Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dear Santa

Dear Santa, I promise that  I have  been very very good this year, I would like to see a few of the following nestled under the tree.
Some people may dream of the glittering ice filled  palaces  of New  Bond St, fistfuls of rubies, riveries of   emeralds, and diamond encrusted  Cartier watches,  I  believe, however,  in lowering the bar  with my Christmas list, all the more likely to  receive something that I actually want.


Hot chocolate in an Hermes orange tin  and  a place to store one's future ashes - this is the frugal woman's win/win Christmas present.


A clutch bag from Tapisserie in Chelsea, I would love to order up  il gattopardo below. If you have a minute watch the video, timeless beauty Hayat Palumbo made me laugh when she said this about embroidery,  'you'll be all zen and away from the bottle'.

A silver  Bucellati photograph frame, for there is no finer chatelaine  for a treasured memory. I've been looking for one of these under the tree for 20 years, I blame those light fingered elves.

A kaftan, yes, that's right a kaftan, for nothing says "I have a PhD in vermouth' more than a diaphanous swathe of  jewel coloured silk. Our very own swan from The Perfect Life will be putting them into production very soon.
Belt them, bejewel them, but above all, just ask; what would Aunt  Mame  do?

Does anyone else love reading all of the slightly naff Christmas  catalogues that fall out of the Saturday papers and supplements  at this time of year?  I gleefully dive upon  them; a felty  reindeer hot water bottle - yes please! Bailey's hot chocolate in a  mug wrapped in a red and white faux Swedish knitted  Christmas coverlet - yes please! There's nowt so camp as Christmas, it's dark at 3pm  here - any port in a storm.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Come on everyone, in the style of British panto let me hear you, 
"Oh no not again'
Oh not not again!

Indeed, the last thing this blog needs is yet another post about Claridge's but in my life it is as inevitable as death and taxes, my parents got engaged here,  and  there is no other hotel  that I will go running to for the rest of my life.

I do indeed have  a favourite suite there.

How kind of them, an Art Deco  vitrine for my shoes and bourbon collection.

The Fumoir, my favourite watering hole in the world,
I  really miss my heady cigar smoking evenings  there.

Basil Ionides, fellow Scot, ( born here, ethnicity by way of Greek ambassador to London/Glasgow School of Art alumni) )  is the artist behind these utterly exquisite glass panels.

A glass of vino collapso.

Exeunt al.

Pffft and just like that my railway Art Deco journey across Europe came to an end,  I entered the station  and found myself  Cinderella once more and boarded my  pumpkin all the way home.
Thank you everyone for coming on the most amazing trip of my life.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Venice always seems to me a city of secrets, a chiaroscuro dappled world of intrigue, dark romance and ink stained  parchment.
We arrived at night into this pellucid opera set  and woke to the buttercup cheeriness  of the Cipriani Hotel.

I last wrote about it here; after breakfasting on our balcony at 7.00am, the day could barely get better but yet it did.

I didn't quite have the glamour and style of Amal  et al  when they were staying here but God loves a trier.

Team Wendy - never forget.

Venice bathed itself  in lapis lazuli  splendour, 
we wandered around, went to the opera and just let our shoulders sink into holiday oblivion for the first time in our lives, our journey on The Orient Express had left us in a tranquil opium haze.
As you can see I hauled out my old Brownie outfit, Brown Owl   would be proud of me - I was a rubbish Brownie, I got one badge - one badge! 

High Catholicism meets Eyes Wide Shut - what else can you ask for? 

I'm not sure if the posies of chilli peppers had a meaning, but I was transfixed by them, I had them in  my wedding bouquet, almost 16 year ago when I was on my "Spanish Princess" kick.

Cafe Florian, Casanova supped here back in the 18th century,
somehow this, the weathered frontage and   verre  eglomise  soothed  my  fevered brow when the bill for one coffee and  a glass of sparkling water reached  the unfathomable  height of £16/$30.

Peek a boo!

The Rialto

In situ since 1492, we always stop here for something to eat and drink upon our finely upholstered haunches in true Italian style.

Our evening launch whisked us over to the mainland, The Hotel Cipriani sits aloof, a two minute journey across the lagoon. This makes it a safe haven for  National Enquirer headliners, its gardens and unique position offer the best seats in the house  view of the mainland and make it  the  only place to stay when skies are blue but it doesn't have the  heady atmospheric sex on legs  appeal  of the Danieli.

Flirty tassels just waiting for assignations.

The Bar Dandolo  at The  Hotel Danieli,  a 14th century  palazzo, is  a great spot, one of those  really cosy hotel bars where conversation between patrons  flows with the flick of the bartenders's wrist.
In winter this is my preferred hotel.

Harry's Bar; well it's over, I am officially splitting up with one of the world's most iconic bar/restaurants, I've always loved the familial bonhomie, with  the charming Arrigo flitting from table to table but since the family were pushed aside by the bankers in 2012, it has lost some of its joie de vivre and now seems like an inherent rip-off. 

A splish at midnight,  only the lard slathered Scots were hardy enough for that diversion. Next day we made a return to Art Deco heaven in London.