The middle of July heralded a very British weekend for me. Back to back it was hit after hit of everything I love about England - tradition, the celebration of 'the season', romantic and sometimes slightly twee events but they are all things I love. I like routine, I like that the English summer season is always embraced and celebrated so enthusiastically, and I especially love what the sun does to us all in England when it comes out to play. The mood change is palpable! My mid-July weekend of Britishness was blessed with the very best of weather, here's what I got up to that weekend:
Friday the 12th of July - Buckingham Palace Coronation Festival.
The Festival was held in the gardens of Buckingham Palace to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen's Coronation (I love that we're still celebrating this!). The event was held for the great British brands (Donna Ida didn't seem to be present...hmm) that hold a Royal Warrant and gave them an opportunity to promote themselves. The Queen visited all the stands and there was a fantastic concert in the evening. I thought I was just going along for a cup of tea and a scone - I had absolutely no idea how fabulous it was going to be!
Arriving at Buckingham Palace
My date at the Palace - Bobby Dazzler
One of my favourite stands - I love Hunters!The concert stage in front of the Palace.
Joel's stand. The famous fabric store where I bought my wedding dress fabric.
Bobby Dazzler with his friend Mark Flanagan, the Queen's private chef.
Love this stand!
I can always trust Bobby Dazzler to find the champagne.
The perfect meal!
I loved The Ritz' stand. The champagne was flowing, of course.
The concert starts - so much energy and so much fun. I loved every minute.
Mid-concert snack from The Ritz.
Katie Melua was amazing!
The Feeling performed, totally unexpected and fantastic.
Katherine Jenkins performed later in the evening when the sun went down.
Hundreds of lanterns were brought out to close the show.
Leaving the magical Buckingham Palace at night.
Saturday the 13th of July - Grange Park Opera
Saturday saw us heading to Grange Park Opera with our friends Sir Desmond and Lady Norma Pitcher. Bobby Dazzler has known them for years and I love them both, Lady Norma is fabulous - always ready to discuss the season's trends and shopping. She's a girl's girl. I made the small mistake of having a massage at Urban Retreat at Harrod's that morning to try to tackle my very tight neck and shoulder problem. I go there because they are great but Ava takes no prisoners - she's brutal with my knots! That coupled with the heat of the day had me nodding off during the opera once or twice - Bobby Dazzler had one eye on the performance and one eye on me, keeping me upright. The operas at Grange Park are saving the wonderful old house from crumbling and there has been a lot of restoration in the past few years, all funded by the proceeds of the opera. So it's win-win, have a wonderful experience and do your bit to preserve history.
The approach to Grange Park.
How great is this sculpture - made of chicken wire!
A Dalek in the garden!
Sir Desmond and Bobby Dazzler
Dinner on the terrace - wonderful!
My wonderful friend Lady Norma. She's so stylish!
Bobby Dazzler and I. I was wearing my trusty Halston Heritage dress which was perfect for the evening.
A room on the way to restoration.
A train set runs through the floor in the concert hall.
Restoration and preservation is big at Grange Park.
I love how imaginative they've been with decorating the concert hall!
Inside the hall
Sunday the 14th of July - Lunch in the Cotswolds
In a perfect world, I would live in the Cotswolds on weekends, and London during the week. I'm a city girl but absolutely love the English countryside and like to escape to the country whenever I can. We went to visit our friends who live in a wonderful village for Sunday lunch and to lounge on the lawn in the afternoon while the kids played cricket and mucked about on the water slide. I was relatively inactive - except for around the lunch table where I contributed considerably! Being Australian, I love a BBQ :)
Dinner on the terrace - wonderful!
Pimms! Of course
Jessica's found a Ferrari in the barn....
I love dogs lounging around...
I love this picture of my friend Jessica.
Sunday the 14th of July - Henley Festival
Most years we go to Henley Festival with friends and this was a particularly important one - the festival is moving! We were there on the final night and it was great to be there for one last time in such a beautiful setting. There was all the usual madcap entertainment as well as Paloma Faith (who is just a tiny bit madcap).
Arriving at Henley Festival. I wore L'Agence with Rag & Bone sunglasses.
Totally normal at Henley...
To read more from Donna's Diary click here.