• What to buy

    Does London need another clothes shop?  The short answer… no. 

    But then Club Monaco appeared, on Notting Hill's smart strip of Westbourne Grove.  And though we could all most certainly live without this new arrival, it will certainly make many people's lives a bit snazzier.

    The space, all white and fresh, was launched this week with a lunch given by Saffron Aldridge for her friends who rifled through the rails whilst doing elegant lady-scrapping over the last grey and white cashmere sweater.  It went a bit like this.  "No, you have it." "But really you must have it.  You saw it first."  Tempting to revert to school playground days and yell 'FIGHT'.  In the end the right girl got the jumper.

    Other winners include the coats and the accessories; t-shirt transforming necklaces, leather gloves and studded bags.  And there's a handy leggings bar for rush-in-grab-a-pair moments.  Nice work from the company that by the way, happens to be owned by Ralph Lauren. 

    Club Monaco, 233 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2SE


  • What to know

    Better Late Luxury is the new company you've always wished for.  Luxury travel at less than luxury prices.

    Founded by Henry Morley, the idea came about when he gave up his job running a security company and drove (with his brother Billy) from London to Capetown.  There was charity work and conservation efforts along the way.  But what the boys realized as they journeyed through Africa is that many of the super-luxe lodges are only full part of the year.  And mostly during the hyper busy school holidays. 

    The lads saw a market; promoting the special out-of-season prices that most of the luxe lodges offer to folk who can travel any time of year.  "We have most of the 'big-dog lodges' on our books with discounts of up to 55% off the top whack," explains Henry.  Whether it's Vamizi island in Mozambique, Richard Branson's Mahali Mzuri in Kenya or (my personal favourite) Enasoit Ranch in Laikipia, Kenya. 

    And Morley has no intention of simply sticking with Africa.  "Next up is Europe, then the Balkan coast and we want to have Asia on our books by Autumn."  And so do we Henry, so do we… 



  • What to do

    In the unlikely event that you need a better reason than "The sun is getting low on the horizon" to go out and order a fancy cocktail, one is herewith provided.

    London Cocktail Week, now in its third year, flows freely from October 7th to 13th, from its source at the Seven Dials in Covent Garden. Bascially, it's a citywide toast to - and with - all things shaken and stirred and intoxicating. Hundreds of bars and restaurants are participating; expect lots of tasting masterclasses, pop-up bars and parties.

    Look out, too, for the many "Discerning Drinker" events - ticketed affairs in interesting places, such as a "Luxury Trinity" spirits-pairing dinner at Hutong on the 33rd floor of the Shard; an immersion into RumFest, followed by a "Zacapa Above the Clouds" dinner at Oblix; or "Tanqueray G & Teatime" at the Rivington Grill in Shoreditch, a shamelessly - and somehow quintessentially English - gin-soaked take on afternoon tea. 

    For more information visit londoncocktailweek.com 

    By Steve King

    Grand Marnier offers all Vanity Fair A-List subscribers the chance to win one of ten pairs of tickets to 'Le Grand Bal' at The Club at The Ivy on Friday 11th October.  To enter this prize draw, send your details (name, address, email, telephone) to londoncocktailweek@tcs-uk.net by 12pm on Monday 7th October.  Terms and conditions apply.