November 19 2010
My style icon would have to be someone like Julie Christie, Lady Amanda Harlech, Lucy Birley or Daphne Guinness. English girls always look great in whatever you throw on them.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Greece. After many years I visited again. I was there for work but took a day off to visit the Parthenon in Athens, which is absolutely magnificent. The whole edifice is so unique. From the metopes to the beautiful columns – how enormous and divine the gold and ivory statue of Athena must have been! The statues which used to stand in the Parthenon are now in the new Acropolis Museum, and the light in the hall where they’re displayed complements the colours of the marble and really brings out their beauty. 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, Athens 11742 (+30210-900 0900; www.theacropolismuseum.gr).
My favourite website is Amazon, but for me the internet is a last resort. I’ve just ordered Mary Beard’s Pompeii online. I don’t mind if it comes through as a little paperback, I’m just eager to read it. www.amazon.com.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the King’s Road in London. I mainly only like shopping for books, music and DVDs, so I generally go to HMV or the Slightly Foxed bookshop on Gloucester Road. I like the John Sandoe bookshop too. You can order any book and they send them worldwide. HMV, 122 King’s Road, London SW3 (0843-221 0241; www.hmv.co.uk). John Sandoe, 10 Blacklands Terrace, London SW3 (020-7589 9473; www.johnsandoe.com). Slightly Foxed, 123 Gloucester Road, London SW7 (020-7370 3503; www.foxedquarterly.com).
My favourite room is my work room at my house in Bath. When I work, I feel content. This room is full of books and is the only place where I feel that time slows down. It is on the ground floor and the windows overlook a hill covered with beautiful rose bushes and Tuckamore trees.
The objects I would never part with are two of my mother’s paintings. She never had any formal art training but she was very talented. One of her nature morte paintings is of two floppy flowers and the other is of apples alongside a copper pot.
The last meal that truly impressed me was at Wiltons on Jermyn Street. It feels like an extension of home as I am very familiar with the place. They don’t cook with any vinegars and wines, which I’m allergic to. Last time I ate there I had cauliflower soup, turbot with mashed parsnips, and bread and butter pudding. Wiltons, 55 Jermyn Street, London SW1 (020-7628 9955; www.wiltons.co.uk).
The people I rely on for style are the tailors Anderson & Sheppard. I don’t really like to buy clothes in shops, so every couple of years I get in touch with them for a new suit. They know my measurements and what colours I like. 32 Old Burlington Street, London W1 (020-7734 1420; www.anderson-sheppard.co.uk).
If I didn’t live in London, the city I would live in is Bath, which is where my other home is. But I’d like to take a few things out of the city. I’d pull down everything that was built in the 1960s – for example, the Hilton: it’s hideous and doesn’t work at all.
The last item I added to my wardrobe was more of my favourite pink Matador pumps. Made to order; 49-51 Old Church Street, London SW3 (020-7352 3863; www.manoloblahnik.com).