24 Hours in Mykonos with Figleaves

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I was really excited to be invited to Mykonos a few months ago by Figleaves to get a sneak preview of their gorgeous Spring/Summer’18 collection, which has recently hit their digital shelves. 

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I’d never visited the idyllic, white-washed Mykonos before, and over a whirlwind, bikini-filled 24 hours, I was able to really get a taste of both the glamour and simplicity of the Greek island. 

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In the morning I explored the island’s capital, Chora, which gave me the opportunity to wear some of Figleaves’ new beachwear around all the narrow and winding, labyrinth-style streets.  Picturesque, and quaint, there are endless little souvenir and handicraft shops to peruse, and cafes to drop into, as you wander around the bougainvillea scattered narrow and winding, labyrinth-style streets.  

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No trip to Mykonos would be complete without visiting the iconic windmills which overlook the sea, dating back to the 16th Century. 

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Above: Wearing the Rowan 0ff The Shoulder Sundress (RRP. £38.00), also available in white

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I was quite overwhelmed by the amount of stray cats in Mykonos, either happily soaking up the sunshine, or merely looking to share your lunch. To adopt a stray from Mykonos or sponsor their fostering or sterilization efforts, please contact Mykonos Animal Welfare. 

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In the afternoon, I headed to the Alemangou Mykonos, a boho haven on MykonosFtelia Beach. The rocky landscape, golden sand and crystal Aegean seawater made for the perfect location to shoot some of the latest Figleaves swimwear.  My favourite piece from the new collection was the Surf Shore Soft High Neck Tummy Control Swimsuit (below, RRP. £45.00), which was an unusually sporty choice for me, but I loved its high neck and unique mesh detailing. 

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I have always wrongly thought that Figleaves only catered for the more curvier figures, but I was so thrilled to realise that they have copious, sun-sational (couldn’t resist) fits for every shape and size, allowing us all to feel both supported and stylish this summer, whether poolside or at the beach.

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Above:  How pretty is this Margarita Frill Triangle Soft Bikini?!  I prefer non-wired bikinis, and being not adverse to the odd frill or two, this bikini top (RRP. £20.00) was an immediate, 'add to bag!' 

Below:  A few other favourites from Figleaves that I have my beady little eyes on for this Summer; The Secret Garden Soft Cut Out Swimsuit (RRP. £45.00), the Tulum Tassel Kaftan
(RRP. £45.00) and the Frida Underwired Bandeau Swimsuit (RRP. £50.00).

Here is a little video of my whirlwind 24 hours in Mykonos...

TLC ON TOUR... MYKONOS SUITCASE:
(Click on the items below for their direct links)

In collaboration with Figleaves

TLC Vacation: Los Angeles with Ingrid Goes West

To celebrate the DVD and digital release of ‘Ingrid Goes West,’ Matt Spicer’s dark comedy that satirises the modern world of social media, I was invited by Universal Pictures UK to visit some of the film’s featured hot spots, arguably some of the city’s most Instagrammable sites. 

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The film follows the journey of Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) who with an unhinged history of mistaking ‘likes’ for meaningful relationships, moves to Los Angeles in an effort to stalk down and befriend her Instagram idol, Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen.) What has been called the ‘Single White Female’ of the social media age, this film is brilliantly topical, and frequently makes for some super uncomfortable viewing (especially for those of us heavily involved in using social media… EEK!)

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Aubrey and Elizabeth aside, however, another shining star of this film is undoubtedly its location… LOS ANGELES. I’ve been really lucky to spend time out in LA over the years, even moving there for a few months to work with some producers when I was younger.  It’s ridiculously spread out, but each differing area has its own remarkable character and almost pre-filtered aesthetic, and having an opportunity to explore some of these places once more, as well as smugly missing the arrival of ‘The Beast from the East,’ seemed too good to be true. 

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I mean, I can’t tell you how jammy I felt to be taking off in a roomy Norwegian Air Premium seat and heading for the California sunshine, just as the first snow was beginning to fall upon the runway in my wake… #SorryNotSorry!

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I spent two nights at The Kinney, a beyond colourful and quirky hotel at the heart of Venice Beach (where the oh-so-Boho Taylor Sloane lives, no less!) enjoying both a delicious dinner on the candlelit Gjelina patio (is there a better, more comforting cure for jet lag than pizza and red wine?!) and a sunny breakfast (with avocado, natch…) and much needed giant coffees at The Rose Café which set us up happily for all our sightseeing… iPhones at the ready.  

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After popping into Clare V’s (the boutique Ingrid first meets Taylor) I had my my hair tousled by the lovely peeps at The Hive in Silverlake (no blonde Taylor make-over for me, this time!) I then, eyes on stalks, visited some key Instagram locations across the city, including the much-photographed Love Heart Staircase and the infamously pink Paul Smith Wall, with lunch at the Carrera Café, and dinner at Ostrich Farm in Echo Park, yet another aspirational filming location. 

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With my camera roll almost as full as my stomach, we then set off on a road trip, just like the girls do in the film, for an afternoon in Palm Springs and a night in Joshua Tree.

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I stayed at the Parker Palm Springs a few years back, and it remains one of my favourite hotels, so to return for a mouth-watering lunch at Norma’s (shrimp tacos, always) was a serious highlight. Originally a Holiday Inn, this mid-century mansion has been transformed by the famously eccentric designer Jonathan Adler, who’s iconic pottery I am a keen collector of. The hotel is a perfect balance of extraordinary and chic, and you’re unlikely to have seen anything like it.

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A visit to the Moorten Botanical Gardens followed lunch, a garden designed by Slim and Patricia Moorten in the 1930’s, which now boasts over 3000 examples of desert cacti and other desert plants, and has become a real Palm Springs destination.  

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Our next stop was a tour around the Palm Spring’s Art Museum, where brilliantly, our visit had happily coincided with their Andy Warhol retrospective. As if my senses were not on over drive enough, it was a total pleasure to see more than 250 of this artist’s works from over four decades, in person - the pop art in particular.   

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After an early dinner at The King’s Highway Diner at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs (shrimp tacos on repeat, this time with Frozen Piña Coladas… Next level, just sayin’!) we headed into the desert darkness.

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The Pioneertown Motel, a must-stay when exploring the Yucca Valley. The motel is rustic, and straight out of a film set, which is of course in keeping with the real life, actual Hollywood western film set that lies on its doorstep! The rooms are simple and stripped back, and if you are comfortable with the lack of light pollution, and abundance of cool desert air, a good night’s sleep is guaranteed.

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Sadly we arrived at the motel on one of the two nights a week where neighbouring bar and renown rockstar/cowboy/rock climber hangout, Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneer Town Palace was closed! This, coupled with having to set off early the next morning, rendering us unable to explore the film set, has left me with valid reasons to justify a return one day…

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After a stack of Cross Road’s Café pancakes (next to some dubious taxidermy), we headed towards Joshua Tree National Park, where my boyfriend had visited to rock climb only a fortnight before. With 8000 climbing routes and 2000 boulder problems, the epic landscape, fascinating variety of plants and rare opportunities to sleep under the stars, have all created a truly world-class climbing destination… Oh, and the perfect Instagram location…!  As demonstrated by Taylor and an eager Ingrid in the film, we also had our moment to capture some Coachella vibe #OOTD’s amongst the yucca trees...

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There are also some vintage stores, such as ‘The End,’ worth dropping in on before leaving Joshua Tree.  Despite not finding my dream cowboy boots, I did find a vintage Italian umbrella which was too adorable not to take with me on the road. 

With Downtown LA (‘DTLA,’ for those in the know) mid-way through a real rebirth, with exciting restaurants, galleries, and hotels opening throughout, its currently a really great, buzzing place to stay, and after all that dust, and travelling, it was pretty euphoric to walk into my beyond spacious, and achingly cool studio suite at The Ace Hotel.  With a roll top bath, record player, a guitar and water provided in cardboard boxes, I became hipster by default. Cool. 

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The next morning, after one giant lie-in (and hangover), armed with green juice, we hiked to the Hollywood Sign. Kidding, we took an Uber...

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After obligatory photographs were taken, a spoiling lunch (of, you guessed it, shrimp tacos) at The Ivy Restaurant in West Hollywood ensued. Totally sceney, and totally worth hustling your way into for the eclectic décor and people watching-alone, but I can also thoroughly recommend the Key Lime Pie! 

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Here is a little video of these fabulous few days in LA...

TLC ON TOUR... LOS ANGELES SUITCASE:
(Click on the items below for their direct links)

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In collaboration with Universal Pictures (UK), Discover LA and Greater Palm Springs CVB, with thanks to Norweigan Air.

Photography: Myself and Erin Wyatt.

Nails: Sophie Gass.

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TLC Vacation: Venice with Diadora

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Considering the Italian brand Diadora’s current motto is ‘Living Your Passion,’ there could surely be no better person to visit them in Venice than me, seeing that two of my own rather large passions involve travelling, and pastaaaa!  

Since 1948 Diadora has been creating renowned and technologically advanced footwear, initially starting out making mountain boots, and subsequently athletic wear for some of the world’s most famous footballers, tennis players and F1 racing drivers.  In the last few years, Diadora has also focussed on expanding its range of street wear designs, with a timeless range of low and retro high top trainers in an ever changing array of bright colour ways.  Over the last couple of years, Diadora has collaborated with some of the world's best stores and boutiques, including Colette, creating a series of vibrant, limited edition trainers.  I perused these exclusive styles at the Diadora HQ whilst having lunch, some Prosecco (when in Rome… or, you know, Venice) and chatting with Chairman and CEO, Enrico Moretti Polegato.  

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After a tour around the brand’s Museum exhibitions, where I met many of the people behind the brand, and learnt a lot more about Diadora’s history and style evolution, we were able to visit their remarkable in-house-factory.  With no mass production, Diadora’s emphasis is on quality and traditional craftsmanship over quantity, and it was amazing to see the trainers being made, at each of the eleven stages of their people-led production, with many of the original machines still in use and in good working order.

After being presented with two of my very own pairs of Diadora trainers, I was invited to a nearby wine tasting at the beautiful Villa Sandi (below), and then on to Venice to our hotel.  

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Excitingly, I was utterly spoilt with a night’s stay at the stunning Hotel Ca’Sagredo.  The lavish, newly renovated 15th Century palace, situated on the spectacular Grand Canal itself, is a real gem.  Did I mention it is also PINK?! 

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This half hotel, half museum, is not only home to a multitude of striking 17th and 18th Century art, but at the time I visited,  Ca’Sagredo was also playing host to the most Instagrammed piece of art this year; Lorenzo Quinn’s phenomenal ‘Support.’

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As our water taxi pulled up to the hotel, I had the most incredible view of the installation I’d seen peppered over my social media feeds for the previous six months; Two giant hands pushing up the hotel’s walls, brilliantly drawing everyone’s attention to the real threat climate change poses to this much loved, centuries-old city.  According to scientists, the beautiful Floating City could be almost entirely submerged by as early as 2100, and these hands symbolise the power mankind has to stop it.

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The next day, in the most glorious sunshine, I explored the city on foot, and was shown the ‘secret’ side of Venice (basically, less tourists and slightly less pigeons!) with a walk through the Rialto, S. Marco Square, and all the way up to the Castello neighbourhood.  After a delicious, and what seemed never-ending, lunch at Nevodi (so many beautiful courses! Wow!) I visited La Biennale art exhibition before heading back to the airport by water taxi (beats an Uber to Heathrow any day!)

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"Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go..." Truman Capote

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Above:  *FYI. If ever you can't find me, always look for the nearest cat...

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Above: Hanging laundry: One of the unsung wonders of Venice...

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Back in London, back in the grey, and back in the real world, the trainer trend shows no signs of ever abating, so I’m thrilled I can wear my Diadora styles around and about, at work and play - A lasting memory of my fabulous 24-hour Venetian adventure.

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TLC LOVES... Diadora

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

TLC ON TOUR... VENICE SUITCASE:

Thank you Diadora

London Photography: Ella Sadika

TLC Vacation: Les Roches Rouges, Saint-Raphael

What a total and utter treat it was to be asked to stay at Hotel Les Roches Rouges during the same month of its opening.  When confronted with the beautiful azure blue sea and the stark white and deep, seductive sienna hues of this modernist, 5* hotel situated in the heart of the Côte d'Azur, the memory of my ungodly wake up call to get to Gatwick Airport simply melted away. The Welcome (and very much welcomed) Cocktail miiiiiight also have played a part in this, to be fair…

Les Roches Rouges is understated luxury at its best.  Low-key but wonderfully luxurious, unlike its well known neighbours, you can enjoy the glamour without the glitz of the French Riviera in peace.

First and foremost, I should mention the view.  The sea crashing against the rocky cliffside, and the hotel’s two swimming pools, one a natural seawater infinity pool, combine to make what I’m sure will soon become the most Instagrammed set up of the summer!  It is like something out of a Slim Aarons photography book, I kid you not.  Exceptional.

Spending a few sun-drenched days splashing in this refreshing water, whilst having a friendly team of Stan Smith clad staff waiting on my every Orangina whim, was le dream!  (Below: In Réard Paris)

My sea-view bedroom was small, but perfectly formed, with a balcony, artesian snacks (think, saucisson and nougat rather than your regular selection of Pringles!) and gorgeous, refillable Le Labo amenities. I mention that they were refillable, because as much as I love sneaking home a bottle or two of travel sized shampoo and conditioner, I love it more when hotels are eco conscious. The minimalist, yet artistic approach to the decoration felt fresh and light, the bed was cloud’esq comfy, and as an additional stylish touch, a gorgeous straw basket was ready and waiting to be used as your beach bag throughout your stay.

There are three bars and two restaurants at Hotel Les Roches Rouges, my favourite being located on the rooftop where I spent my last evening taking in a particularly other worldly sunset. The Provencal cuisine, with all ingredients sourced from local farmers, cheese makers, olive oil producers and beekeepers, is more than complimented by the array of cold, crisp wines offered (another Magnum of rose, anyone?!) I would however, say some English menus would be helpful (#BritAbroad, apologies) and perhaps a few more creative Vegetarian options. 

Above:  My blogger friends wearing their #TLCxAuree bracelets.  Every purchase from my and Auree Jewellery's Masai inspired Tembo Collection sees 100% of profits donated to For Rangers, supporting those risking their lives daily to protect Africa's wildlife. (RRP. £50.00-£140.00)

By day, if unwinding with a book, cocktail in hand lounging doesn’t suit (who even are you?)  you can busy yourself with some kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, table tennis, yoga cooking classes or a visit to a nearby, picturesque village for a wander.  In the evenings, there is live music (Gypsy, Cuban, acoustic folk rock) and cosy, open air cinema nights.  After a gorgeous massage, I can also certainly recommend a visit to the spa, you know, in the unlikely event that you just weren’t feeling relaxed enough…!

TLC ON TOUR... COTE D'AZUR SUITCASE:

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

Thank you Les Roches Rouges.

Additional Photography: Emma Horeau

Nails: Sophie Gass

TLC Vacation: Global Day of Discovery, Paris

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I was recently invited to Paris by Renaissance Hotels to celebrate their fifth annual Global Day of Discovery.  This hotel group is known for helping its travellers really experience their destination, something so frequently missed out on by those with a busy travel or work schedule, and for one day a year 170 of their hotels, across 24 countries, assist in helping you uncover the real soul of the location you’re visiting.  As Audrey Hepburn once said, “Paris is always a good idea,” so how could I miss such an exciting opportunity - one that would really immerse myself within the city, and not just within it’s bottles of wine and baskets of baguettes, as previous trips have witnessed!  This time, I was set to truly experience some authentic local culture that makes Paris unique.  

After arriving in Paris on the Eurostar (still never gets old), we were collected and taken to the Renaissance Arc de Triumph Hotel.  After a quick change and turnaround (I obviously needed to don some stripes and apply some red lipstick… ‘Cos Paris, innit?!) I was taken for the most tasty, colourful and inventive lunch at Balagan, the latest offering from the team behind the Experimental Cocktail Club.

With famous Israeli Chef Assaf Granit at its helm, this new, stylish restaurant and cocktail bar officially opens in June, in the Renaissance Vendome, and it should not be missed.  Make sure to try the amazing polenta starter and the tuna tatar wth tomatoes and tobiko yoghurt before the staff, accompanied by loud music, all join together to create you the messiest and most fun deserts… Think, chunks of cake thrown with wild abandon onto a tin foil lined counter top, followed by handfuls of watermelon and blueberries, a scattering of nuts, and giant spurts fruity syrups and lashings of cream! How very apt that Balagan means ‘Joyful Bazaar’ in Hebrew!

After a walk in the beautiful sunshine around the surrounding area, I have to admit I maaaaaay have then spent most of the afternoon in Sezane#DésoléPasDésolé

TLC LOVES... SEZANE

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

After another quick change (so little time, so much Paris), and another quick change after that (zip issues with my dress), we were entertained by some dancers in the lobby over champagne, followed by Parisian beatboxers over more champagne, in a coach headed towards the Eiffel Tower.  Oh, did I forget to mention?!  The six Renaissance Hotels in Paris came together and threw an exclusive party a the sought-after Salon Gustave Eiffel in the Eiffel Tower and THAT’s where I was headed.

Aside from getting ABSOLUTELY SOAKED by a freak thunder storm (if you watched my InstaStories that night, you might remember my hurricane of a hair doo and complaints over my soggy Jimmy Choo’s!) the evening was what dreams were made of; incredible and rare views across Paris, the City of Light, and a fun party involving a lot of glitter, a lot of bubbles, and many, many extraordinarily good looking stubbly men. I mean… They were EVERYWHERE. If you’re single Ladies, head to Paris, that’s all I’m gonna say!!  

The next day, a Renaissance Navigator, an expert in local neighbourhood activities and local gems, took us to the Fondation Louis Vuitton

Not only was it as fabulous as ever, but I was able to visit the Art Afrique exhibition, which was exhibiting one of my all time favourite photographs in all its glory, 'Nuit Noël’ (below).  Captured by Malian goat herder turned photographer Malick Sidibé, in 1963, three years after Mali's independence from France, and a time of hugely euphoric cultural and social change.  I just love the vibrant intimacy of the couple jiving under an African night's sky, still both in their Parisian best (she, sweetly barefoot), surrounded by beer bottles on the concrete dance floor.  

Before heading for to catch the Eurostar home, we headed for the Place du Trocadéro. You can’t come all the way to Paris and not get the money shot, after all!

TLC ON TOUR... PARIS SUITCASE

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

When in Paris... I love French beauty products (*and pastries) and I have a lot of love for cool cat (and daughter of Serge and Jane) Charlotte Gainsbourg’s new khaki packaged NARS collaboration - the make up brushes are firmly on my Wish List. Also, if I could eat the new Sisley Paris Black Rose Cream on toast, I would.

An unforgettable journey, Merci Renaissance Hotels!

TLC Vacation: Montenegro with Octavia Hix

I was recently whisked away by Octavia Hix to beautiful Montonegro for a fun filled few days.  I got to explore the country’s dramatic coastlines by speedboat, its breathtaking views over wine-tasting, and its Unesco-listed old town of Kotor (all very Game of Thrones), ALL whilst getting to wear some of the designer’s newest, silkiest designs. Spoilt, much??... Da!  

I wore an Octavia Hix dress on a trip to the Caribbean last year, and was really excited to get my mitts on some more.  Founded by sun-kissed sisters Vix and Hattie Clark, Octavia Hix really do create the most timeless, ageless and elegant printed silk dresses, which you can even wear as over sized shirts with jeans on chillier days.  The prints are inspired by their travels and their upcoming marble print was designed with Montenegro in mind.

I flew out on British Airways to Dubrovnik, where we were swiftly collected and driven across the border to the Regent Porto Montenegro, our glamorous new abode.

The Venetian-Renaissance inspired hotel is located inside the exclusive Porto Montenegro complex, neighbouring an abundance of chic cafes, restaurants (TLC TIP: Head straight to Byblos for the most amazing Lebanese feast) and designer boutiques, a sprawling Yacht Club (with the most INSANE of infinity pools) and it overlooks a picturesque 450-berth super-yacht marina… I mean, I obviously fitted in perfectly, darrrrling!

As well as having its own in-house bakery (the dream), the Regent Porto Montenegro is home to a cosy library bar, a delicious Mediterranean/Fusion-Asian restaurant, and the most heavenly spa, one I was lucky enough to visit on my last evening for an amazing massage. 

Two real highlights of the trip included taking in the amazing views over wine tasting (my new favourite hobby) at Castel Savina (TLC TIP:  The Castel Savina Merlot is ACES. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!) and our boat ride around the atmospheric Kotor Bay.  

Despite not being the sunniest of boat trips, the billowing clouds rolling over the bay, in all its wild, brooding beauty, was incredible and I loved weaving around the dramatic maze of cobbled streets in Kotor’s walled in medieval old town, which incidentally is brim full with stray cats… I’m not even kidding.  The whole town FREAKING LOVES CATS, and every shop and restaurant leaves water and food out for these descendants of seafaring felines, and there are even designated shops exclusively selling a plethora of cat clobber. Basically, I think I’ve found my people…

TLC ON TOUR... MONTENEGRO SUITCASE:

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

TLC Staycation: RHS Chelsea Flower Show with The Dorchester

Whether you know your Acer Saccharinum from your Liriodendron Tulipifera (which I don’t either FYI…) you don’t need to be an avid horticulturalist to LOVE the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. The Royal Hospital Chelsea annually transforms its grounds with stunning floral displays, with world renowned designers creating show stopping, cutting edge gardens, creative floral artwork and frequently unusual floral displays. It’s a much anticipated date in every Londoner’s diary, and one that allows for a few stolen hours of pure browsing bliss in the sunshine amidst the plants and the sculptures.

Imagine the next level excitement I felt therefore, to not only attend this year’s show (tickets are like gold dust), but to also be invited to preview The Dorchester’s Afternoon Tea pop up before all the rest of the floral folk and fancies. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough (and lets not underestimate my notorious love of cake), but I also got to stay at The Dorchester the night before in a maaahooosive suite – AND be chauffeur driven around in my very own Rolls Royce convertible Dawn. Yes, I know, Cinderkella had it goooooood.

My stay at The Dorchester was, as ever, dreamy, with my highlights always including wallowing in their bathtub (the deepest in London, in case you wondered) and of course, ROOM SERVICE. Is there anything more luxurious than having your pancakes, bathed in Maple syrup, wheeled into greet you first thing whilst still in your fluffy white towel robe at The Dorchester?! I think not.

I was so lucky to visit the Rolls Royce Factory a few years ago, and have to say, they really are ALL the hype and more. People literally stop and stare as you drive past, wondering who you are… Ummmm, Kelly Kardashian, OBVs. The car’s unparalleled craftsmanship is matched only by its beauty, and it really is a total show stopper. I couldn’t have asked for a better day to be whizzing around in a convertible, with the sun blazing down upon us, although I soon realised why ladies ‘back in the day’ took to wearing head scarfs…!

The show is attended by around roughly 157,000 visitors each year, so imagine what a treat it is to have a sneak peak before the masses arrive...

The Dorchester pop up was everything you would expect and more, and by 11am I was two scones down and mid way through their signature Chelsea Flower Show cocktail, ‘Her Majesty’s Cup’ (below), served from a floral teapot! The elegant, quintessentially British pastries and flower arrangements were exquisite, and I really had the opportunity to relax, kick back and smell the roses - not just Instagram them!

Here is a little video of my day...

Shop TLC's Look...

(Click on the images for direct links)

Thank you to The Dorchester, Rolls Royce and the team at London.

Photography and Film: Merrick Winter

Hair: Secret Spa

TLC Vacation: Antwerp's Square Mile with Boodles

I was so excited to recently visit Antwerp with leading British jewellery house, Boodles. As well as being well known for its chocolate and waffles, this ‘other’ Eurostar destination is also recognised for its share in the diamond trade… Chocolate, waffles, diamonds… How had I not visited before?!! 

Given Boodles’ reputation for both its heritage and creativity, it was no surprise that they had organised for me to stay at the beyond charismatic ‘De Witte Lelie,’ Antwerp’s most luxurious boutique hotel, dating back to the 17th Century.  Contemporary and stylish, this quirky hotel, with its leopard print sofas, bowls of Chupa Chups and individually styled bedrooms, is the perfect pied à terre and it had me at Goeiedag.

The Flemish capital sees 50% of the world’s consumption of rough, polished and industrial diamonds all pass through its cobbled Square Mile, and people flock there to buy the most precious and exclusive diamonds.  Boodles naturally only acquires the most exquisite gemstones, and as their guest I was able to visit some of the most notoriously private diamond cutters and dealers in the Diamond Quarter.

Over $16 billion in polished diamonds passes through the district’s exchanges each year, and after learning a lot about the industry, my day culminated in playing with an overwhelming £17 million of the most sparkliest jewels I ever did see!  

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I decided that this rather subtle 37 carat yellow diamond would make the most charming of pinky rings…!  Keep an eye out out for my imminent crowd funding requests...

After a wonderfully spoiling dinner with the Boodles team, wearing my competitively sparkly party shoes, I woke up to breakfast and Boodles diamonds in bed… What a way to wake up!! My delicate 18ct Blossom Mini Rose Gold Diamond Necklace is both youthful and elegant, and works just as well when worn with jeans and a white tee, as it does with a cocktail dress.

After a quick trip back to London on the Eurostar with Leo, I was invited to the Boodles flagship Bond Street store.  Spanning a whopping 2.500sq ft, the showroom houses a luxurious VIP apartment where I was able to try on some of the brand’s most exceptional ‘High Jewellery,’ one-off designs.

A diamond necklace and emerald ring were the two pieces which caught my Magpie eye in particular.  The exquisitely special platinum necklace I tried on features 55 ‘Ashoka’ cut diamonds, making it exceptionally rare, as only 2% of all diamonds mined can be cut this way. Exclusive to Boodles, the necklace weigh a total of 55.33 carats.  I also tried on the giant platinum and diamond ‘Greenfire Ring,’ which features an 18.7 carat cushion cut emerald from the Muzo Mine in Colombia.  Taking these beauties off was heart breaking! My inner Elizabeth Taylor has officially been unleashed... 

Townhouse Photography:  Ella Sadika

TLC Vacation: 24 Hours in Munich with BMW

Last month I went on what I can only describe as some sort of Bavarian Bonanza… 24 hours in Munich with BMW. Despite the time limitations, and the city being brim-full with Oktoberfesting revellers, I was surprised at just how much of Munich I managed to explore. 

After arriving in Munich I swiftly checked into the Sofitel Bayerpost, a beyond large, heritage-listed Italian Renaissance building that once served as Munich’s central post office right in the centre of the city.  After a bite to eat at the hotel, I was taken for a guided tour of the BMW Museum and BMW Welt.  Founded in 1973, and expanded in 2008, these two attractions continue to be really popular amongst tourists.

It was really illuminating learning about the history and future of the German vehicle manufacturing brand, and I was severely dazzled by their 125 most valuable automobiles and motorcycles.

The museum is also peppered with brightly coloured MINI Coopers, which are only my favourite cars EVER, and this visit only but fuelled the flame… I need one… Or two… I digress… Basically, car aficionado or not, this is a really entertaining and interesting experience and a great way to spend an afternoon in Munich.

Hilariously, I then got to experience the other great way to spend an afternoon in Munich… Yup. Oktoberfest! 

Donning my finest dirndl (shop similar HERE), which adorably said ‘to my dear’ on it, I made my way, like 6 MILLION other people did over the course of the 16-day festival, to one of the jam-packed Oktoberfest tents owned by Munich’s six breweries; Paulaner, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr, Augustiner, Hofbräu and Löwenbräu.  Each tent sits around 1000-8500 people and are to be found amidst a massive village of Bavarian-style fun and games (think, Winter Wonderland just bigger and drunker…) 

Overflowing frothy beer arrived at our table, and soon we were clinking our one litre sized mugs with our neighbours (everyone is joyfully over friendly), and singing along to the thigh-slapping oompah music where we could (‘Country Roads’ was a particular favourite!)  An astounding 7.5 million litres of beer are consumed over the 16 days (that’s 3 Olympic sized pools.) I’m happy to say, I contributed to around a whooooole ¼ of those litres. LAD. 

Food wise, this is not a gastro haven.  I stuck to the GIANT German pretzels (delicious) and the bunches of radishes which were being quite randomly passed around.  Being a vegetarian, I steered away from the popular Bavarian pork knuckles, white sausages, oxen dishes and grilled chicken, and the copious burger stands to be found outside the beer tents.  

DO:  Pay attention to how you tie your Dirndl… If the bow is tied on the right side, it will be perceived that you are a taken woman, but if tied to your left, it will suggest you are single and ready to miiiingle.

DO: Wear flat shoes, and not particularly special ones - they will likely be covered in beer.  I ran into town to buy some cheapie Zara Velvet Loafers when I realised my heels would be both uncomfortable, and more than likely trashed. 

DON’T:  Put a foot wrong… Or in this case, on the table! If you do this you will be expected, in front of some 5000-8000 chanting spectators to neck your entire beer. Expect aforementioned 5000-8000 people to boo quite ruthlessly if you are incapable of such feat!

I left Oktoberfest after dark via Tuk Tuk where I whizzed around, enjoying a fast paced tour of the city, all in search of a cocktail… A LOT of fun, but I’m still more Pina Colada than Pint! 

TLC ON TOUR... MUNICH SUITCASE:

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

A #TLCxAuree interview with The London Chatter

The team at Auree recently interviewed me about our Tembo Collection collaboration in support of For Rangers, and why it was a cause so close to my heart.  I thought I would also share the answers with you here on TLC…  

‘We are excited to be collaborating with Kelly Eastwood on our first charity collection. As major advocates of travel, flair and colour – we’ve long been fans of The London Chatter, which is why its been a delight to create The Tembo Collection to raise money and awareness in the fight against Elephant poaching.  So a second first for The Auree Journal, we thought a good chance for a cuppa and a Q+A.  Move over Parky...' 

What was it like to grow up in Africa and how has it influenced you?

It was really magical; the animals, the epic landscapes, the beautiful beaches, the amazing mix of cultures. From an early age I was always aware of ‘the bigger picture’ and as such, however exciting and frivolous the whirlwind I sometimes find myself in, I always feel pretty grounded.

Tell us how the collaboration with Auree came about?

Having worn a personalised Auree bracelet rather religiously for about a year before finally meeting Amelia, we decided to meet for breakfast so I could learn more about the brand. It became apparent we both wanted to do a charity collection, and over avocado and eggs we not only decided to collaborate, but had already started sketching designs before the bill had even arrived. Amelia was very supportive over my plea to support the conservation efforts for elephants in Africa, a huge passion of mine. We agreed that neither myself or Auree would make a bean out of the collaboration, with all profits going directly to For Rangers, a wonderful campaign started by friends of mine back home.

How did your Kenyan roots inspire the Tembo collection?

Since I was a child, I’ve always been absolutely in awe of elephants; rather than Nellie the Elephant it was Kelly the Elephant!  As well as going on safari regularly, I would frequently visit the orphaned ele’s at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust near where I grew up in Nairobi, which allowed me from an early age to be acutely aware of the heartbreaking effects of poaching. As I’ve got older, many of my friends now work in conservation, and I’ve learnt so much more through them.

I love Maasai beads and the design of our bracelets were inspired by the single white Maasai bead bracelet I usually wear. The beads are so synonymous with the tribal, nomadic cultures back in Kenya, that it seemed an obvious element to incorporate into the jewellery, through the textured circular bead effect. I also now have permanent Maasai beading around my ankles, put on by the Samburu mamas at Ol Malo, a family-run ranch in Laikipia, which I regularly flaunted at London Fashion Week – paired with some good old Jimmy Choos naturally!

You are a frequent wildlife campaigner, what attracts you most about the important work For Rangers and Tusk carry out?

I think it’s the urgency, and the respect. Make no mistake, this is ultimately a war – a battle to save some of the most iconic wildlife before it’s too late, and it’s the rangers who are on the front line of this fight, daily risking their lives for these animals.  For this reason, they deserve our recognition and support. Earlier this year I visited Kenya’s beautiful Lewa conservancy, where I saw Edward Ndiritu (who was awarded with Tusk’s inaugural Wildlife Ranger Award, presented by Prince William in 2015) and his team awarded with silver pins of honor for their outstanding work, and the pride was tangible. 

For Rangers is a really small, grass roots campaign, with no overhead costs. It’s headed by passionate, knowledgeable people who have taken on extraordinary challenges to raise both money and awareness (including the Marathon de Sable and the Peruvian Jungle Run). Given that I’m hardly renowned for my athleticism (I’ve not moved quicker than a strut since the mid-90’s), I thought I would be better suited to help the cause accessorising not exercising…!

What has been your most memorable experience in Africa?

I’m having a stream of flashbacks of both the most exhilarating and also peaceful moments. Aside from my sister’s week long beach wedding near our home, and regularly visiting the Giraffe Manor’s endangered Rothschild giraffe after school when I was young, I would say anytime I’ve been lucky enough to go on safari. Watching a sensational African sunset, G&T in hand (obviously), with that buzz of wildlife around you, is beyond humbling, and for me, completely calming

What are your little black book entries and insider advice for anyone looking to visit Kenya?
 

in Nairobi. If you’re not staying as a guest at this beautiful house, I would definitely try and book in advance to have afternoon tea there amongst the endangered Rothschild giraffe that live at the sanctuary.  I would obviously recommend you go on safari to enjoy the exceptional wildlife we’re so desperately trying to preserve, and Richard’s Camp in the Maasai Mara is really great fun. For unforgettable experiences with the nomadic Samburu communities, both Ol Malo and Sasaab offer unbeatable opportunities.  I would also head to the coast. Some of Kenya’s long, white sandy beaches are rated amongst the best in the world. Watamu, a pristine marine reserve, is perfect for a family holiday, and not too far from Mombasa, where you can spend an evening sailing along the twinkling lit coast on the Tamarind Dhow

What are your must have items that you pack in your suitcase for a trip to Kenya?

Inside my vintage-style Brics Suitcase, I always carry my Ali Lamu safari bag so I can decant and travel light from within Kenya at a moment’s notice.  A good pair of Penelope Chilvers safari boots are imperative, and I love my massive Winser London massive cashmere for both the airplane and for enveloping myself in on those chilly early morning game drives on Safari. When the suns up, I’m always prepared with a good straw trilby from Jess Collett Milliner, my tortoiseshell Taylor Morris Zero sunglasses, a bikini or two from Beach Cafe, a Pitusa kaftan, my Sisley Paris Factor 50 and a kikoi bought locally from a beach stall. Rae Feather does some great personalised beach baskets and I throw everything haphazardly into one of those.

Tell us about your most treasured piece of jewellery and the story behind it.

A Victorian pearl and sapphire heart-shaped locket in the shape of a heart. My childhood best friend passed away when we were eighteen, and her mother gave it to me. There are flowers in the the back of it which my friend pressed and helped put in there when she was four. It’s my treasure of treasures.

What do you love most about your job?

In or out of London, I love the variety of the people I meet in such different fields, and being witness to such differing creativity. This platform has not only given me the ability to talk about and share the things I love, but also to champion the causes that are close to my heart, which is something I really focus on.

How would you describe your personal style?

Always colourful, always with lipstick (Tom Ford’s Plum Lush) and always with a touch of leopard print.

By Day: Topshop boyfriend jeans, Rose Rankin sneakers, over sized Boden linen shirts and Chinti and Parker cashmere (I particularly love their new Miffy collaboration – too cute!) I carry all my work and laptop in the tortoiseshell Aspinal of London Editor’s Bag – it’s so chic and even charges my phone – next level!

By Night: Jimmy Choo heels or L.K Bennett boots, Hill & Friends Tweency bag, and a swooshing Matthew Williamson dress. A blow dry or ethereal braids by Clo and Flo ups my glam game considerably.

What are your style tips for wearing jewellery?

I love stacking and mixing metals, which is why I particularly love the Tembo Collection – you can mix and match the colours and stack them together which looks great, yet still unfussy.