My style icon is Maureen Doherty at Egg, the lifestyle boutique in Belgravia: she is authentic and hugely stylish. And also Inès de la Fressange. They both always look immaculate and are so true to who they are – I admire people with elegance and a strong sense of self.
The best book I’ve read in the past year is Stoner by John Williams, which was passed on to me by my daughter. It was written in the early 1960s and it’s about the life of an academic. There’s something very true in its sense of place and atmosphere. The writing is beautiful and so touching in a very low-key way.
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a simple, crisp, oversized cotton shirt from Céline in a sand colour – it’s one of those “forever” pieces. I wanted to buy so much from Phoebe Philo’s last collection; I will miss her modern take on femininity. I also bought a long, cotton shirt with a beautiful stripe from Connolly that comes almost to the ankle – I love the ease of wearing it and always feel like I am on holiday when I put it on. celine.com. connollyengland.com.
My favourite room in my house is my dining room. It has terrible acoustics, so it sounds like you are eating in a trattoria – but everyone enjoys dinner there. It has wooden floors and shutters, an old draper’s table from Rose Uniacke, and lovely, simple wooden chairs designed by Gilles & Boissier. And there’s a settle at one end. It’s casual but rather elegant at the same time. gillesetboissier.com. roseuniacke.com.
The person I rely on for wellbeing is Natalie Harris, who has been my trainer and friend for over 25 years; she keeps me sane. Twice a week we walk all around Hyde Park – whatever the weather, it’s just magical – and she’s been trying for all those years to get me to move faster. email@example.com.
An indulgence I would never forgo is fresh flowers – particularly roses; I love hav-ing them in the house and the shop. I go to the stall at the end of Clifford Street or to Pulbrook & Gould. 19 South Audley Street, London W1 (020-7730 0030; pulbrookandgould.co.uk).
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood, I’d choose Beaulieu-sur-Mer in the south of France. I don’t really have time to enjoy shopping for food and preparing meals in London, so when I am on holiday I love it. There’s a wonderful pâtisserie, Sansano, where you can get the perfect pissaladière, and a market called Côte et Mer, which has the best fresh fruit every day. Charle’s Butcher Shop has fantastic meats, and L’Art du Pain does the most delicious bread – and it’s all within five minutes’ walk. Charle’s Butcher Shop, 2 Avenue des Anglais, 06310 (+334-9301 6142). Côte et Mer, 43 Boulevard Marinoni, 06310. L’Art du Pain, 10 Boulevard Maréchal Joffre, 06310 (+334-9301 0210). Pâtisserie Sansano, 1 Avenue du Maréchal Foch, 06310 (+334-9301 0632).
A recent “find” is Cibus, a tiny, four-table Italian restaurant in Paris that feels as though you are in someone’s living room. It’s very tucked away, but serves fantastic Italian home cooking – I had a great pasta with seabass. 5 Rue Molière, 75001 Paris (+331-4261 5019).
In my fridge you’ll always find Diet Coke, milk, butter and Cheddar cheese – all the wrong things. My daughter is living in Paris and I am out quite a bit, so I tend not to do big shops. I might sneak into Fortnum & Mason occasionally for marmalade, the most incredible fruit and veg, and really good naughty things like hams and salamis. 181 Piccadilly, London W1 (020-7734 8040; fortnumandmason.com).
An object I would never part with is a pair of André Dubreuil candlesticks made from spiky bronze and big balls of rock crystal. Joe and I moved many times in the past 35 years and they have always sat on our various tables. They make my home.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would run a small boutique hotel on the coast some-where in northern Italy or northern France. I like having people around and I’d love to have a really good excuse for ordering beautiful bedlinen and massive amounts of wonderful food.