Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Style 2016

Here is our round up of places to go and treats for this Valentine’s Day weekend.

Savile Row’s Sartoria

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Savile Row’s Sartoria and Maserati
In celebration of Valentine’s Day weekend, Chef Patron Francesco Mazzei has created a special four course menu of indulgent dishes. Perfectly suited to the Valentine’s season and priced at £60 per head, the menu includes Charcoal diver scallops with ‘nduja and salsa verde; Lobster ravioli with truffle and Beef tagliata followed by Cupolone (chocolate dome) for dessert. For an additional £50 per person, the menu could be expertly paired with matching wines by the restaurant’s sommelier, Michael Simms. In addition, diners visiting Sartoria this period will have the rare opportunity to book a chauffeur-driven Maserati Quattroporte. This will be available for an additional charge of £50 per hour for all distances between the M25. For more information: http://www.sartoria-restaurant.co.uk/whats-on-mayfair/events/sartoria-celebrates-valentines-with-maserati/

Embrace the romance of the River Thames with Le Pont de la Tour and Thames Limo
Renowned French restaurant Le Pont de la Tour, which has recently re-launched following an extensive refurbishment, has partnered with Thames Limo, a bespoke water limousine charter service on the Thames, to offer guests the perfect alternative to a traditional proposal, engagement party, anniversary or special occasion. London’s latest water limousine, sporting the unmistakable Union Jack hull, has been especially adapted with sleek styling and elegant fitting, and will provide guests with a memorable river voyage and a stylish arrival and/or departure from Le Pont de la Tour. Upon arrival at Le Pont de la Tour, guests will be greeted with creative cocktails and a wonderful four course menu from head chef Frederick Forster. To book a table and arrange your private river cruise to or from Le Pont de La Tour, please contact Ana Afonso on 020 7940 1833 or email: anaa@danddlondon.com. Fees start from £700 per hour and the Thames Limo can accommodate up to 8 people. http://www.lepontdelatour.co.uk/ Continue reading

Weekend Read – 15th January 2016

 Wickham HallWickham Hall – Cathy Bramley

Synopsis Wickham Hall was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

Holly Swift has just landed the job of her dreams: events co-ordinator at Wickham Hall, the beautiful manor home that sits proudly at the heart of the village where she grew up. Not only does she get to organise for a living and work in stunning surroundings, but it will also put a bit of distance between Holly and her problems at home.

As Holly falls in love with the busy world of Wickham Hall – from family weddings to summer festivals, firework displays and Christmas grottos – she also finds a place in her heart for her friendly (if unusual) colleagues.

But life isn’t as easily organised as an event at Wickham Hall (and even those have their complications…). Can Holly learn to let go and live in the moment? After all, that’s when the magic happens…


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
Wickham Hall is a very satisfying book, making you want to keep reading as the various characters develop and the story unfolds. Perfect for curling up and hiding away from the wintery weather outside!


Stuffocation - James Wallman

Stuffocation – James Wallman 

In this brilliant and original book, James Wallman explains and analyses why Stuffocation is the most pressing problem of our time – and then goes in search of its solution. On the way, he goes down the halls of the Élysée Palace with Nicolas Sarkozy, up in a helicopter above Barbra Streisand’s house on the California coast, and into the world of the original Mad Men.Through fascinating characters and brilliantly told stories, Wallman introduces the innovators whose lifestyles provide clues to how we will all be living tomorrow, and he makes some of the world’s most counter-intuitive, radical, and world changing ideas feel inspiring – and possible for us all.


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
In Stuffocation James Wallman encourages the reader to focus less on possessions and more on experiences. Wallman suggests that rather than buying a new watch or another pair of shoes, we should invest in shared experiences like holidays and time with friends. It is an intriguing read with insights on psychology, economics and culture. Fascinating and thought provoking, full of questions and debate, perfect for a weekend read!



Accidentally Overweight - Dr. Libby WeaverAccidentally Overweight – Dr. Libby Weaver

In a dynamic, fresh approach to weight loss, acclaimed nutritional biochemist Dr Libby Weaver shows that the ‘calorie equation’ – how much you eat versus how much you move – is not the only determinant of our body shape and size.
Drawing on her 17 years of clinical practice, her strong scientific background in both nutrition and dietics and her PhD in biochemistry, Dr Libby discusses the real factors that cause us either to lose or gain weight. These nine factors are calories, stress hormones, sex hormones, liver function, thyroid function, gut bacteria, insulin, the nervous system and emotions.


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
This is a thought provoking book, Dr Libby Weaver emphasizes the importance of reading this book all the way through rather than dipping into it, as there is a sequence to the way the book is presented. Looking first at Digestion she then describes the weight loss puzzle as having 9 elements including the following: Calories, Stress Hormones, Sex Hormones, The Liver, Gut Bacteria, The Thyroid, Insulin, The Nervous System, Emotions, which she examines in turn. Together with case studies this is a useful and helpful book in identifying a new and interesting approach to how our bodies work.



The Great Big Sleep - Sean JulianThe Great Big Sleep – Sean Julian

In this beautiful new picture book, two friends Squirrel and Bear are very nearly ready for their long winter sleep. But there’s just one problem – no matter how hard Squirrel tries, he Just Isn’t Tired.

When Bear gets annoyed with Squirrel for making too much noise, Squirrel runs away and gets lost in the snow, causing Bear to have a big think about what’s really important. Containing gentle messages about friendship, acceptance and keeping your temper, this hilarious and heart-warming bedtime tale highlights an issue recognisable to parents and children alike – how to manage when you really CAN’T fall asleep!


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
This is an adorable book, beautifully illustrated, with an inspired storyline, destined to become a bedtime favourite. Our junior reviewers absolutely loved it!

Welcome to our Festive Events Guide 2015

A fabulous round up of events and stunning restaurants to celebrate the festive season and New Year’s Eve!

Sleeping Beauty Grand Hotel de Bordeaux

Sleeping Beauty at the Grand Hotel de Bordeaux

This Christmas, Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa

This Christmas, Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa will be partnering with L’Opéra National de Bordeaux, opposite the hotel in La Place de la Comédie, where they will showcase the ballet performance of ‘Sleeping Beauty’.

An ode to the art and décor of ballet, the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Package at Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa will allow guests to delve into a magical world, which includes: 
- Double room accommodation for two, including daily breakfast at ‘The Bordeaux’, the hotel’s 19th-century Belle-Epoque brasserie
- Two tickets to a performance of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at the Bordeaux Opera House 
- A cocktail of choice between ‘Evil Maleficent’ or ‘Princess Aurora’
- Spa Access for two people.

Grand Hotel de Bordeaux

L’Opéra National de Bordeaux and Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa were both designed and built on La Place de La Comédie square by the acclaimed architect Victor Louis in the 18th century. The relationship between these two institutions started with an artistic and musical programme, launched in 2011. Today their geographical and cultural heritage brings them together again with ‘Sleeping Beauty’.

The ‘Sleeping Beauty’ package at Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa starts from €444 (approx. £320), including taxes, and is available from 18 to 31 December 2015, welcoming guests for Christmas, New Year’s Eve and festive weekend breaks in Bordeaux.

http://www.ghbordeaux.com/uk/ Continue reading

Hot Brands Cool Places Big Autumn Read

As the clocks go back this weekend we have a fabulous collection of Autumn Reads perfect for inspiring, curling up on the sofa and relaxing!

Chasers of the Light – Tyler Knott Gregson
I would love to say that you make me weak at the knees, but to be quite upfront and completely truthful, you make my body forget it has knees at all.
One day, while browsing an antique store in Helena, Montana, photographer Tyler Knott Gregson stumbled upon a vintage Remington typewriter for sale. Standing up and using a page from a broken book he was buying for $2, he typed a poem without thinking, without planning, and without the ability to revise anything.
He fell in love.
Three years and almost one thousand poems later, Tyler is now known as the creator of the Typewriter Series: a striking collection of poems typed onto found scraps of paper or created via blackout method. Chasers of the Light features some of his most insightful and beautifully worded pieces of work – poems that illuminate grand gestures and small glimpses, poems that celebrate the beauty of a life spent chasing the light.


Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict

Tyler Knott Gregson has used a typewriter to create a most beautifully illustrated and inspiring collection of poems. Poignant and uplifting this is a book to treasure.One of our favourite books this year. A very special gift to yourself or someone important in your life. Highly Recommended!


Chasers of the Light


The Art of Typewriting Marvin Sackner – Ruth Sackner
The beloved typewriter – its utilitarian beauty, the pleasing percussive action of striking its keys, the singularity of the impressed page – is enjoying a renaissance across the creative industries.

In this authoritative book, the authors apply their experience to mine the collection they have created over four decades to present over 550 examples produced by more than sixty of the world’s finest contributors to the genre.
From the early ornamental works produced by secretaries in the late nineteenth century to more recent works that consider the uniqueness of the typewritten document in the digital age, there is an astonishing – and delightful – range of creativity in every artwork. The book features three main sections: an introduction to the history of the typewriter and its art; an expansive plate section showing key works, rendered in exquisite detail; and a reference section featuring biographies of the most influential artists and writers.
Designed by top graphic design studio and typewriter aficionados Graphic Thought Facility, this is a once-in-a-generation publication, carefully curated through decades of first-hand experience to inspire a new wave of designers and artists for the future. An authoritative and ambitious overview of the graphic art produced by artists and writers who have used the typewriter as a tool and a medium.http://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Typewriting-Marvin-Sackner/dp/050024149X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1445529755&sr=1-1&keywords=art+of+typewritingHot Brands Cool Places Verdict
We loved the creativity in this beautiful book, it is an absolutely stunning collection of over 570 illustrations in colour and black and white. A very special book to inspire and treasure!
In an original approach to cover design each copy of the book is designed with its own unique cover. Highly Recommended!


The Art of Typewriting
Swing Dance – Scott Cupit
With all things vintage enjoying a boom worldwide, swing dancing has well and truly swung back into fashion. From vintage festivals and tea dances to weekend socials and hundreds of weekly classes held around the world, multiple forms of the dance that was created in 1930s Harlem by Frankie Manning are growing ever more popular.Swing Dance explores the vibrant contemporary swing-dancing scene, looking at the different dance styles and the associated culture, community and fashion. Illustrated with vintage and contemporary photography, as well as specially commissioned step-by-step guides, it provides everything you need to know, whether you fancy kicking up your heels in the Charleston or mastering the Lindy Hop ‘swing out’.The four major dance styles are covered – Charleston, Collegiate Shag, Balboa and Lindy Hop, including the Strolls, which are guaranteed to fill the dance floorThere are also insider tips from old-timers and today’s leading swing dancers as well as fun, easy-to-follow page-embedded video demonstrations produced exclusively for the book and accessible via scannable QR codes.http://www.quartoknows.com/books/9781910254172/Swing-Dance.html?direct=1Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
Swing Dance by Scott Cupit, founder of Swing Patrol is a fabulous book.
Each chapter begins with an overview of the fascinating evolution of the dance style. ‘Get the Look’ examines the fashions for guys and girls, including hair and make-up, and a clothing, shoes and accessories checklist, while ‘The Music’ suggests the top ten tunes to practise to. Then follows a breakdown of the basic step patterns upon which the dance is built, and a guide to some of the key moves. If you are excited by swing dancing and a lover of vintage you will adore this book, it is an absolute gem! Highly Recommended!


Swing Dance
The Affirmations Colouring Book – by Louise Hay
Synopsis World-famous teacher Louise Hay has already helped millions of people to free themselves from the cycles of fear, stress and guilt that limit our lives. Now, in this first ever affirmations colouring book, Louise combines the life-changing powers of affirmations with the profound positive effects of creativity. This unique combination will enable readers to start creating deep shifts in their lives.
Colouring these in and focusing on the affirmation at the same time encourages our minds to put attention on what we truly desire in life. What’s more, through creative right-brain activity, we tap into our subconscious, and therefore all transformations through this process are even more effective and long-lasting.For all those who want to take their work with affirmations to a new level through an enjoyable, relaxing and meditative activity.http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1781806454Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
Colouring books have seen an amazing growth in popularity with all ages and this stunning colouring book, by Louise Hay in collaboration with Alberta Hutchinson, features 44 affirmations, each coupled with an exquisite illustration and decorative border. A beautiful and uplifting gift.


The Affirmations Colouring Book
The Nonsense Show – Eric Carle
Synopsis:Ducks growing out of bananas?
A mouse catching a cat?
What’s wrong with this book?
Yes, there’s something strange, something funny and even downright preposterous on every page of this book (and even the cover!). But it’s not a mistake – it’s nonsense! And it’s also surrealism. Nonsense lies at the heart of many beloved nursery rhymes. Children readily accept odd statements like “the cow jumped over the moon” and “the dish ran away with the spoon.” This fanciful bending of reality is also basic to surrealism.
In this book, nonsense and surrealism combine to spark creativity and imagination. What’s true? What’s impossible? What’s absolutely absurd? From Eric Carle, creator of the classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, comes a book to make children laugh and think, preparing them for a lifetime of loving both words and art.http://www.penguin.co.uk/books/the-nonsense-show/9780141365138/

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been an important part of our family for many years much loved by every child that opens it. The Nonsense Show captures the same vibrant style of illustration that Eric Carle does so well.
Full of imagination, we loved the spirit of The Nonsense Show which is sure to become another inspiring classic for parents, children and schools destined to entertain future generations. We loved it! Highly Recommended!


The No Nonsense Show
Ultimate One – Pot Dishes – Alan Rosenthal
The Ultimate One-Pot Dishes uses imaginative ingredient combinations to let you create fuss-free, wholesome and tasty meals for the whole year round, from heart-warming winter stews to flavoursome summer tagines. Whether you’re cooking for the family or making meals for one, these recipes are both effortless and delicious, and can be easily frozen so you always have a hearty meal ready to go – and all with very little washing up!Economical, tasty, comforting and simple to make at home, this fantastic fully illustrated collection of recipes will appeal to anyone who wants to create mouth-watering meals with minimal fuss! A modern twist on the old-fashioned dish.http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultimate-One-Pot-Dishes-delicious-one-pot/dp/0091960541/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445597983&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Ultimate+one+pot

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict

As the days get shorter and we crave warming recipes Alan Rosenthal offers 80 one-pot recipes from all over the world, including Chicken and Prawn Jambalaya, Brazilian Black Bean Stew with Chorizo and Smoked Pork, Catalan Fish Stew, Beef in Barolo, and Persian Lamb and Quince Stew. Perfect for Autumn evenings!


Ultimate One Pot Dishes
He Who Dares – Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter
Jack-the-lad, wheeler-dealer and international playboy (just ask the manageress of El Sid’s, Torremolinos, 1978), this was a man destined for greatness. One day he would mature into an award-winning man of business*, thriving entrepreneur and glittering member of the jet-set. A force of nature, a man who beat the odds, if only for a bit. This is his story. The story of Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter. 

Who else could tell the glorious tale of rags to riches to rags to rich(ish) but the man himself? You’ve heard of The Wolf of Wall Street, now meet the Pug of Peckham.

*Trotter’s Independent Traders, employee of the year 1982 – 2003
[He Who Dares has been written by the family of John Sullivan, creator and writer of Only Fools and Horses, who sadly died in 2011. Ebury Press have produced and published the book with full support and involvement of the family.]

Hot Brands Cool Places Verdict
He Who Dares is like a conversation with Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter. Full of the richness of the language and entrepreneurial advice that only he can create, this is a perfect gift for all fans of Only Fools and Horses.
Del Boy He Who Dares