Christmas at Somerset House is absolutely beautiful! Fortnum and Mason sponsors a huge ice skating rink and puts up a huge tree complete with F&M baskets. The sign up says “SKATE” and that is exactly what we did, but not without some trouble. The rink is packed to capacity- so for those of us trying our ice legs after a few stagnant winters, this isn’t the place to learn (though they do keep a little training area off to the side if you are desperate). You are often tripped or tussled by other uncertain skaters or self-proclaimed experts (you can imagine me wagging my fist at the show-offs). But even if you can’t skate, it’s worth stopping by to see the spectacle. With the giant tree and the rink there, it’s the perfect catalyst for Christmas cheer. Outfit Details: Hat: Joy (in stores now) | Sweater: Helmut Lang | Jacket: Barbour Wax | Jeans: Acne | Socks & Gloves: Primark | Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger | Necklace: old | Bag: Kate Spade
The Occasion: Last time I went to England, I didn’t have tea at the Ritz. Now, you’ll see in lots of the upscale touristy books that “tea at the Ritz is a simply a must;” what they neglect to mention is that “must” is nearly 100 dollars a head for the same high tea offered throughout London. So last time an emphasis on practicality, frugality, and poor planning prevented my dining in style. This time around, with most of the other big tourist attractions behind me, I decided to budget and see what the hubbub was about. For our group of five, I booked in September for an early December tea slot around noon. At the time, I didn’t account for the Christmas fever that would be spreading, but what a catching epidemic! Everything looked very snappy.
The Tea: I must declare everything was simply topping. Between the seven types of sandwiches, the luxurious ambiance, the smart tidbits of conversation, and the cake man bringing more delicious options to choose from, the Ritz was lovely! But to be honest, I think part of the reason I enjoyed it was because of the mounting anticipation and the planning and waiting that went into it. There’s a sense that if you’re going to spend every dime on the tea, it better be worth it, so you might try a bit harder at witty conversation, I picked a dress that I thought had a twenties vibe, and then I went all out with my fancy daycoat. If you are looking to just get high tea in London, don’t come to the Ritz, but if you want to feel like a million dollar trooper drinking the same tea, you’ve found your outlet (but book now).
Coat: Tally Weijl | Fur: from estate sale (shown here and here)| Dress: BCBG | Tights: Primark | Shoes: Pour La Victoire | Shoe Clips: Vintage Clip-on earrings | Purse: Kate Spade | Leather Gloves: Vintage
And for a bit of last minute tree-decorating inspiration, I’d recommend Mr. Astaire singing this little ditty.