The London Diaries: Classy In The City

The London Diaries

Late November. Sunday morning. What is there on earth that could be more enticing than a lazy morning in bed. What do you need? A good cup of your favourite coffee, a sweet little something (in my case, it is always sweet, I know thought that there are some girls who prefer savoury treats with their morning coffee) and a good read.

I have myself propped up on several feathery-soft pillows and brought in a good old-fashioned tray bearing my oversized pink coffee mug, a couple of crisp-on-the-outside-but-fluffy-and-soft-on-the-inside bread rolls from Paul’s next door and my favourite jam (strawberry, rosehip, vanilla and pink champagne). Perfect! There could not be a better moment to tell you about last week.

Indeed, last Tuesday’s miserable call had me shaken.

I started into the week carefully avoiding all topics that could lead me into thinking about relationships.  It was just not what I wanted to dwell on right now (or ever..). Even though I had had good news from Sarah – Greg had apparently called her three times in the first few days of her spontaneous departure, the snares of love, so vividly demonstrated during this call, made me want to run from it all.

To take my mind of things, I chose to go hunting for a new winter coat. Shopping simply seems to brighten the day, whatever mean people may say about growing up, getting a real life and so forth…

It was Thursday. With a vague yet quite narrowed notion of what I wanted, I made my way over to Knightsbridge – always a decent start for a good long shopping day.  I have always had a weakness for soft, luscious fur. Not that I need a fully fledged coat. I leave this to old South Ken ladies and wannabe Hollywood starlets. No, I had something else, something much more subtle in mind…

Around this time of the year, where everyone is looking for warmth and comfort it can be a tad difficult to find something unique. I made my way down Sloane Street, venturing here and there, wherever a coat caught my eye. After a good few hours of browsing I had seen a couple of gorgeous coats at Yves Saint Laurent and Browns. At Burberry’s a black fur trim hooded duffle coat caught my eye.

Nothing really Sophie quite yet (apart from Yves Saint Laurent which I could not even dream of buying). Wistfully, I took refuge in Harrod’s food haven. I wandered through the lusciously decorated halls, taking in smells, colours, shapes and textures.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous, I thought,  to cook with all these ingredients? There I was, gazing longingly at creamy little cakes and tarts, oozing sweet delicousness. Rich and soft chocolate ganache swirls were sitting neatly next to light pink fairy cakes decorated with candied violets and smooth lemony mini tarts.

But then… who would I share the results of my culinary adventures with?

Now, that sounds depressing. It’s not though – it’s the truth. Of course there is my beloved Kate. And yes, we do share the occasional bottle of wine and may even cook something every now and again. But then, she is so busy and hardly ever at home. And I cannot earnestly cook a delicious dinner all for myself. Or can I?

And as I was standing there, all of a sudden I was wishing for someone to be there. Someone to share a home cooked dinner with, someone to cuddle up to on cold winter evenings, to warm more than just your bare feet and icy hands…

I was wishing for someone to be there so much that I was momentarily confused. Was this me? Could this really be the Sophie that had only hours ago rejected the idea of a relationship so completely? But then: wouldn’t it be nice to meet a man who shares my passion for food? Not just someone who takes me to fancy restaurants and tries to impress with his knowledge about the differences in champagne. A man, who is adventurous when it comes to trying new things and not afraid of being seen in the kitchen.

I pulled myself together and focused on the display of sugary perfection in front of me. I could take a proper baking class, I thought. Why not? I could become another Peggy Porschen or Cynthia Barcomi (I cannot resist venturing into her Deli whenever I am in Berlin – her New York cheesecakes are heavenly and the chocolate gateau so rich and moist that it melts when you look at it. But then, the quiches and salads are amazing too and a much healthier choice….).

I had half decided to take away a selection of treats, when I realised that I wasn’t actually going to… why would I? I would hardly eat them myself and who would I share them with? Frowning, I uprooted myself from where I had been standing for what seemed like half an eternity, and retreated into a corner where I stood observing the shoppers. Who bought all this? I had never stopped to think.

I watched mostly well dressed ladies and some Filipinas with well-dressed snotties. Hardly any men… Of course, it was daytime. Where would men go to shop for good ingredients, I wondered vaguely.

Slowly I made my way to the exit, allowing myself to dwell on a plethora of opportunities related to cooking lessons and food-loving amateur-chefs. I was past Laduree before I noticed (something that does not often usually happen as I cannot resist to go inside to nibble on a macaroon or at least to drink in the heavenly atmosphere) and well on my way into Walton Street and didn’t turn back.

I passed Jak’s Cafe on the left side of the street and decided to put my plan, premature as it was, into operation straight away and ask if they offered cooking lessons. The crowd at Jak’s is usually good fun, not overly “South Ken”ish and I had the sudden vision of me sitting at the long table directly by the window talking animatedly to someone who had just shared an amazing experience with me.

A few minutes later I left the place, laden with beautifully homemade Mediterranean salads, but sadly without news – no they didn’t offer any cooking classes. Blast! I decided to go straight home, eat some of my food and research online for more options. Surely, a place like London would be full of cooking classes? But even so, how was I to find the right one, with an atmosphere that I liked and people that I could connect with??

The evening passed quickly with me hunting for the perfect place to “make man meet food” and it was well past midnight before I finally closed my laptop. My room was semi-dark, full of the scent of my  new candle (try Lux by Arty Fragrance – the maker, Elisabeth de Feydeau is a historian and parfumeur, who has beautifully re-invented the scents of Marie Antoinette’s court) and I felt sleepy after the extensive reading and a couple of glasses of deep red french wine. Dreamily I watched the shadows on the wall, cast by the flickering fire.

I must have dozed off. When I awoke it was nearly dawn and I felt wretchedly tired and worn. I had, however, made up my mind. Next week, I would take part in a cooking class. With this resolution and the lesson to look forward to, I jumped out of bed and got dressed. If I was to do this, I would do it properly – and as we all know: With cooking (and who knows, maybe with love?), preparation is everything!

Maybe I will meet Mr Right. Maybe I will meet Mr Right Now. And maybe I won’t meet either. I will however definitely have a good time!

Looking forward to a culinamorous adventure,

xx Sophie


Having skidded headlong into my thirties, completely unprepared for what was expecting me, has probably been the best that has ever happened to me. Dating has never been more intriguing - life has never been more amazing! Laugh and cry with me on my way through the often fantastic and sometimes abysmal London dating scene…