The Countess..A day in the life of..reprised

As I have received a few emails asking about my life, I have decided to reprise the article I wrote last month..enjoy!

6:00 A.M. I have always been an early riser and actually enjoy waking early to make the most of the day. As a child I went to Boarding School so I am more than used to waking early! By 6:15 I am up and ready, as is the Earl. We both eat a banana and play tennis for an hour. We have been doing this for the last two years at his suggestion and I have to admit it is the perfect way to wake up and prepare for the day ahead. 

7:00 A.M. After Tennis, we head back to the house and I take a quick shower. Whilst my hair is still wet I dress and begin my beauty regime. (To learn more click here)

7:30 A.M. As ridiculous as this may seem, at 7:30 every morning except Sunday, I have my hair stylist come and Blow Dry my hair. Many people find it excessive but to me it is a necessity as my hair is thick and I would only get hot and bothered trying to do my own hair. My style is very simple, I keep my hair naturally brunette and normally wear it down with lots of volume. I normally wear pearl earrings so tuck my hair behind my ears and my parting down the middle. 

8:00 A.M. Now that I am ready for the day I join the Earl in the Morning Room where we have a light breakfast and read the newspapers. I normally have Muesli with a slice of brown toast, green tea and fresh juice. I like to keep myself informed on current affairs and it is also a good way for me to later engage in conversation and discussion when attending Dinners and formal events.

8:30 A.M. After Breakfast it is time to walk the public areas of the house with the house managers. We do this every Morning to ensure that the house is at it’s full potential for public viewing. For special occasions such as Christmas, we discuss how we are going to decorate and arrange the house. We also rearrange the house regularly to keep the experience exciting for our visitors. 

9:30 A.M. Now that we have walked the house, the house managers and I hold a short meeting in the boardroom to discuss our ideas and concerns with the Earl. The House and Gardens open to the public at 10:00 A.M so the team prepare for the day ahead. 

10:15 A.M. Today is Monday and on this day every week, we have a team of Florists who refresh the flowers in the house. I have always adored flowers and think they really make a wonderful difference to the harmony of a home. I prefer white flowers and in particular, roses. The Florists use flowers that have grown on the Estate and from other suppliers. For special occasions such as Valentines day they will produce special displays in the main house.  On Thursday we are holding a private dinner so they will return to refresh the display in the Dining Room, Drawing Rooms and Lavatories.

11:30 A.M. Today the Earl and I are being interviewed for a lifestyle magazine who want to discuss the house including the collection and how it is managed. This does not happen very often and I am rather nervous! It is a very pleasant and informal interview and they will be returning at a later stage where they will conduct a photo shoot. 

1:00 P.M. After a busy Morning, we sit down and enjoy Lunch. I normally have a light lunch so that I still have an appetite for supper, however my Parents and Sister are visiting today so we are going to have afternoon tea. They stay for most of the afternoon and we have a delightful time in their company!

4:00 P.M At this time the Earl and I walk our dogs. We have three West Highland Terriers whom I adore, they are my children for now. We walk them around the Estate as this is a good opportunity to talk to visitors and enjoy the countryside. Although I do enjoy the City, I have to say we are so lucky to have such wonderful Countryside in Britain; The views are exceptionally stunning.

7:00 P.M. The Earl and I usually have supper at this time, however as we have indulged in a hefty Afternoon Tea, we are not going to eat much today. After supper we retire to our Sitting room where we relax by reading, surfing the internet or watching television. I enjoy reading Vogue magazine which usually results in me shopping online! This is also the time that I have now began to blog for Countess Undercover.

9:00 P.M. I like to take a bath every evening around this time as I am usually exhausted by now. I ensure that my en-suite is a heavenly environment by lighting candles. My favourite are Jo Malone and in particular I adore her Nectarine Blossom & Honey Candle and bath oil. The aroma is exceptionally exquisite and it is the time of the day where I am most indulgent. I usually spend an hour bathing until I am totally relaxed. 

10:30 P.M. The Earl and I retire to our bedroom suite, where we continue to relax. When designing this room I wanted to create a separate lounge area with luxuriant furnishings so that we could relax before sleeping in private. I also use this time to choose ensembles for the next day. I find that if you do this, you are going to dress with more care rather rushing in the morning. 

11:45 P.M. I normally sleep between 11 and 12 so that I can get a good rest. After a long day I cannot wait to get into bed and enjoy total comfort and relaxation. We have a four poster bed and there is nothing more cosy or comforting than drawing the curtains around the bed and falling into a beautiful deep sleep!

Yours,

The Countess x

 

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The Countess in Dubai…Part Three

As I look outside, the splendiferous view of the English Countryside greets me with a familiar view. Sadly my trip to Dubai has ended and I am back home in England once again. Dubai is an incredible City and a place that will always be in my heart, so to be able to come home and still feel happy is a good sign and one that I am truly grateful for.

The last part of my trip was focused on attending the Wedding of a dear friend. Whilst many people loathe Weddings, I have to admit that I love them and cannot see why anyone would not. This is a day that two people are committing their lives to one another in the name of Love. It is a day full of celebration and happiness and a time where everyone in attendance can be thankful for their loved ones. I know when I attend a Wedding I always feel a sense of gratitude for being able to share my life and love with my husband, the Earl.

This Wedding was one of the most fabulous Weddings I have ever had the pleasure of attending. The success of a Wedding is largely down to impeccable organisation and this Wedding ran exceptionally smoothly. It is important that throughout the day all guests are kept entertained and never left to stand around. I have been to many Weddings where there have been long delays between each stage. For example, I have attended Weddings where guests have been left to entertain themselves whilst the Bride and Groom spend hours having photographs taken. When planning my own Wedding, this was something I made very clear was not to happen. I wanted to ensure that guests were entertained from the very first moment of arriving to my reception. I did hire a reputable event planner to assist me with this and I would highly recommend any future bride to do so also. On your Wedding Day you will be far too busy to worry about logistics, instead you should be allowed to enjoy your day and pay someone else to do this professionally.

The Bride of this Wedding had obviously considered the importance of keeping guests entertained as there was not a time throughout the day that we had the opportunity to be bored. Whilst the Bride and Groom were having photographs taken, guests were seated in a magnificent room where a small ballet production was shown. This was a fantastic way to entertain guests rather than leaving them to stand around without a seat. Once the ballet had ended we were immediately seated for Dinner. As I mentioned earlier, organisation is key and this is why this Wedding was so successful.

The Wedding was the perfect end to my Dubai trip, although I have to admit I am now left feeling somewhat exhausted! Dubai is not a place to visit if you want to relax. Yes the weather is perfect but there is so much to do and experience, one would waste time worshipping the Sun all day. For me, I am now glad to be back to normality and cannot wait for tomorrow when I shall walk my Dogs amongst England’s green and pleasant land.

Yours,

The Countess x

The Countess in Dubai…Part Two

Today I write having ‘endured’ a rather busy day of shopping. This comes after complaining that I had brought too much luggage; Lets just say I shall be going back with even more. The Dubai Mall is an experience like no other, the World’s largest Mall, it is a marvel and I could not resist the opportunity to spend the day indulging in one of my favourite hobbies..retail therapy. It is difficult to explain just how huge the Dubai Mall is, so instead I will provide you with the facts. It is 5,400,00 sq ft, has 1,200 shops, an ice rink and gigantic aquarium. I will be honest and admit that I did not even see the ice rink or aquarium today, it was fashion that was on my agenda and fashion is what was delivered.

Fashion Avenue in the Dubai Mall is perfect for Ladies who love labels. It is the VIP area of the Mall (although you do not have to be a VIP to enter) and the difference is obvious. In this section, the floors are bathed in plush cream carpets, chesterfield seating adorns the walkways, magnificent artwork hangs from the ceilings. When Dubai makes a statement it does so boldly and without mercy. This is what I love about Dubai, it is so proudly extravagant and who does not love that from time to time? Fashion Avenue did manage to get my undivided attention today, and it is with regret (or not) that I did not manage to spend a little more time exploring other areas.

For Lunch, I dined at Madeleines, a French restaurant with a large terrace that overlooks the Dubai Fountains. I have seen the fountains before but I must say I still found them mesmerising today. For anyone visiting, I would recommend doing this at night as the display just feels more incredible. The Burj Khalifa lights up as the fountain dances and the whole spectacle makes the hair stand on end.

I am now on the Yacht enjoying the sun before I have to get ready for the Evening. I shall be attending the Chanel Little Black Jacket exhibition as I did not manage to attend in London or Paris and then I shall be attending a large reception with The Earl and two hundred guests.

Tomorrow is the Wedding Day which shall last all day and night. Please check back with me on Tuesday to read Part Three,

Yours,

The Countess x

Fashion Avenue, Dubai Mall. Taken with iPhone

Fashion Avenue, Dubai Mall. Taken with iPhone

 

The Countess in Dubai…Part One

As I speak to you now, I am sitting aboard the deck of a pristine white yacht eating breakfast whilst the Sun brightly shines creating a sparkling flicker on the surrounding Sea. I am once again in Dubai, perhaps one of my favourite destinations, especially at this time of year when the British weather leaves little to be desired; Unfortunately, I am only visiting for four days, after which I shall be returning to good old Blighty. I am here, with the Earl, to attend a Wedding of a close friend, which is taking place on Monday. Said friend has been extremely hospitable and is the reason why we are residing on a Yacht instead of the usual, Royal Mirage Hotel, which is by no means roughing it!

We arrived in the City early this morning after a long albeit pleasant flight. I must admit that I am not the biggest fan of air travel, I have flown many times, in fact last year the Earl and I flew forty eight times but still, every time we experienced even slight turbulence I was convinced we were going to die! I do manage to relax slightly after cruising for four hours or so, but I cannot tell you the relief one feels when the aircraft has safely landed and my Jimmy Choo’s are treading concrete once again.

For this short trip it is ridiculous how much luggage one has had to bring, however everything I have brought is completely necessary. We are attending many dinners and meetings during the trip not to mention the outfits required for the Wedding day. As we are staying on a Yacht I have also had to bring a rather large entourage including hair stylist, cook, house maid(s), cleaners, dressing assistant, and a driver. It may seem excessive to most but without these important people, trips like this would not be so smooth.

After breakfast the Earl is to play golf with the groom party whilst I shall be attending an Afternoon Tea at the Brides private residence in Emirates Hills. Emirates Hills is Dubai’s version of Beverly Hills, except perhaps not as fabulous. This is because Emirates Hills is still relatively new and needs time for the surrounding foliage and landscape to bloom. However it is still an incredibly serene, exclusive location and the Villas are rather spectacular. It is not a place I would like to live as the villas are quite close together; In Dubai though, this is all you can expect. Only his Highness the Sheikh has a residency with no neighbours.

This evening the Earl and I will have dinner together. This is the only time during the entire trip that we will have the opportunity to dine alone. We were considering eating at the atmosphere restaurant in the Burj Khalifa but eventually decided that we would eat on the yacht which will be more private and intimate. I truly believe in the importance of making the effort of spending quality time with your significant other. It is a time where you can talk about any issues you may have or just to enjoy each other one on one. Communication is after all the key to any successful relationship.

Join me again tomorrow where I will be sharing with you part two of our trip.

Dubai Marina where we are residing

Dubai Marina where we are residing, picture taken with my iPhone

Yours,

The Countess x

The Countess..A day in the life of.

In the last few days I have received a number of emails asking what my life involves and if I have a career. As most of my posts have been about Fashion and Lifestyle I thought it might be a good idea to give you a taste of my life in 24 hours so that those of you who are interested can gain a better understanding. At University I studied Art History and my dream was to work for a renowned Gallery and eventually hold an executive position. Life has a funny way of surprising you and altering your plans rather radically. At University I met the Earl and as a result I have now dedicated my life to supporting our Estate and continuing the family legacy. I am very fortunate that in doing so I am able to live out my dreams and aspirations; Running a historic estate which houses an enormous collection of Art is beyond my career aspirations and has fulfilled me immensely. Here is a run down of 24 hours in my life..Enjoy!

6:00 A.M. I have always been an early riser and actually enjoy waking early to make the most of the day. As a child I went to Boarding School so I am more than used to waking early! By 6:15 I am up and ready, as is the Earl. We both eat a banana and play tennis for an hour. We have been doing this for the last two years at his suggestion and I have to admit it is the perfect way to wake up and prepare for the day ahead. 

7:00 A.M. After Tennis, we head back to the house and I take a quick shower. Whilst my hair is still wet I dress and begin my beauty regime. (To learn more click here)

7:30 A.M. As ridiculous as this may seem, at 7:30 every morning except Sunday, I have my hair stylist come and Blow Dry my hair. Many people find it excessive but to me it is a necessity as my hair is thick and I would only get hot and bothered trying to do my own hair. My style is very simple, I keep my hair naturally brunette and normally wear it down with lots of volume. I normally wear pearl earrings so tuck my hair behind my ears and my parting down the middle. 

8:00 A.M. Now that I am ready for the day I join the Earl in the Morning Room where we have a light breakfast and read the newspapers. I normally have Muesli with a slice of brown toast, green tea and fresh juice. I like to keep myself informed on current affairs and it is also a good way for me to later engage in conversation and discussion when attending Dinners and formal events.

8:30 A.M. After Breakfast it is time to walk the public areas of the house with the house managers. We do this every Morning to ensure that the house is at it’s full potential for public viewing. For special occasions such as Christmas, we discuss how we are going to decorate and arrange the house. We also rearrange the house regularly to keep the experience exciting for our visitors. 

9:30 A.M. Now that we have walked the house, the house managers and I hold a short meeting in the boardroom to discuss our ideas and concerns with the Earl. The House and Gardens open to the public at 10:00 A.M so the team prepare for the day ahead. 

10:15 A.M. Today is Monday and on this day every week, we have a team of Florists who refresh the flowers in the house. I have always adored flowers and think they really make a wonderful difference to the harmony of a home. I prefer white flowers and in particular, roses. The Florists use flowers that have grown on the Estate and from other suppliers. For special occasions such as Valentines day they will produce special displays in the main house.  On Thursday we are holding a private dinner so they will return to refresh the display in the Dining Room, Drawing Rooms and Lavatories.

11:30 A.M. Today the Earl and I are being interviewed for a lifestyle magazine who want to discuss the house including the collection and how it is managed. This does not happen very often and I am rather nervous! It is a very pleasant and informal interview and they will be returning at a later stage where they will conduct a photo shoot. 

1:00 P.M. After a busy Morning, we sit down and enjoy Lunch. I normally have a light lunch so that I still have an appetite for supper, however my Parents and Sister are visiting today so we are going to have afternoon tea. They stay for most of the afternoon and we have a delightful time in their company!

4:00 P.M At this time the Earl and I walk our dogs. We have three West Highland Terriers whom I adore, they are my children for now. We walk them around the Estate as this is a good opportunity to talk to visitors and enjoy the countryside. Although I do enjoy the City, I have to say we are so lucky to have such wonderful Countryside in Britain; The views are exceptionally stunning.

7:00 P.M. The Earl and I usually have supper at this time, however as we have indulged in a hefty Afternoon Tea, we are not going to eat much today. After supper we retire to our Sitting room where we relax by reading, surfing the internet or watching television. I enjoy reading Vogue magazine which usually results in me shopping online! This is also the time that I have now began to blog for Countess Undercover.

9:00 P.M. I like to take a bath every evening around this time as I am usually exhausted by now. I ensure that my en-suite is a heavenly environment by lighting candles. My favourite are Jo Malone and in particular I adore her Nectarine Blossom & Honey Candle and bath oil. The aroma is exceptionally exquisite and it is the time of the day where I am most indulgent. I usually spend an hour bathing until I am totally relaxed. 

10:30 P.M. The Earl and I retire to our bedroom suite, where we continue to relax. When designing this room I wanted to create a separate lounge area with luxuriant furnishings so that we could relax before sleeping in private. I also use this time to choose ensembles for the next day. I find that if you do this, you are going to dress with more care rather rushing in the morning. 

11:45 P.M. I normally sleep between 11 and 12 so that I can get a good rest. After a long day I cannot wait to get into bed and enjoy total comfort and relaxation. We have a four poster bed and there is nothing more cosy or comforting than drawing the curtains around the bed and falling into a beautiful deep sleep!

Yours,

The Countess x

 

The Countess shares her favourite Hotels

I have been lucky enough to travel the World and visit some of the most beautiful places imaginable. I do have to be honest and admit that when it comes to travelling, I like all the comforts of Home and would not have fun ‘roughing it’ to say the least. The Four Seasons have provided me with some of the most exquisite accommodations over the years and they feature heavily in this post. I know with a Four Seasons Hotel I am going to get incredible accommodation, impeccable service and a superb location. Some of the trips I have been on with the Earl have been last minute and I have not had time to research a Hotel, when this happens I simply book a Four Seasons knowing it will be perfect. When in London my favourite place to stay is The Ritz. My family have been staying at this establishment for generations and I too adore it’s regal charm and luxurious comfort. My Husband and I often considered investing in a Townhouse in Belgravia but eventually realised that it would have been pointless as we would only pine for our second home, The Ritz. We also adore the Ritz in Paris and whilst here I cannot resist the Coco Chanel Suite. I find it very moving to think that Chanel spent most of her days here creating a legacy. Unfortunately it is now closed for refurbishment and will be sorely missed. I attend the Dubai World Cup every year and whilst in the fabulous city, I reside at the One & Only Royal Mirage. The hotel named after a Prince travelling the Desert who had a mirage of a luxurious Palace. This dream was realised and is embodied in this establishment. This Hotel is a real Arabian delight with luscious surroundings and pristine accommodation. Nearby in Abu Dhabi I decided to stay at the Emirates Palace. I had read about this Hotel in the news and had to experience it for myself. The Palace cost £3.9 Billion to build and the Suites are decorated with Gold and Marble. It would not be an exaggeration to say that one felt like the Queen, residing here! In the Gallery below you will see the Four Seasons Hotel located in the Serengeti. This is a new establishment and next on my list to visit. The villas overlook the National Park with a view of African wildlife, it is almost like a picture of Heaven. Enjoy the gallery and please do comment and let me know some of your favourite Hotels and destinations.

Yours,

The Countess x

Interior Splendor by Pierre-Yves Rochon

My Husband the Earl and I, inherited the Family Country Estate in 2010 when his Father sadly passed away. Many generations of the family have lived in this house and it is a remarkable Estate full of history and charm. The House and Gardens are open to the public almost 365 days of the year so that they can enjoy the collection of art, antiques and history the house has to offer. My husbands father was very heavily involved with the running of the Estate; The Private quarters were perfectly comfortable for him and had not been altered since the 1960’s. However as his death was of course a terrible loss, we felt that our new home needed a renovation to make it more comfortable and to bring the grandeur up to the level of the rest of the house. I did a lot of research to find an interior designer who specialised in Historic Homes and would be able to restore our Private Wing sympathetically. It is also important to consider that the house is Grade 1 listed which means it can be terribly difficult for ones plans to be put into fruition. We decided to consult French Interior Designer Pierre Yves Rochon who’s work, as you will see, is out of this World! To give you an idea of the end result, here is a selection of rooms designed by PYR that show his remarkable capabilities.

Yours,

The Countess x

The Countess shares her Summer Style

This gallery contains 27 photos.

My Mother always taught me the importance of being ladylike and elegant, it was she who gave me a passion for fashion and dressing well. I never once saw my Mother in trousers or jeans, she only ever wore dresses … Continue reading

Summer Social Season..What i’ll be wearing

Summer is almost upon us and this year my diary is rather full with engagements, In particular evening festivities. After Christmas celebrations, this is my favourite time when I have the opportunity and privilege of wearing stunning gowns almost every week. My wardrobe is planned months in advance and I often attend Fashion Week in London and Paris to see what catches my eye. At most of the Social occasions the Earl and I attend, there are in excess of 300 guests, therefore it is important to stand out but remain elegant at the same time. Oscar de la Renta in particular has impressed me this season and here are are a selection of the gowns that I shall be wearing this year. Click thumbnail to enlarge image.

Yours,

The Countess x

Duchess Of Cambridge arrives in Scotland

Duchess Of Cambridge arrives in Scotland

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge or should I say the Earl and Countess of Strathearn (as they are known in Scotland), arrived in Glasgow today to commence a two day Royal tour. The Duchess looked radiant as usual in … Continue reading