Chelsea is one of London’s most famous areas…not least because of a certain constructed reality TV show…But of course, there’s so much more to the London district than that. With fantastic shopping, great bars, restaurants and hotels, you could easily pop down for the day and never want to leave.
On this occasion I was meeting a group of my favourite bloggers to experience the Christmas offerings at Chelsea hub, Duke of York Square. Home to some beautiful shops, restaurants and salons, Duke of York Square is a microcosm of London’s most upscale area.
The square itself was looking so festive with twinkling fairy lights, Christmas trees and an alpine lodge for Santa’s Grotto.
We gathered in the Square to enjoy a festive feast provided by artisan food store, Partridges. I’ve been a big fan of Partridge’s for years, and I’m in good company as the queen gave the store the Royal Warrant in 1994.
Selling a huge range of products from fresh fruit and vegetables, to oils, vinegars and confectionary, it’s really one of a kind being one of the only family run food shops in Central London. My sister and her friends are huge fans of the Fine Food Market that Partridge’s runs every Saturday from 10am until 4pm. She loves popping by for oysters and a glass of prosecco but speciality breads and cakes, fresh sushi, handmade pasta and many other things are available. Personally, I love the market as it’s much smaller than other London markets and easy to navigate. I also love the idea of Partridge’s sister company ‘Startisans‘ an initiative dedicated to the support of foodie start ups.
For Christmas Partridges have a gorgeous range of hampers, confectionary and condiments perfect for the day or as a gift. Emma, Aftab, Mina, Jaime caught up over a glass of champagne and some pumpkin pie and we got to know Hattie as it was our first time meeting her.
Moving on our group headed into the stylish L.K. Bennett store to see what offerings they had for Christmas gifting. We pretty much all fell in love with this gorgeous bag that you could customise with your initials.
We also admired the other handbags which were great value for money…
As well as these gorgeous candles that would make perfect gifts. From there we headed into skin care heaven; award-winning British beauty brand, Liz Earle.
After picking up a glass of prosecco or elderflower cordial we explored the shop admiring the gorgeous festive packaging on the special products.
I’d never used Liz Earle products until recently and they worked absolute wonders on my dry skin. It’s safe to say, I’m definitely a convert as only the finest active, natural ingredients are used in the products. Covering body care, face, hands, hair, make up, fragrance and men’s skin care there’s literally something for everyone. There’s also a gorgeous stocking filler range…I fell in love with some of the fragrances so I’ll be back to buy myself a gift ;).
The Chelsea store have organised Christmas wreath making for the festive season and I was excited to try the fun activity for the first time. The lovely, Jo from Columbia Creative Floral explained how to use the wires to attach the different embellishments to our wreaths.
To tie in with the brand’s use of organic ingredients, we used only natural decorations on our wreaths, many of which are used in the products themselves. We were also taught some interesting facts such as that lavender can be healing and cloves have many uses in cookery, medicine and fragrance.
Liz Earle was actually founded on the Isle of Wight and the island still provides inspiration for the products, owing to its natural beauty and stunning scenery. It’s an important part of the Liz Earle philosophy that they only work with the very best farmers and growers and all ingredients are sourced ethically and responsibly.
Photo credit: Fresh and Fearless
Now I’m definitely not the most artistic person but I loved putting together my wreath and fixing on oranges, berries, cinnamon, pine cones and lavender.
And I was actually pretty proud of it! The beautifully scented Liz Earle candle fit perfectly in the middle too.
Though when I bought it home, Mr S did say what on earth is that!! All that wreath-making is hungry work so we moved on to our final destination, Gallery Mess for dinner. Glasses were filled, bread rolls were passed around and chatter filled the air as our main courses landed on the table.
Eating from the restaurant’s set festive menu most of the group around the table chose barbary duck breast with mulled red cabbage, clementine and star anise jus. I didn’t try it myself but I could see it was cooked beautifully and all the plates were finished around the table.
My stone bass was perfectly cooked and I loved the festive parsnips, and side of kale and salsify. The portion size was just right and a light buttery sauce was the perfect finishing touch. Part of the Saatchi Gallery, there’s lots of cool and quirky artwork around the restaurant and it’s no surprise that the food is good as its provided by luxury caterers, Rhubarb. We were dining from the £45 festive menu but there’s another option for £55 as well as the addition of unlimited house wine for £25. Both these menus are comprised of three courses, though we skipped the starter after filling up on nibbles, but there’s also the option a festive canapé menu.
My chocolate fondant had just the right amount of ooze and opposite me Aftab was even more in the spirit of things with a Christmas pudding and brandy butter. If you’re looking for something different, I love the Italian food at Manicomio or there’s the option of sharing plates at Polpo. Both are super stylish places to enjoy if you need a break from shopping!
We said our goodbyes and left so laiden with gifts that it looked like we’d spent the day shopping ourselves! I literally fell in love with this pink and red bag with a little pom pom from L.K. Bennett as well as fragrance and hand care kit from Liz Earle.
A huge thank you Duke of York Square for hosting the evening and for all the wonderful gifts.
Be sure to save the date for the Chelsea Christmas Shopping Weekend 3 -4 December. The twinkling lights of Chelsea will provide a back drop whilst over 50 stores offer festive promotions and nibbles. The Gourmet Gift Market courtesy of Partridge’s will be open on Sunday from 11am to 5pm for lunch time indulgence or foodie gifts.
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We were kindly hosted by Duke of York Square for this event.