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Lord Louis

My grandfather was the backbone to our lives. I remember small ‘tasks’ he would set me, standing tiptoed on a chair pushing his shoulders back hard against a stone wall “harder child, harder” he would yell, or tickling a blade of grass across his upper lip, as he snoozed in the afternoon, “softer child, softer” the indomitable yet gentle giant, until one sunny August day in Ireland the clouds descended on that childhood forever.

It is hard for me to imagine my grandfather, only a few years older than I am now, being asked to dismantle an empire. Unimaginable was the responsibility of stemming the tide of violence and controlling cities that were committing suicide. It is not hard, however, to imagine that from the moment my grandparents arrived, they rejected all the raj stereotypes and looked towards the job with open minds. It is also understandable that despite his royal ties my grandfather was a tough-minded realist, committed to those liberal principles which made him acceptable to a labour party. Ghandi, the soft-voiced archangel of India’s independence, sensed my grandfather’s warmth and responded to it, as he had been unable to do with any previous Viceroy.

Criticism over the damnable haste in bringing British rule to an end has never softened. The blunt fact is that no one foresaw the magnitude of the disaster, and their failure to do so would baffle historians in later years. The Leaders themselves, Nehru and Jinnah, each made the grave error of underestimating the communal passions which would inflame the masses of their sub-continent, but it was the relative newcomer in their midst, the Viceroy, who took the blame from the rest of the world. 

I have travelled my way around this great country, who’s name I so proudly carry, staying in youth hostels, occasionally sickened by the unexpected glimpse of India’s timeless miseries or staying in Government houses of considerable magnitude, lavished upon by luxury, but never once during my numerous visits have I ever encountered an Indian, within India, who had any other reaction than speak in admiration about my grandparents. 

This collection of bedding is named after my grandfather, Lord Louis.

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Figue: Meet India Hicks Island Lifer


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To say India Hick's life is the stuff of fairy tales is no exaggeration. As the daughter of Lady Pamela Hicks, Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma, India is the goddaughter of the Prince of Wales. She was born a free-spirit with regal taste—a trait likely acquired from her father the famed decorator David Hicks. 

However, as is the case with most fairy tale endings, it was falling in love that changed her course forever and prompted her move to Harbour Island to start a family. Today, in addition to being an author, television host, hotelier and founder of her eponymous jewelry and home line at IndiaHicks.com, she's most often found traveling the world and raising her five children. Happily ever after, indeed!  

CURRENT LOCATION: Somewhere mid-Atlantic; I packed three weeks worth of clothes into one overnight bag. It was quite a feat.

OCCUPATION: Designer, creative director and founder of IndiaHicks.com, Instagram addict and exhausted mum.

DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE IN THREE WORDS: More classic than modern... but that's four.

WHAT INSPIRES YOUR AESTHETIC?: I am inspired by so many things: my mother's extraordinary British heritage, my father's great archive of daring designs... but mainly, by this small island I live on where you never know what unexpected discovery will lead to a new collection. A few months ago, I was on the beach walking my dogs as dawn broke when a couple of Sandpipers took flight above my head just as the first rays of sun turned from burnt orange to pink. I looked down, and in the small rock pool at my feet, something glistened. It was a tiny, lone fishing hook. And I realized at once what my next jewelry collection would be.


WHAT'S YOUR IDEA OF A PERFECT VACATION: Positano for its calm beauty, sensational views, unforgettable pasta and my run each morning up the thousand steps to the monastery, where donkeys roamed the courtyards and the trees were heavy with ripe figs.

FAVORITE HOTEL: The Carlyle in New York. It's reassuringly old world and full of charm. I can't bear those new hotels where the lobbies feel like nightclubs with booming music and dark trendy lighting. Of course, the Carlyle is a rare treat.

IDEAL TRAVEL COMPANION: My mother and David, my other half—both fascinating, patient, amusing and well-traveled.

SECRET PACKING TIP: It's all about the shoes, not the clothes. I can turn any outfit from day to night with a change of shoe.

MOST-PRIZED SOUVENIR: So many, but most recently we smuggled a baby tortoise home from the Grenadines. He was no bigger than a pebble, and he spent the journey tucked into my daughter's pencil case. He thrives in the Bahamian sunshine and is occasionally affectionately nuzzled by our dogs or proudly shown off at school.

DREAM DESTINATION: Africa for the societies that are to be prized for their distinctive lifestyles and traditions. Tribal cultures that live in harmony with nature, now a rare in our modern era. I have been several times but long to take my children to witness the splendid  pageantry of animal and man, set against a vivid backdrop of the world's most pristine landscapes... before it disappears.

COMPLETE THE SENTENCE: I travel to... educate myself. I went around the world at 18 with my cousin, my backpack and not much money. It was the best education I've ever had.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR INDIA HICKS?: Hopefully a long, uninterrupted hot bath.          

Acting Normal

I just spent two days filming something for the Travel Channel. Two days which will be edited down into probably six minutes. Six short minutes.
I can't say anything more than that, because its not my show and some scary network lawyer will beat my ass if I do.  

Anyway it involved David, me, and the children, just being ....well, David, me, and the children, except that when you have an entire film crew documenting your happy family island life with a director shouting "Just be yourselves" the result leads to me nearly committing murder. The producer is on the top of my list and my children shortly after.

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Cone of Shame

Banger's spirits have lifted a little this past week. Dragging that broken leg, he pulls himself into the sunshine for a stretch and a roll. But his continual licking of the paw has now brought on a serious infection, which makes him bite and pull aggressively at his nails. Two of which have now fallen out. This is bad. He can lose his limb if the infection moves up the leg. Domino dressed his leg in her Hello Kitty sock to stop him licking. And then we tried the cone. Look at the torture of that cone.

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Lady Louis

I never knew my grandmother, but I clearly remember being told that once, after a dinner party in India, many years after Independence, she was asked who she had sat next to, she replied saying that he had been a most amusing dinner guest, and when asked if he had been black or white, she simply could not remember. The color of skin was inconsequential to her. 

She spent her youth, and twenties, dazzling the world with her good looks and charm, but later in life became consumed by a passionate desire to help human suffering. Her childhood though was by no means ideal. Her mother died shortly after the birth of her sister. Her father was ill-suited to look after two small girls, who were then left mostly in the care of governesses.

With the start of the world war she knew she had found an outlet for her longing to do something really worthwhile, and threw herself into the war effort.   

At the end of the war came the overwhelming problem of repatriating prisoners. My grandmother’s experiences proved invaluable, and when the Japanese revealed the existence of two hundred and fifty unsuspected camps in remote, dark areas of the Far East, my grandmother decided to go herself, as every hour counted, if lives were to be saved. It was arranged that she would locate the camps, investigate the situation, and signal to Singapore for essential requirements, which would be delivered by air drop. What she found was beyond belief, prisoners starving, tortured and near to death. Red Cross and St. John workers were flown in and so successful were the arrangements that within six weeks 90,000 prisoners were saved.  

After the war it seemed my grandparents lives might return to normal, until they were asked to take on the terrifying responsibility of becoming the Last Viceroy and Vicereine of India, and preside over the transition of power. Indefatigable, my grandmother once again threw herself into welfare work.  

When she died, only at the age of 59, the Indian Parliament stood in silence, in her honor, recognizing the untiring service she gave to their country.  

Her willpower and sheer determination often left a trail of excitement, amazement and admiration where ever she went. She led an extraordinary life.  

To see this in pictures click here: http://www.pinterest.com/indiahicks/edwina-mountbatten/  

I have named my latest bedding collection after her. Lady Louis, my grandmother.

India is live on HSN today at 9am, 4pm & 8pm

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Last weekend I was sitting on the terrace of our Pavilion, having a gentle supper with my brother and sister-in-law who had arrived to stay from England.
David was traveling back the following day, with all four of my boys. Domino was sleeping peacefully in the house behind me; the dogs were snoring at my feet. The world was a good place.

And then a golf cart drove by (the normal mode of transport on our small island.) My dogs, suddenly startled, jumped up and dashed down onto the dirt track below. The golf cart slowed, as the dogs rushed out and then, bizarrely, sped up. OVER THE TOP OF BANGER. Before my eyes I could see my small Dachshund being driven over, in a cloud of dust, and sand, and darkness. He screamed out in pain, into the still night air. 

I ran yelling onto the track and fumbling around in the headlights of the golf cart I felt for my animal. I couldn't see whether his back was broken or his face was smashed, all I could hear was him screaming. I turned to the two young men sitting hopelessly on the cart, not having moved a muscle "You-fucking-ran-over-my-dog-you-fucking-ran-over-my-dog-you-fucking-ran-over-my-dog" And then I noticed the beer bottles in their hands, and the beer bottles on the golf cart and in my panic I also felt utter disgust. I stumbled past them cradling my poor boy in my arms into the light of my kitchen where I could get a better understanding of his injuries.  

At once I saw his face and upper body were unhurt but clearly something was crippling his lower body. 
By now his eyes had glazed over and his tongue was hanging out. And I had no idea what to do.
We don't have a vet on the island. We don't have an airstrip on the island. We don't normally have emergencies, in the middle of the night, on the island, because if you do, we all know you are screwed.

My brother-in-law drove me and Banger to Top Banana's house, Top Banana drove me to Rosie's house. Rosie has a stash of stuff that can help in a crisis. She carefully gave Banger a small dose of pain killer.
It was a long scary night. 

As soon as I could, I found a flight to Nassau. Carrying the broken dog in my arms I managed to get to an emergency clinic. But there was little the vet could do there. Something about the trauma and the flight and the X-ray machine. But she could make him more comfortable. Another scary night. The following morning the Bahamian vet confirmed that the back leg was so smashed there was nothing they could do for him in The Bahamas. They simply were not equipped. 

Between Top Banana and my patient travel agent they found me a flight into America that afternoon. By midnight Banger came off Dr. Wise's operating table (Such a reassuring name. Such a reassuring man) The three and half hour operation, had involved removing part of his shoulder in order to reconstruct his leg, a splint that needed to be changed weekly and that remains in place for 4 months, endless medication, painkillers, antibiotics, stitches, several pins and a plate, which if the operation remains successful, will live in him for ever. 

Banger did not recognize me as I helped put him into the small cage he would spend the night in. He was discharged the following day and we began the long painful journey home. The hustle and bustle of the airport inspections, security screens, the nightmare of hiding him under my seat so the air-stewardess would not remove him into the hold. Several taxis, boats and cars later Banger arrived home. Mentally and physically shattered. The picture of those men and their beer bottles fresh in my mind.  

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Love Letter

My father's logo was a simple but powerful device of four H's joined in a cross format. Before long there was an entire alphabet that played with multiples and geometry, like the H's. The simple, smart chic of this alphabet has inspired generations of designers, evident today in the logos of many top brands. My father could be tricky at times, as many great creative forces are, however I recognize I would not be who I am today, nor have the strength of character I do if he had not been my father. I named my alphabet collection LOVE LETTER, as in a way this is my love letter to him.

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The Face Of Innocence.

Look at this chap, angelically reading the lesson in chapel, some years ago.
He is now 15.    

This week he returned to his old school, to help out for a few days.
At some point during the first day, he found a way to set off a smoke machine, in the science labs, that caused the Headmaster to have to intervene and remove it.
When David went to collect Amory the headmaster came out to meet him. He felt that one day, rather than the offer of a week of Amory, was just about right.

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David F-L-I-N-T new word W-O-O-D

Not being married has never really been an issue for David and I.
Somehow we just never felt the need. Being strangers in a strange land bonded us more than any ceremony ever could.  

That is until we check into a hotel, normally under my name because I happen to be the one who makes the reservations.
India Hicks and David FLINT WOOD. I repeat it again: Hicks and FLINT WOOD. F-L-I-N-T new word W-O-O-D. Reservation for two people.
Upon arrival a note of welcome will be on our pillow, addressed to India and David Hicks.  I pick up the phone "David Hicks has been dead for a while, I'm sharing this room with David Flint Wood. He's alive. Please have the hotel make a note of the name" "Of course Ms. Hicks" they say.
I check out the mini bar to see what chocolates are on offer and David calls room service for a Bloody Mary "Right away, Mr. Hicks, we'll send it straight up"
We go down for dinner "Good evening Mr. Hicks" says the maître'd to David, showing us to our table.  

There is probably some deep, dark meaning to the fact that both my father, and my partner, carry the same first name, and both had, and have, a love of the worlds of art and culture. Of course my father, David, was flamboyant and loud in his designs and work, a star shinning on the stage of interior design.  

My partner, David, quietly meanders in and out of interior design. Occasionally landing the cover of Architectural Digest or an 8 page spread in a glossy magazine...

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Fire Extinguisher

Wesley recently fitted a new fire extinguisher onto my boat. 

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