March Against Extinction 2019


A few years ago, whilst waiting for my cab at LAX, I witnessed a group of American men, pushing their suitcases and firearms, being welcomed home by their wives and children like heroes, as they excitedly regaled stories of how many lions they had each shot on their (canned) hunting trip to South Africa... My heart utterly broke.

How are conservationists to win the fight against illegal poaching, exhaustively educating the world with what little time we have left, that Africa’s most endangered animals, in their ever dwindling numbers, are #WorthMoreAlive, and that their mounted body parts are not symbols of wealth and prosperity - if on the other hand, the blood-thirsty elite are legally allowed to kill and display severed body parts of the exact same animals back in their homes, as a sign of their own ‘power’ and ‘prestige’ (or more likely, as I see it, as a sign of their small...)

In total, some 1.7 million wildlife trophies were legally traded between nations between 2004-2014, 200,000 of them from endangered species.


This was why, yesterday, I joined the Global #MarchAgainstExtinction to deliver an open letter signed by 175,000 people (including my faves, Jane Goodall and Born Free Foundation’s Virginia McKenna to Theresa May at 10 Downing Street, asking the British Government to take urgent action to ban the import of hunting trophies to the U.K, and to support efforts internationally to end this gruesome trade once and for all.

We also called upon the CoP delegates to: support the proposal to up-list elephants to Appendix I, reject the proposal from several southern African countries to re-open ivory trade, and reject the proposal to allow trade in the Southern White Rhino.

Without maximum protections by the global community and CITES, elephants, rhinos, lions, giraffes and all endangered megafauna face certain extinction in the wild.


Above: Outside 10 Downing Street with actor and animal rights activist Peter Egan, who I haven’t seen Peter since co-starrrrring in the 2007 British comedy, ‘Death at a Funeral.’

(*Kidding, I literally had one line in the entire film...)

It was an honour to stand and be counted alongside so many committed and passionate voices for endangered animals yesterday in London, whilst so many did the same thing back in my home town, Nairobi, Kenya.

Loewe x Elephant Crises Fund


Spanish fashion house Loewe has teamed up with Knot On My Planet's global ambassador Doutzen Kroes and Save The Elephants in the fight against the ivory trade, a cause very close to my heart.

2018-08-19 18:03:24.949.JPG

100% of the profits from the Loewe's limited-edition Mini Elephant Bag (above), adorned with handcrafted beadwork by the fabulously skilled mamas from the Samburu Warrior Trust based at Kenya’s Ol Malo (one of my favourite places to stay on earth), will be donated to the Elephant Crises Fund and the conservation initiatives they support. 

Left:  During one of my beautiful stays at Ol Malo, a family ranch and game sanctuary in Laikipia, the heartland of the Samburu tribe.  Whilst there the mamas colourfully beaded my ankles. This specialised craft has given the female elders a viable workflow to help sustain their families.


Did you know that elephants are deeply emotional and intelligent animals with strong family bonds that last their 70-year lifespans? Or that without elephants, natural ecosystems can quickly fall into disrepair, creating further food insecurity for local human communities?  Trust me, with a wild elephant killed every 15 minutes across Africa, a designer handbag has never felt like more of a crucial investment.  Shop HERE


Valentino SS'16 Campaign shot in Kenya's Amboseli National Park.

National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry (best (known for his hauntingly beautiful 1985 cover image,  ‘Afghan Girl‘) has in an out of character move, shot Valentino’s Spring/Summer 2016 campaign in a Masai village in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park.

The campaign, featuring a collection inspired by ‘wild, tribal, Africa,’ has caused various accusations of cultural appropriation due to the use of predominantly Caucasian models, who all feature wearing their hair in cornrows (which I have to admit, is never really a good look - Monica Geller in the Caribbean much?!) leaving some also feeling that the, perhaps more interesting, Masai in the shoot were used as props.

As a big fan of photojournalist Steve McCurry, and as a Kenyan who loves drawing attention of the beauty of her country, I find these pictures refreshing, and exciting.  Rather than photograph the collection in a studio with a token elephant, this fashion shoot feels more like, as Pierpaolo Piccioli calls, a ‘cultural vision.’  

Steve McCurry commented, ‘photography is always finding the best solution to a puzzle and creating some wonderful feeling or scenario, making a great story’ adding, ‘the idea of these pictures is to take the viewer on a journey. The clothes were inspired by African motifs, to take the shoot to Africa and show how these interact and, this connection of the clothes, the models, the environment, the local people; I thought it was a great endeavour.’  What are your thoughts?...

Below:  A beyond beautiful behind the scenes video... and a stunning advert for visiting Kenya! 

Penelope Chilvers for Tusk Trust

I have for a long time been a fan of Penelope Chilvers and with spending much of my year exploring Kenya's beautiful Samburu, I have lived in her fun and fashionable, yet safari friendly footwear.  I am therefore, in definite need of this safari-inspired rucksack in my life/on my back! In celebration of Tusk's 25th anniversary, Penelope is donating 20% of each of the canvas rucksack sales to helping the organisation raise awareness for wildlife and conservation across Africa. The adorable embroidered badges featured on the bag were designed by children from the Coaching 4 Conservation program in Botswana.  

Tusk Rucksack (RRP. £249.00)

TLC Vacation: Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya

There are many reasons as to why growing up in Kenya lead to a rather magical, privileged and enviable childhood, but one of them was almost certainly my close proximity to Giraffe Manor.  I grew up visiting it’s neighbouring Giraffe Centre, a breeding programme for the endangered Rothschild giraffe, most days after school (frequently feeding the giraffe from my mouth, driving the tourists wild, and driving my poor mother to absolute distraction!)  I would often gaze onto the Manor ahead, dreaming one day I would live there, alongside my wondrously leggy and lashy friends.

Giraffe Manor was built in 1932 by Sir David Duncan, half an hour outside Nairobi, on 12 acres of picturesque private land, next to 140 acres of forest with stunning views of the Ngong Hills.  In 1974 Jock Leslie-Melville and his American wife Betty, who founded the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), bought the Manor, bringing with them two baby Rothschild giraffe, the first of many generations to inhabit the estate.  After Jock passed away, Betty opened the house up to visitors, and to this day staying at this colonial residence, and having giraffe poking their heads into the dining room looking to share your breakfast, is one of THE most unforgettable experiences you can have in Kenya, if not Africa. 

Well, my dream of owning Giraffe Manor sadly did not come true, but I did have two wonderful recent opportunities to visit the Manor.  Before Christmas I was invited for breakfast with my sister and my niece Willow. Willow, a New York resident, was six months old and on her first trip visiting her mother and aunt’s beloved Kenya.  Sharing darling Willow’s first meeting and greeting with my giraffe pals was so unbelievably special.  Not an ounce of fear in her little body, my niece launched forward to touch Helen’s face, who seemed far more interested in the grain pellets I had in my hand than the tiny baby poking at her eye (a relief to us all as as these gentle giants have been known to give a ferocious head butt if irritated… I unfortunately, albiet amusingly, have a couple of experiences of this!... OUCH!) 

Steering clear of the warthog, hilariously funny to watch following the giraffe around in the hope of finding discarded food, but obviously less baby friendly, we ate delicious pancakes and enjoyed fresh juice and coffee to the accompanied sounds of Willow’s excited shrieks. 

Then earlier this year, I was asked, alongside some other bloggers and journalists, to stay at Giraffe Manor for the night by The Safari Collection, the latest owners of the residence and several other luxury holiday hot spots around Kenya. I know… I say it time and time again, but my job does NOT suck.  Reminiscent of the homes existing in Kenya’s colonial heyday, a time when my grandparents were living in the country, the hotel is cosy and romantic, and a little insight into a bygone era.

After a wonderful morning visiting the elephant orphans at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, we returned for a lovely lunch (munch, drool and slurp!) on the Manor's sunny verandah.  We were then left to enjoy the Manor in it’s entirety for the afternoon. There are spa services available, a gift shop and copious wildlife photography books, and famous colonial Kenyan’s autobiographies scattered around the sitting room and library for your perusal; an entirely relaxing environment.  That is, until 4pm, when non-residents can now venture in for their afternoon tea. This is a brilliant time to explore the nearby boutiques or historical attractions (feeding giraffe, as experienced with Willow, can cause extreme excitement and squeeeeals!) 

After a delicious red wine fuelled evening dinner in the candle-lit dining room we all sat by a roaring fire (Langata, and Karen where I was raised, can be notoriously chilly at night due to their high altitude) drinking our choice of tea and sharing stories. Old-school elegance at it’s best.

Sadly, no giraffe came to my window the next morning but boy, did Ed over-compensate for that at breakfast!  One of the larger males, Ed showed no desire in waiting his turn in line, as he repeatedly lunged through the dining room windows towards our plates of pancakes and fruit – totally hilarious, and yes, like I said, an unforgettable experience that only this unique property afford you.

Yes, some of the bedrooms in the main house are a little basic and could use a minor lift… Yes, the wifi frustratingly only works in the Manor’s extension, and not in the main house… BUT, lest we forget, YOU GET TO EAT BREAKFAST WITH GIRAFFE!!  And for that amazing reason, these small details are easily forgiven.  A brilliant, and beyond special, start or end to your holiday in Kenya. 

Below:  Could my giraffe-tastic SENSO IDA XI mandals beeee anymore perfectly placed?! 


(Click on the items below for their direct links)

Below:  Willow's experience at Giraffe Manor clearly stayed with her.  When back in New York she immediately went to kiss her giant toy giraffe, a trick her naughty Aunty maaay have taught her!  See below (and hover for links) on some of Willow's favourite 'Sophie La Girafe' toys and products.

FACT: One of the Manor's giraffe is called Kelly. A coincidence? I think not.

Thank you to Giraffe Manor and The Safari Collection.

To make a donation to the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife please go HERE.

Thank you 2013...

I am currently back home on the beach in Kenya and made the below video whilst taking my Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies, Atlas and Albas, for their last 'walkies' of 2013... 

With the sun setting on 2013 I wanted to thank you all for your support.  It's been a phenomenal year for The London Chatter and I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store.  

2013 Flipagram

If you are enjoying a digital detox this holiday the latest, greatest app to take the (social media) world by storm may have, thus far, eluded you.  Flipagram lets you choose photos from your camera roll, select a song from your music library, and then allows you to share the constructed montage.   Along with pretty much everyone else on Instagram, I created my own 15 second flashback of 2013 filled with some of my year's highlights;  new puppies (Atlas and Albas), new kittens (Harry and Lloyd), protests (against the ivory trade and the annual dolphin slaughter in Taji, Japan) and playing the Bongos with Cara Delevingne are featured admist my amazing trips to Los Angeles, Kenya, Berlin and Mallorca (below).  Try it yourself - it's flippin' fantastic! 

The International Elephant March 2013

I love Elephants, and being raised in Kenya I was beyond lucky to have grown up admiring these majestic animals in their natural habitat.  The recent escalating evidence of their demise, from terrifying poaching statistics to personally witnessing large rotting carcasses whilst on safari, has left me heartbroken.  At the current rate of poaching African Elephantscould face extinction in the wild by 2025!!  A future without these beautiful, intelligent animals is not one which we can sit idly by and allow to happen. 

Earlier this month 10,000 people spread over 14 different cities united for the International March for Elephants with one desperate message to their governments;  Stop the ivory trade!  I, along with hundreds of other Ele-lovers, demonstrated in London's Parliament Square urging the government to take action to end the illegal trade in ivory.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), a Kenyan conservation charity known for the rescue and hand-rearing of orphaned elephants before their rehabilition back into the wild, and its advocacy campaign iworry, have reported that an estimated 36,000elephants are slaughtered every year by the illegal ivory trade, amounting to one killedevery 15 minutes!  To date, the DSWT has arrested 1,400 poachers and in the past month alone, has been called to rescue 14 elephants in just 18 days bringing the total number cared for by the charity to 33, the highest number since 1977.  A letter signed by Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick was delivered to 10 Downing Street after the rally at Parliament Square.

Below: Visiting the elephant orphans at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, close to where I was brought up, when I was little (yes, in flannel shorts) and more recently.

Rob Brandford, director of the DSWT, said: “The time to act is now. The UK government and governments around the world cannot ignore this growing crisis. Recent responses by other world leaders are encouraging but if our children and grandchildren are to see elephants in their lifetime, the international community must act urgently and collaboratively to enact a global ban on the commercial sale of ivory and protect elephants before it’s too late.”

Founder of the DSWTDr Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE, said: “Both elephants and their protectors are being killed by this illicit trade. Every life lost to the trade in ivory is a scandal. Their extinction would not only bring heartbreak, but it will have a devastating impact not only on the wider environment but also in millions of livelihoods dependent wildlife tourism. We urgently need to act now to protect the elephants and those that protect them to prevent a wider environmental and economic catastrophe.”

Please add your name to the list of people around the world saying NO to ivory HERE.
With your signatures, we can urge government leaders around the world to bring an end to all trade in ivory, permanently. 

Queen Elizabeth II Marks 60th Coronation Anniversary

Today marked the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation and this was celebrated in a service at London’s Westminster Abbey this morning. 

In 1952, the then Princess Elizabeth, whilst on holiday in Kenya, received the news of her father George VI’s death and subsequently flew home a Queen.  16 months later she was crowned at the age of 27, with the service broadcast live to the nation.  Only Queen Victoria, who was Queen from 1837 to 1901, has reigned longer than Elizabeth II

The Dean told the congregation, “we gather to give thanks to almighty God for the faithful ministry and dutiful service the queen continues to offer God and the people of this nation, the overseas territories and the realms, and as head of the Commonwealth.”

Further events are being organized to celebrate the queen’s 60 years, including a four-day Coronation Festival in the gardens of Buckingham Palace (July 11 to July 14) and an exhibition of coronation outfits.  'Long Live The Queen!'

Above: I love the Emma Bridgewater special commemorative mug celebrating the coronation, now available for ½ price here (RRP. £19.95 £9.95)

The London Chatter's Winter Sun Essentials

If you are lucky enough to escape the f..f..f..freezing weather in London right now, and are getting ready to jet off to sunnier climes, then you may be wondering where to find stylish summery goodies whilst the high street is currently brim full of wooly jumpers and mittens. Fear not, as a seasoned Winter-skiver (I have myself just returned from FIVE weeks in Kenya, above) I have put together a selection of Winter Sun must-haves, so whether you are heading to a tropical jungle, a secluded white sandy beach or are just planning to relax pool-side somewhere glamorous, your sunshine needs will be totally catered for...

Above Clockwise (L-R):  Globetrotter Safari Trolley Case in Ivory - £860.00,  Topshop Sundress - £38.00,  Miu Miu Cat Eye Sunglasses - £225.00,  Daisy Jewelry's Solar Plexus Chakra Bracelet - £86.00 £34.40, Kenneth Jay Lane's Gold Coin Necklace - £70.83 £49.17,  Accessorize Flower Fan - £6.00,  Stella McCartney Lizzie Espadrilles - £146.00.

Above Clockwise (L-R):  Meli Melo Bon Bon Bag in Cipria - £320.00 £224.00,  Topshop Hawaiian Print Sundress - £36.00,  Tangle Teezer - £10.00, Nars Monoi Body Glow Ii - £44.00, Benefit CORALista Powder - £23.50, Benefit CORALista Lipgloss - £13.50,  Dara Ettinger Lark Dyed Amethyst Cluster Ring - £69.17,  ASOS Cat Eye Flying Birds Sunglasses - £20.00, DKNY Linda Patent Multi-Strap Cork Wedges - £120.83.

Left and Below:   At The Tamarind in Mombasa, Kenya, wearing The Summer Dress - £150.00 - a British collaboration between designer Chessie Grievson (of the luxury bespoke label Tephi) and artist and conservationist Sophia Rogge.  This silk dress features a sand dollar print, inspired by the sea urchins from the oceans of Fiji. 10% of profits from this purchase will go towards coral conservation. Fashionable and environmentally friendly... No excuse not to really!  

Above Clockwise (L-R):  Beach Tunes!  The Very Best Of Toots & The Maytals - £15.99,  Bruno Mars 'Unorthodox Jukebox,' - £7.99,  Jack Savoretti 'Before The Storm' - £7.99,   Ben Howard 'Every Kingdom,' - £8.99, Lissie 'Catching A Tiger' - £4.99,  The Lumineers - £7.99.