Hotel Chocolat

Our Rendezvous at Hotel Chocolat on October 11th proved to be pure genius on every level. Nestling in the heart of buzzy Covent Garden, Hotel Chocolat is an absolute gem of a venue. We were provided with a great room to entertain our guests and what a guest list it was! We were looked after in the most perfect style by Hotel Chocolat’s truly wonderful staff, who helped create a delicious ambience that set us up for a splendid night.


Sipping on prosecco from the moment we arrived, we were soon supping on stunning canapés provided by the kings of cocoa cuisine, the chefs at Rabot 1745, a charmingly eccentric restaurant overlooking bustling Borough Market. The restaurant is named after the Rabot cocoa estate founded on St. Lucia in 1745 and we were delighted to discover just how amazingly versatile an ingredient chocolate can be. We sampled red onion marmalade and cacao goats curd tartlet (mmm), glazed Welsh rarebit and spinach & nib butter on a toasted English muffin (this is making me hungry again), Scottish lobster & brioche with white chocolate mayonnaise (OK, enough), roast beef, mini Yorkshire pudding, spiced chocolate sauce (stop it!) and warm chocolate brownie and salted caramel ganache (sorry).


Fortunately, the quality of the company was sufficiently scintillating to distract me from fixating on the food, and the lilting St. Lucian reggae put a swing in our hips to match the purring smiles upon our faces. In fact, I was purring with pleasure and pride all night, particularly when I saw the joyously generous chocolate goodie bags that Hotel Chocolat sent us off with. Breaking up a party is hard to do, but with such sweet partings…


Some lovely comments!

Hi Barbara

Just to say thank you for yet another great evening – not only a lovely mix of guests, great ambience and of course your welcoming and friendly style of hosting, but also I want to say how very impressed I was by the Hotel Chocolat staff – they made the evening even more delightful by their exceptional service. And of course the chocolate treats were just out of this world…

Looking forward to next time…
E x


Dear Barbara,
All the thanks should go to you for organizing such a vibrant gathering of like-minded souls having fun, joining in with the spirit of the occasion and making the most of introductions to new friends.
Last night was a huge success and I really appreciated my “single ticket” and can’t wait until the festive Rendezvous! J x


From the winner of the dinner for two at Rabot 1745…..
Hi Barbara,
Oh goodness, I never usually win anything!!
Thank you so much for a fantastic evening. It was an unusual and quirky venue but it worked very well. The staff were delightful and very welcoming. I really enjoyed it and had great fun meeting some extremely interesting lively people. There was a lovely relaxed, convivial atmosphere which all contributed to a great party! Looking forward to the next one….
J x


Hi Barbara,
Thank you for inviting me to your party last night. I had a very enjoyable evening.
Now looking forward to the next one.
J x


Thanks Barbara, really enjoyed and well done on the venue. X


Hi B
It was way more enjoyable than I expected and much easier to mingle than I thought it would be. Being married for so long makes it difficult to meet women as a single person. The venue was splendid – intimate too rather than bright lights. Its not often I meet two people at the same time who like foreign films – mostly all I ever get is ‘I hate subtitles’!
I look forward to seeing you again soon
T x


I would like to say thank you. I really enjoyed myself, I wasn’t sure what to expect and was looking forward to trying out something new. I had great fun and hope to see you soon.
Once again thank you.


From the winner of the dinner for two at Rabot 1745…..
Hi Barbara,
Oh goodness, I never usually win anything!!
Thank you so much for a fantastic evening. It was an unusual and quirky venue but it worked very well. The staff were delightful and very welcoming. I really enjoyed it and had great fun meeting some extremely interesting lively people. There was a lovely relaxed, convivial atmosphere which all contributed to a great party! Looking forward to the next one….
J x


Dear Barbara
Hotel Chocolat is certainly a wonderful venue.
Thank you so much for having me. J x
Hi Barbara,
Just wanted to ‘thank you’ again for a nice evening and great location.
W x


Good morning Barbara
You are such an amazing host,
I am grateful that you have invited me to become a part of the Rendezvous.
I enjoyed the event thoroughly, with great conversations and effortless connectivity in the room, making it intimate and sweet – regardless the chocolate.
Thank you, Have a wonderful day, J x


Hi Barbara,
Just a brief note to say thank you for being so welcoming tonight and making it all so very easy and comfortable. I had a lovely evening.
Best wishes,
L x

Getting your head around the world of Contemporary Art


At our Fold Gallery party on 7th September we were lucky enough to have Art Critic and writer Nico Kos Earle talk to us about what it takes to get an artist into the Freize Art Fair and importantly how to choose art you wish to buy and for the right reasons.  Gallery owner Kim Savage talked about his current show and how he promotes his artists.  In a follow-up to those fascinating talks here is Nico again with a post script about understanding art collecting.  Barbara

Getting your head around the world of Contemporary Art

It was so good to meet you all at the FOLD on Wednesday night, and thank you for taking that first tentative step into what might seem like Lala-land. It occurred to me that a little postscript might be useful, by way of continuing along together on this bonkers but enticing merry-go-round of contemporary art.

In retrospect, I wonder whether I should have illustrated my idea of the art world’s six-point star by pulling a number of you out from the crowd and arranging you in formation. Not only would I have relished the opportunity to take the heat off myself, we could have all participated in a little performance art, and briefly embodied the role of critic, art historian or collector. Indeed, we might have located an artist amongst you, and manoeuvred you into its centre. There I would have asked you to imagine how you would remain true to yourself, with all these very important people around you that you needed to please.

On that evening we were surrounded by Kes Richardson’s “Lilliputian” canvases: large scale works that amplify every one of his favourite gestures in studio. This crucial insight into the work that Kim afforded us in his speech is the “why” the works seemed to work so well from a distance but defied logic from close up. He was expanding the unknown. Kim Savage’s exciting project gallery gives artists like Kes the chance to realise their vision, and as a consequence consistently wins the critic’s choice. All his artists benefit from the much needed critical appraisal along with this wonderful experimental space to explore and push their own boundaries.

What’s great about meeting emerging artists such as those the FOLD is committed to showcasing is that they are at the beginning of these encounters and tend to have a very clear, often idealistic vision untainted by commercial pressures. As Grayson Perry (Turner Prize winning cross-dresser) says, “All good art gives us an opportunity for a different relationship with time. It is usually about an individual’s radically idiosyncratic interpretation of the world.

If any of you manage to get a copy of Sarah Thornton’s book Seven Days in the Art World you might begin to find that in the course of her art appreciation “journey,” she had learned that art should not “just please the eye” but “rip open your mindset.” I think this is where we need to start if we want to get our heads around the world of contemporary art. Since the advent of the camera – which issued the era of Modern Art – contemporary art has often sought to penetrate beyond the veil, and can often seem anti-retinal.

What is especially exciting about this era now (which is post YBA stunts like Hirst’s shark and Emin’s unmade bed) is that we are beyond the shock of the new. Artists today have to be able to show they have skill combined with great concepts. The evidence has to be in the work, there for us to discover. This is also the era of networkism – where all of us are connected to something all of the time. Taking time out to look at and try to understand art is a fantastic way of detoxing from the constant stream of peripheral messaging.

If any of you would like a tour of Saatchi Start Art fair starting this Wednesday please do not hesitate to contact myself or Kim Savage.

Chocolate Lovers at the Cocoa Vaults

Tuesday 11th October,  7 – 10 pm,

Hotel Chocolat. Cocoa Vaults 4 Monmouth Street, London, WC2H 9HB

We’ve discovered a gem of a venue… a chocolate vault in the heart of buzzy Covent Garden. Using a little persuasion we have the vault to ourselves on Tuesday 11th October. Come along to this private Rendezvous event and enjoy a welcome glass of Prosecco. We’ll be serving some taste-bud-challenging and chocolate-infused canapés prepared by specialist chefs in their restaurant Rabot 1745 in Borough Market.

Let’s bring out the Casanova in us all.  The legendary lover, touted chocolate for its ability to provide energy and he understood the allure of creamy, dark chocolate on craving-prone women. Chocolate can turn on the pleasure sensors in the brain, the great lothario declared dark chocolate’s sweet, complex and sensual pleasure among the world’s finest aphrodisiacs, second only to Champagne.

Perfect we have prosecco and pralines…. mingling a room full of singles.

Tickets already selling fast so sign up and bring along a friend to share a chocolate experience.

Ticket price includes a glass of Prosecco, chocolate canapés and an intimate room full of eligible guests.

Date: Tuesday 11th October

Party Size: 45

Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm

Password: Casanova

Book a place

An Arty Party: What does it take to be chosen for Frieze?

Weds. 7th Sept.  7pm – 9pm.

Fold Gallery.  158 New Cavendish St, London W1W 6YW.


The art season in London kicks off again in September and culminates during the week of Frieze in October – a week in which the whole of the kooky-collective of the contemporary art world descends on London. Art writer Nico Kos Earle will give us a brief insight into some of the questions museum curators, art critics and major collectors are asking of contemporary artists, ahead of FOLD Gallery Director Kim Savage’s in depth discussion on his current show by artist Kes Richardson. Savage will also shed some light on his criteria for selecting artists and what a gallery really needs to do – group shows, solo shows, catalogues, and art fairs – to give their artists a viable platform.


Learn what it is they’re looking for and why is it that so much of what we see at first glance is incomprehensible? What is it that distinguishes an artist and how can we begin to determine if their work will have a lasting impact.


Come mingle with beautiful people in this calm, elegant space and enjoy a fantastic evening of good conversation and contemporary art.   Ticket price includes wine and canapés.


Date: Wednesday 7th September

Party Size: 60

Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Password: Arty

Book a place


Ab Fab Review

Absolutely Fabulous: Sweetie is it me you’re looking for?

Ever get the feeling that July is becoming more like December every year – longer days, just as many hedonistic parties, but no Santa at the end of it?

Well fear not, our Absolutely Party was one party where all of our Christmas’s really did come at once!

I’d long been anticipating this party, ever since gracing the film set at the Hotel du Cap Riviera scene of Ab Fab the Movie on a sunny day in October 2015. Alright, you can’t really see much more than my big toe behind a fabulous hat-wearing Joan Collins.  But Sweetie it’s still my big toe; Sweetie it is!

It was a warm and bright July day when party day finally arrived.  I had dropped over to our cute-as-an-80s disco venue Ma Dame earlier in the day.  I had to stop myself from raiding the miniatures from our party bags filled with goodies from our brand partners Daniele de Winter, Bloom Gin, Franco’s of St James, Events on Fleek, Lumity, Hotel Chocolat and Stoli.

Stoli pulled out all the stops and sent us a mountain of Ab Fab paraphernalia, including cocktail suggestions, pink fans and cocktail umbrellas.  I had to fan myself a touch to cool down from the excitement!

Over at the pre-party, we’d turned my colleague Leila Benton-Jones’ London pad, around the corner from Ma Dame, into Eddy’s hideout house.  Leila’s other residence is Irnham Hall which is booked solid as a venue for weddings.  As an event host herself she had no problem allowing us to set up a pre-event suite for 25 members and go large with our big-hair and movie-star make-up crew.

And what a treat we had in store.  Rendezvous female members were offered free hair and makeup by the fabulously stylish Return to Glory’s team of top notch therapists.  There were Patsy’s a-plenty with towering beehives, fluffy Bubbles dos and even uproariously funny Eddys.  No holding back on the make up – full Patsy street slap – “Leave the natural look at home Sweetie”.

We’d made sure that the boys weren’t going to miss out – Bloom Gin stopped by with their girl power gin-du jour.  Made by distillatrix Joanne Moore with a delicate floral palette that feels more like a subtle peck on the palette than a full on male ginbanger’s punch!

Our favourite Jermyn Street restaurant, darling Franco’s dropped by with a case of delicious Prosecco and a stonking offer for our members.  See for details. – we liked it so much we made it our header.

Looking amazeballs, er ….fabulous Sweetie, and slightly tipsy, we trotted or taxi’d off around the corner.  None of our Patsys or Eddys fell out of cabs on the way there did they? Did you Pats Sweetie, did you? No one needs to know…

Chez Ma Dame Kylie’s version of Wheels on Fire was playing as we all scooped up Ma Dame’s killer welcome drinks, and in no time at all we had swished around the party and said hi to all those we knew, and all those we didn’t…well thanks to Fleek Photo Booth and closed curtains we soon did.

The Fleek Photobooth was a magnet to our glamourous guests who queued, posed, then ooed over their snaps.  Events on Fleek did an amazing job. What is it with their lighting?  We all look amazing – even with as many as six squeezed in. I want one at home!  Love the snogging action on film!  Do we know how to rock a good party or what?

Glamorous May, looking like a super stylish Amy Winehouse with her Patsy do, passed around Hotel Chocolat’s gloriously boozy cocktail chocolates. Sweetie darling? Oh yes please!

Then everyone hit the dance floor without a care in the world.

Fancy dress, fancy best.  Grabbed a goody bag (it is July Christmas after all) and then it was on to that journey home for the Eddy taxi exit that no one needs to know about…