Hope the photos below help to demonstrate that it was another '7 teddy' birthday
Cannot thank my mother, Kathy, Alejandro, Four Seasons, John & Bilal, Jolee etc enough for all they did to help to make it such a memorable birthday again.
Hope the photos below help to demonstrate that it was another '7 teddy' birthday
New Year's Eve With Mum & Dad Again & England's Lockdown3 - Shrewsbury/ London - December 2020/ January 2021
For a second year I skipped New York in favour of New Year's Eve in Shrewsbury with mum & dad. Mum's sublime cooking, wines from dad and even getting to spend New Year's Day with my gorgeous niece, before she flew to spend the Orthodox Christmas in Moscow with her mother, made it such a special time.
On New Year's Day my friend who lives in the Burj Khalifa sent me photos of watching the Dubai fireworks from inside his apartment. Mind-blowing!
I returned to London on the direct Avanti West Coast train in First Class but Lockdown3 in England was announced shortly after this. I now combine exercise with shopping by walking to Fortnums to undertake my food shopping. This is a treat a younger me would not have believed I would ever have been able to do. I also returned to London to find elegant gifts from the Four Seasons George V in Paris.
I am doing my best not to let standards slip, despite everything, & hope the photos below help to demonstrate this. Keep safe everyone. We will get through this together.
Despite London moving to Tier 4, we managed to have another very special family Shropshire Christmas.
With fine wines chosen by dad; mum's legendary cooking and my niece there, it could not have gone any better.
I gave a Chanel gift to mum; Tanners Wines & Fortnums gifts to my brother & father; a Steiff gift to my charming niece and my godson loves his Swiss Army Knife, with his name engraved on the blade. I gave some of my best gifts this year.
I received Veuve Clicquot champagne; The Glenlivet whisky; Silent Pool gin; Paul Smith socks; The White Company sleep products; Elton John's new book; a personalised mug from a friend in Qatar that I treasure; an umbrella that is a piece of art from Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park etc. So happy with all my beautiful/ thoughtful gifts too.
Hope the photos below illustrate how lucky I feel to have such outstanding friends & a one-off family.
Today I learnt my brother had sorted out his flight home. This, combined with the fact my sweet young niece will be in Shropshire for Christmas, means my COVID-19 Shrewsbury Christmas is shaping up well.
Last week John (GM of 45 Park Lane) showed me their stunning new swimming pool. I was one of the first non-staff members to see it, and have agreed not to post my photos, but can assure people it is one of the most beautiful indoor pools have ever seen.
This made me think about the fact I was shown the Private Members Club at Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square, before its members, and stayed at Four Seasons Resort: Dubai at Jumeirah Beach & Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay before they were open to the public. My meeting with Four Seasons Founder & Chairman Mr Sharp, as his private home in Toronto, really did change my life.
On the #travelblog front, it was also interesting that Grant Campbell has been appointed as the first GM of Nobu Hotel London Portman Square & Anne Golden at the first GM of Pan Pacific London. Despite the damage the COVID-19 restrictions have wreaked on the hospitality industry, it does not seem to have reduced my extensive network of General Manager contacts.
England's lockdown2 was made better for me by more Daniel Humm breakfast granola from Claridge's. I am still using the Davies & Brook jar it came in this time and was honoured to be one of the only people to see the Claridge's lobby during lockdown2. I also managed another Shrewsbury trip, ladened down with Fortnum & Mason gifts again.
People who see me over Christmas & New Year should feel free to ask me about the November 2020 photos below. Hope everyone has a special Christmas & better 2021!
Featured in The Sunday Times Wine Club Blog & My Yayoi Kusama La Grande Dame 2012 Veuve Clicquot Arrived - Shrewsbury/ London - October 2020
October 2020 was the month when my friend Will Lyons, The Sunday Times wine critic, featured my photo in The Sunday Times Wine Club blog and my Yayoi Kusama designed La Grande Dame 2012 Veuve Clicquot arrived & it looked even more spectacular than I had hoped for.
However, it was also the month of my niece's 10th birthday & I am even more proud of the job we did making that so special and to ensure her half-term was full of fun, despite her mum having to be in Moscow & her dad in Dublin. A special mention has to go to Kerry Jones at Bloom for Budding Artists in Shrewsbury for her Yayoi Kusama inspired Halloween pumpkin prints workshop. I took it as a fortuitous omen that this was being run!
Despite two trips to Shropshire to support family, ladened down with Hamleys and Fortnum & Mason gifts, I did manage to try the London 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' experience in Harrods. The room is exquisitely decorated and the staff better than in New York but the food disappointing, compared with my scrambled eggs with truffles in Manhattan. It did not help that, as the first booking of the day (10am), I had to wait outside in the cold rain for the doors of The Tiffany Blue Box Cafe at Harrods to open at 10am.
I also bought Lebanese wine again in October and would encourage people do what they can support that beleaguered country. At the same, I did all I could to promote The Market Hall Shrewsbury, with its high quality fresh local produce.
Before 'Lockdown 2' was announced I also managed to squeeze in a delightful afternoon tea at The Wolseley, with one of my most legendary hotel contacts; a sublime Gordon Ramsay Sunday lunch at The Savoy Grill; & collect more superb Dorchester hotel flowers from designer florist Philip Hammond. While collecting the latter, I was able to have long chats with Robert (GM of The Dorchester) and John (GM of 45 Park Lane). All this means I am now 'ready' for the next 4 weeks without visiting a hotel.
With England now in COVID-19 'Lockdown 2', & the results of the US Election still uncertain, hope my photos from last month below help to raise everyone's spirits a little. Good luck to us all!
Light at the End of the Tunnel or Another Train Coming? - COVID-19 (Coronavirus) - Shropshire & London, UK - July 2020
July 2020 was the month I restarted swimming, buying new Cayman Islands style Vilebrequin swim shorts to celebrate, and exercising with personal trainer Bart again. We did this outside with breathtaking views of Tower Bridge. I was even part of a photo shoot at Virgin Active in Mayfair, as I will feature on the new Virgin Active website.
It was also the month where I was part of the reopening of 45 Park Lane & Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park; obtained my Turnbull & Asser face mask, with VIROFORMULA virus killing filters; had my first pint for 121 days with dad in The Admiral Benbow in Shrewsbury, the landlady Claire there was ahead of London with her anti-COVID-19 bar screen; drank Shrewsbury wine with mum & dad at Hencote in Shropshire; had a haircut at Truefitt & Hill, following in the footsteps of Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill & Frank Sinatra; Philip Hammond at The Dorchester created a spectacular new headdress for my Christian Lacroix wearing teddy bear from Bangkok; I attended a sublime lunch at Scott's in Mayfair with my Qatar friends; & ate caviar and drank gin from Kyoto, Japan, for breakfast, outside at 45 Jermyn Street, behind Fortnum & Mason. The Head of UK Retail at Fortnum & Mason now wants to meet www.sifrew.com.
It has been another unbelievable month in my life & I just hope the move to the 'new normal' in the UK continues. Feel free to ask me about the photos below, when we next meet.
Despite experiencing Fortnum & Mason & Avanti West Coast First Class train travel alone; a Daniel Humm Claridge's Fried Chicken dinner at home; showers with Aromatherapy Associates oils, my Frette sheets & my Dorchester hotel bed here in my Barbican London place; seeing a Red Arrows display on VE Day by Palace of Westminster; another spectacular Dorchester hotel roses bouquet specially created for me by Philip Hammond; walks in St James's Park looking at the black swans & Buckingham Palace etc, the UK lockdown since 23 March 2020 has been too long and the UK's new travel quarantine rules wreck www.sifrew.com and so many of my work plans.
My dad's birthday next weekend, & a 'physically distanced' picnic in Green Park with friends from my Qatar days, has made me think how much a miss hugging my mum, swimming & my personal training. Look forward to answering questions about the photos below, when we next meet!
Off for another walk now to try to drop some of the weight gained in the last few months.
Si Frew has lived in the UK, Bermuda, Qatar, Cyprus & the Cayman Islands. During this time he met Whoopi Goldberg (in Claridge's), Mike Tyson (in the Concorde Lounge at JFK) , Gordon Ramsay (in the Doha Four Seasons), Chris Eubanks (in The Dorchester), Cherie Blair (in Bermuda & again in the Doha Four Seasons) etc. There are funny stories attached to all these interactions, feel free to ask Si about them when you meet him.