Archive for April, 2011

The Launch of ‘Gardening Leave’ at Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea

Gardening Leave is a small charity, founded by Anna Baker Cresswell in 2007.   It provides a safe haven for ex-Service personnel by offering Horticultural Therapy in walled gardens .   The safety of the garden, i.e. walled in structure is particularly important since most of the veterans visiting the garden suffer from hypervigilance as a result of their time in active service.   This means they live on their live on their nerves and constantly look over their shoulders.  Hence in a walled garden there are no nasty surprises, and gradually with time, the veterans learn to relax in this environment.    This is the third Garden Leave Garden and the first in England.

The new garden was officially opened by Ben Fogle, just back from his trip with Prince Harry in the Arctic (and perhaps a little more used to adventure and exploration than planting trees!) and CEO Anna Baker Cresswell and in the presence of the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor James Husband.

To find out more about this charity, please see www.gardeningleave.org or call 01292 521444


Images Lucy Elliott
Copyright: The Kensington Magazine

Last Chance to see the Spring Blossom in W8!

There are only a couple more days left to see the splendid cherry blossom in Brunswick Gardens and Palace Gardens Terrace. If you haven’t seen this before, it is well worth a look. And take your camera as its spectacular.


Images Lucy Elliott

copyright: The Kensington Magazine

The Marbella Club, Spain

The Kensington Magazine was invited to stay at The Marbella Club by kind courtesy of the owner, Mr David Shamoon as part of the press corp covering The Global Party (more of that later).

The Marbella Club, as with Reids in Madeira, has quite a history.  Faded elegance; understated chic and royal connections.   At the cocktail party Count Rudi von Schonburg, (known simply as ‘Count Rudi’) a great friend and business partner of Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe of Spain, recounted a story of the Prince galavanting around Europe in the fifties telling all his friends about this wonderful place in Marbella – surrounded by a pinewood forest, on the edge of an olive grove.  His friends dutifully turned up, only to find a farmhouse which was neither chic nor elegant.  Having been determined to leave the next day, his friends succumbed to its charm and were woed.   They then stayed a couple of weeks, and in turn mentioned it to their friends.   The allure of what is now, some fifty years later, The Marbella Club is exactly that it is understated.  In a world of celebrity culture it is refreshing to be somewhere where the service is impeccable, the food is wonderful (nothing like a long lunch at the Beach Restaurant) and even if everyone is someone, no-one seems to care or even notice. Celebs (if they want to) can actually be themselves without having to preen in front of cameras.

On a spot check (we like to do this), out of seven members of staff we spoke to, the minimum length of service was 5 years and the maximum, 22 years.  As one younger waiter gesticulated in charming broken English – “this is my family, why would I want to work anywhere else”.   No amount of glossy brochures can give such a good testament as this.

The rooms and bathrooms are large; but the tour de force are the Andalucian style private villas, each with its own pool.  Beautifully decorated (remember no glitz), these are a wonderful treat for anyone wanting total privacy. The gardens are beautiful, reflective of mediterranean greenery and very tranquil.  Just lie by the pool and listen to the birds singing, or for the more energetic try a ride in the beautiful countryside, a round of golf, or a visit to the Thalasso Spa.

The Marbella Club offers a wonderful break from the fast pace of life – a time to recharge and enjoy understated elegance and service.

Images Lucy Elliott

Copyright The Kensington Magazine

External shots around The Marbella Club; internal shots inside an private villa; Lucy Elliott with Count Rudi


Contact details:  The Marbella Club

Charity Dinner to raise funds for a Cyber Knife – Providing a different kind of radiotherapy care for Cancer

Local restuaranteur Patrick Tako, owner of Chez Patrick in Stratford Road, W8, hosted a Charity Dinner with the Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor James Husband in attendance, together with his wife, the Mayoress.

The four course dinner was to raise awareness and funds for CyberKnife – a new frameless radiosurgery system which targets treatment more accurately than standard radiotherapy.  It is revolutionary in that patients do not require anaesthesia, there is no recovery time and patients can usually be treated and go home on the same day.   It is not yet widely available in the UK although there is a CyberKnife at The Harley Street Clinic.

Patrick, together with colleagues from the Metropolitan Masonic Charity are aiming to raise the required £3M for a second UK CyberKnife  to be installed at St Barts Hospital.   At the beginning of March, a substantial sum of £500,000 had already been paid to Barts and the London Hospital towards this goal.

The charity dinner at Chez Patrick raised £1,772.00 with guests paying generously for raffle prizes as well as the dinner.   John Hussey of the Metropolitan Masonic Charity received the cheque from Patrick.

As Patrick explained his incentive to try and do as much as he could to raise money for the CyberKnive, is one, sadly borne of the recent loss of his father last year to cancer, and then weeks later, finding his mother had breast cancer, and cancer on the kidneys.   His desire to raise as much funds as possible is tangible.  He finished his speech with the words ” if we all give a little, we can achieve a lot”.  Simple but true.

If you would like to contribute towards this essential peice of machinery to help those with cancer recover, please give as generously as possible to uk/virginmoneygiving.com/charities/The Metropolitan Masonic Charity

From left to right, top to bottom:

Images: Lucy Elliott

Copyright: The Kensington Magazine: (a)  John Hussey, The Mayoress and Mayor; (b) Patrick Tako and John Hussey

(c) Patrick Tako;

Copyright: Brian Mackett: (d) Patrick Tako, The Mayoress, Mayor and Lucy Elliott


Kensington in the Spring

Well a couple of weeks later, and Kensington is in full bloom. Absolutely stunning. These were taken in the afternoon around Kensington Gardens, The Albert Memorial, Kensington High St. and St Mary Abbots Church.

Images: Lucy Elliott

Copyright:  The Kensington Magazine