At the risk of coming across as rather crude, I have to say I feel simply bloody marvellous.

I’ve just returned from three wonderful weeks in Australia visiting my brother Edward and his growing family in Melbourne.

It’s been an orgy of sunshine, three course lunches and dinners, poker nights, Bas Armagnac, Cohiba cigars, surfing, sleeping and bonding with my little nephew, Harrison.

The picture above was taken on the balcony of the Stoke House in St.Kilda, one of my favourite restaurants. If you love food then Melbourne is the place to be.

British restauranteurs could seriously learn a thing or two from our Antipodean cousins. Incredibly good service and great coffee aside, every waiter can tell you not just how each dish is cooked and every ingredient, but the name of the animal, it’s age, religion, mood before visiting the butcher and what wine to quaff it with.

Whilst having dinner at Di Stasio on Fitzroy Street, my Father declared “it isn’t necessary to eat this well.” Rather philosophical I thought. I might even nick that line for my own business – “Michelsberg Tailoring…it’s not necessary to dress this well…”

Final recommendations would be Cicciolina’s on Acland Street and cafe A Taglio.

Whilst I do love my trade, it really was great to switch off for a while and leave the world of bespoke tailoring behind me, however, my trip wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to Marino & Scott in the very smart suburb of Toorak.

The diminutive dandy on my right is Frank Marino. He began his tailoring career in Calabria, Southern Italy, when he was seven and has lived in Australia since 1967. He sells Brioni off-the-peggers at just over three thousand pounds a pop and the price of one of his bespoke numbers is closer to four grand.

He does everything himself, by hand. The try-on on the dummy was incredibly soft, using very light canvases, thin shoulder pads and made-up in a devine Super 160’s cloth from England. Hand on my heart he told me that he believes English cloth is the best in the world. Serious praise from an Italian!

And sadly, although my liver would disagree, all good things must come to an end.

I’m chuffed to say that the year has got off to a great start – sunshine and blue sky with frost on the ground when we hit Manchester airport, plenty of appointments in the diary and a few plans up my sleeve that will help my customers continue to out-slick lesser mortals.

Here’s wishing you all a fantastic start to 2009 – let’s make it a belter!