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The exclusive magazine for Lansdown Place Financial Management

ISSUE #7 | FEBRUARY – APRIL 2012

Top

Trump DONALD TAKES CARE OF BUSINESS

INTO THE UNKNOWN

SKIING IN FLIMS

FRANCOIS LE TROQUER A LOOK BACK AT CARTIER’S HISTORY

HOLISTIC FINANCE

PLANNING YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE

SUIT YOU, SIR

GETTING MEASURED BY A MASTER

FINANCE

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BUSINESS

NEWS

ARTS

FOOD & DRINK

FA S H I O N

LUXURY GOODS

07/03/2012 16:03


Free as a bird It’s a flight like no other. Glide effortlessly through your private lounge to board a truly impressive aircraft. Relax in pure luxury, arrive in style. This is travel designed around you. www.privatejetcharter.com

Dedicated to you every step of the way

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07/03/2012 15:05 16:13 29/02/2012


Letter From The Editor

Letter from

r o t i d E the

It was T. S. Eliot who said that “April is the cruellest month.” He was, of course, speaking ironically of springtime – how rebirth and rejuvenation is met by bleakness and uncertainty. Am I applying Eliot’s modernist musings to a precarious 2012? Well, as we head into the first season of the new year, one can’t help but reflect on these unsteady yet exciting times: austerity measures are tightening, but elbow patches are back in; there’s risk of a double-dip, but we’ve got an exclusive interview with Donald Trump. See, the world has a way of balancing everything out. So, yes, Donald Trump, one of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs, builder of hotels, not-so-secret fan of wrestling, star of The (American) Apprentice, and friend to the stars. PJR takes time out in New York to meet the man himself – in Trump Tower no less. Yet again, I failed to go jaunting with the team. It’s a hard life for them, publishing: stylin’ and profilin’, limousine ridin’, jet flyin’, wheelin’ and dealin’, sons of guns. Next time, I’ll get my act together. This issue, however, the focus is Flims – a place so good, so under wraps, that you’ve probably never heard of it. But trust me, you really should’ve. Speaking of travel, I sit down with John Kennedy. No, not the assassinated president, but the Aussie entrepreneur who, after years in the travel industry, became an ambassador for Noble Caledonia, providing folk with unique, luxury cruises aboard small ships. Getting down to the nitty-gritty, Huw Thomas, our fiscal shaman, gives his remedial insight on holistic finance. As he points out, there’s nothing esoteric about it – just sound financial planning. TLT gives us an offbeat yet practical look at pensions, and Wards lets loose on the unusual clauses found in wills. We haven’t forgotten the indulgence, don’t worry. Resident road warrior Graeme Morpeth takes the BMW Series-6 Coupe 640 for a test drive (no thanks to Hartwell Jag for messing-up; many thanks to Dick Lovett for not), and Emma Hare meets the Managing Director of Cartier UK, the enviably named Francois Le Troquer, to discuss 165 years of jewelling. Also, PJR visits Style Advisor David Minns to get measured for a new suit, and we take a look at Crombie’s newest collection for women. See, spring isn’t looking so bad after all.

Laith Al-Kaisy Laith Al-Kaisy Editor-in-Chief

Laith Al-Kaisy Editor

laith@gmmpublishing.com

Andrew Hobson Art Director

andrew@gmmpublishing.com

Peter Robinson Director

peter@gmmpublishing.com

Adam Wood Director

adam@gmmpublishing.com

Dan Wall Client Services

dan@gmmpublishing.com

James Billett Photographer

hello@jamesbillettphotography.com

GMM Publishing 1st Floor, Prudential Buildings 11-19 Wine Street, Bristol, BS1 2PH T: +44 (0)117 3702 471 E: peter@gmmpublishing.com www.gmmpublishing.com

Lansdown Place Lansdown Place 2 Oakfield Road Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2AL T: +44 (0) 845 30 50 222 www.lansdownplace.co.uk

Lansdown Place is a trading style of Lansdown Place Financial Management Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Our Financial Services Authority Registration Number is 126762. Lansdown Place Magazine is designed by Andrew Hobson Design. All rights reserved. Lansdown Place Magazine is funded solely through the kind support of advertisers. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions relating to advertising or editorial. The publisher reserves the right to change or amend any competitions or prizes offered. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from the publisher. No responsibility is taken for unsolicited materials or the return of these materials whilst in transit.

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

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The Exclusive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

Contents

Our Contributors

Graeme Morpeth does what he does best on page 46, and makes car manufacturers shake in their boots

Leadership expert William Montgomery reveals his top ten tips for achieving excellence on page 34

Peter Robinson gets fitted for a suit on page 50, visits Flims on page 28, and reviews Aqua on page 42

In his own inimitable style, our financial expert Huw Thomas explains holistic finance on page 16

Welcome to our new writer Emma Hare who visits Cartier HQ to meet Francois Le Troquer on page 60

The visionary behind the Rummer Hotel Brett Hirt guides us through British brewing on page 55

Lansdown Place is printed on FSC-certified grade paper. Please recycle this magazine when you have finished reading it.

2 MARCH 2012

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www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 22:19


Contents

6 Under the Spotlight 10 Donald Trump 15 A look at wills 16 Holistic finance 20 Door-to-door luxury 22 Pension headache with TLT Solicitors 26 Travel. Skiing in Flims, Switzerland 30 Luxury cruises with John Kennedy 34 Achieving Excellence with William Montgomery 36 Local business focus 41 Mercer Street Hotel, London 42 Aqua Nueva, London 44 Arrive and drive 46 Executive Toys 48 Business leaders: Chelsey Baker 50 Getting measured for a suit 52 Crombie’s spring-summer collection 55 Return of the great British brewer 56 Clifton College 60 165 Years of Cartier 63 Jewellery

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

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The Exclusive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

New Year,

e c i f f O New

Lansdown Place has moved to stunning new offices, based at 2 Oakfield Road, Clifton, Bristol As we approach the end of another tax year, I have been asked to take 5 minutes to stop and reflect on what Lansdown Place Financial Management are up to. The pace of change within the financial services industry is often manic but I think my colleagues would agree with me that it has rarely been busier as we help our clients gear up for the new tax year. The Corporate Benefits team has been busy providing guidance regarding updates concerning the Pension Auto Enrolment rules, announced recently. These changes centred mostly over the timing of when employers will need to adopt the new rules. The date that an employer will need to implement Pension Auto Enrolment is called a ‘Staging Date’; based upon the number of employees, an employers’ Staging Date will range between October 2012 and 2016. Employers can now find out what their staging date is - if you don’t already know please contact us and we can tell you. To support the changes, the Government and the Pension Regulator have recently launched their advertising campaign which aims to create awareness that significant change is just around the corner. We have been helping employers understand what their obligations will be under the Pension Auto Enrolment rules; we’ve been running seminars and workshops designed to help employers get to grips with their new responsibilities and duties and we have also enlightened them on how their existing pension schemes may (or may not!) fit in with these new rules. As I write this article, we are a little under a month away from another coalition government budget and the Financial Services jungle drums are beating faster than ever over what Mr Osborne may have in store for us. It is reasonable to assume that he will be trying to raise a lot more revenue from this budget and we believe that it is likely that he will use the

4 MARCH 2012

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UK’s complicated tax and state benefit system as an opportunity to do just that. Lansdown Place Private Wealth have been working hard to ensure that our clients are as prepared as they can be for this year’s budget For instance the financial press are full of speculation that the chancellor may look to raise revenue by reducing the tax relief that higher rate and additional rate tax payers currently enjoy on their pension contributions – at present Higher tax payers qualify for tax relief at 40% on their pension contributions, whilst additional rate tax payers can claim up to 50% tax relief on their pension contributions. Of course for those of you who follow these things will know, the idea of reducing tax relief on pension contributions to basic rate of tax (currently 20%) has been muted for a few years, but there does appear to be a momentum behind the speculation this time around. Of course this is all conjecture but it does make for lots of activity and we would urge all our clients to review what their income and capital saving requirements are at this time; it may be that no action needs to be taken, but forewarned is forearmed as they say. On that note, it has been known for clients to act on conjecture and we would always encourage a full and thorough financial review process, guided by professional financial advisers rather than rumour and speculation. If you don’t have a financial adviser, we would be delighted to help.

Chris Lawson Chris Lawson, Director, Lansdown Place Corporate Benefits

www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 21:29


New Year, New Office

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

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The Exclusive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

Under the Forward Focus

t h g i l t o p S

«

As a lifestyle mag, we are inundated with press releases from companies claiming their product to be the next best thing. Usually, press releases line the virtual bin, but a certain one that landed in the Lansdown Place Magazine inbox before Christmas made us take note. The Lytro Camera is a product that’s been causing quite a stir – and it’s not surprising why. And we should know, because we’ve been playing with one in the office non-stop. Set to revolutionise the way people take pictures forever, Lytro’s technology allows a photograph’s focus to be adjusted after it has been taken. Unlike with conventional cameras, which capture just a single light field, the Lytro camera catches light in its entirety, meaning nothing is left to chance. For instance, if you’re viewing a photograph taken with a Lytro camera on a computer, you can bring people in the foreground into sharp relief, or flip the focus to the scenery behind them. But is it the next big thing, or just a technological gimmick? All bets are on the former, with initial investments in the product currently at $50 million – no small gamble. Early praise has come from scientists and users alike, with the camera also being lauded for its sleek, contemporary design. If you’re a fan of photography, or simply want the best new gadget around, we couldn’t be more enthusiastic about Lytro’s fit-in-your-pocket ingenuity. For more information, visit lytro.com

« Clifton fiction

If you live in, or close to Bristol, or indeed have visited, then this is a must-read. If you don’t fill that criteria, it will make you want to go there to discover the backdrop of this close-to-a-real-life novel, by one of the most respected writers of our time. Jeffrey Archer has taken a small part of maybe Downton Abbey and expanded it into reality. Make this for the small screen – and now. Only Time Will Tell is the first of five novels in the Clifton Chronicles. Its story is set in the first third of the twentieth century and centres on a boy who has a talented singing voice. The narrative is highlighted by the involvement of family and friends in his life. His mother is central to the story, but his father, in death, is key to his life evolving. The twist at the end leads to the sequel, which is due out in March. The book is a line of jigsaws with parts interlocking to make a wonderful and easy road without your getting bogged down. Archer puts you right there, at the heart of Bristol’s thriving community from 100 years ago. Put this book down and your fingertips will burn to pick it up again. www.foyles.co.uk

6 MARCH 2012

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www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 22:01


Commander

Si rGi l e sCl a r k e , CBE


The Exclusive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

Under the

«

t h g i l t Spo

Ever wonder how skiers and snowboarders capture each other (and themselves) in those stunning decisive moments? Well, that slow-mo spraying, leaping, trickery and falling is now recordable for everyone, as we found out on our latest skiing trip (which you can also read about this issue). The Liquid Image Summit series is an innovative camera-goggle combo, ideally suited to snow sports. Its wide 136° angle, along with Full 1080p HD, and stills with a 12Mp mode, means you can forget about ever mounting a camera on your helmet again. It’s a simple case of putting on your goggles and setting the camera to record. Then away you go. As well as capturing your every move, these goggles will, of course, keep your view fog-free on the mountains, and the addition of an amber lens means better depth on days with low light. The camera has roughly two hours of battery life (yes, even in the cold weather) and comes with a 4GB micro SD card, so you can start recording your antics as soon as you hit the slopes. The goggles have been tried and tested by us. See footage of our Flims review, exclusively at lansdownplacemagazine.com/travel. Available from: www.actioncameras.co.uk

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Professional POV

«

Capture the moment

For those who prefer traditional recording, the world’s first true 1080p HD wearable camera is here. Protected by a tough, waterproof housing, the HD Helmet Hero comes with a range of quick release mounts for easy and secure attachment to both vented and non-vented helmets. Professional quality 1080p / 960p / 720p HD resolutions record at 30 and 60 frames per second. The HD Helmet Hero can also shoot hands-free, 5 megapixel photos automatically at 2/5/10/30 and 60 second intervals, or set it to single shot, triple shot, or self timer for more traditional photo taking. This is a full blown professional-grade wearable camera at a consumer price. Available from www.ellis-brigham.com

Pessimism – we just can’t budge it

George Osborne faces a less-than-comfortable few weeks ahead of Budget Day on March 21. It would seem that the UK’s wealth creators are likely to take the brunt of it, with tax increases, mansion tax on property worth over £2 million, and the ending of higher-rate tax relief on pension contributions. The Chancellor’s critics have claimed he is failing to produce a strategy for growth – but is it really that simple? There is an obvious explanation for his seeming reluctance, and it’s an issue we all must deal with: confidence. The teetering nature of the geopolitical landscape, coupled with an equally precarious economic crisis, has undoubtedly fostered an attitude of pessimism. The spark has vanished; our oomph is no more. And who can blame us. Both east and west offer their own causes for concern, whether it’s a slowed-down and societally changing China, a tumultuous Middle east, a declining American dollar, or a Greek collapse of epic proportions. For now, then, expect nothing more than a solid commitment to continuing austerity measures, especially in light of Moody’s recent decision to revise Britain’s unblemished AAA rating to ‘negative outlook’. Oh, and of course much upbeat rhetoric to help us get back on track. Well, psychologically at least.

«

www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 22:01


Partner S W

E

L

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W

W

,W

&

WILLS, WEALTH & PROBATE

Jenny Pierce

MEET WARDS SOLICITORS We’d like to help you prepare for the future. Whether that means writing or revising your Will, thinking about long-term care provision, managing trusts and tax matters, putting in place legacies and Power of Attornies, or helping you through the Probate process. To get in touch with Jenny and discuss how she can help you, please call 0117 9292811 Central Bristol | Yate | Bradley Stoke | Staple Hill | Portishead Nailsea | Clevedon | Weston-Super-Mare | Worle

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03/03/2012 15:06 11:37 28/02/2012


The Exclusive Magazine For

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f o g n i The K

“I’ve waited twenty years to see some things happen. You can’t give up. Never give up.”

10 MARCH 2012

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www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 21:42


The King Of The Coast

t s a o C the From nobody to upstart. From upstart to contender. From contender to winner. From winner to champion. From champion to dynasty. Donald Trump has secured his place in the American annals; a name that will be remembered through the ages of modern business. Donald Trump is everywhere. No matter where you are and what you do, you’re bound to have heard of him. Much has been said about the man behind the empire. What really stands out, however, is that, although Donald Trump was a millionaire’s son, he was no slacker. He was not content to live a life of leisure off of his father’s money – a choice he could have easily made. Instead, he chose to improve upon his status through sheer wit, hard work, and an acumen for business that borders on mythological. Few people know that the billionaire has suffered setback after setback, and was once on the brink of bankruptcy.

With a presidential race now behind him, it’s fair to say that Donald Trump has accomplished a lot in his 65 years. With Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. now firmly following in their father’s footsteps, these mini-moguls are also taking their slice of the American Dream. Forbes estimates his personal fortune to be in the region of $3 billion dollars. “It’s more like $7 billion,” Donald sets Peter J Robinson straight, in an interview at Trump Tower. When I arrive at Trump Tower, the building occupying the corner of 1 Central Park West, there is no denying the success of the man. This is my first time in New ork, so perhaps my opinion is that of another first-time visitor; taken back by the sheer awe-inspiring si e of the city and its monolithic buildings. But until you have stood there, looking down the avenue of the Americas, you just can’t appreciate the city’s si e. I straightened my tie and headed into the lobby of Trump International, with its mahogany walls and Italian marble floor. Trump Tower is a combination of private apartments and hotel rooms: the hotel occupies the left side; luxury apartments, the right. I ascend the forty-four floors to a room that’s been assigned for the meeting. I make my way past the minions and the entourage to see the man himself, who is almost glowing from the light across the park. I’m assured to see Mr Trump is about my height – not tall. And after the pleasantries, we sit and get down to business.

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

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06/03/2012 21:42


The Exclusive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

When you were young did you dream of being a businessman?

I dreamt of being a developer and building skyscrapers, and I knew that would include business acumen and negotiating skills. It was a very specific dream or goal, and I had my sight set on Manhattan. Your father Fred was a self-made millionaire—was he a huge influence on you and what are your earliest memories of working for Elizabeth Trump and Son?

By the time I was working for my father, he was on his own and had been for a long time. While I was growing up, he had a tremendous influence on me, as I was able to see him in action, go with him to construction sites, and hear him negotiating on the phone. He also greatly enjoyed his work, and he impressed upon me how important it was to love what you’re doing. I could see his enthusiasm as well as his discipline and how it all worked together. I couldn’t have had a better example to follow. How did you feel when you opened your first hotel/ casino?

As with most openings, it was exciting because a lot of work had gone into reaching that moment. Apart from being a major property tycoon and businessman, you are also a TV celebrity—do you enjoy this role?

I’ve enjoyed doing The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice and we’ve had great ratings. I had been approached many times before to do a reality show, but our concept for The Apprentice included an educational subtext which gave it a resonance most reality shows didn’t have. Schools have designed business classes around the show and having that additional level has made it more interesting. Your TV show The Apprentice has been a huge success. What piece of advice would you give to a young person wanting to follow in your business footsteps?

pretending not to see?” It will increase your thoroughness. There are no guarantees, but you can definitely increase your likelihood for success if you are very thorough. Is Trump Tower New York your prized property? If not, which is the development you are most proud of?

Trump Tower is the first building I put my name on, and it’s a landmark building and still very beautiful, so I’d say I have an attachment to this building beyond some others. There are so many developments and buildings I’m proud of that it’s hard to choose. Trump World Tower has received great critical praise, 40 Wall Street is a beauty, Mar-a-Lago is fantastic and my links course in Aberdeen, Scotland, is coming along wonderfully and will be incredible. Where would you suggest our investors look within the US in terms of real estate investment this year?

New ork City has remained strong, and once again it’s necessary to do your due diligence and research the area of interest—thoroughly. There are a lot of elements that add up to a good buy, so be sure to see all of them and account for them in your assessment. The Trump brand is a global icon. Did you envisage your name becoming so big?

I made sure my name and brand became recognised from the beginning, and that happened, but with the advent of The Apprentice, my name became very famous globally. Receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame isn’t something I’d planned on, or having a hit television series that lasted eleven seasons. You are said to be worth $3 billion. If you were the same amount to make a substantial difference in the world, what would you change first?

It’s more like $7 billion but what I’d change first is how OPEC operates, which affects everyone in the world. «

Number one, you’ve got to love what you’re doing or it’s not likely you will attain great success. ou’ll need passion to get you through the difficult times and to have the energy to persevere. Tenacity is important. I’ve waited twenty years to see some things happen. ou can’t give up. Never give up-- and keep your momentum going. You have invested millions in many massively successful projects—how would you advise someone setting out in the property or investment market? What pitfalls should they look out for?

When it comes to real estate, you should stick to areas you know well. ou have to know the territory. In New ork, with the oning laws, it can be very complicated. ou have to know what you’re doing, no matter where you are. Research everything. Don’t leave any question marks about anything. My father, Fred C. Trump, always said “Know everything you can about what you’re doing.” That was great advice. Ask yourself this question, “What am I

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S MALL S HIP C RUISE E XPEDITIONS

A bespoke portfolio of fascinating itineraries aboard comfortable, fine quality, small ships. Unique travel experiences for the curious and discerning. CUBA to COSTA RICA- step back in time in Cuba, visit the Mayans in Mexico and Belize combined exporation of stunning reefs in the Western Caribbean. Depart London to Nassau and embark for Havana, Isla de la Juventud & Cienfuegos Cuba, Playa del Carmen Mexico, Belze City, Half Moon Cay Belize, Roatan Honduras, Isla De Providencia & San Andres Colombia, Puerto Limon Costa Rica. Depart London on 24 October 2012 for 16 nights. CAPE VERDE to CAPETOWN - an intriguing exploration of the remote Atlantic Coast of Africa combining a wealth of historical and natural highlights. Sao Tiago, Sao Nicholas & Fogo - Cape Verde Islands, Dakar - Senegal, Banjul - The Gambia, Biajagos Archipelago - Guinea Bissau, Freetown - Sierra Leone, Takoradi - Ghana, Lome - Togo, Cotonou - Benin, Kribi - Cameroon, Santo Antonio- Principe & Sao Tome, Luanda - Angola, Walvis Bay & Luderitz - Namibia and Capetown - South Africa. Depart London on 25 November 2012 for 29 nights or extend your stay in Capetown over Christmas. SOUTH SEAS ODYSSEY - Celebrate Christmas on Pitcairn Island during an epic voyage from Easter Island to Fiji via the Gambier Islands, the Tuamotus, Tahiti, the Society Islands, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga and the Wallis & Fortuna Group. Depart 16 December, 2012 ex London via Santiago to Easter Island and return 21 January, 2013. ANTIPODEAN ODYSSEY- a journey dedicated to the spectacular scenery and natural history of New Zealand, Tasmania and Sth Eastern Australia. After a flight from London with a two night stopover in Hong Kong arrive via Auckland to embark in Wellington - North Island New Zealand, Kaikoura, Akaroa, Dunedin, Stewart Island & Fjordland - South Island New Zealand, Hobart, Port Arthur, Maria Island Coles Bay & Flinders Island Tasmania Australia, Melbourne, Wilson’s Promontory. Mallacoota Inlet - Victoria Australia, Batemans Bay & Sydney Australia. Depart London on 23 February 2013 for 23 nights. A further stay in Australia is possible. A CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF BORNEO - orangutans, the Dyak people and half of the world’s known animal and plant species are here for your exploration. Fly from London via Kuala Lumpur to Sandakan for embarkation. Sempona- Sabah Malaysia, Palau Kakaban, Sangatta River, Balikpapan & Benjarmasin - Kalimantan Indonesia, Kuching Sarawak Malaysia, Bandar Seri Begawan- Brunei - Kota Kinabalu, Kudat & Sandakan Sabah Malaysia. Depart London 28 March 2013 for 17 nights. FIRE & ICE IN THE FAR ARCTIC - a voyage from the Russian Far East to Alaska via the Kamchatka coast and the Pacific volcanic “Ring of Fire” along the Aleutian Island chain. Fly from London via Moscow to embark in Petropavlovsk, Zhupanova, Little Chazma & Bering Island Russia - Aleutian Islands, Semidi Islands Kukak Bay and Seward Alaska USA. Depart London 04 June 2013 for 17 nights with return flight via Seattle.

The portfolio has an enticing array of options from around coastal Britain, circumnavigation of Iceland, Norwegian Fjords to Murmansk and the White Sea, the intimate Mediterranean, the Levant and Black Sea, West to South Africa, South America, Asia, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Explore in depth at :

www.johnkennedy-noblecaledonia.com or call John Kennedy on : 0117 946 6000

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05/03/2012 22:19


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Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

Where there’s a Will, “To my wife, I leave her lover, and the knowledge that I was not the fool she thought me; to my son I leave the pleasure of earning a living. For 20 years he thought the pleasure was mine; he was mistaken.”

y a w a s ’ e r e h t

We don’t need to preach to you about the importance of a correctly drawn-up and regularly reviewed Will. In an evercomplicated world it is an inexpensive way of putting you in control of the final destination of your estate and making sure you avoid difficulties for your relatives, business associates and friends after your death…. Or is it?

When you write or review your Will, whether starting from scratch or following divorce or business changes, you are allowed by law to leave anything you own outright to any person or organization you desire. You can even stipulate that the beneficiary must satisfy certain criteria in order to receive assets. For example, you could leave the shares in your business to your son on the condition that he attends 90% of shareholder meetings, gives up smoking or completes his university degree. Far from just being a way of conveying wishes and minimizing tax liabilities, people have navigated these wide-open parameters in many directions, resulting in some truly outrageous Wills. Sometimes, people have stipulations that allow them to accomplish in death what they couldn’t in life. McNair Ilgrenfritz, a wealthy but unsuccessful composer, left $125,000 to the New York Metropolitan Opera House – if it agreed to stage an opera he had written. Unfortunately, the Met declined the generous offer, even though they found that the music was ‘workable’. Occasionally, beneficiaries have luck on their side. Onni Nurmi, a Finnish businessman, left 780 shares of a rubber boot company to the residents of a nursing home in Finland. That company later became cell phone giant Nokia, and the residents of the nursing home became millionaires. Although you can’t, by law, leave assets to your pet, you can make provision for their care. Singer Dusty Springfield had a clause that a bequest be used to purchase a lifetime supply of her cat Nicholas’ favorite meal -- imported baby food. It also called for Springfield’s nightgown to line his bed and for her music to be played to him each evening. Some people are so close to their work that they decide to become part of it -- literally. Ed Headrick, an inventor at the toy company Wham-O, is credited with perfecting the design for the modern Frisbee. Ed requested that his ashes be molded into memorial versions of the disc and that the money from their sale be used to open a Frisbee museum. Then there’s the curious case of the Shavian Alphabet. Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw famously included

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

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a contest in his will that called for his fortune to be given to the person that successfully created a new English alphabet. The stipulation was that the alphabet be entirely phonetic and not Latin-based. Shaw contended that Latin was not a good language for translating English, leaving us with too many unusual word spellings. The Shavian Alphabet would have no fewer than 40 characters, each one corresponding to a sound. An Englishman named Kingsley Read shared the prize money with four other contestants among 400 entries. However, other hopeful beneficiaries successfully contested the Will and an out-of-court settlement awarded the Alphabet Trust a meager £8,300. Some people want to use their Will to acknowledge support that has come from outside of the family. When Golda Bechal left almost all of her £10 million fortune to her favourite Cantonese restaurant, she left the recipients in a pickle. The trio had become close friends, spending Christmases together and going on holidays. Furthermore, Mr Man delivered portions of Bechal’s favourite Cantonese dish of pickled leeks from his Essex restaurant to her Grosvenor Square home until her death in January 2004. Bechal’s surviving family vigorously contested the Will on the grounds that she suffered from dementia but the court ruled the couple could keep the money. Catherine Barr left £2.6 million of her £3.5 million fortune to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). Her only condition was that the RNLI should buy a new vessel and dedicate it to her late husband Dr John Buchanan Barr, a war hero. She said she wanted an inscription on the boat saying: “He saved so many lives during the war.” It seems some people use their Will as a means of getting their own back on the recipient. When Samuel Bratt died in 1960, he left his wife (who, in life, had not let him smoke) £330,000 on condition that she smoked five cigars a day. Whatever your situation, if you want to ensure that your wishes will be carried out properly, there really is no substitute for a Will written by a qualified and regulated legal expert… but your wishes don’t have to be complicated. The last word comes from Anthony Scott who, in his Will, wrote: “To my first wife Sue, whom I always promised to mention in my Will. Hello Sue!” « Article written by Jenny Pierce, Head of Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity at Wards Solicitors. Jenny is based in Central Bristol and can be contacted on 0117 9292811. Wards have 9 branches in South loucestershire, ristol and orth Somerset. To find out more about the services we can provide please go to our website at www.wards.uk.com

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06/03/2012 22:03


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The Whole

e r u t c i P

In a constantly changing world, taking the long view on can make a big difference. Huw Thomas takes a look at holistic financial planning.

1

Holistic Financial Planning – Step by Step An initial discovery meeting where client and financial planner explore goals and ambitions. An in-depth analysis of your present circumstances, current financial planning provisions and tax situation is undertaken in light of your ultimate objectives, whether they concern your retirement age plans or your long-term lifestyle intentions.

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The Whole Picture

2

Holistic Financial Planning – Step by Step A detailed exploration of an individual’s risk tolerance and ability to absorb financial losses is a vital component of the planning process. Data is gathered through a risk-profiling questionnaire and complemented by a wide discussion of your views on risk.

Hear someone say the word ‘holistic’ and the normal instinct is to brace yourself for a discussion of alternative therapies, crystals, dreamcatchers and essential oils. However, the New Age industry doesn’t have a monopoly on the term. A fresh approach to financial lanning seeks to snatch the ord from its current esoteric surroundings and lace it firmly back in the real world.

At its most basic level, holistic financial planning takes a wide-ranging and detailed view of a client’s circumstances, with the intention of helping them to achieve specific goals. Whether you want to retire at 60 and live on a boat in the Caribbean or provide for the future of your children and grandchildren, holistic financial planning offers a personalised service that gives you the best chance of realising your ambitions. The traditional model for financial planning has generally focused around a more transactional relationship between the client and planner. In this setting, interaction between the two parties is more often restricted to when the client has a particular issue or concern. The planner will then address that specific subject and suggest suitable solutions or products. While this approach can certainly be effective, by concentrating on the here and now it is all too easy to miss out on the big picture. To illustrate it with a slightly tortured metaphor, a transactional approach to financial planning can be like waiting until your car develops a fault before checking it into the garage. By contrast, taking the holistic view and having the vehicle serviced regularly means you’re far less likely to be caught out by unexpected breakdowns. That’s obviously

3

Holistic Financial Planning – Step by Step Once sufficient information has been collated and the current position assessed and understood, an initial summary plan is formulated introducing a suggested strategy to achieve your desired goals. This can involve initial changes to the level of planning undertaken to date, as well as starting new ventures to fund for future objectives. Key factors involve confirming goals and objectives, debt management, taxation, risk and estate planning. Here the financial planner works in tandem with professional experts to ensure a cohesive approach for clients.

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a fairly simplistic interpretation, but it more or less gets the point across. Unlike more conventional forms of financial planning, the holistic approach sees planners working with clients on an ongoing basis, outside of simply recommending products or renewing policies. Planners also collaborate with experts in other fields like law and accountancy ensure that taxation is managed efficiently within the overall financial plan, and essential legal aspects are correctly documented and established to suit needs. Putting it into practice Chartered financial planner Alison Hill of Lansdown Place is a strong advocate of holistic financial planning. She works with chartered tax adviser oger Grafton of Bristol-based firm Grafton Jones to provide clients with a personalised and ongoing service.

The financial lifecycle Everyone has different needs at different points in their life. These can be loosely grouped into a number of key phases.

Pre-family

A relatively simple period in terms of financial management, with a focus on personal consumption and low savings Investment in retirement planning can be aggressive due to long time horizon.

Family

Centred on meeting the financial requirements of building a family. Savings become increasingly important in order to meet needs such as housing and children’s education. Long-term savings are likely to be in the form of tax-advantaged products.

Pre-retirement

Typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 65, this phase sees a shift in focus away from the financial requirements of family life towards planning for retirement. Planning is critical in order to achieve retirement objectives and manage risks and need to take in factors such as existing financial capital, future income, expectations of future returns and personal risk preferences.

Active retirement

With people increasingly active into old age, the early years of retirement can see fairly high levels of spending as retirees travel or pursue interests they were unable to indulge during their working life. Risk is a key factor in any investments made at this time, as there is very little opportunity to recover from adverse market scenarios.

Passive retirement

As people become less active, levels of discretionary spending tends to drop. Key risks are centred on health, longevity and inflation. In some cases provision will be need to be made for elderly care.

MARCH 2012 17

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4

Holistic Financial Planning – Step by Step Once an overall strategy is in place, there follows a gradual process of making necessary adjustments to your ongoing financial plan. Clients work with the financial planner to ensure a tax efficient approach to attaining ultimate goals and ambitions. While many changes may need to be made, these are carried out at a pace which suits you, in close collaboration with your financial planner.

“I am privileged to enjoy a great business partnership with oger,” she tells us. “I’m able to lean on him for taxation advice and to ensure that my clients are well positioned in their finances and their tax affairs are well managed. This approach is optimised when we work jointly on a client’s affairs to ensure any financial contracts put in place manage their current and future taxation position as efficiently as we can, and at the same time work towards achieving those longer term objectives.”

“By concentrating on the here and now, it’s easy to miss out on the big picture” Planners like Hill employ a range of approaches in order to take their view of a client’s financial affairs from a macro to a micro level. “ oger and I use forecasting tools to look in to the future aspects of financial planning as well as focusing on the day to day,” she explains. “One such tool in our process is cashflow modelling. This allows for current income and expenditure to be modelled through to key life events such, as retirement, to assess potential shortfalls and make recommendations on how much to save and which is the most tax efficient product wrapper to utilise.” To demonstrate how it all works in practice, Hill tells us about a typical client she has helped down the holistic route. He’s a company director with a salary in the region of £80k plus bonuses. He’s married with two young children and his wife isn’t currently working. The family lives in a house worth £450k, with £180K still owing on the mortgage. Due to the company he works for being taken over, bonuses push his salary past the £150k mark for the current and next tax year. He also holds pre and post takeover shares from his company. “As part of the overall review we carried out a full cashflow analysis of current income and expenditure,” Hill says. “We projected forward, considering assets and liabilities, to identify where there were shortfalls. As the client is in his late 30s, pension planning over the long term looks as though it will build up well. However, we identified certain spikes in costs such as when children reach 18 and want to go to university. To deal with this we put in place savings plans now to address that cost in the future. The analysis also illustrated that the current cost of life cover was high and we were able to re-broker his protection policies and save money. “

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This particular client’s example also shows how financial planners work with specialists from other fields to provide a complete service. In this case Hill co-ordinated with the aforementioned chartered tax adviser oger Grafton. He was able to handle the current and future tax and capital gains implications of the client’s company shares, as well as bringing his experience to bear on some other key issues. “We were able to mitigate the 50 percent tax rate through investment in pension for current tax year,” Hill explains. “ oger did the groundwork with the client and then referred to me to crunch the numbers and provide the best pension advice.” This advice included a full review of existing arrangements and retirement objectives to decide on how best to mitigate the 50 percent tax rate, with the ultimate recommendation being that the client make a contribution through bonus sacrifice to his company scheme. “I set him up with ISA and W AP account in order to utilise venture capital trust and enterprise investment scheme investments next tax year to address the tax situation, as well as an ongoing pension strategy,” says Hill. “All taxation calculations are checked by oger to provide a joined up approach to the client’s tax planning.” The right choice? Perhaps the key question about holistic financial planning is: ‘If it’s so good, why doesn’t everyone demand it?’ In some cases, it may be down to a lack of knowledge that such an approach even exists. Hopefully, this piece will go some way towards remedying that. More likely, any reticence boils down to the belief that this sort of in-depth relationship with a financial planner is suitable only for the wealthiest among us: the rock stars and Premier League football players. Nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, being of more modest means makes taking a more considered approach to your financial future all the more important. Small decisions made today can have a tremendous impact further down the line, leaving you better positioned to cope with life’s unpredictable hurdles, be they expected or completely out of the blue. As the old saying goes, ‘Failure to prepare is preparation to fail.’ We all have hopes and dreams about how we want our lives to be. Without wishing to sound too ‘New Age-y’, taking a holistic view of our finances provides the best possible chance of making those dreams a reality. «

5

Holistic Financial Planning – Step by Step The final part of the process is an ongoing relationship between client and financial planner. This collaborative approach allows you to monitor the effectiveness of plans, performance and the mitigation of taxation. It also allows for any changes in personal circumstances or revisions to your goals and objectives.

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y r u x Lu

Door-to-Door

Earlier this year, myself and the team, including one of our investors, travelled to Switzerland to look at a number of properties. Usually I would hop on a flight from Bristol, but sadly flights to Zurich aren’t that frequent, so we chose to fly from London Heathrow. This meant working out the most efficient way to travel to London Heathrow from Bristol. William Montgomery mentioned that the last time he had travelled with his daughter – to the QM2, for their trip to New York – he had used a chauffeur service. As we were travelling with one of our investors, we needed to make sure the travel arrangements were up to a certain level; one that he would almost certainly be accustomed to. This conjured up images of taxi drivers making some spare cash at the weekend, or hen party-style limos with neon lights. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

William suggested a company called Sybaris Chauffeurs, a firm based in the outh est ith national reach ery fe families or com anies these days em loy a full time chauffeur as ith most of the service industry, it s become a ay er use affair, ith clients calling u on chauffeur services to drive them in both a cor orate and a ersonal ca acity

So what of the service level? Well, let’s discuss privacy: when you’re travelling by train, or coach, you’re surrounded by third parties. However, in a private car, your business meeting or discussion of delicate family matters, remain that way – private. Also, there is no need to travel to a station and queue for tickets, or play the inevitable game of loading your luggage somewhere safe, then hunting for a seat. It’s also a much more efficient use of company time. Consider driving a team to a meeting; without having to worry about where you are going or negotiating busy traffic, you are able to concentrate on your work (or catch up on some sleep!) making it a productive use of time, and ensuring you all arrive fresh and ready for the day. Also, if you have used car services before, you will know how reassuring it is that there is a small fleet of vehicles available when you need them – with Sybaris it’s the old adage of ‘small enough to care, big enough to cope’. My experience of Sybaris was a very easy affair. Mark

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arrived promptly at the agreed time and sent me a text to let me know he was there. Something that might seem commonplace was very reassuring. Mark took my bags at the door. I’m sure, had I not lived in a fortified apartment on the river, he would have fought the entire armies of Mordor to have collected them from the hall. The car was laid out with the weekend’s papers and periodicals, drinks, snacks – pretty much everything you could ask for. It was mid-afternoon, but having had our first flight cancelled earlier that morning, I had been on the phone to Swiss Air trying to reschedule and so hadn’t had much sleep. As I started drifting off in the reclined leather seat, Mark asked me if I wanted a blanket. Add the blanket to an already weary passenger and I was out like a light for the entire journey. Would you fall asleep on a coach? You might on a train, but you’re far from being at ease and certainly not comfortable. I think there is an inherent trust there; falling asleep with someone else driving is against the norm, but I felt completely relaxed with the driving style that this certainly wasn’t a problem. Sybaris seemed like a business that was in growth. I asked Lewis, Mark’s business partner, what sort of clients they had and why they use a service like this. “It’s about getting the little things right, from remembering what radio station our clients want to listen to, or what paper they like to read. It’s all about

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Door-to-Door Luxury

want to listen to, or what paper they like to read. It’s all about customer service.” We were on an airport transfer, so I wondered if we would be able to book a car for a day of meetings in London. “We can provide a chauffeur for corporate travel, dinner engagements, events, and one of our markets is family travel. When a family member is in the UK, the family want reassurance that they’re being looked after – for instance, families living abroad with children at boarding school here.” It seemed to me that Lewis and Mark certainly knew their business. So, what recommendations did they have when looking for a good chauffeur service? “It’s about more than just turning up on time with a nice car and suited driver. It’s about reliability, the flexibility to meet our clients’ needs and preferences. You need to deliver a consistent experience, with discretion and confidentiality.” Having experienced the ease of travel that Sybaris offers, needless to say that, when I’m looking to travel long distance again, they will be my first call. They offer luxury, executive cars and people carriers. They’re formally graded as a five-star chauffeur company for quality and standards (by the Licensed Private Hire Car Association), and they are one of only a few companies outside London to hold this. As with all things, when you’re looking for a professional service, it’s about the service provider matching themselves to your needs and those of the group. The name Sybaris comes from an ancient Greek town known for its high levels of opulence and luxury. Having a private chauffeur may well be of life’s small luxuries, but when you look at the facts, it may well be the most efficient and smoothest way to travel. « http://www.sybarischauffeurs.com Tel: 0800 311 8938

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MARCH 2012 21

06/03/2012 22:31


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Have You Got a

s n o i s Pen

? e h c a d a e H

Maximilian Prime, the Managing Director of Foremost Foods Ltd, looked at his Rolex and frowned. Only 10.00 and already it seemed the day had gone on too long. He had a splitting headache, and it was all the fault of that damned actuary, Cuthbert Calculus or whatever his wretched name was. Putting that wimp of a trustee chairman up to, well, it could only be described as a polite mugging. How dare he!

It had all started when Sir Timothy, the chairman of trustees of the pension scheme, had arrived for a preliminary meeting to discuss the 3 yearly valuation, armed with his actuary. Max had been prepared for a deterioration in the finances of the scheme since the last valuation (after all, there was a recession on), but not for the bleak picture the actuary had painted. What had been a small deficit of m as no threatening to balloon to an im ossible m, and that as on the basis that the scheme was going to continue. “On a winding-up basis” the actuary had bleated, “you could e ect the deficit to be in the region of about m, if you had to secure the liabilities on the open market.”

OMG, thought Max. The Company’s turnover was languishing at barely £50m, on a margin of 10%. We’re dead. My bonus is out the window. The shareholders will kill me. When Max had come down off the ceiling, he asked the obvious question. “Well, it’s due to a number of things” said the actuary. “First of all, the value of the investments in the scheme has fallen quite a long way. Secondly, the value of the scheme liabilities has gone up substantially.” “But how come? I accept that the investments may

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have gone down, due no doubt to the inept management of the trustees. But the liabilities? We closed the scheme to future accrual of pensions over two years ago, after the last valuation.” “Ah, but the liabilities are valued by reference to gilts, which have been badly affected by the economic crisis and quantitative easing. They’ve become much more expensive as a result. And everyone is living longer - we’ve had to increase our longevity assumptions. That’s put the value up too.” “And what else?” “Well” ventured Sir Timothy, hesitantly, “we’ve had to take a hard look at the business, Max, to see whether it can support the scheme.” “Yes, and? What are you implying?” Max was beginning to get irate. “We had to factor in the fact that you recently lost the Austinsons contract, and that you had only just refinanced the balance sheet after investing in a lot of new plant and equipment. The company is now carrying quite a lot of debt. Add to that the fact that material costs are rising and squeezing your margins, and you have a rather worrying picture.” “But that’s irrelevant. We’re still making good money, and the bank is perfectly happy.”

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“That may be so. But the bank is secured, and we are not. On the facts as we see them, we think we’ve got to adopt rather more prudent assumptions about growth and so forth than we did before.” Max looked threatening. “So what are you saying?” “Well, we think the Company should pay the scheme some money up front - let’s say £5m? And then we would like to see the balance of the deficit cleared over the next 5 years, at £3m a year. That should do it.” Max had had enough. “You think we have that kind of cash to splash around, Tim? You always were a dreamer, even when you were the FD. No wonder I had to work so hard when you retired. I’ve got a much better idea. You can both go back where you came from, and put it in writing. I’m going to get onto our lawyers, and we shall see what happens.” After Sir Timothy and the actuary had fled, Max called his lawyer, Fiona Sharpe. “OK Max”, said Fiona when she had heard the story. “Don’t panic. There are a heap of things we can do. First, without looking at the scheme documents, the chances are that the trustees have to reach agreement with you over the valuation assumptions. So get yourself an actuary -I can find you a good one if you want. He (or she) will challenge all the assumptions that are being made, and you could find that the deficit isn’t nearly as big when that’s done.” “Next, assuming you still have a deficit to deal with, you don’t have to pay it back so quickly. You could negotiate a ten year period without any difficulty, and I reckon you could

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probably make it quite a bit longer than that if need be.” Max was beginning to feel better already. “Then there’s the possibility of making use of company assets, either as security or even as a form of contribution into the scheme. What about the trade marks? I don’t think they’re in hock to the bank. You could even put them into a joint venture partnership with the trustees.” “We should also be taking a hard look at the investment strategy the trustees are using, to see if we can squeeze some more returns out of the assets without too much risk. On the liability side, there are a number of possible techniques we could look at to cut liabilities, such as enhanced transfer value or pensions increase exchange deals, although the government is looking at these right now. There are also things like trivial commutation exercises, and even buy-ins and longevity swaps, though they tend to work better for larger schemes than yours.” “I’m afraid you’ve lost me over some of those things” admitted Max, “but I like your tone. Let’s get on with a thorough, top-down review. Can I leave it to you to drive it forward?” “Of course. I’ll get started straightaway.” Max smiled as he put the phone down. His headache had almost gone. Who’d have thought he’d ever bless a lawyer? And now, back to business proper. Where was that production manager? « Richard Leigh is a Consultant in TLT’s Pensions team. He can be reached at richard.leigh@tltsolicitors.com

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n w o n Unk

Into the

“The sensual caress of waist deep cold smoke.... glory in skiing virgin snow, in being the first to mark the powder with the signature of their run.” – Tim Cahill Over the last year, I’ve found that I have a natural aptitude for winter pursuits. Of course, I’m speaking s ecifically about skiing ou on t find me chasing after my illiams on a bob had reviously taken t o days of lessons in ermatt and skied for three days before arriving in the Swiss playground of Flims for my second encounter. As my friend Jason Shankey said, regardless whether your last experience was a stack or powder, e ect to start here you left off ine had been a great run down from Klein-Matterhorn, through Cervinia, and back to the rockener teg hat as the last run of my first ski tri , one that, given the com any and the location, lims ould have to do ell to beat

Flims Laax Falera has an impressive 137 miles of mainly intermediate slopes. The resort is very popular with weekenders and has invested in some large-capacity lifts, including a three-stage gondola from Flims, a jumbo gondola from Laax, and several high-speed chair lifts. It can be very quiet during the week, and it is virtually unknown outside the Swiss and German markets. Having come highly recommended, we decided to try Powder Byrne, one of the oldest ski companies in operation and helmed by the founding father of Powder skiing holidays, Rory Byrne. Powder Byrne are also the only operator to arrange bespoke travel to the region, and it also offers accommodation at a selection of hotels in both Flims and Laax too. I always find you can test the measure of a company by throwing them a simple problem. It’s not in my nature to deliberately cause trouble – ahem – but this one was handed to me via cancelled flight on the morning of departure. This meant we would not only arrive an hour and a half later than planned, but the fourth member of our team, flying in from Dublin, would be sat at the airport for almost four hours waiting. I called Nicola, the resort manager in Flims and explained. She called me back no more than five minutes later and said, “It’s all been arranged. We will pick Jason up in an

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hour and send a separate transfer for you.” No fuss, no issues, just problem solved. Suffice to say, I already liked the Powder Byrne way of doing things. When we arrived at the airport, we were greeted by David and escorted through the biting -30 degree weather to the Powder Byrne transfer; cue much champagne and snoring. I awoke two hours later to find myself in Flims Dorf, a beautiful town, from what I could see of it, given the heavy snow. We were driven into the Casa Flumina complex, a unique chalet with five beautifully appointed apartments in the heart of the town. The development has been carefully planned and built under the watchful eyes of Rory Byrne and Nick Williams. I must mention the boot room, potentially the best boot-room in the whole town, complete with state-of-the-art wooden boot warmers and a fully-laden bar, stocked with, amongst many beauties, lagavulin. I imagine my jumping immediately to the quality of the bar explains a little of what skiing is to most people. The boot room is on the ground floor, adjacent to the children’s games room and the wellness area, which has a sauna and steam room surrounded by local Valser granite and wood. A few evenings were spent soaking and steaming bruised legs in solitude and comfort. We had chosen to come the week before half-term, and therefore the only other group in the resort. The development is really a natural progression for Powder Byrne. It has taken them years to perfect the offering

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04/04/2012 12:53


Into The Unknown

and strengthen the brand, so building their own properties is the obvious next step. The apartments are furnished to an extremely high standard; a standard that Powder Byrne are famous for. I was particularly impressed to find out that the properties are freehold (one of the last developments to be so, before a law was passed limiting the amount in the Graubunden area). Nicky showed us into our apartment and stowed our bags. Jason had already arrived and was waiting with a good bottle of red – the perfect arrival. We had decided not to cook any major meals whilst in the apartment, preferring to see what the local town had to offer. As Flims is not a well know resort in the UK, and mainly frequented by German and Swiss visitors, it stood to reason that we would get some good local food. We spent our first evening at a local micro-brewery that uses water from the mountain to make some particularly tasty brews. The brewery recently won a bronze award at the European Beer Star Awards, in Germany, and let’s be honest: the Germans know

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good beer. Make that good cars, sausages and beer. The fare is traditional and hearty, such as the kalbshaxen and, you guessed it, the sausage. I opted for a firm favourite: schnit el. What I found really refreshing, apart from the light beer, was the basic knowledge of English from the staff. Typically, the British are spoilt abroad, given that English is such a widely used language. It’s nice to hear Anglophonic nationals make the effort. After our fill of meat and beer, we headed out into the -30 degree weather for the short stroll back to the apartment. Nicola had offered to send a car to pick us up (consummate hosts, the Powder Byrne team), but we decided that we wanted to see the resort. Plus we felt a little soft asking for a two-minute transfer. Nonetheless, the offer was there; the team were never far away. The following morning we awoke to fresh pastries at the door – a very nice touch. As I rolled out of the Egyptian cotton sheets and into the piping hot shower, croissants cooking nice in the oven, I checked the weather report for the day: -8 highs; -28 lows. This could get interesting. We were picked up by Nicky bright and early, and driven to a local shop, so those of us without boots and skis could be fitted. We had planned to do this the night before, and usually Powder Byrne would whisk you to the ski shop immediately upon arrival, but given our lateness, we opted to grab our gear the following day. No waiting for passes, though, they were ready and waiting in the apartment. Once we were organised and had all purchased new snoods, we were introduced to our guides Graham and Sarah. Graham was an Irish chap whose background wasn’t too dissimilar to Rory’s. Having spent a few years working in the financial markets, Graham decided he needed a change. I don’t have a single friend who doesn’t wish they couldn’t do a season

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somewhere. Sarah worked a season before heading home to continue studying law. The fact that Powder Byrne provide a ski guide for each group is something you won’t find anywhere else on a complimentary basis. They organised the best restaurants, knew the best places to go for après, which runs would have sun early in the day, and which runs would be best to take at the end of play. Ultimately, they managed to immerse themselves into the group. I think that is the mark of a great guide; someone that clearly becomes part of the team. It is worth pointing out that, for those holidaying with children, Powder Byrne operates a private crèche exclusively for its clients. The crèche is for infants aged four months and older, and is tended to by fully-qualified English nannies. For notso-little ones, there are ski and crèche programmes for 3 year olds, and during school holidays, services in the resort extend to private ski schools for 4 - 14 year olds, complimentary guiding for teenagers and skills specific academies, including a FreeStyle Course with access to the world-class FreeStyle Academy. On the first day, Baron William Montgomery had been learning to ski with Alex Moss (of Ski School), so had been in the children’s ski park. We asked if Alex would be able to bring William to the Capalari restaurant, atop Crap Sogn Gion, for lunch. Alex was more than happy to oblige. The unwritten rule here is that you always pay for your guide’s lunch. Capalari is styled like something out of a Bond film: 2216 metres up, with amazing views, a modern but comfortable interior, open-plan kitchen, creating an elegant yet cosy ambience. Its cuisine is modern Graubunden with an Italian touch. I asked Alex what might be worth trying. He recommended Pizoki, which are like small gnocchi, shellacked in cheese and bacon. Or at least that is what I chose to accompany them. Delicious. After a few hours, we decided to head down the mountain and take a rather challenging red run to Plaun. This run might have been easier, but it was the end of the day and it was starting to get choppy. Add that to a few drinks at lunch and both myself and Adam were looking a little unsteady on our feet. I must have found myself on my derriere two or three times, whilst Adam decided to go for the downhill gold. After stopping with Jason a little way down the piste, having traversed some pretty hairy jumps, we waited for Adam to come down, ploughing away. Jason shouted over, “Have you seen him”. “No,” I replied, “I saw someone that looked like him but they were going straight down, at speed”. It transpired that it was indeed Adam, who had misjudged the descent and been ploughed into by a passing snowboarder. Nothing like the sound of snow crunching furiously beneath a snowboard, with its rider giving it everything he has got to stop in-time. Sadly, he didn’t. Possibly the best stack of the trip and I was looking in the other direction. Suffice to say, Adam’s thumb was in bad shape, so we decided to get the lift back down, save another injury. That night after a few gluvines at Legna Bar, we strolled down the lane to the hotel Adula for supper. A private tasting menu, no less from chef Peter Amrein. The pumpkin curry soup was delightful, as was the crayfish veal sausage and white cabbage with champagne. The chef laid on a cacophony of delights, accompanied by a private piano performance from the hotel’s pianist. After a short stroll back to the apartment, and a

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customary airing of ‘The Art of Flight’ in the screening room, we retired with a nightcap. Monday was considerably quiet. We decided that we would head to La Siala and ski down through Grauberg to Startgels for lunch. This was slightly hampered by my need to change storage cards in the two cameras I had attached to my gear. This would have been a minor ten-minute stall if it wasn’t for the 30-mile-per-hour winds atop the 2810 metre run. Having put my helmet down to put my bag on, I turned to see it skidding at speed toward a black run. With little regard for the bag, its contents or my own safety, I pulled myself to my feet and hurtled toward the helmet, only for it to disappear off the edge of the black run. However, with Powder Byrne, there is always a plan: Sarah called ahead and explained to the lift engineers that a helmet would no doubt be handed in at some point and would they mind returning it to the hire shop. She then skied down to Startgels to let them know that we would be a little late for our lunch reservation; a reservation worth holding as the pappardelle contained something that made me crave it beyond all reasonable measure. Flims offers a number of serious dining options. In fact, there are more gourmet offerings in the centre of Flims and Laax than in my home town. Bright and early the next day, we were joined by Nick from Powder Byrne, who would be guiding us around that day. Given that William was still learning to stand and Adam had learnt to fall, it was just Jason, Nick and I careering around the slopes. Cue lots of attempted jumps and face plants. Having tried to get to grips with the layout of the piste in Flims and LAA , I honestly was still very lost. What I had noticed was a tepee half way up the mountain, which I had used to try and maintain some semblance of position amongst all this beautiful alpine terrain. It turned out that we were to have lunch at La Vacca later that day. Jason and I were a little confused at how

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04/04/2012 12:55


Into The Unknown

this modest looking tepee could house over 100 people – or so we were told. Upon reaching the restaurant, Nick informed us that he had to head back down to the village to chase up some building work, but seemed visibly irritated at missing lunch at La Vacca. We were told Sarah would be along shortly to replace him. As we entered the tepee, pushing pieces of hide to one side and ducking, neither of us could have imagined the scale of the place. The Indian tepee is furnished in cowhide and wood and has an open fire at its centre. The menu provides one option for vegetarians: wine. As you would have guessed it, the food ranges from rack of boar to antelope and deer. Expect a great atmosphere and excellent wine. The gastronomic excellence continued later that night at the Waldhaus Grand esort. Built in 1877, as the first of four guest houses, the grand hotel has to be seen to be believed. Jason and I arrived later in the evening, whilst William and Adam sampled the delights of the hotel’s spa and wellness centre. You probably won’t believe me, but William Montgomery had his first massage there earlier in the day. When we arrived, I called Adam to find out which restaurant they were in. He laughed. He said, “Go downstairs, follow the corridor, if you can find us, we are in the bar.” The catacombs of the hotel have a network of corridors, the likes of which I have never seen. When we evenutally found our way to the bar, the team were quite comfortable, with cold beers in front of the fire. Urs and asmin Grimm, the managing couple, joined us for a lengthy discussion about the hotel’s history

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

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and their plans for the future. We eventually sat down to eat at 9pm and were therefore expecting a semi-swift meal. However, we were only just beginning at the fourteen gaultmillau point restaurant. Dishes ranged from deer carpaccio with blue figs to pumpkin risotto with boletus and bleper chnolle cheese. We delved into the main dishes with merlot-braised vitellone cheek with potato mousseline and alp plaun porc shoulder with creamy savoy cabbage and dumplings. The wine list was exceptional, and the per-course option was well chosen. Our waitress that evening was an absolute star. Perhaps if she hadn’t had us try so many wines, I might have been able to remember her name. The service, however, was exemplary. With glowing cheeks, we retired to the bar for cigars and brandy. Another great thing about Flims: no smoking bans in the bars just yet. How can I sum up the Waldhaus? I will put it this way: you can read our full review when we go back in June. It’s good enough to want a second taste. Flims Laax is quite possibly one of Europe’s most underrated ski and snowboard resorts, with an enormous expanse of varying terrain, set against breathtaking scenery. Those looking for a more “home away from home” experience can find it at Casa Flumina, a development run by Byrne’s sister company. Flumina has a variety of properties and private apartments, both self-catering and fully serviced, with the former offering fully-stocked fridges, breakfast deliveries, and even a private chef. Indeed, Casa Flumina’s second development has now launched (due for completion in 2013) and is a final opportunity for those wanting to purchase freehold property in the canton. Being just 90 minutes’ drive from Zürich, Flims Laax is an ideal short break ski destination and one which is setting the benchmark for a new generation of well-planned, sustainable, modern European ski resorts. If you take my advice and start planning your trip for this season, be it at the end of this year or early next, Powder Byrne is your only choice.. «

• For more information about these properties and travelling to Flims, contact Powder Byrne on 020 8246 5300 or find further information and request a brochure at powderbyrne.com • A week in Casa Flumina costs from £975 per person, based on 6 people travelling, including flights, private transfers and full Powder Byrne service. • Alternatively, enjoy the Hotel Adula or the Waldhaus Mountain Resort and Spa for a week or a weekend with Powder Byrne’s indispensable service and ski guiding. Weekends available from £995 per person.

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04/04/2012 12:55


The Exclusive Magazine For

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Small Cruises, Intelligent Travel,

Flawless

e c i v r e S

Laith Al-Kaisy talks to John Kennedy, ambassador for Noble Caledonia Cruises for the masses, don’t you just love ‘em? Do people still go on those cruises? I was under the impression they went out of fashion when Love Boat was taken off the air. If you haven’t actually been on a cruise en masse, you probably know somebody who has, or at the very least, you’ll have preconceptions about what to expect. In theory, you’re stuck on a boat with upward of 3000 people, your typical vacationers, many of whom will double up as amateur bores. They’ll spend their time recounting voyages of old, to Spain, to Greece, to Egypt, complaining that it was too hot, the cabin was too small, the food was mediocre, and it wasn’t like England. It’s people like that who inspired Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile.

Perhaps I’m being too flippant, too cynical even – but not without good reason. The cruises I have just described do indeed exist. But the point is, not all cruises are P&O and OAP. Indeed, some smaller cruise companies can actually provide you with the much sought after ‘dream holiday’. John Kennedy’s is one of them: Noble Caledonia. We meet on an uncharacteristically sunny day at Cote, in Clifton Village, for coffee. And to be quite honest, he couldn’t be nicer. John is an Aussie who has spent the majority of his life in the industry, originally arriving in London to study Business, then later moving to Bristol to start a travel shop. After a stint with Lunn Poly, John decided to go solo, setting up Austravel, which provided flights and packages to his native Australia. Twenty years on, travel giants Thomson came along looking to buy, with an offer that was too good to refuse. John sold the company and returned to Australia to work as a consultant and board member for a number of travel companies and cruise lines. It wasn’t long, however, before John and his wife began to yearn for Bristol – and more importantly, their grown-up children. It was upon returning

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to Bristol that John discovered Noble Caledonia cruises. In fact, he loved the cruises so much that he’s been lured out of retirement to spread the word about them, as an ambassador. “ uality small ship cruising is one of life’s absolute pleasures,” John tells me. I ask what originally drew him towards Noble Caledonia: “Initially it was the idea of what a small cruise experience can offer exploring fascinating global destinations,” he begins. “Secondly, the vessels are specifically designed for good small ship cruising, in that they carry odiacs. It therefore makes it easy for people of all ages to access remote, interesting places. Noble Caledonia also specialise in securing the highest quality of guest lecturers, absolute specialists in their fields, each with real relevance to the destinations visited.” John’s description is already defying the conventions of a cruise. I ask what exactly he means by ‘small ship’. “No more than 180 people,” he replies. This is an intriguingly low number. The benefits seem obvious, but I ask John to elucidate. “Aside from the physical benefits – moving about, boarding and disembarking – the crew can deliver an excellent individual service, get to know passengers on firstname terms, and get to learn their likes and dislikes so they can deliver favourite drinks and dietary requirements. Also, because there are so few people, everyone gets to know each other very quickly. On a big ship, you may not see someone again for three days, because there are 3000 people on board. The whole experience is enhanced by meeting and exploring with likeminded, curious people.” Cruises take place literally everywhere: North and South America, Norway, Africa, Japan, New ealand – you name it. The itineraries are specific to small ship cruises, too, and are made up of expeditions led by highly skilled teams of experts, including the guest speakers. Each expert is carefully

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06/03/2012 21:27


Small Cruises, Intelligent Travel, Flawless Service

selected for a voyage, based on their knowledge of local areas, helping travellers to fully understand and appreciate the environment. These may include ornithologists, naturalists, historians, ecologists and marine biologists, who, whether on land or at sea, will be able to explain the surrounding flora, fauna and architecture. It’s all beginning to sound like my perfect vacation; a thinking person’s holiday; an opportunity to visit the world’s most remote and fascinating locations and cultures, on odiacs, with likeminded people. I am also starting to understand why John is so passionate about it. As he says, it’s an ongoing quest to search out “complex routings, interesting accommodation and unmissable local experiences.” The entertainment and edification doesn’t stop onboard either. But, unlike traditional cruises, the atmosphere is warm and tranquil, more like a secluded, boutique hotel than a jolly at sea. Some things, however, do remain the same, such as ‘round-the-clock service and fine cuisine. Or perhaps, like me, you sometimes just want to lie back for an hour or so with a good book, in which case, the suites look delightful: spacious, placid, designed to the highest of detail – and many with private outdoor balconies. Alternatively, if you’re in the mood for socialising, there is an elegant bar in which to enjoy a favourite drink, or lounge decks to take in the salty bree e and contemplate the ever-changing ocean. “If you’re at sea, there’s nothing nicer than sitting out on a comfortable deck chair, taking in the sun and reading an engrossing book,” says John. “The ship has a well-stocked library, with many books about the en route destinations. In the evenings, there may be a piano player, but it’s very much background music, unlike you’re typical cruise.” Like all things done on a mass scale, I assume the food on cruises isn’t anything special. It’s comforting to know, then, that you could easily seat the number of people

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

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onboard this cruise in a typical London restaurant. And the sample menu is testament to that: carpaccio with truffle oil; shrimp bisque; trellis of salmon and sole with champagne and saffron; herb crusted rack of lamb – the list goes on (read it online), with a wine list to match. John mentions that recently he has been tailoring clients’ cruise packages to meet their extraneous travel needs. “I am motivated by developing effective value-for-money solutions to complex travel problems,” he explains. “If customers wish to incorporate any cruise in the Noble Caledonia range with their own additional travel requirements, I am happy to provide a suggested itinerary and quotation.” By the end of our chat, every illusion I’d ever had about cruises was shattered. Here was a trip that, even as a travel hack, I now genuinely couldn’t wait to go on. As we finish our cappuccinos, I ask John why people should go on a small ship cruise, rather than some other holiday. “Unlike some holidays, where you just lie on a beach, it’s an experience you’ll never forget. Small ship cruises are also a very special way to celebrate an event, like an anniversary. Plus you get to go somewhere that isn’t on the regular menu of holiday destinations, and visit places you would otherwise never get to ever see. It’s a chance to pamper oneself.” And with that, we say our goodbyes. Whilst walking back to the office, I can’t get the imagery of our conversation out of my head: ethereal locations and exotic critters; voyaging through the unfamiliar; bobbing between the sun and sea, nothing but thoughts and the elements; solicitous service and interesting, intelligent people. My received knowledge of cruises had never told me about this. But, after speaking to John, taking a small ship cruise is definitely atop my things to do. « For more information, please visit: johnkennedy-noblecaledonia.com, or call 0117 946 6000.

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06/03/2012 21:27


CROATIA Croatia is often described as the “Hidden Mediterranean.” Dubrovnik is one of Croatia’s most popular destinations – where elemental nature meets luxury and sophistication. Spread along the Adriatic coast, Dubrovnik has the cleanest and clearest water on the Adriatic region. Located in the heart of Europe, it is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

DUBROVNIK SUN GARDENS RESORT Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Resort, is situated only 11 km from the Old Town of Dubrovnik, is one of the first fully equipped five star resorts along the Adriatic coastline. At the heart of the resort is the 201 room Radisson Blu Resort & Spa. Each of the elegant and spacious rooms has a private terrace with a view across the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic to the nearby Elafiti Islands. For the family market the resort also offers 207 luxuriously appointed one, two and three bedroom Mediterranean style residences with views across the Adriatic Sea and beautifully landscaped gardens that make its name. A perfect destination resort for that all important family getaway during the school holidays or at half term. The resort has excellent facilities including three large outdoor swimming pools, an award winning Spa & Wellness Centre, extensive restaurants and bars featuring local and international cuisine, a professionally supervised Kids Club, a sports and recreation centre with a range of facilities including a gym, a squash court, outdoor tennis courts, and a five-a-side football pitch.

For more information please contact us: T: +385 20 361 911 • E: Reservations.Dubrovnik@RadissonBlu.com Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Ad.indd 2

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DUBROVNIK SUN GARDENS RESORT Croatia’s premier coastal resort

Key points: 9 9 9 9 9 9

Beautifully appointed Residences situated within a Five Star seaside Resort Spectacular sea-facing rooms & residences Located 11kms from the Old Town of Dubrovnik, one of Europe’s fastest growing tourism destinations Dubrovnik is the newest hot spot in Europe OPP’s award winner for “Best Developer Southern Europe” Winner of Spa Traveller Award for Best International New Spa & Wellness Centre

www.radissonblu.com/resort-dubrovnik Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Ad.indd 3

03/03/2012 11:34


The Exclusive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

. . . y a w the

Leading

The key to truly effective leadership lies in mastering a wide range of skills from implementing and administering processes to inspiring others to achieve excellence. To be an effective leader, you need to make the most of opportunities to learn to lead, whether by observing others through formal training, or through careful evaluation of practical experience. William Montgomery has worked with a who’s who of high-profile professionals (including Liverpool Football Club’s managing director Ian Ayre), many of whom join him on his annual leadership cruises and participate in his acclaimed leadership development and mentoring programme. The next cruise takes place on board Queen Mary 2, sailing from Southampton to New York, between 15 and 22 December 2012. Drawing on his own experience and research, here are William’s ten tips for achieving excellence.

1. Build key attributes Human beings have many talents that can be turned into engines of success. Yet the best performance requires more than just talent; it involved developing a number of important strengths, including determination, vision and confidence. 2. Master risk-taking To make significant gains, you must take risks. Confidence and courage are required, as is the ability to look in all directions before you leap. But those who can learn to think, act and build businesses like entrepreneurs have golden futures. 3. Keep fit Fitness has many dimensions. It is unfair to yourself to expect peak performance at work when your mind and body are in poor shape. Your lifestyle and the amount of exercise you take will affect both your potential and your achievement. 4. Learn more You are never too old to learn, and the need for learning increases, rather than decreases, as your career advances and jobs become more complex and important. Time for study may be hard to find, but it always pays off.

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5. Improve your memory A good memory is a great asset, and one that can always be developed. Even the most amazing memory experts rely on acquired techniques to perform their feats. Follow similar approaches, and you will never forget what you need to remember. 6. Use time effectively Time is your most valuable asset and how well you use it has a key bearing on how you perform. By analysing how you spend your time, you can begin to make changes that will ensure you get the most from your working day. 7. Choose your priorities Effective time management involves prioritising. You cannot handle all the tasks that come your way at the same time. Working to a list of priorities is vital. It is also important to give priority to developing your expertise in a chosen area of speciality. 8. Reduce your stress Stress in itself is not harmful, but it can seriously affect those who react badly to it. To improve your effectiveness, you must be able to recognise your limits and take action to reduce stress when it threatens your performance. 9. Find a mentor Everyone can think of other people who have had a profound influence on their work. Learning from mentors, whose experience is more varied and greater than your own, is a key to improving your performance and achieving success. 10. Plan ahead People who plan their careers mostly outperform those who leave progress to chance. The natural planning period is the year. By working out a detailed programme and putting it down on paper, you effectively concentrate the mind on what you want to achieve. « To subscribe to William’s free weekly email: 10 things you didn’t know last week, which includes tips on how to achieve leadership excellence, visit www.askten.co.uk

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06/03/2012 21:59


Leading The Way

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

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MARCH 2012 35

06/03/2012 21:59


The Exclusive Magazine For

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Cut above

t s e r the Organic salon HUSH Hairdressing celebrates its launch

Organic hair salon, HUSH Hairdressing, launched in style with a party for clients and friends at its stunning new salon on Baldwin Street.

The launch party was hosted by owners Mark Andres and Glenn Holmes, who opened the salon with a team of four talented stylists. As an organic and mineral-based salon, HUSH Hairdressing uses only natural, plant-based products that are ammonia, sulphate and chemical-free and certified organic. The team successfully combines a modern, caring approach with the latest skills and organic technology, ensuring an individual service for every client. Clients enjoyed a glass of champagne or two while chatting to the HUSH team of stylists and nail technicians, local business people and media and admiring the stylish surroundings. In addition to HUSH Hairdressing’s talented stylists, a team of two nail technicians, led by Emma Philpott, offers gel and CND ShellacTM nails, in a relaxing environment. Building on the success the new salon has already enjoyed, Glenn, Mark and the team at HUSH Hairdressing are looking forward to a busy first year on Baldwin Street.  The salon is open from 9:30am - 7:30pm Monday to Friday and 9am - 5pm on Saturday. To book an appointment please call HUSH Hairdressing on 0117 9300 350 or call in to 27-29 Baldwin Street.

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www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 21:24


Prime Cut

t u C

Prime We speak to Ben Ticehurst, Manager of Ruby & White, to discover how a highend butcher shop has become the talk of Whiteladies Road.

What is the story behind Ruby &White?

Adam Denton and David Kelly set up Ruby & White as they felt that there was a distinct lack of specialist butchers offering properly hung meat. Not only did we feel that there would be a demand from the public at large, but the Cowshed, the restaurant owned run by Adam, was becoming increasingly popular and the cost of meat being used was growing all the time. It makes good sense to cut out the middle man and provide the meat yourself. Not only that, but it enables us to have complete control over the quality of the meat we use. How does your produce differ from other outlets?

We provide a wide range of produce both from around the West Country and also further afield; the prevailing requirement being it must be of exceptional quality. Even in an area rich with excellent food outlets, we still stand out thanks to our unique focus on great meat. We work closely with a small number of suppliers, and in the case of the beef, we actually have our own herds of traditional British breeds that are not widely farmed – the Devon Ruby Red and the British White – we believe that these grass-fed cattle produce a better tasting beef when compared to other more popular breeds that have higher yields, but we feel an inferior taste. We love these breeds so much that we named the shop after them! Initial investment was over £500K – quite a big risk. Is it paying off?

It is not cheap to set up a purpose built butchers that can handle whole animals and then age them in a purpose built dry ageing chiller. It has taken over half a million pounds to set up Ruby & White. Adam embodies the belief that if

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

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you are going to do something, it is worth doing it properly. David Kelly is not only Head Butcher but also co-owner, having put up money to help fund Ruby & White. What has your customer response been like?

Seven months in and the response from the public has been fantastic. For a lot of our younger customers, it is the first time that they have seen a butcher’s shop like this; a lot of the older ones say that the shop reminds them of how butchers used to be, offering every cut of meat, literally everything from nose to tail. As well as the obvious benefits of having the two businesses, such as supplying all the meat and using the restaurant as a way to cut down on food wastage from the shop, there have been other benefits, one of which is the fact that so many of the restaurant customers have popped in after their meals to get some of the fabulous steak that they have just eaten. In response to this we now offer Cowshed on the Hoof. This is a range of ready meals that are cooked by the Cowshed and available to take home the Cowshed Pie is flying out Is there a philosophy which runs through the operation?

You can sum Ruby & White up in one word, and that word is passion. Adam’s passion for exceptional beef for the restaurant, David Kelly’s passion for butchery and dry ageing, and our staff ’s passion for the food that we sell – everyone involved in Ruby & White truly loves what they do. A shop like this doesn’t come cheap. £500,000 may seem like a lot to risk on a new business, but we are seeing that there is a passion for our products from the public too. « For more information, visit rubyandwhite.com, or better yet, pop in the shop at 48 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol.

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06/03/2012 21:36


The Exclusive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

The answer is

. . . r a e l C l Crysta

Crystal Clear is a long established company based in Bristol, specialising in a bespoke supply and fit service for windows, doors, conservatories and orangeries, from the smallest single window to a complete conservatory build from foundation to finial, including electrics, plumbing, flooring and decorating. With over 50 years of combined experience in the home improvement industry, the specialist team prides itself on exceptional attention to detail and the highest standards of customer service.

The products Crystal Clear supplies and installs are industry-leading, with unique features and beneďŹ ts, all built to the most exacting of British and European standards ensuring quality, integrity, longevity and security.

The expert team of highly qualified project managers, builders, fitters and service technicians manages every project from conception through to completion, delivering an exceptional quality of service and professionalism throughout the process, ensuring the standard of installation and aftercare is as good as the products installed. A bespoke, individually designed Crystal Clear conservatory offers additional living space which can be as exible as it needs it to be; a playroom, close to the kitchen so a watchful eye can kept on the children while cooking or entertaining; an extra dining room for enjoying meals while feeling closer to nature; or simply somewhere to relax and enjoy some peace and quiet – the options are endless. The dedicated team can manage all necessary building work, plumbing, electrics, and decorating in order to complete the project to precise specifications, working to specific designs, individual requirements, agreed budgets and planned timescales.

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An orangery offers a stunning solution to the need for additional living space, particularly when the requirement is for a design which is sympathetic to the existing home. It creates a wonderful living space, filled with light, which looks as stylish from the outside as it will on the inside. An orangery can look like it has always been part of the existing building and cost less than a traditional extension, while being lighter and more distinctive. With the right permissions, an orangery can become a kitchen, a family room or simply extra living space to enjoy. Crystal Clear supplies and fits a wide range of windows and doors, offering a number of options and guidance on making the best informed choice for every type and style of home.

www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 21:19


The Answer is Crystal Clear

The choice includes the very latest range of contemporary composite doors, featuring traditional looks and high-security locking systems with a full range of stainless steel designer hardware, as well as stunning, slimline bi-folding and sliding doors, available in any colour and a variety of styles to suit all requirements. As well as the latest range of doors, Crystal Clear supplies and fits the new slim line Aluminium windows which replicate original Crittal-style designs and composite timber and Aluminium window systems. Crystal Clear has tripled the si e of their showroom in Brislington, showcasing the very latest range of contemporary composite doors, featuring traditional and designer looks and high security locking systems with a full range of stainless steel designer hardware. Customers can browse over modern, slim line bi-folding doors, available in any colour to suit their requirements. The showroom is open during on weekdays from 7:30am until 4:30pm and on Saturdays from 8:30am until 12:30pm. ÂŤ For more information, visit the showroom at Emery Road, Brislington, Bristol, or online at crystalclearbristol.co.uk. Tel: 0117 971 7880 Email: info@crystalclearbristol.co.uk

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

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MARCH 2012 39

06/03/2012 21:19


THE RUMMER HOTEL All Saints Lane Bristol BS1 1JH Tel: 01179 290111

Tucked away in the back alleys of the Old City, The Rummer Hotel not only boasts the most extensive spirit collection in the region, fine wines and local ales but an eclectic menu of modern British dishes prepared by Head Chef Greg McHugh from the freshest local ingredients. Just remember to make a reservation during busy times... email: info@therummer.net | www.therummer.net

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04/03/2012 12:24 21/11/2011 23:10:38


Food For Haute

e t u a H

Food For

Whilst staying in one of its suites, I decided to dine at the Mercer Street Hotel, situated bang in the middle of the gorgeous Seven Dials in Covent Garden. The hotel is highend boutique, with gorgeous art pieces adorning the walls, and ornate furnishings that evoke a heady mix of bohemian and luxury. The restaurant maintained this feel, with pretty, purple and gold Christmas garlands and cosy low-lighting really putting my sister and me in a festive mood. Nina Durrell explains more.

We could tell that this hotel was perfect for a special occasion – and to say that we were waited on hand and foot would be an understatement. I had a feeling the maitre’d was a little thrown when I announced that we were having an alcohol-free evening. But she soon recovered and before we knew it, our table was bustling with delicious non-alcoholic cocktails. My angelic version of a mojito was easily the best nonalcoholic cocktail I’ve ever tasted, and my sister cooed appreciatively as she made her way through not two, but three freshly-zapped, red-berry concoctions.

Onto the food – and of course I had to start with foie gras. This particular tasty morsel was served traditionally in a parfait with duck liver, accompanied by toasted brioche and fig chutney. The presentation was picturesque, and foie gras is food which speaks for itself, based on the quality of the ingredient. Whilst the brioche and fig chutney were in plentiful supply and the dish was pleasant enough, I felt it lacked a kick; a little bland on the palate compared to others I’ve tasted. The main course came out with words of encouragement from the waitress: “This is my favourite presentation.” And indeed, I could see why. My panroasted breast of Creedy Carver duck with braised baby gem and cranberry sauce would be pleasant looking enough, if it weren’t for the parsnip mash with parsnip crisps shaped into a deer’s head, which truly elevated it into the realm of festive fantasy. I can imagine this might be a bit excessive for purists, but I was suckered in and thought it looked gorgeous.

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

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The duck was perfectly cooked, melting in the mouth as it should, and the parsnip mash was smooth, creamy and flavourful. I was apprehensive about the baby gem, as it can sometimes be watery, washing out other flavours on the plate. However, it was crisp, fresh and delicious – a perfect foil to the rich duck meat and sweet parsnip mash. The cranberry sauce, on the other hand, was a little tart for my taste, to the point of evasion. The dessert had a subplot of its own: my sister and I were running late for the theatre and had to cut our meal short. However, the waiting staff and chef were very understanding and accommodating, allowing us to return after the show and continue later in the bar. Accompanied by more virgin cocktails, I indulged my floral-loving palate with lavender crème brulee accompanied by shortbread. The presentation was a little disappointing, especially after the main course, but it was a silky and topped with a deeply caramel, crunchy sugar topping, and packed with pretty mauve lavender buds. Whilst I enjoyed it, my sister absolutely hated it; a veritable Marmite of desserts. It should come with a warning: rather than a hint of lavender, it whacks you ‘round the head with it. Overall the meal was enjoyable, and I would certainly dine at Mercer Street Hotel again, especially for the cocktails and ambience. And credit to the staff for accommodating two particularly fussy customers. « For more information, visit radissonedwardian.com/mercer

MARCH 2012 41

06/03/2012 21:34


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t r a p A Oceans

Firstly, I want to be very specific: the following is not a review of the Aqua chain of restaurants countrywide. Nor is it of the cute, bijou, Chelsea tapas bar. The Aqua Nueva restaurant is one of a selection of fine dining establishments. London’s is atop the former Dickins and Jones department store on Regent Street. I decided to take an old partner in crime, Aaron Gonsalves – city boy by day, charmer by night – with me for the culinary exploration. This was a sensible move, as without Aaron’s guiding through the back streets, we would have arrived even later than we did. Peter Robinson explains more.

I didn’t expect to be greeted by a well-groomed bouncer u on arrival, but there he as aving confirmed my credentials (what I would give for a diplomatic passport), we entered the lift for a ride to the loft, where the sprawling Aqua Nueva houses its London operation. Both the Japanese and Spanish inspired restaurants are on the to oor f you re trying to icture such a gargantuan o eration, think about hat a hole oor of a department store would look like empty. Then build a restaurant.

The walk from the reception area through the bar to the long corridor is something special: a glass walkway, some sixty metres long, with a large, carved, black bull at one end. Aqua came in for a lot of flack in its early days: A.A. Gill wasn’t a fan and quite a few writers have voiced concern at the echoing size of the space. Indeed, it was built and designed pre-Lehman Brothers, and perhaps for a different market. Back in 1998, in the tertiary stage of Thatcher’s bull market, orders were not hard to find for the Jaguar J220. But when the car went into production in 1993, it and the world were very different. The same could be said for Aqua. But as they say, don’t believe the hype – or, for that matter, the gripes. The menu at Aqua Nueva has an excellent pedigree, having been designed by Alberto Hernández, a former chef at el Bulli, and it has plenty to recommend it: crab ravioli with grilled cuttlefish, Castilian roast lamb, poached egg with pancetta, lobster with chickpeas and crispy pork, roast foie gras. Pan con tomate was big, rustic and bold, with the required garlicky kick. Sardines with sun-dried tomato and creamed cheese terrines were also moist and moreish.

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Aqua Nueva London, W1B 3BR Tel: 020 7478 0540 www.aqua-london.com

Braised cabbage wrapped in pancetta and served with morcilla sounded amazing, but didn’t quite live up to expectations. Apart from a £22 ham platter, no cold dishes were on offer during our visit – on a hot August lunchtime. I opted for the scallops with mushroom ravioli and truffle-infused potato pur e). Well balanced and moreish, to say the least. Aaron went with a dish that caused me not inconsiderable food envy: Huevo estrellado chorizo, pancetta and fried potatoes with soft poached egg. S.O.B. – it looked good. We decided to go for opposite sides of the culinary spectrum for the main course, Aaron opting for turf, and I for surf. Don’t be fooled by my folksy down-to-earth writing style, however. Aaron’s turf came in the form of rib-eye of beef with saut ed capers and sweet green peppers. Now, he’s a tall guy, and when I saw that he could barely finish it, I was shocked. Perhaps it was the all-Spanish wine list which we tried to tackle – well, most of it anyway. The space is so relaxed, you feel that you could while away an evening. I opted for the wild seabass with crab ravioli and lobster cream. I think the food envy was nicely reversed here. The pastry casing for the ravioli was a new one on me: Japanese gyo a. I remember the first time I tried making fresh gnocchi. Unless you’re going to infuse the little buggers with sun dried tomato or pesto, it’s just not worth the hassle. But I bought all the kit nonetheless. I feel the same way toward the lobster gyoza-style ravioli. I know it will be a pain, but it’s worth it for these delicate little blighters. As we waited for our desserts – passion fruit ice-cream with sangria soup and mint; and crushed hazelnut, praline and chocolate mousse covered in a chocolate glaze – we retired to Aqua’s piece de resistance. It boasts not one, but two roof terraces, from which you get a terrific bird’s-eye view of the magnificent upper architecture of egent Street and central London. The skyline is one of the most romantic sights in the world, and on a warm summer’s evening, you can sit on the terrace with a glass of Spanish brandy and a cigar and truly leave the world behind. At the end of the night, I asked Aaron: “So, all in all, what do you think of the place, mate? Would you come back here again and spend your own money?” He looked over, brandy in hand. “The food was intricately designed and tasted more amazing than it looked, from the poached egg on the crisp bacon and rice to the delicately designed pork and lobster dish. By all accounts, mate, it shouldn’t have worked. But it blew me away.” Fitting words from the PortuGeezer. «

www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 20:58


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04/03/2012 12:23


The Exclusive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

A Rather Special

. . . t n e v E e v i r D & e v i Arr

It’s not often you have the opportunity to spend a day driving the latest Land Rovers and Range Rovers through stunning countryside, which is what twenty clients of Lansdown Place enjoyed one sunny winter’s day in December.

Invited clients of Lansdown Place enjoyed a memorable day at Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa road testing Land Rovers and Range Rovers, courtesy of Guy Salmon Land Rover Bristol in association with Lansdown Place Magazine.

The day was organised meticulously by Vikki Little of Feisty Consultancy, to ensure that everyone attending had the opportunity to drive up to three vehicles of their choice, which included the new, highly acclaimed Range Rover Evoque. The day was hosted by the experienced team from Guy Salmon Land Rover Bristol, led by Dealer Principal Colin Isaacs, who were on hand to answer any questions and arrange further test drives. Guests were welcomed to Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa with a buffet breakfast, followed by a short introduction to the range of vehicles, before setting off on their 40 minute drive in their chosen vehicle. Throughout the day, guests had

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the chance to enjoy the performance and luxury offered by the Range Rover range on an extended test drive through the surrounding countryside on a pre-planned route. There was a tempting choice of vehicles, including the new Range Rover Evoque in both Coupé and 5dr body styles, Range Rover Sport Supercharged, HSE and Autobiography and ange over SE and Overfinch. In addition to the range of Range Rovers, a Land Rover Defender, Land Rover Freelander 2 and Land Rover Discovery 4 were available to put through their paces, which offered guests the chance to compare several vehicles they were interested in over the day, in a relaxed setting. As well as enjoying the on-road extended test drives, each guest experienced the impressive capability of the range on Land Rover’s ‘mini terrapod’ – which left everyone in no doubt as to the ability of the world’s greatest 4x4s. After a short break for a buffet lunch, test drives continued throughout the afternoon and the group of very happy guests left as daylight began to fade, delighted with this rather special experience. « For more information, please visit guysalmon. bristol.landrover.co.uk, call 0117 239 8519, or e-mail salesmanager@landrover-bristol.co.uk Guy Salmon Land Rover Bristol, Bristol, BS4 3QB

www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 20:59


A Rather Special Arrive & Drive Event...

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Arrive&Drive_v2.indd 45

MARCH 2012 45

06/03/2012 20:59


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Executive

Technical Specifications

Price: £75500 and a few pennies more Engine: 2993 cc 6 cyl twin turbo-diesel Horsepower: 313 bhp @4400 rpm Transmission: 8 speed twin clutch multi-mode automatic Chassis: steel monocoque; electronically controllable shock absorbers Performance: 0-62mph/100kmph – 5.5secs, 155 mph limited

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s y To

www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 21:02


Executive Toys

It’s an oxymoron really; a diesel sports car. It just doesn’t sound right, and I contemplated this whilst watching Mark Webber win the Brazilian Grand Prix, and Lewis Hamilton endure another miserable race, retiring with a broken gearbox. I then remembered that in the twelve Le Mans races since 2000, Audi and Peugeot between them have won a remarkable eleven times with diesel-engined cars, a string of victories broken only by Bentley (another VAG company) in 2003. So, it is with something approaching astonishment that I can report the BMW 6-Series Coupé 640, when diesel powered, for being a brilliantly effective and desirable motor car. Graeme Morpeth goes for a spin. The diesel engine in question is a classic BMW three-litre, twin-overhead-cam, straight six, sequentially turbo-charged lump, from which BMW has extracted no fewer than 230Kw (313bhp) at a relatively high , r m, surely the highest s ecific output of any diesel-powered car currently on sale. But raw horse power is not its secret, torque is: it can summon 630Nm (464lb ft) of torque at only 1500rpm, barely above tick-over, and equivalent to about 65mph in top gear. That’s more torque, and at fe er revs than the litre etrol in the agshi i can muster he alacrity and refinement ith which this engine spins round to its redline is amazing: no vibration, no clatter, no gravelly sound effects. If anything, it sounds like... a BMW petrol engine at higher revs. Yet the 650i achieves just 26.6mpg, whilst the 640d is claimed to do 51.4mpg ith corres ondingly decimated figures didn’t achieve 50mpg (sic!) whilst driving the car anything close to normally, but 40mpg was easy – which for a motor car weighing almost 1900kg, and that will propel you from rest to 62mph in 5.5sec, is astounding . This economy is partly aided by the car’s Dynamic Performance Control, which offers an economy-biased Eco Pro mode (governing the car’s shift points, accelerator maps and wider energy use), and an eight-speed automatic gearbox that changes seamlessly, in either fully auto mode or via the obligatory a y addle system say artly, because it can also be set to Sport which ignores economy, and sets up the car for sharper throttle response (yes – even in a diesel), stiffer shockabsorbers, and sharper steering on the all-electric system; it’s the “light the blue touch paper” setting.

The driver’s leather clad seat (multi-adjustable electrically of course) provides perfect posterior placement, and commendable comfort. BMW have returned to a driver-focused, asymmetric cockpit design which wraps the driver in a plethora of information sources, via superb instrumentation, iDrive, and a

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

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brilliant 10.2” display. iDrive gives access to BMW’s new eal-Time Traffic Information system, which connects to the Internet to give you (in theory) the best possible, traffic-free route. ather than using a radiobased Traffic Message Channel system, it uses the Transport Protocol Expert Group channel over the GSM mobile network to track other drivers’ mobile phones to see how quickly they’re moving along any given road. If there are lots of drivers (with phones) moving extremely slowly along a stretch of road, TTI will alert you and suggest a route that’s less congested. It also gives access to all manner of information about the car including the complete handbook, radio, bluetooth connectivity, on-board computer, chassis settings and much more besides. In amongst all these performance and economy improvements, BMW has added a host of safety features, including night vision with pedestrian detection (now you can see them before you hit them, instead of just hearing the crunch afterwards), parking assist, lane departure warning, and a head-up display, unique in this class. It’s a wonderful driving machine, a spiritual successor to the CS coupe of the early 70s, the CSL version of which dominated the European Touring Car championships between ’73 and ’79. Hugely competent, beautifully made, quick and frugal. This car’s refinement, seamless torque delivery, walloping overtaking pace make more sense on wide, sweeping A-roads and autobahns, than on smaller highways and bye-ways, and there’s no doubt that it can traverse continents, seemingly faster than you can turn the pages of your map, whilst leaving its occupants wholly unruffled. In Comfort Mode, it feels more like a traditional luxury executive car than a sports car: it’s a consummate GT, a real Bavarian ‘bahn stormer. Thanks are due to Simon Crane and his wholly professional team at Dick Lovett, Bristol for providing the automotive fun and games, at short notice, after our convoluted conversations with Hartwell Jaguar came to nought. «

MARCH 2012 47

06/03/2012 21:03


The Exclusive Magazine For

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“Unless you can communicate your message clearly with the correct use of words, tone and body language, your business will fail at every level�

Business Model & Media Mentor

r e k a B y e s l e h C 48 MARCH 2012

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Photo by Michael Slyfield

www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 21:10


Business Leader

Chelsey is a leading business mentor and communications expert with over 20 years experience in media. You started trading on the stock market at aged 19 – how did you get into it and how did you learn to do it?

I was always fascinated by the stock market but never knew where to start until I was recommended by a banker friend to purchase a financial spread betting course by Vince Stan ione. The trading techniques I followed were simple and easy to follow regardless of market conditions, which is the main reason why they still work well today. Learning to manage your emotions is key to successful trading and really comes down to psychology; no-one likes to admit they are wrong yet in trading being wrong is just part of the business. What has been your most ambitious business venture to date? Well there’s been a few that go way beyond ambitious as I have a tendency to go where others fear to tread Launching the world’s first ever 24 hour TV channel dedicated to adverts, followed by Britain’s first live Psychic TV channel broke the boundaries in pioneering ideas. ecently I teamed up with Dragons’ Dens ichard Farleigh to create “The Business Model” competition, a cross between Dragons’ Den and Britain’s Next Top Model. My focus was on female enterprise; helping young women realise their true potential through business acumen, commercial know how and drive. The winner walked away with over £20,000 in pri es and private business mentoring from Richard and myself. Is there anyone who has had a measurable impact on you? I’ve had the privilege of working with many high profile entrepreneurs and I’ve found they all have a similar skill set of self belief, charm and wit. I’d say that ichard Farleigh and Jonathan Jay have that in abundance, hence I’ve found them very inspiring. What are the key qualities all business leaders must possess? They should be able to command respect, assert authority and work with everyone in any situation, inspiring and influencing others through their own integrity, core values and principles. Integrity is an essential quality and one that I will never compromise. What makes an ineffective leader? Bad communication skills. As an advanced communications teacher I know the impact that poor interpersonal skills can have. Great business leaders are always great communicators and unless you can communicate your message clearly with

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

Business Leaders v4.indd 49

the correct use of words, tone and body language your business will fail at every level. Adaptability and flexibility to changing demands are also vital success factors. Do you have any forecast for the next year or so? One undeniable factor is that Technology, Healthcare and Energy are all going to see massive innovations and some mind boggling advances over the next 20 years. Whilst it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day doom and gloom, we should not forget how talented and innovative humans can be. There will be plenty of challenges; but companies and products that we have yet to hear of today will be household names in the next decade so now is the time to embrace opportunities in the equity markets. Why did you create “Broadcasting Your Business?” I was finding that many clients needed a media makeover, some were wasting money on failed P or advertising campaigns, most were in need of greater publicity/ exposure and everyone needed a higher impact core message. With over twenty years experience as a published writer, columnist, presenter and producer, I knew all too well that you only get one chance to pitch your message to the media and to clients, so I created “Broadcasting our Business” a one-to-one mentoring package consisting of three programmes, “Perfecting our Message”, “Pitching & Presenting” and “Press & Publicity.” What communication techniques do you teach and how does it work? I focus on core message creation, spoken DNA, media hooks and sound-bites, using breakthrough communication techniques to broadcast your business; whether it’s online, in print or on TV. I focus on pitching the revised message, professional communication, influencing and presenting techniques and then create winning headlines, a killer press release and show clients how they can raise their profile and maximise their press coverage; it helps that I’ve been a features writer for many years so I really know what journalists are looking for With the current economic climate advanced communication skills are now an essential tool for business survival. What new projects are you working on? Well ironically I have gone full circle and teamed up with my trading mentor Vince Stan ione to organise “Maximum Trading & Business Profits in Minimum Time” which will be held on 25th and 26th May 2012 in Central London. I’m not able to disclose full details at this time, but it’s the first Live trading seminar that Vince has held in over 2 years; we have some very special guest speakers attending which we have been negotiating for some months and its set to be a unique and exciting one off event encompassing many aspects of how to make money from trading and investing. « For more information visit chelseybaker.com or broadcastingyourbusiness.com

MARCH 2012 49

06/03/2012 21:10


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A Suit That

s t i F

Shouldn’t be that hard, surely. Finding a half-decent suit that fits, that does the job, that combines some modicum of comfort and style. But that’s just it: it’s a half measure, an ode to ‘what will do’. It’s not even really a question of cost. A good suit shouldn’t need to cost the earth. It should, however, fit the individual wearing it, from the collar to the hem, like a glove. Peter Robinson gets suited and booted.

There is a reason that we have such high regard for men in uniform. Part of this is the mystery of the uniform itself. It transports the individual from being John Doe, to Admiral John Doe, Commander John Doe. “It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes” – Henry David Thoreau. Of course, Thoreau also said “Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.” he benefit of the author being long dead is e can choose what to take from his musings. Tailoring is one of those historic trades – nay, crafts; nay, artisanal skills – that I envy greatly. So, when I was asked to review the tailoring and masterly advice of David Minns, Style Advisor at A Suit That Fits, I was delighted to oblige.

To be honest, when I entered his Queens Square studio and noticed the Eames lounge chairs in the entrance, I knew I was dealing with a gentleman that had a firm appreciation for the design greats. This would be my third tailored suit. Oddly, I consider myself to have good taste, a decent selection of belts, cufflinks and pocket squares. I even like to wear braces once in a while,

50 MARCH 2012

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not a regular accessory for a twenty-something year old. However, my first handmade suit was an all-too-serious affair. A doting grandmother hustled me into the family tailor’s studio so that I could be fitted for a suit for my first communion. I showed little concern for the religious indoctrination that was occurring. “Pin stripes, double breasted,” I proclaimed. What a precocious twelve year old I was. “No, that’s not what you want,” the tailor proclaimed. I can forgive an older gentleman for giving curt style advice to someone not old enough to pay for the suit. My second tailored suit was procured care of Halong City. I, sadly, wasn’t there; I emailed my sizes. A friend was travelling in the region and picked the dark blue number up for me. A few tweaks back here in Blighty and it wasn’t half bad. And here we are again: “It wasn’t half bad’. So we can safely deduce that my experience of tailoring thus far wasn’t really of any calibre. My experience with David, however, was a much different affair. I wasn’t just looking for a nice suit. I was looking for advice, some evidence of an understanding of cut, education on fabric weight, contrasting colour usage on the stitching detail. Women have hundreds of options

www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 21:30


A Suit That Fits

when it comes to clothes. After suits and shirts, men have, well, nothing really. Jeans, jackets, jumpers, etc. Different cuts and material, yes, but nowhere near the amount of options. Luckily, I have a love of sartorial styling, so I really was a kid in a sweet shop. A precocious twelve year old, no doubt. The measuring process for a suit is meticulous. I know the basic three, but there must have been over thirty specific measurements. David asked me about lapels, notched, peaked, then pockets, flapped, curved, button down. These details are what make a suit bespoke. Do you want the last buttonhole on the cuff to colour-match the lining? Three buttons, five, or six? The questions I asked were vainer: what sort of pleat would minimise the stomach? What jacket would accentuate the chest, not the handles? The same things that I imagine anyone would ask. A good suit can hide imperfections and can be very kind to the wearer, though it can’t perform miracles. Once we had agreed, what seemed like a thousand minute details, we moved onto the tricky questions. Colour and cloth. I wasn’t looking for anything too extravagant. My general nature steers me towards ostentatious clothes, but over the past year, I have tried to tone down my choices in an effort to build a somewhat sensible wardrobe. So, could David work with me to choose a suit that was both suitable for work, but stylish enough to wear of an evening? We decided upon a three piece Prince of Wales design of blended wool in light brown with powder blue

Financial Advice: Independent & Impartial

Men Fashion_v4.indd 51

melton under collar, and light blue lining - which match the blue overlay check in the cloth. The inside of the jacket is ‘for me’ I’m told. I love the colour but I think the brown is light enough to look like a subtle grey. The anticipation begins. Cue work, life, stress and a house move – basically three weeks in my life – and I’m back at the studio for a fitting. I swear to god, my mind goes into a slow motion shot as the suit comes off the rail. Trepidation doesn’t come close to it. But there are more tweaks to be made. I carefully climb into this new suit of armour and find the nearest mirror. David asks me how the trousers feel in various areas to ensure they aren’t too snug. We subtly discuss the jacket, which I asked be made a little shorter that perhaps usual. However, David feels that, given my height, I might want to consider a slightly longer jacket so as not to appear too stocky. This might be a mistake, although not a major one given my stature. He has an authority about him which transcends styling and moves into a realm of obsession; a visceral passion. He knows every tweak to make, every colour to use, every nuance of style and cut. The man is an artisan. The suit itself is a thing of beauty; a suit of armour, fit for Camelot. I will, without doubt, use David again, and not just for suit advice. In fact, please join me in raising a glass to the new style guide at Lansdown Place Maga ine. That’s right, I could think of no better accolade than to immediately dragoon David into editorial service. Such was the quality of the suit and his advice. ou can find David’s first article in the May issue of Lansdown Place Maga ine. I insist you get a copy for that alone. « or more information, please visit www.asuitthatfits.com

MARCH 2012 51

06/03/2012 21:32


The Exclusive Magazine For

Lansdown Place

A navy double-breasted silk-blend raincoat, with a classic crop: sleek and stylish, complementing both formal and casual looks. Worn with a navy and cream stripe cotton-cashmere blend sweater and beige cropped cotton chinos.

Spring is almost upon us…no better time, then, to have a sneak peek at Crombie’s new women’s collection.

For more information, visit www.crombie.co.uk

t s e l . . o . h o c mont

April is the

52 MARCH 2012

Women Fashion v3.indd 52

www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 21:46


The more formal female suit – here we have a slim fit jacket, streamlined at the waist for elegance, complemented by a white silk blouse and navy wool trousers, which are equally effective together or as a separates piece.

Fashion

This bell-sleeve top is understated yet luxurious. Cream colour sleeve facing, coupled with a classic drape, this piece is an ideal foil for your accessories too. Slim fit trousers complete the look. A smart and stylish staple for any lady’s wardrobe.

This beige double-breasted classic cropped cotton raincoat is a must-have this season; simple, elegant and cut to the most flattering of finishes. The key details are the epaulettes, slanted deep pockets, and of course the belted waist and cuffs.

This wool and linen blend blazer…It is worn with a pale blue cable cotton v-neck and navy denim jeans to enhance the outfit’s effortlessly casual look.

Women Fashion v3.indd 53

MARCH 2012 53

06/03/2012 21:47


The Exclusive Magazine For

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No Foam,

y l l e J o N

“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” One of Ol’ Blue Eyes most memorable quotes. And though I can find fault with it, the sentiment stands. In my heyday, bar-hopping was an exercise approached with little care or appreciation for the bars clientele, drinks or mise-en-scene. It was a mercurial affair through numerous dens of iniquity that resulted in, eventually, finding yourself at the best bar in town: the one where your friends were. And when you’re young and inebriated, little else matters. But like a fine wine, as you mature, you begin to appreciate certain things in a drinking establishment: likeminded people, cocktails produced by artisans, a fair admission policy (something that I used to dislike viscerally, but now appreciate given the clear ability to move around a bar when its entry policy is not that of cattle management).

One of the founding members of the Bristol cocktail scene, who upholds a need for policy, an understanding of consistent service and un inching uality, is urelius uri raunbarth, founder of ausbar in lifton

You might already know of Hausbar on 52 Upper Belgrave Road. You might not know that Auri grew up in a Michelin-starred kitchen, where his father worked as a chef. Not surprisingly, this need for exacting standards has been passed to Auri and is reflected in the overall package at Hausbar. I have always proclaimed my love for prohibition style ‘gin joints’, and Hausbar has been doing it since 2006. If I thought my hometown would be remotely receptive, I would open a speakeasy there in a heartbeat – a side bar, however. Entry to Hausbar is a simple affair: walk down the stone steps, push the bell and wait whilst, I imagine, the host or hostess looks down the camera lens to assess your overall sartorial savvy. It would appear I had said savvy. I was expecting a lot from Hausbar, having been ‘sold it’ on numerous occasions by many a Cliftonite. It doesn’t disappoint; the style is sultry and minimal, pinstripes and Khaki green. The bars focal point is just that, the bar, something that seems lost in many an establishment these days. I don’t know when it was that I first found an appreciation for sitting at a bar. There’s something stoic about sitting at that

54 MARCH 2012

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Hausbar

52 Upper Belgrave Road Bristol, Avon BS8 2XP Tel: 0117 946 6081 www.hausbar.co.uk

chipped and scraped piece of wood. Possibly the feeling that it’s not quite as comfortable as a sofa, or a table, both of which are designed for groups of the modern age, so sitting at the bar is definitely a generational thing. For me being seated at the bar is a clear sign that work is over and you’re taking communion at the altar of the weekend. Few bars are designed to be true to form these days; most serve as a dispensary. Whilst Hausbar has impeccable table service throughout, the bar in particular made a lasting impression. If only they were open all day long. Although I imagine it would lose its mystique if it were open around the clock to all and sundry. Enough of the Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen-style interior critique, however, we came to “feel sorry for those who don’t drink”. The cocktails at Hausbar are classic. I clearly wasn’t born in Chicago in the 1920s, but I have a penchant for classic cocktails, a good Bloody Mary or Singapore Sling. I always feel you can judge a great bar by the way they make a classic cocktail. Will they overdress it, will they turn it into an amuse bouche? Hausbar do neither of these things. I order a Mint Julep, the zenith of man’s pleasure, the very dream of drinks. I know that my drink will not be garnished with a fruit crown or foam of lychee, as these rules are emblazoned on the bars menu: “no foam, no jelly”. My drink arrives frosty in a julep cup. At this juncture, it didn’t really matter how it tasted, the fact alone that Hausbar had the style to put this drink in a julep cup had me convinced. It was, of course, bloody tasty, even if I do so say so myself – and I do. If you’re looking for somewhere off the beaten track, and want to escape from life’s platitudes or the office idiots for an evening, whether alone or with friends, the Hausbar is your saloon. And do me a favour: pull up a seat at the bar. You’ll thank me. «

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06/03/2012 21:23


Hail To The Great British Brewer

One activity that always delights me is to take a continental visitor to the pub and put a jar of porter in their hand. I love seeing the wary, almost disapproving look, followed by intrigue upon taking a sip, then delight, then inevitable drunkenness by the third pint.

One thing that has always separated our little island nation from our lazy mainland cousins is the way that the divine gifts of malt, hops and yeast are turned into pure bliss by our talented brewers. Almost every civilised country in the world has a brewing tradition to some degree, but none so illustrious or integral to society than that of the United Kingdom. I doubt the first uke of arlborough as referring to the king of beers hen he said o soldier can fight unless he is properly fed on beef and beer.” And The East India Trading Company did not thrive on the export of reassuringly expensive continental lager. In fact, it was not ust the colonies ho a reciated the skill of our brewers. Britain exported large quantities of stout and porter to Russia during the reign of Peter the Great, and throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

It has not been all smooth sailing for the great British brewer. Many small breweries were purchased by their larger competitors, and those in turn snapped up by international brewing corporations. Couple big business with a near monopoly in pubs, and for many years the independent craft brewer was an endangered species. Margaret Thatcher’s

Beer Orders in 1989 put an end to this, limiting the number of public houses a brewery could own and requiring one guest ale to be served. This sweeping change opened the door for the inventive and imaginative regional, local and craft brewers to once again show the world how to brew. Whether its milk stout, mild, stout, barley wine, brown ale or IPA that floats your clipper, there is now a huge range to choose from. So next time you are in your local pub, being seduced by the tall, exotic, glittering tap of a tasteless, bubbly brew from a far away land, consider these fine beverages from some of Britain’s finest small breweries. Traquair House Ale, Traquair House Brewery 7.2% The Traquair House brewery was originally established as a domestic brewery in the 18th century. It was reopened in 1964 using the original equipment, and all its beer continues to be fermented in the original oak vessels. This ale was the original 1964 ale, and its rich dark oakiness makes for a distinctive Scottish ale. Dark & Hansome, Box Steam Brewery, 5% Founded in 2004, and still family owned and run, the Box Steam Brewery produce hand-crafted ales in Wiltshire. The Dark & Handsome is a dark beer with hints of blackcurrant and liquorice. Freedom Organic Lager, Freedom Brewery, 4.8% Originally sited in London, Freedom now brews in Staffordshire near the beer mecca of Burton-on-Trent, and benefiting from some of the best brewing water in the world. The Organic Lager is a proper beer made with care and attention to give a subtle bitterness and malty flavour. Goats Leap, Cheddar Ales, 5.5% Established in 2006, Cheddar Ales is a microbrewery that hand crafts its beers in small volumes to ensure quality, consistency and character. Goats Leap is a traditional style India Pale Ale, which is strong, full of hops, with a bitter finish. «

r e w e r b

Hail to the Great British

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06/03/2012 21:21


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Celebrating

s r a e y 0 15

Clifton College is celebrating its 150th anniversary and the 25th year of girls at the school, but step through the beautiful Victorian facade of the school and you enter a very modern forward-thinking educational environment.

Clifton has a growing national reputation for its academic teaching, wide range of high quality facilities and its ethos of treating every child as an individual, enabling them to develo as confident, successful young adults, prepared for the challenges of a rapidlychanging world.

It is a truly co-educational school with girls representing about 40% of pupils across the school. To provide continuity of education, children can join at the start of their school life aged 3 and continue right through to sixth form. The school is also proud of its multi-cultural mix of pupils with 20% of pupils in the Upper School coming from 34 countries. Located in the beautiful surroundings of Clifton, pupils have the security of the school’s extensive grounds but also access to the lively, dynamic city of Bristol. The school offers outstanding pastoral care, with its House system creating a strong sense of community and belonging for both boarding and day pupils. Clifton provides a strong educational grounding across all disciplines but particularly excels in science, maths, music, art and languages. This is reflected in its excellent recent academic results, with 16 pupils getting Oxbridge offers this year. In the past five years, the school has invested over £12.5 million in upgrading and developing its facilities, including refurbishing all the boarding houses, building new day houses and improved science, music and sports facilities which rival the best in the UK. Clifton was the first independent school to develop a specialist science school and the new high tech facility builds on the school’s impressive history, as two of its three Nobel prize winners were honoured for their contributions to science.

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New sports facilities mean Clifton can and does compete with the best in the country, with the school recently winning the girls Under 14 National Hockey Championships and pupils also excel at cricket, rugby and football. A range of new ICT suites mirror the fact that Clifton is a market-leader in this area and the language curriculum which includes French, German, Spanish and Mandarin all combine to offer a fully rounded and modern education. Clifton has a very strong musical tradition being the first independent school to open a dedicated music school in 1897, with notable alumni including the likes of Sir David Willcocks, former Director of Music at King’s College in Cambridge and Joseph Cooper, host of the BBC television programme, ‘Face the Music’. The school has continued to build on this reputation with one of its current pupils reaching the final stages of the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year, an unusual achievement in a non-specialist school. Clifton currently has 30 music scholars, specialising in a wide range of music styles from classical to contemporary and jazz. Clifton College is big enough to offer students with specialist talents the time and support they need to achieve the highest accolades. Wherever a child’s talents’ lie, the school’s ethos is to help them discover those talents and develop them so they achieve their full potential. The school prides itself on the wide range of co-curricular, musical, dramatic and sporting activities on offer and the breadth, depth and range of pursuits is extremely impressive.

www.lansdownplace.co.uk

06/03/2012 21:15


Celebrating 150 Years

As Mark Moore, Head of College says: “There is no ‘template’ for Clifton College pupils; our only expectation is that they work with us to discover where their talents lie and become the very best version of themselves they can”. “We find by working closely with each individual, we can give them not only an excellent academic education but a real chance to find out who they are as a person and where their niche in life may lie.” « For a warm welcome telephone 0117 315 7000 or visit www.cliftoncollegeuk.com

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06/03/2012 21:16


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f l e h s k Boo On the

Here & There AA Gill Hardie Grant £12.99

Though this book was released at the tail-end of 2011, it’s too good to not include. AA Gill is probably the most widely read critic in the country. What separates Gill from his fellow restaurant, television and travel critics is not so much his incisive coverage, rather his dextrous and acerbic prose. That’s not to say his reportage is lacking; contrarily, few journalists see the world so independently, so free from the rip-and-read culture of modern hackery. But people don’t read Gill’s pieces to learn about the world. They read for laughs. They read for his linguistic deconstruction of modern foibles, and the latest in his incendiary and often offensive opinions. It may come as a surprise, then, that Here & There is quite restrained. That doesn’t make it any less essential, though.

This collection of travel-writing excerpts, borrowed from Australia’s Gourmet Traveller, are categorised by theme, rather than location. Take, for instance, the chapter dealing with the top-nine travel disappointments. He describes the Silk Route as “a catastrophe of soil erosion, pollution, autocratic totalitarianism, police states, poverty, disease, growing Islamic militancy, and some of the most mistrustful, taciturn people you could hope to meet.” Ever wondered which route gondolas take? “Up the narrow ditches of Venice’s effluent,” apparently. Perhaps Gill prefers longdistance train travel: “Like being trapped in a horizontal lift with fifteen consumptives and an open sewer.” Gill writes for the intellectual and refuses to dumb down for any reader. That is what makes his prose so damn readable and respectable. It also makes his articles among the few worth collecting.

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06/03/2012 21:05


On the Bookshelf

and vice versa), Capital is a novel that certainly fits the here and now, but lacks the timelessness and temerity needed for a classic.

Erwin Schrodinger & the Quantum Revolution John Gribbin Bantam £25

Capital John Lanchester Faber & Faber £17.99 John Lanchester’s fourth novel is set against the backdrop of the recession – December 2007 to November 2008 – as the money bubble pops. It’s an ambitious piece about ambitious people, and will no doubt remind many of Sebastian Faulk’s “A Week in December”, which also focuses on the unravelling plotlines of a handful of very different characters.

Lanchester’s newest novel doesn’t fail to impress, despite its contrived nature. Combining his literary expertise with his in-depth knowledge of the world of finance, he brings to us a sweeping view of the City, its inequities and inanities. In one corner, a banker hordes his millions; in another, an immigrant from Zimbabwe manoeuvres the oddly petrifying violence of City streets. A designer comes to fawn over the mega-rich, while a teenager from Warsaw chases a football dream. In this sweeping, post-crash portrait of a city of inconceivable paradoxes, Lanchester finds humour in the despicable and introduces us to a string of characters that are hard to leave behind. Though at times it falls to arbitrary associations and poor pacing (what should be lingering is sometimes hurried,

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Erwin Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist famed for his contribution to the world of quantum physics. Indeed, he won the Nobel Prize in 1933, and is probably best known for his thought experiment of a cat in a box – both alive and dead at the same time. It exposed the paradoxical nature of quantum mechanics.

But whether the name Erwin Schrodinger calls up a vague notion of something feline, or your understanding of quantum physics goes a bit deeper, John Gribbin’s new biography will hold endless fascination. He tells the story of Schrödinger’s surprisingly colourful life (he arrived for a position at Oxford University with both his wife and mistress). And with his trademark accessible style and popular touch explains the fascinating world of quantum mechanics, which underpins all of modern science. Gribbin portrays this truly revolutionary period in scientific history with vivid flair. It’s a time when the heirs to Einstein – Heisenberg, Dirac, Bohr and of course Schrodinger – found themselves facing a theory that was counterintuitive and insistent; paradoxical yet unremittingly sensible. And set against this exciting backdrop, we get the man himself, Schrodinger: charming, quirky and fiercely intelligent. It’s a veritable dive into the world of quantum mechanics, and stands alone, authoritative and unreserved. «

06/03/2012 21:06


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King of Jewellers‌

r e l l e w e J of

Kings 60 MARCH 2012

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It would be foolish to suggest that Cartier is just another jewellers. It can legitimately claim to have invented the wristwatch, has been commissioned to design countless pieces for royalty, and has a strong sense of heritage, highlighted in the many retrospective exhibitions that are shown across the world. Now in its 165th year, Emma Hare meets the Managing Director of Cartier UK, François Le Troquer, to discuss the history of the brand, from its humble beginnings in France to the new and innovative products on the horizon.

www.lansdownplace.co.uk

08/03/2012 15:55


King of Jewellers… Jeweller of Kings

Wallis Simpson, who went on to become the Duchess of Windsor, was one of the world’s greatest style icons.

Cartier’s story began in 1847 when Louis-François Cartier took over his master’s workshop. Very much a family company in its early days, his son Alfred Cartier inherited the business in 1874, and his sons quickly set about the brand’s expansion.

“The Cartier brothers opened their boutiques in three cities,” explains François. “Louis ran Paris [opened in 1899] from the Rue de la Paix, while Jacques oversaw the British operations out of the 175 New Bond Street boutique in London. Pierre developed the New World from the boutique on New York’s Fifth Avenue [opened in 1909].” In the space of ten years, Cartier now had a store in three prestigious locations – all now flagship locations – firmly establishing the company as one of France’s most important jewellers. Called the ‘king of jewellers and the jeweller of kings’ by one Prince of Wales (who would become King Edward VII), Cartier has had a long tradition of attracting aristocratic clientele, even from the very beginning, which François attributes to the “craftmanship and elegance of the pieces.”

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Certainly, the company can claim fifteen royal warrants that have been uniquely issued over time, from such diverse royals as Mathilde I, Napoleon’s niece, and the Maharajah of Patiala who commissioned a ceremonial necklace. The brand’s inimitable style was intuitive from the outset, but, Fran ois agrees, there have been some defining moments in Cartier’s history. One such moment came from a chance meeting in 1918, with ‘The Panther’ Jean Toussaint, who, in addition to first introducing the panther motif into the company’s works, was responsible for introducing yellow gold into the designs (which had rarely been used in this period). “She was a strong, elegant woman with a keen eye for design,” says François. Jean also played with colour and texture to produce truly outstanding pieces. These motifs form part of what is dubbed the “Cartier language – the essential words and grammar of design to be continually reinterpreted and reimagined to this day,” perpetuated by past, present and future designers. The introduction of the world’s first wristwatch, the Santos-Dumont, in 1919, combined this ‘Cartier language’ of elegance and simplicity with a practical edge.

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08/03/2012 15:57


Lansdown Place

The piece was commissioned by Louis’s friend, Alberto Santos-Dumont, who (sensibly) decided that a pocket wristwatch was somewhat impractical when flying a plane, and is in fact still in production today. The company went through a period of major change in the 1970s and became privately owned for the first time. Led by the industrialist Robert Hocq, the company was reorganised as Cartier World. A hugely successful line – Les Must le Cartier – was launched, and for the first time Cartier’s accessories were affordable to the mass market. This was daring, and broke the tradition for high fashion jewellery. In fact, it was an action that could have lessened the exclusive nature of the products. Thankfully, though, the move paid off, and as the Cartier philosophy has never really changed – “we have consistently remained truthful to the vision of Louis-Fran ois Cartier” – the brand image remains unscathed. The company is also careful to keep in touch with new influences. “The craft of Cartier is a living language,” says Fran ois. And like any language, it adapts to a sense of time and place, using creativity to keep its sense of self, as well as evolving across the years. As a company which keeps its heritage very much at the forefront, historical pieces are integral to the brand philosophy. The Cartier Collection, established in 1973,

“Cartier has an outstanding back-catalogue of jewellery and watches created for the glitterati”

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is dedicated to reacquiring notable historical pieces, essentially archiving the company’s most important works and helping to preserve its heritage. An important part of the Collection, the MD explains, is to “allow a wide international public to discover the balance between tradition and innovation,” bringing Cartier’s history to the forefront, with a mixture of old and new ever-present in its designs, and to exhibit its creativity. This is never more evident than when looking at specially commissioned pieces, which are essentially a love story between the client and the designer. Cartier has an outstanding back-catalogue of jewellery and watches created for the glitterati throughout its 160 years, from royalty, such as the Duchess of Windsor, to the greatest celebrities of the age (Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Andy Warhol, to name but a few), all of whom had a special relationship with the company. The poet Jean Cocteau, Fran ois tells us, “requested a ring with three bands in the colour of friendship, love, and fidelity.” This resulted in the famous Trinity ring, an example of how the company works with a customer’s request to create a piece that, in Fran ois’s words, is “synonymous with the Cartier vision,” yet becomes personal to the client. So, what’s next? “It’s a wonderful year for Cartier UK,” François tells me with a smile. And indeed it is. First up is the Tank Anglaise, a personal favourite of Fran ois (“a really wonderful piece, I love it”), and a natural successor to the Tank Americaine; itself a riff on the war tanks of World War One, and made in honour of the allied victory. Like many Cartier pieces, the new design pulls together the historical thread between old and new, and is sure to be one to look out for this year. Cartier will also relaunch the Juste un Clou (which translates as ‘just a nail’), a look back to the Studio 54 days, first produced in the 1970s by the designer Aldo Cipullo, who was also behind the iconic Love bracelet. It’s a beautiful, standout piece that retains its relevance today, and one that Fran ois is “very excited to reintroduce this year.” In a move that will coincide with the Diamond Jubilee, the company will also refocus on its long association with polo, changing from the International Cup to the Cartier ueen’s Cup. Of course, it is also a year of looking back over 165 years of heritage. And to this end, Cartier has created a short film, ‘L’Odyssee de Cartier’, which will be on general release by the time this article goes to press. This has been shot through the eyes of the Panthere moving across key geographic areas for the brand – ussia, China, India, and France – featuring its most notable pieces across time. Indeed, 2012 is an exciting time for Cartier. As Fran ois says, “the next chapter for Cartier will be a wonderful adventure, with new stories to tell.” «

The Maharajah of Patiala wearing his ceremonial necklace >

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08/03/2012 15:57


A Daisy By Any Other Name...

A daisy by any

other e...

nam

Daisy Heritage Necklace, £310,000. Round brilliant cut and marquise cut diamonds and a detachable daisy pendant. The floral pendant has a brilliant cut yellow diamond at the centre.

Daisy Heritage Amethyst Pendant, £4,800 Pale amethysts form the petals, with pavé diamonds for the centre, set in 18ct white gold, with an eighteen inch diamond spectacle chain.

Asprey has unveiled the Daisy Heritage Collection. Created in Asprey’s Bond Street workshops, the Daisy Heritage Collection displays the craftsmanship and attention to detail for which the house is renowned. Daisy Heritage Ring, £115,000 Central yellow brilliant cut diamond, the surrounding petals are formed by individually set marquise cut diamonds, all set in platinum.

Daisy Heritage Amethyst Ring, £4,000 A new edition of the iconic favourite, Asprey designers have developed this cherished classic, set in 18ct white gold.

Daisy Heritage Amethyst Studs, £5,500 Unique to the Asprey workshop, the Daisy Heritage Studs use pale amethysts, pavé diamonds for the centre, set in 18ct white gold.

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06/03/2012 21:25


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Daisy Heritage Topaz Ring, £5,000 Marquise cut topaz, peridot and pavé cut diamonds, set in 18ct white gold

Daisy Heritage Topaz Necklace, £27,000 Necklace is made of a marquise cut blue topaz, peridot and pavé brilliant cut diamonds, set in 18ct white gold

Daisy Heritage Diamond Pendant, £5,500 This pendant is made of mirco marquise diamonds and pavé diamonds, set in 18ct white gold, with an 18 inch diamond spectacle chain

Daisy Heritage Bracelet, £60,000 Fourteen flowers, made up of 228 micro marquise cut and pavé diamonds, and set in 18ct white gold

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For more information, visit asprey.com

Daisy Heritage Drop Earrings, £30,000 Each with three flowers consisting of 114 individually set micro marquise diamonds and pavé diamonds, all set in 18ct white gold

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06/03/2012 21:25


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07/03/2012 16:14


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Sensory

t l u a s s A Laith Al-Kaisy endulges in some paradisical luxury.

Having already visited a Six Senses resort, Zighy Bay in Oman, I thought I had an idea of what to expect from Ninh Van Bay in Vietnam. Boy, was I wrong. Located on the exquisite Vietnamese coast, Ninh Van Bay is a stunning beach property overlooking the South China Sea, tucked above the ashen-sanded beach. Not many resorts can boast this kind of paradisiacal luxury.

Ninh Bay is made up of numerous private pool villas and, in keeping with the Six Senses aesthetic, is built to complement the natural environment around it, designed either on the beach, over the water, or into the impressive rock formations. We stayed in one of the Rock Villas, which provided everything one could imagine: nestled on the west end of the Bay and surrounded by the balmy waters of the East Vietnam Sea, offering complete isolation, not only from the busier areas of the resort, but the entire world. Indeed, the accommodation is accessed via a picturesque hillside staircase. The villa is designed with wooden charm, understated yet elegance, with a welcoming, colonial feel. It feels almost like a secret, hushed and runic, with assiduous affluence and uncompromising comfort. You also get a private butler (ours was the effusive and amiable Bui) to cater to your every whim, with 24-hour dining, served poolside, by the bay, or on the rocks, depending on preference. Being on the coast, I would certainly recommend indulging in the seafood, which is among the best I’ve experienced. Lobster, king prawns and fresh fish is caught daily – a gastronome’s delight. The beef and lamb is even flown in fresh from New Zealand and Australia. You can also dine out on the jetty (which was a

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personal favourite), in the villa, or in the vast (and wellstocked!) wine cellar. For those who want to capitalise on maximum relaxation, it’s worth taking advantage of the resort’s holistic wellness and pampering treatments. The setting is enough to send you into euphoria: the backdrop of the tropical rainforest, with a freshwater stream, with waters swishing around the ancient rocks. The treatment menu is vast; I opted for a holistic massage, preceded by a cup of the resort’s somewhat medicinal tea. After an hour or so, I was in a complete state of bliss. My partner took some time to indulge in the beauty treatments, which she still raves about today. It’s an epicurean’s dream. Ninh Van Bay isn’t all about relaxation, though. Indeed, its fortunate


Nin Vanh Bay

location, near to Nha Trang, means it is perfectly poised to offer some great activities, both on land and sea. I’m not really an activities type of guy, preferring instead to laze about and soak up the sunshine. However, the surrounding scenery was just too tempting. I chose to go snorkelling, namely because the pure azure waters were so irresistible. The sea life is incredible – another private resort under the ocean. I also had a go at water-skiing – my first time, but thoroughly recommended. Others were windsurfing, playing badminton and volleyball, kayaking, and even fishing. We decided to take a look at a beachfront villa, too, which was equally as impressive as ours. It had an advantageous view of the lagoon, with an indescribable vista of the bay – its open-plan layout is a testament to this, creating a unique indoor-outdoor feel. Indeed, every villa we caught sight of subscribed to the same shrewd aesthetic: an amalgamation of ecomodernism and traditional

Vietnamese flair – of course, with all the state-of-the-art technology too. Ninh Van Bay is a veritable stroking of the senses; an aural remediation. It is a special place – and it wants you to feel special too. And in that respect, it succeeds greatly, surpassing any preconceptions or expectations, and delivering what can only be described a uniquely memorable experience. Vietnam isn’t somewhere I would have normally chosen to go on holiday – but after staying at Ninh Van Bay, I can’t wait to go back. « For full details go to www.sixsenses.com

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INSPIRED DESIGN. INSPIRING PERFORMANCE. THE NEW ASTON MARTIN VIRAGE Assertive but not aggressive, the elegant Virage exudes understated grace and style. Clean, fluid lines capture the essence of the Aston Martin design ethos, while the underlying potency of a hand-assembled V12 delivers a performance that is both powerful and pure. An intoxicating blend of looks, refinement and pace, the Virage is the perfect choice for the discerning driver who not only demands comfort, but also desires genuine dynamism.

Aston Martin Broughtons Aston Dealer Martin 1234 Aston Road Rutherford Way, Martin Cheltenham Gaydon, Warwickshire Gloucestershire CV35GL51 0DB,9SQ UK 01234 01242 567890 232667 www.astonmartindealer.com info@broughtonsastonmartin.co.uk

PLEASE CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO ARRANGE A TEST DRIVE Official government fuel consumption figures in mpg (litres per 100km) for the Aston Martin Virage: urban 12.7 (22.3); extra-urban 26.2 (10.8); combined 18.8 (15). CO2 emissions 349 g/km.

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07/03/2012 10:21 16:15 18/10/2011


Lansdown Place Magazine Q1 2012 Trump