Apart from being a shocking year for everyone, 2020 is a really important landmark
for John and I as we are celebrating 30 years of being married. I know it sounds ironic,
but I really cannot believe that it has been that long when it feels much closer in
memory. I feel incredibly lucky and even a little surprised that we’re still going strong
4 kids later, particularly as we’ve worked together for 25 out of 30 years! This year
also marks ten years since we launched Annoushka together—a cause for a double
I have always loved driving and so every ten years we have celebrated our wedding
anniversary with a road trip, sharing an exciting adventure together.
For our tenth anniversary, we took a two weeklong drive down Route 66 on the west
coast of the United States in an open-top sports car, pit stopping along the way at
some fabulous places.
While for our twentieth anniversary we took a road trip in my Aston Martin through
Italy, and stayed at some really special places, including the very spoiling Splendido in
This year with the complications around travelling and quarantine, we decided to
plan something closer to home and visit a part of England that we have not properly
explored before. The journey will start from home in West Sussex and take us
through Wiltshire and then cross-country to Cornwall, stopping at various friends and
landmarks along the way, that somehow, we have never found the time to do before.
Unlike me, John loves to be super organised and put together meticulous itineraries (a
hangover from his university days, when he was a tour guide) and is very good at little
surprises and unexpected details.
We also both love art, but John is very knowledgeable and always spends a lot of time
researching where we should go based on the various museums and galleries in the
region and tends to plan our journey with these in mind.
I come from a family of collectors. My great grandmother Louise Ducas launched
Salvador Dali’s career in New York and rather fabulously was his muse. On the Russian
side of the family, my grandfather Peter Provatoroff and his brother Victor built an
important collection of Russian pictures, now exhibited in museums in London and
Moscow. Our current taste however is more 20th Century British.
We will start with a relatively short distance to Salisbury and The Messums Gallery
where they have recreated British sculptor Elisabeth Frink’s Wooland Studio,
exhibiting a collection of her original plasters alongside tools and objects salvaged
from her studio.
We’ve then planned lunch in Bruton, Somerset to visit our very good friend Phil, who
was John’s best man, he lives very close to the Hauser & Wirth gallery, which I have
been longing to go to for some time. It has a brilliant arts centre set in the most
breath-taking Somerset landscape. As a keen gardener, I am really excited to see the
dramatic gardens behind the gallery buildings by renowned landscape architect Piet
Oudolf, which are said to be quite surrealist - gardens are a constant inspiration for
me. Hopefully, we will have time for a bite at the Roth Bar & Grill, which uses seasonal
produce from Durslade Farm.
From here, we will head to Harlyn Bay in North Cornwall and stay at the recently
opened Pig hotel, which is run by friends Robin and Judy Hutson. When we are lucky
enough to get Glastonbury tickets, we love staying at another of their lovely hotels,
near Bath, as it is a short drive to the festival. One of the lovely things about their
hotels is how warm and welcoming they are—it instantly puts you at ease - something
that I try hard to do in our stores.
Based from The Pig for two nights, we will explore St Ives, and in particular the
Barbara Hepworth studio gallery and gardens. I love visiting artist studios particularly
sculptors as there are so many similarities with the process of creating jewellery: the
preparatory sketches, the working in wax or plaster, the final casting, and then the
The Tate at St Ives is close by and we plan to see the Naum Gabo exhibition, which
John is excited about, however, I suspect I will prefer the wonderful organic shapes
of Hepworth’s work. I can’t wait to see the permanent collection at The Tate and the
wonderful coastline of St Ives that inspired such an incredible group of artists—the
rugged Cornish coastline is such an unspoilt thing of beauty.
Being close to the sea always connects me to memories of my Mother and her fishing
business, which I took on after she died. For years I would spend early mornings in
Rye buying directly from the boats there and if I couldn’t get what my clients wanted,
I would be on the phone to the fishermen in Falmouth—it was a different time with
landlines and fax machines! Sadly, we won’t have time to visit, but I hear things are far
more modern now!
In typical British summer style, the weather is not looking that promising, but you
never know—I am really hoping to get the roof off the car, to blow away the cobwebs
of lockdown, and feel the sea mist on our faces.