November 05 2011
Friday mornings I like to spend clearing off my desk and clearing out my inbox – this way I can start the weekend with a clean canvas and Monday then begins the week afresh. I responded to the Eton College Entrepreneurial Society, saying that I would be delighted to return to the campus to once again address the students. I gave a talk a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it – as well as some of the questions posed by the students. The school breeds a confidence in young men that can only help them as they enter the real world, and I’m honoured to share my own learnings – and mistakes – with them.
Just before leaving the office to meet my wife for a quick lunch at home ahead of what we both hope will be a last scan before the baby arrives, I grab half an hour with Kam, my head of corporate sales. We use the time to chat through Christmas bookings, comparing where we were at this time last year to where we are now. Things are looking good – despite some early concerns, it appears that the festive spirit is still very much alive in London this year. I remain hopeful that people will continue want to eat, drink, and be merry – after all, it is the basis of our business!
I had hoped that, after the scan, Marissa and I might go and see Degas and the Ballet at the Royal Academy – I’ve heard and read some great things about it – but time disappears as the scan is more than an hour late so we sit and watch a myriad of pregnant ladies in the room guessing who will give birth first and what sex (the banality of waiting) instead. We just about manage a quick food shop on the way home ahead of a small dinner party we’re hosting tonight.
Having dropped Marissa and tonight’s supper off, I head to Eclipse for a brief catch-up with our newest marketing manager, Martyn, who recently joined us from Moët Hennessy UK. For the month of November we’re not only doing a November cocktail at the bar – with money raised going to this great charity, which raises funds and awareness for men’s health – but we’re also encouraging our Eclipse staff (well, those who can) to “grow a mo” for charity. Some of the early efforts are quite amusing! But I don’t poke too much fun, otherwise I might be persuaded to also “grow a mo” – which might not go down so well on the home front.
Martyn and I talk about Eclipse expansion plans to Paris – we successfully brought cocktail culture to Spain with our Eclipse at the W Barcelona and I want to do the same for Paris. I love Paris. It is so easy to get to from London and yet feels like a world away. That said, there seems to be no cocktail culture and Parisians prefer very high-end hotel bar operations or to forgo the cocktail altogether. I want to change that and open an Eclipse bar there and we are currently compiling a shortlist of some properties that I have seen recently.
So, on to dinner. Inspired by last night’s extravaganza, and because my wife is now craving truffles, we’re having a few friends round tonight for a truffle supper. I suspect there won’t be too many dinner parties at ours for some time so Marissa and I are looking forward to a cosy night in with friends. My friend Ewan just couriered over a truffle from the Selfridges Food Halls (nice to have friends in high places!), so a dinner of fresh pasta and truffle followed by a bone-in steak – and some wine I had put down eight years ago – makes for the perfect evening.
After supper, I whisk our pals off to Bumpkin Notting Hill for a nightcap where Medium Rare’s pop-up cabaret is gearing up for this evening’s show. Mat Whitley and his team never fail to impress – last week the rather raucous Circus Trick Tease from Australia squeezed their quite extraordinary acrobats onto our tiny stage and were one of the most entertaining acts so far in their 10-week residency. Another sold-out performance booked tonight. I duck out before the show starts as I check the time and begin to wonder if this will be my last night of real rest – but it’s great to have a quick drink alongside the cool crowd that’s in for tonight's entertainment.