March 16 2010
My personal style signifier is my working uniform of white shirts, waistcoats and cropped jackets with novelty black trousers – anything that’s not a boot-leg. In the countryside I like the idea of chaps with wellies, and I also spend a lot of time in my dressing gown – I have about eight.
The last thing I bought and loved was the Canon PowerShot G11, the best small camera on the market. It has a very high resolution, plus a setting for taking night-time pictures without a flash. £599, 0844-369 0100; www.canon.co.uk.
And the thing I’m eyeing next is a few Jacob sheep. They’re white with black spots; smaller than normal sheep. I want them so I don’t have to mow the grass.
In my fridge you’ll always find avocados, smoked mackerel, soya milk, my husband’s crazy chilli collection, rosé wine, lots of greens and my father’s apple juice and bottled cider.
The last item I added to my wardrobe is an amazing pair of green python Charlotte Olympia shoes. I’ve ordered them and I am now waiting in anticipation; they should be arriving any time. They’re really high but really comfortable. £830, www.charlotteolympia.com.
A recent “find” is the antiques market at Kempton Park. I have bought a few pieces of furniture there, bone-handle knives and lights. You can find all sorts. Mark Hix’s restaurant in Lyme Regis is another: it has the most amazing oysters. Hix Oyster & Fish House, Cobb Road, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3JP (01297-446 910; www.hixoysterandfishhouse.co.uk). Sunbury Antiques Market, Kempton Park Racecourse, Staines Road, Middlesex TW16 5AQ (01932-230 946; www.kemptonantiques.com).
The last meal that truly impressed me was Christmas dinner, when we all cooked different dishes. It was the first meal in our country house with all the family.
The books on my bedside table are Hidden in Plain Sight by Zainab Salbi and Laurie Becklund, a brilliant book that was a gift from Joan Burstein [owner of London’s Browns boutique]. Between Two Worlds by the same authors is also there, and in waiting is The World Is Flat by Thomas L Friedman. Dinosaur Diner by Annie Kubler is my son’s current favourite.
If I didn’t live in London, the city I would live in is Paris. It seems like a highly charged, sexual city, and you can pretend you’re not living in this era. I’d probably enjoy it a lot.
The grooming staples I’m never without are Mac black eyeliner pencils, Chanel lipstick in Rouge Coco and a good conditioner – I usually use Korres Acacia Milk. That’s really all one needs. Chanel, 020-7493 3836; www.chanel.com. Korres, 124 King’s Road, London SW3 (020-7581 6455; www.korres.com) and branches/stockists. Mac, 0870-034 2999; www.maccosmetics.co.uk.
The last music I downloaded was You’ve Got the Love by Florence and the Machine – one of the most exciting artists of the moment. www.florenceandthemachine.net.
The best gift I’ve given recently was to my father, a cider producer. He just received a BBC Radio 4 Food & Farming Award, and is also fighting Defra and the European Union for the right to keep the name “cider brandy”. I thought he deserved a plaque, so I found a little framed vintage embroidery of a general and superimposed my father’s photo onto it. Then I found a long military coat to go with it and a medal with both my and his birth dates on it. www.ciderbrandy.co.uk.
And the best one I’ve received recently was my son. It took me years to get my way with my husband and the joy of my son Fox will last forever. I would have had babies years ago but he never thought we were grown-up enough. I have just one child, but I am after another four.
My favourite websites are Netvibes, which collates various websites, giving me all I want to look at in one go, and Last.fm because I don’t have time for music sourcing: you type in something you like and it will play tunes from a similar genre. www.lastfm.com. www.netvibes.com.