Where to go: Zanzibar

At this time of year in the UK its inevitably cold and pretty often dark and rainy too.So now is a great time to escape to the sun somewhere far away for a nice little break.

Highly recommended is Zanzibar – sitting in the Indian ocean just off the coast of Tanzania in Africa, its right by the the equator and so temperatures are pretty high. Huge amounts of heat and a beautiful location equals a happy place to relax, unwind and de-stress.

Zanzibar has hotels at different price scales, but two real gems are Essque Zalu in the north on Nungwi beach, a boutique hotel with mouth watering food and a welcoming infinity pool and incredible views out over the ocean.

The other is The Residence down in the south near Kizimkaze – a more sombre and classic affair which exudes good taste and elegance. With equally sumptuous food, a showstopper infinity pool, separate villas give guests their privacy and charm using bicycles to navigate the resort.


What to wear: Festi-chic

I don’t do festivals really but if I did, here’s my pick of a couple of festi-chic bits to help you keep you cool.

First up, hats off to Nobis for their straw Fedoras – there’s nothing like headgear to add a flourish to your look and help you stand out from the crowd. These ones also have a slight cowboy vibe to them with the feathers so you can wear right through to next season. Choose from cream or black – a steal at £30 from Harrods or House of Fraser.

Next up is the humble rucksack which is enjoying a moment in the limelight. If like me, you suffer from incessant shoulder ache from carrying too much in your handbag, then this Eastpak Padded Pak’r number form the Authentic Mindblooming range is the answer. It ticks off another trend too with the funky floral pattern – I like the Busy Blue best. £40 from Asos, Selfridges and surfdome.com

I’m also ecstatic that new trainer designs are coming out thick and fast. There’s nothing better than being able to sassily stride past others dawdling along. I spied these snakey sneakers at Debenhams accented with orange laces at just £21 in the sale.


Father’s Day Gift Guide

With Father’s Day coming up its sometimes tricky to find that special something to reward your Dad with.

Here’s a few ideas to make him know that you care:

Black WeSC headphones to listen to his music through – be it at home or away – £95

Or buy him an elegant Daines & Hathaway flask like this 6oz leather covered beauty – perfect for shooting, fishing, hikes or whatever tickles his fancy – £45

Lastly, if you can really splash the cash, then SevenFriday has a new range of watches out the M1&2 – with vibrant flashes of turquoise and orange. Available from Watchfinder with prices starting at £825

What to do: The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014

Gianfranco Ferre advert, Model: Aly Dunne

The V&A is putting on some great exhibitions at the moment – I have already been to see The Glamour of Italian Fashion which started at the end of April showcasing the golden age of Italian couture and the birth of the ‘Made in Italy’ brand.

Elizabeth Taylor wears Bulgari jewellery at the masked ball, Hotel Ca’Rezzonico, Venice

it delves into the beginnings of Italian craftsmanship in the post-war era which were paraded on the ‘Sala Bianca’ catwalks and how Hollywood icons filming in Italy soon adopted the early designers’ work.  Italian tailoring became sought after and put Italy on the fashion map. Family run couture labels then led the way for manufactured ready to wear. Such beautiful pieces are put on display that I had to stop myself from reaching out to try them on, such is the allure many years on of some of the designs.

Valentino posing with models nearby Trevi Fountain. Rome,

But the exhibition has a gloomy side, highlighting the shift in manufacturing from Italy over to China. It indicates how with the rise of the super-brands taking over smaller more niche, known Italian names there is a subsequent fall of the latter with the fight for international sales.

Installation image of favourite piece: cream coat at The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014

The Glamour of Italian Fashion sponsored by Bulgari is at the V&A until 25 July. Opening hours are 10 – 5.30pm each day and until 9.30pm on a Friday.

D&G black leather embroidered ankle boots

What to do: Cartizze

If you’re looking for a post work drink, you could do worse then Cartizze, a cosy little 1920s style bar tucked away in Lancashire Court named after the famed Prosecco vineyards.

The bar has an air of affluence to it reflected in the polished table tops and floors matched with dark wood, a marble fireplace with smart artefacts dotted around. Smokers meanwhile can sit outside in the alley and people watch whilst unwinding.

Serving negronis, bellinis and other fizz based cocktails like spritz to the well-heeled Mayfair crowd, attention to detail is clear with the beautiful vintage style glasses and coupes. Small snacks are served with drinks – our favourite being the truffled peanuts – the best invention ever!

The rhubarb bellini is a definite winner and was a welcome suggestion from the waitress which paid off. There’s also branded bottles of Champagne for those that prefer a particular label and vintage of bubbles.

It can get busy so it’s worth reserving a table if you plan to head down.

Cartizze is at 4 Lancashire Court, London W1S 1EY  tables@cartizzebar.com