My personal style signifier is a chunky gold charm bracelet my mother gave me. It includes a QE2 charm from her honeymoon and a Coca-Cola bottle that my father bought her as a joke because she always used to drink it. People hear it jangling before I come into the room, which can be a disadvantage when Stephen – my husband and business partner – and I come home late as our children want to come down to chat when they should be in bed.
The last thing I bought and loved was the most gorgeous breadbasket I have ever seen and that I got at Cabana, in Capri. It’s raffia in a simple filigree design and makes me happy every time I use it. From €60; 1 Via Fuorlovado, 80073 Capri (+39081-837 6358; cabanagloballuxe.com).
And the thing I’m eyeing next is an imperfect yet beautiful clay pot by Atelier Vierkant to plant a Japanese maple tree in. I never saw myself getting into gardening, but then I never saw myself becoming a diplomat, nor starting a cosmetics company. Gardening is a great lesson in patience and I like a challenge. EM series from €792; ateliervierkant.com.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Mount Desert Island in Maine. We rented a house called Connor Cove Cottage, swam in the lake, sailed and hiked. We rode bicycles over to Jordan Pond House, a restaurant in Acadia National Park, and ate delicious popovers – similar to Yorkshire pudding – served with strawberry jam and butter and blueberry lemonade. Connor Cove Cottage, Connor Point Lane, Southwest Harbor, Fernald Point, Maine, ME 04679 (knowlesco.com). Jordan Pond House, 2928 Park Loop Road, Seal Harbor, Maine, ME 04675 (+1207-276 3316; jordanpondhouse.com).
The best gift I’ve received recently is a beautiful pair of earrings by René Boivin from Stephen for my birthday. They have diamond-set, scale-like shapes and are super-sparkly. I admire this jewellery house as it was one of the first to employ women as designers. See Fred Leighton, 773 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10065 (+1212-288 1872; fredleighton.com).
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Lyonel Feininger. We’ve started buying little sketches – but to buy a painting we’ll have to sell a lot of face cream.
My favourite room in my house is the kitchen, where I do most of my entertaining – it has a long table that was left in the garden by the previous owners, with a comfy banquette. It’s south-facing, so we get wonderful light, and when we renovated it recently we chose a fun, vivid-blue kitchen from Plain English called Scullery Latch. Kitchens from £54,000; plainenglishdesign.co.uk.
The beauty staple I’m never without is Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist, which I always keep with me. It is a neroli and rose-scented face mist that was inspired by the world’s first recorded perfume. Legend has it the queen was so beautiful that she was proposed to by a man half her age – the original cougar! I’m also a huge fan of lipstick – my current favourite is Tom Ford’s Casablanca, a dusky pink. And I have been using Annick Goutal’s Heure Exquise scent for as long as I can remember. Annick Goutal Heure Exquise, €150 for 100ml EDP; goutalparis.com. Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist, £50; omorovicza.com. Tom Ford Casablanca Lip Colour, £40; tomford.co.uk.
My favourite websites and apps are Food52.com for recipe ideas; Axios.com for news – it’s mainly US-focused but it does have an increasingly international sweep. And an app called 7 Minute Workout, which I use every day; I really believe that small things done regularly work.