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Cherie Blair - My London

Evening Standard Magazine 11th December 2009

Cherie's London - a feature in the Evening Standard

Home is...
Just behind Marble Arch; we chose the area because of the lovely garden square and so our youngest son wouldn't have to move schools when we left Number 10.
What was the last show you saw in London?
I'm the daughter of two actors, so I've always loved the theatre and I go regularly. But the last show I saw was when I took Leo to see the Queen musical, We Will Rock You. It was tremendous fun and I had a great time singing along.
What advice would you give a tourist?
Walk everywhere. When I came to London in 1972 as an impoverished student I soon discovered that there was no better way to get to know the city than by walking the streets and the parks - and the bonus is it doesn't cost a penny.
Which five London shops do you rely on?
For food, our local Waitrose on Edgware Road and M&S at Marble Arch. For clothes, I've bought them for years from Paddy Campbell's shop off Oxford Street, and Paul Costelloe at House of Fraser. Any time I need a new coat, I go to Burberry.
What's the best meal you've had in London?
A few years ago, at Sri Nam, the Ken Hom restaurant in Canary Wharf. The Peking duck alone is worth the effort of getting there.
What is your earliest London memory?
I first lived in London between the ages of two and three, when my parents had theatrical digs in Stoke Newington. My mother worked from home to make ends meet, packaging sherbet dips, and I can still remember the smell of the sherbet.
What is your life philosophy?
I am definitely a 'glass half-full' rather than 'half-empty' person.
What's on your tombstone?
Never answer the front door in your nightie.
What are you most afraid of?
Losing my sight and not being able to read.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Just one - chocolate.
What would you do as Mayor for the day?
I'd look at some new ways to deal with knife and gun crime, which is such a menace and a waste of lives. Less seriously, I'd finally learn to ride a bike. It's about time and it seems to be a compulsory qualification for the job.
What was the last album you downloaded?
I rely on my children to download stuff for me on my iPod. The last album I bought was the soundtrack of the Queen musical I saw with Leo. It's great as we can both keep singing along.
What would you save from a fire?
My family photos.
What makes you laugh?
The absurdities of life.
What makes you cry?
I am a sucker for romantic films such as Gone With the Wind and Truly Madly Deeply.
Where did you last go on holiday?
We travel a lot for work, so often tag family holidays on the end - or the beginning. In the summer, we had a family break in Borneo and Bali before Tony and I went on to China, where I was promoting my book and Tony was speaking at a conference. We managed to get away together to spend some time in Guangzhou in the south, which has a 15th-century city and a sensational waterfall.
What are you up to at the moment?
Apart from continuing to work as a lawyer, I am setting up a Women's Foundation to help women establish real financial independence in countries where they have few rights and opportunities.
What are your highs and lows of the past ten years?
Highs were giving birth to Leo in 2000, aged 45, and exchanging the Number 10 flat for my own home again in 2007. A low has been watching my weight creep up and finding it increasingly difficult to shift.
Written by Andy Barker