Country & Town House - March/April 2021

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LIVING A BALANCED LIFE

MARCH /APRIL 2021 £3.90

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18ct Gold Lovelock from £935

London: 1 South Molton Street 41 Cadogan Gardens 10-11 Burlington Arcade Harrods • Liberty Harvey Nichols Hong Kong: Mandarin Hotel IFC Mall

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Virtual Shopping Appointments Ask an in-store expert for advice through video, chat and photos in real time.

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Contents

MARCH / APRIL 2021

COLUMNS 18 20 152

THE GOOD LIFE Alice B-B on her new nesting obsession THE RURBANIST Laura Bailey LAST WORD Michael Hayman speaks to Michael Morpurgo

STYLE 23 24 26 28 30

BLUE CRUSH Denim goes bright THE EDIT What’s caught Mariella Tandy’s eye this spring? SUITCASE SAVIOURS Clothes to escape in THE MAGPIE Modern icons and vintage gems WELL GROOMED Men’s style news

HEALTH & WELLBEING 33 34 35 36 38 40

LESS IS MORE Why we’re embracing skinimalism this season BODY LANGUAGE Olivia Falcon steps out with a new look LITTLE GREEN BOOK How to have a planet-friendly spring clean BEAUTY BUZZ Expert tips, hot news and insider access from Nathalie Eleni SKIN DEEP Get your gleam on BODY & SOUL You are where you live, says Camilla Hewitt

CULTURE 43 44 50

52 54 56 58

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WHO RUN THE WORLD The Women of the World Festival is back SPRING CALENDAR What to do, see, read and listen to this season THE EXHIBITIONIST The new installations lighting up central London. By Ed Vaizey ARTIST’S STUDIO Glynis Owen THE OLYMPIAN Seb Coe still holds out hope for a sporting summer ROAD TEST Jeremy Taylor tries out the new Caterham speed machine SIGNS OF SPRING The bulbs to plant for colour and life. By Randle Siddeley SCARFES BAR Charlotte Metcalf chats plastic and periods with Celia Pool

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Solent

Snuff Suede BY APPOINTMENT TO HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES MANUFACTURER AND SUPPLIER OF FOOTWEAR CROCKETT & JONES LIMITED, NORTHAMPTON

MADE IN ENGLAND | SINCE 1879

Our new Unstructured Collection features the SUPERFLEX leather sole, our most flexible sole in the collection.

CROCKETTANDJONES.COM | E-commerce now available

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Contents

MARCH / APRIL 2021

FEATURES 63 68 72

77 82

86

FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY Make this year a glittering one EYE OF THE TIGER Zayani Bhatt meets global megastar Priyanka Chopra FINDING MR BIG, AGAIN Dating in the digital era is no picnic, says Sabrina Fox SEEDS OF CHANGE Wildflower meadows are a must, says Trevor Dines CANINE COUTURE Move over catwalk, it’s the dogs who are the divas now, says Marc Abbott ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY Tuscany’s agriturismo gets a British spin, says Amy Wakeham

ON DESIGN 91

Interiors director Carole Annett brings you all the inspiration you need for your next house transformation, from eye-catching wallpaper and sumptuous fabrics to tips for your outside space, plus juicy case studies to pore over. Your home has never looked so good

HOTELS & TRAVEL 119 122 126

NEW HORIZONS Susan d’Arcy on how the world will open up post-Covid CARPE DIEM British hotels will come back from the brink, says Fiona Duncan THE WEEKENDER Isles of Scilly

FOOD & DRINK 130 132

FOODIE TALES Anna Jones’s one-pot orzo GASTRO GOSSIP Where and what to eat post-lockdown

PROPERTY 135

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ON THE COVER Model wears Boodles pink tourmaline and diamond earrings in 18k rose gold; David Morris 18k white gold, white diamond and amethyst ring; David Morris 18k rose gold, rubellites and white diamond ring; David Morris 18k white gold, aquamarine and white diamond ring. Photographer: Rachell Smith. Fashion Director: Nicole Smallwood. Hair: Ben Cooke at Frank Agency using Living Proof for Lockonego. Make-Up: Lan NguyenGrealis using Dior Forever foundation and Capture Totale Super Potent serum. Nails: Edyta Betka using CND

136 138

PROPERTY OF THE MONTH A converted church in Kensington LET’S MOVE TO WINCANTON Move over Bruton FIVE OF THE BEST Exceptional interiors for a helping hand

REGULARS 12 14 134

EDITOR’S LETTER CONTRIBUTORS STOCKISTS

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– I want C&TH, in our small way, to make strides to become a company with a positive impact, and to highlight the people, brands and businesses who are leaders and changemakers in sustainability. To this end, we have introduced #SustainableTuesdays where every week, all our social media and online content will champion the subject. We will also always flag a product if it is a greener choice, giving you the option to vote with your wallet on the kind of businesses you want to support. With Cop26 on the horizon, the UK will soon be on the global stage and everyone should be focussing on what they can be doing both as an individual and an organisation to drive down their carbon footprint – it’s our greatest challenge yet and I have no doubt we will rise to it. To kick off, let me introduce you to Celia Pool on page 60. Her lightbulb moment came over dinner with a friend – how could they make period products green? Thus DAME was born. Not only are they bringing periods, blood ‘n’ all into mainstream conversation, but all their products are reusable and plastic-free. I suggest you ditch any other plastic-riddled brand now. Priyanka Chopra Jonas is that rare creature who has conquered both Bollywood and now Hollywood. The Indian global megastar was most recently seen in Netflix’s The White Tiger – and she’s currently in London filming a series for Amazon Prime. She talkes to Zayani Bhatt about supporting women in the industry and why it took a pandemic for her to have the time for the introspection needed to write and publish her autobiography, Unfinished (p68). Have you wondered where have all the flowers gone? It might be a song lyric but the UK’s wildflower meadows have all but disappeared. It was HRH The Prince of Wales who came up with the idea of each county planting a new wildflower meadow to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation in 2013. A beautiful new book takes a look at these biodiverse environments, and Plantlife’s Trevor Dines explains why they are so important for us all (p77).

Editor’s LETTER

‘Spring awakening’ feels like the perfect line to put on this issue’s front cover – nothing else is needed. Society is unfurling, gradually to be sure, the lighter evenings bring promise of human reunions to come, in sun-dappled gardens, daffodil-strewn parks – and, eventually, in the great British pub. To be treading a safe path out of this global pandemic just a year later seems nothing short of a miracle. During these past months, my mind has been increasingly engaged with how we can all get greener

EDITOR’S PICKS PLANT Kale Rainbow Candy Crush – the ultimate in ornamental edibles from Suttons

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SWAP Your plastic bristle washing up brush for Seep’s natural cellulose loofah scourer WEAR A made-to-order jumper with a message from sustainable British brand, Fund

BUY Ocado has announced a B-Corp aisle meaning you can shop entirely ethically

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CON T R I BU TOR S

Susan reflects on the future of travel after Covid on p119

Botanist Trevor teaches us about wildflower meadows on p77

Zayani meets global megastar Priyanka Chopra Jonas on p68

Marc delves into the flamboyant world of canine couture on p82

SUSAN D’ARCY

TREVOR DINES

ZAYANI BHATT

MARC ABBOTT

Are you an indoors or outdoors person? Definitely outdoors. I live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – nature’s exterior designs are much better than my interior designs. There is an incredible beech tree at Castle Ashby gardens, which I wish could be my favourite spot. Sadly, it’s a four-hour drive away. Morning ritual? Um, getting up... eventually. What feels like an escape to you? A company asked me to work with them on a wellness VR headset. I went from sceptic to sold at the first sitting. I can now meditate on a tropical beach at the flick of a switch. What’s got you through? My set of chakra crystal singing bowls, which give very good vibrations. Five minutes of them settles the nerves nicely.

Are you an indoors or outdoors person? As a farmer’s son, I’m definitely an outdoors person, whether it’s pottering in the garden, out on a walk in the local lanes, or scaling a rockface for rare alpine plants. The Great Orme on the north Wales coast is very special, with its dramatic views and the excitement of rare plants at my feet! Morning ritual? Up with the lark then out walking our cocker spaniel. I love the repetition of a quiet dawn walk, seeing the infinitesimal daily changes that build into changing seasons. What feels like an escape to you? I love a bit of creative TV like Grayson Perry’s Art Club and The Great Pottery Throw Down. What’s got you through? I have to say my iPhone, but only because it helps me bring my meadow and other plants to audiences that couldn’t otherwise experience them.

Are you an indoors or outdoors person? Indoors, although I wish I was an outdoors person. I love a little hidden-away green space in my neighbourhood, where rope swings hang from the trees. Morning ritual? Picking three things I’m grateful for before I start my day. I try and do it every day – that and writing down one good thing that happened during the day, at the end of each day. These practices help me stay positive. What feels like an escape? A lovely long bath with an inspiring or funny book or podcast and a colourful bath bomb. What’s got you through? [The video game] Animal Crossing. It was extremely popular during the first lockdown but I haven’t stopped playing it since. You get to explore places in nature, meet cute characters and build and decorate things like cabins. It’s just pure escapism.

Are you an indoors or outdoors person? I’m rarely happier than when running, walking or cycling – preferably somewhere warm and welcoming like Girona. Morning ritual? The older I get, the healthier my morning ritual becomes; it rarely strays from coffee, cereal and Instagram, followed by a consultation of the daily ‘to do’ list. What feels like an escape? Digital fashion shows. The way in which some creative directors have responded to the necessity of no in-person shows has been stunning and has embellished my ‘year of living vicariously’. What’s got you through? Having my daughter home from school has given us so much more time together than we’d normally have in the week. Her YouTube-driven thirst for knowledge and music has offered such a welcome distraction, and a broadening of my own tastes.

J O I N T H E C &T H C L U B For the latest news, features, interviews and exclusive offers straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter countryandtownhouse.co.uk/newsletter @countryandtown

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S T E V E N M C R A E , P R I N C I PA L , T H E R OYA L B A L L E T

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LUCY CLELAND EDITOR EDITOR-AT-LARGE ALICE B-B ASSOCIATE EDITOR CHARLOTTE METCALF MANAGING EDITOR AMY WAKEHAM CHIEF SUB EDITOR BELINDA BAMBER FEATURES ASSISTANT & SUB EDITOR SOFIA TINDALL FASHION DIRECTOR NICOLE SMALLWOOD BEAUTY DIRECTOR NATHALIE ELENI INTERIORS DIRECTOR CAROLE ANNETT EXECUTIVE RETAIL EDITOR MARIELLA TANDY SUSTAINABILITY EDITOR LISA GRAINGER PROPERTY EDITOR ANNA TYZACK MOTORING EDITOR JEREMY TAYLOR ONLINE EDITOR REBECCA COX ONLINE WRITER ELLIE SMITH ONLINE ASSISTANT DANIELLA SAUNDERS ONLINE INTERN KATE O’GORMAN CREATIVE & PRODUCTION DIRECTOR PARM BHAMRA PRODUCTION DESIGNER SAMUEL THOMAS ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR ELLIE RIX SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER PANDORA LEWIS ACCOUNT MANAGER KATRINA GANE DIGITAL MANAGER ADAM DEAN SALES & ADMIN ASSISTANT BEA CERULLO TECHNICAL MANAGER HANNAH JOHNSON TECHNICAL DIRECTOR MARK PEARSON FINANCE DIRECTOR JILL NEWEY FINANCE CONTROLLER LAUREN HARTLEY PROPERTY & MARKETING ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR GEMMA COWLEY GROUP PUBLISHING DIRECTOR TIA GRAHAM MANAGING DIRECTOR JEREMY ISAAC CONTRIBUTING EDITORS STEPHEN BAYLEY, SIMON DE BURTON, FIONA DUNCAN, OLIVIA FALCON, DAISY FINER, LYDIA GARD, AVRIL GROOM, MICHAEL HAYMAN, RICHARD HOPTON, EMMA LOVE, MARY LUSSIANA, ANNA PASTERNAK, CAROLINE PHILLIPS, HOLLY RUBENSTEIN, MARCUS SCRIVEN THE EDITOR editorial@countryandtownhouse.co.uk FASHION fashion@countryandtownhouse.co.uk ADVERTISING advertising@countryandtownhouse.co.uk PROPERTY ADVERTISING property@countryandtownhouse.co.uk ACCOUNTS accounts@countryandtownhouse.co.uk SUBSCRIPTIONS subscribe@countryandtownhouse.co.uk 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: exacteditions.com/read/ countrytownhouse. For subscription enquiries, please call 020 7384 9011 or email subscribe@countryandtownhouse.co.uk. 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 © 2021 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. Whilst 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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COLUMN

The GOOD LIFE

Alice B-B on her nesting obsession and the power of positive affirmations

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WINTER’S LOCKDOWN was only ever going to make cosy home-making the new banana bread-baking. Asking so much of the same four walls has consequences; please be my office, gym, cinema, spa, holiday, restaurant – oh and my home! So the decorating obsession is on full throttle. Normally I’d fanny around the shops; finger fabrics, flounce on sofas, fiddle with lamps. Instead there’s a lot of internet searching, swatch requesting and even FaceTime assistance (sorry, Lauren at Hector Finch Lighting) to check the pendant light is the right size (it wasn’t). I had a nasty postBrexit surprise, thanks to import duty, when the rug from Spain was suddenly a third more expensive on arrival. But the biggest issue is the dearth of desks. I have my eye on a number by Dering Restoration (@deringrestoration). It’s darn spenny – but it’s obviously the missing piece to my hit screenplay. So… it’s a done deal. I’M BEATING MY CHEST. Not quite Tarzan – more bongo drum. I’m copying Poppy Delbridge, whose website (poppydelbridge. com) describes her as: ‘Mindset Alchemist, FutureMaker, DreamWeaver, Soul Activator...’ A CV that proved one woo too many for my more sceptical friends (yes, you!). I, on the other hand, appreciate the transparency. Since she was eight years old, Poppy grew up doing affirmations after her dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and her family life became centred round the power of positive thinking. (He lived for a further 15 years.) And so here I am rapid tapping meridian lines on my face, neck and chest; a centuries-old healing ritual a bit like acupuncture, while repeating my anxieties as I drum to trigger emotions. We worked on my throat and voice – making myself heard is a recurring issue. Something sure as hell shifted because that night I uncharacteristically blurted out a truth to someone close – no bad thing. And I’m feeling newly confident. It might look daft but there’s something ancient, comforting and clearing about it. DO YOU MISS DAYDREAMING? As a teenager I’d while away hours staring into space. These days my imagination has to fight hard for the tiniest gaps between phone scrolling, actual work and endless to-do lists. New book When Brains Dream (WW Norton, £18.99) extols the virtues of day as well as night dreaming. Mind wandering in the day provides memories for processing that night, when dreams unpick meaning from those memories. So I’m now factoring in daydreams into my daily schedule. My teachers wouldn’t be proud. n

THIS MONTH I’LL BE...

BUYING dresses by Charo Ruiz – because if I can’t get to Ibiza, I’ll just wear a frock that’s made there (charoruiz.com). FANTASISING about faraway places as I spritz Fueguia perfume, made in Patagonia (fueguia.eu). IMAGINING the bliss of waking up at Kisawa, a new eco sanctuary in Mozambique (kisawasanctuary.com).

ILLUSTRATION BY MEI MEI, @MEIMEI_2503

‘A winter’s LOCKDOWN was only ever going to make cosy home-making the new BANANA BREAD-BAKING’

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EST. 1950

Strengthening bonds beautifully for over 70 years

In tro d u c in g ‘T h e M a rg u e rite C o lle c tio n ’ b y N in a C a m p b e ll A collaboration comprising 100% authentically handcrafted English fine bone china. Made in England.

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INTERVIEW

The RURBANIST

Laura Bailey on being a city girl and dreaming of future adventures

What’s bringing you joy at the moment? My friends and family. Those I live, walk and work with, but also faraway connections, albeit improvised and imagined for now. Also work – my lockdown year has been super-creative, from producing a charity film Food For London to my collaboration with my friend, stylist Cathy Kasterine, and Budd Shirtmakers on our dream shirt capsule collection, Bailey x Budd. What’s annoying you most right now? I am longing for the kids to be back at school and reunited with their tribes and passions: sport, drama, friendships. I hope we have learnt more about what matters most in our society and that post-pandemic we can refocus on building equality and empathy, protecting the most vulnerable, and investing in all kinds of care. I hope we can also celebrate and support the arts, including the fashion industry, as it’s so integral to national morale and identity. Advice you’d give to your 15-year-old self? Write it all down. Wear sunblock. And everything’s going to be OK. City or country? City – my Portobello Road community. There’s history, culture, nature, sport and friends all a walk or cycle away. I’m a London girl at heart but relish a weekend at a country hotel or staying with friends, and adventures in nature. When I have to get away, I go to…. In normal times, a mix of work and pleasure in Paris usually does the trick! For now, I lose myself in a movie or a novel, and imagine future adventures. Peru, Mexico City, the west coast of Ireland… What’s the best way to put a smile on your face? The right song at the right time. The pet you most loved… My dogs Frankie and Bambi, lurcher mixes. My two beloved shadows. You wouldn’t know it but… I’m obsessed with tennis and would play every day if I could. The book you wished you’d written I don’t wish I’d written it but I am most grateful for Love in The Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. The film you wished you’d starred in? Bonnie and Clyde. (Partly for the costumes.) Your greatest failure? I really regret giving up French and piano. But maybe it’s not too late. Your greatest triumph? My kids and my friendships.

Laura is a model, photographer and Vogue contributing editor. Bailey x Budd is out now. buddshirts.co.uk/bailey-x-budd

SCENT Chanel No 19 BOX SET Call My Agent CHOCOLATE BAR Bounty SONG Girl in Amber – Nick Cave GADGET Leica Q2 camera RESTAURANT The River Café HOLIDAY Amalfi coast DISH Bar snacks: hunks of Parmesan, fat green olives, nuts, crackers and wine

PHOTO: NICK HADDOW

LAURA LOVES

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Nouveaux Classiques Collection

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STYLE Edited by Mariella Tandy

Blue Crush PHOTO: © FRANCO FONTANA FOR SPORTMAX

Saturated hues take denim to the next level this spring Sportmax’s Denim Culture capsule collection is dedicated to the blue stuff, and each season a different artist collaborates with the brand. This spring, it’s Italian abstract photographer Franco Fontana. Eight of his signature colourful works are transposed onto the collection, which was also shot by him. Crop top, £180; skirt, £425. sportmax.com

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STYLE | Shopping

The

EDIT Wardrobe classics and bags of goodness. By Mariella Tandy

MIRACLE EYE TREATMENTS

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Zeus+Dione’s new creative director Marios Schwab was inspired by Greek goddesses to create his first collection for the brand, featuring effortless silk dresses and beautiful draped separates. Fittingly, there’s also a collaboration with Ancient Greek Sandals to round it all off. Dione dress, £875; sandals, £320. matchesfashion.com

FRINGE BENEFITS

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These Forrest earrings from Vanda Jacintho are made from ebano wood, gold-plated beads and buriti straw. The wood is sourced from a sustainable plantation and the buriti straw fringes are crafted by indigenous communities in the Amazon. £271, vandajacintho.com

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1 Oskia Eye Wonder. £54, oskiaskincare.com 2 Tata Harper Illuminating Eye Crème. £100, cultbeauty.com 3 Kjaer Weis Beautiful Eye Balm. £59, kjaerweis.com

A TRUE ICON

An enduring design classic through the ages, the Chanel 11.12 bag comes in an array of leathers and colours this season. Chanel 11.12 bag in dark blue leather, £5,970. chanel.com

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SHINE BRIGHT

Marina Raphael’s divine collection of bags includes these innovative woven denim numbers, finished with leather and small Swarovski crystals – a nod to Marina’s heritage as part of the Swarovski clan. As well as elegant exteriors, both have a napa leather strap to enable them to be worn across the body. Alexa bag, £680; Micro Riviera, £780. marinaraphael.com

Toteme cardigan, £560; dress, £540. totemestudio.com

Caes body, £103.79; skirt, £216.22. caesstore.com

Balençiaga Hourglass wool blazer, £2,250. matchesfashion.com

ON THE RADAR These wardrobe workhorses are the real classics you’ll turn to time and again

Khaite trench, £1,680. khaite.com

Gucci Horsebit 1955 bag, £1,940. gucci.com

Wardrobe NYC leggings, £400. wardrobe.nyc

BUYING THE EARTH

DeMellier is collaborating with seven remarkable women, designing sustainable tote bags with 100 per cent of profits going to seven different charities. The Earth tote (right) was designed by creative director and stylist Angela Fink, and will raise money for No More Plastic, a nonprofit foundation that generates awareness about plastic pollution and supports the development of solutions that will help end the cycle of single-use plastics. £185, demellier.com March/April 2021 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK | 25

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STYLE | Trend LOEWE Logo tab leather Derby shoes, £550

BLACK EYEWEAR Garland acetate sunglasses, £187

HIT THE ROAD

IRIS & INK Pleated midi dress, £175

Make a swishy, tiered midi skirt your packing pin-up: pair it with a Breton knit and plimsolls for travelling, and a camisole or crop-top and espadrille wedges once you’ve arrived. Lou skirt, £290; Nora crop top, £220. lorettacaponi.it

RIXO Kristen Midaxi dress, £305

ZIMMERMANN Rainbow skirt, £635

IRENE NEUWIRTH Gumball chrysoprase necklace, £3,735

ETRO Belt, £320

Suitcase SAVIOURS

Wherever you holiday this year, it pays to be prepared, says Mariella Tandy

CITIZENS OF HUMANITY Aubrey Skirt, £310 ERDEM Mask and hat set, £270

HAMPTON SUN SPF 30 lotion, £33

PARAVEL Monogrammed cosmetics case, £105

MARK CROSS Raffia and leather trimmed tote, £2,100

SEE P134 FOR STOCKISTS

W

e’re all in need of a holiday. And whether it’s a staycation down the road or a bucket list destination, it’s important you get your packing right. The key to any holiday packing list is accessories that can multi-task and work with everything else in your suitcase. Plus, don’t forget to pack a do-it-all jacket for last minute showers and Erdem’s handy mask, pouch and hat set.

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STYLE | Jewellery FLYING HIGH

Simplicity, practicality and innovation were the major principles of Alberto SantosDumont, the Brazilian aviation pioneer. In 1904, Louis Cartier granted the famous aviator’s wish: to be able to man the controls of his plane without having to stop to check his pocket watch. In doing so, Cartier revolutionised watchmaking by creating the first modern wristwatch, the Santos de Cartier. Its latest iteration, the Santos-Dumont, captures that original spirit. Santos-Dumont watch in rose gold, £10,800. cartier.com

ALL TIED UP Boodles’ latest collection, Ribbons, takes its cue from Japan where head of design Rebecca Hawkins was inspired by the traditional silk obi belt. The collection comprises Ashoka-cut diamonds paired with platinum, yellow and rose gold to create three different strands – three being a lucky number in Japan. Much like Boodles’ Raindance collection, this is a certain future classic. Ribbons earrings, £7,000; three stone pendant, £13,500, boodles.com

The Magpie

Mariella Tandy’s new destination for vintage gems, and a future classic

SECONDCHANCE SALOON

Vintage jewellery, from a selection at omneque.com

Omnēque is a new online marketplace that sources, curates and rigorously vets the most incredible antique and vintage jewellery on the market. Set up by award-winning jewellery historian and author Vivienne Becker and fine jewellery specialist, Joanna Hardy, the platform includes a concierge service offering personal shopping, bespoke commissions, valuations and remodelling advice. Clients can also have pieces cleaned and restored to as good as new. omneque.com

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THREE ROMAN FINDS Roman numerals and insignia have long been a favourite of the jewellery cognoscenti. Modern day interpretations incorporate classic details mixed with a lighter, contemporary feel. 1 Dubini Emperor Flip ring in 18-carat gold. £795, dubini.co.uk 2 Elizabeth Gage Roman coin earrings in silver and 18-carat gold. £7,800, elizabeth-gage.com 3 Tiffany & Co. Atlas X bangle in 18-carat yellow gold. £5,725, tiffany.co.uk

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P R O M OT I O N

Skin necklace, £580

String pendant, £255

SHAPE OF NATURE A sense of movement and life are at the heart of Giovanni Raspini’s spring/summer ’21 collection

Giovanni Raspini

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he natural world has always been a major source of inspiration for master jeweller and silversmith Giovanni Raspini. Having spent over 35 years at the head of the renowned Italian brand, Giovanni is an expert at taking ideas from nature and spinning them into beautiful, covetable fine jewellery. Every piece is then painstakingly created in the brand’s Tuscan headquarters, where dedicated silversmiths and craftsmen work their magic with infinite skill and care. Following a year when nature has been at the forefront of our conversations like never before, Giovanni’s latest collection is a testament to the fascinating beauty and life force inherent to the natural world. Take Skin, a new series in the spring/summer 21 collection that takes inspiration from the awe-inspiring fox skull necklace in Giovanni’s 2020 ‘Jewels from a Wunderkammer’ exhibition (bottom right). Otherwise known as a ‘cabinet of curiosities’, the one-of-akind Wunderkammer pieces transformed natural objects – honeycomb, dinosaur teeth, lunar meteorites – into evocative objets d’art. Skin, a collection of necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings in die-cast burnished silver, reimagines this idea, focusing on how shapes and textures from the animal world move and repeat, creating jewel-like patterns of their own. Similarly, the String collection of necklaces, bracelets and earrings plays with ideas of texture, movement and form, imagining volumes of silver thread wrapping around an object. The concept is brought to life in burnished silver, with the layered strands creating a fascinating

Sicily long earrings, £230

Petra small bangle, £225

chiaroscuro effect. For Sicily, Giovanni headed back to the natural world, for a delicate collection that showcases the splendours of marine life. Combining the beauty of burnished silver with the elegance of freshwater pearls, Sicily showcases shells, sea urchins, starfish, celebrating these mysterious and ancient forms. Finally, Giovanni has revisited two beloved collections for spring/summer ’21. Petra continues the series that was debuted for autumn/winter ’20 and inspired by the intricate, faceted natural forms from the mineral world. To this range he has added a silver pendant, ring, earrings and bangle, plus a gilded silver bangle and earrings, all with bolder, enhanced textures and sizes. Crocodile also follows on from the popular Moon Crocodile collection of spring/summer ’20, developing the signature reptile pattern and applying it to a light and elegant silver bangle and three earrings styles, also available in Moon gilded silver. Crocodile earrings, £195

The fox skull necklace from the ‘Jewels from a Wunderkammer’ exhibition in 2020

Giovanni Raspini specialises in jewellery, sculptures and homeware, with boutiques in London, Monaco, Moscow, Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Verona and Naples. 5 South Molton Street, Mayfair, W1. 020 7629 1401; giovanniraspini.com

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STYLE | Men’s

Well Groomed It’s time to brighten – and lighten – up, says Matt Thomas

NEW & LINGWOOD Skull & Crossbones pin fringed scarf, £195. newandlingwood.com

SUMMERTIME HUES

Summer slip-ons, hazy colours inspired by seaside sunsets and boating plimsolls in water-resistant suedes all feature in John Lobb’s gloriously sun-soaked spring/ summer collection. From £520, johnlobb.com

SING THE BLUES

Limited to just 100 pieces, the new IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s Watch Big Date Bucherer BLUE marks a double first: it’s the first Big Pilot’s Watch to come from the renowned collaboration between IWC and Bucherer, and the first to feature a big date complication. Irrewristable. £13,100, bucherer.com

YVES SALOMON Army waterproof nylon jacket. £500, yves-salomon.com

ALL CHANGE Profits from the sale of this Change bracelet go to support the AMT Youth Programme, which helps young black people in south east London find opportunities in creative industries. From £280, alicemadethis.com

ACNE STUDIOS Hooded sweatshirt. £330, acnestudios.com

NEED FOR TWEED

Inspired by Michele Clapton’s costume design in the upcoming The King’s Man movie starring Ralph Fiennes, Mr Porter’s latest Kingsman collection is all about classic cuts and timeless British fabrics. mrporter.com

RAPHA Brevet lightweight jersey. £120, rapha.cc BENNETT WINCH Weekender in olive. £575, bennettwinch.com

PHOTOS: © JAMIE FERGUSON; MR PORTER

MACKINTOSH Yellow Teeming jacket. £400, mackintosh.com

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The Explora Deluxe Rucksack. Handcrafted alongside our prized best guns and rifles. westleyrichards.com/explora

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© Valérie Lade

© Peter Lippmann

Rainforest www.baobabcollection.com

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HEALTH&

WELLBEING

Less is More

Why you need to empty your make-up bag and embrace the skinimalism trend this spring Good bye, full-face: skinimalism is the beauty trend that's encouraging us to ditch our complicated make-up routines in favour of a stripped-back, tint 'n' glow alternative. Going back to basics with your beauty shelf is not only better for the environment but a lot better for your skin, too. What’s more, the skinimalism trend puts the emphasis on just being you, a welcome step towards banishing old-fashioned beauty ideals.

Photographer: Emily Delphine Model: Candace Kohl at MOT Models Make-up: Camilla Hewitt at One Represents using NARS Swimsuit: Evarae Otto swimsuit, made with sustainable Econyl. £270, evarae.com

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HEALTH & WELLBEING | Review

Embrace the change with these clever buys, says Olivia Falcon

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s I peel off my Pangaia tracksuit and emerge from lockdown hibernation, I wonder: what kind of brave new world awaits us? Things are sure to be different and for many the thought of change is deeply uncomfortable. To smooth your path I want to share a few new discoveries that should make the ride less bumpy. First up, let me offer some relief from crippling period pains and introduce you to Livia (£199, mylivia.com), a neat, hand-held device that can be attached with sticky, flower-shaped pads onto the tummy, back, or anywhere that aches. It delivers an electric current to divert nerve impulses, hence blocking the sharp stab of period pains – a similar concept to a TENS machine but far more portable. Having road-tested Livia for

MIND & MATTER

Three ways to energise your brain and body BATHE Bathscaping: the art of creating a harmonising scheme around your bathtub is a big trend for 2021. What better way to do it than with this jaunty Scandi travel set? Björk & Berries Birch Ritual Kit, £50. bjorkandberries.com

BOOST Clear lockdown brain fog and supercharge productivity with Indi’s plant-based blends. The Mind formulation contains nootropics, which boost cognitive function. From £40. indisupplements.com

PHOTOS: KSENIA CHERNAYA @ PEXELS

BODY LANGUAGE

BASTE I’m loving the light and enlivening fragrance of this body oil with grapefruit and black pepper. It puts some ping back into crepey skin, while making it glisten and glow. Olverum Firming Body Oil, £44. olverum.com

a couple of months I can report it really does work and I now wouldn’t have a month without it. I know people have been fretting about how they appear on Zoom but I’m more concerned about how I’ll look when I finally step back out into society. It all got pretty feral back in January. Luckily, I have discovered Summer Fridays’ new Cloud Dew (£39, cultbeauty.co.uk). An ultra-lightweight gel cream infused with three types of hyaluronic acids and packed with ceramides, minerals and amino acids, it has brought welcome relief to my ruddy, puffy, flaky computer-screen skin. I am also smitten with the Beautifect Box (£279, beautifect.com). This was sent to me by Tara Lalvani, a working mum searching for a stress-free solution to the problem of messy make-up bags and dodgy lighting. The box is a lightweight portable make-up case that has brilliant storage for all your beauty tools, plus professional lighting at the touch of a button, with multiple settings from daylight to candlelight (essential for date nights). It also has a large mirror, plus a magnifying mirror that clips on and off if you need to do forensic pore patrol (be careful here as it makes spot-picking addictive). You will effortlessly pull off the perfect make-up look, whether at the kitchen table or in a dark hotel room. My final revelation has literally lightened my load. Pre-pandemic I was wedded to my huge shoulder bag. In January I traded this in for a Crossbody Bandolier purse and phone case (£85, jessimara.com). The brand has multiple styles and colours; I plumped for the Valentino-esque black/gold pebble-leather Sarah pouch, with studded shoulder strap, that carries my keys, cards and phone. My slouchy posture has straightened out dramatically. So let’s walk out into the spring sunshine with our shoulders back and a big smile. Better times are just round the corner. n

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Sustainability | HEALTH & WELLBEING

MY LITTLE GREEN BOOK Lisa Grainger’s top tips for ditching toxic chemicals from your cleaning regime

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taying indoors might keep us safe from the dreaded virus. But, as the US Environmental Protection Agency recently warned, we now use so many chemicals to clean our homes that levels of pollutants are up to five times higher inside than they are outdoors – and they are poisoning our bodies and our environment. How to start afresh? Here are four simple suggestions to clean up your (house) act.

MAKE YOUR OWN CONCOCTIONS

Most cleaners are a combination of bicarb (to scrub, deodorise, remove stains and soften fabrics), citric acid (to remove stains and limescale), vinegar (for glass) and vegetable soap (for washing). British companies Dri-Pak and Fill sells all these natural basics, and dispense online recipes and advice, so you can concoct your own, safe in the knowledge that you know precisely what’s in them. dri-pak.co.uk; fillrefill.co

BUY NATURAL PRODUCTS THAT BIODEGRADE

Many chemicals remain in the waterways for decades. So it’s important to buy natural products that biodegrade, and in an ideal world are crueltyfree, as well as free from chemicals, synthetics, palm oil and petroleum. Great British brands include Tincture, Kinn and Colt & Willow. Good labels to look out for? The Soil Association, Allergy UK, and the Leaping Bunny. tincturelondon.com; kinn-living. com; coltandwillow.com

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; PEXELS

CHOOSE REFILLS

Rather than cluttering your cupboard with dozens of little plastic bottles – and worse still, aerosols – buy bulk-products whose packaging can be sent back to UK companies such as Delphis, Greenscents, Bower Collective, Faith in Nature, and Bio-D. Decant the liquids into a PET, glass or aluminium bottle from Fill or Ampulla and add home-designed labels. delphiseco.com; greenscents. co.uk; bowercollective.com; faithinnature.co.uk; biod.co.uk

MINIMISE THE PRODUCTS YOU USE

Only three liquids are essential to clean a home: a glass-cleaner, a grease-remover and a disinfectant. All of which the ecofriendly Koh makes in its mop bundle, alongside microfibre cloths, a (very cool) mop, diamond-dust scourers and two welldesigned refillable atomisers. Everything is fragrance free – add your favourite essential oil if you like. koh.com

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HEALTH & WELLBEING | News

Beauty BUZZ Get your shine on, says Nathalie Eleni

GO FOR GOLD

Four opulent shades in flattering earthy tones that can take you from elegant and low-key to bold and smokey-eyed with ease. Sweep the gold shade on the centre of the socket and inner corners for added wow factor. Tom Ford Eye Colour Quad in Desert Fox, £68. harrods.com

Model: Grace-Jolie Makeup: @Nathalieeleni_beauty Photo: @lundonlens Hair: @carlosferraz_ using Bumble & Bumble Earrings: Dinny Hall

NEW ANGLE

PACK IT IN

The Hur.iron Slant is a genius new hair styling tool that’s ergonomically designed to tilt by 30°, making it perfect for crafting casual, beachy waves. It also has five heat settings for every type of hair, plus floating, mineralinfused ceramic plates that prevent damage, breakage and snagging, and ensure shinier, longer-lasting results. £149, hurhair.co.uk

These cheerful Hill & Friends hand-made make-up bags will give you a little moment of joy while putting your make-up on in the morning. Choose from a selection of fun and fabulous colour ways. £65, hillandfriends.com

HOT OFF THE PRESS Created with every skin tone in mind, meet Peacci’s Nu Nudes collection, a line-up of 12 stunning nude nail polishes, in a gradient of tones from light vanilla to deep mocha. What’s more, it’s all vegan and cruelty free. £10, peacci.com

HOW TO… MASTER SLEEK & SHINY HAIR Start with freshly washed and conditioned hair. De-tangle it gently and apply a conditioning heat-protection product – one of my favourites is Living Proof Restore Repair Leave-In (£26, livingproof.co.uk). Then comb with a fi ne-tooth comb to help close your hair’s outer cuticles (the outermost layer on the hair shaft) and encourage more shine. Next, blow dry your hair with the nozzle attached; point the air down the hair shaft. Using a natural bristle brush will encourage more shine. Finally, once your hair is dry, secure and seal in the shine with a cold blast of air.

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

CELEBRITY HAIR STYLIST BEN COOKE SHARES HIS TOP TIPS

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How do you live yours? Here at Life, we create kitchens to be lived in. So, come and explore our beautiful showroom and tell us how you live yours. Railway Arch 213, Newnham Terrace, Hercules Road, Lambeth, London SE1 7DR

www.life-kitchens.co.uk

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HEALTH & WELLBEING | Take Ten

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This Ingenious Beauty Ultimate Collagen supplement comes in a patented capsule that protects the collagen peptides from being destroyed by stomach acid. It can also boast the improvement of skin quality in 98 per cent of women tested. £54.99, feelingenious. com

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Achieve the results of a glowing oxygen facial at home with the innovative Oxyjet Go. Using needle-free oxygen pressure injections it delivers cosmetic serums to the dermal layer of the skin making it look vibrant and alive, even after one session. £799, oxyjetuk.co.uk

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For jaw-dropping (or lifting, in this instance) results on acne, rosacea and sagging skin, the Lyma Laser is well worth the investment. Try the Starter Kit, with the laser, plus Lyma Active mist and Priming serum. £1,999, lyma.life

Skin DEEP

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Augustinus Bader The Body Cream contains the brand’s TFC8 complex of amino acids, high-grade vitamins and synthesised molecule – which means improved appearance of cellulite and stretch marks to you and me. £130, augustinusbader.com

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Take your skin regime up a notch with at-home microneedling. Environ’s Gold Cosmetic Roll-CIT creates micro channels in the skin to increase product delivery and stimulate circulation. £199, harveynichols.com

Nathalie Eleni’s top ten picks to make your skin sing

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A golden tan, no beach needed. The James Read Glow20 facial tan serum gives a nourishing sun-kissed look in just 20 minutes, with featured ingredients including aloe vera, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. £25, james readtan.com

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Sometimes all you need is to be slathered in the luxury of a deeply nourishing gold mask. Look no further than the Temple Spa Trufflesque Hydrating Radiance Mask, which leaves skin plumper, more lifted, super hydrated and silky smooth. £55, templespa.com

A juice cleanse for city skins. Beauty Cleanse Deep Cleansing Oil and Makeup Remover soothes and treats all skin types with sustainable superfood ingredients for a luxe clean. £26, beautycleanse skincare.com

PHOTOS: UNSPLASH

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If you take your skincare science seriously, the Skingenuity Facial Rejuvenation Home Kit is for you. Coming with an instruction video, this four to six week treatment contains all you need to help repair, regenerate and improve your skin without a salon visit. £250, skingenuity.co.uk

The tightening technology in the nifty Silk’n Facetite gadget heats the cell layers of the skin to help collagen and elastin fibres contract for firmer, healthier looking skin with regular use. £199, silkn.eu

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How do you live yours? Here at Life, we create kitchens to be lived in. So, come and explore our beautiful showroom and tell us how you live yours. Railway Arch 213, Newnham Terrace, Hercules Road, Lambeth, London SE1 7DR

www.life-kitchens.co.uk

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HEALTH & WELLBEING | Wellness

Body & SOUL Camilla Hewitt on home hacks that make you feel good

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LOUNGE WITH PURPOSE

You are what you wear: Live The Process is an American holistic fitness and wellness label whose activewear focuses on performance, comfort and versatility, designed to aid inner transformation. Co-founder Robyn Berkley describes the collection as a direct reflection of the balance we seek in our daily lives. livetheprocess.com

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YOU ARE WHAT YOU SMELL

Natural scents from essential oils can be calming, stimulating or sedative, depending on their formulation. Invigorating citrus notes such as lemon evoke an energised, awake feeling while soothing sandalwood promotes relaxation, mood stability and restful sleep. Aery Happy Space candle, £26. aeryliving.com

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ON YOUR BIKE

In partnership with spin studio Boom Cycle, Apex is the latest bike brand offering an at-home workout at a more accessible price. The design is ergonomic but comfortable, resulting in a compact, clean aesthetic that’s sure to inspire regular pedal pushing. £1,200. apexrides.com

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HYDRATION AT HOME

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We all know drinking enough water is key to health, not least because dehydration is known to be a cause of anxiety. If you struggle to reach the recommended daily dose, R+D.Lab’s blown-glass 750ml Tuccio carafe is the prettiest reminder to keep topped up. $155 plus shipping. researchanddesignlab.com

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ART ATTACK

The art on your walls can inspire, instil a sense of calm, evoke memories and even make you feel less alone. Refreshing your pictures after months at home may reinvigorate your mood and breathe new life into your interiors. Try Partnership Editions for affordable original art. partnershipeditions.com

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Our new sense of sustainability and wellbeing will fuel regenerative travel that involves lower carbon footprints and plenty of time in the great outdoors. Cycling, surfing, coasteering and wild swimming will take centre stage this spring and summer, and Gara Rock on the south coast of Devon provides the perfect spot. With no phone signal, a secluded beach and a sumptuous spa, a weekend here will encourage you to disconnect from stress and reconnect with Mother Nature. BOOK IT: Double rooms from £285 per night B&B (two-night minimum stay). gararock.com

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

« CHECK IN: Gara Rock, Devon

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GUIDED BY CENTURIES OF T RA D I T I O N , I N S P I R E D BY N AT U R E

W H E N N AT U R E I S R E F L E C T E D I N D E S I G N , T H E R E S U LT S A R E T I M E L E S S

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PLEASE NOTE THAT EVENT DATES MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE DUE TO COVID

CULTURE

Who Run the World?

Musician Fatoumata Diawara will perform at the WOW Festival 2021

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Listen to Fearne Cotton and Ruby Wax discuss the meaning of freedom, take part in a Brazilian-inspired dance class and learn about the future of robots at the digital version of this year’s Women of the World Festival, which runs every March to tie in with International Women’s Day. 1-21 March 2021. thewowfoundation.com

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CULTURE | What’s On

The Sky was Blue the Sea was Blue and the Boy was Blue, Paula Rego (2017)

THE SPRING CALENDAR It’s still digital, yes, but doable. Six unmissable events, by Ellie Smith

DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY’S DIGITAL SEASON

Inspired by its major exhibition Unearthed: Photography’s Roots, Dulwich Picture Gallery has launched a new season of digital events. The series culminates with an online gallery late, Unearthed at Home, on 16 April. It features a discussion on nature in contemporary photography plus a drawing masterclass with artist Dan Whiteson. It’s free, but book an online place in advance. dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk

FEELING BLUE

What does the colour blue represent in art? Asks The Sky was Blue the Sea was Blue and the Boy was Blue, the new digital exhibition from Victoria Miro, featuring works by 19 artists from the gallery including Chantal Joffe, Idris Khan and Paula Rego. It’s being presented on Vortic Collect, an app allowing users to browse exhibitions in virtual reality. Until 31 March, vorticxr.com

CIVILISED SUNDAYS

The programme of talks from Ravinder Bhogal’s Marylebone restaurant Jikoni is back in a digital format, with an at-home meal kit. First up: author Caleb Azumah Nelson and essayist Yemisi Aribisala. 28 March, jikonilondon.com

THE HENRY MOORE STUDIOS & GARDENS

Get your culture fix in the open air. The Hertfordshire workplace and family home of Henry Moore is reopening its gardens at the end of March, offering visitors the chance to explore 23 impressive, large-scale bronze sculptures across 70 acres of countryside. 31 March to 31 October. henry-moore.org

INSIDE OUT

The Southbank Centre’s online series Inside Out is back – a performance on 19 March from innovative ensemble The London Contemporary Orchestra, includes a premiere from Sigur Rós guitarist Kjartan Sveinsson. £10 per ticket, southbankcentre.co.uk

PHOTOS: © JONTY WILDE; © RICHARD LEAROYD

Longing to change your interiors after spending so long cooped up inside? Get inspired at London Design Week 2021, which involves a mix of in-person and virtual events. Sustainability is a key theme across the new collections, with a variety of designs influenced by the natural world. 12-16 April, dcch.co.uk

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PHOTOS: © BERTIE WAATSON; © RSC/STUART MARTIN; © RODDY BOW

LONDON DESIGN WEEK


The Critical LIST

Hair and Make-Up: Maria Comparetto Styling: Olga Timofejeva

Big releases to bookmark

LINE OF DUTY Steve Arnott and the AC-12 crew are back for a sixth series of Line of Duty. Will we finally discover who H is? 21 March, BBC1

TV

DREAM ON Shakespeare gets a modern spin with virtual reality: you can watch for free or participate for £10. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 12-20 March, rsc.org.uk

PHOTOS: © BERTIE WAATSON; © RSC/STUART MARTIN; © RODDY BOW

PHOTOS: © JONTY WILDE; © RICHARD LEAROYD

THEATRE

ONE TO WATCH

Darci Shaw is lighting up the small screen, says Ellie Smith

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aking on Judy Garland is no mean feat – particularly when you’re just 16, and it’s your first acting role. Yet Liverpool-born Darci Shaw pulled off playing a young Judy in Rupert Goold’s eponymous 2019 biopic with flying colours. ‘It was a huge privilege to play such a timeless icon,’ Darci says. ‘To tell her story gave me a feeling of great responsibility and pride.’ Shortly after Judy came out, Shaw went on to play Holly Meredith in Morecambe-based ITV crime drama, The Bay, alongside Morven Christie and Chanel Cresswell. But it’s her latest venture, new Netflix show The Irregulars, that really gives Shaw space to shine.

The eight-part series, a twist on the classic Sherlock Holmes tale, is set in a dystopian version of Victorian London. Shaw, now 18, stars as Jessie, one of a group of teens that are manipulated into solving crimes for the sinister Doctor Watson (Royce Pierreson) and Sherlock Holmes (Henry Lloyd-Hughes). When a dark power begins to emerge, it’s up to the Baker Street Irregulars to save London. ‘The Irregulars is gripping, twisted and eerie, with a deep-rooted theme of grief and loss,’ Darci tells us. ‘Playing Jessie was thrilling,’ she adds, ‘as I got to experience so many weird and wonderful things.’ The Irregulars premieres on Netflix on 26 March

BEN HOWARD Collections From The Whiteout is Ben Howard’s new album, produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner. Out 26 March

MUSIC THE APOLOGY LINE Wondery’s new podcast, The Apology Line tells the story of a confessional hotline created in the ‘80s, which saw thousands of people ringing up to apologise for crimes big and small. wordery.com

PODCAST

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CULTURE | What’s On FROM TOP: At a Window I, Spotted Dress, Second Version, (1980); Archie Brennan weaving in Nunavut, Canada, 1991; Muhammad Ali (1973)

MY Cultural LIFE

PREVIEW Archie Brennan: Tapestry Goes Pop! By Amy Wakeham

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rchie Brennan is one of those artists whose names should roll off the tongue as easily as Andy Warhol or David Hockney. A pop artist who collaborated with the latter, and shared the former’s obsession with celebrity, his career spanned more than 60 years until his death in 2019, and shaped modern weaving as the art form it is today. He’s ‘possibly the greatest Scottish Pop artist you have never heard of,’ according to Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, the venue for a major new retrospective of his work, Archie Brennan: Tapestry Goes Pop!, from March to June this year. The world-renowned tapestry studio

raised over £25,000 through a public appeal in 2020 to support this major retrospective. It will bring together over 80 of Brennan’s tapestries as well as archive material from his long career. The artist is credited with transforming a dying art form with his bright, pop culture-inspired tapestries, which feature faces like Princess Diana and Muhammad Ali. Brennan often depicted current events in his work, contrasting his fleeting subject matter with the timeconsuming process of weaving. Despite becoming known as ‘the Scottish Andy Warhol’, however, his name has been somewhat forgotten in recent years, which is why Dovecot pushed to memorialise him in the exhibition. ‘I think it was down to him working in tapestry,’ Kate Grenyer, curator of Dovecot Studios, told the BBC. ‘When people think of art they think of painting and sculpting. Tapestry was a bit of a niche thing to do.’ Archie Brennan: Tapestry Goes Pop! 26 March to 26 June 2021. dovecotstudios.com

I’m tuning into... Talk Art – a podcast dedicated to the world of art with Russell Tovey and Robert Diament. I’m reading... How To Write An Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee. The last thing I watched... P-Valley, an adaptation of a Katori Hall play on Amazon Prime. I’m most looking forward to seeing... Steven Spielberg’s

West Side Story. Favourite painting... Phyllis

by George Tobin. Favourite film of all time....

The Florida Project (2017). The singer I always have on repeat... Laura Mvula. My cultural recommendation is.. @

bumpkin.files is the Instagram account of photographer Karis Beaumont, an ongoing exhibition of photography exploring Black British life outside London. Cultural guilty pleasure?

Bling Empire. It’s A Sin is on channel4.com. Interview by Sofia Tindall

PHOTOS: © PHIL SHARP; © Victoria and Albert Museum; Archie Brennan Estate

Omari Douglas, star of It’s A Sin, is looking forward to West Side Story

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Books | CULTURE

BIBLIO FILE

Belinda Bamber on a Francis Bacon triple whammy and literary spring awakenings TANTALISING TRIPTYCH

Francis Bacon: Revelations by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan (Collins, £30) unveils a charismatic, even sweet side to the painter whose unsettling genius on canvas was matched by his energy for bar crawls and lovers’ brawls. His flirtations and fall-outs – with peers like Lucian Freud – make it riveting prep for the Royal Academy’s postponed show, Francis Bacon: Man and Beast. So too is Max Porter’s profound poetic conjuring of nine paintings in The Death of Francis Bacon (Faber, £6.99). The three make for an unmissable Bacon triptych.

LATIN LOVER

This translation of Catullus’ Latin love poems by Isobel Williams is a far cry from the ‘amo amas amat’ chants of the schoolroom. In Catullus: Shibari Carmina (Carcanet ABOVE: Study of Lucian Freud (1969) Press, £13.49), she uses LEFT: Self-Portrait (1972) Japanese rope bondage, or shibari, as the central metaphor for the poet’s obsession with erotic entrapment. Illustrated with her own watercolours (like the above, sketched live at a London shibari venue) it’s the perfect gift for a literate lover, secured with a deftly-knotted silk ribbon. Best read aloud, schoolgirl garb optional.

SIX OF THE BEST

PHOTOS: © PHIL SHARP; © Victoria and Albert Museum; Archie Brennan Estate

PAGE-TURNERS Three new fiction books bring a glow to chilly March nights. First, Kazuo Ishiguro’s muchanticipated Klara and the Sun (Faber, £20) imagines an AI future in which Klara, an unusually empathic ‘bot, learns about love the hard way – from humans. In Light Perpetual (Faber, £16.99), Francis Spufford conjures the complex lost lives and adult loves that five children might have had, if a WW2 bomb had only missed its target. The Lamplighters (Picador, £14.99), by Emma Stonex, is an atmospheric mystery inspired by a true story about missing lighthouse keepers in Cornwall in the 1970s.

TRENDING

SPRING AWAKENING

Last year’s intense discussions around race identity highlighted neglected black writers such as Jacqueline Roy, whose affecting novel, The Fat Lady Sings (Penguin, £8.99), is in Black Britain: Writing Back, a series edited by Bernadine Evaristo. 2021 sees a buzz around top debuts like Raven Leilani’s Luster (Picador, £14.99), Neema Shah’s Kololo Hill (Picador, £14.99) and Hafsa Zayyan’s We Are All Birds of Uganda (#Merky, £14.99). But revealing new memoirs show how black (in)visibility continues to wreak personal crises that fracture our communities. Its impact ricochets across continents in Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu (Hodder, £16.99), and eats at the heart of a loving London-Irish family in Raceless, by Georgina Lawton (Sphere, £18.99). In One of Them (Unbound, £8.99), Musa Okwonga invites his alma mater Eton College to step up and equip its future leaders for making radical change in racial integration.

Another trio, exploring female appetites, suggest lockdown has created a craving for missed life. Hungry readers can feast on sex in Daisy Buchanan’s delicious novel Insatiable: A Love Story for Greedy Girls (Sphere, £12.99), food in Melissa Broder’s tastebud-teaser Milk Fed, in which two Jewish women fall in forbidden lust over a frozen yoghurt counter (Bloomsbury, £16.99), and a steaming pot of splendid Soho life in the diverting Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley (John Murray, £16.99).

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CULTURE | Books

THE GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND

Richard Hopton reviews three very different books on the environment

UNDER THE COVER WITH…

CALEB AZUMAH NELSON

The SE London author of Open Water talks to Belinda Bamber

1

HOW BEAUTIFUL WE WERE Imbolo Mbue

This novel catalogues the disastrous impact on the local population and environment due to unfettered commercial exploitation of natural resources, in this case drilling for oil. Set in a fictional African village in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Mbue’s touching story tells of how the local people fight back against the seemingly allpowerful forces arrayed against them. It conveys powerfully the clash of the arrogant materialism of a multinational company and the ancient superstitions of the local tribal people condemned to cope with the effects of this exploitation. Canongate, £14.99

2

ELEGY FOR A RIVER Tom Moorhouse

Tom Moorhouse is an ecologist who has spent much of his career studying water voles, an indigenous species facing extinction thanks to American mink. This lively, humorous book is partly an account of the joys and frustrations of fieldwork and partly the story of his attempts to reintroduce the water vole to its former habitats. His message is that ecology is complex and it’s folly to meddle; the final section is a heartfelt plea for a huge increase in conservation spending, which Moorhouse regards as both desperately needed and beneficial. Doubleday, £14.99

3

THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG Edward Abbey

Originally published in 1975, this is a novel about the desecration of the environment, in this case the rocky deserts of the south-western United States. It tells the story of the gang – a middle-aged doctor, a roughneck river-runner, a Vietnam vet and a drifting postgraduate – as they wage a spectacular campaign of industrial sabotage against big business and the US government agencies engaged in destroying and polluting the ancient desert landscapes. It’s linguistically brilliant, fizzing with verbal energy and invention. Penguin Modern Classics, £13.99

Open Water is unusual in giving an intimate male perspective on falling in love – and then falling apart. How does it feel to open your heart in your debut novel? A weird mix of

nerves, excitement and anticipation. Joyous too. Can stories enhance our human experience?

James Baldwin said: ‘You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.’ Who do you write for? I wrote for myself; for other Black people who haven’t felt seen; for anyone who has loved and lost, or grieved. Racism and fractured identity pierce this love story. What needs to change? Collective effort

to dismantle current racist power structures. Who are your role models? Zadie Smith, artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, singer Kendrick Lamar, film director Barry Jenkins. My parents, too. Which director would film your story? The brilliant Abraham Adeyemi, also a SE Londoner! What has life taught you?

To have patience and afford others care and grace. What is family to you?

Beyond blood. It’s people I love who give me the freedom to be myself. Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson (Viking, £12.99) n

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Some furniture is made for the here and now. Some is built to stand the test of time. At Neptune, we believe that the best can do both. Because good design never grows old.

neptune.com

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CULTURE | Column

The EXHIBITIONIST

If you go down to the Thames this spring you’re in for a light surprise, says Ed Vaizey

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Artist Leo Villareal will transform five more London bridges this spring, with light installations on the Thames inspired by each bridge’s unique history and location

Westminster. Referencing the nearby benches of the debating chamber of the House of Commons, the unexpected (and often overlooked), detailed latticework undercroft of Westminster Bridge will be illuminated in a soft green. Lambeth Bridge will have a red glow in a nod to the benches of the House of Lords’ chamber as well as mirroring the red accents of the bridge’s railings and arches. The vision for this philanthropically funded project has been made possible almost exclusively by four major benefactors, including Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, the Reuben Foundation and the Rothschild Foundation, with the support of the Mayor of London. Over the past five years, in spite of the challenges of 2020, the Illuminated River Foundation, led by director Sarah Gaventa, has managed to complete this bold project on time and on budget, an impressive feat. There is also a network of more than fifty stakeholders and project partners, including seven London boroughs, Transport for London and Network Rail, as well as organisations such as Historic England, the London Wildlife Trust and the RNLI. There has never been a better reason for taking a walk along the Thames – and it’s free and open! illuminatedriver.london n

PHOTOS: © JAMES NEWTON

he promise of a public art lighting installation to lift our spirits is a good reason to visit the Thames in central London this spring. New light artworks on five of London’s most famous bridges will be unveiled as part of Illuminated River, an ambitious public art project that is transforming the Thames. The five bridges – Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster, Golden Jubilee Footbridges and Lambeth – will join London, Cannon Street Railway, Southwark and Millennium bridges that were lit as part of the first phase of the Illuminated River project in 2019. It is estimated that 90 million people a year (Covid permitting) will see the artwork during the project’s ten-year lifespan. At 3.2 miles, it will also be the longest public art commission in the world. Conceived by New York-based artist Leo Villareal in collaboration with London-based award-winning architects, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, following a public competition, sitespecific artworks will show a subtle display of slowly moving light sequences along the Thames. Villareal’s vision will be apparent the moment you wander down to the river. Here he has created a unified series of evocative lighting installations that reflect each bridge’s cultural and historical context, drawing on other artists’ visions of the Thames, most notably Monet and Whistler. The historic, warm-hued columns that remain from the original railway bridge at Blackfriars Road Bridge have inspired the gentle combination of rosy colours across its arches. A monochromatic scheme across the Golden Jubilee Footbridges will mirror Villareal’s approach to the other pedestrian bridge in the artwork, the Millennium Bridge. Westminster and Lambeth Bridge bookend the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Palace of

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Some furniture is made for the here and now. Some is built to stand the test of time. At Neptune, we believe that the best can do both. Because good design never grows old. neptune.com

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CULTURE | Art

GLYNIS OWEN

Caiti Grove discusses realism versus abstraction with the celebrated sculptor

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lynis Owen is famous for her realist installations, yet she is an artist who dances the line between abstract and figurative genres. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Sculptors and author of books on casting and carving, her realist work appears all over the country. On Covent Garden’s Southampton Street her fourmetre-tall bronze relief dedicated to the once-busy fruit market features a young man bordered by a bounty of vegetables; he carries a tower of baskets on his head. Family is a remarkable stone sculpture in the centre of Stevenage. She even made the trophy – titled The Thinking Man – for the National Teaching Awards, and delights in seeing it recast every year. Yet her Hampstead house studio-gallery displays her abstract sculptures, painting and prints. ‘I’m constantly trying to leave figurative behind. But it always pulls me back somehow,’ she explains of her two fields. In front of a fireplace, three swirls of alabaster balance on plinths: ‘A college in Camden stopped teaching sculpture; a photographer friend was driving past in his camper van, spotted these stone carving tables and thought, “I know where they’ll have a good home”. I did the three of them last year.’ In a conservatory, chisels and hammers lie on a wooden table alongside maquettes, one a tall slither of a face. It’s Glynis’s grandson. ‘When he was about 14, he would gel his hair with this quiff. I had this long block of stone and wondered what to do with it. When I saw the Modigliani

exhibition at Tate Modern, I thought I’d do this stretched face.’ Front and centre of the studio is her latest work; a cylindrical swirl of Lincolnshire limestone, four feet high.’This is about the coronavirus; the figures help each other up, fall down and get back up,’ she says as she strokes the pale stone. ‘I love this timeless way of making – my mind works at the same pace as I carve. There’s a ring in the stone and a tap, tap, tap – I just lose myself in the act of creation.’ Back in the realist world, one of Glynis’s best-known works is her 1990 sculpture of cellist Jacqueline du Pré, who died tragically young. She never met her, but she lived up the road; Glynis’s neighbours recall her being pushed to the Heath in her wheelchair, her long hair blowing in the wind. After her death Glynis decided to make a sculpture to honour her, just as St Hilda’s College, Oxford commissioned a bronze for their concert hall built in her memory. ‘Serendipity,’ she says, ‘has played a big role in my career.’ Glynis remembers seeing the sculpture department at art college for the first time (she did her BA in fine art at Portsmouth College of Art). ‘I just thought: I love it; the sun was shining and all the blocks of stone looked golden. I thought: “Here’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.”’ glynisowensculptor.co.uk n

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NEWCASTLE 0191 281 3443

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CULTURE | Sport Fran Lebowitz brings her unique wit and incisive observations to Netflix

The Olympian

The Tokyo Olympics may hang in the balance, but athletes remain in training. Meanwhile, Seb Coe is enjoying Scorsese’s Pretend It’s a City

I

had really hoped that my March/April 2021 column would contain no mention of the ‘C’ word. Alas, Covid is still with us and additionally new variants have emerged, at the time of writing the country is in strict lockdown with severe travel restrictions. Still with us are the folksy, well-rehearsed asides from government scientists who by the day seamlessly grow into their newly acquired celebrity status – reminiscent of weather forecasters 30 years ago. These are fragile times. And it takes little to unsettle the horses. A maladroit speculation here, a misplaced word there is more than enough to fuel hours of speculative reportage and round-the-clock news coverage. Recently an anonymous opposition member of the ruling coalition in Japanese government briefed a foreign correspondent that, having already been postponed from last year, the Olympic Games in Tokyo now carded for July were once again on the skids. It really didn’t matter that the Japanese PM immediately addressed parliament and dismantled the story – the global media were

off and running. Mercifully, the athletes have become immune since last year’s postponement to unhelpful speculation and have maintained a laser-like focus on the next training session and summer medals. Although the pandemic is still with us there are two key differences between where we were this time last year and where we are now five months shy of the Tokyo Games. First, there

be delivered to a world craving the green shoots of normalcy and hope. It can more than play its part here. But for many, it’s still home schooling, Zoom calls, Netflix and Amazon. And talking of television, in these restaurant and pub-free evenings, Netflix is offering a gem of a series. Pretend It’s a City by Martin Scorsese and Fran Lebowitz won’t be for everybody. But it is for those who yearn for acerbic, irascible plain speaking and evidence that the Trump interlude was exactly that – a minuscule aberration in the tide of US fortunes. The format is simple. Lebowitz, the 70-year-old essayist (think Dorothy Parker meets Joan Rivers), laments not only the changing nature of her beloved New York but the snowflake discourse of fellow citizenry. She slices with a linguistic scalpel, laconic and manic in equal measure often within the same sentence. Throughout her freewheeling romp she is beautifully nudged up these delicious cul-desacs by director Martin Scorsese. Please can we have season two? Especially if we could put our self-satisfied Covid experts in front of her. n

is a vaccine which is now rolling out and will make an impact by the time we get to Tokyo and, as I write, the athletes still have access to training facilities and competition. Already this year we’ve witnessed two new world records in indoor athletics events. There is a real determination to hold a Games that is safe and secure. Crucially, there is a unity among the delivery partners, including the athletes, that the Games should

PHOTOS: NETFLIX

‘The ATHLETES... have maintained a LASER-LIKE FOCUS... on summer medals’

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Caterham Seven 310R PRICE £29,990 ENGINE 1.6 Ford Sigma POWER 152 bhp 0-62MPH 4.9 seconds TOP SPEED 127mph STREAMING The Prisoner theme tune

Road Test

Fancy an iconic British sports car with a heritage to match? A Caterham Seven is the ultimate no-frills roadster, says Jeremy Taylor

TOWN The badge on the bonnet may read Caterham but this two-

COUNTRY I’d advise a proper test drive before committing to a Seven,

seater is based on an original 1950s design from the founder of Lotus – the legendary Colin Chapman. The Lotus Seven was created as a simple, lightweight sports car and is still revered around the world today. When Chapman decided to halt production in 1973, Lotus agents Caterham Cars cleverly bought the rights. Many people think a Caterham is ‘just’ a kit car and, although you can still buy all the parts in a crate and build it yourself at home, most enthusiasts choose versions that are factory built in England. A Seven isn’t much fun around town: the coffin-shaped bodywork is low-slung and grounds out on speed bumps while the gearbox needs plenty of coaxing. With no air conditioning, the tiny cockpit can become sweaty on hot days. When it’s wet, with the roof in place, passengers need to be proficient in yoga to squeeze in and out of the side openings. If you suffer from claustrophobia, buy something else! Luggage space is limited – don’t expect a glovebox or cupholder – and there’s no security for any items left inside, which isn’t ideal for town driving. But still interested? Wait until you drive a Seven on the open road…

simply because this is a very different experience to handling any other sports car. While there are two seats, the Caterham is really a pure driver’s car. Comfort comes second to driving thrills, so all those weighty extras like a heater are optional. And there’s no point in a radio because you won’t be able to hear the music anyway. Features you should look to tick in the options boxes include the windscreen, hood and side screen package – no, they’re not included! – and a heated front windscreen, which is vital when the roof is in place because a Caterham is prone to steam up. The 310R will screech to 60mph in under five seconds but mainly scores for handling rather than straight line speed. The ‘wheel at each corner’ layout offers go-kart thrills, enhanced by the burble from a side-mounted exhaust pipe. I opened my Caterham savings account when I was 24. Sadly, life got in the way but I’m still intoxicated with excitement when I slide down into the driver’s seat of a Seven. Think motorcycle without a helmet and you won’t go far wrong. Although it’s uncomfortable, noisy and lacking in refinement, I still hanker to own one.

RATING: 3/5 HANDBAGS

RATING: 4/5 WELLIES

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Driving | CULTURE

THE DRIVE

DESTINATION: A SCOTTISH ROAD TRIP

Scotland has form as a pioneer of electric vehicles. Long before Elon Musk sparked a transport revolution, Aberdonian Robert Davidson created the world’s first electric locomotive using his own batteries. The Galvani was a prototype that was trialled on the Glasgow to Edinburgh line in 1842, when steam was king, and ran at a giddy 4 mph. Like Davidson, who was ultimately foiled by his impractical chemical batteries, the biggest problem facing UK electric car manufacturers today is the poor charging infrastructure. But north of the border Luxury Scotland has taken up the challenge, offering a network of top hotels with charging points and a touring itinerary that connects them. Silently pootling up a Scottish glen, my conventional-looking Audi offers no hint it’s electric-powered. The ride is smooth, the only complex feature a new gear level, which takes just a few miles to master. Compared to Davidson’s six-ton slowcoach, Audi’s e-tron is a flying machine. The electric SUV currently offers three battery choices; my mid-range 55 model powers the car to 62mph from standstill in under seven seconds. Roomy, well-built and reassuringly onbrand, the Audi e-tron will be the first step into electric car ownership for many people and, with more versions due, it is likely to dominate the SUV market. By the time I reach Kinloch Lodge on Skye, the e-tron has been re-charged three times since London and is down to its last 20 miles. We’re both ready to re-energise, as I flop in front of a log fire while the Audi is hooked up in the car park (£380 b&b, kinloch-lodge.com). Next stop on the electric car itinerary is the gloriously remote Isle of Eriska Hotel on

the west coast. This baronial-style mansion on its own private island offers an awardwinning spa, a Michelin-star restaurant and activities across 350 acres. Elegant and comfortable, it’s a great Scottish escape (£345 dinner, b&b, eriska-hotel.co.uk). Fully charged, I head on southwards to Glenapp Castle in Ayrshire, another off-thebeaten-track baronial pad overlooking the Hebridean islands. It once hosted Winston Churchill and sits atop a wooded hill with incredible views over the Irish Sea (£353 b&b, glenapp-castle.com). Scotland has set a target date for net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. And as the number of electric cars on Britain’s roads booms to 30 million in the next 20 years, Luxury Scotland’s initiative for electric car touring is forward-thinking. In fact, it’s just the sort of idea Robert Davidson would have dreamed of – albeit moving at a much higher speed. BOOK IT: luxuryscotland.co.uk Audi e-tron 55 quattro Launch Edition PRICE £85,185 MOTOR 300 kWh

Kinloch Lodge is one of Luxury Scotland’s network of top hotels that offer charging points for electric cars on a grand tour

IN THE BOOT

BEAM ME UP A torch is a vital piece of kit for any car. The Petzl Iko Core looks like no other – a lightweight, rechargeable head torch with a 500-lumen beam. For hands-free ‘safety first’ at the roadside. £75, petzl.com THE VAC THAT PACKS Roidmi’s new cordless RS60 is the ultimate car valet tool. The RollsRoyce of vacuums, it cleans for up to 70 minutes on a single charge, a rival to the ubiquitous Dyson. £549, harrods.com

RANGE 252 miles 0-62MPH 5.78 seconds MAX SPEED 124mph STREAMING Autobahn Kraftwerk

FAST-FOLD Folding bike sales are soaring. The G3+ is a limited edition, magnesium lightweight machine that’s loaded with tech. £3,998, gocycle.com

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CULTURE | Gardening

SIGNS OF SPRING Randle Siddeley on how to bring colour and life to your garden this season

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Choose the right bulbs and, come spring, your garden will be ablaze with cheerful hues

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

ow is the time for spring to fill us with hope and to strike out from lockdown on a long, bracing walk. Head to your nearest woods to catch that magical moment after the snowdrops and before the bluebells, when the humble anemone surprises us. If brushed by sunshine or warmth, thousands of these tiny flowers will suddenly thrust up through the leaf litter and moss to set woodlands sparkling. There are orange, pink and red varieties, but my favourite is the white Anemone Nemorosa, with its delicate yellow stamens quivering upwards in search of sunlight. The Nemorosa has an exquisite, intricate fragility that illuminates woodland with promise and reminds us that, however bleak winter has been, evolution never halts. Plant bulbs in groups for a glimmering carpet of sheer joy. Another harbinger of spring is the Cornus mas, with its mass of star-like yellow flowers erupting into life on their twigs. Cornus is native to Europe and parts of Asia, though is hardy and versatile and thrives here, too. This is a plant that adds drama to woodland and enlivens any drab post-winter garden with its fizzing blaze of early colour. Of course, spring is simply not spring without tulips. My undisputed favourites are the White Parrots and Green Wave (which are in fact pink), in all their floppy, undisciplined, whimsical glory. Parrots bloom in the wake of the more severe, poker-straight varieties and their overblown, blowsy quality hints at hotter, more languid days to come. I love the way they stretch their serrated or fringed petals open wide, even flat, to the sun. Because they can droop, they’re susceptible to wind and prolonged cold, so plant them in a sheltered spot and in the middle, rather than the front, of a border surrounded by supportive shrubbery so they don’t collapse. The word ‘tulip’ comes from the Persian word for turban, and though they are associated with the Netherlands, tulips originated in Turkey, growing in great masses along the Black Sea. Indeed, tulips were a symbol of the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century and the most highly prized of flowers. They add their exotic warmth to our chilly British spring and point the way forward to all the extravagant bounty our summer gardens will offer. randlesiddeley.co.uk n

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Feeling a million miles away without leaving home.

LEISUREPLAN.CO.UK / +44 (0)1279 816 001 / SALES@LEISUREPLAN.CO.UK

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CULTURE | Interview

Celia Pool, co-founder of DAME, is changing the perception of periods one green product at a time. Bravo, says Charlotte Metcalf

IN BRIEF COTTAGE OR PENTHOUSE?

Definitely a cottage in the West Country for outdoor space – and right now, as I’m locked down in our Hackney flat. BROGUES OR HEELS?

Brogues – I’m nearly six feet tall. GARDENING OR THEATRE?

We’ve got a tiny little garden but I love it. GREEN TEA OR WINE?

Wine every time in lockdown. We did a liver cleanse in January but it was a miserable time to give the stuff up. DOG OR CAT?

Neither now, though I had my cat Puss for 22 years, from when I was six till two weeks before I got married.

A

few weeks ago my teenage daughter and I stood gaping in astonishment at an advertisement on the side of a London bus. It showed the lower half of a woman’s torso, in pretty maroon knickers, with a tampon string visibly hanging down. ‘Bleed Red, Think Green’ read the sales pitch. The ad was for period products made by DAME, a brand that, I fast discovered, won the 2018 Dezeen Leisure Design Award at Tate Modern and was a finalist in the Brand of the Future category at the 2020 NatWest everywoman Awards. DAME is also B Corp-accredited and the first British period brand to achieve Carbon Neutral Plus accreditation from the organisation Carbon Footprint – not bad seeing it launched its reusable tampon applicator in March 2018. I am naturally delighted when an opportunity arises to meet DAME’s founder, Celia Pool. Lockdown prevents us from meeting at Scarfe’s Bar, so we resort to Zoom. We begin our conversation with the taboo-busting bus ad. ‘No tampon commercial ever spoke to me,’ says Celia, ‘they all seemed to be about unrealistic women bouncing around on roller skates. We learnt almost nothing in school and my mother called periods “The Curse”, so how could anyone be expected to feel positive about them?’ I agree with her but point out that she took quite a dramatic, risky leap from being a high-flying project manager at Sotheby’s to starting a company selling period products. How on earth did that happen? Celia laughs. ‘I’d read History of Art at university and was in a nice, comfortable, art world bubble. Underneath I knew I wanted to do something different, but fear of failure was holding me back. Then I found myself talking to an acquaintance, Alec, over supper one night. He was five years younger than me and very different but full of curiosity about motherhood. I’d just had my first child and told him about strapping my screaming, furious baby to my chest when I had to run out to buy tampons. “Why aren’t tampons delivered?”, he asked. Such a simple question – but that was that.’ Helped by friends and family, Celia and Alec set about delivering period products that weren’t readily available, like menstrual cups. ‘We’d sit on the floor, surrounded by packing boxes,’ remembers Celia. ‘I was already really conscious of the waste a baby creates and all the nappies I was chucking out, and I became increasingly aware of all the plastic packaging mounting up around us. A box of sanitary towels contains the equivalent of four plastic bags.’

Celia points out that tampon applicators were originally cardboard, but almost overnight, and without anyone noticing, they became plastic or plastic-coated. ‘A woman on average throws away 12,000 applicators in a lifetime. They’re contaminated by blood so can’t be recycled. Just think how much waste that is!’ DAME set about developing a reusable applicator, now for sale in Waitrose, Boots, Ocado and Sainsbury’s, and online. But this was not enough for Celia: ‘I didn’t just want to be some worthy, invisible eco-brand. I wanted our products to be cool enough to post on Instagram or display on your bathroom shelf.’ Then as if by magic, and with perfect timing, along came Emma Watson, spilling the contents of her handbag for a magazine and proudly showing off her little green DAME bag containing her applicator. Everyone took notice. Celia knew B Corp certification, the globally respected measure of social and environmental performance, was the way forward. ‘It wasn’t easy,’ she explains, ‘they literally checked every light bulb. But now we’re accredited, we’re surrounded by like-minded brands and you can feel the collective power.’ DAME then developed a biofilm cellulose in which to wrap its organic tampons, meaning everything they produce is now recyclable and compostable. The next step – or mountain – was to become the first UK period brand to achieve Carbon Neutral Plus accreditation. DAME did this by backing a project in Uganda providing clean wells, so wood doesn’t need to be burned to purify drinking water. ‘Carbon’s not tangible like plastic waste so it’s tricky for consumers to grasp,’ says Celia. ‘It took us four months – but we did it!’ Celia won’t stop until we have revolutionised the way periods are perceived and dealt with globally. ‘I want periods normalised, talked about in every school, including among boys. Reusable, recyclable products should be readily available to all and we’re already working with a charity to do that,’ she says. ‘One day our advert will be deemed normal enough to be on the back of a cereal packet.’ As we wind down our conversation, we chat about our children. Celia has a son of six and one of 18 months. Her daughter is now nine. ‘She’s a redhead and very fierce already – a true warrior,’ laughs Celia. How could she possibly fail to be? Nominations for the 2021 NatWest everywoman Awards are now open: everywoman.com/ewawards; DAME: wearedame.co n

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‘I didn’t just want to be some WORTHY, invisible eco-brand. I wanted our products to be COOL enough to post on Instagram or DISPLAY on your bathroom shelf ’

DAME’s reusable tampon applicator has revolutionised the period industry

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FOUR IN ONE

DAY

It’s the swing of the pendulum, the turning of the tide. If nothing else, this year we’ve learnt that time is the most precious gift of all FASHION DIRECTOR NICOLE SMALLWOOD PHOTOGRAPHER RACHELL SMITH

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Spring Green tourmaline and diamond necklace in platinum, Tiffany & Co.

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Summer Bracelets and earrings in 18 carat gold, Tiffany & Co.

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Autumn Ruby and diamond feather chandelier earrings, David Morris. Oval sapphire and diamond ring in platinum and oval ruby and diamond ring in platinum, Garrard

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Winter Tribal 63 carat diamond necklace and Tribal 17 carat diamond earrings, Graff TEAM Photographer’s Assistant: Oscar Yoosefinejad Make-up: Lan NguyenGrealis using Dior Forever foundation and Capture Totale Super Potent serum Hair: Ben Cooke at Frank Agency using Living Proof for Lockonego Nails: Edyta Betka using CND Model: Yada Villaret at Wilhelmina Models STOCKISTS: PAGE 134

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EYE OF THE

TIGER A queen in Bollywood, a star in Hollywood, a pioneering producer, a feminist philanthropist and now an author,

PR I YA N K A

CHOPR A JONA S still has big dreams for the future, says ZAYANI BHATT PHOTOGRAPHER ANDREW ECCLES

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I

t’s late on a Monday evening in London in January and Priyanka Chopra Jonas is suffering from an allergic reaction. But, ever the professional, she’s ready and excited to have a Zoom chat. It’s a busy time for the global megastar, one of the few people in the world to have worked in the two biggest film industries in the world – Hollywood and Bollywood.The White Tiger, the netflix film she both acted in and executive produced, has been trending globally since January, her first book, a memoir entitled Unfinished, was recently released and she’s just launched a haircare line called Anomaly. A busy lockdown you might say, but, admits Priyanka, ‘I was grateful to be in one place and grateful for routine, which I hadn’t had in at least 20 years. It only took a global pandemic for my husband’s schedules and mine to align!’ Far from netflix-and-chill though, it was during lockdown that Priyanka penned her autobiography. ‘I think all of us were forced to be introspective. I self-analysed so much I wrote a whole book about it!’, she laughs. The book is a deeply reflective exploration of her life from her early, happy days in Bareilly Cantonment in India, as the daughter of army doctors, to her experience of being suddenly thrust into the limelight after winning Miss World in 2000. It takes in how she navigated nepotism and patriarchy in Bollywood, battled depression after losing her father in 2013 when she was filming US drama series Quantico, her first role in Hollywood – and her whirlwind romance with singer and musician Nick Jonas. She hopes readers of Unfinished will get to know ‘the human being behind the headlines or the meme’. She found writing about the dark years following her father’s death a cathartic experience because ‘it was after I had come out of the other side of the tunnel’. Now, she hopes others will be helped. ‘Reading about my experience will maybe give someone the perspective that nothing is really real except who you are and what you feel. It’s important to choose what works for you to bring you out of the seduction of darkness.’ The book also gave her a sense of gratitude, she says, especially in light of the pandemic. ‘It’s very easy, especially around this time, to be daunted and overwhelmed. I am too. But I play this game actually with my friends, my family or my husband: whenever we’re on the phone, we count five things we’re grateful for today.’ Gratitude clearly plays a big role in her life but recognising it did not come easily. ‘I’m more mature now that I’m on the other side of 35. I am able to feel a sense of contentment and be confident in who I’ve become and where I’ve come from. I can’t say that I had that kind of gratitude earlier. I was grinding as hard as everyone else, probably.’ She still is. ‘I’ve been working in the US for about five years now,’ says Priyanka. ‘I’ve just done my first leading role in a feature there. I want to be able to push myself as an artist and see what my career there can be. In India I’ve done a variety of roles. I want to be able to have that in the US as well, while still working in India.’

How different is it working in the two ‘’woods’? Except for more paperwork in Hollywood, and a little more accommodation around punctuality in Bollywood – ‘that’s an Indian thing’ – there isn’t much difference between the two, she says. ‘Culturally, of course, they’re very different. But, besides that, the work is the same.’ Priyanka is currently in London shooting Citadel, an Amazon Prime Video series from the Russo brothers, co-starring Richard Madden. She loves the capital, though with lockdown hasn’t seen much more than her house or the studio on this trip. ‘I usually love going to a pub for a pint. I love being able to go for dinners. It’s such a cosmopolitan city. I love doing tastings [and seeing] shows and concerts.’ I ask her if she sees herself doing theatre one day. ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so funny you ask that,’ she replies. ‘It’s been my dream. Doing theatre and directing, these two things. My husband, he has [a] massive theatre background. He started with that actually. He talks about it so much, the West End.’ A proud feminist, Priyanka is amazed to see ‘the banding together of women’ in the film industry right now. ‘I’ve now been around for 20 years and it’s a wonderful time to work with female colleagues and build opportunities for each other. When I started it was not like that.’ As a producer, her aim is to increase opportunities for women by ‘working with female writers, technicians, directors, actors and producers. I’m a big champion of girls who want to make something of themselves and stand on their own feet – that’s my greatest joy’. She also champions women’s rights as a global Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, and as a philanthropist through her non-profit The Priyanka Chopra Foundation (thepriyankafoundation. org). ‘The education and rights of girls around the world really is a priority for me. In so many countries there is not even a conversation about a woman having a choice in her own life.’ As an entrepreneur, Priyanka is trying to effect change through her recently-launched haircare line Anomaly. Not only are the products cruelty-free, vegan and affordably priced, but the packaging is gender neutral and made from recycled plastic from oceans and landfills. She hopes to make it available in the UK by the end of the year. It’s clear her dreams for the future are ambitious and globespanning but Priyanka says the pandemic taught her to take more time for herself and her family. ‘That’s something I never realised I needed so much,’ she says. And through many readings of her book, she has learned to ‘pat myself on the back and give myself a little break sometimes’. ‘The ability to have joy in your life and to create it in others around you, to make it into a ripple effect,’ is what inspires her, she says. ‘I’m a big fan of life and I really do feel like life is a gift and I think our purpose is to be able to live it with joy.’

‘I’m a big CHAMPION of girls who want to make SOMETHING of themselves and stand on their own TWO FEET – that’s my greatest JOY’

Unfinished: A Memoir by Priyanka Chopra Jonas (Michael Joseph, £14.99) n

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Chinoiserie, part of the Sea Glass™ collection by New Ravenna

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Finding Mr Big, AGAIN T

he pandemic has brought sadness to many. For me, it brought the curtain down on my marriage. As unexpected and speedy as a shot of Pernod clouding a glass of water, in early 2020 everything went Pete Tong. From love, lust and friendship to wretchedness, betrayal and failure, it’s a story familiar to many; but when it kicks in your direction, boy does it hurt. Time heals, however. I’ve now tucked it away neatly under my Emilia Wickstead waistband and am ready to move on. Finding love is a challenge at any age but in the second half of life it feels monumental. Like trying to find porcini in a forest of potentially dodgy funghi. Where on earth do I start and how can I protect myself from picking something that looks appealing but turns out to be poison? I look at dating apps. Goodness, what a minefield. Hinge, Ok Cupid, Bumble, Tinder, Happn, Inner

Circle, Guardian Soulmates, Plenty of Fish… the list is terrifying. And a new lexicon. I thought ‘breadcrumbing’ was what you did to a goujon – I’ll never eat scampi again. Turns out it’s when you think you’ve made a good connection and the respondent throws you tit-bits to keep your interest, but with no intention of taking the relationship further. Catfishing? That’s sending a photo of someone else and pretending it’s you. I have done some dim things in my time, but surely that’s asking for trouble. I look for advice. Lucy Goes Dating is a blog by a 41-year-old singleton sharing her story of trying to stay afloat in London’s dating pool. ‘The culture of dating apps is superficial and a lot of bad behaviour goes on,’ she says. ‘They can be bad for self-esteem. Men complain they feel much more disposable now, plussize women get abuse and lots of women get sent lewd photos and sexual comments, often from strangers.’ What happened to just meeting someone and having fun? Nichi Hodgson, author of The Curious History of

PHOTOS: REX FEATURES

From breadcrumbing to catfishing, SABRINA FOX navigates the world of dating after the collapse of her marriage

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PHOTOS: REX FEATURES

How do you find Mr Big in 2021 in the midst of a pandemic?

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Dating: From Jane Austen to Tinder, offers an explanation. ‘Having worked in the industry, dating app developers and engineers have traditionally been white, middle-class men prioritising their own interests above anyone else’s. It doesn’t matter what kind of user you are, you play to their standards.’ My own initial excitement about being out on the dating scene is akin to finding Poilâne has opened a bakery nearby – before discovering I’m gluten-intolerant. Help is required. Put brain in gear. If I want the best meat I go to an organic butcher, pay through the nose – and it’s delicious. It’s time to throw money at the problem. An online search brings me to dating agency Berkeley International. ‘Berkeley International is a specialist elite dating agency and international introduction agency offering an exclusive matchmaking service to find perfect partners and soulmates for our discerning and affluent members,’ reads the blurb. I call the agency’s Caroline Dore, who suggests coffee and we arrange to meet (pre-lockdown). She’s close to my own age and puts me at ease. I sign up. In the following days, I receive a call from Mairead Molloy, global director of Berkeley, who welcomes me and reiterates the main objective is ‘to have fun’. Finally, someone has mentioned the ‘f-word’. First I have to fill out a detailed questionnaire. Berkeley wants to know my schooling and background, eye and hair colour (do I admit to a helping hand?), the labels I wear, what I drive, the sports I enjoy. I feel like I’m filling in a job application for a nannying role with the Sussexes. I submit to the process knowing it’s confidential. What appeals with Berkeley is that they don’t ask for photographs. One of the agencies I looked at offered a ‘glamorous photo shoot’. I have been on shoots for work and they have little allure. Plus I don’t want to offer suitors a razzle-dazzle version of myself that bears little resemblance to reality. Even Kate Moss gets digitally tweaked these days. If Berkeley has correctly analysed my requirements, they’ll find me someone with a kind face, who’s honest, easy to talk to and makes me laugh. Deciding whether I want to snog them comes later. So here we go. Caroline writes a short profile and description of me which she sends for approval. On the whole it’s generic, the usual likes such as theatre, food, good conversation, what I’m reading… not giving much away but enough to spark an interest for a like-minded soul. Then they wave their wand. ‘We like to work as a team,’ explains Berkeley’s Sophie Bird. ‘We need to get to know people as well as possible. A client has conversations with two or three of us but whoever their initial chat is with hand-holds all the way.’ When it comes to matchmaking, age

is a big factor, followed by height and location – particularly in the current climate. Young girls prefer not to have a bald suitor, it seems. ‘There are no hard and fast rules’, says Stevie. ‘Gut instinct is always a factor in deciding who’s right for whom.’ When Berkeley hooks a fish for a client, they send over their profile for scrutiny – first names only. If you like the sound of them, Berkeley shares your number and lets you know he or she will be in touch. When I give the thumbs up, Caroline reminds me of my WhatsApp photo – ‘You may wish to remove it so you don’t give anything away before you are ready’. I appreciate the tip but leave it on. We’re up and running. My first date, Mr Big (I’m channelling Carrie Bradshaw) texts the same day and we arrange a phone call. He likes golf and motor sport. He lives close by so we arrange our first date, a walk in the countryside. He’s tall, tick, easy on the eye, tick and pays for my coffee and croissant, tick tick. I’m in my comfort zone and head home to reflect. It was an enjoyable jaunt but no spark – he didn’t make me laugh. We text niceties over the next few days and I call Caroline and suggest he goes into ‘friend zone’. She offers to let him know but I think it should be me so send him a note saying I enjoyed meeting him and would be happy to do so again on the understanding it’s as a friend. He says he appreciates my text and goes quiet. Bring on Mr Big 2. By now lockdown has us all in a stranglehold. We arrange a Zoom date following our phone chat. It feels strange to be dolling myself up for a stranger on camera but I guess that’s what I’d be doing if we were meeting for a drink. It goes well. I am gaining confidence and feel comforted knowing if anything doesn’t feel right, I have the agency to fall back on. It’s like having a fairy godmother. A few weeks down the line, I’m not feeling it with Mr Big 2 but the original Mr Big is still afloat. Friendship is flourishing and I am enjoying his company on walks. What have I learnt? I like the security of the dating agency and it’s old-fashioned approach suits my personality and stage of life. I know potential suitors, like me, are looking for a long-term relationship. There’s accountability so the likelihood of bad behaviour is greatly reduced. And the dopamine spike which keeps people hooked on apps still happens when you text – it’s fun pinging messages back and forth with a suitor. I’m in the foothills of finding lasting love again but my self-esteem is growing and I’m making new friends. And Mr Big is making me laugh.

‘Having worked in the industry, DATING APP DEVELOPERS and engineers have traditionally been WHITE, MIDDLECLASS MEN prioritising their own interests above anyone else’s. It doesn’t matter what kind of user you are, YOU PLAY TO THEIR STANDARDS’

berkeley-international.com n

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26/02/2021 16:24


Seeds of PHOTO: UNSPLASH

CHANGE For decades, the UK’s wildflower meadows were decimated in the quest for production agricultural land. TREVOR DINES explains why flowers are so important for the earth’s biodiversity, and how conservation charity Plantlife is creating new meadows in both town and countryside

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I

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Marden Meadow in Kent; Muker Meadow in the Yorkshire Dales; Haunn Meadow on the Isle of Mull; another angle of Muker Meadow

PHOTOS: XXXXXXXXX

t’s a sparkling spring morning and I’m knee-deep in a field of flowers. Thousands of blooms are woven through the sward and there are even a few orchids, sprinkled around like priceless amethysts in a box of jewels. But what’s most remarkable is that just five years ago this field was devoid of colour. Like so many of our fields it was just a sea of grass. This wholesale bleaching of colour from our countryside began in the 1930s, when flower-rich pastures and meadows began to be viewed as a sign of slovenly agriculture. Instead, it was recommended they should be ploughed up and the land used to grow crops or sown with quick-growing mixtures of ryegrass and white clover. These grass ‘leys’ can be cut for silage several times a year and grazed continually for many months, especially if heavily fertilised. The result has been catastrophic for wildlife. Over 97 per cent of wildflower meadows and flower-rich pastures have been destroyed. That’s 7.5 million acres gone, an area 1.5 times the size of Wales. It’s difficult to grasp the impact on our countryside, but a colleague once told me their grandfather had been able to walk the 25 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon to Birmingham without placing a foot outside a flowerrich field. Today, probably less than a dozen of those fields survive. By repeatedly cutting silage fields and grazing grassland too hard, wild flowers are prevented from blooming and setting seed. This simple, continual act of emasculation quickly extinguishes the diversity of life, reducing the number of species from around 30 per square yard in a wild flower meadow – one of the richest plant communities in Britain – to less than six. And we’ve lost far more than just the flowers. Astonishingly, over 1,400 different species of butterflies, moths, beetles, bugs, grasshoppers and flies come to feed on the leaves, stems, flowers, fruits and roots. These insects in turn provide a feast for myriad other wildlife, from voles to meadow pipits. From the first dandelions of February to the last ragworts of November, the ebb and flow of flowers reaches a crescendo in late May, when an acre of meadow can be home to two million

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HOW TO HELP

PHOTOS: XXXXXXXXX

individual flowers. These blooms produce over two pounds in weight of nectar sugar every day, enough to support nearly 83,000 pollinating bees. No wonder these meadows vibrate to the sound of insects as the air shimmers with their dances above the blooms. In 2013, wildlife conservation charity Plantlife raised a clarion call over the fate of the UK’s meadows and its patron, HRH The Prince of Wales, suggested his mother’s coronation anniversary could be celebrated with ‘the creation of at least one new meadow in every county’. The idea behind the Coronation Meadows is beautifully simple. An ancient flower-rich meadow has been selected as the flagship Coronation Meadow for each county, such as Joan’s Hill Farm for Herefordshire. Seed from this meadow is then harvested and used to create new Coronation Meadows nearby. This process, known as ‘natural seeding’, ensures new meadows establish quickly and preserves their local character and identity. After all, a Kent meadow with green-winged orchids and dyer’s-greenweed is very different to a Yorkshire meadow with wood crane’s-bill and melancholy thistle. Today, over a hundred new meadows have been created, all the way from Consett in Northumberland to Green Park in the very heart of London. With these and other initiatives such as Magnificent Meadows, Plantlife has led the creation of over 12,000 acres of new wildflower meadows in the last seven years. I’m extremely lucky that one of these is my own, created at our home in north Wales using seed from the Conwy Coronation Meadow. It’s been an inspirational journey involving Highland cows, cutting hay and hours of detailed monitoring. I’ve been amazed how quickly the meadow has evolved since we started in 2015. Nearly a hundred species have now appeared, including betony, oxeye daisies and Devil’s-bit scabious along with rarer knotted clover and even, last year, the angel-like blooms of the greater butterfly orchid. But it’s the sheer abundance of flowers that takes your breath away. On that spring morning I was knee deep in a carpet of buttercups, cat’s-ear, red clover and yellow rattle, a meadow of nine million blooms. If we just give them a chance, the flowers will return.

1

Creating even the smallest wildflower area in your garden can really help. Always use good quality seed from a reputable supplier and choose mixtures of genuine perennial meadow plants rather than cornfield annuals like poppies. The Plantlife website plantlife.org.uk has lots of advice for success.

2

Try leaving an unmown section of lawn, to allow flowers like clover and selfheal to bloom. Plantlife’s Every Flower Counts citizen science survey has shown that an average square yard of lawn produces enough nectar sugar to sustain 3.8 honeybees per day. If you stash your mower in the shed for ‘No Mow May’ you can support more than double that number.

3

Visit your local Coronation Meadow or one of the many other meadow nature reserves managed by conservation charities such as Plantlife and support their work to preserve these precious wildlife habitats across the UK.

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JOAN’S HILL FARM WOOLHOPE, HEREFORDSHIRE

Bucolic Joan’s Hill Farm, set in the green splendour of the Wye Valley

Most surviving ancient meadows are rare and tiny fragments of colour; small fields dotted here and there in the landscape. But Joan’s Hill Farm is different. It’s a landscape of colour, with field after rolling field filled with flowers. Surrounded by a thick barrier of dense woodland, it’s a secret, special place that recalls the spirit of former agricultural times. The sheer quantity of common spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) in some places is breathtaking. Their lilac flowers are so thick on the ground that at times it’s impossible to put a foot down and you find yourself momentarily rooted to the spot. Common bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), cat’s-ear (Hypochaeris radicata), tormentil (Potentilla erecta) and buttercups (Ranunculus sp.) provide a vibrant yellow counterpoint. Softened by clouds of oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare), the whole effect is mesmerising. Rarer treasures nestle in the sward too. Dyer’s greenweed (Genista tinctoria), with spikes of gorse-like flowers, has been used since Saxon times to colour wool yellow or, when mixed with woad (Isatis tinctoria), a rich green colour. Greater butterfly orchids (Platanthera chlorantha) inexplicably appeared in one field recently and are gently spreading, raising their white angel-like flowers to the sky. And in autumn meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale) burst from the ground, their vibrant pink flowers appearing without leaves and thus earning themselves the moniker of ‘naked ladies’. Once the hay is harvested in late summer, cattle graze the grass before winter arrives. They’re allowed to roam as they like from field to field and it seems they take the flowers with them; many meadow plants are popping up in new homes.

T H E M A K I N G O F T W O M E A D OW S Green Park in London was sown with seeds from nearby ancient meadows

THE QUEEN’S MEADOW GREEN PARK, LONDON

In September 2016, a team of ‘meadow makers’ – powerful horses, machines, a royal prince and people with excitement in their hearts – made their way to the very centre of London. Celebrating the Queen’s ninetieth birthday and the creation of over a thousand acres of new meadows across the UK, their aim was to sow the ninetieth new Coronation Meadow in a bustling corner of Green Park. Preparations began early in the morning with a tractor breaking the ground with a power harrow. But a magnificent pair of shire horses – Aragon and Royale – stole the limelight, pulling an ancient set of harrows and scarifying the grass ready for seeding. Seed for The Queen’s Meadow came from several ancient meadows in and around London, rich in flowers such as dyer’s greenweed (Genista tinctoria), yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor), common knapweed (Centaurea nigra) and oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare). With the precious seed loaded into wooden trugs, local children took centre stage, scattering seed onto the warm soil. They were helped in their endeavours by HRH The Prince of Wales and some of the farmers, meadow owners, volunteers and meadow champions involved with the Coronation Meadows project. After the excitement of the day, a quiet calm descended on Green Park as the flowers started their invisible growth beneath the earth. It’s still early days for this young meadow – floral tapestries take time to be woven – but already The Queen’s Meadow is awash with oxeye daisy, yellow rattle, red clover (Trifolium pratense) and meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris).

Wildflowers for The Queen: A Visual Celebration of Britain’s Coronation Meadows by Hugo Rittson Thomas. In partnership with Plantlife and with a foreword by their patron HRH The Prince of Wales (Wildflower Press, £50). All profits go to Plantlife n

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MARIAN BOSWALL

LANDSC APE ARCHITECTS Marian Boswall.indd 1

www.marianboswall.com

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24/02/2021 15:19


Name something smarter than Iggy in a trench coat? It’s OK, we’ll wait… The Barkers Rex trench coat, $99

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The unstoppable rise of

CANINE COUTURE A new breed of stylish attire for modish mutts is guaranteed to turn every dog walk into a catwalk, says MARC ABBOTT ocial media looks very different in 2021. Gone are the photos of Balearic sundowners and restaurant tables, now replaced by portraits of our suave Staffies, fanciful Frenchies and impeccable Italian greyhounds. The inexorable rise of the Instagram dog account highlights an explosion in the popularity of canine couture. Yes, these are strange times indeed. But thankfully, aspiring dog ownerscum-stylists are well catered for: the choice when it comes to dressing our pups for walking, lounging, or simply wagging from home, is wider than a lurcher’s yawn. With ever limited opportunities for stepping out in style, if we’re going to leave the house right now we’d better be sure we’re looking our best. And since regular walks are one of the few activities we’re actively encouraged to partake in during this peculiar pandemic period, we’re blessed with an ideal opportunity to show off not only ourselves but also those fluffy four-legged extensions of our own personas. ‘People tend to choose a dog based on a desire to display their

own personality – just look at Audrey Hepburn’s miniature Yorkshire Terrier, Mr Famous,’ says Chelsea-based stylist Jasmin Nissa Shaw. ‘So it naturally follows that you’d style your canine companion according to your personal look.’ ‘The act of dressing your dog is definitely veering away from the gimmicky and trending towards understated chic,’ she adds. ‘And just like their owners, dogs are being dressed according to their location, with different styles for the town or the countryside.’ Jasmin’s own dog Yvie is a cairn Jasmin Nissa Shaw steps out with Yvie the Cairn Terrier terrier, a dead ringer for Dorothy’s Toto and rarely happier than when she’s on a Barbour-clad country walk. Pastoral pups are perfectly pandered to by some delightful cotton creations from this great British brand – arguably the perfect match for our waxed coat and welly-booted traipses across farm and field. Pep up your rural Rover’s wardrobe with Barbour’s matt waxed coat (£39.95) with de rigueur corduroy collar and metal waist buckle, or its cosy quilted coat (£39.95) to keep your pooch’s tummy toasty. The waterproof tartan coat (£49.95) will also keep the worst of April showers at bay (barbour.com). For lengthy walks on higher ground, Italian skiwear company

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‘What I’ve seen on my LOCKDOWN WALKS in London’s Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens is that dog walks are almost turning into a COMPETITION to see whose is the BEST DRESSED’

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Moncler x Poldo Mondog cloak, £285; Temellini Dog À Porter Sherlock coat, from €156; Louis Vuitton Dog Carrier 50, £2,080; Barbour waterproof coat, £49.95

PHOTOS: BRAM SCHILLING

Moncler has partnered with canine outfitter Poldo to create quilted Mondog duvet gilets (from £305) and hooded Mondog cloaks (from £285). The latter might be more Tiffany-from-Eastenders than Breakfast at Tiffany’s but it’s certainly a statement piece that gives paws for thought (store.moncler.com). ‘What I’ve seen on my lockdown walks in London’s Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens is that dog walks are almost turning into a competition to see whose is the best dressed,’ says Jasmin. And the wide choice of outerwear for town and city gives your fluffy pal every chance to turn that parkland dog walk into a catwalk. Milanese master of four-legged tailoring, Temellini, has a Dog À Porter collection to inject some elegance into urban exercise. Its wool or cashmere Sherlock coat (€156-€420) befits a chic saluki, the upturned collar marvellously

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evoking the Baker Street detective’s sleuthing cape. The perfect ensemble for sniffing out tasty treats? (temellinimilano.com). On the flip side, you might imbue your faithful friend with attitude by opting for street stylings from DSquared2, whose range of doggie denim (from £265), hoodies for hounds (£180) and even baseball caps (£70) is bang on trend (dsquared2.com). Belgravia-based Mungo & Maud is a one-stop shop for town hounds, with items like the Brindle coat (£175) adding panache to city-dwelling fur babies, with its classy houndstooth design and merino knit chest. The brand’s cashmere pullovers (£172.50) also cater to the new demand for stylish loungewear, reflecting the way so many of us have been dressing for the past year. What better way to introduce your four-legged friend to colleagues on a Zoom call than in a matching sweater? (mungoandmaud.com). Loungewear fever has caught on at New York’s The Barkers, whose cosy outfits include the cable cashmere Fido turtleneck ($89, thebarkers.shop). Temellini has Netflix and pizza all wrapped up with its Peppa

Felpa sweatshirt (from €153.50) and perfectly preppy Sugar Bomber cardigan (from €125). Even luxury brands like Ralph Lauren (ralphlauren.co.uk) cater for the hairiest member of the family, with a polo shirt (from £45) and a delightful teddy bear-motif jumper (£149). Indeed, for those of us with expensive tastes it’s possible to lavish your Lassie with the finest goods known to man (and man’s best friend). Dior (dior.com) has a jacquard collar (£330) bearing the French fashion house’s ‘oblique’ motif and a decorative padlock. Louis Vuitton (uk.louisvuitton.com) has the Baxter collar, available in standard or extra small fit (£220-£260), embellished with the cutest leather bow. Versace (versace.com) offers a world of luxuries, from the Crete de Fleur Print dog T-shirt (£135) and raincoat (£225) to the Medusa leather leash and collar set (£495) or the sumptuous Barocco print dog bed (£930). ‘When people update their seasonal wardrobe they’re also updating their dogs’ accessories, especially their leatherwear,’ observes Jasmin. The final word in luxury leather collars goes to Sirius (siriusbonds. com), whose exceptional Parisian artisans hand-fashion the Italian leather collars, Baloo (£345) and Charlie (£297) in limited quantities for discerning customers. When all that peacocking has become a bit too much for your puffed-out pooch, there’s always the Louis Vuitton monogrammed canvas dog carrier (from £1880), or Mungo & Maud’s more conservatively priced Tortue bag (£289.50). What can we learn from this rise in chic canine clothing? If you want to be the talk of the town – or even the village – teaching your dog the importance of dressing to impress is a sure-fire way to get tongues and tails wagging. It might even convince us to step out of our own baggy joggers and sweatshirts… n

PHOTOS: BRAM SCHILLING

LEFT: Ralph Lauren polo shirt, £49 BELOW: Versace Medusa collar and lead set, £495

Pick of the POOCHES

In the spirit of updating Crufts for the Insta generation, here’s the C&TH pick of the most eye-catching looks for discerning dogs… TOP OF THE TOWN Crafted from 100 per cent cashmere, this is loungewear with a real luxury twist, $89. thebarkers.shop

STREET SMARTS Poldo check vest, fluffy collar with attitude… and those little legs! £275. dsquared2.com

COUNTRY CASUAL Go full camo or go home; for the lapdog that thinks it’s a gun dog, £380. store.moncler.com

NETFLIX AND CHILL What says ‘binge-watching The Queen’s Gambit’ better than matching Sugar Bomber cardigans? From €125. temellinimilano.com

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Agritourism is seeing a boom in popularity, thanks to a potent cocktail of Covid, Brexit and eco-awareness

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ESCAPE to the

Country Heading out of town for great food, brilliant wine… and good weather? Agritourism is the new staycation trend, says AMY WAKEHAM. Just make sure you pack waterproofs

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

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t’s hardly surprising that ‘staycation’ became one of the buzzwords for 2020 – its usage has grown by 380 per cent since last March, according to the OED, and still climbing. For the uninitiated, it means holidaying in your home country, instead of going abroad, or just going on day trips based from home. Back in January, health secretary Matt Hancock set an example by announcing he’d already booked his holiday in Cornwall and wanted the rest of the country to enjoy ‘a great British summer’ too. But what if you’ve already bagged all the Scottish munros, conquered Snowdon and are sick of rainy trips to the seaside? Don’t worry, agritourism is the answer. A fast-growing niche of the staycation industry, set to change the landscape of home-grown holidays, it’s the Brit version of agriturismo, the rustic farm stays you used to book in Tuscany or Provence for a week or two of sun-baked rural bliss, soaked in great wine and locally sourced, home-cooked food.

While sun, wine and a good table were once in short supply in the UK, luckily it’s no longer the case. A raft of new names is busy establishing agritourism right here, offering farm stays that combine brilliant local food with stylish accommodation. Admittedly, good weather might not be so assured here as in Italy, but visitors are raring to go. In summer 2020, holiday booking site Farm Stay UK saw traffic to its website increase by more than 200 per cent on the same time in 2019. Significantly, the majority of visitors to the site are 25 to 35-year-olds, pointing to a millennial generation keen to get mud on their wellies. ‘Farm Stay UK has most definitely seen an upward trend in guests wishing to visit the countryside,’ says Kay Barriball, chairman of Farm Stay UK (farmstay. co.uk). ‘Without a doubt, people are wanting to visit our stunning countryside where they can feel safe, have space, breathe pure air and learn about agriculture.’ One new addition to agritourism in Britain is Glebe House, a guest house, restaurant and 15-acre smallholding that’s just opened in East March/April 2021 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK | 87

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Devon (glebehousedevon.co.uk). Owners Hugo and Olive Guest were inspired after experiencing agriturismo farm stays in Italy six years ago. ‘For us, the agriturismo concept is the perfect illustration of how we should be producing and consuming food,’ explains Hugo. ‘There is something immensely appealing about turning up somewhere and getting fed whatever is available from that farm on that particular week. When we visited these places in Italy, each one had its own unique spirit and we really got a sense of the family behind the operation. You could see first-hand their craft and dedication. There is a simplicity and generosity to that slow way of living and eating.’ On their return from Italy, Hugo retrained as a chef – working at renowned London restaurants such as the Marksman and Robin Gill’s Sorella. He will helm Glebe House’s restaurant, using fruit and vegetables from the farm, plus the chickens, cows and British Lop pigs that roam freely. Anything that can’t be sourced on the doorstep comes from local farms, and sustainable fish comes from nearby Lyme Bay Reserve (lymebayreserve.co.uk). Great food is at the heart of UK agritourism, as the country’s well-documented foodie renaissance means top-notch local dining and good wine are increasingly easy to find. This is never so apparent than in Yorkshire, where Tommy Banks – who became the youngest ever Michelin-starred chef in 2013, at the age of 24 – has The Black Swan, a village pub with rooms in Oldstead, where his family has farmed for generations (blackswanoldstead.co.uk). Ingredients for the destination restaurant, as well as Roots in York and the coveted Made in Oldstead meal kits that were launched in 2020, are supplied by the pub’s kitchen garden, as well as Tommy’s nearby family farm. ‘Our restaurant is truly a reflection of our family and farming heritage,’ explains Tommy. ‘We are completely surrounded by our farmland and kitchen garden – the produce on our menu is grown almost on our doorstep.’ Tommy’s food philosophy is ‘dictated’ by the seasons. May to August are times of abundance; September to December is ‘preserving season, which is spent fermenting, pickling, drying, freezing and clamping the last of the harvest for the winter months.’ December to April is what Tommy calls ‘the hunger gap’, when the restaurant team relies on their larder of preserved ingredients.

FOUR BRITISH RUR AL STAYCATIONS TO TRY THIS SUMMER

COOMBESHEAD FARM

HELEN BROWNING’S ROYAL OAK

A 66-acre smallholding in North Cornwall, Coombeshead Farm boasts holiday cottages, a restaurant and bakery. It’s run by chefs Tom Adams, co-founder of Pitt Cue, and April Bloomfield. Their own produce leads the menu, depending on what’s growing and what’s ready in the smokehouse and pickling rooms. Doubles from £195 per night, B&B. coombesheadfarm.co.uk

As CEO of the Soil Association, Helen Browning is at the forefront of Britain’s organic movement. The charming Royal Oak pub-with-rooms in Wiltshire serves up her award-winning high welfare pork and beef from the fields right next door, and offers farm safaris, walks and foraging events throughout the year. Doubles from £89 per night, B&B. helenbrowningsorganic.co.uk

PHOTOS: @ ARTUR TIXILISKI; @ RICH STAPLETON; @ NEILWHITEPHOTO

Wellies at the Ready

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PHOTOS: @ ARTUR TIXILISKI; @ RICH STAPLETON; @ NEILWHITEPHOTO

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The pastoral view from a Worminster Farm cottage (from £150 per night); Tommy Banks in the kitchen garden at The Black Swan (£260 per night for room, tasting dinner and breakfast); Glebe House (from £95 per night); a dish by its chef-owner Hugo Guest

Guests at The Black Swan are encouraged to explore the kitchen garden and walk around the farm. ‘You can truly appreciate the journey from farm to table when you have seen it growing for yourself only moments before,’ argues Tommy. ‘When you have an understanding of how food is grown, and the time, love and care put into growing it, you have an inherent respect for nature and the land around you.’ Self-sufficiency is also the aim for Peter Prescott and Pip Black of Worminster Farm in Somerset (worminsterfarm.com). Peter – who co-founded London’s Boundary Hotel and Albion Café with Sir Terence Conran – and Pip, co-founder of Frame fitness studios, relocated to this idyllic spot two years ago with their young children. However, it wasn’t until Covid struck that they began to think seriously about growing their own food. ‘Back in April last year I thought, “this pandemic is going to be over shortly, best plant some seeds”,’ laughs Peter. ‘There wasn’t a grand strategy. When we moved here, we had no intention of doing what we’re doing now. When the schools closed for the very first time, we drew up a list of things the children could do, and on it was orphaned lambs. Next thing we know, we were putting in more fencing, making a greenhouse, putting up a fruit cage. And then it snowballed.’ The growing farm offers two holiday cottages and an event space for guests, and visitors are encouraged to get their hands dirty, feed the animals and go foraging in the surrounding countryside. ‘It really feels like you’re part of the farm,’ explains Peter. ‘If you don’t enjoy tractors going by, or you don’t like the sound of a barn owl in the middle of the night, or you don’t like muddy tracks, it’s probably not for you.’ Once the pandemic is over, Peter hopes to open a restaurant nearby using produce grown on the farm. Agritourism’s growing popularity is the result of a perfect storm of Covid, Brexit and flygskam – the Swedish concept of ‘flight shame’ due to climate change. It’s also a symptom of Britain’s changing attitude to our food, and a growing interest in the ‘slow food’ movement that embraces seasonality, local producers and traditional recipes. ‘Agriturismo offers so much of what the modern-day traveller looks for in a place to stay,’ sums up Hugo. ‘For many travellers, having a concierge and room service aren’t necessarily a top priority anymore. Genuine and enriching experiences ,where people can connect with the land around them and get a taste of “the good life” have become far more appealing.’ n

L’ENCLUME

THYME

Simon Rogan’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms at Cartmel in the Lake District is a modern-day foodie pilgrimage. All the produce comes from nearby Our Farm, where Simon and his team of farmers and chefs aim to grow ‘nearperfect produce in a natural and sustainable way’. Farm tours can be organised during your stay. Doubles from £240 per night, B&B. simonrogan.co.uk

A ‘village within a village’ nestled in the Cotswold hills, Thyme is an idyllic country estate that’s been transformed by its owners Caryn and Jerry Hibbert into a rural paradise. Now it’s an enclave with hotel and cottages, spa, restaurant and cookery school that’s fed by the surrounding 150-acre working farm and kitchen gardens. Doubles from £245 per night, room only. thyme.co.uk

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ONDESIGN INTERIORS FOCUS

Edited by Carole Annett

Over 30 pages of

Deirdre Dyson’s Concertina rug, from the 2021 collection, creates a three-dimensional ‘stair’ effect through interplay of wool and silk. £1,380 per sq/m, deirdredyson.com

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BUY BETTER, BUY LESS, BUY BRITISH John Sankey luxury furniture MADE FOR LIFE www.johnsankey.co.uk

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ON DESIGN

Contents 94

DESIGN NOTES Ideas and inspiration

98

WALLPAPERS Celebrating colour and pattern

100

FABRICS New threads for decking your home

102

INDEPENDENT SPIRIT Three newcomers shaking up the industry

104

BLOOMING LOVELY Richard Miers on the best indoor plants

105

LET THE SUNSHINE IN Make the most of your outdoor space

106

COLLABORATIONS Industry insiders sharing the love

108

ONCE UPON A TIME Inside the transformation of Yester House

112

PASSION PROJECTS Be inspired by these three magical makeovers

PHOTOS: UNSPLASH; © JAMES MCDONALD

112

108

94

GP & J Baker Mulberry Collection fabrics. From £98 p/m, gpjbaker.com

E D I TO R ’ S L E T T E R

I

don’t know about you but I feel I’ve been in hibernation, about to emerge into a bright new world with not a tingle of excitement, but a rumbling earthquake of anticipation for what lies ahead. Fortunately for us, the creative industry didn’t hit snooze and instead has been beavering away with its usual zeal. As a result there’s plenty on offer. We round up the latest fabric and wallpaper offerings (p98), some from wellknown names and a few young brands making their mark, like Chelsea Gem. Another emerging talent is Lucy Ferguson, who recites her story of turning a failed love affair in India into a thriving new business, East London Parasol Co (p102). We also asked garden designer Richard Miers for advice on indoor plants, and I’m happy to see that the stalwart of Seventies sitting rooms, the Swiss cheese plant, is making a comeback. It ticks two current trends: surrounding yourself with nature for wellbeing and the on-going passion for nostalgia (p104). There’s a hint of old-school in Kate Guinness’s reimagining of a London terraced house (p112), as well as Nicola and Garreth Wood’s story of breathing life into Yester, their Scottish mansion (p108). Nicola enlisted the help of Edinburgh-based Jeffreys Interiors, and it makes me smile that Alison, one of Jeffreys’ co-directors, retired not long after the house was finished. It’s an illustrious project on which to close your career, and a fine example of working collaboratively. There are more shared passions and expertise on page 106, highlighting the importance of community. I am constantly in awe of the openness and generosity with which the design industry comes together in challenging times. There Fischer Möbel is much to be grateful for. rocking armchair. Let’s enjoy. £2,160, leisureplan.co.uk

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EASY LIVING

D E S I G N N O T E S

Anio console table, £1,495; Herodotus lamp and shade, £200. oka.com

The finds that have caught Carole Annett’s eye this spring

THE OLDIE An original design from 1933 – Coolicon lampshade in terracotta. From £125, loaf.com

SIMPLE STUFF Nomique’s sustainable and recyclable hemp chair collection is made from biomaterials of hemp and resin. Hemp High, from £366. nomique.com

FRESH THINKING Life Kitchens’ ‘Structured’ – a modern mix of wood, stone and glass, with fluted cabinetry. From £25,000, life-kitchens.co.uk

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ON DESIGN NEWS

GALAXY GAZING Hand-knotted bamboo silk Nebula rug from the Matrix collection at Topfloor by Esti, a collaboration with San Franciscobased artist Gianluca Franzese inspired by the Milky Way. From £1,045 per sq/m, topfloorrugs.com

SHOWTIME Smallbone has had a busy few months – with plans to open a new flagship showroom in the heart of Knightsbridge, set out over four floors (below) and enhanced by partnerships with the likes of Riviere Rugs, Samsung, Senso Flooring, Officine Gullo and Kaia Lighting. ‘Like us, each of our partners are led by an appreciation of design, creativity and craftsmanship,’ said Ron Shemesh, president of Lux Group Holdings (Smallbone’s parent company). smallbone.co.uk

NEW GENERATION Julian Chichester Bobbin four poster bed covered in antique gesso. £4,680, julianchichester.com

DAISY CHAIN

PHOTOS: UNSPLASH

Veronese velvet border by Roger Thomas. £120 p/m, samuelandsons.com

WORKING ON IT Reveal walnut desk by Says Who, with a silent lift mechanism and built-in pin board, £949. heals.com

BRIGHT OUTLOOK Texture rules in Colefax & Fowler’s Wilde velvet fabrics in a selection of colours, £115 p/m; Carsina (background), £159 p/m. colefax.com

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ON DESIGN NEWS

FEEL AT HOME ANIMAL MAGNETISM

Tricia Guild of Designers Guild in a room featuring her Minakari wallpaper, £195 per roll, incorporating two 70cm drops to be hung in sequence. designersguild.com

Alphabet cushion. £79, andrewmartin.co.uk

PINKY AND PERKY Wall mounted gooseneck basin mixer, £756; matching basin, £913. Both from the Broadway Pastel Collection. westonebathroomsonline.com

ART IS LIFE Vicky Lindo and William Brookes Isolation pot, Alveston Fine Arts at Collect 2021 (until 24 March). Prices from £2,000, collectfair.org.uk

TWO’S COMPANY

ZIG-A-ZIG AH Kanoko is a softened zig zag design, inspired by a 1930s Zoffany pattern and revived by Riviere Rugs in Tibetan wool and botanic silk. £1,206 per sq/m, riviererugs.com

MEANDER Soane’s ribbon bench, made from steam bent cane in its Leicestershire workshop, upholstered in Trianon stripe fabric. £5,000 excluding fabric, soane.com

PHOTOS: UNSPLASH

Hand-made ceramic wall sconces, £495 for two. pollyfern.com

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JULIAN CHICHESTER

JULIANCHICHESTER.COM london | new york | atlanta | high point

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ON DESIGN SHOPPING

Missprint Coral Lapis wallpaper, from £76 per roll. missprint.co.uk

Divine Savages Pucci wallpaper, £150 per roll. divinesavages.com

Chelsea Gem Vivre wallpaper in Terracotta, £85 per roll. chelseagem.com

A B O V E & B E Y O N D

Minimalism is out – it’s time to celebrate colour and pattern with the latest wallpaper designs

Parker & Jules Ziggy Olive wallpaper, £140 per roll. parkerandjules.com

Soane Britain Cloister Garden wallpaper by Sophie Coryndon, £750 per roll. soane.com

Elizabeth Ockford Horizon wallpaper in ochre, £195 per roll. elizabethockford.com

Lorna Syson Woodland mural, £275 per roll. lornasyson.co.uk

PHOTOS: UNSPLASH

Mineheart Spotty Bird Feathers wallpaper, £78 per roll. mineheart.com

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INTERIORS ARE FOR LIVING, NOT JUST LOOKING I design original, habitable interiors that don’t look designed. Blending the old with the new, the pre-loved with the pristine, I create comfortable spaces that are perfectly imperfect.

INFO@ANAENGELHORN.COM . ANAENGELHORN.COM . INSTAGRAM @ANAENGELHORN

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ON DESIGN SHOPPING

Carousel by Samantha Rudd, £55 p/m. athomewiththerudds.com

Nanda linen from Fabricut at Christian Lee Fabrics, £124 p/m. christianleefabrics.com

Nina Campbell at Osborne & Little curtain in Pataudi, £115 p/m; chair upholstered in Rana, £115 p/m. osborneandlittle.com

N E W T H R E A D S Simply beautiful fabrics for hanging, pleating and cushioning

Tempo Geometric lambswool in Fiesta by Johnstons of Elgin, £118 p/m. johnstonsofelgin.com

Hollyhocks by House of Hackney, £95 p/m. houseofhackney.com

Fabrics, from £57.50; trims, from £19, all from the Gardyne collection by James Hare. james-hare.com

Chair upholstered in Sauvage by Zak+Fox, from £201.10 p/m at George Spencer Designs. georgespencer.com

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Alma linen in Rose Indien by Manuel Canovas, £179 p/m. manuelcanovas.com

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CO M P E T I T I O N

HEAVEN ON EARTH Win a designer bedroom makeover courtesy of Yves Delorme

I

s there anything more heavenly than sinking into a freshly made bed? Undoubtedly not. But this spring renowned French home brand Yves Delorme is making that feeling even better with its new Utopia bed linen collection. Featuring a luscious tropical floral print inspired by the work of French painter Douanier Rousseau, the contemporary collection is made from luxurious 100 per cent cotton sateen with a thread count of 300. This material ensures a lustrous sheen, a silky feel and a beautiful drape, for a bedtime experience that dreams are truly made of. uk.yvesdelorme.com; monogrammedlinenshop.com

WIN One lucky C&TH reader will win a Utopia bedroom makeover with Yves Delorme. Enter for your chance to win one king-size duvet cover worth £349 and two standard pillowcases worth £79 each, with a total value of £507.

TO ENTER Visit countryandtown house.co.uk/ competitions and follow instructions. The competition closes on 6 May 2021, terms and conditions apply.

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These beautiful parasols are inspired by traditional Keralan temple shades

Three British designers tell the story of how they transformed their designs into a reality EAST LONDON PARASOL COMPANY

I

Lucy Ferguson discovered a passion for parasols while living in Kerala

first saw the parasols in temple celebrations in Kerala. They line the roads there – every celebration is an excuse for a parasol. I’d moved to Kochi, Kerala, for a romantic entanglement and spent around a year there writing and living in a gradually crumbling pink concrete house. Kochi has a very different idea of Christmas (they burn effigies of Santa!). So I decided to throw a big Christmas lunch. I decorated the corrugated iron-covered terrace with sofas made from pallets and as a final touch, put the umbrellas in painted drums.

When I moved back to London I brought parasols with me, but I wasn’t in a colourful mood. I’d lost my way, which coincided with the end of my relationship. One day I had an epiphany and decided to stop beating myself up, and go and do something cheerful. I decided to create beautiful, colourful parasols to make other people and myself happy. I had to return to India for a wedding of a childhood friend, and on my return I immediately felt like I was home. A dear friend collected me from Kochi airport with a garland of jasmine and told me he’d help me find the temple umbrella makers. I bought bales of cloth and we drove around rural Kerala finding suppliers in crazy sheds stuffed with parasols. I ended up in Jaipur trying to find solutions to the production issues in Kerala and there, as if by magic, I found a wealth of textiles and friends. I’m forever

grateful to Rajasthan: it opened its arms to me and started my love affair with craftsmanship. I now have a shack-like home in the city, and the people I work with there are more like family. My curiosity about parasol makers took me to Indonesia where we have two villages of artisans making parasols for us, like they have for centuries. They’re a joy to work with; it was a moving experience showing them how to sew the Keralan silver fringes so they float in the breeze, like fingers touching across continents. This year has been unpredictable, but the best thing to come out of it was the launch of our UK production. I’ve spent the past few years meeting carpenters. Finally, I found the perfect one in Hampshire. He’s hugely talented and we’ve spent many happy hours perfecting the pulley designs, brass hooks and all the moving parts. They’ll be fitted with covers made in Rajasthan – I can’t wait to unveil them. eastlondonparasols.com

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I N D E P E N D E N T S P I R I T


ON DESIGN TAKE THREE

WoodEdit’s timeless bedside table is made from your choice of sustainablysourced walnut, oak or ash

MONIQUE LUCAS

M WOODEDIT

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Responsibly-sourced wood and nature form the foundations of WoodEdit’s furniture designs, created by Paul and Maria Le Mesurier

e’re a husband and wife team [writes Maria] – my husband Paul was trained as a classical boat builder, and I worked in the creative world for many years, and have developed a good sense for design. Combined with Paul’s love of working with wood, we knew we had to embark on this new venture. The first piece we created was one of those fantastic inspirational moments. It was a large kitchen table in walnut, and remains our favourite piece today. It epitomises the features that define WoodEdit designs: elegant, strong and classic. From that moment, we absolutely knew this was what we wanted to do. With five children, the biggest challenge was to hit the ground running. We had to make it work fast, but we quickly built up a strong following. As a family of seven, living minimally but cosily is our ethos, and all of our designs are infused with this. Each piece is made to bring happiness and a sense of calm into people’s homes. Sustainability is also central, and all pieces are made from responsiblysourced oak, ash, and walnut. We wanted our customers to live alongside beautiful, organic materials and benefit from their graceful beauty. At the beginning of lockdown the timber yards closed, which was a challenge. But like everyone we worked around it, and in 2021 we’re launching our Core collection as well as working on a new range, which is very exciting. Our heads are always overflowing with ideas, but what makes WoodEdit furniture particularly unique is that it’s simple and unfussy – it has timeless style, and it’s made to last. woodedit.co.uk

Twenty four-year-old Monique Lucas left university to launch her brand, inspired by the coastlines all over the world that shaped her childhood

y designs are inspired by a love of the coast. Whether it’s the exotic islands of the Far East, the sultry shores of Florida’s Keys or the rugged British coastline, I find continual inspiration from coastal life and atmospheres: the surroundings of sea, greenery and its ever-changing nature. Growing up I’ve been fortunate enough to live all over the place, from London to South East Asia, and the Isle of Wight where we have a home, and see many different cultures through design. I was always very creative at school, but a true inspiration was my grandmother. She was an artist, and created some amazing watercolours from her time living in Jamaica. It was while studying at the University of Westminster that I decided to start my brand. I had produced two art exhibitions, but I wanted my art and drawings to come to life in a way that was applicable to everyday life. I took the decision to drop out of my course, and deployed a local manufacturer to make a first collection of ten velvet cushions. Each of my designs is hand drawn, and a reflection of an experience I’ve had by the coast or an object I’ve seen. I love the idea of bringing elements of this into other people’s homes, for people who might not necessarily live by the sea but love the feeling coastal atmospheres evoke. Covid has enabled me to stay in one place and focus solely on developing my brand. I feel a huge sense of gratitude for that, as it’s been such a difficult time for so many. It’s been wonderful getting pictures and feedback from customers with my products in their homes. A huge triumph was when a product sold out – my favourite print is the lobster, which also happens to be our most popular one. In 2021, I’m most excited about launching my new designs – the new collection of prints will come out in April, just in time for the summer months. moniquelucas.co.uk n

Monique’s coral design is printed in the UK using eco-friendly inks on organic cotton

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BLOOMING LOV E LY Garden designer Richard Miers on how to choose the best indoor plants for your home

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n over 25 years of garden design, Richard Miers has completed more projects than blossoms on a tree. He is as much at home designing roof terraces and ornamental outdoor spaces in the city as lavish gardens in the country. Here, he offers expert advice on indoor planting. ‘In our northern climes I recommend beautiful and productive potted citrus trees. They have the added bonus of deliciously scented flowers – and you can impress guests with a slice of home-grown lemon in their G&T. Peaches, almond trees and the more exotic pomegranate can also be grown inside, planted in large pots. If you have vertical support in the form of obelisks or trellis there are wonderful tender climbers to consider, such as scented jasmine or glorious Stephanotis floribunda and pretty purple Hardenbergia violacea, or lilac vine, resembling a miniature wisteria. Garden rooms are excellent environments for ferns, such as the sword fern and the delicate feathery asparagus fern. Decorative devil’s ivy, Epipremnum aureum (AGM), also a shade lover, is versatile as it both climbs and hangs. Equally robust is the Victorian favourite, Aspidistra elatior, with its large upright paddle-like leaves and the ubiquitous Monstera deliciosa. Indoor planting offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the fragrance of scented-leaved pelargoniums, creamy gardenias and the pansy orchid (Miltonia). Succulents such as Aeoniums, Echeveria and aloe vera have become very popular as indoor plants, and need little attention. At home I have reliable plants that cope when I’m away.

Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum), the baby spiderettes reminding me of A-level biology, and a beautiful and faithful moth orchid (Phalaenopsis) that has moved house with me along the way and never fails to bloom. Think about the vessels for your plants: remember large pots and planters will need watering less often than small ones, but you have to get the scale right. Terracotta pots are ideal for citrus trees as the pots lose moisture quickly, thus Richard Miers making it harder to overwater by mistake. Saucers under the pots will prevent any water damage. I personally like old copper pots and metal florists’ buckets, and often scour antique shops for quirky and unique containers. The plants themselves still require good drainage, so adding a handful of gravel or clay pebbles to the base of the container in which the plant and its own pot sits helps stop the plant from standing in water and rotting. Finally, water features provide a soothing backdrop of gentle sound and movement. Stone fountains covered in moss, encircled with ‘Mind-your-own-business’ (Soleirolia soleirolii) at the base amid luxuriant green foliage has a timeless elegance evoking the spirit of a bygone era.’ richardmiers.com

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; UNSPLASH; © SIM CANETTY-CLARKE

I N DOOR OU T DOOR Six chairs just perfect for placing in a sunny spot

1 Sweet William botanicals deckchair, featuring a copperplate engraving of Dianthus Barbatus (or ‘Sweet William’) from William Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, London, 1793. £139.99, welovecushions.co.uk; 2 Cane Ball chair. £290, cielshopinteriors.com; 3 Fiona Carver side chair from Foras Collection in natural oak or dark stained oiled iroko. £2,650, fbc-london.com; 4 Chatto chair. £436, neptune.com; 5 Splash lounge double seat made from sustainably-sourced oak, and cushion. £5,490, gazeburvill.com; 6 Indian Ocean Pimlico Jazz lounge chair with a solid teak frame. £755, indian-ocean.co.uk

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ON DESIGN GARDENS

GREEN FINGERS

HARTLEY BOTANIC Bespoke Victorian lodge with double porch. £POA, hartley-botanic.co.uk

THINKING OF INVESTING IN A GLASSHOUSE OR GREENHOUSE? HERE’S WHAT TO CONSIDER

Look and feel: A greenhouse needs to find a natural place within your existing garden, rather than dominate the space. What size? How will you use a greenhouse? Is it for growing your own food, or do you also want a room where you can sit? If the latter, then choose a structure that allows for a generous seating area. Or consider an abutting greenhouse accessible from your home.

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; UNSPLASH; © SIM CANETTY-CLARKE

Optimal position? A greenhouse needs access to as much sunlight as possible, so avoid placing it in the shadow of tall fences or walls. For lean to greenhouses placed against a wall, a south-facing position is ideal. For stand alone structures, the ridge along the top of the greenhouse should ideally run from east to west; this will allow the sun to run along its longest side during the day. Other elemental considerations include a location to catch prevailing winds for ventilation purposes and choosing a site which is not shaded, but equally not too exposed to the cold. Site the greenhouse in close proximity to an electricity and water supply.

INTERIORS BY VALE Fuscello hand made side table. £1,990, interiorsby vale.com

READ Plant, House Plants: Choosing, Styling, Caring, by Gynelle Leon (£15, Octopus) WESTBURY GARDEN ROOMS From £45,000, westburygardenrooms.com

LET THE SU NSHIN E IN How to make the most of your outdoor space. By Carole Annett

ALEXANDER GIRARD Flower table. From £549, vitra.com

Planning permission? Planning consent is not always needed unless you live in a Grade I, II or listed property, or in an area of outstanding natural beauty. You may also need permission if the greenhouse will be disproportionately large in relation to your existing property. Check this with your local planning authority. hartley-botanic.co.uk

HADDONSTONE Cast stone Puzzle planter. £99, haddonstone.com

MODA Nest swivel chair. £725, modafurnishings.co.uk

COX & COX Three standing planters. £30, coxandcox.co.uk

ALITEX Alitex’s aluminium Hidcote greenhouse, from its National Trust Collection, is the perfect size for cottage and urban gardens. £12,950, alitex.co.uk

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B E A R I N G F R U I T Shared passions yield positive results. Here are four of our favourite stories of the design community coming together NINA CAMPBELL X HALCYON DAYS ‘I’ve a long history with Halcyon Days,’ explains interior designer Nina Campbell, ‘going back to when they created Battersea enamel candlesticks.’ Established in 1950, Halcyon Days is a British business specialising in Englishmade objets d’art. ‘I’ve always wanted to do my own bone china collection and thought it was just wonderful when the idea of collaborating with Halcyon Days was suggested. It’s been unbelievably easy and we are very lucky and excited about working with one another,’ Nina adds. The collection comprises Marguerite, inspired by French porcelain and strewn with tiny flowers, and Serengeti, in memory of an African safari. ‘We enjoyed an incredible adventure: the first animal I glimpsed was the wonderful neck of a giraffe reaching forward to eat leaves, followed by elephants drinking from the swimming pool.’ Set upon bone china, handcrafted in Stoke-on-Trent, the designs include tableware and tea sets. From £42, halcyondays.co.uk; ninacampbell.com

Nina Campbell’s designs for Halcyon Days include Marguerite, inspired by antique French porcelain

Choose between four colours for the trim, and add your own monogram to the bedding range

Noor Charchafchi of Celine Interior Design and Royal Warrant holder for bedlinen, Peter Reed, have created the Classic Ombre Collection, a fourcord design on white percale. Noor explains how it came about: ‘I’ve been a long term Peter Reed devotee having experienced and appreciated its products for years, both personally and on behalf of my clients. This collaboration is a celebration of our shared passion for textiles. We wanted to create a design that would enhance any interior scheme. With a third of our lives spent between the sheets, choosing the best bedlinen you can find goes a long way to ensuring a good night’s sleep. I think it is important to invest in your own comfort and health.’ The Ombre collection is available in four accent colours, blue, green, pink and grey, with an option for a pillow monogram. Peter Reed bedlinen is based in Lancashire, each piece made to order, cut and finished by hand. From £168, peterreed.com

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PHOTOS: UNSPLASH

NOOR CHARCHAFCHI X PETER REED


ON DESIGN COLLABORATORS

Give your bathroom an upgrade with the Corvair collection, inspired by the golden age of travel

MARTIN KEMP DESIGN X THG French manufacturer, THG Paris, makes bathroom fittings the company describes as ‘bath and art de vivre’, to enhance the ritual of bathing. Its designs are made to order and can be found in some of the world’s most glamorous hotels and residences. Martin Kemp, sharing a similar client list, proved an ideal partner for a joint venture. Corvair, Martin’s collection for THG, is inspired by aerodynamic lines and shapes characteristic of the golden age of travel. Curved and streamlined, the design mirrors his own passion for classic cars. Martin focused on the period of the 1940s and 50s, reinterpreting the styles, decorations and details typical of the aeronautical, rail and nautical industry of the time. ‘This collection is a lucid dream of the sumptuous forms and emotive detailing synonymous with the elegance of voyage,’ he explains. Prices from £1,300 plus VAT for a three-hole basin mixer. thg-paris.com; martinkempdesign.com

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LORFORDS CONTEMPORARY X TURNER POCOCK

Sitting pretty: ‘Lorfords make the most comfortable sofas,’ says Bunny Turner

Toby Lorford, Bunny Turner and Emma Pocock have known each other for years. Interior designers Bunny and Emma are regular visitors to Toby’s Cotswold base, sourcing antiques from Lorfords or ordering bespoke furniture from the workshop. It was a natural progression to put their heads together for a furniture collection. ‘We wanted that Lorfords craftsmanship and expertise in manufacturing yet with a contemporary aesthetic,’ says Bunny. Intricate detail and precise lines epitomise the Turner Pocock eye, while techniques such as hand-tied springs, meticulous stitching and feather and down cushioning, are Lorfords’ trademark. ‘Our supply chain matters to us,’ says Toby, ‘and we like to support our local economy – our frames are made here in the UK from locally grown beech and oak, and brass castors are crafted in Devon. We use renewable materials wherever we can and are constantly reassessing how to incorporate new sustainable materials whilst preserving traditional upholstery techniques.’ From £2,100, excluding fabric, lorfords.com March/April 2021 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK | 107

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ON DESIGN SPOTLIGHT

Carole Annett discovers how 300-year-old East Lothian mansion Yester House has been reimagined for the 21st century

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he restoration of Yester House, an 18th-century, Grade A-listed Palladian mansion in East Lothian, is akin to a fairy tale. A vast, lonely giant in need of love, the property was waiting for someone to pour their heart and soul into its old Scottish bones, nurturing, repairing and tending to every niggle, in order to bring it back to life. Enter Nicola and Garreth Wood, she an ex-model and TV presenter, he a philanthropist and founder of children’s medical charity, Kids Operating Room (KidsOR). Their quest to save Yester, like any good story, had its share of trials to overcome, not least the huge scale of the place, which stands in 550 acres near Haddington. ‘When I first saw Yester I assumed my husband intended to turn it into a hotel,’ remembers Nicola. Though she found it ‘enchanting’, it seemed too daunting as a decorative project. She’d only just finished doing up another house and having a baby, so ‘my heart just wasn’t in it’. But after considering other houses over the following months, Nicola soon realised Yester was special. ‘From then on, I was in.’ With over 34,000 sq/ft of floor space, it was too big a project to tackle alone, so Nicola enlisted

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FAR LEFT AND ABOVE: Wavy-backed John Sankey sofas in the drawing room and master bedroom complement Yester’s ornate 18th-century detailing LEFT: The magnificent bathroom, with parquet flooring and intricate moulding and cornicing

Edinburgh-based studio Jeffrey’s Interiors (jeffreys-interiors.co.uk). ‘I’ve always loved going into Jeffrey’s shop. Everything about it resonates,’ she smiles. ‘I wanted to work with people who shared my vision and I found that with their designers Alison Vance and Jo Aynsley.’ Nicola began the creative process by showering her newly assembled team with pages torn from magazines, offering hundreds of ideas for bedrooms, bathrooms, furniture and paint colours. Alison and Jo initially presented formal mood boards but, when they realised Nicola intended to be fully involved, switched to theming colours, textures and patterns that could be explored at their weekly Tuesday meetings. ‘As soon as we showed her something, the type of “Hmmm…” we heard told us a lot,’ says Jo. The meetings went on all day and remained a highlight of the project. ‘We were all in our element, it was fun,’ agrees Nicola. She quickly realised the style of furniture and décor from her previous house wasn’t going to work for Yester because the scale was so vast. Jo explains: ‘If you look at the lamps in the dining room, they are actually floor lamps on tables. Everything we chose was in danger of being swamped by the size of the rooms.’ However, Nicola found herself instinctively drawn to large patterns and different types of fabric. ‘I’d never wanted to use velvet before but realised here it could look amazing. There was a definite development in my style.’ Space planning was a key consideration. ‘We thought carefully about how to make it a family home. The kitchen in the basement, for example, didn’t work – for me, it is the hub of the house,’ explains Nicola. But once the kitchen, playroom and main living room had been allocated, her dream of a family home began to take shape. March/April 2021 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK | 109

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ON DESIGN SPOTLIGHT

Architectural, construction, mechanical and engineering teams met every week. Radiator plans, light switch placements, decisions on electrical points and numerous other tasks were added to the schedule. ‘In general, we got what we wanted by finding solutions,’ Nicola says. ‘If I was told I couldn’t have something we’d planned, say in a bathroom, we moved the bathroom. It was a massive learning curve for us all.’ Since the house dates back to 1699, with outstanding historic features such as a salon designed by Robert and William Adam, much of the restoration required specialist skills. Decorators Nevin of Edinburgh (nevinofedinburgh.co.uk) came on board for ceiling, cornicing and fireplace conservation work, often on a grand scale. ‘The swirl on the salon ceiling is larger than a man but you only realise once someone is up on the scaffold,’ says Jo. Artist Rachel Bell was enlisted to help choose paint shades. The salon colour had to sit companionably alongside William Delacor’s 1760s bucolic painted wall scenes, so Rachel’s solution was to add sienna to a base colour, ‘warming it up’ so it looked the same in all areas of the room. The team settled on five different shades for the salon’s cornicing and plasterwork, all lighter than the wall colour, allowing details to sing. In the dining room, the process was reversed, with plasterwork darker than walls.

Nicola bought some of the previous owner’s lighting and furniture, to be repurposed and reupholstered. ‘Initially I wasn’t keen,’ she says , ‘but when I looked at pieces individually, I realised how beautiful they were and that we’d struggle to get something similar. It took a full four days to walk round using sticky dots to highlight pieces we wanted.’ The team acquired complementary new pieces from brands like John Sankey (johnsankey.co.uk) and Duresta (duresta.com). ‘The quality and comfort is always spot on,’ says Jo, ‘and curves are important, such as John Sankey’s Wolseley design with its undulating back frame. It gives a different aesthetic to a room.’ Bespoke furniture maker Ogilvies of Haddington (ogilvies.scot) made bunk beds for the children and a few other key pieces. The team also ventured overseas on sourcing trips. Jo, Alison and Nicola twice visited the trade show Maison&Objet in Paris (maison-objet.com). ‘Much easier and more fun than choosing from a catalogue,’ laughs Jo. There was a eureka moment spotting an LED tree on a showroom stand. ‘We’d had a few glasses of champagne by then,’ smiles Nicola, ‘but we looked at each other and realised it could feature. The tree light now sits on a table leading to the children’s bedrooms. I love it – it adds modernity.’ Yester House is nearly finished. ‘We left a few rooms to ensure damp issues were resolved before we decorated,’ explains Nicola. For Alison, Yester was a fitting pre-retirement project, while Jo relished working with its grandeur and heritage. And Nicola and Garreth now have two children filling Yester’s walls with their giggles and scurrying feet. After such a mammoth undertaking, one might assume the fairy tale is complete and no further projects await. Not so. ‘We’re talking about a beach house,’ laughs Nicola. ‘I’ll be in touch with Jo once we find the right one.’ yesterestate.com n

PHOTOS: UNSPLASH

ABOVE: The historic Palladian mansion was bought by Nicola and Garreth Wood in 2015 and has been a labour of love to restore and redecorate BELOW: Nicola moved the traditional basement kitchen upstairs, so it’s now the light-filled hub of the house

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FOR

riviererugs.com | 46 Lots Road London SW10 0QF | +44 (0) 203 601 4600 Riviere Rugs.indd 1

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PASSION PROJECTS

PHOTOS: UNSPLASH; JAMES MCDONALD

From a classic townhouse to slick apartments, some of the greatest minds in the interiors world have been busy with magical makeovers. Here’s all the inspiration you need for your very own transformation

Act One: the library. Former set designer Kate Guinness created subtle drama in this terraced Georgian townhouse in London, by layering pattern, colour and texture

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ON DESIGN CASE STUDY

C R O W D P L E A S E R

Interior designer Kate Guinness steps into a starring role in this jewel-like London production

PHOTOS: UNSPLASH; JAMES MCDONALD

‘F

inished is a big word,’ laughs Kate Guinness, as she describes this London townhouse project, her first after launching her own studio five years ago. ‘We still have one guest room to go.’ The owner is Michael Parsons, a friend of a friend who initially approached Kate for help with one room, the library. Like opening a bag of sweets, judiciously testing one flavour at a time, room by room he kept returning for more. ‘It’s been a lovely project,’ says Kate, ‘and because the process has been slow, Michael has had time to get comfortable with our ideas. He’s been happy to be pushed creatively and allowed us to invest in beautiful fabrics and wallcoverings.’ Before embarking on a career in interiors, Kate worked as a set and costume designer, and Michael’s house gave her a chance to channel that sense of theatre. Each room has its own character, united as a whole by her bold use of colour and pattern. If Act One started in the library, Act Two opens onto the dining area, featuring Soane Britain’s Scrolling Fern Frond wallpaper and eye-popping rhubarbpink chairs (soane.co.uk). ‘Michael wanted to make the room an extension of the garden,’ she explains, ‘I looked at more obvious leafy wallpapers but this has subtlety and at night the room is enveloped in spiralling tendrils’. Act Three continues upstairs, where the green theme extends to the master bedroom, with walls painted in Pigeon by Farrow and Ball (farrow-ball.com). ‘It’s a peaceful colour to sleep in,’ explains Kate. The bespoke headboard fabric is by

Le Manach at Pierre Frey (pierrefrey.com), a Les Ecailles design, blue-green with tiny flecks of purple. Kate gave it more oomph with zigzag wallpaper by Knowles and Christou (knowleschristou.com) complementing a window treatment using a sheer voile by Turnell and Gigon (turnellandgigon.com) and rich berry Tissus d’Hélène fabric on a blind (tissusdhelene.co.uk). When it came to furniture, there was plenty to play with. ‘Michael inherited good pieces from relatives and preferred to work with these rather than investing in new,’ says Kate. ‘We reupholstered and repurposed, only buying occasionally such as an armchair by Robert Kime [robertkime.com]’. It’s now covered with Kente cloth, a Ghanaian textile with handwoven strips of silk and cotton sewn together like a patchwork. Where Kate’s team did invest, they were meticulous. ‘Because we had time, we really thought about each piece – for example, hunting everywhere for an antique corner cupboard for the kitchen, which we eventually sourced from Arcadia antiques in Leamington Spa (arcadiaantiques.co.uk).’ Other gems such as a Kashmiri painted mirror or Moroccan Berber rug all play their role in the house’s transformation. The design of the utility room typifies Kate’s eye. ‘I wanted to create a little gem as guests walk past. I went a bit Irish with orange and green and a gorgeous Neisha Crosland (neishacrosland.com) wallpaper,’ she says. The radiator is painted an acid hue, a little bit of drama. She can’t help herself. kateguinness.co.uk March/April 2021 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK | 113

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R O O M S E R V I C E

A

fter a year spent mostly indoors, the experience of staying in a hotel is a pre-Covid luxury craved by many. But how to go about recreating it in a functional family home? This was the challenge design studio BradyWilliams was presented with when it took on a townhouse project in South Kensington. ‘The family [who live between Lagos, Nigeria and London and have four children] love luxury and wanted a hotel feel, but also for it to be a fun family home,’ explains co-founder Emily Williams. Luckily, BradyWilliams is more than equipped. The studio launched almost nine years ago, combining the talents of Emily and Shayne Brady, who met designing interiors for hotels and decided to pool their skills – Williams taking on high-end residential, and Brady

the hospitality clients. Together, their calling card is refined, timeless interiors, with ‘layered minimalism but that also feel very welcoming, with a serenity to the spaces’. For thisLondon family home, honing the layout was key. Rooms felt disjointed, lacking character and personality. BradyWilliams’ mission was to reconnect a sense of flow, while tapping into the heritage and history of the property’s Royal Borough location. An initial moodboard focussed on sculptural furniture. ‘We really wanted to emphasise the notion of texture and form in terms of sculptural pieces,’ explains Emily. Collaboration was also key from the offset – and the client’s art consultant, Alison Heath, became central to the process. ‘She added a lot of expressive art with Nigerian origins – and she was fantastic

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PHOTOS: UNSPLASH; © PAUL RAESIDE

Design studio BradyWilliams perfects the home-meets-hotel vibe in South Kensington


PHOTOS: UNSPLASH; © PAUL RAESIDE

ON DESIGN CASE STUDY

at marrying art to the furniture pieces we were looking for.’ Especially striking is the connected sitting room and ante-room, which initially felt ‘very much like two separate spaces,’ Emily remembers. ‘We needed to give it the feel of one space and the sense of grandeur that the house deserves on arrival.’ Installing open double doors linking between the rooms unified the space, while the sense of a double reception was achieved by cleverly mirroring features, from carrying the same flooring finish throughout to the twinned fireplaces, window treatments and chandeliers. While this is a space that instinctively feels minimalist, it’s all part of the BradyWilliams sleight of hand; layering colour on colour and subtly disrupting textures. ‘If you look closer there’s a lot going,’ says Emily. ‘In the reception there’s

a linen wallcovering [by Phillip Jeffries], deep mossy velvet on the chairs and a polished plaster finish.’ But of course, in any family home where there is a beautiful reception room, there must also be a foil that can withstand paint spills, coffee splashes and baking clutter. With custom green units and pops of sunny colour, the open plan kitchen on the lower ground floor ticks this box. Sliding French windows open up into a compact sun-trap of a walled garden, which typifies the fresh, al fresco spaces that became so desirable in lockdown, and it’s impossible for the eye not to alight upon the living wall, teeming with scented jasmine. ‘The family wanted an English garden feel,’ says Emily, ‘so we planted lots of hydrangeas and herbs that can be used in the kitchen.’ As a final touch, a miniature banquette seat was incorporated, providing a perfect perch for coffee in the sun. Even here, attention to detail wasn’t spared. ‘The upholstery has a small piping of yellow,’ points out Emily, ‘that connects the colour scheme in a subtle way, chiming with yellow stools inside.’ Perhaps the greatest feat of the overall end result, however, is the fact that all this was achieved in the short summer respite from lockdown. Was it all moodboards pulled together at kitchen tables, decisions made over Zoom, and socially distanced-decorating logistics? ‘It was a real challenge,’ admits Emily. ‘You’re always learning on the job and not much surprises me – but there was a lot more to think about. We finished at the eleventh hour, which I haven’t experienced in many years.’ Nonetheless, it had its silver linings: ‘I was so proud of my team, and everyone had such a can-do attitude,’ she concludes. ‘It was a learning curve, and challenge is important to us.’ Balancing serenity with character, flair, luxury and personality, this South Kensington project more than met the USP of hotel-meets-familyhome. In fact – it’s exactly the sort of property you wish you really could turn up at, drop off your bags and sign into for a BradyWilliams-styled night off. bradywilliamsstudio.com March/April 2021 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK | 115

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Charu Gandhi of Elicyon was inspired by the ‘lost’ River Westbourne – formerly known as the Kilburn river – when it came to designing the interiors of two apartments at 41-43 Beaufort Gardens


C I T Y S L I C K E R

How Charu Gandhi used a lost river as inspiration for the design of two new Knightsbridge apartments

W PHOTOS: UNSPLASH

he ‘lost’ Kilburn eriors of Gardens

ON DESIGN CASE STUDY

hen lockdown hit a year ago, one of the most notable phenomenons was the mass exodus of Londoners to the countryside. Searches for property in the capital fell, demand for gardens and home offices rose, and city-dwellers raced to swap glossy London boxes for pretty crumbling rectories with ample banana bread baking facilities. But elasticity is in London’s DNA, and it was never going to be down on its luck for long. One of the designers making a case for staying in the capital (among the joys of art galleries, museums and all the rich cultural fabric London has to offer) is Charu Gandhi, founder of Kensington-based design studio Elicyon. Despite an increasingly empty city centre, in the late summer of 2020 Elicyon was called upon to create striking and elegant spaces in two apartments in the 41-43 Beaufort Gardens development in the heart of Knightsbridge. A stone’s throw from Harrods and the V&A, the location is exemplary of the best and most beautiful London has on offer, and Elicyon sought to acknowledge and celebrate the architecture as well as the design updates by Parisian architect Pierre Yovanovitch. ‘Elicyon’s designs were inspired by the etymology of Knightsbridge and the “lost” River Westbourne,’ explains Charu Gandhi, referencing a buried tributary of the Thames which once connected the neighbouring areas of Chelsea and Hyde Park: ‘Ink blue details in the colour palette,

materiality and finishes subtly emulate the ebb and flow of water.’ Influence was also drawn from the cities of Madrid, Rome and Paris. ‘The aesthetic is akin to lofty 19th century European residences,’ elaborates Gandhi, ‘where high ceilings, white stucco frontages and a sensibility of scale between rooms typifies designs.’ To complement modern materials and pieces, Elicyon sourced a number of antiques from The Old Cinema in Chiswick and Alfie’s Antiques Market in Lisson Grove. Gandhi further subtly enhanced and softened the raw beauty of coffered ceilings, intricate panelling and abstract art with convex and concave mirrors, pieces upholstered in bouclé mohair and leather detail. While the allure of the countryside has drawn many to greener pastures, 41-43 Beaufort Gardens is a great fit for the London highfliers (with a spa, gym, treatment room and sauna to boot). As Samuel Johnson famously put it: ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,’ and the hard work of London-based designers like Elicyon is sure to draw revellers as life floods back into the city. ‘I always say that buildings are living, breathing organisms,’ concludes Gandhi, ‘designing based on static architectural drawings and plans will only take you so far.’ Prices at 41-43 Beaufort Gardens range from £2.45-£25 million. beauchamp.com; harrodsestates.com n March/April 2021 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK | 117

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HOTELS&

TR AVEL New Horizons

Want to homeschool in the Maldives, home office in Mexico or spend spring on sumptuous sabbatical in Uttarakhand? Paradise awaits you, says Susan d’Arcy, as the travel industry reinvents itself

Explore Montana on horseback with expert guides from Pelorus

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HOTELS & TRAVEL | Escape

‘Despite the risks, the complicated logistics and bedrock of UNCERTAINTY, Richard and Isabella were still determined to go on their TR AVELS. Friends thought they were mad. What was wrong with CORNWALL? It could be a story from last summer but actually it’s centuries old. This is SIR RICHARD BURTON, the Victorian era’s most daring explorer, and ISABELLA BIRD whose first expedition was he brave pioneers quoted above illustrate the to Morocco in 1872, aged 41’ ‘’twas ever thus’ truth

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of our relationship with international travel. Its allure is embedded deep in our culture and we didn’t willingly surrender it during lockdown. Now that vaccines have brought foreign shores temptingly back into focus, the question is: will Covid-19 have altered the landscapes we’ve longed for? Given the battering they’ve taken, tour operators and hoteliers are commendably optimistic about the evolving new normal. Many have used Isabella Bird lockdown for a (frankly) much-needed granular review of often antiquated operations. Like paper cuts, some hotel protocols are minor but maddening – so congrats to hoteliers who’ve finally dropped inflexible check-in times. Other light-bulb moments are altogether more joyous, such as the imaginative pop-ups that now devise unforgettable private dining experiences in suites left to gather dust. Most noticeably, Covid has highlighted the power of travel to bond and educate. ‘Parents want to make up for lost time and teach their children lessons through travel,’ says Henry Cookson of Cookson Adventures (cooksonadventures.com). He’s busy recruiting specialist adventure guides who can double as tutors. ‘Every fun detail of our natural world can be highlighted to young explorers,’ he explains. ‘It’s a great way of entertaining children while their parents try something more daring, such as ice-climbing in Iceland.’ Families also want to combine the space and privacy of a villa with the option to dip into hotel services. ‘We’ve noticed an increased demand for private villas,’ agrees COMO’s Olivier Jolivet (comohotels.com), ‘most notably the Tirta Ening Residence at Shambhala Estate in Bali, tucked away in lush jungle with a private waterfall for a totally zen feel, and The Sanctuary at Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos, conceptualised by Donna Karan.’ Probably the most game-changing difference, though, is how the virus has blurred the definition of ‘the office’. Remote working has opened up the very real and liberating prospect of spending several months WFHH (working from a holiday hotel). Frances Geoghegan from Healing Holidays (healingholidays.com) says wellness retreats such as Vana in India, Kamalaya in Thailand and Rancho La Puerta in Mexico are adapting rooms and developing programmes for those who want to stay for up to three months. Barbados and Dubai are among destinations that have cut red tape so digital nomads can spend up to a year Zooming into budget meetings. Most of us, however, remain wedded to the idea of a fabulous fortnight away, which we increasingly seek to spend in splendid isolation, with just a hint of Bear Grylls hairy-chestedness. This too is getting easier to arrange.

Geordie Mackay-Lewis from Pelorus (pelorusx.com) says: ‘Destinations have invested in their infrastructure to accommodate more people safely in the wild. For example, in the United States, the access, guiding and services in national parks has been much improved. It’s Africa rather than the Americas, though, that most consistently offers the holy grail of pristine scenery, abundant wildlife and remoteness, as well as ticking another important box – size. Many safari lodges are small enough to take over for exclusive use, or to placate those not yet comfortable mixing with crowds. Crucially, Africa’s lodges also have genuine sustainability at their core, another major concern for the post-Covid traveller. Take Xigera, recently opened in Botswana. Its 12 exquisite suites have a carbon footprint as light as an angel’s and all materials are ethically sourced. The service is so intuitive that the team, drawn from local communities, could take to the stage as mind readers. The resort is high on travel wish lists says George Morgan-Grenville from Red Savannah (red-savannah.com). ‘Travellers are gravitating towards accommodation that has a strong environmental feel-good factor; special places that make a positive difference to locals.’ Bill Bensley (bensley.com), whose Shinta Mani Wild tented camp in Cambodia is an exemplar of green travel, says: ‘We are already free of single-use plastics and we no longer serve beef because it is so darned bad for the planet. We have also created individual farms on our property [to supply] the restaurant, bar and spa – there is nothing better than being self-sustainable and home-grown. If anything, Covid is a chance to have even more fun with uniquely tailor-made experiences that our guests will cherish for life.’ New is nice, but for many nostalgia is nicer. Dr Timo Gruenert of Oetker Collection (oetkercollection.com) predicts customers will lap up The Way We Were luxury at glorious ‘grande dame’ hotels such as his group’s Le Bristol in Paris. Tom Marchant from Black Tomato (blacktomato.com) believes couples will want to revisit Venice, lured by the romance of crossing St Mark’s Square without getting a schoolchild’s elbow in the ribs. Marchant also forecasts bookings for Marrakech’s glamorous riads and resorts, perhaps for postponed landmark celebrations, such as birthdays and anniversaries, that were reduced to online cocktails in 2020. Slow travel is another buzz term we look set to embrace wholeheartedly. James Lohan of Mr & Mrs Smith (mrandmrssmith.com) sums up the concept and its appeal. ‘A kinder, more conscious consumer will emerge who would consider flying less but staying longer, maybe twinning city, coastal or countryside stays, embracing road trips or travelling more by train.’ James Bell of Turquoise Holidays (turquoiseholidays.co.uk) sees a shift towards extended holidays in traditional fly and flop destinations such as the Maldives. ‘Some clients are choosing super-long stays in island outposts and even home schooling from paradise. As one client said, “Why come home when the weather, food, view and wifi is better here?”’ reports Bell. The thought of double algebra followed by Factor 50 sounds good to us. n

PHOTOS: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Sir Richard Burton

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GREAT ESCAPES Four trips to book for a well deserved post-Covid adventure

THE WELLNESS SABBATICAL Vana is a magnificent, minimalist wellness retreat in Uttarakhand that’s home to some of the best holistic practitioners on the planet, plus luxurious lounging areas and three excellent restaurants. BOOK IT: Three months from £19,699pp, or a week from £19,199pp, all inclusive (except for international flights). healingholidays.com

THE BEAR GRYLLS GETAWAY On a scale of one to ten Montana deserves at least an 11 for pure, unadulterated, wind-inyour-hair wilderness. Kayak, ride, hike, repeat. BOOK IT: From £6,500pp based on a family of four for five nights (flights extra). pelorusx.com

PHOTOS: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

THE TROPICAL TERM TIME Villas at LUX* South Ari Atoll in the Maldives offer month-long stays with weekly spa treatments, two hours’ daily access to meeting spaces, and unlimited laundry. BOOK IT: From £3,675pp, B&B (flights included). turquoiseholidays.co.uk

Private villas like Tirta Ening Residence in Bali (top) and The Sanctuary at Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos (left) are increasingly popular for visitors who seek privacy with hotel-style perks

THE SUSTAINABLE CONSCIENCE-SALVER Xigera has raised the bar of sustainability and style for African safari lodges, with 95 per cent of its power derived from a solar hybrid system. BOOK IT: Four nights from £6,700pp, inc. meals, games drives (flights extra). redsavannah.com n

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Head to the New Forest to experience unique, nature-filled Chewton Glen

CARPE DIEM

HOTELS SEIZE THEIR MOMENT TO COME BACK FROM THE BRINK Fiona Duncan surveys the post-pandemic UK hotel scene and finds an ebullient can-do attitude among hoteliers. They’re confident that pent-up demand will see a boom in British travel – and bright new trends. Bring it on…

Who isn’t in need of a spot of pampering at Cliveden’s spa?

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Escape UK | HOTELS & TRAVEL Cliveden House in Berkshire defines the ultimate escape

N ABOVE & BELOW: The Mitre’s stylish rooms were designed by Nicola Harding

ever in the history of British hospitality – and it’s a long one, stretching back to the Middle Ages – can there have been such an extraordinary, nail-biting, confusing, challenging and at times uplifting year as the one our nation’s hoteliers have just lived through. It remains to be seen how many of the (approximately) 44,000 hotels and guest houses in the country will fail to survive the financial turbulence that’s been thrown in their path. But casualties apart, there’s a sense that, thanks to the pandemic, these providers of warmth, hospitality, good living and comfort have learned a great deal, raised their standards and become better operators. So what do we want from our post-Covid hotels? And are they up to the task of meeting our expectations? Absolutely, says Hector Ross, who opened the brilliant Mitre hotel opposite Hampton Court last year and is busy looking for further historic but tired hostelries to rejuvenate (mitrehamptoncourt.com). ‘With every lockdown comes another opportunity to improve, pivot where we can, plan ahead and remain creative. Who thought our 17th-century building would be reliant on serving takeaways and home deliveries to keep the team motivated and trying to keep some pennies coming in?’ And the future? ‘I believe,’ Hector says emphatically, ‘that our postpandemic guests will be flocking to hotels; that simple pampering experiences will be more meaningful, from breakfast in bed to concierge advice, and that the relaxing havens hotels offer will not be taken for granted. I also predict a surge in the “missed milestone” market – reunions, belated anniversaries, postponed weddings, life celebrations – and an urge to make up for lost time and “seize the day”. Spontaneity and living for the moment will feature strongly in travel decisions. Hotels will be a source of joy more than ever: places to forget the past and have fun.’ Yes, fun, agrees Jeremy Goring. ‘We feel it our duty to facilitate fun, togetherness and conviviality in 2021 and it’s certainly something we are being asked for more and more. We’ve already cornered the market for lavish, bespoke weddings and for 2021 we plan dinner dances with fabulous cocktails, family reunions captured by a top portrait photographer and the reopening of our exotic Secret Garden for perfect peace – accompanied by a bottle of Blanc de Blancs of course. After a year of lost memories, let’s celebrate.’ (thegoring.com)

Wash away the last of lockdown in Chewton Glen’s spa

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HOTELS & TRAVEL | Escape UK Fun will be back on the menu at The Goring, post-pandemic

2021 TRAVEL TRENDS FLEXCATIONS In the old days, family holidays were restricted to a few peak weeks a year. Thanks to WFH and homeschooling, families are booking holidays any time, any place – so long as there’s a good wifi connection. DOG-FRIENDLY STAYS Lockdown life led to a boom in dog ownership, with the Kennel Club seeing a 180 per cent increase in enquiries from potential dog owners and a UK-wide puppy shortage. The demand for caninefriendly hotels and cottages is expected to rise accordingly. MISSED MILESTONES Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries: Covid forced many key milestones to pass unmarked. Travel insiders point to a rise in clients planning their dream, bucket-list holiday, to make up for it. COUNTRYSIDE CAPERS It’s not surprising that those of us who spent most of 2020 and early 2021 stuck in an urban Groundhog Day are itching for green space and wide horizons. Country cottages and rural retreats are set to boom in popularity.

Mayfair Townhouse is the latest addition to London’s world-leading hotel scene

FOODIE FORAYS Maybe it’s because we’ve spent a year eating own cooking that food-based travel is set to be a big trend. Whether that means a weekend eating seafood in Whitstable, or heading to the Lake District to gorge at L’Enclume (lenclume. co.uk), that mouthwatering decision is up to you.

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; UNSPLASH; PEXELS

London hotels such as The Goring have been hardest hit, with occupancy levels between lockdowns as low as ten per cent. Even when travel to the UK becomes easier, they know they must do more than in the past to appeal to the staycation market rather than relying on overseas visitors. Andrew Coney, general manager of The Hari in Belgravia, senses that, post-vaccination, guests will want ‘to escape and be pampered. Within the luxury sector, no one allows Covid to be an excuse for a diminished experience. People will undoubtedly want to feel safe but they will look to us to take measures that don’t impede the overall luxury experience. By joining forces with partners in retail and the arts, we believe we can offer our British guests just what they crave.’ (thehari.com) What else will we crave? Will we slip back into our old ways, grabbing our pleasures where we may but not really savouring them? No, says Andrew Stembridge, who runs Iconic Luxury Hotels, comprising Chewton Glen, Cliveden, Lygon Arms, 11 Cadogan Gardens and the new Mayfair Townhouse (iconicluxuryhotels.com). He believes the pandemic has helped us rediscover the glory of our landscape and that countryside holidays will take the place of short breaks, to which he’s responding with a variety of activities and a range of dining options, especially outdoors. ‘Everything has changed,’ he says. Traditional holiday seasonality has now been broken; ‘flexcations’, where work on laptops and in online meetings form part of a leisure break, are becoming the norm; and while high standards are still required, simplicity is the new luxury. ‘We set up a pop-up wood-fired pizza restaurant in the kitchen garden at Chewton Glen last summer and it was a phenomenal success. It felt very continental eating under the vines and enjoying the last of the evening sun, and whilst the parents finished off a nice bottle of wine, the kids were making a beeline for the ice cream bike.’ Andrew’s beady eye has noticed a couple more trends arising from lockdown. ‘As many people have added a dog to the family, demand for dog-friendly properties is high. And flexibility in cancellation policies is also here to stay.’ From now on, there will be an element of trust involved in every hotel stay, but what has never been in doubt is the flexibility of the industry and its ability to wear its battle scars, which are deep, with grace and dignity. Once the pandemic is finally over, it has every intention of coming back stronger than ever. n

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HOTELS & TRAVEL | The Weekender Escape to white beaches and deserted islands just a few miles off Cornwall

Isles of Scilly Exploring the archipelago off the coast of Cornwall makes for a dreamy staycation, says Lisa Kjellsson

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azing out over turquoise waters and a cluster of green islands, it’s hard to believe this little slice of paradise is part of the UK. Just 28 miles off the Cornish coast await the Isles of Scilly. Each island has its own character – car-free Tresco is immaculately kept, with sprawling botanical gardens, while neighbouring Bryher has a more untamed beauty. Here you can enjoy Scilly’s finest uninterrupted sunset views at Shipman Head on the north end of the island and a sea swim at Popplestone Bay, a few minutes’ walk from chic Hell Bay hotel. It’s the perfect base for a long weekend spent island hopping. Few places leave you feeling fully recharged in the space of just a few days, but the sea air and gentle pace on the Isles of Scilly will do the trick. Who needs faraway escapes when we have idyllic islands like this so close to home?

E S S E N T I A L S

STAY

SEE

EAT

DO

BUY

Hell Bay Hotel on Bryher’s rugged western shore is a welcoming hideaway with eclectic art and a fine dining restaurant serving local delicacies like lobster and roast partridge. hellbay.co.uk

Explore Tresco Abbey Garden, a subtropical oasis where palms, pines and exotic plants from around the world form a verdant wonderland you’ll want to get lost in. tresco.co.uk

Scallops, moules marinières and woodfired pizza are served at cosy Ruin Beach Café and you’ll find more seafood and gourmet pub grub at The New Inn, both on Tresco. tresco.co.uk

Rent a kayak from Bryherbased Hut 62 and paddle over to Samson, the largest uninhabited island in the Scillies and a protected wildlife site teeming with rare bird species. hut62.co.uk

Pop into Gallery Tresco in New Grimsby Harbour to browse their collection of paintings by local artists. Inspired by the Scillies’ light and landscapes, it’s a perfect memento. tresco.co.uk

BOOK IT: Catch the train to Penzance (gwr.com) and then the new helicopter service to Tresco, from £129.50 one way. penzancehelicopters.co.uk. Stay at Hell Bay hotel, doubles from £95 per person per night, B&B. hellbay.co.uk n

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

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KELLY HOPPEN

MATTHEW WILLIAMSON

DAVID LINLEY

PANDORA SYKES

NOOR CHARCHAFCHI

LUKE EDWARD HALL

CHARU GANDHI MARTYN LAWRENCE BULLARD NINA CAMPBELL

Come on in and be our guest Every week, Carole Annett, interiors editor of Country & Town House, invites the luminaries of the design world and beyond for a chat on the House Guest podcast. You’ll learn everything you need to know about their style, design hacks and top tips for creating a 'wow' home. Available on all good platforms.

countryandtownhouse.co.uk/podcasts @countryandtown

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26/02/2021 16:24


Award-winning wines from Hampshire

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FOOD&DRINK One-Pot WONDER

PHOTOS: © ISSY CROKER

Making orzo with beetroot, thyme and orange, with Anna Jones

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FOOD&DRINK | Recipe Food philosophy? I am led CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Anna Jones; Tilda Swinton as the White Witch in Chronicles of Narnia; Anna loves vibrant rhubarb tart in spring; Siena, where she once feasted on fried porcini

One-pot Orzo with Beetroot, Thyme & Orange INGREDIENTS SERVES FOUR Beetroot (around 650g), grated 300g orzo pasta A small bunch of thyme, leaves picked 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons good olive oil 1/2 vegetable stock cube or 2 teaspoons stock powder

Favourite in-season ingredient? I love the neon

pink of forced rhubarb: its cheering colour is just what we need after winter. I make crumbles with brown sugar and oat tops, plus moreish white chocolate and rhubarb cookies, and I bake rhubarb with potatoes, feta and herbs.

TO SERVE — Zest of a small unwaxed orange — 4 handfuls of rocket — 100g feta or vegan feta — Toasted chopped nuts — A drizzle of olive oil

METHOD

Put the beetroot, pasta, thyme leaves, garlic and vinegar into a medium lidded pan with one teaspoon of sea salt, two tablespoons of oil and 850ml water. Crumble in the stock cube. Place the pan over a high heat, cover with a lid and bring to the boil, then simmer for ten minutes until the pasta is cooked and all the water has been absorbed. Stir it every minute or so to make sure the pasta doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. If the orzo looks a little thick (you want it to be the consistency of risotto) add more hot water. Spoon onto warm plates and finish with some orange zest, peppery leaves, a crumbling of feta, some toasted nuts and a drizzle of oil.

Biggest mistake?

Foodie TALES Anna Jones, award-winning cook and food writer

VARIATIONS

Swap in the same amount of grated squash for the beetroot, use lemon in place of the orange, and top with crispy sage leaves.

I once did a live radio broadcast with some of the most respected names in the food world. I left my pie in the oven too long while we were setting up to record. It ended up badly burnt but because of the dark colour of the seeded pastry I couldn’t tell. I only realised as I took a bite, at which point all the other chefs I respected so much were doing the same. Most memorable meal? I was working

in a restaurant just outside Siena in Italy. On one of my days off I took the bus to Siena and came across a small trattoria serving fried porcini. They were perfectly in season, simply floured and fried in good olive oil. They tasted like salty delicious clouds – I had two plates. When you’re not in the kitchen, where are you? This year I’ve spent most of my time out walking with my son and husband. I hope next year we’ll do more of the same, but in more diverse locations. I love to be in Cornwall by the sea. One: Pot, Pan, Planet (Fourth Estate, £26) n

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; REX FEATURES; UNSPLASH; MATT RUSSELL

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his orzo cooks all in one pan to a satisfying deep purple with the spoonable feeling of a risotto. You can use any colour of beetroot you like here; I love the deep magenta of the red ones but yellow and pink work well too.

Most vivid childhood food memory? My sister and I used

to watch films about food and eat the sweets they were eating on screen – a favourite would be The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We’d cycle to the local farm shop to buy Turkish Delight and then eat it in sync with the White Witch.

PICTURED ON PREVIOUS PAGE

— — — — — — — —

by the joy and connection of food and I believe food is powerful vehicle for change. It is agreed that the single most impactful thing we can do for the planet is to eat a plant-based diet.

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P R O M OT I O N

THIS APP WILL MAKE YOU SMARTER With so many news sources, an ever-evolving social media landscape and the rise of #fakenews, how can you cut through the noise and find out what you need to know?

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he Knowledge is your concise, expertly curated daily digest that makes you smarter and better informed. It’s insightful. It’s confident in tone. It’s your well-informed friend with a great sense of humour. It’s the best companion for people who are short on time and seek news that cuts to the chase in smart, bitesized commentary form. On the app you’ll find all the week’s wisdom in one handy place, so you can make sure you’re in the know and you have access to the latest, must-read stories on the web. And if you like your news even

more digestible, The Knowledge daily newsletter delivers each day’s biggest stories in shareable bitesize chunks, so you can come back from your lunch break completely up to date and sounding infinitely smarter. Country & Town House has arranged exclusive early-bird access to The Knowledge for all our readers to enjoy. To sign up to the expertly crafted daily news digest, simply head to theknowledge.com, or download The Knowledge app today.

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FOOD&DRINK | Round Up

CR ATE TO PLATE Our first foodie destination after lockdown? Merlin Labron Johnson’s The Old Pharmacy in Bruton, Somerset – a wine bar and epicerie with a farm-to-table ethos. @oldpharmacybruton

OLD BEAN Ditch the Nespresso pods. With a fair price for its farmers, flexible subscription service, and funky packaging, Rave Coffee’s new decaf blend is the way forward. ravecoffee. co.uk

HOPS TO IT

Gastro GOSSIP

Where and what to eat post-lockdown. By Sofia Tindall

HOLY COW!

Promoting a more sustainable and self-sufficient future, the tiny Channel Island of Sark now has its own community dairy farm and shop. You can support the initiative, home to 16 Guernsey cows, at sarkdairytrust.com.

RURAL ROMP

Rejoice! From 12 April we’ll be soaking in the sun in pub gardens again – our pick is the new Double Red Duke in Clanfield, Oxfordshire, with a menu overseen by Roux brothers-trained Richard Turner. countrycreatures.com

Made to be quaffed with a clear conscience, Hepworth Brewery’s first low alcohol beer is sustainably brewed in Sussex – and just 0.5 per cent ABV. hepworth brewery.co.uk 132 | COUNTRYANDTOWNHOUSE.CO.UK | March/April 2021

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PROPERTY

Edited by Anna Tyzack

HOUSE OF THE MONTH St Mark’s House, London SW10 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 8,075 sq/ft £19.5m In a sentence… With innovative design and crafted interiors, this prestigious converted church offers an engaging combination of history and contemporary luxury living. Its design is… St Mark’s was originally designed by Victorian architect Edward Blore, best known for his completion of John Nash’s design of Buckingham Palace, following Nash’s dismissal. The contemporary interiors of St Mark’s House have been carefully curated by Thorp Interior Design. What’s unique? The building has a historic traditional appearance, juxtaposed with a modern and contemporary interior. Best room? There is a fantastic 35.4ft x 17.5ft sitting room complete with a games area which leads to a fully equipped cinema room with a private bar, making this the ultimate entertaining floor of almost 1000 square feet. The house also benefits from a massage room, gym and swimming pool. Perks of the location? Easy access to the west via the M4, plus Kensington, Chelsea and Knightsbridge are within easy reach. 020 7349 4300; knightfrank.co.uk 020 7824 9002; savills.com

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PROPERTY | Let’s Move To

WINCANTON

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he town of Wincanton in Somerset is a scruffy place in many ways, with a Georgian high street that has seen better days and shops that are functional, not fashionable. Yet its understated, low-key vibe has been clocked by London leavers, according to property finder Jo Henry of Jess Simpson Property Search (jesssimpson.com), fuelling a mini property boom in the area. ‘In comparison to the West Country hotspots of Bruton and Frome, Wincanton is less sleek; it’s charming in a useful way,’ she explains. ‘But there’s been a noticeable shift over the past four years – people are recognising it as a convenient hub and as a result the town is changing.’ When Jo’s clients ask her what Wincanton offers that London doesn’t, she turns the question on its head: what can you enjoy in Wincanton that you also find in London? ‘For the value of your London home you get a period house down here, and a view and plenty of space – you expect all that – but you can also have great coffee, and artisan food and a social life,’ she says. ‘People often worry about moving to the country and feeling isolated but this part of the world emulates London quite well. You can dip into all the luxuries you find in town, while looking out at a field of sheep.’ Jo, who has been living about four miles from Wincanton for the past couple of years, believes the town’s geography is what makes it so desirable: it’s a short drive

from trendier Bruton and Frome, and has two rail links to London within 15 minutes by car: the fast line to Paddington from Castle Cary (one hour 25 minutes), and the slower, more scenic route to Waterloo from Templecombe (two hours 21 minutes). The Blackmore Vale to the north-west offers endless opportunities for walking and riding, and there are beaches and tranquil countryside to explore over the border in Dorset. ‘I love being able to put on my heels and go for cocktails at the Chapel in Bruton or go shopping in Sherborne, which has great independent shops along with high street brands such as Crew Clothing, White Stuff and Fat Face,’ says Jo. ‘Wincanton itself feels lively and entrepreneurial – there’s a Swedish café and delicious sourdough at Lovington Bakery.’ Lynne Franks, the sustainability and women’s empowerment advocate, is behind the Hub at No 3, a plant-based café and event space with eco-bedrooms in the centre of town. Bootmakers Workshop, run by Ian and Safia Thomas, is a community recycling project, where children can try their hand at junk modelling Lynne Franks, PR guru and founder while their parents enjoy coffee and wood-fired pizza. of the Hub at No 3 There’s a pop-up art gallery, a butcher’s shop with a in Wincanton queue stretching down the high street – and of course Wincanton Racecourse. South Somerset council has set aside £2 million for Wincanton’s regeneration; there are some chic new housing developments in the town and, a major indicator of the town’s

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PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; REX FEATURES

Anna Tyzack on the hidden Somerset gem that’s catching the eye of house hunters in the know


heightening prosperity, a new estate agent – Hunter French (hunterfrench.co.uk). ‘It might be rundown, but there are independent businesses popping up all over the place,’ explains Becky James, who moved to Wincanton last year, having previously set her heart on Frome. ‘And I like the fact that there are fewer London wallies like me.’ Both Becky and Jo are taking advantage of the excellent local primary schools in the area. There are also highly-regarded state secondaries: King Arthur’s in Wincanton, Gillingham School and Sexey’s School in Bruton. Local prep schools include Hazlegrove, Port Regis, Sherborne and Leweston, and there are numerous public schools within easy reach, including King’s Bruton, Bruton School for Girls, Sherborne School For Girls, Sherborne School and Millfield. Despite the influx of London leavers, Jo confirms prices are still lower than in Bruton. Data from the online property hub, Zoopla, suggests average house prices in Wincanton have grown by 6.7 per cent in the past year. The most popular price bracket for Londoners is the £1 million to £1.5 million mark, she says. Buyers are swapping a small house in Battersea or Wandsworth for a four- or five-bedroom CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Cucklington village on the outskirts of Wincanton; the picturesque Blackmore Vale; Sherborne School is within easy reach

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; REX FEATURES

THE STARTER HOME

WINCANTON, £500,000 This historic four-bedroom Grade II-listed townhouse is former coaching inn in the centre of Wincanton, where Queen Victoria once stayed as a child. The grand and sizeable accommodation includes a separate retail shop providing an extra income stream, plus private parking. hambledon.net

BEST FOR

A SPA DAY The Newt, 4.5 miles up the road, has glorious gardens, apple orchards, restaurant and spa. thenewtinsomerset.com

country home near the town and paying off some – or all – of their mortgage. She’s also helping clients find estates valued at up to £3 million. Popular local villages include Cucklington and Horsington to the south, Penselwood to the east and Charlton Musgrove to the north. A threebedroom period townhouse in Wincanton will cost between £300,000 and £400,000; unblighted village houses with four bedrooms cost upwards of £750,000 and for £1.5 million you can have a former rectory with paddocks. Such is the current trend for escaping to the country, many sellers are pricing opportunistically, Jo warns. She advises buyers to determine the true value of the property using comparables, and then decide if it’s worth paying the premium. ‘Who knows, the market could look very different in six months,’ she says. ‘But it’s fashionable right now and if you find a house you love, you have to act quickly.’ n

FOR SALE

PROPER COFFEE Hooga on the high street in Wincanton is a Scandinavianinspired café serving frothy coffee, pastries and home-made soup. hooga.coffee OUT FOR LUNCH Matt’s Kitchen in nearby Bruton serves a small seasonal menu of fresh local produce. mattskitchen.co.uk CULTURAL MOMENTS The Hub at No 3 hosts poetry events, psychic evenings and live music nights. hubatno3.com

DATE NIGHT At the Chapel in Bruton has a restaurant, bedrooms, bakery, terrace and club room, housed within a lofty, atmospheric Grade II-listed former congregational chapel. atthechapel.co.uk

THE DREAM HOME

LITTLE WESTON, £1.45m Middle Farm is a detached former farmhouse with five good-sized bedrooms and three reception rooms, plus an Aga in the kitchen. There are also two three-bedroom cottages set within mature gardens and grounds of 2.5 acres, plus an arboretum. It’s a short drive from Castle Cary. coopertanner.com

HORSINGTON, £2.5m A handsome Edwardian country house that’s reached via a private drive, Coombe Cross has seven bedrooms, as well as elegant entertaining spaces and a modern indoor swimming pool. It’s all set in more than ten acres of grounds, with gardens, stables, paddocks and a lake. knightfrank.com

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PROPERTY | Five of the Best

Exceptional INTERIORS Take the fast lane to creating the home of your dreams, says Amy Wakeham

WEST KENSINGTON, £1.195m

This three-storey, three-bedroom maisonette is elegantly designed with high ceilings and loads of light from large windows. There’s a large open-plan double reception room with period features throughout, and the 14-foot roof terrace on the first floor is perfect for summer entertaining. knightfrank.com

GLOUCESTER SQUARE, £4.5m

This three-bedroom penthouse near Hyde Park has all the perks of a modern home behind an enviable white stucco façade. It has a cutting-edge German kitchen, bespoke joinery throughout and a Sonos Surround Sound audio/ visual package. A Parisian-style terrace runs the length of the flat, offering views over the communal gardens. kayandco.com

PENZANCE, £1m

An architectural masterpiece with beautiful panoramic views over Drift Dam, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This three-bedroom, two-bathroom house is sympathetically designed with a spacious, light-filled open-plan kitchen and living area. Decking gives the home an indoor-outdoor feel that’s ideal for parties. jonathancunliffe.co.uk

MELKSHAM, £4m

A manor worthy of any Bridgerton hero, Shaw House in Wiltshire is a grand Georgian home with nine bedrooms and six bathrooms, plus three reception rooms. It’s all been wonderfully reimagined by one of the world’s leading interior designers, who has perfected the balance between the house’s original classical features and contemporary style. It’s set in over six acres of landscaped gardens. savills.com

KENSINGTON, £3.95m

Nestled down a quiet street is this beautifully proportioned five-bedroom family house. It spreads out over five floors and 2,430 sq/ft, and features stylish contemporary interiors, with immaculate fixtures and fittings. It benefits from a double garage, private patio and has access to a communal garden. struttandparker.com

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NEIL MENDOZA

ASMA KHAN

ARCHIE HEWLETT

EMMA RICE

CHRIS DUFF

MARIE GUERLAIN

THEO FENNELL FIONA BARRATT-CAMPBELL BARRY SMITH

Inspiring British stories The most exciting names in the British luxury industry – from food and fashion to health, engineering and beyond – join Country & Town House contributing editor, author and broadcaster Michael Hayman, to discuss what matters to British luxury leaders going forward in an ever-shifting landscape, post-Brexit and post-pandemic. Available on all good platforms.

countryandtownhouse.co.uk/podcasts @countryandtown

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Aspirational HOME S F ROM A N inspirational COMPA N Y Recognised as the pioneers of luxury housebuilding, Octagon have an unrivalled reputation for building brand new and beautifully restored homes throughout London and the Home Counties. Our in-house team of architects have been designing award winning homes for over 40 years, combining classic exteriors, beautifully landscaped gardens and contemporary interiors to create something truly remarkable. From extensive refurbishment and restoration to speculative builds and interior design, we offer a turnkey service from concept right through to completion. The current Octagon collection offers wonderfully spacious family homes in prime locations, starting from £625,000, rising to over £20 million.

CHAPEL VIEW

EAGLE HOUSE

BROADOAKS PARK

East Molesey

Wimbledon Village

West Byfleet

020 8481 7500 | OCTAGON.CO.UK

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COUNTRY ESTATE

PA R K L A N D S M A N O R | B E S S E L S L E I G H | O X F O R D S H I R E | O X 13 5 Q D

OPEN PLA N LI V ING I N G R E E N OPE N S PAC E S

I

ntroducing The Avebury and The Heythrop, two of many impressive homes at Parklands Manor. These five bedroom properties offer spacious open-plan living, combined with Millgate’s renowned specification to create an impressive home, made with family in mind. Set in circa 23 acres of beautiful Oxfordshire parkland

and just a short drive from the city of Oxford, discover your new life at Parklands Manor.

AVAIL ABLE FROM

£845 ,000

To find out more or to experience a virtual tour call us on 01865 704076 or visit parklands-manor.co.uk Marketing Suite and Show Homes open daily 10am - 5pm for pre-booked appointments

Prices correct at time of print. Computer generated image is for illustrative purposes and is indicative only. Interior photography of previous Parklands Manor show home and is indicative only.

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RADSTOCK P RO P E RT Y

- Covering Central and South-West London FOR

SALE

Finlay Street - London SW6 - Asking Price £3,000,000

SOLD

Anhalt Road - London SW11 - Asking Price £3,200,000

George succeeded where others failed in securing our dream house for us, so 15 years later it was an easy decision to ask him to resell it when we moved again. - C.E.W George Franks & Alexander Leschallas Radstock Property Ltd. 521 - 525 Battersea Park Road, London, SW11 3BN T: +44 (0) 20 3876 0280 E: move@radstockproperty.com W: radstockproperty.com

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CTH DPS Ad 02/21.qxp_Layout 1 17/02/2021 08:08 Page 1

Falmouth, South Cornwall Royal Cornwall Yacht Club 500 yards, Truro 10 miles, Newquay Airport 28 miles Grade II Listed detached 5 bedroom house on its own private stone quay with slipway and 88ft pontoon with deep water access. 2 bedroom apartment, indoor heated pool, sauna, garden studio, adjoining freehold site for redevelopment, freehold offices and parking. 4,000 sqft (main house) 4,166 sqft (retail unit) 2,379 sqft (offices) Guide price £3.5m 01326 617447

J O N AT H A N CUNLIFFE Jonathan Cunliffe.indd 2

jonathancunliffe.co.uk

17/02/2021 10:33


Nr Truro, South Cornwall Truro 4 miles, Newquay Airport 12 miles Elegant Georgian Grade II Listed country house with adjoining 2 bedroom cottage and about 14 acres of gardens and grounds. 6-9 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, beautiful family kitchen, large reception hall, 3 reception rooms, additional outbuildings, mature gardens, woodland, pasture and an orchard. 5,766 sqft (main house) 900 sqft (cottage) Guide £2.5m 01326 617447

J O N AT H A N jonathancunliffe.co.uk

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CHANDLERS COTTAGE, WICK HILL LANE £2,500,000 Be dro oms Rece pt ion Rooms Bat hro oms P arking EPC Grade

5 5 5 8 B

Chandlers Cottage, constructed in 2015, is an individual detached residence that sits on a delightful plot of just under 3 acres which wrap around the house. Located in Wick Hill Lane that is a much sought after, non-estate rural area of Finchampstead and is a short walk away from the National Trust woodland whilst still having easy access to both M3 and M4. The property offers well over 5,000 sq ft of flexible living space across two floors and features a grand and spacious, triple height entrance hall which homes a custom made bespoke oak staircase with glass balustrades. The stunning open plan kitchen/dining/oak framed sun room has an incredible vaulted ceiling and is truly the hub of this beautiful home and the perfect space to entertain both family and friends. An imposing separate building has two large garages and a matching front door into a home gymnasium area, which has its own three piece shower room and storage. A staircase leads to an expansive recreational room meaning these large interconnected rooms provide excellent annexe potential. Discover more about this impressive family home by calling Prospect Premium on 01344 207 418 or visit prospect.co.uk/chandler-cottage

Crowthorne Office: 25 - 29 High Street, Crowthorne Berkshire RG45 7AD t: 01344 207 418 e: Crowthorne@prospect.co.uk

A P R E M I U M S E R V I C E . PERS O NA L TO YO U & A PA S S ION FOR US.

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EXPERIENCE MATTERS, DETERMINATION DELIVERS & SERVICE COUNTS Callcott Street, W8

Talbot Road, W2

SOLD - GUIDE £2,595,000

SOLD - GUIDE £2,400,000

Campden Hill Square, W8

Lansdowne Crescent, W11

SOLD - GUIDE £8,250,000

ACQUIRED - OFF MARKET

Winchendon Road, SW6

Lamont Road, SW10

ACQUIRED - GUIDE £2,350,000

ACQUIRED - OFF MARKET

Sarah has worked in the Prime Central London property market for 20 years, with particular expertise in Kensington & Chelsea, Notting Hill, Holland Park & Fulham. Hailing from an established family firm of building contractors – she practically grew up on building sites – you might even say the property business is in her genes. Whether for home, investment, or development, private clients benefit from Sarah’s vast experience in both selling and acquiring residential property. Deeply trusted within her profession, among both clients and peers, her business is founded on empathy and forging relationships, rather than high volume transactions. Buying or selling your home is very personal, and she likes to keep it that way, always mindful of the emotional, as well as financial investment required. Her extensive network and energetic style, combined with a forensic and diligent approach, ensure clients receive the highest quality market intelligence, access to off-market properties and, above all, honest and straightforward advice based on individual needs. If that sounds like a refreshing approach and you’re in need of the best property expertise, she’d love to talk to you, so you can judge for yourself...

Sarah

mobile: +44 (0)7831 622351 instagram: @sjbirchandco email: sarah@sjbirch.co.uk

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Derbyshire’s dedicated sales and acquisition agents.

Derbyshire’s dedicated sales and acquisition agents.

NEWBOLD FIELDS HOUSE Cutthorpe, Derbyshire

A fine Georgian Grade II listed house linked with a period barn and two cottages set in wonderful, mature gardens. Six reception rooms, seven bedrooms, four bath/shower rooms, kitchen, cellars, two cottages, beautiful gardens, garaging, tennis court, further outbuildings.

Guide price £1,875,000 subject to contract. Viewing by appointment with Caudwell and Co 0162 9810018 or 07766 565893

Tel:01629 01629 810018 Tel: 810018 Email edward@caudwellandco.com • www.caudwellandco.com Caudwell & Co.indd 1

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www.ca

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Grange Road, Cambridge – 1 Mile from Cambridge station £1,850,000 A unique and special opportunity to purchase this well-proportioned and stylish detached residence with versatile accommodation over two floors standing within its own established gardens with detached double garage. This fine home is located within this rarely available, most desirable location opposite Selwyn College with convenient access to the city centre and local amenities within Newnham. Reception hall, cloakroom, living room, dining room, kitchen/ breakfast room, family room/study, 4/5 bedrooms (1 ensuite), shower room. EER: D Contact: Richard Freshwater | Cambridge Office: 01223 214214 | richard.freshwater@cheffins.co.uk

Cambridge | Saffron Walden | Newmarket | Ely | Haverhill | London

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High Street, Linton – 6 miles from Whittlesford station £950,000 A unique and exciting opportunity to acquire a substantial and imposing Grade II listed period house together with an adjoining timber frame barn, occupying a prominent location in the heart of this thriving and well-regarded south Cambridgeshire village and within easy reach of a vast range of local amenities. Hall, 2 cellars, principal reception room, sunroom, study, living room, shower room, farmhouse style kitchen/breakfast room, store/ workshop, utility room, 5 bedrooms, dressing area, attic room/bedroom, attic storage room. Outside: Enclosed rear gardens and covered carport. Contact: Martin Walshe | Cambridge Office: 01223 214214 | martin.walshe@cheffins.co.uk

High Street, Linton – 6 miles from Whittlesford station £1,250,000 A unique and very special opportunity to acquire a most impressive and substantial bay fronted Grade II listed period house together with a self-contained 2 bedroom first floor apartment located above a former coach house, which is located to the rear of the property with garaging and off street parking and generous mature gardens. Hallway, cloakroom, utility, sitting room, dining room, cellar, kitchen, 6 bedrooms (2 ensuites), dressing room.

Contact: Martin Walshe | Cambridge Office: 01223 214214 | martin.walshe@cheffins.co.uk

cheffins.co.uk 01223 214214

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High Street, Little Abington – 5 miles from Whittlesford station £875,000 An enchanting and most attractive Grade II listed period home of immense charm and character retaining a wealth of original features including exposed beams/ timbers and an inglenook fireplace together with delightful gardens and open bay double cart lodge occupying an outstanding position in this highly sought-after village. Hall, cloakroom, principal reception room, study, living room, dining room, kitchen/breakfast room, utility room, 4 bedrooms (1 ensuite), bathroom. Outside: driveway, open bay double cart lodge, enclosed rear garden Contact: Martin Walshe | Cambridge Office: 01223 214214 | martin.walshe@cheffins.co.uk

High Street, Little Abington – 6 miles from Whittlesford station £850,000 A unique and rather special opportunity to acquire an exquisite Grade II Listed detached home of stunning individual style and character, together with its own private courtyard parking area and detached cart lodge with studio/office above. Entrance Hall, sitting room, cellar, snug/family room, utility room, cloakroom, kitchen/dining room, office, 3 bedrooms (1 ensuite), dressing room, bathroom.

Contact: Martin Walshe | Cambridge Office: 01223 214214 | martin.walshe@cheffins.co.uk

Cambridge | Saffron Walden | Newmarket | Ely | Haverhill | London

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LAST WORD Being in nature has many mental and physical benefits for children, as well as introducing them to ideas of conservation and environmentalism

Tales of our Time

Michael Hayman talks to Michael Morpurgo about connecting children with nature

‘W

hat is the countryside they will write about?’ It’s a question much on the mind of the legendary children’s author Michael Morpurgo. The pandemic has clearly accelerated his concern about children finding their voices and caring about a rural future. He finds inspiration from his late friend Ted Hughes, who, he says, believed that ‘to keep our eyes and hearts open makes us all storytellers’. Seeing things for the first time with different eyes is the inspiration for Farms for City Children, the charity Michael created with his wife Clare. In explaining its work he points to David Attenborough, who makes the case that

the future of the planet requires young people to grow up thinking it belongs to them. To do that children need to connect: to see it, smell it and feel it for themselves. It’s part of a gentle environmentalism that the former children’s laureate espouses, providing an experience where ‘they are the farmers creating truth and integrity in their work’. Love of the countryside is what led Clare and Michael to set up Farms for City Children in the 1970s. He describes the farms as ‘unbelievably beautiful places far into the countryside,’ which have welcomed over 100,000 children from big cities. Michael speaks of his own suburban upbringing, which was peppered with visits to the countryside: ‘all very Agatha Christie with stock characters including the Major, the suspect and the villain.’

It’s not nostalgia that drives his farms, rather the opportunity and empowerment of ‘discovering the countryside, the people that live in it and the creatures that live in it’. But that is an experience the pandemic has put on hold and the effect is chilling. ‘Now we don’t have the children it is sad beyond belief,’ says Michael. ‘Empty and bleak.’ He is determined ‘to be here when the children need us most, when this is all over’. That means being there for the children who can least afford it. Those trapped in cities. Those at the heart of an emerging mental health crisis. The farms are needed for ‘the restoration of the spirits of these children, and the fields can help them recover’. Nature is a precious asset. Memories are made of it. And the story of its future requires many more of us to care about it. n

READ Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas. The poetry of an idyllic childhood (available second-hand). SUPPORT Farms for City Children. Vital work to make 2021 a brighter year for children (farmsforcitychildren.org). LISTEN Michael Morpurgo’s Tales from Shakespeare, relocating Shakespeare’s iconic characters to contemporary settings (rsc.org.uk).

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES; PHIL CROW

TA L K I N G P O I N T S

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A tranquil haven, moments from Canary Wharf. Apartments from £761,000 wardianlondon.com | 020 3797 4698

Price correct at time of print

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