A few years ago, I decided I didn’t want to turn around when I am older and realize that I have run out of time to see all the places I’ve always wanted to go to, so I decided that I would travel to a couple of bucket list places each year until the day I give up the ghost.
This year, one of those places was Tuscany, the long revered and wistfully imagined Italian countryside. Italy, I have been to plenty,but Tuscany was always a little too far from the action of Rome, Milan or Capri to make a trek to when I was younger. Funny how things change as one gets older- now all I search for is a place where peace can overcome my whirring brain into blissful submission.
First thing to know about Tuscany is that it’s actually quite big. Not perhaps by Australian standards, but it became clear that to see the region you’d have to put aside at least 2 weeks of holiday, not just a long weekend. Winding country roads make for slow driving and that’s exactly how it should be when traversing rolling hills, ancient hamlets and the gold of summer wheat fields. Not that this impressed my 11 year old daughter Coco who wanted to know when we would get to a pool.
Our destination ; Castello Di Vicarello, a romantic boutique hotel set in an old castle run by two brothers passionate about preserving the best artesian techniques and marrying them with the most luxurious 21stcentury comforts. Boasting their own veggie garden, olive grove and vineyard plus game, wild mushroom and truffle hunting in the fall and spectacular wildflowers in the spring, the hotel also has extensive grounds, dual pools, excellent locally sourced produce, beautiful rooms and well, it’s perfect ok? We didn’t want to leave it’s literally that amazing
I packed light for this trip -just a few dresses, a couple of swimsuits and two pairs of shoes. Travelling light is a change for me but a perfect white dress in summer is non negotiable. This one made me feel like Brigitte Bardot by hugging my curves whilst miraculously giving me an actual cleavage.
( Sir the Label dress, vintage gold medallion necklace worn throughout)
I may be multitasking my clothes but my toiletries bag is well stocked, especially during the summer months when the heat and the sun’s rays become too drying. I always carry some coconut oil for my skin and hair (apply in the shower for ultimate hydration), then I follow it up with the John Masters Organics Blood Orange and Vanilla body Milk. For my face I love Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Oil followed up by the Hop & Cotton The Skinshield zinc protector, however if things get really dire I will do a La Praire Skin Caviar Luxe Sleep Mask to get my skin back to life. My hair becomes brittle without the Damage Remedy Aveda shampoo and conditioner and the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Coconut Breeze leave in conditioner, and as far as make up; all I really do in the summer is a smidgen of Giorgio Armani’s power fabric foundation, Charlotte Tilbury beach stick in Moon Beach, Clarins Mascara Supra Volume, Shu Uemura eyebrow pencil and a good lip balm like Carla Oates Beauty Fix balm that can also double as an emergency moisturizer .
I love that the slow food movement originated in Italy – it is in Tuscany that you really notice how amazing ingredients equal incredible food. One of my favourite moments was eating wild boar pappardelle and artisanal copper stamped corzetti pasta with nettle, along with good chianti and a sunset dip in the pool ( Matteau swim)
It was hard leaving heaven but on our way back to Rome, we visited many beautiful villages and towns such as the incredible Pitigliano, Montepulciano and Cortona as well as Terme Di Saturnia, where warm healing mineral rich water bursts out of the ground in a waterfall seeping into a series of natural pools. Book dinner at the Ristorante Due Cippi or Bacco E Cerere for one last hit of Tuscany food porn. ( Zimmerman bikini, Prada sunglasses from Sunglass hut )
With thanks to Castello Di Vicarello and my daughter Coco
Summer is upon us and while the temperatures soar it's easy to drift into the repetitive cut off denim and t-shirt offender land. Sometimes I get so lazy when the days get steaming that I literally wear the same thing every day until I notice my own daughter raising eyebrows in disbelief. But there are clothes out there that are summerliscious and gorgeous, that promise elegance and ease and the sort of put together cool that makes one feel like they're a cool cucumber in the crippling heat. Then, there are totes; tote bags; easy and simple, with space for everything, practicality of a hoarder and simple beauty of an ingenue. Totes are the bag version of a secret maximalist, the happy go lucky bag that will hide all your random treasures while putting on a paired back front. This bag is a mainstay, and if you don't have one yet, well,frankly, you are missing out ; they are an absolute must have. Going to the markets? Tote is there for you. Going to the beach? The tote will hold your towel, sunnies, sunscreen and magazines. It will be there when you do an unexpected supermarket shop or when you need your laptop for a meeting. Everything is easy with a tote in tow.
In my second season in collaboration with the revamped ( and currently very cool ) Coach brand, I wanted to sing praise for this unsung hero of the accessory world while styling it back with some of my lust have clothes of the season...because; summer !
Above (Do the midriff with some interesting detailing and go day to night : Christopher Esber top, Ellery skirt, Coach tote, Giuseppe Zanotti pumps, Amber Sceats bracelets )
Beach coverup to barefoot soiree : this jumpsuit does it all ( Tome jumpsuit, Coach tote, Jordan Askill x Georg Jensen necklace )
A simple silk slip and tote are perfect for day coupled with interesting accessories ( Interval slip, Emeli earrings, Coach tote, Proenza Schouler mules )
Take your new bestie to the seaside and make it carry everything while you rock a retro inspired bikini ( Matteau bikini, Coach bag, Seed espadrilles, Dita sunglasses )
photographed by Alice Wesley-Smith