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Isabelle Fox Sunday Best: Mina Holland




1. What's your favourite #IFSundayBest look and why?

It has to be the red Farah dress. It transported me out of myself and my south-east London flat, to somewhere infinitely more fabulous. I've never been much of a red wearer and this was the first time I'd felt comfortable in it; the intense warm crimson shade goes beautifully with the kind of flamenca cut and whimsy fabric. It made me want to dance and I love it! Realistically though, I'm probably most likely to wear the trousers and shirt combo on one of my actual Sundays, and very fab I felt in that combination, too. 

Farrah Silk Maxi dress, £276

 

2. Whose style, past or present, do you covet the most?

I think everything Sade has ever worn is so chic, so timeless yet so distinctly nineties in the best possible way. High waisted trousers, cropped rollnecks, sleek baggy jumpers, a good trench, a lot of monochrome, double denim galore... No outfit is not improved by a pair of gold hoop earrings either, which is a look she pedalled hard.

 

3. You work as a food writer and editor, tell us about your career journey so far.

In many ways it has been unconventional, but I think writing is one of those careers that never really follows a formula. I actually started out in advertising, which quickly proved not to be the path for me. Aged 25, I took stock and decided to pursue my interests – words and food – and while it has been a long and winding path - it was a pretty straightforward decision: I would be a food writer. I started freelancing and wrote my first book, The Edible Atlas. Shortly after that, fortune smiled and I got a part-time gig as Contributing Editor on Observer Food Monthly magazine. That graduated to the editor position of Guardian Cook, another book (Mamma) and to where I am today - at Guardian Feast. When I'm not at the Guardian, I work as a words and pictures team with my photographer colleague Elena Heatherwick - we are currently developing projects for TOAST, St John restaurant, The New Craftsmen and Saveur magazine.

4. What does your typical work day look like and how does this affect your personal style?

I once described my personal style as more dog walk than cat walk - I stand by that. Much as I love a lot of the fashion I see in pictures, I prioritise practical clothes first and foremost. Whether I'm in the office or working from home, I need clothes appropriate for lots of walking and cooking, and which can accommodate a person who likes to eat a lot: comfortable footwear – trainers, chunky boots (I love Penelope Chilvers) or low mules (current favourites are from Australian brand, St Agni), high waisted jeans (shout-out to Whistles barrel legs) or breathable, baggy dresses which flatter my pear shape. For this reason, I am a big fan of Justine Tabak's Petticoat Lane dress - it has an empire line and tiers.

Sophia Cotton Midi dress£164

 

5. Where do you look when you're looking for inspiration?

For writing: books of essays – recent favourites include Zadie Smith's Feel Free and Natalia Ginzburg's The Little Virtues – and also The New Yorker, easily the best magazine in the world.

For cooking: Instagram, which is always full of seasonal inspo, namely my Rome-based columnist Rachel Roddy's account - she is always making something I invariably want to eat, and drinking something I invariably want to drink while she's at it. (@rachelaliceroddy)

 

6. Tell us three Instagram accounts we should be following.

@cherrybombemag - Massive fan of this beautiful quarterly magazine, which takes women and food as its theme.

@rocketandsquash - My friend Ed Smith is editor of this popular blog which publishes a weekly digest of all the food content in weekend supplements, and online, called 'Supplemental'. He's also a safe (excellent) source for restaurant recommendations.

@cookforsyria - Using food to do good in Syria, this is a charity was set up by a group of high-profile London-based foodies who hold brilliant events and have even brought out two books in aid of the cause.

 

 

Sophia Cotton Midi dress£164

 

7. The last book you read and loved?

I read Gabriel Tallent's My Absolute Darling. It's about a young girl, Turtle, growing up in rural Mendocino with a father who routinely abuses her, and the complex attachment that forms between parent abuser and child victim. It was not an easy read, but I was spellbound by Tallent's writing - particularly his knowledge of the natural world and the Californian wilderness – and was deeply invested in Turtle's story.

 

8. Your top three London hotspots - cafés, restaurants, museums - anywhere you love to visit.

Quo Vadis in Soho is something of a second home, where I frequently work on freelance days, use for meetings, or finish up a night with a negroni or four. Aside from there, here are my top three restaurants ...

 Noble Rot - Lamb's Conduit Street - best wine list in London with superlative bistro food - consultant chef is Stephen Harris from The Sportsman;

 Rochelle Canteen - Arnold Circus or the ICA - Margot Henderson's old school cafeteria serving anything but school dinners! Think sausages and braised lentils, cods roe, wonderful pies and bakes ... 

 Morito - Hackney Road - Everything that's great about Spanish/North African Morito in Exmouth Market with an added Cretan influence courtesy of head chef Mariana Leivatidaki.

 

9. What's your favourite country to visit?

At the moment, I feel particularly called back to California; I studied at UC Berkeley for a year and fell in love with the Bay Area - to this day, I'm not sure I'd be working in food were it not for that year. This is where organic, seasonal, local values really took hold before hitting the mainstream: food and produce are not just essential to people from a taste and wellbeing perspective, but they are rightly acknowledged to be political too. I think it's taken the UK a while to catch up and understand that.

 

Edith Wide Leg Trouser, £173.50 (currently available in Sancerre White)

 

10. What's your Sunday ritual?

It starts with tea, then coffee, probably with boiled eggs and Marmite soldiers. We'll then take our dog, Ernie, straight out to one of our favourite parks, often the very lovely and under-estimated Beckenham Place Park, which has huge empty fields that are perfect for ball throwing. We'll generally go home for a roast and a nice drop - with or without friends and family.


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