Gosh, what a morning, I thought to myself as I landed on a lush, green, velvet chair, flushed and out of breath from an intense power walking session down Park Lane (my definition of being ‘fashionably late’). A fellow blogger sitting opposite was doing her 5th re-run on Snapchat: “…it’s too early in the morning to do this without a filter…” Other bloggers purred at each other, exchanging delicate kisses on cheeks and Instagram-perfect smiles.
It is always events like this that makes my inner introvert feel... out of place. My combination of typical Chinese features, black hair, small eyes and all, was an anomaly amongst the sea of blonde hair, bronzed cheeks and lips tinted with the most-hyped MLBB (My Lips But Better) colour on Youtube. Being a third year Chemical Engineering student at Imperial didn’t help either – conversations were better kept away from a 20-year old’s daunting coursework deadlines and back to London Fashion Week and brand-sponsored trips abroad.
This morning wasn’t any different from the rest of the 8 am press breakfasts scribbled in my schedule. Except for a change in environment. I was sitting in Boisdale of Mayfair on North Row, a restaurant serving British food, a rarity in the area. The room, converted from a listed stable, was decorated in their distinctive, classy interior of red and dark green walls, chandeliers and mahogany tables.
After catching up with the latest restaurant openings and Trump’s rants on Twitter, I escaped from the crazy world outside to study the breakfast menu in an elegant, black, art deco font: lobster eggs benedict, haggis, Devonshire crab omelettes, devilled veal kidneys. A pancake menu was also available in time for Pancake Day, featuring smoked salmon, scrambled duck eggs all the way to dry aged sirloin steak (yes, on pancakes). Interesting.
The waitress, slightly flustered by the never-ending buzz of demands from the only table that morning, took our orders and left us to continue on the blogger chit chat for another half-hour. The food arrived when the caffeine had finally seeped into my brain. What followed was the scene that you’ll never, ever see through that static, photoshopped square on Instagram. Like any other event, I was ready for their arrival – my trusty DSLR on my right, my iPhone logged on to Instagram Story mode on my left. I was, of course, not the only one. The table of bloggers all stood up like meerkats, phones and cameras ready, making way for the breakfast plates, pushing away stained napkins and water glasses, fighting for the spot with the best natural light, positioning the food for the perfect #flatlay shot.
Perfectly poached Burford Brown eggs were carefully sliced open to reveal that river of bright orange #yolkporn. An artistically cut ruby grapefruit was shuffled across the table to give that contrasting pop of colour against the green crushed avocado and buttercup yellow hollandaise sauce. You could hear shutter sounds from the cameras, like a machine gun shooting at the beautiful plate of smoked salmon crepes that was ordered “just for photos”.
This continued for another 10 minutes until each social media account was satisfied. By then, the food has gone cold, per usual. I picked up my knife and fork, slicing the caramelized banana on my hazelnut praline pancake. The spongy pancake had soaked up the melted vanilla ice cream, still delicious despite the prolonged photoshooting session.
The meal phased out as fellow bloggers began to rush off for their next event. Shame – half the dishes were left unfinished. A typical #tablesituation in the blogging world. And a typical snapshot of my morning from the eyes of a blogger.