Celebrating in Lockdown - what are your plans this Valentine's?
Whilst lockdown has most definitely put our lives on hold as we know them, one of the best ways to break up the monotony of the days is to still make those special times of celebration count. With the countdown to a year of COVID slowly catching up with us, nearly everyone has had a birthday, anniversary and so much more. Whether it’s even the smallest of celebrations, or simply just changing out of your joggers into a gorgeous dress, at IRIS we have certainly found ways of lifting gloomy spirits!
With Valentine’s Day coming up we had a catch-up with our Managing Director Jo, about the ways she celebrated special occasions during these difficult times. She shares her personal recommendations around her local area including freshly prepared food delivered to your home from Chef Albi to cocktail recipe’s with Wimbledon Garden Gin. What’s more these local businesses have offered our Iris customers exclusive discounts read further to find out more.
How have you found ways to celebrate during these challenging times?
As a family we have had several big occasions over these lockdown periods and celebrated not as we had planned - in the first lockdown we had my daughter Poppy’s 18th and my 50th. We even managed to take part and celebrate Royal Ascot in our back garden! With lockdown restrictions in mind we have always tried to celebrate all occasions as best we can, as we find it just breaks up the monotony. A standout memory has got to be the amazing cakes we got from Etoile Bakery - with Poppy getting a Jacquemus bag shaped cake, and mine in the shape of my favourite Penelope Chilvers boots! We’ve always started with opening presents that have all been ordered online (of course) which was very challenging for an 18th Birthday, trying to find that special something. I would normally love to spend hours mooching around stores to find the perfect gift - I have always loved giving presents! Made all the more difficult as I was also recovering from Covid at the time, and had what I can only deem as “long Covid”. Also - what celebration is complete without a zoom party?! One of our favourite things to do was to make our favourite cocktails using Wimbledon Brewery Gin, so much fun and a way of breaking up endless Zoom quizzes!
As a special treat exclusive to IRIS, Wimbledon Brewery have offered our customers an exclusive discount!
From now until the 20th February 2021, buy anything from Wimbledon Brewery and get 10% off your order using the code IRISOFFER10!
We can't wait to try out the Bee's Knee's this Valentine's - a gorgeous blend of Wimbledon Garden Gin, fresh lemon juice and honey syrup.
Here are some of their favourite recipes:
50ml Wimbledon Garden Gin
25ml Freshly squeezed lemon Juice
20ml Honey syrup*
* Honey syrup is the best way to add honey to cocktails or indeed tea. It’s a 50/50 mix of honey and water. Simply warm the two together.
Divide one Wimbledon Bee’s Knees between two champagne flutes top up with bubbly.
Substitute the lemon juice for fresh lime juice.
Do you have any favourite spots for taking celebratory walks with friends/family?
We are spoilt in Putney with the river so close by, for a longer walk we would drive to Richmond park, walk around and then on to Petersham Nurseries, or for a more local, shorter walk we do what is known to us as “the Barnes loop” which is basically a walk from Putney around Barnes pond and back home again.
Do you prefer to cook or dine in on a special day? If so, what are your top picks for takeaway cuisine in London?
I would highly recommend Awesome Thai for a local good value Thai takeaway, but you have to be quick as they get very busy. For Poppy’s birthday a takeaway from her favourite restaurant Sticks n Sushi in Wimbledon was a must, followed by toasted marshmallows round the fire-pit in the garden was a lovely way to finish the birthday meal. Our absolute favourite thing to do for marking an occasion and doing something different, is to get a meal delivered by Chef Albi - it comes ready to heat in the oven with clear instructions on the beautiful packaging.
Chef Albi also has an exclusive offer for our customers!
When you order from his sumptuous Valentine's menu, use code LoveIris to get a free batch of his gorgeous heart shaped pistachio and rose shortbread biscuits!
Don’t miss out! Order your Valentine’s meal by end of day Wednesday 10th, add a pack of shortbread and apply the discount code.
What’s been your favourite memory from a celebration over the last year?
My favourite memory has to be on my 50th Birthday when luckily the sun was shining and friends and family turned up separately to sit in our front garden (at distance) to chat and wish me a happy birthday. It was so nice to feel so loved at such a hard time - the bizarre thing was I literally drank ginger tea as I was still on the road to recovery, I didn’t once ever think I wouldn’t have a glass of fizz to celebrate turning a half century! One thing is for sure, I will never forget my lockdown birthday!
What have you put on your wish list for this Valentine’s day?
I would love a new Jerome Dreyfuss handbag, although I am not really using bags at the moment, I would love to get a colourful one for when we are allowed out again. Another gorgeous treat would be a bouquet from my favourite florist Scarlet and Violet! But to be honest I'd be happy with anything from our Valentine's wish list, maybe a candle or the lovely Deborah Cadby Letter Charm Necklace. Also our very own Production Manager Emma of @cub.cakes makes the most devine luxe chocolate brownies, delivered direct to your door for Valentines's day for the ultimate indulgence!
Snap up Jo's wishlist...
What has been your go to outfit for celebrating in, something cosy yet stylish, or going all out?
Going all out has definitely been wearing a Vampires Wife dress, which I did on the evening of my 50th. A way to differentiate the days for us was to dress up - any reason to get out of our comfy joggers! During the day I went for comfort and wore a La Vie dress, I always find a dress so easy as you don’t have to pair it up like trousers or a skirt, just some shoes (or slippers) and you are good to go!
What will be your go to Valentine’s Day outfit?
I think I will keep it comfy but stylish, I have just invested in the new Isabel Marant Idety blouse and Muardo trousers and I have been living in them separately, pairing the trousers with a puff sleeve black jumper and the blouse with jeans. For Valentines I might even wear them together to get the jumpsuit look.
What’s your perfect day for Valentine’s during lockdown?
I have never normally been one for Valentine's Day but I think this year we will make an occasion out of it as a family and order an Albi meal from his Valentine’s menu, this just means we don’t have to cook as we have to do every other day of the week. We will also definitely make an effort and dress up and go for a family walk. Apparently it’s due to snow next week so I will make sure I wrap up warm in my trusty Woolwich parka, see our Iris selection of parkas here......
How do you hope to spend it differently next year?
I would hope that we would be able to go back to our tradition of having our favourite annual charity curry night with friends - we each pay a cost for the night that goes towards a particular charity that year. The whole evening is always a lovely occasion, they cook some amazing curries for us and it's great to catch up with friends. We eat, drink and chat together - something we all long for!
Etoile Bakery Cake School
If you liked the look of the fabulous Jacquemus bag cake and fancy getting a new skill during this lockdown, Etoile Bakery Cake School has got you covered. With a wide range of online classes it has something for everyone, from beginners baking and decorating classes (which are also suitable for doing with kids) to more advanced cake projects and skills such as cake carving, modelling, flower making and airbrushing. The step by step videos are all pre-recorded so you can watch them whenever you like and as many times as you like… and Holly is always on hand to answer questions if you get stuck!
They are offering Iris customers a 15% discount across the entire school until 28th Feb. Use code Iris15