The Middle House, Shanghai

Shanghai is not an easy city to navigate as a tourist who doesn’t speak the native language. That’s why, each day after a full itinerary of exploring, I was relieved to be returning to The Middle House, a beautiful new hotel in the heart of the city.

Middle House

The Middle House is the newest member of the House Collective Hotels, which also includes Upper House in Hong Kong, Temple House in Chengdu and Opposite House in Beijing (the first which opened in 2008). These luxury hotels are harmonious with the local surroundings while also making a statement with their artistic common spaces, indulgent rooms and cutting-edge facilities.

After a very long international flight we were delighted to be greeted by the Middle House’s smart Tesla car, which transported us to the hotel in less than an hour. (I highly recommend pre-arranging transfers when arriving in China, as it can be quite overwhelming to organise on the spot!)

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There are 111 rooms at Middle House including the 14th floor penthouse, where the hotel’s most exclusive visitors stay. The majority of the rooms fall into three categories: Studio 50 rooms, Studio 60 rooms, and Studio 70 rooms, the room names simply referring to the size of the space in sqm. We were in room 1308, a studio 70 corner room on the 13th floor, with epic panoramic views of the city and plenty of natural daylight. The rooms are designed with feng shui in mind, they are very spacious, with carefully placed striking artwork. I particularly enjoyed the walk-in wardrobe, well stocked mini-bar, and amazing lighting and black-out curtains.

Middle House

The bathroom was lavish and luxurious, with specially made Bamford toiletries which feature in all the House Hotels collection. I loved the minimalist double sinks, the stylish bathtub made by Claybrook and the elegant attention to detail.

Middle House

Breakfast each morning at Middle House was a real treat, and it was soon evident that food here is definitely not an afterthought. Both the Western options and the local delicacies were made with the upmost care and attention, and using the finest ingredients. I was stunned by the Viennoiserie selection, as good as many of the patisseries in Paris, and the Shanghainese dumplings and noodles were divine too, once my stomach got accustomed to the different time zone!

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The restaurants at Middle House are just as popular with outside guests as with those staying. Choose from upmarket Italian food at Frasca, or enjoy a contemporary Chinese feast at Sui Tang Li. I was equally impressed by both eateries.

At Frasca we opted for homemade pasta, cooked to perfection and wonderfully flavoured, paired with cocktails from their ‘gin and tonic’ list. At Sui Tang Li I thought it was best to get the waiters opinion and with his help we tried an array of the menu favourites, including hairy crab dumplings, wagyu beef puffs and melt-in-the-mouth crispy duck. This restaurant is known as one of the best modern Chinese restaurants in the city, and after trying much of the menu, I can definitely see why!

Middle House

On Day two in Shanghai while the jetlag was still taking its toll, we checked out the Middle House’s Mi Xun spa and gym. This serene part of the hotel is found in the basement. Founded by Laurent Boillot, President and CEO of Guerlain, Mi Xun at The Middle House is the first hotel spa in China to offer the boutique Cha Ling treatments, focusing on skincare treatments using combined techniques of traditional Chinese medicine to re-harmonise energy flows and detoxify the skin. We tried the immersive Cha Ling massage, which was reinvigorating and relaxing in equal measure. After a treatment be sure to leave time to experience the beautiful pool and sauna room.

The high-tech gym has everything you need for the most extensive of work-outs. You can also try Hypoxi body shaping machines here for advanced fitness and exercise regimes.

Middle House

For longer stays The Middle House also has the Residences in a separate tower. Guests can book stays from 3 days up to and beyond 1 year. These residences are designed in a similar style to the hotel rooms, but have a more relaxed feel, with kitchens for guests to use at their convenience. Guests can also use all the hotel facilities during their time as residents.

Middle House

Understandably The Middle House is the hotel of choice for Shanghai’s most prestigious and stylish guests, and is particularly popular during Shanghai Fashion Week, Formula 1, and Shanghai Design Fair. So often a hotel of such calibre can forget to excel when it comes to service, but we found it to be of the highest level throughout our stay.

I would recommend this hotel to anyone visiting this cultural destination… the location, design and food at Middle House were all perfect for a Shanghai citybreak and I was sad to say goodbye when it was time to leave.

More information and book a stay at The Middle House hotel here.

Bee Mindful Day at Petersham Nurseries with Cire Trudon

It’s hard to imagine Richmond without Petersham Nurseries, the whimsical venue that is home to many wonderful plants, idyllic gardens and a popular seasonal restaurant & tearoom. This month Petersham Nurseries celebrate their 15th birthday with a host of lovely events, including the Bee Mindful Workshop which I was lucky to experience earlier this week.

Bee Mindful

A group of us assembled in the greenhouse for an immersive day in bee education. The day began with tea and cake and a talk from the Head of Horticulture Martin Ogden. Martin discussed the importance of bees in gardens and how we can help sustain their activity by planting particular species of plants in our gardens. It was fascinating to learn more about the life of a honeybee, that they have ultraviolet vision (so are very attracted to blue and purples), which herbs they enjoy, and how they obtain the pollen and nectar from plants.

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Next on the agenda… raw honey tasting with Sarah Wyndham Lewis, co-founder of the sustainable beekeeping practice, Bermondsey Street Bees. Sarah spoke passionately about honey, the importance of artisan honey-making and how to expertly taste raw honeys. Turns out, the majority of supermarket honey is a cheap imposter of the real thing. We discussed the cultural role of bees, the medicinal effects of some honeys, and the issues affecting bees’ survival in the modern world.

We tasted a selection of uniquely special honeys that Sarah had selected for their qualities. My favourite was a buttercup yellow Leatherwood Honey from Tasmania, and I’ll definitely be investing in some to enjoy at home.

Bee Mindful

Before long it was time for lunch and Petersham Nurseries’ Head Chef Ambra Papa presented us with a seasonal spread of dishes, each inspired by honey.

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We started with perfectly light Garden Fritti seasoned with sage and Amalfi lemon, and Pea Hummus with Fennel Carta di Musica bread. The main course was a delectable feast of Herb Roasted Sirloin of Beef with super sweet Heritage carrots, honey & almond, served with an array of colourful vibrant salads. The meal concluded with Chargrilled Nespole and Ricotta with wild flower honey, and Lincolnshire Poacher with honeycomb.

Bee Mindful

After our epic lunch we needed a wander to avoid falling asleep! The knowledgeable beekeeper Linda Howell explained how she has established a thriving population of bees at Petersham Nurseries with their seven and a half hives.

Bee Mindful

Sadly I had to rush off after the walk, but the rest of the group were lucky enough to have one more session, learning the art of table styling with the Global Buyer and company Brand Ambassador, Ronny De Koning. I had a glimpse of the adorned table and it looked divine.

As I dashed off back to central London, the lovely team at Petersham handed me two goodie bags to take away; a couple of potted herbs to attract the bees near my flat and a beautiful special edition honey candle from Cire Trvdon, which has been made especially for Petersham Nurseries’ 15th birthday. After learning about the magical properties of honey, I can’t wait to restock my cupboards at home with real raw honey and scent my flat with this wonderfully fragranced candle.

A Bee Mindful workshop will take place at Petersham Nurseries on the 28th and tickets can be purchased here. I attended this workshop as a guest of Petersham Nurseries.

Paul Edmonds Salon, Battersea Power Station

I’ve often heard stylish friends mention Paul Edmonds as a hairdresser worth visiting, but it wasn’t until a few months ago when I was treated to a pre-Bafta party blow dry, that I noticed the care and attention the Paul Edmonds staff pay towards their clients.

Paul Edmonds salon

Last week I went to check out the newest branch of the Paul Edmonds empire, a super slick salon in Battersea Power Station. With a lot of building work still going on, the salon – though just a short walk from the main road – wasn’t easy to find. Eventually I reached it, and the staff were quick to welcome me, taking my heavy bags and offering me a drink.

Paul Edmonds salonPaul Edmonds salon

The salon is spacious and luxurious, with big mirrors and geometric windows. I particularly loved the fully reclining leather chairs in the hairwashing area, they were so comfortable I nearly fell asleep while having my hair washed!

Paul Edmonds salon

I was lucky to get Taylor as my colourist for the day. Taylor, though only 21, is known for her balayage skills, and won the L’Oreal Professional Star Award in 2018. Needless to say, I was in very safe hands so I let Taylor decide on a tactic to make my hair look more summery. We chatted away while Taylor painted sections of my hair with a half head of balayage.

Paul Edmonds at Battersea Power Station is the UK’s first exclusive Shu Uemura hair and beauty salon, a beauty brand I have always admired for their brilliant haircare and beauty products. After my colour, my hair was washed with the new Shu Uemura Ultimate Reset Shampoo (made of Japanese rice, and containing both proteins and moisture) – ideal for post colour washing. I also loved the Urban Moisture Conditioner which contains Moringa Oil for hydration and was indulgently massaged into my hair and scalp.

After washing, Lizzie cut and styled my hair. We decided on a minimal trim to bluntly level out the ends. Then she added a tousled wave with tongs and added texture and shine with a variety of products, including Shu Uemura Ample angora which gives volume (to prep the hair) and Shu Uemura Color Lustre dry cleaner which gives the grit you need for the beach wave effect. For additional shine I was taught that adding the Shu Uemura Essence Absolue on the mid lengths to ends of the hair, while drying the hair, is perfect.

Paul Edmonds salon

I left the salon feeling proud to show off my hair, and in the last week have had three unprompted compliments on my hair colour and shine.

This is a hairdressing brand which more than deserves its reputation as one of London’s leading hairdressers, and the new Battersea branch is a lovely location in South London to be pampered and preened at.

I was a guest of Paul Edmonds salon.

Book an appointment or buy any of the products here.