L’Odyssée d'un Roi


On Tuesday I ventured south of the Seine for a very special breakfast at Hermes flagship store in Paris’ Saint-Germain-de-Prés, a beautiful space that was designed by the architectural firm, RDAI in a former 1930s swimming pool. The event marked the unveiling of a crystal magnum decanter – one of three of its kind that was made to rest in a bespoke leather trunk crafted by Hermes. This unique decanter, accompanied by four glasses, has been created in collaboration with Hermes, Saint Louis Crystal, Puiforcat and Louis XIII, to be auctioned off by Sotheby’s in New York, Hong Kong and London. The proceeds will go to The Film Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded in 1990 by Martin Scorsese to protect cinema’s heritage - something that's close to my heart, being a big film buff! This project celebrates adventure, discovery and luxury travel at its best, so it’s only apt that the decanter be filled with an exclusive blend of the world’s finest and most travelled champagne cognac – Louis XIII, an intense, rich liquor with notes of leather, nutmeg and coffee that has been served aboard the likes of the Orient Express and Concord. 

I was invited to taste it – I don’t usually have the stomach for potent spirits (the type to put hairs on your chest), but it’s not every day that Louis XIII requests your company to try a very exclusive cognac, one so rich in history. So I obliged and as the Director of Louis XIII described, the deep gold liquid did indeed wash over my tastebuds in delicious waves. Find out more here

Created in collaboration with Hermes & Saint Louis. 

Dedar Milano

Last week, as you may have seen from my Instagram photos, I went on a little trip to Milan to discover the Italian furnishings brand,


(short for Design D'Arradamento) and had quite a journey (this is an epic post, just like the trip, so be prepared!) A family run business, Dedar has been going for some 40 years and creates gorgeous luxurious fabrics and wallpapers - they recently did a collaboration with Hermès. First we drove to their showroom in Milan and were introduced to the team and thousands of richly-coloured fabrics in an array of materials, from silk and velvet to linen - some so soft to the touch, that I could have happily laid down on one and had a little snooze. I'd woken up at 5am for the flight after all. Next we drove over to the

Arts & Food Triennale

to peruse the vast exhibition dedicated to food and art through the ages that showcases everything from kitchen design, cutlery and ceramics to how food is portrayed or used in modern art. If you're a big foodie, this is a good one to add to your bucket list.

This was followed by lunch in the terrace restaurant on the roof of the building, which had launched when the exhibition opened this year. Lovely and airy, with a view over the gardens and Milan's financial district beyond, it was the perfect place to take a lunchtime pause before we ventured on to our next destination. 

After lunch we visited

Villa Necchi

. If you've watched the film,

I Am Love

starring Tilda Swinton (in which she plays a Russian, married to a Milanese), you'll recognise the interior, as it's the house where the family lives. An incredibly-designed space - the architect, Piero Portaluppi was given free reign and an unlimited budget - it was originally owned by one of Milan's wealthiest families, who made their fortune by creating the Necchi sewing machine. It's one of the most beautifully designed and furnished villas I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. To say I was excited to see it, was an understatement. I would happily have stayed there all day snapping away, and probably done my best to lock myself in and never leave had we not had a guide. The interior is what you might expect (and more) from an Italian villa built in the 1930s in the art-deco style. Marble is in abundance -  all the bathrooms are furnished from floor to ceiling in the opulent material, either in blue, green, pink or black. The staircase is made from walnut, there are wooden floors, marble fireplaces, ornately-carved doors and the furnishings are equally luxurious. My favourite being the green velvet sofas in one of the living spaces, which has a huge corner window that looks out into the trees and garden, so that the outside feels part of the space. The villa was the location used for Dedar's most recent collection campaign, hence our visit and I could see just how well Dedar's fabrics suited the villa's interior style. Heaven. 

After dragging myself away - I was of course the last to leave, literally running after the group - we drove over to the new

Fondazione Prada

. Another feast for the eyes, the new foundation has been built in an old distillery, with warehouses renovated into large gallery spaces by the architecture firm OMA, led by Rem Koolhaas. It's a modern space that reveals its historical roots - old buildings have been given a new life, with mirrored walls and one of the buildings has been painted entirely in gold. [You can see me posing against its wall


]. The foundation is currently showing a range of contemporary artists, including Louise Bourgeois. If you're an art fan and find yourself in Milan, this is a must-see. 

By the end of the day, my head was literally buzzing with visual and inspiration overload. So an hour's car ride to our hotel in Lake Como was a welcome relief. But of course more beauty was waiting. We checked into the

Hotel Villa Flori

, right on the bank of the Lake, so that when I opened my doors onto the balcony I could have jumped into the water. [See the view on my Instagram 


]. I quickly changed and met the rest of the group, including the Dedar's two owners Caterina and Rafaelle Fabrizio for a drink on the bar's terrace. After a full day of sightseeing it was time for the classically Italian drink, Apero Spritz.  Drinks were followed by dinner in a nearby restaurant, again with magnificent views of the lake. After eating and drinking a little more than my fill, I woke up fuzzy-headed the next day, but luckily it was a much more calm and relaxed itinerary - we visited the company's offices and then the factory to see how all the fabrics are made before heading to the airport to fly home. 

The terrace restaurant at Arts & Foods 

Villa Necchi

Fondazione Prada