THE STYLE LIST : AUGUST/SEPTEMBER

As we are restricted in our social activities currently our monthly STYLE LIST has been reduced to bi monthly. As all that feature on a STYLE LIST have been tried and tested. So lets see who made the August/ September STYLE LIST.

MOST STYLISH HOTEL

Well for regular followers you would have read my travel blog on Lake Como this month and one of the most stylish Hotels I have ever stayed in. The newly opened MANDARIN HOTEL in Blevio, Lake Como takes style to a whole new level. Unpretentious yet exuding quality in both service and decor. Exceptionally peaceful and restful , although Covid restrictions and guest levels (staff ratio of about 10:1) may have had something to do with this. If you are visiting Como there is only one place to stay, the new girl on the block this truly wonderful Hotel.

The Mandarin Hotel Lake Como

MOST STYLISH RESTAURANT

From dining out five times a week to almost zero has severely restricted my pool to choose from. Also hard to guage how stylish a restaurant is under present conditions so almost no restaurant living up to our high standards of the STYLE LIST. So back to Como for this one. Although still difficult to find a really super stylish restaurant in Como I managed to locate one that is well worth a visit. Set in the small village of TORNO the family owned restaurant VAPORE excelled on all levels. Situated on the edge of the lake this was picture postcard perfect, like the movies you have played over in your head. Fresh fish from the lake and cooked to perfection and the best Tiramisu. Dreamy views just add to the attraction. I am pleased to share this little gem I have discovered off the main road into this fabulous little village.

VAPORE and the gorgeous village of TORNO

MOST STYLISH FASHION

The most talked about fashion accessory of the moment HAS to be the face mask. Going to be with us for longer than we thought has now become a fashion staple. So it is time for some style injection. Burberry are launching their own face mask ( reusable ….phew ), also providing particle filtration efficiency (PFE) and treated with anti bacterial technology. 20 % of each sale goes to the Covid 19 community fund. The mask yet to launch at time of writing is rumoured to be retailing for £90. There are cheaper more exciting designs than plain black or NHS off white so make yours personal.Even transparent ones so people can see your smile and also your latest lipgloss ! Elevate YOUR face mask game today with a whole collection and make sure you change them everyday for health AND fashion reasons.

MOST STYLISH BEAUTY PRODUCT

Its all about the lip ! With all this extra time on your hands we can pay attention to parts we never would have considered before. Lip Masks have launched onto the beauty market with a flourish, yes you never knew you needed them until now ! But they really do make a difference in softening and plumping, widely used in the Far East markets for years they have migrated to the West. KNC beauty founder Kristen Noel Crawley has now launched a natural LIP MASK in the form of stickers £4 and now on sale in Harrods. Especially useful in the ensuing Autumn and Winter months and the forth coming cold weather. The irony is not lost on me that you are covering up your lips with face masks when you leave the home but think of it as added protection for your lips as well as protecting your health.

KNC Lip Mask Harrods.com

MOST STYLISH PERSON

JAY SHETTY has kept me sane and chilled over the last 6 months. Discovered him on youtube with more time on my hands. We share the same philosophy and outlook and our teachings are almost identical. A former monk he now is a motivational speaker on how to think like a monk …. without joining a monastery ! Like myself he believes in discovering daily rituals to bring you peace and resisting temptation on activities that add nothing to your life. Find your truest most authentic self by spending time on getting to know YOU. This is what I have been preaching for many years before Jay had started kindergarten but happy to have him on my bandwagon. Welcome Jay to the team, happy to have you on board ! Handsome ,stylish and young oooh er maybe I should not talk about a former monk like this !

Jay Shetty

JOJOS STYLELIST TIP : As we approach our second lockdown this week it is important to maintain your health but just as important to surround yourself with style and live a beautiful life to maintain your wellbeing and uplift your mood. Stay strong and stay safe stylistas we are in it together !

Mwah mwah

JOJO XXXXXXXX

TRAVEL: A LONG WEEKEND IN LAKE COMO

Having just returned from a long weekend in Como I thought it would be great to share some of the secrets of Como with you guys. It is surprisingly difficult to find great restaurants as it is fairly quiet as it is mostly about villa living here. There is not a sophisticated social scene and it really is a place to go to rest and recuperate. However Como is still one of the most magical places I have been to and just a couple of hours from the hustle and bustle of London you can restore the senses with peace and tranquility whats not to like ?

As you only have a few days to unwind let me save you some time and share the most amazing weekend I have just had and some gorgeous discoveries I stumbled upon. It is surprising how many people who have visited Como cannot give you a recommendation for a good restaurant as they just stumble on them by accident and can “never remember the name”. So let me give you my secret guide to getting the best from Como but sssshhhhhh…….. dont tell anyone else.

SHH The Mantra For This Trip

THURSDAY

We arrive late afternoon after taking the 3.30pm BA flight to Milan from Heathrow. Hire a car but keep it small for the winding Como mountainous roads. You wont regret this. Staying at a firm favourite Il Duca Hotel close to La Scala and La Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II the wonderful designer shopping mall. Yes before heading up to Como we have one night in Milan for shopping (Como not great for shopping) and dinner at Savinis. We choose the lobster linguini and the sea bass with a bean and leek puree. Savinis has a wonderful history of famous visitors since 1867 and is one of the most prestigious restaurants in Milan. You can also choose to visit Il Duomo the beautiful cathedral in the same vicinity. Beautifully lit up at night. Back to the beautiful Il Duca for drinks on the rooftop terrace.

A relaxing coffee and croissants in one of the many street cafes before heading off to Lake Como for the 1 hour drive (one toll e 1.70). The Mandarin Hotel is just beyond the town of Como in stunning Blevio one of the early points on Lake Como . The Mandarin newly opened 2019 is a welcome luxury Hotel. I cannot praise this Hotel enough but be warned once you have stayed here nowhere else will do. From the beautiful restaurant along the lake, the floating swimming pool, sumptuous spa and outstanding service , expensive but worth every penny and 2/3 nights are plenty. From the main entrance on the winding road down to the front door of the hotel we were mesmerised by the view across the lake. We were welcomed with glasses of Prosecco and ushered to the best seats in the house to lap up the views and the prosecco.

FRIDAY

A chauffeur driven buggy escorted us to the Villa Quercia to our penthouse suite with a large terrace and a bath tub the size of swimming pool. Champagne on ice and a cornucopia of macarons , pastries ,apperitivos.

A reservation was made for a late lunch although the Hotel was mostly empty (a CV19 blessing). I can thoroughly recommend the Tuna Tataki salad and the Rose Laria , produced locally.

As we have hot stone massages booked for the evening we decide to wind down in the Spa, although the sauna and tepidariums were shut due to CV the private suite was made available to us with its own sauna and steam room.

The massages were deeply relaxing . We felt we had been away for a week already. We retired to our terrace (and the champagne and pastries) just to stop and take in the views.

SATURDAY

Decide to try out the floating pool. Dressed head to toe in Melissa Odabash head down to a very quiet pool area .The hotel has a full range of detox and revitilising fresh juices so I opt for a’ Bosco ‘to detox Even though the Hotel was not busy there is still an emphasis on peace and calm with SSSHHH notices everywhere. As we are still in full relaxation mode we have lunch at the Hotel again with King Prawns on a cacio pepe pasta. More Rose Laria.

Now one MUST DO when in Como is to hire a boat to take on the Lake. The Rivas are very expensive but the Mandarin has another option a speedboat (100€ per hour) with a sunbathing deck. Faster than a Riva so allows you to explore further and steps at the back of the boat enable a refreshing swim in the lake very chic. You can even take a picnic on board if you wish. This was the best fun and enabled us to bypass George Clooneys villa and more importantly discover a couple of stand out lakeside restaurants ( these are few and far between ). One such restaurant was Vapore in the village of Torno which once back on dry land we headed to this pretty village right next door to Blevio. Now a TIP if you stay on the main roads none of these places look amazing but dip down into the villages and they are breathtakingly beautiful. We meet Ali who owns Vapore we then find an equally stunning restaurant Belvedere …..there was Ali again yes he owns this one too. We end up there for a couple of hours when the locals invited us to join them for Franciacorta Rose . I love Italiens ! We make reservations that evening for Vapore. Head to a cafe bar on the lake for Gelato …….yes you guessed it Ali is there too. This village is picture perfect.

That evening we head to Vapore the restaurant is full to the brim we pass a celebrity wall of its past visitors including Robert de Niro, Harry Styles and Silvio Berlusconi . The setting, the food and the service was exquisite. I had fish fresh from the lake and the Tiramisu was unmissable ! As we watched the sun set over the lake I defy anyone to find a more perfect setting. This will be a permanent fixture on our future visits.

SUNDAY

Today we decide to venture a little further afield to the town of Bellagio. A tourists favourite. It has many boutiques and restaurants. Although is very busy and parking initially is very difficult. But as you come into the centre of the village carry on out the other side where we discovered a huge hillside car park and the walk back to the village was really very nice although a lot of steps and hills just to give you some warning. Wear walking shoes if you are planning a visit. The restaurants here were catering for the tourist and it took us a while as foodies to locate a really fabulous restaurant. But we found it. SUISSE, although it was authentic Italien. The best Caprese Salad , salt baked sea bass with olives,tomatoes,capers and olive oil. I am salivating just thinking about this scrummy lunch in a little square by the ƒerry stop with white clothed tables. Try it !!

Bellagio is known as “The Pearl of Lake Como” but not sure we would revisit as it was a very busy town and not the r&r we were looking for. A 45 minute hair raising cliff top drive from the Mandarin , honestly we were glad to be back in the tranquility of Blevio.

After a long day we retire to the elegant Mandarin bar spouting tunes of a bygone era. Of course while you are here it would be rude not to try George Clooneys Casamigas tequila on the rocks, it really is very smooth.

MONDAY

Unfortunately time to head home (about 30 mins direct to Malpensa Airport, Milan). The wonderful staff are there to say goodbye. Honestly it was the hardest goodbye of any trip both to the staff and the beautiful Lago Di Como. We spend some time before we leave just soaking up the view and doing nothing that is the real secret of The Lake.

We vow to return before the Summer is out…………just like everyone else !

ARRIVEDERCI COMO – TI AMO XXXXX

TRAVEL: ROME IN 24 HOURS

HAPPY Birthday to me ! I was lucky enough to be taken to Rome for dinner on my birthday to one of my favourite restaurants. Sometimes as you get older we need to throw caution to the wind and embrace adventure. At this age we are able to be more spontaneous. Now most people would not do a travel guide in less than 48 hours but 24 hours allows you to shoot off without too much planning or even booking time off work ! So lets do it !!

Firstly im assuming by your fifties most of you reading this would have visited the tourist sites of this eternal city. So there will be no queueing for the coliseum (although they now do a moonlight tour..) or visits to the Trevi Fountain or Pantheon. If you haven’t seen these then AUGUST is NOT the time to do it !!! So this is my 24 hours……………..

ARRIVE 2.30pm ( I never do early morning flights !!)

Our Chauffeur (BLACKLANE) takes us to the Hotel de La Ville located at the top of the Spanish Steps. I love to stay around this area personally there are many choices to suit all budgets here and along the VIA VENETO. a beautiful spa and rooftop bar overlooking the city. No need to spend time unpacking the beauty of a one day stay ! so head to the spa for a massage to prepare me for the evening.

SPANISH STEPS

5.30pm

A lovely evening stroll down the Spanish Steps (low heels only girls) and into PIAZZA DE SPAGNA. Great buzz on a warm balmy evening. Continue along the VIA CONDOTTI one of the most fashionable and stylish streets in Rome. Window shopping or otherwise ! Gucci, Hermes, Dolce and Gabbana, Harry Winston you name it they are all here .

7.30pm

ZUMA

Arrive at ZUMA , one of my favourite restaurants located in FENDI SQUARE. Head straight in the elevator to the rooftop terrace for a RHUBABU a rhubarb infused sake and vodka martini cocktail. Views across Rome.

8.30pm

Head down to the restaurant. Booking is absolutely advised. Whether in London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Miami or Rome the menu and format is never strays to far. We order my favourite dishes Tuna Tartare, Shrimp tempura , jumbo shrimp (the size of a lobster in its shell !!) spicy beef tenderloin and a selection of sushi. The food has to be tried to be believed please everyone just go at least once it never disappoints. Phenomenal !!

Inside the amazing Zuma

THE FOLLOWING MORNING

8.30am

Don my trainers and shorts for a brisk morning power walk along the VIA VENETO and down through PIAZZA DE SPAGNA a useful way of avoiding the thousands of steps. End up at CAFE VITTI in PIAZZA di SAN LORENZO a quiet , picturesque square with the best breakfast menu. Italian for 8E or an American breakfast for 20E if you want to go all out.

Cafe Vitti

11am

After changing into our lunch attire and checking out of the hotel we leave our small amount of hand luggage with the concierge and head to an art gallery before lunch.

Now there are obviously many art galleries in Rome but not many people have heard of the VILLA AURORA on VIA LOMBARDIA. A spectacular 16th century villa full of art. Once one of the most spectacular gardens in Rome. This Villa has the only painting that Caravaggio executed on a ceiling ! A private visit can be organised by your concierge but needs to be booked in advance.

When in Rome

12.30pm

If we are going to make our flight we opt for an early lunch. We discover a fabulous restaurant away from the busy crowds close to the art gallery IL PICCOLO MONDO on VIA AURORA I do not hesitate in sharing this little gem with you. Freshly made pasta and market fish of the day. Reasonable prices and great service very relaxing. We dined on lobster pasta and beautifully fresh sea bass grilled.

IL PICCOLO MONDO

2.30PM

After a few more glasses of wine and complimentary limoncellos we enjoy a sleepy one hour journey back to the airport where prior to boarding we find time for a “dry flotation tank” why have I never seen one of these in UK?? Fabulously relaxing and a perfect way to end our whirlwind 24 hours in ROME.

IN THE TERMINAL- ROME AIRPORT

JOJOS STYLE LIST TIP : TRAVEL LIGHT TAKING HAND LUGGAGE IS THE ONLY WAY THIS CAN BE DONE. DONT OVERTHINK IT JUST DO IT 24 HOURS IS ALL IT NEEDS TO GET YOU OUT OF A RUT !!!!!!!

CIAO!!!

JOJO XXXXXX