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Make the city all yours, think twice about buying into your fashion idols and respect the beauty of your elders, says Laura Craik

At first, I was afraid. I was petrified. Kept thinking I could never live without it by my side. But then I went indoors and realised I didn’t need that stupid blanket any more. What’s this alien metal object to my left? Oh yeah. It’s a radiator.

It’s been my civic duty as a Londoner to go out every day and do something we’ve been prevented from doing for a very long time. I started local with a pint and chips at The Queen’s in Primrose Hill. Next to me was a group of elderly gentlemen, each dressed for the occasion in their best jumpers, talking with gallows humour about the Indian variant and whether they’d survive it.

The next day, I upped my game and went for a cocktail and chips at The Connaught. Next to me was a woman in a red leather skirt flirting devilishly with a laconic male companion who can’t have been as desperate for a shag as the rest of us. The following day, I went for a Picante and chips at 180 House, the new Soho House outpost on the Strand.

Not next to me but within spitting distance was a senior Tory politician, an Eighties nightclub impresario, a radio DJ, a glossy mag editor, a couple of models and not a single member of my family, although I had to check behind the sofa to be certain. Around us, the city twerked and twinkled. Windows are brilliant. I’ve missed windows.

“The city is everyone’s,
but right now it can feel like
it’s shining for
you alone”

The day after that, I went for a fizzy water and chips at The Everyman. When the velvet curtains swept open to reveal a screen the size of a twillion tellies, I felt like Annie when Daddy Warbucks rented Radio City Music Hall. The city is everyone’s, but right now it can feel like it’s shining for you alone. To shuck off your cares and eat chips cooked by another’s hand, at a table, with a roof, near central heating?

Life doesn’t get much better than that. Nobody knows how long our current freedoms will last. Seize the day. And also seize the evening. The city’s beleaguered restaurateurs, landlords and hospitality staff will thank you.

In it to win it: the joys of
a convivial interior

Designer tastes

I’m not sure what it says about me that whenever I buy ‘something designer’, said designer is diminished a little in my eyes. The designer I admire most, Azzedine Alaïa, is still on his pedestal because I don’t own anything by him, as if the mere fact of the item hanging in my wardrobe would make it less desirable.

Alaïa passed away in 2017: current creative director Pieter Mulier has released Relax, a collection centred on comfort. If you’re in the market for some exercise gear and have money to burn, the technical knit leggings (£1,490) are the chicest (and, um, most expensive) on the market.

Timeless beauty

Sure J-Lo is great, but in the court of sassy fifty-something women, there is a new queen. All hail Paulina Porizkova, currently living her best life post-divorce (from a husband who cut her out of his will after 30 years of marriage) via the medium of worldly-wise musings on life, love and ageing.

‘Can we talk about “still”?’ she recently posted on Instagram, in reference to being called ‘still beautiful’ instead of simply ‘beautiful’ (which she is, even more so than when she was young). Now 56, Porizkova started modelling in her teens in an era when models were expected to be silent. If only she’d had the opportunity to speak out decades ago. But better late than never.


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