• Chin Chin! Hip Hip! – Chin Chin Laboratories

    It’s cold in London, really chilly frozen to the bone cold. Still, our appetites for all that is frozen and delicious cannot be deterred by a fall in temperature. We can still always somehow manage to eat ice cream. Imagine our delight when we recently stumbled across ‘Europe’s first ever Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Parlour’.

    It’s just the sort of thing we love. A hint of science lab ,lot’s of pyrex and lab coats; lot’s of whirring of blenders, wearing of goggles and snowy clouds of nitro oxide. After all that you have a delicious ice cream that is made in front of your eyes. Part performance ,part haute cuisine and equal part delicious flavours. We had madagascan vanilla with salted caramel sauce and honeycomb sprinkles, so sublime. We tried and failed to take some home to everyone in the studio (honest) but the technology to take away is not in place yet.

    A gourmet hike through sub zero streets to Camden it is then… Gosh how we suffer.

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  • Artisan Chewing Gum with Bompas & Parr

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    “Artisan Chewing Gum factory” I mean everything about that implies a certain Willy Wonka fabulousness. Who can forget the three course gum from the film and the gum addicted Violet Beauregarde?

    So off we went to Bompas & Parr‘s first chewing gum micro factory in Whiteleys to learn about and make chewing gum. Genius. We got to choose from a flavour library of two hundred flavours (anyone for Damp or black pepper?) I chose Ambergris and grapefruit. Perfumey and delicious and truly the most fragrant gum I ever tasted. Given that we all chew gum (well we do don’t we?) I am thinking that bespoke gum could be the way forward. Like a custom blended fragrance. I know it’s going to sound indulgent to have your own gum blend but really why not? First date gum, wedding gum, Friday night gum, workout gum…cruising in a hummer gum? And the thing is…I am not even kidding.

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    The Flavour library. Must have sniffed about sixty scents. How many scents can one smell without reaching a “sniff plateau”?

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    The Chewing Gums base kit. My phial of Ambergris and grapefruit which I could happily use as perfume.

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    A gooey pink ball of perfumed gum. Yum.

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    My next door gum making neighbour made a gum chicken and egg

  • Major Lazer – Elton John’s Grey Goose Character & Cocktails Ball

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    I was pretty blissed out at Elton John’s Grey Goose Aid’s fundraiser. Two of my favourite things coupled together. Lasers and Roisin Murphy. Heaven on a dancefloor.

    I pretty much couldn’t ask for more…dancing through slashes of primary coloured laser lights to “Overpowered” and ‘Cry Baby”. If I was to design my perfect birthday party this would be it, complete with Rosin of course. Lucky for me Jo Sedley the amazingly talented set designer who designed this party has agreed that we can design each others big birthdays. Lucky us! Now how the devil do I convince Roisin?…

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  • Outdoor Swimming “Water needs no roof”

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    Swimming at Port Eliot

    I used to think that swimming in cold water when the sun was not shining was something only done by people in the full throes of lunacy. The perception that swimming in Ireland and England is best confined to indoor stretches of chlorine is widespread thankfully I’ve taken the plunge and dipped my toe into wilder waters.

    I was switched on to what is known as wild swimming a couple of years ago when I had the good fortune to go away for a Photography Weekend with Martin Parr and the School of Life. His wife Susie Parr is a dedicated outdoor swimmer and is writing a book on the social and cultural history of Outdoor Swimming. Spurred on by her enthusiasm I went swimming in the Isle of Wight and instead of it being ghastly I found the whole thing totally exhilarating. I felt invigorated and yes I’m aware it sounds new agey but very much back in touch with nature.

    This year I rediscovered Outdoor swimming at the Port Eliot Literary Festival, The Outdoor Swimming Society did a series of wild swims with the founder of OSS the hugely inspired Kate Rew. It was a magical swim and I berated myself for not doing wild swimming more often. It’s so reassuring to me that organizations like this exist. In our age of branding and mass consumerism it’s a joy that a group get together to extoll the virtues on swimming as the realm of freedom, adventure and magic.

    Nobody says it better than Robert Macfarlane of the OSS – ‘The Outdoor Swimming Society is there to give people a passport to a different world, or worlds. Once you see open water as something to be entered, rather than driven around, flown over or stopped at the brink of, then even familiar landscapes become rife with adventure. Britain seems newly permeable, excitingly deepened. Every lake or loch or lough or llyn is a bathing pool, every river a journey, every tide or wave a free ride. As a wild swimmer, you become an explorer of the undiscovered country of the nearby, passing through great geological portals…There’s nothing faintly class-based about all of this. What could be more democratic than swimming? What more equalising than near-nakedness? You need even less equipment to swim than you do to play football. A bathing costume, if you insist. Then just enough common sense to avoid drowning, and just enough lunacy to dive in”

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    Riley and I swimming in Camber Sands last week. More invigorating than a ten hour sleep or a two hour massage. Honestly.

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    How could I not go in?

  • Bedtime

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    On a recent whim. I threw out my bed. It just wasn’t working for me anymore. Instead of being more rational, finding an alternative and THEN getting rid. I decided to just do without until I find the perfect one. So now I am sleeping on my Tempur-Pedic mattress on the floor. A liberating experience that feels a little like camping. I am thinking of making my army green linen Merci sheets into a kind of tent/canopy to go overhead. Bedroom as set, it’s really the way forward.

    Bed research has been extensive. I want a bed with character and personality, slightly traditional sturdy and long lasting (like the ideal man?) I am a slight bed-a-holic and love nothing more than spending copious amounts of time doing whatever grabs my fancy in the haven of my bedroom. I remember my glamorous platinum haired grandmother Mona constantly holding court in her bed like a queen on a throne while we, her minions scuttled around her making cups of tea, plumping pillows, doing magic tricks anything really all in the hope of being invited to join her in bed for a chat, an episode of Dallas. Everything was perfect in the hallowed ground of “Mona’s bed.”

    Recreating my own bed nirvana, a few beds have caught my attention and some have had me delirious with laughter (fragrant fog machine anyone?). I have considered sleigh beds, four posters all the usuals but sleeping in a shell, how fun would that be? The four poster with Calcuttan screens overhead is my favourite so far. Made by the fabulous design couple Jamesplumb and seen when I went to visit the one room hotel at Hostem. This is a bed with character, provenance and is interesting without being too overbearing…I love it, I want it. In the meantime I am happy to consider any interesting bed suggestions.

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    A beautiful screen ceiling…Bed can be seen during The London Design Festival

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    Welcome to the Playhouse

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    Bed with remote control. Eject button?

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    The Valentine bed, love the all important “ceiling view” and “rear view” mirror. No Joke.

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    This is for real. A fog machine in bed now that would be something. A scented Fog machine? Got to be Old Spice

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    Failing a shell how about a swan? I love this

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