My personal style signifier is a scarf. I always seem to be wearing some sort of neck accoutrement. It’s mostly a winter habit – I like something a bit furry come January, February, March – but then I emerge from my cashmere cocoon.
The last thing I bought and loved is a beautiful pair of pictures by an artist called Ffiona Lewis. I’ve always envied a friend’s William Scott collection; I can’t afford him, but Lewis fills the gap for me. The Redfern Gallery, 20 Cork Street, London W1 (020-7734 1732; www.redfern-gallery.com).
And the thing I’m eyeing next is a MacBook Pro. I’ve always fought with technology and computers. Nowadays, huge calculators are sort of clever and retro-funny; in my day, they were all we had. I have, though, managed to sort myself out on an iPhone and iPad; the next thing, so I can sync them all, is a MacBook Pro. From £999; www.apple.com/uk.
The last meal that truly impressed me was at The Bathers’ Pavilion at Balmoral Beach in Sydney. The food in Sydney in general knocked me sideways, and this typified it: delicious asparagus, huge prawns, the freshest fish. I’m not a big fish eater, but everything was so enticingly simple that I wanted to eat it all. 4 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach, Sydney NSW 2088 (+612-9969 5050; www.batherspavilion.com.au).
The book on my bedside table is, to be really honest, an iPad. I lack concentration, so I can’t read at any length. I listen to BBC Radio 4 on it, while flipping between apps and websites. I like The Week. I’m a bit of a sucker for Condé Nast Traveller – and, dare I say it, for How To Spend It. www.bbc.co.uk. www.cntraveller.com. www.theweek.co.uk.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Hochgurgl in Austria. I was dragged there by friends, to a place called Top Hotel. I thought it sounded hilarious and a bit dodgy. But it was gorgeous, and you fall out of the hotel right onto a pair of skis, and thence to the mountain. From the top you have a 360° view of Austria and Italy. Hochgurglerstrasse 8, 6456 Obergurgl (+4352-566 265; www.tophotelhochgurgl.com).
And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a small landscape I found at the market in Valbonne. The vendor was unpleasant and tricky about the price, but luckily I bumped into a sassy friend of a friend who started working him quite hard and he eventually sold. I like souvenirs you look at and say, “Oh my gosh, I’m back on this holiday” – whether it’s little scissors that cut herbs, or a lovely painting.
An object I would never part with? Once I’d have said my Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, which is very old, so I had to stop wearing it. It seemed disloyal to replace it with a new Reverso – like trying to replicate a pet dog – so now I have a Cartier Tank Américaine. I love the long face, the Roman numerals… It just sort of smiles at me. I wouldn’t part with either. Cartier Tank Américaine, from £6,250; www.cartier.com. Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, from £3,100; www.jaeger-lecoultre.com.
The grooming staple I’m never without is my beard trimmer. I always need one to hand. And REN Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil, for when I have a soak. From£30 for 110ml; www.renskincare.com.
A recent “find” is Brasserie Zédel. It’s the perfect place to have a coffee, a meeting or lunch with a friend. In fact, I’ve managed to have two lunches there in one day. It’s a nice place to pitch up, though I usually book, because one has to be a bit organised. 20 Sherwood Street, London W1 (020-7734 4888; www.brasseriezedel.com).
The last item I added to my wardrobe is a pair of trousers I found in San Remo. I have an obsession with lightweight white cotton trousers. Of course, that’s a recipe for disaster. And my weight fluctuates, which is another one. So I don’t want to spend a fortune. These are by one of OVS’s store brands, Grand & Hills. About £39; OVS, Corso Matteotti 222-224, 18038 San Remo (+3901-8450 3290; en.ovs.it).
My favourite website is Amazon, I suppose. Much as I’m reluctant to admit it, I’m wedded to it now for basic things: paint or a three-pin plug, or a plate stand. Shopping for those things had become an unfulfilling part of my life. But on Amazon I can find what I want – and it comes the next day. www.amazon.co.uk.