The Artist is in Residence

I am in the unfortunate position of having every single member of my family – both parents, my sister, my husband and my son, as well as a good friend – celebrate their birthdays in the month around my annual Open House. It always makes life impossibly busy in April and May, both workwise and socially, as one birthday after another is celebrated.

However I reckoned by the end of April, when my other half turns a year older, I’d be a bit fed up with nonstop work, so I decided to give us both a couple of days off in celebration and I booked a little break in a boutique hotel. We packed our bags and headed off to central London with the Artist Residence hotel in Pimlico our destination.

We strolled down from Victoria station feeling distinctly like tourists in our own city, and as we approached the building we were marvelling at the mammoth first floor windows in the Victorian building. The reception gave a flavour of the hotel’s characterful decor – a heady mix of reclaimed rustic furniture, luxury Victoriana inspired fixtures and modern graphic artworks. We were delighted to discover that we had been upgraded to the Grand Suite, the room which boasted the three enormous windows, and the eclectic urban rustic theme continued in here with a wonderful open plan room with a magnificent claw footed bath.

We drank champagne from the hotel beakers, ate cupcakes and I had the most indulgent 4pm bubble bath looking out onto the streets of Pimlico below.

I had planned to take my man out to a private view of my friend Eryka Isaak at the Skylark Gallery near the Oxo Tower that evening and then dinner at the Mondrian Hotel next door, so I thought it would be rather stylish to travel down river Bond-style in a boat from Millbank and alight at Blackfriars Bridge. I had left us plenty of time to get to the pier, but somehow my efforts to dress up in heels and a nice frock was our undoing. Between being a bit drunk from the champagne and trying to manage the verging-on-obscene thigh-high split in my dress, I got flustered and took us to the wrong bridge, resulting in is missing the last boat of the evening. So after a frankly annoyingly long walk in high heels, we arrived at the gallery flustered for Eryka’s private view and late for supper. James Bond would have managed that journey with more panache!

However the walk afforded me a few lovely photo opportunities for what was a stunning sky in perfect evening light. And after a lovely meal at the Mondrian we took a cab back along the river to our fabulous hotel.

The next morning we took a stroll to Chelsea Farmers Market for brunch. I lived in Chelsea for about 15 years but I haven’t often been back since and so it was a bit of a walk down memory lane as well as a lovely urban ramble through the back streets of Chelsea, past the wonderful wisteria clad entrances to the grand houses of Cheyne Walk and back to Pimlico along the river.

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