February was Robinsons Fruit Drop month – a scheme to encourage us to drink more water by drinking Robinsons squashes. Did you know that 85% of UK adults reported they drink less than the recommended eight glasses of fluid? Guilty as charged. Water is bland, and if you want me to drink it, it either has to have another dimension, usually bubbles, or flavour, often cordial. Squash is for the kids, isn’t it?
Robinsons Squashes: No Added Sugar
Well, it’s not. Robinsons have come quite a long way since the squash of my childhood years, and the strong depth of flavour and ingredients is far reaching. Dietary requirements are also a huge consideration, and since 2015, 95% of their entire range contains no additional sugar. Just two products have added sugar, and these are the classic Barley Waters. Squash isn’t so bad for your teeth either; the British Dental Association recommends squash as the next best thing after water and milk and if like me, you hate both then it’s my number one.
They’re even suitable for vegans and vegetarians. I was sent a crate of squash flavourings to give a whirl, and I’m glad I did I signed up for the trial, it’s worth the effort.
I even bought myself a water bottle to encourage me to drink more at my desk. And guess what? I’m drinking at least 2 litres a day. Something I’d never have done before the trial. I even took in a bottle to share with colleagues, and it lasted a day. Here’s my colleague Tom with a Robinsons Mocktail, I even made some paraphernalia from our tea stirrers.
Robinsons Squashes: The Range
Of the three flavours
Peach Fruit and Barley – ripe and fruity peach mixed with a Barley twist
Orange and Pineapple – juicy with the perfect balance of sweet and sour
Lemon and Pink Grapefruit – zesty pink grapefruit with a soft citrus lemon
The latter was a particular favourite. Sweet, but not teeth-on-edge sweet, this had a distinct taste of lemonade with a hint of sharp grapefruit. The other flavours were all perfectly fine and I enjoyed them all.
Squash’d are small squeezy, handbag-sized bottles available in 7 fruity flavours. Depending on your pour, there are 20 servings to help you out wherever you are. There are 3 calories or less in each 250ml serving.
Orange – intense fruity orange
Apple & Blackcurrant – crisp apple with sweet blackcurrant
Summer Fruits – plummy summery blackcurrant with a hint of strawberry
If you’re a tennis fan, you’ll know that Robinsons Barley Water is used to refresh thirsty champions and has done since 1934. In fact, their long established relationship is secured until the year 2020 so you’ll continue to see bottles of squash and Barley Water on the court at the AELTC during the Summer months.
You don’t have to wait until June to start enjoying Robinsons. Take a look at their website for more information or grab a bottle next time you shop.
The Hotel Byblos turns 50 but every year’s a party at this St Tropez haunt of the rich and famous. I celebrate a little earlier, here in the capital.
Happy Birthday, Hotel Byblos
If you’ve ever visited Hotel Byblos in St Tropez, then I won’t need to tell you how amazing it is. This year it turns 50, and from what is planned, it doesn’t intend to slow up or slow down at any point. In fact, I don’t know another hotel who flies over the Head Chef to London to help those who can’t make it, celebrate.
A 720° experience
The hotel has launched an app which is downloadable, both for iPhone and android, which allows the visitor to enter the world of the Tropezian palace. It gives the visitor the freedom to book a table at the Hotel’s Ducasse Restaurant, Rivea, or at the B. It’s a 720° experience which includes a visit to the famous nightclub Caves du Roy. A list of must-visit places, recommended by the Hotel’s Head Concierge helps you make the most of your stay, including events in the town and locale.
Early Birthday Party
We began, pretty much like you would at Byblos, around the pool, with a glass of wonderful champagne. A series of appetisers came around, including market-fresh crudites with the Hotel’s anchovy paste.
As you would in St Tropez, a short stroll from drinks to the restaurant for a marinated sea bream dish, uses a limited edition Olive Oil No 50 commissioned for the celebrations.
Sisteron Lamb is tender and incredibly tasty. The meat is light pink and has a very delicate flavour. Flocks graze on large natural pastures. From the plains of La Crau to the summits of the Alps. They feed on the natural grasses and herbs which include thyme and rosemary. Flown in and served with Capoun de Blette, a speciality from Nice, and a herbed jus.
Cheese was from Banon in the region and a soft Tomme.
I was hoping for the signature dessert but the Head Chef, Vincent Maillard, did exceptionally well with the small space he had. A marvellous Citrus Tian, a Provence speciality is a fabulous alternative and Summer in a dish.
The Hotel closes for the winter but gird your loins. Grab your oversized sunhat and Hermes pool slides, Louboutin’s and floor length slip dress (white of course) because The Byblos reopens on April 13.
The queue wasn’t too bad to see a small but iconic collection of Diana’s dresses. There aren’t too many, with a handful of rooms in the Palace displaying dresses, gowns and separates, so here are my 5 Must See Princess Diana Dresses.
To save time, you can book your ticket online, in advance here. The tickets are slightly cheaper (£17.10 instead of £19,00) and you can avoid the queues and dates that are totally sold out. Your online ticket is exchanged for a paper ticket and that way the staff can keep an eye on numbers.
To mark the twentieth anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, her former home at Kensington Palace is now home to a brand-new exhibition of her outfits from the frilly to the public appearances which showed ahem, a little more than a member of the Royal family ought to. There are 25 outfits, alongside original designer sketches.
This will always be a popular exhibition so expect to be waiting as you visit the four or so rooms. Make sure you take a bottle of water, the rooms get quite hot. When you’ve finished, your ticket allows you to look at the other parts of the Palace.
There’s always been a fascination about Diana, and in 1997, just months before her death, she auctioned off many of her frocks for AIDS charities. One of the dresses you can see on display was sold to the chief executive of a chain of boutiques who wanted to remain anonymous. A mother of three sons and a huge Diana fan secured the Travolta Dress. She paid a record-breaking $222,500. The only other woman who courted such publicity was the sale of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ possessions. Prince William suggested his mother auction her gowns, closing a chapter on her royal life and style and focussing on charitable work. We’ll never know how the next chapter was to be. The Princess died on 31 August 1997, following a car accident.
6 Must See Princess Diana Dresses
The Princess often commissioned designers to create garments for specific appearances. She’d brief them and they’d prepare sketches for her approval, alongside fabric swatches.
Together they’d finalise the end item and Diana would often make notes on the sketches. Some of these are on display.
The Princess needed no excuse to set the flashbulbs popping but when she wore a version of this Murray Arbeid gown she caused something of a media furore. She wore one black and one red glove to contrast the black velvet bodice dress and red taffeta skirt. She surprised both the media and the public. The dress was recycled when she visited Spain.
Pussy Bow Blouse
Photographed by Lord Snowdon for the February 1981 issue of Vogue, the article was published to coincide with her engagement. Designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the pair went on to make her wedding dress.
Bill Pashley Tweed Suit
One of the most famous photos taken of Charles and Diana just after their wedding while the pair were honeymooning on Balmoral. Sadly, Bill Pashley died three years ago aged 80 after a lifelong career of making dresses for the rich and famous. At its height, he specialised in wedding dresses. Diana and Sarah Ferguson were among his clients.
Catherine Walker was by far the Princess’ favourite, and she wore over 500 of her designs. The London-based designer was a traditional dressmaker who specialised in bespoke pieces, and it’s her the Princess turned to for her tour wardrobes. Worn on an official visit to Saudia Arabia, this stunning cream silk dress screams respect without saying very little. Its high neckline and sleeves cover skin. The Falcon is, of course, the country’s national symbol and they dominate the otherwise very simple dress.
This glitzy sea green sequinned dress was worn for the state visit to Austria in 1986 during a trip to the Vienna Burgtheater and to the film premiere of Biggles in 1993.
The so-called Elvis dress is a beaded two-piece from the designer, Catherine Walker, who dressed the Princess until she died in 2010. Her work continues with her husband taking over as Head Designer. Said Cyrus continues Catherine’s legacy, focusing on bespoke items for clients. Take a look at the colour and you’ll see where it gets its name. It was for an official visit to Hong Kong in 1989. A strapless white silk-crepe dress, covered in sequins and pearls.
Mario Testino Shoot
It was to be her last large portrait session and she chose Mario Testino. Vanity Fair commissioned the photographer to work with the Princess and these were published in the magazine 12 weeks before she died. These are some of the most natural, glamorous and unposed photographs you’ll see of the Princess, outside of the family scrapbook. She chose Catherine Walker for many of the dresses that feature.
The gates of the Palace remain a shrine to the Princess who died in the Summer of 1997.
The exhibition runs until 28th February 2018.
I love a good blue shirt, and it’s hard not to miss them as they’re everywhere on the high street. Here’s my review of some of the best on the high street.
From Selfridges to Harvey Nichols, Zara to J Crew, the hue of blue is all around. Frills, embroidery and fluted sleeve seem to be the order of the day, and I’ve gathered together a few of the best.
Selfridges has some cracking fashion, and they’ve picked up on the Milan-based brand Vivetta. Taking its name from the designer who launched the brand Vivetta Ponti who worked under the with Roberto Cavalli. I love the playfulness of the colour and the cuffs. Not cheap but a wow factor shirt that would look fab with any outfit. The Tortora Poplin Shirt is 100% cotton and a curved hem. Both Selfridges and Harvey Nichols stock the range. This particular shirt is available in Selfridges.
If I had the money, the Erdem Koi pyjama top and trousers would be a must. Zara has done a poor rip-off, using cranes but this is simply gorgeous with it’s flared cuffs. It’s 100% silk and would be perfect with tailored trousers. I love the set. The pants, which you can just see in the image, are tapered. £635 in Selfridges – only sizes 8 & 14 left in stock.
Top Shop has some great pale blue shirts, and I took a shine to this Dorothy gingham blue shirt. Puff sleeves and gathers at the shoulder, there’s a cute black tie at the back. £29.
The trend for off-the-shoulder shows no sign of slowing, and if you’re going to bare your shoulders, then this is a beauty. A classic, retro Liberty print – Edenham Floral – this fabric design is 20 years old. Again, not cheap but neither is quality. £108, J Crew. Super cute with jeans and the shorts.
Zara has some super shirts, and this sky blue asymmetric number caught my eye. Team it with white cigar trousers and slides, and you’ve got a classic look. Totally affordable £39.99.
Again the fluted sleeve is a love of mine, and this striped top with round neck and elbow length sleeves had me at the scalloped finish. Cute teardrop opening. Zara bargain £25.99.
Marks and Spencer aren’t lagging. Simple tie cuff and pinstripe, this from the Autograph range. £39.50
All images, courtesy of the seller.
Aldi have got plenty of beautiful flowers on offer for this year’s Valentine’s Day. If you’ve shopped here before, you know that quality doesn’t cost the earth, whatever you’re buying.
Valentine’s Day Flowers Aldi: Roses
There are a few crackers on offer, including 100 Sweetheart Roses for just £25.00 and fair trade roses for £5.00.
Their fairtrade products aren’t just reserved for special occasions, they’re increasing the number of products offered in store from coffee to wine. Aldi is the only Fairtrade flower buyer in Ethiopia. They sell 42,000 bouquets of fairtrade roses in one week alone which generates £4,000 to compensate the growers in Ethiopia. Last year, Aldi sold over 2 million roses stems and helped hundreds of Ethiopian workers and their families find specialist medical care and access to education.
Here’s the £25.00 Sweetheart Bouquet. Why have a dozen when you can have 100? Well they may be smaller than the luxury offering, they’ll last for at least a week.
Available in stores from 11th February as a specialbuy (in fact most of the flowers listed here, are).
These Specially Selected Luxury Freedom Roses are £15.00 for a dozen.
‘Naomi’ Roses are a Premium offering at £30.00.
Valentine’s Day FLowers Aldi: Tulips
And, if roses aren’t your thing, there are Tulips
For 18 stems, it’s just £5.00. Again in store from 11th February.
Red and White Tulips
Red and Pink Tulips
For details on stores near you visit the website.