DIANI Living


Monthly Archives: April 2013

Blighty Highlights



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Feeling Blue

While I sit here and will the sun to come out, I remind myself that my roses are loving the morning mist. I have TONS of white roses in my garden and am so glad I bought the silver rose bowls I found at a flea market the other week in England.

As a nod to the amazing Rag and Bone event DIANI just had, I’m dressed head-to-toe in the fab designer.

 My new silver rose bowls from a flea market in England with white roses from my garden.

All Rag and Bone: Blouse (similar), Skinny jeans, Harrow boots, Pilot bag. Isabel Marant necklace (similar). Oliver Peoples Braverman sunglasses. Call 1 877 342 6474 for more details.

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National Portrait Gallery – Man Ray

If you are in London before the end of May, make sure to check out the Man Ray photography exhibit at The National Portrait Gallery. It’s a comprehensive look at the evolution of his incredible photography techniques and fascination with people. His surrealist style blazed a trail not only in the art world, but the fashion world as well, and he helped create a visual style used by Vogue and Vanity Fair. Here are a few of my favorites.

Eva Gardner – 1951.

Solarized portrait of Lee Miller – 1929.

Helen Tamiris – 1929.

Remy Duval – 1930.

Lee Miller – 1930.

I also always enjoy seeing what the NPG has in their permanent portrait exhibition as they often have new aquisitions like my three new favorites below.

Amy Winehouse by Marlene Dumas – 2011.

Mo Mowlam by John Keane – 2001.

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge by Paul Emsley – 2012.

I also highly recommend the Bowie Exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum. It was sold out while we were there, so book WAY ahead. It shows until August 11th.


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Margaret Thatcher – 1925-2013

“What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.”

Baroness Margaret Thatcher

I happened to be in London when Baroness Margaret Thatcher died last week and I have to say, I became very nostalgic. Today she’s receiving a full military funeral in London, with heads of state from all over the world paying tribute to her service. What I have to share has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with what she represented to me as a girl growing up in England. When I was 8 years old, I knew nothing about her politics, but I did know she was a woman, and she made it seem perfectly normal and acceptable to be a succesful and powerful woman in a man’s world. I can’t think of another country during that era with a similar role model. She made me believe that, as a girl, I could do and be anything I wanted to be. I never once felt like I couldn’t go toe-to-toe with a man in any career I chose. She was courageous, outspoken, provoking and all the things that contemprary women like COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg advocate for.

Sandberg says in her book, Lean In, “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes. I believe that this would be a better world. The laws of economics and many studies of diversity tell us that if we tapped the entire pool of human resources and talent, our collective performance would improve. Legendary investor Warren Buffett has stated generously that one of the reasons for his great success was that he was competing with only half the population. The Warren Buffetts of my generation are still largely enjoying this advantage. When more people get in the race, more records will be broken. And the achievements will extend beyond those individuals to benefit us all.”

My hope, now that I live in America, is that more girls from younger generations will have the fortune of seeing more and more women at the top of the game.


Image Credits. From top: Jeffrey Doornbos, Thatcher PortraitThatcher in Moscow


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Richmond – Rich in Delight

Just a few years back (wink wink, nudge nudge), I went to Kingston University in South London. Not only does it have one of the top two fashion schools in the U.K., but it also sits by one of the London area’s most overlooked parts of the city. I wanted to show my fiancé my old stomping grounds, so, we fought our way through the urban jungle with my friend, Gail, and ended in Richmond Park, home to thousands of deer grazing in the endless grasslands and trees that are regal and abundant – trees that seem to come alive in the shadows of twilight. When I was at University, I used to go out of my way to drive through the park. Such a haven from the hustle and bustle of Blighty.

The river Thames snakes around Richmond, which became a world of punting, and river boating. At University, it was a regular stop for a Sunday pub lunch. My fiancé discovered that it’s also a great spot for a quick shot of whiskey!

As we continued on along the Thames, Gail pointed us in the direction of Petersham Nurseries. Go for the amazing food and atmosphere, stay for the beautiful plants and flowers. What an inspiration!

Our cute little lunch spot.

Gail and I amongst a forest of blossoms.

The sweetest loo I’ve ever seen.

So simple and so beautiful.

Our bellies full, and our senses sated, we continued on up the A1 to our final destination… my childhood home of Newcastle. More on that later! In the meantime, add Richmond to your list of London To-Dos!

Image credit: Jeffrey Doornbos


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Street Style – London Style

One of my favorite things about London is the style. Somehow Londoners dress with a kind of ease that never looks overdone. It’s preppy, punk and polished all at the same time. And even more impressive, is no matter how cold the weather, and it was COLD, the style never suffers.

Me in my MiH Bonn jeans. Available at DIANI. (shout-out for the British denim brand). Helmut by Helmut Lang jacket, Isabel Marant moccasins (get on the wait list at DIANI. 1 877 342 6474), Plush hat.

I bought these Dr. Martens last year to ride my motorbike in, not realizing that they were going to make a comeback. They’re all over London. I’m wearing mine with Rag and Bone skinnies and an Anya Hindmarch animal print bag (another Brit designer).

Spotted. Anya Hindmarch Bathurst bag (get yours at DIANI) and Isabel Marant Beckett sneakers (get on the wait list at DIANI. 1 877 342 6474).

Love her edgy office look. Mulberry bag.

Sometimes when you can’t stop wearing black or brown, add your color to your hair. So punky and so British.

Have I told you I have a mens shoe obsession? Nothing beats a guy in a sharp pair of shoes. Spotted all over the tube.

Sneakers, sneakers everywhere. Converse and Adidas face-off.

A Johnny Depp look-a-like.

My fella looking very dapper in a Rag and Bone blazer, Barbour scarf and Goorin Bros cap.

My fella and his uber chic Paul Smith shoes (Supporting the Brit designers).

Love ’em or hate ’em, they got style.

Spotted at Tate Modern. Isabel Marant Beckett sneakers in cobalt. Get on the wait list for other colors at DIANI. 1 877 342 6474. Burberry umbrella.

This lad’s got mad style for walking the entire length of the Embankment balancing a ball on his noggin.

Yes, it’s Isabel Marant, again. Spotted at London’s Heathrow airport. The Balesi sneaker in denim. Get yours here at DIANI. Louis Vuitton bag.

Image credit. Jeffrey Doornbos

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Gardening Sunday – Part 2

The terracotta pots we painted last weekend finally got planted with succulents this weekend and placed on our “ugly” wall. It’s not so ugly anymore! Such a fun project and such great results. Here’s a look at the outcome.

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