Young Ladies About Town

The girls living and laughing their way around London, meeting lots of fascinating folk along the way...

Opera Afternoon Tea at the Royal Albert Hall

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Young Ladies About Town
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on Friday, 16 June 2017
by Annette Kellow 

On a wet and rainy Saturday afternoon I couldn't think of a more perfect place to visit than the grande and prestigious Royal Albert Hall. I had been invited to the Opera Afternoon Tea, a truly unique event, which consists of a luxurious tea combined with tiers of sandwiches, sweet treats and homemade scones in the elegant surroundings of the Hall's Verdi restaurant, whilst experiencing a live performance from one of the UK's most promising operatic talents.

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I have always had a soft spot for the Royal Albert Hall as it was one of the first places I visited in London as a child and I can never get over the sheer scale and detail of the Grade I listed building, so it was an absolute joy to be back. I had brought my friend who I hadn't seen for four whole months and lets just say, we had lots to catch up on! So when we were greeted by a glass of fizzing champagne on arrival it was a welcoming surprise (and what better way to start a good conversation?)

Our lovely waitress explained the menu of teas sourced worldwide, and after deciphering which ones had the right hints for our preferable flavour, the tier arrived!
It was filled with the most scrumptious classic english sandwiches; egg cress, cucumber, salmon and cream cheese with an abundance of mouth-watering cakes, macarons and scones.

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I was excited to see the singer who would be gracing the stage (as they have a different one per event) and had looked up online that it would be the British born Soprano Alexandra Stenson. She is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and English National Opera's prestigious Opera Works training program.
She has appeared at venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Barbican Hall and Royal Albert Hall, and has worked for companies including Opera North, British Youth Opera and Opera Holland Park. Roles performed include Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Fox in Cunning Little Vixen and she will also be returning to Opera Holland Park this summer to play the role of Claretta in Leoncavallos Zaza.

Alexandra looked utterly divine in her long flowing black dress, and beautiful raven hair whilst she sung so magically, we even stopped drinking our tea and nattering to stare in awe! The Royal Albert Hall is the perfect place for live opera, the acoustics and high ceilings all compliment music and song whilst everyone was besotted with Alexandra.

Afterwards a few people got to meet and chat with her, and she seemed to have quite a fan base whilst the afternoon closed with a fresh pot of tea and another glass of champagne (why not?)

It was the perfect way to wind down from the week with a quintessentially British afternoon tea and a captivating opera show within London's most iconic venue, it made you feel like you were transported into a world of relaxation- and besides where else could you find such an ideal place to hide from the pouring rain?
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Ladies Day at the Epsom Derby with Greenall’s Gin

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Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Friday, 09 June 2017
by Katrina Schollenberger

The races are a quintessential part of British culture. Hats, dresses and suits galore, the Epsom Derby bring people together from all over the country in spirit of horse racing.

Greenall's Gin kindly invited The Lady to enjoy Ladies Day at the Epsom Derby in their private box at the Investec grounds. Donning our most elegant dresses and fascinators, we enjoyed a beautiful three course lunch of fig, truffle and goats cheese salad, roasted guinea fowl and leek and mash puree, and a fantastic deconstructed Eton mess.

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We were introduced to Greenall's master distiller Joanne Moore who talked us through the ingredients she handpicked to achieve Greenall's smooth original flavour. This included juniper berries, dried lemon peel and cassia bark. We also sampled Greenall's Wild Berry gin, inspired by the blackberries that grow on English hedgerows. Berry notes are infused with a cinnamon-like spice to create a memorable flavour.

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We sipped on mojitos, Wild Berry Flora Dora's, Wild Berry and lemonade's, martinis, basil smashes and classic G & T's throughout the course of the day. The cocktails were refreshing and garnished beautifully according to the recipe. With seven races total, we bet on three, with 'Highland Reel' blazing into first place in race 2 and winning me a whopping £8!

Afternoon tea was also served just before the final few races commenced. We enjoyed raisin scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and of course, hot tea. It was swiftly back to Greenall's cocktails to finish off a delightful afternoon at Eposom Derby's Ladies Day!
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A Day at the Races- Epsom Derby

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Thursday, 08 June 2017
by Annette Kellow 

There are fewer pleasures in life than BST (British Summer Time) combined with race season. Top this with a huge hat, strawberries and cream with a view from the Queen's stand and life can't get much better!

This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the Epsom Derby and with just 24 hours notice, the race was on for defining an outfit and the hugely important millinery.

When visiting the races a stunning hat is essential and choosing one can seem a daunting task. But in my mind there was an obvious winner- John Boyd of Knightsbridge who make glorious hats for every season and every occasion.

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Their showroom is located on the historic Beauchamp Place and Mr Boyd is known as the Royal Milliner, serving for over 75 years. A favourite of Princess Diana as well as other royals and high society including Kate Middleton, his beautiful designs are a confection of the classic and experimental. After spending a deliciously long time deciding on suitable colour and size, (indeed I needed a large cup of tea afterwards it was that difficult!), I eventually plumped for a rich, deep blue number with tones of purple, that filled my head like a cloud.

Now that I had the right millinery, it was time to discover all that the Epsom Derby is about!

The Epsom Derby is Englands oldest race, starting in 1821 and more recently marking the Queens 90th celebrations in 2016. Come rain or shine, every year on the first Friday of June, a multitude of ladies and gents head to Epsom Downs Racecourse to experience a day full of high octane racing, music, glamour and fashion. Across the Queen's Stand to The Hill there is an air of excitement all round and upon arrival I was very impressed by the array of beautiful dresses, suits, top hats and fine millinery.

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After spying some strawberries and cream and then a glass of fizz (of course I said yes to both) I was ready to watch the Investec sponsored races. I enjoyed listening to people's chatter about favourites and odds, hearing the roar as they won, some of the crowd went wild as their chosen horses ran first past the post! Amongst the race day characters I met a couple of lovely gentleman who go to the biggest races throughout the year. They happily gave me a wealth of betting tips which I hoped I would remember for later on that day (of course I promptly forgot them!)

In-between the races my top-hatted and tailed boyfriend and I took a wander around as we were having so much fun talking to the cavalcade of other racegoers. As we ventured outside we noticed that beside a small back entrance quite a few people were waiting, seemingly in anticipation. We wondered what for and as I got closer I heard one of them whisper 'Queen.'

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Then like a vision in canary yellow, her Majesty the Queen exited through the building! I must admit I was quite in shock but managed to get my camera out quickly enough to take a photo. She looked utterly mesmerising in her floral dress with yellow hat and matching coat, it made quite a few of us gasp in awe. Where else but the races can you flit from a glass of champagne to bumping into the queen in a matter of minutes!

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After such excitement I felt it was time to place a bet myself and as I'm not very in tune with the best racehorses I decided to pick a horse that matched my dress. What a lucky choice that the jockey's silks of Wings of Eagles matched the purple of my vintage dress, romping home in first place at 40-1! I would say it's the best pound I have ever spent and I of course promptly celebrated with another glass of champagne (hic!)
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Sushi making class at Murakami

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Tuesday, 06 June 2017
by Katrina Schollenberger

Sushi is not only a staple of Japanese cuisine, but is loved by Brits across the nation. Murakami is a Japanese favourite of the Covent Garden area in London, and they recently opened their doors to welcome guests to a master sushi making class.

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Arriving at Murakami with my guest, we filled up on fresh sushi made by the chefs including California rolls, Murakami rolls, softshell crab rolls and more. We were treated to a glass of sake before settling into our places, putting on our plastic gloves and being greeted by Murakami's head sushi chef.

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In the class we were to be making salmon avocado rolls, crab cucumber rolls and salmon/prawn nigiri. We began by rolling hot sticky sushi rice into a small ball before spreading it across a sheet of nori. The nori was already placed atop a bamboo mat that was to become our rolling utensil. After the rice was spread, we sprinkled sesame seeds, and placed strips of fresh avocado and salmon in the centre of the rice.

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The rolling process worked in three steps, 'squaring off' the sushi at each turn. It wasn't an easy feat at first, but with the help of the head chef, the group managed to each perfect their rolls. We moved onto our crab/cucumber rolls before trying our hand at nigiri, which was much simpler to make. Having rolled another small ball of sticky rice, the trick was to mould the rice almost into a rectangular shape with an arch where the fresh piece of fish would sit, stuck on with wasabi.

All in all the class was fun, different, and I learned a new skill I never thought I was capable of. The sushi was absolutely delicious, too, if I do say so myself!
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Animal Heaven at the National Pet Show

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Wednesday, 17 May 2017
by Annette Kellow 

This week I was invited to the National Pet Show held in E14 by Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, a yearly show in which they host an array of animals with an entertaining and educational factor.

I arrived at Excel early and was ushered through to a large auditorium which looked like pet heaven with many different arenas, stands and varieties of animals.

Luckily I was given a clear map of where to go and what to see so I headed straight to the dog area where I watched 30 big yellow retrievers on show, who were part of The Golden Retriever Display Team. They were so obedient, sitting and turning on cue to the music (Could It Be Magic by Take That was in full force) and each had its owner leading them along, whom they doted upon. I couldn't imagine my dog being so good even when treats are involved!

I then went to the hen area. Fresh Start For Hens rehouse ex-commercial hens which have care centres across the country. These particular birds would otherwise be killed or left unwanted as when they stop laying eggs they are deemed to be useless and often owners do not want to pay for them anymore. Fresh Start For Hens look after them and care for them, then they are rehoused with new individuals who are wanting hens as pets or companion animals. I think the highlight of my day was cuddling a sweet hen who snuggled into my lap then swiftly fell asleep!

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I also visited the small furries Theatre, the secret rabbit garden, birds of prey arena and miniature horses paddock- I even had a parrot who started having a little light hearted conversation with me!

The National Pet Show has an in depth educational side to it too. You can learn about the care of animals including dogs and find out how rescue services work.

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick had many talks throughout the day with up-to-date information on a variety of animals. He shared his insight on exploring the incredible bond between human and pets alike and how they help in many areas of life- as a companion, a working dog, police dogs and how you can learn from each other.

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Caring for a pet is a rewarding experience but he explained the importance of educating yourself before taking on an animal- there were many talks on the day for people interested in learning about specific species.

For any doting pet owner who enjoys treating their loved one (or even spoiling them to absolute bits!) there was also a wide variety of pet accessories, beds, treats and more toys than your pet would know what to do with. I came away with a few treats, balls and a rather fetching dog lead which my dog completely ignored when she smelt the other goodies on offer. As they say, whoever said that diamonds were a girls best friend never owned a dog!
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