Meanwhile, Back in London…

David Bowie

Meanwhile, back in London…

The town was abuzz not only with the 60 year Coronation anniversary, but also the Bowie exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum.

Needless to say, being the dyed in the wool Bowie Fangirl I am, there was no way we were going to miss the show!

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A beautiful summer day on the steps of the V & A, London

David Bowie

The show was good, slick and definitely worth seeing

David Bowie

In my humble opinion however , it could have been bigger. Granted there was and continues to be SO much great material to document over Bowie’s decades long career, but it’s not like the V & A doesn’t have the room…and I’m sure the budget must have been formidable.

David Bowie Aladdin Sane

Then again, perhaps it’s fitting to leave the show feeling the man still remains a bit of an enigma (aren’t you glad I didn’t say chameleon :-) )

Royal Academy of Arts London

We were also just in time for the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition Preview party

London Royal Academy of Arts

Where the fashion and art world’s ongoing love affair with fluorescents was to be clocked everywhere.

People,  the “Red Carpet” was green!

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Even the canapés were served on glowing fluorescent green trays. (fyi-I didn’t eat all those)

Though I felt slightly underdressed (it’s a long story) at least my belt matched the theme of the evening.

Louis Vuitton Summer 2013

Cute young girls in Louis Vuitton SS13 frocks

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and stripes were certainly a popular fasion statement.

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A triptych of pics from the party

PrawnsPrawns on fluoro ice.

fluorescent bar

and a glowing green bar

Royal Academy of Arts London

Leaving the party to go to “Le Caprice” off Piccadilly for a late dinner with old friends

Le Caprice London

A restaurant we frequented-yikes, often and more years ago than I really care to divulge, and it’s still as busy as ever.

Though the signage remains the same, the interior has enjoyed a subtle face-lift.

Hmmm…oh forget it. I can go back to the same places, but I’ll never get the old face back, and that’s OK.

No, really, it’s fine. Pass the whine. I mean the wine.

Purple Bentley

BTW, If you were going to buy a Bentley, would you pick purple?!

Louis Vuitton windows London

More fun to be had window shopping in Mayfair

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The new Assouline book shop next to Claridge’s Hotel.

Windows Harvey Nichols London

and Knightsbridge at Harvey Nichols

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Where I bought this Christopher Kane silk jacket that is amortizing nicely.Harvey Nichols London

More Harvey Nic’s

Black door, Mayfair, London

and simply strolling in the streets of my old ‘hood sharing my old memories with my husband.

Window boxes Mayfair

And lest one precious moment of London time was wasted, a girlfriend and I also took in the arts & antiques fair at Olympia.

Modern art

Where I became quite fascinated with this 3D piece. Doesn’t it look like an aerial view of a crowd of people milling about?

Art, London

Closer inspection reveals it’s simply tiny dollops of layers of paint. Very clever.

Sadly, I’m unable to find my program from the show at the moment so I cannot credit the artist.

Gerard Mas

My friend was taken with this cheeky Bazooka bubblegum snapping Renaissance-looking maiden, carved in alabaster no less, by the artist Gerard Mas.

The subtly veined and translucent nature of the alabaster made her appear unsettling life-like. It also made me want to wear more sunscreen.

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Our last evening found us at the ridonkulously chic “5 Hertford St.”  in Mayfair, just off Curzon St.

5 Hertford St. London

The good news is it’s owned and very personally presided over by Robin Birley, son of the infamous Mark Birley who ran “Annabel’s” in Mayfair for forever and a day

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The family are true restaurant and private nightclub royalty-oh the stories they could tell! and wow, Birley’s newest establishment does not disappoint.

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Robin and Lucy Birley

The decor was conceived  by 80′s & 90′s renowned fashion designer Rifat Ozbek, though I can’t imagine that Robin Birley and his wife (Bryan Ferry’s ex) didn’t also have a strong hand in final ambiance  of the place.

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The bar area in “Loulou’s” downstairs

Downstairs is like Safari-meets-The Water Babies. Sorry if that’s a difficult visual to summon up, but that’s how it felt, so overcome was I with the general effect. Upstairs, you just want to live in every single room, sit by the multiple fire places, smoking cigars whilst reading Maugham and discussing the merits of whippets above all other canines with Mr. Birley himself. (Who I just happened to see carrying his one grey whippet down the stairs in his arms, with the other close to heel. It was The Perfect English Moment)

The Bad News is, and this is pretty bloody bad-it’s private.

One must know Some One in order to get One’s self through the very discreet little door of “5 Hertford St”

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So, if your travels include a trip to London on the horizon, One best get on the horn and start calling friends, friends of friends, bosses of friends, and listen, if things get desperate, even rebuilding a broken friendship bridge or two if necessary.

This is one of the chicest, coolest places I’ve been to.

And I really don’t think it’s just because I love London so much.

PS. Don’t flipping tell anyone I snapped the photo of the dining room  with the roses above-I imagine they don’t take kindly to people clicking away with their iPhones.

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PPS. Can’t tell a porkie-pie, I also snapped the flowers in the Ladie’s room.

Who could resist these and who does it hurt, pray tell??

OK, and really, really, lastly…cause it’s like 2am in the morning here,

Royal Baby in the Bedroom

We’re on High Alert Royal Baby Watch now are we not?!

I shot this little “Instagram”vignette in our guest room in honour of the Big Event.

I love that CNN announced today that ‘Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are eagerly awaiting the birth of either a boy or a girl!”

Genius.

Righty ho, time for me to go to bed and dream of England!

What are you doing in your part of the world right now?!

xxSP.

*all photos of “5 Hertford St.” except my first Instagram pic and the Ladie’s room flowers are via “Vanity Fair” magazine.

It’s now even later than 2am so excuse any typos-I might as well be running a nightclub at this hour.

Coat check tag,please. And No, I don’t have any change.

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An Indian Dinner

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Happy Saturday to you!

I’m a little jet lagged, having just recently returned from London. I’m excited to share some highlights of our trip once I’ve had a chance to download and compile all my photos. I actually went away with just my tiny Leica and the download cord, but no battery charger. So dumb. Don’t you just love packing?

Those of you that follow me on Instagram though have seen several of my holiday snaps there already. The old iPhone (and I do mean the old one) takes a pretty good shot in a pinch.  OK so, wait…I’m off track already, bloody hell…the London post will be arriving shortly (it is coming from overseas after all!)

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few photos from the Indian Dinner table I set at ‘Casa Paley’ shortly before we went away.

890A8441We were excited to be having very dear old friends over for dinner and inspired by the spate of beautiful late May weather in Santa Barbara (before  “June Gloom” arrived, right on schedule as I’ve been informed, June 1st) I thought it would be fun to serve up a big old curry with all the fixings.

09ea16a6bd9e11e299e522000a9e28c4_7My Instagram shot of the cookbooks we used:

“Mangoes & Curry Leaves” (gorgeous book, somewhat complex recipes),”Tangy Tart Hot & Spicy” by Padma Lakshmi (easier recipes) and “Vij’s” from my favourite Indian restaurant in Vancouver-even though they don’t take reservations which drives me insane. Maybe because I’m mentioning his cookbook I might not have to wait outside the next time.  Do you think??? Hey, It could happen. If you know him, please put in a good word for me :)

I’m afraid I don’t have any photos of the food but this is what we served:

Vij’s Family Chicken Curry (OMG-SO good. and I’m not just saying that because of the no reservations thing. Swear)

Prawns in Coconut Marsala

Sauteed Arugula & Spinach with Tofu (because we couldn’t find Paneer)

Ginger & Jalapeño Basmati rice

Green Beans with Toasted Coconut & Cashews

Cucumber Raita

Shredded Carrot, Cranberries & Cilantro Salad (Gorgeous & delicious-so wish I’d taken a photo) from Padma’s book

Huge crispy Poppadoms, Naan bread and lashings of spicy chutneys

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890A8452Different flavours of salts on the table are always a nice touch.

I found the porcelain and copper “burning match” votives “At The Table” in LA  years ago.

890A8462I actually have a “Salt” post in the hopper as we speak. Keep an eye out for it. I know. Exciting, right?!

890A8457As usual, I like to really mix it up, so here we have a huge vintage Suzani used as the tablecloth (that’s how much I love/trust these friends :) )  little silver votives from Pottery Barn, Cristofle silverware, vintage ocean liner water goblets, black & white striped cotton napkins from “Paradise Lane” in Sri Lanka, and all the black & white dishes are from Target. The roses are “White Iceberg” and “Hot Cocoa” from my garden.

Here’s the recipe for the curried chicken:

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Taken from “Vij’s” cookbook with love and respect… and patience.

What?? I’m not hinting at anything!

890A8520Christofle silver vase (a present for our 25th wedding anniversary last month)

For another Suzani inspired table setting check out this older post HERE -I just noticed that it was also done in May, in 2011. Goes to show how much Spring inspires us to bring the colour indoors (you might also recognise that suzani from my recent post about updating our conservatory) Vintage textiles are such a worthwhile investment, aren’t they?!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend

and

VERY HAPPY FATHER’S DAY WISHES TO ALL THE WONDERFUL DADS OUT THERE!!

xoxox

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Eye on NY

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Well, hello there!

My itinerary took me to NY recently where skies were blue and I had the extreme pleasure of spending time with my older son. The weather was stunning. Really hot, but not too steamy. In other words, absolutely perfect for walking from one end of Manhattan to the other.

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I flew on Virgin America, connecting from Santa Barbara airport via United.

In the off chance that you ever find yourself booking this itinerary, let me share 2 important details with you;

1) “Virgin America” is 1 of only 3 airlines “United” does not have a baggage agreement with.  Apparently they’re “Frenemies”

2) The “United” terminal is at the absolute opposite side of LAX than the “Virgin America” terminal.

I had 55 minutes to buy a cart, yank my bags off the carousel, run to the bus, pull said bags off bus, find another cart, check in to Virgin, recheck my bags, and go through security again.

If you’re a man, you’re probably thinking “Why did you even have 2 check-in pieces of luggage and a carry-on when you were just going to NY?”

What a silly question.

 Needless to say, I lost 3 lbs and a cocktail was required immediately upon boarding.

BTW,  Is “my other ride’s a spaceship” new, or did I just notice it for the first time? I love that! I needed a dose of humour by this point.

L1150338Happily ensconced in my lovely hotel in NY, all travel turmoils forgotten (as you just read, haha) I was happy to hit the ground running.

It seems almost every city block in NY offers a photo op if you’re keeping your eyes peeled

L1150337Speaking of peeling…a wall down by my son’s neck of the woods reminds that “Art” is always in the eye of the beholder

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We ate well, especially dinner one evening at Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya

Would definitely go back. (BTW, not just sushi)

IMG_5020Not sure if it was the heat, but I also decided to chop off my long hair. I will probably cut a few more layers still, but I was nervous to do anything too drastic all at once.

I don’t think the last 6″ were doing me any favours anyway and I’m loving how much easier it is to blow dry.

Just in case you’re looking for a good stylist in NY, I went to Chris Lospalluto at Sally Hershberger’s Uptown. He’s low-key and adorable.

IMG_5011There were a lot of these going on already, but I was more in the mood for walking than shopping.

L1150324That being said, I did drop into Barney’s shoe department which was like a hill of fire ants. I feared for my life. Not enough to leave mind you, but I was mighty scared just the same. Aside from the predominance of fluorescents, yes, still (upcoming post) I’m guessing there’s going to be a lot of brogues, saddle shoes, and flats in the coming months. Adorable if you can carry them off.  I saw Muiccia Prada in person recently and she was wearing a knee-length gingham dress, ankle socks and saddle-y brogues. Of course she is Muiccia Prada, worth 7 billion dollars due to her fashion sense and was on the cover of the NY Times Style magazine last weekend, but as much as I appreciate her iconoclasm, I have too strong a fear of looking like Betty Davis in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” to attempt this look at my age.

OK, maybe with some wide trousers…

L1150287One day, the designated meeting point with my son was at ABC Carpet down on 17th. Truthfully, I could have spent the day in there, but the weather was so divine it would have been sinful (and my son would have killed me) so we walked around downtown all day instead. Such great people/dog/window watching there, especially on hot days.

Back to ABC though-these gorgeous chunks of blue bottle glass caught my eye as they reminded me of the paths at Lotus Land in my very own Montecito. Wouldn’t a few of them be great just strewn across a summer dining table with tons of candles?!

l10307891You may read more about Lotus Land in one of my older posts HERE

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And in my latest “I LIKE IT. WHAT IS IT?” department;

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One of the coolest things we spotted were “My New Flame” LED “candles” in the Ingo Maurer showroom in Soho.

They are hard to explain but you can watch a really short video of how they work here

As you can see, the circuit board controlling the flame is visible in the taper of the candle. 128 LEDs on each side allow the “flame” to be seen from both sides. They  come in red or black and can either be hung from the ceiling in a cluster, or table mounted as they run by battery. So modern and talk about a conversation starter. I’ve had a pair of the Ingo Maurer “Campari” lights over my kitchen sink in Sun Valley for years and I love the warm glow they cast, especially during the winter.

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Lastly, I leave you with this bike, in my boy’s neighbourhood

IMG_5051 “Art” once again, in the eye of the beholder.

( I told you “fluoro”‘s still hot. Can you believe people still litter?? For shame! )

xox SP

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Omg-It’s April Already!

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Did you think I’d run off with the Moroccan Circus?!

I do still have one or two Moroccan tidbits I’d love to share, but today’s post hails from NY where I had a lovely visit this week with Older Son,

enjoyed a little theatre (or perhaps I should  say big theatre)

and well, you know the rest…

photo 2there was some food involved…

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but first, the play

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Directed by two-time Tony winner George C. Wolfe and starring the boundlessly talented Tom Hanks, “Lucky Guy” is the hottest ticket on Broadway.

We were lucky enough to attend the opening night on Monday and it was truly electrifying.

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The last work of the brilliant Nora Ephron;

“LUCKY GUY marks a return to Ephron’s journalistic roots in a new play about the scandal- and graffiti-ridden New York of the 1980s, as told through the story of the charismatic and controversial tabloid columnist Mike McAlary, who won the Pulitzer Prize shortly before his untimely death on Christmas Day, 1998.” (via Luckyguy.com)

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 12.52.01 PMIt’s great fun to experience Tom Hank’s first time on the Broadway stage, in fact the entire cast is stellar

so if your plans include a trip to NY between now and June, I highly recommend it.

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And what’s a trip to NYC without a little window shopping?!

 IMG_3969My Instagram pic (following yet?) of the Celine shoes that are starting to grow on me

(no pun intended)

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 10.59.51 AMEspecially the “Birkenstock” version which FYI is already sold out in the black on black style.

I just asked.

L1150148Then there’s this casual little Walter Steiger heel for all you Crowns of Thorns, Thrones of Corns, Game of Thrones fans

(which I’ve yet to watch because I still haven’t started “Homeland” yet. You see the sacrifices I make for this blog?!)

I snapped the pic in Barney’s, slightly more civilized than the Bergdorf’s shoe department was on Friday

IMG_3985Where it’s every woman for herself (more crown-thorny shoes there too-not in my size :()

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And now’s the time for Vegetarians to shield their eyes

IMG_3892We enjoyed a hearty brunch at Il Buco Alementaria & Vineria

beginning with a most civilized selection of their house-cured meats.

photo 3menu board at il Buco

f2171f049a2711e2bee422000a9f14ea_7Then Son of Slim threw down with a short rib sandwich that quite frankly did his Momma proud.

Despite its girth, it absolutely melted in your mouth. Like buttah.

er, I mean his mouth.

I’m far too much of a Laaydy to be seen eating such a beast (at least in public-would that they have private booths)

This is definitely not a First Date Sandwich.

Il Buco is very buzzy and for the most part, dining is shared at communal tables.

8-14_085via Il Buco website

I will mention that the acoustics aren’t the greatest (upstairs seems slightly louder than down) We moved downstairs because I swear a woman at our table was talking to someone in another restaurant-and not on her phone. I felt like we were in a Woody Allen film, but let’s not be ‘Slim Cranky’.  The food’s delicious and service is great.

This was my second visit to Il Buco and I’d definitely go again.

img_3901The salted caramel gelato at Il Buco.

Yes, I did say brunch :-)

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And in the blink of an eye another NY week is over and it’s April already.

Wishing everyone a great weekend and a sweet & happy new(ish) month!

Spring is upon us and I hope to be posting with a little more frequency from now on. Really.

’tis the season of growth and renewal after all, right?

XX SP

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**The lemon meringue cake is at “E.A.T.” on upper Madison Ave.!

Both “Lucky Guy” play photos via Bloombergbusiness.com

Opulence Moroccan Style

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Though we enjoyed the hotels we stayed in during our visit to Morocco ( more on those later) for future reference and to satisfy our FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) we spent a little time in Marrakech checking out some other options.

Put your velvet seatbelt on

for the “Royal Mansour” located in the heart of the Medina.

Royal Mansour, Marrakech Where behind every gently wafting silken drape…

Royal Mansour Marrakechanother gasp awaits

Royal Mansour, MarrakechThe attention to detail at Royal Mansour knows NO bounds

Royal Mansour, MarrakechIt’s how you spell luxe and then some.

Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 1.35.26 PMOne could wear the newest Dior dress I love so much and not feel overdressed.

Royal Mansour, Marrakech“Le Bar” to end all bars

rose gold wallswith walls panelled in reverse glass rose gold leaf

Rose gold wallsPhotos do not capture the depth and beauty of the rose gold panels.

They glow like the gossamer veiled cheeks of an exquisite young virgin bride marrying a dark, dashing Sheik at desert sunset

(think young Omar Sharif without the gambling habit)

Royal Mansour, MarrakechAre you getting the idea yet??!

Morocco slimpaley.comThe chandelier in the interior courtyard

Morocco slimpaley.comWe enjoyed a cocktail or two here in quiet awe, just listening to the birdsong, the tinkling of ice cubes and the heavy rustling of palm fronds in the wind.

Image 32“La Grande Table Marocaine” restaurant, with blue marble floors, is presided over by celebrated French chef Yannick Alleno.

a52e5292fd046c653bc822bbc73ace3eI would probably choose this little number from Armani Spring 2013 should I be so lucky as to dine here.

Royal Mansour, MarrakechCool marble, embroidered water-silk taffeta, feathers & inlaid rosewood…cuhraazy

Royal Mansour, MarrakechI don’t even know how to begin to explain the coffered ceiling in the “Chimney Lounge”

Honeycombs conceived by bees drunk on silver.

Again, the photos don’t do it justice.

Royal Mansour, MarrakechThe Chimney Lounge, so named for the transparent glass fireplace that allows you to gaze upon the gardens through the flames while sipping your cognac.

Did I mention it’s a wood burning fireplace ??

Come ON.

Royal Mansour, MarrakechPhoto via Royal Mansour

I need this in my next life as a Persian Princess.

Royal Mansour, MarrakechHand tooled leather walls

hand tooled leather rugand rugs.

It just doesn’t stop.

Royal Mansour, Marrakech“La Grande Table Francaise” Royal Mansour’s French restaurant preparing for the evening.

I can only imagine how beautiful it must be by candle lightImage 29A gecko candle holder, one of many crystal creatures crawling across the walls of the restaurant.

chandelier

Royal MansourAs dusk descends (yes, we stayed that long!) the hotel becomes even more magical

Royal Mansour

There are no “rooms” at the Royal Mansour, just 53 private riads.

As you’ve no doubt deduced by now, this is not where you would choose to stay if you’re counting your dirhams.

 Ahem. It’s splurging to be sure. I don’t know if it would be my choice if I were bringing children with me either, but for a romantic and decadent getaway for couples? Hell ya.

There is also a gorgeous spa and a divine little shop.

But of course, you knew that!

Morocco slimpaley.com

For more information on Royal Mansour

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All photos (unless otherwise credited) by Slim Paley.