• What to buy

    Everytime I compliment a man on his clothes, the same label gets mentioned… Folk.

    So it was time for a trip to Lambs Conduit street in Bloomsbury, to visit the home of Folk, including the separate mens and womenswear shops and the design studio for a peak into the crystal ball at the Spring Summer 2014 moodboards.

    Folk initially launched 7 years ago as a menswear label, but girls wanted a slice of the action too. So last season womenswear was added. For this summer, the men's gear is about layers with naïf details e.g. a colourful knitted pocket on a jacket, post-box red trousers, triple-denim and moccasin meets desert boots with a touch of fluoro to the lace. Meanwhile womenswear includes fluoro dresses, wedge boots and knee length shorts. Both have a gently tailored but slightly crumpled feel.

    I like the Folk folk. The gear they sell is cool. And even if you're not 22 or in a band, they make you feel like you might be.


  • Where to stay

    A discerning (okay, sniffy) friend, who likes nice things in life announced that he's stopped staying in hotels on trips to New York. And neither does he stay with friends. Instead he uses the 'unhotel' company One Fine Stay, who rent out people's flats and houses per night.

    And apparently the service is spit-spot. They have 1000 places to choose from (spread across New York and London), immaculate hotel-level cleaning, White Company linen, towels and bathroom products throughout (and Kiehls if you're renting in NYC), free wifi (unlike fancy hotels that charge the earth for connection), a welcome pack full of snacks and breakfast goodies and an iPhone to make free local calls and loaded with tips from the home owner. A One Fine Stay team-member meets each guest on arrival and is on call 24/7 (if you need a maid, florist, cook, taxi they'll sort it).

    Hotels can try as hard as they like, but they'll always be hotels. And sometimes you just want to go home. Even if it's someone else's home.


  • Where to go

    You know what it's like. The boutique hotel you've chosen for your cosy winter weekend is perfect in every way. Nestled in a heavenly pocket of blackberry hedged English countryside. Decorated so beautifully you want to take the furnishings home with you (but not so smart that you're afraid to touch them.) Boasting dining, wining, and pore-refining of the highest level. Perfect. Except for one tiny thing. You're not. 

    Well, you are, of course, but the staff sure make you feel less than perfect when you pull up in your early model car with your mismatched luggage and scruffy spouse.

    Not at Barnsley House, my friend. This 17th Century house-cum-boutique Cotswolds hotel has plenty to boast about, from its famous gardens (even the restaurant-fuelling potager garden is a thing of wonder) to the tiny details in the rooms. (Bunches of garden mint in your fridge should you fancy a fresh tea, delightful little books to read in the bath, a DVD library to satisfy every viewing need, a maclight on your automatic room key so you can open the door no matter what your alcohol breath level….)

    But at no point do the staff make you feel like you're crashing their party. Fancy watching a really bad movie in the luxurious private cinema hidden in the gardens? They encourage it. Dying for a perfect Bloody Mary by the fire in one of the many cosy nooks in the main house at 9am wearing your slippers? No problem. Forgot your swimsuit but can't wait to sit in the outdoor spa pool after a heavenly Aromatherapy Associates facial? They'll laugh along with you as you select from their range of questionable (but freshly laundered) spares.

    Barnsley House itself may be perfect, but they couldn't give a toss if you're not. Even though, of course you are.


    by Annabel Davidson

    Barnsley House offered all Vanity Fair A-List members the chance to win an overnight stay (worth £399) in a twin/double room (two people sharing) to include dinner (£40 allowance per person) and a spa treatment (£90 spa vouchers with the room). Don't miss out on future offers, sign up to the A-List