I’m not normally one for writing about parties. But when a party involves mini eclairs, a charitable cause and swing music, I feel it’s a strong contender for exception. After all, if time is how you spend your love and I chose to spend my time last night with About Time. Magazine (ATM) London Editor Gemma, eating rose creams and people watching, and that’s pure love, right there.
Fortnum and Mason is a wonderful place – though I rarely venture there without my mother in tow so that she can buy me crystallised rose petals and not shriek at the price tag, it has an incredibly nostalgic quality. The service, the decor, the feel, I think it truly has the ability to take anyone back in time. From chutneys in glass jars to fudge and chocolate truffles, it represents that wonderful feeling of being British at Christmas – luxury, indulgence and a touch of festive sparkle.
Last night, the department store opened after hours to invite 500 Londoners in for the annual Fayre of St. James party. The evening began with the beautiful ‘Fayre of St James’ charity Christmas concert, which took place within the beautiful enclaves of St James’s Church, followed by mulled wine and lighting of Jermyn Street Christmas lights by duo Celia Imrie and James Nesbitt, before moving on to Fortnum & Mason for the ultimate Christmas celebration.
Now, let me tell you, I’ve been to a few press parties in my time – enough to think that ‘canapes’ mean a piece of smoked salmon on a stick and ‘champagne’ means a glass of warm(ish) prosecco – but not when Fortnums gets involved. We’re talking a banquet. An actual banquet – oysters, crab, caviar – all as free-flowing and exquisite as the music and the general festive feel.
I tried to act cool. We all did. But secretly everyone couldn’t believe their luck that there was a virtually un-manned cheese stand offering as much as Stilton and quince jelly as you like (we learnt the hard way that there’s a really a limit to one’s ability to eat Stilton) and celebrities like Pixie Lott, James Nesbitt and Ben Goldsmith in tow. James Nesbitt and Stilton, is that the best combination ever? Probably.
Apart from being a generally lovely affair, the evening raised a staggering £200,000 for Rays of Sunshine charity, the UK charity dedicated to helping terminally ill children between the ages of three and eighteen. Here’s what we got up to in pictures, I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think @jellymalin: