As April showers have arrived I decided to avoid putting umbrellas in the newsletter. Instead we are announcing the opening of our Queensbury room where we have the bonus of a small outside area, in which we intend to grow ferns so the odd shower will keep the area nice and damp, although that is a rather selfish point of view.
On to sunnier climes:- should April be disappointing I reflected back to Morocco, so have included 3 oases to warm up the bones after a wet winter.
With sadness and disappointment, but also with understanding, you will read further down of Tim’s departure. I know he will be missed by many of you.
Morocco –holiday trip to Marrakech
After the slopes that we featured in February’s newsletter, I thought, for those looking for a city break, that maybe a short trip to Marrakech and its surrounding area is a must. It’s hardly long haul and with the same time difference here so these are some of the added attractions as well as a bit of welcome sun.
Whilst its great to soak up the atmosphere and smells of the souk and Medina there is less to do in Marrakech than most other ‘city break’ cities, so here are a few ideas for a day trip escape / break from the buzz.
This is an oasis of beautiful gardens and spaces to relax in with the usual pools with the addition of a really good spa too that makes you feel like you are floating after you leave, even after the basic scrub £18. Hotel shops are so often a rip off or disappointing and the Souk shops sell more tourist gifts and predictable items that in Marrakech look great but once back in the UK have less appeal, so another attraction at Beldi is the “Craft” village which is a complex small workshop in operation were the crafts men sell the product with a flavour of Morocco, but the wares are more sophisticated than the Souk. The price tickets won’t scare you off and the level of finish and design is remarkable so Beldi, if for nothing else, is a great place to shop. There is a charming conservatory restaurant which sadly has a bias towards French cuisine rather than the traditional cuisine - but often a break from tagine and couscous can be welcome!
Up in the mountain this is a beautiful oasis but be warned as it’s up a very steep dirt track - well worth negotiating but one hopes that there are no oncoming vehicles as it definitely has a ‘one way’ feel! The Kasbah is as one would expect - an imposing building with traditional decoration, set in beautiful grounds with restful flower and herb gardens - amazing views and a great authentic Moroccan buffet which is quite delicious!
For those looking for more of an adventure and fancy an equestrian experience then visit Domaine de la Roserie. The hotel is simple, understated and unspoilt, and you ride away from the hotel quickly finding yourself in the mountains. The horses are nimble and an enjoyable ride making you feel safe whilst riding through some beautiful countryside in an ever-changing landscape. Lunch is a special experience stopping at a Berber village where you are welcomed into a traditional home with the host having created a lunch that is homemade food and really delicious. You know you are getting an authentic trip, without any doubt, with a chance to meet the Berbers who are charming hosts so it is a wonderful and privileged experience. On departure you give "lucky money” which feels a little more sophisticated than a bill !!
This is the final phase of adjusting in the new store; it's been a year of change – adjusting the display of the product and making the space work for us. Our customers and also the team hereare settling into the layout of the store (ironically everything has ended up in the places we originally thought would work).
I wanted the Queensbury Room to allow us space to have ‘bazaar events’, showcasing diverse products that have a synergy with the integrity of what we sell, but that we would not include in our core range.
Without even starting to market the idea we have 4 events in the diary so far and are excited about what opportunities lie ahead.
Father's Day 4th -10th June, The perfect gift (Sunglasses, Socks, Cuff links, Ties)
The Pink House Mustique27th June - 1st July Lottie Bunbury designed beachwear
Sand Sea & Beach to Bar 4th-8th July (Swimming Trunks, Sunglasses, Towling shirt,Tunics sarongs kaftans
October Cashmere and knitwear
We will also be showcasing a collection of glamourous, retro,50’s-60’s signed pieces of designer costume jewellery of the period of excessive glamour - think Elizabeth Taylor Princess Margaret Palm Beach & the heights of Hollywood . Either go for a big statement or pick accent pieces to liven up the look.
Keep an eye out for information about confirmed events in future newsletters.
I don’t know which to start with - Tim running the London Marathon or him running away from Pickett !! Both are true.
After 11 years at Pickett (a third of his life I think?) - and although we agree reticently with him - it’s time for a change to his working environment. At least he will only be a five minute walk away at the menswear store, Albam, that he is joining. I feel I need to announce his departure as I think he has amassed a fan club amongst our customers who appreciate the time and attention he gives them when they visit – so I hope those who venture into Soho, Beak Street area will pop in and say hello to him. Please don’t put anymore pressure on him to come back or stay between now and his departure as I will already be doing enough of that !! Like Hotel California "you can always leave but never check out" ! I think it is his greatest fear is that my favourite Wizard of Oz line of ‘click your heels and say “there's no place like Pickett, there’s no place like Pickett” will come true if he clicks his black lace ups hard enough and he may be back at Albany! I will leave off further comments that I have made in the last week about wicked witches and the bitchy queens East of Mayfair!
Tentatively, he asked if I would include his London Marathon running in aid of Children with Cancer UK in the April newsletter as a few customers have sponsored him and emailed him regarding this so here is the link to Virgin Giving for those inclined to support him as its a worthy cause that his family have raised a significant amount of money for over the past few years.
We wish him the very best of luck on the 24th April, and also with his new job managing Albam.
We have always like good heathy competition that is local to us in the area – so if we are unable to help with a customer’s request we can then suggest, recommend or advise where an alternative product might be found. However, we do always like to be confidant about the quality of where we are redirecting our customers - so the arrival of Kwanpen in the Burlington Arcade at the end of 2014 was good as we knew they were a luxury store which exclusively sells crocodile products only . They have an extensive range of products made in an array of brightly coloured skins so it is a good alternative if you fail to find the right exotic product from us – it has certainly brought colour and has brightened the Arcade in the last 18 months.
The BBC2 programme - Country Life ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ (shown on 4th, 11th &18th March and still available on iPlayer) was not just a celebration of great houses around the UK featured on the front half of the magazine for sale, but it was a rounded review of what the magazine stands for and represents. There are some light and amusing items alongside the Frontispiece or "the girls in pearls" (or less complimentary ‘dog of the week’) with the series also covering farming issues as well environmental ones. It also trailed some of the magazine writers and contributors so it showed the viewer the research and how this weekly magazine is put together.
It was great to see Donald Fothergill in part 2 with the programme showcasing all his amazing work and effort in the restoration of Kinross House http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b073h2ll
How many awards ceremonies have you been to and wondered how, why, or whatever, but it’s obvious that’s its plainly a fix !! However this was not the case at The Mayfair Times Community Awards - it was impressive looking at the nominees with 8 categories narrowed down to three finalists. How did the magazine manage to find such interesting and diverse characters working behind the scenes of Mayfair St James’s all of whom keep the wheels running smoothly in the area that we work and live. I did not envy the judges who had to make the decision as to who won each category as it must have been a close call with all the finalists seemingly worthy of winning. However, they did and the awards ceremony at The Dorchester was a very smart slick event and I am looking forward to next year - I hope this will become an annual event as it has its place as a worthy event celebrating such people who truly give something back to the areas community.