Renee

Shoe seduction, a romantic hotel and prison: the verdict!

Last week’s blog heralded once of the largest social media responses I’ve received in terms of curiosity – lunch at Brixton Prison!  My verdict: It was fabulous!  The food was delicious and presented as beautifully as in any top London restaurant or five-star hotel.  Delicate attention to detail, perfectly cooked dishes and a restaurant with an ambience that can’t be faulted. The staff were delightful – and no, we didn’t ask our waiter what he was in for!  Although one insensitive chap did ask if they serve porridge…

Once through the prison gates, having navigated the security screening and been escorted beyond the heavily locked doors, you could be in any restaurant anywhere in the world.  A glance through the window may remind you that this is no ordinary eatery, but eyes kept firmly inside the room retains the illusion that it’s a free world… which hopefully it soon will be for the lovely staff we met.  I truly hope they find gainful employment ‘out here’ – as many of their ex-colleagues already have.  This is a wonderful project that benefits everyone – you can read more about it here.

The V&A opened late on Friday, allowing me an eleventh hour chance to visit the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition.  This stunning collection of shoes and boots spanned history from the gold-leafed sandals of ancient Egypt to today’s much sought after elaborate and dramatic designs by contemporary designers.

The exhibition opened with a reminder that our childhoods were partly framed within a storybook world, where a glass slipper could transform a maid into a princess and special boots could make us fly.  Click our red sparkly heels three times and we’re back in Kansas?  Yes, exactly!  It also suggested that our choice of shoes has consequences that can reveal our true selves. The marketing material said, “Shoes punish and reward, elevate and entrap, speed and hinder through their powers of transformation.”

Footwear has always symbolised high social status, often making a clear statement about the wearer’s financial standing.  I think it gives a clearer indication of people’s tastes.  I clomped around the museum in my Hogarth Dr Martens, as the mile long walk to Brixton Prison earlier in the day – battling forceful winds – wasn’t helped by my suede stilettos, and my feet begged for a reprieve from heels.  But I’m not ashamed to admit that my Jimmy Choo boots came from eBay!  I don’t think it impacts at all negatively on my social standing.  On my standing up straight and not falling over standing, maybe…

1398389_10151981235781255_1362713167_oThe exhibition focused on the seductive power of shoes and some amazing examples were displayed of sexy, passionate-looking creations.  By contrast, the collection of 800 pairs of shoes that fuelled one man’s obsession – ladies’ shoes, boxed up and never worn – was simply creepy. Anyway, it was a brilliant exhibition but it’s finished now, so if you missed it you can make do with this photo of my shoes, circa 2013!  (Collection incomplete – if anyone would like to treat me to a pair of black patent Laboutin classics I would say thank you very much…)

Whilst still in South Kensington, we ate at the Cambio de Tercio Tapas restaurant that I can only describe as a different quality to any Tapas I’d tasted previously.  Wonderful little plates of deliciousness!  Piers Morgan was in the restaurant too; I wondered if I mention him in my blog whether he will mention me in his.  Funnily enough, this weekend’s Mail showed not.

Staying at The Gore Hotel in South Kensington was a treat.  The iconic Edwardian hotel boasts a clientele including, in the earlier days, Judy Garland and Nellie Melba, with huge portraits of its more recent regular guests, the Rolling Stones, adorning the bar walls – strangely in keeping with the historic wood panelling, although I can’t explain why.  Robbie Williams (whom I like) and Gary Barlow (who irritates me) met here to reform Take That, and a whole host of other musical, creative and arty people frequent this beautiful, romantic hotel. (Good review from ESD Magazine here!)

I’m fairly certain I’ve used these lyrics for a previous blog, but very appropriate this week for all sorts of reasons…  ‘I once met a man with a sense of adventure; he was dressed to thrill wherever he went.  He said “Let’s make love on a mountain top, under the stars on a big hard rock.”  I said “In these shoes?  I don’t think so!”’ (Here’s the full version on Pinterest!!)

I’ll be on holiday next week and may or may not post a blog, depending on whether I’m organised or not.  Thank you for bearing with me if I don’t.  But anyway, if I’m not here, I’ll still be there: @WeekendWitch.

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