Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Daylesford Organic and the Chipping Norton Set

I once had a coffee with the editor of the Home and Property section of the Evening Standard.  She told me about the property progress of the people that she wrote for, 'Arrive in London and share a shoe box in Battersea or Clapham with a friend,  get a better job/rich boyfriend and move to a flat in Chelsea, get married and have children buy a house in Fulham, ride the property boom and cash in for the dream house in Chipping Norton.'

Last weekend we went to Daylesford (near Chipping Norton) and suddenly this house journey all makes sense.
 The only way to describe it is heaven.  Funded (at a £4 million annual loss) by Lady Bamford husband's JCB fortune, it's almost a 'not for profit organisation', cheering up the lost and bewildered who are not finding life in the shires quite the bucolic bliss that Country Living promised it would be.

Daylesford is the ultimate reassurance that life in the country can be just as polished as a trip to Harvey Nicks.

There's beautiful kitchenware....

 A food hall with all the essentials....
 I spied one of the chefs preparing the ready-made meals.....

 The lady paying for her cheese at the deli was in head to toe 'country casual' Chanel...
 The 'toy' section comes complete with a real fire...

The Bamford range of clothing and accessories is available in the boutique, the cashmere is stunning, but jumpers are from £900 and scarves around £500, so not for the faint-hearted...

At the back of the boutique is a Space NK style apothecary.....

 Every building at Daylesford is connected with beautiful topiary gardens...

There is a beautiful spa, that I didn't get any pics of as there was some kind of chanting yoga session going on and I didn't like to interfere...

 I wore jeans and a cashmere jumper with a cosy fun fur and Carolina Herrera bag...
 After wandering around for an hour, we went into the restaurant for lunch....

And left with full tummies and a fuzzy feeling that everything in the world, in that moment, was good and peaceful....

Friday, 17 January 2014

Blog off...

I switched off a few days back,  life has got more serious, I am back in the world of work and suddenly the blog thing was feeling a bit frivolous and out of step with life back at a corporate pace.

But then I received some emails, an especially lovely one from Darla in Tennessee and a request to reconsider from the strangest of places, my husband, who I always thought had considered this blogging malarkey a bit of a joke.  He travels a lot with work and perhaps quite likes the inane wittering of my posts and the pertinent and thoughtful comments that I am lucky enough to get from people who come for a chat.

And so I am back, I am working a few days a week on the corporate side of a big fashion company, so the dress code is a nightmare, really fashionable and very smart would be the order of the day, but as anyone who has read about my shopping habits knows, I am an avid Ebayer and practical dresser (wedding dresses aside).  I haven't bought 'cool corporate' since 1992. And my wardrobe is evidence of that.

I found a selection that might work as a collection to take to London for the first few days
 The first outfit was a disaster, it was quite an expensive 'treat' I bought it to help out a new designer, Hamish something, I can't remember the surname, the top and trousers are cashmere, the trousers are cut between the butt cheeks to lift and enhance, fine when I was a size smaller, pretty obscene when they are a size too small.  The top is a-symetric and has a huge moth hole in the front, straight in the bin with the top and trousers back to the 'size smaller' pile...
 One of my staple Coast skirts, an old reliable and Nichole Fahri jumper (more moth holes) I love the shape too much to throw it away, but it is on the country weekends pile.
 This dress is quite a special one, it was given to me a few years ago, again I am hopeless at names I can't remember who designed it, but it won dress of the year at London Fashion week, it is meant to be a reverse skeleton with the vertebrae down the front. It isn't a great look on me as I always feel too broad for it, but it was given to me by lovely friends so I have always kept it.  This could be a contender, but I need different footwear.

This Stella MacCartney dress is a great shape, and the only one that has ever given me a waist, except, I can't wear a bra with it, not sure that gives the right impression for the first day.

Uh oh, I look like some strange Muppet human hybrid, this is a big NO....

And so I went shopping and bought some new clothes (and visited the hairdresser!)....
Skirt Club Monaco (new on Westbourne Grove, has it relaunched? I seem to remember from the 80s, but the new shop and collection is fab, perfect smart/cool kit) Jumper is Vanessa Bruno, it's just a jumper, but why is it that it fits in a way that gives me shape without clinging? Necklace a splurge from J Crew (newly opened on Brompton Cross).  Boots are classics from Hermes that I have had for years, they were bought in the sale for about £175, and on a cost per wear basis have to be cheaper than any of my £0.99 bargains from Ebay.

Tan courtesy of St Barts (the bottle not the place) may be next year!
I definitely haven't 'cracked it', but it's a lot better than my earlier attempts.

What are your secrets for foolproof fashion meets serious business person dressing?

Friday, 3 January 2014

More memories from Seville, Shopping for kids

I was only window shopping, but couldn't resist the beautiful outfits.  Babies and children are treated as a gift to be wrapped up and cherished, from the handmade lace layettes to shoes in ten shades of beige, no detail is overlooked for Savillian progeny.

I was more of a ten white baby grows, a carrier from Mothercare and back to work in 3 months, it's my biggest regret not having spent time with my kids when they were tiny.   If my career break has taught me something, it's that no job is worth missing your children for.

What did other working mums do? Continue to work? Not work? Regret giving up work? All of my friends have a different story, I don't think there is a 'right' answer, but I would love to hear about your experiences

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year 2014

I don't have as much clarity about what 2014 might bring.  This time last year, I had a calendar with each month mapped out visually outlining everything that I hoped to do....
We made it to St Barths in January
We bought our cottage in February
 Miss B became ours in March
 We started to prepare the tree nest in April
 We shopped only at the local farm shop from May and for the rest of the Summer
 We walked, swam, pottered in the garden and shopped for roses in June
 And July was given over only to cricket and cricket training
The beginning of August was spent in St Tropez
September we hunkered down and lit fires and enjoyed our tiny hideaway
 October I started to prepare the vegetable beds for 2014
 November was the beginning of our party season
December was family time (complete with lots of green ribbon and god children)

2014 is a little less clear cut.  The only resolution that I have made is to do more and say yes to as much as I can.
My resolution is to make 2014 about feeding the soul, which for me is people, books and exercise.
I want to try lose the habit of buying things to fulfill a desire that I can satisfy by working harder or making myself.
Most of all I resolve to spend more time with people and to work harder at all of those friendships that I have let slip through the course of adult life.
Which of your resolutions/ dreams did you fulfill in 2013 and what are your hopes for 2014?