The Mile End Road is the last place in London I would expect to find a gorgeous, antique filled boutique hotel. 40 Winks is one of a kind, a historic and elegant four storey Queen Anne townhouse built in 1717 offering two elegantly decorated, entirely unique rooms for very special guests. It is the creation of David Carter, the witty and eccentric interior designer, with an eye for design and detail unlike any other. Regular Bedtime Stories events take place at 40 Winks, a divine evening of decadence: cocktails, food, music and storytelling, each time with a different theme.
At the door stands the suited David Carter, a slight smile on his lips, a devilish glint in his eye, a Willy Wonka like character. Answer the riddle correctly and you are allowed into his den. ‘The person who makes it sells it. The person who buys it never uses it, and the person who uses it doesn’t know what it is. What is it?’…. a coffin, of course. First test passed, we were permitted to step over the threshold away from East London and into a grown up version of Narnia! Shoes are left at the door and guests are led upstairs to change into their bedtime attire. All the while I couldn’t help but soak up the surroundings, immaculately arranged and presented, awash with beautiful artefacts… not unlike my granddad’s old Art Deco shop.
The evening was utterly charming and so well organised, it is no wonder these events sell out so far in advance. We were a particularly raucous bunch, and even though no one had attended before we weren’t afraid to speak up, giggle and flirt, much to Mr Carter’s delight. Every bedtime outfit imaginable was represented, including a huddle of Spanish girls in teddybear babygrows and full animal inspired makeup!
After sufficient mingling and strict instructions from Mr Carter, we were split into groups, the ‘Desirables’ and ‘Undesirables’ (we were desirables) and taken into separate rooms to watch the two performers for the night. With a theme of Death and Desire the stories were passionate and captivating told with unfaltering energy and charisma. We were treated to a deliciously dark tale from storytelling laureate Katrice Horsley who stunned the group with her sexy alliteration and entrancing voice. Then a most sultry story from Tuup accompanied by alluring music.
Various awards were given at the end of the night. We were both nominated for the ‘best bedtime attire’ award, though I found it difficult to believe, merely wearing a baggy white silk shirt from work and some tiny blue shorts… Perhaps it was my furry Polish slippers that won the vote. Alas it was not to be and another girl in flimsy silk took away the £300 worth of Benefit makeover vouchers.
To send us to sleep the night was completed with a short set from Cabaret Jazz singer Tricity Vogue, strumming enthusiastically on her Ukelele and lulling us with her lyrical melodies. I particularly enjoyed her own song about the ultimate Femme Fatale, I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
Leaving Mr Carter’s wonderful emporium I felt woozy and unbalanced… and not from the cocktails, as I hadn’t had a sip of alcohol, I felt inebriated by the enchanting evening of glorious glamour and mesmerising storytelling, an unforgettable night in a fairytale house.
Dress code: Strictly pyjamas, nighties and glamorous boudoir attire – changing rooms and slippers are provided
Tickets are £25 and include tasty nibbles and Hendrick’s Gin cocktails
Times: Doors open at 19:00, performances start at 20:00