My name is Gail, I’m 26 and I live in West London. This week I am doing work experience for Jess at FashionBarn, and she has asked me to write a bit about my life. She gave me a list of random lifestyle questions to choose from, and here are the four which I chose to answer.
What do I do in my spare time?
I work fulltime in a fairly stressful media environment so my spare time is very precious to me. In my spare time in the evenings through the week, I like to come home to the house I share with my boyfriend and I like to cook a nice healthy dinner. I find cooking extremely relaxing and rewarding and I like to treat my boyfriend to having dinner ready every evening when he comes home. He works very hard also and he is a very grateful recipient! This sounds old fashioned of me, but it’s not that I see it as ‘my role’ at all, it’s just that I love everything to do with cooking; the food shopping (I love supermarkets and food markets!), the recipe research and preparation and the cooking and sharing of the meal itself.
Through the week I also enjoy meeting my friends in town to go and see new bands (I have a lot of friends who do A&R for record labels which is fab!), or I will meet one of my girlfriends for a alcohol-free dinner in Itsu or somewhere similar to catch up after work. I rarely drink through the week unless it’s a special occasion.
At the weekend I like having groups of friends around for lunch or dinner which I will cook and really enjoy preparing and researching interesting menus to try out on them. On a Saturday my boyfriend and I have a routine where one of us will go to Starbucks to grab some coffees to bring back to the other in bed in the morning to kick start the day. If we don’t have friends over to our house for dinner we will tend to meet friends in a restaurant and eat out in a group. I used to go to lots more bars and nightclubs when I was younger but now I much prefer going out for a nice long dinner with friends and having a few cocktails somewhere locally after. Alternatively we’ll go to our local cinema.
I really like escaping London and going for walks outdoors so on a Sunday I enjoy finding new countryside areas to explore (sometimes just nice London parks or if the weather is good we head as far out to countryside as we can commute to from London!) We have a car so we plan a route to drive to places like Oxford or Kent and stop for lunch somewhere pretty on the way. It’s nice to get out the city and breathe in fresh air and have some peace and quiet just the two of us.
I also like shopping and can spend a lot of time on weekends or days off on main shopping streets like Oxford Street browsing my favourite stores. It’s also fun to go to large malls like the newly opened Westfield where you can lunch, see a film and shop all under one roof. I also enjoy visiting some of London’s oldest and finest luxury department stores like Harrods or Selfridges. I find I go there more for the experiential enjoyment or browsing the food halls and enjoying the dramatic, lavish window displays and make-up counters – to browse and people watch rather than to buy. My boyfriend is also quite up for shopping and interested in fashion which is great as we can browse around together and help pick out things for one-another.
I read a lot also, novels and fashion magazines like Vogue, Elle and Grazia.
Who do I admire and not admire?
I don’t feel that I have that many ‘hero’ icons anymore that I look up to like I did when I was younger with movie stars, etc. I admire people’s style – ie Kate Moss as she is my style icon, but I do not necessarily admire the way she conducts her lifestyle (her childcare/love-life, etc). I think I probably admire successful young fashion designers like Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney for what they have achieved for themselves and for the beautiful products and brands that they create.
I do think however, that there is a difference between admiration and respect. I admire stylish models and designers around the world and could list endless glamorous men and women whose style I wish I could emulate but I don’t necessarily respect them and I feel that’s much more important.
I respect musicians like Annie Lennox and Bob Geldof who are genuine, not manufactured artists, who have risen to fame through true hard work and real musical talent and now give back financially and personally, protesting and heightening public awareness around the world for hugely important causes and issues that a lot of us choose to ignore. They can handle their fame in the public eye without disrespecting themselves or their family’s reputations. I think they are the kind of role models young people should look up to.
What brands do you like and desire?
A lot of the brands I like and desire are fashion brands. I love Stella McCartney, Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Matthew Williamson, Miu Miu and Burberry.
I think these brands have incredibly beautiful products as well as gorgeous branding and advertising. I also think the designers behind them have great reputations and all seem to be very intriguing and interesting people.
I like other design brands as well like Emeco (chairs by Philippe Starck) and Simple Human kitchen/household-wares.
If I gave you £100 to deck out your fridge, what would you fill it with?
Firstly I would head straight to Whole Foods on High Street Kensington (with a big grin on my face)!
I would buy some beautiful fresh fish and shellfish, mussels and langoustines and nice fish like monkfish or bream perhaps so I could make a yummy seafood feast.. these are pretty expensive products and not what I would normally afford myself to buy!
I would buy some of the nicest cheeses I could find, some strong Roquefort, Manchego, Camembert, Brie and Apple Smoked cheddars to create a cheeseboard to quaff with good red wine.
I would buy some lovely Italian Prosseco and some delicious cuts of meat cold cuts to create a Spanish charcuterie board from… some Parma ham, chorizo slices, morcilla and Serrano ham slithers which I would accompany with spicy chutneys and relishes … mmmmm!!!
I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth but if I had some money left over I would buy a big punnet of fresh organic strawberries and raspberries and some Cornish clotted cream… heaven!
This wouldn’t all be for one meal of course, but what a decadent fridge-full of food.
Oh, and I think I may also need to add one or two bottles of Pepto-Bismol too, for our tummies following our consumption of all of the above!