In the Press

NHYM in the Press: Camilla Long Column, The Sunday Times Style Magazine

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If like me, you were on holiday during the Easter break (and like most NHYMs I know, you would have been in LA/Florida/Maldives/South of France/Ibiza/Phuket or China), you would have missed my mention in the Sunday Times Style Magazine, in Camilla Long’s column. I was rather excited to receive a text while ‘holidaying’ in Continental Europe: ‘Great NHYM reference in Camilla Long’s column!’ Turns out, pretty much her entire column is referencing my blog post on Alpha Men! http://www.nottinghillmummy.com/2015/03/11/how-to-spot-an-alpha-man/

(I should really get a bit more credit, don’t you think?) Anyway, have a read…I am rather pleased that famous columnists are now quoting my work ;-).

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xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

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In the Press, Press, Social Commentary

The Times Newspaper T2 Column written by NHYM

‘I live among them’

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TimesIliveamongthemNHYM

Thursday January 29, 2105

I was just commissioned to write a short column for a spread on the SuperRich, ‘Will we ever learn to love the 0.1 percenters?’ which came out today in the Times newspaper T2 section. They asked me to write a piece on how the 0.1 percenters are different from you and me, which includes how they holiday, buy and sell property, spend on their children’s education and art. Have a look in today’s paper!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

 

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In the Press, Social Commentary

NHYM in The Press, the Times 2/12/14: ‘When did you last see your Kids?’

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I was interviewed yesterday by Helen Rumbelow of the The Times Newspaper on my thoughts on ‘Affluent Neglect,’ the notion that rich parents spend very little time with their children, for her article in today’s paper ‘Affluent Neglect: when did you last see your kids?’ in the T2 Section. Of course, there is the small minority of super rich and women who do not particularly like motherhood who wilfully do not spend time with their children, but most of the time this isn’t the case.

I explained that the majority of parents I know who spend the least amount of time with their children are those with double income careers, and it is a choice we make as mothers and women. For a woman to be a high flying surgeon/politician/entrepreneur, sacrifices have to be made, and children’s time is one of them. On one hand we are told to be like Sheryl Sandberg and to ‘lean in,’ be the next Hillary Clinton/Angela Merkel/Sheryl Sandberg/Arianna Huffington/Nathalie Massanet but to also be present parents. I’m afraid those two don’t go together. If you want to make partner in a law firm/private equity shop/hedge fund/consultant, you will have to put in the time, even if that means only seeing your child 1 hour a day or only on weekends. The ‘affluence’ of parents doesn’t come from nowhere, they have worked hard at it.

I used to work in a position where I would have to sometimes work until midnight and could not easily fit in my children’s christmas plays/christmas fairs/sports days into my schedule, or take them to the doctor if they were sick. I eventually chose to give up my career in favour of my children: https://nottinghillmummy.com/2014/06/26/quote-of-the-day-but-mummy-only-daddies-work/  But, I am also left with a malaise that I am not ‘fulfilling my potential,’ that all my years of education and hard work are wasted. Women having it all are the only women who don’t care for motherhood or don’t care for their careers.

So, although this article focuses on children being neglected, the whole issue of how to work and parent at the same time is not completely addressed. Even Nicola Horlick, the one-time ‘Superwoman’ who balanced a family of 6 children and a high powered financial career, says you can’t have it all. http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/10/25/nicola-horlick-superwoman-you-can-t-have-it-all/ And all high powered women say that they need a good support network, which means, nannies in most cases since most of us do not have young grandmothers who live next door and are willing to take care of their children.

Yes, many parents don’t spend enough time with their children, but we have also been told as women that we should be independent, lean in, be the head of a company, and therefore we are pulled in opposing directions. We end up feeling either a) guilty of being at work and not with our children or b) being at home with our children and losing ourselves and our identities, day by day, little by little, when we focus on only our children. Also, many families now need both parents working to afford the expensive cost of living. In some respects, isn’t it also good to show your children a good work ethic? Or is better to be there every night to sing a song and read them their bedtime stories? For those who have found the right balance, please do impart your wise knowledge.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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In the Press, Press

NHYM in a Danish Daily Newspaper, Information

I am now famous in Denmark. Thanks to Google Translate, here is a somewhat understandable English version!  

http://www.information.dk/516532

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Here is the upper class butlers for the very richest
The global inequality has exploded since the financial crisis began in 2008 – today owns 85 persons, according to Oxfam the same as the poorest half of the world’s population. A good number of them live in London, which today has the highest concentration of the ultra rich on the globe. Britain’s old upper class? The breadwinner as the new global elite butlers

Neighbors to the super-rich elite in London are concerned about the vulgar by the new wealth and the way it changes the neighborhoods on

By Mette Rodgers
November 22, 2014

There is something familiar about the crooked smile and confident look that stares directly into the camera lens and pass on the reader of The Evening Standard – free newspaper, as thousands of travelers in London daily leafs through on the way home from work. It’s the same scene familiar appearance, which almost daily meetings the same travelers when the country’s finance minister to appear on television screens and talks about the need to cut public sector to get its monstrous debt to life.

But it is not the British finance minister, George Osborne, who relaxed and with folded arms has let himself photographed against a burgundy colored wall, but his younger brother, 29-year-old Theo Osborne.

The occasion is the realization of his latest business idea – the opening of an exclusive concierge service for the ultra rich world citizens who in recent years have flocked to London.

Young Osborne is confident that there is demand for his service, which will cost customers about 50,000 pounds (about 476,000 kr.) per year, but in return gives them free-for-all not only in London but globally.

“Our customers are poor in time, so we are a kind of support system that procures everything from a last-minute private jet for a table on Friday night at Zuma. How, “he explains in the newspaper.

“I have access to all Grand Prix races, tickets to the Oscars, admission to saddle Square (at the racetrack), backstage passport. Some companies organize tickets for people who want to enter and see Bon Jovi, but we organize passport, allowing access to meet him backstage. You can get everything you want. Okay – there are things I have not been asked and have not thought about, but if someone asks us something, we will go to the ends to arrange it, “explained the young businessman, whose father is a baron Peter Osborne – co-founder of the luxurious Tapet- and drug company Osborne & Little, which his sons now each own 15 percent of.

The family Osborne other words, part of Britain’s historic upper class and has millions of pounds in the bank account, which places them firmly within the country’s richest one percent. Yet their wealth vanishingly small compared to the power of wealthy people who have settled in London since the financial crisis began in 2008.

The influx has transformed London to the city in the world that has the greatest concentration of dollar billionaires – all over 72 – in front of Moscow (48), New York (43) and San Francisco (42). Not to mention the 4,224 so-called UHNWI (Ultra High Net Worth Individuals); ie, those who have at least 30 million. dollars (180 million kr.) in the bank beyond their real estate. You have London also has the highest concentration of the world.

The new global elite has turned upside down on the centuries-old social hierarchy, which represents Britain’s class system, with the whimsical effect that the less rich – the old upper class – now have found a new source of revenue by serving the newcomers. It tells Roger Burrows, professor of sociology at Goldsmiths University, who is working on a research project in London’s super-rich neighborhoods.

“A lot of the wealthy Britons now earn their fortunes by working for the ultra rich. In Mayfair area for example, there are family offices, often led by people who are themselves very rich – British entrepreneurs and aristocrats, who has become a new butler class.

They offer a kind of cultural introduction to horse racing and clubs and can take care of the horses, planes, culture. They can also manage hedge findings (investment business, ed.) And invest the outsiders’ money, “says Roger Burrows and call Theo Osborne ‘the way’. But it is his minister brother.

»Osborne, (Prime Minister David) Cameron and Tory Party is basically butler class. They are rich, but they are not so rich – and their job is to ‘provide policy, darling’, “says Burrows.

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No home
The old upper class has become the new TSI butlers, but who is the new upper class then? A visit to the so-called ‘Alfa-territory’ – areas such as Westminster, Knightsbridge, South Kensington, Holland Park and Mayfair in West and North London – where the ultra rich, according to the estate agents live, provides little hint. In addition to individual expensive-dressed women, it is primarily masons and craftsmen who rummaging in the neat, well-maintained streets.

In every street in the exclusive Belgravia district, where foreign embassies located side by side, facing containers with construction waste parked between Ferraris, Porsches and black SUVs of more modest brands like Mercedes and Audi. A housing at least. street wrapped in easel in the four-storey height, and there will be a constant engine noise and hammering from houses with open doors.

In Capel Street has number 13 just changed hands at a price of 67 million. kr. It is a narrow, four-story town house on 344 m2 and with six bedrooms. At the corner of Cadogan Place sweeping an elderly man leaves off around the plants in front of no. 69 – a beautiful white house with matching metal shutters on the windows. In Wilton Cres is a woman in the process of polishing the brass plate at the house’s front door.

“I meet them now and then,” says Amanda Frame, founder of the exclusive architectural firm Bauencorp whether its new ultra-rich neighbors.

Although she moved to Kensington from Florida 28 years ago with her British husband and bought their current home. It is a classic townhouse on two floors, situated next to a quiet road and overlooking a beautiful red brick church and a small park.

“But it’s more their nannies and cleaning people I meet when airing the owners’ dogs. For they are not even here, “adds the retired but still active woman who is also chairman of the residents’ association Kensington Society.

A newly built luxury complex of seven houses with names like Wolfe House and Charles House on Kensington High Street confirms her claim. In this dim, dim October afternoon there is no light in any of the hundreds of windows into luxury apartments at prices between almost nine and 74 million. kr. Nobody goes in or out of the lit entrances. The only people seem to be receptionists and concierges.

“Two of my friends went down to look at the apartments and they were told that all of them had been sold sight unseen over a site in Singapore,” says Amanda Frame.

Roger Burrows confirms that the ultra-rich do not settle in London in the traditional sense. How to live this population not.

“They are a very diverse group,” he said. “The only thing they have in common is this enormous wealth, and that it comes from large capital investments. And so they live together. They bring together very closely on specific areas in the world’s cities and especially in London, “he added, describing the areas where they settle, as” some of the most varied ethnic neighborhoods, you can imagine. ”

“Many have 3 to 4 houses around the globe, so they spend only part of the year here,” continues Burrows, adding that “40 percent of the properties are empty in parts of Westminster most of the year.” It’s one of the reasons that he and his colleagues have found it difficult to get the group to speak to their research. Another is – explains director Patrick Bullick the exclusive realtor Stanley Chelsea – to the ultra-rich are an extremely shady race.

“There is no hope,” he explains Informations emitted, who had hoped that he could be a way into the ultra rich world.

“These people want privacy – especially the press,” he adds.

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Private parks and clubs of London’s most exclusive neighborhoods are attractive to the global elite of super-rich. A block in Belgravia and Kensington offers privacy and is also a good financial investment.

Focus on inequality
Until a year ago, the world’s small class of ultra rich allowed to go in peace with the escalation of their income and assets, as discreetly increased the economic distance between them and the rest of the world’s population. Ever lower taxation of wealth and growing use of tax havens has in the decades after the Cold War meant that no one knew much about the size and distribution of the planet’s wealth. Forbes magazine’s Top 100 list of the richest, as whiskeys forward to the assets’ size from a lot of different factors was the best attempt at a glance.

But then came the French economist Thomas Pikettys capital of the 21st century in English translation. In the book, which became a global bestseller and was published this week in Danish showdown Piketty inequality in a more detailed manner than the previous. Rather than cooking the disparity down to a single number, such as the widespread Gini coefficient showdown Piketty inequality at the tables to establish asset and income distribution in different percentages of the population.

Pikettys calculation showed that the existing inequality assessments had camouflaged a particular development: the richest one percent and even more so the very richest one per thousand have increased their economic lead from us.

In Europe, London has been the discrete upper percent hangout. Because of the city’s financial center and because of its lucrative property market. This status has in recent years have had major political consequences for Britain. The British government’s efforts to protect the City – the world’s largest financial center and breeding ground for the ultra rich growing fortunes – has been the main reason for the increasingly troubled relationship between London and the rest of the EU.

Recently fought the British Government a tough fight against an upper limit in the EU for bonuses in the banking world.

Previously opposite the the introduction of a Tobin tax on financial transactions – a darling of both the French and German governments – not to mention the December summit in 2011, when David Cameron vetoed the fiscal pact, as it managed to get a number of safeguards through which should protect the stock trading in the City. Confrontation policy has contributed to the fact that relations between London and Brussels are currently at rock bottom, and the voices of up to Cameron even raised the question whether the UK at all belong in the EU.

MR
While asking London’s old upper class themselves who their new neighbors really are. One so-called BWAG (Banker’s Wife And Girlfriend) has rubbed shoulders with the super rich and written about it on his blog nottinghillmummy.com. She’s too busy to meet with Information released because she “runs manic between school and activities most days,” she explains in an email where she still agrees to answer a few questions. In addition, she refers to a description of the difference between his own privileged life and the super rich, she has written – anonymously – to The Times Magazine.

The article confirms she is the ultra rich enormous discretion urge.

“They are attracted to the city because it is one of the few places in the world where privacy is valued so high, and where to move from private members clubs to private cars for private airplanes without ever set foot on a public sidewalk,” she writes, and explains: “Although New York does not have this degree of self-isolation. In London, there are private membership clubs, private schools, private gardens, private children member clubs, access to private jets. ”

Even the Notting Hill Mummy married to an investment advisor and live in a house in Chelsea, in particular, contains a nanny apartment, a children’s playroom “with enough toys to open a Toys’ R ‘Us’ and a’ mini-gym ‘. The house is located – she recognizes – in the periphery of the core region with a ‘less attractive ZIP code, “but where houses cost only half as much as in the most attractive areas with postcodes as SW1X, SW3, SW7 or W11. According housing since Zoopla is currently 227 properties – houses and apartments – for sale SW1X with an average asking price of 67 million. kr. In SW3 is average asking price 28 million. kr., in SW7 is 32 million. kr. and W11 21 million.

These properties, however, “not what we consider to other houses,” says Notting Hill Mummy who have visited what she calls a ‘superhus’.

“They are micro cities with husbestyrere acting as CEOs and leading them as small businesses. They are built to deliver, whatever their owner should want to. Exercise and morning swims?

Let us build a swimming pool in the basement with a gym next door. Movies? Let us build a cinema with 12 seats. For children build playrooms with slides, cable cars and climbing walls. Doctors, hairdressers, massage therapists and Reiki healers are on speed dial. These houses are so big and so well-designed that there is never any need to leave them, “she writes.

Why London?
The influx of investment has really heated London’s already expensive housing market. Housing prices in recent years has grown about 20 percent a year on average.

“London’s housing market represents an investment rather than a consumption strategy. People do not buy these properties to live in them, they use them as an investment container, “says Roger Burrows, backed by Patrick Bullick, adding that especially shady money has found its way to London.

“If you are Nigerian diamond smuggler, you would not be able to put your money into a Swiss bank account after Swiss banks have been forced to clean up their businesses. Instead you place them in the London housing market. And voila, the diamond money has become a big, lovely house. Where did the Russian oligarchs got their money from, if you think about it? “Asks real estate agent rhetorically.

For investors, London has many advantages, he says.

“There are stable ownership; there is a strong financial system, between the Far East and New York; there is easy access to Europe; and we speak English, which is the international business language, “says Bullick.

“Additionally, there are good schools, a good cultural and theater. If you are from the Middle East and come with your seven wives, so they can not be allowed to wear their burqas in Paris, but they can here. London is very spacious. ”

Finally, attention Bullick that foreign homeowners do not have to pay tax on profits when they sell their houses.

The city changes character
Precisely the non-taxation of property investment is a subject that Amanda Frame can talk at length about. According to her, it is the one that has transformed a lively community of neat, but deserted construction sites.

“The problem is not that the super rich have moved in. The problem is that the super-rich purchasing the property, but not moving in. They only come when it is summer in Dubai, or when they need to buy Christmas presents. Meanwhile, we have experienced a purge of permanent residents who vote and goes up in the community, “she says, adding that” not a single one has joined ‘in the local Civic Association, among other things, fighting to preserve the area’s historical and architectural character.

Which in itself is possibly one of the reasons that the newcomers will not be with, she recognizes it is often their excavation of basements, conversions of earlier transactions for residential and total renovations behind the classical facades which local association fighting against.

“They like buildings in conservation areas where the river all the historic interior of the houses. There was recently a listed building that was totally boned. The municipality brought an action against the owners, who received a fine of 3-4,000 pounds (30-40,000 kr., Ed.). But it is equivalent to the price of a handbag for these people, “says Amanda Frame, which says that the area where she lives in Kensington W11, has changed to a degree, so she no longer has a place where she can slip out and buy a pint of milk.

In Belgravia found Information only one convenience store – a Waitrose, where a robust driver in black suit was pending between the entrance and a four-wheel drive Ferrari.

“We used to have a dry cleaning at the end of our block; a kiosk, a glazier, a pharmacy, an architect’s office – they are all gone. The local Prince of Wales pub was sold. Now there is a huge house with a swimming pool in the basement. The law firm has been converted to housing and is now on the market for 11 million. pounds (105 million. kr.). Who can afford it? “Asks Frame.

According to sales statistics, the answer is that two-thirds of the buyers of these expensive houses are foreigners.

Amanda Frames concerns are well known for Roger Burrows, sociology professor, who has had good contacts with just her group. They are rich, but not in the global league and they want to talk, ‘because they see what is happening as a threat to their way of life’.

“There is a general concern about the vulgar by the new wealth and the way it changes the neighborhoods on,” he said, adding that private security guards at the entrances to some of the houses is a concern for where the owners have got their wealth from.

Consequences for the 99 per cent.
Notting Hill Mummys criticism of the super-rich is not an invitation to others to ‘feel sorry for us – for it must not’. She states simply that the ‘banker bashing “that occurred in the wake of the financial crisis today is’ irrelevant’, because it is no longer the bankers with their fat bonuses from the financial district City, which is responsible for the transformation of London.

“The international super-rich collectors on houses as a game of Monopoly. They have flocked to areas such as Chelsea and Kensington and neighboring districts. It is absurd for me to see that my friends from families with two incomes of 500,000 pounds (4.7 million. Kr.) From big City Banks can not afford to buy housing in central London, “she writes.
Roger Burrows has not hurt the bankers, but he acknowledges that ‘they are not the problem here. ”

“The bankers and lawyers are actually some of those who are being squeezed out,” he said.

“My concern is the city where the rich go when they are being supplanted by the ultra rich. People who can afford to 10m., But not to 40 million.? It is not only gentrification – the replacement of the working class with the middle class. It’s super-gentrification; even super-super-gentrification. ”

Another way that the advent of the super-rich affects the remaining 99 percent is that this new super-rich class not as its predecessor in Victorian times feel particularly connected to London.

“Very few of these people have no link to somewhere. They are never in the public domain and do not know much about what the world looks like. Their geographical understanding rows not very far out of West London. Their wealth is not like in Victorian times socially oriented, but very private and highly segregated. They may be linked to a football team or a gallery, while Victoria-era super rich invested in places – in parks, halls, public infrastructure, in galleries. The money is currently uncertain money. This is money associated with a non-place, “says Roger Burrows.

Inequality corrupts
The ultra-rich are not only a problem, he acknowledges. Although many of them because their revenue comes from overseas, do not pay income tax and therefore only council in the UK (the City of London is the maximum municipal currently just under 18,000 kr. Per year), their presence creates employment.

Patrick Bullick is also convinced that an announced tax changes, which from 2015 will mean that non-resident speculators will be taxed on profits from real estate matters, will reduce the negative effect of the super rich presence.

“It will definitely change something – for the richest group. If the prices of the houses in the most expensive houses fall, the houses at the top also fall, “he said.

Roger Burrows – and rows of other real estate – are less optimistic. The new tax is too soft to make a difference, they say, and Burrows doubt that the ultra rich ‘cares about the tax on capital gains on their investments in the London housing market will outweigh any concern. ”

On the whole, he is not sure that national politicians can do little about the developments by the day makes the very richest richer compared to the planet’s other inhabitants.

The organization Oxfam launched recently campaign Even it Up against the growing gap between the richest and poorest. According to Oxfam is one of the problems with the extreme inequality that it “corrupts politics and impede economic growth.” According to their calculations owns 85 persons in 2014 the same as the poorest half of the world’s population.

Just as Thomas Piketty want Oxfam global taxation of extreme wealth – A tax of 1.5 percent of the world’s billionaires, according to the organization could raise 440 billion. kr.

Roger Burrows doubt, however, that no politician in Britain, whose economy depends largely on the City’s financial services will cripple the district’s customers. The sector in 2010 amounted to almost 10 percent of the country’s GDP, the highest of any G7 country. And even if the politicians would, he is not sure that they could.

“I do not believe that national policy can do little more than to mediate in relation to these global transformations,” he said, predicting that “we will experience growing similarity among the 99 percent, while the emergence of a very small league with god by the consequences. ”

The new reality
Notting Hill Mum is just tired of that rich Russians have doubled the price of a good nanny to 7,600 kr. per week plus bonuses such as “a Burberry raincoat, Saint Laurent sunglasses Tod’s shoes and Hermes handbags’. Most of all, she is concerned about how it affects her children to be surrounded by what she calls a ‘fantasy world’.
She describes how the children have been invited to birthday parties in the ‘ballrooms in Dorchester, Berkley and Mandarin Oriental hotel, which has been changed into a mini-Disneyland complete with carousels, rides, magicians, jugglers, popcorn machines, ice cream machines, face painters, ballonskulptører and inflatables. ‘
‘It worries me that my daughters’ school is full of super rich, how it will affect their perspective on life, whether they will feel a legitimacy that is not justified. I do not want that they should grow up and believe that the kind of wealth is normal, “writes Notting Hill Mum in a more serious reflection upon Information.
The replacement of permanent residents with a non-resident global elite is Amanda Frames biggest concern.
“I want foreign buyers – who are not resident in the UK – are taxed higher. I want recognition for being resident, that I pay UK tax, and for that I am contributing to British society, “she says.

 

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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In the Press

‘Tis the Season for Giving: Rugby Portobello Trust Christmas Market 18/11/14

It’s already Christmas season all over again, with not-so-subtle hints of Christmas trees, baubles and silver sparkly decorations everywhere I look, from the Paperchase displays to the Whiteleys Christmas tree. The Christmas marketing machine is well under way only 17 days into November and even Take That has already lit up Regent’s Street’s lights last night. But this year, for a change, I’ve decided to look at giving to charity rather than spending my time finding more gifts for a) my children who have more toys that they know what to do with and let’s face it, become more spoiled by the day b) my husband who will feign happiness at the wallet/socks/tie/sweater that I will get him and c) my mother who doesn’t need any more candles, perfumes or beauty products from my complete lack of imagination.

The Rugby Portobello Trust, a charity for local, disadvantaged young people, is having their 25th Christmas Market in the 20th Century Theatre on Westbourne Grove on Tuesday November 18th and 19th. There will book signings by local children’s author Emma Chichester Clark, Yottam Ottolenghi for the Ottolenghi fans, and India Knight for my ‘ageing’ mother. There will be plenty of stalls with jewellery, arts and crafts, and cashmere which will be provide great gift ideas for Christmas stockings and Christmas gifts.

So stop by on your way home from work or after your children’s school drop off and hope to see you there!

http://www.rptchristmasmarketauction.co.uk/auction/index.php

xx

NHYM

 

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In the Press, Social Commentary

‘The Garden Wars’: Notting Hill’s Private Gardens

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Ladbroke Square Gardens, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

The Sex and the City episode entitled: ‘The Private Garden Issue’

Private Gardens in Notting Hill first attained worldwide fame in the 1999 film ‘Notting Hill,’ which firmly put Notting Hill and its communal gardens on the celebrity map. 15 years later, I still see people lined up to photograph the Blue door and the Travel Bookshop and try to find the eponymous private garden used for the Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts nightly tryst. But my love of private gardens actually started in New York, also in 1999, when I was famously dumped by my boyfriend because of the ‘Private Garden Issue’, which really could be an episode of ‘Sex and the City.’ Picture this:

Carrie Bradshaw is falling hard for an achingly handsome, brilliantly intelligent and creative Film school graduate and aspiring Film Director. He is thoughtful and romantic, sends Broadway musical tickets by post as a surprise, takes her away to Cape Cod for the weekend to his PhD father’s house, and draws her portrait as they sun themselves in Central Park. He even leaves her John Donne love poems on her pillow when he wakes up and leaves quietly for a film shoot (Ok, totally cheesy, but at the time felt very romantic). It is all going swimmingly well until one day, they pass Gramercy Park downtown, the last remaining private garden in New York, which was having an exceptional open day and party. They enter, Carrie wide eyed and beaming turns to her boyfriend and says: ‘Wouldn’t you love to have a key to this garden? I would just love to have one of the golden keys, it really is the key to New York, you know.’ And as she turns to face him, flashing a Carrie-style smile, he turns to her startled and says; ‘Private gardens are for elitist, materialist, and superficial people.’ Her smile fades and the camera zooms out. Fast forward to the end of their relationship three weeks later, in a West Village Italian, when he tells her over her perfect plate of Spaghetti; ‘This isn’t going to work. I will never be able to give you a golden key, and I will never be able to marry someone with values like that.’ And with that, the perfect relationship ended over a plate of perfect pasta.

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Ladbroke Square Gardens Playground, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

Give me that key!!

Fast forward 15 years, meeting Mr. Right, getting married, procreating two precious little ones, I finally have a key to a Notting Hill Private Garden, which next to Gramercy Park’s garden, is the closest thing to my 20 year old dream. Getting a key to a private garden can be quite a difficult feat. One American couple in South Kensington spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in court over their right to access to Ovington Square in Chelsea http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1293386/Hedgefund-boss-squanders-170-000-failed-bid-win-exclusive-access-garden-square.html . To many Notting Hill mums and dads, having a house backing onto a communal garden is their aspirational dream.

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Springtime in a Notting Hill Private Garden Square, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

There is also a hierarchy of garden desirability depending on various factors: the amount of sun vs. the amount of shade (as the gardens go down from the top of the hill, the less sunshine there is and more shade), does it have a tennis court? Does it have a playground? Are most of the houses on the square full houses or only flats? The more desirable the garden, the harder it is to get a key. My garden is rather flexible with whom it lets in from the neighbourhood, as long as you pay your dues and don’t bring your friends in. Other gardens measure out the exact distance from the garden wrought-iron door to your front door. Ladbroke Square Gardens, considered one of the finest and most beautiful private gardens in London, only allows those residents with houses that back onto the garden and with direct access to the garden. Properties on the two side roads opposite the gardens do not have access (as per the Bye-Laws on their website), so for them, it is like looking onto the garden of Eden, knowing they will never get entry. And even if you have access to the garden, it doesn’t grant you access to the tennis courts. For this, one must be placed on a waiting list and hope that someone moves away or dare I say it, give their last breath away.

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Guy Fawkes Fireworks, Ladbroke Square Gardens, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

One urban myth floating around of how determined people are to get access will be demonstrated by this story that I have adapted to another ‘Sex and The City’ episode ‘The Missing Key’: Charlotte York has just moved to London with her successful Jewish husband, Harry GoldenBlatt, and into one of the biggest mansions on Creek Place, one of the most expensive streets of Notting Hill, which despite its 5,000 sq ft size lacks a proper garden. Creek Place is renowned for some for the most beautiful and grandiose houses around the neighbourhood. Around the corner is Wiltshire Square Gardens, a great and famous garden, home to more than one celebrity and hedge fund ‘genius’.  Charlotte is determined to get a key to the square, (she after all always get what she wants) although residents of Creek Place are not entitled to a key. She befriends some neighbours who are key holders and hears that the President of the Gardens Association of Wiltshire Square Gardens, let’s call her Bunny, has always wanted to visit a house on Creek Place, so beautiful are the houses. She therefore invites Bunny for tea by sending a cream coloured, embossed card with her address on top: 64 Creek Place. Charlotte pulls out all the stops and they have a lovely afternoon of tea and scones, discussing the virtues of living in Notting Hill. As they are saying their goodbyes and air kissing, Bunny, the President of Wiltshire Garden Square Association, turns to Charlotte and says, ‘Thank you for the lovely afternoon, but you’re still not getting a key to Wiltshire Square Garden.’

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Guy Fawkes Fireworks, Ladbroke Square Gardens, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

Which do you choose, the Garden Dream or the Garden Drama?

For many residents in Notting Hill, backing onto a communal garden is the creme de la creme of Notting Hill real estate, paying over 30% premiums for the privilege of being able to open your doors onto the lush greenery of an English garden (Now, would you pay over £1,000,000 for this privilege?). These gardens are idyllic green spaces of paradise in what is the concrete jungle of London, where doors are open and children run from one house to another for playdates, fuelling our dreams of owning part of this green dream. There are wonderful parties thrown such as Guy Fawkes night with bonfires, Guy Competitions and fireworks at Ladbroke Square Gardens, Summer Fetes with Bouncy Castles and Pony rides at Crescent Gardens, Summer Parties with DJs and a disco for the teens and pre-teens and Operas in the Blenheim and Elgin Gardens. All protected from the outside world, your children can run safely, especially with all the stories of attempted abductions in public parks, a private square is the dream of most mothers. (Especially those with a thing for Robbie Williams who used to jog around his communal garden in Little Venice before he moved onto Michael Winner’s Holland Park McMansion). There are swing sets, wooden houses, climbing walls, slides, treehouses, climbing nets and sandboxes almost as nice as Princess Diana’s Playground, but without the 1 hour wait to get in on a sunny day.

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Guy Fawkes Fireworks, Ladbroke Square Gardens, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy

But behind this picture of paradise also lies the politics and dramas of Garden Residents and Garden Committees. There are coups to overthrow Garden Presidents, neighbouring wars over construction sites, wars between the dog-owners and non-dog owners, and between the families and the childless. And everyone knows your damn business, from who is having affairs with whom, what you’re doing or wearing at any time, who is on holiday at their Tuscan Villa, it is like a fishbowl into your life. Rachel Johnson, sister to Boris Johnson and columnist writer, famously wrote the book ‘Notting Hell’ based on a communal garden in Notting Hill, which is likely Rosmead Gardens (also the garden from the film Notting Hill), where Rachel Johnson lived. In it, she describes in detail the infighting, the competition, the affairs and the neighbourly tensions. To live on a garden means to be a part of a privileged and cosseted community, but be prepared for the gossip, keep a close eye on your husband and your dog, and beware of the Garden Police. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Notting-Hell-Rachel-Johnson-ebook/dp/B002RI9KJ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415187169&sr=8-1&keywords=notting+hell

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Guy Fawkes Competition, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

Beware of the Garden Rules

The Rules to some private gardens in London can be very strict, Pol Pot strict, with the bye-laws enforced in the upmost rigidity by the Garden Police. In my anti-social garden, only members are allowed, possibly one or two children may be acceptable, but guests, nannies, and friends are strictly forbidden. One must apply to the committee if one should want to invite a guest (what’s the point of a garden if you can’t share it?). I once attempted to circumvent the rules and lent my key to a friend while I was away on holiday, and she subsequently organised a playdate with another friend on a glorious sunny summer’s day. Within 10 minutes, the Garden Patrol was on her: ‘Don’t you know friends are not allowed in the garden’ a rickety old lady reprimanded my friend who pretended to be me. My blissful holiday was then interrupted when I received a threatening email reminding me that friends are not allowed in the garden, ‘only members are allowed’ they repeated to me in various formats (verbal/email/Bye-laws/post scripts). This is how I learnt my lesson and won’t be lending my key anymore, so don’t bother asking me. I was officially terrorised by the Garden Police.

These Bye – laws (collected from various gardens) are to be taken very seriously please:

1. No person shall destroy, by any means whatever any domestic animal or birds in the Gardens.’

2. Games should be primarily for children, but adults are permitted to join

3. No person suffering from any infectious disease shall use the grounds (although this garden does allow ‘servants’ in it as mentioned in the Bye-Laws)

4. No fire arms nor small cannons shall be fired

5. No catapults, bows and arrows, slings, firearms, arrows, saws or sheathed knives will be allowed into the Gardens.

6. No person shall cut, break or otherwise injure the trees and flowers.

7. Any person who wilfully obstructs any member of the Committee or its servants, in the lawful conduct of its duties shall be committing an offence.

8. No person shall shout or sing noisily in the Pleasure Grounds

9. Ball games are prohibited save in the following circumstances: a) between parents and/or supervising adults and children under the age of 11 b) not involving more than four persons in total c) a soft ball of less than 15 cm in diameter or a plastic beach ball d) But not in the Central Garden

And finally:

10. Any person committing a breach of these Bye Laws is liable to prosecution

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Guy Fawkes Bonfire, Ladbroke Square Gardens, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy 2014

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In the Press, Reviews

VIP Collector’s Preview Day Frieze Art Fair 2014 & PAD 2014

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(All photos in this post courtesy of NHYM Copyright 2014)

I was lucky enough to get invites to both the VIP Collector’s Preview Day at the Frieze Art Fair 2014 and the VIP Collector’s Preview Day at PAD Art + Design Fair this past Tuesday October 14th 2014. Two fairs, one person. What to do? A bit of Art hopping and hobnobbing was in order. Not that I am Art expert or a major Art collector to deserve the honour. For those who may be intimidated by the whole ‘Art world,’ and view it as inaccessible, abstract, cultural elitism, don’t be  fooled. Frieze is just about creativity as it is about the economic Art market. An auctioneer once told me that the big auction houses are just like vultures, when a big art collector is dying, the auction houses circle around until the last breath and then pounce. The condolence cards could just as well read ‘We are very sorry for your loss and will happily find buyers for your collection.’

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The Fair

Frieze week has become more than two Art fairs (Frieze and Frieze Masters) in Regent’s Park. It is one of the cultural events of the year, with gallery parties, openings and shows all over town, auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s auctioning away, and this week attracts some of the biggest Artists, Art dealers, Art collectors, gallery owners and Art lovers coming from every corner of the world. The Frieze VIP Collector’s Preview Day is one of the hottest tickets, reserved for serious collectors, gallerists, Artists, Art dealers, a few celebs, the press and a few onlookers like me. This year, after 11 years of practice, the fair seemed cozier than usual, more mature, and less souk-like.

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The People

I arrived at the Frieze Preview Day late afternoon, where I met Mr. X, and entered the fair at the same time as Sienna Miller, who was sporting her baby-accessory on her right hip, along with her husband, on the other hip. For just a split second, I had baby envy: no, not hers, I wanted my little one with me hanging off my hip, bringing her around to hip events like the Frieze. That thought quickly was banished from my mind, imagining myself dragging a toddler around an Art fair who would be more interested in deconstructing the art, rather than appreciating ‘art deconstructionism.’

The ‘Arterati’ provided excellent people watching, as usual, from the green haired up-and-coming artists, the proven artists (Tracey Emin spotted), the leather and fur wearing collectors, and many, many dealers. This year’s preview felt overpowered by the dealers rather than the collectors, brokering deals with their clients over their Android phones.

For a real insider’s guide to the Art World, read Sarah Thornton’s ‘7 Days in the Art World:’ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Seven-Days-World-Sarah-Thornton/dp/1847080847

The Art

The question around Modern Art is always, ‘What constitutes Art?’ ‘And when does something become a piece of art?’ A shoe in a glass case. A cereal box. The Thomas Dane gallery, who is credited for starting Steve McQueen’s career, had on display supermarket crates as a piece of Art. Can anyone tell me the meaning/expression of supermarket crates? Did I just miss the point of it? Does it mean consumerism, waste or just that someone forgot to return the crates after they were done unloading the Art?

My equations of Art:

Artist+Expression=Art.

Viewer+Art=Emotion+Thought.

Art+Collector=Lots of Money. 

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Victoria Miro Art Gallery exhibiting the likes of Kusama Yayoi.

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UNITED GALLERY. One of the most talked about exhibits, the famous Fukushima soup, ‘Does this Soup Taste Ambivalent?’ from the United Brothers, is a soup made by their mother from radishes from Fukushima. It defies the viewer to try the soup, which may or may not be radioactive. Needless to say, I did not see a line of people waiting to try the soup.

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Frieze Project: Nick Mauss ‘Living Stage.’ Performance Art featured highly at this year’s Frieze like this ballet performance.

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Another performance, this time involving the public, who seemed to read off a script for what looked like a Film audition.

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Playful children’s themes, like Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, Cereal boxes and stuffed animal displays brought a light side to the Frieze.

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This B&W photograph of books was one of my favourite pieces of Art at the Frieze. To me, it evoked my love of books, and my personal feeling and emotion of comfort and safety from being surrounded by books.

PAD: Pavilion of Art + Design Fair, Berkeley Square

If the Frieze were a colour, it would be white; white tent, white paths, white walls, whereas the PAD Art+Design Fair would be Black, black walls and blackouts (there were about 6 blackouts throughout the preview day). Despite the blackouts, the fair was a sleek, sparkly and shiny, furniture-heavy event. There was a mix of ethnic, contemporary, jewellery and design pieces. An aquamarine necklace was on sale for £400,000 and had its own personal jewellery bodyguard. There were some great light installations, sculptures and an art deco table that I could see in my house. There were more pieces at PAD, in my opinion, that I could live with than at Frieze.

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A furniture display that could easily fit in my home.

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Alexander Calder.

We finished off our night at the Arts Club, where we saw Beyonce and Jay Z at the Upstairs bar. I am pleased to say that I was feeling on trend, wearing black leather trousers and a black blazer, just like Beyonce. I must be recovering from my Fashionitis ;).

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

 

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