Thursday, September 29, 2011


"I've ordered that the cows be washed" exclaimed the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava - (a member of the legendary Guinness family by both birth and marriage). One cow (heifer) in particular - the famed Willow - was unanimously crowned Ireland's Supreme Champion Cow of the year (amusingly coined Miss Bovine Universe). Lady Dufferin dotes on her estate's 130 heifers, who are the source of England's acclaimed Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt. But besides being a consumate gentlewoman farmer, she is also responsible for keeping Clandeboye - the truly astounding 2000 acre estate in Northern Ireland, described as "a frozen-in-amber reflection of the British Empire at its peak". It is really worth delving into the trials and tribulations of this extraordinary family and the Marchioness herself, who claims that she has never stepped foot inside a supermarket. Read the first-rate article here... 

All photographs by Simon Watson

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Grace Kelly (II)

Eternally fascinated by this family...

Image from Life Magazine

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ex Libris

Seldom have I seen a coat-of-arms that I didn't like... make that love. One of Eric Kass's pin-boards, includes images of vintage Ex Libris book plates and I covet them all. See more amazing "From the Library of" examples here... 

What a wonderful name!

In love with this one

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Babylonstoren, South Africa

Sigh. This sounds like my kind of holiday. 'Intentionally unscripted' is the mantra for time spent at Babylonstoren in the Cape. One can lounge and truly wind-down on one of the hammocks attached to giant trees, or pick one's own salad on a stroll through the remarkable fruit and vegetable garden, and enjoy it for lunch. Sounds rather blissful, doesn't it? Karen Roos, one of my all-time style icons, is responsible for creating this heavenly 200-hectare farm hotel dating back to 1692. A disused kraal was converted into the restaurant Babel (see below), and renowned South African food fundi, Maranda Engelbrecht describes the fare as "Not looking for different things, but simply looking at things differently". The menu is ever-changing as plat de jour, or rather jardin is the order of the day. Pick-clean-serve is the approach with practically zero carbon footprint. Kind-of reminds me a bit of Villa Augustus in the Netherlands...

The Library is vintage Karen Roos - filled with curiousity cabinets and carefully chosen books, antique botanical prints all bathed in an almost Deyroll-eqsue green.

Images from here and Elle

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Françoise Hardy

Talk about six degrees of separation. In this case... one, actually. A friend - who shall remain nameless - took Mademoiselle Hardy out on two dates in the 60's. He, a part of swinging London, (not dissimilar to the fashion set as depicted in Antonioni's Blowup) and she, a shy, unassuming, but soon-to-be superstar. 

I love her look - hair straight with bangs, no nonsense or superfluous accoutrements, perfect bones and effortless French girl style. And how darn cool is that Honda...