Love it or hate it? I just had to visit the first ever Marmite shop on Regent Street, the pop up shop that everyone is talking about. It’s open for the next two months, selling over 100 different Marmite-themed products, ranging from t-shirts to tableware, artwork to aprons, stationery to snacks and much more! It’s a great place to pick up stocking fillers for Christmas or to simply satisfy Marmite cravings. My favourite bit was the upstairs cafe where you can enjoy a cup of tea and some Marmite on toast!
I stayed at The Crosby Street Hotel for the first time since it opened when I was in New York. The location (Spring and Prince) is perfect and it totally lived up to expectations. From the minute you walk in the front door and receive the best welcome, to the beautifully decorated rooms by Kit Kemp, complete with Miller Harris products in the bathroom, you just don’t want to leave. The atmosphere made me feel that a little bit of London had been transported to Manhattan – the Sunday afternoon cinema with afternoon tea is one example. I can’t wait to try the outdoor garden next summer!
Trafalgar Square is hosting a forest of trees from Ghana this week as part of an installation by artist Angela Palmer. The sight of these gigantic stumps of trees with their huge tentacular roots next to the fountains and lions of the Square is strangely moving. The installation is designed to heighten awareness of climate change – particularly in Ghana where 90% of the rainforest has been cut down because of aggressive logging practices. After this the trees are off to Copenhagen for the Climate Change conference. Birnam wood is on the move!
This week I attended a cocktail party for Design Miami hosted by Ambra Medda at the Bowery Hotel in New York. I also had time to visit The High Line, Manhattan’s newest park, which has been built 30 feet above the city on a stretch of disused 1930’s freight railbed. It’s been transformed by Dutch horticulturalist, Piet Oudolf, with imaginatively planted wild-prairie grasses. The overall vision is the work of Diller Scofidio + Renfro who have thoughtfully included a sundeck and clever seating- with views across the Hudson.
There are so many ways in which artists strive to convey a sense of character, situation and relationships in their work. The immediacy of photography is very clear to see in the wonderful Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize show at the National Portrait Gallery. There is something compelling about the clarity of the images, the weird intensity of many of the expressions and, in many cases, the trust the subject puts in the photographer to convey an honesty which is genuinely moving. The show has just opened and runs until 14th February 2010.