Monday, 23 April 2012

Dinner at Coworth Park

A large group of us met for dinner on Saturday night for a celebration. We chose Coworth Park as it is equidistant for everyone. It was as beautiful as ever, if I were to throw away everything in my flat and start again, it would be this style that I would go for. There are flowers every where and it feels so fresh and alive, not like regular stuffy hotels. It is still great value, the set menu is £60 and I lost count of the number of courses. We had our own room which was the orangery off of the main restaurant, so we could still people watch to our hearts content, but not worry about making too much noise. The service was impeccable, the staff seem genuinely happy to work there.  If you live anywhere near Ascot go now before it doubles in price! I wore skirt and top from Coast and Dior heels, all the guests were quite dressed up which makes the atmosphere all the more special.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Ebay clear out...

Funds are dwindling in my Paypal account and I have my eye on some big ticket summer purchases.  So a bit of a purge is needed to replenish funds, here are some of the items that didn't make the 'keeper' box....

Broidery anglaise dress, not sure what I was thinking when i bought it, possibly the worst shape ever for me.
Anya Hindmarch bag, this plaited style is starting to look a bit dated so will offload before she stops bringing it out as part of current collections.
 Black and white pearls from St Barths Couture, I love jewellery  on other people, but I never seem to find the time to actually finish my own outfits.
 The Seven for all Mankind top succeeds in making my shoulders even more massive than regular t shirts.
 I love the cut and colour of this dress, but can't quite zip it up and never have been able to.
 I bought these to match the dress, they are fab and should go with it.
 This baby soft LV pashmina is huge and cosy, but highlights my grey streaks.
 I love these Patrick Cox shoes but have just never worn them.
 The YSL ruffle bag is lovely but how many bags does anyone really need?
This Coast crochet top is very SS12 so a good time to find a new home.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


 I'm loving the new Esprit campaign that seems to be on every poster site at the moment, it is Gisele at her best, all fresh faced and natural.
Unfortunately at my age, I look more bag lady chic in quite such paired down easy dressing, here is my own version, and the good thing is it is all long forgotten existing items...
 Breton top from Cap Ferrat in West France, 7 jeans, statement bag (trying to avoid being too Norfolk mummy out crabbing for the day!)

Sky blue linen top from shop at 55, it is exactly the same colour as the table cloths, I am fully camouflaged in this out fit.
 Beaded John Rocha linen top, and LV Never full (I think this one may have to go as they are everywhere and it really is never full so getting bad shoulder pain from too much use)
Embroidery anglaise top from market in St Tropez, Anya Hindmarch bag, now just need a bit of sunshine.

Monday, 9 April 2012

A carrot cake from the Easter bunny...

 Tea without cake is my bete noir, I made a carrot cake to celebrate all things bunnyish on Easter day.

 It was satisfyingly goo-ey and delicious....
 I had one rather huge slice, but luckily it contains 8 carrots and lots of raisins, hopefully two of my 5 a day?...
afterwards I felt like this...
Happy Easter!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Beauty and the Daily Beast

Has anyone been following the vilification of this poor woman (Samantha Brick)? Her Daily Wail article was bad enough, but she followed it up with a defence on breakfast tv, when she would have been better off laughing it off as an April fool.

She seems to have misunderstood the interest in the topic, the tv didn't want to debate her premis (women don't like beautiful women), it, like the newspaper, just wanted to poke fun at a plain Jane with delusions of grandeur. It is all very cruel and I have always had a sneaking admiration for those that want to be princesses despite the obvious poverty of their assets. Good luck to them all!

When I was 18 and a very plain jane, country bumpkin, I spent 6 months living in Paris. It is a looks obsessed city, more than any I have ever visited, other than perhaps Milan. Far from avoiding the beautiful crowd, I was thrilled when I fell in with a group of models (which included Elle Macpherson, who was still not that big and 'old' by model standards). Two of the set were English and beautiful in a slightly other worldly way. They look human but everything was so elongated and perfectly proportioned that they could have been a different species.

One was very dark and the face of Armani, while the other was fair with turquoise eyes and had just been signed to feature in the Nina Ricci fragrance ads. To live life with them, was like being in a parallel universe, fantastic things happened daily. Chauffeur driven cars pulled up and took us to an impromptu party at the chateau belonging to Christina Onassis, We went out to dinner with Prince, jumped the queue at every club and got passes to come back for free at any time, we never paid for drinks or food and there was always someone on hand to drive if we wanted to go somewhere. It opened my eyes to an experiences I had never known. For my part I was mainly the translator, who made sure that everyone got home alive.

One day I got to their apartment (a penthouse which was a show flat for a development, the developer allowed them to stay there for free as which red blooded Parisienne man would not want to buy a flat in a building that housed supermodels?) To find the door open, they were tidying up, which was unusual as seemingly the more beautiful don't seem to concern themselves with earthly pursuits such as throwing away old take away boxes (yes they really did live on pizza and Macdonalds and still look like goddesses). They were chatting and I heard one say to the other 'is your pet coming tonight?' In that moment the realisation struck, I was a plump teenager with bad dress sense, this life would never be mine. I wasn't even disappointed, just pleased to see reality. I had had the most amazing summer experiencing how life changes when you are gifted like Aphrodite, and happy that I had been lucky enough to have had beautiful friends.

What to do when you want to save money and...

you want to eat like Ottelenghi.  I have a hi/lo approach to food.
In the day time I like copious amounts of fresh tasty food, pretty much served in the buff without lots of dressings and pomp, by night I love to discover new flavours and foods. I like a good tasting menu of tiny portions that I couldn't even begin to cook at home.
Ottelenghi epitomises my daytime desires, although unfortunately the quantities that I can put away, put it more into the night time category for cost.
The pics below are all from the Notting Hill, Westbourne Grove, Ottelenghi...

Pure health and pure deliciousness...
The offerings probably don't differ hugely from the old 1970s health food shops, but Ottenghi delivers such style that it allows them to charge twenty times the price...

 Even the cakes look as if they might actually be good for you...
 I have been dropping hints about what a good present the cook book would be for years...

I grow my own to recreate something similar...

This is not exactly a dish that you would eat with your eyes...

This is better, if not a slightly odd mix of buckwheat, cauliflower,capers, dill, parsley, chinese cabbage and sprouting tastes better than it sounds I promise.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A spa day at virgin active in Oxford

A few weeks ago a friend took me to the new Virgin Active club in Oxford.  It is a fantastic set up, built in the middle of a school, so there is loads of parking and beautiful grounds, and the school benefits from a state of the art health club.
The day was completely free as she gave me a guest pass and it was one of the best days I have spent at a health spa, we did a class, swam, sauna-ed, played some very gentle tennis and drunk many many coffees in the Costa Coffee outlet and had a massage which cost only £30.

In the Summer this becomes 6 outdoor courts which are used by the club.

As well as the coffees they served a pretty good cheese and ham omelette.
This is the outdoor pool which is heated all the year round and looks inviting with the steam rising from it.
We ran around like loonies doing a 'body attack class'
The gym had a number of personal trainers who were really proactive in helping everyone

The pool was deserted and great for a relaxing swim

All weather tennis, a great luxury and lots of courts available
I wore an old support top from H & M, the straps had stretched so I tucked it under my sports top for extra support, thinking it was almost a new work out wear look, actually looking at this picture, it just looks like I had forgotten to get properly dressed.  The trip predated the self tan adventure, exhibit one is a good example of the previously described grey/green tinge that I sport during the winter months..