Gem cuts or haircuts...
JLG (Marketing Assistant)
Lockdown has to be the moment to consider some alternative cuts : marquise, cushion, round brilliant or even heart shape... Like many people, I grew tired of my hair very soon after lockdown was announced, especially as my hair was overdue for a cut anyway. So, with trepidation, I decided to put my trust into my mother's hands and see what she could do... An Amazon order later, buying hairdressing scissors (after counselling her that one simply cannot use any old scissors from the kitchen!) she took to my hair. I made sure she had watched the YouTube video at least 3 times and closed my eyes to await the big reveal. Luckily enough no serious damage has been done (she thinks she has found a new career path... obviously) and I am actually quite pleased with the result (you can be the judge next time we are back in Sloane Street!). However, I think I may leave the highlights until I can see my hairdresser, I have a feeling that could go VERY wrong! Just be brave and try a new cut...
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Recommended by Richard Barber (Cassandra's cousin and brilliant author of Magnificence and Princely Splendour in the Middle Ages)
This is an extraordinary first novel by a young American writer. The Night Circus, or Cirque des Rêves simply appears. It does not arrive. There is a fenced circle of pinnacled black and white tents, with a white fire at its centre. Outside is a notice on the locked gate: Open at nightfall. Closed at dawn. This self-contained world is the setting for a contest between two elderly illusionists. Each represented by one of their students. The illusions begin with stage magic, and shade gradually into real magic. But the magic here is the author's power of description, conjuring up wonderful scenes, striking characters, and amazing transformations. Her language is simple and direct. It is written in the present tense, and carries the reader with it from one astonishment to another. The duel between the central characters, Marco and Celia, who create and control the circus provides a more than satisfying plot. Escapism? Yes. But if you want escapism, this will more than satisfy you. It will enchant you.
Country Life Magazine
Recommended by CG (founder)
As always Country Life is full of wonderful articles and things to lust after. In this weeks magazine my lovely friend Joanna Hardy has written about flower jewels - two of my favourite things!
A film to watch...
A Good Year
Recommended by Joanna Sharpe (SLW's Grandmother)
A ruthless City high-flyer, having inherited a rather run-down house and vineyard in Provence, travels there fully intending to sell the property and make a quick buck. Memories of happy childhood visits, combined with present-day falling in love cause him to change his mind, leave the rat race and live in France. The film is a light
romantic comedy, tempered with sweetly poignant flashbacks and suffused in a warm sunlit Provençal glow, but never cloying. It is the perfect antidote to lock-down blues, or for any time when you just want something guaranteed to lift the spirits.
A podcast to listen to…
Happy Place with Fearne Cotton
Recommended by EVM (Showroom Assistant)
What makes you happy? Fearne Cotton explores the subject through engaging conversations with inspiring people. Her guests contribute anecdotes from their own experiences on mental health, social media, love and loss. It is a truly positive weekly podcast filled with open and honest discussions about how people build their happy places and everything else in between. I recommend the episode with Alexandra Shulman, former editor of British Vogue.
Easy Almond Cake (a Nigella Lawson recipe)
Recommended by Annabelle E
Photo taken in Cornwall in lockdown !
- 250g softened unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 250g softened marzipan
- 6 large eggs
- 150g caster sugar
- 150g self-raising flour
- ¼ teaspoon almond essence
- 25cm Spring form tube pan or patterned ring mould, buttered and floured
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Place butter, marzipan and sugar in the food processor (double bladed knife) - combine until smooth. Add the almond essence, vanilla and mix. Then add the eggs, blending one at a time. Add flour and processe again. Add the mix to the pan and bake for 50 minutes, checking after 40 - a fine skewer should come out cleanish when poked into the centre of the cake if the cake is cooked through. Turn out the cake once it has cooled.
Recommended by SLW (Junior Showroom Assistant)
Self-called "The Spirit of the Mountains", Moose is a delicious botanical spirit, naturally sweetened with maple syrup and hand-crafted in the Austrian Alps. Moose's ethos is that they donate 1 euro for every bottle of Moose that they sell towards planting trees in Indonesia
and clearing litter from the alpine slopes. They do this with the aim to preserve biodiversity, to give a habitat to Indonesian orangutang's, and to reverse the effects of global warming, thereby protecting the snow in the Alps so that they can keep doing what they love - skiing and snowboarding. You can find Moose in most alpine Après Ski bars as well as in London and Ibiza, and on their website they give you a range of delicious cocktail recipes - my personal favourite is the Moose Mule (a double shot of Moose topped up with ginger ale and a squeeze of lime).
Jewellery suite designed and made by four-year-old aspiring jeweller, Mina Walker.
The word 'crisis' (in simplified chinese characters)
In an article by General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith (the head of The Army), about the relevance of VE Day in the Telegraph last weekend, he said how the simplified Chinese characters for crisis translate as one meaning 'danger' and the other 'opportunity'. I truly believe that once we are through the danger of Covid-19 that there will be a time of great opportunity, and as the article said it will be whether we have seized the opportunity that will be recorded in this chapter of history.
We continue to donate to SalutetheNHS -the charity getting hot and tasty meals to those at the frontline - as our part in helping during this crisis. Wherever you are, dont forget to clap at 8pm tonight and we will be back next Thursday with lots more to keep you smiling!