As I rashly bought the highest heels I’ve ever owned as my wedding shoes (hello 5 inches) I’ve had to start wearing them in so I’m prepared to totter down the rustic path to the little chapel at the chateau in the South of France. In my own defense, I did buy them by accident as I didn’t realise how high they were until it was too late.
|Completely impractical (and they’re suede!)
When I bought the shoes in April it was hard to imagine it would ever be warm again. Now with July a matter of hours away, summer is here and the south of France will be hot. It may even be over 30 degrees which exceeds my ideal temperature by at least six degrees.
The thing is, I suffer from the terrible affliction of hot feet during the summer. It’s a truly horrible thing and can only be cured by extinguishing the poor, swollen, burning feet in cold (preferably) iced water and even then, the relief is only temporary.
Given that condition, I’m concerned about how my feet will cope in five inch heels on a hot day. I’m walking around the little flat practising and so far, all is well but France could be a very different story.
Perhaps I’ll stash a pair of emergency flip flops in the chapel…
Saturday morning and I toddled off into town to look at makeup and pretty things.
Somewhere along the way I have become very girly and truly love lingerie, high heels, handbags and makeup. Not all together and in an understated elegant way, of course.
And so I went to the Bobbi Brown counter at Selfridges and had a free makeup lesson for half an hour. I explained I was getting married in the south of France, that it would be hot and that I didn’t want to look shiny.
Half an hour later (and I confess, a lamb to the slaughter as I bought the lot) I walked out feeling pretty and landed right in the middle of the London Gay Pride parade.
Marching bands, drag queens, music pumping and throngs of people. How did that happen? There was no one there when I went in.
I wandered along until at Bond Street I realized I was stuck. No way forward except to shuffle slowly and no way back.
It was hot, claustrophobic, noisy and disorientating. I breathed deeply trying not to panic as the crowd slowly inched forward and people pushed and shoved around me. Finally, after what seemed like forever, the bottleneck dispersed and I stood, catching my breath on the edge of the crowd.
I decided to take myself to my favourite lunch place, Itsu, to buy lunch and take it to Regents Park to recover. A lovely treat.
After my impromptu picnic I decided enough shopping had been done, I couldn’t face Oxford Street again and so I strolled home through Primrose Hill enjoying a beautiful summer’s day. And then I spontaneously decided it was the perfect day for a Pimms and Wimbledon on the roof terrace. The quintessential English summer drink, with lemonade of course.
Once home though I looked in the mirror to see the results of the makeup makeover.
Hmm, the drag queens had some competition it would seem. Are three coats of mascara really necessary?
It appears I might need to practice before the wedding!
Friday evening and I set off to Islington to meet my aunt, uncle and cousin for dinner. Yorkshire comes to Islington and we were off to a French restaurant, a warm-up for the wedding!
You know you’ve lived in London for a while when £3.95 for a starter sounds outrageously cheap, a main course is £8.95 and dessert is a bargain at £2.95. Prices unheard of and yet, those were the prices at Le Mercury, Deuxieme, on Upper Street in Islington.
The food was ok. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t epic and there’s a good chance I may get food poisoning from the Moules Marineres as they tasted slightly dubious but so far so good and I’m still standing. I couldn’t fault the prices and it was good company so an excellent evening all in all.
And then I staggered off to Holloway Road (the Thatchers were hurting) to get a late tube home.
Now there’s an experience…
Friday, and I’ve suddenly realised that this is my last free weekend before setting off to France on July 13th. Which is only in two weeks…
The next two weekends are booked up with friends and family and so it’s time to get serious as I still haven’t decided what I’m doing with my hair and makeup. Oh, and we don’t have any music organised yet so that’s not much of a party!
This weekend I’m planning a trip to Selfridges for a little makeup experimentation. This could backfire horribly as I tend to be fairly natural however perhaps this is the time to up the ante especially as it looks as though it will be hot and the last thing I want is a shiny nose!
I may also venture into the world of lingerie while I’m there as, accused of being unromantic by my betrothed and it’s no good saying I’m from Yorkshire, there may need to be something pretty in my suitcase.
And so the wedding plans continue… a busy weekend ahead.
Well, great excitement, I only have a 0.9% chance of having a heart attack or heart disease. Well done my little black piece of coal, I mean, my heart. I’m good for another ten years at least, unless, as I pointed out, I get hit by a bus!
My cholesterol is very good, my BMI is 19 or something and generally I’m in excellent shape. And then the doctor said… for a woman my age.
Was that really necessary?!
You know you’ve hit the big time when you get a letter from the NHS offering you a free Over 40 health check! Life doesn’t get much better!
Yes, that’s my afternoon fun today. From cocktails at the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc and swimming in the Med on Sunday, to an only slightly less glamorous cholesterol and general health test in Primrose Hill this afternoon.
Possibly the most depressing part is that it’s for the Over 40s. How did that happen?
I am more than happy to have a free health check though and have secretly been enjoying the agonisingly slow service on the NHS after years of paying for health insurance in the US.
Stop the excitement, I can barely wait to find out my cholesterol level!
After a very long day I came home to find that everything in the little flat in Chalk Farm was completely covered in a fine layer of white dust. The decorators had been in and had left a terrible mess.
And the fridge door had been open for four days.
It seemed like a good idea to go to bed.
5am in France meant it was 4am in London. Time to get up and head back to the airport. Off to work. Ouch!
Despite the early start, I love being able to fly into London and go straight to work. To me it’s the ultimate commute and while there’s a certain amount of culture shock (from the beauty of Nice to the grunge of Camden) I feel I’ve milked every last drop out of the weekend.
Now it’s time to hang up the bikini (only for the next three weeks) and put on the emergency tights which are always in my handbag and head to London.
A long day ahead.
On Sunday we drove around the coast to the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc on the Cap d’Antibes and discovered a piece of paradise so far unknown to us. www.hotel-du-cap-eden-roc.com
The Hotel du Cap Eden Roc is one of the grand dames of the Riviera with royalty, celebrities and the wealthy elite enjoying one of the most beautiful views of the Côte d’Azur.
One of my favourite drives winds around the bord du mer from Juan les Pins to Antibes and having seen the spectacular hotel on previous occasions, we decided it was time to have a proper look.
After avoiding valet parking (one of my pet hates on principle) we wandered through the elegant, understated foyer and down through the pristine gardens to the pool and bar. The crystal clear turquoise infinity pool clung to the rocky cliff and in the waves below, pontoons lay waiting for those inclined to swim out and bask on their own private lido.
We sat facing the spectacular view and ordered our drinks. For me, a French 75, a delicious and decadent combination of champagne, gin and lemon juice (2/3 gin, 1/3 lemon juice, 1 teaspoon fine sugar and top up with brut champagne) while Letad opted for an old faithful, an excellent, refreshing gin and tonic, an ideal aperitif.
|The hotel and the Med beyond
We sat drinking in the ambiance with cool, perfectly-made drinks in hand while we discussed the various patrons of the restaurant and pondered over the relationship of a very old, paunchy man and a much younger, slimmer woman. Was it love or simply an exchange of commodities?
We watched as beautiful yachts slipped silently through the waves and anchored in front of us and felt we had discovered a piece of paradise on the Riviera. Eden indeed.
|An idyllic setting
Eventually we reluctantly tore ourselves away from the view and set off to drive a little further around the coast as we had packed a picnic lunch and were ready for a swim in the cool azure water.
We’d like to go back to Eden one day.
It was a weekend of sun, swimming and picnics as almost every meal was spent sitting on the beach absorbing the warmth and the ambiance.
We started on Friday in Antibes, wound our way round to Nice for a picnic lunch on Saturday and then, with no reason to go home, we decided to replenish supplies and drive further around the coast to VilleFranche.
It was getting late in the day, the shadows had already reached VilleFranche and so we drove a little further in search of the late sun and just before Cap Ferrat, we discovered a secret cove.
Still bathed in golden light, families played together in the shallow bay while small boys threw rocks in the water in a way that only small boys can. We sat on the beach, ate yet another picnic and chatted as the sun slowly started to set behind the cliffs beyond.
At last, with a chill in the air and skin still damp from swimming it was time to head home. The full moon illuminated our way as we drove inland to the village and the little house above the Boulangerie.
A beach to remember.