On Sunday morning I finally got a chance to sleep in & relax. I lounged in bed, drinking in a patch of sunlight from the open window & listened to the leaves rustling outside.
When I eventually dragged myself up, Tom & I went for a long, lazy breakfast & mooched around Notting Hill for a few hours. Did a spot of shopping and then it was time to get ready for another party.
This time BMW very kindly asked if they could whisk me & a friend away for the evening. I agreed and Kimberley & I slipped into the back of a shiny new car, ready for the leisurely drive to Henley.
I've only ever been to Henley Regatta which is a huge, sunny piss-up (the only fitting description) on the river bank. It's loud, buzzy & some people even look up from their pints now & then to watch the boat race. I'd never been to Henley Festival & expected something of the same... holy moly I was wrong.
We arrived at the black-tie-river-side soiree and took it all in. The place had been transformed into a wonderland, complete with roaming oddities.
Two little odd balls.
Grannies rolling around at break-neck speed on trollies with thumping drum & bass boom boxes.
Gondoliers & opera singers.
Floating & descending umbrellas.
Speeding mini buses.
Giant... winged... things.
There were people of all ages all mingling & laughing together. Having wandered the grounds we were shepherded away to supper.
Where the food bloggers got down to business!
Just as Kimberley & I were polishing off the last of the chocolates there was a boom of loud music & a cheer went up from the crowd. Paloma was starting. We quickly drained our tea cups and dipped & dived through the crowd to get a better view.
Miss Faith was well worth missing the last chocolate for, she was incredible. I've never been much of a fan before, but she has a beautifully sexy, old school voice and a sense of humour that just melted the crowd.
Locals & families from upstream had all donned their finery, packed picnics & floated down the river to see the festival without having to buy tickets.
This gave the river a lovely atmosphere. It sort of buzzed with excitement. People greeted each other & shouted hellos to us on the shore.
After the performance we took to our heels & continued wandering wonderland. (Check that out grammar Nazis, two wonders/wanders in one sentence! *wiggles eyebrows*)
There were little pockets of crowds everywhere, all clustered around seemingly spontaneous performances.
Of course they weren't spontaneous but it all added to the riverside magic. My favourite part of the evening was sitting crossed legged with Kimberley at the Rich Hall show. He's one of my favourite American comedians & he was a hoot!
He teased the crowd & combined two of my favourite things... country music and laughter. If you ever get the chance to go see him, do it! Just after midnight it was time for the Cinderellas to head home.
We curled up in the back of our car (the new 3 series GT. If you're a petrol head you'll want to check it out... although I'm a little more excited about the electric sportscar they're apparently launching this Autumn. Either way, the website's here.)
We woke just as we pulled into Kensington.
If it weren't for my pictures I'd wonder if BMW had just driven us around for the evening & we'd dreamt it all...