Review: The Languedoc way of life

Mas Neuf, Vignobles Jean-Jean

The Languedoc way of life is about locally produced food and wine, lush landscapes, sunshine and warmth, art and nature and community. All of these combine to make a deliciously languid and moreish lifestyle. I toured the region this summer courtesy of the CIVL to meet some of the wine growers and makers, and stayed in the elegant countryside Mas Neuf, home of Les Vignobles JeanJean.

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Review: Queen Victoria’s Palace, Buckingham Palace summer opening

Portraits of a young Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II at the entrance to the summer opening at Buckingham Palace 2019.

Today sees the annual summer opening of Buckingham Palace. The palace doors will be thrown wide from today for just a few weeks. There is nothing I like more than taking a peek inside beautiful homes and this one also features a new exhibition every year. This year Queen Victoria’s Palace marks the bicentenary. It is 200 years since Victoria’s (and coincidentally Prince Albert’s) birth. The young Queen moved into the Palace within three weeks of her coronation and transformed it from a private house into a working royal residence, a family home and a space where the public could be invited. A tradition that continues to this day.

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A fine romance with The Moon

Incredibly, it is 50 years since Apollo 1 and astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930 to 2012) took ‘one small step for man’ on the moon. By way of celebration a new exhibition called simply ‘The Moon’ will open tomorrow at The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, London.

Human beings’ external romance with all things lunar dates way back and is nothing less than a love affair. The exhibition explores how throughout time civilisations have observed the moon and interpreted its many facets in some surprising and intriguing ways.

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Review: An Enquiring Mind, Manolo Blahnik at The Wallace Collection

An Enquiring Mind, Manolo Blahnik at The Wallace Collection

As in all the arts, whether paintings, literature and theatre, one of the delights of fashion design is the historical references. A NEW exhibition An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik at The Wallace Collection opened this week and explores the inspiration behind the genius in ‘art’ shoe design and production. Blahnik takes his love of art, interior design and fashion of the 17th and 18th centuries and creates the most exquisite footwear, literally works of art. This is an exhibition to make Sex and The City’s Carrie Bradshaw swoon. I certainly did.

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Review: Lights, Camera Action: Hever Castle on Stage and Screen

Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) filmed in part at Hever Castle

Hever Castle is the former home of Anne Boleyn, otherwise known as Anne of the Thousand Days for the short time she was married to Henry VIII as his Queen. Anne bore Henry one child, a daughter, Elizabeth I. Boleyn was famously later beheaded at the Tower of London. Many films have been made of her tragic story including the 1969 version, with Richard Burton in excellent form as Henry VIII and Geneviève Bujold as the luckless Queen, filmed in part at Hever Castle. A current exhibition Lights, Camera, Action Hever Castle on Stage and Screen includes two costumes, dresses worn by Geneviève in the film.

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Review: Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation

Winchester Cathedral, Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation

Historically the medieval Winchester Cathedral is one of the most significant buildings in the UK. It is also one of the most beautiful with soaring butresses, stunning decorated ceilings and floors and a magnificent 15th century Great Screen. It is one of the largest in Europe with the greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral. It is a place where history has been made by Kings and Queens throughout the centuries. The NEW Kings & Scribes: The Birth of a Nation exhibition offers a rare chance to explore this ancient monument and some of the nation’s greatest treasures.

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Review: All My Sons

Sally Field and Jenna Coleman in rehearsals All My Sons, The Old Vic

Arthur Miller’s All My Sons was his second play, his first having bombed, and was written in 1947, just two years after the end of World War Two. The plot and the questions it poses about the economic circumstances of the individual in a consumer society, the morality of the individual in the community, and grief and family relationships, are all very relevant today. All of the performances in the current production at The Old Vic, London are energetic, intense and emotional, and set against a backdrop of just one stage set up of a traditional American family home, which the audience never actually see inside.

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