June 02 2010
My personal style signifier is my gold Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses. They’re a bit of rock chic mixed with the best parts of the American spirit: free, pioneering, independent. I might even learn to fly. £109, 08442-640 860; www.ray-ban.com. Sunglass Hut, www.sunglasshut.co.uk.
The last thing I bought and loved is a set of 45 prints of parrots by Edward Lear, from a stall in a Portobello Road arcade. The turquoises, greens and yellows are almost Miami colours. I love the way they look in the grey light in this country.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Kiunga Marine Reserve in Kenya, a beautiful, wild place where you can snorkel, fish and walk on the beach There are turtles and dolphins. It’s unspoilt, simple and old-fashioned, but you eat well and have a comfortable bed. I’m not very good at cold nature but I’m fantastic at warm, sunny nature. Kiwayu Camp, Kiunga Reserve, from $525 per night (+254-735 598 858; www.kiwayu.com).
The people I rely on for grooming and style are Tony at Realhair – he’s done my colour for years – and I go to Cowshed for manicures and pedicures, and to Joanne Evans for facials. I read about her when I was having a spotty phase. She cleaned and steamed my skin and gave me Environ cream to put on; I haven’t had a spot for years. Cowshed, 119 Portland Road, London W11 (020-7078 1944; www.cowshedonline.com). Joanne Evans, Soma Centre, Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High Street, London W8 (020-7361 1995; www.somacentre.co.uk). Realhair, 6-8 Cale Street, London SW3 (020-7589 0877; www.realhair.co.uk).
The last track I downloaded was Wesortinge by Bobi Wine, a Ugandan Afro-beat artist – this is very much dancing, party music. www.myspace.com/bobiwine.
A recent find is the Savile Club. A friend had her 50th birthday there. I was absolutely enthralled. It’s an old members’ club, but it’s not strait-laced. And it’s highly, highly decorated: a fab mix of baroque and rococo. 69 Brook Street, London W1 (020-7629 5462; www.savileclub.co.uk).
The last meal that truly impressed me was at Scott’s. We had oysters and buttered toast, then scallops and spinach – delicious, simple and fresh. Scott’s has a sort of formality that reminds me of being a child – the way the waiter pulls out your chair, the crisp white linen. It’s a real occasion. 20 Mount Street, London W1 (020-7495 7309; www.scotts-restaurant.com).
The books on my bedside table are JG Ballard’s autobiography, Miracles of Life, and The Ghosts of Eden, my brother-in-law’s [Andrew JH Sharp’s] first novel.
In my fridge you’ll always find Diet Coke, Parmesan, red chillies, Godminster Vintage cheddar and Bramìto, my favourite Italian white wine. It is full of the flavours of summer. Bramìto del Cervo (0845-603 3717; www.winedirect.co.uk).
The best gift I’ve given recently was a surprise 21st-birthday party for our son, Nick. We had a sit-down for 50 at home. Scarlet & Violet’s Victoria Brotherson, who does my flowers, turned the room into a courtyard with long glass cylinders filled with branches. It looked like we were sitting underneath trees. We had fairy lights and tea lights – and a curtain caught fire. He loved it. Scarlet & Violet, 76 Chamberlayne Road, London NW10 (020-8969 9446; www.scarletandviolet.com).
And the best one I’ve received is a gold cross by Tamsin de Roemer from my husband, Chris. I love the way that it’s not too precise – very handmade, in 18ct textured gold with four cognac-coloured rose-cut diamonds. £350 (020-8965 1602; www.deroemer.com).
My favourite websites are The Cool Hunter, which shows you new restaurants, architects and design ideas. I’m addicted to Ted.com. It’s a huge treat – loads of lectures by really interesting people on design, science, technology, education, politics and the arts. And YouTube; I watched a parliamentary debate with Gordon Brown and David Cameron to show Jamie, my nine-year-old, how they shout at each other – he couldn’t believe it! We also find clips of monkeys, pet pigs and funny, freaky things. www.thecoolhunter.co.uk. www.ted.com. www.youtube.com.