Country & Town House - Jul/Aug 2023

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I’M DREAMING of a better, brighter future


JUL /AUG 2023 £4.95

STORY TIME Fashion’s fresh start

BIG BEASTS Coming to the countryside near you?

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Say hello to the world’s first and only diamond made entirely from the sky. We make diamonds using four natural ingredients, the sun, wind, rain and something we have too much of, atmospheric carbon. In doing so, our technology turns a negative into a positive. Now that we can mine the sky, we never need to mine the earth again.

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Beauty. Reinvented. Shop the exclusive fine jewellery collection of hand-made engagement rings and wedding jewellery, made with the world’s rarest diamonds.

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JUL AUG 2023

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THE GOOD LIFE Alice B-B shows her metal (or lack of) THE RURBANIST How Dame Jess Ennis-Hill lives a balanced life LAST WORD Why we must revive our historic buildings


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KEEP IT FRESH Choose clothes with the planet in mind THE EDIT Style news SHOP Summer lovin’ THE MAGPIE Jewellery news COME ON GET HAPPY Ditching consumerism can bring unexpected joy, says Aja Barber WELL GROOMED Men’s style


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WIGGLE WIGGLE Strut your stuff on the Curve Catwalk BODY LANGUAGE Horse play BODY & SOUL The menopause THE SCOOP Ice baths, hypno and super skin TAKE TEN Conscious cosmetics


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CAPTURING A CONTINENT Exploring Africa via photography CULTURAL CALENDAR What to see, read and do DREAM A LITTLE DREAM The story behind our cover ARTIST’S STUDIO Andrew Salgado FLIGHTS OF FANCY Candace Bahouth’s work is a crockery confection THE EXHIBITIONIST Ed Vaizey contemplates art in the Square Mile LITTLE GREEN BOOK Diving into Notpla, the sustainable packaging seaweed start-up THE CONSERVATIONIST We need a farming revolution GOOD TIMES Feelgood news ROAD TEST Lotus Emira SCARFES BAR Lady Carole Bamford




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CHASING THE SUN Sustainable style on the White Isle RETAIL REDEFINED How Tiffanie Darke is reimagining fashion ON LOCATION Six Senses Ibiza FIGHTING TO BREATHE Sadiq Khan is determined that all Londoners breathe better air


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JUL AUG 2023

FEATURES CONT... 89 92 95 100

GREEN THERAPY Changing your habits can bring psychological benefits as well as planetary ones BRING BACK THE BEASTS Ben Goldsmith calls for the return of our keystone species WILD WOMEN Amy Wakeham meets the women who are taking climate action into their own hands WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU Kamin Mohammadi profiles Hardeep Matharu, founding editor of Byline Times


The most inspiring places in the world in which to reset and regenerate

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WALL FLOWER Dress your walls THE WILD LIFE In Wales DESIGN NOTES Interiors news DESIGN MOMENTS Frankie Rousell of Jolie Studio A GREENER GARDEN PARTY Outdoor pieces made with love


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A SONG OF OLD AND NEW Bhutan is a dream for responsible tourism, finds Lauren Ho THE ESCAPIST Effortless adventures I’LL TAKE THE SLOW LANE Escapades without the flights

FOOD & DRINK 149 151 152 153

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN A fishy dish from the Mindful Chefs BACK TO THE FUTURE Baptiste Loiseau is making cognac history GASTRO GOSSIP Foodie news THINK PINK Château Léoube




HOUSE OF THE MONTH An organic country pile I CAN SEE THE SEA... Waterfront eco-properties FIVE OF THE BEST EPC A-rated homes

ON THE COVER Cloud 9 (2023) by Claire Luxton featuring diamonds from Skydiamond


PREVIOUS PAGE Top and skirt Zimmermann Necklace and earrings Sam Ubhi Choker necklace SO-LE Studio


THIS PAGE Swimsuit Evarae

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Yasmin and Amber Le Bon wear Raindance

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Editor’s LETTER


hen ad agency Ogilvy & Mather invented the concept of the carbon footprint back in 2004 on behalf of oil giant BP, it was a brilliant ruse to put responsibility on us as individuals to account for our own emissions, averting attention away from them – the mega polluter in the room. Industry likes to blame us – it suits them and their coffers. It’s the same with the ultra-processed food companies and our obesity epidemic. Nothing to see


EAT Connect with nature through food, music and the arts at new venue, The Outcrop on London’s Strand – Friday night out sorted

READ If you want to know how businesses of the future should and will be run, get a headstart by reading Giles Hutchins’ Regenerative Leadership


CARRY Slow fashion brand Layesion makes limitededition, oneoff wooden clutches. Chic

LISTEN To Planet: Critical, where journalist Rachel Donald investigates why the world is in crisis



here, folks! You get fat. That’s on you, chubby chops, not our addictive sugar, salt and additive-packed food substitutes. Well, we’re getting wise to their ‘secret plans and clever tricks’, as the Enormous Crocodile might say. We don’t want the snake oil anymore. We can use our vote and our wallets to stand by values that work for us and our planet – not against them. So, here’s a big welcome to our regeneration issue, where we aim to fill your inspiration buckets with ideas about how to live more in harmony with ourselves and nature. Ben Goldsmith is keen for the UK to reintroduce our keystone species, the animals we hunted to extinction but which provided so much more for biodiversity than they ever did with their pelts or fangs. Beavers – those flood-preventing superstars – are already back in our rivers – as near to London as Ealing, but how would you feel about the wild boar, the wild cat, the wolf? (p92). Divisive as he is, there’s no doubting the London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s commitment to delivering cleaner air – he’s even written a book about it. An asthma sufferer himself, he wants his legacy to be a much-improved environment for Londoners to grow up in and he’s happy to take on the naysayers (p86). While we are constantly told to follow the science, it’s art that we really respond to as humans. That’s why we chose to work with artist Claire Luxton on the regeneration issue cover. Her image, entitled Cloud 9, encapsulates everything we wanted the issue to be about – mostly, how hope, beauty and inspiration are needed to help propel us to a brighter future, rather than the dripfeed of terrifying statistics and apocalyptic headlines, which mostly serve to paralyse us (p58). But I have some ideas for that too – responding actively to the times in which we live is balm for unsettled souls. Green lifestyle coach Lucy Johnson gave me some tips (p90), and Amy Wakeham tracked down some incredible women already acting on behalf of our planet (p95). If all else fails, turn to our Wellness Guide, conceived and curated by the inimitable expert Daisy Finer. It’s a cure-all from page 103. Finally, inside you’ll find our Electrify Your Life guide, created in partnership with Polestar. From interior design to the daily commute, it’s your one-stop shop for weaning yourself off fossil fuels a step at a time.

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RM 07-04 In-house skeletonised automatic winding calibre 50-hour power reserve (± 10%) Baseplate and bridges in grade 5 titanium Function selector Shock-resistant to 5000 g’s 36 grams including Velcro® strap Case in Quartz TPT®

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The Wellbeing Guide, p103

Retail Redefined, p82

Bring Back The Beasts, p92

Come On Get Happy, p33





Where are you escaping this summer? I’m going on my own to a yoga retreat in the heat of India near Bangalore, which will be hot but hopefully rejuvenating. In August I am taking my children to Mallorca, spending some time in the countryside near the beach, and then finishing with three nights in beautiful Palma. Favourite wild spot in the UK? The walks I do with our lurcher Ernie in the Cotswolds where I live have become etched into my life blood. They feed and soothe me in the way only nature can. At the moment there are extraordinary wild irises growing near the river. Who inspires you on your eco journey? Michael Lutzeyer has created five-star eco paradise Grootbos in South Africa, which lives and breathes regenerative values. He’s as passionate about insects and flora as he is about the local communities.

Where are you escaping this summer? Ibiza, obviously! You will find me in the north, on Cala Xuclá beach, eating prawns with my feet in the sand. Favourite wild spot in the UK? The Ten Commandments on Dartmoor. It’s a vantage point overlooking the park and is always spectacular – especially in wild weather. Years ago, someone carved the Ten Commandments into the rock, which adds to the biblical nature of the place. How do you look after the planet? I only buy five new fashion things a year – and try and encourage everyone else who will listen to do the same. Who inspires you on your eco journey? So many, and they are all women. Orsola de Castro, Nina Marenzi, Livia Firth, Arizona Muse, Lily Cole, MarieClaire Daveu, Isabella Tree... too many for this page.

Where are you escaping this summer? Our home in Somerset’s Brewham Valley, where we are surrounded by increasingly wild nature. We are so lucky to be raising out children here, and this is where we’ll spend our summer. Favourite wild spot in the UK? We have created a large pond surrounded by a re-emergent wood pasture that is vibrant with colour and hums with life. We swim in the pond and spend hours playing along its banks. How do you look after the planet? We have removed all fences, dramatically reduced the number of animals on the land, reintroduced wildlife, rewiggled streams, and persuaded neighbours to do the same. Who inspires you on your eco journey? Derek Gow, farmer, nature-lover and guerrilla rewilder, has done more than anyone I know to restore Britain’s terribly depleted nature.

Where are you escaping this summer? I’m staying firmly put in the UK this summer – London is glorious in the sun and there’s so much on all the time – although I am headed to the Cotswolds in September. Favourite wild spot in the UK? There’s a spot in Exeter where, as students, we’d retreat in the wee small hours (following club nights, armed with suitcases filled with cider) and watch the stars. It’s the clearest lookout point, and though you have to cross through a very dark wood to get to it, it’s amazing. How do you look after the planet? Five years of not eating meat, and practising really low consumption habits. Who inspires you on your eco journey? I’m quite lucky with my colleagues at C&TH – who write and think brilliantly around sustainability. They’re constantly (gently) challenging me on my habits and choices.

WA N T T O K NOW W H AT ’ S ON ? Get the C&TH editor’s picks and our weekly guide to What’s On — and you’ll never say you have nothing to do. Sign up at countryandtown





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COUNTRY & TOWN HOUSE is a bi-monthly magazine distributed to AB homes in Barnes, Battersea, Bayswater, Belgravia, Brook Green, Chelsea, Chiswick, Clapham, Coombe, Fulham, Holland Park, Kensington, Knightsbridge, Marylebone, Mayfair, Notting Hill, Pimlico, South Kensington, Wandsworth and Wimbledon, as well as being available from leading country and London estate agents. It is also on sale at selected WHSmith, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s stores and independent newsagents nationwide. It has an estimated readership of 150,000. It is available on subscription in the UK for £29.99 per annum. To subscribe online, iPad, iPhone and android all for only £24.99 visit: For subscription enquiries, please call 020 7384 9011 or email It is published by Country & Town House Ltd, Studio 2, Chelsea Gate Studios, 115 Harwood Road, London SW6 4QL (tel: 020 7384 9011). Registered number 576850 England and Wales. Printed in the UK by William Gibbons and Sons Ltd, West Midlands. Paper supplied by Gerald Judd. Distribution by Letterbox. Copyright © 2023 Country & Town House Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. Materials are accepted on the understanding that no liability is incurred for safe custody. The publisher cannot be responsible for unsolicited material. All prices are correct at the time of going to press but are subject to change. While every care is taken to ensure information is correct at time of going to press, it is subject to change, and C&TH Ltd. takes no responsibility for omissions or errors.

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The outer plastic wrapping is made entirely from 100 per cent compostable material sourced from potato starch. It can be disposed of in a compost heap, your garden waste bin or your food waste bin (why not use it as a liner?). Please do not put it in your recycling.

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Alice B-B tries self-hypnosis – and signs up for a pleasure party


Lanserhof Medical Wellness Clinic, where hypnosis is offered as an alternative to meditation

ELF-HYPNOSIS. Must be nonsense, right? All that ‘look into my eyes’ has to be a circusstyle swindle. But I’m always up for giving things a go and it was offered as a meditation alternative on the (truly excellent) Sleep Retreat at the new Lanserhof Medical Wellness Clinic (; swirling interior architecture beneath a vast thatched-roof on the windswept island of Sylt in the North Sea. As I lay overlooking the dunes, the un-wizardy Heide Ziegenbein explained that hypnosis is a state of focused awareness – when the cognisance of your surroundings is reduced but your capacity to respond to suggestion is heightened. I closed my eyes and with her guiding words Heide somehow put me in a light trance; like being in that marshmallowy space between awake and sleep. Then she suggested I create a control room of my mind, where there’s a switch for everything in my life. I dream up a Hobbity-wooden door set in a grassy knoll, down a dank corridor and then… WOW an unexpected high-tech cockpit with flashing red lights beside levers and knobs and switches. A place where I can effect change, apparently. I now visit this control room if I wake in the night. Problem is, I only ever make it to the front door before I’m sound asleep. Which on the one hand is great – it’s the most reliable sleeping pill. But what about all the life changes? Heide suggests I give myself permission to pay my cockpit a visit during the day. Cabin crew doors to manual. PLEASURE PARTIES. My grandmother was a fan. And no, it wasn’t a keys-in-the-bowl affair. Granny and her friends would gather over a cocktail, arms full of clothes they no longer wore then would go round in a circle and each piece of clothing would be offered to a friend ‘with pleasure’. As my love of shopping for clothes has waned, I’m thrilled to have discovered a new tailor: we’re working through my wardrobe, turning minidresses into tops, removing ridiculous ruffles and copying old favourites in new-found fabrics. But I can’t lie, it’s still a thrill to have the odd new twinkly thing in the cupboard – time to bring back the Pleasure Party? LOW ENERGY. So low that I needed a lie-down after a dog walk, I’d flake out on plans with friends and my big career ideas seemed farther away than ever. But it was when I fell asleep (for a split second) while driving on the motorway that I realised things had got bad. I had a blood test with Dr Will Buxton at Effect Doctors ( What I assumed was the effing menopause was in fact miserably low iron levels. One in ten women in the UK is iron deficient and the symptoms are scattered so it can be hard to pinpoint without a blood test. Dr Will prescribed an IV infusion; a whole bag of delicious iron dripped into my arm. A week later and it was like I’d borrowed superwoman’s cape, ready for walks, friends, work – maybe even saving the world. 


SENDING moth-nibbled sweaters to Alex Gore Browne for her delightful mending ( OBSESSED with the new Lyma epigenetic skincare ( lyma. life). EYEING UP a stool by Village London (


‘Her guiding WORDS somehow put me in a TRANCE; like being in that marshmallowy SPACE between awake and sleep’

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Dame Jess Ennis-Hill on confidence, collective action and tackling the menopause taboo

What’s bringing you joy right now? My kids – they always bring me joy. They are a little bit stressful at times. But I love just seeing them grow and change, and become their own little individuals and have their own little personalities. Advice you’d give to your 15-year-old self?

I’d say to my 15-year-old self: take the confidence you got from sport and use it for every part of your life. Be confident in yourself. What does sustainability mean to you?

I think it means having an awareness of what’s happening around us, whether that’s making small changes at home, or on a daily basis. Small things can have an impact if we do it collectively. It’s about that awareness of how we’re affecting other people on the planet around us. Last time you felt ‘regenerated’? My husband and I went to Italy for our wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago. It was just him and me on the Amalfi Coast, and it was really nice to have a lot of relaxation, downtime, and to switch off a bit. I felt really rejuvenated and rested after that. What are you working on at the minute?

QUICK FIRE FAVOURITES... PERFUME Chanel. CHOCOLATE BAR Picnic. DISH Anything with sea bass. BEST MEAL OF MY LIFE Was on my honeymoon – a taster menu in a hotel in Australia.


We just launched a perimenopause programme on my app, Jennis, which tracks that next phase of a woman’s life. The app is for cycle mapping, aiming to help women understand their hormones Olympic gold medalist Jess Ennis-Hill in relation to how they exercise and how they started app Jennis to enable women to move their bodies. For perimenopause, using take control of their hormone health machine-learning, you now get a bespoke programme and interventions to help you alleviate some of those symptoms. My biggest lesson recently… is that even if you feel like you’re nowhere near [the menopause], actually just being aware of what happens is helpful, so you can get a handle on what’s normal, and what’s not normal. So, when it happens, you have the tools in your armour to navigate through it in a good way. How do you live a life in balance? I am always checking in with myself to make sure I am doing what I really want to be doing. I think you have to question yourself every now and again – and not get too carried away with life. 

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STYLE Edited by Mariella Tandy


Where do your clothes come from? We all have to buy new sometimes, so when you do look for brands that are ethical and ecological, that use carefully chosen natural materials, and that are transparent about their impact on people and planet. It’s an alternative vision for the future of fashion – and one that we’re excited about. Jumper, trousers, shoes and bag, all Another Tomorrow, July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 27

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STYLE | News


EDIT Stories to make your summer the most stylish yet. By Mariella Tandy

Eco beauty brands


1 Stella By Stella McCartney Alter-Care Serum, £110. 2 Ilia Brow Gel, £28.50 3 Tata Harper Lip Crème, £43.


Just in time for the summer events season, Rixo is now offering a rental service, meaning you can sport a new look for each summer soirée in your calendar without harming the planet. From £30.

It all started in Finland in 2009, when a cellulose expert experimented with spinning wood fibre like a spider’s web to make textiles. Spinnova now makes sustainable, recyclable and fully biodegradable textile fibre, and has collaborated with the likes of Adidas, Marimekko and Jack & Jones.



Regeneration charity Dirt, founded by Arizona Muse, has launched its online Earth Shop, a place where all the conscious brands that give a portion of their profits to the organisation are gathered under one umbrella. C&TH’s pick includes Beabond’s new Coco Collection of lockets – 30 percent of each sale goes to Dirt.

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Pioneering denim brand Citizens of Humanity has teamed up with Kiss the Ground, a charity that supports cotton farmers to move towards regenerative agriculture to improve soil health. CoH supports the farmers financially to ensure they can adapt to these new farming practices and makes up any shortfall during the transition phase.;

AWAY THAT DAY Top, £69; sarong, £69.

CASA RAKI Julia maillot, £170


ON THE RADAR Sea-friendly swimwear brands

ALICIA SWIM Jodie Coco one-piece, £215; pareo, £215.


MEDINA Hat, €230.

PAPER LONDON Coconut swimsuit, £195.

LOVE BRAND & CO Trunks, £150.


Sloane Street is increasingly the place to be for luxury brands. A new name in the neighbourhood is none other than Dior, which opened the door to its boutique on 1 July. 196-198 Sloane Street, London SW1, July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 29

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STYLE | Shopping


Make a positive impact with your summer wardrobe. By Mariella Tandy




RENT LOEWE @ FRONT ROW Brooch, rent from £35.

FANFARE LABEL Linen jacket, £189. SWAINE Pouch bag, £1,800.

HANCOCKS Antique diamond earrings, £POA.

LK BORROWED Rae top and skirt, rent from £79/month.

MATTEAU @ BY ROTATION Dress, rent from £50.


CHANEL @ OPEN FOR VINTAGE 1989 Mademoiselle Watch, £3,390.

REJINA PYO Kit vest, £295; Aletta trousers, £350.


PIPPA HOLT Zig-zag kaftan, £570.

ZIMMERMANN @ HEWI Sunglasses, £80.75.

SO-LE STUDIO Doodle earrings, €240.

RHODE @ BY ROTATION Dress, rent from £35.

OLIVIA VON HALLE Zoya dress, £595.

MISSOMA @ HURR Earrings, rent from £16.

ARANÁZ @MWHQ Basket bag, rent from £7.

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STYLE | Jewellery


Cece Jewellery’s latest collection, ‘A Travellers Tale’, is inspired by nomadic lifestyles and ancient legends, Everything is handmade and hand-enameled in London using 100 percent recycled gold. From £2,115,


For the first time ever, a lab-grown diamond brand has joined Selfridge’s Wonder Room for a limited spell. The Diamond Lab showcases loose lab-grown diamonds and fine jewellery creations with its signature coloured stones. A permanent Bond St address will come later this year.

The Magpie


Non-mined gems

The best summer sparkles. By Mariella Tandy

1 SKYDIAMOND Diamond ring, £20,720.


Vrai now offers a ‘Cut to Order’ service allowing customers to design a couture diamond completely made to order and then become part of the design process online seeing the craftsmen polish, cut and set the stone in your desired setting. From £1,444 per carat,

2 LYLIE Circle of Clouds earrings, £925.


Danish design studio Kinraden’s rings bring together gold, silver and sustainable mpingo wood from fine musical instrument production using kumiko, the Japanese technique of assembling wooden pieces without the use of nails. Rings from £125,

3 MATILDE Mar necklace, £195. 4 COURBET Origine Necklace, £2,100. 5 SMILING ROCKS Snake ring, £5,199.

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Interview | STYLE




Opting out of the relentless consumerist cycle might actually bring us the joy we’re all yearning for, believes Aja Barber. Interview by Tessa Dunthorne

ja Barber arrives at The Culpeper, a hip regenerative gastropub in East London, dressed head-to-toe in white. It’s all secondhand or small batch, and she’s striking – an eBay-clad avenging angel. The Alabama native didn’t plan on becoming the face of the secondhand, ethical fashion movement; she simply grew up in the Sophia Amoruso (Nasty Gal founder) era of digital marketplaces, scoring quality threads cheaper through careful bidding to curate the ultimate noughties wardrobe. ‘It wasn’t cool in the year 2000. I was a university student, and during that time, denim was it. Every six months, there’d be a new denim brand that you needed to have. And I just did not have money. I was browsing eBay for other things [than clothes] when it fell into place.’ We pause – she orders a coffee. She is, she tells me, still on the dairy stuff. ‘Easy on the meat, I don’t actually eat beef at all. I think I feel lactose intolerance coming for me. These are the last glory days before I go vegan, basically.’ She muses: ‘Some of these decisions are so good for the planet. And then not too bad for us, either.’ It’s the same with fast fashion, she tells me. Before Aja switched her shopping habits, it was a cycle of emotional distress, purchase and yearning. ‘I was always feeling like I had to buy a new thing each week, each month. I distinctly remember pulling out all my summer dresses from the previous year, and... I’d liked those dresses, but I suddenly felt quite bad. And overwhelmed. Because there was this inherent pressure that I would have to just consume more, and I couldn’t simply be happy with the stuff I already owned.’ If you’re not familiar with Aja, she published her manifesto Consumed in 2020, examining the links between colonialism and modern, Western supply chains. It’s a powerful cry to opt out of consumption culture – and not be over-worthy about it. Aja has her eyes set on toppling the fast fashion industry, its penchant for creating unfair labour conditions in the global South, and the unhappy cycle many have found themselves in with endless flimsy online purchases. ‘How can fashion be ethical and sustainable, and still fast and incredibly cheap?’ she asks. ‘It’s that whole triangle: cheap, fast, good. You can have it fast and good, but it won’t be cheap. You can have it cheap and fast, but... Basically, you cannot have all three. ‘There is no magic system where you can pay all the humans involved in making a garment fairly, turn billions of pounds in projects, and still produce high quality dresses. That doesn’t exist. It never will.’

There’s an inextricable link that Aja draws out: between paying people fairly, and the impact on the environment. Environmental scientist Roland Geyer suggests in The Business of Less that paying the world’s garment workers a fair living wage would immediately cut 65.3 million metric tonnes of CO2e. And it does seem that we’re listening. Deloitte suggests 37 percent of shoppers believe socially responsible products are more sustainable, and 32 percent factor this in when buying. ‘I think the minute you really wake up from the consumerist trap and start to see it as it is, you just become evangelical about it all,’ says Aja. She argues that we need to keep in mind the psychology behind why we’re in this ‘trap’ in the first place: ‘They [brands] are all trying to sell this dream. We keep buying thinking that we will magically get happy.’ The truth, according to Aja, is that we can’t find this joy. But perhaps by unplugging from this system (or just slowing down), we could access the very happiness that we’ve been searching for. Why? ‘With eBay, secondhand, vintage, Vestiare, I am only buying to add pieces that I genuinely love – so I enjoy it a lot more,’ she says, ‘and you simply can’t buy as fast on [platforms like] eBay.’ She continues: ‘Nobody’s expecting perfection from you, but in the words of Maya Angelou, “when you know better, do better”.’ Aja hopes that people will grow. That we'll unpick our purchasing habits; take a breath, slow down. ‘It’s exciting to see people discover that they are actually deserving of better clothing, and that this clothing, that pays people and treats them better, also feels better to wear,’ she says. I feel invigorated by the conversation with Aja. She’s an inspiring campaigner with a captivating intensity – you can see why so many people flock to her message. I can already feel myself beginning to reconsider some planned purchases. As she turns to leave, she has one final piece of advice for those looking for kinder wardrobes: ‘Just buy one product secondhand. Take it easy. You know, it’s hard to break up their systems, because we’ve been told that this is how you participate in society. But you can try.’ And with a swish of bright white (pre-loved) linen, a tip-tapping of (vintage) heels, she’s gone. Consumed is out now (Octopus, £9.99)  July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 33

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Using ecological linen cloth, organic shirting and eco-friendly packaging, Oliver Spencer makes every effort to reduce its environmental footprint – and has done for years.


Wilderness, an African conservation group, has teamed with responsible activewear brand Sealand to introduce a limited collection of handmade, regenerated nylon travel gear including backpacks, totes, duffles and key chains.


Well Groomed Mind your materials, men, says Matt Thomas

The Radexpand 5 is the fifth generation evolution of Rad’s folding e-bikes – weighing in two kilos lighter and featuring fatter tyres, adjustable handlebars and a handy rear rack. £1,649,


Summer skincare that cares for the planet


Raise your reusable cup to Hublot, which has created its first watch using upcycled materials. This suitably green number is ingeniously recycled from coffee grounds and Nespresso coffee capsule pods. Nespresso Big Bang Unico, £20,800.


Made in Britain since 1784, John Smedley’s only uses the world’s finest natural fibres, from Sea Island cotton to extra fine merino wool and regenerated eco-cashmere. Westgate Sea Island cotton T-shirt, £150.


Four brands that do it better

Veja Veja V-12 trainers, £145.

Watson & Wolfe Cork duffel weekender, £245.

Tusting Dovedale rucksack, £680. Theory Clinton blazer in Good Linen, £450.

1 NEAL’S YARD REMEDIES Rejuvenating Moisturiser, £20. 2 NUORI Nuori Mineral Defence Sunscreen SPF 30, £39. 3 HEATH LONDON Face Wash, £10. 4 ROCK ROSE Shave Oil, £13.50.

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Harvard 2



A best-selling, unlined Penny Loafer Made using the finest English suede Featuring our flexible rubber sole


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STYLE | Social Scene

Felix Milns

John Ayton Fiona Duncan

Isabella Charlotta Poppius

Ten out OF TEN

Simon Bax

Annoushka Ducas

Jahangir Azam

Toasting a decade our hotel guide – and of The Rosewood too


Alistair Guy

Silmiya Hendricks

en years! Country & Town House celebrated a shared birthday party as our beautiful Great British and Irish Hotels guide and The Rosewood’s opening in London both completed their first decade. Well-travelled and well-heeled guests clinked glasses in the divine Mirror Room, honoring the opportunity to mingle, gossip, catch up and enjoy the buzzy atmosphere. Very importantly too, we were also able to honour the winner of our first sustainability in hotels award, in partnership with EV car brand Polestar. Rhodri Williams, Sustainability Manager of winning establishment, the incredible Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, a Belmond Hotel, was there in person to scoop up his award from our illustrious hotels editor, Fiona Duncan. Le Manoir has always had sustainability at its heart, but chef-patron Raymond Blanc is constantly looking at new, different and innovative solutions to a problem that grows ever more urgent. Highly commended were The Pigs, Fforest, Whateley Manor, The Bull Inn and Keythorpe Hall. Here’s to the next ten years...

Amelia Harper and Louise Bradley

Stephanie Josephs Dan Brod

Elaine Sullivan

Lisa Grainger

Lucy Ferguson and Edmund Colville Paul Charles and Lara Good


Rhodri Williams

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PR O M OT I O N The Infinity Experience allows Louis XIII Classic Decanters to be refilled for the first time


Louis XIII unveils the world’s first luxury spirit refill experience at Harrods


uxury French cognac house Louis XIII is beloved the world over for its carefully aged blend of eaux de vie, rich with gentle floral notes and exclusively sourced from the Cognac vineyards in France’s Grande Champagne terroir. Sustainability and caring for the planet are at the heart of the heritage cognac house, which was founded in 1874. It’s no surprise, then, that Louis XIII has become the first luxury spirit producer to offer a refill ritual, The Infinity Experience, a new offer that is exclusive to Harrods in the UK, and one of only three globally. The Infinity Experience starts with owners returning their empty Louis XIII Classic Decanter to the house’s Harrods boutique, where it is sent off to be meticulously inspected, cleaned, and resealed before it’s returned. The second step is The Infinity Wheel, a specially designed device that is at the heart of the ritual. The decanter owner is invited to view the process in private at Harrods, in which rare Louis XIII mahogany-coloured eaux de vie flows from the refill capsule into the pristine decanter, renewing it with life and vibrancy. After the ritual is completed, a specially engraved medal is transferred to the decanter before it is sealed, boxed, and returned to the owner. ‘We are extremely proud

to introduce the world’s first refill experience in the luxury spirit industry making it possible for Louis XIII to be refilled away from its birthplace in Cognac for the first time in history,’ says Anne-Laure Pressat, Executive Director of Louis XIII. ‘The innovation demonstrates our commitment to our vision of thinking a century ahead, and forms part of a series of commitments in Louis XIII’s quest for “Sustainable Exception”, safeguarding the brand and driving forward sustainability across the luxury spirits industry.’ The house has also redesigned its Classic Decanter packaging in line with its eco-conscious ethos, with 100 percent recyclable materials and carbon emissions reduced by 57 percent. By witnessing and participating in the maker’s pioneering Infinity Experience, every Louis XIII decanter owner becomes part of the heritage and savoir-faire of the cognac maker’s legacy, while at the same time making their own personal commitment to living more sustainably. Try The Infinity Experience at Harrods’ Louis XIII boutique.

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WELLBEING Wiggle Wiggle Trina Nicole quit a stressful job in TV production to follow her passion – dance. Her platform, The Curve Catwalk, aims to embolden its dancers with a sense of self-love – its #JiggleYourBeauty classes are body-inclusive and aim to challenge conventional beauty standards with highoctane tunes and party vibes. Trina was also the face of Nike’s Own The Floor campaign and is one of its ambassadors using dance as a vehicle for change.

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HEALTH & WELLBEING | Review Shamanic horse whisperer, Natasha with one of her horses



Olivia Falcon revs up her horsepower on the South Downs

or anyone grappling with parenting teens, toddlers and all ages in between, or if you’re simply emotionally exhausted with the demands of life and looking for some clarity and peace of mind, I have a great tip to share. Last week, I played hooky from work and drove to the South Downs National Park to a pretty farmhouse to see horse whisperer Natasha Albeer and her three horses: Delios, Jack, and a brown mare called Astral. A reiki master and shamanic practitioner, Natasha has travelled the world living with indigenous communities such as the Mayan people in Mexico, the Tohono tribe from Arizona and Aboriginals in Queensland, who have all taught her natural horsemanship that in turn, she now uses as a tool to engineer some powerful therapy. ‘There is so much to be learnt from horses,’ explains Natasha, whose small business Natural with Horses ( offers a range of private sessions (from £100 per hour) and courses that teach emotional intelligence, boundary setting, leadership skills and team building. ‘I use horses as a model to show people of all ages how they can live in a different way. Horses mirror our core feelings and state of being. They help to overcome fears, release negative patterns,


triggers and emotional blocks to live a more positive, happy life.’ After some shamanic drumming in the classroom (that Natasha tells me mirrors our mother’s heartbeat) to switch off the logic mind and the voice of the ego, I’m out in the field nose to nose with the horses, in a strange but deeply comforting staring competition that weirdly throws up all sorts of emotions that Natasha notes on her clipboard. Natasha leads me with the horse I connect with most, Astral, to a ring where I’m instructed how to use my body language and intentions to get Astral to walk on, stop and weave herself through a series of cones. As someone who is the classic people pleaser, who finds it hard to say no, and who often takes the easy option and heads down the path of least resistance when confronted with someone else having a meltdown, the lesson I learn is how to use my body language in a peaceful but firm way to get what I want. The horse follows my hand signals and the intention behind it like a puppy. When I get home, I try my new skills on my husband, successfully leading him to a pile of washing up, and then again at bedtime on the children. Turns out they are all susceptible to my new horsepower. The takeaway here is if you’re feeling frustrated with all those around you or yourself, head to the horses for some real insight into your emotional state and some very handy new life skills. 


An Instagram filter in a bottle. Five brilliant ingredients (niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, bakuchiol and organic rose water) deliver proven benefits. Organic Pharmacy Niacinamide Ultra 5 Serum, £95. the



This chic, multitasking balm featuring centella asiatica plant extract, with restoring properties for fragile skin, has a bandage-effect texture, that wraps skin in a cocoon of moisture. Dior Le Baume, £50.



This treatment tackles skin savaged by sun with soothing ceramides, niacinamide, azelaic acid, hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5. Ideal for dry, sensitive or ageing skin that needs a little help. Dr David Jack Blue Peel, £149. drdavid



Instead of repelling mosquitos, midges, and sandflies with eye-watering chemical fumes, this innovative formula harnesses natural plant extracts that mask the scent of human skin. Vanilla Mozi Bite-Proof Body Cream, £16.

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Game Changer.



100% agree that skin is preserved 95% agree that skin is hydrated 81% agree that skin is plumped *Clinical trial conducted by SGS, 10.2022

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How to survive – and thrive – during the menopause. By Camilla Hewitt


enopause, and the perimenopausal period that leads up to it, are times of hormonal imbalance that bring about symptoms that span from hot flashes and mood changes, to brain fog and weight gain. However, there are steps you can take to try to minimise these. Dr Louise Newson, menopause specialist, says: ‘HRT is the first-line treatment for all menopause symptoms. Beyond HRT, it’s so important to optimise your exercise and nutrition.’ If you’re feeling overwhelmed, Dr Newson recommends keeping a dairy of your symptoms to take to a healthcare professional – her free menopause support app, Balance, has been designed to help with this process ( One of the effects of lowering oestrogen levels your might experience is loss of muscle mass and weight gain. But fitness coach Kate Rowe-Ham, founder of Owning Your Menopause, has some good news. ‘With a balanced, protein-rich diet it is possible to lose or maintain weight alongside a good fitness routine that includes lifting weights.’ She advises that, ‘HIIT training should be tapered back at this time as it can put more stress on your body, which can lead to increased weight gain,’ ( Regular exercise can also contribute to getting a good night’s sleep. Dr Samantha Brown of The Bronte Clinic advises that, ‘It’s important for women going through perimenopause to prioritise good sleep hygiene, such as creating a consistent sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed.’ A restful night can reduce brain fog and fatigue, which will make maintaining a healthy balance of nutrition and exercise during the day much easier/more achievable ( One of the most noticeable changes during menopause is that your skin may become drier and more sensitive. Skincare expert Susanne Kaufmann recommends ‘reaching for deeply hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid,’ as well as ‘supporting the body’s changing temperature by looking out for light formulas and avoiding anything too heavy or rich on the skin.’ ( 

Experts recommend prioritising health and fitness to try to combat menopause symptoms


Look and feel your best self through menopause

Menopause fitness coach, Kate Rowe-Ham


BOOK IT: From £90 at Laceby Manor, Eden Hall, Hoar Cross Hall and Alwaton Hall.

1 Dr Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful Menopause+ supplement, £18.95. 2 Susanne Kaufmann Renewing Day Cream, £185. 3 Ancient & Brave True Collagen, £27. 4 BetterYou Sleep Bundle, £42.85.


Voya is best known for its seaweed-based skincare products and spa therapies, harvested sustainably from Strandhill, Co. Sligo in Ireland. Its menopause treatments also draw on the healing powers of seaweed, a source of vitamins and minerals such as A, B and E, and magnesium and iodine. Taking inspiration from Chinese culture where menopause is known as the ‘second spring’, Voya has created three separate ‘tides’ or treatments incorporating aromatherapy, reflexology and massage.

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Upping the skin ante and the body holds the cure. By Charlotte Cole UNDER THE SKINFLUENCE



‘Talking therapy can sometimes feel like poking a wound over and over again.’ These are words that Jessica Boston, a multi-award winning cognitive hypnotherapist, told me and they hit a truth. In fact, eventually, it allowed me to discharge my therapist who was making me feel like an inadequate failure of a patient and move to more somatic (body-based) work. Jessica’s own childhood traumas have informed her quite remarkable approach and just being in her presence is a gift of calm in what can sometimes be an overwhelmingly choppy mental world. She specialises in helping people unpick the knots that dictate their mental wellbeing and keep them stuck; she helps them connect to their creativity, fun and freedom through knowing that the mind is plastic, malleable and can heal. 75 mins, from £375.

You don’t always have to head to Harley Street to find fantastic solutions for your skin. Welcome to Skinfluencer, co-founded by the immensely passionate Sharin Shafer, who has invested in bringing the most advanced technologies combined with a top-class team to a boutique set-up on the Fulham Road. You’ll find machines here not found in W1 and skin protocols that go far beyond the pick and mix of the traditional aesthetic menu. This is because Sharin’s mission is personal: suffering from melasma, she tried treatment after treatment and was never happy with her skin. Realising there were many women like her left dissatisfied, it was her vision to create a world-class global skincare destination that could address pretty much any concern, and leave women (and men) liberated from concealing conditions that they felt couldn’t be helped. The Fulham boutique is the first: there are plans for others. Even if you just want a brighter complexion, a tightening of skin and a boost of confidence, the team will expertly identify what you need. Starting with a skin scan as standard, a programme is put together that is time-minimal and gives us natural results. It’s aesthetics done differently. It’s the future.


Obsessed with getting your cold-water fix? Now, even if you’re staying with the in-laws for the week, you can cart your portable Lumi ice bath around with you and pop it up in the garden (£75,; of course, hardand-fast wellness junkies know that you need to balance the hot with the cold, so they’ll be slipping into their HigherDOSE V4 Infrared Sauna Blanket for half an hour on the other days (£699, July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 47

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Pick your brands with purpose, but make sure they’re effective too, says Nathalie Eleni











Nuori The One Face Cream This eightingredient super cream maximises results without having to buy multiple products. The small-batch brand only uses natural, biodegradable ingredients. £55,

Kelsey Skin Three Moons Brightening Concentrate A raspberry-based skincare brand from Kent that uses surplus fruit from the Kelsey family farm. The Concentrate is a highly effective blend of natural extracts and anti-ageing actives £75,

Ren Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm Ren has been at the forefront of eco beauty since it launched. This balm is a make-up artist’s secret weapon, helping to repair the skin barrier in just 15 mins. £46,

Verdilab Lift & Glow Rose Serum This brand stringently excludes over 50 groups of synthetic and toxic substances with a suspected human health risk. The serum is charged with natural actives to revitalise and lift skin. £140, Caudalie Vinosun High Protection Spray SPF50 The oxybenzone and octinoxate-free, reef-safe formula ensures that this SPF protects your skin, oceans, marine life and coral. £32,

Eighth Day The Reparative Moisturiser Every element of Eighth Day’s production cycle is carefully planned for a smaller carbon footprint. This is formulated using Peptide-Rich Plasma stem cell technology to repair damaged skin cells. £150, Wild Beauty Deep Cleansing Balm This brand is the brainchild of Rhug Estate owner Lord Newborough, an organic farming pioneer. Hero ingredients are foraged from the estate. £65,

Maria Nila Eco Therapy Revive Masque Certified vegan and organic, Maria Nila’s bottles are made from recycled ocean plastic waste. This masque is a deep treatment that hydrates hair and scalp with botanical proteins from kale, carrot and lemon. £28, Seabody Luminous Prime SPF 30 Seabody bottles are packaged in glass, which is infinitely recyclable. This lightweight mineral SPF contains all-natural marine anti-oxidants. €59,


Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil Just by using vegan squalane, Biossance avoids adding to the killing of two million sharks a year, from which this ingredient is usually harvested. A lightweight and luxurious skincare oil that locks in moisture. £57,

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The unrivalled beauty of the Highlands unveils its rich texture and tones in our striking new tailored creations. The captivating colours of our glens and munros inspire our stunning shirtwaister dress, conjuring the spirit of our Perthshire Home, while our men’s Harris Tweed three piece suit, hand-woven from Pure New Wool and crafted with meticulous attention to detail, has a timeless sense of style. Discover a world of contemporary design in natural fibre in the upcoming House of Bruar Autumn/Winter collection - your gateway to the Home of Country Clothing. The House of Bruar, by Blair Atholl Perthshire, PH18 5TW. To request our upcoming catalogue or find out more details about these sneak preview outfits shown, please call 01796 483236.


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LASTING RELATIONSHIPS FOR EXTRAORDINARY FUTURES. Family is everything. Being proud of your heritage, being there for those around you, and being certain that there is a stable future for those who will sustain your legacy. From estate, trust and tax planning to guiding philanthropic endeavours, we’re the partner you can depend on. The relationships we’ve built are lasting; the futures we’re helping to build are extraordinary. Contact

The value of investments and the income from them may go down as well as up and you may not get back what you originally invested. Provision of trust, tax and company administration services are provided by Rathbones Trust Company Limited (RTC). Provision of legal services is provided by Rathbones Legal Services Limited (RLS), a wholly owned subsidiary of RTC. RLS is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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CULTURE Capturing a CONTINENT A vast web of ‘dream-like utopias’ is the promise of Tate Modern’s A World In Common: Contemporary African Photography. The exhibition, which presents the work of 36 artists across film, audio and traditional photography, explores how the medium allows the past and the future to co-exist in powerful and transformative ways. Until 14 January 2024, Star Shine Moon Glow (Water Life Series, 2018) by Aïda Muluneh, commissioned by Water Aid

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CULTURE | What’s On


Have a sizzling summer of art, comedy and music. By Tessa Dunthorne


The psychedelic Broadway hit Spongebob: The Musical transfers from across the pond this summer, bringing the pineapple under the sea to the shores of the Southbank. As a volcano’s impending eruption threatens the residents of Bikini Bottom, Spongebob and friends must save the world. The familyfriendly rock-pop musical gently comments on the power of community in creating the conditions for climate justice. 26 July to 27 August,


Journey through the natural world in dizzying detail, accompanied by David Attenborough’s lilting narration in your ears. The BBC Earth Experience immerses you in the sights and sounds of our planet – from the ocean floor to the very tippy top of the mountains. Until 7 Jan 2024,



Powerpoint comedy and polar bear calculations. Ted Hill Tries And Fails To Solve Climate Change is a one-man stand up show following the science communicator and comedian as he grapples with the existential question of repairing our relationship with our planet – expect graphs and silliness. 17 July in London (, 2-27 August in Edinburgh (

MUST SEE The Climate Justice Gallery is a brand new space at Manchester Art Gallery, featuring an exhibition of local pieces from its collection that have been selected to explore how art can help people learn from history and shape a better future through caring, collective action. Until 31 December 2024,


‘Caring is a form of resistance,’ says featured artist Otobong Nkanga in Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis at The Hayward Gallery. This hopeful exhibition takes a peek across continents, looking at how contemporary artists are responding to the climate crisis – and asks us how we can all be more mutually compassionate. Like Spongebob, it’s part of the wider Planet Summer season at the Southbank Centre. Until 3 September,

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The Critical LIST

Watch, read, listen

Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot stars alongside Jamie Dornan in new Netflix original Heart of Stone, a spy thriller centred around CIA agent Rachel Stone (played by Gadot). Out 11 August 2023



A GREENER SUMMER OF FUN In a summer of heat, heat, heat, here are three ways to make it cooler in every way



ARTY GREEN August is jam-packed full of eco-conscious festivals. In Monmouthshire, you’ve got a familyfriendly off-grid offering with Green Gathering festival (3-6 August) – expect 100 percent renewable power, a veggie line-up of chefs and upcycling workshops. Headliners include Mobius Loop, Indian Man and Ask My Bull ( Alternatively, look to Northamptonshire for Shambala (24-27 August) where Congo Natty and Say She She are topping the musical line-up, but the wider festivities are well known for being coolly individualistic and planet-caring (

by Raymond Blanc, which champions hyper seasonality, and sports a green Michelin star for its efforts (



The UK’s restaurant scene is leading the charge with no and low waste restaurants that prioritise seasonality without compromising taste. Londoners might want to try Silo, the no-waste restaurant in Hackney Wick, which grinds its own flour, churns its own butter, and rejects the idea of a kitchen bin ( There’s also Chantelle Nicholson’s Apricity, which is low-waste even down to its interior design and team uniforms, made out of recycled Coca Cola caps ( For a green meal further afield, there’s C&TH’s Green Hotel Of The Year, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Then You Run is Sky’s adaptation of Zoran Drvenkar’s novel You, a tale of a group of London teenagers who find themselves on the run across Europe. Out now on Sky and NOW


Cleaning up the beaches might be a way to feel empowered in the fight against climate change

Take inspiration from our Wild Women (p95), and sign up to causes fighting for change. Creatives For Climate is a global non-profit connecting professionals to use their skills for positive impact ( If clean air is your thing (like Sadiq Khan, p86), then the Ella Roberta Foundation is a pressure group aiming to address London’s pollution issue ( Or if it’s water then perhaps C&TH partner River Action or Surfers Against Sewage are causes you can get behind (;

Over a decade since it was last performed on a London stage, famed musical La Cage aux Folles is being revived at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, directed by Timothy Sheader. 29 July to 16 September

THEATRE Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead, of The Underground Railroad, is back with Crook Manifesto, a sequel to his 2021 book Harlem Shuffle – this time depicting New York in the Seventies. Out 18 July


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CULTURE | What’s On



his August, the streets of southeast London will come alive with an eclectic programme of outdoor art and theatre. It’s all part of the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, an annual event that sees artists and performers from all over the globe taking to the city’s public spaces across Greenwich, the City and east London. Founded back in 1996 by artistic director Bradley Hemmings, the festival is designed to be uplifting and accessible, with most events free to attend. For 2023, the theme is ‘Acts of Hope’. Visitors can catch 12 life-sized swans performing a ballet on the surface of the Royal Victoria Dock, join a dance party in Thamesmead, and experience an art show from underneath a trampoline. Also set to be a highlight is The Architect, an immersive theatrical

performance where the audience is transported on a journey through time aboard a classic London bus. Elsewhere, an aerial performance by awardwinning disabled artist Rodney Bell and choreographer Chloe Loftus aims to celebrate equality and connection, spiralling high into the air at the top of Greenwich Park hill. ‘This year’s festival theme invites us to come together through free outdoor arts and reflect on hope as a unifying language,’ said Bradley. ‘As well as offering illuminating perspectives on the world as it could be, artists across the festival will be transforming familiar public spaces into creative arenas; places in which audiences can come together and share in a spirit of optimism and celebration.’ 25 August to 10 September 2023,

MY Cultural Life

Malcolm Kamulete is Champion – and he’s a fan of Banksy, TLC and Carnival My new show Champion in a nutshell is… Beautifully

Ancient Futures is a dance party combining circus, storytelling and sound system culture. 27 & 28 August, 2pm & 6pm, The Moorings, Thamesmead

described by its writer, Candice Carty-Williams, as ‘a love letter to black British culture and black British music’. I think it is that – and more. It’s like a rundown of so many different things. It is about music, ultimately. But it’s about relationships. It’s about family. It’s about love. It’s about loyalty, it’s about deceit. I guess if I could nutshell it, I’d say it’s… definitely a rollercoaster. Let's say that. My character, Bosco Champion, is… self-indulgent, happy but sad but angry. He’s just a rollercoaster. Honestly, he might even be the reason why the show is a rollercoaster of a show. My dream role would be… Miles Morales. I’d be all over that. I’m tuning into… Black Mirror. I liked the German episode. I'm reading… Nothing today. But I bought some books yesterday from a Black-owned bookstore, and I’ll be reading them this week. My favourite painting is… A man with an apple on his head [René Magritte’s The Son Of Man]. And also Banksy’s Gorilla In A Mask. What I have on repeat… A lot of R&B. I like TLC. My ultimate cultural recommendation… Everyone should experience [Notting Hill] Carnival at least once in their life. It’s the most multicultural, multifaceted kind of event where you’re able to experience everything from the food to the vibes to the music to the people to the languages. My cultural guilty pleasure is… Grime music. I know it’s a little bit outdated now… But I love to sit and listen to Grime. Champion, from Netflix and BBC, is out now.


Greenwich+Docklands International Festival

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Richard Hopton reviews three books about regeneration


HERMIT by Jade Angeles Fitton

Anyone who has ever had the urge to escape the intrusive clamour of modern life, and to experience the balm of solitude, will warm to this memoir. Trapped in a long-term, persistently abusive relationship – which she describes in unsparing detail in the book – Fitton escapes to a remote barn on the fringes of Exmoor to reset herself. From there she moves to a cottage in Croyde and later spends six months on Lundy Island. The book has much to say about the resilience of the human spirit, the importance of communing with nature and the story of hermits, ancient and modern. For Fitton, ‘solitude is as vital as company to a human’s well-being’. The book is beautifully written, albeit in some of its more aphoristic passages the prose hovers uncertainly between the mystic and the meaningless. Hutchinson Heinemann, £18.99


GOD IS AN OCTOPUS by Ben Goldsmith

In July 2019 Ben Goldsmith’s 15-year-old daughter Iris was killed in a freak accident at the family farm in Somerset. God is an Octopus is his account of how he came to terms with the unimaginable bleakness and grief of the tragedy by immersing himself in the natural world. Goldsmith found a lifeline in restoring nature in a broken world at a time when his own world was shattered. From the small beginning of ‘rewiggling’ the river which runs through the farm, he embarked on a full-scale rewilding of the land (read more about his journey on p92). This engaging book, part memoir, part ecological tract, tells the story of this process but ranges widely, touching on natural history, religion, the paranormal, and psychodelia. Ultimately, it’s an optimistic book: even in the darkest moment, there will be light again, one day. Bloomsbury, £20



In this gem of a book David Elias, a lifelong naturalist and conservationist, explores a hill farm in North Wales to investigate the threats that face the upland environment. Its strength lies in the author’s clarity of vision and fairmindedness. In these upland communities, farmers and nature must co-exist. Nature must be given a helping hand but so too must the farmers. Elias acknowledges that no solution to any problem can be straightforward: measures to help one species are likely to affect another, frequently adversely. The book is both a hymn to the wild beauty of these hills and a reminder of the unforgiving grind of the hill farmer’s life. Elias’s prose is wonderful: describing a hen harrier, he remembers how its ‘yellow eyes look back at me with the blank indifference of planetary moons the gaze of untroubled evolution.’ Calon, £18.99

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CULTURE | Books so I never had that sense of dating for anything other than fun and making connections. I saw that my friends made me a better person, and I expected the same from relationships. Younger Yomi could give me advice!

BIBLIOFILE Belinda Bamber talks to Yomi Adegoke about #MeToo, S&M and choice feminism

What does family mean to you?

Everything. The List is dedicated to my grandad, who died when I was ten, and though I’m 31 now, he and my nanna still feel formative. My entire family would visit them every Sunday for dinner. I’m very close to my two sisters and I live within a 15-minute radius of my three best friends in Croydon. They’re core to who I am. I’m very, very lucky: essentially, my family are my friends and my friends are my family.

What inspired your debut novel, The List?

As a journalist I was interested in the ethics of how internet lists alleging sexual abuse at the height of #MeToo in 2017 were weaponised by anonymity. As a feminist I wanted to explore the power of these whisper networks and I initially pitched it as a journalistic piece, but used lockdown to re-imagine it as fiction.

After Slay in Your Lane (2018), what advice would you give young Black writers today? Elizabeth

It’s been flagged as a ‘water cooler’ book, with readers taking sides… Yes, I originally

Uviebinené and I wanted that book to be unapologetically for and about Black women but also to be enjoyed by everyone. Humbly, I think it did launch a genre. My advice is don’t stick to your identity as a minoritised writer unless you want to – it’s not a pressure white male authors have. Stick to your guns, take risks, and write what you want.

conceived it as Ola’s narrative, because the story of women with men who abuse is so often erased or misinterpreted. But as I gained more empathy with Michael, the story oscillated between their two perspectives. I’m surprised to find male readers often take Ola’s side and women take Michael’s. What’s the fault line in Ola and Michael’s relationship? They have a good foundation of

What was your own route into journalism?

friendship but lack two crucial elements: trust and communication. I wanted to articulate what they weren’t saying to each other.

about our motivations. When I stopped contorting my decisions and admitted: ‘I’m doing it anyway because I want to and I’m not harming anybody, myself included’ – I felt more comfortable, not just in relationships, but in life. I’m a Yoruba woman and culturally in Nigeria men usually pay for things. It’s not feminist or empowering to let a man pay, but if I do I’m not going to try and make that align with my feminist praxes.

I took a year out of my law degree with depression, but as a form of escapism started a blog and got a grant to make a magazine for young Black girls that I gave out to local hair shops in South London. That experience helped get me a job at ITN on graduation, and then at Channel 4. What’s next? I’m working on a TV adaptation of The List and having a lot of fun with my second novel, which is similarly controversial. Which writers inspire you? Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Kiley Read, Tayari Jones and Jesse Armstrong for Succession and Peep Show. What does ‘regeneration’ mean to you? I love the idea of the ageing process as different eras in which you continually reinvent yourself, while keeping the core of who you are.

girl’s girl with an almost entirely female friendship group I’ve never been one to put my value in men

Out 20 July (HarperCollins £14.99). Read the full interview on

How has modern communication changed romance? It has decimated our ability to be

vulnerable. The mindset that everyone’s replaceable affects our ability to fully show up. Bad dating habits such as ghosting and breadcrumbing mean people are on the defence and will disappoint others to avoid getting hurt themselves. The List explores consent, including S&M. How does that intersect with feminism and empowerment? Women think themselves

uninteresting if they don’t engage in certain practices, when the only question they should ask is: does it make me feel good? However, the assumption that choosing to do something as a woman is inherently a feminist or empowering choice is dangerous. Sometimes our decisions are neither and we need to be honest with ourselves

What dating advice would you give your younger self? Growing up in a house of girls and being a

STORYTIME Ann Patchett’s Tom Lake slips down like cherry pie (Bloomsbury, £18.99); STIRRING I Will Greet the Sun Again by Khashayar J Khabushani (Viking, £14.99) is a Muslim boy’s coming-of-age in Iran and LA; SALTY Neil Jordan adds Irish legend to a midlife romance in The Well of St Nobody (Head of Zeus, £20); SURPRISE Patrick de Witt’s The Librarianist turns out to be no ordinary man (Bloomsbury, £18.99); SISTERS Ann Napolitano’s Hello Beautiful (Viking, £16.99) is an elegiac tale of sibling loyalty, love and loss; SHADY Cornish capers in Hannah Rothschild’s toff treat, High Time, make for summer escapism (Bloomsbury, £16.99) 



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PR O M OT I O N Catch five days of eventing action at Cornbury



This September, put Cornbury Horse Trials in your diary for five days of exciting equine action, foodie feasts and lots of family fun

ornbury House Horse Trials in Oxfordshire (6-10 September) take eventing to a new level. Set against the beautiful backdrops of Cornbury House and the ancient Wychwood Forest, the event’s founder, David Howden, has spared nothing to make this gem of an event into one of the most desirable in the sporting and social calendars. The 2023 trials build on this legacy in every way, offering an unforgettable experience for visitors, with the world of top-class equestrian sport combining with a woodland festival feel. The event offers five days of jam-packed fun, with the country’s best equestrians competing across dressage, cross country and show jumping. Also on the agenda will be a celebration of local food and drink, with the ‘Field Food’ area showcasing artisan options including an open asado (Argentinian barbecue), a range of produce from nearby farms, plus a selection of regional ales to enjoy from the on-site Wychwood Inn. On the Saturday and Sunday,

Feast on local food and drink

families with young children can stay busy and enjoy immersive Wildwood Crafts throughout the afternoon. Plus, once the equestrian action has finished on Friday, 8 September, and Saturday, 9 September, there’ll be live music and more entertainment to enjoy. ‘I am very excited about the way in which we are developing Cornbury House Horse Trials,’ David says. ‘My passions for horses, promoting youth, Cornbury and the local area are being united to produce a wonderful celebration of all these elements and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.’ The event was relaunched in 2020, and has been reimagined again with a new look and feel for 2023. ‘We have been working hard to reestablish the horse trials and are now looking forward to taking it to the next level,’ continues David. ‘I look forward to welcoming everyone to our fourth year and creating a modern take on this equestrian tradition while giving our athletes, horses, owners and partners a first-class experience.’ Wednesday 6 to Sunday 10 Sept, tickets from £5; under 12s go free.

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Dream a Little Dream

Lucy Cleland recounts the story behind the cover, which was created by artist Claire Luxton with a little help from Skydiamond


he Regeneration Issue is, for me, always our most important issue of the year. I am a self-confessed ecophobe (at least some of the time), and action is the only thing to take the gnawingly anxious edge off. One day it’s almost overwhelming, another I can drink in the blissful elixir of hope. I’m far from alone, I know, and that in itself is a comfort. The artist Claire Luxton, represented by art agency MTArt, feels it too, yet more often she comes out on the hopeful and optimistic side of the scales. Her works are very much rooted in nature – often with an exploration of the female form, culminating in colour-saturated visions of exquisite vulnerability. It was her 2020 self-portrait Head in the Clouds that I fell in love with. I knew that a sort of summery iteration, ‘a new season’, as Claire describes it, would symbolise everything that we are trying to capture within this issue about how, although the world is in pain, the axis keeps on spinning and we just need to realign ourselves with Planet Earth rather than pitch ourselves against her, reclaiming the animist philosophy of being part of nature rather than the dualist one of trying to subjugate her. Because we know where that is heading. And it is within our ken to do it, if only we could slow down, Artist Claire Luxton’s dynamic work explores recalibrate, reassess and then act. the delicate equilibrium Remember those curious, silent between humans and nature days of lockdown when nature was allowed her way and we revelled in her daily, unchecked unfurling? She literally and figuratively blossomed, and we noticed. ‘The environment and climate change is an overwhelming topic,’ says Claire, ‘and not always portrayed in the press in a way that makes it accessible to everyone in terms of how they might understand it. To communicate the subject through art and in a more optimistic way that makes people feel that there are still things to celebrate is, for me, a more empowering message.’ Her new iteration Cloud 9 is not only ethereally beautiful as

a visual image, it is a meditation on dreaming decoded by the viewer in their own idiosyncratic way. ‘I like the idea that when you daydream,’ says Claire, ‘you are able to manifest and bring it into this world in a positive way. There are so many special and amazing things all around us and we just need to open our eyes to receive it.’ But Claire is not a naturalistic artist; she may find her ideas from nature but it’s our culture and modernity that also inform her. ‘With technology, we’re almost seeking this hyper-realism, an escapism into a more vibrant, brighter space than what we have in front of us. An instant dopamine hit,’ she says. ‘But really, I feel that what we have in front of us is better, so I liked this idea that we’ve also got our heads in a digital cloud and that we’re downloading everything into our minds. And then on top of that, the image is a manifestation of the weather and how our technological infrastructure is affecting it. So, there is a three-way thread linking these ideas up together.’ Partnering with Skydiamond as a company that literally takes greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere to create the purest, and most humanly desired, expression of nature – the diamond – shows us ways out of traditional extractive industries into realms where you lack for nothing but you’ve not exploited nature to get what you want. ‘I had my head in the clouds when I came up with the idea for Skydiamond,’ says founder Dale Vince, who is also behind renewable energy company Ecotricity. ‘It probably goes without saying, but the idea of making diamonds from thin air was pretty crazy. And that’s what everyone told me. That we have been able to do it though shows the power of imagination, dreams and doggedness. I have all three is abundance, especially the doggedness. And what we’ve done is modern alchemy, we make something valued from something less so – we make something we quite like to have from something we have too much of. For me, it’s a hearts and minds outcome – it shows what we can do if we put our minds to it. This is the kind of inventiveness we need to allow us to get to net zero without giving up the things we like to have or do.’ For Claire, the diamond symbolises time – and effort. ‘There are ways in which we can start to do things differently now with the knowledge that we have. And it might take time, but we’ll end up with something beautiful in the end.’ So perhaps, unlike the current mantra, we need to not just follow the science, but to also follow the art – it may eventually lead us more effectively to the place we need to be. 


CULTURE | Cover story

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Claire’s 2020 work Head in the Clouds inspired a new seasonal iteration for this issue’s cover

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Bocen Zhou’s hand-crocheted silver thread becomes works of art


Country & Town House is proud to support Central St Martin’s graduating artists and designers by sponsoring the NOVA Regeneration Award


ince 2011, the MullenLowe NOVA Awards for Fresh Creative Talent have highlighted the brightest thinkers and best ideas among the graduating artists, designers and innovators from Central Saint Martins. As part of it, C&TH is proud to sponsor the Regeneration Award, which recognises a project that promotes circularity, and moves away from a linear economy to one that encourages people and planet to thrive. There’s also the YourNOVA Award, which is selected by the public. ‘Our collaboration with Central Saint Martins has given us a fantastic opportunity to view the world around us through the eyes of exceptionally talented creators,’ says Jose Miguel Sokoloff, president of the MullenLowe Global Creative Council. ‘It is a privilege to be able to recognise their creativity while supporting their future.’ Congratulations to all 14 finalists selected out of 53 nominations, and head to countryandtownhouse. com and from 13 July to discover the winners.

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Annette’s textiles project aims to challenge the way its viewers perceive femininity. Her four-act ‘play’ documents the inner monologue of a protagonist reflecting on feminine absurdity, surrealism and joy.


‘BioProsthesis’ is an interdisciplinary project that proposes a way for humanhair waste to be used to produce customised prosthesis for people healing from breast cancer.

Ása Bríet Brattaberg creates zero-waste collections inspired by her Icelandic heritage


For her collection, Tales Told in Tangles, Ása made every piece of textile by hand, with a zero-waste weaving technique that used old shirts from her grandfather. The wool is hand-spun and taken from her grandparents’ sheep in Iceland.

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Future Stars | CULTURE

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BOCEN ZHOU BA Jewellery Design

The pieces in Bocen’s series are crocheted with silver thread – wearable jewellery inspired by hand-crocheted sweaters her grandma made for her, inspired by the love and suffocation of family life.


Through abstract and biomorphic forms, Duong’s works allude to the historic circulation of products and people, and to cycles of life, death and rebirth.


The inspiration for this collection was the possibility of making clothes that could be as easily reprocessed into new garments, and maintaining the integrity of the original fabric roll.

GEORGE HARVEY MA Fine Art: Digital

Entities is an audiovisual exploration into our individual perception of reality. Examining the two fundamentals of life – energy and time – Entities investigates our unique understanding of the conscious mind and our interpretations of existence.

LILY JENKINS MA Character Animation

Time Goes is an animation about the mundanity and beauty of everyday experience. It’s the culmination of Lily’s years of observational drawings of the people around her, in the neighbourhoods she’s lived in.

LIZ EBENGO MA Material Futures

CONTINUED examines the sociocultural cost of adapting to climate change and humanity’s complicity in cultural erosion, by harnessing the capabilities of DNA storage to encrypt a library of sound and film all in one seed, so stories that would be forgotten will be remembered.

Annette Levin’s textiles challenge viewers’ ideas of femininity


MILES ROBINSON BA Jewellery Design

This project focuses on the fragility of human ambition and perception: warped tools, a lightning conductor headpiece that references dunce hats, and badges that label the wearer as tertiary all work to remove our agency.

LUKE TALBOT BA Product and Industrial Design

My Powerbank is a power bank designed for people experiencing homelessness in London that can be charged for free by attaching it to the frame of any stationary Santander bicycle.


Liz Ebengo has harnessed DNA technology to encrypt sound and film within a seed

SOE-MYAT NOE BA Graphic Communication Design

Born from the artist’s recent encounter with cancer, We Are Not Ones Who Say Much is a documentary short film that explores the trauma and emotional effects caused by the illness.

Eden Brader-Tan reimagined the journey between fabric and finished garment


VICTOR HEALEY MA Character Animation

Song of the Tadpole is a film about the relationship between people and pets, the special bond that exists between humans and animals. It’s an animated film with themes of change, growth and love, combining 2D and 3D animation.


YIBEI LIU BA Ceramic Design

The project shows a series of abstract figurative sculptures that visualise the feelings of being trapped in negative emotional loops, with the aim of conveying the message ‘you are not alone’ to the audience.  July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 61

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CULTURE | Art Andrew at work in his colourfilled east London studio


t all began in a low-key fashion. ‘My mum called it “stitch ’n’ bitch” – it was me with a group of women chain smoking in a basement. I would learn how to paint watercolours,’ Andrew Salgado recalls, as he remembers early art classes with neighbour Beth Gaffney, a water colourist celebrated in his home of Saskatchewan, Canada. Sixteen years ago, Andrew moved to London to attend Chelsea College of Art. He has painted a graphic rainbow of dreamlike works ever since, and today is widely regarded as one of the leading figurative painters of his generation. ‘I am Canadian, but when I go back [to Canada] I notice things, it’s more idiosyncratic. The UK feels like home – I even think in pounds!’ In his east London studio, Andrew struggles to find us both a chair. ‘I don’t sit down, I don’t take breaks – I’m fairly diligent,’ he says, laying out a roll of paper over an armchair for me, before he dashes out to get us coffee. His work hangs all around the walls. ‘I gravitate towards the ones that want to be resolved. If it’s wet or dry, hot or moist, it will change my paint colours. I let the painting take me where it wants to go.’ Oil paints and palettes sit next to photographs of Andrew’s parents and niece alongside other lucky charms. An elephant from his late grandmother’s collection, a toy rooster made for his mother by her father all sit on the windowsill. ‘They’re like shamanistic conduits – I am open to energies when I leave myself open to synchronicity or coincidence, nature or music, that’s where I get my sweet spot, where my art has found its voice and purpose.’

He continues: ‘I listen to music all day and read for a few hours each evening – I connect with music and literature more than art, actually.’ A signed Tori Amos poster is up on the wall. ‘I’ve been a fan of her work since I was 13, I find it really invigorating. This quote I love from her first single, “my heart is sick of being in chains”. I really responded to those semantics, the struggle of coming out at a time when it wasn’t so supported... Lots has changed in 20 years.’ In front of us, a six-foot wide canvas shows a naked man in a hammock on the shore of a lake. A cat sits underneath him, its tail curling up around his feet. A sun is about to set in the distance. ‘To me this is safety. The trees are hugging him and the cats are cradling him,’ Andrew explains. His work for recent solo shows is purely positive – there is no black cloud looming over the hammock. ‘Another line I love,’ Andrew smiles, ‘Is in Bjork’s Big Time Sensuality: “It takes courage to enjoy it”. It’s not realistic to create from a place of pain or anguish all the time.’ A new genre for this bold artist is collage, a genre that lends itself to playful quips: a cereal box becomes a bike wheel and the top of a paint tube becomes a nipple. ‘I start by cutting stuff out for an hour. The process pushes aside that inner voice, “Is this good enough?” Turning 40 has played a large part in the re-evaluation of importance – I feel fortunate to be here.’ Andrew Salgado is exhibiting at Contemporary Art Now, Ibiza, 12-16 July. 



Caiti Grove talks safety, synchronicity and song lyrics with Andrew Salgado

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Interview | CULTURE




‘A rrange whatever pieces come your way,’ said Virginia Woolf. Candace Bahouth was listening, says Sandy Carr

inding downhill through the Somerset village of Pilton, Weir Lane approaches a wooden gate festooned with flowers. It feels like an enchanted place – a place where magic happens. Behind the gate a 17th-century house nestles between two streams in a tranquil garden, lush with old-fashioned roses and bright peonies. Three candy-coloured obelisks stand sentinel; tall totems twirl skywards. Encrusted with vibrant ceramic fragments, they sprout Candace Bahouth is an artist-craftswoman and scallop shells, teapot spouts and cup master-mosaicist. Her handles, like so much exotic fungi. Dionysis mirror (below) Drainpipes, pillars and pavements will be on show at Bath’s are similarly embellished. Its owner Victoria Art Gallery ‘would mosaic the whole cottage if it wasn’t listed’. This is The Dell, the home and studio of artist-craftswoman and master-mosaicist Candace Bahouth. Her work is so much more than what is usually thought of as mosaic or as craft. Outside the studio, crammed shelves spill over into crates of broken ceramics, thousands of tantalising fragments waiting to be placed in one of Candace’s fabulous creations. This extraordinary hoard of flea market finds, the booty of exhaustive treasure hunts and friends’ gifts of broken heirlooms, will find a beautiful new life in her hands. It is the raw material waiting to be transformed into unique works of art. And they are widely celebrated. Her pieces are in museum collections, such as the Victoria & Albert, have been exhibited in major galleries, and sold at Liberty’s, Paul Smith and Designers’ Guild and to clients including Peter Blake, Kevin Macleod, Mick Jagger, Alice Temperley and Banksy When it comes to artistry, Candace is a true polymath. The range and diversity of her work is breathtaking. A New Yorker of Italian/Palestinian origin, she came to the UK after graduating in Fine Arts from Syracuse University. Originally a textile artist, she first made waves in the 1980s with her masterly woven tapestry portraits, an eclectic range of iconic figures from George Washington and King Tut to Gilbert and George. A woven portrait of the late Queen based on a postage stamp was used on the cover of the Radio Times for its Silver Jubilee issue and the one marking her death. Needlepoint designs for Hugh Ehrman Tapestries brought her work to a wider audience. The faster pace of this technique nourished greater freedom and experimentation. Over time she has produced over 130 designs inspired by medieval unicorn tapestries, animal hides, pop, religious and royal iconography, heraldry and artists from Klimt to Kahlo. A chance find of broken crocks in the stream sparked a new direction.

Cemented onto her windowsill, they were her first mosaic. A cache of shattered Moorcroft, gifted by her friend Richard Dennis of Dennis Chinaworks, became the next. Royal commemorative china glued and grouted on to mirror frames followed and spawned a continuing theme. Mosaics in Candace’s hands turned out to be a truly liberating medium. Using a vast range of materials from pottery, figurines, china birds, animals and shells to mirror glass and ceramic tesserae, she covers an extraordinary collection of objects – those totems and obelisks, sneaker boots, stilettos frosted with tiny clamshells, urns, fireplaces and trompe l’oeil chairs that look like embroidery or leopard-skin print and reveal themselves on closer inspection to be mosaicked. Ceramic parakeets perch on candelabras entwined with leaves. Many of her pieces glitter and sparkle with mirror glass shards. There is a joyousness in Candace’s work that is life-enhancing. It is vibrant, exuberant and startling in its imaginative use of materials. This is true of her latest incarnations, a magnificent series of mirrors of which ten will be shown with 12 candelabras at Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery from July, alongside Kaffe Fassett’s quilts. They are rococo in spirit, from the curlicue frames – which act as a blank canvas within which her free-wheeling imagination takes flight – to the rich detail of the ceramic montage. One, called Love, is pearly white and pretty, with gilded shells, leaves and flowers and an amorous couple escaped perhaps from a Watteau picnic. Another, Dionysus, is darkly dramatic with neo-classical figures and flashes of scarlet. A Wedgwood basalt vase was its inspiration. With no interest in intrinsic worth or provenance, she can be inspired as much by a kitschy gewgaw as a precious pot. Each mirror is an adventure, an exploration. Anything but two-dimensional, they are built up layer on layer. You might discover a fragment of Worcester, gaudy Clarice Cliff, blue Chinese, Delft or a Staffordshire flatback. The technical virtuosity of this work is awe-inspiring, for which she gives much credit to her long-time assistant Helen Knight who says of Candace, ‘She works with energy and an open heart, alive to the beauty in things in a truthful way’. Candace Bahouth Enchanted Visions, and Kaffe Fassett: Timeless Themes – New Quilts, both at The Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, until 1 October 2023.  July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 63

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The Square Mile is having a cultural refresh, one sculpture at time, finds Ed Vaizey

the public realm but also an opportunity for the public to engage with leading contemporary art placed within an urban setting. There are seventeen artists in total, some household names and some new and emerging, such as Simeon Barclay, Phyllida Barlow, Larry Bell, Rafael D’Aló, Vanessa da Silva, Arturo Herrera, Isamu Noguchi and Mika Rottenberg. They are joining seven sculptures already on display from the previous edition, including artworks by Jocelyn McGregor, Emma Louise Moore, Pedro Pires, Jesse Pollock, Ugo Rondinone, Victor Seaward and Emma Smith. The artwork by Jocelyn McGregor, the inaugural winner of the Aldgate Square Commission, is being extended for the duration of the 12th edition. Two further artworks by Oliver Bragg and Elisa Artesero from earlier editions are now permanently displayed in the area and form part of this year’s curated display. So while we wait for the Museum of London to reopen, take a trip to the City to see these wonderful sculptures. If you go at the weekend, you may have the place to yourself.;  CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Habitat (2021) by Pedro Pires; The Granary (2021) by Jesse Pollock; an artist’s impression of the new Museum of London in Spitalfields



t’s hard to think of the City of London as a place that needs regeneration. Of course, it is full of ancient buildings and still has a medieval street plan, but it is also one of the richest square miles in the world. Nevertheless, it has its challenges. Even before the pandemic, City bigwigs were thinking about how to increase footfall. It is difficult to sustain a thriving economy if you are dead at night and at the weekend. One attempt that failed, sadly, was to build a world-class concert hall at the Barbican, with conductor Sir Simon Rattle in residence. Amazingly, London does not have a concert hall that could be considered, acoustically at least, as world-class. But austerity has put paid to this ambition, for now. One project that is powering ahead is the move of the Museum of London to Spitalfields, the old vegetable and meat market. I was lucky enough to visit, and when it is completed in the mid-2020s, this promises to be a venue worthy to celebrate the history of the greatest city in the world. The vaulted roof and vast spaces will be a suitable place of homage, and it will even have a night club. This will be a destination site people will want to travel to. Meantime, the City has other things going on, namely the 12th edition of Sculpture in the City, which has just launched. This is a wonderful, free outside annual sculpture exhibition featuring the most diverse group of international artists, both established and emerging, ranging in age from the early 20s to late 70s – so it is an interesting snapshot of public art being produced today. New sites and unexpected locations have been identified across the historic financial district alongside well-known landmarks. Sculpture in the City invites new interpretations of city spaces, providing not only a platform for artists to exhibit in

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E X H I L A R AT I N G L U X U R Y Boasting year-round racing and an array of hospitality experiences – including within The Hennessy Restaurant, recently re-opened after an exciting £1,500,000 refurbishment – Newbury Racecourse is the place to be. From the glitz and glamour of the Al Shaqab Lockinge in May to the tradition and history of the Coral Gold Cup in December, with the small matter of Newbury’s famous Party In The Paddock summer racedays in between – this year featuring Sir Tom Jones & Olly Murs – there’s something for everyone.


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CULTURE | Sustainability

LITTLE GREEN BOOK Lisa Grainger meets the award-winning, plastic-free seaweed pioneers behind Notpla


Seaweed is one sustainable solution to plastic packaging

Founders Pierre Paslier and Rodrigo García González with Prince William

The innovative Notpla team

Some of the funding for their research will come from their share of the $1.2 million Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize, awarded in March at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards. Ford created the prize because, he said, like Paslier, he could no longer stand by and create products that were polluting the world. Notpla also won Prince William’s prestigious £1m Earthshot Prize last year. The joy of seaweed, the founders say, is that unlike land crops, it does not compete with food supplies and requires no fresh water or fertilisers to grow. It also grows in abundance; the UK alone has over 600 species. And it grows up to 60 times faster than land-based crops, and can sequester up to 20 times more carbon per acre than forests. And that means, they say, ‘the industry is growing incredibly quickly, helping renew our coastal economies and revitalise our ecosystems.’ Even better, seaweed innovators like Notpla – along with other Tom Ford Prizewinners Sway, based in the US, and ZeroCircle, based in India – are working together because they all recognise the importance of ridding the world of petrochemical-based polluters. ‘We’re looking at a similar problem through the lens of different continents,’ the founders tell me. ‘With over 12,000 species, seaweed is an incredibly diverse resource. Just like there are many different types of papers, we believe we need different types of seaweed film if we want to tackle the plastic challenge.’ Currently, the company uses a Welsh supplier, Câr-y-Môr, to supply its seaweed. But as the industry increases, there will be more alternatives. A report into the industry in Europe, titled Hidden Champion of the Ocean, estimates that the seaweed market in Europe could be worth €9 billion and deliver 115,000 jobs by 2030. Norway, among other countries, already harvests up to 169,000 tonnes a year. So next time you go for a swim and are tickled by seaweed, be thankful. That slimy underwater plant is not just sucking up our excess carbon but could soon also be safely packaging what we eat, drink and wear.


ow you view seaweed seems to depend on where you are from. For most people in the UK, it’s the stuff that tickles your ankles as you swim. But for Alaskans, the plant is an important source of food: a rare bit of greenery in an icy world. For Japanese, it’s an essential ingredient in soup stocks. And for toothpaste manufacturers, it’s the ingredient that gives their minty pastes a smooth consistency. When the French engineer Pierre Paslier started to experiment with seaweed, he wasn’t planning on using it for consumption. He had previously worked as a packaging engineer for L’Oréal, and was horrified by the tons of plastic the industry was churning out for its face creams. Wanting to ‘come up with ideas that are more innovative and positive, not creators of more problems,’ he signed up for a masters in Innovation Design Engineering at Imperial College London, where he met his Notpla co-founder, Rodrigo García González. Both men were obsessed with the way plastic was polluting our world. Wanting to find an alternative, they started to look at the way an orange skin packaged a juicy fruit, the composition of a banana skin. When they investigated seaweed, they realised not only did they have a plant that could be dried, extracted and reformulated in a way that was edible, but an ingredient that could perhaps be made into a biodegradable ‘skin’. In 2013, they made their first ‘seaweed skin’ prototypes in Rodrigo’s kitchen: creating 100 percent edible, safe and waste-free ‘bubbles’ that could contain liquid. And in 2017, they launched their first product, ‘Ooho’ - a seaweed pouch that’s been filled with Glenlivet cocktails at London Design Week and Lucozade during the London Marathon. Their second product, an alternative to plastic film, now lines Just Eat takeaway boxes in the UK and eight EU countries. When Europe bans the use of single-use plastic from October, they hope big brands such as M&S will swap their plastic film with biodegradable alternatives.

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Conservation | CULTURE

The POSITIVE DISRUPTOR Have you bought the corporate food shortage con? asks James Wallace We need a new system that works for farmers and shoppers alike

THINK DIFFERENTLY, ACT NOW Looking to the skies to save the planet

STAY Holiday at The Pig hotels and eat from their local and sustainable 25-mile menus.



e have been sold a myth by the agriculture multinationals that plunder our country: we need to plough every inch of land, ply it with chemicals, and cram animals into pens to achieve food security. My grandfather farmed in Narberth (Pembrokeshire), Nash (Shropshire) and Victoria (Australia). He wouldn’t recognise the monocultured landscape today. As I write from Wiltshire, the vast silent fields produce oilseed rape for machines and fast food, and meat for international markets. Nothing grown within a 20-mile hedgerow-less radius feeds my family, unless you favour artisan sheep’s cheese. Seventy percent of Britain is farmed. WWF reports 85 percent of our agricultural land footprint – at home and abroad – is used for grazing and crops for animal food, which provide only 32 percent of our calories. Half our wheat feeds livestock. We import most of our vegetables, pulses and fruits. Sixty-four percent of Brits are overweight, 28 percent of whom are obese on the BMI scale. Our diets of ultra-processed foods rich in disease-causing emulsifiers, sugar and pesticides cost the NHS £14 billion annually. In a slow-motion race to the largest bottom, we’re catching up on our engorged cousins across the pond in the USA. Britain is one of the most wasteful nations on the planet. Despite the heroic efforts of farmers to feed us, nearly half our food is thrown in the bin, while one in eight of us can’t afford to eat healthily. Food inflation rocketed by 19 percent in 2022, a 45-year high according to the ONS, and the worst in the industrialised world. Nor does the money go into farmers’ pockets, but rather to

SWOT UP Read the WWF Food report about transforming farmland to boost food resilience and nature recovery.

shareholders. An average farm earning of only nine pence in every food pound spent by consumers, and an annual income of just £17,800 will not keep them in bread. Add in the soaring costs of production and our hard-working farmers are desperate. We are paying more too. London School of Economics’ research recently concluded Brexit trade barriers on EU imports have pushed up food costs by £250 per household since 2019, costing us £7 billion in total, and stopped 32,000 seasonal workers coming to harvest, leaving seven billion meals rotting in fields last year. While the National Farmers Union chants ‘production, production, production’ in the ear of Defra ministers, advertisers tell consumers it is our birthright to eat £4 chickens every day. Cargill, the largest US food company, is polluting the River Wye from the run off of the manure produced by its 20 million factory-farmed hens, at the same time as deforesting the Amazon to grow the soy that feeds them. This extractive global business model puts shareholder profits before local farmers, families and the planet. Food insecurity is a real risk, not because of how much land we farm, but from the broken system that prescribes what and how we farm, exacerbated by the droughts of climate breakdown. Turkey had a 70 percent crop failure in 2021. No one leapt to their aid. When will it be our turn? Do we want a low welfare, unhealthy, polluting food system that turns us into couch potatoes? If your answer is no, then we need to support the urgent transition to regenerative farming. It’s time we said ‘fork you’ to the multinationals and stop buying their porky pies. 

SHOP ORGANIC Live life on the veg, buy seasonal and healthy food from Riverford Organic. SUPPORT The work of the Sustainable Food Trust to feed Britain from the ground up.

FARM FRIENDLY Calling on all farmers and landowners: join the Nature Friendly Farming Network.

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What we all need right now, says Tessa Dunthorne, is a dose of optimism

The floating institute for marine science would be a cornucopia for aquatic life – and also home to eco lodges, encouraging sustainable tourism



In the light of the moon sat a little salt marsh. And POP! Out of the marsh came a tiny, very hungry plastic-eating fungi. Researchers at Kew have identified plastic-degrading fungi and bacteria in the marshes of Jiangsu, China, potentially capable of breaking down the 400 million tonnes of plastic waste that is produced each year.

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BIG GREEN GIANT In a bid to develop more clean energy, Microsoft has agreed to buy its future electricity from nuclear fusion startup Helion Energy. This agreement is ultimately speculative at this point – no-one has succeeded in producing electricity from fusion yet, anywhere across the globe – but it is an agenda-setting move from the tech giant.

KEW’S KEW AROUND HERE More news from Kew: the new Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate has appointed the botanic gardens as its strategic science lead. The centre will establish a global network in order to identify and tackle research gaps in how conservation can be a tool in fighting climate change. Crucially, Kew intends to ensure developing countries and indigenous peoples have a seat at the table when it comes to any decision making. The research will lead to the protection of natural systems that will help us adapt to a changing global climate.



A field full of cow pats comes to good use in Bordeaux, as a colony of dung beetles has been relocated across the country in a rewilding effort. The 60-strong group will help restore the region’s south-westerly marshy forest by feeding on the waste produced by the wild cattle herd, allowing nutrients to return to the soil. Dung beetles have not been seen in this region since the 1960s. Source: The Guardian

The world’s largest ocean restoration project has been unveiled in Dubai. Urb, which develops sustainable cities, has announced the Dubai Reefs, a floating community for research, regeneration and eco-tourism. An institute for marine science will be at the heart of it all, aiming to accelerate the city’s conservation efforts and create a diverse artificial reef, covering an expanse of 200 sq/km. The reef will be part of the ocean regeneration aspect of the project, and will be a new home for more than one billion corals; 100 million mangrove trees will also be planted. Urb hopes that, in addition to traditional conservation, the Dubai Reefs will open up unique opportunities for marine ecotourism. Floating eco lodges will become part of this aquatic community, powered by solar and hydropower, some of which will be sourced from a new wave farm and passed onto the mainland.



The UNEP and UN Fashion Charter has launched a ‘Sustainable Fashion Communication Playbook’, aimed at media, marketers and influencers working in the fashion space. The goal is to help fashion communicators address consumption patterns and the vast environmental impact of textile production. In particular, the playbook calls for communicators to encourage circular and secondhand models of fashion, and to better verify green claims. Read more at

Get involved with grass-roots groups


The deep sea is littered with over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris. So, asks the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, could robotics be the key to fixing this? It’s developed a ‘jellyfish inspired’ underwater robot, aptly named Jellyfish-Bot. Through use of advanced electro hydraulic actuators (essentially its muscles), the bot creates swirls of movement underneath its body, allowing objects to be trapped within its path, and collected. Waste particles are brought to the surface to be properly disposed of. Source: Science Advances


A FUTURE FOR NATURE People’s Plan For Nature is a vision for the future of nature. It was set up in March this year after a first-of-itskind UK-wide Citizens’ Assembly. The key recommendations are that all policy and commercial decisions must account for impacts on nature, farming subsidies need to be renewed in favour of sustainable farming practises, and a permanent Assembly for Nature should hold the government to account.

HAD YOUR COFFEE? Recently open in Covent Garden is new social enterprise café, Fair Shot, which helps young adults with neurodiversity or learning difficulties find jobs in hospitality. Its founder raised £300,000 over the pandemic to fund the café, which offers a traineeship programme for twelve 18-25 year olds, and later finds them jobs.




Fifteen rare Burmese peacock turtle hatchlings were recently discovered in Myanmar, the first record of them in the wild. The critically endangered softshell species has been the target for protection efforts since 2017, and were found making their way to a nearby lake. They’re now being closely monitored.

MENSTRUAL MATES Period poverty charity Ufulu was set up in 2019 by founder Widge Woolsey, and provides free menstrual cups to women in Malawi. Providing the cups alongside educational workshops, women and girls are able to return to school and work across the duration of their period without fear of embarrassment or stigma.

MEN WHO WALK Mentality, the London-based support group that was set-up to encourage men to speak candidly about their mental health, will be walking from London to Westerham in August. This annual walk is 23-miles long and open to all; the group also offers a three-mile superhero walk for children. @_MentalityGroup

GET BUZZY The UK is rolling out ‘buzz-stops’ for bees – living roofs installed on bus shelters. Thirty have been installed in Leicester and Derby so far. SWISS EFFICIENCY Over 59 percent of voters in Switzerland have backed a new climate bill designed reach netzero emissions and cut fossil fuel use by 2050. NO MORE MR NEUTRAL GUY The UK Advertising Standards Authority will be banning adverts that claim neutrality by virtue of purchasing offsets, in a crackdown against greenwashing. July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 69

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Lotus Emira First Edition PRICE £81,995 ENGINE 3,456cc V6 POWER 400 bhp 0-62mph 4.2 seconds TOP SPEED 180mph ECONOMY 25mpg STREAMING Mad Dogs & Englishmen – Noel Coward

Road Test

What could all-electric brand Polestar and family favourite Volvo possibly share with Lotus? Jeremy Taylor explains


They won’t thank me for saying it but car enthusiasts used to joke that Lotus stood for ‘Loads of Trouble Usually Serious’. However, times are changing for a great British brand based in the backwaters of Norfolk. Founded in 1952 by the late, great Colin Chapman, Lotus has survived near extinction on several occasions. Since 2017, the marque has been under the ownership of Chinese conglomerate Geely, the giant behind Volvo and Polestar. The Emira has been Lotus’ only sports car for some time but will soon be joined by the Evija electric hypercar, plus the familyfriendly Eletre electric SUV. As the company’s last petrol-powered model, Emira boasts supercar looks, a stunning cabin and driverfocussed handling. Around town, the Lotus is striking to behold. Our First Edition test car cost more than £80,000 but had the wow factor of a McLaren. A genuine two-seater, Emira could easily be mistaken for a Ferrari, with the added appeal of a British badge. And appeal it has – lots of it. The rival Porsche Cayman may be a better all-round sports coupe but owning a Lotus says you’re an automotive connoisseur. Emira is the most usable, everyday Lotus for a long time, with a quiet cabin set up for comfort as well as speed. Sitting low in the cockpit, a digital dashboard is complemented by a ten-inch infotainment monitor that’s both clear and functional. I could even hear my music above the engine roar! Getting in and out is easier than any previous Lotus, with decent head and leg room. Rear boot space for shopping is modest, partly because the mid-engined Emira doesn’t have any room under the front bonnet. RATING: 4/5 HANDBAGS


The new Emira is based on its old Evora model but the similarities end there. Thanks to Geely’s deep pockets, a huge amount of investment has been poured into making this a practical and functional sports car. Armed with a six-speed manual gearbox – yes, you have to press a clutch pedal! – the Emira is thrilling to drive. While it turns heads in town, a Lotus’s natural environment remains a sweeping country road with plenty of twists and turns. That’s where the driving experience comes alive. A 3.5-litre Toyota engine is tuned to perfection and, thanks to a lightweight aluminium chassis, the Emira flies along in either Tour or Sport mode. The Track setting does what it says on the tin and pulls out all the stops. A full-on sprint from a standing start is ridiculous fun. When the supercharger kicks in, the Lotus really gets into its stride. To add to the drama, a menacing soundtrack from the exhaust pipes filters through to the cabin. The gearbox isn’t the best I’ve driven and has to be mastered but this is a driver’s car – if you want soft and forgiving this probably isn’t the right vehicle for you. Precision steering and superb brakes are more important in the Emira. The Emira isn’t without faults but it makes me happy. If that’s not enough, nowadays, Lotus offer a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, so I can tell anyone who reminds me what Lotus might stand for to buy a ubiquitous Porsche Cayman instead. RATING: 4/5 WELLIES

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Motoring | CULTURE


Destination: L’oscar, Covent Garden

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but few hotels can match L’oscar for the sumptuous spectacle waiting to wow new guests. Decadent, theatrical – the former Baptist church in the heart of London’s theatre land is now a temple of pure indulgence. Named after outrageous playwright Oscar Wilde, the Grade II-listed building has been transformed into an extravagant resting place by French interior designer, Jacques Garcia. Expect whopping chandeliers, plush velvet and hedonistic escapism. A champagne cork’s throw from Covent Garden, L’oscar is sultry and seductive. Every bedroom is unique, with lavish soft furnishings and rich décor; the bed in my junior suite was one of the best I’ve slept in. Cocktail drinkers congregate in the Baptist Bar, once the octagonal chapel itself, while L’oscar restaurant is a glittering masterpiece of gilt and dark wood based on one of Venice’s oldest cafés. What car can possible match the L’oscar for such statement design and eye-catching detail? Forget Ferrari and Lamborghini. The 2023 World Design Car of the Year award is the architecturally sleek and head-turning Hyundai Ioniq 6. Instead of a bulbous SUV, the new Ioniq is a sculpted four-door saloon that bucks the trend. It’s already picked up a string of major awards – the World Car jury also handed the Hyundai the top prize of best car and best electric car. That’s no mean feat because the Ioniq faced stiff competition from the likes of BMW and

L’oscar’s opulent interiors are perfect for a nightcap

Range Rover. Effortlessly smooth, comfortable and finished like a premium car, the Ioniq has the rear-end of a Porsche 911 and the luxurious cabin of a Mercedes limo. Slippery and stylish, the unique shape of the Hyundai is only part of the story. I discovered the Korean five-seater is also good fun to drive. It’s not a sports car but, powered by battery, the Ioniq has instant pace and an exceptionally quiet cabin. Some buyers may prefer the more conventional looks of the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2 but I’d choose to arrive at L’oscar in the thoroughly unorthodox Ioniq. As Oscar Wilde said: ‘There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.’ BOOK IT: From £520 per room.


AWESOME AUDI Inspired by an electric rally car, this battery-powered off-roader is cut from carbon and aluminium and priced accordingly! Audi Mountain Bike, £8,499.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Ultimate 325 PRICE £50,540 BATTERY 77.4 kWh POWER 320bhp 0-62MPH 5.1 seconds TOP SPEED 115mph RANGE 322 official (275 normal driving) STREAMING Born Slippy – Underworld

TARTAN FLYER Stay stylish off bike with this Norton wool gilet created by Savile Row designer Nick Tentis, £625.

LOCK & GO Need to know your Austin Nash from a Borgward Isabellas? The Classic Car Spotters’ Guide, £14.99. 

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CULTURE | Interview

Charlotte Metcalf talks to the pioneering Lady Carole Bamford, about her ‘long, lonely journey’ at the vanguard of the organic movement


You know what I’m going to say. DOG OR CAT?

I’ve recently lost four of my labs and Shih Tzus so have just taken on two totally untameable Cavapoos. COUNTRY PUB OR MICHELIN STAR?

A country pub with a Michelin Green Star. GARDENING OR THEATRE?

I love the theatre but as a country girl at heart, gardening. HEELS OR FLATS?

If I were taller, I’d always wear flats as I much prefer them but I’m only 5’4”. WINE OR TEA?

That depends on the time of day.


was expecting someone altogether fiercer than the petite, softly spoken woman in front of me. After all, Lady Bamford has a mighty reputation as the tenacious pioneer who put organic food and farming centre stage. I wonder about the spark that ignited her determination. ‘It was a long, often lonely journey,’ she begins. ‘At 27 I married and moved from London to my husband’s family farm in Staffordshire. When [her daughter] Alice was born, I didn’t like her being out on the lawn when the fields were being sprayed with chemicals.’ Then Carole walked into a tent promoting organic farming at a local agricultural show. ‘I’d already read Rachel Carson and was influenced by Teddy Goldsmith’s magazine The Ecologist. I spent two hours in that tent, learning about just how harmful pesticides were.’ It was a turning point. She persuaded her husband and the farm manager to go organic. ‘They were obviously reluctant as yields necessarily decreased to start with,’ she says, ‘but within three years the land started healing itself. My husband’s a businessman first and a farmer second, but he’s always loved animals and he supported me completely. Seven years later we’d gone organic and the farm manager believed me.’ The farm was by Alton Towers, which was becoming increasingly busy. So, in 1992 the Bamfords moved to a farm in Gloucestershire. Once the conversion to organic began, Carole turned her mind to making cheese from the Friesian milking herd they’d inherited. She rang up the editor of a specialist magazine for cheese-makers, found an American expert, and they started making organic, unpasteurised cheddar in a traditional way using wooden vats from Holland. A gold medal at the Turin Eataly festival (started by the Slow Food movement founder Carlo Petrini) followed. Emboldened, Carole opened a farm shop in a barn next to the creamery, selling cheese, meat and bread. With the baker’s wife, she’d scour Portobello Road for other organic goodies like biscuits: ‘I didn’t think people would come to the middle of nowhere but it unexpectedly grew like topsy and was so exciting.’ Today, Daylesford Organic is one of the most visited and sustainable farm shops in Britain, and the first to win a Michelin Green Star. Everything from the candle wicks and vegetable ink dyes to the muslin wraps are organic. In 2023, much to Carole’s pride, it was accredited with B Corp status. Any visitor to Daylesford will know how beautiful it is. When I ask Carole about her faultless taste, she

demurs modestly: ‘I had a good architect and the lovely 18th-century buildings didn’t need messing with, just simplifying and paring back.’ Daylesford soon became a lifestyle brand, offering a restaurant, yoga, homeware and clothing as well as food and wine. ‘People should respect artisans who make things properly,’ says Carole. ‘I hate fast fashion, so all our knits come from Scotland and our organic cottons from Italy or India.’ This opens a conversation about her love of India, where she honeymooned and visits regularly. She has a factory there and a house in Jaipur. For years she’s had a charity empowering women in villages around India with educational programmes and employment that makes use of their skills from weaving to block printing. ‘It’s a whole other story but it’s my spiritual home,’ she says. In 2013 came The Wild Rabbit, the 18th-century pub in Kingham, which Carole restored. ‘I did it up in a way I’d like a pub to be, cosy and comfortable with a warm, welcoming fire,’ she says. Now she’s added The Fox at Oddington, to which she feels an emotional pull as it’s where she used to go with her husband when they first arrived in Gloucestershire. She’s also done up and opened 31 cottages on the estate as ‘Daylesford Stays’, already in great demand, and will open The Bell in Charlbury this autumn. In June Daylesford hosted a two-day anniversary festival, which Carole describes as ‘a bit like a WI fete’ but with yoga, a talks tent and celebrities thrown in. Richard E Grant and Christopher Biggins judged the dog shows and Ruthie Rogers from the River Café the jams and chutneys. ‘I’m just so thrilled so many people are interested in what I started doing so long ago,’ Carole says. ‘I love watching how my children absorbed by osmosis what was around them. Alice lives in Malibu and owns a biodynamic farm. Jo lives locally and is interested in hydrogen and George is very on trend with his watch brand and club. I’ve done a lot, and with my eight grandchildren, I’d now like to calm down and consolidate and make Daylesford even better. ‘Meanwhile we’ve got David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and an inspirational, visionary King. People now want to know about food and understand we don’t need everything – like pineapples and bananas – all of the time. I live in great hope that it’s not too late to change things and the joy of celebrating Daylesford Organic’s 20th anniversary and new B Corp status, is now I feel part of a community of like-minded people.’ 

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Carole has been spearheading the organic movement since the 1970s

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Dress Rejina Pyo Hat Marcel Rodrigues Necklace Robinson Pelham Bikini bottoms Kymina (stocked at Agora)


THE SUN Fashion’s story is beginning to change and a new dawn is breaking FASHION DIRECTOR NICOLE SMALLWOOD PHOTOGRAPHER DAN HACK

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Hat Marcel Rodrigues Bikini top and scarf Caravana Bikini bottoms Medina (stocked at Agora) Boots Rokit Vintage Bracelet Robinson Pelham Cross necklace Vrai Long necklace and earrings Sam Ubhi

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Dress Stella McCartney (stocked at Agora) Earrings 7879

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Bikini top and bottoms La DoubleJ (stocked at Agora) Top Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini Choker necklace SO-LE Studio Cross necklace Vrai

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Bikini top and fringe top Caravana Bikini bottoms Zimmermann Earrings Sam Ubhi Boots Rokit Vintage

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Dress Alberta Ferretti Rings Sam Ubhi

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Swimsuit Hunza G (stocked at Agora) Scarf Caravana Earrings Sam Ubhi TEAM Make-up: Charlotte Reid using ILIA, The Natural Africa and Hair by Sam McKnight; Fashion Assistant: April McCarthy Shot on location at Six Senses Ibiza, where Agora, the shop conceived by Tiffanie Darke and Daniela Agnelli, is located, stocking a host of sustainable brands and rental options – see overleaf to discover how they are redefining retail.; @agora.ibiza

Walking the Walk Discover how our featured fashion brands are taking sustainability seriously

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A breath of sustainable fresh air: Agora at Six Senses Ibiza is a mindful shopping experience

with a shaman blessed stone, or Hanamer Ibiza, whose ‘peace silk’ slip dresses and kimonos sell out the moment we get them. To this local mix we add new innovative brands that have been able to build sustainability in from the ground up: Le Kasha, the newly revamped linen and cashmere brand from France, Hunza G, the one size British swimwear brand that produces no waste, or Makal, Italian jewellery that celebrates gold in the form the earth makes it: single, unpolished nuggets. And then we have the three big super brands that we believe are leading the field in sustainability: Chloé (thanks to its creative direction under Gabriela Hearst), Stella McCartney (who needs no introduction), and Spain’s Loewe, which has a relentless commitment to craft and the communities that sustain it. Of course, fashion, a bit like holidays, is a niceto-have. If we really lived mindfully and consciously, perhaps we wouldn’t consume either at all. Instead – you know the facts. Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, a toxic business that uses mostly petrochemical derived synthetic materials, has little to no in built circularity (so most of it ends up in landfill, leaching microplastics into the sea) and employs garment workers in the Global South for as little as £3 a day. Undoubtedly, the main culprit here is fast fashion (and if you never walk through the doors Tiffanie Darke is reimagining a world where fashion of Zara again, you’re already winning), but luxury can have a positive impact, starting with Agora, a boutique has a pivotal role in leading the industry. It is beginning to come to terms with its impact on the spotlighting sustainable brands at the Six Senses in Ibiza world, and to turn itself around: reframing supply chains, reconsidering materials and protecting the he notion of what luxury is these communities that produce them. days is changing. It might mean Our Agora story is arranged into four chapters: lying in the warm Mediterranean Recycle, Restore, Rent and Reduce. Recycle is about sun, pool glistening beyond your material science, such as CDLP’s econyl swim shorts toes. It might mean a delicious (econyl is a textile made from waste ocean plastic), meal, prepared by one of the Pangaia’s Mirum mushroom leather, or it is about world’s best chefs. It might mean one of Gabriela the clever use of leftover materials, such as Loewe’s Hearst’s gorgeous, plunging, knitted summer upcycled leather handbag. dresses. Personally, I’ll take all three, which is Restore is about mending, yes, but at Agora we also think it is also about protecting the artisanal why, when we were offered a store at the heart of the Six Senses Ibiza resort, the Vogue fashion communities and handicrafts that have been handed director Daniela Agnelli and I said yes. down over generations. We love Wehve’s shawls spun, The store is called Agora, and as fashion editors dyed and woven by local women’s co-operatives in our plan was always to tell stories. So we filled it with Uruguay, or Antik Batik’s championing of Balinese clothes that tell the tale of fashion’s move towards silkscreen or traditional hand weaving in Kolkata. sustainability. Because while the experience of luxury Reduce is about us, the customers. Learning to may be obvious, what may also be comforting is buy less but buy better, and building a wardrobe that knowing that it has arrived at your door as mindfully is modular and flexible, full of pieces that can work and consciously as possible. As Gabriela herself harder, for longer. puts it, maybe true luxury isn’t an object or even And finally Rent, which lends itself well to our party-strewn island. We call this our ‘Cinderella rail’, an experience. Maybe it’s knowing that a designer has done the ‘homework’ for you – that they’ve put because here we gather the glitziest, slinkiest, sexiest ethics at the heart of their process, with materials gowns, head dresses and jewelled accessories for a one-night borrow. How many times have you bought something sustainably sourced, local trades and communities fabulous for a party, then never worn it again? Renting makes supported, and unnecessary waste avoided. This idea is what lies at the heart of Agora. so much more sense – allowing you to be more playful in your With the 70 or so brands we have in our store, choices, as your commitment is less. we like to think we have a showcase of the best We believe that luxury 2023 is moving through the world examples of sustainability. Many of those are from in as frictionless a way as possible. It is not deprivation, or ‘hair our community: Ibiza is brimming with artists shirt’, or ‘less’. As the fashion and luxury industries gear up to and creatives. We are particularly proud of the the challenges we face in the decades to come, we see amazing biodegradable shoe brand Of Origin, founded innovations, plenty to inspire and much to admire. by the late designer Camilla Skovgaard; of the handmade Aho hats, each of which is embellished @agora.ibiza 



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Love Brand & Co is the British B Corp helping protect the planet’s wildlife through beautiful beachwear that’s ethical and eco-friendly

Find Love Brand & Co at three London locations 5 Park Walk, SW10; 75 Elizabeth St, SW1 and 170 Westbourne Grove, W11


love of island life, nature, wildlife, travel, adventure and family sits at the heart of swimwear and beachwear label Love Brand & Co, which was founded in 2010 by husband and wife team Oliver and Rose Tomalin. It all started with elephants, and a desire to create a brand with conservation at its core – hence the brand’s motto, ‘Trunks For Trunks’. Although the company has committed a percentage of its net sales to charity since it began, in 2017 Love Brand & Co formally joined 1% For The Planet, cementing its support for wildlife around the globe. It was also recently awarded B Corp certification, an independent accreditation that scrutinises brands for their social and environmental performance. ‘Love Brand & Co was created for a greater purpose and I am proud that over a decade later we remain wholeheartedly committed to the same mission to help endangered species,’ says founder Oliver. Since it began 13 years ago, Love Brand & Co has donated £200,000 to eight different wildlife charities. Its collection of men’s and children’s swim and beachwear has been refined over the years, and features colourful trunks, stylish linen shirts and jackets, light and loose trousers and shorts,

and beach-ready espadrilles. Every piece is made in either Europe or Turkey from either natural, responsibly sourced fabrics like linen, cotton and jute, or recycled polyester in the swimwear – every pair of trunks contains 15 former plastic bottles. Love Brand & Co is also known for its signature vibrant prints, designed by Oliver, which adorn its trunks and louche linen shirts. Many of the prints are inspired by the conservation work done by one of the company’s charitable partners. For example, the Rhino Rhythm print was taken from the essential work done by the Tusk Trust in Africa, while the Fish Fauna print was inspired by the endangered river fish, the Golden Mahseer, which is supported by Asian wildlife charity Elephant Family. The brand also recently launched its interview series ‘In Conservation With...’, in which Oliver speaks to notable environmentalists and conservation leaders about their work combating wildlife destruction and climate change all over the world. It kicked off with a talk with Ben Goldsmith about founding the Conservation Collective, which funds local, grassroots projects. So the next time you’re heading for the beach, slip into your Love Brand & Co trunks, and know you’re helping restore the planet’s wildlife along the way.

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Six Senses Ibiza brings luxury and nature together with a bohemian feel

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On Location

Six Senses Ibiza was the idyllic setting for C&TH’s latest cover shoot


&TH’s Fashion Director Nicole Smallwood chose Six Senses Ibiza as the location for this issue’s shoot for its sense of spirituality, connection with nature, and dedication to wellness. She was also inspired by the brands stocked at Agora, Tiffanie Darke’s boutique showcasing the most beautiful sustainable luxury names (see previous page). The sensual, bohemian hotel is located on the peaceful northern tip of the island and set over 20 acres. It offers sweeping azure sea views and access to one of the most beautiful bays in Ibiza, Cala Xarraca – where the glorious shoot was captured by photographer Daniel Hack. Six Senses Ibiza is also home to Alma Festival, a three-day wellness extravaganza, and is the cool Ibiza hangout of choice for the eco-fashion crowd, including Arizona Muse and Alice Temperley. In terms of its conscious-credentials, it’s the first and only BREEAM-certified place to stay in the Balearics. Your days at Six Senses Ibiza can start with yoga on your private deck, before a leisurely breakfast, and a morning at the beach swimming, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding. In the afternoon, you can learn the art of farm-fresh cooking with the Six Senses chefs, potter around nearby sleepy artisan villages or cycle the glorious trails through the pine forest on an e-mountain bike. You can also visit The Farm at Six Senses Ibiza, where organic produce for the resort’s restaurants, café and bars is grown, and try your hand at gardening or a cooking class. After that you can retire to the Six Senses Spa, where the team of expert therapists can create a treatment programme just for you – or just book in for a reviving After Party Detox face and body treatment. Once restored, dress up for the evening and head out for a sundowner cruise or a sunset ceremony on the beach, a spiritual experience that releases negative energy and cleanses your energy. Finally, after a dinner of delicious produce in the hotel’s restaurant, head to The Beach Caves live music venue to dance the night away… and then do it all again tomorrow. BOOK IT: From £690 B&B. 

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Fighting to

BREATHE Love him or loathe him, London Mayor Sadiq Khan is dedicated to lowering pollution levels in our capital, says CHARLOTTE METCALF


while ago, the actor Nigel Havers was on BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House show and the conversation turned to London’s traffic. Nigel claimed to be so fed up with Sadiq Khan’s restrictions and extension of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) that he considered leaving London. I took notice because I was reading Sadiq’s book Breathe: Tackling the Climate Emergency. Its publication came soon after 18 May when Tony Devenish, a London Assembly member, hauled Sadiq publicly over the coals, accusing him of failing Londoners as a mayor. That same month, Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, launched a bid to give the government powers to scrap Sadiq’s ‘anti car policies’, and less than four weeks after I talk to him, a YouGov poll found that 50 percent of Londoners think he’s doing a bad job. Sadiq is also lambasted mercilessly on Twitter and, although it may be a generational thing, when I ask around to find out what people think about him, many roll their eyes or say he’s doing a useless job. However, if his book is anything to go by, he’s made huge strides in improving London’s air quality. His detractors say that’s at the cost of more important issues like housing and crime, but nevertheless surely it’s of paramount importance to seek solutions to our capital’s dire congestion? I start by asking him when he became so aware of the environment. ‘To be honest, it was self-interest,’ he says. ‘As a young lawyer I had a Saab convertible and then bought a Land Rover as I could fix my daughter’s car seat into it. I even voted for Heathrow’s third runway. I dismissed climate change as a tomorrow issue for the West, mostly affecting sub-Saharan Africa, islands in the West Indies and Bangladesh.’ Then, in 2014, Sadiq was diagnosed with asthma when training for the London Marathon. He met Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, mother of Ella, who died in 2013 of an asthma attack soon after her ninth birthday and following 30 emergency hospital admissions over two years. No one in the medical profession saw a link between Ella’s death and the congested South Circular near where she lived, but after Rosamund waged a dogged campaign, an inquest in December 2020 concluded that nitrogen dioxide levels on that road had way exceeded legal levels and WHO recommendations. ‘Clean air should be a human right and Rosamund was the inspiration who triggered my transformation from Land Rover driver to electric bike evangelist,’ says Sadiq. He’s frustrated that his determination to curb our emissions meet with such heavy opposition from all quarters. LTN (Low Traffic Neighbourhood) schemes are particularly unpopular, with claims that traffic is being brought

to a standstill on many roads making air quality even worse for some locals. In his book, Sadiq describes being confronted at his nephew’s barbecue by Michael, an electrician who relied on his diesel van and whose costs had soared by £60 a week because of Sadiq’s policies. ‘He had a point,’ says Sadiq. ‘If we weren’t careful, these costs could fall disproportionately on the shoulders of the poorest. So, we invested in the biggest scrappage scheme in history and offered small business loans to help meet those costs.’ He points out that one in ten vehicles in Kensington and Chelsea is a Range Rover, whereas half the people living in Barking and Dagenham don’t own a car at all. Yet it’s the deprived boroughs where air is poorest. He understands the need to address the economic impact of his policies, and brought in the visionary economist Mariana Mazzucato to help come up with a Green New Deal to grow London’s green economy to accelerate job creation. While we revere David Attenborough for urging us to avert climate breakdown, many despise Sadiq for trying to do just that. How does he cope with such vicious, often personal, antipathy? ‘I’ve dealt with bullies since the playground,’ he says. ‘I’ve never allowed them to win, and never will. The problem with the pollution crisis is that it’s invisible. People can’t see

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Sadiq’s focus as mayor is tackling London’s extreme air pollution

or smell it so they don’t know how dangerous it is. That’s why I wrote the book, as I can’t explain it in 140 Twitter characters. Politicians dodge the issue because climate change doesn’t seem urgent so it’s not a vote winner, and you can only motivate people if you persuade them that it’s in their own interests to tackle it. ‘Already we’ve achieved so much, so I’m not stopping now. The number of asthmatic children being admitted to hospitals has reduced by a third. In 2017 60 percent of cars in inner London were polluting, whereas now 94 per cent are compliant with regulations. We have so many more cycle lanes and 900 rapid 15-minute charging points, more than any other city in Western Europe.’ His book relates several events I was unaware of, such as escaping the emergency ward where he’d been admitted with a suspected heart attack, to address COP at Glasgow. He confesses he lied to doctors, promising them he’d rest, in order to deliver his speech. I was also impressed by his involvement and subsequent chairmanship of C40, a partnership of mayors

from 96 world cities. He’s still C40’s Chair and is convinced that mayors can collaboratively make a real difference to tackling urban pollution because they understand the problems of their cities better than anyone. Despite his achievements, the polls remain fairly dismal. ‘The only poll that ultimately matters is the election itself,’ Sadiq counters robustly. ‘I’m confident if people understand what I’m trying to do, they’ll back me. Between 2000 and 2018 London’s workplace greenhouse gas emissions reduced by 57 percent and home emissions by 40 percent – but cars by just seven percent. People might not like it, but we must reduce our driving in the city, or risk more Ellas. I’ll send Nigel Havers my book and hope he reads it. Isn’t it better to be the first generation to take action rather than the last generation not to get it right? And there’s so much more we still have to do.’ Breathe: Tackling the Climate Emergency (£16.99, Penguin) is out now  July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 87

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THERAPY How a session with the UK’s first green lifestyle coach not only guided LUCY CLELAND into taking action around lessening her carbon footprint at home, but also helped alleviate her eco-anxiety

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t was like the night before an exam. I didn’t sleep well. What would she find? A thousand plastic bottles clogging up my bathroom; toxic cleaning chemicals under my sink; coffee capsules that say they’re compostable but clearly are not; and, god forbid, a boarding pass stub from a recent trip to the Maldives (eek). But, I reasoned with myself, I do care, I write about sustainability all the time, I talk to anyone who will listen about clothes made from recycled plastic bottles (greenwash), microplastics (everywhere, including our brains and our breast milk), insect armaggedon, regenerative agriculture… I’ve read Jason Hickel’s Less is More, applaud Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics and the Knepp Estate is my idea of paradise. Why then hadn’t this translated into better personal practice? Because sometimes I think we’re all going to hell in a handcart, so why the heck does carrying a refillable coffee cup or not buying that top you fancy from Zara matter in the first ruddy place? It makes no bloody difference. Humph. I’m suffering a classic bout of ecophobia, it turns out, as I sit down with Britain’s first green lifestyle coach, Lucy Johnson from Green Salon, to drink coconut milk lattes (natch) at my kitchen table. She’d come to give me a personal energy audit (no, not my chakras, my gas and electric) and to have a poke around my drawers to see the state of my so-called ‘green lifestyle’ (in the most gentle of manner, of course) with a view to guiding me on how to reduce my personal carbon footprint. However, it’s actually Lucy’s skills as a trained psychotherapist that make this session deeper than just changing my shampoo brand. Just as fears and anxieties held from trauma and unreleased emotion can lead to mental health problems, ecophobia can have the same effect. ‘When I work with clients,’ says Lucy, ‘their biggest issue is their sense of powerlessness in the face of the inevitability [of climate change]. Denial strategies keep us stuck in the same patterns but research proves that giving people agency [over their lives] makes us happier. It is this transformation work that gives us the confidence to take responsibility, and makes us feel more powerful and less distressed.’ This is big stuff. She goes on to explain that when we function in systems that take us away from our inherently human values – models of extraction and exploitation (see industries such as fast fashion, ultra processed foods, industrial farming etc), this causes cognitive dissonance, i.e. a disconnection from our true human selves as collaborative, nature-loving, creative, and what we really believe and feel. ‘When we are able to bring our values into our behaviour we reconnect with our authentic selves and are happier [and healthier] as a result,’ she smiles. Ah, so we have to learn how to become human again. I told you this was big. We don’t just want – we obviously need – clean rivers to drink from and swim in; rich, healthy soil in which to grow nutritious food and crops from which to make our clothes; and time to spend in nature. We may take, but we give back through practices that regenerate – and we know giving is juicier for the soul than taking. And even

if we can’t all grow our own organic food, spin wool, or individually clean our rivers, we can consciously spend our money with brands, products and companies that do take their responsibilities seriously – or protest when they don’t. Right then, action stations. Lucy’s offering to her clients is two-fold; she’ll come to your home to find out what current habits, products and practices you have in place, from your heating system to where you do your shopping; then she’ll talk you through the small, big, easy and more difficult wins you can implement to lessen your carbon footprint and, within a week or two, will send a brilliantly helpful, in-depth yet easy-approach action plan. There will also be follow-up Zooms. As a client you can happily bring up all your worries from the macro (‘we’re all going to die’) to the micro (‘what’s the most eco washing up liquid? And no, it’s not Ecover’) and she’ll calmly and pragmatically talk you through it. Did you know, for example, that our homes account for 25 percent of our carbon footprint and yet an average of 25 percent of our energy is lost through not having them insulated properly (especially the roof)? And that there’s a phantom two or three weeks of charges added to your bill (and energy consumption) when we leave our TVs, monitors, game consoles etc on standby all the time? Or that a house with an EPC A energy


CHANGE YOUR ENERGY PROVIDER If you aren’t already with a renewable energy provider, this is an easy and effective win. Octopus Energy, for example, is ranked in the second tier of eco energy providers by Which? and is cost competitive with the big six energy providers.


INSULATE YOUR LOFT A high-impact gain, given how much heat escapes through the roof. Mitchell & Dickinson specialises in insulating period and listed homes with thermofleece and takes sustainability seriously. Be warned, they’re in high demand.


GO SOLAR A typical terraced house needs around ten solar panels, which will cost around £8,000 and take around eight years to break even, but after that they will provide free electricity. If you’re concerned aesthetically, look into PV slate solar tiles supplied by GB Sol.


BUY ORGANIC AND SINGLEPLASTIC FREE Abel & Cole launched Club Zero in 2020, whereby you can top up on dried goods like rice, pasta and nuts, which are sent in plastic boxes. You can then decant them into your glass jars at home and them send back.


SET YOUR BATHROOM CABINET FREE If, like me, you’re ashamed of your excess cosmetics, head over to the Toiletries Amnesty website, which has a directory of places from homeless shelters to women’s refuges who will willingly take your unused products.



ABOVE: Lucy Johnson advises that changing your shopping habits can have real impact on both the environment and your personal health and satisfaction LEFT: Reading books like Jason Hickel’s Less is More and Chris van Tulleken’s Ultra-Processed People helps you think differently about life and lifestyles

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rating (the gold standard) is the sexy new equivalent of an Aga and an inglenook fireplace? It’s what everyone wants, so there’s a big premium to add to your house value. Lucy is sensible to the fact that clients also don’t want to become a nag (I am definitely the eco Nazi in my house). ‘Turn off the tap.’ ‘Turn off the lights.’ ‘Don’t watch TV and be on your computer and your phone!’ ‘Bugging everyone turns everyone off,’ she says sagely (you’re telling me). ‘It’s discreet little systems that work.’ Like what? Like buying timers for your plugs (all set to turn off overnight when you’re not using them), replacing old light bulbs with LEDs (which use at least 85 percent less energy, and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent ones), and getting smarter with your food shopping and waste too. ‘We’re not eating enough fibre,’ says Lucy, as we talk about the hype over Dr Chris van Tulleken’s new book Ultra-Processed People (read it, it will change the way you think about food profoundly). You get good fibre from vegetables. And, ideally, organic ones or failing that, seasonal. She tells me that a whopping eighty-three percent of food miles comes from the production (through the use of fertilisers and nitrous oxides and getting that there in the first place), whereas only 11 percent comes from the transport (as long as it’s by truck). This means that you need to check where the sun’s shining – it might actually be better buying naturally Spanish-sun ripened tomatoes, transported by land, than English ones that have been intensively farmed. Local isn’t always best. The bathroom and kitchen are inevitably easy-win rooms. Ditch your toxic cleaning agents for ones from Delphis Eco, or Smol, which delivers plastic-free washing and dishwasher tablets on subscription. Toss your nasty green plastic scrubber for a biodegrable bamboo one from Seep. Swap your Colgate for Parla toothpaste tablets. I might even try the shampoo bar from Nope, which Lucy swears froths into a nice lather (others tend not to). Plastic deodorant bottles with harmful aluminium in the ingredients? Pah, set up a Wild subscription to deliver delicious, eco-friendly and effective refills to pop in your pretty tin. Green Salon also offers wardrobe edits and ideas. My sagging rail is my personality in fibre (both wool and nylon). Dresses for thin days. Coveralls for fat days. Trusted, holey jumpers. Glittering designer threads rashly bought in sales. But, with a slow styling session, you’ll get a fresh eye on style combos you wouldn’t have thought of, an understanding of what makes you shine so you can appraise your purchases or rentals from a confident position of knowing what works for your body shape, plus tailoring nip and tuck ideas to breathe new life into things you keep out of nostalgia rather than style. So there you go. Whether you’re a fully paid-up or just an occasional ecophobe and wondering what the point of changing any habits is, the answer is to act, not wallow in fear and procrastination, because, quite frankly, that is going to help no one at all – least of all you. We may not be saving the world individually by cutting down on meat, not buying fast fashion, and insulating our roofs, but harness all those individuals’ change of mindset, energy and humanity in one and maybe we have a shot. And you might just cut down on your therapy bills, too. Ditch your toxic cleaner for Delphis Eco; lather up with a shampoo bar from Nope

For more sustainable swaps that have been vigorously examined, and to book Lucy for a coaching session, from £850, visit


Most teabags are made with plastic, not so Pukka teas and Clipper teas. A no-brainer swap. From £2.99.;


Other brands may boast about it, but Kiss the Hippo has the sustainable credentials to make it your best eco choice. Tastes great too. From £11.


Instead of chucking endless wodges of unrecyclable kitchen towel in the bin, throw Marley’s Monsters pretty UNpaper towels in the laundry instead and then reroll and reuse over and over again. From £31.24.


Liquids are energy-intensive, but Smol’s tablets are plastic free, use fewer nasties and are available on subscription so you’ll never run out. 30 tablets, £5.80.


They add scent and ambience but paraffin-made ones are toxic for the environment. Neal’s Yard, pioneer in organic beauty, makes only organic beeswax and plant oil ones. £35.


If you’re conscientious about your teeth, you’ll already have an electric toothbrush and change the heads ideally once a month, ditching the old plastic one in the bin. Try Truthbrush’s bamboo and plant-based bristle version instead that fit on Philips Sonicare brushes. Pack of two, £9.


Not only do many brands contain aluminium in the ingredients, their packaging is always plastic. At Wild, where you buy a one off tin container and get refills by subscription. Tin (one off cost), £10. Refills from £6.


Reject those nasty green scratchy scourers and opt for Seep’s eco sponge with loofah scourer instead. Plastic free and properly compostable. £9.50 for four.


My daughter’s about to start her period and I’m going for Wuka period pants, which are fully absorbent, don’t leak and are just chucked in the wash after use. No more disposable bleached pads. From £17.99.


Renowned for its super-sustainable, handmade mattresses with organic materials, Naturalmat complements this with a range of organic bed linen. From £15. 

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Bring back the


Old English Longhorn cattle take the place of now-extinct aurochs as a keystone species

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Our nature deficit can be reversed by the return of keystone species, argues BEN GOLDSMITH who, along with a number of farmers in Somerset, is following the success of the Knepp Estate by slowly dismantling systems that no longer serve neither man nor beast

am lucky enough to live at Cannwood, at the centre of a growing inkblot of nature restoration on farms in Somerset’s Brewham Valley that are working to restore a long-gone hunting forest known as Selwood. This great forest was never that of our collective imagination: a kind of dense, dark closed-canopy affair. Selwood was, in fact, a vast mosaic wood pasture, not so different from the wildwood that blanketed nearly all of Britain in pre-history. Selwood was converted into the patchwork quilt of neon green fields and neatly clipped hedges we see today not so very long ago, perhaps a century or two. With it went a natural vibrancy and an abundance of wildlife that we can barely conceive of today. Among the species lost from Selwood were Britain’s own keystone species. Keystone species are those animals who play a disproportionately vital role in maintaining ecosystems, and on which therefore all the other species depend. In the same way that each arch of a medieval bridge is supported by a keystone that, if removed, causes the arch to collapse, it is now understood that the balance of ecosystems also hinges upon the activities of certain species that create so-called trophic cascades that bring exponential benefits to everything else. Principal among the keystones of Selwood were the native horned cattle belonging to the people living and farming here, who turned them out to roam freely across an unenclosed landscape. Horned cattle are descended from the fearsome wild ox or aurochs that may have survived in the wild in Britain until at least Roman times. The browsing, grazing and trampling of these large herbivores prevents the darkness of the tree canopy from closing over the landscape, instead engineering semi-open woodland punctuated by sun-dappled glades and meandering grazing lawns in which wildflowers, berry-laden scrub and small fruit trees may flourish. A second keystone was the pig, herded domestically for millennia, and its untamed, curious, sensitive, social cousin the wild boar, which lives in matriarchal family groups known as sounders. These are nature’s gardeners, whose incessant rootling and turning of the ground exposes the bare soil for the benefit of plants whose seeds require open ground for germination. All kinds of plants have disappeared from our landscapes in the absence of this rootling; from delicate, annual grasses and wildflowers such as poppies and scarlet pimpernel, to trees such as black poplar, aspen and sallow – from which the word Selwood is derived. Many songbirds too depend on pigs to access bugs and other food in the earth, and all kinds of fungi and microorganisms are propagated through the landscape by pigs. A third is the beaver, hunted to extinction in Britain by the middle ages. By building dams, beavers create strings of pools that have the appearance of gently ascending Japanese rice terraces. These beavermade wetlands and wet woodlands, sunlit by the felling of trees, are one of the lushest, most naturally abundant habitats we have in our country. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the wolf is our own apex predator, whose hunting maintains healthy populations of wild herbivores, keeps their numbers in check, and keeps the herds on the move. To some extent humans have usurped the wolf, whose role we do our best to fulfil, poorly it turns out, as deer numbers continue to grow out of control. Our big idea here in Selwood is inspired by Knepp, a big former industrial farm on poor land in Sussex whose owners, Charlie Burrell and Isabella Tree, exasperated by years of economic losses, took the decision two decades ago to embark on a grand experiment. Charlie and Isabella’s plan was to allow natural processes and self-willed wood pasture to return across all of their farm. Without any fixed outcomes in mind, they turned out native, domestic proxies for the keystone species.

They chose hardy breeds that can live outside all year round without supplementary feeding. Old English longhorn cattle were used in place of aurochs; Tamworth pigs for wild boar; and Exmoor ponies for Europe’s long-extinct wild horse, the tarpan. Red and fallow deer were added to the mix. At Knepp, all these animals are free to roam where they like, eat what they like, sleep where they like. Across the entire landscape a shape-shifting wood pasture has grown up, rich in scrub and in wildflowers, a mosaic of habitats that teems with wildlife in an abundance that we are unused to seeing in Britain today. Isabella’s bestselling book, Wilding, charts the astonishing recovery of nature that is unfolding at Knepp, and the surging return of species that are disappearing almost everywhere else in Britain: turtle doves, nightingales, white storks, kingfishers, all five British species of owl and countless other species are present in unfathomable numbers. Populations of insects and small mammals are sky-rocketing, and with them everything that depends on them for food. Most astonishingly, Knepp has never been so profitable. Here in Selwood, farmers in our growing cluster are ripping out fencing and field drains, filling in ditches, opening up gaps in hedges and replacing their sheep and commercial cattle with free-roaming Old English Longhorns equipped with NoFence collars that respond to an invisible, moveable boundary. A re-emergent wood pasture, now so rare in Britain, is beginning to shine all around us. Surveyed moth, butterfly, bird and bat numbers are rising fast. Beavers are back, and on dark summer nights glow-worms hang once again suspended in iridescent patterns over their pools. If nature is wealth, Britain ranks among the poorest countries on Earth. We can barely conceive of the magic and natural abundance that was known by previous generations. Thankfully, public demands are now growing for the restoration of nature, on which we depend for everything we have and everything we do. In December 2022, Britain joined the nations of the world in pledging to restore 30 percent of our land to natural health and 30 percent of our sea by 2030. Our national parks and other less agriculturally productive landscapes, which contribute a minuscule proportion of our national food production, are the obvious areas in which to centre these efforts. And it is families that have farmed these landscapes for generations who are best placed to lead them. Farming communities are in many ways the soul and the backbone of our country. In our least productive landscapes, and especially within our national parks, their hordes of sheep have become hopelessly non-viable in economic terms, unable to provide a decent living. As the average age of sheep farmers creeps ever higher, their take-home income creeps ever lower. In sheep farming, there are now no winners, only losers. In landscapes dominated by sheep the ruination of nature has gone hand in hand with economic and social decline. The role of native horned cattle as a keystone species offers us a kind of silver bullet in these places. The dramatic recovery of nature can go handin-hand with continued, albeit reduced, food production and the breathing of new economic life into our remoter landscapes. The switching from non-native sheep to native horned cattle will give us swathes of restored wood pasture, currently so rare in Britain. Landscapes like Selwood can once again play host to an extraordinary array and abundance of wildlife, of the kind that we have simply forgotten can exist here. Once you’ve visited a place like Knepp, or now Selwood, and have experienced for yourself a wall of birdsong so intense that it feels overwhelming, everywhere else seems colourless and silent by comparison. 


‘Keystone species are those ANIMALS who play a disproportionately VITAL role in maintaining ECOSYSTEMS, and on which therefore all the other SPECIES depend’

God is an Octopus by Ben Goldsmith (£20, Bloomsbury) is out now July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 93

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Britain’s women are not only calling for a better, greener future, but are getting on with the job. AMY WAKEHAM meets the leaders shaping the future of the country – and the planet July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 95

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Jenny Barlow rom Emily Williamson and Eliza Phillips, the pioneering 19thcent ur y founders of the RSPB, to scientist-activists like Jane Goodall, British women have led and shaped the environmental and conservation movements from its very beginning. Today, names like Isabella Tree, Mandy Lieu and Arizona Muse regularly make headlines with their work across wilding and regeneration. But they’re just a handful of the many passionate women pushing the planet-first message through their work across the UK, and shaping a better, brighter and more nature-filled future for this country. Here’s a few of the inspirational women working at the forefront of the UK’s green movement.

‘The wonders of the natural world have always been something that have really inspired me, and how we’ve damaged it has been a source of real sadness,’ explains Jenny, Estate Manager at the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve in Langholm, Scotland. ‘But also, for me, a massive motivation to get involved and change things.’ It’s a fascinating story of community action. In 2019, 2,000 hectares of the rugged, windswept Tarras Valley in Scotland went up for sale, and the local town of Langholm immediately saw the opportunity to rewild and regenerate the former grouse moor. Jenny was taken on board as Estate Manager to oversee the nature recovery work – current projects include restoring the peatlands, planting trees and reconnecting the local people with the land. ‘We know it is a forever project,’ explains Jenny. ‘It’s all about looking to the future, creating a really rich legacy for future generations and the community around here. It’s not just the nature side and restoring damaged habitats, it’s laying the foundations for all the children that are growing up here so that they can benefit from having such an amazing asset on their doorstep.’


Mya-Rose Craig

Only 21 years old and still at university, Mya-Rose is already a prominent and influential ornithologist and environmentalist. In 2022, she spoke on a panel at COP26 alongside Emma Watson, Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai, cementing her status as one of the world’s most influential young activists. ‘I feel like I’m from a generation that’s always been very hyper aware of all the different environmental issues going on in the world,’ she says. ‘For me, that love for the planet, and for nature, transformed into this feeling where, if you really care about those things, you also should be trying to do a bit to go out and save them.’ She gets frustrated, because ‘the issues that we’re facing aren’t unsolved mysteries, but rather things where we just don’t have the political will to get the change that we need.’ She continues: ‘I think it’s important to emphasise that this is a very systemic thing. In terms of things that people can do [on an individual level], a big one is maybe switching to a bank that isn’t investing your money in fossil fuels.’ Birdgirl is out in paperback on 5 October.

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Clare Brook

As CEO of Blue Marine Foundation, Clare Brook heads up an organisation that aims to protect and restore life in the oceans. Previously, she spent 24 years in environmental finance at Jupiter, Henderson and Aviva. ‘The change that Blue Marine has helped to catalyse has been absolutely thrilling,’ she says. Blue Marine is aiming to protect 30 percent of the world’s oceans by 2030, and so far it has helped conserve over four million sq/km of sea, including raising a fund to support a huge no-take reserve around Ascension Island; overseeing the first ever marine protected area in the Caspian Sea; and securing a network of protected sites in the Maldives. In the UK, Blue Marine is actively restoring nature in the Solent Seascape Project, a whole-ecosystem regeneration project that aims to restore saltmarsh, seagrass, oyster beds and ten seabird nesting sites. For Clare, the future of the planet depends on the way we value nature: ‘If we could not only bring millions to the problem, but billions, then we could completely change the way the planet is functioning, for the better of nature and, of course, human civilisation.’ Clare first got a taste for campaigning when she joined Oxford Against Apartheid while at university in the 1980s. Then, ten years later, she went to see Nelson Mandela speak in Trafalgar Square. ‘It gave me the sense that it is possible to bring about positive change,’ she says. ‘Now we all worry constantly about the fate of the oceans and climate change. But all any of us can do is spend each day doing as much as we possibly can to pull us back from the brink.’ Sign Blue Marine’s petition to end deep sea mining at


Geetie Singh-Watson MBE

Brought up in a commune in the Midlands, Geetie has the environment in her blood. ‘As a child, environmentalism was really part of my narrative from the youngest age,’ she says. She started the award-winning organic pub, the Duke of Cambridge, in 1998, when few people understood what the term meant – it ended up getting her an MBE. She then met Guy Singh-Watson, the founder of Riverford Organic, and moved to Totnes, Devon, where she transformed The Bull Inn into an ‘organic, radical and ethical pub’. She’s excited about starting a new ‘ethical fish and chip shop’ called The Albatross, with a ‘limited fish supply and full traceability’ and, when sustainable fish can’t be sourced, ‘lots of vegetables, lots of deep fried artichokes, as you can’t have fish all the time. We’re trying to demonstrate a different way.’ Vocal about pushing for change, Geetie’s one piece of advice is to, ‘Get politicised and challenge your MP. Because it’s not about us, we need to stop micro-shaming ourselves. It’s all down to legislation, it’s all down to the government. They have the power to change the legislation, but they don’t do it. So get angry, now and fast, and get active.’

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Anabel Kindersley

If there is one brand that has a legacy of flying the flag for regenerative thinking, it has to be Neal’s Yard Remedies. One of the first beauty brands to be certified organic by the Soil Association back in 1991, today it is helmed by Anabel Kindersley, whose family took it over in 2006. It was also named the first carbon neutral high street retailer back in 2008. Regenerative farming ‘has always been part of who we are as a family, and it continues to be the lifeblood of what we believe,’ explains Anabel, who has led influential campaigns to protect nature. ‘Over ten years ago, we decided that it was really not okay for this toxic pesticide neonicotinoid to be used in farming, because of the impact on bees.’ To raise awareness, Neal’s Yard launched its Bee Lovely hand cream; campaigns with Friends of the Earth followed, and eventually in 2017 it was banned. Last year the government quietly lifted the ban, meaning Anabel is back on the campaign trail: so far, she’s got 103 businesses on board, and a meeting with Defra booked in. She does admit frustration, though, that the dial is so slow to change on environmental issues, but says: ‘I’m quite a pragmatic person, I think it’s really healthy to direct that frustration into action. We haven’t got long, let’s really act now.’


Katie Allen


An allergic reaction to some clothes prompted Katie Allen to overhaul her wardrobe. ‘It was a bit of an epiphany,’ she says. ‘It made me completely look at what is in my clothes, and what is in the creams that I’m putting on my face and on my body.’ At the time her work as a rural-based graphic designer put her in touch with a lot of farm businesses, and she was ‘exposed to real farmers doing really good things with their own produce that they were growing on their farms’. A few years later, with experience on a Cornish organic smallholding under her belt, she bought her own flock of sheep. ‘All the farmers I was buying from said, “Oh, you’ll never do anything with the wool, it’s not worth anything – we bury ours, we burn ours.” And I decided that that’s crazy.’ Loopy Ewes is her knitwear label, made exclusively from the wool from her flock, which graze an organic farm in the Cotswolds and are farmed using regenerative principles. From raising the sheep to spinning the wool and dying the yarn, Katie does it all. She is leading the way in challenging the systems that prop up the fashion industry, and offering another path that is smaller, more personal and fully connected with nature. 98 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | July /August 2023

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Susan Kinsey Jones

‘I grew up within the M25, and had never lived in the countryside before,’ laughs Susan, as she recounts her and her husband’s decision to transform part of his family’s farm in Wales into a vineyard. ‘We knew we wanted to have a sustainable future for our family.’ In 2017 they planted 800 vines, commuting to their day jobs in London. Four years later, they got their first tiny crop of grapes and made 50 bottles of wine. Gradually, they found themselves pulled towards natural, low-intervention winemaking – previously Susan worked at online local grocer Farmdrop, so she was already familiar with the world of low-impact farming. ‘It’s just about trying to make good products and improve the planet at the same time,’ she says. ‘It’s really apparent that it’s a privilege to be custodians of this land, and regenerative principles seem to be the way it has to go… I think it’s going to be a lifelong process of trying to make this holistic ecosystem where everything relates to, enhances and reflects everything else at the farm.’ Six years on and Whinyard Rocks produces two wines, both fermented with indigenous wild yeast: a sparkling red and a lightly sparkling white. Tours and tastings are planned for the summer.



Harriet Mansell

Noma-protogée Harriet set up her restaurant Robin Wylde in Lyme Regis in 2020, after several years cheffing for the rich and famous on their superyachts. Her menu ‘showcases and explores wild edibles’, and is part-foraged, part-locally sourced and seasonal, featuring dishes such as a black mustard and wild winter greens taco, and courgette and squash flowers with basil and lovage sauce. ‘As a teenager, I became very, very fixated on flavour,’ says Harriet. ‘When I started to cook, I was drawn towards the idea of ingredients that weren’t available in supermarkets.’ With that, she says, comes a deep respect for nature and an observation of the world around you. On moving to Lyme Regis in 2019, Harriet’s mission became ‘to understand what grows where, the flora and fauna of the area, what time of year it grows, when it grows, how it changes with the seasons, but also with each year.’ Although the present iteration of Robin Wylde will close in October, Harriet plans for it to evolve into a series of events, and collaborations, and dinners in nature itself, in the short term, while she finds a permanent future home for the restaurant. Behind the scenes, she’s working on a podcast, ‘which is about celebrating people who are working closely with nature’, and working with a videographer on capturing stories of her work.


Julia Hailes

The catalyst for Julia’s lifetime’s work was ‘seeing the rainforests being cut down’ when she travelled the world in her twenties. Her 1988 book, The Green Consumer, has sold over one million copies and first introduced shoppers to the idea that their purchasing habits impacted the environment. ‘The thing that we started was the power of market forces for environmental change,’ she explains. When researching the book, she rang up supermarkets and ‘they had no idea what I was talking about – it wasn’t on their radar at all’. However, within a year, when she started working on a follow-up publication that focused particularly on supermarkets, ‘every single one of them had gotten an environmental advisor. It was a really exciting period of change’. She finds it sad, though, that almost 35 years later things have only gotten worse. ‘Sustainability is no longer the goal, we have got to start regenerating and putting stuff back.’ Now she’s passionate about rewilding, and runs an annual Wilding Weekend, as well as supporting Operation Future Hope, which provides environmental education for schools.  July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 99

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KAMIN MOHA MMADI meets Hardeep Matharu, the founding editor of Byline Times, an independent newspaper with a mission to tell you what the mainstream media won’t

29/06/2023 16:35


hen Hardeep Matharu graduated from Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm that hacked millions of Facebook accounts University armed with a degree in law, instead of to help sell Brexit, the then deputy leader of the Labour party Tom Watson heading to the law courts of London, she got a job asked questions in the House after attending her talks at the Byline Festival. ‘There is so much that is not reported or underreported that the mainstream as a cub reporter on a local paper. She cut her teeth the old-fashioned way, working in local, national press cannot – or choose not – to report on,’ declares Hardeep, ‘including and independent media, before becoming the launch the crisis in British journalism, which I think is really feeding into our editor of Byline Times. ‘It was really old school, because I wanted to learn the society and politics. There is an entire power block in this country that goes craft of what it was to have a patch that you work on and go out and get to unreported on.’ And Byline Times can do that by being outside the system and not beholden to billionaire proprietors or outside influence nor does it trade know a community. I ended up editing the local newspaper.’ Byline Times is an independent newspaper and website with the strapline access for independence. It is only responsible to its subscribers. ‘What the Papers Don’t Say’. First published in March 2019, it is the As well as looking behind the news, Byline Times provides new perspectives brainchild of founders and executive editors Peter Jukes on Britain’s political landscape, often years before the and Stephen Colgrave, who originally floated the idea of zeitgeist catches up. Two years before the BLM movement an independent journalism site in 2016, with the launch of led global debate about race and imperialism after the, a crowdfunded platform for journalism that murder of George Floyd, and the Edward Colston statue had no editorial line or agenda. This itself was inspired by was brought down in Bristol, Byline Times was the first the many months that Peter Jukes spent reporting from the to explore how the legacy of the British Empire was at BYLINE’S CONTRIBUTORS phone hacking trials, a personal mission to bring the truth the heart of dynamics playing out between minority TO CONTEND WITH of what the big newspapers were doing to light, eventually communities, immigration and recent developments such Peter Oborne accomplished with the help of donations from ordinary as Brexit. This was Hardeep’s own ongoing work on Brexit Peter Oborne’s Diary people who valued Peter’s unbiased reporting on Twitter. and Empire, the result of her being the daughter of Sikh Sonia Purnell The passion for independent and impartial journalism Punjabi immigrants from British Kenya and India and Purnell’s Perspectives led Jukes and Colgrave to expanding their activities to the her interest in identity as well as social justice. Alexandra Hall Undiplomatic Dispatches UK’s first independent journalism festival, a unique mix As with any media company now, Byline Times extends Penny Pepper of lively debate, interactive workshops and brilliant live its brand through Byline Radio, Byline TV, a podcast Who Are the Disabled? music in a magical site in the verdant English countryside. and a Byline Supplement through Substack. And after Otto English Myth of the Month Over three days, people flocked to hear top journalists, its absence during the pandemic years, the popular Byline Peter York Festival is back this summer at Dartington Hall in writers and thinkers discuss the issues that are ignored, Modern Typologies under reported or simply misreported in the mainstream Devon, where the manifesto for Clement Attlee’s 1945 John Mitchinson media, be entertained by the likes of John Cleese and Government was written. Zeitgeisters ‘With the paper, we wanted to try to connect the Alexei Sayle and rocked by the music of Pussy Riot. ‘By the time I met Peter and Stephen,’ Hardeep recalls, dots and reveal the structural issues, as well as feature BYLINE TIMES BREAKING ‘I had worked on both local and national papers and they independent reporting on what is happening. We firmly THE NEWS FIRST... said to me: “We think there needs to be a new news site, believed that there was an appetite for this,’ Hardeep says. Russian Interference a publication, to plug the very real gap that is emerging ‘And thankfully we have been proved right!’ Years before other media outlets, Byline was highlighting Vladimir That success can be attributed to this transparency with fake news. You know how to edit a newspaper and Putin’s meddling in foreign elections; that Byline Times champions. ‘We say what we do news site,” and I said I guess so…’ the right-wing connections between Russia and the US hard-right; and the on the tin, we say we are independent and outside And so, in an era when the death of print is regularly problems of ‘Londongrad’ announced, the trio launched a new independent the system, which,’ Hardeep laughs, ‘doesn’t mean, Cambridge Analytica Scandal newspaper. Backed by the daily news site that rolls out you know, that we are anarchists! True independence Byline Times’ co-founder Peter Jukes five stories a day and remains free to its one-million users, comes only when you don’t have rich proprietors, take supported and collaborated with the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr the Byline Times is a print newspaper that lands monthly government subsidies, you don’t take adverts, so we Disaster Capitalism and in the letterboxes of its 28,000 subscribers. are truly independent. And I always say as an editor, Conservative Party Funding when we stop doing that, then people should stop ‘When we launched Byline Times everyone said we Years before other media outlets questioned the dominance of City were crazy to put out a print publication when established subscribing. Because what they come to Byline Times financiers and hedge funds in titles are seeing sales fall,’ laughs Hardeep. ‘But Byline for is not only independence in terms of its journalism, donations to the Conservative Party, Byline Times raised discussion of this but an independence of mind. We don’t tell people what Times has a very specific purpose, it is not trying to be issue in its very early days another regular newspaper. The idea was to take elements to think. We give information, analysis, commentary PPE Procurement Scandal of the crowdfunded site in the subscription model and and invite people to think about them, to inform Byline Times led the way in exposing themselves, to feel a stake in this society.’ the fiercely independent journalism from the festival to the Government’s procuring of PPE during the Coronavirus crisis Hardeep pushes her point home. ‘If journalism cover what the other papers don’t say.’ is to be the fourth estate, then it should be trying This is how the paper has been positioned from its ‘Herd immunity’ Byline Times was one of the first to create an informed citizenry. And I think what’s launch: Byline Times does not follow the news cycle but media outlets to raise concerns going wrong with so much journalism today is instead investigates and probes areas that other papers that Boris Johnson’s Government appeared to be following a ‘herd it’s doing the opposite. We have more and more tend to ignore and gives voice to those who are often immunity’ approach in the early marginalised – Hardeep is especially proud of Byline news, but I don’t know how informed people are in days of the Coronavirus pandemic – concerns that later insider Times’ disability coverage. It delves into the real reasons terms of how it affects their lives. So that is the real reports vindicated behind the news and in doing so holds the Government spirit of Byline Times. Independence, integrity, being NHS Data and the establishment to account. fearless and holding power to account.’ And that is Byline Times exposed Government what Byline Times, funded by its readers, is uniquely Probably the best-known example of a story that it plans for the selling off of people’s personal NHS data placed to do.  broke is the PPE scandal, exposing the cronyism and waste surrounding the Government’s procuring of PPE The Crisis in British Journalism The founding mission of Byline during the Coronavirus crisis, which led Byline Times to Country & Town House is launching a C&TH x Byline Times, it is the only newspaper in be quoted in Parliament. This is not the only time that it’s feature series from the September/October issue, where the UK that provides consistent, indepth, investigatory coverage of the been mentioned in the centres of power – after Peter Jukes editor Hardeep Matharu will select one thought-provoking established press supported and collaborated with the Observer’s Carole Byline investigative or cultural read focusing on the issues Cadwalladr on the ground-breaking story of Cambridge of the day to run in C&TH.



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From retreats to book now to new products for your handbag, we bring you the latest wellness news


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Editor’s LETTER


hat does it mean to live an inspired life? Bringing our world back into balance is no small mission, sometimes it really does feel like an impossible one; as if humanity has created the tipping point of its own demise, from which there is no return. The disconnect is everywhere. Mountains of ultraprocessed food, equal amounts of under-processed emotions. Nature on the back foot, AI on the rise. And yet... The sun is still rising, the world is full of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things and wise discourse and action are finally entering centre stage. Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’ I couldn’t agree more. I believe we each have the ability to create our own masterpiece. To make living itself a work of art. We know our individual choices matter: how we eat, shop, travel, talk, who we vibe with. But away from earnestly becoming small in the face of adversity or berating our lack of perfection, next-level living is not just about coming into awareness. It is about keeping ourselves open to change and growth so that we can contribute to the collective narrative. For myself, I travel to seek out that which holds life, soul, hope, healing and teaching. The unknown terrain that travelling presents us with enables us to see anew, regenerate inner spirit, gather and harvest wisdom. When we head off the mainstream, we are more able to reconnect with the magic and mystery of the universe. With the beat of the human heart. There is no inspiration without heart. The common denominator of all of the places signposted in this guide is that they seek to inspire. They offer a blueprint of travel that is about expansion rather than extraction. They actively nurture both personal and planetary wellbeing. What could be more purposeful and passionate than that? We cannot have healthy humans on an unhealthy planet. So, if we are going to travel, let’s travel well. Welcome to the Country & Town House Wellbeing Guide 2023. For anyone interested in being, seeing and doing differently. Let’s vow to keep on evolving and innovating. We can’t leave anyone behind. Daisy Finer

104 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | July /August 2023

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here’s simply nothing as important as your health. This is why new health service and members’ club HOOKE is ushering in a groundbreaking era of advanced personalised and preventative healthcare in the UK, with no waiting lists and first-class care in luxurious surroundings in an exquisite Mayfair setting. Named after the 17th-century English polymath, Robert Hooke, who coined the term ‘cell’ for the living forms seen under his microscope, HOOKE offers its members the latest in biology, medicine, psychology, and data science, so they can put their health first. ‘Make your later years the happiest, healthiest and most productive of your life,’ says Lev Mikheev, founder of HOOKE. ‘We are all infinitely more capable than we appear.’ HOOKE is a first-of-its-kind service, offering one of the world’s most advanced health screenings alongside access to an expert team of globally renowned doctors and scientists. It also gives its clients a personalised, evolving longevity plan, to ensure health goals are achieved and maintained. Each member’s journey begins with a Health Investigation. A one-to-one appointment with HOOKE’s Dr David

HOOKE offers a whole-new approach to optimising your health

Porter identifies concerns and goals, before a series of assessments and scans with each member of HOOKE’s multidisciplinary team. These include diagnostic screening, whole genome sequencing, and assessment of fitness, musculoskeletal condition, nutrition, cognitive function and emotional wellbeing. Once all results have been collated, the team undertakes a full review, synthesising the data and identifying priority areas for action. In particular, the Health Investigation looks for signs of agerelated conditions such as arthritis, cancer, dementia, autoimmune diseases, and cardiovascular disease, as well as many more. 1 PERFORMANCE After the initial Health MEMBERSHIP Six-month sports, Investigation, HOOKE offers fitness and performance three tiers of membership focused programme. – Performance, Healthspan 2 HEALTHSPAN and Healthspan+ – which MEMBERSHIP Popular annual are all guided by experts to programme comprising harness the body’s natural one Health Investigation, on-demand capacity for regeneration consultations, and and repair. They all include wraparound support. a seven- days-a-week 3 HEALTHSPAN+ concierge support for MEMBERSHIP Elevated annual coordinating investigations, support comprising referrals, prescriptions two Health Investigations; further and more, all conducted assessments and with utmost discretion screening based on recommendations; and security.


ongoing wraparound support; unlimited consultations; and a personalised longevity programme designed by the Scientific Advisory Board.

Health Investigation, £15,000. Annual health memberships from £22,000.

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All the wellness news you need to keep you feeling healthy and in-the-know


ABOVE & BELOW: Learn to nod off by Lake Como at Grand Tremezzo

It’s the hot new trend rippling across the planet. Head to stylish Grand Tremezzo’s T Spa ( for the Lake Como Sleep Ritual, a total body treatment, drawing upon local herbs and plants to promote deeper sleep by calming the mind and soothing the body. Equally restorative is the Tranquillity and Sleep Enhancing Programme at beachfront Marbella Club ( Expect a Tibetan singing bowl massage, hydrating facial, stress-reducing ritual, marine magnesium wrap and personal guided meditation plus tips and tricks on how to improve your sleep. Crossing continents, the Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa ( in Jo’burg is proving that Africa is not just about safari. Try the Sleep Therapy, a 30-minute treatment (equivalent to four hours of undisturbed sleep) on a floatation bed, with programmed lighting to help you drift off. The Peninsula Hotels ( are on it, too. As part of the new wellness and sustainability programme, ‘Life Lived Best’, the group has partnered with Breethe, a ground-breaking app, that provides guided meditations, relaxing bedtime stories and soothing music, either on guests’ personal devices or in-room TVs. There’s also a special ‘Sleep Well, Wake Up Well’ aromatherapy experience, featuring Ayurvedic essences from natural skincare brand Subtle Energies to encourage a good night’s sleep and morning zing.



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Saudi Arabia’s epic family wellness destination Amaala ( on the north-western coast has partnered with Clinique La Prairie to create an exclusive health resort. Alongside 13 villas and 52 rooms and suites, there will be a combination of medical therapies – think advanced diagnostics lab and radiology, physio, neuroscience, dermo, aesthetics and dentistry – and well-being offerings such as a cryochamber, hyperbaric suites and IV infusions. July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 107

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The just-renovated Revital Spa of glitzy Palace Merano ( looks the business and delivers too – particularly the six-day Revital Detox for Longevity programme where no inch of you is left untouched, from pampering (get ready for lots of massages) to diagnostics (the medical department has 60 professionals) to diet, with a food plan rustled up post-treatment.


Enjoy farm-to-table dishes at São Lourenço do Barrocal

Across the globe, kitchens are getting innovative, knocking out delicious food that doesn’t damage the planet. The Sarojin (, a hop from Phuket, has introduced a new plantbased menu with sumptuous dishes such as silken tofu and avocado, roasted black sesame and truffle oil. The restored 19th-century farmstead hotel São Lourenço do Barrocal ( in Portugal’s white-washed Alentejo also celebrates the importance of local with its farm-to-table cuisine highlighting the hotel’s home-grown vegetables, own wine and olive oil. It offers a fantastic bee-keeping experience too.

YOGA AT BUCHINGER WILHELMI Fasting clinic Buchinger Wilhelmi has a new spiritual string to its bow. Restorative yoga instructor Gilbert understands the body’s subtle energies, so his mix of asanas, pranayama, meditation and chanting is exceptional. His intuitive expertise helps you to let go on every level. It’s like shedding an old unwanted skin, enabling you to leave his classes supple, cleansed and hopeful. 12-17 December,


This untouched spot on the southwest Peloponnese is often celebrated for its history but now Costa Navarino (costanavarino. com) is grabbing the headlines for its planet-friendly approach, with a focus on preserving the region’s remarkable 4,500-year-old heritage. And the clever thing is that it’s a joint effort. This stunning destination is home to three fivestar hotels plus over 20 restaurants. A Mandarin Oriental is throwing open its doors here this summer.

HEARTWORK RETREAT Watch out for Heartwork Retreats in an exquisite property in southern France. Conceived by angel therapists Sophie Andrews and Pedro Morrell, expect a nurturing space where you can work at releasing deep-seated trauma and unhealthy patterns. Wrapped up in beautiful therapies, yoga, meditation, mountain hikes, wild swimming, a deliciously nutritious menu and time to rest and shed stress. 10-14 September, the-heartwork-retreat

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Sweater Toast Bikini bottoms Eres

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The products to pop in your purse

All’s well at Joali Being


The Maldives is getting even more dreamy. Anantara Kihavah Maldives ( has introduced Optimisation Retreats. An all-singing, all-dancing programme, it includes epigenetic testing, flower essence therapy, naturopathy and nutrition. Joali Being ( is taking things to another level, too, welcoming seriously good visiting experts – don’t miss superstar neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart Bieber. The hotel has also rolled out new wellbeing programmes, from gut-resetting to weight rebalancing to reversing ageing. Velaa Private Island ( is also upping the ante, with a spanking new Wellbeing Village.

HARMONIE AROMATHERAPIE DREAM DROPS Dab into your palms, rub together and inhale, or pop onto pulse points. A support jewel. £19,


Dior is having an action-packed year. Antibes’ legendary Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc (oetkercollection. com) has just revealed a brand new Dior Spa, with treatments inspired by its surroundings: the rocks, the sea, the garden and the sun. Belmond’s Royal Scotsman ( has also joined forces with Dior to open a spa carriage, with two lacquered treatment rooms, styled with the Maison’s iconic toile de Jouy motif – perfect for winding down after a day exploring the dramatic Highlands.

RELAXAYVOO FACE OIL One for day and one for night, these are rich in antioxidants, fatty acids and the best and purest in essential oils, such as prickly pear, rosehip and evening primrose. From £58,

Dior has a spa carriage on Belmond’s Royal Scotsman

IT’S NOT ME, IT’S THE MENOPAUSE Menopause is the hot topic. Palazzo Fiuggi (, overlooking the medieval spa town of Fiuggi, an hour from Rome, has launched ‘Ageing Naturally’, a weeklong personalised longevity programme headed up by Dr Judith Bildau, a specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics. It provides all the tools you need during this life stage to regain relaxation and inner peace, increase vitality and put you in a good mood.


Hot on the tail of The Ranch’s ( outpost in Palazzo Fiuggi near Rome, the A-lister favourite is opening a new standalone property in Hudson Valley, New York this summer. Set within 200 acres, immerse yourself in nature and experience all the core elements of the programme: hiking, fitness classes, yoga, massage and plant-based diet. The Ranch will also be popping up at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch among the peaks of Vail in September and October.

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ROSS J BARR Meghan Markle’s clever acupuncturist Ross J Barr has created a brilliant line of vitamins to boost immunity and calm adrenal overload. Their absorption is superior because they are naturally formulated, not a synthetic compound. From £26, 


DE-LIVER-ANCE Restore balance to your liver, responsible for over 500 vital functions with this forward-thinking nutraceutical elixir that optimises and future proofs your liver. From £23.99,

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BREATHE IN At Forsthofgut you can stop and take a deep, cleansing breath


odern life is a whirlwind of work deadlines, family commitments and social plans. Sometimes, you just need to escape, to pause, look around you… and finally take that deep, cleansing breath. Forsthofgut is the perfect place to do this: at the foot of the Asitz mountain in Austria, the pioneering nature hotel is an oasis of calm and relaxation.


First opened in the 1960s, Forsthofgut has evolved into a superlative resort expertly marrying luxury with a sustainable ethos rooted in nature. The hotel’s 109 rooms include spacious family suites and three supreme garden loft suites, each with a terrace or balcony and fashioned in natural materials and fabrics from the local SalzburgerLand area. A new addition is Thoman Alm, a beautifully private four-bedroom alpine hut in a tranquil valley setting.


At the heart of Forsthofgut is the adults-only waldSPA and waldSPA Lake House with organic saunas, relaxation areas, and lavish treatment rooms. The holistic waldYURVEDA ritual is a must. Enjoy stunning alpine views from the infinity pool, dive into a chemical-free swimming lake, and cool off in the natural plunge pool

Escape to a natural alpine paradise at Forsthofgut

after a spell in the floating Finnish. Yoga and treatments under the forest canopy, hiking, biking or horse riding in the fresh mountain air are also available.


Care for the environment drives Forsthofgut, which has been awarded the Austrian Eco Label, an independent organisation that looks at the whole lifecycle of the hotel and the products it uses. Powered by green energy using photovoltaics, geothermal power and a biomass heating system, water also comes fresh from Forsthofgut’s own mountain spring. Most ingredients used in the hotel’s four diverse restaurants come from its own organic farm or local producers.


The exhilarating mountain environment is perfect for children to have their own escape. Rocky’s Club offers year-round daily childcare and ‘edutainment’ with crafts in the art studio, healthy cooking, and pony treks in the riding stables. The mini farm and mini zoo with alpacas, baby-doll sheep and rabbits are highlights. Teens have their own adventure programmes in summer with ziplining, wild water rafting and mountain biking all available. An escape for the whole family. BOOK IT: +43 6583 8561;

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Mindful Adventuring

Where to rediscover yourself and our beautiful planet FOUR SEASONS LANDAA GIRAAVARU, Maldives


was told many moons ago at Germany’s pre-eminent fasting clinic, Buchinger Wilhelmi, that practising yoga would ease me through my menopausal transition. I wish I’d listened, as my rage-filled moods, petty frustrations and disconcerting memory loss began poleaxing me earlier this year. Not to stress though (we know stress really is a killer), I’m here being earthed, anointed and enlightened at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, a 3km coral island in the Baa Atoll, a Unesco biosphere reserve in the Maldives. You don’t automatically equate the Maldives with wellbeing, but Four Seasons is carving its niche cleverly by gathering the best of the best

Reconnect with yourself and nature in the stunning grounds of Landaa Giraavaru

doctors, practitioners and therapists in Ayurveda, naturopathy, yoga (as therapy – the yogis here have trained at the world’s first University for Yoga, S-VYASA in Bangalore) and, by the end of the year, nutrition and homoeopathy too. The wellbeing centre, AyurMa, meaning ‘mother of life’, acts as the island’s anchoring centre, spreading out over the pellucid ocean on one side to the lush interior on the other. The overarching ethos is based on what they call ‘planetary wellbeing’ – of not just healing and caring for ourselves through nature, but also for those around us and, most importantly, for our planet. What does this mean in reality? It’s a nature-connection approach – allowing our city-hardened souls to melt into the breeze, the bird chatter, the rustling leaves, the ocean swell, quieting our monkey minds for a while at least through what we eat, how we move our bodies, breathe, rest, reflect and recharge. If we are settled in ourselves, we have the capacity to care for others – and our environment. Yoga always starts and ends with breathing practices and chants to centre us and tune us into our surroundings (not hard when it’s a full moon swelling brilliantly in the inky sky or an egg-yolk sun lazily coming up for the day). Rituals have been created to balance chakras. ‘Align with the Earth’, for example, is the perfect regrounding kickstart. After a foot bath, you start by sitting on a chair over frankincense smoke (known in Ayurveda for its purifying effect on the mind and nervous system), wafting up to your root chakra at the base of your spine (Gwyneth would approve). It’s then onto the

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Top-class doctors, a ‘planetary wellbeing’ approach and a profound respect for their location makes this Maldivian pearl an outstanding wellness star, says Lucy Cleland


bed for a delirium-inducing four-handed slow massage for 90 minutes with the grounding oils of vetiver, ginger, patchouli and jatamansi. Your mind floats. Your body melts. Complimentary consultations (for all guests) with both a naturopathic and an ayurvedic doctor (both outstanding) can offer a deeper exploration into any afflictions you may be suffering. My perimenopausal state was easily picked up through pulse readings – leading to being diagnosed as vata dominant, which negatively presents as anxiety, insomnia and digestive issues like bloating. Hell yeah. Menus at the four (incredible) restaurants flag the dishes best suited to your dosha, so choosing the foods to balance you is a doddle. One of the more subtle ways of honouring this planetary ethos is a daily ‘earth ritual’ that you might think of skipping as woo-woo, but don’t – it’s an unveiling into spirituality. Every evening guests and staff sit together to sing a repetitive mantra giving thanks to the earth – even though it’s in Sanskrit, it’s easy to follow and soon you’re smiling (or crying) as voices rise up as one over the sea. It’s their way of giving thanks for the day, anchoring us once more to where we are in the here and now. And that matters, because it is impossible to ignore the elephant in the room when it comes to these almost-impertinently pristine islands (on the surface at least), which are at the forefront of suffering the chilling effects of rising temperatures and sea-level changes. The first resort opened in 1972 and, since then, particularly in the past few years, new openings have proliferated at pace (there are around 160 resorts currently), luring those with disposable incomes, along with our polluting aeroplanes, our waste and our penchant for Norwegian salmon. Around 90 percent of the coral reef has been bleached since 1998 in a series of natural – yet climate change-turbocharged – El Niño weather patterns (if you take a snorkelling trip, you can see

this grey underwater world bereft of its healthy kaleidoscopic colour). And with everything in the Maldives dependent on its reefs, this is bad news indeed. Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, though, takes its role as guardian and regenerator seriously. It provides funding, accommodation and salaries to NGOs such as Reefscapers (marine biologists who are recolonising the coral frame by frame, as well as rehabilitating turtles whose flippers have had to be amputated after getting caught up in fishing nets) and the Maldives Manta Conservation Programme, which conducts groundbreaking studies into this remarkable species so emblematic of the islands. We, as guests, are encouraged to learn about this work at the marine centre – and, hopefully, to fall in love with these mysterious sea creatures and therefore raise awareness and funds to protect them. They also have an excellent apprenticeship programme, taking on 60 local children every year who, by the end, are awarded a national certificate and very high employment prospects. Resorts like this (just like any luxury brand) have power and influence – and therefore responsibility. For privileged guests, Four Seasons is to send them back rested, relaxed, with a renewed appreciation of our natural world and therefore more determination (and, frankly, with the means) to help protect it. You can’t guarantee that, of course, but for those looking to reconnect with nature – and bring its teachings back home – it’s all there, wrapped up in those glittering surroundings and the kind hearts and healing hands of those who serve you. Just open yourself to receiving it – and pay it forward. BOOK IT: Beachfront bungalows with pool

from around £1,436 plus service charge and taxes.

There is a turtle rehabilitation centre on the island caring for creatures injured by boats or fishing nets

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CASA CHABLÉ nr Tulum, Mexico

Just south of Tulum yet a world away, the Unesco World Heritage Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is known for its mangrove-fringed turquoise lagoons, tropical rainforest and Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. It’s also the castaway setting for the new Casa Chablé which sits on the site of a former hotel and has an eco-ethos at its core: solar panels provide energy for ten hours a day, electricity is off-grid, water is recycled. There are ten rooms, half in the Casa Principal, which has an openplan living area and bar; the rest are Robinson Crusoe-style bungalows on the beach. Days are spent spotting frigates from sun loungers, riding fat bikes along the sandy track to the nearest fishing village or out on boat trips to see dolphins and turtles. Deep tissue and relaxing massages happen under a shady palm tree or on your terrace. At open-air restaurant K’uum, chef Williams Saurina uses herbs from the Ka’anche’s (traditional, elevated Mayan gardens) and local fish for familystyle suppers with dishes such as blue tuna marinated in kombu and mussels with tomato creole sauce. Afterwards, take turns using the telescope for a closer look at the star-studded, inky sky. A laidback hideaway that puts the planet front and centre. BOOK IT: Doubles from £592 B&B. Full property buyouts available from approx. £6,616 for up to 22 people.


Kolbotn, Norway

FROM TOP: Casa Chable, The Well, Eleven Rio Palena Lodge

The Well plunges deep – from sustainability to spa immersions, there’s nothing half-hearted here. The largest spa in northern Europe (13 kilometres outside Oslo) does the maths with aplomb: 11 pools + 15 sauna and steam rooms + 100 showers ÷ 10,500 square metres nudged up against a forest = bliss for newbies and spa pros alike. The choice is almost overwhelming – onsen or hammam; rhassoul or banya? Soft sauna with tropical soundscape or with gong meditation? Northern lights laconium or art deco tepidarium? Aufguss rituals? There’s one for every mood and time of day. Every available centimetre of its roof is solarpanelled; heating is geothermal; 70 percent of water is purified and recycled, and heat is recovered from shower water (which can’t be recycled). Even the in-house swimwear collection is made of 82 percent recycled materials. The ethos is Roman – spa as a place to meet, talk and read as much as to float, scrub, ablute. The food (robust brasserie or bijoux Japanese) is fabulous; the hotel is supremely comfortable with immaculate attention to detail. There’s a side order of wow factor art (owner Stein Erik Hagen collects art alongside saunas); the staff are delightful and it’s remarkably good value. All in all, a perfectly balanced equation. BOOK IT: Doubles from £160 B&B. Spa day passes from £47.


There is a reason why Patagonia piques the interest of intrepid souls. In an age when every corner of the planet is accessible, the vast landscapes that traverse Argentina and Chile still offer the kind of hard-to-reach remoteness that allows for a journey of discovery and reconnection. Perched on the banks of the River Palena in a pristine Andean valley, Eleven Rio Palena Lodge is best known among anglers for its bountiful fly fishing. However, the beautifully appointed seven-bedroom refuge is a perfectly placed portal for adventurers looking to explore the verdant forests, jagged peaks and glittering glacial lakes Patagonia is so famed for. Under the expert guidance of the Eleven Experience team, guests spend days hiking to tumbling waterfalls, kayaking the river and its rushing rapids, and embarking on flights with ‘Ecocopter’ to azure alpine lagunas high up in the Andes, activities described as an adventurer’s equivalent of a beach day. Returning to the lodge just as golden hour gives way to a firmament aglow with stars, residents are invited to gather for a traditional asado (barbecue) before the generous supply of fresh air, locally farmed fare and pisco sours induce a deep night’s sleep. BOOK IT: Doubles from $2,501, all inclusive, plus guided activities, drinks and ground transfers. 114 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | July /August 2023

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Swimsuit Eres

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Kefalonia, Greece

Nestled in the hillside on western Kefalonia is a truly original health haven. Overlooking an unspoilt sweep of clear Ionian sea, it is both timeless and cutting edge. The ethos is to model the Good Life; a holistic existence enriched with healing. This child-free, family-owned resort boasts eight outdoor fitness decks, with a zinging menu of classes encompassing various yoga styles – from aerial to animal yoga – and from reformer pilates to hard core weights or gym workouts. Yet there is no punitive vibe. You melt into the softness with the wafting jasmine and orange blossom, birdsong and background thrum of the sea. Sustainability features highly. It’s a luxury to drink the water from the taps, fresh from a mountain spring. The food, Greek with a fusion twist, is outstanding. There’s an elemental pulse here, plugging you into nature and back to your best self. BOOK IT: From €400 B&B.



This stylish wellbeing haven in the Hamptons straddles the line of hotel-retreat and spa. Designed around a series of thoughtfully renovated barns, the 13 zen-styled studios feature striking recycled blonde-wood furniture and floor-to-ceiling windows. The hydrotherapy spa merges traditional Eastern healing arts with functional high-tech experiences to recalibrate body and mind. Shou Sugi Ban tastefully blends into the landscape, but it’s the plant-forward Japanese-Nordic-inspired cuisine that tells the story. Here, culinary director Mads Refslund (co-founder of Noma, Copenhagen) fuses wild foraged seasonal plants with sustainable local seafood and sublime renditions of the Japanese staple, miso. The results are exceptional. Sit in meditation around the firepit and succumb to sublime sound healing journeys, before soaking in a customised herbal infusion in your wooden Japanese tub and creeping under the cloud-like duvet to dream in a fresh new story. BOOK IT: From around £640.


For the ultimate in timeless regeneration, Six Senses Shaharut immerses you in a desert-scape so profound, it blows your mind. Deep in the Negev Desert, Israel, this futuristic resort blends into the vast bowl of land without another building in sight. It’s so raw, so unbelievably beautiful that you want to weep. And that’s before you’ve seen your room. All suites are visions of pitch-perfect, pared-down tawny beauty. The walls are in traditional tadelakt plaster, while the beds offer hand-made mattresses by Naturalmat. Everything is geared to sustainable comfort, made of local stone and recycled wood. The bleak moonscape land feels alien yet encourages you to come home to yourself. There is an ancient, grounding force here. If you don’t want to tap into the monolithic stillness, even with raging desert winds, head to the spa. The daily classes on offer are stellar; aerial yoga and wall-based reformer pilates stand out. The relaxation room has a partial glass roof, so you can stargaze in the evenings, knocked out from wholesome intuitive massage. The food, fresh from the organic gardens, is another highlight. Zingy, robust flavours and a house-blend houmous to remember. But it’s the light here you never forget. BOOK IT: Doubles from approx. £746 B&B.


Set on ten acres of rugged Atlantic coastline, this niche collection of retreat buildings, gardens and yoga studio is just minutes from the captivating Cliffs of Moher and close to the grey limestone Burren, one of nature’s most extraordinary phenomena. Retreats are a deep immersion into time-honoured yoga, breathwork and meditation practices, led by founder Michelle Moroney and a team of visiting experts. Nature remains the leading lady and you can’t help but soak up her magnificence with unparalleled views from the glass-fronted shala and unforgettable daily hikes, swim spots, jumping piers and ice immersions, culminating in magical sound baths and hot tubs under the stars. Delicious vegetarian meals FROM TOP: F Zeen; feature dahls, soups and seasonal salads. The Six Senses Shaharut mesmerising landscape, blazing fires and soft whispers from the Atlantic gently ease you into the deepest, soundest sleep. BOOK IT: From €705 for a weekend retreat.

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Rejuvenate and refresh at Park Igls, the internationally renowned and multi-award-winning medical spa resort


e all need to stop and hit refresh from time to time. To renew ourselves in mind, body and soul, and rejuvenate our esprit de vie. Park Igls is the multi-award-winning medical spa resort located on a sunny plateau above the Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck, Austria. The four-star hotel and clinic is a leading pioneer of Modern Mayr Medicine, and has its own state-of-the-art medical centre that offers diagnosis and therapy for lifestyle diseases such as migraine, obesity, back pain and Type 2 diabetes. What is Modern Mayr Medicine? The Mayr Cure was first developed by Austrian doctor and researcher Franz Xaver Mayr in the early 20th century. His revolutionary regime focused on treating disorders of the digestive system using fasting and cleansing – ideas that are still relevant today as we come to understand the importance of gut health to our physical and mental wellbeing. Modern Mayr Medicine at Park Igls builds on the traditional Mayr Cure and supplements it with cutting edge conventional and alternative medical procedures, plus personalised exercise, diet and treatment programmes. What does a stay involve? Park Igls recommends a stay of ten days to three weeks, at least once a year, to receive optimum health benefits. Every stay begins with an initial consultation with

Be guided back to health and wellness at Park Igls

one of the medical centre’s team of four outstanding doctors. Each doctor has completed specialist training in diagnostics and therapy according to FX Mayr at the International Society of Mayr Doctors, in addition to their medical degree and specialisation. A further team of psychologists, massage therapists, physiotherapists, sports scientists, and spa and Kneipp therapists support each guest during their stay. Which health issues can Park Igls help with? There’s something for anyone looking for a health reset at Park Igls. Every programme is tailored to your individual needs, from metabolic disorders to cardiovascular issues and dermatological conditions. It also recently introduced the Menopause Fit programme to help women cope with the adverse effects of hormone changes. The Fit After Covid programme focuses on fixing residual issues and the debilitating effects of Long Covid, while the De-Stress programme is there to help anyone struggling to cope with the pressures of life. During their stay guests also get to enjoy the resort’s beautiful alpine location, as well as luxury spa facilities, a gym with fitness classes such as yoga, and the latest beauty treatments. Innsbruck, with its art, culture and shopping, is only a short drive away, and guests can also explore the area’s many hiking and biking trails. BOOK IT: +43 512 377305;;

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Tucked within beautiful Prickly Bay, on Grenada’s serene south coast, Calabash has it all for the perfect island escape. Opened in 1987 by Leo and Lilian Garbutt, this Relais & Châteaux retreat triumphs, with the Garbutts’ three daughters Adèle, Beth and Bobbie now joining the show. The 30 calming suites channel a contemporary look, and some have a private plunge pool and outdoor bathtub. The 130 staff are all Grenadian (bar three) and brimming with local knowledge. Gary Rhodes’ chic open-air restaurant serves Caribbean fare while sushi and Latin-inspired small plates are found at newly opened Izakaya. The ocean-facing Beach Club knocks out king crab brioche and tapas using the daily catch of local fisherman. Indeed, local produce is a big thing here and 80 percent of the fresh fruit and veg comes from the family estate. Bobbie has also started chocolate company L’Esterre, using the farm’s cocoa beans. The Zero Miles Spa is a mustvisit. Ingredients are sourced from local artisans to produce honey and moringa facials and deep tissue massages with lemongrass-infused cocoa butter. And there’s much more to come, with 40 additional rooms on the horizon. BOOK IT: Inspiring Travel offers seven nights from £2,899pp based on two adults sharing, half-board, incl flights and transfers.

PRIEDLHOF South Tyrol, Italy

Nestled in the exquisite beauty of the South Tyrol, Preidlhof was the first well-being destination to receive an ISO wellness certification for its commitment to planetpositive values. All systems are designed to protect the environment. Furniture is made locally, pools are solar heated, the signature botanical skincare products are vegan and organic, and deliciously wholesome food is zero carbon. ‘I don’t eat anything that has a smile’, says Chef Emanuele Giorgione who created the menu. Smile you will, at the plant-based Wellness Healing Gourmet Menu, which includes the likes of beetroot falafel with cauliflower tabbouleh. Guests on retreat eat in a separate ‘Wellness Lounge’ and it’s these immersive programmes, of which there are nine, that people come for. Under the gentle genius of Patrizia Bortolin, one of the world’s most beloved spa creatives, Preidlhof offers transformative journeys for inner spirit. A team of outstanding therapists offer experience, vision, intuition, authenticity and wisdom. Shiatsu, shamanism, sound healing, massages, miracles… you’ll cry, laugh, come back to yourself, come out of yourself. Special classes, including laughter yoga, face gym, qi gong, dao yin and mindful eating, pass on powerful tools for sustainable everyday self care. BOOK IT: Healing Holidays offers a five-night retreat from £1,945pp based on two adults sharing a double room, full board.


FROM TOP: Calabash, Priedlhof, Rakxa

RAKxa’s vision is crystal clear: scrupulously scientific modern medicine, nutrition and exercise seamlessly blended with ancient healing traditions. RAKxa took over a neglected 63 acres of Bang Krachao, on the outskirts of Bangkok, and planted 4,000 trees and 40,000 bushes that swaddle the low rise resort. Stays start with consultations from medical doctors (RAKxa is linked with Bumrungrad International Hospital), wellness advisors and physiotherapists. Blood is analysed; functional fitness is dissected. A plan emerges, a dance of high tech and human touch served with skyscraper levels of care and kindness. One moment you’re disco-dancing in the cryo-sauna, the next your belly is (literally) on fire during traditional Thai Ya-Pao detoxification therapy. As more information is gathered about your health, tweaks appear in diet and treatments. Food here looks as good as it tastes – a plentiful anti-inflammatory diet. The attention to detail is exquisite – the DJ-composed music is blended with binaural beats; the height of the beds is precisely calibrated. Everything is scrutinised for its healthgiving benefits. Low-key yet stunningly beautiful, it has no need to show off – it knows exactly how good it is. BOOK IT: From £2,421 for a three-night Wellness Programme.

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Bikini Filippa K Shirt Yaitte

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MASLINA, Stari Grad, Croatia Daisy Finer discovers new world mindful luxury at a fresh resort on Croatia’s Hvar Island


’m lying on a mattress on the floor of a treatment room which, unusually and rather sleekly, is painted entirely black. Yet behind my eyelids, I’ve never seen more light. Nor have my ears heard anything so exquisitely soothing. There are singing bowls to the left of me, singing bowls to the right of me, a gong at my feet and windpipes behind my head. Combined with the magic of reiki, Damien Truchi (he’s French, handsome and had his time as a DJ), is transporting me into a blissful dream state. If such a thing as the gates of heaven existed, I believe this is what it would sound like when you reach them. By the time Damien is finished, I feel wrapped up in the completeness of myself, expanded and with a greater sense of inner peace. Over the coming days, I notice that my daily meditation goes far deeper than it has done in months. Sound healing is said to reduce energy blocks, fatigue and anger. Damien is introducing full moon and new moon sound gatherings for guests at Maslina, the newest outpost on Hvar, an idyllic Croatian island in the Adriatic sea. At Maslina, the love child of his sister Maud Truchi, peace is something you will find. The hotel sets a new benchmark in ‘mindful luxury’. In both look and local materials, the architecture is respectful of the environment, solar panels are being introduced, the resort has provided a signatory for the Unesco Sustainable Travel Pledge and also

donates to the Island Movement foundation, a charity helping islands across Dalmatia to move to renewable energy sources. There are beautiful wooden bicycles for guests to use and regenerative principles flow throughout. The Pharomatiq wellness centre offers a guest-centred approach, beginning with a health consultation where you can select an intent for your stay. The idea is to send you home with lasting lifestyle changes in how you manage stress, exercise, sleep and nutrition. As Damien says, ‘it’s all interconnected’. Guests can book private ‘wellness time’ or pick from body exfoliations, reflexology, facials by Biologique Recherche and a range of massages

from deep tissue to intuitive. An Aquathermal Circuit includes a hydro pool, aromatherapy steam, Finnish sauna, cold water immersion and experiential showers. Private yoga and meditation classes are also available and there are plenty of activities for action bunnies: hiking, cycling, snorkelling, paddleboarding, windsurfing, kitesurfing. I wish I could report that I found kayaking around the Pakleni islands a transcendent, at-one-with-the-ocean experience, but whilst my guide seemingly levitated over the waves, I had to work like a Trojan. Which is not to say I didn’t love the views, or the lost slice of beach where we lolled for a while, dipping into the crystalline waters


Maslina is an eco-luxury resort, just opened on idyllic and historic Hvar

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WELLBEING GUIDE before the treacherous journey back. As one would expect from a property under the umbrella of Relais & Châteaux, food at Maslina is taken seriously. A chunky beetroot salad comes glazed in honey with piped goat’s cheese, caramelised walnuts and a zesty chervil vinaigrette. Delicate poached fish is served with a posh cauliflower foam and a happy summer ragout made from the freshest vegetables. Don’t miss the hotel’s stunning organic garden, with a California-comes-to-Croatia vibe it feeds into the kitchen, bar and spa, providing aromatic herbs such a clary sage, mint, oregano and thyme as well as potatoes, tomatoes, artichokes, salad leaves and strawberries. There are also five different types of lavender: 50 years ago, eight percent of the world’s production of lavender oil came from this singular island. Forest fires have sadly put pay to the abundance that once was, but the island remains a living testament


Indulge in treatments for mind, body and soul in front of gorgeous Mediterranean views

to Mediterranean traditions with an untouched cultural heritage of immense beauty. Hvar boasts six Unesco World Heritage protections (more than any other island in the world), including the extraordinary lace made from fibres of the agave plant by Benedictine nuns. Covered in dense pine forests, with sparkly bays, pebbled beaches, hillsides carpeted in olive trees, grapevines and ancient stone walls, it is no wonder the island has been a famous wellness destination since the Austro-Hungarian era. Maslina provides a blueprint for a sophisticated design-led property set amidst breath-taking raw island beauty. One minute you’re lying on a rocky peer submerged in the sounds of the world waking up, the next you might be eating langoustine risotto. Wander into Stari Gran, reputed to be the oldest town in Europe (founded by Greek settlers in 384 BC, the same year Aristotle was born), and buy fresh nectarines and fig jam from local ladies at the market. It’s all about outdoor-indoor living and finding a slower, more mindful way of living. As Tom Barber, founder of Original Travel, puts it: ‘Done right, a trip abroad can send you home with a very different perspective than the one you arrived with’. A stay at Maslina is a means to soak up the sensory medicine of another way of life: the scents and sounds of the ocean, herbs and healing, plus, should you wish, the added kick of contemporary cocktails. Come here to quieten the mind, rest the soul and return to balance. This is the legacy we need to not just leave for younger generations, but to embody and live. BOOK IT: Original Travel offers four nights

B&B from £2,900pp, based on two sharing and including flights, transfers, two tours and a massage each. 

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On Home TURF Retreat and restore without the plane ride, in town or country



Combe Grove, Bath, Somerset

ombe Grove, which opened earlier this year, is that rare thing: a new concept that addresses a growing modern crisis in a way that is rooted in nature, natural living and sustainability. An 18th-century manor with stunning views over both Bath and the Wiltshire countryside, this is Britain’s first health retreat to offer its guests a real chance to ‘rest, restore and reset’ in a way that is both medical and holistic, with follow-up support that lasts for another 48 weeks. Fundamentally, Combe Grove’s six-night Metabolic Health Retreat programme addresses the epidemic of obesity and consequent ill health that assails our population, egged on by ultra-processed food manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies fuelling an overstretched, pill-doling NHS. If you arrive metabolically broken, on the day that you leave Combe Grove, you will be patched up and on the road back to good health. And if you are not broken, but would like to move the dial on how you perceive, experience and seek to heal yourself, or simply

Combe Grove is a first of its kind in the UK focusing on metabolic health

need a healthy week out, then the retreat, peppered with treatments and exercise, works just as well. Unsurprisingly, Combe Grove is the creation of visionaries. The first is its owner, successful businesswoman turned philanthropist Helen Aylward Smith, whose dream to establish a ‘health hotel’, part commercial, part charitable, was realised when, before the pandemic, she bought Combe Grove, most recently a boutique hotel set in 70 acres of woodland. The second visionary is Dr Campbell Murdoch, a natural communicator and leading expert on metabolic health. Their meeting was fortuitous; now you can spend a luxurious week learning how to right yourself medically (lowering blood pressure and blood

glucose, losing weight) while eating delicious, healthy food, swimming in the indoor and outdoor pools, doing yoga and meditation, having treatments such as naturopathy, acupuncture and reflexology, and going on long woodland walks. Regeneration and a desire to return to a more natural environment is at the heart of Helen’s vision. Everything on the estate and in the hotel has been subject to maintaining and improving environmental and sustainable responsibilities. A vast kitchen garden is being created, while throughout the 70 acres, biodiversity is being encouraged through conserving, enhancing and establishing habitats to contain a healthy ecosystem. In the house, too, a raft of measures have been introduced, from switching to a renewable energy supplier to eco-friendly uniforms for the staff. A week at Combe Grove is a week spent, put simply, learning how to live a healthier, more balanced and more natural life. Fiona Duncan BOOK IT: The seven-day Metabolic Health

Retreat includes a three-week lead in and 48 weeks of online support afterwards; three complimentary treatments or consultations; one-year membership of the Club at Combe Grove; exclusive access to return for a minimum three-night stay at a discounted rate. From £2,600,

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Pyjamas Tekla Bikini top Medina

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ook up for your next stay and hunker down in one of the six spanking new treehouses in the wildlands of stately home Elmore Court ( in the Cotswolds. Built with the environment in mind (British cedar cladding, corrugated roofs, cork flooring) in a natural colour palate, Scandi chic reigns here. Each abode sleeps up to four people with stylish wraparound decks where outdoor tubs and cooking areas mean you can fully soak up the verdant view. Meals are supplied and surpass the norm, with fresh pastas, market fish pie, triple chocolate brownies and mega breakfast hampers. There’s plenty to explore too, with the estate’s 250-acre strong rewilding project, including the spring-fed ‘Bottomless Lake’ surrounded by old oak trees with a wooden jetty and a wood fire sauna for wild swimming ( Fellow stately home Cowdray Estate (, Viscount Cowdray’s pad, is also celebrating four just-opened elegant treehouses, which slot seamlessly into a grove of beech trees. There’s a lovely bright openplan living area and kitchen – but really it’s all about the balcony with its outdoor bath

overlooking the estate’s famous polo fields. Dogs are welcome too. North of the border, four treehouses have popped up on the estate of Leckie ( with its endless rolling parkland, ancient woodlands and dramatic crags in Stirlingshire. Brilliantly built into the canopies of oaks and sycamores, each is unique but all feature super king size beds, cosy wood burning stoves, sumptuous outdoor copper baths and decking areas with electric barbecues and outstanding views of magnificent Gargunnock Hills. Families will love the two-bedroom treehouses with the handmade bunk beds.


FROM ABOVE: Wild swimming at Elmore Court; a treehouse on the Elmore estate; one of four treehouses at Cowdray Estate; the rustic interiors of one of the treehouses at Leckie in Scotland

Find a natural high in a treehouse

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Robe Tekla

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Reconnect with nature at its rawest

t’s all about the restorative power of nature at Rest + Wild ( After an incredibly successful launch with its cabins in Shropshire, the latest cluster has just opened, with five new cabins on the edge of Exmoor National Park. Crafted from reclaimed and natural materials, each is deliciously cosy, with super king size beds, al fresco copper baths and roaring firepits. Unplugged ( – the genius off-grid escape company founded by entrepreneurs Hector Hughes and Ben Elliot – has also welcomed a new cabin, named Peggy, with stunning panoramic views, just moments from Cheshire’s renowned Sandstone Trail. And it’s perfect for that 72-hour digital detox we all need, with the option to lock your digital devices in a lockbox for three days. But, don’t panic, you’re still connected to the outside world but with an old school Nokia mobile (Snake included) instead – plus a physical map to explore the scenic surroundings, an instant camera with film and a cassette player. Rewilding pioneer Knepp ( of Knepp Castle in West Sussex is equally immersed in nature, with lovely shepherd’s huts, bell tents and yurts. It’s delightfully remote – however the luxury is all there for an amazing good night’s sleep: feather duvet, down pillows, pure Egyptian cotton bed-linen and colourful recycled wool blankets. Also near the coast, albeit a plunge down south, is Cabilla Cornwall (cabillacornwall. com) with magical retreats on Bodmin Moor featuring some of the best yoga and breathwork practitioners, somatic therapists, sound healers and chefs out there. There’s also forest bathing, wild swimming and sound experiences; just leave time to visit the two beavers – Sigourney Beaver and Jean-Claude Van Dam – in their enclosure whose presence is to encourage other species in the area to thrive.

FROM ABOVE: Unplug at Unplugged; restore at Cabilla Cornwall; revive at Elmley Nature Reserve

When it comes to unwinding, family-run farm Elmley Nature Reserve in Sheerness, Kent ( has, quite simply, nailed it on the 3,300-acre estate. Now, it’s added another string to its bow, partnering with award-winning, natural fragrance brand Verden and natural skincare brand Votary on a range of blissful treatments, which take place in Swale Studio, Elmley’s newly renovated wellbeing space. But don’t stop there. Guests are given a map of the nature trails, binoculars and personal journal – so you can slow down, switch off, and connect with nature among the hugely restorative landscape.

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Avalon Wellbeing at Broughton Sanctuary takes wellness to another level

STAR PLAYER Transform yourself at Yorkshire’s Broughton Sanctuary


Bikini Medina

hether you stay in a shepherd’s hut, one of varying handsome rental options or in the 16th-century main hall, Broughton Sanctuary, set in 3,000 acres at the foothills of the Yorkshire Dales, continues to carve a name for itself as the UK’s leading retreat centre. Avalon Wellbeing, the on-site wellness heart, is a design triumph, a slice of modern cool with swimming pool, sauna, steam and studios as well as a crystal light bed and Somadome meditation pod. Weekly yoga and meditation classes are a draw, as is the outstanding rota of umbilically attached healers and therapists. Co-founders and partners, Roger Tempest (whose family has owned Broughton since 1097) and holistic wellbeing guide Paris Ackrill are passionate about creating a space which people can drop, fi nd inner peace, healing and transformative life change. Paris co-hosts some of the residential retreats herself, and regular takeovers with serious intent include The Path of Love, the Hoff man Process, Men Without Masks and Profound Rest: Fire of Wisdom (with non-dual teachings from beloved Cornelius O’Shaughnessy, of Bodhimaya). Broughton’s grounds have been planted with over 350,000 trees in the last three years and outdoor immersions include wild swimming, a woodland sauna, forest bathing, sweat lodges, fi re temple ceremonies, labyrinths, moon baths and woodland dining in the Cosmic Garden. The walled garden bistro, Utopia, serves divine plant-based delights. For details on upcoming retreats, visit 

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Me-moments IN THE CITY Yes, you can carve out space and time just for you


Hotfoot it to Mandarin Oriental, London’s sparkling spa, which is taking things to another level this year. There’s a new partnership with Clinique La Prairie, justlaunched mind-bogglingly good sub-zero cryotherapy facials by Oskia and Biologique’s revolutionary Remodelling Face. It is also rolling out Holistic Health longevity workshops and nutritional consultations. And keep an eye out for Mandarin Oriental Mayfair – due to open in the summer with a fabulous spa plus 25m swimming pool.


It’s the opening on everyone’s lips: Raff les London at The OWO. And, now, the level of excitement is positively exponential thanks to the state-of-the-art Guerlain spa (a UK first). Set to be one of the largest luxury hotel spas in the capital at a whopping 27,000sq/ft, nine exquisitely designed treatment suites will offer exclusive Guerlain treatments – try the results-driven Royal Glow Tech Facial, which combines the power of microdermabrasion and the healing action of photobiomodulation light therapy with an exceptional facial massage. There’s also a spectacular swimming pool, extensive gym and L’Atelier Guerlain, with personalised Guerlain make-up and perfumery services and express treatments. 128 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | July /August 2023

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Hooke, housed in a handsome town house in Mayfair, is taking the subject of wellness and longevity to another level, backed up by top-class doctors and scientists and offering the world’s most advanced health screening. Disrupting the traditional medical model where symptoms dictate treatment, health assessments include everything from whole genome sequencing and colonoscopies to blood tests, bone density scans and ultrasounds of all the major organs. You can also have consultations with leading doctors from The Original FX Mayr in Austria.



The ultimate meal delivery service for busy foodies, Planty delivers plantbased dishes straight to your door, cooked up by a team of Michelinstarred chefs. Try the likes of Not-AChicken Masala, Mac-No-Cheese and Shepherd-less Pie. Puds include divine Beetroot Red Velvet Cake and it seems too good to be true that breakfast highs feature a Chocolate and Date Caramel Oat Pot.

Rejoice! India’s biggest Ayurveda beauty and wellness brand Kama Ayurveda is launching in London this autumn. The House of Kama will offer head and foot massages plus consultations with Ayurvedic doctors. 


The Mandrake in Fitzrovia promises guests an ‘immersive experience’. Its new Spiritual Concierge menu is no different, with oracle card readings, celestial shamanic ceremonies and gong baths.


Mission, the largest yoga space in Europe, has just opened in a gigantic warehouse in Spitalfields. Alongside traditional yoga and complementary movement classes, enjoy a top-floor restaurant and roof terrace with fantastic city skyline views. July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 129

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88A Acre Lane, London, SW2 5QN

Pluck Country1 and Townhouse 225x298mm - Starling Close.indd 1 Pluck.indd

020 7095 1795

06/06/2023 09:33:48 06/06/2023 17:08

INTERIORS Edited by Carole Annett

Wall Flower

Dress your walls – Sanderson’s heritage wallpapers and archive prints have been reimagined (and recycled) as couture by fashion photographer and visual artist Damian Foxe. sanderson.

Damian Foxe hand made the collection of dresses across a period of weeks by weaving the wallpaper together in tiny strips

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INTERIORS | Case Study The garden room is the perfect spot for dinner

‘We really ENJOYED getting CREATIVE with what we could find and REPURPOSING what we already had. It can be a very FUN and rewarding process’

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Living the WILD LIFE

How a sailor and a yogi transformed a remote run-down cottage in Wales into an eco-idyll. By Carole Annett


Tincture’s remote location in the Cambrian mountains gave the project its own unique challenges – and opportunities

his project challenged us in so many ways,’ admits Raffaella de Tommasi of Tincture cottage, which sits hugged by the Cambrian mountains on a carpet of undulating Welsh greenery. The closest neighbours are wild ponies, colourful blooms and tangled shrubs, while a natural pond doubles as a plunge pool after long hikes in the nearby Brecon Beacons. Raffaella and partner James Fooks-Bale had a tick list of essentials when house hunting: no pylons or other man-made obstructions; a property they could make sustainable; and, most importantly, a place of calm, peace and comfort. Looking at Tincture, its cosy kitchen with Rayburn cooker and scrubbed table (found in the stable and restored), garden room with low, wide windows where one can literally count sheep in advance of an afternoon snooze, and the bath with bucolic vista, it’s clear the couple have achieved their objective, and some. The end result has been a rocky road – in all senses – the location being both main draw and the main challenge. Sitting at the end of a long, narrow tarmac road followed by 800-metres or so of uphill farm track, with a stream thrown in for good measure, meant all rubbish had to be taken out via truck and trailer. Bringing in a two-ton generator, ‘was spicy in several places,’ smiles Raffaella. And in the early days, there was no water or electricity. ‘We were literally hand-sanding every floorboard’, she says. ‘Resilience, determination to prove ourselves and others wrong, and a splash of naivety and creativity went a long way.’ Upcycling formed a major part of the project. As Raffaella explains, ‘Getting rid of stuff when you live in such a remote location can be extremely challenging and counter-intuitive. So, in a way, it forced us to make the most of what we already had on-site. We really enjoyed getting creative with what we could find and repurposing what we already had. It can be a very fun and rewarding process, and kinder to the environment.’ Inspired by his enthusiasm for sailing, James brought in a marine electrician to help design the power supply and central heating. Central heating and hot water comes courtesy of the Rayburn with a thermal store via solar energy. An oil boiler kicks in when needed. Water is sourced via a natural spring, with a filtration system topped up by the stream in drier months. ‘We insulated both floor and roof in the house increasing the house’s EPC rating from a G to a B which, for an old property, we were told was exceptional by the surveyor,’ says Raffaella. Tincture gives James and Raffaella a lifestyle they have been longing for, an escape from work and a simpler way of life more in tune with nature. And space, both indoors and outdoors. ‘I think we can proudly say the result exceeded our original expectations,’ she smiles. ‘We hope the off-grid function inspires others to make similar steps.’ With somewhere as beautiful as this, how could it not. Book your stay at  July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 133

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Jessica Hanley launched her company five years ago from her mother’s Sussex garden shed using sustainably sourced, 100 percent natural linen, which gets better and better with love and use. Café au Lait check stripe linen bedding, from £55 for two pillowcases.


Presenting a sea-throne made of reimagined plastic waste. DuraOcean is a first-of-its-kind chair developed from recycled fishing ropes – and it can be fully recycled at the end of its life. Mint green set of two, £179. 1 Graphenstone On the wall: Chateaux, from £8; on the skirting: Miso, from £8.

Design NOTES What’s caught Carole Annett’s interiors eye this season


For 1 healthier paint, 2 a fresh take on vintage and 3 buy once, buy well – designs that last for generations

2 House of Hackney x 1stDibs Jindrich Halabala Tabouret, £1,686.

3 Jamb Charlton chair, £POA.

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GARDEN TAKE OUT Picnic pieces that prioritise the planet

MADE KIND Citronella and lemongrass candle in plant-based hand-turned ceramic pot, £35.


British artist Natasha Hulse and Lorfords Contemporary’s headboard collection is inspired by the Cotswold countryside using vintage cloth from salvaged antique hemp and linens hand dyed using natural ingredients. The headboard incorporates Lorfords’ new biodegradable and recyclable natural latex foam. Headboards (made to order), £9,600.


Handblown by artisans in Murano, these small-batch and traditionally produced tumblers allow your summer spritzers to really sit pretty. Tumbler, £24.


De Le Cuona’s Pure collection is Global Organic Textile Standard-certified, and designed without compromise on the beauty and the handle of the fabrics. Pure Edition II, from £258 p/m.

TABLE IN THE SUN Napkins, £15 each.

TOAST Romanian Horezu fruit bowl, £22.50.

VILLA BOLOGNA POTTERY Palm water jug, £78.


Th is vibrant Amy Kent recycled rug is exclusive to Haines, a pioneering platform founded by Julia Haines to bring a solution to the environmental challenges facing the interiors industry. Tetcott rug, £1,800.

JJ TEXTILE Lambswool bee throw, £117.

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INTERIORS | Inspiration Lee Broom's Divine Inspiration exhibition at Milan Design Week 2022

Cecilia Vicuña's Brain Forest Quipu installation at Tate Modern


Franky Rousell of Jolie Studio chooses interiors that have had an impact on her life and career


hile working as an interior designer Franky Rousell had a lightbulb moment in a coffee shop, realising whether people like a space or feel relaxed is subliminal and multi-sensory, not simply about texture, shape and colour. She worked with an aromatherapist, neuroscientist, professor of colour and a behaviour expert to research the sensory impact of interior design. Combined with sustainability, it’s proved a winning formula. Projects include Kitten, a restaurant in Manchester, an Instagram dream of curved walls, spectacular layered lighting and woody aromas, inviting guests to relax and ‘decompress’.

1 LEE BROOM, Divine Inspiration Exhibition

‘While the Jolie team visited Milan last year, we explored the breathtaking Lee Broom exhibition in an old derelict church in the heart of Brera district. The space was transformed by shadow and illumination adding depth and drama, captivating us with the interplay of light and form.’

2 TATE MODERN, Turbine Hall, London

‘There is something about the scale and rawness of this space. I can never quite put my finger on it but it evokes such excitement every time I walk into the Tate Modern. I frequently revisit for a boost of inspiration and perspective.’

3 DOWNTOWN LA, Proper Hotel, Los Angeles

‘Just a really beautiful, quintessential LA, interior. Kelly Wearstler has done an incredible job here of blending eclectic ceramics and textiles with vintage furniture shapes, and it just feels so incredibly soulful, in the heart of a very busy city. The paintwork to the entryway ceiling is so inspiring, showing how art really drives the storytelling.’


A bedroom of the Downtown LA Proper Hotel

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Outdoor living | INTERIORS THE SOCIAL SET-UP Luxe picnic set-up, includes all furniture hire, seats six, from £300.

1ST DIBS Demountable fire pit in plasma cut steel, £1,280.

HARBOUR LIFESTYLE Luxor Floor Solar Lantern in teak, £125.

LAMP/LDN Blackberry Plate by Minnie Mae-Stott, £78.

A Greener Garden Party

SUSIE WATSON Beech Sail Red Ticking Stripe box cushion, £35 each.

Tables heaving with decadent dishes, bottles of rosé chilling in ice buckets, the scent of barbecue in the air... You just can’t beat an al fresco summer soirée, says Tessa Dunthorne. Opt to rent where you can – maybe with a complete picnic shindig by The Social Set-Up – but otherwise pick pieces you’ll use again and again (and that have been made with love)

MUNGO The Folly towel, natural fibre heirloom quality, £91.

COCO & WOLF Thorpe Hill four person picnic basket, using Liberty fabric offcuts, £429.

BIG BEAN BAG COMPANY Outdoor Bean Chair in Marine and Orca, filled with compostable bio-beads, £219.95.

LSA INTERNATIONAL Canopy collection tumblers, developed in collaboration with the Eden Project, set of four for £45.

MARSHALL Middleton speaker, made from 55 percent consumer recycled plastic, £269.99.

VINTERIOR Trompe L’oeil draped wicker side table, £1,350 per table.

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Limited to editions of 280, our newly-commissioned Art Deco posters feature glamorous holiday destinations around the world, ski resorts in the European Alps, and the world’s greatest historic automobiles. Over 100 designs to choose from, all printed on 100% cotton fine art paper, measuring 97 x 65 cms. Priced at £420 each (inc. UK sales tax). Private commissions are also welcome. @pullmaneditionsposters All images and text copyright © Pullman Editions 2023


Pullman Editions 94 Pimlico Road Chelsea London SW1W 8PL +44 (0)20 7730 0547

Our central London gallery

V iew and buy online at www.pullmanedit Pullman Editions.indd 1

15/06/2023 10:58


TRAVEL A Song of Old and New

Bhutan’s Tiger’s Nest monastery, perched 900 metres above the valley below

Lauren Ho fulfills a dream of visiting Bhutan, a bastion of responsible tourism – and magically intoxicating to boot

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khata around our necks. Silken in fabric and white in colour, Tashi explains this scarf is used for many reasons from welcoming someone to gestures of condolences. ‘It is a multi-purpose expression of goodwill,’ he says. Settling ourselves into the back seat of their car, Tashi continues: ‘The plan is to drive east from Paro to Gangtey and then to make our way back to Paro through Punakha and Thimphu.’ Although only about 170km away, the drive is a slow fourand-a-half hours to Gangtey, owing not only to the 50km speed limit, but also to the winding roads that go up and down the mountains and along deep river-cut valleys. As we depart Paro, we motor alongside a dry, pebble-strewn riverbed and a landscape of soaring, rocky mountains lined with colourful prayer flags and dotted with stupas – commemorative monuments – and traditional villages. During the drive, Tashi chats leisurely about Bhutan, answering my many questions. ‘Our political system is a constitutional monarchy,’



ver since my backpacking days, over 20 years ago now, I’ve been obsessed with visiting Bhutan. I remember standing in front of the massive world map I’d stuck to my bedroom wall and plotting my route throughout South East Asia when I came across this tiny landlocked country sandwiched between Tibet and India. Of course, this being the height of the Lonely Planet guidebook days, I immediately took myself to Stanfords, a wonderland of a bookshop in Covent Garden filled to the brim with glorious travel literature, guidebooks and maps, to find out more. What I discovered only fuelled my desire to visit this magical place, with its alluring mountainous landscape and traditional Buddhist culture. What I also discovered is that the country prides itself on its sustainable approach to tourism where foreign visitors need to pay a daily tariff – sadly unaffordable for a backpacker on a shoestring budget. Two decades later, my life as a travel writer finally got me to Bhutan. A short three-hour day flight from Bangkok, I was bursting with the thrill of this upcoming adventure as the morning sun streamed through my window and I watched, captivated, as we soared above the rifts, valleys and peaks of the Himalayas below. Officially called the Kingdom of Bhutan, this postage stamp of a country is about six times smaller than the UK, with a population of around just 700,000 people. Arriving at Paro International Airport is like stepping back in time, the main terminal, a traditional building with its elaborately painted intricate woodwork, charmingly perched against a beguiling mountain backdrop. All the locals are dressed in traditional clothing – anklelength kiras for women and knee-length ghos for men – including our guide Tashi and our driver Nima, who enthusiastically greet us by placing a

FROM TOP: Punakha Dzong, a 17th-century fortress; traditional arts and crafts are important in Bhutan, as shown by these colourful yaks; Great Buddha Dordenma is 51.5 metres high, and houses over 100,000 smaller Buddha statues

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Bhutan | HOTELS & TRAVEL he begins. ‘The adult literacy rate is around 70 per cent, but it is increasing as it is mandatory for all children to attend school now, and we have free education as well as healthcare.’ As we ascend and descend through the mountains, the weather and landscape change continuously, the higher regions a lush thicket of silver birch, chestnut and cypress trees, flecked with colourful magnolia, rhododendron and primrose flowers, the spring-like appearance at odds with the sharp mountain air and intermittent rainfall. At 3,000 metres, Gangtey is the highest point of our trip and the altitude is immediately apparent on our arrival at Six Senses, as we breathlessly climb the stairs to the lodge. Perched on the western slopes of the Black Mountains, the property is a cosy and calming timber affair with just eight rooms and one two-bedroom suite, which has sublime views overlooking Phobjikha Valley and the mountains beyond. Here, people come to see the rare black-necked cranes as they arrive from Tibet during the winter season, but outside of that, the region draws you in with its incredible surroundings. One morning, with the fresh scent of pine wafting through the air, we set off on a gentle meander through the forest. As the early morning sun poured golden light onto the lush tree-cloaked hills before us, we passed by a sweep of farmland scattered with traditional homes, their ornate wooden window frames intricately hand-painted with colourful symbols and patterns. ‘Art is part of daily life in Bhutan,’ says Tashi. ‘Traditional painting is one of the 13 arts and crafts of Bhutan, which also includes wood carving, calligraphy and bronze casting among others. There are only two schools that teach this – one in Thimphu and one in eastern Bhutan.’ The final stop of our journey was the loveliest. Back in Paro, after spending time visiting the fortresses – or dzongs – monasteries and Buddhist sites in both Punakha and Thimphu, we arrived

FROM TOP: Expect chilli-packed cuisine; prayer pavilion at Six Senses Thimphu; the Lodge Suite at Punakh; boy monks running at Amankora

at Amankora, where a short walk through a forest over a thick carpet of pine needles quietly reveals the lodge. Built in the style of a traditional dzong, the 24-suite property is hidden amid pine trees and flowing mountain streams on the edge of Balakha village with wonderful views of Jhomolhari, one of Bhutan’s highest mountains. An atmospheric end to our Bhutanese trail, it is the ideal base from which to explore Paro, the local surrounding villages and of course Tiger’s Nest monastery, the country’s most iconic landmark. And so, on our last morning, under a vast dome of sky thickening with creamy cumulus clouds, we set off on the four-mile round trip, slowly climbing our way uphill along a steep and craggy pathway through pristine pine tree forests and stretches of verdant flora. As the clouds started to disperse and beams of sunlight cut through the trees, we trekked further uphill, before finally catching a glimpse of this sacred 17th-century monastery, miraculously perched on the side of a cliff, 900 metres above the sweeping emerald-green valley below. Bar the odd tourist, the journey was a quiet one I assume partly due to the tourist tariff recently increasing to $200 a day - giving us time to reflect on our time spent in this beautiful destination. A country like no other, it was isolated from the world until 1974, TV was only introduced in 1999, giant protective penises are painted on many houses, its national animal is the takin – a kind of hybrid between a goat and an antelope – and chillies are served as a main dish, rather than a condiment. It’s a magical country that has preserved its traditional Buddhist culture, but far from being frozen in time it is a unique blend of ancient and modern that certainly gives pause for thought about its reputation as one of the happiest countries in the world. BOOK IT: Red Savannah offers an eight-night package in Bhutan


from £12,533 per person. Includes eight nights’ accommodation: two nights at Six Senses Gangtey, two nights at Six Senses Punakha, two nights at Amankora Thimphu, two nights at Amankora Paro, the services of a private guide and driver throughout, daily activities, the daily Sustainable Development Fee, return international flights on Qatar Airways to Kathmandu and Drukair to Paro in Economy Class (+44 (0)1242 787800, For more information, visit  July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 141

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Travel and sustainability can sometimes be a tricky partnership, however Journeys With Purpose has made it easy for globetrotters to travel with a conscience thanks to the launch of two new itineraries where guests can get directly involved in some of the world’s most ambitious conservation and rewilding projects. From an eight-day trip in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains, tracking the rehabilitation of the region’s wildlife like bison and beavers, to assisting in the reintroduction of endangered species in the Iberá Wetlands of Argentina, where the jaguar has been reintroduced following 70 years of disappearance, each trip is hosted by the pioneering conservationists that drive these projects. In short, it’s not just a holiday, but a celebration of the wonders of the natural world and certainly motivation to protect, conserve and restore it for future generations to come.


Lauren Ho selects the best effortless adventures, with the planet in mind SILENT SAFARIS

There’s nothing better than the sounds of the African bush... and the revving of your safari truck in the background. Green Safaris has set a new standard with its sustainable Silent Safari experience, becoming the first to run silent solar-powered safaris in Zambia with its electronic game drive vehicle. Green Safaris has since expanded its collection to include a fleet of cars, a boat and a collection of e-bikes across its lodges, allowing users to get up close and personal to the wildlife, and making for a calm and intimate experience. From $390 at Kaya Mawa on Lake Malawi,



Wellness is big business. And luxury tour operator Elegant Resorts has made finding that perfect retreat a breeze with the launch of its new Wellness Collection. Comprising a carefully handpicked selection of 32 of the best wellness resorts and retreats in the world from plant-based fine dining and rituals like sound baths at Mexico’s Palmaïa, The House of Aïa to a journey of self discovery at Euphoria Retreat in Greece – those looking to escape and reset can now easily choose a programme that suits them best. 142 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | July /August 2023

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From protecting the rights of indigenous people to supporting local communities, Original Travel focuses on responsible tourism with its new itineraries. Whether it’s a stay at Guyana’s Surama Eco-Lodge, where the local Makushi Amerindian community are recruited to show guests the local wildlife, or it’s learning about the indigenous way of life of the Zu’hoasi people of the Western Kalahari in Botswana, the luxury tour operator curates tailor-made itineraries with the aim to see a greater protection of indigenous culture.


The Maldives is well known for its pressing environmental threats. The good news is that this island nation – along with the help of its many resorts – is embracing sustainability with Patina leading the charge as the beneficiary of the first green loan in the Maldives. In short, the resort has converted a $180 million bank loan into a green loan, which enables it to exclusively fund projects that make a contribution to the Maldives’ environment. For Patina this means initiatives like an organic permaculture garden, prefabricated villas with flat roofs for solar panels, and children’s activities that raise awareness amongst the next generation of champions for the ocean. From $1,552,

HABITAS SAN MIGUEL, Mexico On the outskirts of the UNESCO World Heritage city of San Miguel de Allende, there are 60 rooms alongside a rich programme of cultural activities and wellness experiences. $330,

THE LODGE, Mallorca Set in a 157-hectare nature reserve, The Lodge is a 24-room escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Alongside yoga and hiking, there’s also a calming spa. €468,

THE BRACKEN HIDE, Isle of Skye Set in 53 acres of the Isle of Skye’s wild landscape, this is a striking 27-cabin hotel that makes the most of its arresting setting, with Nordic saunas and wild swimming. From £140,


MANDARIN ORIENTAL, Messinia, Greece The luxury hotel group’s first property in Greece, the 99 rooms will be joined by five restaurants and bars, and a spa with a 25-metre indoor-outdoor pool. From £1,300,


Eco-friendly doesn’t always mean pared back. Elysian, an all-inclusive island retreat in Australia’s Whitsundays, offers all the trimmings, from sleek air-conditioned oceanfront villas to hot indoor and outdoor showers, thanks to being 100 percent solar powered. Ensconced in a private cove, surrounded by rainforest and the turquoise waters of the Great Barrier Reef, the resort stamps its sustainability philosophy on everything from its biodegradable cleaning products to its zero waste kitchen. From £707,

USAWA SERENGETI, Tanzania Follow the route of The Great Migration at Wilderness’ new safari camp, with six solarpowered, en-suite tents with the lightest of footprints. From £765,

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I’ll Take the SLOW LANE

From motorhoming and ferries to a sea-crossing freighter, these C&TH adventurers decided to ditch the flight this time


This review comes with a health warning: unless you have nerves of steel, good insurance and a stable marriage, do not hire a 25-foot, five-tonne Sunseeker motorhome that’s only done a thousand miles and is the pride and joy of its owner, Pat. Don’t, at least, take it to Devon. Cortisol levels were, shall we say, off the scale when we finally found our What 3 Words location (advice: download the app prior to going to a region notorious for its lack of 4G), 56 miles yet five hours later, on the edge of a copse, high above the Bristol Channel on the north Devon coast. A litany of classic nouveau motorhome disasters had already befallen us before we had time to boil the kettle on the pristine gas hob. Mistake number one was to not read the directions properly. We were being hosted by Wild with Consent, a website that offers motorhomers the chance to escape other motorhomers (although, from my limited experience, mo’mers seem an affable tribe: without fail, when on the road, they proffer a hearty hand greeting when



Could you be a mo’mer? Just mind the roads in Devon (top)

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Slow travel | HOTELS & TRAVEL


they see you – a road equivalent of, ‘ahoy there me hearties’, so perhaps they only don’t like you when you’re stationary) in some of the most secluded spots in the UK, i.e. you get to avoid a campervan convention and go solo – but you don’t get running water or a power source. To continue: we blithely followed Waze, along the nerve-jangly steep and windy roads that had me covering my eyes wondering whether this hunk of metal could make it round the hairpin bends at a 45-degree angle until the app delivered us, at last, triumphantly to the farmhouse. Not to the off-grid camping site, however. This was, says the sister of the owner (who was, of course, ‘out’), ‘up the road, green caravan, left, up the hill, double gates…’ An hour and a half later, by which time we’d almost blown up the vehicle (a suspiciously smoking rubber tyre), having ended up in a deserted farmyard (apart from four mangey looking dogs who eyed us suspiciously), trying to do a 28-point turn on a muddy precipice, because of course we couldn’t find those double gates. Call the owner! No 4G! Go higher! He’s not answering! When at last we were parked up in our allocated spot as dusk was creeping in, I set fire to the rubber saucepan (don’t ask) trying to boil water for the kids’ pasta. At least the sunset was good. Motorhoming brings a degree of civility to complete off-grid living. A loo, gas oven, running water, a fridge, even a TV (if you have 4G to hotspot, though that rather defeats the romance, but helpful when the kids have had enough of running around the woods in the rain). It’s like living on a boat, where you need to keep things absolutely shipshape for fear of stepping on the dog or not being able to find your spectacles. For risk of further mo’mer calamities, the next two days were spent blissfully on two legs. We walked miles through mystical ancient coastal woodlands to the picturesque harbour town of Porlock and its dinky shops, cafés, galleries and pubs. We ate ice cream on the beach, too nippy for a swim. We watched lambs frolic in pastures. We were also thrilled to find a taxi to take us back to camp, where we cooked sausages, played Uno and, yes, I confess, watched Stranger Things on hotspot. If you’re not wild or off-grid cool enough to sling a hammock between two trees, or just whip out your ground sheet and a sleeping bag and be at one with the elements alone and free, a big, trusty motorhome is, shall we say, a good half-way house. But maybe not in Devon. Lucy Cleland Parsonage Farm Bay, available through Wild With Consent, costs £30 per night (, Goboony is a sharing platform connecting motorhome and campervan owners with travellers (

Taking the slow route to Spain

3 Annabel sets sail on the cargo ship



The captain had been up since five nudging us through the damp chalky fog, listening for other ships, straining to see icebergs before it was too late; we knew they were out there, floating silently, because we saw them on the ship’s radar. Crossing the Atlantic on a freighter isn’t for everyone. It takes a week. There’s no internet and there isn’t much to do except hang out on the bridge, play table tennis, eat curry with the Indian crew or chat with other passengers. Twelve is the max but there were only two on my crossing; a mother and son from New Mexico. I watched DVDs, chilled and worked in my comfortable cabin with a double bed and a desk. But if speed isn’t a priority, booking onto a cargo carrier is a greener, calmer way to travel. For £100 a night, passengers traverse the world, following the shipping lanes from Antwerp to Namibia, Thailand to Australia. I took the slow boat from Montreal to Thamesport. Instead of dealing with customs, security checks and cramps, I watched a moose cross the St Lawrence River, two whales hoovering krill and dolphins whooping it over the waves. After chugging along the English Channel, we sailed up the Thames, arriving home in the wake of long-gone heroes like Sirs Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh. Annabel Heseltine Find out more at


It is with a nervous stomach that I step on board the Santoña ferry – Brittany Ferries’ newest ship using next gen cleaner fuel – at the port in Santander. The way here was fraught, a 36-hour marathon from Portsmouth in which my meals reappeared at least three times. The truth is that I really want to get on with this journey across the Bay of Biscay. It’d be an easy win for my pot of carbon emissions – the equivalent flight is twenty times more carbon intensive – and a world in which I can cut out that stale feeling of going through airport customs? Utopia. So, as shoes plant firmly on the ship’s deck, I’m gritting my teeth a little bit. But how wrong I am. Because, arriving at my ensuite cabin and peering out the small port window, I spy waves that are not crashing so much as lapping. No calm before the storm, here – just calm. It is travel without the ennui of the journey. No cramped knees, no unwanted elbow-toelbow intimacy with fellow passengers. You’re given free roam to stretch legs, traversing from restaurant to restaurant (there are three, versus a plane’s zero) or to the on-board art exhibition. Standing on deck, exposed to the whip of salty winds, you can spot pods of dolphins gleefully putting on a show for your fellow passengers. And the cabins? Hideaways in which you can plan the coming days, read, or tune into the in-ferry entertainment. Yes – you will want to tune into the shipping forecast in the run-up to your journey. But there is something special about standing on the deck as the sun sets over distant horizons and endless, endless waters. Tessa Dunthorne Foot passengers £180 + £180 for a four-berth cabin, additional £35 for club lounge entry, 

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Is this London’s most planet-conscious new hotel? asks Ellie Smith


ost hotels are bringing in environmental initiatives nowadays, but it’s not often you see one that was actually built with the planet in mind from the ground up. That’s why there’s a big buzz around 1 Hotel Mayfair, a mission-driven hotel opening this July in the heart of London. It’s the first European address from US group 1 Hotels, a brand inspired by nature with properties that are renowned for their eco credentials. Its latest offering certainly follows suit. Spread across nine floors on Berkeley Street, overlooking Green Park, 1 Hotel Mayfair has been four years in the making – with the initial idea for the project going back over a decade. Sustainability is intrinsic to its design: over 80 percent of the existing structure was retained in a bid to reduce the carbon emissions that come with a reconstruction (around 4,200 tonnes in this case, according to the hotel). And recycled materials are used throughout – from the reclaimed metal floor tiles to the reception desk made from a tree

Recycled materials were used throughout the construction of 1 Hotel Mayfair

that fell naturally during a storm in Sussex. From the moment you arrive, there’s a palpable sense of bringing the outside in. You’re greeted by a living chandelier made from around 35,000 air plants, and bedrooms feature living moss walls, with earthy tones used throughout. It’s a place where guests are encouraged to adopt positive habits, with bowls filled with wonky fruits, and rooms kitted out with water refill stations and recycling bins. Lining the walls, meanwhile, are artworks conveying messages about human impact on the natural environment, including a piece by marine-plastic artist Steve McPherson. Of course, this is Mayfair, so the hotel is suitably luxurious – but everything has a considered edge. Dovetale, the venue’s restaurant, is helmed by esteemed chef Tom Sellers, who rose to fame with his Michelinstarred Restaurant Story in London Bridge. Here the menu focuses on championing seasonal produce, with a grill and raw bar, plus an Instagram-friendly Knickerbocker Glory trolley, which will whizz up the classic dessert tableside. Elsewhere, you’ll find a Bamford spa offering its signature holistic approach to wellness. All 181 bedrooms feature a stylish design, with plenty of spacious suites, but nowhere compares to the jaw-dropping penthouse: a three-bedroomed palace complete with a giant bathtub and floor-to-ceiling windows boasting unparalleled views of the city skyline. This is eco luxury done right – and no doubt it’s set to be a crucial new player on the prestigious Mayfair hotel scene. BOOK IT: Rooms

from £700 per night. 

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Choosing the perfect villa for your important holiday is not easy, which is why we are here to help at every Choosing the perfect villa for your important holiday is not easy, which is why we are here to help at every step, from our Villa Specialists in the UK to our Destination Experts on hand in location. And with 50 years step, from our Villa Specialists in the UK to our Destination Experts on hand in location. And with 50 years of experience, we know what makes the perfect villa holiday. of experience, we know what makes the perfect villa holiday. / 020 3991 2633 / 020 3991 2633 Greece / Italy / Spain / Portugal / Croatia / France / Morocco / Caribbean / Turkey / Sri Lanka Greece / Italy / Spain / Portugal / Croatia / France / Morocco / Caribbean / Turkey / Sri Lanka

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OUR RIVERS ARE DYING! All our rivers are polluted beyond legal limits

River Action UK is a highly impactful charity on a mission to rescue Britain’s rivers from a deluge of agricultural, sewage and industrial pollution, and we need your help! @riveraction



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Catch Me If You Can A light and tasty summer fish supper

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FOOD & DRINK | Recipe


SERVES 2 — 400g baby white potatoes, cut in half — 2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil — 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced — 1 cucumber, shaved into ribbons — 50g seedless red grapes, cut in half — handful of mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped, plus a few extra leaves to garnish — 1 lemon — 10g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped — 2 tsp za'atar — 2x 120g sea bass fillets with skin — sea salt and black pepper


Preheat the oven to 240°C/220°C fan/gas 9. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the potatoes in the tray. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of oil, season with salt and pepper, then roast for 20 minutes. Put the fennel, cucumber and grapes into a mixing bowl then squeeze in most of the juice from half the lemon and season with salt. Add the mint and half the pistachios. Squeeze in the juice from the other half of the lemon, mix well and set aside. After 20 minutes, remove the potatoes from the oven and lightly crush with the back of a fork, drizzle with another ½ tablespoon of oil and sprinkle over the za’atar. Roast for a final 5-8 minutes, until soft and golden. Season the sea bass with salt. Heat a medium non-stick frying pan with one tablespoon of oil on a high heat, then cook the fillets, skin- side down, for 3-4 minutes until the skin is golden brown. Flip and fry for another 2-3 minutes, until cooked . Squeeze in a little more lemon juice and remove from the heat. Place the potatoes and fennel salad on serving plates with the sea bass on top. Sprinkle over the remaining pistachios and the mint leaves, and serve.

What’s your food philosophy? We believe that healthy eating Myles Hopper and Giles Humphries, should be easy for everyone. founders of Mindful Chef We don’t count calories or follow strict diets. We simply like good, wholesome food that benefits you, your body and the world around you. First dish you learnt to cook? Myles: It has to be lasagne. It’s still one of my favourite meals to cook and I now teach my daughter how to cook it as well. Giles: Mine’s a risotto. One that, when you first get it right, it’s so delicious. Favourite in-season ingredient? Our favourite time of the year is summer and spending as much time as possible at the beach with friends. It's also the perfect time to forage for berries and fruit on the way home. Biggest food mistake? In the very early days of Mindful Chef, instead of sending coconut milk we accidentally sent coconut piña coladas! Luckily we only had ten customers then and they were all family and friends. It made for a very interesting beef massaman curry. Most memorable meal out? Myles: Sitting on a beach on a small island off of Bali with my wife and daughter. We were sharing a satay chicken dish while running in and out of the sea watching the sunset. Giles: Sushi on the coast in Japan. It was one of the most amazing dishes I've ever tasted. When you’re not in the kitchen, Talking healthy eating, summer where are you? Myles: At the beach. Giles: On the river. foraging, and piña colada disasters Any unique cooking rituals? with the Mindful Chefs Myles: Not unique but I’m obsessed with cleaning up as I go. When the dish is finished it’s as if I wasn’t even in the kitchen to begin with. Giles: Putting on a Mindful Chef Spotify playlist to unwind to while cooking. What's in your fridge? Myles: Mindful Chef ingredients, coconut water, houmous, yoghurt, chocolate and vegetables (and gherkins). Giles: Moju juice shots for gut health, oat and cows milk, coconut water, lots of olives and the odd Galaxy bar or Tony's Chocolonely (or two!). Dream dinner date? Myles: Anywhere warm overlooking the sea with friends and family. Giles: I have to agree with Mylo. Any sustainable food advice? Try to eat seasonally and support British suppliers. Even better if you can purchase directly from local farmers themselves.

Foodie TALES

Berries are the duo's go-to in the late summer

Mindful Chef: Healthy You, Happy Planet (Cornerstone, £26) 

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Cognac | FOOD & DRINK

BACK TO THE FUTURE Amy Wakeham meets Baptiste Loiseau, the cognac mastermind who is making history for future generations to enjoy

Baptiste in the Louis XIII vineyards in Cognac


here aren’t many jobs that involve creating something you may never get to experience yourself. But that’s the reality of Baptiste Loiseau, cellar master at Louis XIII. Every day he makes his rounds of the cellars in the fertile Cognac region of south-west France, tasting each decades-old cask of eau de vie to determine whether it’s ready for blending and bottling. Only one to three percent have the right characteristics to become Louis XIII cognac after 40-plus years of ageing – ‘it has to be rich, it has to elegant, it has to be fruity,’ Baptiste explains. His mission is to create a consistent blend year after year. Most of the work he does now will come to fruition in decades to come, long after he’s retired. But there’s one career highlight he can enjoy right now. Every so often, a cask comes along that’s so superior, it’s chosen to become a standout Rare Cask: cognac that isn’t blended but comes from a single exceptional barrel. This hasn’t happened for ten years, and never in Baptiste’s tenure as cellar master. ‘It has to be linked with emotion – the emotion is the master,’ explains Baptiste of how he decided which barrel was ready to be selected. The previous cellar master, Pierrette Trichet, to whom Baptiste was apprenticed, discovered two rare casks in her career, one in 2009 and one in 2013; ‘it took me ten years to feel the emotion of something singular coming from the tierçon [cask] again,’ she says. ‘It was three years ago that I was touched by the floral notes that are really moving for me, and it took me one more year to decide that it was the perfect balance.’ The result is

Rare Cask 42.1, a cognac with an exceptional aromatic profile. It’s available exclusively at the Louis XIII boutique at Harrods, in a limited run of 775 statement black crystal decanters, and to sample by the glass at The Dorchester. Of course, when you’re working with decades, not days, in mind, sustainability has to be woven into the heart of everything you do. ‘We are facing big changes now with the climate and our agricultural practices,’ says Baptiste. ‘We are testing a new grape variety to see if it’ll be the right one for making cognac in the next 20-30 years, because we know the temperature is rising and we will perhaps lack water in the next 50 years. So we have to be prepared to give all this advice to the next generation. Sustainability, what we call the “Sustainable Exception”, which is in the DNA of the house, has to be embodied from the fields to the vision we share with our clients.’ This vision encompasses not just the new Rare Cask, but also the new ‘Infinity Experience’, which will allow Louis XIII lovers to send their decanter to be refilled at one of three Louis XIII boutiques, including Harrods. The new refillable decanters reduce CO2 emissions relating to packaging by 57 percent. Also on the horizon is the 300th anniversary of Rémy Martin, Louis XIII’s parent company, in 2024. ‘We will be celebrating the heritage but with a vision of what it means for the next 300 years,’ says Baptiste. He may not be here to see it for himself, but his work today will live on for decades – maybe centuries – to come.  July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 151

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FOOD & DRINK | News WANTON MORE OF THESE The legendary Poon’s (famous for its wantons) has launched its first homeware range, and the new tea towels – detailed with hand-drawn Chinese vegetables from winter melons to water chestnuts – are a special treat from the cultfavourite restaurant. £16,


The new Gut Health Booster Bundle by Allplants contains all the nutrients your gut microbiome is craving. Dishes range from its award-winning Miso + Tamari Tofu bowl to the spicy Smoky Soul Chilli. This bold B Corp brand incorporates wonky offcuts into a number of its perfectly portioned dishes to keep the planet happy, too, alongside your belly. £36.86 for seven meals and two smoothies.

Gastro GOSSIP Reconsidering what’s on our plates. By Tessa Dunthorne


Diet-related disease is now a bigger killer than smoking in the developed world. Ravenous by Leon founder Henry Dimbleby and journalist Jemima Lewis wants you to reconsider what you eat for the planet’s sake – and your own. £14.99,


Plant-based dining (but not in a preachy way). Tuck into a whipped feta garden plate, or burnt aubergine muhammara borek, at the newest site by Mallow, just opened quayside in Canary Wharf.


Stock up for a cooler, planet-friendly cocktail cabinet CYGNET GIN Founded by soprano Katherine Jenkins and made in Wales in a traditional 300-litre Arnold Holstein copper pot, Cygnet Gin is just the tonic for, well, your summer G&T. From £35,

SAPLING VODKA Refill your glass (and your bottle) – Sapling’s pouches lower the carbon footprint of your vodka martini by 25 percent. £25.20,

EQUIANO RUM Traceable and fair supply chains are the ideal base for the perfect daiquiri. An award-winning dry rum named after the Nigerian abolitionist, Equiano donates five percent of its profits to furthering freedom for all. £54.95,

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Wine | FOOD & DRINK Château Léoube only produces around 400,000 bottles of wine a year, meaning quality is placed ahead of quantity


Ellie Smith raises a glass of organic rosé at Château Léoube, where high society meets sustainability


ince Carole Bamford launched Daylesford back in 2002, it has become a household name in the UK – synonymous with the Cotswolds and all things organic. Lesser known, though, is one of the Bamfords’ other ventures: a wine estate in Provence, which, over the past 25 years, has been quietly but surely flying the flag for eco-minded viticulture. We’re talking about Château Léoube, a perfectly polished vineyard spread across four miles of coastline in the heart of Cap Bénat (the largest protected site in the Var), nestled within the sleepy town of Bormes-lesMimosas. The Bamford family bought the estate back in 1997, enthralled by its seaside location, which not only looks beautiful, but also brings a unique quality to the winemaking. They set out to transform Léoube into an organic winery that showcased their holistic philosophy of nurturing the soil and working with the rhythms of the seasons. Brought in to spearhead the process was Romain Ott, fourth generation winemaker of the esteemed Ott family, who, having grown up in the region, was already well acquainted with the land. After ten years of careful planting and planning, the first vintage was born in 2008. Nowadays, Léoube produces around 350,000 to 400,000 bottles of wine each year, with 80 percent of that being rosé, alongside white, red and sparkling.

The land is protected, meaning it has reached capacity in terms of production – allowing the focus to be on quality rather than quantity. ‘The Léoube style is authentic fine wines that are balanced, delicate and elegant,’ describes Romain. A love for the natural world dictates everything at the estate. ‘We have three jobs: to look after the land, to nurture nature, and to look after its biodiversity,’ Jérôme Pernot, Léoube’s head of export, tells us. ‘As much as we can, everything we do is by hand, from the planting to the trimming.’ The soil is nourished using only natural composts and manures, with no herbicides or pesticides used, and during the winter months sheep graze the land, acting as a natural method of weed control. Naturally, there’s a bit of Provençal glamour too – albeit in a relaxed way. Café Léoube is the estate’s chic beachside restaurant serving Mediterranean fare, made using ingredients from the on-site market garden. And in 2021, James Middleton had his wedding at Château Léoube, attended by the then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But beneath the crisp glasses of rosé, pristine white linen and VIP guest list lies a clear, important message: that saving the earth starts from the ground up. As Romain puts it: ‘Viticulture at Léoube is and always has been a long-term vision, so sustainability is vital.’  July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 153

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With a prime location in the heart of Notting Hill, Michael Graham is the perfect place to sell or buy property with confidence. As long-established estate agents with strong teams based in both London and the countryside, we can help you find your dream home. Whether you’re new to the city and looking for your first London property, moving from one borough to another, or selling your London home in the hopes of moving to the country, our Portobello Road team can guide you through the entire process.

Visit or scan the QR code to book a free market appraisal.

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PROPERTY Edited by Anna Tyzack


Abbots Sharpham, Sharpham Park, nr Glastonbury, currently owned by Mulberry founder Roger Saul. Eight bedrooms, five bathrooms, six reception rooms 8,094 sq/ft; £8m

Sell it to us in a sentence… The most magical home with immense history, beautifully restored and decorated, with an uninterrupted view of Glastonbury Tor across its own deer-filled park. What’s unique about it? It has large rooms with great ceiling heights, and a fascinating history: Bronze Age peat tracks converge here and it was first mentioned in 957 when the boy King Edwig gave Sharpham to the Thegn (Lord) Aetholwold; later King John gave the estate to the Abbots of Glastonbury in 1181. The last abbot Richard Whiting was taken from Sharpham to be tried, then hung drawn and quartered by King Henry VIII. The Elizabethan poet Sir Edward Dyer was born here in 1543 and Henry Fielding, the famous author of Tom Jones, was born here in 1707. Does the house hold any secrets? I have yet to find the cellar that is listed in the inventory of rooms in 1539 but, boy, have I tried! It must hold many more, but these will be carefully guarded by the house for future owners (we have added the odd secret door and panelling). Any sustainable features? The farm and gardens have been tended organically for 20 years. Building work has been done using local or reclaimed stone, wood and lime plaster, and we planted 4,000 English hardwood trees 30 years ago, and 300 walnut trees 20 years ago. Any Mulberry moments in the house? Finding a scrap of 16th-century fabric behind the panelling was the basis of our first textile design ‘Tudor Animals’. We launched the first Mulberry Home collection from here with a fashion show. Carter Jonas, +44 (0)1823 428590, carterjonas.; Roderick Thomas, +44 (0)1749 670079 July /August 2023 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | 155

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Cornish villages like Port Isaac are popular with people looking for a new home with a sensational view


Anna Tyzack explores the rise in popularity of waterfront homes with eco credentials

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rom Italianate villas to Gothic lighthouses, thatched cottages he receives more money back from the grid than he puts into it. ornées and modernist beach houses, Britain’s coastline has long Many of the newbuild properties Mark sells are sleek, state-of-the-art glass boxes with uninterrupted sea views, yet there is also demand for been a canvas for architectural creativity. Now though, architects more traditional-looking beach houses, he says. He’s currently selling are not only striving for pioneering design but also to incorporate the latest renewable technology. ‘Eco houses work particularly Cliff House at Perranuthnoe near Penzance, with ground-source heating, well on the coast if they’re built to make the most of the weather and are modern insulation and triple glazing, built in the same simple style as the well insulated,’ explains Mark Bracey of estate agents Lillicrap Chilcott older surrounding houses – it’s even got the same pebble dash exterior. in Cornwall ( ‘You get more ‘It’s solidly built using the latest techniques and wind and more sun; it makes sense to harness the doesn’t cost much to run,’ he explains. weather to keep energy bills down.’ According to Trystan Wilkins of P Chapman Mark, along with other coastal property agents, Construction (, a builder is witnessing a flourishing market for waterfront specialising in prime waterfront eco homes, homes with eco credentials, a trend fuelled by the whatever their outer appearance, a modern coastal current cost of living crisis and a growing interest house will be a bunker of reinforced steel; coastal in living more sustainably. While most of the weather, while good for green energy, is punishing houses he sells don’t qualify as ‘passive’, many are on the fabric of a house, he says. ‘Beach houses in EPC categories A and B, which means they can come in any shape but they have to be beefy are efficient to run and healthy to live in. enough to cope with the weather or they won’t ‘If a house is run partly on green energy, last,’ he explains. ‘It can be peaceful sunshine one buyers will often add additional technology – moment and howling a gale the next.’ While floor-to-ceiling windows and glass solar PV panels for hot water or electricity, for balustrading are the norm for new houses on example, or rainwater harvesting systems – to further boost their energy rating and lessen the the coast, too much glass can leave a property utility bills,’ he explains. ‘If you’ve got enough insufferably hot. ‘There’s a balance to be struck – land and no near neighbours you can even put up you want enough solar gain to keep a house warm a turbine and take your house off-grid entirely.’ without being too hot,’ Trystan continues. The Houses with a lower footprint Mark’s own solar PV panels at his home in owner of one of his recent projects, a manorial are increasingly sought after Cornwall ensure that from May to September stone newbuild on the sunny side of Restronguet

PROPERTY Point, near Truro, was surprised when the architect refused to put a glass roof on the orangery. ‘Architects have to be strict about solar gain and also incorporate solar shading to keep rooms out of the line of direct sunlight,’ he explains. Wind is another factor to consider: not only does it slow down the building process as fewer walls can safely be built each day but it has been known to blow out even the largest windows from their frames. ‘The coastal storms can be so ferocious that they’ll break the glass; when you’re talking about a floor-to-ceiling window, this is a frightening prospect,’ Trystan says. The waterfront properties with the lowest energy demands are airtight with cutting-edge air circulating systems that can be complemented with renewables. All coastal properties, however, will benefit from a condensation control system, insists Katie Joyce, who built an eco house on the Devon coast on the footprint of a former cowshed and dairy. ‘You want to keep the air in the house as dry as possible; the sea air is filled with moisture and when you add wetsuits and swimming clothing into the mix you can end up with a mouldy house if you’re not careful,’ she says. The market for coastal properties in Mark’s patch of Cornwall is active this summer; he’s already sold 19 homes worth more than a million. Well heeled seaside locations across the rest of the country are reporting similar enthusiasm from buyers; the pitiful lack of quality coastal properties for sale this summer ensures prices are still climbing, according to research by Knight Frank, with an annual average growth of 9.8 percent for waterfront properties last year. The most expensive coastline is found in the South West, according to data The Cornish coast remains from Savills, where those looking popular with buyers to buy right on the waterfront in

Solar panels are a great way of harnessing green energy and cutting bills

Cornwall, Devon and Dorset will often pay well in excess of £1 million. While many buyers set out to buy a tired bungalow with a sea view, tear it down and build their dream beach house, opportunities like this in prime locations are increasingly rare. Most buyers will end up cutting to the chase and purchasing the finished article. Katie, whose project took seven years to complete and cost considerably more than she anticipated, concedes that it will save you a lot of stress. Not that she regrets the effort she put into creating her house. The end result, with an infinity pool and terrace with uninterrupted views of the estuary, is even more stunning than she imagined; the fact it costs considerably less to run than her London flat means she doesn’t worry about it when she’s not there. ‘There’s nothing like the Cornish coast on a sunny day, even in the depths of winter,’ she says. ‘I’m excited to have created a beautiful bolthole that runs itself and is robust enough to be enjoyed by many generations to come.’



Penzance, Cornwall, £1.5m Cliff House, Perranuthnoe is a delightful, south-facing coastal property built in traditional style yet heated by a ground-source heat pump. There are four bedrooms, a timber gazebo, barbecue area and panoramic views of the beach and surrounding coastline.

Falmouth, Cornwall, £2m A stunning example of modernist Scandinavianstyle architecture, with large, light reception rooms and four bedrooms in an acre of sunny landscaped gardens with sea views. Eco credentials include a ground-source heat pump, heat recovery system, solar panels and rainwater harvesting.

Croyde, Devon, £7.5m Chesil Cliff House is a newly built eco-friendly waterfront home by architect Alan Phillips with eight bedrooms and 2.8 acres of grounds featuring an infinity pool and a private beach cove; there’s even planning permission for a helipad, and a separate lot with a three-bed annexe available.

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PROPERTY | Five of the Best


Live a lighter impact life in these EPC A-rated houses, says Tessa Dunthorne SUSSEX, £1.695m

Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this five-bed country house is kitted out with heat pumps, solar panels and heat recovery systems. It has an impressive shaded terrace for all your al-fresco hosting plans and its main living space is a huge, open plan kitchen-diningliving-room.

OXFORDSHIRE, £590,000 The Church Farm development in Radley was built in partnership with nearby Radley College, and demonstrates the cutting-edge of greener living. Expect air source heat pumps, solar panels and EV charging, plus charming houses surrounded by local wildlife. The community benefits from cycle links to Oxford and great public transport.

PREFAB, £900,000

The Skyhouse is the ultimate answer to carbon conscious living: your own prefab home that feeds more energy into the national grid than it consumes. Harvested rainwater services toilets, laundry and waters your garden, while the house benefits from a mechanical heat recovery ventilation system and patented insulation.


An impressive contemporary property, clad in oak, Far End sits in glorious wildflower fields and boasts its own orchard and natural swimming pool (plus a wood-fired sauna). Insulated with sheep’s wool, you’ll be cosy in the winter and cool in the summer, thanks to clever internal and external blinds.


With ten acres of woodland and fields, you’re spoilt for access to nature at West View Farm. Old-school carpentry and quality artistry means this house is remarkably constructed, with six bedrooms, five bathrooms and generous entertaining spaces with sweeping coastal views.

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North Bridge House’s group of six London schools has routes to success for all its pupils


orth Bridge House – a high-achieving group of six independent day schools covering Hampstead, West Hampstead, Regent’s Park and Islington – works closely with families to choose the right school for their child according to their individual strengths and interests, providing bespoke paths to success, whether that’s by joining one of the UK’s leading private schools, or continuing at NBH until 18. A particularly attractive proposition for families with siblings or children who would not thrive in socalled ‘hothouse’ schools, NBH provides a stressfree all-through education from age two, which does not compromise on academic excellence. The group’s unique proposition originated at its Prep School in Regent’s Park, where from ages 4 to 13 a broad, knowledge-rich and purposeful curriculum is designed to develop confidence and character as much as impressive outcomes. With over 40 after-school clubs, a thriving arts department and specialist academic and pastoral provision, it prepares happy, rounded children for entry to the UK’s top senior schools – often with prestigious scholarship awards. Alternatively, boys and girls are welcomed into both of the North Bridge House Senior Schools in Hampstead and Canonbury where, according to the Independent Schools Inspectorate’s 2023 report, ‘the quality of the pupils’ academic and other achievements is excellent’, they ‘make rapid progress from their starting points’ and ‘all leavers

in 2022 gained a place at their firstchoice institution, many with high entry requirements or in specific fields, or took a gap year. Academic outcomes are excellent for all pupils whatever their challenges and starting points.’ North Bridge House is now adopting the same educational model at its Pre-Prep campus in Hampstead. From September 2023, the Pre-Prep will offer 7+ exam preparation, capitalising on its teaching expertise to facilitate entry to highly selective prep schools in London. The school will continue to offer automatic progression to NBH Prep School, bypassing the 7+ exam and providing children with every opportunity for success, whichever route is right for them. The Pre-Prep has also introduced interview prep, regardless of whether pupils are sitting the 7+ exam or continuing to NBH Prep School, so that they are able articulate themselves confidently in one-to-one and group conversation and work well as part of a team. ‘Learning how to be confident is one of the most important life skills and developing our children’s self-confidence and self-esteem is already a key focus here at NBH, so that we positively impact their overall happiness, success, and wellbeing,’ says the Pre-Prep Head of School, Michelle Blaber. There’s also a strong focus on the social and emotional welfare of pupils across the NBH group, so that ‘children are supported in every aspect of their growth and development and develop a genuine love of learning in a low-pressure environment,’ according to Michelle. So, whichever route you choose for your child, you know that North Bridge House will give them the tools and confidence they need to thrive in any setting. Find out more at

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LAST WORD The Refuge Assurance Group has a new life as The Kimpton Clock Tower Hotel

Tales of our Time

Michael Hayman on how best to breathe new life into our historic buildings


he more I’ve explored different buildings and architecture around the world the more beautiful my life has become.’ An idea the architect and television presenter George Clarke shared with me on the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s podcast Journeys of Discovery.

Words to reflect upon as architecture says so much about our state of mind: solid in form but deeply fluid in its soul. What we build is so much more than bricks and mortar. It is a visible reveal of our hopes and dreams for the future. Take our great cities. The Refuge Assurance Group building in central Manchester (above) is a gothic cathedral of Victorian commerce on a truly epic scale. Indeed, the founders were so confident about their future that they quite literally etched their brand in stone.

For this is full-on, 19th-century bling and swagger; conveying confidence, certainty and courage. But a hubristic century later and the company had been merged into oblivion leaving only the marble floors and ornate carvings to remind us that it was ever there. For some there is a touch of the melancholic to see masterpieces no longer serving their originally intended purpose. Not least because of the abundance of this type of building in towns and cities everywhere. Look up a high street anywhere in the UK and you will come eye to eye with yesterday’s ambition. I am working with a business called Kinrise, a company that regenerates historic spaces to create buildings fit for a new world. Decarbonised, digital and designed for a creative future where the soul of a community is to be welcomed in and not kept out. It’s a good glimpse of what is necessary for the renewal of our cities. Because we

need it. The trend to rip things down needs to be replaced with a trend to breathe new life into what we have already by building them back up. We can prepare our spaces to stand the test of time: environmentally sound, with a renewed relevance and aesthetically breathtaking. Travel around our cities and you will see a treasure trove of buildings with great history and the promise of new life. Of this George Clarke says, ‘What I love about the journey of design is the unpredictability of what you’re going to discover.’ The world is a very different one than the one that created the conditions for the Refuge Assurance Group. It thinks differently, works differently and has the opportunity to renew differently. This is why renewal is as much about personal discovery and the creative courage to renew our own sense of identity, as it is the amazing spaces of tomorrow. 

TA L K I N G P O I N T S VISIT The Kimpton Clock Tower Hotel in Manchester (on the site of the Refuge Assurance Group). READ Islands of Abandonment: Life in the PostHuman Landscape by Cal Flyn (Harper Collins, £9.99). WATCH Severance for a dystopian take on workplace architecture ( 160 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.COM | July /August 2023

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