Cruising with Carolyn-

To friends and family we are simply known as the wives! (Even George calls her wife, and I wonder if he really knows her actual name). Meet Carolyn Hrovat, the woman I proudly call BFF and Muse! From an early age I think I've dragged her in  to all my creative schemes- from Art school to now!! And sometimes I think she just says YES so I stop bugging her! (of course she does!)

Actually I don’t even know where to start. This life- our life, is a journey we have really shared together since we met in our teens. Funny, sad, emotional, unbearable, unbelievable, down trodden, riding high, low, birth, death and marriage, and a connection that will see us through to the term of our natural lives.

Apparently I have a lot to say - this according to my other half (George kindly entertains all of this)- and well my wife - I can't top her- she has even more! And the wonderful thing is we've never needed to compete - we speak for each other and the loyalty is unheard of - I mean it's through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. Unbreakable.

We live a parallel life in the strangest ways - our parents were and are our idols - both sets. Siblings are well, siblings- and then there's the go to Big M (brother) - living life large in Surfers Paradise, where this charade once began, and somehow he still manages to get dragged into the carry on which has become “The wives”.

I LOVE this woman!! She is everything to me and looks bloody gorgeous in a SMOKK!-

 Meet the insanely gorgeous inside and out Carolyn-

How does smokks favorite model feel about them-
Aside from them being the stylish brain child of my best friend!-they are pretty, practical & easy to wear, (and have all important pockets!)

Where do you live and why?
In the South of France near to Monaco, because it's the most beautiful & chicest place in the world-it's fun and exciting, and I love the sun!
Prior to buying a property here and permanently relocating, I would come down several times per year over a 10 year period, the visits initially inspired in the name of following the Formula One race and attending the Cannes Film Festival each May.

Where did you do your acting degree?
I did a year at the 'Actors Centre' in Sydney, Australia, but then I was accepted into the 'Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting' in New York City - 3 of the best years of my life, what a ball! I can not describe it! With alumni like Marlon Brando, Harvey Keitel & Robert De Niro you can imagine my excitement at studying there. Upon graduating I joined a theatre repertory and worked with them Off-Off-Broadway for a few years before moving to the UK.

What does luxury mean to you?
A comfortable ambient surrounding, well cut clothes, eating seafood by the sea, good health, sweet friends, not feeling cold! all of these things are a luxury-to me.

5 things your suitcase does not leave home without?
-50+ sunblock for face-even if I'm going to London in winter
-Perfume, I love Acqua di Parma's 'Mirto di Panarea', and Tom Ford's 'Neroli Portofino' in particular.
-Books. At the moment I am very into reading/educating myself with psychology books about personality disorders, don't ask!  LOL!!!!
-Phone charger
-Gym trainers

Train or plane?

Favorite country?
It is a close competition between Italy and France for me. Italy leads I would say because i think it's more dramatic and beautiful, and both of my parents are Italian, so I can speak the language and I identify with the culture entirely. However I live in France (very close to the border of Italy) and I am a total francophile, so I guess I have to figure this out!

Summers most luxurious purchase?
For me this year, it is my pink Fendi cat eye sunglasses

Best thing about traveling?
Nothing, I hate the literal act of travelling, it's boring and I can not stand public transport of any kind. Not to sound like one of those annoying 'been there done that' people, but I have travelled so extensively over the last 15 years that I could care less to do more of and working on the Riviera is like a permanent holiday, and I'm so happy here that I don't like leaving!

How do you feel when you wear a smokk?
Feminine for a change

Favorite shampoo?
Phyto for curly hair

Must have beauty products?
Bioderma all the way

The perfect way to sun bathe?
Covered in olive oil

What makes you laugh?
So many things, I'm always laughing. Maybe mostly my well chosen friends! They are all mental & really entertain me, nothing ordinary or dull about any of them!

Best sunblock?
Bioderma makes a nice one with a golden tint.

Best beach in the world?
Paloma beach in St Jean Cap Ferrat around the way from me-for true Mediterranean glamour & emerald sea,
And a beach in Antigua that i can not recall the name of!

5 favorite things you love right right now?
1-My scooter/His motorbike - I feel an immense sense of freedom when i ride along up high on the cliffs here, sun beaming down and turquoise water surrounding me, it is like flying! On Sundays I switch to the back of my boyfriends 1000 CC motorbike, still like flying but in a frightening way lol! I just love wheels and freedom basically.
2-Fresh light purple roses from my local saturday morning market
3-My boyfriend
4-French & Georgian wine
5-That is is finally summer!

Best memory as a kid-

There are many great memories, but I like the funny ones - around the age of 5-I cut off the hair of every single doll I owned at the time, super short-and there must have been close to 100 of them i had a 'toy room' and it was loaded with dolls of every size. My mum was a hairdresser & my inspiration, I used her professional scissors to do it as well-it may have been the only time she ever shouted at me, but being a natural rebel I was high on fun.

What you love/d most about your mum?
Too many things to list, but she had to have been the least judgmental person I have ever known -still to this day, and i have met a lot of people! She was very 'live and let live' and everyone - without exception- loved her, a super kind and soft woman.

Favorite sport?
Formula 1

Beach or Snow?
Beach of course are you crazy? Why would anyone want to feel cold

The wife code!!!
What you love most about your BFF/Wife hahaha !!
Her blind faith & blind loyalty. Plus her amazing bottomless listening skills even when I repeat myself or talk crap!

Your most valuable lesson?
That you can hold on to absolutely nothing, everything will change, and pass, always.

Best meal ever?
Waaaay too many to choose from but the one that I recall most is a fish at the restaurant 'Da Vincenzo' in Positano - Italy. Everything on the plate, indescribable. Although I'm not a 'foodie' at all, I could have toast with avocado & be almost as happy. If it's healthy then I like it.

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Meet Audrey-

The totally divine Audrey Sammon is a real favorite of ours! Not only did her amazing mother Laura (you can read about her on our blog) support us from day 1- she gave us Audrey!! Pompie and Audrey have been "soul sisters" as they love to say since the day they were born. They love like sisters and they fight like sisters, and they make up like sisters. It's a really wonderful relationship seeing them grow together. We love Audrey so much for so many reasons - She is real delight to begin with! Dynamic and direct, charming and compassionate and I have to say, one of the many many things I personally love and admire about her, is her undying love for animals! WOW!! She loves hard- and it really is amazing to see, the love and devotion she shows toward her pets, Arthur, Ebenezer, Charlotte, and Emmett- a testament of a real devotion.

Miss Audrey we salute you!! (and love you a  whole lot too!) xx


Favorite holiday thing to do- no matter what holiday-

CHRISTMAS!! I like to get presents!! And also put out cookies for Santa.

Best place to visit-
Hanging out with my Michigan friends at their lake houses!

The most exciting thing you learnt at school this year-
Math - it's easyish-hard. Math games are my favorite.

Best play date ever-
The first time I ever went to Amanda's place (a new friend from the new school). Her room had a penguin swing!! And doing fashion shows with Pompie when I was little.

The most fun you’ve ever had in summer -
Visiting Disneyland.

The best things your mom has taught you to do-
How to draw a star!! And how to wrap presents. And how to wait!!

Dads best baking recipe-
Sugar cookies with raspberry icing!! ALL HIS COOKIES  (I think we might need this recipe Mike!!)

The most memorable story your grandparents have told you-
(Mom note) We realize the grandparents have not shared a lot of stories lol!!

What summer means to you-
HAPPY! And being warm

What you're looking forward to in grade 2-
Having a class pet - a centipede!!

Your favorite dinner-
Fish sticks with a dinner roll (or a "bun-bun") with strawberries!!

Best kid thing ever-
Cake and custard. 

Why you love Smokks-
The (jersey) fabric is soooooo soft - I want to wear it all day!! And all the fun patterns.
Also, that you guys make them! 😊 YAY

Audrey wears-

Lucie-wiltshire/Winnie- wilthire/Winnie-Mauvey/Whirlie-pink





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Talking with Tanya-

I have been so incredibly lucky in the motherhood phase of my life to meet a handful of incredible women- and this one is a real cracker!! A world acclaimed concert Pianist, and the director of the Alpenkammerusik festivaland a woman as beautiful as the music she plays inside and out- plus she SMOKKS!! It does not get better than that..Tanya Bannister is sweet music in OH SO MANY ways!

How many countries have you lived in? 

Have lived in 4 countries- Hong Kong, UK, Italy and the US.

Tell me about your day-
I like slow mornings and don't have the best discipline getting up with the clock and being on time. When I have my son and we are getting ready for school, it's a lazy 30 minutes of coffee and breakfast before a 15 minute regular panic of tooth brushing, getting dressed and running to school.
I spend the day practicing, running my festival and am starting a non-profit with my friend Xheni Rroji called ArtsStance.
I teach in the afternoons or ferry my son around to lessons and torture him to practice piano and cello daily.
I think like most parents, I am very ready to put my son to bed for some quiet time at the end of the evening.

What being a mother means to you?
I genuinely adore spending time with my son. Since he is with his dad half the week, I really appreciate every moment with him. He is my first priority and I am lucky enough to have flexibility as a musician. I work my schedule around his activities after school so I can support him and make sure he’s doing what he needs to. I vacillate between being a tiger mom and being a goofy and embarrassing parent.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a pianist?
I was four and I just knew from the bottom of my soul (sorry if that’s corny…that’s how it was) that I wanted music to be my life.

Beauty routine?
I am obsessed with my Nu Skin ageloc products. I take good care of my skin and also regularly use the galvanic machine with the ageloc gels. I also always use sunscreen.

New York or London and why?
Both…I love the U.S. as you can go for your dreams and never feel shy about what you achieve. I miss London as it feels more international in that you can quickly get to a diverse number of countries very quickly.

Top 5 things your suitcase must have in it?
My NuSkin products-
Makeup - almost always last thing I pack-
Smokk! - so easy- 
My cubed suitcase organizers - make packing and unpacking so much easier-
My multi vitamins-

Best thing about your job?
That i am studying and spending time with music that stretches and challenges me intellectually, spiritually and physically all the time. The work is never done and I do love that. My life is also pretty flexible and I like having periods of intense work balanced with more chilled out periods.

What does comfort mean to you?
Having people I love near me that have a shared view of the world. I am comforted by people that have humor, humanity and humility.

Why do you love smokks?
I LOVE the colors and prints…I love my Japanese printed floral smokk as well as my rope tying summer dress.

How do you like to feel in clothes?
I love to feel effortlessly chic. I don’t like to feel too done up.

Darling Max’s favorite habit?
My bed is his favorite place and he will relentlessly bargain to spend a night there. He may never speak to me again for mentioning this…let’s hope he will never read this blog.

How many Pianos have you owned?
1 lovely Steinway B and an upright that has electronic capabilities that are good for nocturnal work sessions.

Summer must haves?
Sunblock and a hat! Got to preserve the youth…it’s slipping away.

Tell me about being the director of (you need to give me corect spelling again) festival-
I founded Alpenkammerusik with some friends 11 years ago and now I am the only one left and run it with an incredible baritone and person…Randall Scarlata. It is a chamber music festival set in a very untouched part of the Alps with a rich tradition of folk music. It never gets old going there and is one of the highlights of the year spending time with so many wonderful people over an intense 10 day period. Musicians come from all over the world to play music and perform. You can check out how beautiful it is!

Favorite country and why?
Africa, only place I have ever cried leaving. Unforgettable landscape, sunsets and wildlife.

Best travel tip?
Try turning off the phone and be present! Except when there is a beautiful picture to take!

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