• Ibiza uncovered – Postcards from the other side.

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    Nasturtiums. Love the appeal of eating beautiful flowers. Raw food canapes from Zenses Ibiza.

    I used to be a fan of the radical detox holiday. It was like a prescription of drastic correction that I enforced anually for having too much of a good thing (a convent school upbringing can do that to you). Detoxing in Thailand, fasting in India, bootcamp in Mexico. A masochistic set of healthy holidays. The last time I went on a fast in Thailand I persevered through two weeks of “nothing broth” while fellow holiday makers filed past me with plates of lobster further cementing my misery. Mission accomplished and bursting with rude health we finally went off to a neighbouring island where our exquiste teak villa awaited…complete with a mini bar stocked with my favourite red wine. Oh dear.

    I woke up the next day and instead of glowing with post detox gorgeousness. My face was covered. IN. RED. WELTS. The shock of the alcohol on my impeccably clean bloodstream. The rest of my holiday was spent hiding behind a penguin classic, large sunglasses and a giant hat. A distinctly post op Look that in retrospect was pretty hilarious. That experience taught me the lesson of trying to achieve balance and not living in such extremes.

    Now Instead of going on extreme health kick holidays I try and temper my everyday life to incorporate the positive aspects that I learned on all those holidays and I save my holidays for doing, well Holiday things. I like a trip where I wake up and can sip a Spirulina smoothie and at sunset have a glass of good red wine. Balance.

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    Delicious healthy lunch that Ibiza Retreats arranged at our villa.

    On a recent trip to Ibiza (an island that can knock you off or put you on balance like no other) I met the lovely Larah from Ibiza Retreats. Larah runs retreats in Ibiza which run from a day to a few weeks. They serve delicious raw food, have life-coaching, yoga, massages…all the good mind, body and soul stuff. On this trip Larah was our holiday “wellness concierge,” now this is a concierge service worth having both away and in everyday life. She booked us reflexology, massages, vibrational healing (this is amazing) and liberally sprinkled healthy fairy dust on our holiday. You’ve got to love someone who adds cucumber and strawberries to your daily pitchers of water. Vitamin Water indeed, this is the original and yet another trick I took back home.

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    Phone Detox. We placed our mobiles on trays of cleansing Ibizan sea salt. Mine is now switched onto another vibration (and devoid of inappropriate texts)

    Larah took us on a one day multi sensory retreat which was just extraordinary. Set in a private villa we had an unforgettable afternoon of eating raw superfoods (a shot of raw cocoa we downed contains the same nutritional value as a large steak) having treatments, listening to music and engaging in wellness rituals. I loved the Multi Sensory Ritual where we were blindfolded and had scents placed under our noses, different tastes planted in our mouths. This took me out of my comfort zone and is not something I would usually do but I found it strangely liberating and left with a heightened senses of awareness. Always a good thing.

    This is a wonderful mindful experience to have with friends and I highly recommend it. Of course you can also run off to Aura afterwards for more wonderful experiences. Mojitos on the terrace, Dinner in the garden, Disco indoors…it’s my favourite place to escape to this Summer. Ah The Joy of Balance…Happy Holidays!

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    Lunch at Cas Gasi. Incredible food that comes from…

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    …their garden.

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    Ibizan hens. We ate their eggs for breakfast every morning.

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    Silk blindfolds for the multi Zensory experience. Delightful.

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    At the Retreat. This cat has the ultimate water/fountain bowl

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    The Goddess like girls from Zenses who do the Multi Zensory day retreats with Ibiza Retreats.

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    After a night at Aura. A smoothie at the organic juice bar on Benirras beach works wonders.

  • Port Eliot Literary Festival

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    My second Port Eliot Literary Festival and I’m totally smitten. It’s my idea of the absolute perfect festival. Beautifully art directed, wonderfully curated, intelligent and thought provoking all supplemented with the most delicious food (provided by The River Cottage and Chris Sherville’s Seafood Cafe.) I came away inspired, informed and eager to read more, do more and learn. Port Eliot is an enlightened festival and I could write about it for days. There was so much to do, see and listen to. Here instead are my edited highlights…

    • Murray Lachlan Young. How we laughed, cried and sang. Hilarious. Possibly the funniest poet in the world.
    • Eating seafood in the walled garden. Many times…
    • The Hermes Gold horse balloons. How I love a good balloon (They wouldn’t give me one as I’m not a child…arguable)
    • Jarvis Cocker’s Dj set. Awesome. Anyone that ends a set with Black Betty is instantly promoted to demigod status
    • Speaking of demigods GRAYSON PERRY. So loved listening to him. What an incredibly intelligent articulate man…

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    • …And then there’s Alan Measles, Grayson’s teddy bear who drove to the festival in a shrine on a motorbike. No joke
    • The one minute disco. Genius van that pulled up every hour by the river for exactly that. A burst of one minute disco
    • Wild swimming in the St Germans estuary with the Outdoor Swimming Society. So invigorating we did it both days.
    • “Flights of Fancy” Stuffed birds as interior decoration in the English country house. A brilliant talk with brilliant slides by Tim Knox (Director of Sir John Soane’s museum)
    • Toy Story 3. The subliminal star. Referenced many times by the intelligencia

    My only low-lights, the things I missed. But like anything worthwhile you are always left wanting more…
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    The Hat Competition with master milliner Stephen Jones

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    Grayson Perry’s talk. Witty, intelligent and pretty damn funny.

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    The KLF’s Bill Drummond making his own bed. Intriguing. How I loved the KLF

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    Loved the Hermes scarf tying Horsebox. A vibrant splash of luxury goods and the best gold horse balloons

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    Learning how to tie a headscarf in the Hermes horsebox. I have a new appreciation for the art of headscarfage and can see an expensive habit cropping up.

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    The boys from the One Minute Disco roll up.

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    Swimming with the wild Outdoor Swimming Society…’Water needs no roof’.

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    Rosette making. Honestly. This is a workshop everyone should do, we all deserve a rosette

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    Flower arranging competition. An arrangement of weeds in a wellington boot. Genius

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    An arrangment of flowers in a thimble…for a Mouse’s tea party

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    Delicious oysters

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    Went for a walk around the grounds. What a striking view of the viaduct.

  • One Night In Paris

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    The bathroom doors at Hotel Raphael. Old world Parisian glamour at it’s best.

    I just fell in love with Paris all over again. Summoned for a last minute work trip, I decided to spend the weekend and couldn’t help but wish that every Saturday night was this much fun…….

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    The Chic-O-Vator. The chicest elevator ever and the gateway to many a memorable Paris evening.

    The Python clutch was a present from a lovely Vintage Store owner. A present from a stranger? J’adore! Studio W

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    Derriere the most fun a restaurant can have. Ping Pong tables inside! And on a Balmy Parisian evening the pom pom swing in the background is truly inspired…as was Melissa’s cocktail ( and nail varnish)

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    An inviting wardrobe door…

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    …that led into a hidden smoking and games room. I wish every restaurant had one of these.

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    After dinner we hotfooted it to Le Renard the BEST karaoke spot ever. Looks like how I imagine the Copacobana was , all louvred mirror and palm leafed chic.The perfect backdrop to singing some bad Black Eyed Peas..

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    Karaoke with the resident pianist. He was amazing …. and very patient.

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    And another one.

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    On the way home. Sealed with a kiss.

  • The Joy of Jelly – Bompas and Parr Book Launch

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    I love Jelly. I particularly love the spectacular jellies that are the signature of Bompas and Parr. An inspirational pair that I have had the joy to work with on many fun filled projects. When I first came across Bompas and Parr a few years ago I had to pinch myself. I walked into their architectual Jelly Banquet at UCL and what lay before me was my personal version of heaven. A long wobbling fluorescing stretch of illuminated pink architectural jellies. The perfect merging of food, architecture and art. Delightful.

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    They are a genius double act. Well spoken, incredibly knowledgeable and often exquisitly dressed. Sam at one of our first meetings arrived dressed in a smart suit with a bow tie, pink socks and wielding a giant spoon. Most importantly they have the most infectious enthusiasm, they believe anything is possible and with them it truly is…Breathable alcohol, scratch and sniff cinema, architectural punchbowls and the recent phenomenally sucessful parliamentary waffle house. They really are revolutionising our perception of food in a dizzying fashion.

    Last night we went to their book and studio launch. Their studio is somewhere I want to loiter in…occult jams in one corner, levitating strawberries in another and fridges full of delicious quivering jellies.

    The book is wonderful and I urge you all to buy one. It’s beautifully shot, informative and dare I say it the perfect antidote to the growing legion of  “serious” cookery books. Food is fun, this is fun and this coming weekend I’m inspired to make the rosé and rhubarb jelly. Maybe I can persuade the boys to show me how to make it levitate. A levitating rosé jelly in my garden…Pure Joy.

    It’s worth mentioning their next adventure happening in July. The Complete History of Food . Go boys!

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    Mark Ronson’s birthday party. We got Bompas and Parr to do an architectural jelly table which ended up in a decadent jelly fight (the best parties do!)

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    Aphrodisiac jellies

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    Levitating Strawberries. What could be better than levitating food?

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    Some of the infamous jellies.

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    Laura and Phoebe get heavily involved in the breathable architecture. And inhale……..

  • Chelsea Flower Show – Secateurs in the City

    I think that the Chelsea Flower Show is one of the most inspiring shows around and I look forward to it every year. It is slightly surreal to be jostling with crowds of flower fanciers, necks craning to catch sight of a rare bud like groupies at a concert. I love the frenzy around giveaway free packets of seeds and the floral outfits that stopped me in my tracks on a few occasions.

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    There are no words…

    I also think you can tell so much about the state of the world through it’s gardens. A few years ago when I started going to the Chelsea Flower Show a lot of the gardens were seriously manicured. Uber modern & structured and although interesting to look at they were unobtainable/undesirable in the way that the overly groomed always are.

    Interestingly it seems to have softened and become much more natural and relaxed. A lot of the gardens had pleasingly morphed from stepford wife show garden to tousled “Cider with Rosie” style meadow featuring abundant stretches of wildflowers such as cowparsley,foxgloves, bluebells, poppies…all my favourites.

    I guess environmental concerns, financial woes and the ensuing shifting of values is of course going to filter down to the nations gardens. Personally wild unmanicured gardens where you can lose yourself in chin high daisies are my favourite. Another element which was prevalent was the focus on growing your own everything. From salad leaves and wheatgrass to urban hens laying the household eggs. I hadn’t previously seen a designer hen coop or for that matter a portable bee hive. Now they are top of my list of desirable things to have. I welcome the change. I never really cared for a water feature…

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    Nice and Wild

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    A cow parsley frame. Divine.

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    This was genius. An Eco greenhouse made from plastic bottles by Sustainable Communities Initiatives

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    Lock Stock – Loved this Lock. Wildflowers from Leeds

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    Love the idea of someone’s sleek black glossy kitchen being over run with flowers. Why cook? Let them eat flowers.

    The Urban Plantaholic’s Kitchen Garden designed by Tony Smith

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    This is a more manicured number but very much liking the misty love seat behind a screen of ferns.

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    Hampshire carnivorous plants. Strangely intriguing

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    We are totally growing our own salad. We calculated we spend £1300 on salad leaves at our studio a year

    No more. Watch our salad grow. Watch our Louboutin collections grow.

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    Cloches, Victoriana hits the garden. How gorgeous?

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    Another garden another cloche…Don’t try this at home. I nearly suffocated a foxglove under a bell jar!

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    25 ladybirds for £10. I nearly bought some. I was stopped firmly by my mother who coming from rural Ireland thought buying ladybirds was the height of madness.

    Still I love the fact that they are feasting on Cheerios

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    A replica gothic folly from Red Wood Stone. I could really do with one of these…

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    And no replica folly is complete without a baptismal font. The perfect garden wine cooler

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    The Green & Black’s rainforest garden. Made by Cameroonian indigenous women to raise rainforest awareness

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    http://bakagarden.wordpress.com/

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