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CRYSTAL BRIDAL BOWL by Monique Lhuillier

This is sooo gorgeous!  I want one!!  From her “Sunday Rose” collection produced by Waterford, this beautiful 7 inch diameter bowl features an exterior of hand-carved roses in full bloom – very tactile…  Crystal Bridal Bowl By Monique LhuillierThe external finish is translucent satin whilst the interior is clear, creating delightful “light and shade” and amplifying the sculpted effect.  The collection was inspired by Lhuillier’s iconic and hugely popular Sunday Rose wedding gown design.

I see this bowl as a lovely centrepiece with a full arrangement of perfect roses or floating blossoms.  It could also serve as an extravagant, eye-catching vessel for potpourri or simply be appreciated as a beautiful stand-alone objet d’artAlternatively – what a stunning statement as a candle holder – imagine a pair – illuminated by votive candles – on a mantle (or in the bedroom) – very romantic!! See It Here

Sunday Rose Dinner Set By Monique LhuillierBased in Los Angeles, California, fashion designer Monique Lhuiller creates high-end bridal and evening wear (she has many celebrity devotees) and, like Vera Wang,(see below) has diversified into quality homewares.  Her collaboration with Waterford has produced a stylish line of crystal, fine china and flatware as well as beautiful decorator items – vases, photo frames and other ornamentals.  She also designs fine linens, papers and home fragrances.

The “Sunday Rose” range – whilst undeniably feminine (and an obvious choice for the bridal market), is a fashionable option for any special occasion.  The fine china dinnerware – white with the white rose embellishments defined in platinum, is classic and eminently collectable – quietly beautiful and elegant. See it Here

Lhuillier has created several popular tableware and accessory collections for Waterford – Dentelle, Stardust, Etoile Platinum, Couturier, Platine, Atelier and Modern Love.


BREGUET BRILLIANCEL'Orangerie Bracelet

From the very fine French watchmaker/jeweller Breguet is this bedazzling bracelet – part of the beautiful “L’Orangerie” Collection.  Inspired by the magnificent Orangerie at the Chateau de Versaille, this suite of jewellery is an indulgent exercise in clever colour combination and bold, innovative design.  With an 18ct yellow gold setting enhancing the radiance of pave diamonds (10.70ct) and rubies, pink tourmalines, spessartine garnets, yellow beryls and spinels (23.42ct), this special piece is a glorious floral explosion of colour and light.  The very desirable “L’Orangerie” collection also includes a stunning necklace, extravagant double flower ring, a pendant and drop earrings.


ORGANIC
For More information on this Set click here

Vera Wang VERA WANG CRYSTAL VASE

Does anyone do the wedding dress better than New York designer Vera Wang? She of fabulous bridal finery fame has many strings to her bow – apart from designing exquisite wedding gowns and exclusive evening wear, Wang has turned her considerable talent to producing lovely fragrances and cosmetic products, unique jewelry, handbags and luggage, eyewear, footwear, stationery and furniture. VWang Vase - Vera Wang She has also joined forces with the Waterford Wedgwood group to produce a luxurious range of covetable tableware, giftware and decorator items.  From fine bone china and stylish cutlery to sleek modern stemware and gorgeous collectables in silver, crystal and stainless steel – Vera Wang designs are very popular inclusions on any discerning wedding gift register.  The new “Vera Wang With Love” crystal vase is just so elegant – a contemporary classic!


DIAMOND JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS

Queen's Diamond Jubilee Aboard the Royal Barge

Thames River Pageant, June 3rd, 2012. Despite miserable weather, the much anticipated Thames Pageant has proven a highlight of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations (which span a special four day weekend).

Led by the beautifully ornate Royal rowbarge (the newly commissioned 94ft “Gloriana”), the magnificent Royal Barge, the “Spirit of Chartwell”, headed the vast flotilla down the Thames.  Her Majesty was accompanied on board by Prince Philip, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

An estimated 1.2 million flag-waving well-wishers created a sea of red, white and blue as they crammed every available vantage point along the seven mile route from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge.  The flotilla numbered an unprecedented 1000 vessels, large and small, presenting a marvellous spectacle.  Unfortunately, due to the poor conditions, a planned fly-past in “diamond” formation was cancelled.

The 86 year old monarch, resplendent in a stunning silver and white ensemble, stoically remained on deck, smiling and waving despite the cold.  Designed by Angela Kelly, her matching dress and coat were embellished with silver and gold spots and sparkling crystals.

This event was one of many organised to celebrate Her Majesty’s remarkable 60 years on the throne.  Across Britain and throughout the Commonwealth, formal and informal events have been arranged to celebrate the Queen’s milestone.  In the UK alone, around 6 million people attended an estimated 10,000 street parties.

Queen's Thames Jubilee PageantQueen Elizabeth II ascended the throne at age 25, following the death of her father, King George VI on 6th February, 1952.  Her Coronation took place at Westminster Abbey on 2nd June, 1953.  She has been served by no fewer than twelve Prime Ministers.  Her reign is eclipsed only by that of Queen Victoria who occupied the British throne for 63 years.

The Queen’s unerring commitment to her duty through good times and bad has provided a reassuring constancy to her subjects at home and across the Commonwealth.  Her enduring popularity has been spectacularly demonstrated by the effusive show of support and admiration throughout the Jubilee celebrations.

Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip


QUEEN ELIZABETH IN AUSTRALIA

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth arrived in the national capital, Canberra on Wednesday (October19th) for her 16th visit to Australia since she first graced our shores as a young queen in 1954.

Accompanied by 90 year old Prince Phillip, the 85 year old monarch disembarked from the British Airways 777 jet to a balmy Canberra afternoon and an excited throng of well-wishers.  Looking fresh and relaxed Her Majesty was elegantly dressed in an “atoll blue” ensemble and matching hat, contrasted with black accessories.  She also wore the stunning ”Wattle” brooch (yellow and white diamonds) – a gift from the Australian government presented in 1954 to mark her first visit.

After greeting the crowds, the smiling royal couple was whisked away in a convoy of government vehicles to “Yaralumla”.  The official residence of Australia’s Governor General (Quentin Bryce), has been made available to the royal couple.

On Friday (21st October) the Queen and Prince Philip attended a formal reception at Parliament House where they were welcomed by a representative of Australia’s indigenous peoples and addressed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbot.  Stirring renditions of the British and Australian National Anthems were delivered by The Australian Girls Choir. The royal couple was also treated to a performance by popular Aboriginal singer/guitarist Gurrumul Yunupingu before mingling with the 700 invited guests ahead of a formal dinner.

The 10 day itinerary includes visits to Brisbane and Melbourne, with the final three days spent in Perth, Western Australia where the Queen will preside over CHOGM (the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting).


 Royal Wedding Kiss - Price William & Princess CatherineWOW INDEED!

29th April 2011

Well – it was certainly worth the wait – what a day!  The weather – worrisome at first was ultimately kind and considering the scale of the event and the complex logistics, the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton ran incredibly smoothly.

The Dress

Princess Catherine wore a beautiful traditional gown of ivory and white satin gazar, designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen. The lovely floral lace detail of the sleeves and bodice were reminiscent of the wedding dress worn in 1956 by the late Princess Grace of Monaco.

Burton enlisted the expertise of the renowned Royal School of Needlework to fashion the exquisite lace and embroidery embellishments.  The dress was fastened down the back by 58 gazar and organza covered buttons with Rouleau loops. The cinched waist emphasised Catherine’s slender figure and the rear pleated skirt and 2.7 metre train lent the gown a contemporary elegance.  Atop a simple veil of ivory silk tulle, trimmed with hand-embroidered flowers, she wore a Cartier “halo” diamond tiara originally belonging to The Queen Mother. Her modest bouquet incorporated Sweet William, lily-of-the-valley, myrtle and hyacinth.

The Bridal Party

Equally stunning was Catherine’s bridesmaid – her sister Philippa (Pippa) Middleton, in a gorgeous cowl necked, figure-hugging gown of ivory satin-based crepe, also by Sarah Burton.  Her dress featured the same button detail as the bride’s.

The whole wedding party was magnificently attired – Prince William, resplendent in the full military regalia of an officer of the Irish Guard (he is their Colonel) – and his Best Man, Prince Harry, also in uniform.  The page boys were adorable in their Regency-style red tunics complementing William’s and the junior bridesmaids were very sweet in their ankle length dresses with full skirts, puffed sleeves, pale gold silk sashes and scalloped hems.

The Service and Celebrations

Westminster Abbey provided a magnificent setting for the moving ceremony, its imposing Gothic architecture softened by an “avenue” of boxed maple and hornbeam trees specially imported for the occasion.

When the beaming royal couple made their first appearance on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, before a jubilant throng of well-wishers (numbering in the hundreds of thousands) Catherine’s spontaneous “Oh – Wow…” was priceless.  They were then joined by the rest of the wedding party and the immediate royal family.  There were two fly-pasts – much to the delight of the page boys – first, three World War II planes – a Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire, followed by four jets in box formation – two Typhoons and two Tornado GR4s.

The traditional newlyweds’ kiss on the balcony, always a highlight, was surprisingly brief, but happily it was followed a few minutes later by a more relaxed and lingering one, much to the delight of the cheering masses.

After a reception for 600 at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Queen, Prince William and Princess Catherine, the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, enjoyed a party for 300. Hosted by Prince Charles, this was a less formal affair, with the celebrations continuing into the wee small hours.

Such an attractive and charismatic couple, they are bound to dominate magazine covers for some time – a paparazzo and publisher’s dream!  I get the feeling they will be a great morale-booster for Britain in these difficult economic times and generate renewed interest in the monarchy.


Portrait Painting

REMEMBERING “LA STUPENDA”

Westminster Abbey, London 15th February, 2011.

Dame Joan Sutherland was honoured in a Ceremony ofThanksgiving in an uplifting noon service conducted by the Dean of Westminster, Dr John Hall.  Attended by over 2000 opera-lovers, the congregation included HRH Prince Charles, sopranos Yvonne Kenny and Lesley Garrett, former Royal Opera House Director John Tooley, former British Prime Minister John Major, Adrian Collette representing Opera Australia, the Australian High Commissioner John Dauth, Australian comedian Barry Humphries, human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson and his wife, novelist Kathy Lette and many other luminaries from the worlds of art, music and politics.

During the service, recordings of Dame Joan’s “Casta Diva” from “Norma” and “Let The Bright Seraphim” from “Samson” were played and as the Abbey filled with that unmistakeable soaring voice, most were moved to tears. It was at once a joyful celebration and a reverent homage to Australia’s grand diva. Joan Sutherland was much loved and admired, garnering a huge following during a glittering career which, over forty years, saw her perform in the great opera houses of the world.

Renowned for her tremendous vocal range and power, Dame Joan was dubbed “The Voice of the Century” by her close friend, Luciano Pavarotti. She played some 54 lead roles in many great operas, including those of Mozart, Handel, Puccini and Verdi, but it was as Donizetti’s “Lucia” that she achieved truly legendary status, performing the role 233 times (once earning a 19 minute standing ovation!).

Joan Sutherland is only the second Australian to be honoured by such a service at Westminster (the first being former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies in 1978). In a touching moment Dame Joan’s grandson Vanya Bonynge brought forward a velvet cushion displaying her medals of honour. Supported by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 28 year old Australian soprano and rising star Valda Wilson paid tribute with performances of Mozart’s “Alleluia” and Faure’s “Pie Jesu”.

Dame Joan died at age 83 at her home near Montreaux in Switzerland last October. She is survived by her husband of 56 years, conductor and pianist Richard Bonynge, their son Adam and grandchildren.


EARTH DAY 22nd APRIL, 2012.

Earth Day 2012It’s here again – bigger and better than ever!  This year some 192 countries will unite in acts of earth-consciousness on 22nd April.  The target – A Billion Acts of Green – advocates a sustainable future with a focus on “renewable energy for all”.

There are many levels of engagement available – all participating countries and cities have organised initiatives suited to groups and/or individuals.  These range from organised rallies and local action collectives to individual commitments like:

Swapping private transport for public

Planting a school garden

Reducing/eliminating domestic use of pesticides and toxic cleaning products  Consuming more locally-produced food

Contributing to local environment clean-ups – park, beach, streets, waterways, reserves etc.

Improving recycling practises on the home front

Reducing energy consumption

Donating funds to support renewable energy enterprises

Earth Day came into being in 1970 – a time of burgeoning environmental and political awareness and activism in the general community.  Long-time environmental advocate US Senator Gaylord Nelson galvanised 20 million Americans coast to coast to protest against appalling environmental pollution.  Unfettered vehicle emissions and the by-products and waste from industry were poisoning America’s air, land and waterways.  In response, by December of that year, the US government had created the US Environmental Protection Agency and passed the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

Since 1970, Earth Day has evolved into a massive international event, uniting millions of individuals from diverse cultures in a common cause.  The ethos has been globally embraced.

The size and activity of the movement has exploded in recent years, with the expansion of social media, better support from governments and most importantly, the universal recognition that time is running out to address the physical crises impacting planet Earth and the life it supports.

The celebration of Earth Day has generated many popular and effective campaigns including:-

Earth Day University

Arts for the Earth

Athletes for the Earth

Campaign for Community

Reading for the Earth

and Eco Faith.

Hope you can participate!


BUZZ OFF!!

Citronella candlesWhat to do when swarming bees try to enter your house???  I confess on the first occasion I threw caution to the wind and took to them with a can of fly spray!  This was probably reckless, but some were already indoors so I had to act quickly and they were so intent on following the leader through a gap in the metal window frame that they were seemingly unbothered by my presence.  It did the trick and they dispersed, but in hindsight I felt rather awful about spraying our little friends.  On another occasion they swarmed around the top of a sliding glass door – this time I decided to try another approach.  I lit a couple of large citronella candles (mosquito repellents) and place them on the ground directly beneath where the bees were gathering – they didn’t like the smoke and soon moved on, none the worse for wear!citronella candle pot

NOTE: Whilst this seems to be an effective and friendly way to drive off a bee swarm, obviously assess your personal risk before taking action and if you are allergic to bee stings get someone else to help you or call a professional!


EARTH DAY – 22.4.2011

On 26th March at 8:30pm we observed Earth Hour 2011, with a record participation of 134 countries and territories across all continents.  More and more households, businesses, public buildings and landmarks switched off electric lighting for one hour in support of energy conservation and a sustainable future.  Particularly encouraging was the enthusiastic response from emerging economies.Earth Day 2011

Friday the 22nd April is an even more pro-active event, when, as a global community, we are encouraged to perform acts of “greenness”– it can be something as simple as reducing your workplace or domestic water and electricity consumption, recycling packaging, installing low-energy light bulbs or even just collecting litter in your immediate vicinity – be imaginative!  Go online to explore the many initiatives you can participate in and together let’s do our bit for this special planet.

Earth Day is now the world’s largest environmental service campaign and this ever-expanding movement aims in 2011 to promote the target of a “Billion Acts of Green” before the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.  Whether acting as an individual, an organisation or a whole community, there are countless ways, big and small to make an effective contribution to a healthier future for us all.


EARTH HOUR –  8:30 p.m. Saturday 26th March, 2011.Earth Hour 2011

Mark this date on your calendar so that you too can support our precious planet.  Earth Hour is a simple, but highly effective environmental initiative first started in Sydney, Australia, in 2007.  The annual event now has huge global participation, as was demonstrated in 2010 when 100s of millions of people and businesses in 128 countries and territories around the world, switched off their electric lighting for 1 hour. Homes, landmarks and famous buildings were plunged into temporary darkness in recognition of our ever-changing environment and the need to be pro-active as communities and individuals.


Green Design and Innovations

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SIGNING OFF – GORE VIDAL

Writer - Gore Vidal03.10.1925 – 31.7.2012

A giant of contemporary American literature and society, Gore Vidal, passed away at his Hollywood Hills home in Los Angeles.  The 86 year old succumbed to complications of pneumonia.

Born on 3rd October, 1925 in West Point, New York, Eugene Louis Vidal changed his name to Gore Vidal at age 14 (Gore being his mother’s maiden name).  He was already asserting himself as a young man with a strong sense of identity.

Renowned as a prolific writer, razor-tongued social commentator and ardent political activist, Vidal maintained a high public profile throughout his rich and colourful life.  He courted controversy in word and deed.  His sexual escapades are legendary and his sartorial style was much admired, but it was his creative prowess that catapulted him to prominence in modern literary circles.

Through his written work (which embraces some 25 novels, numerous highly-regarded essays, 2 famous memoirs as well as a slew of successful plays for stage and screen) he fearlessly addressed sensitive social issues – sex, politics and religion. For this he was both praised and pilloried.  Vidal often found himself at philosophical loggerheads with some of his contemporaries – he famously had very public run-ins with fellow writers Norman Mailer and William F. Buckley, Jr.

Gore Vidal also distinguished himself as an actor in select roles, cameo appearances and voice-overs.

Vidal twice ran unsuccessfully for political office, but nonetheless remained a powerful voice in the American arena.  Many of his published works were political studies – often highly-critical of the incumbent government.

With regard to his private life, Vidal asserted that we are essentially bi-sexual beings and explored this proposition with some vigour in his youth.  In 1950 he began a relationship with Howard Austen (a creative talent in his own right, who was credited as the person who organised Gore’s comfortable lifestyle and enabled his prolific output). This happy 53 year union ended with Austen’s death from brain cancer in 2003.

A true Renaissance man, Gore Vidal has indisputably carved a place for himself as a cultural icon in modern American history.  Love him or loathe him, he was an erudite man of great social and literary influence, who left a significant imprint on the American psyche. His acerbic wit, towering intellect and powerful presence will be sorely missed in many learned quarters.

Gore Vidal will be laid to rest alongside his life-partner Howard at Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington D.C.


NOMA – NATURALLY!

Renee Redzepi at Noma RestaurantNoma Restaurant may not yet have been awarded its third Michelin Star (much to the chagrin of the Danes) but it was declared Best Restaurant in the World for the third consecutive year at the prestigious S. Pellegrino Awards on 30th April 2012 at The Guild Hall, London.  Inaugurated in 2002, (and originally ranking just 50 restaurants) the annual San Pellegrino Awards now recognise the world’s top 100.  The list is now universally acknowledged as one of the most influential in the world of serious gastronomy.

Under the inspired stewardship of Rene Redzepi, Noma Restaurant in Copenhagen, with its unique take on Nordic cuisine, now enjoys an international reputation and following.[Read more…]


THE VIGNETTE

Makeup TableI just LOVE creating vignettes artful groupings of lovely things!

There are so many opportunities in the domestic setting to arrange a vignette and give any room an instant style injection!  It’s a great way to display your treasures and all sorts of other complementary pieces.  Visually it helps “pull” furniture together within a space.

Dramatic, quirky, folksy or classic, it’s these thoughtful arrangements which speak of the people who inhabit the space and make their house a home.

The basic principles of good arrangement are:[Read more…]


IT’S ALL DONE WITH MIRRORS!

European PanacheArtworks, lamps and mirrors are probably my favourite decorative pieces when dressing a room. Mirrors give a space an instant “lift”.  Not only do they add light – they introduce visual depth and character to a room.

ENTRY STATEMENT – A substantial mirror in the foyer/entry hall is both practical and decorative.  It helps set the tone for the rest of the house and of course is useful for a quick check of one’s appearance before greeting guests or leaving the house.  Traditional placement is above a hall table or credenza.

If your home boasts a grand foyer, why not make a real statement with an oversize stand-alone mirror – creates a very dramatic first impression.  This can be wall mounted or, like my Parisienne friend has done with an enormous antique gilt-framed mirror, propped at a slight tilt against the wall.  The effect is quite stunning since her voluminous vestibule is graced with very high ceilings and classical architectural features – the proportions are just right – tres chic! [Read more…]


BEAU SANCY DIAMOND

Beau Sancy Diamond - Sothebys

Auctioned by Sothebys, 15th May, 2012 – It weighs 34.98 carats and has been in royal hands for over 400 years.  The much-admired Beau Sancy diamond has variously resided in France, England, The House of Orange/Nassau and Prussia.  The exquisite modified pear-shape gem sold for $9.7 million – far exceeding the anticipated sale price of 2 – 4 million dollars. After a fierce 8 minute bidding battle between five parties, the diamond was sold to an anonymous buyer by telephone.

Sothebys presented the famous diamond on behalf of the descendants of Germany’s last emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II.  It formed part of Sothebys Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels Auction at the Beau-Rivage Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland.  The Beau Sancy generated huge interest when displayed to potential buyers in Hong Kong, New York, Rome, Paris, London and Zurich ahead of the Geneva event.

Named for its first owner, the French aristocrat and diplomat, Nicholas Harlay de Sancy the double rose cut diamond features 110 symmetrical facets.  It was cut and polished by the legendary Louis de Berquem of Bruges.  It is a perfect colourless Golcondadiamond.  The Golconda mines (now all-but exhausted) in Southern India were renowned for producing diamonds of spectacular size and clarity.

Berquem’s multi-faceted “pear” cut, was, at the time, a significant innovation and as such, gave the gem tremendous status.  Previously diamonds were presented in a much simpler fashion, with few facets – a format which did not properly reveal their true brilliance.

The “Beau Sancy” has been much admired and coveted down the centuries.  It is said that Queen Elizabeth II has long been interested in acquiring it, due, in no small part, to its illustrious provenance.  We can only speculate on the identity of its new owner…

Footnote:  The Beau Sancy has a BIG sister – the fabulous 55.23 carat “Grand Sancy” which is displayed at the Louvre in Paris.


SNEAKY FREAKY!!

Guiseppe Zanotti - metallic Hi-Top sneakersYeah baby!! – sneakers have come such a lo-o-ong way from the original simple canvas lace-ups!!  Over the last few years they’ve been radically up-scaled to cult-status fashion must-haves – off the court and on to the catwalk!

This “new” breed of footwear isloud and proud with edgy style and chutzpah!  Fabulous new-wave high-top sneakers allow great scope for complex design detail – studs, straps, buckles, big tongues, clever colour and fabric mixes, prints, snakeskin, metallics, chunky soles, hidden wedge heels – wow!!

Isabel Marant Hi-top Wedge SneakersThey have evolved to the point where the line between sneaker and boot is blurred and whilst the big, chunky high-tops are not necessarily feminine – they are definitely appealing in a sexy, androgynous way.

We call them sneakers, and they are comfortable, but the high-end designs are more for strutting than loafing.  From Converse, Nike and Reebok through to Marant, Louboutin, Zanotti, Michalsky et al, the sneaker has been completely redefined.[Read more…]


MING KA-CHING!!

Ming Vase Yongle Period

Defying global financial sentiment, Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction of fine Chinese porcelain realised some record-breaking sales figures yesterday (5th October, 2011).  One of the most notable moments was when a handsome meiping Ming vase eclipsed its pre-auction estimate of US$15.39 million to attain a staggering US$21.6 million.  The vase was purchased by an anonymous telephone bidder and its price represents the world’s highest ever for a piece ofMing porcelain.

Put up for sale by Swiss pharmaceutical tycoon, Stephen Zuellig and the heirsof his late brother, Gilbert, the large cobalt-blue and white vase is decorated with fruit sprays.  The vase is from the Yongle Imperial period (1402 – 1424) and was an important part of the brothers’ magnificent Meiyintang collection (they have amassedsome 2000 pieces since the early 1950s).  Of the 55 items presented from their collection last night, 32 lots were sold (for a total of US$72 million).  Sotheby’s Hong Kong has grown rapidly in prominence in recent years, thanks to the burgeoning wealth of mainland Chinese and a renewed interest in collecting  Chinese fine art, porcelain and premium jewelry.


QUEEN OF ROYAL ASCOT

Black Caviar At Royal AscotShe did it!!  On Saturday 23rd June 2012, in front of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and an excited crowd of 75,000 at Royal Ascot, champion Australian mare Black Caviar triumphed in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes – but only just!!

Fending off a challenge by French mare Moonlight Cloud, Black Caviar snatched the win by just a nose in a photo-finish.  Her time was 1:14:10.  Much to the delight of her fans, this valiant effort leaves her impressive record of 22 straight wins intact and she retains the title of fastest sprinter in the world today.

Black Caviar has garnered a huge following since her debut in 2009 and her fans go all-out to demonstrate their support for the elegant liquorice-coloured 5 year old.  The huge Australian contingent at Ascot was no exception, with many sporting her distinctive colours – bold black spots on salmon-pink.

The nail-biting finish was, by jockey Luke Nolen’s own admission, the result of a risky decision to ease back on the approach to the finish line (as he usually has in Australian events).  Historically the mare has cruised to easy wins with energy to spare, but up against the stiff competition at Royal Ascot, she really had to work to maintain her position up front in the last stages of the 1200 metre race.  A disconcerted Nolen was forced to put the pressure back on in the final tense seconds.  After the race he expressed his disappointment at not delivering a more spectacular victory for the fans.

Nonetheless – whilst not as decisive as her usual wins, Caviar’s triumph at Royal Ascot is a truly magnificent achievement, especially considering this was her first competition on foreign soil and she was not her usual vigorous self.

After the event, Black Caviar was introduced to the Queen, whose attentions were well-received.

There are whispers about that the mare may be retired having now claimed glory on the hallowed course of Royal Ascot – many would hope not! Others talk of her racing in Hong Kong.  Her trainer Peter Moody dismisses all speculation as premature – he just looks forward to getting his champion safely back home. In any case – the beautiful Black Caviar has given her all and truly earned her place in racing history.


COCKTAIL COLOUR!

Baccarat Martini Glasses

Add a bit of sparkle and pizzazz to your next cocktail party with these bright jewel-coloured “Vega” martini glasses by Baccarat.  Hand-crafted in France from full-lead crystal, these glasses feature decorative stems and are available individually in clear, ruby, sapphire and olivine.  Baccarat Fleur Psydelic RingAlso from Baccarat is this vibrant crystal ring – from the “Fleurs de Psydelic” collection – this one is “Day”.  I love the warm, summery colours – pinks, reds, honey and amber, set in sterling silver and actually bought one when I was recently in London.  I receive lots of compliments when I wear it.  There are two other versions – in shades of blue – “Dawn” -aqua blues and violet,and the moody “Night” – deeper blues and light to dark greys.  The particular crystals used create lovely sparkling colour variations as they catch the light.


Dunhill Solar Charger

FROM THE HOUSE OF DUNHILL

Compact, practical and rather gorgeous, this sleek portable solar powered recharger for mobile phones and mp3 players is a perfect gift for the discerning technophile.  Made of lightweight and durable brushed aluminium (aerospace grade) and discreetly embellished with the Alfred Dunhill insignia, this nifty device delivers 30 hours charge time and comes with a smart Chassis leather carry case. Dunhill Custom FragranceThe clever little unit is self-charging with its built in solar panel or via a computer USB.  And just released is the new Dunhill fragrance for men“Custom” Eau de Toilette – presented in chunky 50 and 100ml bottles.  This is a welcome addition to the sophisticated Dunhill fragrance range.  “Custom” exudes a masculine energy – warm and woody, spicy and sensual.  The heavy glass bottle has a metal cap which can be personalised to order, with your own monogram.


HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!

Best wishes to all our readers for a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2012!  The past year has been tumultuous and challenging on many fronts globally.  I hope we can all embrace this New Year with optimism and also resolve to imbue our lives with love and grace.


DAVID BOYD

23rd August 1924 – 10th November 2011Bathers by a LagoonAcclaimed Australian ceramicist and painter David Boyd has died in Sydney at age 87.  Surrounded by three generations of the famous Boyd art dynasty, David passed away quietly after a short illness.

Boyd’s work is very much in demand – exhibited at the National Gallery of Australia and represented internationally in public and private collections.

Many of his paintings are instantly recognisable – possessing a dreamlike quality – whimsical, surreal and child-like – in fact, naïf, romantic depictions of children proliferate much of his work.  The rendering however is deceptively complex and sophisticated.  His stylised motifs and techniques bear recognisable similarities to those of his brother – renowned landscape painter, Arthur Boyd.[Read more…]


AFTER THE CUP – BYRON BLISS

Byron Bay

Aaahh – Byron Bay – one of my favourite places when I need some R & R!  Our “beach house” sits high on a hill in our own little tropical forest, so while we enjoy some of the most spectacular views of the ocean, we have virtually complete privacy – and it’s just a short drive to the beaches!  Often as not we’ll just opt for the pool, which looks directly out to sea anyway!  We catch the most delicious Pacific breezes – heaven in a hammock!!

My sister just loves coming here and is really enthusiastic about our recent extensions to the main house – apparently it’s looking quite “Caribbean”.  She too is a designer (fashion and textiles) so we always have much to talk about – lots of “brainstorming”!  Currently she and her partner are restoring a romantic old villa in Perugia, Umbria.  It’s quite a challenging project – it will take at least another year to complete, but it’s bound to be magnificent.  I’m going to help her re-create some of the original gardens.  Of course that means a few jaunts to Italy – any excuse…!!

We had such a great time together over Melbourne Cup Week (the highlight of the Spring Racing Carnival) [Read more…]


First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

BIENVENUE PETITE GIULIA

First Lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (43), gave birth to a healthy girl on Wednesday evening (19th October) at La Muette maternity clinic in Paris. Giulia has the distinction of being the first child in French history to be born to a serving First Lady.  Her name is the Italian version of Julia.  She is the second child for Bruni, who has a 10 year old son, Aurelien, with French philosopher Raphael Enthoven.  Bruni and President Nicolas Sarkozy (56) married in 2008.  He has three sons from earlier marriages.

An Italian-born model,  singer/songwriter and actress, Bruni attracted much attention throughout her career and during her famous liasons with Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton. She is adamant that her new daughter will be shielded from the public eye.


ALOHA!

Back from Byron Bay and back to work.  My sister has returned to Milan (sigh) and I have returned to my desk, refreshed and invigorated after a most enjoyable little holiday.  My first duty is to acknowledge the 231 readers who took up our special November invitation to sign on as Registered Users and receive our complimentary ebooks.  What a wonderful response!! – welcome aboard and thank you for joining us at Lovely Lifestyles.

Hamilton IslandWell – the silly season is upon us again – so soon!  Hope you’re organised!  I have been rifling through my gift cupboard for inspiration – looks like I still have some last minute shopping to do!  At least my cards and interstate/overseas gifts are taken care of and arrangements for festive celebrations are in hand.

Thanks to my helpers, the house is looking gorgeous – especially at night – they have “decked the halls” and then some!!! The Christmas tree is just beautiful – resplendent in our new festive theme of aqua, silver and copper coloured baubles and the menfolk have done wonders with fairy lights throughout the garden!  We are hosting 3 large functions here in the lead-up to Christmas – I think our guests will enjoy our creative efforts.

Immediately after Christmas we’re off to the Whitsunday Islands aboard my husband’s latest pride and joy – the newly-christened cruiser Kailani (Kah-eeLAH-nee).  The name, over which we agonised for months, isof Hawaiian origin – meaning “the sea and the sky” – rather lovely I think!  She arrived while I was away (nearly three months later than scheduled because of modifications) – but it was worth the wait – we are absolutely delighted!  She is a beautiful vessel – very streamlined – we are all looking forward to a fun-filled maiden voyage!

We collaborated closely with the designers on the interior – they have exceeded our brief.  The quality of the internal fit-out is superb – the 2 “staterooms” are rather glam and more spacious than I envisaged and the galley is state-of-the-art, with a place for everything and everything in its place!  Kailani is almost double the size of the much-loved “Calista” whom we farewelled two years ago and with all her clever appointments and generous spaces will be ideal for entertaining and longer voyages and there is even room for the boys’ jet skis!

Boys being boys – my husband seems more impressed by all the high-tech stuff on the bridge! We’ve invited another yachting family along so our sons will have three other teenagers to hang out with. Kailani sleeps 10 plus so we won’t be falling over each other.  The important thing is to have a memorable family adventure and spend some quality time together after a really busy and demanding year.


 HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY

LOVELY LIFESTYLES ! !

Today (31st October, 2011) marks the First Anniversary of the launch of Lovely Lifestyles.  From humble beginnings we have evolved and expanded, now enjoying a diverse international readership in over 130 countries.

On behalf of my wonderful team I take this opportunity to thank our loyal followers and also extend a warm welcome to new visitors.  We appreciate your positive feedback and look forward to bringing you much more news and practical information as we embark on our second year.

Our Registered Users deserve special mention and as a token of our appreciation we are sending you 2 clever little self-help ebooks – “Secret Sauce Strategies” and “Practical Personal Development” which I hope you find as useful as Gabriella and I have.  Readers who register with Lovely Lifestyles during the month of November will also receive these gifts.  Best wishes from Lady Chatterley.


Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip

QUEEN ELIZABETH IN AUSTRALIA

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth arrived in the national capital, Canberra on Wednesday (October19th) for her 16th visit to Australia since she first graced our shores as a young queen in 1954.

Accompanied by 90 year old Prince Phillip, the 85 year old monarch disembarked from the British Airways 777 jet to a balmy Canberra afternoon and an excited throng of well-wishers.  Looking fresh and relaxed Her Majesty was elegantly dressed in an “atoll blue” ensemble and matching hat, contrasted with black accessories.  She also wore the stunning ”Wattle” brooch (yellow and white diamonds) – a gift from the Australian government presented in 1954 to mark her first visit. [Read more…]


McCartney WeddingLOVE MATCH

Yesterday afternoon (9th Oct.) Sir Paul McCartney wed his “soul mate” Nancy Shevell in an intimate civil ceremony at Old Marylebone Town Hall in London. The hour long service, attended by just 30 close friends and family including ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, his wife Barbara Bach and TV presenter Barbara Walters, was described as a “beautiful and wonderful” event.

The lovely bride wore an elegant long-sleeved knee-length ivory dress created by Sir Paul’s fashion designer daughter, Stella McCartney and carried a simple bouquet of pink roses.  The youthful-looking groom cut a stylish figure in a dark blue suit teamed with a pale blue tie.  Beatrice McCartney, Sir Paul’s daughter with his second wife, Heather Mills, was bridesmaid.  The pretty seven year old (who bears a striking resemblance to her famous father) looked very sweet in a full length dress topped with a long rose pink coat and a halo of roses in her hair. [Read more…]


Black Caviar

BLACK CAVIAR – BY PHAR!!

She made it look easy!  Champion mare Black Caviar – the darling of the racing world down-under, took out the much anticipated $200,000 Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday (8th October, 2011).   Black Caviar has a massive following and in front of a huge crowd of fans she extended her brilliant record to 14 straight wins.  Her stellar performance now equals that of Australian racing legend, the mighty Phar Lap, whose 37 wins out of 51 starts captivated racegoers world-wide during his four year career.

Ridden by Luke Nolen, Black Caviar was travelling effortlessly in the 8 strong field, accelerating on the home turn to cruise into first place.  She took line honours in the 1000m sprint with a decisive lead of four and a half lengths.  Caviar’s next challenge is the 1200 Moir Stakes followed by the million dollar Patinack Classic on November 5th.  Her current form has her connections hopeful that she will compete at Royal Ascot next June.


OFF AND RACING!

Melbourne Cup

The spring racing season is now underway and I’m particularly excited about it this year – for two reasons!  First of all – my younger sister, who lives in Italy, will be joining us for the Melbourne Cup Carnival.  Although we regularly catch up in London, it’s almost three years since she’s spent time with us in Australia.  Secondly – this year, all being well – one of our horses is running in the Carnival.

So – a mad Melbourne marathon of fun, fashion, fine food and copious quantities of champagne!  I had three really gorgeous hats made when we were in London mid-year (including one quite outrageous confection from the adorable Stephen Jones) – my husband calls me The Mad Hatter!  I’m looking forward to all the buzz of Flemington and associated festivities – the marquee gatherings are seriously decadent and we all love the Fashions on the Field – an extravaganza of fabulous frocks and marvellous millinery (and the men are not overlooked – many a sartorial statement from the gents!!).

But it’s not all hats and halters – apart from enjoying the sport, the Carnival provides a great opportunity to catch up with interstate and international friends and acquaintances.  It can be rather tiring though, so after all that socialising I plan to take my sister to Byron Bay for a couple of lazy weeks beachside!

The 151st Melbourne Cup Race – 3200 metres – will be run on Tuesday 1st November, 2011.


MELBOURNE TRUMPS VANCOUVER!

It’s official – the city of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, is now deemed the world’s “Most Liveable City”.  Ranked by The Economist – the London-based publication – the top ten are, as of yesterday (30th August 2011), Melbourne, Vienna, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Helsinki, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Aukland.  Note that Australia and Canada dominate the top ten.  Twice yearly the Economist Intelligence Unit studies major cities globally and assesses them on the broad categories of stability, culture and environment, healthcare, infrastructure and education, ranking them one to a hundred.  Those highest ranking are typically mid-size cities with low population densities.  In 2002 Melbourne shared top spot with Vancouver, but in the years since, Vancouver has consistently ranked number one.

Melbourne is a vibrant, modern city with a multicultural population of around 4 million – the second largest in Australia.  Situated on and around Port Phillip Bay with the CBD sited on the estuary of the Yarra River, Melbourne is famous for its changeable weather – “four seasons in one day”. [Read more…]


Margaret Olley Headshot

MARGARET OLLEY

24.6.1923 – 26.7.2011  Australia’s art world is a little less colourful with the passing yesterday of beloved artist and National Treasure, Margaret Olley.  Aged 88, Margaret died at her home in Sydney where she was working on paintings for her next exhibition.

Renowned for her gloriously colourful still-life studies, with her subject matter often the flowers, crockery, fabrics and bric-a-brac that cluttered her Paddington  house, Margaret Olley was the sitter for friend Ben Quilty’s winning portrait in the recent Archibald Prize competition.[Read more…]


Guardi Rialto Bridge Painting

SOTHEBY’S AUCTIONS GUARDI MASTERPIECE

In the late 1760’s Francesco Guardi produced four monumental works portraying aspects of Venice and on Wednesday night (6th July) at Sotheby’s in London, “A View of the Rialto Bridge, Looking North, from the Fondamenta del Carbon” sold for 26.7 million pounds ($42.7).

This impressive painting, measuring115 x 199cm, is considered one of Guardi’s most important works. It was secured by an anonymous buyer after a protracted contest with another telephone bidder.[Read more…]


Kindle WiFi 3G with CoversROMANCE RE-KINDLED

I have a lovely new companion – slim, sexy and very entertaining.  This special friend is so easy to get along with, a real communicator – very clever and reliable and also great in bed.  I think I’m smitten – it’s my new Amazon KINDLE 3G

My tech-savvy husband did the research and decided I needed the latest  3G plus Wi-Fi model.  This is a greatly enhanced version of the original – it’s lighter (weighs about 8oz), offers vastly improved screen contrast and capacity for up to 3,500 books – double the storage of its predecessor.  The page turner is faster and the zoom function is great for images, but my favourite feature is probably the cutting-edge E Ink Pearl technology which is very easy on the eyes.  The text is clear and sharp (8 font sizes available in 3 styles) with no background glare.  It is very readable, even in bright sunlight.

Available in classic white or graphite, this new model loads a book in just 60 seconds, has a text-to-speech facility for English content and an enhanced PDF Reader.  The Kindle 3 has an excellent battery life, plays MP3 and AAC audio and incorporates a new WebKit web browser. I now have quick and portable access to newspapers, magazines, blogs and hundreds of thousands of books (invaluable in my line of work!).   It allows me to post highlights on Facebook and Twitter without leaving the page and keep track of my emails.  The cost of the 3G global connectivity is covered by Amazon.

Diane von Furstenberg Kindle CoversThere is a huge selection of fashionable and practical protective cases and covers available for Kindle, including decorative skins, leather, vinyl and neoprene cases, dust and waterproof covers and printed designer wallets in canvas.  Some feature adjustable stands and led lights.  American designer Diane von Furstenberg has produced an exclusive range of Kindle “clutches” in bold prints.  I opted for Amazon’s smart leather cover with built-in light, available in seven great colours – mine is the lovely edgy Burnt Orange.

 


Royal Wedding Kiss - Price William & Princess Catherine

WOW INDEED!

29th April 2011

Well – it was certainly worth the wait – what a day!  The weather – worrisome at first was ultimately kind and considering the scale of the event and the complex logistics, the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton ran incredibly smoothly.[Read more…]


Holmens Church Denmark

ROYAL TWINS’  CHRISTENING IN DENMARK

14th April, 2011.

As is tradition in the Danish royal family, until the baptism the babies’ names are known only to theirparents. This of course has stimulated much debate over possible choices, with much focus on historic royal Danish precedents.

Born on January 8th, 2011, the third and fourth children of Prince Frederik and  Princess Mary have been baptised Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander and Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda.  The twins’ siblings are Prince Christian (5) and Princess Isabella (almost 4).  The babies are fourth and fifth in line to the Danish throne, with the little prince being the elder by 26 minutes.

Some 300 guests attended the televised afternoon service which was conducted at the 16th century Holmens Kirke ,Copenhagen.  The twins were baptised at the magnificent silver font which has been used for many Danish royal children since 1671. The christening was followed by a reception at Amelienborg Palace and later a celebratory dinner for 60 guests.

The Tasmanian Government (Princess Mary is Tasmanian-born) will mark the event by presenting the little prince and princess with matching hand-crafted wooden chests containing selections of children’s story books.  Launceston furniture maker Rex Heathcote was commissioned by Premier Lara Giddings to produce the handsome pieces which are made from birdseye Huon pine, trimmed with Blackwood and finished with decorative tops.


BAFTA Awards

THE 2011 BAFTA AWARDS

LONDON – 13th February.

It came as no surprise that the awards were dominated by “The King’s Speech” which garnered seven of the prestigious accolades [Read more..]


MONA The Museum of Old & New Art

EVENT – Official Opening of the MUSEUM OF OLD AND NEW ART

Date:  21st January, 2011.

“I have some things to say – you might not want to hear them.” David Walsh wants to stimulate conversation and debate.  Well…!!!

Welcome to MONANISM. It was a BIG weekend in Hobart, Tasmania with the much anticipated opening of The Museum of Old and New Art – the realisation of years of planning for multi-millionaire art collector, investor and professional gambler, David Walsh. [Read more..]


WHAT’S IN A NAME?

baby blocksQuite a lot, actually.

I won’t bore you with my full name, but, as is tradition in my line, I have been endowed with four – the mixed blessings of heredity!  Fortunately they are classics and together have a nice flow – my dear parents put a lot of thought into the composition and I am eternally grateful!

The modern penchant for dubious inventions like “Beyonce” seems short-sighted rather than clever. Also, we now have the re-working of otherwise quite acceptable monikers, which can be quite problematic.

Please, please! do not saddle your poor child with some fanciful invention which will forever be a burden – the spelling alone will present complications, let alone the potential embarrassment of the name itself. Indeed, an ill-chosen name can disadvantage a child socially and professionally.

The use of old and familiar surnames has been re-popularised for boys in recent years – whilst some of them have a strong, masculine resonance (Fraser, Mitchell, Cooper etc.) others like Jackson and Riley, should have been left where they belong.  And then we have the “atlas names” – Brooklyn, Montana, Dakota – I cringe in anticipation of a little Miss Mississippi!!!.  I do however, make an exception for “India” – a long-established girl’s name within a particular British demographic, and am warming to “Sienna”…

One must consider how the chosen name will suit in adulthood – imagine a 75 year old Destiny or Makaylah, or a C.E.O. saddled with Trey or Kayden, Jayden, Brayden etc.  Phonetics and rhythm are also important considerations – Tatiana Tennant is too – T-T-T and Aaron Noonan is n-n-nooo! A name needs a little flow and air – not the staccato of too many sharp consonants – a beautiful name is no accident!  Our multicultural society presents some truly lovely and exotic possibilities (especially for girls) – particularly names of Asian/Indian and Middle Eastern origin – again, consider how they sit with your family name (are they too much at odds with each other?) and will the spelling and pronunciation be confusing.

In certain quarters of society some names are perennial and rightly so – who can resist the timeless lyricism of Isabella, Lucinda and Sophie – these, with their open endings, attach themselves comfortably to any surname.

It’s interesting to see the resurgence of even older girl’s names.  Many have their roots in Greek and Roman mythology and offer lifetime “wearability”.

With the advent of the Royal Wedding we can expect a surge of Kates, Catherines & Williams, such is the influence of these events.  Happily these are elegant and timeless appellations.  May all your children carry their names with pride and grace.


Happy New Year 2011

MAY WE ALL BE KINDER TO EACH OTHER


PETIQUETTE

Doggy Don’ts

Don’t allow your dog to jump up at guests on arrival. Whilst you find it adorable that your dog likes your friends as much as you do, from the perspective of a visitor, it is rude and annoying. Even if you know and like the animal, it is unpleasant to have it launch itself enthusiastically upon you, all paws, fur and slobber! Apart from the interruption, one might suffer a scratch to ones person or worse, ones new handbag!!
Shetland DogsYour dog is a member of your family and as such, should be taught to behave properly. An unruly dog reflects poorly on its masters.

If your beloved pooch is one of the naughty ones, don’t despair – it’s never too late for re-programming, but, as with children (and, dare I say – husbands!) obviously, the earlier you start educating them, the better. Training available ranges from puppy school to programmes for mature dogs. Of course, many of us have managed to raise happy, well-behaved dogs without going the formal route – but that said, there are some wonderful resources out there to help with problem pets and pet care in general. You might like to start with online research…

If you know your visitor is dog-phobic it would be considerate to keep the two entirely separated.

You might find this site helpfulDog Training Techniques


 “Dog Training Tips” Preventing Jumping

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William & KateROYAL WEDDING PLANNER

Preparations for the much anticipated marriage of Prince William of Wales to Catherine Middleton on Friday 29th April, 2011, are approaching fever-pitch.  The 11a.m. service will take place in London at Westminster Abbey. Among some1900 guests will be close friends and family, royalty from home and abroad, heads of state and other dignitaries.

The bride, accompanied by her father Michael, will travel in a Rolls Royce Phantom VI, with the procession moving down the Mall, along Horse Guards Parade, through Whitehall and Parliament Square to Westminster Abbey. Up to a million well-wishers are expected to line the route.

There is huge speculation and anticipation around what the 28 year old princess-to-be will wear, with the style of Catherine’s wedding dress tantamount to a state secret.  The general consensus seems to be that it will be slender and elegant – something of a contrast to the voluminous confection of ivory silk taffeta and lace worn by a 19 year old Diana. That famous dress, with its impressive 25ft train, was made by London designers David and Elizabeth Emmanuel at an estimated cost of then 9000 pounds.

Catherine will be attended by her 26 year old sister Philippa (Pippa) as Maid of Honour.  She will also be assisted by four young bridesmaids – 7 year old Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of the Earl (Prince Edward) and Countess of Wessex,  the 8 year old daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Linley, The Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones and Misses Eliza Lopes and Grace van Cutsem (Prince William’s goddaughter) – both 3.

Prince Harry will be his brother’s Best Man and filling the roles of pages – Master William Lowther-Pinkerton, aged 10 and Master Tom Pettifer (Prince William’s godson) aged 8.

Catherine’s engagement ring is the same worn by Princess Diana – a stunning 18 carat oval blue sapphire, surrounded by a cluster of 14 diamonds, from Garrard Jewellers – the official Crown Jewellers.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, will conduct the wedding service, with Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, performing the marriage ceremony.  The address will be delivered by the Bishop of London, the Right Reverend Richard Chartres.

The couple will travel from the Abbey to their reception at Buckingham Palace in a handsome 1902 State Landau. This same carriage transported Prince William’s parents from their wedding service at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1981. A lunch-time celebration for 600 guests will be hosted by the Queen and in the evening festivities continue with a dinner and dance for 300, at the palace, hosted by Prince Charles.

The honeymoon destination also remains a closely guarded secret.  Catherine celebrated the traditional “Hens Night” with a discreet gathering of friends.  Organised by her sister Philippa, the party included a former university flatmate, Olivia Bleasdale and Astrid Harbord, an ex-girlfriend of Prince Harry.  Prince William’s “Bucks Night”, held at a country estate, was a low key affair with about 20 close friends.

UKTV will provide live and uninterrupted coverage of the event via a direct simulcast of the BBC One coverage in the UK.  A global audience of over 1 billion is expected to tune in.


EARTH DAY – 22.4.2011

Earth Day 2011On 26th March at 8:30pm we observed Earth Hour 2011, with a record participation of 134 countries and territories across all continents.  More and more households, businesses, public buildings and landmarks switched off electric lighting for one hour in support of energy conservation and a sustainable future.  Particularly encouraging was the enthusiastic response from emerging economies.

Friday the 22nd April is an even more pro-active event, when, as a global community, we are encouraged to perform acts of “greenness” – it can be something as simple as reducing your workplace or domestic [Read more…]


Earth Hour 2011EARTH HOUR –  8:30 p.m. Saturday 26th March, 2011.

Mark this date on your calendar so that you too can support our precious planet.  Earth Hour is a simple, but highly effective environmental initiative first started in Sydney, Australia, in 2007.  The annual event now has huge global participation, as was demonstrated in 2010 when 100s of millions of people and businesses in 128 countries and territories around the world, switched off their electric lighting for 1 hour. Homes, landmarks and famous buildings were plunged into temporary darkness in recognition of our ever-changing environment and the need to be pro-active as communities and individuals.


THE OSCARS

Oscars 2011

As was expected, the much-lauded Anglo/Australian production “The King’s Speech” was the star of the show at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre today. The cast of this finely tuned masterpiece is a veritable who’s who of British stage and screen. The film collected Oscars in the major categories of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Leading Actor and Writing (Original Screenplay). The only surprise was that Geoffrey Rush did not win the Best Supporting Actor Award for his sublime portrayal of the eccentric Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, but as a co-producer he still has much to smile about. [Read more…]


IT’S A BOY & A GIRL!

Denmark Flag

Friday, 2011-01-07 after much public anticipation Crown Princess Mary of Denmark has given birth to a healthy boy and girl at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen. The Princess (who is reported well and happy) and her husband Crown Prince Frederik already have a 5 year old son, Prince Christian and a daughter, Princess Isabella,3.


ROLEX SYDNEY HOBART RACE WINNERS

After enduring gruelling conditions crossing Bass Strait with huge seas and winds of up to 50 knots, 100ft super maxi yacht Wild Oats XI took line honours in a time of 2 days, 7 hours, 37 minutes and 20 seconds. [Read more..]


Time Magazine - Person of the Year Mark ZuckerbergTIME MAGAZINE – Person of the Year

Gracing Time Magazine’s cover as its 2010 Person of the Year is Facebook CEO and co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg. At 26, Zuckerberg presides over the social networking site which now boasts a world-wide membership of 500 million. The Time accolade recognises the individual who has most influenced our culture and news media (for better or worse) in the past year and Mark Zuckerberg is the second youngest so honoured. He is also fast gaining a reputation for his philanthropy.


Royal Wedding Update The marriage of HRH Prince William to Catherine Middleton will take place at  Westminster Abbey in London on Friday 29th April, 2011.  Around 2000 guests will attend the service.  Official engagement portraits taken by Princess Diana’s favourite photographer, Mario Testino were recently published.  These delightfully natural photos feature a very happy and relaxed couple, with Catherine wearing William’s late mother’s magnificent sapphire and diamond engagement ring.


Royal Engagement, Prince William

LONDON 16th November, 2010.Clarence House has announced that HRH Prince William of Wales will marry Catherine (Kate) Middleton in 2011. It is thought that the London wedding will take place in spring or summer.


Imagine - John Lennon

JOHN LENNON    9/10/1940 – 8/12/1980.


 

Brooklyn Bridge, Manhatten, New York CityNEW YORK POST

DATE – 4th November, 2010

EVENT – Cocktail Reception/ Book Launch

BOOK – “The World Of Gloria Vanderbilt”

VENUE – The new Ralph Lauren store at 888 Madison Ave, New York.

Hosted by Ralph Lauren, this elegant soiree in the sumptuous surroundings of his gorgeous new Women’s Boutique was attended by a very fashionable crowd. Among the social, political and Hollywood luminaries present were Uma Thurman (best dressed in a sophisticated full-length black ensemble), Gloria Steinem, Aerin Lauder, Devon Schuster Radziwill, Lee Radziwill, Andy Cohen, Brian Williams, Marisa Berensen, HRH Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Sarah Jessica Parker and the very chic Anne Slater. Guest of honour, the grand dame of New York society, Gloria Vanderbilt was stylish as ever in full length black (in fact, black seemed the popular choice all round). Gloria was accompanied by her son, Anderson Cooper (who wrote the foreword) and amidst the festivities she found time to sign copies of her  fascinating biography (by Wendy Goodman) for her enthusiastic admirers.


It’s that time of year again, when I begin to feel the stirrings of panic as it dawns on me that I am not really organised for Christmas! Yes, menus are doing battle in my head, I still have dozens of cards to write and a large house to make festive and no – I don’t have all the gift-shopping covered!  I’ve spent a lot of time travelling this year and my tightly-tuned schedule is now in tatters. It seems I will have to delegate – but enough of that – let’s talk Christmas gifts…


Quick Chat At The Races

Still recovering from Melbourne Cup festivities and jetlag…excuse my brevity…

Melbourne Cup Race Day: Tuesday, 2nd November…
Location: Flemington – it rained!!
Winner: 6yo French horse Americain – ridden by Gerald Mosse and trained by Alain de Royer Dupre.
Fashion: Some lovely black and white numbers and btw Melbourne milliners – hats off to you!
Marquee: (Emirates) – lots of lovelies – VIPs Georgia May Jagger, Jerry Hall… Will keep you posted.


EVENT  –  Women in Film and Television Awards

Date:        3rd December, 2010.

Venue:      Luncheon at Hilton Park Lane, London..

Almost 1000 industry personalities gathered to celebrate the 20th annual Women in Film and Television Awards, hosted by actress and comedienne, Julie Walters.

Notable amongst the many recipients was actress Sheila Hancock (77), who accepted a lifetime achievement award for a career spanning nearly 50 years. Carey Mulligan (currently in the U.S.) was awarded this year’s Best Performance for her roles in “An Education” and “Never Let Me Go” and Beryl, Debbie and Sue Vertue (Hartswood Films – Sherlock Holmes, Coupling and Men Behaving Badly) were honoured with the ITV Achievement of the Year Award. Andrea Arnold (“Fish Tank”) was named “Best Director” and Jane Goldman claimed the U.K. Film Council Writing Award.  Goldman’s screenplays include Stardust, Kick Ass and works in progress – The Woman in Black and X-Men: First Class.

 

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