Archive for July, 2011

Penninghame – a weekend’s residential at the home of macrobiotics

Penninghame House.jpegLocated in a 36 hectare estate in Dumfries and Galloway, on the banks of the River Cree, Penninghame is a beautiful Baronial Edwardian house, steeped in history. A macrobiotic learning and training centre, it’s focused on health and understanding the effects of food on well-being. Marie and Raymond Butler, the founders and owners of Penninghame House, run several different courses with another husband-and-wife team; Bill and Marlene Watson-Tara, offering lectures on nutrition, cooking with macrobiotic ingredients, health remedies and one-to-one health assessments. Together, the two couples have more than a century of combined experience in the field.
Developed by George Ohsawa in Japan in the 1920s, macrobiotics literally means “long life” (from the Greek makro, meaning long, and bio, meaning life). It is a lifestyle choice rather than a diet. Since Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Cruise and Madonna became the advocates of macrobiotics it has become a strange, but otherworldly media fascination. The idea of macrobiotics is that you choose fresh, locally produced foods, that help to prolong your life and balance your body and mind, rather than force your organs to deal with processed food and sugars that can knock your system out of sync. “When you see how good Tom Cruise and Madonna look, you have to wonder about their diet. It’s no surprise that it’s macrobiotic. All that vitality and energy comes from somewhere” Says Marie.

Penninghame's Macrobiotic Puddings.jpegA macrobiotic diet should re-ignite the body’s energy, and consists of whole grains, beans, plants, proteins, steamed vegetables, seaweeds (super rich in minerals we no longer get from land sources) and an endless supply of miso soup. It avoids all processed foods, additives, meat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol. Macrobiotics is not about being vegetarian or not allowing yourself treats. It’s about finding balance and harmony with what you eat and who you are. A six-course dinner was served on the first evening, cooked by their top residential macrobiotic chef. We dined on a delightfully creamy mushroom risotto, delicate miso soup, crispy tempura with tangy shoyu sauce, delectable adzuki bean burgers and a delicious agar chocolate mousse. We are told stories of how The Butler’s discovered their love of macrobiotics and how it has changed their lives. Even better, we’re told that everything passing our lips at the beautiful banquet is helping our bodies in some way – from our kidneys and liver to our skin and energy levels.

Each morning, after an early session of Chi ball or a yoga class and a walk through the grounds, the group head to the classroom for lectures by Bill Tara. The beauty of the Penninghame program comes from the sheer volume of education you are exposed to during your stay. Daily lectures on the why’s and wherefores of macrobiotics, advocating, sourcing fresh local seasonally appropriate produce and constant how-to cookery classes, which even novices can partake in. The NHS has begun to embrace macrobiotic philosophy, and during our stay, we met with a woman that was diagnosed with bowel cancer. The NHS said there was nothing that could be done about it, but four in ten cases of cancer could be avoided by a better diet. Ken and Marie disagreed and took her under their wing. The change, even after a few days was noteworthy, gone was the sallow skin. And there were plenty of other miracle fixes and cures. Marie herself was a long term eczema sufferer, cured only after years of anguish by changing her diet to a macrobiotic one. Furthermore, Bill claims that the country is sitting on a diabetes time bomb, unless we change our way of living and thinking, we will have a very sick nation on our hands. He tells us that in the US, 30 percent of the population is classified as obese and that the UK will have the same statistic in eight years if we continue the way we are. Following the program, I managed to lose four lbs over four days. Yes REALLY! Better still, with my Penninghame pack I could carry on the diet at home, buying the fresh produce I needed daily. I continued to lose weight following the diet, feel energized and overall healthier all-round. I will continue to follow a macrobiotic diet as much as possible, following the 80:20 rule advocated by the course leaders, allowing a little of the bad stuff in now and again, but only in moderation.

Penninghame Accomodation.jpegPenninghame offers a number of courses throughout the year – check the website ( for details.
Accommodation is in the main house or in various lodges in the grounds. Rooms are comfortable with cotswold-produced organic Ila bath products chosen for their health benefits. All food served fits with macrobiotic principals. A health mini-break costs from £495. Tel +44 (0)1671 401 414 for more details.
Marlene Watson-Tara’s Living with the Seasons – The Human Ecology Diet is available to buy in bookshops now.

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July cover shoot

Boutique Chic
The Westbury hotel provides a glamorous backdrop for our AW shoot.
Luxury fashion and jewellery from Bond Street’s finest…

Photography: Bernd Ott –
Stylist: Joanne Black –
Model: Anela at M+P
Hair by Elliot Bassila at DWM using NAK hair care
Make-Up by Emma Osborne at Naked
Photographer’s assistants: Jerome Hunt and Michael Aveling
Location: The Westbury Hotel
All images © Bernd ott for Urban Life Magazine

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London Jewellery Week 2011 – special post-show feature

So, after much excitement and a long build-up, the 4th annual London Jewellery Week has come and gone. With a packed schedule of events throughout the week, the trade, media and public had the opportunity to celebrate the capital’s collective effort in promoting the best of the UK jewellery sector. Established brands and upcoming designers showed their wares side-by-side, with many a rising star making their mark in this competitive industry. Expectations were shaky to start with, given that we are still under the shadow of a recession, but that did little to dampen the spirits of all those that took part. And, the jewellery industry did not disappoint. There were plenty of scheduled events and spontaneous activities to keep even the most discerning appeased. From open workshops to new collection launches, jewellery fashion shows and evening parties; it was indeed a successful week given the tough state of the economy.

There were numerous events taking place throughout the week, which all had the aim of engaging the trade and consumer alike. Many of the specialist jewellery retailers hosted open evenings and Champagne receptions, as well as offering consultations and a behind-the-scenes look at jewellery making.
Some of the key events of the week included the launch of the Platinum Heritage Collection, sponsored by PureJewels, the Hatton Garden Festival and the Royal Exchange’s jewellery catwalk event. Other highlights included the Central St. Martins Jewellery Award in association with Cool Diamonds, the launch of Alex Monroe’s Chrysanthemum collection at Liberty and Swarovski Gems, with Nadja Swarovski hosting the Gem Visions trend presentations for 2012 to a select group of invited guests.

Fairtrade and Ethical
The issue of Fairtrade and ethically sourced goods and services across all industries have been biting at our collective consciousness for years. We’ve seen how small communities have been exploited for their coffee beans and bananas, and further up the food chain, precious minerals and diamonds. However, up til now, gold has pretty much remained under the radar. But thankfully change is afoot and the issue of fairmined gold is gaining momentum as the general consumer becomes aware of the cost of mining to the small communities digging deep for our insatiable appetite for all things gold. So to launch Fairmined Gold and Essence at the ethical pavilion at Treasure, curated by Cred, the Fairtrade Foundation celebrated the occasion by hosting a VIP reception. Raising much needed awareness of the plight of small artisanal miners from around the world, and helping to raise standards through Fairtrade and fairmined certified gold, this was a tremendous opportunity to meet with some of the miners in attendance benefiting directly and the jewellery designers making a difference.

The designers showcasing at Treasure were a great mix of new and established names in jewellery. Over 120 designers and brands took part this year, which featured some great jewellery designs and concepts. Amongst some of my favourites were this year’s winners of the Treasure Designer of the Year award; Yunus & Eliza, showing some of their beautiful sculptural designs that have won them a big following from the movies and fashion circles. Others include Tomasz Donocik, with his fantasy collection, The Garden of Good & Evil. Jesper Velling, with his award-winning stunning vibrant colour diamond twist rings and Milena Kovanovic, with her clever use of vivacious gemstones inspired by by the natural world.

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Raw Fairies – Mini B Cleanse: Detox in a box, delivered to your door, daily.

rawfairies2.jpegRaw Fairies is headed by Cordon Bleu trained chef Anya Ladra. She produces delicious detoxifying recipes, available for home delivery throughout the UK. The Raw Fairies detox promises to re-boot and clean up your whole system, with wholesome, tasty vegan menus full of fresh, organic ingredients and juices packed with super-foods. These nutritionally rich, energising meals are delivered to your door in biodegradable packaging daily and include an easy to follow, extensive, nutritionist-designed supplement programme to further boost energy levels and complete the detoxification process. It’s no secret that raw foods are better for you, as you get more of the vitamins from fresh, uncooked produce. The benefits of adding more raw fresh foods to your diet are far-reaching and include; weight loss, reduced cellulite, increased energy, healthier skin, hair and nails, and improved mental clarity. “Eating the botanical cuisine is a fantastic way to improve your overall physical and mental wellbeing and naturally detox” claim Raw Fairies.

I embarked on the five day Mini B Cleanse ahead of my holiday to see if these promises were true. The daily deliveries made sticking to the diet fairly easy and for the first two days I was sent food parcels containing a selection of juices, smoothies and salads; delicious examples of which included the melon, lime and parsley smoothie with barley grass, the green smoothie with chlorella (marine algae) and spirulina – spaghetti made from courgette ribbons, red pepper and walnut bolognese. On day two I felt a little lethargic and suffered with a minor headache, so didn’t quite feel like a salad in the evening. But, by day three, which was my one-day ‘juice fast’, I was over the hump and bursting with energy. My skin was already brighter, I felt lighter and found my weight had dropped a few pounds. I didn’t find the one-day ‘juice fast’ problematic, seven smoothies was more than enough for the day. My body had quickly become accustomed to the smaller portions. I won’t profess to this being the easiest cleanse I have ever partaken in, probably because I was on the go a lot and not sat on a beach in Thailand relaxing. However, it is relatively easy to follow the plan. I had minimum hunger pangs the first four days and the benefits of not having to think about what I was going to eat each day more than made up for these.

rawfairies.jpegSadly, on the last day of the cleanse, I was in the unfortunate position of having to go to Goodwood with the Ed. If I didn’t know what hunger pangs were before, I certainly did afterwards. Burger joints screamed at me, luring me with their 100% organic grilled cheeseburgers. Cruel place to put me! No problem though, as after a minor fall off the wagon (a few strawberries and cream started me off); I found that I didn’t actually want that slab of greasy beef I had taken a few bites from. My stomach had shrunk to accommodate proper portion control and my body didn’t thank me for a carbohydrate and fat overload, however much my senses tried to convince me otherwise. I skipped back to the car to my final salad, feeling holier-than-thou and fabulous upon completion! The moral of the story is quality over quantity, much of what we eat and drink is superfluous, as I discovered. The most difficult part of the plan is in the actual implementation of the change; in realising that what we need is smaller amounts of a balanced menu of fresh foods that offer proper nutritional value, not the toxic, processed foodstuffs we are faced with each day. It’s all about making informed choices. The weight loss after the Mini B Cleanse was a great side effect, but the major benefit certainly came in the form of the increased vitality and improved mental clarity I felt afterwards, and a body that functions correctly rather than being lethargic, overworked by the toxins it needs to eliminate.

This was an easy plan to follow if you have NO social engagements and remain in one place, preferably not surrounded by jovial, beer drinking burger buyers! A little more resolve is required if you are. Raw Fairies was most certainly worth it in the long term, the perfect urban detox for busy Londoners.

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London Jewellery Week – designers

I have chosen the following stand-out pieces from each collection – two from each designer, which were shown at Treasure. They are accompanied by a short description from the designers themselves

Madhuri Parson
Madhuri Parson_Peacock_Cuff
Yellow gold and multi-coloured sapphires peacock cuff bracelet

“Inspired by the national bird of India for its regal charm, this bold yet elegant bracelet is simply dazzling. 14-karat yellow gold handcrafted cuff bracelet set with sapphires and white topaz gemstones in black rhodium.”

Madhuri Parson_Peacock_Necklace
Radiant sapphires and white topaz peacock necklace

“Also inspired by the national bird of India, this elegant statement piece is hand crafted in 14-karat yellow gold matte and high polish finishes. The necklace is studded with white topaz semi-precious gemstones and multi-coloured sapphires in black rhodium polish around the necklace. “

Tomasz Donocik
Water Lilly Pad RingTinkerbell Pendant
Water Lilly Pad Ring & Tinkerbell Pendant

Fine jewellery collection: “inspired by the paradox of the natural world, The Garden of Good & Evil fuses the sinister side of beauty
with the evident delicate snowbells with fluid moving cups that juxtapose Venus fly traps.”

Jayce Wong

Capri Pearl earringCapri Pearl ring
Capri Pearl earring & Capri Pearl ring

“Capri pearl ring & Capri Pearl Earrings set in 18k white gold, featuring Tahitian pearls, silver diamonds, blue sapphires and tsavorites

Inspired by all the coral print while on holiday in Capri, the pieces explore the different shades of blue, green and grey of the coral
and the iridescent of the Tahitian pearls.”

Regina Aradesian

Pendant & Ring: 18ct white gold, plique-a-jour enamel, diamonds

“My work explores the intricacies of the cellular world observed through a microscope combined with traditional Armenian patterns. The jewellery is formed from precious metals with transparent plique-a-jour enamels, which when lit from behind create the impression of tiny stained glass windows.”

Yunus And Eliza
The Dali Puppet ring: It is 18k gold plated silver, with enamel

“The Dali puppet ring is inspired by Surrealism. Its delicately elongated portrait snaking up the finger and over your knuckle is a fusion of Classical Goddess and Futuristic fantasy. The river of luxurious translucent black enamel hidden on the back gives it a bold decadence.”

The Goddess Pendant: 18k gold plated silver, with enamel

“The Goddess Pendant is signature Yunus & Eliza, instantly recognisable in its sculptural figurative decadence. Theatrical and with a nod to the darker side, the Goddess Pendant can count Helena Christensen as one of its fans. Representing strength, beauty and inner wisdom, the Goddess collection returns each season in evolving vibrant colours.”

Jesper Velling
Diamond Twist group
Award-winning handmade platinum & diamond/pink diamond twist rings

Handmade diamond & black Tahitian pearl ‘Corona’ cufflinks

“The Corona Cufflinks are handmade using the same technology as the award-winning Corona Ring. Each cufflink features a 5mm black Tahitian Pearl in the centre surrounded by 15 2.5mm brilliant-cut diamonds (E/F in colour VS clarity). The Diamond Twist Ring is a handmade platinum ring, channel set with approximately 144 brilliant cut white diamonds, totalling over 2.75carats.”

Nada Ghazal
Matrix rings
Matrix rings: 18k gold with 3ct diamonds

“Matrix is highly influenced by order. The order, which is another side I love, with the perfect parallel lines, the perfect stones and the shiny gold.”

Malak rings
Malak rings: 18k raw white and yellow gold with 8ct of icy diamonds. Brushed finish.

“Malak is inspired by nature. Expressed through the soft organic shape, the rough diamond stones are a combination of yellow and pure white gold, without a touch of rhodium.”

Milena Kovanovic
Coral earrings
Coral Earrings – 18ct white gold earrings set with rubies and blue Andean opal cabochons.

Sea Urchin Ring
Sea Urchin Ring – 18ct white and rose gold set with 0.79ct demantoid garnets and a 10.99ct Rubellite cabochon

“Dazzling arrays of vibrant gemstones set in 18ct gold evoke the kaleidoscope of colours found in our oceans. Inspired by this rich and varied underwater paradise, the one of a kind pieces in the collection capture a glimpse of this fast disappearing environment.”

Jig Pattni
The Kiss – white gold, black and white diamonds

The Orgasm – white gold, black and white diamonds

“I was inspired by one of my favourite artists, Eric Fischl. He painted the Travel of Romance 1-5, which I fell in love with in the mid-90s. The shapes dramatically symbolise the male and female interaction, through a journey.“

Natalia Schroder

The spike ring – 14ct green gold, aa-class Tahitian pearl

“The spike ring, inspired by the interplay of classic and contemporary elements in modern architecture and giving a new interpretation to the classical pearl jewellery.”

The orchid thumb ring – silver and gold plated

“The orchid thumb ring is inspired by the contrasts of the modern woman; aggressive but gentle, powerful but wise, sophisticated but Innocent. A soft, wild and untamed Flower with a fine touch of sensual erotica.”

Sonal Talgeri-Bhaskaran
Eastern Mystic
Drama & Destruct necklace

“The Drama & Destruct necklace is my favorite from the new pieces, and defines my translation of tribal deco. It was actually inspired by Kali, the Goddess of time and of destruction. For me, this piece epitomises her and is my modern depiction of her as a fierce 21st-century warrior Goddess!”

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Dream Machines – Luxury watch and automobile collaborations

Blancpain - Super TrofeoBlancpain & Lamborghini
In just three years of involvement in motor sport, Blancpain has unremittingly strengthened its presence in this compelling activity.
Partner of Lamborghini and title sponsor of the ‘Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo’ since 2009 and official timekeeper of the FIA GT1 world championship since 2010, Blancpain confirms its presence at the highest level of world motorsport with the launch of the ‘Blancpain Endurance Series’ and its participation as official partner in the ‘ADAC GT Masters’ championship.
To celebrate the various commitments in motor sport, Blancpain have developed the L-evolution ‘Super Trofeo’ Flyback Chronograph. The watch features an automatic movement, a titanium case, with the dial and horns made of carbon fibre and its strap of alcantara. This limited edition of 600 watches is a real reference to the world of car racing.

* What is the Flyback Function? Of particular use to pilots and professional drivers, the ‘Flyback Function’ allows the chronograph to be reset to zero and immediately restarted by pressing the push button.

Richard Mille - RM033_V2_VUE_2Richard Mille & Grand Prix de Pau
Richard Mille immediately became the reference to the mechanical lovers of horology and automotive. Being a racing and car enthusiast, he always had the spirit of top performance. This year, he presented the new round case, the RM33. Classic form without tarnishing the RM codes. Ultra-technical and ultra-modern, its transparent dial reveals the automatic calibre with a micro-rotor. Visually, the screws of the thick bezel, bezel that provides the maximum security to the movement, reinforce the technical aspect.
Richard Mille is the main partner to the Grand Prix de Pau 2011, an event eagerly anticipated by all GP enthusiasts, especially as it takes place on one of the last remaining street circuits.

TAG Heuer -MP412C
TAG Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph

TAG Heuer and McLaren have one of the longestrunning partnerships between a brand and a racing team in the history of Formula One. They have teamed up once again to meet performance and perfection. Produced in a limited edition of 1000 pieces, the TAG Heuer Carrera MP4-12C Chronograph’s exclusive design compliments the new astonishing McLaren road car.
Its sleek design reflects the new sports car in colour, materials and design. As in the road model, the sapphire crystal insert reveals the ‘engine’ behind the watch face, and in contrast to the carbon style, an extremely hi-tech watch face. The movement is automatic with a semi-perpetual calendar and Flyback Function.

*What is a semi-perpetual calendar? This complication is made to adjust the date only once yearly in February.

Hublot - 719.QX.1729Hublot : Tribute to Ayrton Senna
The ‘King Power Ayrton Senna’ is a split-second chronograph with power-reserve indicator. In addition to Ayrton Senna’s signature,
displayed on the sapphire crystal of the dial, the watch includes a wealth of high-tech details directly inspired by Formula 1. The case is made entirely from carbon fibre with a ceramic bezel adorned with multiple holes to represent an F1 ceramic brake disk and a strap made from Nomex, fabric used to make the suits worn by F1 drivers. 500 numbered timepieces will be sold in support of Instituto Ayrton Senna.

Hublot - 4287_F1 King Power Ceramic – The Official Watch of Formula 1!
In a limited edition of 500 numbered pieces, the ‘F1 King Power Ceramic’ is a chronograph with two push-buttons (Start and Reset), Its 48mm case is made from micro-blasted black ceramic. The special carbon fibre bezel is adorned with a signature-drilled ceramic
ring inspired by high performance brake discs. Finally, its strap is made of rubber and NomexTM, a synthetic fibre, which thanks to its very low combustibility, is used to make the overalls worn by racing drivers.

Cabestan - ferrariScuderia Ferrari One by Cabestan
Cabestan, the high-end Swiss watchmaker surprised the watch industry by announcing a partnership with Ferrari to jointly design and
produce a very limited edition watch to celebrate the Cavallino Rampante. The Scuderia Ferrari One by Cabestan is inspired by
Ferrari race car technology and design. High-tech materials such as titanium, aluminium, magnesium and carbon fibre are the same as those used to produce components of Ferrari Formula1 race cars. And as for the strap, Ferrari owners will recognise the unmistakable Daytona leather. The heart of the motor is a vertical tourbillon, to compensate the effects of the Earth’s gravity. Here the energy delivered to the movement is transmitted by a miniature chain and fusée using a 6-speed automatic transmission to deliver a constant force to the tourbillon. The result is amazingly accurate to ± 1 second per day. The Scuderia Ferrari One by Cabestan will only be made available to Ferrari clients.

*What is a chain and fusée? A chain and fusée enables the watchmaker to deliver a constant force to the movement. As a result, the tourbillon receives a constant force and the variations in amplitude are considerably reduced, thus dramatically increasing the accuracy of the movement.

Chopard L.U.C Engine One Tourbillon 1Chopard & Mille Miglia
The Mille Miglia (round Italy road rally) is the continuation of the fierce ‘Gran Turismo’ competition that stopped in 1957. Chopard became the historical partner of this modern version of the mythical gentlemen-collectors race. To pay tribute to modern motor sport,
Chopard LUC have created the One Engine LUC Tourbillon with a high performance engine. The movement shape reminds us of the
V8 or V10 engines of the big German sedans, which are found in big GT competitions for example. All the details of this timekeeper, such as the power reserve indicator or the movement shock absorbers, are dedicated to the passion for motor sports.

Parmigiani - Bugatti_Super_Sport_dialParmigiani Fleurier & Bugatti
The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport made history by setting a world land speed record for production sports cars. On the wrist of test driver, travelling at a top speed of 431 km/h, the new Parmigiani Bugatti Super Sport. Parmigiani Fleurier, the official partner of Bugatti since 2001, unveiled the second generation of its Bugatti models. Parmigiani flips all the mechanical components of the new
calibre Bugatti PF 372 onto a vertical axis, retaining the lateral time display so appreciated by car drivers. The manually-wound Calibre Parmigiani 372 (power reserve of 10 days) was designed in two planes in order to match the contours of the new Bugatti watch. Six sapphire crystals reveal its 337 impressive components and the ‘openworked’ oval dial, inclined on a 90-degree axis and
made from carbon fibre in honour of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport, shows the hours and minutes. The ‘gold black’ Côtes de Genève and satin finishes on the bridges and the 3-dimensional turn-in angles on the train wheel bridge reflect Parmigiani’s exacting standards. Only 30 Haute Horlogerie pieces of this special edition will be delivered.

This is the first article from Watchonista, our resident experts on all things horology. The article was written by Alexander Friedman, Founder/Partner of Watchonista.

For more information on Watchonista, visit the website:

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LJW / Urban Life party

Event pictures from our party for London Jewellery Week, held at 141 Park Lane.
All images © Patrick Anderson for Urban Life Magazine

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