Arts & travel

Arlington Avenue, Islington, London

An elegant place to stay in the city

The UK is well loved for its bed and breakfast accommodation. My experience of this type of place to stay has been really lovely, but I would normally only expect to find a superb b&b in the countryside. As I am always being asked where the good b&bs are in London I decided to identify one that I would choose to stay in, and this is it! Tucked away in the residential area of Islington, this is a handsome house with a stunning antique filled interior. It’s a perfect stopover for a night or two and the location is far enough away from central London to give you an experience of London life, with plenty of interesting shops and boutiques and places to eat within walking distance….and it’s easy to travel to and from by public transport (tube and bus) should you want to visit sites and museums in the centre. Lovely garden, should you visit in Spring/Summer. Book ahead as there are just two rooms…for more pictures and prices, visit

Christie’s Auction, South Kensington, London

Kinross House, Scotland and Property from the London Residence of Mrs. Winston Spencer Churchill

Furniture, paintings, portrait miniatures, silver, dishes and other household treasures from two historical properties – Kinross House in Scotland and the London residence of Mrs. Winston Spencer Churchill, goes ‘under the hammer’ in  London on 30th March.  Sir William Bruce, the great classical architect built Kinross House, and the London townhouse where the Churchill’s lived was designed by George Basevi, John Soane’s famous pupil. Mrs. Churchill’s husband was Randolph Churchill, the only son of Sir Winston Churchill, and Randolph’s wife was the glamorous Pamela Harriman. There are hundreds of beautiful, useful objects to enhance one’s home, each with the authenticity of a magnificent heritage.

This auction is an opportunity to capture an historical item, so save the date for this special sale – you could place a winning bid! Wednesday 30 March 2011 at 10.30 am. Christie’s South Kensington 85, Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3LD JG

Photos: Christie’s Images 2011. Top: Portrait Miniature Lot. 91 from Kinross House; above, Lot. 190, pair of Louis XV Style Beech Bergeres From the London Residence of Mrs. Winston Spencer Churchill.

Madame Grès

Paris Retrospective

The eternally elegant, always turbaned Madame Grès, is truly one of the great masters of Couture.  Her designs are carved like sculpture.  In fact, she wanted to  be a sculptor, and she constantly said, throughout her long and productive life (1903-1993) that “working with fabric or stone is the same thing.” She was born Germaine Krebs, and fashioned herself Madame Grès, a woman whose sense of purity, simplicity and  timelessness, is still an inspiration for couturiers and designers today. Madame Grès, Couture at Work, is the first Paris retrospective of this grande dame of style.  More than eighty of her luxurious designs, along with original photos and drawings are on display at the Musée Bourdelle Her creativity and  figure-moulding drapery, plus her choice of superb fabrics are uncompromising.  For fashion and social history enthusiasts, this exhibition is a must. 25 March-24 July 2011.  The Museum is closed on Mondays.

Galliera hors les murs au musée Bourdelle Madame Grès, la couture à l’œuvre, 25 mars – 24 juillet 2011. Photo: Grès, Robe du soir, vers 1947. Fourreau à dos nu triangulaire. Jersey de soie noir. © Stéphane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet.

Daniel Barenboim at La Scala, Milan

Legendary Pianist Performs Schubert

Daniel Barenboim is not only an amazing musician, pianist and conductor, he is an amazing person.  At the age of ten, he gave his first international solo concerts in Vienna and Rome. His conducting debut was in 1967 in London, with the Philharmonia Orchestra.  For eighteen years, he conducted at Bayreuth, the prestigious summer festival devoted to Richard Wagner. Oxford University bestowed an honorary doctorate in 2007, and he is renowned for the creation of the Western-Eastern Orchestra, with the Palestinian literary scholar, Edward Said. Young musicians in this ensemble perform internationally every summer.  Barenboim’s book Everything is Connected reveals his “raison d’être” and belief that music brings people together. Run, don’t walk, to get a ticket for this evening of piano music by the acclaimed maestro.  His fluid style and skillful interpretations are memorable.  Sunday 13 March JG

Mido 2011, Milan

An Oasis of Fabulous Frames

Innovation, creativity, superb  shapes and a cornucopia of colour were all part of the MIDO scene, the Italian eyewear exhibition.  Clodagh and I scurried from designer to designer, delighting in why eyewear is such a sought after accessory.  Cat eye shapes dominate, from flirty models like Salt’s Annabel (, to Tom Ford’s glamorously dramatic sunglass interpretation, see above (

Annabel by Salt. Optics

As spring moves into summer, perfectly round little shapes will be apparent in ophthalmic frames, while bold and striking designs continue to feature in sunglasses.  The aviator is revamped in flattering variations for men and women, particularly at Tod’s Eyewear.  White frames are a big style statement, perfect for sunny, summery beaches and holiday playgrounds. Crystal frames are also prominent, while vivid colours provide the wow factor. The fabulous desert colours of Palm Springs, California inspire Robert Marc.  So watch this space as we bring you continuous updates from this international salon, with news when these exciting collections will be in the shops. JG