• What to eat

    The thing about hampers is they look so glorious when they arrive, all pretty packaging in a smart wicker picnic basket.  But remove all the wadding, twinkle and ribbon and there, in the dark corners of your hamper are the kind of weird chutneys, disgusting pickles and strange sweets you'd expect to find at the back of great aunt Lucy's larder. 

    This is not the case at The Deli at L'Anima Cafe (next to L'Anima restaurant in Shoreditch).  Here hampers are filled with the best, most delicious produce southern Italy has to offer; Eleusi olive oil, Leonessa orrecchiete pasta, sun dried zucchini and Batasaro wine from Calabria.  Or fill a hamper with all your favourite goodies from The Deli. 

    The important message, whether you're giving or receiving, is do away with all that old-school nonsense and jars of fridge clutter.  Instead choose a hamper filled with the kind of food you really want and really want to give. 

    The Deli at L'Anima Café, 60 Worship Street, London
    Tel: 020 7422 7080
    www.lanimacafe.co.uk

  • What to know

    Just arrived… the email of my dreams: 'Dear Thrill Seekers!  I have just recently returned from Marrakesh where I happened to meet a contact of mine from Iceland, from one image he showed me (a series of lava plumes spurting 35m - 50m into the air) we have come up with a plan to witness one of the better volcanic occurrences of modern times.' 

    The email is from Henry Cookson, adventurer, explorer, part of team N2i who feature in the Guinness Book of Records as 'The First People to Reach the Pole of Inaccessibility by foot'.  But this wasn't always the case; until 2005 Cookson worked at Goldman Sachs.  He had next to zero experience of camping or polar travel.  But that year, alongside a couple of pals, Henry entered the Scott Dunn Polar Challenge race to the Magnetic North Pole.  And they won.  He never went back to the city.

    Instead, Cookson spent time in Alaska, qualified as a guide, began leading polar expeditions and set up Henry Cookson Adventures, takings guests to the world's most  tourist-free nooks, on thrilling journeys, both hot and cold.

    This latest trip to view Bardarbunga volcano is typical Henry; helicopters, dinner in a lava cave, hot waterfalls, volcanology experts, camping in space age tents and just maybe, if the skies are clear, the mysterious dance of the northern lights.  Of course Cookson has arranged incredible access within the volcano's 25km exclusion zone, usually reserved only for researchers and scientists.

    But there's no time to lose.  Who knows when Bardarbunga will cease erupting?  The last time it spewed molten was in 1901.  This is a trip not just for thrill seekers but speedy decision makers.  Oh and gas masks will be provided.

    www.henrycookson.com
    Tel: 020 7736 0452

  • What to buy

    The Loquet London brilliance continues.  The clear lockets filled with irresistible charms twinkle around necks throughout the world.  Now designers Sheherazade Goldsmith and Laura Bailey are working our ears.

    Stud earrings in plain 14kt gold or shimmering with diamonds, come in a panoply of meaningful charms that continue to tell the story; hearts, butterflies, a crescent moon or shooting stars worn individually or layered up the lobe. 

    Loquet London studs make a dream present.  And they're enough to make me want to pierce my own virgin ears.  And not just the once! 

    PS. Rumour has it Loquet London will be spreading their magic to further body parts in 2015.  Could it be bracelets?

    www.loquetlondon.com