A bygone age…..


It was my birthday on Wednesday.    Not a particularly special birthday, although I believe all birthdays are special.  I took the day off work as I was told we were going for dinner somewhere in London.  Since we were going into town, I decided to make a day of it and booked two tickets to the first day of the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate.

The exhibition was breath-taking.  So many beautiful paintings, all in one place.  Some I knew well and some I had never seen before.  Some artists totally unknown to me too.  We spent a couple of hours there, entranced and transported by the ethereal quality of the colours and the beauty of the compositions.

I did know by now where dinner was to be – we were dining at The Ritz!  


And WOW it was!  Stepping through the doors was like stepping back in time.  There is an elegance, a serenity, an atmosphere that cannot be described in words.  The lighting, the mirrors, the high ceilings – it felt as if we had walked straight back into the 1920s.

Dinner was fabulous.  Seated in the most beautiful room, with a quartet playing gently in the corner, we were served by waiters in lovely waistcoats who made us feel as if we were the only guests.  The meal was delicious, I had salmon, and it was mouth-wateringly beautiful, both to eat and to look at.  A sommelier served us the wine of his choice to compliment the food and that was the icing on the cake for me.  Everything just felt so ‘right’.

I imagined my great-aunt and uncle visiting the Ritz in the thirties, socialites that they were, and I saw a room full of ladies in beautiful long dresses and men in tuxedos with live music playing gently in the background.  On Wednesday, there was no such splendour but, in it’s hey day, the Ritz must have been dazzling.

We finished with a glass of Calvados and walked back through the building to the reception area and then back out onto the busy street again, back to reality and 2012.

The whole day was like a time travel experience to me.  I won’t forget this birthday.  

Like I said, all birthdays are special but this one was just that little bit more special to me.  Thank you, KD x



Spring Onions


I’ve been trying to get the hang of my lovely new camera this weekend, my birthday present from KD

It’s very technical and I don’t pretend to understand how to use it but

with a bit of guidance from my daughter’s boyfriend

I am starting to learn how to do different things with it

I therefore give you


Anyone for canapes? No thanks, mine’s an amuse-bouche…….


I’ll start by saying that I didn’t make it to boxing class last night.  I am still having difficulty managing stairs so I thought it best to rest up for another day or so

That doesn’t mean I won’t go back. I shall make it to tomorrow mornings class and it will be good

Anyway, this weekend is my BIRTHDAY weekend.  Not actually my birthday, that’s on Monday, but the celebrations begin today!

It’s not a significant or special birthday, I will be 52.  The sort of birthday you don’t shout about but a birthday nevertheless

Tonight I am being taken to a very nice boutique restaurant in the West End of London.  I am very much looking forward to it

The menu looks gorgeous and I am sure I will have a wonderful time

There will also be MISE EN BOUCHE as part of the dining experience

Now, being the philistine I obviously am, I had never heard of MISE EN BOUCHE before last year when friends spoke of these little hors d’oeuvre once.  I know they are ‘nibbles’ but that is about it

So, I’ve looked it up

I have discovered we call them AMUSE-BOUCHE here.   Which I find amusing in itself.  Probably someone misheard it once and it stuck.  Personally I like amuse-bouche better as it means entertainment for the mouth and that’s got to be good. ‘Mise en bouche’ means ‘setting for the mouth’ – not nearly as appealing.  No wonder they changed it…..

Anyway, they look the same as canapes

They ARE canapes

Canapes I know are those little munchy things on a platter, yummy. Obviously they are so last year now

Which begs the questions –

Are amuse-bouche the new canapes?

Were canapes the new Cheesy Wotsits?

How come we never had “amuse-bouche” or “mise en bouche”, or whatever they are called – or even canapes – when I was growing up?

It’s all a bit pretentious if you ask me

But I will still scoff a plateful tonight – it would be rude not to