Formula One presenter Natalie Pinkham chats to ! ahead of the Christmas party season.
As she prepares for a weekend at the races, she shares her tips for party dresses, festive nightspots and dining and shopping for gorgeous gifts.
PHOTO FOR GALLERY
What have you got planned this Christmas
The festive season kicks off for me this weekend with the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. It’s a great day out – a big group of us go each year and have a real giggle. A great chance to get dressed up in our winter racing attire, have a flutter on the horses and enjoy the atmosphere and some fine cocktails!
The Formula 1 season is a long one, so we got together for dinner last night at the Groucho Club to share our favourite moments of the year.
One of my best friends is getting married just before Christmas and I am in charge of the hen do, the plan is to go to the Elemis Day Spa in Mayfair, followed by dinner at Bodega Negra in Soho, followed by an overnight stay in the Soho Sanctum Hotel. It should be a lot of fun!
Where are you going for Christmas
I am very lucky this year as my entire family and I are going to Barbados just after Christmas. I have travelled so much this year with work that I have managed to get most of our flights through my air miles – there are definitely some bonuses to doing 60 flights a year!
On Christmas day however, my husband and I are cooking Christmas lunch for the first time for both sets of our parents, so the pressure will be on. My plan is to encourage them all to head to our great local, the Brown Cow in Fulham, for a few drinks first, so by the time lunch is served they won’t notice if my cooking isn’t quite up to scratch.
Where will you be partying
Barts and Bunga Bunga are my favourite places in London this season. Charlie and Duncan who own both clubs are good friends and always look after their guests. Barts is a great private night spot (and has just been refurbished too) – the quirky decor, serves and dressing up box makes for a fun night out and their New Year’s Eve parties are not to be missed. I also love Bodo Schloss on Kensington High Street – it has a ski chalet feel, so it’s perfect for this time of year. Another place I will be heading to this month is cool new bar Steam and Rye in the City.
What will you be wearing
This season Beulah has a stunning womenswear range that I love. Their dresses are beautifully made and have such a great story behind them. It is fashion with a conscience as founders Natasha Rufus Isaacs and Lavinia Brennan work hard to counter human trafficking.
I love their statement heart print scarves, particularly their Rapunzel shawl. It’s the perfect accessory for any outfit. Their personalised scarves make great bespoke gifts. I also love Katherine Hooker for long feminine coats – perfect for the races, or any chilly winter’s afternoon.
Where to do your Christmas shopping
Given how much I travel with work, I do a lot of my shopping online. However when I am in London I enjoy going to the Christmas markets, and Westfield.
What will you be eating and drinking
Being a vegetarian, I am always looking for inspiration for interesting veggie-alternatives for Christmas dishes. I love Jamie Oliver’s cook books and will be looking at this for my Christmas lunch ideas.
In terms of what we will serve at home, a favourite of mine is the Hennessy Horse’s Neck cocktail: it is really simple to make and always goes down a treat with guests who want a Christmassy style cocktail: Fine De Cognac topped up with ginger ale and a twist of orange zest.
Natalie is building a children’s home in Romania which is the subject of a Channel 5 documentary in the New Year. Click here to see more about the work she is doing to end the institutionalisation of children
The Hennessy Heritage Festival takes place on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 November