We were excited to interview Clare Coulson, one-forth of A Little Bird, a website devoted to providing an insider’s guide to London. Clare is former fashion editor of the Daily Telegraph and fashion features director at Harper’s Bazaar. She also writes for the Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail, InStyle, Red and Net-a-Porter among others and is the author of House Rules. A self-confessed seasoned London shopper, weekend baker and a mother of two boys, Luca, 6 and Freddie, 3.
Tell us a little bit about Little Bird, An Insider’s Guide to London, and why the four of you decided to take the plunge and set this up?
It was Daisy Garnett and Francesca Martin, who I had worked with at Harper’s Bazaar, who originally set it up. They had worked together at Vogue and felt that there was a gap for a website that gave a very insider, tried-and-tested view of London and its culture, food, music and shopping. I joined them after a couple of years when I had left Harper’s Bazaar. I think as a site we have a very specific point of view but that has also evolved quite a lot from when the site began.
Describe a typical day in the life of Clare Coulson?
It varies a lot. If I am in Suffolk then I have a countryside school run before writing at home all day and if I can, sneaking into the garden as much as possible too as that is my real obsession at the moment – it’s a huge, never-ending project. But if I am in London I can be doing anything from going to launches, screenings, checking out new collections or catching up with PRs. I also lecture in fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Well, my background is in fashion journalism and when I was working on magazines or on newspapers (I was fashion editor of the Daily Telegraph) there were too many highlights to mention – amazing shows, parties and interviewing incredible, endlessly interesting designers. If I had to single out one thing it would probably be a trip to the Valentino ateliers in Rome when I interviewed Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri – it was utter heaven and I will never forget the craft and skill there.
Where are your favourites places to go in London for a bit of a) fun b) food and c) culture with the kids?
My idea of a perfect day (without children) is to go to Petersham Nurseries – I am OBSESSED with it. And I love Richmond Park. I would very happily eat at Petersham forever, too. In town, my favourite places to eat are probably St John, Nopi in Soho, Bocca di Lupo and the Anchor & Hope in Waterloo – which is a pub but a lovely place to go and the food is unfailingly good. My boys (Luca, 6 and Freddie, 3) are very raucous so we tend to do a lot of outside activities in Battersea Park or Wimbledon Common. And then all the regular cultural spots – I love Dulwich Picture Gallery and they really like the Science Museum and the Natural History museum. On a rainy day I love Purple Dragon Play in Chelsea.
Share with us your favourite family baking recipe.
I can’t claim to have invented it but Elizabeth David’s Chocolate Cake from her book French Provincial Cooking is just perfect.
Where’s your favourite family UK destination for the weekend, and why?
The Suffolk coast – which is where I am from – it’s pretty much unchanged and unspoilt. It has spectacular beaches and nature reserves as well as year round culture thanks to Snape Maltings and the many festivals that now take place over the summer months like Latitude and Folk East.
Where’s your favourite place to go in London on date night with your other half or a night out with the girls?
If I am meeting friends I just really love old school places – my perfect night would be cocktails in the Fumoir at Claridges and dinner at Scotts.
What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?
I love Weleda’s Calendula cream which is just the most amazing rich balm. It’s like a miracle potion.
What’s in the pipeline for you next?
Five years of serious hard work (and probably a lot of money spent) in my garden.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
Optimistic, determined, hard-working but more often than not fraught with exhaustion.