• What to see

    One of the most mind-blowing things about the new Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea exhibition at the  Natural History Museum, is a huge Turbinaria coral, the largest of any museum in Europe.

    But as we know, size isn't everything. It's the fact that this coral was crowbarred off Shark Bay reef off the west coast of Australia in 1893 by William Saville-Kent, a marine biologist from Devon. And that since the 1970s this colossal specimen has sat in a box, stored somewhere in the bowels of the museum. "I'm ecstatic that it's not hidden away in a box," says Marine Invertebrate Collections Manager, Miranda Lowe. "And that it's being exhibited for both its beauty and importance in science and history."

    Other specimens unearthed and dusted-off from the back of the museum's cupboards include corals collected by Charles Darwin during his voyage on HMS Beagle from 1831-1836, that helped to form and illustrate his theory on reef formation. 

    For non-divers there's an attempt at giving a wet-free, virtual dive experience on The Great Barrier Reef, Hourglass Reef in Bermuda and swimming with manta rays off Komodo Island in Indonesia. But of course nothing's as awe-inspiring as the real deal - so the exhibition ends on a window into the extraordinarily complex, organized and often gaudily colourful underwater-world, with a live coral reef housing 40 types of fish and 26 species of coral. 

    Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea at the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD until 13th September 2015


  • Where to go

    Wednesday 25th March at Sotheby's sees the sale of all the old furniture, tableware even the doormat from one of London's most famous restaurants - The Ivy.

    The sale, benefitting Child Bereavement UK, gives way to a clean slate for designer Martin Brudnizki charged with giving The Ivy an overhaul. So while The Ivy is crawling with builders, it's a good excuse to visit that old west-end friend Le Caprice. Under the directorship of Jesus Adorno who welcomes both old and new with open-armed warmth, Le Caprice remains a favourite for its slick, black and white 80s design, David Bailey photographs and of course a great Sunday brunch. 

    But alongside all of that, Le Caprice also offers Saturday Jazz afternoons, or a swift pre-theatre dinner or  Royal Academy package that includes a late lunch or early supper with tickets to the latest show at Royal Academy of Arts. Book soon for the current Rubens and his Legacy show, before it closes on 10th April. And then not long to go til May, when The Ivy reopens. 


    Image credit:
    Peter Paul Rubens
    Tiger, Lion and Leopard Hunt, 1616
    Oil on canvas, 256 x 324.5 cm
    Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes
    Photo © MBA, Rennes, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Adélaïde Beaudoin

    Le Caprice offers all Vanity Fair A-List members the chance to win a pair of tickets to Rubens and his Legacy at Royal Academy of Arts and a late lunch (2pm) or early dinner (6pm) for 2 people (including 2 courses, a bottle of wine, a bottle of water, a cocktail each and tea or coffee).  Don't miss out on future offers, sign up to the A-List.

  • What to buy

    Like a modern Girl's Guide, I Should Have Said by Daisy de Villeneuve is filled with jaw-dropping comments made by unsuitable paramours or anti-sisterhood friends, and the witty comebacks Daisy wishes she'd said.

    For the last three years, London-born illustrator, designer and writer Daisy de Villeneuve has been in Paris, bravely collating and plucking the mordant and sometimes painful tales, symptomatic of dating disasters and bitchy-girl minefields. This week saw the culmination of her hard work at the launch of I Should Have Said at John Sandoe in Chelsea; Daisy's talent and soul laid bare via her trademark drawings - scratchy felt-tip pen on French schoolbook paper.

    Whether for cautionary tales, as a witty guide to future situations or simply for the pleasure of Daisy's drawings and skewed humour, I Should Have Said is the book to give your girlfriends right now.

    I Should Have Said by Daisy de Villeneuve, £7.99 published by Hardie Grant.