8Aug

You can sleep when you are dead: how to move through the hangover in NYC

“God, I’m so tired” comes to mind. But there are many reasons to drag yourself through the day & dance till dawn every night!

To get going, first up a coffee and food needs to be organised! Delis do a great BLT (bacon fried to snapping point) and they deliver, even if it amounts to $5! Don’t be shy, call your local deli- the concierge will have the number.

I have my favourite haunts from many an early shoot morning: Columbine for the best BLT on 7 grain bread; Ceci Cela for perfect French baguette with ham; Joe’s for the best coffee in town (and although coffee is finally getting serious in NYC you still have to know where they are located); a lofty Balthazar Breakfast; Le Pain QuotidienBrown Cafe for l.e.s breakfast platter; The Smile.

2Aug

The Museum of International Folk Art: the Girard Collection

Best museum ever! I heard about the Girard Collection through Josh Yeldman’s sister at the opening of the Archibald, and quickly put it on the mental list of places to visit.

100,000 pieces accumulated & collected from around the globe. All folk, naïve, art that may have gone unrecognised or deposed of. This is everyday, ceremonial, handicraft to enjoy & play with: beadwork, textiles, amulets, religious, tiny towns, masks, wedding & dowry, papier mache, tinwork, weaving, pottery, games, magic, puppets, costumes.

It is bold in vision & colour, in the designed interior of its founder & creator, Alexander Girard. He has curated without definition or restriction, as objects stand & fly up high or down very low, look everywhere!! It made me  feel that most of us need more colour, more celebration, more magic & more fun in our lives.

Note: the shop is fabulous, leave time to spend your pocket money!!

2Aug

20 Hours in Santa Fe

A quick trip & yes, way to quick. I have an emotional attachment to the desert, it makes my heart sing but the reason is unknown to me, perhaps it is a left over sentiment from a past life.

I had a meeting with an exciting new company and thought I would try to squeeze some extra play in. Although I had to fly into Albuquerque, an hours drive from Sante Fe, it did not disappoint as the desert showed off a spectacular sunset that had me trying to capture it out my window whilst driving (not advised).

Sante Fe was pumping, a balmy night with a whisper of a classic car rally in the plaza. I checked in to the very central, and tonally designed, Hotel St Francis. A late night snack at Pasqual’s on the corner and a stroll around town. There are lots of fun bars where you can try a margherita or two!

Head to the Farmer’s Market at the Railway for a light breakfast & coffee in the morning (I had tamale), a bag of seasonal fruit & vegetables to pick away at. Cherries, early stone fruit, carrots & radishes were in season when I was there. Buy a Monte Cristo panama to shield off the midday desert sun and check out the Native American jewellery on display around the plaza.

Make time to visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum followed by lunch at The Shed. Then to Museum Hill for The Museum of International Folk Art and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture.

Finish  the day at Ten Thousand Waves, Japanese style baths in the sandy hills behind Sante Fe, for a stone massage or lazing around in the pools.

1Aug

Sleep No More

I heard word of this whilst meeting with the architects/ visionaires/ designers and thought it sounded like a trip. A good trip.

This is an interactive, make it your own kind of theatre. It plays out at the McKittrick Hotel on 27th St which you check into for the evening (note: this is not a real hotel).

You are enticed & intrigued at once, even with the simple act of checking your bag & heels as I did. You’re elevated to the 2nd floor which is a bar that acts as a kind of super fun alcohol fuelled waiting area hosted by the marvellous Maximillian.

On check in you receive a ‘key’ which is also a card, that is required at some point (so don’t lose it). I am not going to reveal all, but do suggest the absinthe spiked shots, and St Germaine & champagne cocktail. You are allowed access into the upper 3 floors as long as you agree to the rules of No Talking and wearing your white nosed mask at all times.

I went alone & many are broken up anyway, so have fun, don’t worry if you are not following a plot or are slightly lost (there is a book for sale at the end for $20 with some form of explanation). The actors come in & out of the many rooms (I think it’s about 50) and you might stumble upon them dancing in a ballroom, setting a table, naked in a tub with blood smeared hands or crashing into the funeral parlour, whose drawers you may be riffling through! I took several breaks on the 2nd floor to listen to the quartet & gorgeous jazz singer with her silky smooth voice and top up on the cocktails.

It goes for about 3 hours, you can check out whenever you like, but I never wanted to leave. It is a somewhat choose-your-own-adventure and adventure it is. You are often on your own, and unaware of how many participants there actually are.  The sets and attention to detail is extraordinary: sweet shops, forest, funeral parlours, pheasant filled  janitor cupboards, cardboard bars, lounge rooms, dimly lit sconced hallways, bedrooms, cavernous ballrooms, an empty restaurant with a horse, a curiosity shop with taxidermied creatures amongst other oddities, stone garden with scuptures and book shelved lined rooms.

You are encouraged to touch, listen, sit, open, try on, lie on and explore all corners in any order at any time, but more time is what I needed! This is the best fun, intriguing, mind blowing, uplifting, sexy, dark, eery, curious (if your are afraid of the dark I recommend you do not go). I could go 20 times & have a different experience each time at Sleep No More.

27Jul

Scotland, Here I Come!

I am working on my next book, the companion to Nomad and for research, I’m heading to Scotland. I have anticipated this trip for many years and have decided to take my favourite roadtrip companion, my Dad! Yes, happy birthday Dad.

I plan on visiting the shores of Firth of Forth to scour the shores & follow the footsteps of a young Darwin, once a student of Edinburgh University collecting barnacles & other specimens. Then I plan to head North in search of the ever-elusive Loch Ness monster (although I am convinced he has just been patiently awaiting my arrival & will reveal himself & all his finery!)

Then further afield for some moors, castles, maybe a lighthouse stay for good measure – with plenty of archery & falconry tossed in, all whilst sipping whisky & gin!!!

Any suggestions of shops, museums, inns, hotels, castles, pubs, restaurant, trains, boats, rides & other fun, please send info our way!!!

26Jul

Secrets

When I was growing up, I had a fascination with secrets. Although I am not the greatest keeper of secrets, I did like the places I could hide them.

Loose floorboards, secret hidey holes in bookcases, my father’s safe under the shag pile rug in his office. I had to make-do with carefully cutting each & every page in one of my Enid Blyton Magic Faraway Tree books, then glueing them together. A very long & tedious process I assure you.

Now to stash your secrets, I have made it very easy for you with a pre-fab version. Here are books, with plenty of room, to hide your secret jewellery, pot, keys, presents, sneaky ciggies, sweets or whatever else needs to be squirreled away from nosey parkers & curious minds. Good for all ages 2-100 years old.