June 29 2010
My personal style signifier is my 22-year-old Hermès jacket, which has been patched, had its frayed cuffs trimmed with velvet and then re-patched. In fact, I have recently resorted to using dark blue marker pens to cover the white showing around the buttonholes. But it is still a beautiful jacket. www.hermes.com.
The last thing I bought and loved was the best imaginable organic chocolate from a company called The Grenada Chocolate Company. I was on the island recently and was able to visit the factory. It’s all-natural, made with Trinitario cocoa beans – mine was 71 per cent cacao – and has that unique, sharp taste of true, bold chocolate. www.grenadachocolate.com.
The thing I’m eyeing next is an apartment in Gemmayzeh in old Beirut, in one of the 1930s French mandate buildings. Think French windows, balconies and terraces, silent courtyards, high ceilings, down a quiet alley just off the bustling street.
The people I rely on for grooming and style are my acupuncturist, Robert Ogilvie, who I see every Thursday when I am in London, to make sure my energies are balanced and stay healthy. Not so much style as peace of mind, I suppose. And for the looks, it is always a treat to be heading for a fitting at Richard James, where I have my suits made at his bespoke shop. Richard James, 29 Savile Row, London W1 (020-7434 0605; www.richardjames.co.uk). Robert Ogilvie Acupuncture, 55 Oxford Gardens, London W10 (020-8969 5262).
An object I would never part with is my JE4 juicer, from the Breville Café Series line. I begin every day with an extraordinary array of fruit and vegetables. I mix everything from fresh celery sticks to organic baby spinach, carrots and courgette for vitamins, an apple for flavour and sugar. And a full dose of the strongest ginger for aroma and its deeply reinvigorating, cleansing effect. From £315, www.breville.co.uk.
The best gift I’ve received recently was an album of photographs and cuttings, which my dear friend Lizzy put together for my last birthday. She called it “Gordyland”. Suffice to say it succeeded in highlighting all my contradictions. Sometimes friends know you so well, it’s alarming.
The last meal that truly impressed me was at Jammal, in the Lebanese coastal town of Batroun. This tiny family-run restaurant is on the beach, and you sit on white plastic chairs in the sea – literally, with your feet in the water – eating the most fabulous meze and locally caught fish, drinking rosé from Bekaa Valley. Simply sublime. The Old Sea Road, Ksarabida, Batroun, Lebanon (+961-674 0095).
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the last year is Ethiopia. In my capacity as vice-president of Save the Children we were making a film on some rural educational projects that it sponsors, and, as always when making such trips, we were dazzled by the nobility of the people and the magnificence of the landscape. The joy of the children – many of whom had walked miles to get this little bit of education – is humbling and uplifting. www.savethechildren.org.uk.
The books on my bedside table are Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Read it if you dare. You will never look at what’s on your plate in quite the same way again. Trust me, the bacon won’t seem so crisp and enticing. There is also Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, and Trying to Please by John Julius Norwich.
The last music I downloaded was El Dounia Helwa by Nancy Ajram. It’s perfect to play on a sunny day when driving to the mountains with the roof down and enjoying the magnificence of your surroundings. I love the exoticism of Arabic music. It always puts me in a great mood. www.nancyajramonline.com.
My favourite websites include any weather website, with weather.com leading the way. I’m obsessed with the weather and must check it at all times for both where I am and where I’m going. It’s just so nice to know that the day’s going to be sunny. And if the site I’m on doesn’t say it is, I’ll keep browsing until I find one that does. www.weather.com.