I am very glad I made it – I certainly had a the most amazing time. Even thought they started the 10- day event with invitation only admission, they soon posted on their Facebook page that invitation was no longer necessary, and people would be served on a first come-first served basis within their daily 17:30 and 19:30 slots. When I first read it, I thought I’d never get in; that there would be long queues (and I really dislike queues, especially after a day at work!), so I decided not to go. However, the fact that I saw the open invite first thing in the morning on Facebook was, to me, a clearl sign that I should not miss it.
The entrance to Chandos House was deliciously decorated with apples and pears. Even though I got there at 17:28, there were only around 15 people waiting ahead of me. Soon after 17:30 a bright red lipped hostess came out with a clipboard and the queue started to move, with small groups of people being let in.
The perfect welcome was delivered by the front of house staff, including the fabulous Miss Monroe, in the hotel reception. They enthusiastically (and with impeccable posh accents) told us about the different rooms of the house and what we would in them: the Photo Studio, Wardrobe of Wonders, Trendtellers, Style Bar, Beauty Parlour and Enchanted Garden.
Each one of us was given a little key to the bar, which unlocked your 2 free refreshing Jacques ciders. We were also offered mini doughnuts and I had a bellboy escorting me up the stairs arm in arm to the Wardrobe of Wonders, which were very nice touches!
Keen to unveil the secrets behind each door, I entered the Wardrobe of Wonders, chose clothes from the racks and accessories, and posed for the camera (have to say, I do not think that this was my best shot from the 3 they took – it is not possible!!!). Waiters went around with trays laden with crispy cider, and girls (including myself) shrieked in excitement or burst into laughter when looking for accessories and trying on clothes.
After that, I went into the Trendtellers room, where I created a feather head band and stencilled my own Jacques canvas bag.
With my newly created items in tow, I went downstairs to the Style Bar, and claimed my first drink, an orchard fruits Jacques cider. Glass in hand, I moved on to the Enchanted Garden, exquisitely decorated with all sort of nick knacks. I was offered popcorn and sat around, soaking in the atmosphere and detail (and checking in on Facebook!).
I then moved to the Beauty Parlour, where I had fluttering eyelashes applied, and cheekily asked for a second treat, and spoiled for choice – between eye, lips or face make up, a massage, a hair do or nails painted – I settled for eye make up. In hindsight, should have gone for a massage, which I really need – however, my “beauty before comfort” motto shouted louder.
With smokey eyes and lashes so fluttery I could have caused a tornado, I collected my second beverage, this time a fruits des bois Jacques cider, and went back to the garden, where I just sat and relaxed – until it was time to leave, but not before grabbing my goody bag, which contained another canvas bag and a bottle of cider!
So I made my way home, smiling and marvelling about all the weird and wonderful things I encountered, enchanted and looking forward to next year’s magical townhouse!