Autumn round-up: a colourful few months

Another amazing but knackering few months has passed and as we enter the Christmas season, I'm once again so proud and thankful to have worked on some fantastic events with some bloody brilliant people and organisations. 

The one with Patsy, darling! 
I have to admit I hadn't watched any of Joanna Lumley's travel documentaries until she spoke about them at this event on 15 September and I've since binge-watched whatever I could get hold of. Hosted within the beautiful surroundings of The Ned (where the service was first class), Ms Lumley was our special guest for BAFTA's Academy Circle and all of our guests left as serious fans.

We ate seabass and lemon tart (at Chef's recommendation) and drank Le Croix Belle from The Ned's beautiful cut glassware.   

The one that smashed all targets
On 19 October, the AKT Gala moved to Cafe de Paris for an evening bursting with entertainment, hosted by Gok Wan. The Gala exceeded all expectations, with the auction including the opportunity to enjoy dinner at Sir Ian McKellan's home. As always, the dance floor was packed until the early hours... 

We ate smoked chicken and papaya on blini, pan roasted Gressingham duck breast, strawberry feuillete with cognac cream.

The one with David Attenborough
On 23 October, what more can be said about this incredible evening generously hosted by Hotel Cafe Royal, one of my favourite places in London. Sir David had all 80 of our guests eating out of the palm of his hand during a Q&A hosted by his friend and former colleague Alastair Fothergill.

At an intimate supper afterwards, we ate venison loin with twice baked sweet potato souffle and braised red cabbage, followed by blackberry and apple pie with calvados cream. We drank Comtes de Taittinger and the wonderful Louis XIII. 

The one showcasing amazing emerging talent
On 25 October, the sixth annual Breakthrough Brits took place at Burberry's flagship store and we were delighted to host an informal supper afterwards at Thomas's Cafe. The event celebrates breakthrough talent in film, games and television. 

We ate cherry ponzo seared tuna, Hereford beef with Jerusalem artichoke puree, ricotta gnuddi with spiced winter tomato. We drank nothing but Nyetimber.

The one with breakfast with Doctor Foster
I binge-watched the two seasons of Doctor Foster in the two weeks prior to this breakfast on 1 November with the amazing Suranne Jones. Dressed in a jumpsuit and Converse, the former Coronation Street star had the whole room (both BAFTA and Quintessentially members) hooked as she spoke about her career to date, her production company and her plans for the future. She truly is a superwoman!

We ate mini bagels and pastries and drank Buck's Fizz and strong coffee. 

The one filled with colour
On 22 November, we worked with Richard House Children's Hospice to deliver their Rainbow Ball, where the dress code was strictly "anything but black". Our friends at Bloomsbury Ballroom hosted the event with The London Cabaret Club providing a breathtaking array of entertainment, from a contortionist to an aerial dancer. We beat all targets to raise over £350,000.

We drank Laurent-Perrier and ate heavy hors d'ouevres, cut out the starter, opted for a duck main (although we had over 40 guests request a vegetarian meal on the night - we will avoid in future!) and a rainbow-inspired white chocolate bombe. 

The one celebrating our teachers
And before we move into the Christmas period, we closed the season with an inspiring day at Teach 2017, bringing together school leaders and teachers from Birmingham and further afield for a day of learning and sharing of best practice. Our keynote speech from Ofsted Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, and our panel discussion on collaboration guaranteed lively debate, with our breakout sessions providing valuable professional development opportunities focusing on teacher wellbeing, behaviour management and coaching for excellence.

We ate sandwiches and drank copious amounts of tea and coffees - it is a free conference after all...

Autumn round-up: remembering a legend and celebrating new talent

October was always going to be a busy month and would have been more so had it not been for the postponement of one of our major events in November. Instead I've been working with BAFTA on two projects of very different scales.

Lord Attenborough, or Dickie as he was affectionately known, sadly died in summer 2014 and two years on I was honoured to work with his son, Michael Attenborough CBE, to deliver a celebration gala in his memory. During his lifetime and amongst numerous accolades, awards and positions, Lord Attenborough was President of both Chelsea FC and BAFTA. The two organisations worked in partnership to host the event at Stamford Bridge, bringing together the worlds of film and football.

With special guest appearances and messages from the likes of Great British names such as John Terry, Frank Lampard, Dame Penelope Wilton and Lawrence Dallaglio (a combination I never thought I would see in one room!), the evening also featured a Q&A with actors Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey, James Bond), Sanjeev Bhaskar (Goodness Gracious Me, Meet the Kumars) and Jim Carter (Downton Abbey).

After dinner entertainment saw us bringing Jersey Boys across from the West End, with an after-party at Chelsea's music venue and club, Under The Bridge (where both Olly Murs and Mel C had played earlier in the week). Aside from the delicious food and top-class entertainment, most special of all were the beautiful montages of Dickie's work and the loving tributes from his family and friends. All of the money raised on the evening was in support of the Richard Attenborough Charitable Trust. 

Just five days later, BAFTA celebrated the fourth Breakthrough Brits in partnership with Burberry. The initiative saw 18 new stars taking part in a programme under the guidance of mentors who are leaders in their field. Taking place in the stunning surroundings of Burberry's flagship UK store on Regent's Street, over 350 guests joined us for champagne and canapés and the awards announcement, which was hosted by Radio One's Greg James.

Citation readers for the event included Joe Dempsie (Game of Thrones), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, An Education), Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous) and Joanne Frogatt (Downton Abbey, Street Cat Named Bob). The ceremony is delivered by BAFTA's brilliant Production and Learning and New Talent teams.

The evening was also an opportunity for BAFTA to showcase its work to those who have the potential to support with significant financial gifts and enable us to continue to support emerging talent. Burberry generously hosted an intimate dinner after the main event at the in-store cafe, Thomas's, with beautiful floral arrangements provided by Rebel Rebel. 

And the last event of the month? Being there as my best friend married her man - congratulations Beth and Rob! 

The basics

Dress code: smart and elegant

What we ate: lobster and chips, beef Wellington and millionaire's shortbread

What we drank: Nyetimber