September 09 2010
My style icon is my best friend Ruthie Rogers. Not only does she always look beautiful, with a style that is all her own, but I just love the way she lives her life. She makes it seem an effortless mix of family, friends, business and pleasure. Hers is a style of life that I aspire to.
The people I rely on for grooming and style include Peter Temple, who comes to my home twice a week to blow-dry my frizzy mop into some semblance of order. Neville Hair & Beauty, 5 Pont Street, London SW1 (020-7235 3654).
The best gift I’ve received recently was an iPad. A friend bought me one in America. I e-mail with it, read on it, watch videos, listen to music… it is infinite, and an exciting step forward in the industry I work in. www.apple.com.
An object I’d never part with is my grandmother’s diamond star brooch. She lost everything in the second world war, from hunting estates in Silesia to houses in Berlin, and a son in Stalingrad. She fled across Europe with two small boys and a handful of jewellery. She was a woman of fortitude and courage. I wear her brooch every day and hope perhaps some of her courage rubs off on me.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Cuba. Nothing quite prepares you for the beauty of Havana, with its faded grandeur and the sheer absence of America. No advertising, no food chains – just music and a certain sort of majesty.
My favourite room is my dining room. It sounds quite old-fashioned to have a dining room, and it’s not really a dining room – it’s more a conservatory filled with light and sunshine. At meal times with family and friends you watch the light change as lunches go on till the evening, and dinners go on till the morning.
An indulgence I’d never forego is spoiling my children horribly.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Pimlico in London. First there is Orange Square with the Farmers’ Market, the impossibly overpriced but beautiful antiques shops, and William Curley, which is the best chocolate shop in London. Then there is Semmalina, Sarah Standing’s children’s boutique and toy shop; Daylesford’s mad food emporium; and David Linley’s glorious furniture shop. Daylesford, 44b Pimlico Road, London SW1 (020-7881 8060; www.daylesfordorganic.com). Linley, 60 Pimlico Road, SW1 (020-7730 7300; www.davidlinleyfurniture.com). Pimlico Farmers’ Market, Orange Square, London SW1 (every Sat 9am-1pm; www.lfm.org.uk). Semmalina, 225 Ebury Street, London SW1 (020-7730 9333; www.starbags.info). William Curley Chocolates, 198 Ebury Street, London SW1 (020-7730 5522; www.williamcurley.co.uk).
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a nun. That’s truly what I wanted to be when I was young; I used to carry round an old typewriter box with a bible and a cross inside it – I think perhaps it was an early obsession with those black dresses. But I found my true vocation.