I Pressed the fire control cushion

So Lichtenstein: A Retrospective was SENSATIONAL – A definite go-see. And when visiting be sure to support the work of the museum by going crazy in the shop – I brought home these fun cushions and of course the book which is a complete treasure trove. There are fun homeware items (espresso cups being noteworthy) and postcards and all sorts of things which will bring those spots and colours to life in your own home.

WHAAM Cushion

I was really excited to find this gorgeous grey throw (the photo really doesn’t do it justice) in the shop at Cliveden for just £30, pure wool and not scratchy which is a bugbear of mine… why wrap up in something which feels like sand on wet skin?! They also have fantastic plaid woolen picnic blankets which are a steal at just £12, which must be less than the cost to make the wool, and my new favourite hostess gift item for spring (I would never accept an invitation of any sort from someone who doesn’t like picnics).

Wool Throw National Trust Shop

 

I am tempted to describe in minute detail a marble tray I saw at Skandium the other day and hanker for… but I won’t for fear of talking myself into buying it.

I am positively giddy at the news that the divine Mr David Collins is launching a furniture collection in Milan later this spring, finally bringing his uber luxe aesthetic within reach, but I’d better get saving as I doubt anything Collins has in store for us will be anything less than truly exquisite.  I yearn for Mr Collins to do a book, allowing us to share his genius and apply his rules to our own rooms.

 

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In need of a bite to eat in Soho last week I found myself at the door of Bob Bob Ricard, another of the great David Collins’ interior design triumphs. If you are within a fifty mile radius of this part of London I urge you to have an evening off from the pots and pans at home and dine within its utterly sublime booths. I can’t even remember what I ate, the hour being rather late and the decor being so completely distractingly perfect.

My dear chum Hugh over at Twelvepointfivepercent visited BBR many a moon ago and posted a review in his inimitable, charming and inspiring style. Do click the link and have a read, he does it far better justice than I ever could.

Bob Bob Ricard
1 Upper James Street,
London
W1F 9DF
020 3145 1000
www.bobbobricard.com

I have been slightly neglectful of my lovely readers of late – and for this I present a couple of lovely monograms by way of an apology. I hope they inspire you.

First up… possibly the perfect monogram in my eyes… I adore this orange colour, being slightly brighter and more intense then the Hermes orange which is my favourite. My own Smythson correspondence cards are engraved in this colour.  This monogram belonged to the late Queen Julianna of the Netherlands, whose descendants recently had a bit of a clear-out at Sotheby’s.  Unusually for me I love the asymmetry of the J (I am quite OCD when it comes to symmetry). I also find it to be a modern, quite masculine monogram despite belonging to a lady.

Technically speaking, I think this design qualifies as a ciper rather than a monogram, which by definition requires one or more letters to be combined… but who cares about technicalities. This is stationery for goodness sake, not nuclear physics.

The next monogram is not that of an individual but of a restaurant, Bob Bob Ricard in Soho, and yes before I continue it IS another David Collins-designed interior which I know based on the number of previous posts referencing Mr Collins makes me into some kind of groupie…. what can I say… I love his work!! This monogram is another asymmetric number which is throwing my sense of self into considerable doubt…

I absolutely love how the designer has formed an angular monogram from rounded letters, B and R, which would normally present a considerably more flowing and organic combination than this art-deco design, which is almost like a circuit-board diagram or architectural symbol.

I am thinking more and more about taking the plunge with my own monogram and having it engraved onto some envelope flaps… in this age of austerity however perhaps this is not such a good idea…

 

De-licious Delaire.

10/03/2011

So THIS is Cape Town, a truly remarkable city right at the bottom of the world. Looking out over the expanse of blue South Atlantic ocean with the unfathomable mass of Table Mountain at your back, the realisation strikes that there is nothing standing between you and South America, far far away to the west. Upon disembarking from the comfy Virgin Atlantic flight which swept over the vast expanses of sub-Saharan Africa beneath us,  a glance at the Arrivals board showed a later 3pm landing expected from Antarctica. I like this place already for its adventurous spirit and I haven’t even left the airport.

I keep forgetting that this blog is not about travel… But bear with me. For this post isn’t about Cape Town at large, rather an exceptional place outside the city which everyone should come to at least once to experience an all-encompassing, delightful, beautiful and soulful dining experience which when I think back about how divine it was, the whole afternoon seems like a dream.

The Delaire Graff Estate might sound familiar, and if it does that might be because the owner is Lawrence Graff, the famous diamond dealer who has bought and sold many of the world’s largest and most precious large stones. The diamond business clearly pays well, for he has created an utterly magical winery estate an hour from  Cape Town using my favourite uber-designer to realise the vision, David Collins.

Collins has surpassed himself in the creation of a series of spaces which link seamlessly to the natural beauty of the mountains and valley which surround you.  The interiors are, at the risk of sounding breathlessly hyperbolic, sublime. The main dining room opens onto a terrace which is perfectly orientated to take in the glorious surroundings, and appointed with elegantly comfortable furniture. An hour here feels like ten minutes for each turn of the head brings the eye to rest upon another, lovelier, more engaging object, artwork, fabric or landscape, so much so that it is almost hypnotic.

Lunch here lasted for hours in an almost semi-conscious wave of deliciousness. For those interested in such things I started with a carpaccio of tuna, followed by South Africa’s signature fish, Kingclip. I finished with a pistachio nougat served with rose geranium ice cream.

There is something about this place which defies description. It helped that the assembled lunch party was vivacious and fun, but if there is a God for all things beautiful, delicious and exceptional then I think I just found out where he lives.

Delaire Graff Estate
Helshoogte Pass
Stellenbosch
South Africa
www.delaire.co.za