Mariya Dykalo, the creative director of the luxury leather brand Aspinal of London, has a motto: “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
The Ukrainian-born designer, 38, who lives in West Sussex, starts her morning with a cup of green tea. Then it’s a fresh apple, carrot, celery and raspberry juice, made with produce from her garden. (She’s so mad about juicing that she’s just designed her first tote bag with a special pocket to hold your juice.) Next she takes her dog for a walk and has a brief yoga session, followed by a breakfast of porridge and fruit. “I feel amazing after breathing exercises and a good stretch. I used to love gymnastics and dancing when I was at school, and I feel so much better when I make time to reflect on the day ahead.”
Dykalo’s days are busy, either with work in the studio or with travelling. “My favourite work time is when I’m designing. I’m happiest surrounded by leather swatches and sketches. When I start, I can’t stop. I’m a real night owl and often find myself working late into the night.”
But, in keeping with her motto, spending time with her family is also important to her. “I love playing Lego with my son.” When she’s in need of an escape, she heads to a spa. “I love Park House Hotel in West Sussex [ parkhousehotel.com ]. My husband calls me the ‘massage queen’. If I’m overtired or stressed, a massage always does the trick, leaving me refreshed and energised for another day.”
– My favourite meal is oven-cooked salmon with mashed potato and steamed seasonal vegetables, but I also have a weakness for blinis with caviar.
– I recently discovered the Metodo Rossano Ferretti salon in London. They have my favourite hairdresser, Pol Garcia, and the best colourists ( metodorossanoferretti.com ).
– I see a Hatha yoga teacher, Debbie Albon, as often as I can. She comes to my house and I always feel revived after a session with her ( yoga-wise.homecall.co.uk ).
– Every six months I go to a nutritionist and herbalist, Carol Granger ( carolgranger.co.uk ).
– My favourite skincare is Guerlain’s Orchidée Impériale range, and I always wear Prada’s Infusion d’Iris perfume.
– I’m currently reading The Go-Between by LP Hartley and The Power of Glamour by Annette Tapert. The imaginary worlds to which books transport me stay in my head and re-emerge as an idea for a colour palette or a print detail.
•I’ve absolutely fallen in love with printed dresses by Beautiful Soul. They’re all made in England and make me so happy when I wear them ( beautiful-soul.co.uk ).
•When I visit London I stay at Claridge’s ( claridges.co.uk ) or The Connaught ( the-connaught.co.uk ). I love the glamour of the former and the service at the latter.