Tamara Beckwith

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About Tamara Beckwith…”…

I am a gallerist, columnist and occasional TV presenter as well as the mother of two gorgeous girls Anouska and Violet.

When I´m not dashing off to some fabulous location on a photoshoot, writing assignment or to attend a friend's event, I am busy juggling work at my photography gallery, The Little Black Gallery in Chelsea, with keeping my Italian husband Giorgio and our three-year-old daughter Violet happy and fed. Writing up the previous evening's adventures is not so easy if I break the cardinal rule of no drinking on a school night!

www.thelittleblackgallery.com

January, 2013

22 January
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Miami: A little piece of heaven

I have always had a sort of love/hate relationship with Miami but since I started staying with our good friends the Colombo’s in their beyond beautiful home, I seem to relish our trips. Before, I was always flying in and out for work and was put up in hotels, not that it was all bad…but somehow, it was always a bit soulless and I couldn’t wait to leave. To say their home beats any 5 star Hotel is no exaggeration but what is even more brilliant than the sheer luxury and being spoilt with amazing Italian food 24/7, is that our children just spend all day exhausting each other!

 

The view from the Colombo’s beautiful home

The view from the Colombo’s beautiful home

Having dropped off our bags we headed straight for the new W Hotel and the beach. I cannot say the ocean really compares to the Dominican’s beautiful sea but Giorgio loves body surfing and he has taught Vivi not to be like me who stands on the edge with much toe-dipping going on…  Tanned cabana boys are a huge perk in Miami and the healthy shrimp wraps brought to the cabanas were absolutely what the doctor ordered. As usual, once you hit American soil, fake boobs are the order of the day and I am always fascinated at the sizes these girls will stretch too. There is generally a lot of preening taking place!

 

Travelling-Light-edit

Travelling light!

That night we headed to one of our favourites – Casa Tua – run by Micky Grendene. All the Italians flock there and we never have a trip to Miami without at least one dinner there. Micky is a character and also has a wonderful photography & art gallery in the upstairs restaurant. This trip I was spoilt staring at Peter Beard’s creations.

Up early and you realise why the Miami life is so alluring. A little retail therapy after the Dominican was also hugely appealing. Sara, our girlfriend had just opened her new Design store ‘Nest’ in the uber new and trendy design district and so of course I was dying to see it. Giorgio on the other hand cannot resist Bal Harbour which is wall to wall designer boutiques.  He has a thing for Tom Ford, the man himself and anything he designs, so dragging poor Vivi there is painful.

 

Beautiful Miami

Beautiful Miami

 

Robert Hanson and his lovely wife Masha had invited us for lunch there with their little boy but we ended up doing our own thing. All I can say is ‘thank goodness’ for the carp fish ponds that run across the entire downstairs, keeping all the small children entertained for hours whilst adults shop. Talking of shopping, no trip to Miami is complete without a hit at The Webster on Collins Ave. OMG it is just dripping with things you just have to have. The buyer is a genius and they always have a super selection of jewellery that ranges from ok to the ridiculous. They are also a huge stockist of Charlotte Olympia’s shoe and bag line! Utterly irresistible. I never make it out of there alive!

 

The Webster Gallery

The Webster Gallery

 

Finally we made it out without a huge dressing up situation and hit the legendary Toni’s Sushi on Washington Ave.  Sara and I were so happy to be in jeans and flats! The food was delicious and super fresh and it added to our enjoyment that we had some gorgeous Cuban model, who starred in the Replay ads, forever sitting right in our eyeline. So nice for once to have the eye candy for us girls.

 

Lunch time!

Lunch time!

 

That night we watched the sun set over the water at the end of their garden. To say it was a beautiful start to the new year would be spoilt I know, but then I do know I am very lucky! Giorgio of course had work for Formula Electric in Miami and so Vivi and I flew home alone. She cried all the way from Sara’s house to the airport and can’t understand why we can’t live in Miami. She does have a point… She is such a veteran flier that she’s practically asleep as the plane takes off. British Airways – our preferred carrier is, in my experience, fabulous with little ones. They just always seem to go that extra little step.

Bruno Bisang at his exhibiton for The Little Black Gallery

Bruno Bisang at his exhibiton for The Little Black Gallery

So home to London with a jolt but as it wasn’t raining I thought that was a bonus! I must be quite a proper Brit because as much as I love being away and seeing and experiencing new things I really love getting home.  Also my gallery, The Little Black Gallery, had a really exciting new show of Bruno Bisang’s polaroids, with the preview on the Tuesday night. Rallying our clients and some new faces is always relatively easy for January as everyone seems keen to get back out and do a little tentative buying. Bruno had flown in from Switzerland and was very happy with the hanging and the framing that we had done. This is always quite a relief but the images of the supers: Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Carla Bruni and Monica Belluci are so popular.

 

Paul and Stacey Young with Bruno Bisang

Paul and Stacey Young with Bruno Bisang

The party for the preview night is always quite fun as you just can’t tell who will pop in and who won’t. Our serious clients will always make an appointment as soon as the show is hung but the party is an important part of the show.  It was freezing but since I am still a little golden I opted for my Vicedomini puff dress. It was a little skimpy for some but since I rush around an awful lot I hate to be hot. Darling florist to the stars Rob Van Helden and his beau Seb arrived early and the ever handsome Giancarlo Giammetti swung by in a chic camel coat.

Julien MacDonald and Melissa Odabash

Melissa Odabash and Julien MacDonald

Jewellery designer King Stephen Webster and his heavenly wife Assia came late with their little pooch, Gnasher, and we were all so thrilled for Stephen as he has been awarded a Queen’s Honour! Brilliant and so well deserved. Singer Paul Young and his delightful wife Stacey came and got everyone over excited, bikini babe Melissa Odabash and her great pal the Designer Julien MacDonald also came. To say the night was fun would be true but to see how much everyone loved Bruno’s work was far more exciting.  Lets hope that excitement turns into sales!!!

11 January
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A wonderful Caribbean New Year

Finally we leave for the Dominican Republic – quite an exciting departure for our family, heading for the sunshine instead of the snow, and Punta Cana was beckoning… We were joining a good friend of ours, Lucy Doughty, who has a beautiful home on the ocean. After the weather London has been serving up with alarming regularity, I was desperate for some sunshine. Our good friend Tim Attias was also coming with us and we were joining the even more mad Spiros (Arabella & Glen). So far so promising.

 

Me, Giorgio and Violet with Lucy Doughty, Glenn Spiro, his daughters Skyla and Sienna. ©TamaraBeckwith

We unfortunately travel with obscene amounts of luggage and as I had no clue what to take I had left nothing to chance! Violet was thrilled to be re-united with her friends Skyla and Sienna (Spiro) and the house was a child’s paradise – shallow turquoise waters and soft, powdery sand galore. Sand castles were constructed with haste.

 

Vivi playing with a friend on the beach ©TamaraBeckwith

The first night we were off to Casa de Campo to see a Julio Iglesias concert at their beautiful amphitheatre. Well we were told to dress casual and on arrival we looked like the shoddy relations. South Americans are chic and the women really do look put together. Hair had been done and full make-up was definitely the norm…We had spectacular seats – almost able to touch the holy man himself! As we walked to our seats we were introduced to the seriously dashing and divinely talented designer Oscar de la Renta who was the guest of honour and next to him was another star from the Fashion world, Carolina Herrera. I have met her a few times before and she always looks immaculate with a capital I.  As the lights dimmed Julio’s younger wife Miranda slipped in and sat next to Oscar. When Julio came onto the stage the packed amphitheatre went tonto! It was great to see him perform all his classic love songs in Spanish as he really does speak the language of Love. He also has three backing singers. When I say backing singers I mean knockout girls who do a sort of wiggle and a samba and coo a lot! My goodness I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

 

Me and Tim Attias

 

The show was quite wonderful and the next thing we had the President of Haiti stand up and make his way to the stage. Yes, he and Julio turn out to be huge friends and fans of each other and they even performed a couple of duets!! Quite surreal. Luckily the crowd were super orderly when it came time to leave. We then headed off to a fabulous house where we were rather rude – starving hungry we said our ‘hellos’ to our host and our friends Fawaz Gruosi from De Grisogono and his sexy squeeze Valerie and then literally stormed the buffet. It was a huge outside dining room filled with every kind of delicacy you can imagine and we all just went a bit nuts! A hugeTurkey, Italian pastas, crab jumbo, lobster… The dessert table was absolutely beautiful too – decorated with candy canes and roses as if we were at a wedding. Mini tiramisus were light and too sumptuous to refuse. Out of nowhere a gaggle of ex-Berlusconi babes arrived and the dance floor was suddenly jumping with seriously expert salsa dancers. I decided the boys had had enough eye candy for the night and rather meanly packed us all off home.

 

My ticket to the Julio Iglesias concert

The day of New Years Eve arrived and we were all consumed with Lucy’s pre-party for the kid’s. I have never seen as much candy, 2013 sparkly hats or hooters. She had even got a couple of mechanical mules to sit the kids on. However the piñata was her coup de force. All our girls took to bashing the poor tinkerbell with a frenzy. Never have they had such uncontrolled fun… the only tears came when the sweets finally littered the floor and the little ones weren’t quite so savvy at collecting their stash. We finally headed off to get ready and returned suited and booted ready to bring the New Year in. I was in my trusted Missoni, Arabella in coral Pucci and Lucy in Jenny Packham.  We jumped into the cars and arrived at our party as the heavens opened…Defying the naughty rain we had fun. Lots of champagne flowed as we all got into a festive spirit wearing silly hats and trying to get with the salsa programme.  The count down began and suddenly we were kissing total strangers and watching fireworks! All very different to Gstaad I must say!

 

 

Amazingly we all woke up without hangovers and headed off for a spot of dolphin swimming in the sea. Lucy had arranged a private swim with the owner of the local aquarium and as you can only imagine the girls were super excited. It was the perfect New Year’s day excursion and watching Violet feed a dolphin calledIsis was a moment to treasure. The swim was out in the sea and although I do believe that animals should be left in the wild we had a great experience. Watching Giorgio pretend he wanted to hold onto the dorsal fin and swim around made me laugh out loud!
Our last lunch was a feast with a beautiful table at a fabulous restaurant called “The Palapa” at the Eden Rock hotel.  Endless plates of fresh seafood and carpaccio’s of shrimp and mahi mahi made ourCaribbean adventure complete.  I must personally recommend the gazpacho – it was to die for delicious…

 

Violet grinning with glee! ©TamaraBeckwith

Unbeknownst to me Giorgio had one last treat in store before we left – a sunset horse ride! Now even I would know this is a silly reality – horses are dangerous and unpredictable but hey ho he was so enthusiastic… Vivi and I helmeted up and headed off with a Dominican boy who naturally spoke no English! A great start. Vivi is besotted with horses and has had many pony rides but to say she rides is a slight stretch… Likewise I can ride but as my tired pony got the bit between his teeth so to speak and decided to see who was the boss, I could sense we were in for an interesting hour! The whole thing was a tad chaotic and even better when Giorgio joined us cowboy style riding in flipflops!! Did I mention marrying an Italian is never dull?? Thankfully our ride was a success and apart from a couple of jitters and being taken off into a swampy forest we loved it. The enormous smile on Violet’s face as we headed back along the beach to the house one last time made it all the more magical. Thank you the Dominican Republic for a very special holiday.

Off to Miami for some last sunshine…

Happy New Year!

 

03 January
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Christmas pantos and Italian festivities

We have a huge annual Family Christmas Tea party for all the little ones and this year it fell to us.  I had rather cheekily hijacked Rhea (she does lots of Fairy parties) to help us with the 12 children and keeping some form of order at my father’s home – and I kind of presumed the 20 adults would fend for themselves!  It’s something I have done since I was about 6 years old and have every desire to continue the tradition.  This way all the cousins get to stay in touch and Christmas really is about family.  The next day I had barely recovered from eating cheeky honey glazed cocktail sausages and Bunny & Boo cupcakes when it was all action stations to get all my little girl and Godchildren fed and off to the panto.  This is another serious Beckwith tradition and I just love every minute of watching the children’s faces in utter wonder.  It is priceless and luckily the panto is ideal for the slightly restless or timid.  This year was Violet’s first and she was beyond excited as she chose a slightly too small, red party dress and insisted on wearing her hair down like her two beautiful cousins.

 

 

Wimbledon Theatre is my traditional port of call as it’s where I grew up and also it belongs to my father’s Ambassador Theatre Group.  Quite handy if I have messed up on numbers!  This year they had gone mad and created Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The cast was genius with glamourpuss and Hollywood royalty Priscilla Presley as The Wicked Queen, my good friend Warrick Davis as Prof and the very silly comedien Jarred Christmas as Herman.  There were 15 of us, so we pretty much took up a whole row but it was, as always, glittery and silly and a great old sing along.  Warrick’s surprise song (for those who may still be waiting to see it) was absolutely hilarious and Priscilla’s costumes were a grown girls dream. Afterwards we all snuck backstage to visit Warrick who had to do it all again that night!  The panto may seem fun but it’s a brutal schedule.

 

 

We finally wrapped my new TV show Four Rooms and I was a bit sad to say goodbye.  You spend an incredibly intense period of time with total strangers and then when its time to leave you feel as if you have all been together forever.  I had so enjoyed my time with the crew I decided to get them some cold beers as a way of saying thank you.  It goes without saying the idea was far more appreciated than chocolates!

 

A final supper with our mad gang at the uber Christmassy, Annabel’s.  We were a cosy table of ten and it was nice to take time out to thank our friends for being such good friends to us.  We of course had traditional turkey with all the trimmings and rather copious amounts of red wine, but sadly we did not take the Jefferies lead and go to bed …We insisted or rather I insisted on a last drop at Hertford Street.  Of course that was the final straw and the following morning wasn’t at all pretty!

 

Giorgio and I had to pack up the house and catch a silly o’clock flight to Milan for a Christmas with his family. Milan has been freezing and I seem to have packed for an entirely different trip!  Not a sock in my suitcase or a long sleeved anything!  Where was the brain?!  The best part of the Italian trip was the night we had a very chic dinner at one of Giorgio’s best friends’ apartments and my new Alaia dress that was hanging and ready to go suddenly didn’t have any tights to go with it!  White bare legs were not an option – my husband nearly threw me out of the window! He cannot understand how I just don’t care about the small details! I tried to say I had been somewhat busy in the lead up to Christmas but he was having none of it.  All was resolved as I came up with a slightly less chic plan B.  On our way out of the Hotel Baglioni I popped to the loo and as I came out I thought of my friend Goga who now lives in Milan.  As I turned around to dry my hands there she was!  We both screamed and then gave each other a huge hug.  She had also just popped into the loo from the airport – life is full of coincidences!

 

 

Finally the big day of indulgence and family arrived.  Waking up in Milan with Giorgio’s parents was a very different variant of Christmas morning as we had, as all good Italians have, a huge celebratory Christmas Eve.  In Europe they tend to give the presents and have a huge meal on Christmas Eve.  I took this all in my stride and, although it totally goes against the grain to open a single gift before Christmas morning, I decided to let it go.  I had helped Violet write her letter to Santa and we had a huge ceremony of setting it alight in the fireplace.  She was most concerned that it was being burnt.  Sadly not a jot of Turkey, a spoonful of bread sauce or any of the little pigs in blankets that I just go crazy for… Instead home made tortellini in broth and a Capon!  It was all wonderful though and Violet saw a true Italian traditional version of Christmas.  She was up the next morning and flew down the stone staircase to see if Father Chritsmas had indeed been clever enough to find her in Italy.  Low and behold he had.  The best thing about being almost 4yrs old is that any present big or small, expensive or cheap as chips, they all still count.  It’s more the unwrapping that excites her.  Her divinely eccentric Nonna Marina had succumbed and bought her a dwarf hamster which was promptly named Romeo.  I am not sure if she is quite clear on the fact that these little creatures live quite long lives… Giorgio had gone a bit OTT in Tom Ford and so I was a tad spoilt, but it was Violet’s homemade china bowls that she had lovingly made in a pottery class that made the No.1 spot, going to prove that it really is all about family, time and effort that makes or breaks a Christmas.  Of course none of this is worth it if there isn’t, at some point, a major spat of some kind… Luckily for me when it kicks off in high speed Italian at my in laws I really don’t have a clue what its all about!

 

Now off to Dominican Republic for the New Year. Happy New Year to you all! I hope to have lots more adventures in 2013 to share with you.

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