Happy New Year everyone and apologies for the delay in uploading this post. I’ve been on holiday and upon returning I discovered that my blog was down. All seems back to normal so here are my top five don’t miss suggestions for January 2013. Let’s start as we mean to go on on!

1. The Hollywood Costume exhibition at the V&A ends on 27th January 2013. For any movie fan, this is a must-see. Not only do you get to admire iconic costumes which defined your favourite screen characters but you are also presented with an insight into the creative process through which these costumes were conceived. From excerpts of screenplays to multimedia presentations of actors and directors talking between themselves, I would recommend giving yourself time to move between the displays. There is a lot to take in!

Hollywood Exhibition

2. More vintage Hollywood. Bob Willoughby: The Silver Age of Hollywood exhibition at Proud Chelsea ends on 13th January 2013. To find out why I think this exhibition is unmissable, have a read of my review post here.

3. You don’t believe in Dry January? Then don’t miss out on Embargo’s Season 1 – Episode 2: What exams night on 8th January 2013! Click here to find out more details.

4. There’s nothing better to help a girl get through the January blues than by feeling pampered. This month (and next), The Hand and Foot Spa are offering 25% savings on their Spa and Luxury Manicure and Pedicure treatments. The offer applies from Monday to Wednesday only.

5. If you cycle and live in Kensington & Chelsea, don’t miss your chance to have your say about cycling events and campaigns you’d like to see in the area. Bikeminded, who were responsible for the fabulous cupcake cycle tour and the styling Pinterest competition in conjunction with Harrods, will be running a focus group on 23rd January 2013 and they are looking for locals to take part. If you do, you will receive a cash thank you for your time. See Bikeminded’s blog for more info!

“Food is music to the body, music is food to the heart.”

– Gregory David Roberts

Barbarella’s relaunch party was such a blast that I was keen to return, to try the restaurant as soon as I could. So I headed back down there a few days later.

I had all sorts of imaginings on how the night would play out. With tables and banquets around the dance floor, Carlito’s Way did cross my mind. But a gangster’s den, Barbarella certainly is not.

Sitting at our table, there were a couple of large birthday parties as well as smaller tables of more intimate groups around us. One set seemed to have turned up for just the food whilst everyone else was there for the whole night.

When you arrive at the start of the evening, the tables are laid out and presented very tastefully: the glamorous dining experience is underpinned by an understated chicness.

Official Press Photo

And when you first look at the food menu, it is so easy to wonder about the quality of the dishes. After all, first and foremost, Barbarella’s first impression is clearly a nightclub. And from experience, late-night dining isn’t always the best – with a few rare gems scattered around London

But as soon as I tasted my first bite of the starter, any such musings had quickly dissipated. The prawn and lobster cocktail was too good to allow any further doubt to seep in. The wonderful 70s-esque presentation aside (and you know how I love most things served in a martini glass) – the ingredients were fresh and tasty. The prawn and lobster were juicy and the sauce was spot on.

For my main, I had the seared tuna loin with caramelised onions. Admittedly, I had relished most of it by the time I remembered to take a photo. So unfortunately, there is no photographic evidence of another well-presented dish. As for the tuna, it was cooked exactly how I like it. It’s so easy to overcook tuna. That’s why I hardly choose it when eating out. But in this circumstance, my request was translated eloquently onto my plate and my tuna was perfectly pink – and not a dull grey – in the middle.

For my dessert, I ordered the tiramisu which was heavenly! You know when you’re in a public place and the last thing you try to do is scrape every last bit of your pudding, off your plate? Well, that.

There was a custardy topping that increased its moreish appeal. I know, I know, tiramisu doesn’t have custard. But trust me when I say, this really works!

After dessert, the bf and I didn’t want to leave. The place was getting busier as more people were turning up for the club. So we decided to order another bottle of wine and stay longer. And after some time later and another empty bottle, it was time to stretch our legs and head to the bar.

Official Press Photo

As we paid the food bill and stood up, we headed around the corner to find that the bar was already quite packed out. Leaving the restaurant vibe and stepping into a bar, without having to leave the building was pretty awesome – especially as you felt like you’d walked into somewhere new.

In the meantime, the table cloths and cutlery were being taken away as diners finished their meals. And as we continued our circular tour of the venue, past the booths and onto the dance floor, it was time to burn off the yummy pudding until the early hours of the morning.

Am so going back! x

Barbarella’s website.

If you’ve ever walked past Stamford Bridge either to or from Fulham Broadway, you may have spotted a blue restaurant canopy along the way. The white writing says Barbarella and you may be forgiven for wondering what was beyond it.

I know I’ve been wondering. I’ve been intrigued for years and yet I’ve never had the initiative to pass under the canopy to investigate. To me the place had a 70s vibe. It felt stuck in time and I probably feared having to walk straight back out.

But last night, my curiosity was satisfied when I attended Barbarella’s relaunch party – and in three words, I loved it!

As I descended down the stairs and stepped into the venue, the vibe was already at ‘eleven’: an extra notch up. It was heaving and buzzing – and there was a lot of excitement in the air.

Taking a walk around, I was pleasantly surprised at the layout. It was bigger than I’d expected which meant plenty of space for the dance floor, chill out areas and the bar area. And I loved the mirrored walls. But then again, what did I expect? Jack Freud had enlisted the help of  Alice Wilson, of Raffles and The Brompton Club fame as well as Nick Valentine who co-founded of The Cuckoo Club.

Most of the night was spent on the dance floor: great tunes!

But Barbarella is also a restaurant, which I am intrigued to try too. How great to have somewhere to go to for dinner and a dance – literally. The seating areas have a glamorous touch so it won’t feel weird just getting up and dancing.

As for the staff, they are truly awesome. Admittedly, I was flattered by the barman who stopped serving everyone to make me a rose out of a paper napkin. What skills. He so knew how to wow a crowd. But it wasn’t just him. Everyone was so lovely and seriously, this is a big thing for me. I love places that don’t have attitude – where you can have a great time and not have a care in the world. Barbarella is one of those places.

A huge win! x

UPDATE: I have returned and I did try the restaurant. You can read about my experience, here.

So last night was Dukebox’s launch party and what a fun night it was!

The champagne was flowing with accompanying boozy marshmallows (fat-free too!):

The Hickory Dickory Dock and All The King’s Horses cocktails were delicious and very easily knocked back!

As was this cocktail … (its name escapes me). And don’t be put off by its greenness. It is really good!

Dukebox’s venue has enjoyed many incarnations since its Café des Artistes days – and I love what the new proprietors have done with it.

It was also great to see other bloggers at the party. I bumped into AG in Chelsea (in the middle):

As well as Catherine of Lux Life Blog:

And I spotted Rosie from The Londoner with a bunch of girlfriends (at the back):

Dukebox opens tonight and if you’re heading down there, have an awesome time!

ps. And if you’d like to see more photos from last night, click here to head over to my Facebook page.

I am SO excited we’re in September. Hurrah! This is my favourite month in the year and there is plenty to look forward to. Cue Earth, Wind & Fire!

1. If you love classic cars, flash cars, geeking out on cars then Chelsea AutoLegends kicks off tomorrow (Sunday 2nd September) at Royal Hospital Chelsea. The day will begin with a supercar run through the streets of London, so keep an eye out and to find out what other delights will be on offer, click here.

2. I’m counting down to my return to the Olympic Park next week but in the meantime, there is also The Belgravia Games to look forward to. More suitable to my gaming skillset: playing Connect Four and drinking cocktails, these games will be taking place from 7th until 9th September on the terrace of the Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel. To have even more of a reason to celebrate, the first 25 guests will receive a free Gin & Tonic each day. You can download your G&T voucher here.

3. Talking about cocktails, The Botanist will be celebrating London Fashion Week with show-stopping concoctions called Stella McCartney, Victoria Beckham and Vivienne Westwood. Available on the menu from 14th – 18th September, you can find out which ingredients are in each drink here. Happy clinking.

4. And of course there is the much anticipated opening of DUKEBOX which I wrote about here!

5. Finally, Fashion Night Out is back and is on Thursday 6th September. I love the Map Your Night feature on Vogue’s FNO website, which you can check out here!

There is so many other events and openings happening this month, what is in your diary?

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