My personal style signifiers are my Birkenstock sandals. I have disliked shoes since I was a child, so regardless of the weather I wear brown or black sandals – in winter with cashmere or Shetland-wool socks in beige, grey and khaki. I am a little Franciscan in my tastes and these sandals reflect that. £64.95; birkenstock.co.uk.
And the thing I’m eyeing next is a folding screen by Piero Fornasetti. It is a depiction of a nocturnal forest and I find this fantasy scene totally transporting. For me, Fornasetti is the great poet of Milanese design. €18,000; fornasetti.com.
The last meal that truly impressed me was at Tch’a – La Maison de Thé in Paris. I loved the very sober atmosphere as well as the vegetable-centred menu. The ingredients and combinations were outstanding. I had steamed fish with ginger and lemongrass, and the most delicious chocolate gâteau ever. 6 Rue du Pont de Lodi, 75006 Paris (+331-4329 6131).
The grooming products I’m never without are the perfume Cardinal by Heeley, which is like incense, and Czech & Speake’s Oxford & Cambridge lavender cologne, which has a timeless, herbal scent I find very calming. Czech & Speake Oxford & Cambridge, £100 for 100ml EDC; czechandspeake.com. Heeley Cardinal, €125 for 100ml EDP; jamesheeley.com.
The last book I read was The Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga by the travel writer Sylvain Tesson, about the six months he spent in isolation on a lake. Tesson proves that solitude can be rewarding; only when you are alone can you begin to hear the murmur of time passing and be attentive to your own metamorphosis.
An indulgence I would never forgo is ice cream, especially from Gelateria Umberto near my home. It isn’t a fancy gelateria – some days it serves just five flavours. I always pick the hazelnut and pistachio as I love these colours together. Piazza Cinque Giornate 4, 20129 Milan (+3902-545 8113).
A recent “find” is Il Crepaccio, a series of exhibitions by talented emerging artists at a restaurant in Milan called Il Carpaccio, curated by the critic Caroline Corbetta. I like that the restaurant is a traditional osteria that’s a little fashion-oriented, but not too much. Via Lazzaro Palazzi 19, 20124 Milan.
In my fridge you’ll always find everything green and organic. I love pressed juices by Babasucco for digestive health and detoxing – made from pomegranate, spinach, apple and lemon. They’re full of vitamins and are packaged beautifully too. €60 for six 500ml bottles; babasucco.com.
If I had to limit my shopping to one city, I’d choose Berlin, particularly the areas of Mitte, Schöneberg, Tiergarten and Kreuzberg. One of my favourite cafés is Berliner Kaffeerösterei, which makes special coffee beans with hazelnuts that I love. For perfume I like the selection at Belle Rebelle, and I always find interesting clothes by German designers at Andreas Murkudis. Bossecker is wonderful for 1950s furniture. Andreas Murkudis, Potsdamer Strasse 81E, 10785 (+4930-6807 98306; andreasmurkudis.com). Belle Rebelle, Bleibtreustrasse 42, 10623 (+4930-6796 72050; bellerebelle.de). Berliner Kaffeerösterei, Uhlandstrasse 172, 10719 (+4930-8867 7920; berliner-kaffeeroesterei.de). Bossecker, Potsdamer Strasse 77-87, 10785 (+49172-708 3779; bosseckerberlin.com).
My favourite websites are Internazionale.it for the best current events articles, and Parterrederois.com, an arts and culture magazine founded by Gianni Tozzi and Molly Molloy. It reads like an imaginary dinner party that brings together artists, writers, experimenters and singers.