Johnny Roxburgh

 Johnny's Eye 

  • Mentoring

    • Parties

    For the last few years, I have had the privilege to provide mentoring to students at The Event Academy all of whom are studying to be involved in the events industry.

    The students are a refreshing mixture of enthusiastic young people and I find the cross-pollination of ideas between them and me is stimulating, refreshing and perhaps most importantly fun.

    I write a very detailed brief for an event – peppered with clues and plans for them to research, and then in groups of between 6 and 8 people they produce a fully costed pitch.

    I always ensure that the budget is a healthy one (no one wants to have their imagination limited by anything a sordid as money) – of course in the real world life is not often like that.

    I go to meet all the students together and they fire questions at me for two and a half hours, getting more information and details about the proposed event. Then after about two months, they pitch their ideas to me and two of the University lecturers.

    They produce amazing props, videos, place settings, and floor plans – really they go to a huge amount of work. In addition to the physical creations, they also produce a fully cost document listing all the suppliers and their costs together with floor plans, risk assessments, menus, wine lists etc. some are hugely impressive and look like glossy magazines.

    I think the students really enjoy doing what they do and I love their enthusiasm.

    Below is a summary of this year’s brief together with the three best entries condensed pitches.

    All the students should be very proud of what they produce but these ones were the outstanding ones for 2018.

    These young people are the future of our industry and I wish them all success.

    Find out more about the assignment here:

    Christmas Party Concept


    ColCreMi – A Never Ending Story
    Magnificent Moments
    StoryTeller Events Proposal


  • Back to the U.S.A. – A Tri-state trip

    • Parties
    • Travel

    I am always thrilled to be going to America – New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and anywhere in between.

    Two weeks ago I set off for Las Vegas as part of a trip to plan an event later in the year. My flight from Terminal 5 was at a civilised time of the day so I made my way to the luxury of Fortnum and Mason for a late breakfast. This is a perfect bar in the middle of the terminal, where I often have a light lunch or supper before a flight. The staff are charming and remember who you are, the coffee is delicious and the food simple but good.

    I had just come back from working in Nice, Paris and Rome and was looking forward to a long 12 hours rest courtesy of BA and was fortunate to have a comfortable window seat. I was also testing Jet Candy, a new homeopathic anti-jetlag. It comes in the form of pinhead-sized pills and you take a series of them before you take off, on the flight and when you land. It seemed to have worked well and I certainly wasn’t as wiped as usual!

    Las Vegas is always fun for a couple of days. We were looking for private dining rooms here for when the guests arrive from Europe but managed to squeeze in a great drag show called Divas whilst we were there – very fun! After a few eye-watering buckets of gin and tonic (mostly gin!) we went to Fremont Street to see the zip-line (you fly from one end a huge shopping mall to the other 20’ off the ground while above your head an incredible video and sound projection plays).

    We found the perfect venues, shopped in Venice – the bizarre copy of the Grand Canal two floors up in The Venetian Hotel – and had an excellent dinner at Le Cirque while watching the dancing waters of Bellagio. A quick bit of gaming and then back to the Mandarin Oriental.

    In the hotel, a young couple were celebrating their wedding and having their photographs taken in the lobby. Unfortunately, they hadn’t realised that in every picture there was a huge vending machine in the background – I told them and I think they were pleased that for the rest of time they wouldn’t have the MO drinks dispenser in their photos.

    Vegas: “tick” – we covered everything one needs to do, apart from the Cirque du Soleil shows. Perhaps next time…

  • Travel tips

    • Fashion
    • Parties
    • Travel

    I spend my life travelling around the world organising amazing parties and weddings.
    No matter how I travel, it’s always an effort, and in my life I get off a plane, start working immediately and have to look as polished as I can. So here are some travel tips that make my globe-trotting lifestyle easier. I hope you find them useful.

    I have to say I am slightly addicted to great hotel laundry. There is little as wonderful as a snow white shirt that has been starched and pressed in a far eastern five-star hotel or dried in the sun in an amazing Italian, Spanish, Portuguese…. laundry – all smelling of lavender and olive soap.

    This luxury, of course, comes at a price, and while I still send alarming quantities to the Gritti Palace laundry in Venice (my favourite hotel) I have, over the years, learnt a little about packing, which at least means I can still go out for dinner night one, looking reasonably crisp.

    The first trick seems simplicity itself – buy a good suitcase. Unless you are flying PJ all luggage gets bashed and so I buy cases that look even better once they have been knocked about.

    I love Globe-trotter luggage– their Orient express inspired 33” case is finished in dark brown Japanese urushi lacquer, with burgundy leather trim and champagne silk lining. The range is smart and timeless. Add your initials in a wonderful colour and then the final touch – a Globe-trotter luggage label – I have just been given a red one with an image of my spaniel on it – perfect for this ‘Chinese Year of the Dog’. The older these cases are, the grander they look – they have style written in every scratch and dent and of course, these marks are a visible record of your travels.

    Packing in tissue paper may sound old fashioned but if your clothes are properly folded or rolled and then enveloped in tissue, that has to be the way forward.

    A less complicated solution is Muji’s different sized zip up bags – light as air and perfect for packing shirts, pullovers, underpants and socks, they keep everything flat, tightly together and make unpacking in hotel rooms a dream. I am sure they are also great for women’s clothes but I have a little less experience packing them! I stuff jacket sleeves with tissue, put clean shoes in shoe bags (I don’t want polish on my clothes) and always take a dirty laundry bag with me.

    I fold shirts and pullovers over a copy of Tatler – just the right size to avoid obvious creases when you unpack. On that note, I always travel with Roullier White’s Mrs White’s ‘Crease Decrease’. At £15, this spray is a bargain and like so many of their products it really works. I have been using their amazing ‘Unstung hero’ insect repellant for years – fantastic and unlike so many mosquito sprays it smells delicious, rather like a gin and tonic, which always works for me.

    When I am going to two destinations I often take two cases with me and pack the things that I need for each part of my trip in a separate case so that I am not lugging one huge case around. Also, it gives me an excuse to buy more luggage. Real luxury is not carrying your cases at all. Use ‘First luggage’ to ship everything for you in advance. This luxury travel service delivers door to door and better still returns it – they carry your bags so you don’t have to.

    For mere mortals, there is one absolutely invaluable tip, which takes seconds. When you fly, photograph your case with the airline tag on it before it disappears on the conveyor belt at check-in. If the airline loses your luggage and asks you what it looks like, you can show them. Couldn’t be easier, I hope you never have to use it.

    Travelling is fun, and I love it. Fortunately, I am still asked to wonderful places. Follow ‘Johnny’s Eye’ for more insights into my world.

  • Dreaming and travelling

    • Parties
    • Styling
    • Travel

    A life spent dreaming and travelling has given me access to some of the most extraordinary places, houses and people.

    I think it’s time for me to share a few of my ideas and inspirations.

    It’s only the middle of February and already I have eaten tempura in Tokyo, watched snow monkeys playing in the frost covered trees of northern Japan, flown to Nice and Monaco twice – (going for a third time next week) – been to the Vatican where I am planning a very special lunch and dinner and am packing my Globe-Trotter cases to fly to Vegas, Utah and L.A. in ten days time, to organise a stunning weekend party in the desert.

    Seems enough air miles for six weeks!

    Will find so many great new suppliers and will share these and my visions of the future and also the some of my extraordinary heritage – I hope you enjoy reading Johnny’s Eye.