Daniel Crouch Rare Books exhibition

The start of December was marked with the GongMuse team going en masse to the opening of Mapping London, an exhibition showcasing 100 maps of London at Daniel Crouch Rare Books.The collection ranged from the earliest plan of London, a richly coloured map produced in 1572 and showing St Paul’s original spire, to the first Tube map, by Harry Beck 1933. The exhibition continues until 23rd December and prices range from £50 to £16,000, making for a creative and original Christmas present for all budgets.

We decided to test this and between us bought two maps before the doors even opened!


5 & 6. Skeletons in the window

Skeletans at the Dale Rogers Ammonite shop

The next day I found myself looking for a Christmas present for my fossil loving brother. This led me to the Dale Rogers Ammonite shop - aka the Indiana Jones of fossil hunting. Whilst there I became awe struck at the shop’s rather original take on the Christmas window.

Two complete pre-historic cave bear skeletons wearing nothing but Santa hats certainly grabbed my attention! 

Oh, and talking of windows, another window of note this season is artist Marc Quinn’s installation at Selfridges - well worth a visit.

7. Christmas lunch at Locatelli with the French banker

As the first week December drew to a close, I indulged myself with a rather flirtatious Christmas lunch with Mr Coup de Coeur himself - the delicious French banker I met on a plane a few years ago (yes these things really do happen).

He chose Locanda Locatelli to indulge in simple and delicious food accompanied by a bottle of Barolo. For those of you that don’t know Locatelli, it has a relaxed atmosphere, meticulous service and such large comfortable tables you can be utterly absorbed in your own world. 

That said, I wasn’t too absorbed to miss the fact that my art crush, Andrew Graham Dixon, and kitchen sex god himself Giorgio Locatelli were dining at the next door table discussing the merits of Sicily – nectar all round.

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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