My style icons are my grandmother Zehava, who was a very glamorous and elegant woman; my 1940s waves and red lipstick are inspired by her. She came from an era when a lady would never leave the house without a hat, gloves and a handbag that matched her shoes. I love old movie stars, redheads and the film Gilda, so Rita Hayworth is basically my ideal woman. I’ve been a redhead because of her. I’m blonde now, but I think I will go red again.
An object I would never part with is my 1920s art-deco engagement ring from Bentley & Skinner. My husband chose it for me; he has excellent taste. I never take it off. 55 Piccadilly, London W1 (020-7629 0651; www.bentley-skinner.co.uk).
The people I rely on for personal grooming are Jon Hilliard at Daniel Hersheson, where I go once a week to set my hair in waves. They last for several days because he does it the old-fashioned way, which includes pin curls and sitting under a dryer in a pink hairnet like an old lady. Kat at Yvonne Martin gives the best facials – I fall asleep every time and leave glowing – and Diana Florentina Butnaru comes to my house to give amazing beauty treatments. Marcela’s does manicures and pedicures the South American way: it’s a hardcore MOT and your feet come out super-smooth and your hands look like new. I also love half-moon manicures, and Sharon from Minnie Moons does the perfect “moonicure”, as well as retro hair and make-up. Daniel Hersheson, 45 Conduit Street, London W1 (020-7434 1747; www.danielhersheson.com). Diana Florentina Butnaru,www.yourtherapists.co.uk.Marcela’s, 7 Holland Street, London W8 (020-7938 1555; www.marcelas.co.uk). Minnie Moons, www.minniemoons.com. Yvonne Martin, 5-6 Clarendon Terrace, London W9 (020-7266 2127; www.yvonnemartin.co.uk).
An indulgence I would never forego is buying hats. I have a collection to rival my shoes, including bespoke pieces by Marie Mercié and amazing creations by Piers Atkinson. I don’t need an occasion to wear a hat, which is why it’s an indulgence. If wearing one makes a Monday feel more special, then why not? Marie Mercié, 8 Knightsbridge Green, London SW1 (020-7589 7534; www.mariemercie.com). Piers Atkinson, www.piersatkinson.com.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is LA. I love old Hollywood, so the first thing on my to-do list was to see the Hollywood sign and find Rita Hayworth’s star on the Walk of Fame. I went to landmarks like The Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge half-disappointed that Hayworth didn’t walk in, but you can dream a bit in those places. It’s slightly frozen in time. The Polo Lounge, the Beverly Hills Hotel 9641 Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, United States (+1 310-887-2777).
The best gift I’ve given recently is a Charlotte Olympia Cat Nap set, which includes things every girl needs for her beauty sleep: silk slippers, a matching eye mask and a pouch to carry them in. £395; www.charlotteolympia.com.
The last music I downloaded was the new Beyoncé album. I listen to it whenever I’m in the car. I’m quite a Beyoncé fan.
The last meal that truly impressed me was my mother-in-law Carmen’s khoresht-e karaf, a beef stew. She is Iranian and cooks the most amazing Persian feast – nothing beats it. My favourite local restaurant is Dock Kitchen on Ladbroke Grove; it serves delicious food inspired by countries and spices from around the world and the menu changes every three weeks. Portobello Docks, 342-344 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 (020-8962 1610; www.dockkitchen.co.uk).
The books on my bedside table are Elsa Schiaparelli’s autobiography Shocking Life – she has a sense of humour and an element of surrealism that I love -– and David Suchet’s memoirs, Poirot and Me. I’m a full-on Agatha Christie fan and this book was in my Christmas stocking with an inscription from my husband saying “from the other man in your life”, because he knows how much I love Poirot.
The artists whose work I would collect if I could are the painter Kees Van Dongen and Louise Bourgeois, who creates bronze spider sculptures. I would fill my home with them if I could. I’ve got a thing for spiders and I think Louise Bourgeois is pretty amazing. And I’ve always loved Van Dongen -– if I could have been painted by an artist, it would have been him.
In my fridge you’ll always find fresh vegetables – I can’t have a meal without greens – smoked salmon, 101 different condiments and beer. At the moment it’s Heineken. I have so many condiments I don’t even know where they come from. There’s every type of mustard, masses of mint sauce and lots of pickles – lime pickle, volcanic pickle, volcanic lime pickle. I like spices and strong flavours and I can have mint sauce with almost anything.
My favourite room in my house is my boys’ bedroom. My school friend and talented artist Boyarde Messenger painted the walls with a magical Where the Wild Things Are mural. It’s not like some garish cartoon sprawled across the wall; the colours are nice and muted. When I was younger I had a mural of The Jungle Book all around my room.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose my own, around Ladbroke Grove. I’m close to Portobello and Golborne Road, which gives me wonderful access to vintage shops and the market on weekends. I almost always have something to reupholster and have had a lot of sofas and armchairs done by Shay at Revival on All Saints Road, who has excellent taste. Circus Antiques has a great selection of antique furniture. I have flowers delivered every week from The Flowered Corner – I get enough to fill six or seven vases – always tulips, unless they’re not in season, in which case I’ll settle for hydrangeas. RS Currie on Westbourne Grove has charming retro games and toys as well as a venue for kids’ parties and I always seem to find something for me, my husband or my three boys at Couverture and The Garbstore on Kensington Park Road. Circus Antiques, 60 Chamberlayne Road, London NW10 (020-8968 8244; www.circusantiques.co.uk). Couverture and The Garbstore, 188 Kensington Park Road, London W11 (020-7229 2178; www.couvertureandthegarbstore.com). The Flowered Corner, 110 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 (020-7221 3320). Revival, 22 All Saints Road, London W11 (020-7727 9843). RS Currie, 105 Westbourne Grove, London W2 (020-7792 2236; www.rscurrie.com).
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a mixologist or a jingle writer. I like the idea of making cocktails at home and I’ve got a 1950s bar-trolley and The Savoy Cocktail Book. As for jingles, I come up with tunes if I’m by myself or if I’m trying to be funny – it’s just something I do.