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Pillow Talk with... Amber Guinness
Amber Guinness is a cook and food writer living in Florence. She was born in London and brought up in Tuscany. She learned to cook at her mother’s side in the kitchen at Arniano, a farmhouse restored by her parents. Her first cookbook 'A House Party In Tuscany' was published by Thames & Hudson in 2022. She co-founded the Arniano Painting School in 2014, a residential painting retreat at her family home in Tuscany where she cooks delicious meals for all. 
We relished the opportunity to sit down with Amber for this season's Pillow Talk, picking her brains on everything from what’s on her bed side table, to her favourite childhood book, and of course, her favourite IOI nightie.

What is on your nightstand?

It's mainly taken up with pile of books I will never have time to read, though I did just finish a brilliant novel by Alice Winn called ‘In Memoriam’ which I feel very bereft to have finished. A reading lamp (essential) which I am particularly fond of from Lazuli Design and a jug of water. 

What is your ultimate bedtime routine?

Once I’ve wriggled into one of my many If Only If nighties (my collection is worthy of any superfan) I make myself a cup of fennel tea and hop into bed with a book and read until I get distracted by my husband wanting to chat about the day. I go to sleep very easily so I’m off very soon after the last sip of tea.

Your one pearl of wisdom for a good night's sleep?

Reading in bed leads to a much more restful night than doom scrolling on the phone, sadly I often end up doing the latter. A couple of gin martinis never hurt either.

And one fallacy?

As a new mother, the most unachievable bit of advice I think you can be given is ‘When your baby sleeps, you sleep’.

Best hotel bed you've ever stayed in?

The Villa Feltrinelli on Lake Garda.

Whose bedroom would you most like to snoop around?

I’ve snooped around Dalí’s bedroom in Port Lligat in Northern Spain and very much aspire to his alarm clock…a small mirror fixed on the opposite wall to his bed, perfectly angled so he was woken by a stream of sunlight in his eyes at the sun rose. 

Most romantic piece of music to relax to?
Maria Callas singing 'Casta Diva' from Norma

What is on your breakfast-in-bed tray?
Two boiled eggs, toast, butter, salt, pepper and a strong coffee. Heaven.
Bedtime reading: paper book or kindle?
Definitely paper book! Though the Kindle is of course brilliant when travelling. I would always buy a physical copy as well if I’ve read a book I particularly loved on the Kindle though. I forget I’ve read it unless I see it on the shelf, and I can’t bookmark passages I want to remember.
Favourie childhood book?
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr and The Chronicles of Narnia.
Your favourite If Only If Nightie?
So many to choose from! Overall, my Jessie with blue trim, but I also love the Rose in winter as its heavier and fitted which is cosy as well as chic. Anna is wonderful for summer. You keep bringing out lovely new things though so I’m sure I’ll change my mind again…
One smell that evokes summer is...
Morning dew being burnt off by the sun after it rises. It’s a smell and feel that herald a scorcher of a day.
When it comes to bed, nothing feels better than...
Clean, ironed sheets and a clean, ironed nightie.
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