October crept up seemingly from nowhere and next thing I knew, it was goodbye Summer and hello hot chocolate, log fires and falling leaves – not that I’m complaining!
One of my cultural highlights this month was a visit to the Magritte Museum in Brussels. It’s a must for any fans of the surrealist genius and it was particularly interesting to see his Dominion of Light painting. We’d seen another version of it earlier in the month at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. There are so many great art galleries and museums in Belgium’s capital city.
Paul and I had great fun on our Shoreditch photo shoot, it’s such an interesting area of London with continually changing street art.
Later in the month, I popped into the historic Burlington Arcade to take a look at L’Odyssée d’Un Roi, a stunning collaboration between LOUIS XIII, the luxury French Cognac and three famous French design houses: Hermès, Puiforcat and Saint Louis. A hand-stitched leather trunk contains the famous cognac as well as hand-engraved crystal glasses and a decanter. It will be on display at Sotheby’s from 7 to 16 November before being auctioned on 16 November. The proceeds will go to the non-profit organization, The Film Foundation founded by Martin Scorsese with other leading filmmakers in order to preserve and restore classic films.
Finally, I ticked off a bucket-list experience by driving a McLaren supercar at Goodwood – it was fantastic!
I met up with Angie for breakfast at The Rosewood with the charming team from Jumby Bay. Set on its own private island, this iconic beach resort in Antigua is currently having its Estate House redesigned by Dennis Irvine. He explained the plans to us and it certainly made me want to visit.
Later in the month, the lovely Laurie and I got together for dim sum at Hakkasan. She gave me some great tips for my upcoming trip to Thailand.
We fitted in lots of trips this month, including Venice, which has some incredible hidden gems as well as the well known sights like Piazza San Marco. We loved our stays at the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa and the Baglioni Hotel Luna. If you’re looking for good restaurants in Venice, I’d highly recommend GLAM at Palazzo Venart and De Pisis at The Bauer. For a different culinary experience, try a cooking class with the charming Enrica Rocca. We loved learning to cook Italian dishes with her daughters in Notting Hill, and her Venice cookery class was equally worthwhile. Straight afterwards, we headed to Brussels for a luxurious few days exploring the city’s many attractions and eating in some amazing places.
Closer to home, we rounded up our top 25 London sights that are made for Instagram. Hope you found some inspiration from my fellow photographers who captured London’s enduring appeal beautifully. We finished the month at Ballynahinch Castle in West Ireland, making the most of the Autumnal colours and outdoor activities.
WINING AND DINING
Afternoon tea is always a treat but I’d never tried an Italian version before. The Italian Afternoon Tea at the Baglioni Hotel London gave me a taste of what to expect in Venice. The next day I attended the first ever live reveal of the UK & Ireland Michelin Stars, getting to meet the Michelin man himself!
Continuing the Italian theme, we enjoyed a superb lunch at Diciannove Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar. Conveniently located inside the imposing Crowne Plaza Hotel in the heart of the City, it has a stunning contemporary design. Head Chef Alessandro Bay sources each dish regionally and uses the best seasonal ingredients. My starter of sardine salad with cucumber, tomato and capers on toasted bread tasted wonderfully fresh. Paul’s octopus salad with new potatoes and olives came with a zingy lemon dressing and Ligurian chilli oil. For my main course I chose a healthy char-grilled swordfish with rocket and cherry tomatoes. Paul is a big fan of osso bucco, and loved this one which was served on a bed of spinach with a gremolata topping. We shared dessert, a delizia al cioccolato, aka a wonderful chocolate mousse with chocolate salami. What a great end to our meal!
COMING SOON IN NOVEMBER
We’re heading to the Canary Islands to see the luxurious side of Lanzarote, and then to Thailand for a dose of sunshine. We’ll be staying in Bangkok, Phuket and Kao Lak so any travel tips are very welcome.
How was your month of October and are you a fan of Autumn?