x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Style File: Sonia Irvine

The founder of the Formula One hot spot the Amber Lounge has still been playing host at the exclusive after-race club while caring for her daughters, six-month-old Katie and Megan, eight.

Philip Cheung / The National
Philip Cheung / The National

You would think becoming a mother again at 46 would have slowed Sonia Irvine down. Think again. The founder of the Formula One hot spot the Amber Lounge has still been playing host at the exclusive after-race club while caring for her daughters, six-month-old Katie and Megan, eight.

"Katie was born 10 days before the Barcelona race, though, so I couldn't do the Amber Lounge there - but we were back in Monaco a week later," says Irvine, who was born in Northern Ireland and lives in Monaco. Tomorrow's event in Abu Dhabi will follow similar nights in Singapore and Monaco, the other venues for the club, which attracts drivers and celebrities such as Jenson Button and the model Rachel Hunter. Irvine's connections have much to do with the club's appeal among the glitterati. The sister of the former F1 driver Eddie Irvine, she worked as a physiotherapist for the Ferrari team before creating the Amber Lounge eight years ago to give drivers a chance to let off steam after a race.

"I am really looking forward to Abu Dhabi, because I love the view out to sea and the people are so friendly and positive," she said. "We are hoping to set the place on fire."


I have an old-fashioned Samsung phone; no iPhones for me. I don't do modern gadgets and am not very technical but the phone is my black book. It has everyone's numbers in it. I bought it four years ago and it is completely battered.

I have had the same Quo Vadis black diary since I moved to Monaco. I shove everything into it - photos of Megan and Katie, airline tickets, postcards, bank statements - everything is stuck into the relevant page. Every year I go out and buy exactly the same diary from a little stationery shop in Monaco. I am a creature of habit.

I use a keepsake chest to store everything to do with the girls - their first plane tickets, Katie's hospital band from when she was born, her first pair of shoes, tickets from a Cirque du Soleil show I went to see with Megan. I hoard all the things that are important as they grow up. When they are older, they will each have their own chest.

I never had to wear glasses and had fantastic eyesight until three years ago when I found I could not read my text messages. I am now blind as a bat; it is all down to old age. I cannot wear glasses as I lose everything, so I stick to monthly disposable contact lenses. I could not function without them.

I have the smallest purse in the world but fits in so many things - my credit cards, mine and Megan's cards for the bowling alley, lots of receipts, cash and a little good luck heart charm given to me by one of the girls in the office. It was Megan's purse and cost about $4 but I confiscated it as I am lazy and don't like shopping.

I have four pairs of Maharishi embroidered combat trousers, three in white and one in grey. I can wear them with my Ed Hardy shoes for a smart look or play with the children while wearing them as they are very functional.



MY CAREER HIGHLIGHT...Establishing Amber Lounge as a worldwide brand respected by the F1 fraternity, VIPs and celebrities. IN MY SPARE TIME...I love doing things with the kids, from adventure parks, swimming and ice skating to going out on friends' boats. The smile on their faces gives me joy.

MY MUST-DO'S...I always find time to train for an hour each day, have a massage once a week and catch up with friends one night a week.

MY WORK ETHOS...To be professional, fair, loyal, pay people promptly and create a happy, fun environment with people I trust.

MY INSPIRATIONS... The F1 fraternity; we are like a big family. That relationship takes time and respect and they have high standards - everything has to be done yesterday. It is stressful but very fulfilling.

MY ROLE MODEL...My brother Eddie, who turns negative situations into positive ones. I also respect my mum and dad immensely.