British Vogue Party with New Editor Edward Enninful

On Tuesday night I was invited to the launch of  British Vogue with my dear friend Edward Enninful as the New Editor of the Magazine. The party was held in the River Cafe, West London.  I first worked with Edward in the early nineties when I lived in Ladbroke Grove, London. We did many jobs together when Edward was a stylist and I was a model including shooting two ID covers.

(image  ID magazine)

This first one was shot in central London in 1991 by photographer and friend Hugh Stewart. We did it in about 30 minutes with no hair or make up (I did not really need my hair to be done though!) I was thrilled to make the cover. ID magazine was one of the iconic magazines of the day and it was a privilege to be on it and in it.

(Image ID magazine)

This was my second cover shot in 1996. I did not know it but a week after shooting this my then husband and I found out that I was pregnant with my beautiful daughter Ella!

(Dave Bennet photography)

It was a wonderful treat to see Kate at the party. We met in the early  90s and worked together a lot and have been friends ever since.

(image Corinne day for the Face)

In 1991 Kate and I did this shoot with Corinne Day for another iconic magazine, The Face. We shot it on a Sunday in a supermarket car park in West London. Back then Supermarkets were not allowed to open on Sundays so the car park was completely empty and perfect for the shoot.

At the party we messed around and tried to recreate that shoot done 26 years ago.

(image Vogue magazine)

The Cover looked of course beautiful with the enchanting model Adwoa Aboah on the cover. Do buy a copy of the magazine if you have not grabbed one already. There are a lot of articles in the press at the moment focusing largely on race in relation to British Vogue. It is easy to jump on the band wagon point fingers, apply labels and stand on soap boxes with vitriol. But For me, this new British Vogue is about inclusivity in all its forms. We all want to feel included, heard and represented with family with friends and at work, and so having this in the magazines we buy is just as important too.

I believe this magazine will do so much more than just positively impact the fashion industry. Edward’s  vision to  address a myriad of topics  from body image  to gender,  may well help many people to feel more accepted, less alienated and more confident about themselves, who they are, what they look like and what they stand for. I love the fact that the issue features fashion for all, from designer labels to fashion from Primark. I am not saying that this has not been done in British Vogue before, but I can only speak for myself and say that this time around it feels well, different.

For me, the New look British Vogue feels like a big warm healing hug to which all are invited, and to where openness and honesty are encouraged and welcomed. I will enjoy the delayed gratification of  looking forward to a new copy each month.  Edward Enninful is one of the most gracious, generous and warm hearted people I have ever met. His epic rise in fashion has not changed these characteristics.  This man is doing something very special and I can’t wait to watch the continued success of this brilliant Magazine.

“The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do”- Steve Jobs.

Big love

Lorraine xxxx

 

Ps:  If you see any typos in the article just let me know in the comments below and I will change it.

The 10 best things about Majestic Monaco

A dear friend invited me to Monaco where they now reside and I immediately jumped at the chance.  I am not a fan of Squeasy Jet and so I went to old faithful BA. They had a few flights scattered about leaving from City Airport, Gatwick and Heathrow. The City Airport flight was a quarter of the price of the other flights, so I booked that one with a return to Gatwick. Those of you who have not experienced City airport will find it quite a treat compared to the other main airports. So the journey there was a bit of a stress, I booked a cab after faffing around like nobodies business and running super late and the journey took me about 30 minutes from West London. I highly recommend the tube though as  means to getting there. The traffic even at 6.30am was just  rammed.

City airport is teeny tiny. It takes about 10 minutes to get from the cab drop off/DLR exit right the way through security and to the gate. No long corridors, no waiting for oodles of people to take their laptops and shoes off at security and have their 150ml bottle of Dior Parfum confiscated. You just sail through. The flight was 2 hours in a really small plane (if you are over 6ft…. these small planes with around 16 rows will be a struggle). And we arrived 10 minutes early #result. As ever my 10 best list could easily extend to a lot more, but these are this is the current list.

1. Restaurant and Private Beach Bar Miami Plage

My friend picked me up from the airport and we drove over to his, dumped off my stuff, changed and then headed for the beach. If you Google most of the guides to the best things about Monaco, they all come up with the usual same suspects. It was nice therefore to be with my friend who has lived here for more than 14 years and knows some of the different places which do not perhaps come up frequently in other online guides. First stop was Miami Plage- private beach and restaurant which  is located on the bay of Lavrotto and the oldest beach in Monaco.

It has sun loungers out front beachside where you can eat and then slightly further away from the beach there are tables outside and also in a covered area inside. But the water… oh the water. My friend started to tuck in to their Tuna Salad alone, bored of waiting for me to stop snap snap snapping away at the water. It was so beautiful and still warm enough to dust off the old two piece and get a little Autumn colour on.

I ordered the Quinoa Buddha Bowl with cabbage, tomatoes, hummus, free range chicken and salad and my friend had the Tuna nicoise with a piece of tuna the size of 6 iphone 6plus’ piled up top of each other. Protein intake was for achieved for the day with that gigantasaurous piece of fish. I washed it down with a glass of rosé which was a nice treat as Rosé season in London has well and truly passed. It’s time for heavy full bodied reds and cosy fireplaces back in Blighty right now.

They do good bread here, small baguettes peppered with fragrant olives, and large car wheel sized focaccia/pizza base flatbreads flavoured with rosemary and sea salt. I do try not to gorge on bread, but with these two fine carby specimens sitting on my lunch table, I could not help my self. I went in. All in.

2. The Ports and the Super Yachts

After lunch, I set off on foot along the port. Initially it was so peaceful aside from the lapping of the water on the sides of the boats as they gently bumped  and pushed against each other and the occasional roar of a Lamborghini, Ferrari or Maclaren F1  in the back ground until I reached the heliport which has a chopper land and take off every 5 minutes. The Dillbar is  the largest privately owned yacht by  Gross tonnage (weight) and the fourth largest by length in the world. I tried to get this big beautiful behemoth to fit in the frame of the iPhone but it wouldn’t. It is 156 metres long or (512ft in old money.  Remember waiting to do the 100m track race at school? Well yes, that long and then half again. Or 15 London buses.

3. The Architecture 

I love the way this building which houses the Museum of Oceanography, is built right in the cliff face.

The architecture is mostly French but there are lots of new builds everywhere too. And I am a sucker for an instragrammable doorway.

4. The fishermen

There was something so peaceful about watching these men chatting away with their fishing rods hanging over the railings trying to catch dinner. They weren’t decked out in all the kit. They just looked like people who had just finished work and who had come down for some early evening  man-banter and free ocean food.

A couple of metres back from where the fisherman were, is one of the borders between Monaco and France, so I straddled two countries for a few minutes and then carried on with my walk.

5. The gym and the running tracks

The next day early morning I headed to World Class Gym to pump some iron after a day off. Even when I am travelling I hunt out a gym as a gym routine is a huge part of me. I Love that a gym can serve Croissants AND protein shakes. The gym was beautiful; incredibly clean, extremely well equipped, light and bright. It had every piece of equipment you could ever wish for from Squat racks to a boxing ring to dumb bells heavier than most of us would ever be able to pick up. Monaco is a small and compact place and this gym is actually in France, but it still makes this list of my 10 best in Monaco.

I have to include this quirky little number. Through this park and along much of the first port areas that I walked, there is the red spongy bit in the centre of the pathways. It ‘gives’ a little more than the darker red section making it perfect to save the knees of runners. Genius!

6. The Ariston coffee bar and restaurant

After the gym we headed to The Ariston to refuel. I have just started drinking coffee this year and I am quite fussy about it. I usually have an espresso or a Ristretto, which is half the volume of an espresso but the same amount of coffee, but the waiter suggested I try the Café Noisette, which is a shot of espresso with a dash of milk. It was a good smooth coffee, but much like my clothes and my car, I prefer to have my coffee black. I knew today was going to be a big day eating so I went small on breakfast with a three egg  white perfectly-cooked  omelette and a green salad. I am not big on salads as they taste so bland. But with this one the produce was super fresh and tasted as if it had just been pulled from a garden out back.

7. The beaches and the cloud porn

8. Marcos ristorante

Bread, of which I ate alot. Again.

Warm Octopus Salad with green beans potato and thyme. Without question the best octopus salad I have eaten.

Grilled prawns with veg and pasta with pesto.

Pasta with truffle and Parmesan.

Tarte Tartin (Posh French apple tart). Marcos is right near the border of Monaco with Italy so the restaurant, the food and the staff here are all Italian.

9. Chapelle Saint Dévote

After driving around Monaco and going to Hotel De Paris and to the Rock where the Palace is, we came across this gem. If you have ever watched the Monaco Grand Prix you may have heard of the Saint Dévote corner which is the first turn of the F1 circuit. I am not a Roman Catholic but I do find so much peace in sitting in a church silently, eyes closed and having a short meditate. I find that ” The answers to life’s quandaries come when the mind is still”

10. The sunsets

And then each night it’s always a thing for me to find a different place to watch the sun slip into the sea.

I hope you have enjoyed this post. I know it may not be on everyones bucket list yet, but have you ever wanted to visit Monaco? Which part of my visit do you think you would have enjoyed the most. Let me know in the comments.

Have a lovely day

Big love Lorraine.

Ps: If you see any typos in the post just let me know in the comments and I will correct them. Thanks!

The 10 best things about Vila Vita Parc: The Algarve, Portugal

I have just spent three energising days at the Vila Vita Parc.  Do hit that link and check out their website also, there are some pretty awesome pics and videos on it too. We left Gatwick airport at a rather unfavourably early  hour of the morning headed for Faro airport. At least the early three hour flight meant that there was a full day to explore when we arrived in Portugal.

Spain, Italy and France have always been on my hit list for short distance European travel and this was only my second time in Portugal. I have wanted to come to the Vila Vita Parc nestled in the South of the Country right on the coast  for many years and was so excited to finally get here. I have handpicked what I found to be the 10 best things (and that list could have easily been extended to 100 best things!) about my stay.

 

1.The grounds 

Being a country girl at heart the first thing I wanted to do when I arrived was explore the grounds. I underestimated just how big the place was. The resort is set in 54 acres of lush undulating grounds perched on a hill right by the beach. The greens the blues, the incredible foliage and the well kept gardens could keep a person occupied for weeks. With each new outing I stumbled across another gem, from soothing waterfalls, to different bridges spanning across the waterways, to very cool nooks and crannies to enjoy a drink or just read the latest novel on the ipad. Being early October  there were a few showers which did not last longer than a few minutes.

 

  2.  Lunch at the beach restaurant  and the cooking class 

The beach bar is not actually on the hotel grounds but a very short hop away from the main hotel. We were whisked away to the Praia dourada restaurant and  bar which sits on the beach  at Armação de Pêra

We began the afternoon  with a cooking demonstration of a Cataplana. This dish is named after the  copper, clam shaped dish in which it is cooked and consists of things like  local fish, seafood, white wine, garlic, peppers and onions. The base is made and then the seafood added. A lid is placed on top and the food is left to steam and for the flavours to develop until the big reveal. If you would like me to do  my recipe for Cataplana let me know in the comments below.

The restaurant  is open from the morning  through to the late evening. During the Summer season at the weekends, DJs play cool tunes so you can sit on the many sun loungers in front of the restaurant and sip on a sundowner or have a pick me up Portuguese coffee to see you through the day. The manager of the restaurant ordered most of the food for us to make sure we could try as much as possible. It is rare that I like most things on the menu which was the case with this meal. Here are a few of the dishes that we tried; Ceviche blanco with passion fruit and plantain fritters, Grilled Octopus with red pepper piquillo, Razor clams, swordfish steaks with cherry tomatoes and capers, and Panna cotta. Oh the tropical  Panna Cotta! They have food for vegans and vegetarians also such as Tempeh burger (soy beans)  and a lot of fresh pressed cleansing juices  which, you can have virgin or of course made in to one of the many cocktails which they offer. And imagine my delight when me, the avid gym goer, saw a drink called ‘the hulk’ on the menu which was a fresh banana drink with added protein! Praia Dourada Restaurant, you just won my heart for ever.

 

3. The wine cellar  

One evening before dinner we had a wine tasting in the resort’s wine cellar. If you are all about the wine then their 1100o strong collection should see you right. We feasted on olives, local ham and almonds as the wine expert talked us through some of his favourites. One couple were tucked away in a side room celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Gorgeous.

I fell in love with Green wine, or Vinho Verde.  Which is not actually green in colour  but is a young wine. The one we tried was white fresh and perhaps a little bit too drinkable. I am thinking that this new find may even be a contender for my usual summer tipple of Rose during the Summer months. Do look out for it and give it a try.

 

4. The beach

After wandering around the grounds.  I popped on my beach gear and headed to find the waves.  I walked through the grounds and every so often saw a pop of turquoise ocean. I then arrived on the cliffs edge which I sensibly stayed back from being somewhat clumsy at the best of times. There are signs around telling you to be extra cautious as the drop is quite a sheer one. You can either walk up and go for a cliff stroll or turn slightly down to the right and you will find the staircase with its roped bannisters, leading you down to the hotel beach. And then…well what can I say.. Tremendous.

5. The spa

We were given a spa treatment for this trip and I needed my well weight lifted muscles to be soothed. I chose  The deep tissue massage from one of the many on offer which  lasted an hour. Initially I thought that the petite masseuse was not going go be strong enough but how wrong I was. She used just the right amount of pressure to ease the tension and knots in my body.

 

6. The rooms

I enjoyed my room which had a view of the gardens and lots of places to sit. There was a little sofa with a coffee table down a couple of stairs which lead out to the small balcony. I found myself sitting out  there a lot admiring the surrounds and slowly eating my way through the mini bar (standard). The second picture on this blog post is the view taken from my room. I had a decent size bathroom with a shower which you had to step in to the bath to use.  I was in the main building but the rooms, and villas are scattered around the property. Some are quite a distance from the pool and restaurants but a quick phone call to the front desk results in a golf buggy to take you to your chosen destination.

 

7. The day trips

We did not have woodwork for girls at school which I would have done given the chance. So I loved visiting the work shop where the older members of the community were making wooden toys and games for children. I have written a separate blog post on this along with the basket weaving class and the amazing food and CAKE that we ate on that day here. Such fun! On the last day we explored the caves and the coastline around the hotel. Before turning the small speed boat around towards the end of the ride, the captain showed us The Benagil sea cave. You may seen this  ‘Portuguese Cave with a hole’ as its scattered all over social media.

 

8. The gym

A hotel gym is important to me. It is one of the things I check before I book anywhere. I look for hand weights which go up to at least 8kg, a couple of benches and then I am good to go. This gym goes way and above what you might expect with a bunch of cardio machines, and machines for both upper and lower body including a stretching area. I worked out here three times in the mornings and got a really good sweat/pump on each time. I like.

 

9. The chill spaces

In between running around the beach, the grounds, cookery lessons, woodwork lessons and a basket weaving session there was not an awful lot of time for us to relax. However I did find the odd 15 minutes here and there to relax the weary legs, including an indulgent  20 minutes of  stress-busting afternoon meditation.

 

10. The two Michelin Star restaurant

On the last night we got to eat at  the fine dining restaurant Ocean which, has had 2 Michelin star status since 2011 under the careful guidance of Chef Neuner. I took oodles of pictures as each dish was a masterpiece. The portions were quite small which I liked as we had so many courses. The restaurant has that telepathic service, when the moment you think about something that you want, or for the next course to come,  it magically appears. Elegant, seamless and indulgent.  I have eaten at a fair amount of Michelin starred restaurants and what stands out with Hans Neuner’s work were the surprises with the presentation and interpretation of familiar dishes. Things like Chicken Piri Piri, Portuguese Taco and Octopus came plated like works of art. There were so many ‘oooos’ and ‘ahhhhh’s and camera snaps coming from our table of 5! The last picture is a lemon meringue pie. Divine.

The three days  went too fast and it was soon time to kiss goodbye to my new found love, Portugal. I feel like there is so much more to  say about this place and I have so many more pictures to show you. But I know you have lives to be getting on with and so I will leave it here along with a big thank you to the Vila Vita Parc Hotel for having me along as their guest.

Have a great day.

Big love

LP xxx

 

Ps. If you see any typos let me know and I will correct. Thank you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Algarve: The Old School House and the Old Mill

I was lucky enough to head to the Algarve two weeks ago as the UK nights began to close in. The weather in the Algarve was still hot enough for Summer wear with a light sweater in the evenings. I was staying as a guest of the Vila Vita Parc and they organised a few days out for us. On the first day we drove up into the hills of the Algarve to a beautiful building which used to be an old primary school that closed down due to insufficient numbers of children in the area.

Lots of the school classroom was still intact with the old blackboard still up and tiny wooden chairs scattered around the place with that  beautiful smell of fresh cut wood.

The group of us from the hotel, stood around the table in the centre of the room to watch three very clever women at work. 

Ana, Silvina and Arliete are artisan Woodcrafters, who make toys, jewellery and games from things like wood, plants and seeds. They are part of Projecto Tasa which  is committed to keeping authentic trades alive in rural areas, to promote things such as community and commerce. Many of the people who previously lived in this area have moved towards the coast and so projects like this keep people together and bring business to otherwise very quiet areas of Portugal.

 

Basket Weaving and eating at the Old Mill

The next day we headed to another project which was some distance from the hotel but we did see some lovely scenery en route.  The last 10 minutes was down a dirt track which was great fun as the driver tried to avoid the low hanging branches from scratching the top of the van. The Projecto Taso team had set up an area in an old mill to show us how to make the basket which I am holding in the picture above.

The team were extremely patient with my impatience to get it right straight away. It took a while but I was basket weaving like a (semi) Pro in no time. Sitting in this place with these people who are so passionate about their work was such a treat. They have that energy of people who are at peace. Like they have found their purpose. Sometimes we go to the ends of the earth to find what we think we should be doing to find our purpose. Often times it is something much closer to home than we think and something much simpler than we think.

I enjoyed the serenity of the basket weaving class, but my eye kept going towards the amazing spread they put on for us to feed our hungry bellies. I mean look at the beauty of this table? Would you ever?… it was GORGEOUS. I get a bit funny with buffets sometimes, you see my eyes for sure are infinitely bigger than my stomach.

I tend to pile the plate high with food (exhibit A above) and then head back to the table for seconds and perhaps even thirds. Especially when the food is a good as this was. We had things like salads, cheeses, deep fried salted cod, chicken pie, fresh baked bread and breaded chicken. Such wonderful colourful food.

This lady made us a Corn/polenta based soup which she cooked stirring continuously, whilst waving away any smoke that was headed our way with her handmade basket weaved fan. If you know what this local polenta speciality is called let me know  in the comments below. The guide started to tell us all what it was, but then the other food arrived and I dove in to the buffet table instead of listening to the end of the story.

And then there was cake. This chocolate and carrot cake was my favourite.. I will be writing to the baker in question for the recipe.

Do have a look at Projecto Tasa website and also the lovely hotel where we stayed Vila Vita Parc. I will be on the move again soon. Which places should I explore next?

Big Love

Lorraine xxx

 

Please let me know of any typos… my weighing of baking ingredients is extremely accurate but my spotting of typos is less so. Thank you.

Confidence talks in schools: 5 tips on becoming more confident

The New Confidence code

A few months ago a young girl wrote to me to say that she did not want to go to college. She said she had lost her confidence and wanted to know how to find it and be able to feel good again. I wrote back and explained that I was not a psychologist or psychiatrist and that she should seek help if she was really have having difficulties,  and I also told her of some of the tricks I used to boost my confidence. After a while, she wrote back. She was so  appreciative and said that she had used some of the tools that I had recommended, and that she had found someone at school that she could talk and was doing much better.

Some of us are genetically born more confident than others. From the moment we pop out of our mothers we just have it intrinsically within our make up. Some of us have had parents who have expertly guided us to become more confident. Through clever parenting and patience they have managed to turn their young into confident adults. Some parents,  often through no fault of their own, are unable to teach us the necessary skills to feel good about ourselves in life,  and of course some of us people have had parents and or caregivers who have managed to knock the confidence  out of us.

I remember seeing a group of young boys sitting on a big Cotswold stone wall in my home town of Witney. They were a good looking bunch and the dark haired lad at the end was actually from my class.  I was 11 years old and walking the scenic route home which took a little longer but allowed me to go to the tuck shop to buy my favourite sweets.. sherbet lemons.

I crunched down hard on the boiled sweet in my mouth and the powdery bit in the middle slightly stung my tongue. I looked up towards the boys as I became level with them and heard them whispering to each other.  The whispers started  getting louder and then turned into giggles and the giggles soon exploded into fits of laughter.

I began to feel my heart thudding heavily in my chest, my breathing became shallow and my step quickened. Had they been laughing at me? Was it something that I was wearing? The way that I walked. Was it the colour of my skin, or was it because of my thick black curly hair? My head started whizzing with which of the things they were laughing at. Should I change my hair, clothes, walk differently?… Where they definitely laughing at me?

This story was a regular occurrence. I had a non existent level of confidence, I was paranoid and insecure with little self-worth and self esteem. 30 plus years later and my levels of confidence have increased, I still struggle from time to time today, but through  things like experience, therapy, workshops and books I have accumulated a tool kit of exercises and habits which I can use to make my self feel better. Confidence is an interesting thing, it comes and goes at different times in life and with different situations.  We can go to brimming with it at one point in one area and then  barely able to string to words together with another.

It got me thinking. What if I could share my experiences of anxiety, low-self esteem and low self-confidence over the years What if I visited  teenagers and young  adults around UK schools, and  shared what I had learned and talked about these issues,  in the hope that what I have been through may resonate with them and even help them through some challenging times?

I love making TV shows, eating, hosting and judging but I also know that this is only part of my path. I know that the difficulties I experienced in my early and formative years can and should be channeled into some thing more positive. I believe this for anyone who has suffered. If you can find meaning in what you go through then this can help others and also bring about more healing and understanding for the self too. I know I went through these times so that I can use them to help others who may be suffering, to feel better and lead happier more fulfilling lives. I realise that this is part of my purpose.

This summer I tweeted asking people if they would like me to visit their school. I explained that I would be talking about confidence and self-esteem. I was inundated with schools and picked a handful to visit last week. It was such an honour to meet such bright, brilliant and inspiring young adults ( the talks were directed sixth formers aged 16-18).

The talks lasted around 18 minutes and were more a conversation from my heart than a lecture. They were then followed by a Q and A or an “Ask me Anything” where the students asked me fun questions which ranged  from what was my skin care routine was (which I will post another time!) to dealing with anxiety and stress.

My 5 points in the talk are:

  • Confidence is a muscle
  • Find a Confidence Confidante
  • Focus on your strengths
  • Positive self-talk
  • It’s okay not to be okay.

Listen to the talk here:

 Do have a listen and let me know what you think. I am going to spend the next few months talking to experts and doing lots of research on the topic and hope to do more talks in the January term.

Everyone suffers from low-self esteem and related issues at some point in their lives, whether it is to mark the end of a relationship, not getting into the university or of not being clear about our direction in life. I Love a good quote and this is such a good mantra … Confidence is not ‘they will like me’ Confidence is ‘ I will be fine if they don’t’.

For the 17 minute talk on my 5 confidence boosting tips for increased self-belief and happiness and the life lessons I experienced to learn Listen here

Big love

Lorraine xxx

Ps: If you find a typo let me know, thanks x