Champain (yes, champagne and pain!)

The London Diaries

Oh dear, what a stressful week. You guys have probably been equally busy with the fashion week, but being a journalist isn’t all parties and glam events… Weeks like this just make me long for a quiet country retreat, some Sophie-time away from the hustle and bustle of London.

My mum has offered to take me to Lucknam Park in Wiltshire. It’s one of the most adorable gems of historic spas near London and a perfect getaway to de-stress and bathe in tranquillity. Hmmm, I am thinking of hot baths, massages, long walks and afternoon tea, sauna and delightful dinners… I just wish it wasn’t Wiltshire (it reminds me of him). Either way, just now, there is only me, my coffee and my London home. So, what use is it to daydream? Seriously, I don’t know when I have been happier that it is weekend.

My week started packed with an humungous amount of pre-LFW meetings and events. My friend Emma (who frequents the same circle of fashion events) and I had worked out a master plan of how to survive; consisting – of course – mainly of oodles of coffee and champagne.

Nevertheless, impeccable appearance and highly sophisticated styling are essential – after all, this is London! My strained budget forced me to content myself with borrowing a couple of beautiful PRADA vintage frocks from Kate, as well as a beautiful white sequin dress she ordered from Ida Sjöstedt that I paired with a cute mink jacket. How about, ultra skinny jeans, a semi-transparent silk shirt and the mink-jacket for an informal pre-LFW press dinner on Tuesday, I thought… or maybe resort to the always suitable little black dress?

The Hampstead Mansion called for the latter (or so I thought) and topped vintage Chanel off with a purple snakeskin belt and a dark grey leather jacket. On my way up North I musde about my life. Oh, it’s pretty good and all, but still… I hadn’t heard from Leon and it was troubling me to think of him – maybe with another woman?

Dinner was a noisy affair and when I finally made my way home, I was 3 telephone numbers richer. Would I call the guys? Maybe. The week flew by in a blur of colourful, chichi parties and Friday dawned way too soon. I was cutting it very fine when I hurried towards the Waldorf Hilton at just before 10am, still bleary eyed and headachy from a boozy (and dating-wise quite unproductive) night before.

However, Fyodor Golan and the truly spectacular designs catapulted me into fashionista heaven. What a start into LFW!!! A good 15 hours later, I found myself with aching feet, swollen hands (yes, constant clapping does that to you) and very little voice left (try shouting questions over the backstage-kerfuffle for a day and you’ll know what I mean). Mercifully, I had not agreed on covering Saturday morning, which meant that I would miss the intriguing Huishan Zhang amongst others, but could not have done it for the world.

Yesterday passed in a haze of champain (yes, champagne and pain!) and a whirl of colours, textiles, designs and dreams that would make grown up women weep with pleasure and longing. Funnily, what I remember most vividly is the dazzling smile of an American fashion editor, who caught my eye when he rescued a tiny-waisted Chinese model from being trampled by an oncoming crowd of eager journalists. The way he swept her up in his arms and carried her to safety was endearing; and I found myself wishing it was me. He must have seen my wistful smile, because he caught up with me a couple of shows later…

I am determined. If he hasn’t called me until tomorrow morning, I will go on a date with the American pretty-boy… but I am getting ahead of myself. Where did I leave the story? Oh yes… the night I was reunited with him. Leon.

When he had pulled me into the dark, warm stables he pushed me backwards against the wall and kissed me roughly. I was taken aback by the force with which he pressed his mouth onto mine. Why had he denied our acquaintance all evening long if he desired me after all?

I pushed him away, just long enough to draw breath. God, he was a good kisser! But I was ready to yield just yet. “Leon,” I breathed, “I don’t understand. Why..?” But he cut me off with another long and sensuous assault on my lips. Eventually, he broke away and looked at me. “Please,” he sighed “don’t ask me questions. I cannot give you an answer. Not one that would make you happy, anyway.”

He was silent. Then he sighed again and stroked the side of my face lightly. “I wish it were easier. But I have to ask you to maintain silence about whatever has happened and will happen between us.” He looked at me intently and I noticed not only concern but also affection and warmth in his dark eyes. “Will you do that for me? Please?”

What should I do? He was promising me everything and nothing. Why? I felt confused, but also oddly elated. He wanted me! Slowly, I nodded in agreement and once more, his arms embraced me until there was only me and him.

The night had been fading into a bright golden dawn when I slowly walked across the dewy grass, deep in thought. I wouldn’t see him in the morning. He was leaving London and he had not told me when to expect him back. Not asking questions had been part of the bargain we had sealed with such sweet love-making.

Thinking of it now makes me feel light with desire and anticipation. Luckily, it is Sunday morning and I am quite alone in the flat. Spending a whole week with only a memory to cling on to has left me aroused and … slightly frustrated.

I close my eyes and try to recall his gentle touch. I can almost feel his warm, strong hands gripping my slender waist, holding me tightly, making me feel both safe and desired. My pulse quickens as I run the tips of my fingers down my neck towards my belly, softly circling my nipples. Desire charges through me like an electric current and my hands know what to do…

Killing kittens. I should not have to… I should go out and meet someone else. I hate the fact that Leon is engulfed by secrets. I know nothing about him. Nothing except that I want him, want him badly. Argh! I could cry out loud in frustration. I long for him, ache for his touch, want to feel his breath on my ear as he whispers my name. I miss him so much it almost hurts.

And yet… all this secrecy makes my imagination run wild. Why can he not openly meet me? And when will I see him again? It has been a week and I am starting to feel slightly desperate. What if… what if I will never see him again? I don’t want to dwell on such thoughts. Kate is right; whenever you feel as if you are losing a man, do something good for yourself. Look fabulous, buy something nice, or go on a date and have a guy admiring you!

This shall be my next week’s resolution: if I do not hear from Leon, I will buy an amazing dress (and maybe the heart-stopping high-heels I saw last week in Mayfair…), try out a new hairstyle and go on a date with that friend of Kate’s she has been dying to set me up with (who cares if he is not the one – I am in need of male attention)!


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…


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