Where Emma likes to hang out
Emma Rutherford is one half of Needle, a luxury knitwear brand (pictured above) that in 18 months has already been snapped up by Anthropologie and other top London boutiques and whose stock I have totally pillaged since I discovered them a few months back (four jumpers and counting). A designer for Burberry and LK Bennett before setting up Needle, Emma had a baby last year and moved back to mid-Bucks where she grew up. Lucky for us she’s so local – she knows loads of cool places to try, and here they are!
The Hundred of Ashendon (Dorton)
This pub in Dorton, near Waddesdon Manor is run by my old school friends Pia and Matt – it’s a real destination pub and they do the most amazing food, which is no surprise really as Matt spent years as a chef at St John in London. We go there every chance we get either for a Sunday Roast or a sneaky night out, though with a one year old in tow it’s not as often as we’d like!
Little Italy, Gail’s London, Doctor Espresso (Haddenham/London)
I love a really good cup of coffee and the buzz of a busy café, and I’m always a sucker for cool décor so when my Needle colleague Lizzie and I are working near King’s Rd in Chelsea we always go to Gail’s for fantastic artisan coffee. And if you find yourself near Putney Bridge, Doctor Espresso is truly Italian. They import their beans from Italy and also make great panini and cannelloni. Around here I don’t think you can beat Little Italy in Haddenham (pictured), easily the best cafe I’ve been to in Bucks.
Bucksum Farm Shop (Long Crendon)
Bucksum Farm Shop in Long Crendon surely sell some of the best seasonal veg around and supply the top end restaurant trade with their fine salad leaves and veg. They won the Observer Food Monthly best local farmer award in 2013 and that’s how I got to hear about them. Be warned though, they’re only open on Wednesday afternooons and SAturday mornings.
Oli’s Thai (Oxford)
I’ve only been here once for lunch and it was some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had in the UK. I loved the pared back interior too. Apparently you have to book up months in advance for an evening meal but I’d love to go back.
Quattro Lioni (Florence)
I travel to Florence twice a year for a trade fair, one of the best perks of the job! Lizzie and I always make sure we eat here. It’s hidden away from the tourist traps in a small square on the south of the river and the food is amazing. Also worth a visit is 5 e cinque on the opposite side of the square, the food is organic, mainly vegetarian and superhealthy.
Franco Manca (London)
I’d wanted to try this pizzeria out for years and never managed it until we moved out of London! My husband is Italian and mildly obsessed with pizza! As it happens the pizza was amazing, an so is everything else about Franco Manca.
The Pig hotel (New Forest)
This is one of my fave places to stay in the UK. It’s beautifully renovated and the restaurant is a lovely glass house filled with plants and herbs. The food is fantastic too, quite naughty – their salted caramel tart has me yearning for another visit. www.thepighotel.com
Barnsley House (The Cotswolds)
I stayed at Barnsley House for my wedding so it holds fantastic memories. It’s heavenly here – everything is wonderful, from the spa and stunning gardens designed by Rosemary Verey to the food and beautiful rooms. All the food is locally sourced and the veg and flowers are grown in the Barnsley House gardens. We’ve since been back for our anniversary, a true indulgent treat.
I love Anthropologie. I can while hours away in their lovely shops. The clothes are from smaller brands (like Needle!) which I like to support and you don’t feel like you’re likely to be caught wearing the same as everybody else.
Objects of Use (Oxford)
I stumbled upon Objects of Use in one of Oxford’s cobbled back streets and fell in love! Beautiful, simple and ethical homeware and gifts.
Hero is a relatively new shop in Stockbridge, Hampshire and one of the stockists of our Needle knitwear (pictured here, £85). It’s run by two lovely ladies who’ve created a beautifully executed and imaginative shop of gorgeous things I want to own. www.hero-online.co.uk
Barbican Centre (London)
I first visited the Barbican as a student, taken by a tutor of mine from Central Saint Martins. I fell in love with the architecture and scale and still wish I could live there! The exhibitions are always fascinating and there are endless options for eating and drinking.
Scopello is a small hilltop fort village and old tuna port in Sicily, where my husband’s family are from. It’s a stunning village, and I feel so happy and at peace when I am there. You can swim and snorkel in the still waters of the old port, potter the shops in the village and eat delicious Sicilian food in one of the outdoor restaurants. This summer we have a family wedding in Scopello and I am so excited, it will be magical. Even if you haven’t been here yourself you might have seen it – the final scene in Ocean’s 12 was filmed at Scopello tuna port – I was here when they were filming and saw Brad Pitt riding a motorbike through the streets!