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SPOTLIGHT ON SUSTAINABILITY

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SPOTLIGHT ON SUSTAINABILITY

THE TIME IS NOW

Those of you who follow me across my social media channels will know that I’m passionate about sustainability and ethical business practices. But what is the big deal you ask… and what’s it all about?

Generally speaking most of us have heard the word “sustainability” thrown around, but not a lot of us truly understand the complexities of what it means and why we keep reading about it. When people talk about “sustainable fashion” “sustainable business” or "sustainable living" we assume what they’re talking about but we don't REALLY know the specifics... nor do we attempt to find out. In some ways we detach ourselves from the conversation because we don’t think it has much to do with us (even though it does) and I believe one of of the reasons behind this disconnect, is the language being used. It needs to change. The mass public (especially in todays fast pace society) need simple, quick messages to absorb new information... not complicated intellectual talk that instantly has them overwhelmed. 

Now more than ever before, this has to change. Sustainability needs to find a language and start a conversation that everyone DOES understand. Why? Because it has EVERYTHING to do with EVERY ONE OF US... it’s about the survival of our planet and our future generations.

Did you know that a number of reports have suggested that if our population and consumption trends continue at the current rate, we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us by 2030?!

This is not a scare tactic by green organisations and global leaders, this is a reality (trust me… once you start reading about this stuff, you will find that there is an abundance of terrifying statements and predictions on this topic). You will also find that there’s also an incredible sense of urgency too (2030 is just over a decade away!).

So that’s why I’m passionate about this cause - I want my children and their children (and so on) to be mind-boggled by the beauty of our incredible reefs; to explore the same rainforests and habitats that hundreds of generations before us have; and to live their lives experiencing the wonder of mother nature and it’s nourishing resources. I don’t want to be part of the generations who ruined it for everyone else to come.

The best part is, it’s not all doom and gloom... we still have time to reverse the cycle and there’s loads of simple ways that ALL of us can start making a difference because #EveryLittleBitCounts and it's easy! This is also where I can help.... I’ve got loads of tips and brand recommendations to share, plus a simple way of sharing the knowledge which should make it easier to digest (well at least I hope so – I'll try my best!).

My goal is to encourage conversation and make it easier for people to understand the basics of what’s going on, plus empower people with the tools to start navigating their own positive lifestyle without compromising their existing one. It’s not about being 100% perfect and living a 100% sustainable lifestyle (that’s an unrealistic expectation of anyone living in modern day society) it’s about making positive choices IF and WHEN you can. Being aware and being proactive in small ways can have a hugely positive effect when applied on mass. If we can all make a small effort, these efforts combined will accelerate change and make a huge difference.  

In upcoming weeks I’ll showcase positive brands and easy steps you can make to kickstart your sustainable journey, but before we do that here’s a basic overview on what we’re talking about...   

BACK TO BASICS

There is no single definition of sustainability. The most commonly used definition today is: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Published in the Brundtland Report in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development)

While some of us understand sustainability as sustaining anything, sustainability actually includes three dimensions of human activity: the ENVIRONMENT, SOCIETY, and the ECONOMY.

PRIMARY GOALS OF SUSTAINABILITY?

In September 2015, the United Nations released The Sustainable Development Goals (known officially as ‘Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development).

WHY THE BIG DEAL?

Because in short, the world can’t replenish its natural resources at the same rate we are depleting them. Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.6 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year… so with every year that passes, we are creating more and more deficit until eventually our natural resources will dry up. Unless of course, we start sustaining them.

GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK

Thankfully there has been a huge shift over the last decade and you’d be surprised by how many brands (both start-up and global) have already employed positive business models with sustainability and ethics at the core of them. I can’t wait to start highlighting some of these in future posts because it will inevitably make you you feel differently about how you spend your money and who you give it to. When you know your money is going to a brand that you can trust – a brand that is doing the right thing by you and your world, you feel good about the purchase and this is very empowering (as well as addictive!).

This shift in business can be linked to the investor communities also, who after years of focusing on a firm’s financial performance to determine whether or not it was worth purchasing stock, they have now turned to businesses with positive business models because they acknowledge that performance is intertwined with future social and environmental impact also. In short: good business = good investment.

On a legislative level, climate change and sustainability are undeniably a hot topic for the UN and all global governments. On the 12th December last year, Paris hosted one of the biggest events in history (COP 21/ The Climate Change Conference) when 186 countries came together to form an action plan to reduce their greenhouse gases and keep the global rise in temperature below 2C. The objective was to achieve, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. Off the back of this summit, a number of targets have been set and each country in attendance have agreed to try and adhere to them. This event and its outcomes have been regarded as a historic turning point in the goal of reducing global warming. 

So things are happening all around you and these are just a few examples of what's going on. It really is just a matter of time before living sustainably is integrated into our lives as seamlessly as occupational health & safety… well lets hope so anyway!   

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Globally, the fashion industry is the second worst industry for polluting our world (behind oil).
  • An energy-smart clothes washer can save more water in one year than one person drinks in an entire lifetime.
  • A crack as small as 1/16th of an inch around a window frame can let in as much cold air as leaving the window open three inches.
  • Some new refrigerators are so energy-smart they use less electricity than a light bulb.
  • One ton of 100 percent recycled paper saves the equivalent of 4,100 kWh of energy, 7,000 gallons of water, 60 pounds of air emissions and three cubic yards of landfill space.
  • One recycled bottle saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for four hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than does making a new bottle.
  • Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it does.
  • Globally, we use as many as 1 million new plastic bags every minute, at a cost of 2.2 billion gallons of oil a year.
  • Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees.

WHAT CAN I DO?

Stay tuned because that’s for my next posts!

 

Some of the photos used to collate the imagery for this blog post have been gathered from sustainable brands who have been awarded the Butterfly Mark by Positive Luxury, this means they are a Brand You Can Trust. These include the stunning Song Saa Private Island Resort in Cambodia, Neal's Yard Remedies, Camilla Elphick designer shoes, Mulberry and G.VITERI (formally Prymal) hats. 

Sx

 

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Monaco Madness

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Monaco Madness

JAMES BOND EAT YOUR HEART OUT

OK so someone got to experience her very first Formula One Grand Prix last weekend and what’s more… at the most iconic race of them all, Monaco! We were generously hosted by the prestigious IWC Schaffhausen and Mercedes, who pulled out all the stops to show us just how it’s done (and in style!). Imagine mega yachts, superstars, fast cars and more champagne than H2O. Taking in the scene alone (along with the infectious buzz of the streets) was an experience in itself! Then throw in a bespoke VIP itinerary which included visiting the pit; walking the track; attending the best Monaco hotspots; and being transported along via private jets, helicopters, speedboats and a convoy of Mercedes S Classes. I mean seriously… #Spoilt

 

AN EDUCATION

Despite all of this, for me the highlight was discovering the real art of Formula One racing through the victorious Mercedes AMG Petronas team themselves… I mean at one point we were listening in on the same radios that the racing team were using while communicating to Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg on the track mid-race! The guys were so generous with their time and explained every little detail of what really goes on in this sport, ultimately leaving me with a whole new appreciation for it… possibly even a new addiction.  

Inside the Mercedes AMG Petronas garage on Pit Lane

Inside the Mercedes AMG Petronas garage on Pit Lane

I’ve always thought formula one racing was just about flashy fast cars and a great driver… I'm embarrassed now by how ignorant I was. An F1 driver is just one member of a huge team that employs hundreds of people, plus they are so secretive about their strategies and the science behind their cars, that I’d light-heartedly compare it to the cold war. As much as a good driver is important (this goes without saying) he can’t win the race if another great driver is driving a better and faster car. It’s like the yin and the yang – they go hand in hand - so subsequently millions of dollars are spent developing technology to make the cars as speedy as possible.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team building Lewis Hamilton's car before the qualifying race. 

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team building Lewis Hamilton's car before the qualifying race. 

Aerodynamics and weight are key factors in the engineering of these vehicles. Anything that slows the vehicle down even by split seconds can mean the difference between winning or losing the race. Then of course you have different types of tyres depending on the track environment and drivers will change these throughout the race according to the weather and how the track is changing. Knowing which tyres to use and for how long, is a skill in itself - again it can mean the difference between winning or losing. Lewis had a clever tyre strategy in Monaco which saw him go from third position on the starting grid to first position across the finish line (other factors involved too of course).  Everything about this sport boils down to knowledge, precision and skill. 

Rosamund Pike, Ronan Keating, Lewis Hamilton, myself, Georges Kern, Monica Kern.

Rosamund Pike, Ronan Keating, Lewis Hamilton, myself, Georges Kern, Monica Kern.

So without getting way too geeky and boring you with all the other mathematical elements that make this sport a true science (I can feel I’ve already been bashing away at this keyboard for way too long on this subject) you can probably already see that, there are a lot of clever brains behind a triumphant driver, many more than you may have assumed. It goes without saying that the drivers also have skillsets that far surpass the talents of us mere mortals, but if I get started on that too, then this blog post may never end… so instead I’ll shed a wee bit of light on this in the fun facts section below. 

 

FUN FACTS

  • Because the car is so low to the ground and the engine (which is burning at high speeds for little over an hour) is positioned directly beneath the driver, formula one drivers endure incredible amounts of heat during a race - sometimes up to 60 degrees inside their cockpit! Plus they lose an average of 4kg in weight by the time they cross the finish line. It takes a lot of conditioning to be a driver as normal human bodies simply can’t survive this. I was told that it’s not uncommon for drivers to get blisters on their bottoms from the burn!
  • In the days preceding very hot races like Australia, Malaysia, and Brazil, the drivers can drink up to 8 litres of water in preparation before their race. Sports studies have underlined the importance of fluid level in the body stating a person who has lost 4% of body weight can lose up to 40% of their psycho-physical ability (and we definitely don’t want that if behind the wheel of a car travelling at 200 mph).
  • Technology now allows engineers to create holes in the engine which are a thinner than the diameter of one single strand of hair! Thousands of these tiny holes allows better aerodynamics during the drive as the wind can come in and out through the engine quickly.
Team mates: Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg mid-race. 

Team mates: Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg mid-race. 

  • Professional drivers are like jockeys who stick to strict diets to keep off the pounds. The lighter they are, the better they perform on the track.
  • Drivers have to remove the steering wheel to get inside the car. A latch behind the steering wheel releases it from the column.
  • Even the weight of paint is taken into consideration when deciding on how to engineer these cars. Only certain paints are used (obviously those with less weight & friction) and sometimes paint is even stripped off if it’s seen to accumulate too much weight. There’s a great story about the Mercedes Silver Arrows which you should Google. Basically in 1934 the Mercedes-Benz W25 was 1kg overweight to qualify for the race, so they stripped all the white paint from the bodywork exposing the silver aluminium underneath, and then it passed on the scales.
  • Drivers experience severe G-forces when they’re racing, another example of why they’re extraordinary athletes. Not only do they withstand these stressful forces but they can also make crucial, split-second decisions at the same time. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what a G-force was before now, so I’m guessing there’s a good pool of you who have no idea either? Well this is how it was explained to me… G-force is the pressure that gravity exerts on an object when it is accelerating relative to freefall – so for example, when they say drivers withstand up to 5g when taking on a corner, this is like being hit in the head with 5 x the force of gravity! (or 5 x your own weight). A drivers breath control is crucial because you can’t breathe freely above 3g – to do so would expose you to the risk of passing out - and these guys experience that and more. 

 

NOW IMAGINE... You're the driver contending with all that G-Force, PLUS making split decisions in 50 degree heat, whilst holding conversation with your team mates back in the track pit AND maintaining control of your steering wheel (don’t forget your car is travelling at hundreds of kilometers an hour!). I haven’t even thrown in the bit about other cars being on the track yet, NOR the fact you want to win. I mean seriously?!!! These guys are INSANELY skilled and dangerous. It’s at moments like these that I’m glad I married a popstar!

 

IN SUMMARY

1.     If you haven’t been to the Grand Prix before, add it to your bucket list. Monaco is the penultimate race to attend.

2.     Humans should be cloning the genetics of racing car drivers so if we ever need warriors to defend our planet, we’re all sorted.

3.     Monaco Grand Prix may be the only event in the world where it’s deemed reasonable to combine private jets, helicopters, speedboats, fast cars and mega yachts all in one weekend. All were utilised fully!

4.     IWC Watches & Mercedes epitomise “cool” and “luxury”.

5.     Plan your wardrobe – maybe even invest in something new to help contend with the glitterati on the streets.

6.     I didn’t even get to mention that we were hosted by the winning team and that our pal,  Lewis Hamilton, took centre stage on the podium! Another mate (and fellow Aussie), Daniel Ricardo from Team Redbull, took second pip at the podium. It was an exciting weekend. 

7.     The only thing that could have made this weekend better, was if we had more time in the diary to stay and enjoy it!

I must say it’s always such a great feeling when your expectations are exceeded and boy did this Monaco trip do exactly that. I just love that one weekend away (which in all honesty I expected to be just a bit of a glamour-fest) turned out to be an absolute education. For me, that’s a much better way to make use of my time rather than just sip champagne. Thank you to everyone who played part in this magical weekend for us - you know who you are and we're both eternally grateful. 

Sx  

 

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She Whispered Hermès

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She Whispered Hermès

H FOR HERMÈS

Most would know that the Hermès Birkin handbag is considered the most iconic and sought after handbag in the world. But did you know that the longest waiting list to purchase one of these bags is six years? Or that the Hermès Himalayan crocodile Birkin bag (the most expensive Hermès bag to date) sold for a whopping US$432,000?

Hermès Himalayan crocodile Birkin bag

Hermès Himalayan crocodile Birkin bag

As it turns out, there seems to be a lot that people don’t know about Hermès and this goes well beyond the Birkin and those mind-blowing prices + waiting lists. Unlike most companies who exploit pretty much any positive attribute or story to grasp a better market position for their brand, Hermès have played the modesty card for decades and built their prestige through subtlety and trust. I love this! Their history is like an eclectic storybook of intimate tales showcasing different princesses, presidents and iconic faces from around the world but all with one thing in common… a love for the quality craftsmanship that is the essence of this institution.

Capucine Birkin 35cm

Capucine Birkin 35cm

Sometimes luxury brands can be judged like the rest of us, observed from a shallow platform based on mass generalizations imposed by others. But over the last couple of years I’ve spent a good bit of time getting to know the real Hermès through my darling Parisian friend, Michael Coste, who heads up External Relations for the Hermes Group. I've sipped coffee at Parisian sidewalk cafes while he's shared magnificent tales of riches and romance and things that you struggle to believe really happened! I've since realised that there's a lot more to Hermès and their colourful history than I had originally thought and consequently I've fallen even more in love with this brand than ever before. Maybe that’s the key to their success? Undoubtedly the quality of Hermès products has always spoken for itself, but like the key to every adored rockstar… there’s an air of mystery surrounding Hermès which leaves you craving more.

On the Hermes rooftop garden with Michael Coste. 

On the Hermes rooftop garden with Michael Coste. 

 

MY TURN TO WHISPER…

Here’s some of the fabulous little titbits and stories I’ve learnt along the way. Unfortunately I can’t share all the goss - it wouldn’t be right on a public forum like this, but I'm sure you'll find the below interesting regardless!

  • Hermès began as a small harness workshop in Paris, creating luxury harnesses and bridles for horse-drawn carriages to nobleman. That’s why the Hermès logo is a royal carriage and a horse. This is no secret.
  • In 1900 the firm introduced the Haut à Courroies handbag, which was specially designed for riders to carry their saddles with them. Also no secret but how many of you knew that the first handbag Hermès produced was actually for carrying saddles?!
  • When President Nixon tried to make a discreet visit to the flagship store in Paris, he ended up being caught in the elevator for hours when it got stuck between floors! Can you imagine the state of his security detail?!
  • It was Hermès who kicked off the craze for naming handbag styles after celebrities. In 1956 a picture of Grace Kelly showed the silver screen icon using her Hermès Sac à dépêches bag to shield herself from a scrum of paparazzi photographers and so the style was renamed the Kelly. Stroke of genius right here – I hope their head of marketing received a decent bonus.
  • The Birkin was named after British sex kitten and style icon Jane Birkin after she had a chance encounter with the then CEO of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas. Apparently she was sitting next to him on a plane when all her things fell out of her handbag and she complained that her Kelly bag wasn’t big enough for everyday use. They dreamt up a new design together and the Birkin was born. If only we could all have a luxury handbag named after us…
  • The Queen is a firm favourite of the Hermès colourful silk scarf designs. OK most people probably already knew this… but it is noteworthy – she is the Queen after all.  
  • Hidden above the Hermès flagship store in Paris is the most divine rooftop garden, manicured perfectly by the same lady who has been tending it for years. Very few people get to visit the rooftop, so it’s a real privilege to be invited up. Most people don’t even know it exists! Over the years, this very rooftop garden has been the place of romantic rendezvous’, dinners and even marriage proposals by royalty. I'm sure we'd all LOVE to be a fly on that wall!
  • Among the soft landscaping of this rooftop is an old apple tree and one of the scents in the Hermès perfume range called Un Jardin, which has a distinct apple smell, was the inspiration of this scent. There’s a sketch of the actual rooftop garden on the front of the box but again, most people have no idea about the connection. Goes without saying that after visiting the garden myself and hearing this story, I headed downstairs and purchased myself a bottle.

 

  • Inside the flagship Parisian store there’s the most incredible workshop where a small crew hand craft bespoke pieces for special clients. I call it ‘the romance room’ because each piece they craft, has a story and reason for being commissioned. For example, Brad Pitt commissioned a picnic basket for Angelina on their anniversary because they had shared a picnic together on their first date. This is an EXAMPLE – obviously I’ve substituted names but you get the jist. I imagine this room had helped create some very special moments in people's lives. 
In the original workshop

In the original workshop

SIDE NOTE: The Hermès craftsman use the same tools they did 150 years ago (so cool) and furthermore each craftsman has his/her own set of tools, which are extremely personal and mould + conform to the owner’s hands and movements. When they leave they take their tools with them.

 

There's nothing like tradition, passion and colorful stories all rolled into one... and there's no place like Paris to help create the perfect setting for them. 

Sx

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Country Beginnings

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Country Beginnings

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks since my last post because aside from the usual juggling of work commitments and catching up on the every-day duties that slip when you’ve been travelling abroad for 4 weeks (argh) I’ve also been moving house! Yep – that’s no small fry. So apologies for the silence on my feed, but I’m secretly hoping I can smooth that over with a little update on the move and some snaps from our new country home. Cheap attempt I know... but hey it’s all I’ve got right now as my head has been stuck in brown cardboard boxes for two weeks! 

Dungarees: Ksubi, Hoodie: Kooples, Jacket: cheap vintage buy in Paris, Top: Joseph, Hat: Deus, Wellies: Hunter, Sunnies: Chanel

Dungarees: Ksubi, Hoodie: Kooples, Jacket: cheap vintage buy in Paris, Top: Joseph, Hat: Deus, Wellies: Hunter, Sunnies: Chanel

SO WHY THE MOVE? We’ve been hunting for a new house to call home for a good couple of years now, but for one reason or another we’ve never found ourselves being handed a new set of keys. We’ve become very good at consoling ourselves with a little Irish saying that my husbands mum used to say: “What’s meant for you will not pass you by” and I wont lie, it’s amazing how this one little sentence can pick you up and keep the dream alive when you're losing all hope (don’t you just love the Irish?!). Seriously there’s been times when I’ve just wanted to cry with frustration but then someone would say these magic little words and I’d not only dust myself off again, but also be completely convinced that our dream home was right around the corner... AND it was going to be worth the wait!

WAS IT WORTH THE WAIT? Hell yeah!!!

WHERE DID WE MOVE TO? The English countryside. It’s still only a quick drive into London and very convenient to Heathrow Airport (which was very important for us given the amount we travel) but when we’re at the house (which we've already started referring to as the farm) we feel like we’re miles away from everything #UtterBliss 

WHY THE COUNTRY? Not really sure if anyone is actually wondering this… aren’t nearly all of us born with an appreciation of the simplicity that comes with being removed from it all? I know that I do… but then again I grew up on a farm and worked the land, so there’s every possibility that I’m a bit biased haha

NO SERIOUSLY… My husband and I are definitely one of those couples that move through life in the fast lane (the super dooper crazy fast lane). We work continuously, travel continuously, and cram way too many things into our days continuously…  plus with no signs of this slowing down any time soon, we found ourselves craving more balance in our lives and knew that this would mean a serious adjudication of our living arrangements. Essentially this was the only thing that we knew we COULD slow down. We were pining a stripped back lifestyle in the fresh air… wide open spaces… peace and simplicity... all the things a home in the country could provide. 

This move was a no-brainer for us, it was the perfect way to "earth" us amid all the chaos of our careers and nurture our souls in the most simplistic was possible.  

HOW’S IT GOING SO FAR? One week in and it's already total bliss. Each morning I wake up to the sounds of birds chirping outside our window, then I pull back the curtains to stunning views of rolling green hills. It's a beautiful way to start the day and I don't think I'll ever take that for granted. It's magic! 

THE PLAN? To grow our own veggies, harvest our own rainwater and renovate the house! Yep thar’s right… there’s one big reno plan being drawn up as I type. No doubt I’ll be keeping my feed updated with all of that too once the ball starts rolling! Exciting times.

WHAT HAVE I LEARNT? That the Irish were right… what’s meant for you won't pass you by. This was the home that was meant for us and although at one point we thought it was out of our reach, it surprisingly fell back into our laps and now we couldn't be happier. Everything happens for a reason (even if sometimes you can't see what it is at the time) and with a bit of patience, hard work, positivity and hope... you will get there in the end. 

My husband and I may have been through the ringer to get here, but it was definitely worth all of it!

Sx

Skirt: Club Monaco, Tee: Rag & Bone Hat: Seafolly

Skirt: Club Monaco, Tee: Rag & Bone Hat: Seafolly

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The Masters of Golf

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The Masters of Golf

If you don’t really know much about golf then don’t worry, this post is still for you. I never thought I’d ever become a fan of golf, but when I was properly introduced to the game by my husband four years ago, it became an instant love affair. I’ve heard a lot of people tell a similar story! So who knows… maybe this little insight into my love of the game and some of my personal experiences, may be enough to kickstart your own interest into the sport? Lets see!

WHAT’S TO LOVE ABOUT GOLF?

1. ANYONE CAN PLAY IT – Age is not a barrier and it’s actually one of the few sports we can enjoy in our older years, when our bodies start to slow down.

2. IT’S BOTH A PHYSICAL & MENTAL CHALLENGE – the game requires skill and strategy plus a huge amount of focus away from the usual noise of modern day society. Like meditation, the golf headspace is a discipline and one that I believe is valuable for all aspects of your life.

3.  IT’S NOT EASY – Golf is one of those sports that will always have you on your toes – you can’t just pick up a club and be amazing at it - I love this because I love a good challenge! It’s like all the stars have to align to master it: fitness, calm, precision, focus plus an understanding of your own strengths & weaknesses. It’s one of those sports where trying too hard can work against you (it’s a head game) plus you don’t need to be the fittest person in the room to be good at it. Everyone has a shot when it comes to golf because there are so many other factors that are just as important as your physical ability.

4. IT’S FUN EVEN IF YOU’RE PLAYING A PRO – Because of the handicap system used in golf, players with varying abilities can compete against each other and still have a competitive game. Which basically means you can play against anyone you like and still enjoy it.   

5. A GREAT WAY TO SPEND TIME TOGETHER – golf is a great way to spend time with family and friends because you can walk-and-talk your way around the course in a relaxed environment. Plus you can soak up some fresh air and sunshine at the same time.    

 

THE BUCKET LIST

Happy hubby and Gary Player having banter outside before heading off to the course. 

Happy hubby and Gary Player having banter outside before heading off to the course. 

For over twenty years my hubby has dreamed of one day attending the Masters in Augusta (USA) it’s the greatest golf tournament of them all and anyone who has an interest in the game, has an interest in this tournament. On his birthday this year I surprised him and announced that we’re ticking this off his bucket list (finally) – his reply was “best birthday present ever!”. To be honest I was amazed I could even make it happen – finding 4 free days in our diary is no easy feat (at this point big thanks go to Mark Plunkett who helped shuffle things around so I could squeeze it into our schedule) and as soon as we concluded our work commitments in Sydney, we jumped on the first plane direct to the USA and managed to catch the final three days of the tournament with the beautiful Player family, who so generously also helped me make this dream a reality for him.

If you haven’t heard of Gary Player, Black Knight International, or The Player Foundation please take a moment to google… Gary is one of the greatest legends in golf and all of his family (as well as the team around them) are nothing short of inspiring. We have been so spoilt these last few days, not just because we attended the Masters, but because we got to experience it with these wonderful people who made it extra special for us.

HERE ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS:

Driving down Magnolia Lane.

Driving down Magnolia Lane.

** Arriving via the infamous Mangolia Lane – a magnolia tree lined avenue that few people get to drive down. It’s how the players and and their families arrive – final destination being outside the Augusta National clubhouse.

** Seeing my hubby teary after Gary Player took him to visit the Champions Locker Room… the very place where golfing legends have hung their coat and changed their shoes. Few people get to experience something so special and he was completely overwhelmed (very sweet).

** Following our friend, Lee Westwood, around the course & watching him fight his way to the top - finishing the tournament in second place! His eagle on the 15th had us all jumping around and screaming like teenage girls at a One Direction concert.

Victorious Danny Willett wearing his green jacket at the winners presentation.

Victorious Danny Willett wearing his green jacket at the winners presentation.

** Lee was paired on the final day with fellow Brit, Danny Willett, so we also got to witness Danny’s steady climb to victory and being awarded his very first green jacket.

** Sipping G&T’s in the glorious sunshine and taking in the sweeping views of perfectly manicured green grass speckled with thousands of spectators.

** Although it’s the pimento cheese sandwich that’s synonymous with the Masters and over the years has become an institution… for me it was the BBQ pulled pork sandwiches that took the trophy. They were definitely a highlight!

 

 

 

THE WARDROBE

PHOTO LEFT Jeans: Frame,  Top: Club Monaco,  Scarf: Tom Ford, Watch: IWC, Bangle: Hermes, Bracelet: Cartier, Bag: Louis Vuitton,  Sunnies: Moncler   PHOTO    MIDDLE Nike head-to-toe   PHOTO   RIGHT Jeans: Paige, Sweater: Moncler, Blazer: Maje, Shirt: Zara, Bag: Louis Vuitton, Bangle: Hermes, Bracelet: Cartier, Sunnies: Yves Saint Laurent, Hat: Inverni

PHOTO LEFT Jeans: Frame, Top: Club Monaco, Scarf: Tom Ford, Watch: IWC, Bangle: Hermes, Bracelet: Cartier, Bag: Louis Vuitton, Sunnies: Moncler   PHOTO MIDDLE Nike head-to-toe   PHOTO RIGHT Jeans: Paige, Sweater: Moncler, Blazer: Maje, Shirt: Zara, Bag: Louis Vuitton, Bangle: Hermes, Bracelet: Cartier, Sunnies: Yves Saint Laurent, Hat: Inverni

 

SPECTATOR WARDROBE

Some people took the sporty approach at the Masters, but unless I’m playing I prefer to keep things more summertime chic. COMFY SHOES and a HAT are the most important things to work into your outfit, plus I advise dressing in layers as the temperature can drastically change across the day. 

PLAYER STYLE

My golfing wardrobe is predominantly Nike and Ralph Lauren. The way I see it is Nike offers fun colours, trendy styles and good fits using technical fabrics and design, while Ralph Lauren offers elegance and class. Both are great quality and super comfortable on the course. Other good brands to try are: Calvin Klein, Golfino, Tommy Hilfiger and Callaway. 

TIP: If you can’t find what you’re looking for in a brands golf range – check out what they're offering in their tennis range OR take a look at what tennis brands like Babalot, Head, Yonex, Wilson and Lacoste are offering (Asics & Nike do a great tennis range too). Compared to golf, tennis seems to be ahead of the game when it comes to blending fashion & sport plus their sizing is less traditional to compliment the modern fit.    

Sx

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Bondi Life: Part Two

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Bondi Life: Part Two

Bikini: Melissa Obadash Towel: Hermes

Bikini: Melissa Obadash Towel: Hermes

I say… once a foodie always a foodie and since I produced Masterchef Australia back in 2011 (and was exposed to some of the best chefs and culinary experiences the world has to offer) not a meal goes by without my attention being diverted to it’s flavours, textures, quality and presentation (except on occasion when I’m pulling into a KFC or Maccas of course haha). 

Food genuinely excites me and subsequently it also has the power to put me in a good mood or a bad one (don’t even ask what happens to me when I’m hungry eeeeek). That’s why living in Bondi is so brilliant - there's a great food scene and so I’m always in a good mood. Well most of the time anyway…  it's definitely one of the best aspect of #BondiLife

Ronan - Shirt: James Perse Sunnies: Persol

Ronan - Shirt: James Perse Sunnies: Persol

BONDI BRUNCH

My favourite meal of the day is brunch - that window of time between brekky and lunch which is late enough that you can have a sleep-in before having to meet up with anybody, but still early enough to give you the rest of the afternoon off after you’ve caught up. Aussies do it really well (especially in Bondi) and these days going for brunch on the weekend in Oz, is as normal as an Irishman going to the pub for a pint. The best brunch spots to hit are:

1.     Chapter One for the ‘Hungry Chaps’

2.     Porch & Parlour for the ‘Devil’s Breakfast’

3.     Harry’s for the ‘Crispy Rolled Egg, Black Beans, Chorizo, Avocado & Lime'

Over the last number of weeks Chapter One has become my ‘go to’ café overall. They have a perfect little spot at the top of the hill, slightly removed from the hustle and bustle of Bondi but with lovely views over the beach. The décor is rustic and non-pretentious… the staff are super lovely… the food and coffee are great… plus they offer free wifi which allows me to multitask my meal times with my work. It ticks all the boxes really.

SMOOTHIE O’CLOCK

No where else in the world do I ever say “Do you want to go out for a smoothie?”… it’s like the days of socialising over an alcoholic beverage are being challenged by a sunnier and more nutritious option. Especially in Bondi where health + fitness are as integrated into the lifestyle as black cabs are to the streets of London.

Smoothies and juices are big business now – especially the ‘cold pressed’ variety which retail for around AU$12 each (which I still can’t get my head around?!) and although there are so many options, I’ve become totally hooked on GREEN smoothies!! #Addicted. Green smoothies are generally thick like a normal smoothie plus taste like a normal smoothie, but they’re packed with spinach or kale which means you’re also getting a good dose of green veg into your diet. So imagine the same yummy taste but with an extra injection of goodness and you can't even taste it. 

The best green smoothie I’ve had so far is from the David Jones food court in Westfield. It has kale (which I substitute with spinach), banana, mango, coconut water and ice. I also love the DS2 smoothie at Scari Berri on Campbell Parade which is a combination of kale (again I substitute with spinach), blueberries, banana, spirullina, coconut water and ice. For cold pressed smoothies or juices try CaliPress on Hall Street – very trendy, very heathy but with a higher price point to most of the other options.

It's really so easy to be healthy in Bondi... When I'm here, I feel a million times healthier without even trying. Everywhere you go you're surrounded by creative and nutritious food that's not only nutritious but tastes delicious too #LoveIt

Sx

 

 

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