Discover Aspinal of London

Guest Edit: Lucy Cleland, Editor of Country & Town House


We ask Lucy Cleland all about how she became Editor, her favourite holiday destinations, and whether her heart lies in the country or the city.

What are you coveting from the Aspinal AW collection?

Definitely the Letterbox Saddle Bag. I have so many huge bags that have to carry everything from nappies to my laptop that I'm really lusting after something smaller - and this bag would look great in town or country.

What advice would you give any aspiring editors out there?

Get as much experience as you can. Never give up. This business is as much about contacts as talent, so always try to make a good impression wherever you're working. Go that extra mile, propose ideas, make your boss's life easier without them even knowing. Take initiative and responsibility. Don't wait to be told everything.

What's your typical day like?

It usually starts absurdly early as I have two children under four who think it's fun to wake at the crack of dawn. After they've been safely dispatched a few hours later, I usually try and have a breakfast meeting with a PR or journalist, before heading to our new office in Fulham to sit head down at my desk (ideally for the rest of the day!). I am only in the office three days a week currently, so I really have to crack on with the day-to-day running of the magazine, from commissioning and editing to coming up with fresh ideas and keeping the email backlog at bay. There are so many events to go to - as we feature everything from food and arts to fashion and travel - that it would be impossible to attend them all, so I try to pick the key ones to attend. Otherwise, I'm dashing off to pick up the children and getting them bed before a big glass of wine!

What have been your career highlights so far? Any pinch-me moments?

My husband and I co-founded Country & Town House over seven years ago now, and looking back it has certainly been a roller coaster ride, launching as we did just as the recession hit, so we quite often pinch ourselves that we're not only here, but flourishing. This year has also been rather good to me: firstly, I found myself in Portofino interviewing Emily Blunt at the Splendido, having spent the morning chasing her on a Riva boat around the bay (don't ask). Two weeks ago, I was whisked off by helicopter to Farnborough airport (glam!) to be among the first to see a decommissioned wind tunnel that had been used to test planes up until the fifties. It was only reopened for a few weeks in June/July and it was just stunning. And last weekend, I took a private jet to Ibiza. This is not normal behaviour, you understand…

What's your favourite place to visit in the UK?

We're lucky enough to have a family house in the New Forest, so that's where I head with my husband and two children as many weekends as I can. It's actually located near to what must be one of the ugliest towns in the UK, but thankfully we're tucked away surrounded by fields and forests, well away from any roads - heaven.

Where is your perfect weekend retreat?

It would be boring to say the New Forest again, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to. I love so many wonderful British hotels, but not with two tiny children in tow! It's far easier to have them run wild in the forest.

What is your favourite area of London and why?

Having been born and brought up in West London, that's where my heart lies much to the annoyance of my best friend who's an East London girl. About 10 years ago I launched Grove, a magazine for Notting Hill, which was fabulous as it meant I could hang out there, getting to know everyone from the market stall holders to the chichi designers. But now it's become slightly too corporate although I do still love Portobello Market. I'm slowly getting to know Acton, where we moved two years ago, and I have to say it's one of the nicest neighbourhoods I've lived in, with a real, proper, solid sense of community. It just needs a few more cool shops and restaurants to be properly on the radar!

Are you a town or country gal?

Definitely both. I couldn't have one without the other.


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