l'étale

Luxury swimwear for men

Iconic celebrity swimwear pictures

Style guidesJemima BoostComment

Swimming shorts, swim shorts, swimming trunks, boardies, beach trunks - whatever you call them, this time of year, there is no escaping the inevitable paparazzi shots of the good the bad and the ugly of them. From poor David Cameron in his Orlebar Browns to the cast of The Only Way is Essex's extraordinary half thong, these are the pictures that none of us can shake from our memories... 

1. The Man Thong

Let's start with the worst, then things can only get better. In 2014 The Only Way is Essex Stars Bobby Cole Norris and Harry Debridge showed the world that less really is more by strutting around Marbella in what should really be described as a sock. The half thong covers only one thing to create, practically, a full-body tan; the wearer switches sides regularly to ensure even line.  Click through to see what this tiny piece of swimwear looks like

2.  Daniel Craig puts Orlebar Brown on the map

Ok, so it's not a paparazzi shot but it has to be one of the most talked-about swimwear image in recent history. Daniel Craig as James Bond sauntering out of the water in his tight, light blue trunks put Orlebar Brown's swimming trunks on the map for all the right reasons and marked Daniel Craig as a sex symbol. Although some thought the scene was an homage to Ursula Andress, Craig told The Telegraph "It was actually by accident," he said. "Where we filmed, off the Bahamas, it's just one of those places where there is a sand shelf and the sand shelf happens to be three feet deep. Because the idea was, I was supposed to swim in and sort of float off, but I swim in and stand up. And it was just one of those things."

Will he turn into a frog?

Prince Charles on Cottesloe Beach, 1979

3. Kissing a Prince

Nowadays images of the Royal family in their togs are very unlikely to appear in the British press due to strict privacy regulations, but back in 1979 when a young lady stole a kiss from Prince Charles on Cottesloe Beach, Western Australia, there were no such rules in place and the image graced the cover of almost every publication in the Commonwealth.

Robert Redford and Barbara Striesand in The Way We Were (image from Pinterest)

Robert Redford and Barbara Striesand in The Way We Were (image from Pinterest)

4. The way he was

It's hard to choose just one of Robert Redford's beach styles in The Way We Were. We wish we could pull of the flared jeans, bare chest look with such gusto, or the chunky-knit polo neck, and as for his tilted cowboy hat/fedora... But as we are focussing on the swimwear this time, the winning #ootd has to be his white tennis shorts. 

5A Prime Minister's Holiday

I wonder how PM Theresa May would respond to the same style of images of her in her swimming costume on holiday? Poor old David Cameron got a lot of stick last summer as he holidayed in Corsica with his family and was snapped without his six-pack in his swimming trunks. 

A long-weekend in Porto

Jemima BoostComment

Despite it's long-standing history with Port, Porto often gets neglected for Portugal's coastal capital Lisbon. But those in the know had told us that Porto is actually cooler than it's southern sibling, so we went to see for ourselves.

Long weekend in Porto

What makes Porto so cool is partly due to its total laissez-faire attitude. There is nothing try-hard about this city. As one of the oldest in Europe and a World UNESCO Heritage site, Porto has brilliantly managed to retain its beautiful old-world charm and yet combine it with a young, vibrant cultural and culinary scene.

A long-weekend in Porto

Beautiful, crumbling buildings line up higgedly-piggeldy along the Douro River, no effort made to turn them into something they're not. Their pastel shades of terracotta perfectly complement blue and white azulejo tiles so frequently shown in pictures of Porto.  And inside, the buildings house trendy restaurants, bars and boutiques, filled with happy tourists and locals sipping tiny coffees and tasting the country's famous (and not to be missed) pastel de natas (custard tarts).

Long weekend in Porto

 

Reason number two for Porto being such an excellent weekend destination is its size. You can take everything in and more over two to three days. It is split into two main areas along the river. Most of the attractions take place on the north side of Porto - there's the Bolhao market bustling with fruit and fish sellers, worth a visit, the Sé de Porto Catedral (one of the oldest buildings in Porto) and the Torre de Clerigos (climb to the top of the tower to see the best views in the city). On the opposite side of the Douro is Gaia, where you'll find over 20 port houses open for tours and tastings. 

A long-weekend in Porto

Speaking of tasting. Food is reason number three to visit. It's culinary scene is buzzy. At one end of the spectrum you've got its butch Francesinha sandwich, meaning Little French in Portuguese , made with bread, cured ham, linguiça (a fresh sausage like a chipolata), steak or roast meat and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries. At the other end are clever and eclectic chefs making a name for themselves worldwide from their kitchens in Porto. I read an article saying it was impossible to have a bad meal in Porto and although the Francesinha was not for me, I would be inclined to agree. Just order carefully. 

A long-weekend in Porto

That brings us to our fourth but not final reason for loving Porto so much; the sunshine. We visited in the middle of a grey February in UK and arrived to bright blue sunshine and 20C temperatures, after a mere two hour flight. 

STAY

A long-weekend in Porto

 Vincci Porto: We needed a toddler-friendly hotel, not far from all the sites and with a good restaurant within baby-monitor-distance of our room. Vincci Porto ticked all the boxes. It's an art deco style building on the river, about 10-minutes from the centre of town and only 15 from the airport. Rooms have a modern look, they reminded us of the Ace Hotel. They're spacious and comfortable, with big bathrooms.

A long-weekend in Porto

The breakfast was a highlight, everything from pastries to cold meats, cereal, fruit and bacon and eggs, plus a Nespresso machine, fresh Orange Juice and sparkling Portuguese wine. The restaurant has highchairs, bibs, plastic bowls and cutlery and a mini children's breakfast buffet. Dinner was more hit and miss, we had one great meal and one not so great meal, although both times the desserts stood out. 

EAT

Armazem: This converted warehouse just off the river, west of Ribiera, is a vintage, trinket-hunter's dream. Filled with small stalls full of everything from vintage furniture to clothes and a great cafe in the middle serving small sharing plates, craft beers and cocktails in jam jars. Rua de Miragaia 93, 4050-554 Porto, Portugal

Largo de Sao Domingos: When the sun is shining in Porto there's no better place to be than in a square with a cold glass of wine and buskers playing pop songs on an electric cello. Largao de Sao Domingos or LSD is half way between the central sites like Torre de Clerigos and the river. It's alfresco terrace is on a raised platform in a pretty square, facing blue tiled buildings. The menu is short but refined, focussing modern European dishes and the staff - dressed in dungarees - are friendly.  Largo São Domingos 78, 4050-253 Porto, Portugal

Soaking up the sun at Largo de Sao Domingos

Soaking up the sun at Largo de Sao Domingos

By the river: Both sides of the Douro River are lined with lovely alfresco cafes and restaurants. Some are more touristy than others but if you want good views and traditional Portuguese food then these are a great option for a pit stop, even if it's just to try a Pastel de Nata and cup of coffee. 

Sundowners in Foz

Sundowners in Foz

A long-weekend in Porto

Foz: Porto's upmarket seaside suburb just outside the city is a fabulous place for sundowners with Atlantic views. Walk along the sea front promenade along Avenue do Brasil and you'll come across some Ibiza-esque bars and cafes. We ate at Esplanada Praia dos Ingleses, which I wouldn't recommend for the food (very basic) but the sunset views are worth going for alone. 

VISIT

Vida a Portuguesa: I had big plans for scooping up cool clothes and piles of beautiful ceramics but travelling with a toddler and being six months pregnant scuppered this plan. Instead we just visited one shop, Vida a Portuguesa, which I would highly recommend - and I did come home with a fabulous green jug and a wicker basket for my daughter.  The shop is split over two floors and has the look of a vintage department store. On the ground level you'll find toys, backpacks and odds and sods, while on the second level, it's all about Portuguese homewares.  avidaportuguesa.com

A Vida Portuguesa's beautiful ceramics

A Vida Portuguesa's beautiful ceramics

Port houses: Even as a pregnant woman I knew visiting Porto and not going to a Port house would be a travesty. There are about two dozen or so open for visitors, offering tastings and tours. We opted for Taylors, which had a self-guided audio tour taking us around the history of the house and how to wine is created. Included in your ticket is a three glasses of Port to taste at the end. 

Someone's a bit jealous of the Port...

Someone's a bit jealous of the Port...