The founder of cult bodycare brand Legology – as featured in August’s box – Kate Shapland is just as into books as she is beauty…

A legendary beauty journo and part of the team behind a successful beauty etailer – sounds like a lot of big boxes ticked for most people. But not for the brilliant – and permanently over-achieving – Kate Shapland. Spotting a gap in the market, Shapland launched her own leg care brand, Legology, back in 2013 at Liberty London – where else? The cult brand has gone from strength to strength, with new products being unveiled to delight Legology fans, and stockists now including SpaceNK, Net-A-Porter and Cult Beauty. And guess what – Kate’s just as into books as she is beauty!

Your favourite writers?

I generally read fact over fiction, or fiction set against fact, and invariably biographies or books on social history – I’m my father’s daughter! So my go-to authors are Peter Ackroyd, Sarah Helm, Sarah Wise and Claire Tomalin – authors of historical books on London and Charles Dickens. I get obsessions on different events in history too – I’ve read most books on the SOE, French Resistance and Cambridge Five/MI5.

Top holiday read?

I read Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia on holiday last summer and loved it so much I got the audio version to listen to on a long car journey with my sister up from the south of France to London. By the time we got back home we had assumed the roles of two characters and were calling each other the Duchess of Richmond and Lady Templemore.

When and where do you read?

Bed, sofa and bus. When I’m really addicted to a book though I’ll grab minutes in the day wherever I am – I’m ashamed to admit that I’m occasionally late for meetings while trying to finish chapters in various car parks around London.

Last book you were recommended by someone?

My husband bought me The Fields Beneath by Gillian Tindall, after I’d read (and loved) her book The House By The Thames, and I’m still reading it. It traces the history of Kentish Town from its beginnings as a rural idyll on the outskirts of London. It’s a proper journey through time and Tindall shares the nuggets she digs up in such memorable ways too. She tells us that, while many of the roads in our capital were built around the shape of original fields, you can sometimes see this when you look at the far end of London gardens – often dotted with old willows and apple trees. Living history. I love that.

Favourite books as a child?

Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers, Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons and all of the pony books written by Josephine, Christine and Diana Pullein-Thompson.

Best trashy book?

I read enough Mills & Boon in my teens to last the rest of my life.

Favourite poet?

Wendy Cope. Have you read ‘Bloody Men’ from her second book of poems Serious Concerns? Too funny.

Your me-time rituals?

A soak in an oily bath and a copy of the Blackmore Vale Magazine. I like to be kept fully informed about the goings-on in villages across the west country. I live in London, and I love it, but a big part of me also longs for the countryside.

For more information on Legology, see the brand’s website. You can also browse our favourite Legology products via the Reading in Heels shop.