This week in the spotlight we have Claire Strickett. Strap yourselves in! 

She is an award-winning senior planner currently at adam&eveDDB, with brands including EasyJet, Dominos, Virgin Media and the AA, under her belt. A University of Oxford post-grad. A published author. An expert in food and wine. She has even spent time as a pastry chef in Paris.

In summary - she’s an inspiring go-getter who is as smart as a whip. 

I’m intimidated. I’m excited. Let’s go…

What’s your dream client brief?

A completely undifferentiated product where the comms have to do all the work (that’s the magic), with no mandatories beyond making good advertising.

If you were guaranteed the correct answer to one question, what would you ask?

For this week’s winning lottery numbers of course.

What is something useful that I could learn right now, that will be useful for the rest of my life?

How to make a proper vinaigrette. It amazes me how few people know this.

When you are gone, what would you like people to write for your obituary?

If people remember me as a good friend, I’m not sure anyone can hope for better.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

I’ve never had a truly terrible job, but I was a pretty terrible shop assistant - my very first job. It taught me the invaluable life lesson of just how hard it is to do things I had snootily and teenagerishly thought were rather beneath me.

What one tip would you give someone who wants to write their own book?

Get yourself a co-author. It’s much more motivating being accountable to another person than to yourself, sad to say – at least for most of us.

What is your most used, ‘couldn’t live without’ phone app?

Instagram. I waste way too much time on it but at the same time it’s amazingly useful. It’s been a catalyst for some of my most important relationships, and most importantly of all, it’s how I come to have my cat. (Long story.)

What do you spend way too much money on?

I can’t think of anything I spend too much money on. That would suggest I have way too much money, which is, regrettably, not the case (please see Q2, above).

Where is your happy place?

Sitting by the harbour as the sun slowly sets on the blissful Greek island of Hydra, fresh off the beach and with the first drink of the day, thinking long and lazily about what to have for dinner.

Last thing you searched for on your phone?

An opticians.

Most played song on iTunes/Spotify?

'Kept it all to Myself' by the Weather Station, who are one of many bands I discovered through the wonderful festival, End of the Road, which sadly won’t be taking place this year. I have gone every year for many years now and it’s always one of my annual highlights – a magical place and moment in time.

You visit your ten-year-old self and tell them about your life. What do they think?

I think she would be delighted to see how many pairs of high heels I own, glad that her best friend is still my best friend, and dismayed at how few books I have published, given how much she used to write.

There are 5 empty seats at your table, who are your dream dinner party guests - from any time or place?

  • Elizabeth I

  • A young Paul Newman (next to me please)

  • Nancy Mitford

  • David Bowie

  • Jesus Christ - so we would never run out of wine, or forgiveness

How do you define success?

Coming to understand what makes you happy (which tends to involve letting go of a lot of pre-programming about what that might be), and making sure you get enough of it - without impinging on anyone else’s happiness.

Quick fire….

Early bird or night owl? Early bird

Book or boxset? Book

Introvert or extrovert? Absolutely and necessarily both

Netflix or YouTube? Netflix

Classic or modern? Classic style, modern mores

Finally – who would you like to see answer these questions in the spotlight?

Vicki Maguire, the brilliant CCO at Havas

Earl Grey tea

I am 50% human, 50% tea.

Strong brew with a good dash of milk, thanks!

Aesop Reverence Aromatique Hand Balm

I have swapped (mostly) a lifelong nail-biting habit for an obsessive hand cream habit. It’s more expensive, but less destructive.

Muji A4 notepad

I get through these at a rate of knots. They’re infinitely better than Moleskin. There, I said it.

Acqua di Parma Yellow Cube candle

I love the jaunty colour and the sharp fresh scent, which reminds me of some of my favourite places and my favourite person.

Fresh flowers

One of life’s simplest and greatest pleasures. I can never have too many flowers around me.

I’ve got a book out as of this summer called Which Wine When. It’s an everyday guide to what to drink with the food you love - from roast dinners, to takeaway to everything in between -

aimed at anyone who wants to know more about wine but doesn’t know where to start. Yes, the research phase was absolutely dreadful.