Work-life balance – it’s a phrase that’s easy to say, but for many of us it’s significantly harder to put this elusive idea into practice. For a start you have to define what that exactly means, and I think it means different things to different people – and at different times of their lives.
In my life there was a time when I worked significantly longer hours than I do now, and the majority of my time was weighted toward work. I was younger, starting out and I felt I needed to do it at the time – and indeed when you are setting up businesses I do think you need to put inordinate amounts of time and energy in to get things off the ground.
If travel is not on your list of new year resolutions then it definitely should be! For me, there is nothing more invigorating and healthy than to travel – experiencing new cultures, new foods, new sensations and getting some valuable perspective on the world. Lorna and I have our favourite places, and we do go back to them, time and again – Val Thorens in the French Alps where we are at the moment, and beautiful Beaulieu sur Mer on the French Riviera where we keep our boat – but we also enjoy exploring places that surprise us and keep us on our toes. I am always on the look out for interesting trips to take – and as the owner of a luxury travel company I keep an eye firmly on travel trends and up-and-coming destinations. So, before you make your travel plans for 2016 take a look at my hot tips for the new year around the world …and then maybe change them!
We’re leaving the slopes and returning to the UK soon from Val Thorens for a few days to celebrate Christmas with our “UK children” – and one of the things we’ll do, like everyone else, is enjoy some family time over a good meal.
I love to eat well and I think food is one of life’s great pleasures. I really enjoy eating dishes that are made with lots of fresh, organic, locally sourced foods, as I really think the way that food is produced is of the utmost importance when it comes to nutrition – and taste. What we put into our bodies is so important to our health and well-being, and I totally agree with Hippocrates, who said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Continue reading →
December is here and the run-up to Christmas – and for us that usually signals our first ski trip of the season. We are off to Val Thorensnext week, which is always a wonderful change of environment. It is a place that fills us both with delight; there’s such a fresh, healthy feel to it. Our apartment there is an exquisite place – it’s relatively small, compared to our house here, but we have spent years making it just how we want it to be – and that includes glass walls so we can wake up and look straight out at the mountains. For me, that is something that always lifts the spirits.
Winter is always welcome to me – mainly because it means I can indulge in skiing, one of my big sporting passions. I am a big believer that exercise keeps you young and strong. Age is no barrier to being physically active – in fact, I’d say that you can’t stop exercising when you’re older, just because perhaps you’re not as good at it as you once were, and expect to keep strong and fit. Keeping active keeps your body working at its best and keeps your mind sharp. When you accept that exercise brings a plethora of health benefits, such as increased bone density, reduced blood pressure, increased muscular strength and power, and improved balance, it seems obvious that we should make the time to move our bodies.
On the 24th July my children started arriving from around the globe for the wedding of my son Grant and his partner Enrica. My eldest, Maxine, was the first to arrive from California, followed by my son Guy, his wife Milou and their daughter, Ona, from New York. And then, the next day, my daughter Jenna, her husband Bear and their children – four-and-a-half-year-old Jack and two-and-a-half-year-old Stella – arrived from Australia. Their destination was our house in Buckinghamshire, which our kids have nicknamed Southfork, as it’s set on three acres and big enough to house them all. Justin, my stepson, is living with us at the moment so he was also in residence with his three boys Sebastian, Fabien and Raphael.
One of the ways that getting older impacts, and I have noticed this a lot, is wondering whether you are at the ‘right’ point in your life for your age. People seem to gauge how far they have progressed, whether in their career or in their personal life, through age markers. I see it in my own children as they compare where they’re at with everyone else. Continue reading →
My wife and I were in Italy recently for a couple of days and during our visit we had some interesting conversations about the current immigration situation there. Italy is on the frontline of the current surge of movement of people from North Africa and the Middle East trying to come to Europe across the Mediterranean – most arriving on its shores after horrendous journeys on crowded boats run by people traffickers.
The European Union encompasses some 500m people, and has wealth, political freedom and stability. OK, it might have deteriorated slightly because of the imposition of monetary union on members when it doesn’t really fit (as American economist, Milton Friedman once said “you cannot have monetary union until you have political union”). But together with the US it is still generally the most developed and prosperous union across the board. And yet we have people coming here who are desperate, and I believe entitled to safe haven, and we are – in the main – refusing them asylum.
I’m a family man first and foremost. Although I’ve worked hard in life to make a success of my business ventures, none of it matters compared to the love I have for my wife Lorna, my children and grandchildren.
You can’t put a price on family and, as they grow so fast, it’s so vital to make the most of every precious moment. Often work takes us away from the one’s we care about, especially in my field, but it’s important to keep our priorities straight and recognise what counts before it’s too late! Continue reading →