May 18 2011
Tuesday, breakfast, that glorious moment of breaking the fast, rudely disturbed by the demands of the day and yes, dare I say it, Pete waiting for me at the gym. With that box ticked, I was in the office with a back-to-back morning of meetings ahead. My coffee (instant and basic) is waiting and that fantastic feeling of go. There is a marvellous line in Ayn Rand’s book, Atlas Shrugged, a quote from the heroine Dagny, when she refers to the “exhilarating pleasure of action”. Somehow that line always gets me.
The team I work with are great and one thing I value more than anything is the communication and friendships that are born here and are in many ways as important as our work.
With a restaurant design being signed off, Harrison LeFrak’s apartment in New York needing its finishing touches, plus two in Miami and the Center Parcs prototype lodges for Woburn Abbey about to roll, the ability to decompartmentalise is essential in my world. The morning rolled by.
It’s an incredible privilege to work in something you love; indeed, I struggle to find the boundaries when people discuss the difference between work and pleasure. For me it’s a creative hub and has allowed me over the years many invaluable experiences, growth, and the opportunity to meet some exceptional people and talents; and for that I am constantly grateful.
I was determined to get to lunch with two of the most important men in my life, my dearest friends, Damian Aspinall and Jamie Poulton. As ever I was a little late but in the middle of our busy days we did manage to meet.
Jamie, who owns Randall & Aubin, a particularly cool restaurant in the heart of Soho, is now also entering into the world of catering, bringing this cool and tasty brand to your home. As with all old friends, he was probed, questioned and teased. Yet he stood the test and yes, Randall & Aubin are now set to cater my next dinner party!
Damian and I plotted further; the boys heckled me about my BBC2 appearance on The Apprentice: You’re Fired coming this week, then with promises of weekends together this summer we were all off diving into the remainders of our demanding days.
With a meeting in Mayfair, I made a quick detour and swung past Mats Klingberg’s store, Trunk, an understated solution to all men’s fashion, based on Chiltern Street. This tiny tasteful store is for men who don’t do labels but like to look good; clearly I was there for “him”, not me.
Incidentally, this is a street to watch out for, with my friend, hotel legend and, as he knows, mentor, André Balazs about to make his London debut and make his mark here. It appears Marylebone is it.
However, if not, it will be! Let me take you for an instant, if I may, over the Atlantic to New York, where it’s all about hotels. Nowhere does it better than NY for the vintage chic feel. They have become the cultural emporiums of cool, they embrace everything; a scene built around attitude, bars, restaurants, lobby lounges.
Balazs is renowned for his successes there with The Mercer and his latest, The Standard. The Standard Grill oozes design, representative of all that is New York culture. No surface is left naked, from ceilings to floors, columns to signs; everything is caressed with design-love. The layers of finishes are what always hit me in this extraordinary city.
With these and others, including Chateau Marmont, there is no doubt that Marylebone or Chiltern Street will be on many of our radars once he arrives.
7pm – my must-have sunglasses were ready and collected from Cutler and Gross (somehow I am consistent in losing them), and I was finally nearly through my day.
As glamorous as I’d like to appear, or indeed intellectual, I have to admit the truth: my evening was mostly spent packing. In fact I did reflect on whether to share this with you, especially after looking back and reviewing other How To Spend It bloggers and having a moment of “oh s**t”, realising perhaps that my interpretation of a diary is too literal.
Thus I shall spare you the contents of my packing; suffice to say that I am heading back to Istanbul tomorrow, where I am dividing my time increasingly. There I am driven by an enormous passion and a growing interest for a city that is evolving at an extraordinary rate.
Then, with my addictive Blackberry, I was as inevitably up beyond the hour when sleep would be more sensible, writing and Googling. Meanwhile, as I stare at my Twitter app, bemused as to what to write, or why one actually does, as ever, to Tweet or not to Tweet is my question. Going for the “not tonight, Josephine” approach, another day led to my night.