2019: Let's Do This...

A little late to the 2019 party, but wishing you all one healthy and happy New Year. In all honestly, behind all of the fun and the filters, this last year has been a bit of a whoop-ass struggle, and all things considered, I found it quite hard to pick an authentic array of annual ‘highlights’ to see out 2018...

Instead, as I sit reflecting on the last year, I see lots of faces. The faces of people who showed up, checked in, called and cared - my true, real highlights.

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If I’ve learned anything recently, it’s that you are never too old to open yourself up and make new, brilliant friends. Some of the faces I’m the most grateful to over 2018 belong to people I might not have imagined being there a year or so ago, and that’s pretty wonderful in itself. I also learnt to not beat myself up too much for politely opting out of things when it all feels like too much, when you need to disconnect, and when you need to put yourself (and perhaps Netflix) first.

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Lastly, I recently read that even if you feel like the least intelligent, beautiful or talented person in the room, you can always be brave and you can always be kind. And that’s how I’ll be walking into 2019; Brave and kind... Lets Do This 2019!

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Shop TLC’s Look…

Dress and Lipstick by Rouje

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TLC VACATION: The Rose, Venice Beach, CA.

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After much kicking and screaming, this wannabe hipster eventually managed to drag herself away from the most spoiling, sun-soaked suite and jars of flakey croissants at The Rose Hotel, Venice... It was NOT easy! 

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The Rose Hotel, a little low-key Venice Beach gem, was originally designed in 1908 by Abbott Kinney, has had a recent, and most perfect, renovation by fashion photographers Glen Luchford and Doug Bruce. Once a notorious 'late night hangout' frequented by the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Jim Morrison, the hotel has maintained many of the original features, such as the reception's yellow counter slot for the working girl's keys, still in situ amongst the more recent flea market and vintage finds. 

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I spoilingly stayed in the hotel's Pacific Suite, a 1500 sq ft penthouse, with a massive bay window looking across the broadwalk to the ocean, two bedrooms (both with Queen size beds), linen covered sofas and a lot of too-cool for school art.  Aesop bathroom products, the softest stripey sheets and a bottle of rosé in the fridge (thank you Mr & Mrs Smith!), all helped to make my brief two night stay in the always characterful Venice Beach perfectly chilled. 

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Firstly, ALL hotels (and boyfriends) should provide designated little black make up towels to prevent the always inevitable, mascara and foundation induced 'White Towel Guilt.'  I know, a total bathroom epiphany!  Secondly, I brought some Ouai hair products with me to California to try (specifically, the hair oil and texturising spray) and HOLY MOLY they smell incredible - go get'em!

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"We never set out to create the perfect hotel; our walls are thin, and the building is wonky... But its not like any other hotel. And we like it just like it is."  Glen Luchford and Doug Bruce.

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Here is a little video of my stay at The Rose Hotel, Venice Beach...

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Ohhhhh those Venice Beach sunsets... (*and ohhhh, those accompanying Margaritas...!)

TLC ON TOUR... VENICE BEACH SUITCASE:
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Thanks to Mr & Mrs Smith for organising my stay. 

The Watamu Turtle Pouch Launch and Competition

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Last week, Elizabeth Scarlett founder Elizabeth Elsey and I celebrated the launch of our ‘Watamu Turtle Pouch’ at an intimate breakfast in the festively decorated private dining room at Balthazar London in the heart of Covent Garden. 

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100% of the profit from our limited edition, intricately embroidered cotton, teal pouches (RRP. £25.00) go directly to the Local Ocean Conservation, a non profit organisation based in my home village of Watamu, back in Kenya.

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Local Ocean are committed to the protection of critically endangered and threatened sea turtles and the preservation of Watamu’s spectacular Marine Park and Reserve. Having been lucky enough to help with several of their turtle releases, I can tell you first hand, nothing brings more joy than watching these beautiful beings healthily return back into the wild.

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It was so great to see so many of my friends there to support my second ‘Buy To Give’ collaboration, and they all received their own ‘Watamu Turtle Pouch,’ which were filled with some of my other favourite ‘travel essentials,’ spoiling gifts from Jo Malone, Caudalie, Charlotte Tilbury, Spacemasks, ASOS Africa, and Sisley Paris.

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Above (L-R):  With Venetia Falconer, Niomi Smart, Rosanna Falconer and Liv Purvis.

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Above (L-R):  Nutritionist Zoe Stirling, Make-up artist Charlotte Cowen, presenter Venetia Falconer, and Matthew Williamson's Business Director, Rosanna Falconer.

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Above (L-R):  With documentary photographer Freya Dowson, and wellness guru Jasmine Hemsley

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Watch More Here... 

Watch out for the #TLCComp in the above vlog, for your chance to win your own Watamu Turtle Pouch filled with all my travel favourites (below).

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Shop TLC's Look...

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Photographs: Moeez Ali

With Thanks to Balthazar London

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

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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

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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!

Sisley Paris at the Harvey Nichols Beauty Lounge (*With Reader Offer)

I was so excited to recently go to Harvey Nichols for a day of indulgent pampering in their newly opened Beauty Lounge. As a child I used to dream about being locked up in a sweet shop, as an adult… The ground floor of Harvey Nichs, every luxurious and elegant 1,207 sq m of it, might just fit the current bill! 

Amidst all the installations, marble floorings and curated rows of every one of my favourite brands, are several areas dedicated to express services, including blow dries and manicures. In my opinion, this London beauty destination is pretty much unrivalled, and this month saw the addition of fine jewellery and sunglasses also hit its floors.   

As well as having my hair tousled into the perfect beach waves at the Hersheson’s blow dry bar, and having Nails Inc paint my tips and toes in their foil effect ‘King’s Road’ polish I was thoroughly spoiled with a Sisley Paris facial… Heaven!

My Sisley Essential Facial took place in their own designated treatments rooms, found off a mesmerising (insta-worthy) rose gold corridor.  Amongst the fluffy towels, glowing light and deep inhalations of Phyto-Complex Essential Oils, I was transported onto the most relaxing of clouds.  Having had quite problematic skin this year, my therapist cleansed and treated my skin with perfectly prescribed products (below), ones I have continued to use ever since and am thrilled with. 

Although on the pricier side, I have found each Sisley Paris purchase a real investment.  Founded by Hubert d’Ornano in 1976, Sisley products still to this day uses botanical active ingredients and essential oils and the phytotherapy-based results are beyond nourishing, and I’m a complete convert.  

With the cold weather taking its toll on our skin, Sisley have kindly offered TLC readers a little Wintery treat... Call the Harvey Nichols Beauty Lounge (0207 2355000 ext. 2289) to book a Sisley facial (from £50.00, redeemable against two skincare products) between the 4th – 7th December'16, 29th January - 1st February'17, or 24th February - 27th February'17 and receive a complimentary *Coffret Fleur Gift Set (worth £50.00). Errrrm... Amazing?!! Make sure to quote ‘The London Chatter’ when booking.

 

TLC Loves... Sisley Paris

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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.

TLC Staycation: The Hari, London

I can’t even tell you how spoiling it was to stay at The Hari, London during London Fashion Week… But I can try!  At a time where I zoom around like a mad thing, keeping to a tight schedule with multiple outfit changes for varying shows and events, it was a total dreeeeam to have The Hari, a little gem of a hotel in London’s Belgravia, as my beyond comfortable base, with their phenomenally helpful team on hand to make sure I was as Happy as Larry… So happy in fact, that actually leaving was pretty heartbreaking!! 

Above: Checking in with my Rimowa Limbo Suitcase and personalised Tephi Garment Bag

There are 85 bedrooms, including 14 luxury suites, at The Hari, created in an almost Mad-Men’esq way by leading British interior designer Tara Bernerd.  Think plush velvets, hardwood oak floors, eclectic furnishings, marbled bathrooms… Heaven!

Above:  Now that's a welcome!  Being met in my rooms by bubbles, truffles and and an indulgent LFW Survival Kit which included treats from Biscuiteers, Ren, and a Sunday's Mini Moon eye mask.

The Hari was perfectly located for me to zip in and out of town without any hassle, being only a five-minute walk to Knightsbridge tube station, or quick ride in an Uber... But juuuust about far away enough from all the buzz to really be able to zone out and relax when needed. 

Above:  My Sisley Paris beauty products and Tom Ford make up looked more than at home in my chic marble bathroom at The Hari. (Jewellery from Laura Gravestock, Missoma and Auree). 

The 24-hour room service was a totally blessing - not only did I enjoy the most amazing breakfasts each morning (I quickly learnt I was just MADE to be woken up with fresh orange juice and sea salt porridge with maple syrup), but having delicious, healthy food on hand after long days rushing about grabbing snacks on the go, was incredibly appreciated. (Masini and  Chern Barbados Pyjama Set at Apples & Drawers).

The hotel’s impeccable concierge service was utterly amazing, helpfully receiving any of my deliveries and catering to any of my particular whims. I don’t have many particular whims in case you were wondering, but HOW comforting to know that, in case of emergency, they would have been meticulously catered for! 

When not spending every possible second at The Hari snuggled up, resting my poor battered feet, there were plenty of chilled areas around the hotel to enjoy a little R&R (and a cocktail or two…) The terrace is particularly gorgeous and bar area was clearly a popular evening option for guests and non guests alike. 

Shop TLC's LFW Looks...

Below:  Checking Out.  Thank you to The Hari for being the ultimate LFW haven to lay my hat (and eight dresses, six pairs of heels, three pairs of boots… and... and...)

TLC VACATION: Puente Romano Beach Resort and Spa, Marbella

After the most depressingly long hibernation, and several bouts of rotten flu, the shiniest of tickets came my way; an invitation to stay at the Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa on Spain’s Golden Mile, Marbella, where the sun shines for 320 days a year! HOORAY!  

Grabbing my friend Charlotte Cowen en route, I arrived at the most luxurious of hotels.  Designed to recreate an Andalusian village, the beachfront Puente Romano, with its endless array of restaurants, three swimming pools, Six Senses Spa and newly opened nightclub, La Suite, had everything both our mischievous and holistic desires required.   

Our room was found amongst the white-washed walls and baskets of geraniums of the grounds, and we were thrilled to find we had a gorgeous little balcony (room service locaaay sorted!) and adorable beach baskets and towels as gifts. 

Wearing: Daisy Mini Crop Set by Mochi.

Oh, I should also mention the giant plate of chocolate-dipped strawberries – soooo spoiling! 

The heavenly Six Senses Spa offers an array of treatments, and Charlotte and I were generously treated to a hugely relaxing Couple’s Massage (hilarious!) in one of the spa’s nine treatment rooms.  

The blue-tiled swimming pool, with its view of the ocean, has amazing waterfall-style windows, and the spa also features a hydrotherapy pool; a cold plunge pool; heat and ice experience showers with different types of water flow and mood lighting; herbal steam room; sauna and hammam. UTTER heaven, and you can see why people travel the distances they do to unwind and spend time being pampered there.

There is a gym and a tennis court on site, and the resort is also very close to Marbella’s old town, but given that there are nine (yes, nine!) restaurants throughout the resort, it is quite possible to spend your entire stay hopping from one to the other… I can think of worse ways to pass the time!  The Sea Grill (above) is right on the beach and where we were treated to an array of fresh seafood and sushi on our first night. 

Two-Michelin-star-holding chef Dani Garcia’s playful concept restaurant Bibo was where we spent most of the next afternoon (I’m not even kidding, we feasted for for what seemed hours – NOT that any of us were complaining!) With an imaginative menu and Alice in Wonderland’esq touches in abundance (even the list of cocktails were presented in the form of Tarot Cards, which I made each of our party choose from - best game ever?! #EveryonesAWinner) the beyond imaginative tasting menu left us defeated, but amazed (I’d fly back merely for another portion of his INSANE New York-inspired cheesecake!)

Wearing:  Gold Diamond Moon Charm Necklace and Gold Diamond Horseshoe Necklace by Missoma.

Mid-way through our amazing meal, Dani surprised us with the most amazing truffle treats in his kitchen...

We also enjoyed a delicious evening of sushi at UNI, several Turkish Delight smoothies at Rachel’s Organic Cafe (above, also my favourite spot at the hotel for sun bathing and reading) and a very healthy lunch at Celicioso, Marbella’s only 100% gluten-free restaurant (below).

Enjoying the sunset with Charlotte and our friend, the Fashion Director of Marie-Claire, Tanya Philipson.  The last time I was in Marbella was actually for Tanya's wedding, so it was great to see her, and this time with her gorgeous new son Archer!  Would you just look at those CHEEKS!!  Beyond edible. 

Wearing:  Dia White 70's Maxi Dress by Lily and Lionel.

You also might not expect to find Marbella’s hottest new club amongst the sub-tropical gardens of Puente Romano, but this hotel is full of surprises as well as palm trees.  La Suite held its glamorous launch party on our last night, and launch it we certainly did…!  With a mixture of old Roman architecture and ultra-modern touches, the club is the perfect addition to the resort and will no doubt, be well frequented by guests and local revellers alike. 

The next morning Charlotte and I were treated to breakfast (pancakes, naturally) on our balcony (I mean, this entire stay was such a romantic friend-moon!) and coconut water and lavender scented eye masks were brought to us to assist with our much needed R&R… I mean, next level thoughtful! 

Just the perfect little mini-break!  Thank you to all the lovely folk at Puente Romano! xx


TLC ON TOUR... MARBELLA SUITCASE:

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The London Chatter was a guest of Puente Romano Beach Resort and Spa for two nights. 

TLC STAYCATION: Ham Yard Hotel with Sisley Paris

I recently was utterly spoilt, spending two glorious nights at Soho' s Ham Yard Hotel as a tourist in my own town, courtesy of Sisley Paris. The entire experience had my eyes on stalks (and my fingers on my Instagram!) as it was certainly the most colourful, chic and fun few days I’ve spent in a long time...

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When I told my sister and friends I was to be working with Sisley Paris they were all incredibly jealous, as the brand is a much loved staple on their bathroom shelves and in their make up bags. Founded in 1976 by Hubert d’Ornano, Sisley Paris is known far and wide for its innovative cosmetic and skincare products, using a combination of phytotherapy and aromatherapy. The plant extracts and essential oils are perfect for sensitive skin, such as my own, and I was really excited to try the amazing samples left for me in my hotel room (alongside their accompanying Biscuiteer replicas!) upon my arrival at Ham Yard Hotel.

Above:  Checking into the Ham Yard Hotel, with my two of my most favourite and trusted travel companions; My Bric Bellagio Suitcase and my personalised Tephi Garment Bag.

I fell crazy in love with Ham Yard Hotel.  I’m sure you could see on my Instagram account, Kit Kemp’s magnificently vibrant, British interiors are a social media dream.  You feel like you in a Wes Anderson film and everywhere you look there is something unpredictable and eclectic which catches your eye.  From the butterfly and drift wood crocodile decorated dance floor, the bowling alleys, the neon signs, quirky art and the television IN MY BATHTUB (below right), it was a total joy to refer to this hotel as ‘home’ for two nights… As a consequence, my once fabulous flat down the road from this hotel, now seems just a wee bit ‘Meh!’ 

Above:  Wes Anderson, much?! Just call me Margot...

Above:  Wes Anderson, much?! Just call me Margot...

Above:  Driftwood crocodiles and 3D butterflies on the dance floor, next to the bowling alleys (below). Just amazingly fun. 

Over the course of the two days we got to dine at THREE of my favourite restaurants in London; the suntrap that is Petersham Nurseries, the celebrity trap that is Chiltern Firehouse and the delicious taco haven that is La Bodega Negra. I know… My job does NOT suck (#SorryNotSorry) and despite being just a few days late to spot pre-Oscar Leo at Chiltern, it was great to chat with the other bloggers and the Sisley Paris girls in such fun locations over one (or three) cocktails. London at it’s very best! 

The beautiful  Petersham Nurseries  (Petersham Rd, Richmond TW10)

Above/Below:  Too soon for rosé  ? Not when at the Petersham Nurseries (Petersham Rd, Richmond TW10).

Below:  The obligatory shot taken in the ladies at Chiltern Firehouse (1 Chiltern St, London W1U).

The obligatory shot taken at  Chiltern Firehouse  (1 Chiltern St, London W1U)

Above/Below:  With the formidable Juliet Longuet and the rest of the lovely GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS at La Bodega Negra (9 Old Compton St, London W1D).

We spent our second day all together at Christine d’Ornano’s S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G West London home.  It turns out I’m actually neighbours with the glamorous Global Vice President of Sisley International, and let me tell you, there isn’t a house nearby I’d prefer to turn up at to borrow some sugar!  After a presentation introducing us to the brand, revealing it’s family-run history, and demonstrations showing us the latest Sisley Paris skincare and cosmetic additions to the brand, Christine hosted a delicious lunch for us.  

After lunch, behind velvet doors (when I grow up I'm having these in my house!) we were all given a make over, using Sisley Paris products, by the fabulously talented British make up artist, Tania Grier

 I was very impressed by all the naturally active products I tried, and by their chic aesthetic (obviously being from Africa the zebra print had an obvious appeal!) but there were obviously always gong to be some favourites which I thought I would share with you...

1.  Black Rose Cream Mask (RRP. £95.50):  My sister had already warned me this would become a ‘must have’ after I’d used it once, and she was right.  Known as a cult product in France for it’s nourishing, rich anti-aging benefits, you apply a generous layer for up to fifteen minutes before blotting away any residue (of which I had none of because my greedy face ate it all – yum!)

2.  Phyto-Lip Twists (RRP £29.00) I am well known for loving a bright lip, day and night, so these were always going to be a real winner for me.  Appearing like a tinted balm, but with the strong pigment of a lipstick, and the shine factor of a lip gloss these fun, chubby Lip Twists are as hydrating as they are long lasting. Ideal and in my handbag at all times. 

3.  Phyto-Eye Twists (RRP. £29.00):  I love how easy these are to apply, and they are perfect to use either as a thick eye-liner or a smudgy smokey eye. Enriched with plant-based active ingredients, so your delicate eyelids are protected, the Eye Twists are waterproof and available in multiple colours which all compliment each other so well (you’ll end up purchasing quite a few…) but Lagoon and Topaze were my faves. 


4.  All Day All Year Moisturiser (RRP. £236.00): Jam packed full of antioxidants like Apple Skin Extract and White Willow Extract, this heavenly product shields your face pollution, sun, and every day environmental toxins. Swoooon… My hero! 

TLC ON TOUR... SOHO SUITCASE:


(Click on the items below for their direct links)

Thank you Sisley Paris! Bisous xx