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Monday 11 December 2017

Favourite things: Hermione Hennessy

1 Illustration I was only 16 months old when this illustration was drawn by one of dad's best friends, Brian Grimwood, whose successes as an illustrator are phenomenal. He uses colour like no one else, sending you into a dreamland -- utterly brilliant.

2 Hand-written notes From a man who couldn't read or write, these little notes mean the world to me. Dad was dyslexic and left school at 11, but he was more versed in Shakespeare and Dickens than I'll ever be, because he listened to recordings of their works. He always said that if he'd been able to read and write, he'd have been a politician . . . just listen to his songs, he was an amazing social commentator.

3 Spanx You might have a great waist, lovely boobs and legs, but if you've a bottom, girls, you need Spanx. They're not cheap, but worth the expense since they hide all those lumps and bumps. And yes, I did wear them on the Late Late Show.

4 Gucci shoes and brogues You're only as good as your shoes and, while I usually wear high heels, my sister Amber, bought me these cool Church brogues for Christmas. My brother, meanwhile, bought me a Gucci make-up bag, which was exchanged for these Gucci heels. Well, no one was going to notice the make-up bag.

5The Green Album I was six when I first realised that my dad had star status; it was 1972 and a box containing The Green Album had just arrived in the house. It's an extraordinary recording, but unless you're Christy Moore, you've probably never even heard of it, as only 500 copies were ever pressed. However, it needs to be heard, and that's why we've re-released it.

6 Baby shoes This box was a present from my mum for my birthday a few years ago. Unwrapping it, I wasn't sure what to expect, but my first ever shoes were such a special gift. They became even more significant after dad passed away. Since he was very into his footwear it seemed right that the new album sleeve for Songs My Father Taught Me should feature dad's last pair of shoes alongside my baby ones. If you look closely you can see that both shoes have an indentation from our right toes -- we moved in the same way, even when I was only one.

7 Rings I knew when I first met celebrity stylist Joy Andrews that we'd be friends for life. After styling everyone from Dusty Springfield to Billy Ocean, she went on to open her own boutique, Musa in London, where she is now diversifying from designing shoes and cruisewear into jewellery. She transformed vintage brooches into these amazing rings. She sold me the mother of pearl ring for 20 quid, even though it's probably worth £220.

8 Girls like Us Hugely fascinating for anyone who cares about music, and women in music at the beginning of the bra-burning era; this book by Sheila Weller brings you into the lives, loves and losses of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon. Seminal, and utterly irresistible.

9 Tom Jones Tom was the first artist that I ever commissioned a photo session for. I was 21, and utterly in awe, especially since the photographer was Trevor Leighton, the world's biggest society portrait photographer. But both were a dream to work with. After the shoot, Tom took off his make-up and asked Trevor to take this personal portrait. We were each given a signed copy. And 23 years later, Tom still holds pride of place on my office wall.

10 Dress When she was between houses, I let my dear friend designer, Nicky Shaw, stay with me. But rather than pay me rent, she made me dresses. She usually designs delicate unstructured dresses, but I needed more shape, so she developed a style specifically for me that involves big sleeves, a structured body, and great lining. People always comment on the dresses; she makes me look phenomenal.

Hermione Hennessy's Songs My Father Taught Me is currently No1 in the Irish indie album charts. Her nationwide tour includes dates in Dublin's Sugar Club on April 8. For more tour dates check out www.hermionehennessy.com

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