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DECEMber 2009



made to order luxury fashion



where every piece is a work of art


I S S U E 26

Diamonds go beyond brilliant


UK & International

True Character

A B a l l y m o re D eve l o p m e n t

True characters are a rare breed that stand out from the crowd. Just like the new Lotus Evora, they lead, not follow.

Fuel consumption in mpg (l/100km): Urban 22.8 (12.4), Extra Urban 43.5 (6.5), Combined 32.5 (8.7) CO2 emissions: 205g/km

An exclusive proposition, the Evora uses unique and innovative aluminium chassis technology wrapped in iconic Lotus styling. Its character traits of sophistication, agility and dynamism are clearly portrayed, backed up by legendary Lotus ride and handling.

An extraordinary combination of performance and economy confirm the Evora as the 21st century sportscar, a true Lotus, worthy of the name.

Inside, bold shapes and beautiful materials are linked in unison, offering a virtuous combination of simplicity, comfort and style using exquisite detailing and handbuilt craftmanship. A unique mid-engined 2+2 layout offers striking levels of everyday practicality without compromising the characteristics of a true sportscar.

Escape to the country in the heart of the city Lotus Evora 2+0 £48,450 OTR, Lotus Evora 2+2 £50,825 OTR. Model shown: Evora 2+2 £54,299 OTR, including optional Premium Upgrade Pack (£2495) and Quartz Silver Lifestyle Paint (£979).

OTR costs include: VAT at 15%, delivery, PDI, first service, number plates, valet, 12 months’ road licence and a full tank of fuel.

At Baltimore Wharf leading edge architecture and design come together in superbly appointed apartments. Central boulevard gardens lead to the Baltimore Club, London’s first luxury urban country club. Offering virtual sports – golf, clay and game shooting and a state–of–the–art gym. This iconic development is in a tranquil waterside enclave, just five minutes walk from Canary Wharf. So, register your interest now… get ready to enjoy country living in the heart of the city. Call 0800 404 8855 Prices from £265,000. Prices and details correct at time of going to press.

RWM advert.indd 4

24/9/09 09:02:06

Fuel consumption in mpg (l/100km): Urban 22.8 (12.4), Extra Urban 43.5 (6.5), Combined 32.5 (8.7) CO2 emissions: 205g/km An extraordinary combination of performance and economy confirm the Evora as the 21st century sportscar, a true Lotus, worthy of the name. Lotus Evora 2+0 £48,450 OTR, Lotus Evora 2+2 £50,825 OTR. Model shown: Evora 2+2 £54,299 OTR, including optional Premium Upgrade Pack (£2495) and Quartz Silver Lifestyle Paint (£979). OTR costs include: VAT at 15%, delivery, PDI, first service, number plates, valet, 12 months’ road licence and a full tank of fuel.

24/9/09 09:02:06


T: 0207 368 3960


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Tickets are £95 per person (£85 for member) and include Entrance into the Club from 9pm until 4am A Roof Gardens themed shooter on arrival A mini bottle of Mo‘ t Breakfast canapŽ s 3am-4am

contents 19



12 charitable giving Gavin Smith looks at the effects of the recession on charity


19 SUPER SUIT Men’s luxury fashion staple




24 FLAWED & UNCUT Diamonds in the rough: a new trend?


26 THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS The ultimate Christmas gift guide


40 TRIUMPH OF THE TEDDY The classic children’s toy and collector’s item

59 24 HOURS IN...

44 FASHION Black lace and cocktail dresses




55 A HEALTH HOLIDAY Niall O’Donoghue follows the growing trend for medical tourism


56 EAST MEETS WEST Northern Croatia, Venice and the Orient Express


60 MYSTERIOUS MARRAKECH The Red City is the perfect winter destination, says Sarah Gilbert 62 WINTER BREAK BLISS Escape to Suvretta House for luxury skiing







RECESSION? WHAT RECESSION? Winter during a recession might not be the best time to launch an upmarket convertible. That hasn’t stopped the UK’s newest car brand, Infiniti, doing just that, reports Matthew Carter


Photography by: Oly Barnsley Fashion Editor: Lucie Dodds

Black chiffon and satin ribbon ‘Tanja’ dress to order, Bruce Oldfield, 27 Beauchamp Place, SW3, 020 7584 1363, Black biker ‘Yule’ boots, £695, Jimmy Choo as before; black leather gloves, stylists own.


he trouble with folding hardtops is that to accommodate all those bits of metal and leave some space for luggage when the roof is lowered requires a boot the size of a football pitch. Look at a typical coupé/ convertible and it’ll be dragging around a rump reminiscent of the bustle on an Elizabethan lady’s gown. While the benefits of the folding hardtop – security against vandals and year round comfort – are genuine, there’s no getting away from the fact they look, well, a little odd in side profile. All but the latest example of the breed, that is. The new Infiniti G37 Convertible has a folding hardtop and one of the pertest bums around. Roof

up or down, the G37 is undeniably handsome… though its looks do come at a price. With the hardtop folded away, there’s just about enough room for a sandwich in the boot. No bustle here, then. But before you walk away believing the car to be fatally compromised, think on this. If you’re heading down to the south of France, say, on a touring holiday, will you really drive the length of the country at autoroute speeds with the roof down? You’ll be buffeted by the wind, deafened by the noise and baked by the sun. No, most sensible folk would pack the luggage in the empty boot and drive down in coupé comfort. Then, once ensconced at their hotel or villa,

they’d stow the luggage in their room, lower the roof and enjoy the rest of the holiday wafting about in the convertible. Best of both worlds. The G37 Convertible is one of five new cars from a manufacturer new to the UK. Infiniti is the luxury arm of Nissan – as Lexus is to Toyota – and while the company acknowledges this is not a great time to introduce a new upmarket brand, launch plans have been ongoing for more than two years. No point in stopping now. Infiniti is, in fact, 20 years old but until recently its cars have only been sold in America. Now the range is coming to Europe and promises not just something new to drive, but a whole new ownership experience.

Buy an Infiniti and the service you get at all times will be second to none, reckons the company. Just as well, really. At the time of writing, there’s only one dealer in the country up and running and that’s in Reading. The location of a London dealer will be revealed soon, but in the meantime Infiniti will pick up and return your car when it needs a service, even if you live 150 miles away. And what of the cars? Currently there are three models in the G37 range – a saloon, a coupé and a convertible – plus a couple of fourwheel-drive crossovers, the EX and bigger FX. Top model is the wonderfully non-PC FX50S, powered by a petrol-drinking 5.0-litre V8. Indeed the entire range is petrolpowered, though a hybrid, a diesel and even a zero-emission electric model are in the pipeline for the future.

For the present, though, it's the G37 models that are likely to make the most headway, even if by going head-to-head with the top end of the BMW 3-series range they’ve chosen the toughest of all rivals. Truth be told, the saloon – engaging though it might be in some respects – is going to have its work cut out. The coupé and especially the convertible, however, stand a much better chance of making an impact. Roof-up the convertible could be mistaken for the coupé, which was exactly what the designers intended. And roof-down it’s drop dead gorgeous, something the designers also intended. On the road, the two feel broadly similar. Power comes from one of the best engines around: the 3.7-litre V6; as also found in the Nissan 370Z. For Infiniti use, subtle retuning means it develops 320 bhp – some 11 less than in the Nissan – but it’s less peaky for an altogether smoother power delivery. And it’s especially creamy when allied to Nissan’s latest seven-speed (yes, seven) automatic. A perfect match for the V6 engine, the new transmission blurs gear shifts when you’re not in a hurry, yet kicks down with the alacrity of a startled greyhound when you are. And it’s pretty quick. In auto form it’ll take just under 6 six seconds to reach 60 mph from rest, while top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. With suspension settings retuned to meet European expectations, the G37 offers a damn near perfect compromise between sharp rear-wheel drive handling and a cosseting ride, while the cabin is a great place to be. Although nominally a four-seater, the two rear perches are best suited either to children or to a briefcase or handbag. But whether you are in the front or rear, the quality of the interior, with its rich wood trim and sumptuous leather, is among the best in the business. Equipment, as you’d expect from a fortygrand car, is generous.


In the Premium version that means climate-controlled seats, a rear parking camera (vital as you can’t see the edge of the boot from deep within the driver’s seat), laserguided intelligent cruise control, and a BOSE open-air sound system. The latter includes special loud speakers mounted in the front head rests which adapt to ambient noise… in other words, if you’ve got the roof down as the speed rises so does the volume in the speakers to ensure the music isn't drowned by the rush of the wind. Another clever standard feature is the superb ‘infotainment’ (awful word) system which includes an excellent satellite navigation system complete with speed and red light camera warnings, plus a ‘Music Box’ – a hard drive capable of storing up to 300 CDs. And every Infiniti comes as standard with Scratch Shield paint which literally heals itself if it’s scratched. There are some downsides, of course. The most obvious is the car’s thirst, especially if you enjoy the performance. A combined figure of under 25 mpg and a less than environmentally friendly 264 g/km of CO2 won't endear you to the Friends of the Earth. Still, it could be worse. You could be driving the FX50S. n

IN BRIEF CAR: Infiniti G37 Convertible Premium PRICE: £41,900 ENGINE: 3.7-litre V6 petrol POWER: 320ps DRIVE: Rear-wheel drive



Lesley Ellwood


Louisa Castle

Editorial Director

Kate Harrison

Deputy Editor

Claire Adler is a London-based freelance journalist, specialising in jewellery, watches and luxury brands. Her work has appeared in the Financial Times, the Daily Mail, the Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Times, Spectator Business, Wallpaper*, Intelligent Life and House & Garden. She also writes for magazines published by Bentley, Harrods and Watches of Switzerland, amongst others.

Josephine O’Donoghue

Editorial Assistant

Ruth Sherrington

Editorial Support

Dominique Brady Oliver Balcazar

Motoring Editor

Martin Bamford is one of the youngest and most successful financial planners in the UK. He runs his own firm of financial advisers – Informed Choice – and regularly contributes to various financial publications. His personal finance book The Money Tree, published in 2006, is a best seller.

Matthew Carter

Fashion Editor

Lucie Dodds Hiren Chandarana Laddawan Juhong Jenisa Patel

Senior Designers

Production Manager

Dr. David Kuo is one of the UK’s leading commentators on money matters. He is a Director at the popular investing website The Motley Fool – As well as providing daily insight and financial news for BBC London’s (97.4FM) Breakfast Show , he also presents Money Talk – the Fool’s weekly podcasts where guests from the world of money thrash out the financial issues of the day.

Dan Hyde

Group Publishing Director

Eren Ellwood

P.A. to Group Publishing Director

Ella Kilgarriff

Sales Manager

Jamie Carter is a freelance journalist specializing in gadgets and technology, Jamie has written for the likes of T3, Home Cinema Choice and The Guardian as well as a number of websites.

Andy Williams

PR & Marketing Manager

Rebecca Walton

Managing Director

Giles Ellwood

Finance Manager

Annette Habel

020 7987 4320 020 7005 0045











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uK & international

The Canary Wharf Citylife Magazine The City Magazine, Vicinitee VENUE - The official magazine of The O2 British International Motorshow Magazine London Golf Club Magazine

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from the editor... hristmas is finally here, and that means plenty of last-minute shopping; office Christmas parties; decadent cocktails; luxurious presents; and time spent with family and friends! Remember to take some time out from work to relax at home, and enjoy the festive celebrations. Getting you into the mood for the Christmas parties, don’t miss our sexy fashion shoot of black lace and little black cocktail dresses on p.44 along with our men’s style feature on the ‘super suit’(p.19). We bring you the very latest in fashion news on p.51, and as accessories are the finishing touch to any evening outfit, and Claire Adler examines the growing trend for unpolished and uncut diamond jewellery (p.24). Last minute Christmas shopping should pose no problem with our Twelve Days of Christmas Gift Guide, starting on p.26. From gadgets and rock concerts, to jewellery and lingerie, we’ve got it covered. Check out the Out & About pages to find out which events are worth visiting in the month of December (p.37) and on p.33 we choose this month’s Object of Desire. Of course, Christmas is also a time for giving, and on p.12 Gavin Smith looks at the effects of the recession on charitable donations; at a time when people need

social and financial aid more than ever, what happens if people stop giving? For those in search of some winter sun, Sarah Gilbert journeys to the exotic city of Marrakech (p.60). Alternatively, if skiing is more your thing, the slopes of St Moritz and Suvretta House offer the perfect winter getaway (p.62). One for the boys, look out for our special feature on the Wentworth Golf Club on p.74 before checking out the newest technology on our gadgets page (p.84). Lastly, for those looking for some winter interiors inspiration, Sim Smith suggests a range of special events, homeware stockists, festive offers and pretty gifts to enhance your home this Christmas (p.117). From everyone here we wish you a very Merry Christmas! Richard Fischer Marketing Director

Giles Ellwood Managing Director RunWild Media

Festive celebrations AT TH E R OYAL E XCH ANG E

Agent ProvocAteur ArtisAn Boodles BulgAri cArtier church’s crockett & Jones de Beers grAnd cAfé gucci hermès imPeriAl city Jo mAlone l’occitAne loro PiAnA lulu guinness mezzAnine lounge millePerle molton Brown mont BlAnc nAPket omegA PAul A. young fine chocolAtes PAul smith PAvArotti’s PenhAligon’s Pretty BAllerinAs royAl exchAnge Jewellers sAuterelle seArle & co. smoker’s PArAdise smythson tAteossiAn theo fennell tiffAny & co. vileBrequin wAtches of switzerlAnd wint & kidd


26/11/09 16:21:37

CHARITY CASE Traditionally a time for giving, Christmas is fast approaching – but in the midst of a recession does ‘goodwill to all men’ go out the window? Gavin Smith investigates


oming to the end of 2009, we say goodbye to the second year of recession in the UK. A tough time for banks, businesses and the general public, the economic climate seems to be improving at a snail’s pace, leaving many businesses (including charities) suffering more severely, and for longer, than first anticipated. Earlier this year the Charity Commission reported that over 52% of UK charities had been severely damaged by the credit crunch – and by the end of 2009 it is expected to rise to a higher proportion again. “Clearly the impact of the financial downturn on charities is widening and deepening” said Dame Suzi Leather, chair of the Charity Commission. “Some charities still face that double whammy of a drop in income as well as an increased demand for services.”

The pressure to make ends meet this Christmas (coupled with countless reports of redundancies and bailouts in the headlines), is moving the idea of charitablegiving further from our top priorities. But what about those who need charity more than ever at this time of year? A number of homeless charities’ Christmas campaigns have warned that Christmas and New Year 2009 could see a homelessness surge. Crisis, a homelessness charity, indicates that one in 10 people are struggling to keep up with rent or mortgage payments and a YouGov online poll showed 32% of people would lose their home within three months of losing their main income. “Our fear is that as the recession bites in the New Year we are going to see more people in the same situation as those relying


on our Christmas centres” says Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis. “Those already at the bottom of the pile are going to be further away from the help and support they need to put their lives back together.” The decline in donations is not surprising; open any newspaper or turn on any news channel and the current economic crisis becomes immediately conspicuous. High unemployment has left many families living on savings, and those who have survived turning to thrift in order to safeguard the pennies. Financial support for good causes is in clear decline; a recent survey by the Charities Aid Foundation found that support for charities had plateaued since September 2008, with well over half of UK charities now seriously concerned for the future. Financial reserves for charities are down 13% at the end of the year and, with further losses predicted, most organisations are forming strategies to generate cash, including job-cuts, branch closures and aid appeals. The number of charity donors cancelling the direct debit payments has also increased during the recession, leaving many organisations short of a regular income. According to Rapidata, average monthly cancellations rose from 3.32% in 2007/08 to 4.64% in 2008/09. Scott Gray, Rapidata managing director, said “Last Christmas there were 67% more cancellations than for the average pre-recession December”. Corporate donations have fallen significantly, and government support has been limited as other issues take precedence. For example, select charities received a £40m aid package from the government earlier this year, but this represents only 40% of what they believe necessary to keep core services running – and less than 0.0001% of the investment that struggling banks have received. Hundreds of charities across the UK, both local and national, exist to help people in times of social and economic need – but what happens if people stop giving? Ominously, the recession is facilitating not only a decline in revenue for charities, but also an increase in the pressure for their services. Therefore, this period where funds are at their lowest, coincides with a period of elevated demand – so continued donations are crucial. The NSPCC, for example, believes the financial stress of unemployment and high mortgage payments is exacerbating issues such as alcoholism and domestic violence

within the home, to the detriment of many children. They argue that up to 300,000 more children may have already been hurt during the recession as a result of money-orientated arguments in the home. With donations to the NSPCC down by up to 15%, the charity launched an emergency appeal for £2m immediate support to meet the needs of children during the remainder of 2009. This clearly demonstrates the increased need to continue supporting charities, as they struggle with issues made worse by the recession, and eat into their fast declining resources. So, the need for continued charitable donation is well established even in the midst of a credit crunch; but what can be done outside your own personal bubble? Alongside personal contributions, companies can also help to ease the pressure charities are feeling in the current climate. Whilst the core motive for charitable donation should always remain the desire to help others, the benefits also provide additional reasons why small businesses should become involved with charities; especially during a recession when their investment is needed the most. Whilst many corporations may regard the recession as a time to rein in voluntary donation, charitable causes open up many opportunities for success from a business perspective. Notwithstanding the tax deductibility of donations for select causes, charities provide a myriad of immediate benefits to companies in return for investment. For example, businesses may invite a sponsored organisation to market their products to


a target audience through the charity’s membership base; charities provide excellent networking opportunities, since many charity boards contain corporate executives from companies which already sponsor the organisation; and involvement with charities can also benefit marketing, as many consumers look favourably on businesses with responsible associations to good causes. Furthermore, there are a number of creative and relatively cheap means of giving which suit the corporate world, without directly sponsoring a major UK charity – charity gift-cards (for a cause of the recipient’s choice), are available to replace expensive corporate gifts to clients and employees, for example. Generally, it is true that both domestic and commercial donors do have less to spare in the midst of the recession – but, as with all outgoings, it’s all a question of priority. As long as we can be convinced of the need for charity over the festive season (and see where the funds are being used effectively) people will continue to give. As long as donors can be assured of the value of their gift (as demonstrated in the films used as part of the recent – and very successful – Children in Need campaign) there is no reason for charities to reach point of closure. In any case, even in the clutches of the credit crunch and the Christmas shopping rush, it is critically important to continue offering support to charitable foundations, since it is these groups – not the banks – which underpin the values of our society. n



Alpesh B Patel, Fund Manager and Principal, Praefinium Partners

market comment Praefinium shares an insight on 2009 investment

According to Warren Buffet: “If you are confused and fearful, you don’t get over being fearful until you aren’t confused.” So let’s remove the confusion for you


ur investors are most confused and most fearful when investing outside of their own shores.Yet that is one of the tragedies of investing – if you only invest in the country in which you reside you are putting all your eggs in one basket. Assuming investment with perfect foresight, we have previously highlighted the gains that could be made from the second largest economy in Asia - India. Praefinium’s approach is to invest in an intelligent diversified manner, whereby we may enhance the index return without any particular single stock exposure, especially as we strongly believe in investing in the whole as opposed to stock picking. Indeed Warren Buffett is a big fan of private investors using indices rather than trying to pick individual stocks. First, let us address the economic expectations for UK domestic investors to show why India is so attractive: Interest rates have remained at a historic low of only 0.5% per cent for nine months, therefore the, ‘r “Risk free rate earned from three-month Government  government bonds”, compared to return on equities, the FTSE 100 has provided a reasonable return above the risk free rate of around 14% per cent this year.  We believe that stock prices have exceeded earnings estimates, stocks look expensive, and market forecasts predict zero to negative growth in 2010 for the UK stock market.

Inflation has remained below the Bank of England’s upper band of 2two% per cent, falling to 1.1% per cent in September; as a result real interest rates (base rate less inflation) were negative throughout 2009 and consequently eroding the value of your cash in the bank by around 1.4% per cent this year. The Bank of England forecasts a sharp increase in inflation driven by higher oil prices, a return to 17.5% per cent VAT and a weaker sterling foreign exchange rate. At the same time, rising unemployment and fragile growth makes increasing interest rates unpalatable. Therefore, UK Gilts would not be a wise choice as an alternative to cash. So where do we believe international value exist? We suggest looking east. In October the Australian Reserve bank became the first central bank to increase interest rates. While the Reserve Bank of India did not increase their interest rate, they reduced the amount of quantitative easing, re-introducing tighter reserve ratios for banks and financial lenders. Asian economies may have been posting positive growth but they have not been immune to inflation. Inflation remains a global phenomenon driven by the increased demand for energy, metals and foods. As the world’s economies recover from late 2009 and gain momentum in 2010, prices will increase.  India has recently experienced rising prices, but inflation has not eroded the value of money here; and during 2009 real

interest rates were positive at 2.6% per cent. The Indian government has a firm stance against inflation, and given their advantageous position of 6.1% per cent real growth during 2009, the Reserve Bank of India is in a position to increase interest rates in 2010 without inhibiting domestic growth. As a result, India’s stock market, the Nifty Index, has posted returns of almost 50% per cent above the risk free rate this year. We believe that stock prices will gain momentum. Price earnings estimates look reasonable, considering the strong gross national product expectation and continued generation of wealth, supported and ready for new fiscal and monetary tightening by the Indian government. Our growth forecast for the Indian stock market is in the region of 10 - 20% per cent in 2010. To summarise: Our money is on another good year in India. The currency is competitive attracting growth and investment. At the same time domestic consumption, strong central bank and government policy remains pivotal to sustainable growth. We recommend investing in the market as a whole; and intelligent diversification accessed through European regulated investment funds is important. n Alpesh B Patel Praefinium runs an India Fund.


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Dr David Kuo, Director at the popular financial website The Motley Fool –

The SanTa Rally


id you know that January has historically been the best month to buy shares? Data going as far back as 1919 shows that UK shares have risen in January in three out of every four years. A number of reasons have been suggested for the January phenomenon. These include a rebound in share prices following yearend tax selling, which tends to be more prevalent in America. However, abnormally high returns in January have also been seen in other parts of the world that don’t use 31 December as the end of their tax year. So, bang goes that idea! The so-called ‘January Effect’ is particularly fascinating because it shows no signs of fading despite being quite well known and very well publicised. In theory, such an obvious anomaly should disappear as traders try to take advantage of it by buying shares in advance. After all, wouldn’t you fill your boots with shares in December if you knew that they were going to rise in January? Some people do, which may in part explain the December effect. It seems that the last week of December has long been the best week to buy shares. Indeed, half of a year’s best ten days on the stock market tend to occur in December! In fact, the December rally is so well known that it is often called the Santa Rally. It seems that since 1920, shares have risen 61% of the time in December. In other words, shares have risen in six out of ten Decembers. Over the last eighty or so years, the average monthly gain in December is 1.2%. This makes December the third best performing month of the year. What’s more, there is little indication that the so-called December effect is diminishing. If anything, share-price gains in December are stronger than ever. No wonder traders can’t wait for Santa’s arrival! Various explanations have been put forward for this somewhat bizarre occurrence in December. It has been

suggested that stock market bears, who are generally quite pessimistic about shares, are either hibernating or on holiday! A more plausible explanation may be that fund managers are loading up with shares in readiness for the New Year, ridding their portfolios of recent losers at the same time. Researchers have reported other apparent irregularities in stock market returns by examining other calendar-related effects. For example, the ‘Monday Effect’ suggests that the first day of the trading week tends to be the worst day to be invested in shares. Apparently, Mondays are as popular with traders as they are with schoolchildren! Meanwhile, another group of researchers claimed that shares tend to show higher returns on the last day and the first four days of each calendar month. This has been cutely called the ‘Turn Of The Month Effect’. Other anomalies include the ‘Week of the Month Effect’, the ‘Holiday Effect’, and of course the ‘Sell In May And Go Away’ effect, which, this year, was about as accurate as Alistair Darling’s economic forecasts. If truth be told, there are supposedly dozens of such market timing effects. It just goes to show that statistics can prove almost anything you want. Professor Aaron Levenstein once said about statistics that

they are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they hide is vital. Truth is, it is almost impossible to profit from calendar effects after you have paid broker charges, stamp duty and taken account of buy and sell spreads. In my view, it is far better to look for good shares that you can hold for the long term. And once you’ve found them, any week can be a good week to buy shares! On this point I am reminded of Mark Twain, who said: “October is one of the most dangerous months to speculate in shares. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February”! As for me, I prefer to stay invested for the long haul and enjoy the long-term returns offered by the stock market returns. They are even better if you wrap up your investments in an ISA or pop them into your Self Invested Personal Pension to protect your gains from the taxman. Have a great Christmas! n

Praefinium boasts superior access to return oriented global investment opportunities. By implementing a distinct investment philosophy, our investors benefit from our superior market insight, intelligent diversification and expert systematic approach.


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Josh Sims examines the concept of ‘luxury fashion’ and looks at whether the fashion industry is about to experience a change


hat are the super-wealthy to do when it is so hard to find fashion that the hoi polloi cannot also get its grubby hands on? With the big spenders of Russia and Asia among their keenest customers, the major luxury brands are only too ready to help by offering what might be called under-the-counter items: one-off or strictly limited edition pieces in exclusive fabrics, or interpretations of the season’s collection made to order just for the individual with the right clout, be that finances or fame. Louis Vuitton, for instance, makes its ‘Les Extraordinaires’ leathergoods, sold as small editions and by appointment only. Chanel develops special detailing on ready-towear with the assistance of couture ateliers Lemarie, Lesage and Massaro, among others. Gucci, Prada and most major fashion houses offer their own elite ready-to-wear. Nor are men left naked. Following its customisation programme for jewellery and watches, more recently Armani has launched a hand-made-to-measure suiting service, while Canali created the first suit from its superfine Esperidi Super 220 fabric. It was a totem for the times of the very wealthy – which is to say, not feeling the economic pinch when it comes to luxury goods. Only 130 of each suit were made. Each sold for around €10,000. And that, remember, is ready-to-wear, for the price of perhaps two or three fully bespoke suits from Savile Row. Kilgour, the Savile Row tailor, meanwhile, now sells a couple of vicuna overcoats every year, at £10,000 each. Neither couture nor bespoke, but retaining qualities of both, a new breed of elite readyto-wear-rarity-to-wear, if you will - is on the increase. The brands claim that this is in response to demand, rather than an attempt to boost reputations tarnished in a world in which lazy marketing has repackaged everything as ‘luxury’ to the point of making the word meaningless. Indeed, often these products are not advertised and the bulk of customers will not know of their existence.


lifestyle “After so much talk of ‘masstige’, defining what luxury is has become harder, especially as inherent to it has been the idea of scarcity. This seems like a new search for some centre of gravity for the luxury brands” suggests Tamar Kasriel, director of consumer forecasting agency Futureal. “They may not expect volume, or even profit, from them, but they need them to drive the aura again. Being ‘in the club’ and being able to order such items is another form of luxury.” And there’s the rub: too many are in the club. The increased accessibility of designerwear (in part a product of top-end brands cashing in through diffusion lines and department store design contracts, in part through technology making high street imitations so much higher quality) has left the prize consumer struggling to find a point of differentiation. “With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches, which in their eye is never so complete as when they appear to possess those decisive marks of opulence which nobody can possess but themselves,” as Adam Smith observed. “These pieces are not couture, in the sense of one piece, for you, truly made to measure. They are still part of the ready-to-wear collection, but different to the standard ready-to-wear, in terms of finishing, for instance,” explains Josiane El-Kabbany, head of fashion for Chanel. “It still has a very small client base. But more people want it and for these people, the fact is that when something is beautiful, price is not important. Besides, readyto-wear is more democratised now and for some ladies who can afford it, they want to be different. For some, designer clothes have become too similar to what is available on the high street.” “Consumers are more expert now. They pay more attention to what they buy,” adds Elisabetta Canali, of the Canali brand. “These products are a way of giving consumers something very particular, which is what they want. They appeal to the collector or fan mentality. But it is not just about

ostentation. They understand the product.” Some customers, undoubtedly, are being flashy. Others have bought designerwear for years and have developed a sophistication that they want to feed with upgraded purchases. It is, some argue, paying homage to what fashion is at the luxury level, rather than at that of the high-street copy. The label is no longer sufficient reason to pay more. This has provoked a greater willingness to pay for a higher quality product with by-appointment or made-to-order items adding lustre to brand and customer alike. Brands, especially those with expensive retail operations, are also keen to encourage higher prices, as they mean higher profits per unit and better margins Canali’s Esperidi suits, meanwhile, are profitable, both in terms of price and prestige,” says Canali. “They require a lot of investment, so profits are not huge. But these items do sell, often better than we expect.” The impact of this shift is being felt throughout the fashion industry. Store buyers, for instance, are increasingly conscious of the need to seek out ever more esoteric labels, if not limited edition and one-off pieces, often through exclusivity negotiated directly with the brands. This can only make fashion shopping all the more interesting, purchases all the more satisfying. At the top of the scale, elite ready-to-wear may prove the saviour of those couture and other handcraft ateliers too, in which companies like Chanel continue to invest heavily. Certainly, with elite ready-to-wear now including levels of detailing and craftsmanship worthy of couture or bespoke, and with a similar feeling for the one-off, where does that leave genuine bespoke or couture, with its strict rules of appellation? Some argue that because couture/bespoke involves a fully personalised garment and ready-to-wear, no matter how customised, does not, the two markets will always appeal to different customer needs. Bespoke and couture are the better fitting and more personal. But designers bring contemporary flair. Such symbiosis, at least, is the idea. Superluxe ready-to-wear may be the bridge that links to two worlds in a way that is positive for both. “Traditional couture is for sure a great legacy that has to be preserved,” says Stefano Gabbana, of Dolce & Gabbana “But the clothes have little life outside the ateliers. We much prefer this new interpretation, which sits in between ready-to-wear and couture, which matches both the idea of the dream and the research on fabrics and techniques. These special, one-off ready-to-wear pieces are the new couture.” n

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CUTTING EDGE STYLE THE CITY LOOK New Year is the perfect time to invest in a sharp new suit; Jasper Littman tailoring personifies Savile Row elegance with a rather attractive price tag to match “Our style can be described as the classic Savile Row cut,” says visiting tailor Jasper Littman. “It’s the traditional English style, but we keep it modern by adjusting it every year to prevent it from looking dated. It’s designed to flatter.” Reasoning that all City professionals should invest in quality tailoring, Littman deems a Savile Row suit to be an essential wardrobe staple well worth the extra cost. Central to building a professional and respected reputation, first impressions and a sharp, stylish appearance are vitally important. “Off-the-peg suits are essentially designed to fit mannequins,” warns Littman. “Retailers take the measurements from a generic chart designed to represent the average. In reality they actually fit nobody as Mr Average does not exist in these terms. There will always be a part of the suit that doesn’t fit.” In contrast, the expert tailoring from Savile Row guarantees an individual suit that fits the customer so perfectly that they will no doubt return for the rest of their lives, converted from department store imitations to ‘the bespoke suit’. However, despite all the best intentions, being measured and fitted for a Savile Row suit can be a time-consuming experience for busy City workers – not at all efficient if you work on the other side of the capital. Jasper Littman offers the perfect solution; a visiting tailor service that offers bespoke and semi-bespoke suits, measured, fitted and delivered to your place of work or home, at a time to suit you. Combining a contemporary approach to customer service with longestablished, traditional tailoring expertise, the service has been a huge success since its launch in 2002. “During one of our visits, you get everything that you would expect when visiting a Savile Row store,” Littman explains. “The clients browse through a wide range of fabrics and linings, try on a sample of a finished suit to

establish whether they like our cut, and if they’re happy to proceed we then take the measurements and discuss various style details. We return 6-8 weeks later for the first fitting, take the suit away for adjustments and return again within about ten days for the final fitting. “I always wanted to set up the business on a visiting basis, partially because it allows me to keep my prices lower than my competitors,” he says. “But also because there are so many clients in the City and Canary Wharf who cannot get to Savile Row either in their lunch break or at the weekend”. Offering a totally individual one-to-one experience (something quite rare these days), all Jasper Littman clients are in touch with him directly. “Clients will only ever come into contact with me from start to finish,” he declares. “This includes all fittings, emails and after-sales service. Rather than a switchboard number, clients have my personal mobile number. All suits are painstakingly measured by me; the cut is designed by me; and the fit supervised by me.” Cleverly, Littman chose not have his own showroom on Savile Row and consequently has none of the overheads of his competitors. “Like our Savile Row competitors, we use highly skilled craftsmen and the best fabric merchants, but have much lower costs – so in the end the quality is identical but the price is lower.” Offering exceptional value for money, Jasper Littman’s personally tailored suits start from only £595 for a two-piece and fully bespoke suits start from £2,100.

Jasper Littman By appointment only at Fifth floor, 9 Savile Row London, W1S 3PF 08456 121 220



nterest in rough diamonds is picking up pace. Some of the most imaginative jewellery of the moment is punctuated with rocks or slithers of rough stones that most people wouldn’t even recognise as diamonds. To some, therein lies its beauty. Rough diamonds are discreet, raw, close to the earth and they speak of a journey. “There’s one rough diamond ring I’ve always worn,” says Pippa Small, the former Gucci and Chloe designer, whose client list includes Mick Jagger and Nicole Kidman. “There’s a subtlety to it – you know it’s that gem – a diamond – but noone else does.” Small, a designer who has long worked with uncut stones, says they make clear, perfect gems look cold and soulless. “In insecure times, we find comfort in our relationship with the earth which these stones demonstrate – why cut away the evidence of their formation and journey?” You could say the recent revival began, as with many things, at the Oscars. At the 2002 Academy Awards ceremony, Nicole Kidman teamed a Chanel Couture dress with a rough cut Bulgari diamond necklace she had helped design. Diamonds In The Rough was born the following year and the brand, which specialises in multicoloured rough diamond jewellery sold at Moussaieff on London’s Bond Street, has since dressed stars on the red carpet including, Julianne Moore and Kate Hudson, in its colourful rough diamond creations.The brand is now introducing a bridal collection encompassing champagne, rose, cognac, and white diamonds.

Diamonds have gone beyond brilliant. New jewellery incorporating slices of unpolished stone or diamonds in the rough is setting a whole new aesthetic, says Claire Adler


The reality is that jewellers have worked with rough diamonds for millenia. “Revered as the crowning jewels of royalty, rough diamonds have been worn in their untouched state by maharajahs, kings and emperors for over 2,100 years,” says high octane Mayfair jeweler Alisa Moussaieff, whose family has been in the jewellery business for over 120 years and three generations. Rough diamonds are always less costly than their polished counterparts. But now that they are being appreciated for their character, mystery and authenticity, the price of rough or included stones has soared, according to Moussaieff. Now architect Frank Gehry is pioneering the use of rough diamonds for Tiffany in his Torn Paper jewellery collection. On the newly-revamped Astley Clarke jewellery website, Small’s designs can be found alongside covetable pieces by established Turkish born New York based designer Gurhan, in the form of bracelets sporting irregular shaped opals and Indian-made pieces by Gatsby, incorporating uncut tourmalines. Solange Azagury Partridge, another much feted London designer whose name is to be found in the little black books of film stars, power brokers and collectors, paved her career with rough diamonds. The former creative director of Parisian jewellers Boucheron began as a jeweller after creating her own engagement ring from a rough diamond and went on to pioneer the use of these elemental stones. A penchant for naturally formed stones certainly seems

to be catching on, and these are far from the only jewellers playing with the possibilities of diamonds in the rough. At Autore, award-winning and indefatigable creative director Alessio Boschi has coupled lustrous pearls with slithers of transparent diamond in his collection evoking Fire and Ice, now available at Harvey Nichols. Then there’s Tamara Kronis at Mayfair’s Nude Gallery, Chrissie Douglas’s pearl and rough diamond necklaces, as well as Chatila on Bond Street, who’ve used flat rose-cut diamonds with natural graining to produce earrings with a delicate and tactile flower petal effect. De Beers have been at it for years too, harnessing the allure of rough diamonds to stunning effect. Burning Rocks, De Beers first men’s range, was designed by Austrian-born Shoreditchbased jeweller Tomasz Donocik in 2007, then working under the mentorship of multiple award-winning British jewellery designer Stephen Webster. “The idea behind that collection was that the rough diamond is like a wild animal that can be neither tamed nor set in the traditional manner, hence it’s captured, rattling in a cage. Maybe similar to men?” suggests Donocik. Donocik, now an established designer in his own right, is currently setting rough diamonds into jewels he will unveil in the coming year. “I’ll be using some of these beauties in my next collection. I think there is an increased interest in using rough diamonds, especially in men’s jewellery. They’re a great alternative or even substitute for a brilliant cut diamond. They carry all the same noble


characteristics – they’re eternal, the hardest material on earth, and mesmerising. But in their rough cut, they become even more alluring and mysterious.” And if that’s not enough, rough diamonds allow jewellery lovers to connect with the earth in other ways too. Top staff at by-appointment-only jewellers Steinmetz have witnessed clients’ eyes sparkle with excitement. Best known for creating the De Beers Millenium Star, the world’s largest D flawless, pear-shaped diamond, Steinmetz offers diamond connoisseurs the opportunity to visit a diamond mine, following a stone’s journey from extraction to selection, through to cutting and polishing before taking a hand in designing jewellery. Beyond brilliant. n

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me.... one Christmas-carol inspired gift guide



drummers drumming pipers piping When Welsh rock legends the Stereophonics play at The O2 in March it promises to be a real treat for fans. Their new album is acclaimed as their rockiest yet, so a VIP ticket could certainly please the wannabe rock star in your life.  And yes, we know they only have one drummer, but he’s as good as 12...

Christian Louboutin knows a thing or two about shoes, and champagne too it seems. The world famous designer has teamed up with Piper-Heidsieck to design a champagne flute in the shape of a stiletto with a crystal heel. Exclusively available from Selfridges with Brut Cuvée and signed by Louboutin himself, £350.

10 lords a leaping

Make the man in your life leap with delight when he receives The Gentleman’s Indulgence Hamper. Complete with champagne flutes, a bottle of Pol Roger (Winston Churchill’s favourite), eight God of Fire double Robusto cigars and yet more fine wines. He can relax in style at Christmas, £1,500.




ladies dancing It’ll be hard to stop anyone dancing with these high-spec BeoLab 9 speakers from Bang & Olufsen.Your favourite tunes will sound completely different through these professional speakers which guarantee minimal distortion, maximum depth and a big bass 10” driver. They are also very compact (less than 80cm) and in a very funky design, so they look as good as they sound good, £5,720 a pair.


maids a milking


Rammed full of rich silky truffles, carrés of dark cinnamon and salted caramel and festively shaped sujets filled with creams and pralinés, the Godiva chocolate box is the perfect start to Christmas Day. The luxurious crimson box is studded with Swarovski crystals and with 74 scrumptious pieces inside they might even last until New Years eve, £120.

swans a swimming Lapping the pool is good for your body but it can get a tad dull. To liven up those swimming sessions and help you to move with added rhythm, you can bring you iPod or iPhone into the pool. The AMPHIBX Armband will keep them entirely waterproof  as you swim and the Surge Pro waterproof headphones are the ideal accompaniment, £44.50 and £54.50 respectively.

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Beautiful, handmade gifts for men & women that will last forever, exquisitely wrapped!

Give a little luxury...from Aspinal

Also available from Aspinal at Selfridges, Westfield & Canary Wharf For guaranteed UK Christmas delivery order by 23rd December or 22nd for personalised items. We only use DHL Next Day Delivery for all orders. Not Royal Mail!







geese a laying


Eggs aren’t traditionally a Christmas icon but with the Jean Schlumberger workshop designed delicate pink opal egg pendant from Tiffany & Co. you’d be forgiven for preferring this opal to a goose egg, £1,800 and chain, £425 in 18 karat gold.

gold rings Any five of Hirsh’s latest rings would make the perfect ring. Splash out on a very rare certificated Padparadscha Sapphire and diamonds in a platinum ring for £14,995, a marquise cut diamond surrounded by 36 white diamonds in a platinum ring for £14,795 or a aquamarine and diamond ring hand made in platinum for £7,495. Or for the height of sophistication dig deep for the rose gold ring with two natural pink diamonds and an oval for £32,995 or a magnificent five-carat Champagne coloured diamond surrounded by 100 diamonds hand made in platinum for £39,995.


calling birds

In tribute to the year Lamborghini was founded, TAG Heuer has teamed up with the Italian automaker to produce 1,963 Meridiist phones. Housed in black titanium coated stainless steel the phone boasts the famed Lamborghini signature, as on the Murcielago LP 640’s V12 engine block and the trademark Taurus on the central button, £5,750. Available from Harrods, Selfridges and TAG Heuer 



french hens


You can’t get much more French than Chantilly lace, with its fine detailing and luxurious feel. And Agent Provocateur use it in abundance in one of their classics, the flirty Francoise range of which they have produced a special colour-way for Christmas, aptly titled Nymphette; bra, £85 and brief, £45.


turtle doves

This dainty dove, evocative of the sound of summer is on the endangered list in the UK so why not spend some of your Christmas budget on protecting our planet. Gift memberships to the RSPB cost from £3 a week or if you’re wanting something a little more exotic you can help save the tiger with WWF from £10.

and... /

a partridge in a pear tree

William & Son is renowned for producing beautifully handcrafted, bespoke shotguns and this commitment to an age old sport transpires into their acoutrements with an emphasis on traditional clothing that has been time-tested by the serious shooter for functionality over fashion.  Their Berwick sports jacket with purple check is perfect for the gentleman in your life, £445.

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One of the world’s most exclusive cigars, the Cohiba ‘Behike’ has arrived at The Lanesborough in London. Only 4,000 cigar sticks have been produced, each one ceremoniously hand-rolled by Norma Fernandez, the renowned cigar maker at the El Laguito factory in Havana, making the famous Cohiba ‘Behike’ the rarest cigar in the world. The Cohiba ‘Behike’, made to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Cohiba and named after the tribal chief of Cuba’s indigenous Taino tribe, will be sold in the newly launched Garden Room at The Lanesborough, the only outlet in the world selling these exclusive cigars by the stick.    £1,500 per stick


object of desire: Havana humidor




The Boodles Blossom collection was inspired by the captivating and intricate antique Japanese Kimono embroideries. All the designs which range from high value jewellery pieces, through to the more accessible pieces incorporate a very stylised blossom motif. These pavé diamond earrings are a must-have for any girl who wants to sparkle at her Christmas or New Year’s Eve party celebrations!

The Lulu Guinness signature red lips design is the inspiration behind this Snakeskin Lips Clutch Bag. Exquisitely made with Snakeskin and leather, the clutch pay homage to the ‘Glamour Girl’ and Pop art. Originally designed in 2003, the clutch was very well received and the collection is now a hit with fashionistas and celebrities alike. The gold design is new for Christmas – perfect for adding sparkle to any occasion

Blossom pavé diamond earrings £3,800 Boodles 2 & 3 The Courtyard Royal Exchange 020 7283 7284

Gold Lips clutch, £195 Lulu Guinness 23 Royal Exchange 020 7626 5391


Stocking fillers Head to the Royal Exchange for all those last minute luxury Christmas treats

WINTER INDULGENCE A glamorous and distinctive gift for women, the Indian Transformation gift set is filled with the intoxicating scent of davana blossom. This gift set is the ultimate indulgence for the Christmas season; infused with an intoxicating blend of Indian davana blossom, grapeseed, raspberry, blackseed and starflower oils, the range leaves skin cocooned in silky softness. Indian Transformation gift set, £95 Molton Brown 27 Royal Exchange 020 7621 0021



In Paul’s first book he embarks on a delectable tour of cakes, puddings, cocktails and savoury dishes. Capturing his ethos of home-made, fresh and natural products, Paul begins by advising which type of chocolate to pick and look out for before teaching you how to create your own chocolate sensations, from home-made chocolate spread to the heavenly Ultimate Chocolate Martini and Dark Chocolate Sorbet.

Set hearts on fire and buy your girl the flirty Minnie set from Agent Provocateur. In flame red silk with white polka dots, this range is finished with cute frills on the bust and waist; it certainly isn’t for mousy types! The bra is a padded balconette and the brief is a low slung hipster style from Agent Provocateur’s winter collection Return Of The APEX. Minnie bra, £75 Minnie brief, £55 Agent Provocateur 5 Royal Exchange 020 7623 0229

Adventures with Chocolate is available through Amazon, and all good book stores for £17.99 Paul A. Young Fine Chocolates 20 Royal Exchange 020 7929 7007

DIAMONDS FOR EVERYDAY De Beers beautiful and delicate Star Pendant is the perfect gift this year for a loved one. The pendant features De Beers selected diamonds set with their trademark impeccable craftsmanship for an intricate yet light touch to any festive outfit and for everyday all year after. Star Pendant, 0.25cts £700 De Beers 13 The Courtyard Royal Exchange 020 7929 2777

CHRISTMAS TREE, O, CHRISTMAS TREE Create an elegant and contemporary festive display with these silver-plated decorations from Penhaligon’s. Transform your tree or fireplace with multiple snowflakes and surprise your guests by hanging the mistletoe above your doorway. These beautiful decorations also make elegant yet affordable gifts or stocking fillers and each is presented in a beautiful eau de nil and gold box. Silver plated decorations, £15 each Penhaligon’s 4 Royal Exchange 020 7623 3131


Royal Exchange, Bank, City of London, EC3V 3LR






The Polo Masters tournament is an eagerly anticipated extension to the season. Set in the heart of the breathtaking village of Val d’Isére, this snow polo tournament is played in a specially created arena, so have your snow boots at the ready for polo like you’ve never seen it before! Attracting world-renowned polo players from England, Argentina and France who meet to compete in amateur and professional games admission is free and there are be cosy stands to huddle up in against the winter chill with a wide variety of hot and cold snacks and beverages on offer. The Masters commences with team parades on 14 January, training on the Friday and the tournament itself taking place on the Saturday and Sunday. What better way to kick-start the New Year than with great sportsmanship in an idyllic venue? An event not to be missed for all polo lovers, or for those looking to take up a new interest.

Get into the spirit of Christmas with a range of musical festivities at The Space, not forgetting that all-important glass of mulled wine and a mince pie to kick start the mood. With carol classics such as ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, gather at the Docklands this season for these concerts in aid of the charity, CRISIS. 3 & 14 December


14-17 January For further information, visit

out about

The nights may be drawing in, but there’s plenty to do...

Beat the post-Christmas blues with the January sales. Liberty and Selfridges open their doors on Boxing Day with Harrods and Harvey Nichols following suit on 27 December. If you can’t wait that long then the Harrods Dior Homme Sale Preview takes place on 17 December

THE SNOWMAN Similar to the coca-cola advert, Christmas isn’t complete without The Snowman. Now you can watch this magical winter adventure come to life on stage complete with dance, beautiful sets and stunning costumes at The Peacock Theatre, Holborn. The pinnacle is sure to be the ever-famous walking in the air scene with characters literally flying through snow-strewn skies.

NYE ON THE WATER Sail down the Thames on the £10 million conversion of London’s finest showboat for a mindblowing voyage with unrivalled views of the fireworks and the opening of tower bridge.



A CARLUCCIO CHRISTMAS Take a Mediterranean twist on traditional Christmas delicacies with a complimentary glass of vino cotto and piccoli assaggi (that’s mulled wine and canapés to me and you!) at Carluccios.

THE CRESTA RUN Running since 1887, The Cresta Run is an ice run in the Swiss winter sports town of St. Moritz and is not for the faint hearted. This ice slope (with gradients of 1:2.8 and 1:8.7) runs for three-quarters of a mile with a drop of 514ft and is built from scratch every year using the natural contours from the hillside. Taking a twist on traditional tobogganing, members are placed on a steel “skeleton sleds” and plunge headfirst down the slope. With your arms by your side, you have to steer with your shoulders just inches above the ground in order to remain streamlined and achieve speeds of up to 80 miles an hour. Membership entitles you to a quick introduction, equipment supplied by the club and up to five rides down The Cresta Run. The slope is open three days before Christmas until mid February so visit the website for more information on this pure thrill seeking winter activity.

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS... ... Is a unique and high quality item? Then look no further than the festive shopping extravaganza in the old Truman Brewery. With the aid of the elite talent of East London in art, fashion and design, the highest quality of unique handmade goods ensure that Christmas shopping will be far from a mundane chore.

NYE IN THE DARK Back by popular demand, this previously sold out event guarantees a night to remember and promises not to extort you with drink prices. Set in the spectacular O2 academy, performances are from the likes of Royksopp, Chase and Status and a surprise guest to greet in the New Year.

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The Triumph of The Teddy And for his next trick, teddy will take over the world... The bear has become a permanent fixture. He’s there in films, books and bedrooms across the country. Kaye Holland explores the rise of the cuddly companion


he teddy bear has become a dominant presence in the toy industry – remarkable in an industry that lives with its eye on the door. Transformers and Teletubbies have all met their end, yet the humble teddy has survived a century of colossal change. As a trusted companion to millions, he holds a special place in our hearts. But how to account for the enduring appeal? One theory touted takes into account the similarity between the bear and human beings; the bear could, like a human, stand and walk on two legs – a skill not shared by many animals. Another explanation is its universal appeal: bears don’t answer back and are equally as appealing to girls and boys. While the appeal might be hard to define (it isn’t logical or educational),what is clear is that bears have seeped into the public consciousness with a growing number of magazines – Hugglets,Teddy Bear Times – all clamouring for the attention of the teddy enthusiast. The Golden Teddy Awards were introduced in 1987 and the TOBY (or Teddy Bear of the Year Awards) in 1990.


The surge in popularity was evident at the recent ‘Bearfest’ held at Kensington Town Hall in September. As the doors opened, hundreds of people – some in their teens and twenties, others edging closer to claiming a pension – swarmed inside to gaze devotedly at a cornucopia of bears. A joyful bonhomie, not seen since Christopher Robin rescued Pooh from the Heffalump trap, prevailed with punters prepared to part with premium amounts of cash – despite Britain being in the midst of a recession. But if bears are now recognised as collectors’ items, a few decades ago it was a different story says former head of Christie’s, Leyla Maniera: “When I joined Christie’s in 1980, bears weren’t recognised as collector’s items.” The catalyst for change came in 1989 with the arrival of an extraordinary Steiff – the Rolls Royce among toy manufacturers – answering to the name of Alfonzo. His previous owner had been Russian Princess Xenia – second cousin of Tsar Nicholas II and great, great granddaughter of Catherine the Great. Given to Xenia by her father, the Grand Duke George Michailovich, the tiny ted accompanied Xenia everywhere right up to her death in 1965. A generation later, when Alfonzo was offered for sale, the hammer fell for a record price of £12,000. Ms Maniera admits to being, “… staggered. I originally valued the bear at £4,000 and even then the board said: ‘You’re crazy. A bear isn’t worth that much.’ I stood firm because there was an enormous amount of magic about Alfonzo, still for someone to pay £12,000 was phenomenal.” The price astounded all present, and the press – there to cover a rare Charles II wooden doll – diverted their attention to Alfonzo, whose photograph was beamed across the world the next day. After Alonzo, prices began to leap frog and the world record for a Steiff today stands at an astonishing £130,000: U Pithcom (The Little One) has inhabited

his owner Mr Josie Kim’s museum on Chsu Island, South Korea, since 2001. Still, while a growing number of collectors, disillusioned by the insecurity of global financial markets, have discovered that the teddy can be more than a toy, most of the arctophiles – the name given to a teddy lover – which I spoke to at the Kensington Bearfest wouldn’t dream of parting with their furry friends.

YOU’RE CRAZY. A BEAR ISN’T WORTH THAT MUCH Money will never be the motivation – they don’t dream of making millions, but of a friendly face. The bears are all important and not in the auction house sense. Or as Tristan Wainwright – part of the family firm Asquiths who run two shops in the picturesque Home County towns of Eton and Henley – puts it: “Buying a bear is about falling in love, rather than acquiring a status symbol.” It’s a stance shared by Sue Pearson, an experienced collector and author of Miller’s Antiques Checklist: “When I first started collecting, I bought bears purely on looks alone. It was the faces that attracted me.” Collections can grow in different ways. The late English actor, Peter Bull’s attachment to teddies stemmed from his childhood when his bear was given away. Knowing how much this loss mattered, a friend gave Bull a bear back in 1948. Christened ‘Theodore’, he immediately became an immediate favourite travelling everywhere with Bull from Broadway to the Greek island of Paxos, where the actor had a holiday home. Others have received bears in recognition of a special event and this has sparked a collection. The question is: Can bears sustain their popularity? In a moribund industry, nothing is guaranteed. Nonetheless longevity looks likely. In an era of constant change, bears possess a reassuring quality. They offer a


sense of escapism, transporting us away from the hideous modernity of plastic toys and reality TV, back to childhood and our past, or rather an idealised interpretation of the past. And maybe, just maybe, in these troubled times a sense of escapism is what we all desperately need.  BIRTH OF THE BEAR Invented in one continent, the bear was given its name and adopted by another. In Germany, Richard Steiff designed the first jointed bear over 100 years ago. A nephew of Margaret Steiff, founder of the famous soft toy company, he based the design on real bears he’d seen at Stuttgart Zoo. The first batch appeared at the Leipzig Toy Fair in 1903, was sold to a buyer and subsequently sent Stateside. It was in the US that the teddy got his name. Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt, the US President, was portrayed in a political cartoon that appeared in the Washington Post in November 1902, refusing to shoot a bear that had been captured for him to kill. The cartoonist, Clifford Berryman, continued to associate Roosevelt with this endearing bear and subsequently New York shopkeeper, Morris Mitchom, made a soft toy bear naming it ‘Teddy’s Bear’ as a tribute to the President. By 1907, the term ‘teddy bear’ had become widely adopted in both continents.


Christmas gifts

of the best For those who need some last minute inspiration...


Brave the elements in style with a Duffle Coat and scarf from Eden Park. Distinctive pink cotton corded stitching on the inside, attached hood and shoulder patches on the front the back make this the perfect armoury for the brutal winter weather. Engraved leather/resin frogs in the shape of rugby balls give this the classic Eden Park rugby feel, as does the trademark metal bowtie logo on the left pocket flap. Part of Eden Park's Club House line, their casual chic clothing draws inspiration from the traditional English club house and the world of cultivated sports where appearance and elegance still play an integral role. The brand has always been associated with some of Europe's greatest rugby teams and, since starting in 1987, has become France's quintessential rugby designer.

For more information, visit the boutique at 3-5 Golden Court, Richmond, call 020 3166 4031 or log on to www.


Finding the perfect tree this Christmas need not be an arduous, time-consuming quest. Brown’s of London has had a presence in Canary Wharf for nine years and has a wealth of experience in all aspects of modern and traditional floristry. Their broad range of Christmas trees and exquisite winter flowers give you the highest quality and most interesting variety, daily from the auctions of Aalsmeer and Rijnsburg in the Netherlands. They deliver free within Canary Wharf and with their effortless online internet ordering, all you have to do is order products via email and then collect them at designated time. So if you don’t know your Norwegian Spruce from your Nordmann Fir, drop them an e-mail for a blossom of Christmas delivered direct to your door.

For more information visit Brown’s London in Canada Place, call 020 7512 9275 or log on to



Established in 1965, Musto was founded by Keith Musto, a British Olympic sailor and engineer, who combined his sports and technical expertise to create product to withstand even the most extreme conditions. Having kept countless athletes warm, dry and comfortable, today Musto is the world’s leading sailing and country sports clothing brand. This superb finely crafted Gun slip is the highest quality leather, featuring antique solid brass accessories and canvas strap to give it both a timeless elegance and high functionality. This antique leather cartridge bag is the perfect shooting accompaniment, durable yet stylish enough to take anywhere.

For more information call 01268 491 555 or log on to


For those that want to enjoy the atmosphere of The Ryder Cup in truly extraordinary surroundings, Ryder Cup hospitality offers a wide range of fantastic packages that give guests exclusive access to some of the finest views of the course. Bespoke packages range from one to six days and are guaranteed to deliver an unrivalled and unforgettable experience. Alongside the chance to watch some of the greatest golfers on the planet in action, guests will be served a threecourse lunch with wine alongside a range of other wonderful benefits. Twenty-four of the world’s leading golfers guarantee high-octane golf and great drama, all for your pleasure in the highest luxury of the Celtic Manor Resort.  

For more information, call 01344 840 400 or log on to


Christmas is for indulging - both yourself and your loved ones - which is why January is the perennial time for detox regimes. The Chelsea Club, one of London’s most exclusive health clubs and spas, has designed the perfect Christmas gift that keeps on giving long after that last mince pie has been scoffed. Choose from one of four deluxe packages that will kick start the dreaded January detox in style. With a huge variety of treatments on offer, including personal training sessions, nutrition consultations and spa sessions – not to mention use of top class gym facilities such as a 25m pool, organic café, crèche and private parking – getting fit in the New Year promises to be a hassle-free and even enjoyable experience.

For more information, visit The Chelsea Club at Chelsea Football Stadium, call 020 7915 2200 or log on to


Black chiffon and satin ribbon ‘Tanja’ dress to order, Bruce Oldfield, 27 Beauchamp Place, SW3, 020 7584 1363, Black biker ‘Yule’ boots, £695, Jimmy Choo as before; black leather gloves, stylists own.

Suicide Blonde

Photography by: Oly Barnsley Fashion Editor: Lucie Dodds

Silkbias cut dress with patent and steel belt, Ralph Lauren; black beret, ÂŁ19.95, Whiteley at Fenwick, as before.

Black organdy flock spot frilled hem dress, £1,895, Jasper Conran, 020 7292 9080, Lace gloves, £39, Cornelia James at Fenwick, New Bond St, W1, 020 7629 9161 Black patent platform ‘Gesture’ stilettos, £435, Jimmy Choo, 020 7823 1051, Black ankle socks and black top hat, stylists own.

Black lace crochet dress, £2,710, Alaia at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, SW1, 020 7235 5000 Black patent and steel clutch ‘Tube’ bag, £895, Jimmy Choo as before

Black ‘Swan’ silk and lace body with silk belt, £245, Agent Provocateur, Black tuxedo dress, £359, Paul & Joe at Harrods, Knightsbridge, SW1, 020 7730 1234 Black lace and frill ‘Constance’ Stay-ups, £55, Wolford, 020 7529 3000, Vitalumiere Eclat Comfort Radiance Compact Makeup in Beige Pastel, Chanel. Hair: Choccy at One Make-up using Bumble & Bumble Make-up: Yvette Redmond at Tiger Creative using Chanel Beige Fragrance, Lotion Confort Toner, Hydramax + Active Serum and Hydramax + Active Moisture Fluid Moisturiser, Eye Tonic Dark Circle Corrector Eye Cream, Vitalumiere Eclat Comfort Radiance Compact Makeup in Beige Pastel, Lift Lumiere Smoothing and Rejuvenating Eye Contour Concealer, Sculpte Sourcils Sculpting Brow Pencil in 51 Blond Clair, Les Tissages Lames De Chanel Shimmering Tweed Highlighter, Joues Contraste Powder Blush in 44 Narcisse, Quatuor Boutons de Chanel Les Folies Noires Eyeshadow, La Ligne De Chanel Professional Duo Eyeliner in Noir Lame & Ecriture de Chanel, Automatic Liquid Eyeliner in Noir /Black, Inimitable Multi-Dimensional Mascara in Noir Obscur, Rouge Allure Laque Lumious Satin Lip Laquer in 7, Le Vernis Nail Colour in Vendetta Model: Alicja at Premier Model Management. Thanks to Maxine.

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fashion Ultra Jewellery Monochrome has been heralded as the leading look of the season ranging from suits to stilettos to jewellery and designers at Chanel is no exception. The Chanel Ultra Jewellery collection consists of a juxtaposition of black and white tones set off in a backdrop of gold and diamonds bringing classic and versatile pieces that are the epitome of Chanel. Extremely wearable, these pieces would look fabulous with a simple shift dress or one of their luxe wool suits.



Available from Selfridges.


Military tailoring Prepare to stand to attention as the military look storms the runway this season with the likes of D&G and John Galliano leading the way.

When the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s cocktail dress was bought in an auction for an incredible £410,000, the fashion world was rife with speculation... Whatever the identity of the mystery shopper, the rumour mill is oiling its wheels as further Hepburn items go under the hammer this month. Imagine Givenchy hats, silk coats, evening gowns and even the lace cocktail dress Audrey wore in How to Steal a Million in 1966, the haute couture gown worn in Love in the Afternoon in 1956 as well as letters, photographs, accessories and ivory satin bridal gown. As if that wasn’t enough for style icons, the auction will also feature items from the wardrobe of Marie Helvin, one of the very first supermodels, known for her high fashion rock n’ roll style and personality both on and off the catwalk. With evening wear by Bruce Oldfield, Rifat Ozbek, Belville Sassoon,Yves Saint Laurent and Ossie Clark as well as superb bags and accessories mainly by Chanel and Hermes.

D&G military jacket, £995 from

La Galleria, 30 Royal Open Arcade, Pall Mall 020 8676 4600.

Two of the hottest trends collide when Rule Britannia meets sequins with this clutch from Lulu Guiness (£275), go on add some sparkle to your LBD this Christmas.

Website of the month:

No. 35 Owner and designer Andrea Cohen celebrates the pleasure of shopping itself in her fashion boutiques in Highgate and Chelsea, offering expert advice to the highest profile clients and dressing many of our city’s most powerful women.

Buy of the month:

Girl meets dress When the words ‘party’ and ‘borrow’ are on a website’s frontline, you know you’re in for a treat. is a godsend for those of us who want to get our hands on the likes of a Lanvin couture piece without the financial commitment. With a range of dresses retailing between £300-3,000.

Shop of the month:

Bargain of the month:

Online shopping certainly has its perks and now women of all shapes and sizes have an easier and more practical way to shop with the launch of this new website that allows customers to shop by body shape from a wide range of retailers.

Trend of the month: Designers like DKNY are all over the 1940s look this season with high-waisted pencil skirts in pinstripes and coordinating jackets. Team with red accents for full-on glamour.







Vani-T has just launched their new professional spray tan Liquid Sun Velocity in time for this Christmas party season. It’s a revolutionary formula that develops in a record speed of just one hour – you wash it off after one hour for a light tan, after two hours for a medium tan and after three hours for a dark tan! It’s never been easier to achieve a natural looking sun kissed glow in a flash. Liquid Sun Velocity is the first spray tan to use quad bronzing technology to counteract any orange tones leaving a very true shade of brown, which suits all skin tones. It’s also proven to fade 80% better than others on the market lasting up to ten days to take you from Christmas Eve to New Years Eve looking like a sun kissed party princess! And with celebrity fans including Dannii Minogue, Jennifer Aniston & Cameron Diaz. It’s the perfect choice for a natural looking tan this season £30 from salons and spas nationwide



TOP TIP: Use Vani-T Bronzing Custard every other day to maintain your tan. This gradual tanning formula enriches skin with radiance boosting power to maintain your sun kissed glow from head to toe.

From violet berries to rich plums, purple is the season’s new red. Clinique’s new Black Tie Violets collection captures the trend perfectly, sweetly feminine yet bold. Different Lipstick in A Different Grape is a must.

MUST HAVE TREND: Bigger is better

Salon of the month:

For an exclusive hair experience that oozes urban chic, Taylor Taylor London is the place to go. With award-winning stylists on hand, you can indulge yourself in top quality treatments whilst receiving a complimentary cocktail or two. As featured in Vogue, the interior VERDICT: comes straight from a World of Welcoming and Interiors vintage special and the stylish, interior service is, whilst you may fear guru's will love what uber-stylish and superior at first, they've done to the welcoming, friendly and expert. place: A safe pair of scissor-hands. Overly cautious, we opted for the simple blow wave and stylist, Lok Lau (a regular stylist to the national consumer press), worked his effortless style and magic. 020 7377 2737

As you may already know, feathers are huge this season walking the runways of designers such as Alberta Feretti and filtering down in to high street chains such as Topshop in the form of ostrich feather minis. Now this hot trend can adorn your eyelids thanks to eyelash king shu uemura and their make-up artist associate, Gina Brooke, who have created delicately feathered petal tipped false eyelashes for high impact eyes that are still natural looking. Enjoy an extravagant, fanciful look, £55.

Big hair was all over the catwalk this season and looks as if it is going to transcend in to next season with the recurrent 80’s vibe. So make your everyday hair just that little bit more volumised by scrunching with plenty of hair mousse and using hairspray on your roots. For the more daring ones among us, invest in a pair of hair crimpers a la Christian Lacroix to fully embrace this trend.



The Future of Vision Going to the opticians is now a completely chic and rejuvenating experience thanks to the recent launch of the exclusive Eye Spa at EYE TO EYE, Knightsbridge. Chelsey Baker finds out more

Your eyes play a more important role than

procedures to aesthetic appearance.”

any other facial feature in the expression of

The exclusive network which forms the unique Eye Spa team includes internationally renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Kirwan, top Harley Street eye surgeon Dr. Pillai, distinguished facial rejuvenation practitioner Dr. Jean-Joseph and the UK’s leading micro pigmentation specialist Andrew Stassi.

your emotions and early signs of ageing. As a result, the first ever total eye spa has landed in London offering more than just eye examinations and accessories. The Eye Spa concept offers a destination where you can be assured that your eyes are kept in optimum health, whilst also looking fresh and revitalised. EYE TO EYE - KNIGHTSBRIDGE offers a comprehensive service encompassing optimum vision solutions, a unique collection of eyewear and bespoke fittings; all of which can be enhanced with services at the Eye Spa to ensure that eyes look and feel their best. Sunny Sahota, managing director of EYE TO EYE explains: “We are already known for our unrivalled eye care services and being at the forefront of luxury eyewear, so to enhance our services we wanted to provide clients with the expertise of our specialist partners. “Rather than just recommending or referring third party services, we have entered into partnership arrangements with the best eye care specialists available to launch the Eye Spa, hence we are now a destination for professional and specialist advice about anything eye care related from clinical

Close to 150 million people sit in front of a computer monitor each day and many of us spend in excess of two hours at a time, focusing on screens as we complete work projects, blog, or just surf the web. If a significant portion of your day involves computer time as part of your job, you are entitled to claim an eye examination paid for by your employer. Sandip Sahota, resident optometrist explains: “As the eyes perform more demanding tasks, it may make employees working with computers more aware of an eyesight problem and even make those with preexisting vision defects more aware of them if not corrected.  Visual health can affect professional performance at work. To safeguard this, an eye examination is a vital health check.” The eyewear collections on offer at EYE TO EYE range from niche brands to leading

fashion houses, including Chanel, Balenciaga (a favorite amongst celebrities such as Victoria Beckham) Bottega Veneta, and Tom Ford. New to the store is the Phillip Lim collection which has only been distributed to the world’s most prestigious opticians and boutiques. Furthermore, EYE TO EYE also offers handmade glasses from buffalo horn incorporating gold, gemstones or fabrics into the natural horn and it can all be arranged entirely at your convenience, either at your home, workplace or at the Eye Spa showroom. For more information, EYE TO EYE – KNIGHTSBRIDGE, 3A Montpelier Street, Knightsbridge, SW7 1EX, call 020 7581 8828 or log on to 

EXCLUSIVE READER OFFER Bring in your old glasses (or sunglasses) and receive up to £50 off a brand new pair! All tradedin glasses will be donated to Vision Aid Overseas, a UK charity dedicated to helping people in the developing world whose lives are blighted by poor eye sight.



HOLIDAY We go on holiday to repair and rejuvenate, but in recent years travellers have been taking things a little more literally. Niall O’Donoghue examines the growth of medical tourism


couple of decades ago the UK experienced a shift away from the rainy seaside holidays of British tourism, turning to more exotic adventures overseas. Today, this trend has developed further and a new species of tourism has evolved, but this time the driving force is healthcare rather than leisure.  Raking in an astounding $20 billion a year and set to increase fivefold by 2012, medical tourism is really taking off in the UK.   The NHS has been pushed back to second place by foreign clinics claiming to offer medical care of comparative quality. In countless countries, from Spain to India, private independent clinics bring hope to those caught up in NHS waiting lists or struggling with the cost of private alternatives in the UK.   Thailand is just one country that has taken the initiative with medical tourism catering for the growing numbers who are shopping the globe for the best - and best-value - medical care. Some of the most modern are in Bangkok.  The famous Bumrungrad sees more than one million patients a year, about half of which are visitors and expatriates from overseas.  Patients go for anything from medical checks to knee replacements to cosmetic surgery.   The attraction is that Thai medical staff have been trained in some of the best universities and hospitals in the world, from Harvard to Cambridge and the cost is often lower than at home - generally, between half and two-thirds of the cost for equivalent treatment in the British private health sector.   Dentistry is another health sector that is becoming increasingly popular with visitors due to the ease of getting an appointment

and as before, the fact that most procedures cost less than half what they do at home.  The DC-one dental clinic has outlets in Bangkok and Phuket, where it looks after the teeth of many of the embassies staff and, whilst offering whistle-stop treatments, they will only do things that are in the best interests of the patient working very closely with hospitals to ensure that the best treatment is given. They are also trained to deal with the many who have phobias of going to the dentist.   Another destination flourishing with the increase of medical tourism is Spain, where  British patients can save 35% on average private fees and in some cases the savings can be even more substantial; for example, fertility treatment which could cost £8,000 in the UK, can cost as little as £2,300 in Spain.   Undeterred by warnings from such organisations as the BMA to be wary of pitfalls such as hidden costs and language difficulties, thousands of Britons are packing their bags every year and joining the mass movement of medical tourism.  Such is the exponential growth in interest for medical tourism that a full guide was made available online for practical, accessible advice on going abroad for medical treatment. The guide compiled by www.treatmentabroad. net includes advice on everything from deciding where to go, to how to compare different providers. n   For more information on medical tourism, visit For more information on the dental clinic mentioned in Thailand, visit

Dc-One treatment room

Dc-One entrance


Old city

EAST MEETS WEST Josephine O’Donoghue combines a short break to northern Croatia with a day in Venice and a night aboard the Venice Simplon Orient Express


o me, a short break means three days in a European capital. Lovely, yes – but formulaic after a time. Think Easyjet; boutique hotels; street cafés; and an inescapable pressure to ‘see the sights’ and appreciate the culture. With three days off work, I wanted to get away from the office and away from London – but without the pressures that a city break so often includes. Forget cocktail bars on the top floor of a towering hotel; forget art exhibitions that take up half a day; I wanted the laid back continental lifestyle for a few days, without time constraints or any great expectations. Fortunately, a couple of friends had just returned from the charming coastal town of Rovinj (in the northern region of Istria, Croatia) raving about its old world charm, friendly locals and slower pace of life. With temperatures ranging from 20-30°C in summer (and sea temperatures reaching an impressive 28°C in August) it

presents itself as the perfect location for a short break. I decided to put it to the test. Travelling with friends, we arrived in Rovinj one late afternoon in early June. Leaving our bags at the hotel (the fabulous 5* Hotel Monte Mulini, with beautiful rooms and wonderful staff), we decided to take an early evening stroll through the town as the sun dropped into the sea and the sky turned from pink, to orange, to purple. The town is widely known as one of “the most photogenic towns in the Mediterranean” and it doesn’t take long to appreciate its unique beauty. Once an island (a shape clearly visible in its layout) and fishing town, Rovinj sits on a stunning piece of coastline, with twentytwo tiny islands close by. An area of protected natural heritage, its rocky coast, beautiful woodland and ancient town offer endless possibilities for recreation (biking, horse riding, jogging and sailing amongst

of Rovi


the most popular). Utterly charming (especially as the sun sets and the night lights begin to twinkle), Rovinj is a maze of winding streets, interlocking squares, markets, craft shops, restaurants, bars and musicians. An enchanting location, you can feel your worries ebb away with the gentle crashing of the waves around the town – hardly surprising then, that it is becoming ever more popular with the stressed British. Whilst there is quite a choice of hotel accomodation in Rovinj, the newest and most luxurious hotel is the beautiful Monte Mulini. My room had a subtle interior decor based on the natural surroundings and gorgeous balcony which I could leave open overnight. With a panoramic view of the Adriatic Sea and Zlatni rt woodland along the coast, it was the perfect place to unwind with a book or glass of wine. Despite the numerous restaurants in Rovinj, the hotel restaurant is usually the best choice for the first night of a holiday; we dined at the restaurant Mediterraneo, and sampled dishes from an innovative fusion of well-known and traditional Greek, Spanish, Lebanese and North African cuisines. The Wine Vault is the second of Monte Mulini’s fine dining restaurants serving a combination of French and Mediterranean cuisines, and is the more formal of the two. With 550 carefully selected Croatian and imported labels and one of the best Croatian sommeliers, Emil Perdec – the Wine Vault is widely considered the hottest restaurant in Istria.

Happily ensconced in the Hotel Monte Mulini for three nights, we got to know the local area well; the surrounding natural beauty is breathtaking and whether you’re going for a fish picnic on the Limska draga fjord (which comes highly recommended) or going trufflehunting in nearby Grožnjan the views are absolutely spectacular. For most travellers on short breaks in Europe, the journey home is nothing to look forward to. Budget airlines with hidden costs and ridiculous limitations on luggage make the journey a stressful end to what should be a relaxing break. But this is where a little extra planning goes a long way. Rather than driving back to Pula or Trieste airports (the two closest to Rovinj), we drove around the coastline to Venice, where we spent the morning exploring the winding canals of this beautiful city. From Venice we were able to board the iconic Venice Simplon Orient Express (VSOE) train and travel in glorious luxury all the way back to London. No arduous checkin or extra baggage charges here! (Good job too, as my suitcase was crammed with bottles of delicious Istrian olive oil, jars of truffles and Croatian wine not available outside the country). Looking forward to the journey home was an entirely new experience, but one I am keen to repeat. The VSOE (as appears in the


Where t

Hotel pool

most recent Chanel No 5 advert starring Audrey Tautou) is the epitome of glamour; original 1920s carriages restored to their former glory, Venetian glass panels in the dining cars, walnut panelling in each compartment, and the finest attention to detail I have ever experienced. This is what luxury, glamour and timeless elegance looks like. Leaving Venice late on a Saturday morning, the glossy blue and gold train snaked through the breathtaking scenery of the Italian Dolomites and the Swiss Alps. We enjoyed a delicious lunch together whilst watching the mountains pass us by, chatting to the other passengers and marvelling at the beauty of the famous train. As I sipped champagne in a high-backed arm chair, and gazed out at the sublime mountain views I soon acknowledged that nothing comes close to this kind of travel. Attentive stewards serve tea and cakes in each private compartment mid-afternoon – after which you might take a nap or enjoy a book. There’s something about train travel that Hotel lobby slows you right down; alongside the gourmet cuisine and endless champagne, time is another luxury offered by the VSOE. As we socialised over cocktails in the bar car and dined on the most exquisite French cuisine that evening, the stewards passed through the carriages,

o stay:

tel oms at Ho Double ro i start from €230 ulin Monte M . breakfast g in includ it is v s n o ati For reserv or call m converting the compartments o .c a tr ww.mais into comfortable bedrooms with w 85 52 800 250 +3

soft white towels, crisp bed linens and extra blankets. The train continues its journey through the night, and once tucked up in my bed, I was gently rocked into a deep sleep by the rhythmic movement of the carriage. The train passed through Paris Gare de l’Est the following morning, stopping to pick up fresh lobsters for brunch later that morning – after a quick stroll for a morning newspaper in Paris and a mouth-watering brunch with champagne, we were speeding towards Calais and the British Pullman train at Folkestone. All too soon we were pulling into London Victoria train station, at around 6pm on a Sunday evening. Boarding urant the plane to Trieste on o resta errane Medit Wednesday seemed but a dim memory after five days exploring the beautiful region of Istria and journeying across Europe on the Orient Express.Yes, this was a short break, but for once I came home feeling rejuvenated, and satisfied that I had experienced something more than a weekend tourist trap. A fantastic combination, Rovinj and the VSOE combine the very best of Europe on both sides of the Adriatic and I cannot wait to do it all over again next year. n THE VENICE SIMPLON ORIENT EXPRESS For more information, visit


ISTRIA Don’t miss… ...the main Church of St. Euphemia in Rovinj where the relics of the saint (a fourth-century woman from Constantinople) are kept. From the church plateau there is a wonderful view of the open sea

...the Batana (flat-boat)

Museum in the town centre; this flat-bottomed boat is unique to Rovinj (and the small museum takes no more than 30 minutes)

...walking or cycling in the Zlatni rt parkland forest, near to the Hotel Monte Mulini island cruise – boats leave hourly from the Rovinj port to St Andrew’s island where the Laterna restaurant serves delicious Istrian dishes for lunch and dinner treatments at

the Monte Mulini Hotel – the hotel’s Signature Gold Massage was one of the best I’ve ever had, using rich massage oil made from ancient Asian medicinal herbs, 22-carat gold, essential plant oils and algae


...a visit to the nearby town of Pula to see one of the most well preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world (alongside a selection of highend boutiques and wine bars!) spa






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20/11/09 13:25:14




SAN FRANCISCO Stephanie Baxter spends a day in America’s cultural hometown


an Francisco is, without doubt, the most interesting and diverse city in the west of the USA. Walking around the different neighbourhoods, there is a real sense that here, anything goes and you will never, ever be bored. 9am: Breakfast at Lori’s Diner In my opinion, you can’t have breakfast in the USA unless you’re eating it in an authentic American diner; and Lori’s was named ‘Best Diner’ by the SF Weekly newspaper. Close to Union Square, it’s perfectly located for the start of a day in the city. Try the Buttermilk Pancakes or Eggs Benedict; but don’t be tempted to order extrass –; the portions are huge, and you definitely don’t want to be roaming around the city feeling fit to burst. 10am: Stroll around Pier 39 A ride on the cable cars is an absolute must whilst you’re in San Francisco.You can take the Powell-Mason line all the way from Union Square to near Fisherman’s Wharf. Pier 39 is only a ten minute walk away from the end of the cable car line, and here you can catch your first glimpse of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. 12pm: Cycle to Sausalito About eight miles away, over the Golden Gate Bridge, lies the beautiful waterfront community of Sausalito. Otis Redding famously wrote his song Dock of the Bay whilst staying on a houseboat there. Hire a bike from one of many hire companies in Fisherman’s Wharf (Bay City Bikes and Blazing Saddles are both good, reputable companies) cross the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy some of the best views of San Francisco on your journey. 1pm: Lunch at Le Garage Bistro As Sausalito has a feeling of the French Riviera about it, it seems only fitting to soak up the

atmosphere whilst sitting on a waterside deck enjoying beautiful French cuisine. Foie Gras au Torchon is the perfect starter, and I would also recommend the exquisite Mussels L’Esigoule. If you think you can manage it, indulge in their fabulous Lavender and White Chocolate Crème Brûlée. 3pm: Visit to Alcatraz No visit to San Francisco is complete without a visit to one of the most famous prisons in the world. There are numerous companies that can arrange tours which include the ferry ride to and from the island, alongside an audio tour of the prison itself. It’s advisable to book this well in advance. 6pm: Shopping in Union Square After an intense day of sight-seeing, take a gentle wander around San Fran’s best shopping district. Both Union Square and the nearby Westfield San Francisco Centre will provide you with all the big name high street and designer stores. 8pm: Dinner at The Cheesecake Factory It might not sound like the most glamorous meal, but if you want to eat with the best view of Union Square as the backdrop, this is the place to go. Located high up on the roof of Macy’s and with plenty of outside terrace seating, you can take in one of the most beautiful views of San Francisco. The food isn’t half bad d, either, and the cheesecake is to die for. 10.30pm: After-dinner drinks at Tosca Café Head over to the North Beach area to the trendy Tosca Café for some well-deserved Martinis. You’ll feel as if you’re on a film set, which can be attributed to the classic, vintage 40s feel that the both the décor and atmosphere provide, as well as the fact that it has actually been used as the backdrop for a number of films. You’ll also have a good chance of seeing some famous faces too. n




The mysterious allure of Marrakech has been attracting visitors for centuries, but in recent years the Red City has morphed from a dusty stop on the hippy trail into a red-hot destination. Sarah Gilbert visits the former Imperial City in the foothills of the snow capped Atlas mountains

deal for those in search of chic exoticism, the city is justly famous for its opulent townhouses that have been rescued from dereliction and converted into stylish boutique hotels (riads). One of the newest and quirkiest examples is Maison MK, tucked away in a corner of the ancient medina. Its creative owners, professional photographers, Paul and Aoibheann Hopkins, have kept its classic structure, adding flowing lines and allowing light to flood in. The courtyard even boasts a plunge pool, perfect for cooling off when the temperature begins to soar. The six suites are an equally sophisticated fusion of traditional and contemporary. Perfect for an indulgent break, with feathersoft beds draped in sumptuous fabrics, enormous tubs and iPods stocked with ambient sounds. Breakfast was a leisurely affair on the sun-drenched roof terrace. We lingered over tangy orange juice, homemade yogurt and a selection of freshly baked pastries, taking in the stunning views of the city, including the iconic Koutoubia Mosque that separates the ancient from the modern. When we hit the winding streets of the medina, armed with a mobile phone courtesy of the hotel in case we got lost, we headed straight for the Djemaa el Fna - North Africa’s most famous square. Only a few minutes walk from the hotel, it was already alive with fortunetellers, acrobats and cobra charmers, with rhythmic gnaoui bands and soapbox preachers adding to the mayhem. Diving into the souks north of the square, we entered a medieval world of labyrinthine passageways devoted to everything from fragrant spices to ironwork. Mile after mile of shoebox-sized emporia




selling all manner of pointy slippers, embroidered kaftans, inlaid mirrors, brass lanterns and leather bags; and artisans painting, carving or hammering their various wares. The panoply of shops is enough to overwhelm the most ardent shopaholic, so I enlisted the help of Laetitia Trouillet. French-born, she visited Marrakech for years before moving there full-time to produce her own exclusive range of stylish handbags under the Lalla label. She also creates customised shopping trips that take the hassle out of haggling. I hankered after a rug so Laetitia led us through the maze to Art Akhnif (6, Fahl Chiadmi Mouassine) where they were stacked from floor to ceiling in every colour and size, from shaggy Beni Ouarain to tightly woven kilim. A wool handira, or Moroccan wedding blanket, caught my eye – a creamy surface scattered with silver sequins – and after a spirited debate in French, with a little Arabic thrown in, Laetitia secured it for a price everyone was happy with. She also shared an insider secret. We left the hubbub of the old quarter and went by taxi to the modern district of Guéliz, where French-style cafés spill onto the pavements and a treasure trove of boutiques stock high-quality leather goods and soft furnishings, such as Atika (34 rue de la Liberté), where you can find Tod’s-style loafers from as little as £30.

d K courtyar

Maison M

We tore ourselves away from retail therapy to explore the small but exquisite Jardin Majorelle. Named after its creator, artist Jaques Majorelle, the garden and its cobalt blue house were later bought by Yves Saint Laurent. We wandered round the shady pathways of this green oasis, marvelling at the array of exotic plants and trees from all over the world. That evening, I headed straight for the hotel spa. The hamman is a hot, steam-filled wet room, and I was scrubbed vigorously from top-to-toe, before being slathered in skin-softening black rhassoul mud and massaged with soothing rose oil. The perfect antidote to a hard day’s shopping. Marrakech has restaurants The Djemaa el Fna - North aplenty. We opted for Terrasse Where t Africa’s most famous square, o EAT: des Epices (15, Souk Cherifia, the iconic Koutoubia Sidi Abdelaziz), hidden at the top Terrasse des Epic es Mosque and the small but (15, Souk of a winding staircase in the heart Cherifia, S idi exquisite Jardin Majorelle. Abdelaziz) , hid of the medina, where we feasted to p of a win den at the ding on succulent olives, a rich beef the heart of th staircase in e medina and fig tagine and chocolate RET: mousse, washed ER’S SEC L L E V A R T nch t with Fre down with glasses of pointmen p guide a n to a , it k o la Bo Trouil sweet mint tea. ta ti e a u L l, t a nd ge yo born loc Looking out on e shops a th 8, 2 h 2 g 7 u 1 ro 2 you th 02 12 74 0 , ls a e to the snow-capped d t a . some gre on request Atlas Mountains I .fr. Rates www.lalla was already planning a return visit to this ace tantalising city. Be K roof terr Maison M warned, Marrakech is distinctly moreish. n

Don’t miss…

Where to stay: Maison MK, 01428 682 262, Ro oms start from €300 based on two sha ring. It is also available for VIP house parties, prices start from €1,500 for the whole riad.


Jardin Maj

Where t


ERE: Fly to Ma rrakech w ith Royal Maroc, ww Air w.royalair ma easyJet, w ww.easyje, or R www.ryan yanAir,


The iconic Suvretta House in St. Moritz offers the ultimate alpine escape. Kate Harrison dons her salopettes to tell us more

o your research on Suvretta House and you will be forgiven for thinking that you are reading a fairytale. The opening image on the website presents you with idyllic alpine scenes, majestic mountaintops and an unforgettable experience and you understand how the resort has become an international mecca for the jet set and sporting world. Located just two kilometres from St. Moritz, this grand oasis of hospitality is nestled in the breathtaking mountains of the Upper Engadine, offering a unique world of leisure away from the bustle of the main village. The dream of hotel visionary Anton Sebastian Bon in 1912 the spectacular house (which really does look like its portrait), has 189 rooms and luxury suites that have been managed by six generations of hoteliers during its nearly one hundred years of distinguished history. The hotel has undergone numerous phases of regeneration dictated by the changing requirements of its demanding cosmopolitan guests but in the past eight years over £30 million has been spent on modernising and renovating this much loved fairytale castle at the top of the world. In 2004 the complete renovation of the east wing took place, creating 50 new idyllic rooms and suites reflecting the gracious belle-epoque era. The integration of an unrivalled wellness paradise was another milestone, as was the creation of the ConBrio banqueting complex. Yet constant change never seems to threaten tradition here, some rituals will never change; tea is always at five. It is truly remarkable that a hotel with such a rich heritage, having hosted guests such as Egypt’s King Faruk, Japan’s Crown Prince Akihito and the Shah of Persia to name but a few, can remain so dedicated to client satisfaction and an individualised service. The secret must be the husband and wife management team Vic and Helen Jacob, who have been running the hotel since 1989 and personally make sure that the wishes of even the most demanding guests are efficiently fulfilled. Their office has always been, and still is, adjacent to the front entrance of the hotel and their door is always open for guests and staff alike. We all have different notions of escape and Suvretta House offers as many opportunities to withdraw into an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity as it does to partake in high-octane sports activities. As a prestigious member of ‘Swiss Deluxe Hotels’ and ‘The Leading Hotels of the World’, whatever your preferred method of relaxation, you’ll always be surrounded by the highest luxury and service. Suvretta Sports and Pleasure is the hotel’s in-house wellness service that places an emphasis on all round wellbeing. From swimming in the crystal-clear water of the 25 metre pool with stunning mountain peak view, or an

Timeless Bliss

travel accommodation Winter season runs from 11 December - 11 April Prices from 257 Euros per person per night include half-board (lunch or dinner), service taxes, vat, regular bus service to and from St Moritz town centre, use of indoor swimming pool and spa. A wide range of packages are available. Via Chasellas 1, St Moritz 7500, Switzerland T: 00 41 81 836 3636 E:

Getting there: Swiss International Airlines 0845 601 0956 Switzerland Travel Centre 00 800 100 200 30

invigorating dip in the Jet Stream you can relax and recharge in one of the most opulent environments in the world. In the winter, the snowy slopes are directly accessible from the hotel’s doorstep. The hotel has its own winter sports gear shop, four curling rinks, a fantastic natural ice skating rink, and its own ski, snowboard and cross-country school. A private ski-lift takes you directly to the vast Corviglia skiing area and at no other resort in St. Moritz do guests have the incredible convenience of skiing straight to the hotel entrance. You need also only bring your skis and hiking gear once, as all sporting goods are carefully packed away and stored for safekeeping until the next year – this highly efficient service has been appreciated by guests holidaying at the hotel year after year. Having listed all the activities on offer, you’ll never want to leave your suite. A feeling of air and light, of comfortable living and understated elegance awaits you as step through the door. Each suite comes with all the usual luxury but it is worth requesting the rooms and suites on the south side of the hotel with magnificent views over the lakes and the mountain landscape of the Upper Engadine. The hotel is also unrivalled in its dedicated service for families with children. The in-house nursery ‘Teddy’s World’ provides professional care and supervision for your little ones, giving you the time to relax as they enjoy a wonderland of fun and entertainment. There is even a separate children’s restaurant, the ‘Teddy Club’, to give parents the chance to enjoy a relaxed meal in adult company, alone or with friend and in winter a giant themed ice palace is even created outside for all the family to explore. Stay at Suvretta and you also get a luxury shopping experience with four exclusive boutiques; Vivaia, Agnona, Ermenegildo Zegna as well as the Sportboutique. The boutique-kiosk “il regalino” caters for small daily needs, and a hairdressing salon offers hair care and elite styling services. Established in 1925 as the first in Switzerland, Suvretta’s very own ski school for private and children’s group instruction is your chance to conquer the slopes in style with the help of some of the world’s skiing and snowboarding experts. Open from mid-December to mid-April each year, the ski school is located within the hotel and is an authorised Swiss ski school. All abilities are encouraged with nursery slopes and a trainer ski-lift operated by the hotel and more advanced slopes also easily accessible. Exclusive highlights of its world-class sports hosting include polo matches, turf races, the Engadine Ski Marathon and the World Bob Championships. As one of the world’s most innovative holiday resorts, Suvretta House has still managed to preserve its commitment to idyllic alpine luxury over the years. Its essence of style, superb service and breath-taking environment makes even the shortest stay at Suvretta House a truly memorable experience and one you’ll want to repeat. n For further information, visit






Ten years ago Canary Wharf was just a business direct: a shining beacon of modern architecture and a blossoming new financial centre, but it was still extremely limited in what it could provide, Dominique Brady chats to Michael Purtill, general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel, Canary Wharf about changing times


o-one ever dreamed of coming here to have fun or to go shopping,” Purtill commences our conversation. Now, he describes Canary Wharf as quite simply “the place to be” in London:  “It has more than 240 shops, bars and restaurants, multiplex cinemas and attractions like The o2 are close by. The area combines all sorts of destinational features making it attractive to people planning to work, live or visit here,” he adds. The area has evolved dramatically, and the Four Seasons has followed the changes and adapted the services it offers accordingly.  This month the hotel celebrates its ten year anniversary (16 December) and looking back Purtill thinks the hotel has had quite a journey.  “We used to be busy Monday to Friday with business clients and then Canary Wharf would be a ghost town at weekends.  Today, the hotel is buzzing at weekends with people coming to enjoy themselves and spend quality time with the family.  There are lots of family bookings and we now have a strong client base of both tourists and locals.” Ten years ago mobiles were the size of bricks and the thought of carrying all your

music around in a single iPod or having WiFi would have seemed like space-age technology. The Four Seasons has kept abreast of technological changes and only last year all the rooms were renovated to have flat screen HD LCD televisions and iPod connections.  The Premier Suites even have music systems in the shower for those who want to sing with accompaniment. However, as I look around the Penthouse suite and admire the stunning Thames view, Michael reminds me that the Four Seasons hopes to offer guests an “experience”, not just luxury accommodation. “Physical aspects only get you so far - our reputation is based on delivering incredible guest experiences and it’s all about service.” The packages for different types of guests vary dramatically.  For business guests the focus is on efficiency and reliability and so the hotel is introducing a machine to print boarding passes in the lobby and a new breakfast takeaway menu, so guests can quickly grab muffins and coffees to grab on the way for meetings. Family attractions, like The O2, have proved a major draw and the ‘River Roamer’ package gives families a weekend pass on the Thames Clipper so they can have a quick and

let’s face it, far more exciting, trip to The O2.The Kid’s High Tea which was launched a month ago has also proved a big hit for both adults and kids. “Children can decorate cakes with piped chocolate, meet our pastry chef and paint their own ceramics – we were amazed at how popular it was.” And finally, for locals the Four Seasons isn’t just a hotel; it’s a place to relax for Sunday brunch, weddings and bar mitzvahs are held every weekend and the hotel even delivers room service to neighbouring apartments, with the burgers proving especially popular. The hotel is far from just a business stop off; it’s a community base for Canary Wharf residents. With the growth of flights coming into London City from Europe and now New York, this has only assisted with the evolution of the area. “The area has such an exciting future in the next ten years and the Four Seasons is the perfect location to capitalise on that.” He continues with a broad smile, “Ten years in and it’s still getting even more diverse and exciting for the Four Seasons team.” n For further information on the Four Seasons Hotel, Canary Wharf please visit



Apparently the Lotus Exige is not for girls, Louisa Castle disagrees


ince joining the team here at RunWild I have parked next to the Lotus, I have endured evenings full of ‘Tales from the Lotus’ and I have read and subbed countless articles about The Lotus. But when was I actually going to be allowed the keys to The Lotus? After all, it would only be to ensure the journalistic integrity of the magazine... At first that question was met with laughter; ‘Eren would never let his baby out of his sight’ but then, one fine day, otherwise known as a looming deadline, I was cast a line and took the bait whole-heartedly (reminding him on a daily basis, and in front of witnesses, that I was getting The Lotus for the weekend, just in case). That fateful Friday arrived and as I was lead to the car park for my induction... Several “push this, pull that, do this, don’t do this and, whatever you do, never do thats” later my copilot (also a girl) and I were ready to navigate across London and head for the Welsh valleys.

Now, before we set out on our journey I feel I need to give you a little background, I am not what some might call a ‘girlygirl’, my dad ensured that I grew up with a steering wheel (typically German) in my hand and my male friends have ensured that I can hold my own on track. More than anything, I am a driver and love driving. Bearing that in mind the first thing I am going to mention is getting into The Lotus. By Sunday I had mastered getting behind the steering wheel in style but I’ve still to get the hang of getting out without unceremoniously presenting my lower half to the world. Oh, and as my co-pilot found out, short skirts are probably not a good idea. Once in though, it’s surprisingly comfy. And after a four hour journey across London and along the M4 I feel we’re highly qualified to say that. You can hunker right down into the bucket seats, stretch out your legs and enjoy the ride.


Still on the girly theme, the boot, which I was kindly warned was only large enough for my lip gloss, quite comfortably held two girls’ bags (a total of four) for a weekend away and we still had room for flowers in the cockpit. And so our journey began, London at rush hour – what joy! Even though we went on a little detour, ahem, it was actually fun. I think that had more to do with two girls in a sports car though. At the lights we attracted second glances, in the traffic jams we befriended small kids who wound their windows down and were asking daddy what ‘it’ was as mummy looked unimpressed and at the road works we attracted the traditional yellow-vested whistle. It was fun before I’d really even driven it. A couple of hours later and we’d put the world to rights, made some new friends (and they say London is a lonely place!) and were on the M4. Now I could play with the acceleration. The benchmark sprint to

60mph is said to take 4.1seconds, making it one of the quickest cars in its line-up, quicker than the Porsche 911 in the stats rankings. It may not be built for straight lines but when Barry from the Valleys in his Evo (the fastest road car that money can buy) decides that he wants to push you on your way you can, most definitely, give him a run for his money, earning petrol-head respect in bounds. The following day was the day for twists and turns in the Usk valley, only dampened by the typically Welsh weather. The car is built for this kind of driving and if you’re expecting it to be good, The Lotus’ ability seems effortlessly natural. Throttle response is good, brakes are strong, gear-shift is accurate but it’s the steering and the chassis that make it such fun to drive. Turn-in is instantaneous and the grip tenacious – once the wheels have bitten you can get straight on the power with no


fears of pushing the nose wide. It resolutely refuses to be pushed off line by bumps and ruts, of which there are many in Usk and, thanks to the non-assisted steering, you feel that you know precisely what is going on beneath you. It is what I would describe as an ‘enthusiastic’ car. It wants to be driven. It wants to be thrown around a corner and eagerly looks for the next and you so easily get drawn into the challenge. As my time with The Lotus draws to a close I can see why I have had so much trouble getting my hands on the keys. I had my reservations, I won’t lie to you. But this car is fun. It looks mean as it sits in your driveway waiting to be taken out. If performs as if its constantly looking for your approval and it makes you want to keep on driving. Is it for girls? Well, it’s for drivers, male, female, old or young. It’s for people who want to have fun. n



As elegant as a coupe, as practical as an estate The latest model to join the class-beating A5 range represents a milestone in car design. This five-door coupe combines an elegant, elongated, sporty profile with a large hatchback that fits perfectly into the tail-end styling.

TDI Quattro S-tronic can hit 62mph from rest in just 6.1 second and then power on to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Yet this astonishingly efficient car will deliver 42.8 mpg on the combined fuel cycle!

The Sportback’s coupe-like silhouette is the result of a roof section with a long, tapering roofline, short overhangs at the front and rear, a long wheelbase of 9.22 and four frameless doors featuring slim, dynamic window styling.

Docklands Audi Head of Business Mike Gibson is particularly delighted with the reaction the model has invoked, commenting:

Yet with a 34.6 cubic feet load area, the model’s versatile load-lugging capabilities are more akin to an estate car than an attractive coupe.

“Yet with the A5 Sportback it very swiftly became apparent that the model’s unique combination of coupe styling, space, versatility and high performance has given it an appeal almost right across the market.”

Under the A5 Sportback’s beautiful skin, a choice of five efficient and powerful diesel and petrol engines ensure that buyers can choose their own preferred mix of economy and performance. Statistics for both are equally remarkable. For example, the 3.0

“When we launch a new Audi model, it is usually only really appeals to a relatively small and clearly defined section of the market.

Prices for the model range start at just £27,140 for the impressively appointed 2.0 TDI SE variant and all models are available for test drive by appointment with the Docklands Audi Sales Team on 020 7536 0555.

DocklandsAudi Strip Ad_Layout 1 20/11/2009 09:37 Page 1

For everything Audi . . .

Docklands Audi South Quay, Docklands E14 9SL Telephone: 020 7536 0555 •



along came

A SPYDER Porsche has revived the Spyder name (again) for a version of its venerable Boxster. But this time its done a proper job, claims Matthew Carter


ast year the company loaded the ‘ordinary’ Boxster S with a host of optional extras and called the resulting special edition a Spyder. But this time Porsche has done a proper job.  The new Boxster Spyder is a pukka lightweight version of the Boxster S with a simple, almost crude, canvas hood and a power hike. Designed primarily for open-air driving in sunnier climes – which is why it’s being launched at this month’s LA Auto Show and not in grey old England – the hood will spend most of its time stowed away under

the unique rear lid, only coming out when conditions get really bad. Apart from the hood and the ‘double bulge’ rear deck, other visual changes include bespoke extra-low side windows designed to enhance the car’s racer look. By removing the complex triple layer electric hood of the standard Boxster, ditching creature comforts like air conditioning and replacing things like door handles with fabric door pulls, some 80kgs has been trimmed from the weight, making it the lightest model in the Porsche line-up.

More significantly, perhaps, most of the weight has been removed from the top of the car thus lowering the centre of gravity. Add to this new suspension settings, an extra 10 bhp from the 3.4-litre flat six engine (power goes up to 320 bhp) and Porsche’s PDK dual clutch gearbox complete with launch control and it can be seen that this Spyder is a machine for the purist. Worldwide sales are due to start in February 2010 and the UK price of almost £44,650 will include a session at the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone. n

RECESSION? WHAT RECESSION? Winter during a recession might not be the best time to launch an upmarket convertible. That hasn’t stopped the UK’s newest car brand, Infiniti, doing just that, reports Matthew Carter


he trouble with folding hardtops is that to accommodate all those bits of metal and leave some space for luggage when the roof is lowered requires a boot the size of a football pitch. Look at a typical coupé/ convertible and it’ll be dragging around a rump reminiscent of the bustle on an Elizabethan lady’s gown. While the benefits of the folding hardtop – security against vandals and year round comfort – are genuine, there’s no getting away from the fact they look, well, a little odd in side profile. All but the latest example of the breed, that is.  The new Infiniti G37 Convertible has a folding hardtop and one of the pertest bums around.  Roof

up or down, the G37 is undeniably handsome… though its looks do come at a price. With the hardtop folded away, there’s just about enough room for a sandwich in the boot.  No bustle here, then. But before you walk away believing the car to be fatally compromised, think on this.  If you’re heading down to the south of France, say, on a touring holiday, will you really drive the length of the country at autoroute speeds with the roof down?  You’ll be buffeted by the wind, deafened by the noise and baked by the sun. No, most sensible folk would pack the luggage in the empty boot and drive down in coupé comfort.  Then, once ensconced at their hotel or villa,

they’d stow the luggage in their room, lower the roof and enjoy the rest of the holiday wafting about in the convertible. Best of both worlds. The G37 Convertible is one of five new cars from a manufacturer new to the UK.  Infiniti is the luxury arm of Nissan – as Lexus is to Toyota – and while the company acknowledges this is not a great time to introduce a new upmarket brand, launch plans have been ongoing for more than two years.  No point in stopping now. Infiniti is, in fact, 20 years old but until recently its cars have only been sold in America.  Now the range is coming to Europe and promises not just something new to drive, but a whole new ownership experience. 


Buy an Infiniti and the service you get at all times will be second to none, reckons the company. Just as well, really. At the time of writing, there’s only one dealer in the country up and running and that’s in Reading.  The location of a London dealer will be revealed soon, but in the meantime Infiniti will pick up and return your car when it needs a service, even if you live 150 miles away. And what of the cars?  Currently there are three models in the G37 range – a saloon, a coupé and a convertible – plus a couple of fourwheel-drive crossovers, the EX and bigger FX.  Top model is the wonderfully non-PC FX50S, powered by a petrol-drinking 5.0-litre V8.  Indeed the entire range is petrolpowered, though a hybrid, a diesel and even a zero-emission electric model are in the pipeline for the future.

For the present, though, it's the G37 models that are likely to make the most headway, even if by going head-to-head with the top end of the BMW 3-series range they’ve chosen the toughest of all rivals. Truth be told, the saloon – engaging though it might be in some respects – is going to have its work cut out. The coupé and especially the convertible, however, stand a much better chance of making an impact. Roof-up the convertible could be mistaken for the coupé, which was exactly what the designers intended.  And roof-down it’s drop dead gorgeous, something the designers also intended.  On the road, the two feel broadly similar.  Power comes from one of the best engines around: the 3.7-litre V6; as also found in the Nissan 370Z.  For Infiniti use, subtle retuning means it develops 320 bhp – some 11 less than in the Nissan – but it’s less peaky for an altogether smoother power delivery.   And it’s especially creamy when allied to Nissan’s latest seven-speed (yes, seven) automatic.  A perfect match for the V6 engine, the new transmission blurs gear shifts when you’re not in a hurry, yet kicks down with the alacrity of a startled greyhound when you are.  And it’s pretty quick.  In auto form it’ll take just under 6 six seconds to reach 60 mph from rest, while top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. With suspension settings retuned to meet European expectations, the G37 offers a damn near perfect compromise between sharp rear-wheel drive handling and a cosseting ride, while the cabin is a great place to be. Although nominally a four-seater, the two rear perches are best suited either to children or to a briefcase or handbag. But whether you are in the front or rear, the quality of the interior, with its rich wood trim and sumptuous leather, is among the best in the business. Equipment, as you’d expect from a fortygrand car, is generous. 


In the Premium version that means climate-controlled seats, a rear parking camera (vital as you can’t see the edge of the boot from deep within the driver’s seat), laserguided intelligent cruise control, and a BOSE open-air sound system. The latter includes special loud speakers mounted in the front head rests which adapt to ambient noise… in other words, if you’ve got the roof down as the speed rises so does the volume in the speakers to ensure the music isn't drowned by the rush of the wind. Another clever standard feature is the superb ‘infotainment’ (awful word) system which includes an excellent satellite navigation system complete with speed and red light camera warnings, plus a ‘Music Box’ – a hard drive capable of storing up to 300 CDs.  And every Infiniti comes as standard with Scratch Shield paint which literally heals itself if it’s scratched. There are some downsides, of course.  The most obvious is the car’s thirst, especially if you enjoy the performance.  A combined figure of under 25 mpg and a less than environmentally friendly 264 g/km of CO2 won't endear you to the Friends of the Earth.  Still, it could be worse.  You could be driving the FX50S. n

IN BRIEF Car: Infiniti G37 Convertible Premium Price: £41,900 Engine: 3.7-litre V6 petrol Power: 320ps Drive: Rear-wheel drive


and Manchester’s ready and waiting.

The New Year brings four capital clashes to Old Trafford, and with excellent transport links between London and Manchester there is no better destination for first-class matchday entertainment. Watching the drama unfold in some of the finest seats in the stadium is one of the greatest incentives you could offer a corporate partner or potential client. Manchester United welcome West Ham, Fulham, Chelsea and Tottenham in the early months of 2010. Hospitality at the Theatre of Dreams is now available from £180 per person + VAT. Call the Hospitality Sales Team on 0161 868 8000 (option2, then 3), email or visit

912681 London Games Ad_Business Publications.indd 1

26/11/09 09:45:22





news what to watch:

Whites Christmas All eyes will be on England’s cricket team to see if they can repeat their Ashes success on the South Africa tour. Arguably the best cricket team in the world and they’re playing at home, so it’s not surprising that Andrew Strauss has described the tour as a “huge assignment.” But with Kevin Pieterson back from injury and the side showing a return to form, we’re hoping our lads can finish the year on a high. First test: 16-20 December; Second test: 26-30 December

At last an app we can’t get enough of. For only £6 a month you can subscribe to watch Sky Sports on your iPhone by streaming it via a wireless internet connection. That means you’ll be able to watch all the Barclays Premier League and Coca-Cola league matches, domestic and international cricket and Guinness Premiership Rugby matches wherever you are. The iPhone may be man’s new best friend...

PLAY IT: Tony Hawk: Ride Live the dream with Tony Hawke’s new wireless skateboard controller which allows you to feel the thrills of the pro and indulge your inner 13-year-old. Step on the board which is crammed with motion sensors and get ready to hit the LA streets and trick parks. On general release 4 December. Available for the X36O, PS3 and wiiWii, £99 with controller and game included


Diary date:

The only place Valuev beat me was on the scales

4 December

Yes, it was a month ago, but we’re still revelling in the Haymaker’s epic victory and his cockiness now has a certain charm.

: World Cup Final Draw England football fans will already be counting down the days until the World Cup group draw British in Cape Town. At 5pm start time, English fans can matches speculating over the 10. that will dominate 20

Five things you didn’t know about... Kevin Pieterson

Put em’ up After the Hayemaker’s epic win over Valuev, the next fight we’ll be watching bar side will be Amir Khan’s first defence of his WBA light welterweight title. It’s not going to be an easy ride for Khan against New Yorker, Dmitry Salita who has a record of 31 unbeaten fights and 16 knockouts. But with the home crowd cheering him on at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena should help keep the belt in Blighty. 5 December

Still looking for somewhere to eat out over the Christmas period? Try one of pocket-size Frankie Dettori's Italians and combine Marco Pierre White food with Frankies own inemitable style. Or for true blues, dine at Marco's at Stamford Bridge and experience the delights from both sides of the Channel. /

He once dated the lingerie model u Caprice u He was the fastest player to have reached 4,000 Test-runs u He can’t understand Brummy accents. u He was so desperate to meet Simon Cowell, he played a match for Piers Morgan’s village team, Newick u He doesn’t come cheap: the Bangalore Royal Challengers spent $1.55m for him to play in the Indian Premier League


Paradise Lawrence Barretto spends a weekend at the Wentworth Club and finds that there’s a lot more to the exclusive Surrey estate than just a worldclass golf course


urrounded by dramatic woodland and colourful rhododendrons, Wentworth (with its luxurious greens and silkysmooth fairways) is regarded as one of the world’s finest golf courses. But delve beneath the surface of the prestigious golf club, and you’ll find that there’s so much more to explore. Boasting an array of tennis courts; state-of-the art gym facilities; an extravagant range of spa treatments; a luxurious hotel located in the world’s famous turreted clubhouse; and a highquality dining experience in its sumptuous restaurant, The Grill – Wentworth is fast becoming the perfect weekend get-away for City workers. And that’s not forgetting the three 18-hole championship golf courses, a less demanding 9-hole challenge for honing your short game, driving range, two putting greens, practice bunker and chipping green, all of which are available to book by non-members. Priced for those with deep pockets,Wentworth’s exclusive members club demands a cool £14,685 in joining fees for full membership and a further £7,000-a-year in subscriptions. For that you’ll get full use of the facilities while occasionally rubbing shoulders with the host of celebrity members which

include Bruce Forsyth, Sir Michael Parkinson and Eddie Jordan. Let’s begin with the tennis courts. There are 13 courts with four surfaces – grass, allweather, acrylic and synthetic grass – six of which are floodlit. If you’re new to the game, eight professional tennis coaches are on hand to give you a lesson or two, otherwise you can just book some time and get playing. If you’re after something more relaxing, the club has a fantastic spa treatment facility offering a holistic range of treatments in five air-conditioned rooms. There are dozens of treatments on offer, ranging from mini facials to the ‘Signature treatment’ lasting an indulgent two hours and 45 minutes. Bathed in natural light and kitted out with the latest cardiovascular and weight training equipment, the gymnasium is the equivalent of fitness nirvana. Once you’ve worked up a sweat, step next door for a relaxing swim in the club’s 25-metre indoor swimming pool. Naturally, there’s a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna to enjoy too. The main restaurant, The Grill, should be noted for its fine English food. The service is warm and personal, the bar staff know how to make a good cocktail and the menu boasts dishes from London’s Le Caprice and The Ivy.

East Course


Tennis Mid

13th Green After low

After all that, it’s tempting to make a weekend of it and get an early round of golf on Sunday morning, so why not book into one of the well-prepared and immaculately presented resident guest rooms (including complimentary access to the

tennis and health facilities) with spectacular views across the golf course? But if it’s really the golf you’re after, you won’t be disappointed. Located in 700 hectares of beautiful Surrey heathland, Wentworth boasts three 18-hole


Indoor pool

courses which wind their way through the ancient woodland of pine, oak and birch. Designed by Harry Colt, the 6,201-yard East Course was Wentworth’s first and opened in 1924. Its intimate layout challenges the golfer with undulating and springy fairways that zigzag in amongst the woodland thus demanding accurate driving and precision shot-making into the wellbunkered greens. Two years later, the West Course followed; ranked as one of the world’s most exciting courses, it offers visitors the chance to follow in the footsteps of the game’s greats. The likes of Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Severiano Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods are just a few of the legends to have treaded these very lawns when competing in the prestigious World Matchplay or PGA Championship tournaments. The West Course is currently out-of-bounds while the club refurbish all of the greens ahead of next year’s BMW PGA Championship, but it should be ready for play in early spring 2010. The Edinburgh Course is the third 18-hole course on the grounds and hosts the Senior

Masters. It offers a challenge capable of testing the game’s best players while remaining playable to the handicap golfer. Lastly, the 9-hole executive course is great for those looking to hone their short game on its par-3 layout where holes range from 60 to 160 yards. If your golf isn’t up to scratch, a team of PGA qualified coaches (including Head of Instruction Kristian Baker who coaches world number 26 Ross Fisher), are on hand to take you from your first swing on the driving range to becoming a fully competent golfer. With incredibly friendly and helpful staff, an impressive range of facilities, fine cuisine and potentially the best golf course in Europe when completed, Wentworth is more than just sporting facility – it’s a fantastic weekend break which is fast becoming a commuters’ paradise. Located in Virginia Water, near Ascot and just off the A30 in Surrey, Wentworth is easily accessible from London.There is easy access to the M4/M25 and trains from London Waterloo take just 45 minutes to Virginia Water. n For more information visit

Cars with true character have become increasingly hard to find. Until now.

WIN a Lotus Evora drive at Lotus Cars HQ To promote the new Lotus Evora, we are offering the chance to win a day at Lotus Cars Headquarters in Norfolk, including the opportunity to drive the Evora on the legendary Lotus Test Track. This full day will offer everything for the car enthusiasts among you, so to be in a chance of winning pop down and see a member of the team at:

Thursday 3rd at Fulcrum (entrance of Broadgate Arena) and Exchange Square Friday 4th December 2009 at Exchange Square Come and visit us anytime between 7am and 8pm to be in for a chance of winning FULL TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY and are available on request at the event on the 3rd and 4th December 2009


MATCH OF THE DAY Sam Finnegan experiences the thrill of a match from the corporate hospitality lounge at West Ham United’s Boleyn Ground


or those looking for something special to entertain clients, reward employees, locate a special corporate event, or spend a great day out with friends, there’s no better place than hospitality at a football match. The Boleyn Ground is the historic home of east London’s Premier club, West Ham United, founded on generation after generation of passionate fans who have grown up watching the likes Bobby Moore, Sir Trevor Brooking, Billy Bonds and Paolo Di Canio. For me and a band of friends (all very keen Hammer’s fans), the day started as we were greeted at the hospitality reception. A far cry from the usual ‘non-event’ of walking through the turnstiles with a pasty, we were welcomed by friendly and enthusiastic staff who quickly showed us through to the Legends Restaurant and Bar - a comfortable space with fantastic views of the pitch. Relaxing in the restaurant, the atmosphere was lively and social and we kept a keen eye out for ex-players and football legends

rumoured to socialise here before a game whilst dining on a delicious three-course meal. After the meal we continued to enjoy the bar with a friendly and efficient waitress service – a luxury that cannot be enjoyed by going to a match without the hospitality extras! The service was excellent, and we were so comfortable that we only left our table with a few minutes to spare before kick-off. The seating, as one would expect, is far more spacious and comfortable than regular seats, uniting all the comforts of watching at home, with the ‘live’ excitement of the players, pitch and fans. We returned to the bar at half-time to enjoy some drinks and again after the game, where the staff will happily introduce visiting guests to the legends – what better place to drown your sorrows or celebrate the win! n For bookings please call the corporate sales team on 0871 221 2700 or email your enquiry to For more information, visit


Facts GREENWOOD AND LYALL LOUNGE The lounge offers VIP seating behind the goal in the atmospheric Bobby Moore Stand and includes a three-course sit down menu with complimentary, tea and coffee. From £100 (per person) THE CORNER FLAG LOUNGE The Corner Flag is a versatile lounge which can either be used as a shared facility or a private box for up to 30 people. Enjoy a private bar and balcony overlooking the pitch. From £120 per person EXECUTIVE BOX These boxes have a private balcony in the West Stand, with fantastic views of the pitch. From £2,500 (per box for 10 People) SIR TREVOR BROOKING SUITE The Sir Trevor Brooking Suite is an all-inclusive package with padded seating in the Directors Box. Enjoy champagne and canapés followed by a three-course menu and complimentary drinks. From £260 (per person) LEGENDS RESTAURANT The restaurant offers VIP seating in the West Stand and includes a three-course menu and complimentary wine, tea and coffee. Includes match day programme and pre match entertainment. From £150 (per person) BM6 BOX Take a seat in your own private box situated on the halfway line. Each box seats ten guests with complimentary champagne and canapés on arrival and a fine dining menu. From £3,000 (per box for ten people) BM6 LOUNGE BM6 Lounge guests enjoy exclusive seating in the Directors Box. Champagne, canapés, fine-dining menu and all drinks are included. From £350 (per person)

THE JOHN ALDRIDGE CHARITY CLASSIC Triple celebrations were held at Oceânico Group’s Amendoeira Golf Resort last month, when Vicinitee attended the John Aldridge Charity Classic golf tournament in Portugal. Chelsey Baker reports



he week of sports commenced with the official opening of Amendoeira’s €2.7m multi-function Sports Club. Celebrations reached a climax with the two-day John Aldridge charity Golf Tournament, created by the record-breaking goal scorer who enjoyed a glittering career with Liverpool FC and the Republic of Ireland international team. Recently named the World’s No.1 golf destination, The Oceânico Group’s Amendoeira’s Golf Resort was a magnificent setting for the event. This year the tournament was played over both the Faldo and O’Connor Jnr courses, with the clubhouse staging the prize-giving dinner where over €10,000 was raised for charity. The quality and the intensity of the golf was matched by the banter and fun between shots and at the ‘19th Hole’ afterwards. The winning team was ‘The Man from Nama’, whose prize was free entry into next year’s tournament. Former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland midfielder Jason McAteer won the overall celebrity prize with a score of 63 points that earned him third place in the individual competition. Jason explains: “You come to Portugal and have fun, you pay your money to play and it all goes to three wonderful charities, and if you are on the first tee nursing a hangover, that’s acceptable, because it’s a fun event off the course and a competitive one on it.” The customary charity auction following the dinner raised over €10,000, with a pair of football boots donated by Liverpool and England star Steven Gerrard attracting the top bid of €1,700. There was also strong bidding for the boots of Liverpool and Spain striker Fernando

Torres, a shirt signed by the Republic of Ireland football squad and polo shirts signed by Open and US Open winner Padraig Harrington and by Lee Westwood, the Portugal Masters winner. Over the years the John Aldridge Classic has raised more than £60,000 for Aldridge’s favorite charities; Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, Temple Street Children’s hospital, Dublin and NECI in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Aldridge explains that a cheque for £7,000 to Alder Hey has been used to set up four units helping children with terminal illnesses to spend the last two weeks of their lives at home with their families, in familiar and comforting surroundings. The Sports Club is part of the award-winning Amendoeira Golf Resort and features a full size natural grass football pitch; two five-a-side astroturf pitches with floodlighting; six championship standard tennis courts (two floodlit); lawn green bowls – a crown and a flat green; jogging track; a clubhouse with changing rooms, catering facilities, meeting and treatment rooms; plus a gymnasium. The resort facilities also include two stunning championship golf courses – one designed by Nick Faldo and one by Christy O’Connor Jnr – opened in October 2008 and already gaining worldwide recognition. The Sports Club is also adjacent to the par three Oceânico Academy course, with professional golf tuition, Amendoeira Golf Academy & Callaway Fitting Suite and driving range only a short buggy ride away. Away from Amendoeira, Oceânico Group Ambassador Lee Westwood claimed the coveted Portugal Masters title at the Oceânico Victoria course

in true style. It was fitting that the award-winning course saw Westwood claim his first tour title in two years. “Lee’s win is a great thrill for us all here. He has been an outstanding Oceânico ambassador and we are over the moon that he has taken this year’s title,” commented Gerry Fagan, Oceânico Group director and co-owner. The Oceânico Group’s investment spans all levels of golf. From the elite to grass roots golf, the company is responsible for eight courses in Portugal and is unsurpassed in commitment to golf in Portugal and Europe. With seven of its courses located in the Algarve,


Oceânico has taken quality and standard of golf to a whole new level in this region. The Charity Tournament was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for golfers and non-golfers, with such a great atmosphere on and off the course it’s no surprise that everyone had a smile on their face. One thing is certain – the John Aldridge Charity Classic is a fantastic few days, competitive but a lot of fun and I can’t wait to come back again next year. n

For further information on Oceânico Golf, visit



Vicinitee VIP Après Ski Party The Roof Gardens, Kensington Friday 20 November 2009


icinitee VIP proudly hosted ‘The Après Ski’ Party at the magnificent ‘Roof Gardens’ in Kensington. Guests witnessed the venue and gardens transformed into a Winter Wonderland Alpine ski resort, complete with falling snow. An up for it crowd in excess of 450 arrived wearing a colourful mix of vintage and retro ski gear and were served an array of winter

warmers including Schnapps, Jägerbombs, Beer Steins, Glühwein with a Bratwurst and Cheese Fondue feast.The event was a tremendous success and carried on well into the early hours! To learn more about Vicinitee VIP membership and to view all the photo’s from the Apres Ski event, please visit Photographs by Mike Bryant


Dear Clare Is it better to cancel our Christmas party altogether rather than risk the company being sued for sex or religious discrimination?

Robin (HR Director)

Dear Robin,

With a little forethought, employers can still hold, in these recessionary times, a much needed morale boosting celebration without the fear of legal liabilities putting a dampener on those celebrations. The first thing to consider is whether your diversity and equality training is up to date. If any employees have not yet had that training, it would be a good idea that they receive it before the festive season begins. Keep in mind that because Christmas is a Christian holiday, employees of other religions may not wish to attend the party and should not be pressurised to do so. In order to avoid

Martin’$ Money Matter$

Don’t mention the ‘P’ word Martin Bamford, Chartered Financial Planner, Informed Choice


everal years ago, when taking part in my first live radio broadcast, I was instructed by the presenter of the show not to mention the ‘p’ word during the discussion we were having about retirement planning. The ‘p’ word in question was, of course, ‘pension’. Apparently it is a word that puts people off planning for their future. The presenter of that radio show certainly thought so, and this is backed up by new research from AXA. They have gone as far as teaming up with the Collins English Dictionary in

an attempt to find a new name for ‘pension’. Can a name really influence our decision to save or not to save to fund our expenditure in retirement? I suspect it is a bit more complex than that. For some people, there is nothing daunting about pension plans. Pensions are simply a tax-efficient investment wrapper. What really matters is where you choose to invest the money within your pension plan or, in the case of defined benefit (so-called ‘final salary’) pension plans, the benefits

marginalising any non-Christian employees, you should, for example, ensure that the party appeals to individuals who do not drink alcohol, check that an appropriate range of foods is available and try to avoid choosing an evening which would preclude attendance by employees observing certain religious rest-days. Equally, you should avoid excluding the older or disabled employees or employees with childcare responsibilities through your choice of venue or timing of the party. Be aware that employers can be held liable for the actions of employees even outside the office and working hours. The risk of inappropriate comments or behaviour often increases where alcohol is being consumed. Rather than making your party alcohol free, the better approach might be to make sure that you have clear written guidance on acceptable standards of behaviour, including policies on alcohol consumption. Also, employers have a duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of their employees and therefore this should be born in mind when thinking about both where to hold the party and arrangements for getting home. And finally, make it clear that, unless they’ve booked holiday, everyone is expected to be in the office the next day regardless of how much fun is had the night before…

Happy Christmas! Clare

Clare Murray is managing partner at specialist employment law firm, CM Murray LLP. To submit a query, email contents of this column are for general purposes only. Specialist legal advice should be taken regarding specific circumstances

you are accumulating. Sure, there is some necessary complexity involved with pension legislation but most people rely upon their financial adviser to point them in the right direction. It is typically higher earners, those with significant pension fund sizes and people with complex income structures who need to get involved in the really complex bits. There were some major changes to the pension rules back in April 2006, with the intention of making them simpler to understand, and therefore more attractive. Consensus within the financial adviser community is that this ‘pension simplification’ mostly failed to achieve that aim. For advisers, the rules are now mainly easier to understand. However, as with all new legislation, the unintended consequence of change was the

introduction of some even more complex factors. Another reasonably big change is coming up soon, on 6 April 2010. From this date, the minimum age at which you will be able to take benefits from a pension is being pushed up from 50 to 55. We expect more changes to be introduced to pensions in the future. As part of their campaign, AXA was looking for suggestions to replace the word ‘pension’. My suggestion was Later Life Survival Fund, shortened to LatLifSurFu. It might appeal to younger people who are turned off by the word ‘pension’. The alternative – retiring without a LatLifSurFu – doesn’t really bear thinking about. n Martin Bamford is site editor of BrilliantWithMoney and a Chartered Financial Planner at Informed Choice.




THE LORD MAYOR’S APPEAL 2010 The new Lord Mayor of London Nick Anstee has announced that his Appeal for 2009/2010, Pitch Perfect, will support the London Symphony Orchestra Discovery programme, On Track and the Cricket Foundation’s StreetChance initiative


he two organisations have joined forces to bring music and sport activities to disadvantaged young people across communities in London. During 2010, LSO On Track will feature coaching of young musicians in the ten East London boroughs, who will take part in workshops, performances in bands, chamber groups and in the LSO On Track Orchestra. Meanwhile, StreetChance, also working across ten London boroughs, will use “Street 20” tapeball cricket – a fast, accessible version of the game to engage young people. By providing opportunities to play and perform in teams and groups, Pitch Perfect will support thousands of young Londoners to develop new skills and levels of aspiration, acquire confidence and self-esteem, and discover their full potential as well-rounded and productive individuals, leaders and team players. A number of music and cricket-loving ambassadors are supporting Pitch Perfect, including Sir Colin Davis, President of the London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev, Principal Conductor of the LSO, Dame Evelyn Glennie, the renowned percussion player, members of the LSO, England and Surrey cricketer Mark Ramprakash, former England and Middlesex captain Mike Gatting, World Cup winning England Women’s captain Charlotte Edwards, award-winning lyricist Sir Tim Rice and Academy Award winning actress Emma Thompson. “Pitch Perfect is unique in the way it brings music and sport together,” says Thompson. “Both cricket and music have the power to transform the lives of kids by giving them confidence and helping them to learn to work as part of a team.” n

Pitch Perfect aims to enable the following by 2015: • 75,000 young people to participate in activities across London, 60% of whom will be from ethnic minorities • 950 schools to be involved in projects in two thirds of London boroughs • 1,250 teachers to be trained, to enable continued activity beyond 2015 Highlights of events planned: • ‘Passion and Performance’ – an exclusive dinner at the Mansion Houseto celebrate the accomplishments of women in all walks of life and inlcuding musical performances from the LSO and solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie • The London Marathon when the Lord Mayor himself will be running – the first time a Lord Mayor has run the Marathon • Cricket Diversity Dinner, featuring cuisine drawn from all corners of the cricket world to be held at the Guildhall • Celebrity Cricket Match when cricketing celebrities will join the Lord Mayor on his team in a match against the Royal Household XI at Windsor Castle • Three Peaks Challenge: sponsored teams of up to eight people will takethe challenge to climb and travel between the three highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales over a continuous 24 hour period • The Grand Finale to the Appeal will be a Gala Concert and Dinner in StGeorge’s Hall at Windsor Castle For more information please visit, /

GADGETS JAMIE CARTER presents this month’s hottest gadgets

Light up your life

Where once LCD TVs had a single light source that made movies look a tad unrealistic, now they have thousands. Stuffed to the gunnels with tiny LED lights that can better reproduce colour and, most importantly, turn off completely to create true black, LG’s latest 42-47-inch tellies are Full HD and can even play music and video straight from a USB stick. LG SL9000 Series LED TVs £1,600-£2,000

Karaoke king

If you’ve tried Sing Star and want to go for the real thing, how about a recording studio on your desk? Designed to sit between your keyboard and monitor, Lexicon’s elegant I-ONIX is a professional 24-bit digital recording studio ideal for recording a microphone and a guitar or keyboard. Even better, route your PC or Mac’s audio into an I-ONIX and out into your headphones and the sound quality is boosted dramatically. Lexicon I-ONIX Desktop Recording Series from £215

Micro machines

Touchy feely

Blue Sky thinking

Olympus Pen EP-1 digital camera From £700

Revo Heritage multi-format digital radio £229.95

Sky Player for Xbox360 From £15/month

The era of cheap compact digital cameras has come to the end with the arrival of the first 'Micro Four Thirds' models. A small camera with D-SLR talents it is Olympus’ first digital camera not to use a mirror or prism inside – and offer interchangeable lenses. It shoots in 12.3 megapixels, takes pictures in widescreen and can film video in HD.

Looking like an old wireless, the latest radio from Revo is indeed wireless; as well as FAM and DAB radio stations, WiFi access connects it to internet radio and a 30-day trial of last. fm is included too so you can build playlists straight from the web. If that doesn't sound very retro, then neither does its iPod dock or OLED screen, both hidden from view.

The Xbox360 is a games console for geeks, right? Not anymore; as well as using WiFi to bring your PC or Mac’s music, photos and video to your TV, Microsoft's machine just got a whole lot more useful thanks to a deal with Sky TV.  Subscribers to Xbox LIVE can now download Sky Player, which with a subscription, pipes 24 of Sky’s live channels directly through the Xbox.  .


I can see clearly now Flimsy Blu-ray players exist for under £120, but if you’re after the last word in clarity then look no further than this slice of hi-def heaven from exclusive Japanese brand Denon. Able to play CD and upscale DVD to HD quality, as well as Blu-ray discs, this Denon is stuffed with Hollywoodstyle circuitry and comes in silver or black. Denon DBP-4010UD Blu-ray player £189.99

Get connected

It’s one of the few 200Hz tellies around, but that anti-blur tech isn’t alone. Inside the svelte shell of this Sony are special picture modes for sports and films, though its ability to connect to the internet to fetch RSS feeds – such as news and weather – grabs the headlines.  Available in 40, 46 and 52-inch screen sizes. Sony Bravia Z5500 LCD TVs £1,200-£2,000

Mint condition

Based on Windows and fitted with a 2.86-inch LCD touchscreen for WiFi web browsing, MSN Messenger and music/video playback, could the Mintpad be the next iPhone? Crucially, it can play Flash videos from sites like BBC News (the iPhone can’t), though its price and ability to talk to other Mintpads in the immediate vicinity without the need for WiFi could make it useful around the office.  Also includes a basic camera and Microsoft Word compatibility. Mintpass Mintpad £139

You’ve been framed

Usually concerned with handsets and networks, Motorola has made a bid for your desk with some clever digital photo frames that do away with wires. Using WiFi, the 10-inch LS1000W can recieve email pictures, as well as fetch pics stored online from sites like Flickr.  And just in case you get bored with family snaps, the frame can present the latest news and RSS feeds and play MP3s from a USB stick.

Motorola LS1000W Wi-Fi Media Digital Photo Frame £199.99

All that jazz

Made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his classic Kind of Blue, Monster is promising impeccable sonics from its limited edition Miles Davis in-ear headphones.  Fittingly, these in-ear cans that pay tribute to the trumpeter have an eyecatching gold and brass finish and nestle into a plush blue velvet ‘instrument case’.  And the colour of the headphones chord?  Well, it’s kinda blue. Monster Miles Davis Tribute headphones £229.95


Cat Hughes previews Bunny and the Bull

Bunny and the Bull is the Mighty Boosh’s director Paul King’s quirky debut film. Stephen (Edward Hogg) has not been out of his grotty London flat for over a year. A creature of habit he keeps everything, even his urine. But an infestation of mice leaves him having to go out and face the outside world, and thus confronting the reasons for his self-imposed imprisonment. Stephen is taken back to his journey across Europe with his friend Bunny (Simon Farnaby), a womanising, compulsive gambler. On this journey they meet Eloisa (Veronica Echegui) a Spanish waitress, who the duo picks up in Poland. Oh yes and don’t forget the stuffed bear. What is different about this low Sponsored by

0871 200 2000 11 Hertsmere Rd, West India Quay

budget British film is the imaginative use of sets and props. All of the European scenes are shot within a studio using homemade props and animation, which gives the production a surreal feel – absorbing you into Stephen’s psyche. Bunny and the Bull opened in the London Film Festival to rave reviews and it’s easy to see why it’s imaginative, quirky, funny and clever. The performances of Hogg and Fanaby are hilarious, but what really makes the film so good is the creative script and inspired set design. Also look out for the Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt comic cameo appearances. A great debut film, it has to be one of the best British films of the year!



entertainment Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger Chris Rock has taken his comedy show on the road and is bringing his own brand of hilarity to the world. The Kill the Messenger tour is one of the biggest comedy tours ever undertaken. Rock performed to sell out shows in eight countries across four continents. Somehow he manages to transcend cultural boundaries and make his comedy appeal to audiences from all corners of the globe. The DVD contains footage of three performances from New York, Johannesburg and London. As always Rock is not afraid to say the unthinkable; his act pokes fun at race, sex, relationships and Obama. This is some of his best comedy. The triple pack DVD has all three performances in their entirety, which can be repetitive and on the map Wales is non-existent, and Johannesburg sits on the West coast of Africa. This just goes show, never leave geography to the Americans. But I’m nit-picking here. The single DVD is worth it as it has the best bits from all three of his shows.

Pop fact The Beatles are the only artists to have four Christmas number ones. Close behind is Cliff Richard, who has had three Christmas number ones, two with his own songs and another with The Shadows. 




FOLKED UP 07•12 This Is War

30 Seconds To Mars Malice In Wonderland

Snoop Dogg 100 Essential Hits Of The 80’s Graffiti

Chris Brown

14•12 London Calling: 30th Anniversary Legacy Edition

The Clash Original Soundtrack

Nowhere Boy

16•12 A Momentary Lapse Of Reason

Pink Floyd

28•12 Live In San Fran 1981

Iggy Pop I Am Arizona


TOP 10 games 1. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and PC 2. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks – DS 3. Halo 3: ODST - Xbox 360 4. Borderlands - Xbox 360, PS3 and PC 5. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – PS3 6. Assassin’s Creed 2 - Xbox 360, PS3 and PC 7. Need for Speed: Shift - Xbox 360, PS3 and PC 8. Fifa 10 – Xbox, PS3 and pc 9. Wii Fit 10. New Super Mario Bros – Wii

If much of this year’s music gestured to the heady days of eighties synth, it’s also true to say that there was a streak of folk too. By Chris Baraniuk

The folksy trend in popular music can be predominantly traced to the June 2008 release of Fleet Foxes’ self-titled debut album – a record swaddled in crooning male-voice harmonies, twangly guitar riffs and soothingly atmospheric song-worlds. The most memorable perhaps, being the vivdly snowy single, WhiteWinter Hymnal.   Ever since then, a small but consistently talented line of pop/indie acts have introduced the rustically retro sounds of folk to audiences eager, as ever, for diversification.   My personal favourites are Slow Club, a duo from Sheffield who released their own debut album Yeah So in April.  In their music we hear more effortlessly harmonised vocal colour garnished with a very liberal sprinkling of teenage verve (which is most evident in their videos and during live shows).   Moving towards folk roots a little more closely is the Oxford-based up -and-coming group, Stornoway. A lesser-known bundle of musical talent, Stornoway haven’t released an album yet, but their awesome single Zorbing is so full of flavour and pretty sounds that you’ll get a very good sense of what the slightly eccentric band – who style their music and dress on a maritime/

pirate theme – are all about.   Noah And The Whale aren’t newcomers to the scene, but their latest album, released in August and entitled, The First Days of Spring, has more than a few hints of the kind of folk elements that have been becoming so popular thanks to the likes of Fleet Foxes.   Unlike Noah And The Whale, however, London folk band Mumford & Sons are a fairly shameless imitation of the ‘Foxes and are to be avoided. Speaking of foxes, Wes Anderson’s autumnally-hued Roald Dahl adaptation, Fantastic Mr Fox, which has just hit cinemas nationwide, is full of like-minded folk-music references and vibes.  The soundtrack is very a good place to go if you want to sample the beautifully realised atmosphere of the production.   Perhaps you think the trend is a sign that we're looking for all things warm and fuzzy in an effort to escape the gloomy atmosphere of recession.  There may be some truth in that, but you don’t need to be down on your luck to appreciate this trend. And besides, the genre blending and wilful optimism of much of this music makes it much more than an aural retreat from the ways of the world.

CINEMA RELEASES: Me and Orson Wells is set in the exciting world of the New York Theatre. Richard Samuels (Zac Efron) lucks his way into a minor role in the production of Julius Cesar, directed by a youthful Orson Welles (4 December). Where the Wild Things Are; a naughty boy is sent to bed with out supper, he escapes to the woods where is he met by wild, furry monsters (11 December). Avatar is James Cameron’s latest Epic.  Jake, a war hero is sent to the planet of

Pandora where is he must exploit the local population’s resources. He decides to join the planet’s people in an epic fight for survival (17 December). St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold, finds the girls going head-to-head with the villainous Pomfrey (David Tennant) and his “woman hating secret society” (18 December). Directed by Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes is set to make ano ther appearance on the silver screen with Robert Downey Jr as the famous sleuth and Jude Law as the ever loyal Watson (26 December).


The Ashes, Lords, Sherree Valentine Daines

Carol Cordrey presents the finalists of the prestigious Howard De Walden Art Prize


ne of the most sought after residential areas of London has found itself under a new spotlight, at the centre of a new painting competition. The parish of Marylebone, home to writers, musicians, doctors, scientists, statesmen and artists across the centuries - JMW Turner being amongst the most famous of them – is the focus of a new painting competition. The Howard de Walden Estate and Thompson’s Gallery have joined forces in inviting no less than fifty of our top class, contemporary artists to paint their individual version of Marylebone. A panel of judges that includes local residents, Lady Jill Freud, Phyllida Law, Arthur Smith, Libby Purves and Sir Christopher Howes KCVO, CB, will reward three chosen artists with prize money of £7,000 donated by The Howard de Walden Estate. We, on the other hand, will be rewarded with a wonderful exhibition of artistic interpretations of this jewel in London’s property crown, all perfectly timed for our Christmas shopping; which we can begin in comfort by viewing the paintings online. Marylebone is the keynote for the organisers, but for some of us the signatures on the canvases may have just as much appeal because - as my selection will show - many of these artists have work in private and public collections around the globe. If this exhibition doesn’t attract investors as well as straightforward lovers of art, I’ll eat my Santa’s hat!


Abercorn School, Marylebone, Jenny Wheatley

Peter Brown is an award-winning painter and a member of several respected, British art societies. As one of our most successful painters of urban scenes he has acquired the sobriquet, Pete-the-Street. His Impressionist style of work conveys the light conditions and the hustle and bustle of people and traffic so perfectly that our senses become totally absorbed in his paintings. Tom Coates studied at the Royal Academy Schools where he won several prizes and scholarships and went on to become the President of the New English Art Club (NEAC), of the Pastel Society (PS) and of the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA). In 2007 he won the prestigious Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture and his work is in royal collections. Jane Corsellis has such a talent for portraying light that her figures have an enigmatic quality to them and her interior scenes are breathtakingly atmospheric. She began to have her work accepted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition as a student and she has won many awards, published books and created films on painting throughout her life. Major commissions include one from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Peter Kelly, is a member of the NEAC and the RBA and he has been the recipient of many awards for his tranquil paintings that are the perfect antidote to 21st century stress. His mastery of draughtsmanship is matched by his superb handling of light and shade, producing interiors, landscapes and still-lifes that have a distinctive, haunting quality to them. David Paskett, current President of the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS), is one of our most respected watercolourists. His highly realistic compositions capture


The Outlookers, Regents Park Zoo, Tom Coates

the unusual aspects of street life, buildings or interiors where vibrant colour or shadow are used to dramatic effect. He is especially well known for his paintings of China. The Royal Collection, the World Bank, the British Museum and the Hong Kong Jockey Club are just a few of the institutions with examples of his work. Jenny Wheatley paints exteriors and interiors with a passion for intense light and bold juxtapositions of colour and objects. She is a leading member of the NEAC and the RWS and she has exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and at the Scottish Academy. TV roles have included the popular Watercolour Challenge and her work is in numerous collections such as ICI, Hilton Hotels, the John Lewis Partnership and royal collections. Sherree Valentine Danes flies the flag internationally for Modern British Impressionism. Her colourful scenes of children at play or of adults demonstrating the finest sartorial taste at society events such as Ascot or Henley are collected worldwide. She handles light and shade with particular skill and she was one of the artists hand-picked by the BBC to appear in their celebrity Star Portraits series. n

Howard de Walden Art Prize 9-24 December Thompson’s Gallery 76 Marylebone High St London W1U SJU Tel: (020) 7935 3595



GORMLEY ON GUERNSEY Internationally renowned artist Antony Gormley has launched a new book by photographer Phil Sayer, following the artist’s installation of Lot on Guernsey


he location, in use as a military fortification from 1204 until the end of German occupation in 1945, provided Gormley with rich inspiration for his installation, a meditation on liberty and incarceration, which was created for Guernsey’s International Artist in Residence Programme (IAIRP) and sponsored by HSBC Private Bank. On 19 April 2008, Gormley was joined by a technical team of selected volunteers to install Lot, which saw the cast iron statues, taken from Gormley’s Insiders series, positioned along the Castle ramparts. Phil Sayer was invited to document the event and this book has been produced by the IAIRP in association with Phil and the designers, Esterson Associates, as a visual memory of that extraordinarily intense day. Antony and Phil were joined at the launch by Eric Snell, artist and co-founder of IAIRP, and Steve Eldridge, Marketing and Communications Manager at HSBC Private Bank Channel Islands. n For further information, visit on

Naked and cast in iron, five figures stand resolute. Lashed by Atlantic winter storms and burned by the summer sun, Antony Gormley’s ‘Insiders’ look out to sea. Strategically positioned high up on the ramparts of Castle Cornet, these gaunt, emaciated-looking figures are silhouetted against the sky. They could appear to be sentinels keeping guard or maybe they are detainees searching for freedom. Either way, a narrative is created between these five fugitives, the location and the observer.

Skis and skates With the first snowfall and drop in temperatures, skiers head to the slopes and skaters take to frozen ponds and rivers. Temporary ice rinks appear in city centres and the winter sports season is upon us. All prints are for sale and make the perfect Christmas present Getty Images Gallery is at 1 Canada Square (street level)

Jamie’s put together a real feast of traditional, hearty Italian dishes for our Christmas menu. Delicious slow roasted Porchetta stuffed with “loadsa” herbs .... beautiful monkfish tails with rosemary and orange salt ..... and some real show-stopping desserts (try winter tutti frutti tiramisu for a twist on the old classic!). If you want to celebrate Christmas in true Italian style come and join us!

A GLASS OF PROSECCO SEASONAL MEAT & VEGETABLE ANTIPASTI PLANKS with pickles, Italian cheeses & crunchy salad

TRUFFLE TAGLIATELLE (upgrade your party - optional £4.50 extra course) finely shaved wild black truffles with butter, parmesan & freshly grated nutmeg JAMIE’S FESTIVE PORCHETTA the best slow roasted British pork belly filled with herbs, vin santo, salumi & chestnuts

GRILLED MONKFISH TAILS WITH ROSEMARY & ORANGE SALT with crispy San Daniele prosciutto & wild fennel

FANTASTIC BAKED AUBERGINE PARMIGIANA WITH FRESH TOMATO layers of baked aubergines, tomatoes, smoked mozzarella cheese & fresh basil

All mains served with... Fried crushed heritage potatoes with smashed fennel & rosemary salt Flash cooked green beans with tomato & basil sauce GENNAROS CHOCOLATE & HAZELNUT CAKE with frangelico & runny honey

CREAMY PANNACOTTA with a compote of seasonal fruits

WINTER TUTTI FRUTI TIRAMISÚ layers of sponge with mixed winter berries, mascarpone & crunchy amaretto biscuits

ARTISAN PLATTER OF ITALIAN CHEESES (upgrade your party - optional £5.00 extra course) with coffee scented wild Italian honey & Sardinian music bread

please note optional courses must apply to entire party

Available for parties of 8 and above

Telephone: 020 3002 5252

Churchill Place Canary Wharf London E14 5RB



What to read:

Exposed : Ten Years in Hollywood

Mark Liddell, the celebrity photographer, has taken some of the most provocative images of Hollywood’s elite including Heath Ledger, Janet Jackson and Halle Berry. He reveals the personal stories behind the pictures and some of Hollywood’s best kept secrets and personalities.


news what to see:

Ed Ruscha, Fifty years of painting Ruschas’ art started out as challenging the abstract expressionism of the 1960s. Instead, he combined typography with commonplace objects in striking, pre-mediated pieces. “Art has to be something that makes you scratch your head,” says Ruscha, and his repertoire of fifty years work suggests both the featureless landscape of the American-mid west and the power of advertising and the media. Until 10 January, Hayward Gallery,

Large Trademark with Eight Spotlights, 1962

Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art, New York © Ed Ruscha, 2009 Photography: Paul Ruscha

Cheap treat

Rena Effendi Rena Effendi’s haunting photographs show how the oil industry has affected the lives of people living along 1,700km of oil pipeline through Georgia, Azerbijan and Turkey. Expect uncompromising images from the award-winning photographer as she shows how the growing post-Soviet gas and oil industries have resulted in refugee status, unemployment and corruption for the lives of ordinary people.

Christmas cards can seem a bit generic, but these quirky Christmas cards from East London based team Designers Anonymous, turn around the conventional images generated by the words robin, Lapland or Noël. At £2 each, they’re perfect to amuse friends and family. Available from Selfridges, Urban Outfitters and Scribbler or online at

Standard Station, 1966

16 December to 16 January, Host gallery,

Blow out Glass blown designs by Peter Laylor and his associates will be available to buy from their new Bermondsey workshop and gallery. Stunning gallery pieces cost anything from £100-3,500, but the workshop will be selling more experimental and less finished pieces priced between £15-100 for bargain hunters.

Quote: Rather than a thirst for art and literature, the young generation have the attention span of gnats.” Martin Miller, Antiques guide expert on the impact of twitter.

Glacier stoneform

Nautilus droppers

Skyline square stoneform one off

Website of the month:

Courtesy Private Collection © Ed Ruscha 2009 Photography: Paul Ruscha

An eclectic mix of design ideas and quirky trends make this website a must for design enthusiasts or for anyone who wants to marvel at the more surreal world of art and design while killing time at work.

Authentic dishes from the jewels of the Caribbean 2 Yabsley Street, E14 9RG Reservations: 020 7515 8177

CHEF COLLIN BROWN RESTAURANT AUTHENTIC DISHES FROM THE JEWELS OF THE CARIBBEAN An electric mix from traditional to modern to inspire your taste buds Brought to you by award winning chef Collin Brown Fine dining in a laid-back lounge ambience VIP area available for Group bookings FREE Parking for all guests

Fine dining home delivery service available


Product of the Month: Add sparkle to you glass of champagne, originality to your Belgium chocolates or just make your mashed potato look very posh. The Food Bling range from Laura Santtini is new to Selfridges and has created a gold rush. The kit includes 23k gold and silver flakes, leaves and an application brush and at £15.99 it’s the cheapest way to make your festive food look, if not taste, gourmet.


news Mulled wine and markets

Insider’s knowledge:

It’s time to wrap up warm and venture to London’s best Christmas markets. Food aficionados won’t need to be reminded that Borough Market provides some of the best food. However, at Christmas it comes into its own with local schools singing carols, festive food galore and on 17 December there is a special night to showcase their vast cheese selection

Laphroaig sold out of its 18 Year Old whisky when it was launched this summer but the good news is that it’s back, and just in time for Christmas too. This is one of Prince Charles’ favourite distilleries and the 18 Year Old has a particularly gutsy flavour at 48 per cent.

20 – 24 December,

New restaurant on the block:

For authentic mulled wine, bratwurst and roasted nuts head to the popular Cologne Market near the Southbank Centre (until 23December).

One Moorgate Place

Faulty bill? There may be an additional £1 charge on your bill when you eat out this Christmas. It’s not as mistake, but instead an initiative called StreetSmart. The scheme is in its eleventh year and helps thousands of homeless people across the country, by diners in top restaurants simply pledging a pound to charity on top of their bill. Several restaurants are taking part in Canary Wharf, including: Plateau, Wapping Food and The Narrow. The nation’s favourite Stephen Fry described the project as “always doing your heart good” and we couldn’t agree more.

Get into the Christmassy spirit with a traditional lunch at The Restaurant at St Pauls Cathedral. Tuck into Victorian classics including roast goose or braised venison in the atmospheric location, followed by moreish plum pudding. At only £20 for two courses, you’d be a humbug not to.     

Seasonal produce:

Food lingo:


Red cabbage Red cabbage Red cabbage can be the perfect accompaniment to game and has been grown in Britain since the middle ages. Shred the cabbage finely and braise for two hours with apple, stock, spices, wine and sugar and reheat for a few minutes whenever needed.

Mirepoix This is a classic French mixture of carrots, onions, celery and herbs which are sautéed in butter, occasionally with bacon or ham added. This tasty base is then added to season sauces, stews or soups or it can be used to braise meat, poultry or fish.

Nigella Lawson: What I’m doing here is seeking to offer protection from life, solely through the means of potato, butter and cream... there are times when only mashed potato will do.

Website of the month:

Restaurant gossip:

In the heart of the city and unusually tucked away in the Chartered Accountants’ Hall, Moorgate Place, this European restaurant is a real find. It’s only open to passing trade for lunch (breakfasts and evenings are private bookings only) but what a lunch. At only £17 for two courses, their seafood bisque or roast Suffolk pork belly can happily replace a dreary sandwich.


Be lazy and get Keevil &Keevil of Smithfield meat market to deliver your festive bird straight to your door.



TAKE “P THE TASTE TEST Even heavy drinkers may not have heard of Ketel 1, but then it is a new generation of refined tipples reworking the image of vodka according to Josh Sims

eople are drinking less and better,” to put the company’s focus on quality, not says Bob Nolet. He is speaking quantity. The ingredients were finessed (like from the HQ of Ketel 1, tucked those of Coca-Cola, they remain a family away in a corner of Rotterdam. secret), old-fashioned, slow and expensive Small wonder perhaps then that even heavy production methods were revived - the drinkers may not have heard of the vodka pot-still technique requires that the first and brand. It does not advertise, nor does it last third of each batch effectively has to be pay bars to stock it. And it is perhaps an discarded - and a niche product was born. even smaller wonder given how, in the UK, Niche has stayed with the family business, vodka still tends to be regarded as best sticking with the sadly outdated belief accompanied by a mixer. Nolet is not so that product experience wins out over keen on the idea: he regards his drink more flashy promotion. Bartenders, whose as one of a new generation of refined tipples recommendation is widely considered in that is re-working the image of vodka as the industry to be the best marketing of a spirit to be appreciated with the same all, are simply asked to taste-test Ketel 1 aficionado appeal as a malt whisky. against other vodkas. If they don’t like it; He is not alone. Last year Diageo, the if they don’t consider it sufficiently smooth drinks brand giant, signed an agreement to drink neat (as vodka should be at room with Ketel 1’s maker, the Nolet Distillery, temperature and with lots of good ice) that gave it 50% ownership of Ketel 1 and without pulling what Bob Nolet cheekily gave the Nolet family calls “the Absolut face” not only access to its - the thigh-slapping, eyePeople are drinking global distribution watering wince induced less and better and marketing might by what he inevitably - which is expected regards as lesser vodkas to increase sales by some 100% over the - then his people just walk away. They next three years - but a bank account now have yet to do so. The UK is now Ketel 1’s packing a cool $900m. biggest European market and it is widely “We’ve often been approached by regarded a leading style brand in the US, companies wanting to buy the whole family which accounts for 90% of sales. And that business, but we’ve never been interested,” was no easy task. says Nolet. “At the same time we have to “When we started out the initial reaction recognise that the future for us may be from bars was ‘what do I need another difficult as the companies behind other vodka for? We already have three or four...’ brands get bigger, make demands on bars So that’s when we insisted on training bar and restrict our distribution. So to be staff, in order to get them to understand one of Diageo’s priority brands is a good that this was a totally different taste for a position. Of course, Diageo had to pay for vodka. If they didn’t take the training, they their share and that money guarantees the didn’t get the vodka,” he adds, matter-offuture for those generations leading Nolet. factly. “My father always insisted that Ketel But besides that, not much has changed. 1 had to speak for itself as a drink. That’s My father hasn’t gone and bought a big boat one advantage of being a family company or anything.” - corporations will always go for quantity. One would not blame him if Carl Nolet But you need patience to do the right thing Snr, Bob’s father, had done so. One can for the product and that pays you back into certainly understand his reluctance to give the end.” the company away. It was Nolet Snr. who, Changes in the world of drinking seem to after nearly 300 years of the company being have chimed nicely with Ketel 1: bars are as passed from father to son, found himself the popular as pubs, being more female-friendly only offspring ready to take on what seemed and offering a touch of glamour; a growth in to be a dying business. At the turn of the 20th interest in food and restaurants has boosted century, the Rotterdam region was home to regard for the best of imbibables; drink’s some 400 distillery companies but by 1972 brands have become lifestyle labels; even there were just 42. Five years later, there cocktails, as much as Ketel 1 may be wasted were four. Nolet made the bold decision in them, are in fashion. n




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Book your Christmas meal with Planet Hollywood and receive 20% OFF your final bill PLUS be in with a chance to WIN A £500.00 DINNER AND DRINK EXPERIENCE in 2010* Simply quote ‘CITY MAGAZINE’ when you book


CALL 020 7287 1000 • 57-60 HAYMARKET SW1Y 4QX CLOSE TO LEICESTER SQUARE & PICCADILLY CIRCUS TUBE *we will choose the winner, not in conjunction with any other offer, reserve the right to withdraw prize at any time, management reserve the right to cancel or amend any booking with 24 hours notice, subject to availability, not including Saturdays.

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A PRESENTATION CASE OF CREED THIS CHRISTMAS FIRST PRIZE: Three bottles of premium Creed presented in a magnificent handmade oak box that will be delivered to your home in time for Christmas: Two Brothers, 2005 - a dark red, with a crimson to black centre, is a blend of 97% Shiraz and 3% Viognier. Rich and full to the palate it explodes with cherries, spices and clean acidity. Coupled with the lighter hints of spice and leather, this wine is described as having a “raging body” ready for your enjoyment!


e’ve teamed up with, the importers of a new and acclaimed range of exceptional wines grown in the Barossa Valley of South Australia, to give readers the first and exclusive chance to win some superb wine just in time for Christmas. Creed of Barossa is owned and operated by the Creed and Eggleton families of Lyndoch in the southern Barossa region. These exclusive wines are hand grown along ultimate organic principles; vines are minimum-tilled to avoid root disturbance and are pesticide, herbicide and additive free. So natural is their growth, that even watering is avoided unless absolutely necessary, with the result that the roots of some of the vines grow thirty feet below. Grapes are handpicked and the wines are then handmade with open fermentation, basket pressing and, in the main, the use of French oak for maturation. Creed wines are also unfiltered to ensure purity of flavour, with an adventurous approach to blending for taste perfection by master winemaker, Daniel Eggleton.

HOW TO WIN Simply answer the following question: Creed Wine vineyards are in which valley in South Australia? a) Bossa b) Barossa c) Brosser To be in with a chance of winning, email your name, address and telephone number to with CREED in the subject bar. The closing date is 16 December 2009 Terms & conditions: The first correct entry drawn will win our first prize and the next six will each win our runner-up prizes. The Editor’s decision is final, and no correspondence can be entered into. Winners will be notified individually as soon as possible after December 16, and every effort will be made to courier your Creed prize to your home address in time for Christmas.

The Pretty Miss, 2006 - a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Franc and Viognier, with a nice nose of summer white flowers . A strong sweet fruit-focused wine with dark plum, cassis and vanilla flavours. The Marque, 2006 - Creed’s flagship wine. Merlot and Cabernet Franc combined for full bodied and well balanced palate, featuring rich aromas of carpeted, velvety plum fruit with sweet oaky spice.

SIX RUNNER-UP PRIZES: Double bottles of Creed’s Wine by Decree – one red and one white: The red Merlot Cabernet, 2003 is from the Coonawarra. It is dark and intense, and described by Wine & Dine as a wine “hewn from old vines, from great fruit and super wine making. A real touch of class.” The white, an unwooded Barossa Chardonnay, 2007 is carefully crafted, with all fruits and berries blended into one long wine. “Good with food or as an expert’s quaffing wine,” according to Wine & Dine . Both wines feature a special re-sealable and recyclable opening top. Creed wines are so new and exclusive to the British market that they are only available for purchase direct (carriage extra) from the importer (01702 562 009) or from The Wine Library, 43 Trinity Square, London, EC3N 4DJ 020 7481 0415




Gavin Smith spends an evening at the Royal China Club, sampling some of Britain’s best loved dishes


he British love affair with Chinese food is long-established and, as with all cuisines, there are Chinese restaurants and then there are Chinese restaurants. Baker Street’s Royal China Club falls easily into the latter.   The interior is chic with a subtle nod to the orient; decorative arrangements of smooth stones and tiny growing herbs beside the wash-basins.  The dining space was beautifully presented, with glossy black and gold surfaces, gentle and atmospheric lighting for an appropriately sophisticated feel, and attractively furnished tables with little angular plates and gleaming silverware.   We took our seats to choose our order from the nine pages of dishes; weeks later and in delightful awe (the proverbial kid in a candy shop, lost in delicious and tantalizing offerings) I referred the decision to the waitress, who demonstrated faultless knowledge of the menu and made immediate suggestions.   What I did manage to discern, however, were the high prices; an average starter was £15 and a good main course around £25. 

Opt for shark fin and lobster specials and this soars to £120 for a single dish; whether the dishes are that good is debateable at least. The food arrived swiftly and it was down to business.  It wasn’t long before I discarded the chopsticks I was hopelessly trying to eat bamboo with (a neat little appetiser – crispy and served with a small pot of chilled sauce), and in came a small wicker basket of steamed seafood and the panfried scallops.   The dim sum platter was exceptional; as much a joy to admire as to eat, as the delicate, shapely parcels of ultra-thin pastry evoked clear culinary skill.  Inside, fresh and succulent fish, lobster and crab mixed perfectly with spicy vegetables and a sharp chilli sauce.  The scallops were equally juicy and plump, and drizzled in a delicious sauce, this one dark, thick and quite herbal.   With plates cleared in record time (and after a well-judged delay) the main course followed.  Recommended by our amiable waitress, we had ordered Cantonese-style Roast Duck, Steamed White Eel and Lotus Leaf Rice with mixed meat.  The rice was presented in another little basket, lidded to keep it

warm, and kept out of sight for the waitress to periodically fill our little side-dishes; a neat touch. A real treat, the rice was slightly sticky, creamy and crammed with chunks of crisp red meat.   The duck, however, was in a different league – beautifully cooked to a tender pink centre and complemented by a rich gravy.  Only the eel was slightly flawed; a little too soft, the very delicate flavour was not enhanced by a slightly bland black bean sauce.   However, overall the quality of the food and atmosphere at the Royal China Club was excellent, and well worth a visit.  For a well-designed menu, incredibly flavoursome sauces and the very best fresh meats, it comes highly recommended. Service was swift, attentive and knowledgeable from the outset, with genuinely polite gestures and no sense of being rushed.  Coupled with the elegant surroundings, the RCC is clearly one of London’s best oriental eateries. n   Royal China Club (Baker St) 40-42 Baker Street, London, W1U 7AJ 020 7486 3898 “EDM Cleaning has provided office cleaning services for us for over five years. We would have no hesitation in recommending Gary and his team.” Ted Foster, Facilities Director, Besso Ltd

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GSK CONTEMPORARY EARTH Running from 3 December, GSK Contemporary: Earth is the second annual contemporary art season at 6 Burlington Gardens. The exhibition will examine the responses of leading international artists to the climate change debate and will include over 30 artists such as Gary Hume, Tracy Emin and Tacita Dean. Also look out for new and recent works by Sophie Calle and writer Ian McEwan.

BELLE GREENWICH A beautiful boutique in the heart of Greenwich, Belle offers eclectic and distinctive clothes and accessories from around the world. Friendly staff are always on hand to introduce you to the very best designers, with gorgeous accessories including hand-made hats by Gil Fox, colourful scarves from Salt and vintage-style bags by Cheet. Belle, 20 College Approach, Greenwich, SE10 9HY 0208 465 5777



This Christmas the finest whisky can be found at Highland Park as they release their new 1964 and 1968 premium editions. Created by the experts, these exclusive drinks are limited due to the rarity of the liquid you will be tasting. Ensure you are one of those lucky few and get your hands on a bottle.

Found in the many beautiful collections from the style savvy Goodman Morris, these bold cocktail rings will add that extra something to your outfit. Choose from a range of styles, colours and stones at their Brighton store, where you will find an experienced and welcoming team help you make that all important decision.   

Orcadian Vintage Series 1964 - £3,750 Orcadian Vintage Series 1968 - £2,250



The Osborne Studio Gallery is hosting an exhibition of highly intricaye and varied drawings of animals and birds by artist, Amanda Daubeney. The exhibition also coincides with the launch of a children's book following the tale of two rabbits and their adventures in Richmond Park.

Increation is an established and highly regarded interiors company, dedicated to creating luxurious living environments designed just for you. Recognised by the National Business awards, their hand picked team guide you through the entire process, gaining an understanding of your needs, tastes and lifestyles in order to achieve the perfect bespoke interior.

The Osborne Studio Gallery, 2 Motcomb Street, London, SW1X 8JU 020 7235 9667

020 7987 8328 Increation, 16 Pixley Street, London, E14 7DF






Live Luggage has made travelling much easier with their range of power-assisted suitcases. The flat motor technology built into the wheels assists when going up steep gradients or kerbs. Not only that, these ingenious bags even have a Live Locator in case you manage to lose your belongings.

Start the New Year with some delicious homemade food and refine your cooking skills at London's Cookery School. Slice and Dice Deluxe classes are aimed at those who want to improve their basic preparation and knife skills, the backbone to any scrumptious dish. Classes are £150 with quality ingredients included.

11 & 18 January, 2010, 6.30-9.30pm



With a smell for both men and women, one of Britain's last independent fragrance houses, Pecksniff’s launches their first Limited Edition bespoke fragrance. Presented specially designed packaging, Pecksniff's new eau de parfum and after shave are unique making. 100ml, £75.00

OWN A PONY The Four Seasons Hotel, Hampshire is offering an 'Own a Pony' day, where young guests are able to experience the delights of caring for a pony at the on-site Equestrian Centre. A picnic lunch and an afternoon Estate hack mean you can spend your time relaxing in The Spa.  Tuesday to Sunday at £135 per child from 10am-3pm.  Shorter days available.

M.F. Husain and S.H. Raza, masters of Contemporary Indian Art, are showcasing their work together for the first time in the UK. Never seen before on British soil, these exhibitions include Husain's Mother Teresa Series and Raza's The Five Rays of Raza; some of their greatest art. Barclays Wealth Private Bank in Mayfair, on 10th and 11thDecember  Mayfair and Chelsea galleries of Tanya Baxter Contemporary and Kings Road Gallery from 12th09 - 31st 2010. 

SHOW OFF – info coming from Carol Collage-artist Peter Clark's innovative work is brought together in this fully illustrated book, displaying to the full his ability to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary. Inspired by antique fairs and markets, Clark uses old maps, love letters and even stamps to create his unique pieces. A showcase of old and more recent art, Paperwork is perfect for anyone interested in portraiture and scrapbooking. Hardback, RRP £24.95






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PROPERTY Showcasing the finest homes in your area

Covering The City, CANARY WHARF, DOCKLANDS & South East


I s p r o p e rt y s t i l l number one?

Hot P r o p e rt i e s check out this month’s hottest homes

Sugar House, City Quarter, City, E1 Brand new one bedroom 1st floor apartment set in thisnewly converted block on the edge of The City close toTower Hill and Aldgate underground station. This dualaspect apartment has a lovely open plan kitchen receptionroom with high ceilings, good storage and 24 hour porterage. £400 per week Knight Frank City Lettings 020 7606 1560

Prusoms Island, 135 Wapping High Street, London, E1W

Sandpiper Court, City Quay, St Katharine’s Dock, London, E1W Bright and modern two double bedroom two bathroom apartment set in this great 24 hour portered development in St Katharine’s Dock. Large reception, separate fully fitted kitchen with water views, stunning views of the dock from the reception room and front balcony. £750 per week Knight Frank Wapping Lettings 020 7480 6848

Pierhead Wharf, Wapping High Street, London, E1W

Spacious two double bedroom two bathroom 1344 sq ft (125 sqm) 2nd floor apartment in central Wapping. This lovely apartment has a large dual aspect reception room with newly fitted stylish semi open plan kitchen, big double bedrooms, , newly fitted wooden shutters on all the windows and underground parking.

Smart two bedroom apartment set in this attractive block in Wapping. Accommodating two double bedrooms, bathroom with shower, sitting/dining area, fitted kitchen, balcony and underground parking.

£575 per week

Knight Frank Wapping Lettings 020 7480 6848

Knight Frank Wapping Lettings 020 7480 6848

£375 per week

Halcyon Wharf, Wapping High Street E1W Lovely two bedroom 3rd floor apartment set in a modern portered development in west Wapping, moments from St Katharine’s Dock and Waitrose and a short walk from Tower Hill. This bright furnished flat has a great dual aspect reception room with a fully fitted open plan kitchen, bathroom with separate shower cubical and bath, wood floors, good storage, secure parking and a good size terrace with City views. £475 per week Knight Frank Wapping Lettings 020 7480 6848

St Pancras Chambers, Euston Road NW1 An impressive 732 sq ft duplex one bedroom apartment set on the top two floors (4th and 5th) of this magnificent Grade 1 Listed portered development. Boasting good size rooms, lovely windows, a fully fitted kitchen, modern bathroom with shower, real wooden floors, mezzanine bedroom level and available on an furnished basis. £625 per week Knight Frank City Lettings 020 7606 1560

New Crane Wharf, Wapping E1W Furnished one bedroom apartment set in this popular 24 hour portered warehouse conversion in central Wapping on the 100 bus route for easy access in to The City and the D3 for easy access in to Canary Wharf. This smart apartment has hard wooden floors, exposed beams and brick work and large warehouse style doors. £300 per week Knight Frank Wapping Lettings 020 7480 6848

Osprey Court, St Katharine’s Dock, E1W Newly refurbished and well presented one bedroom flat in the popular City Quay development at St Katharine’s Dock. Accommodating one double bedroom, bathroom, reception room, fitted kitchen, wooden floors, patio and underground parking. Also boasting lovely views of St Katharine’s Dock. £450 per week Knight Frank Wapping Lettings 020 7480 6848

Gun Place, Wapping Lane, London, E1W Stylish and spacious two double bedroom two bathroom 3rd floor apartment located in this portered warehouse conversion with easy access in to the City and Canary Wharf. This beautiful apartment boasts a large reception room, modern furnishings, underground parking and a nice communal roof terrace. £460 per week Knight Frank Wapping Lettings 020 7480 6848

Hermitage Court, Knighten Street, London, E1W Beautiful newly refurbished 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment in Wapping. Light luxury apartment with wonderful open plan kitchen/reception room boasting a new high quality fitted kitchen and lovely balcony. Master bedroom with en-suite bathroom. Ideally located for access to The City and Canary Wharf. £600 per week Knight Frank Wapping Lettings 020 7480 6848

Aberdeen Wharf, Wapping High Street, E1W Spacious unfurnished 3 bedroom split level apartment set in this attractive warehouse conversion on Wapping High Street with lovely views of the river. This stylish apartment has a fully fitted kitchen, two bathrooms (one en-suite), real wooden floors, exposed brick work and beams. £525 per week Knight Frank Wapping Lettings 020 7480 6848

Sugar House, Leman Street, London, E1 Brand new one bedroom 1st floor apartment set in this newly converted block on the edge of The City close to Tower Hill and Aldgate underground station. This dual aspect apartment has a lovely open plan kitchen reception room with high ceilings, real wooden floors, stunning bathroom and 24 hour porterage. £400 per week Knight Frank City Lettings 020 7606 1560

Sugar House, City Quarter, City, E1 Brand new one bedroom 1st floor apartment set in thisnewly converted block on the edge of The City close toTower Hill and Aldgate underground station. This dualaspect apartment has a lovely open plan kitchen receptionroom with high ceilings, good storage and 24 hour porterage. £400 per week Knight Frank City Lettings 020 7606 1560

Prusoms Island, 135 Wapping High Street, London, E1W

Sandpiper Court, City Quay, St Katharine’s Dock, London, E1W Bright and modern two double bedroom two bathroom apartment set in this great 24 hour portered development in St Katharine’s Dock. Large reception, separate fully fitted kitchen with water views, stunning views of the dock from the reception room and front balcony. £750 per week Knight Frank Wapping Lettings 020 7480 6848

Pierhead Wharf, Wapping High Street, London, E1W

Spacious two double bedroom two bathroom 1344 sq ft (125 sqm) 2nd floor apartment in central Wapping. This lovely apartment has a large dual aspect reception room with newly fitted stylish semi open plan kitchen, big double bedrooms, , newly fitted wooden shutters on all the windows and underground parking.

Smart two bedroom apartment set in this attractive block in Wapping. Accommodating two double bedrooms, bathroom with shower, sitting/dining area, fitted kitchen, balcony and underground parking.

£575 per week

Knight Frank Wapping Lettings 020 7480 6848

Knight Frank Wapping Lettings 020 7480 6848

£375 per week

Seasons Greetings fr0m Hamptons International.

As a successful 2009 draws to a close, we would like to wish all of our clients - past, present and future - a very Merry Christmas and look forward to helping you with your property needs in 2010.

Hamptons City Aldermary House 15 Queen Street, City London EC4N 1TX Lettings. 020 7236 8399

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Hamptons Tower Bridge 41 Shad Thames Tower Bridge London SE1 2NJ Lettings. 020 7407 3172

Hamptons Islington 87 Upper Street Islington London N1 0NP Lettings. 020 7359 5675

Hamptons City Aldermary House 15 Queen Street, City London EC4N 1TX Sales. 020 7236 8398

Hamptons Tower Bridge 41 Shad Thames Tower Bridge London SE1 2NJ Sales. 020 7407 3173

Hamptons Islington 97-99 Upper Street Islington London N1 0NP Sales. 020 7226 4688

26/11/2009 17:08

Two years ago, when, at the peak of the market, top-end homes in London were reported to be rising in value by £4,000 a day. It’s all anyone talked about. Zoe Dare Hall carries on talking


t dinner parties, pub gatherings, during coffee breaks in conferences, it was the immediate point of bonding: Like football, only more inclusive. Everyone – rich or not – had a view about property. And while prices were rocketing and people swathed themselves in the security blanket of a home that was earning them money while they slept, property was our obsession. Property porn became a source of fascination and Sarah Beeny and Kirstie Allsop were the industry’s madams. And then the world collapsed overnight – but did it drag our new-found need to talk about property down with it? What has happened around the nation’s dinner tables? Have we actually learnt to talk about something else at last? “I remember sitting on a yacht in the south of France last September and the conversation was darker than night,” says Trevor Abrahamson, who runs the upmarket Hampstead estate agency Glentree Estates. “It was black hole time, utterly miserable, and the prevailing view on property was to not touch it. If you already had it, keep it and forget about it, and stick your money under the bed.” Before that, Abrahamson recalls endless dinner parties where the conversation focused on nothing but property. “No matter what their jobs, people would far rather talk about their houses than anything else and they were like homing pigeons to me. I’d rather talk about golf, wine, women, but at a typical dinner of bankers, ad execs, QCs and entrepreneurs, they would all want to know my opinion. Property is the irresistible subject, whether it’s going up or down,” he says.

“In the boom, they talked about the ridiculous prices achieved for property like theirs, the great irritant that is gazumping and if they wanted to move, how there was nothing decent to buy, all typical conversations of a bull market.” And though the climate couldn’t be more different today, the conversation sticks to a familiar theme. “Now they are talking about shortage of stock again, opportunities to trade up, buying homes for their children and the merits of buy-to-let, with rental yields bringing in more than the cost of borrowing – classic signs of the next bull market,” says Abrahamson. “But it will take us about five years to get there.” As a buying agent, Jo Eccles, director of Sourcing Property, is also a magnet at property-obsessed parties. “Two friends of mine, Ed and Asif, both in their early 30s, and I have met for dinner nearly every week for the past few years and our conversations always touch on property at some point,” says Eccles, 28, who owns a two-bedroom flat in Pimlico which she rents out and lives in a flat she rents in Fulham. “Two years ago, we’d talk mainly about how the market was out of control,” says Eccles. “Asif, a City trader, was delighted he had sold his two flats in London and was feeling smug about the price he got for them. Ed, who runs a research firm, would talk about the house near Marble Arch he had just bought and was full of himself at having beaten other buyers in a bidding war.” And how smug are they feeling now? “Now our conversation revolves around their disbelief at central London prices being close to the peak again,” says Eccles. “Asif and Ed reflect endlessly on what’s happened and who has won overall. Asif is frustrated that

he still hasn’t re-entered the market as he can’t find any bargains and Ed thinks he paid over the odds for his townhouse.” And Jo? She just likes the property talk. “It always makes for interesting dinner party conversation because we all have very different opinions and it usually gets pretty animated,” she replies. Confusion over conflicting reports of what the market is doing has got us talking about property more than ever, thinks Mark Lawson from buying consultancy The Buying Solution. “All the data comes from different sources, so in my experience people at dinner parties are still hooked on property as they try to work out where the market is going and, for those of us who over-borrowed in the good times, what will happen if interest rates rise,” says Lawson. “Everyone wants to know which nationalities are buying in London now, whether the Russians are back, because of the impact that has in pushing up prices,” he adds. For those in the property business, the topic is clearly as fascinating and varied as ever. But for those with other day jobs, many have more pressing and pragmatic concerns about finding finance, being able to afford the costs of moving and what will be the best investment for their – and their children’s - future. “If there’s a general property theme among our peers when we talk over dinner, it’s whether to swap to a fixed interest mortgage before interest rates increase, as seems inevitable,” comments 50-year-old magazine editor Andrew Humphreys. “Those of us tied into fixed interest deals constantly wonder whether we should have paid penalties to swap to a tracker a year ago, but nobody reckons it’s a good time to do that now,” he adds.




He and his 48-year-old wife Jenny, an artist, are also sitting pretty – they prefer to call themselves lucky rather than smug – as they sold their Blackheath house at the top of the market, for 25% more than they were expecting, and traded down to a far larger house that cost three quarters of the price near Canterbury in Kent. “Our friends with adult children who want to get on the property ladder bemoan the fact house prices haven’t fallen to a level where they could easily afford to buy and none of

our friends think prices will drop significantly further,” says Humphreys. “All of them blame the moribund state of the property market on the Government’s failure to give firm direction on stamp duty and the pointless introduction of HIPS.” Which leaves a gap, surely, in the conversation. Politics anyone? X Factor? Oh, though I did hear one interesting thing the other day. A friend of mine, he found this amazing house and… n



CMYK version

Pantone version


020 7739 4644

27- 33 B ET HNA L G RE E N ROA D L O N D O N E 1 6 L A


Urban_0001_CanWharA4June_F2.indd 1

14/5/09 16:26:51




Sim Smith’s guide to shopping, eating and outings this Christmas rewery Truman B

Take the monotony out of your Christmas shopping this year and head to the new Saturday Backyard Market at the Old Truman Brewery, East London. If you’re bored of the high street and fancy something a little alternative this really is the place to go. Famed for its showcase of young design talent the Old Truman Brewery plays host to bustling stalls filled with great one-off finds covering everything from arts and crafts to retro home ware and vintage pieces. While you’re there why not treat yourself to some great homemade food on the top of the Routemaster for a typically quirky East End experience! 020 7770 6100

ini M

Swarovsk i Give something back this Christmas. Leading crystal brand Swarovski has teamed up with UNICEF this festive season to help raise funds for the charity’s work on water and sanitation no w fla around the world. The Swarovski miniature snowflake ornament ke ki or n vs will be on sale at Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and the Swarovski am aro ent, £ 95.00, Sw Crystallized store, London with 40% being donated directly to TATE UNICEF. The sale of each ornament will provide ten families with water containers allowing them to store water safely and cut down Looking for a present to on journeys to and from the water pump. Each year 25 million last all year? people die from diseases caused by unsafe drinking water with The TATE gift more than half of these deaths being amongst children. This year membership do your bit for this very worthy cause and leave the shops with a pack designed little bit of sparkle. by leading contemporary 020 7235 5000, Saturday Backyard Market, 11am - 6pm artist Jim 020 7730 1234, CRYSTALLIZED™ Cosmos Store, 24 Great Marlborough Street, W1F 7HU Lambie provides a Ultimate Christmas Hamper, £2,500.00, Harvey Nichols whole year of unlimited free entry to all exhibitions at Tate Modern, Tate Britain,Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives. It also entitles the owner to use of the Members room at TATE Modern and to the TATE ETC. Magazine, sent Harvey Nichols directly to members’ homes el g An three times a year.With individual d What better way to indulge over the festive Carve membership starting at just at £50, season than by opening a hamper full of Nothing says Christmas like a great Christmas pudding.The it’s worth bagging one for yourself delicious goodies? Harvey Nichols has come Carved Angel has developed one of the best reputations too! Gift membership can be up trumps this year with over 30 hamper and in the land for its classic pudding recipe based on Eliza bought at any Tate gallery or at Tate gift box combinations specially created by the Online. top food and wine buyers in the business.These Acton’s original Victorian formula.The fruity puddings are made with the highest quality ingredients and are stamped gorgeous gifts are filled with hand selected with the vegetarian seal of approval too. Each one is hand 020 7887 8888 products from the 600 strong Harvey Nichols tied with a muslin cloth placed in a re usable earthenware Own Label Collection and start from a mere bowl that can be used well after the festive season. Just to £30 each. Check out the Ultimate Christmas make sure there are no post lunch mishaps, however, Hamper filled with gourmet foods, elegant instructions are included to ensure a kitchenware, fine wines, champagne and ing, from as pudd Angel Christm perfectly cooked pud. A great crowd e Carved Th , 00 ports.This really will guarantee a very merry £10. pleaser round the Christmas table Christmas! Orders can be placed online, by or an ideal gift for a loved one with a phone or from the Food Market but be sure sweet tooth, you can’t go wrong with to place your order prior to 20 December to this one...even Nigel Slater’s a fan! ensure delivery before Christmas Eve. e ur at

01822 835020

Tate gift membership pack, £50.00


0845 604 1888

THE GIFT GUIDE Sim Smith’s guide to the best gifts for your home...



Deluxe hand inlaid and embossed Cherry Dauphin calf game cube with nickel and leather, Backgammon stones and Sterling silver playing pieces, £16,170 Geoffrey Parker Games, 01799 599 100;

Leather heart key fob in red, £25 Ettinger, 020 8877 1616

Evergreen Pine candle, £40 Dyptique, 020 7224 4948;

L’Essence de Courvoisier, £1,800 exclusively from Harrods, 0845 605 1234; Wild Fern Cologne, £31 Geo. F. Trumper, 020 7272 1765;

Eco House Book by Terence Conran, £25 Waterstones, 0845 217 2920;

Cast aluminium Spencer Squirrel Nutcracker, £18 Jme Collection, 0845 279 7227;

European oak, American walnut and grey concrete heavy desk light, £450 Benjamin Hubert Studio, 07835 120938;

Porcelain Vivo Lucky-U Eyecatcher Kenny Vase, £12.95 Villeroy and Boch, 020 8875 6060;

100% cashmere Mackenzie throw, £395, Johnstons cashmere, 01343 554040;

FOR kids

FOR pets

Merino dog pullover, from £50 Mungo & Maud, 020 7952 4570;; Recycled wood, eco-efficient particleboard and MDF Eco Green Dolls house, £149.95 John Lewis, 08456 049049;

Wooden five-a-day veg box, £10 Great Little Trading Company, 0844 848 6000;

Persepx Mija bed from £690 and dining table from £155 WOWBOW, 020 8834 1091;; Mohair British Collectors Teddy Bear, £150 Steiff, Hamleys, 0871 704 1977;

Wooden and metal roadster Saab toy car in black and natural finish, £302 Skandium, 020 7584 2066;

Steel and wood children’s drum kit, £195 The Conran Shop, 0844 848 4000;

Rubber dog bone in pistachio, £12 Mungo & Maud, 020 7952 4570;; Leather Signature braided collars, £52.50. Max & Margot, 020 7096 1817;

Ginger and cinnamon spice boys biscuits, £3.50 for a 200g bag, Klassy Canine Bakery, 01884 255584;


Sim Smith gathers inspiration from the design hub that is the legendary Oxo Tower...

1 Bodo Sperliein A bell chimes as I enter this pale grey space. I’m greeted by the clean smell of fresh lilies that I follow to the desk where I am welcomed by one of the studio staff. I have long admired the fine bone china collections here, their originality, eccentricity and design; handles in the shape of horses legs, small white birds perched on fine golden twigs and teardrop glass pendant lights with delicate white flowers protruding from their surfaces. Bodo Sperlein is a boutique deign consultancy whose projects have involved collaborations with the likes of Lladró and Swarovski. The most recent collaboration, however, was the much anticipated collection of tea accessories for Yauatcha Atelier. Using traditional techniques dating back over many centuries, this collection takes its inspiration from the tea plant with subtle details in twig and branch forms adorning tea infusers, tea cup handles and bonbonniere’s.

2 Innermost It is clear, even by just looking through the large glass frontage of this studio that design is paramount to the brand. Form evidently matters here with designs taking on unlikely and, some could say, surreal forms. In the centre of the entrance, hanging from the ceiling is a sculptural stainless steel suspension that seems almost orange peel like with a broken spherical outline. This is in fact a light but anyone could easily mistake it for a piece of art. Similarly, the infamous bowler hat lights that have come to be known as Jeeves & Wooster pendants hang nearby with metallic interiors gleaming from their black felt casing. Multifaceted chairs and steel based Origami tables that seem to have been folded from sheets of paper sit in the window enticing passersby to touch. Founded by designers Steve Jones

and Russell Cameron in 1999, Innermost aspires to provide a showcase for new design talent and ten years on the company couldn’t be stronger.

3 Joseph Joseph The first thing I notice is the bright limegreen rubber floor which I follow into the middle of the space. This design hub, complete with in-house designers busying away in front of their computers is home to Joseph Joseph, specialists in contemporary kitchenware and homeware. Thick white shelves showcase brightly coloured, cleverly designed kitchen accessories. Bright yellow lemon juicers that catch unwanted pips, adjustable rolling pins and folding colanders are just some of the pieces that caught my eye. If you’re looking for a gift for a domestic goddess or feel you might need a little help when preparing Christmas lunch this year, you know where to go...

4 Little + Collins I walk in under tubular lighting set against slate ceiling panels to a high top desk that seems to operate as a consultation space. There is a table and chairs laid out with samples in the most sumptuous of colours readily on show. Rugs are hung, framed on the walls, making viewing as easy as picking out a poster in an art gallery. I find out that Little + Collins design and manufacture bespoke and limited edition, hand tufted rugs and wall hangings. They offer a tailor made design service, hence the seating area, which can cater for all manner of customer design preferences. Colours are subtle yet powerful with inspiration being drawn from natural sources and landscapes; heathers from the Scottish highlands, cinnabar from lava lands and seaweed and chalk from mineral formations. The delicate interplay of texture sees the pieces taking on both geometric and organic forms, again, inspired by striking landscapes and dramatic scenery. The company take great pride in the production of their work and with all pieces bring produced in UK, Little + Collins are able to oversee the whole manufacturing process from start to finish.

5 Michèle Oberdieck Michèle Oberdieck specialises in beautiful screenprinted fabrics, textile panels and modern fused glass works for interior and exterior spaces. There is a natural thread that runs though her work; inspiration drawn from the botanical world. Produced to some degree of abstraction, her designs prove that natural forms needn’t be portrayed through traditional depictions. Brightly coloured pieces hang from every surface; printed glass works decorate the walls, with textile prints covering everything from clothes, to cushions and bags, dotted on chairs, floors and rails. There is a distinct feel of a working studio here, an authentic design house. To the rear, a collection of dyes and paints fill old pots of Bonne Maman jam jars with new design ideas pinned to the walls. Michèle produces work for a variety of domestic and commercial clients and can produce bespoke works on request.

6 W2 Colour is the first thing that strikes you on entering the studio. Set on a clean white backdrop, bold shades jump out from otherwise mundane crockery and home wares. Choose from cornflower blue English Heritage mugs and tea towels, black and grey London Transport tea pots and ceramic dog bowls. Founded by designers Jackie and Victoria, the company subscribes to the age old philosophy of ‘form follows function’. Where they have triumphed, however, is by making fundamental design fun. I’m sure you’ve seen the Pantone® range of mugs and giftware...well, that was them. The company also undertakes design commissions for businesses so if you’re after some help reinventing your space W2 would definitely be a good place to start.




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120 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 3LS 509 Uxbridge Road, Hatch End, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 4JS Telephone: 020 7486 3080 email:

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Located at Marble Arch, these apartments are perfectly placed for the best of London shopping and entertaining, whilst also enjoying the quiet open spaces of Hyde Park. All twelve apartments that have been relaunched are finished to the highest specification, with natural wood and stone finishes, under floor heated bathrooms and colour video entry as standard.

- Underground Parking - Concierge Service - 13 Person Lift - Security Alarm - Air Cooling System For further information: Knight Frank T: 020 7483 8349 Kay & Co T: 020 7486 6338

Re-launching December 2009

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23/11/09 15:47:20


Jess Harrison visits a true Tuscan hideaway and discovers the benefits of a five-star fractional experience


s the car climbed up the empty, twisting Tuscan road in the afternoon sunshine, I knew we were in for something really special. “Casale Pulcinello,” announced the driver, and we stopped outside a beautiful old farmhouse, entirely hidden from the road. The first thing I noticed was the infinity pool, stretching away into a countryside of rolling hills, grape-laden vines and not a soul as far as the eye could see. The second thing I noticed was the delicious smell of lunch being cooked in the wood-burning oven in the courtyard. We had definitely come to the right place.

Casale Pulcinello is one of the newest restorations in Castello di Casole; a 4,200 acre estate located between Siena and Florence. This clutch of forgotten farmhouses has been lovingly restored and the properties are now available to purchase for both whole and fractional ownership. The latter option ranges from €290,000 to €445,000 for a 1/12 share (plus an annual maintenance fee) and offers time-poor buyers a hassle-free opportunity to buy a share of a unique Tuscan property. Plus, it makes financial sense given that owners will probably only have the time to spend a few weeks there a year.


The pill is sweetened further by the impressive benefits on offer, including access to language tutors, housekeepers, chefs and concierges who are on hand to arrange everything from airport collections to city tours. While the Tuscan countryside provides the stunning exteriors, the villas are almost as impressive inside. Designers work with local suppliers and antique dealers to create a unique feel in every room: gorgeous pink and red tiling in a pretty country style bathroom, an old map of the region at the top of the stairs, a beautiful antique chest under a window. The result is a stunning combination of Tuscan tradition and modern opulence – a five-star experience that still feels like home. Next year Castello di Casole is going to get even better, with the opening of the hotel complex that will be the jewel in its crown. The legendary Italian director Luchino Visconti – famous for the 1963 film The Leopard – once lived lavishly here, reportedly housing his several mistresses in the surrounding villas. Wandering round the picturesque ruins today, it’s hard to imagine their hedonistic past; still more incredible is the fact that by next June, this lonely, lovely spot is going to be brought back to life. Nothing will be built from scratch (Tuscan planning regulations would never allow it – even the tiles of the swimming pools must adhere to strict colour guidelines), but the designers are working to reconstruct and restore existing historical structures. When completedfinished, the complex will boast a 41-suite hotel, fitness centre, restaurant, gelateria, world-class spa and outdoor pool. Best of all, the village church is going to be restored to its former glory and opened as a venue for weddings and concerts. There are also plenty of activities on offer to Castello di Casole owners, and we were lucky enough to enjoy two of these during our stay. Chef Lisa showed us how to make spinach and ricotta ravioli from scratch, stretching the pasta out with expert hands; while local artist Eva taught us how to paint sunflowers onto pottery, Tuscan style. “Molto bene!” she proclaimed generously as we added the finishing strokes to our masterpieces. To my mind, one of the greatest attractions here (particularly if you’ve got a weakness for full-bodied red wine) is the fact that the estate also offers the chance to participate in all aspects of its annual wine-making. You can pick grapes at harvest time, enjoy blind-tastings, tour the cellars, visit other estates in Sicily and Piedmont – or, for those who believe holidays are strictly about being as immobile as possible, just lie back by the pool and drink the end result.

The idea is that you have all the benefits of owning a Tuscan vineyard, without any of the hassle. That hassle is saved for winemaker extraordinaire Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, a man who practically has red wine running in his veins – his family produces the renowned Sassicaia label. Since arriving at Castello di Casole a few years ago, he has transformed every aspect of the estate’s winemaking process, from pruning back the existing vines so they aren’t over-burdened by grapes, to experimenting with natural composting, and importing the finest quality barrels from France. Over a glass (or two) of locally produced wine, he explains the philosophy behind all this care and attention. “If you make wine well, you don’t put chemicals in the soil,” he says. “You respect nature. It’s a very simple concept: whatever you take from the land, you give back. And you do it in an organic way.” The fruits of Piero’s labours on the estate are two wines, ‘C’, and the special reserve label, Dodici. The production of the latter is tiny: only 5,000 bottles a year, all of which are reserved exclusively for Castello di Casole owners. The wine is made chiefly from two grapes, French Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, the quintessential Tuscan grape. One local wine-maker fondly describes this as ‘the Greta Garbo of grapes’ for its unpredictable and demanding qualities – it needs a lot of coaxing and attention to achieve the desired yield. Nevertheless, the effort the wine-makers put in here is amply rewarded by the deliciously smooth result. As Piero insists, “If you’re not passionate and in love with your vineyard, then your wine is not going to be good”. The longer I stayed at Castello di Casole, the more I realised that buying a fraction of one of their properties really means gaining a whole lifestyle – one which is luxurious, but is also a part of real Tuscan history and the traditional business of wine-making. If your idea of heaven is a glass of red wine (that you’ve had a hand in producing), sipped slowly while watching the sun set over Tuscanythe Tuscan hills, then this might just be the development of your dreams. n For more information, visit


No one’s more at home in north London When you’re looking to buy, sell, let or rent locally or anywhere in London, no one’s better placed to help. Visit, the home of London property.

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Luxury Apartments & Penthouses to Rent in a Unique Garden Setting The North Stand apartments in Highbury Square are part of a truly unique development set in what was the previous home of Arsenal Football Club. The development offers one, two and three bedroom apartments all designed to the highest specification and benefiting from the 24 hour concierge service and secure underground parking. The focal point of this exclusive development is the stunning central landscaped garden located in the position of the original football pitch and provides residents with one of the largest private gardens in North London.

Highbury Square is extremely well connected with excellent road, tube and rail links on the doorstep. The development is conveniently located for all the nearby vibrant restaurants, cafes, bars and shops of Highbury and also Islington’s Upper Street. The apartments are available to let immediately and are offered either furnished or unfurnished. One bedroom between £280 and £345 per week, two bedrooms between £370 and £475 per week and three bedroom penthouses at £850 per week.

For more information or to arrange a viewing, contact Knight Frank on:

020 7861 5525 /

City and Angel Magazine 26/11/09.indd 1-2

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next issue... fter the Christmas chaos, we start the New Year by presenting the very best ways to invest your cash; from art and jewellery, to cars and wine. For those looking to spend on a larger scale, we’re also showcasing a portfolio of fantastic property investment opportunities, both at home and overseas. Don’t miss our feature on taking advantage of the tax breaks by moving overseas to Switzerland, and travel articles on staying at home, at Stoke Park and going away, to the city of Cape Town. In addition to business and finance, local news, interiors and fashion, look out for our mini-series on the rising popularity of cosmetic surgery and the widening choices available to perfect your looks. Finally, don’t forget to check out our recommended alternative health tips for a New Year, New You. For this and much more be sure to pick up a copy!

True Character

A B a l l y m o re D eve l o p m e n t

True characters are a rare breed that stand out from the crowd. Just like the new Lotus Evora, they lead, not follow.

Fuel consumption in mpg (l/100km): Urban 22.8 (12.4), Extra Urban 43.5 (6.5), Combined 32.5 (8.7) CO2 emissions: 205g/km

An exclusive proposition, the Evora uses unique and innovative aluminium chassis technology wrapped in iconic Lotus styling. Its character traits of sophistication, agility and dynamism are clearly portrayed, backed up by legendary Lotus ride and handling.

An extraordinary combination of performance and economy confirm the Evora as the 21st century sportscar, a true Lotus, worthy of the name.

Inside, bold shapes and beautiful materials are linked in unison, offering a virtuous combination of simplicity, comfort and style using exquisite detailing and handbuilt craftmanship. A unique mid-engined 2+2 layout offers striking levels of everyday practicality without compromising the characteristics of a true sportscar.

Escape to the country in the heart of the city Lotus Evora 2+0 £48,450 OTR, Lotus Evora 2+2 £50,825 OTR. Model shown: Evora 2+2 £54,299 OTR, including optional Premium Upgrade Pack (£2495) and Quartz Silver Lifestyle Paint (£979).

OTR costs include: VAT at 15%, delivery, PDI, first service, number plates, valet, 12 months’ road licence and a full tank of fuel.

At Baltimore Wharf leading edge architecture and design come together in superbly appointed apartments. Central boulevard gardens lead to the Baltimore Club, London’s first luxury urban country club. Offering virtual sports – golf, clay and game shooting and a state–of–the–art gym. This iconic development is in a tranquil waterside enclave, just five minutes walk from Canary Wharf. So, register your interest now… get ready to enjoy country living in the heart of the city. Call 0800 404 8855 Prices from £265,000. Prices and details correct at time of going to press.

RWM advert.indd 4

24/9/09 09:02:06






made to order luxury fashion


where every piece is a work of art

decEMBER 2009 issue 26

I S S U E 26

Diamonds go beyond brilliant


UK & International



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