From the desk of Penelope Alice, Britain’s most fabulous PA – PA Life Club

From the desk of Penelope Alice, Britain’s most fabulous PA

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I know we exec assistants are all super-busy, but did you happen to read about that rather embarrassing gaffe involving BBC subtitles, when two letters were transposed and a ‘w’ added to its announcement that it was officially the Chinese Year of the Horse? Woops, that has to be a CLM as a colleague of mine termed it many moons ago – a career-limiting move.

Luckily, no such blunders were in evidence when I attended a Chinese and Korean New Year party at the stunning venue that is RSA House (that stands for the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in case you’re wondering, it’s located just off the Strand and is a registered charity – find out more at

The venue’s Benjamin Franklin room was decked out in traditional Oriental style, with Chinese lanterns suspended from the ceilings and the whole space had a warm and enticing glow about it, thanks to the cleverly designed red and amber lighting.

As I mingled with the other guests, waitresses attired in classic Chinese dresses served up a mouth-watering array of Far East delicacies, including tuna and salmon sushi, prawn tempura and – my favourite by far – moist, steamed buns piled high with crispy shredded duck, topped off with moreish plum sauce. This all went down a treat with the signature drink of the evening: a Red Lotus cocktail that expertly combined vodka with lychee and cranberry.

Then came the evening’s entertainment: the iconic lion dance (pictured) was enthusiastically performed to the accompaniment of a live drum, symbols and gong. Afterwards, I had a showaround with one of the helpful event team who took us to the Great Room, which houses the magnificent paintings of James Barry; down in the basement, meanwhile, you’ll find the Vaults, an amazing space for all types of gatherings.

I must say I do love these cultural events: with Christmas nothing but a distant memory, the Chinese New Year celebrations in February make for perfect timing; now I’m just waiting for my invite to a Pancake Day party.