Although I acknowledge that it’s a little mad to be writing about Christmassy events in the last week of January, there were a few things that I didn’t get a chance to write about over the holidays that I really want to share, if only for my records.On the 16th December, Mr M and I put on our gladrags and headed to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire (yes, again) for their annual Christmas Masquerade Ball.
The Chatsworth Masquerade is one of those things where I always feel I have to justify to people how much I’ve spent, and then when I’m there I remember that it’s worth every penny.
Due to funding restrictions, we agreed that this year we wouldn’t hire elaborate costumes. Mr M would wear his tux and I would wear a pretty frock. However, this being me I think we knew it couldn’t be just ANY dress.
The search for the perfect dress was not without drama. I found one I absolutely loved on Ebay, it was in my price range, but as the big night approached the dress was nowhere in sight. One week before the event, the dress was still showing as delayed on the courier website and I started to lose all hope of it every arriving in time.
In desperation I ordered a back up dress from Chi Chi Clothing. It wasn’t quite as extravagant as I would have liked but it was very pretty and it was 30% off in sale.
By some miracle my actual dress arrived ONE DAY before the ball and thank my stars it actually fit! Cinderella will go the ball!! My hair was done, as always, by my sister at Studio K Salon. As usual I showed her a picture and she worked it into reality. Unlike previous years I decided to go for something simple but elegant with a gold hair clip and chain (also from ebay).
I always love the feeling when you arrive at the masquerade ball. There’s something about walking into the stunning Painted Hall, seeing everyone in their finery, that just feels magical. You are handed a glass of champagne, offered a selection of canapés and invited to soak in the ambience and enjoy the musical stylings of The Vernon Sisters.
The Vernon Sisters are a trio of very talented ladies who have a repertoire covering a wide range of musical genres. For this first section they tend to stick to jazz and swing music, which is caters very nicely to my musical preferences. They’re also incredibly stylish – I had serious dress envy!
Once all the guests have arrived, we were led on a brief tour of house while it is decorated for Christmas. Although I had seen it all before, it was lovely to see all of the decorations at night and in a slightly quieter environment. There were also lots of photo opportunities in the beautiful surroundings.
The meal is served in the Carriage House restaurant. Guests are seated on round tables of about 10 people. We were sat next to a lovely young couple who it turned out we had lots in common with and found plenty to chat about. It was lucky they were there as the other guests on our table spent most of the evening complaining. I guess there’s just no pleasing some people.
Our starter was Goats’ Cheese wrapped in parma ham with fig chutney. The main course was a chicken and pheasant ballotine with confit potato and dessert was mulled wine poached pears with ginger and honey ice cream. While this meal possibly wasn’t as elaborate as some of the other Chatsworth events I’ve been to, it was all delicious and beautifully prepared.
After dinner we were served coffee and petit four and then the fun really starts. The Vernon Sisters returned for two sets of high energy music, including soul and motown, all perfect for hitting the dance floor. The crowd this year seemed particularly energetic and the dance floor was crammed, but it was all very good natured and everybody seemed to be having a brilliant time.
All too soon, the evening was drawing to a close and it was time to grab our cloaks and make the journey home. I thoroughly enjoyed another fabulous evening at the Chatsworth Masquerade (I believe thats our fourth now). I really hope we get to go back again next Christmas (if money allows). It would be a very nice way to spend our 10th wedding anniversary.