McCartney WeddingLOVE MATCH

Yesterday afternoon (9th October) 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.

When the beaming couple emerged after the service they were greeted by crowds of delighted friends and onlookers and showered with rose petals and confetti.  A waiting red Lexus saloon whisked them away to Sir Paul’s home in nearby St John’s Wood for a lavish reception for 100 guests including Kate Moss, Ronnie Woods, Sir David Frost, Twiggy, Tracey Emin, Jools Holland and Jeff Beck.

Wealthy in her own right, 51 year old American Nancy Shevell is heiress to (and a vice-president of) the US trucking empire, New England Motor Freight, Inc. and the Shevell Group of Companies.  She was previously married for 24 years to attorney Bruce Blakeman, with whom she has a 19 year old son, Arlen.

The newlyweds have a long association – Nancy was a family friend of Sir Paul and his first wife, Linda.  The pair became “an item” four years ago, thanks to some clever match-making by Nancy’s second cousin, television presenter Barbara Walters.  At the time Sir Paul was still embroiled in divorce proceedings with his second wife and Nancy was already officially separated.  They kept their relationship very low-key, announcing their engagement on 6th May this year.  Sir Paul presented Nancy with a magnificent solitaire diamond ring valued at an estimated US$650,000.

The wedding venue and date were selected for particularly poignant reasons – this would have been the late John Lennon’s 71st birthday and the Town Hall was the setting of Sir Paul’s first marriage – to American photographer Linda Eastman in 1969.  Linda died of breast cancer in 1998.  They had 3 children together – Mary, Stella and James as well as Linda’s daughter, Heather (from her first marriage).  His second marriage, to Heather Mills in 2002, was a rocky union from the outset and ended acrimoniously in 2008.

Now it seems the ex-Beatle has found true happiness again and his inner circle is said to have warmly embraced his new partner who is seen as very supportive and compatible.  Sir Paul and Lady McCartney will travel to the US for a second celebration of their marriage in the Hamptons, where they both have homes.

Lucian Freud Self PortraitFREUD SLIPS AWAY      8.12.1922 – 20.7.2011

British artist Lucian Freud has died peacefully at his London home, after a short illness, at age 88.  The Berlin-born son of an Austrian-Jewish father and a German-Jewish mother, Freud was also the grandson of ground-breaking psychiatrist Sigmund Freud (regarded as the father of psychoanalysis).  Lucian and his family came to England in 1933 to escape the rise of Nazism.

Working in the realms of realism, surrealism and expressionism Freud is now considered one of the most important artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.  His paintings fetch huge prices at auction with one of his female nude studies selling for a staggering $33.6 million.[Read more…]

Kensington PalaceHOME SUITE HOME

St James Palace has announced that the newlywed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen Kensington Palace as their official London base for the immediate future.  They will move into their apartments at the palace before embarking on their first official overseas visit – to Canada, on June 30th. As this accommodation is relatively small, a more suitable London residence is being sought for the longer term.  Apartments at Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and St James Palace are under consideration.  The couple’s principal residence is on the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales, where Prince William serves as a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force.

Kate & WillsRoyals in Residence

Prince William’s late mother, Princess Diana resided at Kensington Palace (with Prince Charles and the young princes, and after their divorce). Her apartments have since been converted to office space.  “K.P.” as it is often referred to, is currently home to several other royals too – Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke and Duchess of Kent.  It also serves as an unofficial base for William’s brother, Prince Harry and their cousin Zara Phillips (daughter of Princess Anne, The Princess Royal).  The Queen’s sister, the late Princess Margaret, was a long term resident of Kensington Palace, spending almost 42 years there during and after her marriage to Tony Armstrong-Jones (Lord Snowdon).

Location, Location..!

Kensington Palace aerial viewRenowned for its beautiful gardens and splendid architecture, Kensington Palace is set in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in west central London. The nearest residential street is the very exclusive Kensington Palace Gardens – referred to as “Billionaires’ Row”.  Home to many foreign embassies and ambassadorial residences, this elegant tree-lined avenue runs the half-mile from Kensington High Street to Notting Hill Gate.  It is officially the most expensive and desirable address in London.


The increasingly busy Duke and Duchess will also require personal staff to help them manage their royal duties. The positions of valet to Prince William and dresser for Princess Catherine, as well as those of butler and housekeeper have been advertised.  These prestigious posts are much sought after and traditionally candidates are selected from staff already serving in the royal households.

Working so intimately with the royal couple in their day-to-day lives requires discretion, finesse and a particular sensitivity. These very personal associations often evolve into close and enduring relationships.

Baz LuhrmannMORAN PORTRAIT PRIZE 03/05/2011

Renowned Melbourne-based artist Vincent Fantauzzo claimed the $150,000 prize with his compelling portrait of Australian film-maker, Baz Luhrmann.

Entitled “Off Screen”, it is a study of vulnerability, with Luhrmann, captured in an unguarded moment.  With a sticking plaster on his forehead, eyes closed and hands pressed to his face (in a moment of “creative stress”), the lower half of his visage is all but obscured.  Executed in a dinstinctly muted palette, the painting is exemplary of Fantauzzo’s trademark mastery of light and texture, with the hands in particular, beautifully rendered.[Read more…]

Margaret Olley - Archibald Prize

2011 ARCHIBALD PRIZE  –  15th April.

Sydney artist Ben Quilty has won Australia’s prestigious Archibald Prize for portraiture, with his compelling study of much-loved Australian painter, Margaret Olley.  The work has a deceptive simplicity – its sometimes sparse daubs of thick impasto on primed canvas capture superbly the personality and essence of the sitter.

Margaret Olley is a keen supporter of Ben Quilty, awarding him the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship in 2002.[Read more…]

Black Caviar

BLACK CAVIAR  – Another Serve!

She’s done it again – champion sprinter “Black Caviar” has made it an even dozen – winning all of her last twelve starts, with her triumph in the $1million T J Smith Stakes on 9th April at Randwick, Sydney.  Her half-brother, a handsome bay colt, has just sold to John Hawkes for $1,025,000 at the William Inglis Easter Yearling Sales.  He was sired by Casino Prince out of Black Caviar’s dam, Helsinge.  One to watch!

Black Caviar


It’s official!  Four year old Australian mare, Black Caviar is the world’s fastest racehorse! As of March 2011, the elegant licorice-brown sprinter has won all eleven of her last starts.  She has now achieved true celebrity status in racing circles, with her record breaking performances of late earning her comparisons with the likes of Makybe Diva and Takeover Target [Read more…]

Elizabeth Taylor


Hollywood and the world has lost one of its most legendary and beloved personalities.

After surviving many health crises throughout her life, actress Elizabeth Taylor succumbed to heart failure on Wednesday March 23, 2011 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, California, aged 79.  She passed away with her four children beside her and will be mourned by millions.  Famed as much for her eight marriages as her illustrious film career, Elizabeth Taylor seems to have spent most of her colourful life in the spotlight.[Read more…]


Picasso "La Lecture"8th February, 2011.

There were up to seven bidders vying for Pablo Picasso’s “La Lecture” at Sotheby’s auction of Impressionist and Modern Art on Tuesday in London.

The 1932 portrait of his mistress and model, Marie-Therese Walter fetched approximately 25.24 million pounds ($40.71 million) – this was well above the pre-sale estimates of 12 – 18 million pounds.  After only six minutes of bidding the painting was sold to an anonymous buyer by telephone.

A 1935 pen and ink study of a reclining nude by Henri Matisse was another work which exceeded estimates, selling for 735,650 pounds.

Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, Henry Wyndham, who conducted the well-attended evening sale, was delighted with the outcomes.

Lovely Lifestyles 2018