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

ff9q823wuas

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.

ab-housing-crisis-7

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.

ab-housing-crisis-2
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

Standard
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

 

Standard
In the Press, Social Commentary

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

Ladbroke Sq Gardens

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.

LadbrokeSquareGardensPlaygroundNHYM

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.

IMG_0282

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.

GuyFawkes3

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.’

GuyFawkes2

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.

GuyFawkesNHYM

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

GuyFawkesCompetitionNHYM

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

GuyFawkesBonfireNHYM

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

Standard
In the Press, Reviews

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

FriezecoverNHYM2014

(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.’

FRIEZE 2014

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.

Frieze1NHYM

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. 

VictoriaMiroGalleryFriezeNHYM

Victoria Miro Art Gallery exhibiting the likes of Kusama Yayoi.

FukushimaSoupFriezeNHYM

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.

PerformanceartFriezeNHYM

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

PerformanceArt3FriezeNHYM

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

SnoopyFriezeNHYM

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

FriezeNHYMSculpture

BookcaseFriezeNHYM

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.

FurniturePADNHYM

A furniture display that could easily fit in my home.

PADMiroNHYM

PADSculptureNHYM

CalderPADNHYM

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

 

Standard
In the Press, Reviews

Top 10 Art Events in London, October 2014

BertrandLavierSerpentineNHYM

Bertrand Lavier Fountain at the Serpentine Gallery

ARTOBER

October should be renamed ‘Artober‘, as the line up of Art this month in London is extravagant and impressive, from the Frieze to the London Film Festival, the entire Art World will be descending unto London, competing savagely for exposure, clients and prestige. From Modern Art to Film, to the Frieze masters to fountains out of garden hoses, there is something for everyone who appreciates Art. The private view invites have been stacking up in my e/mail, enticing me to all of them but since I won’t be able to tele-transport myself to each and every one of them, I have chosen my Top 10 picks that I would go to, if a tele-transporting machine existed. I will review my Top 3 over the next few weeks.

Below are my TOP 10 Art Events going on around town this October:

1. British Film Institute London Film Festival: 8th to the 19th of October. From Channing Tatum as a wrestler, Benedicte Cumberbatch at war, a ‘Fury’ Brad Pitt, and a ‘Wild’ Reese Witherspoon, the red carpet promises to showcase some of the best emerging as well as experienced acting talent. http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff

2. Frieze Art Fair Preview day and VIP Collectors Preview:  Tuesday, October 14. Open to the pubic: 15-19th October. http://friezelondon.com

3. PAD London Art+Design Fair: Preview & Collector’s Day Tuesday October 14th. Open to the public 15-19th October. http://www.pad-fairs.com/london/en/

4. Sigmar Polke: Alibis. Opening at the Tate Modern: Private view Wednesday October 8th. October 9 – February 8 2015. http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/alibis-sigmar-polke-1963-2010

5. Rembrandt: The Late Works at the National Gallery: Private view Tuesday 14th. Open to public October 15 to January 18, 2015. http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/rembrandt

6. Damien Hirst new exhibit ‘Schizophrenogenesis’ at the Paul Stopler Gallery. October 9- November 15th 2014. A pill-popping exhibit, which attempts to keep Damien Hirst relevant.

7. Bertrand Lavier Fountain Opening on Wednesday October 13th at the Serpentine Gallery. This artist uses everyday objects which he turns into art, in this case, ‘jets of water emanate from an unruly mass of garden hoses’. http://www.serpentinegalleries.org/exhibitions-events/bertrand-lavier-fountain-2014

8. Tracey Emin: ‘The Last Great Adventure is You’ at White Cube Gallery. October 8- November 16, 2014. The Last Great Adventure is You, is her latest work, and initially started as ‘a reference to the ‘other person’; however, over the two year period since she began creating this body of work, she came to realise that the implication was once again coming back to the self’. http://whitecube.com/exhibitions/tracey_emin_the_last_great_adventure_is_you_bermondsey_2014/

9. Steve McQueen at the Thomas Dane Gallery. Tuesday October 14 – November 15. The award-winning film maker and artist shows two works, a film based and an object based work which, ‘hovers between the specific and the universal, the literal and the abstract, evading definition and multiplying experiential and interpretive possibilities’. http://www.thomasdanegallery.com/artists/45-Steve-McQueen/exhibitions/

10. Self: Bacon, Hirst, Koons and Picasso at the Ordovas Gallery. October 14 – December 13, 2014. Self ‘looks at the interpretations of self-portraiture of four of the greatest artists of the 20th century, spanning the modern and contemporary eras’. http://www.ordovasart.com
xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

 

Standard
In the Press, Social Commentary, Spotlight On...

Spotlight On: Mental Health & Top 10 Tips to Beat the Blues

mental-health

(All photos courtesy of the internet. Photo above on art therapy).

Last weekend, I had what you could aptly call a ‘Mummy Meltdown,’ brought on by 4 cups of toddler meltdowns & tantrums, 6 tablespoons of teething sleep deprivation, 3 ounces of nanny issues, a double dose of snotty noses, a dash of hormonal cyclical fluctuations, a bowlful of responsibilities, and a large dollop of health problems. Even a David Beckham sighting couldn’t make me feel better and I burst into tears in front of my daughter O, for the first time ever, which I explained as ‘mummies have bad days too.’ Well, this was one way of stopping her meltdown, and at least it worked. I felt infinitely better after my little outburst, which finally showed her that I too can cry and reminded me that crying sometimes just makes everything better. These are not what you would describe as ‘tragic’ problems, yet at the particular moment in time, the culmination of all of these ingredients reminded me that even in the some of the best circumstances possible, motherhood is not easy.

It is normal for all of us to find ourselves vulnerable or fragile every once in a while, when the perfect balance of our lives are shattered by unpredictable events. Each of us will face problems at some point in our lives that tip our balance such as the death of a mother, a father, a husband, a friend or a baby. We are encountering more fertility problems than ever with our increasing age and facing new health problems that we never had before. Even more so, our parents are becoming elderly and fighting one ailment after another. And sometimes, we are just plain overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed as a parent is not something to look down on. It is a common and often under-respected affliction that we carry about on our shoulders.

be1a74b1fb3928376fd299fafd3dfc89

Mothers are burdened with portraying happy, perpetually enthusiastic people often while hiding our real feelings, but motherhood is not a Pampers commercial; it is bloody hard, and mothers are reluctant to discuss it openly as it is easy to feel that we have no ‘right’ to complain when others are childless or family-less, or less fortunate than us. In Notting Hill Land, where there is an inordinate amount of pressure on being the ‘perfect’ mother, we most often face our problems in silence, but we all have the capacity to feel overwhelmed in our own ways.

Luckily, there are more and more techniques to combat the blues, so I wanted to spread some shared wisdom to all.

Here are my 10 Tips on Beating the Blues: 

1. An excuse for a Massage: Touch therapy is one easy way to feel instantly better. But you didn’t really need me to tell you that. You can just use this article as an excuse for your massage bills. Space NK around the corner has some of the best massage therapists around: http://www.spacenk.com/SPA_NK.html

2. Put those feet up with Reflexology: It’s amazing how a few pressure points can change the way you feel. Zen at Notting Hill Gate has a wonderful Japanese Reflexologist who is booked weeks in advance, so be sure to book early. http://www.zenspalondon.com/

3. Downward Dog with Yoga: Another standard, proven mood enhancer that you are already probably practicing and loving, blending the spiritual and the physical. The Life Centre is an all encompassing place for inner healing and wellness. http://www.thelifecentre.com/centres/nottinghill//

mental-health-1

4. Qi Gong: A blend of Tai Chi, Yoga, and martial arts, Qi Gong is practiced for wellbeing and health. According to Wikipedia, Qi Gong ‘aligns body, breath, and mind for health and meditation, [which] allows access to higher realms of awareness and helps awaken one’s true nature… to fulfill our full potential.’ The Mei Quan academy offers classes all over London, including private classes. http://www.taichinews.com/

5. Be positive: Just by being positive and convincing yourself that you are positive, your brain will begin to feel and think positive.

6. Reach for some pills: Prozac and Zoloft works wonders, but I am talking about Magnesium supplements. Planet Organic, the one-stop-shop for all supplements in the area, carry a variety of great quality magnesium, a natural relaxer. Another way to absorb Magnesium is transdermally, through a spray or bath salts. Both will relax your muscles after a hard work-out or a hard day. http://www.planetorganic.com/

7. Find Yourself a Guru: Everyone needs a good guru, wellness coach or shaman to guide us through life’s ups and downs. Your guru could just be someone you know who inspires you to be happy. My personal guru, a good friend who is never in a bad mood, explained that once you have reached the bottom, you keep everything else in perspective. Wise words.

8. Listen to some Music: Music is a very powerful mood altering stimulus. If you are feeling stressed, listen to ‘RELAX’ by Mika, if you’re feeling down, listen to ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams. Binaural beats were studied and proven to have a strong mood altering effect on the brain. My personal favourite relaxing music is by a very talented musician, Michael, from Cologne, Germany who creates ‘Relax Daily’ music, which can have a powerful effect on your mood and mind.

9. Mindful Meditation: Mindfulness is all the craze right now, with articles written on it from the FT to Grazia. Mindfulness has been around since the 70s when Jon Kabat Zinn used Mindfulness on patients with chronic illnesses and was proven to be very successful. Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor and researcher of Mindfulness, is THE expert and wrote numerous books on Mindfulness and its benefits which you can find on Amazon. http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=jon+kabat+zinn. Even simpler, there are now Mindfulness apps like Headspace which has garnered a huge following. (Mindfulness deserves a separate post, more to come later).

10. Your own Notting Hill therapist, Dr. Kerry Thomas: If all fails and you really feel like you can’t talk to your partner or your friends about your feelings, Dr. Kerry Thomas, a certified psychologist and psychotherapist will hypnotise, visualise and guide you for hours until you are somewhere better. She can even take you on a ‘mindful’ island vacation without even leaving Notting Hill. Everyone in New York has one, so join the bandwagon and get yourself one, it’s the latest accessory. http://www.kthomaspsychologist.com/

Have a lovely day.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

Standard
In the Press

Please excuse my fashion…#London Fashion Week 2014

London Fashion Week 2014

fahsionn

(All photos of this post courtesy of the Internet 2014)

Motherhood’s Fashion Blackhole

Please excuse my fashion. I have been in a Fashion BlackHole (B-hole) for the past four and half years since the advent of Motherhood. Motherhood should come with a warning attached to it: Warning: Motherhood will take away all your fashion sense & flair. I had heard rumours about glamorous, immaculately dressed women becoming mumsy after motherhood, but never had it occurred to me that it would actually happen to me. But then Motherhood and the BlackHole happened.

The Fashion B-hole sucks any kind of energy or time dedicated to fashion, as early as three months pregnant until, realistically the school years or perhaps the nursery years (if like the French, your child starts doing full days from the age of 3, that’s why they always look so polished). During pregnancy, when your body starts to change in alienating ways, fashion becomes high elasticated waist bump covers from Serpahine and more elastin that you’d ever worn before. Post-pregnancy, the B-hole sucks all the time or energy for: 1) Reading fashion mags and following ever-changing trends 2) Shopping for these ‘trendy’ clothes seen in those glossies 3) And if you manage points 1&2, after a night of waking up 6 times because of your baby’s teething or snotty nose, there is nothing one wants more than the comfort of sweatpants to curl up and cry from exhaustion. Toddlerhood is not much better, when your silk trousers and cashmere sweaters are ruined by your little one’s sticky chocolatey or chips & ketchup fingers, or your baby’s poo/pee/vomit residues (and I would just be too ashamed to be one of those women who pushes their child away to save their Balenciaga blouse).

ffn-beckham_v_teachff_091112-50883162

Victoria Beckham: An example of what I am not.

Work, the saviour of the B-hole
The only women who seem to escape the Fashion B-hole are women returning back to work soon after the birth (and of course, a special breed of NHYMs, which I am clearly not part of, like V-Beckham above). Some of these women actually go back to work just so that they can ‘dress up in my work clothes, wear some heels, and feel human again.’ Every woman I know that quickly returned to work mentioned that work clothes make them feel good, and fashion does just that for women. It makes us feel better when we dress up and get other women to notice us.

bridesmaids-melissa-mccarthy-as-megan

Melissa McCarthy vs Cara Delevigne

These days, I feel more Melissa McCarthy (of Bridesmaids fame) than Cara Delevigne. Except maybe for Cara’s eyebrows, since I never have time to trim, cut or tailor mine anymore (blame it on the B-hole). At least I have a good sense of humour about it all, I have an award-winning muffin top which has reliably become my best friend (we spend all our time together, and no matter what I do or say to her, she will always be there for me), and I have spent the last four years wearing my fashion-less clothes with pride. But thankfully, the magnetic pull of the Blackhole is waning, and I am starting to feel like I am emerging from it (thanks to nurseries & schools!), actually caring about coordinating and matching, accessories and trends. The fact that I know that Fashion Week is starting today is a very good sign of my Fashionitis recovery.

The Serpentine Gallery summer party - London

Cara D. 
Speaking of Cara D., she is everywhere. She is the model ‘du jour’. All of the fashion world is clamouring for a piece of her; Burberry, Mulberry, Tom Ford, Topshop, so I figure, all you have to do to be fashionable is to copy what she is wearing, right? What I do like about her is that she isn’t afraid of being herself, of having character, whether you like it or not, and being damn silly. On top of being a model, Cara has just become a bag designer at Mulberry with her ‘Cara’ bag, which just launched last week. And the great thing about bag fashion is that one size fits all, so I don’t have to try to fit in my not so skinny skinnies (or should I just call them my ‘fatties’). I last ran into Cara in July at the Serpentine party sporting her Cara bag, looking oh-so glamorously beautiful in a classic black gown. I could do that, I thought to myself. Her bag is being publicised as a ‘practical,’ three way bag that can be worn as a rucksack, across the body or hand held, in which you can throw your whole life into. To be frank, my fashion mojo is just not quite ready for the rucksack style yet, but I hear it is doing exceptionally well that Mulberry may soon run out of stock.

Kate-Moss-carries-the-Mulberry-Willow-Tote-3

Kate Moss carrying a Mulberry Willow

Bag – Love: Mulberry
Not only is Cara Mulberry’s newest designer, she is also fronting their new campaign, which is rather beautiful, shot in the Scottish highlands (I much prefer this ad campaign to her previous high-tea-with-puppies ads), and throwing fab, fun parties at the Wilderness Festival (no, I don’t know this festival either, blame that on Motherhood). Mulberry has had it tough lately, but it’s always been a brand I liked, especially the Mulberry tree logo and for making beautiful leather goods (I can’t bring myself to spend £750 for a parachute bag of plastic coated canvas, thank-you-very-much). They have just come out with some new items of ‘affordable luxury’ like the Tessie, which is uber practical and I could imagine some mums wearing on the school run without attracting too much attention like a Hermes Birkin. School run ‘bag etiquette’ is quite unique in the world of the NHYMs. Ever since I saw a Birkin making an appearance on the school run and another mom whispering ’She looks snooty and unapproachable with her Chanel outfit and her Birkin’, I have kept mine far away from the school run. And the Bottega Venetta Intretaccio, seen on every NHYM’s shoulder, has become rather unoriginal and too ‘normcore’ to do my fashion comeback with. The Willow and the Lily are two beautiful Mulberry bags that have gone under the radar but that I could definitely add to my wish list. Then again, perhaps I should just get a Cara, in hope that her fashion shine will rub off on me and I will feel a little less Melissa and a little more Cara.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

Standard
In the Press, Reviews

Review of Tate Modern’s Matisse Cut-Outs: The Cut-Outs vs Butt-Outs

MatisseBlueNudesIIINHYM

(Blue Nudes. Photos taken by NHYM. Copyright 2014)

Tate Modern until Sept 7th

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/henri-matisse-cut-outs

*****5 Stars

Cut-Outs vs. Butt-outs: Matisse vs. Kimye

Two ‘once-in-lifetime’ events have recently just occurred: April 2014 saw Matisse’s Cutouts opening at the Tate Modern, a historical and unmissable event bringing together all of Matisse’s most important cutout works, and May 2014 saw the most ridiculously over the top wedding of all time, golden wedding toilet and all; Kim Kardashian’s wedding to Kanye West. Kimye’s wedding kiss became the most ‘liked’ picture on Instagram. But the similarities between the two events end at voluptuous, naked women with large bosoms and bottoms.

The 21st century is laden with reality stars taking over the world and covered on every magazine, newspaper and social media cover. I despair to think that my children are growing up in a world with role models such as Kimye. Yes, she may be (artificially) beautiful and I am sure she is very ‘nice’, (her and her artistically enhanced derriere), but what is she really teaching our children? That constant bitching, plastic surgery, a world of materialism and superficialism, multiple weddings, and excessively spending ridiculous amounts on the aforementioned multiple weddings is an entirely normal proposition? Luckily, the Matisse exhibit at Tate Modern keeps my hopes up that we still have role models everywhere for our children, if we just open our eyes beyond the Kimye Press.

MermaidandparakeetmatisseNHYM

(The Mermaid and the Parakeet)

Going to this Matisse exhibit, (Matisse happens to be one of my favourite artists), was truly an unmissable event for me. The juxtaposition of Kimye’s vacuous and superficial reality life splashed all over the tabloids next to Matisse’s Cutouts and his life as an artist in the Daily Mail is unreal. How far we have come in 60 years from his death in 1954 to 2014. I will try not to go on like many Art Critics, writing verbose, possibly pretentious articles, that frighten most normal people with their diarrhea of adjectives, to describe what I saw (you can read all these articles online at the Telegraph, Guardian, and Times) but I hope to give you a ‘simple’ take on his world, his art, and his ‘genius’ (unlike the ‘genius’ called by Kim’s mother describing Jaden Smith in his white Batman suit).

MatisseLargeDecorationandMaskNHYM

(Large Decoration and Masks)

Matisse didn’t enter the art world because of pushy parents. His father wanted him to study law, but Matisse was introduced to art by his mother after a bout of appendicitis. He was ‘hooked,’ as one would say, and would become one of the most influential modern artists, next to Picasso. Matisse started his Cutouts late in his life as an artist, in his 70s, after a close encounter with death and major surgery, in what he calls his ‘seconde vie’. Despite his ill health, for Matisse this was his second chance at life, which gave him the freedom, ‘liberte,’ to truly express himself. Initially, the critics called his work ‘child-like,’ but I think he was trying to teach us to look at the world as if we were looking at it for the first time, like a child, to see beauty in the simple things. He used simple methods of paper, cutting and painting to cut out flowers, fruit, and seaweed. Simple, beautiful, objects we often overlook every day because of the busyness of our lives. He was then able to use the inspiration of a lifetime and translate it into artworks to create some of the most alive, dynamic and beautiful pieces of Modern Art.

MatisseTheSheathNHYM

(The Sheath)

He is known as the best colourist in the 20th Century and his vibrant colours of Blues, Yellows, Green, Yellow and Purple are reminiscent of a child’s painting palette. He manages to create movement through his cut paper and uses his paper cutouts, pasted on top of background paper, to create texture and contrasts of colours. Other themes of his Cutouts are Dancing, Jazz, Ballet, and the Underwater World of Tahiti, all subjects close to his heart and mine. Years before, Matisse had made a trip to Tahiti when he felt a lack of inspiration and there he spent days snorkelling and basking in the sun, and later used fruits, seaweed and palms from that trip to create ‘Oceania the Sea’, and ‘Oceania the Sky’. His ‘seaweed’ and ‘corals’ that he uses over and over in his cutouts, which you can see in ‘The Sheath,’ and ‘Decoration and Mask,’ show us where he was most at peace and happy; underwater surrounded by bright, vibrant light and colours not visible in the overwater world. When he was bed and wheelchair ridden, he was able to re-create scenes which he was now no longer able to enjoy, like the underwater sea, and also create a garden in his studio by pinning cutouts onto his walls.

MatisseIcarusNHYM

(Icarus)

What Matisse achieved in doing, despite his infirmity, his age, and his critics, was to create a new form of art which was alive, vibrant, and in his mind, full of clarity. While he was unable to move freely, he was still able to bring gardens and the seashore right to his bedroom. He was able to make dancers dance for him, to tell tales of Icarus and 1001 nights through his art and to recreate himself as an artist. For him, this was a rebirth, a second chance to see life differently and wanting to live it fully against all odds. This is what he can teach and inspire my children. Unlike a Kardashian, whose lustre will fade as her wrinkles multiply, her bum sags with age, and her money won’t save her from being replaced by the next prettier, younger thing.

MatisseBlueNudesNHYM

(Family sitting below the Blue Nude on the Right, cutting out and reproducing Matisse’s works of art).

Five Matisse Cutouts you should know about (or at least appear to know about at a dinner party):

1. Blue Nudes Series: There are four of them and are his most popular and recognisable pieces aside from the Dancers painting.

2. Icarus

3. The Snail: Matisse’s slight exploration into abstract art, until he realised he should leave it to Picasso.

4. The Parakeet and The Mermaid

5. Large Decoration and Mask

Standard
In the Press, Social Commentary

Kids’ Birthday Party Crashers: ‘Nobu or the Dorchester, darling?’

7010bdf41bb1c6fc637257cb2ee46a6b

(All Photos in this post courtesy of Les Enfants on Pinterest)

These days I seem to spend every Saturday and Sunday carting my two kids to various Birthday Parties at various venues across London. Recently, I had triple birthdays in one weekend: one Sat am, one Sat pm and two Sunday pm. (I had to devise a hierarchy of needs for the Sunday pm parties: whose party do I really need to go to?) Is this what my life has been reduced to? My toddler’s social life being more booked than mine?. I am torn between my egoistical self and my maternal self that needs to provide to my children’s happiness first. Then, for my children’s birthdays, I have to reciprocate and throw a party for all the people who have invited us, whether I want to or not, to avoid personal social suicide and my children becoming social pariahs. This becomes 42 parties a year, and 42 children + 42 parents to invite for a grand total of 84 mouths to feed and entertain (not to mention the siblings that are undoubtedly brought along and the occasional daddy), which equals to exhaustion and unimaginable stress for me for months ahead.

I have always been sensitive about Birthday Parties. This likely stems from my early Freudian (all our issues really are due to our childhoods), traumatic experience when I had only one person (my neighbour) show up to my 6th birthday party out of my class of 30. Granted, I had just moved to a Muslim country 10 days before and didn’t know anyone or the usual customs, where no one seemed to throw birthday parties or go to people’s homes they didn’t know. So, I think I have a good enough reason to be obsessed and fear-stricken about throwing a birthday party and having no one show up. All I ever wanted growing up was someone (anyone) to attend my birthday party to throw a hot potato or play musical chairs with me. Times have certainly changed and children’s parties these days are a whole extravagant, creative and OTT affair competing with Bat Mitvahs and Weddings, but which are a yearly, recurring affair (and sometimes a few times a year, depending on how many children you have).

So where do the famous, the rich and the Notting Hillers celebrate their kids’ birthday parties?

The Notting Hillers

2952ba5c3e40a3e5299948c3b3184dd6

The Notting Hill Mums (as do the Chelsea Mums, Belgravia Mums, South Ken Mums and all West London Mums) all compete with each other to throw a worthy birthday party for their gorgeous, perfect, little angels (or brats). Venues are booked months in advance. Party bags are made artfully from internet websites or party organisers. The catering is organised, kosher, halal, sugar and fat free. For the NHYM chef-wannabes, cupcakes and cakes are made-with-love, gluten free, low sugar, low fat. Favourite venues include church halls for the under 3s, The Commander for standard NHYM great parties, RS Currie for smaller but lovely, well organised parties, and the Harbour Club for active kids. Cinemas are popular with older kids, when the entire Electric Cinema will be booked or one of the screens at The Lounge will feel like a like a private view.

Outdoors, Private Gardens are used to blow up Bouncy Castles and the Princess Diana Playground is taken over by 30 kids running wild. Battersea Zoo is one of the more original and cute venues. If it rains, Private Member’s clubs like Purple Dragon and Maggie & Rose are available, perfectly organised without you having so much as lifting a finger. One NHYM rented out the whole of the Arts Club 1st floor, which is still being talked about at the Arts Club. Then there are the Entertainers and the theme: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Princesses, Superheroes, Pirates, Star Wars in a warehouse, Fireman Sam and the list goes on. Eventually, it is a blurry vision of what the child originally wanted and what a NHYM’s ‘creativity’ and ‘imagination’ runs away wildly with.

The most original party bag gift I have heard of was a goldfish. But, what does one do with a goldfish?! Flush it down the toilet, let daddy eat it or keep it alive by researching ‘how to keep a goldfish alive’ for hours on the internet and then buying 100’s of pounds worth of kit for it to survive? And what to do with the goldfish whilst on holiday? And what do you tell your sweet little boy Max when his goldfish dies? That he went back to his home in the sea? That Daddy flushed him down the drain? All the stress and these questions would drive me absolutely nutty.

The Super-Rich

fc6dfdea041d2f11719721af18103b51

Now, the excessively rich all seem to love throwing birthday parties in Hotel Ballrooms. The Berkeley Hotel, the Mandarin Oriental, The Dorchester and the Kensington Hotel all come to mind. We were once invited to an amazing party at one of the above Ballrooms, which happened to be the best birthday party I had ever been to. Ever. Adult or Child. (Forget Adults Birthday Parties, I just want an invite to kids’ birthday parties these days. Actually, I want one of these parties for myself). This was a 3rd birthday party and the theme of the party was ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.’ Every child received an invitation with a chocolate bar and a Golden Ticket inside, which served as the invite, written in golden leaf.

As you arrived into the Ballroom, Giant-sized Oompa Loompahs welcomed us with giant lollipops. The Ballroom was decorated as a Chocolate Factory, with chocolate fountains flowing with marshmallows on sticks to dip them in. There were cotton candy machines, ice cream vans, and popcorn machines everywhere you looked. There was a giant bouncy castle almost touching the ceiling of the ballroom with a slide coming down into a ball pit. There were small rides of cars, train carriages, spaceships, and a merry-go-round. All for free! M kept asking if I had a pound coin to put in the rides, and when I told her we didn’t need any and she could go as often as she wanted, she didn’t know what to do with herself or where to go. Her eyes kept getting bigger and bigger as she looked at all the rides and sweeties for her to devour. This was Disneyland in a London Hotel! There were entertainers and balloon sculptors, face-painting and a magician. There was a an entire table full of cupcakes, candy, and chocolate bars. (Hello caries and dentist visits, goodbye our bank accounts when M was going to request a party like this). Then as we left, after having had the time of our lives, guilt and shame hit, when we looked into the party bag and realised it was more expensive than the gift we had bought the child.

7187fce0f09279fd58aa54c5b9b2445f

Another, rather ridiculous, super-rich birthday party across the pond in the US was thrown for a 5 year old on his parent’s private jet. But the private jet was parked in a hangar! What’s the fun in that? At least give us a ride! Let’s take this baby for a spin! Although this was a drop off party, somehow, most of the parents decide to stay and oggle at the jet, while the owners happily showed off their dripping, nouveau riche, wealth.

It’s not about Wedding Crashers anymore, welcome the Kids’ Birthday Crashers. One upcoming Summer Birthday Party I would like to go to, is a 1 year old Pool Party in the South of France this July. The children will go cherry, lemon, and fig picking, all out in the back garden, before jumping into a lovely salt-water, heated pool. I hear they may even have pony rides organised in the garden after the freshly baked Tarte aux Pommes. (My address is included below should you want to send me the invite). In the meantime, I hear there is ‘lightning’ party happening this weekend at some ballroom in London…

The Super – Famous

1bc6f1b4330829666da195b32d3e93f9

The famous also have their own way of throwing parties. It may not always be what you would expect:

1) The A-List Actors: You receive a phone call 2 hours before the party and are asked: ‘Are you X’s mother?’ Two hours later, after ditching the hierarchy of needs and the other party your child was invited to,  you find yourself in a massive Dorchester Suite surrounded by other Hollywood Actors and their progeny singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to their exceptionally beautiful and charming children, friends and entourage.

2) Rock ‘N’ Roll Royalty: To go against the grain, the Rock ‘N’ Rollers throw their party at Bramley’s, which is clearly a rebellion against the excess of the other rich and famous crowds. Their famous friends are too cool to even say ‘hello’ to you, even after an introduction by the R’N’R hostess.

3) The English ‘Golden Couple’: For their child’s 15th Birthday, the whole family and friends (20 of them) have dinner at Nobu Park Lane. I am not sure whether this is a good thing or not. I just hope the child managed to have a teenagers party of booze and hookups instead of choosing lobster tempura or which roll to order in a restaurant full of ‘old’ people.

e9f5439da743af8e168f6526493ed93d

Party organisers

I have to admit that I admire the creativity, energy and effort the party planners will go through to create a perfect event which will last all of 2 hours. What a great way to make a living, spending other people’s money to create every child’s dream. To have a fantabulous NHYM Birthday Party, Popular Party organisers are as follows:

RS Currie: Bespoke, local, home-grown party planner, by Tom the owner of RS Currie. http://www.rscurrie.com

Twizzle Parties: A go-to for good, standard, reliable party planners and organisers. http://www.twizzle.co.uk

Les Enfants: For ‘Beautiful, stylish, and fun inspiration for children’s parties’ aka those parties at the Mandarin Oriental and the Dorchester, look no further to make your child’s dreams turn into reality: http://www.lesenfants.co.uk

But what happens the following year, when you are competing against your own amazing party in a Hotel Ballroom? And what will these children expect for their 16th Birthdays (One boy has been promised a Ferrari for his 16th but still doesn’t have his driver’s license. Really?!)?

What has been your most extravagant birthday you’ve thrown or been invited to? What do you think about the craziness of the Birthday Party phenomenon? Good or Bad? Share your thoughts!

01a010ba9680bf33987c1d19c678b745

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

twitter: @NHyummymummy

Standard
In the Press, Photos, Reviews, Social Commentary

How I went from Club-Hopping to Flower-Picking: The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014

From Louboutins to Lilies, Blahniks to Begonias, and Jimmys to Jasmine…

3WaterVasesRHSChelsea2014Nottinghillyummymummy

When I first arrived in London 15 years ago as a young, arrogant, twenty-something, ignorant Chelsea twat, I had heard about the Royal Chelsea Flower Show in a magazine and really wondered what all the fuss was about and what was up with the English’s obsession with gardening. I remember ‘attending’ a dinner party in Hampstead with an ‘older’ boyfriend whose friends were all in their late 30s. One couple described their perfect Saturday morning, which involved gardening in something called an ‘allotment’ and I had thought to myself, how dull and depressing, please don’t ever let me become those people. At that time, I was more interested in dancing on tables at Boujis/China White/Cuckoo Club than to contemplate the virtues of sunlight and flowers on one’s wellbeing. Night-time ‘sprinkling’ to me was a Champagne Sprinkling contest between a French (Dom Perignon) and Italian (Cristal) table at Cuckoo rather than the night-timing of a water sprinkler. Little did I know that flowers really are a key to happiness, not clubbing.

DelphiniumRHSChelsea2014NottingHillyummymummy

Fast-forward 15 years of living in England, one husband, two children, and three gardens later (and years wiser), I am converted. I can easily go to bed at 9pm, enjoy watching Box Sets on Saturday night, and have become a Flower-Lover and Garden Designer (ie. I tell the Gardener what to do). My vocabulary has gone from Passion Fruit, Watermelon and Lychee Martinis to Agapanthus, Amaryllis, Gladioli, Snapdragons and Foxgloves. My Louboutins have been retired to their cardboard box and Lilies have taken their place in a window box.

LiliesRHSChelseaFlowerShowNottingHillyummymummy

And I’ve finally figured out that flowers actually do make me happier. There have been several studies done to prove that flowers have a positive emotional impact on us (http://www.epjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/ep03104132.pdf), but also makes us healthier (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/a-healthy-new-years-resolution-how-flowers-help-with-health-happiness-the-gardenist-198835).

OberonFlowersRHSChelsea2014NottingHillyummymummy

Gucci has followed my lead this year, and has created its own garden in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, so off I went to the World’s Most Famous Flower Show,  to find out what all the fuss is about. Once there, I finally realised that this so much more than just a flower show, this is an exhibition of art, design and creativity through the medium of flowers which will astound you just as a Zaha Hadid’s architectural sculpture will.

GladioliRHSChelsea2014NottingHillyummymummy

My favourites this year are :

The Telegraph Garden, Gold Medal, which unfortunately lost out to the Laurent Perrier Garden for Best in Show.

TheTelegraphGardenRHSChelsea2014NottingHillYummyMummy

The Laurent Perrier Garden, Gold Medal and Best in Show Winner.

LaurentPerrierGardenRHSChelsea2014Nottinghillyummymummy

Kazuyuki Ishihara’s Artisan Garden, Gold Medal and Best Artisan Garden. He is just brilliant year after year.

IshiharaRHSFlowershowNottinghillyummymummy

Birmingham City Council’s Garden, Gold Medal and winner of the President’s Award, blends sculptures, flowers, gardening techniques and water features into one of the most stunning and remarkable gardens this year. The most awe-inspiring garden of them all.

BirminghamCityCouncilRHSChelsea2014NottingHillYummyMummy

The Thai-inspired Bunny made of Orchids.

BunnyOrchidRHSChelsea2014NottingHillyummymummy

The RHS Chelsea Winner of Plant of the Year: Hydrangea Macrolphylia

HydrangeaBestFlowerRHSFlowerShow2014NottingHillYummyMummy

And all the other wonderful grown flowers in the Main Pavillion; hanging amaryllis, hyacinths, hydrangeas, sunflowers, hanging bulbs, bougainvilleas, roses, foxgloves, and more.

SunflowersRHSChelsea2014NottingHillYummyMummy

The Chelsea Flower Show is a reminder than in the midst of our urban jungles, we still have an apprecation for art and beauty in nature, and that despite our lifestyles, all we really crave is an allotment on Saturday to attend to our hydrangeas, jasmines, fuschias, and roses to share with our kids. And all that we really want to be happy are some flowers from our boyfriends/husbands/partners once in a while.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

BougainvilleaRHSChelsea2014NottingHilYummymummy

All above photos are my own, taken at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014 and belong to Notting Hill Yummy Mummy. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2014

Standard