a london girl’s birthday treat day

:: by Lizzie


Firstly – huge apologies for the blogging hiatus. September was a complete fail and I didn’t blog at all! What with London Design Festival, the Islington Design District, trips to Paris and New York (it’s a hard life), as well as sourcing and prep for The SMUG Christmas SHOP, I really struggled to find the time to blog and fell out of what had become a blogging routine I was really enjoying. I’m pleased to say I’m back on top of things and shall be blogging again twice weekly from now on.


The good news is that loads has happened so I’ve got lots of nice things to fill you in on. One thing I had intended to blog about in September (ahem – apologies again) was that towards the end of August I turned 32. As an August baby, growing up I was lucky enough to have my birthday in the summer holidays. I always thought it was kinda weird when other kids came in to school on their birthdays and felt as though everyone should get their special day off, whatever the time of year. Many moons later and I still expect to not have to work on my birthday, so true to form, took the day off and had an eating/shopping/pampering day out with my mum. Here’s what we got up to.



E A T I N G :




A treat day out for me involves a lot of food, so we planned out priorities for breakfast, lunch and dinner a week or so before. We started with brunch at Hoi Polloi at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. I chose it partly because of my love of the rows of bright bulb lights and planting in its oh so stylish entrance, but the food itself certainly did not disappoint. We enjoyed everything we ate – even if mum thought I was a little nuts to go for a juice made from kale, spinach and chilli. All this health and fitness research is changing me! In short, Hoi Polloi was the perfect spot for a chilled but suitably glamorous brunch before traveling into town to get our shopping on.


One of my go to places to stop off at when out shopping in the West End with my mum is Dover Street Market. The interior styling and visual merchandising (as well as the crazy clothing and accessories) is really inspiring and always gets me excited and reinvigorated about being a shop keeper/stylist/buyer. My absolute favourite bit though is going to the top floor for a crumble and juice at Rose Bakery. The table for two by the window is our choice spot and we are always very well looked after (spoilt actually) because my friend Knomes is in charge. Things are always better when Knomes is in charge.


I had made a reservation at Rita’s back in north London for din dins so we knew we had that to look forward to (mmm… fried chicken) and that crumble would be enough to keep us going until later, so gobbled that up and got on with the shopping…



S H O P P I N G :




I’ve already mentioned one shop I love to go to for inspiration (side note – can’t afford anything for sale there) and I’m kinda gonna have to hail another one now – Margaret Howell. My mum is a big fan. A pretty big percentage of her wardrobe are choice Margaret Howell pieces and I’m always happy to go along for the ride. The small selection of homeware, books, magazines and even the vintage furniture are all worth a good look too. Everything is subtle, classic, beautifully made and feels as though it will last forever, along with achieving that understated chic look that it’s impossible not to love.


On to the places we actually spent a little bit of birthday dollar… The plan/priority shopping-wise was to focus on beauty purchases. I’ve been getting well into skincare and makeup thanks to Anna of Vivianna Does Makeup and had been making a bit of a birthday beauty wish list so the places it really went down were Space NK, Liberty, Fenwick’s Beauty Hall and Boots. My top picks/special birthday treats were as follows.




Space NK – By Terry Ombre Blackstar Cream Eye Shadow Stick in Misty Rock

Liberty – Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush

Fenwick – Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl Eye Pencil in Marlene Midnight

Boots – Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme CC Cream



P A M P E R I N G :




Birthday treat day with your mum = beauty treatment of some description no? We opted for Cowshed manicures and loved every minute. We sat in two huge white poofy armchairs next to each other and chatted away (until mum fell asleep because she was so relaxed) while the manicurists primped, preened and polished our nails. It really was the most pampering manicure I’ve ever had and I’d really recommend treating yourself some time. Loved the cucumber water too.


Perfect paws and beauty purchases in tow, we made our way home, each to our own flats (currently opposite each other!) so I could have a quick costume change/make up refresh and a catch up with Danny before meeting up with the rest of the gang for dinner at Rita’s. Special thanks and mentions need to go out to Ben and Gemma for the Violet Bakery Cookbook (keep your eyes open for some of the recipes being tried out for CAFE SMUG) and to Rosa and Olly for the amazing Rococo Chocolates. Having been lucky enough to read and eat these respectively, I would highly recommend both.


To top off and wrap up the most perfect of days and evenings, a huge platter of every desert on the menu arrived at our table, complete with candles and the whole Rita’s team singing happy birthday. It felt a bit like being a famous person! Seriously though, it was such a treat. Those Dulce de Leche Beignets! We even got a lift home with Ro and Ols (such a lazy bones, I know). What a thoroughly lovely and treat filled day. Thanks guys! What special treats do you look forward to on your birthday? And what makes your special day special to you? For me it’s spending the day surrounded by beautiful things, with beloved family and friends, in my favourite city in the world that I’m lucky enough to call home, London.