Here’s How You Too Can Wear Yellow (yes really!)

If the mere utterance of the word yellow strikes fear into your heart then rest assured you are not alone. Yellow comes in many guises but it is undoubtedly a fair weather colour, one to approach with caution and preferably a bit of a tan. You are absolutely entitled to your fear.

Viola Davis resplendent in yellow at the Golden Globes

As a pasty skinned blonde myself I have mostly pretended that yellow doesn’t exist – there is nothing yellow can do for me personally I have reasoned, and so it is best avoided. There was a moment when I briefly considered whether my small child might benefit from a bit of yellow but the likelihood I decided was no he wouldn’t, it just wasn’t worth the effort of making it work and after all there is always something better isn’t there? I didn’t even go for yellow ‘to be on the safe side’ before I knew he would be a boy; white seemed to the genuinely sensible option, or blue, blue is good across the board, right?

Kate Moss in vintage yellow in 2003

That is until La La Land came along. Just as a sun kissed Kate Moss sparked a renewed interest in yellow when she stepped out in the palest of ice-creamy coloured dresses in 2003, now Emma Stone has brought it all up again for summer 2017 by not only appearing on the red carpet in yellow repeatedly but also by dancing her way to an oscar in it.

Both ladies looked gorgeous in their frocks providing the best P.R. for yellow since cupcakes and tulips, but these two also know what looks best on them – with their skinny silhouettes and access to anything and everything the sartorial world has to offer, they don’t really have an excuse to get it wrong.

Top £19.99 by New Look

Don’t worry though because if you do feel the urge to give this shade a go then it can be done, you really can avoid looking like a lollipop lady or teletubby and here is how:

  1. The ideal way to find out which is the most flattering shade of yellow for you is to have your colours done. This will enable you to pinpoint exactly what to go for and more importantly what to steer clear of. For example a fair skinned blonde (what we call a ‘summer’, Reece Witherspoon for example) is best in the palest yellow. A warm skinned dark eyed ‘autumn’ such as actress Jessica Alba however, will be able to pull off a much richer version, even a mustard.
  2. If you’re considering blond highlights for the summer months then the same rule applies. Choose carefully; if you have a cool skin tone then an ash blonde will work (see Reece again), if you are more bronzed or olive skinned then you should opt for honey tones which will be much more flattering on your face.
  3. Don’t believe everything you read (except this obviously). Grazia recently claimed that ‘mustard suits everybody’. Cobblers! It absolutely doesn’t and is possibly one of the hardest colours to pull off. Always get the colour right first and then pick a style. In the right tone (either warm or cool depending on your skin), your face will look brighter and you will appear more youthful – people will think you’ve had work done. It’s easy when you know how.

    Coat by Zara

  4. If in doubt, dip your toe in with accessories. A bright handbag or colour popping shoes look fabulous with a more muted outfit, it’s also a more cost effective way of buying into a trend which will surely have sunk without trace by next summer. We can but hope.

Seriously though, find the perfect sunshine hue for you and you may be converted. I have a fifties style dress in an icy pale yellow and I do actually feel good in it, have had it for years in fact. I won’t be investing in any of the eggy colours out there currently but I simply don’t have the colouring for it. If you do though, that’s excellent news, it’s a cheerful kind of colour (Mr. Happy is bright yellow after all) and so much more interesting than Breton stripes and baby pink this season.

Stay safe everyone.

You see I can’t wear tulip yellow but my muted buttermilk kitchen cabinets work a treat

See details of colour analysis on my new website:

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Five Easy Pieces for Spring Style

When I started to write this post I was sitting at my desk wrapped in a scarf to keep out the chill. But two days later and it’s definitely spring! It’s March so frankly it should be spring and we should be casting off the tights and hats but retailers have panicked and decided it’s time for their mid season sales.  Admittedly, I momentarily panicked too and rushed to look at what they were offering in these sales and – panic over – the stock is left over from late summer last year or the really boring basics that came out to fill in the gaps after Christmas. Ignore it – unless ‘really boring stuff’ is actually on your shopping list – and take a closer look at what’s coming out now because it’s far more exciting.

If you’ve been watching the four main fashion weeks play out over the last month (live streaming of catwalk shows straight to your sofa and instant availability of those collections is possibly the most worrying thing to happen to your bank balance since the internet was invented) then you’ll be chomping at the bit to get out there and shop. But wait, because if you’re very clever you can get the most fabulous of the designer looks at a fraction of the price on the high street. Not only that but now we’ve seen at fashion week what’s in store for our wardrobes next winter too, you can invest in those looks which will still be relevant come late October or whenever the hell autumn is supposed to arrive these days.

New York has suddenly been revisited by snow in the last week so don’t quote me on this, but I really think you need to start cracking open the spring wardrobe now while the sun is in evidence. Don’t tell my mum but I’ve come out without a vest on today… I know! I like to live on the edge. Life is too short not to embrace warmer weather, although I draw the line at full beachwear until May. The answer is to add a hint of spring to your look with one piece which will single-handedly breathe new life into an otherwise tired look. Here’s what to look out for on your next shopping trip:

Lace – nothing new but that’s why you can afford to have more than one piece. This season make it cream or ivory which looks delicious with faded denim on the weekend. The H&M version seen above is a brilliant rip-off of the sold out Self Portrait design.

Florals – this print is everywhere and on everything at the moment, it doesn’t have to be a dress necessarily. Buy in a darker hue (see Warehouse) and it will work with boots and knits just as well as with strappy sandals and a bit of bronzer.

Chunky Shoes – Whether it’s a mule or a trainer, a loafer or a platform, your feet will look instantly Spring 2017 if they’re encased in something chunky. It’s a great way to add edge to florals, lace or frills and by now you’ve got loads of those – right?

Asymmetric hems – A far more user friendly take on this trend which will keep reappearing. These wonky hemlines actually look really soft and feminine, take full advantage and use the extra fabric to cover any bits you want to hide, it can be remarkably flattering.

Yellow – Nobody is more terrified of yellow than me but yellow comes in a multitude of shades and if like me you’re pasty then the likelihood is you’ll require the palest of yellows. You may just be surprised and find you like it. Objecting to yellow this season, after that yellow dress in La La Land, will get you the same reaction as saying you thought the film was “OK”. This I know.

Have a lovely spring and thanks for following – please share!

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And the Winner Is… Or Is It?

It was always going to be a night to remember. After Donald Trump blasted Meryl Streep ‘overrated’ following her Golden Globes speech last month, who knew what would go down at the biggest ceremony of them all. Some of the attendees had vowed ahead of Sunday night to use the platform (should they be so lucky to get up on it) to speak out, while others admitted they found such protestations by Hollywood A-listers inappropriate. Meanwhile the President of the United States himself had announced (in case anybody cared) that he would not be watching the 89th Academy Awards. Clearly he has more pressing plans, perhaps Sunday night is when he stays in to wash his hair and flick through his interior decoration magazines.

The Colour

Either way, there was going to be some reporting to do. At midnight UK time, I was situated on my sofa, awaiting the dresses and hoping my latest lodger – a mouse who seems to be living under said sofa – would also boycott the event. Would we see the flowers and flounce that dominated the Golden Globes? Or would it be a safer more muted crowd, as tends to be the case on this the biggest and best of award season? I felt sure there would be colour, lots of it, La La Land style, in keeping with the upbeat mood in fashion currently. What I hoped for was excitement – something to talk about this morning – and boy did we get that.

The Champagne Shade

For me, the stand out winner of the night, in more ways than one, was Viola Davis who was stunning in red Armani Prive. This look – both the right red for her colouring and the flattering cut of her gown – will go down in my little book of how to get it right. Ruth Negga pulled the red off just as beautifully. Her high neckline wouldn’t work on everybody but it was perfect for her petite frame and the long sleeves were an addition which proved popular for the first time in a while. Meryl Streep’s gown/ jumpsuit hybrid was a good choice for her but sadly the very rich teal colour drained her, she would have been better in something softer.

The Fairytales

The theme of the night colour-wise though (thank goodness, not white this year) was what was quickly tagged on Twitter rather appropriately, as ‘champagne’. The three pale skinned lovelies who chose it wore it well, I just wish Dakota Johnson’s dress hadn’t had that toilet seat shaped apron feature hanging from her waist. I thought the vintage style was pretty, it was simply too heavy on the detail for me. Emma Stone (a perennial winner in the style stakes) and Nicole Kidman (who thank the lord left her Golden Globe parrots at home) were immaculate. There were many others who opted for even less colour than the champagne. I thought Felicity Jones’ delicate and girly Dior gown, unusual in its length, was lovely while Priyanka Chopra’s angular strapless column dress by Zuhair Murad was another of my favourites of the night.

The Oscar Statues

However the drama, I think, is more often than not caused by the more surprising sartorial choices, or put more bluntly, those who get it wrong. This is up for debate of course but given that on this particular evening, nobody got it more wrong than Warren Beatty, I might as well go for it. There are always a handful of ladies who are inevitably compared to the Oscar statue himself and this year Jessica Biel was a yes from me but Charlize Theron’s strangely unflattering Dior was a no.

The Not Quite Right

I know this might be an unpopular opinion but I was underwhelmed by Naomie Harris’ Calvin Klein frock, which despite the train (a little too reminiscent of a toilet roll unravelling for my liking) failed to do it for me because of the length. I’m old fashioned in that respect; it really has to be long for the Oscars. However it was head and shoulders above the voluminous  gowns worn by Scarlet Johansson and Janelle Monae which were unflattering, ageing and over fussy, not my cup of tea at all.

The Show Stoppers

But who doesn’t love a showstopper? Those worn by Taraji P. Henson, Cynthia Erivo and Brie Larson made me catch my breath thanks to their amazing fit, accentuated waists and sumptuous fabrics. Ladies, this is how you do it.

But who could possibly have imagined that the ultimate show stopper would be right at the end of the ceremony itself when the much feted favourite to win La La Land was announced as the winner of best film only for someone to realise there had been a mistake and the winner was in fact Moonlight. Oh my! Not even Donald Trump could make it up.


My book SHOPPED is on sale now here!




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When Did You Last See Red?

Shoes £70 at Aldo

Shoes £70 at Aldo

It was the unlikely event of a random Next Directory being left on my mum’s doorstep which started all this. She and I were having cheese on toast at the kitchen table, wondering when the weather would lift and pondering ways to wear our summer dresses prematurely without looking utterly ridiculous (I’m always up for looking ridiculous in the name of fashion while my mum thinks wearing skirts in winter is “draughty”) when the Next Directory caught my eye. A casual flick through the hundreds of pages – it’s now bigger than an encyclopedia – revealed something so unexpectedly fabulous, I nearly choked on my crusts. Red boots. Not dark red or cherry red but unashamedly all over tomato primary coloured red boots. They were ankle boots, chunky heeled and suede-ish and there wasn’t a hint of hooker about them.

You don’t believe me do you? I can see you wincing and backing away from the screen. Or are you just scrolling down to see if there’s a picture of them?

Bag by

Bag by

Well, they really weren’t hookerish at all and styled with the worn in denim and bed head hair of the model, they looked as fresh as a daisy. I knew I had to have them but I didn’t get them there and then (it’s my mum’s fault, she offered me pudding) despite the very reasonable £68 price tag. It was a huge mistake. I spent a weekend in Rome dragging my boyfriend in and out of shoe shops in search of red boots and berated myself as I saw image after image posted on Instagram showcasing similar boots doing their thing with a matching slick of scarlet lipstick or an oversized mannish overcoat. There was no doubt about it, the red ankle boot was where it was at and when finally another fashion blogger posted a picture of herself in the very Next boots I’d spotted all those weeks ago, I went into a blind panic. While my boyfriend was in the shower, I went onto the Next website. Now I’ve been to Rome several times but that doesn’t justify shopping online from the hotel room – nobody in the history of shopping goes onto the Next website when in Rome. “You’re very quiet… are you doing your social media-ing?” called out the boyfriend. Naturally I called back that I was texting my sister.

The Next boots were sold out in every size but 8.

Boots £75 at Top Shop

Boots £75 at Top Shop

I think a red boot in a size 8 might be a bit too much red boot but I’m sure those remaining pairs will find happy homes in the end. As for me, afore-mentioned blogger tipped me off that Top Shop did a very similar boot and so having learned my lesson the hard way, I immediately purchased myself a pair and later on informed my son he had kindly bought me my birthday present while he was at school that day. He wasn’t very pleased – “Mummy, do you know what the hottest colour of the season is?” he demanded. “It’s pink.” Turns out the clever clogs had looked at more than just the article I wrote for S magazine a couple of weeks ago.

Knotted belt £29 at Cos

Knotted belt £29 at Cos

So anyway, the boots are on their way and I am contemplating dusting off my Ruby Woo by Mac lipstick because bright red suddenly seems very modern and it’s a simple way to update exactly what you are wearing now until it’s warm enough to go full throttle on the spring garb.

Shoes £108 at

Shoes £108 at

And yes, pink may very well be hot right now but if the pink doesn’t feel quite right with your vitamin D starved skin in the doom and gloom of late February, then please give red a go because a little splash of it goes a long way, it doesn’t have to be top to toe and it doesn’t have to be next to your face if that feels too scary. There is a red for everyone and I won’t hear otherwise, but that said, if you get the wrong red for your skin tone, it can be very wrong.

That’s why accessories are the answer to this trend. There are lots of gorgeous red dresses and tops out there if you have the nerve but if you don’t then go for the pop. It really works as an instant brightener – a bit like Clarins Beauty Flash Balm – just look how lovely this page looks with the odd bit of red here and there. Personally I’m hoping, with eye-catching bright red feet, people will be far less likely to notice my split ends and the irritated skin on my face.

Top £19.99 at Zara

Top £19.99 at Zara



My book SHOPPED is available to buy here:

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The All New Stars and Stripes

I think it’s fairly safe to say that the familiar image of the American flag is enough to strike fear into even the most brave of hearts currently. That the prints to emerge as the favourites of all the many patterns on offer (overshadowing the perma-present animal prints and classic polka dots) are the components of the star spangled banner, is nothing short of ironic. After all, the spring 2017 collections were designed way before the eyes of the world turned to Washington D.C. last November.

Near where I live there is a boutique, Katie & Jo, whose eye-catching window is currently resplendent with midi dresses by new design team Rixo. The display is so unselfconsciously upbeat that every time I walk past to buy a pint of milk or a coffee, I find myself slowing down and just staring, wondering which of the three I would have if I was made to choose. I stop short of pressing my nose up against the window but that’s only because of my age, otherwise I would. Similar images catch my eye on Instagram (most recently pieces from label A Postcard from Brighton at boutique Lolly and Mitch) and it is those which slow down my scrolling action to press ♥. Suddenly hard lines and monochrome don’t feel right, they’re just not as fun or as easy on the eye.

As discussed last week with all the frothy evening gowns in Hollywood, we need distraction and colour right now and stars and stripes can’t help but raise a smile. Think of a stripey, starry thing – candy canes, deckchairs, a clear night sky, pyjamas, disco balls, a well done star sticker under your homework and breathe – you can tell I’ve started going to yoga. Not thinking about Donald Trump now though are you?

This is quite a bold statement to make and many of the colours are bright so if stepping out in a print is departure enough, then wear the statement in your accessories. There are lots of starry scarves to choose from on the high street but this one from Mango features softer more spring like colours – just in case winter lets up… you never know.

Finally, a word of warning, these stripes aren’t your everyday Breton variety so look before you leap! Avoid looking like a clown by keeping your outfit close fitting rather than voluminous – voluminous is fine for floaty dreamy stars but a flyaway vertical stripe could stray into escaped convict territory so think neat. The only other suggestion I would make is perhaps don’t wear your stars and stripes at the same time. Personally, I’m going for the stars this season because as I said to my six year old son when he pointed at the lines on my forehead and asked how he could get some ‘stripes’ too; you have to earn those. Now I wonder if I can get Botox with a Groupon voucher?

Marc Jacobs earrings £55 at

Marc Jacobs earrings £55 at

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Don’t Mess With My Frou-Frou

A few weeks ago I awoke to several messages from my friend Sarah From The Pub* offering her thoughts on the procession of evening frocks unveiled overnight at the Golden Globes. Admittedly this was the start of awards’ season but since she doesn’t do this usually and I was stuck at home unexpectedly with an ill child, I was thrilled. I settled myself down with a cup of tea and had a scroll through the globe gallery of gorgeousness. I could immediately see why this year’s red carpet had provoked a reaction – instead of neat columns of black and nude, there was flounce after flounce of floral frill.

For years now at these occasions we’ve seen beautiful but yawnsomely safe designs which refused to break the mould or put it out there. I’ve pounced on the occasional jumpsuit or cape attachment worn by an Emma Watson or a Gwyneth Paltrow so exciting did it appear in the crowds of plunging necklines and spangled see-through mesh. But then eventually even those became ‘done’ and the red carpet readiness was suddenly so dull I longed for someone to get out of their limo clearly not ready at all, or wearing something they had to borrow at the last minute from their mum.

Well this year, it has all changed – the gowns we are now seeing on the most camera friendly of the species are girly, fussy and frankly completely over the top – I love it! And it’s fascinating because as we know, fashions are a reflection of our time; the designers’ reactions to what is going on around us. Whatever your political inclinations or thoughts about the loss of the most feted male pop stars of the seventies, eighties and nineties, we can agree there has been some seriously hefty stuff going down in the world. It’s a fact that hemlines lower in times of economic hardship yes, but this has gone several stages further; it’s as if the Hollywood memo to award nominees said ‘Dresscode: Upbeat and Colourful. #DisneyPrincess #windowboxes #Quality Street’.

There is so much going on (what we might at any other time, refer to as ‘too much going on’) this season that we’re too distracted to even notice the cut or shape of the gowns. The trend is think of embellishment, any embellishment… and wear it… preferably lots of embellishments all at the same time. So, ruffles, corsages, sparkles, stripes, bows, lace trims, even pretend trims at Gucci (as seen on Clare Foy), are all on the menu. Try looking at this page with your eyes half shut and it looks more like a line up for Strictly Come Dancing doesn’t it? I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, as you know I love the Strictly exuberance, but what can it all mean? We are living in worrying times for sure but there is probably worse to come and what then for our wardrobes? I can’t help thinking if the red carpet displays any more colour and froth, the bottom is going to fall out of the accessories industry. This look may be full blown frou-frou but no stylist worth their Choos is going to advise further adornment – you can have a clutch bag for your lippie and that’s your lot.

This girlyness, this soft sugary dressing is refreshing in its unexpectedness. It’s in keeping with La La Land and raindrops on roses and Beyonce being pregnant with twins – it may not be your thing, you may not give two hoots, but it’s something positive, a bit of frivolity with your breakfast. It’s women in their forties dressing like 6 year olds and breaking all those stupid rules. Now that’s progress…

*In fact I met Sarah in the building we both lived in… which wasn’t a pub.

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The New Year Statement

Usually in January one’s mind is preoccupied with how best to get shot of the Christmas tree without major damage to the paintwork or histrionics from the small people who quite rightly think a world without twinkling lights and garish baubles is a more boring place. January is always a more boring place thanks to the return to work and the now almost obligatory ‘dry’ that gets stuck in front of it. The one upside of this is that where February was once just about admitting the gym membership you bought in January was a waste of money, it now feels like the end of the rainbow, rather like a fortnight away in August or free parking just off Oxford Street.


Not to be applied liberally but if positioned carefully, a ruffle can work wonders. They’ve become pretty much de rigeur at this point so you’re really going to have to embrace them you know.

January is also a good time to have a clear out (reportedly the most popular time to ask for a divorce – if you didn’t get it for Christmas that is) but if you’re not planning to dispose of your spouse this year then why not instead focus on the tangled web you’ve weaved in your wardrobe? Don’t feel bad, those clothes with which you have fallen out of love or which no longer look good on you could make a fresh start elsewhere and then everyone is happy – making space in your cupboards feels good I promise. Plus, there are sales out there and if we don’t clear the rails soon the left over stuff will only appear on flash sales sites and then at TK Maxx (haven’t you read my book yet?*) so let’s get the best stuff while it’s still stylish.


It doesn’t have to be vertiginous but this season footwear does have to be show-stoppery because if you’re going to put your best foot forward it might as well be in the best possible shoe.

We all know by now not to go mad in the January sales, to buy sensible classic pieces which will last rather than fester and curdle unworn in the darkest recess of your wardrobe. That’s all very well but it’s not much fun and dressing should be fun – in 2017 we’re going to need some fun. Along with a positive mental attitude and an unwavering belief that this is going to be your year, if you haven’t done so already then buy into some of the fashionable statement detailing which appeared last year and is set to continue well into Spring. There are plenty of them and they are now reduced (everything here is at least 50% off) so what are you waiting for?

♥ PINK ♥

There’s going to be a lot of colour injected into next season but pink is a pretty place to start. Besides, very few of us have the pallor at this time of year to head straight for acid yellow.

It’s going to be cold and wintery for at least another six weeks so it’ll be worth another look around the sales. Those trends that didn’t make the cut for 2017 are the ones you can kick to the kerb (although off the shoulder still works, cold shoulder cut-outs are starting to look a bit tired), or take to the recycling. I’ve picked out a few gems here but be quick, I’ve replaced drinking alcohol this month with eating (more) cake and (even more) shopping online so these pieces won’t last long!


In a few months these gorgeous jumpers will look tame as deconstructed tops find their way from the ‘street style’ fashionistas onto our high street. Wring the last bit of CPW (Cost Per Wear) out of your sequin dress or skirt by wearing a big cosy knit over the top.


If there’s one thing you invest in this year, then make it a big ol’ fancy sleeve. Banish all thoughts of the inherent impracticalities because by the summer we will all be wearing our lunch on our sleeves. Start eating dry food only and you should be OK.

And in case you have any partying left to do this winter, or if like me you simply cannot resist something which looks as though it shimmied straight out of Carrie Bradshaw’s closet, then this… this is just too good to leave to the teenagers at Top Shop. Happy New Year lovely readers!

Dress down to £20 at Top Shop

Dress down to £20 at Top Shop


* My book SHOPPED is available in all good bookshops and on Amazon here:


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What We Really Want For Christmas

Every year on Christmas Eve my darling brother takes himself off to Westfield in Shepherds Bush to do his Christmas shopping. Now to any sane and breathing human being, this sounds like the worst idea since those heat reactive t-shirts which changed colour under the armpits when you got hot. But before you start thinking he is some crazy fool who must want very badly to be out of his own house on the 24th December, you should actually feel sorry for him because my brother’s birthday is on Christmas Day. He isn’t a lunatic and as far as I know he doesn’t pay someone to drive him around Westfield in one of those electric car things which my friend Kerry once insisted we took my son in (we went about 10 metres from Next to WH Smith and it was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life).

I know there are women who don’t enjoy shopping, but it’s a safer generalisation that men hate Christmas shopping more. My dad loved it but then he did all his in Sock Shop and Knickerbox in half an hour at Waterloo station. We were well off for socks and pants in my family in the 1980s. I digress. Men find shopping for gifts a faff and when faced with a partner who appears to have everything, who wouldn’t put it off until the last minute hoping for divine inspiration or similar?

I love shopping and the challenge of buying presents and so I look forward to the telephone call from my brother asking for my thoughts on what he is buying his lovely and very fashionable wife. It is my sister-in-law after all who picks out my present – oh I know what side the family bread is buttered.

If you think your other half has yet to drag him/herself out to the shops, leave this blog open on the breakfast table this weekend. The helpful tips start here – you’re welcome.

Once we pass the age of thirty and set about making the most of and then fine tuning what we have at our disposal (both cerebral and physical), it becomes more and more important to surround yourself with beautiful things and things you love (both animate and inanimate) so over the years the slightly crappy furniture, shoes and face creams are binned for something a little more classy. It may just be swapping Rimmel for Mac or Argos for M&S but it’s progress – you may not actually feel all that grown up in your head but society kind of expects you to behave as if you are and taking your consumerism up a notch helps with that. These days however, everyone from Asda to Zara are doing premium ranges providing even the most skinflintish of us with an opportunity to invest in luxury. I know I’ve gone on about the wonderful textures available on the high street this season, but the festive party season is suddenly upon us and now is the time to snap up the good stuff. Better still, hint to your loved ones to snap it up for you. These are my picks of the touchy feely stuff currently on our high street, all guaranteed to have you looking a cut above the rest on Christmas Day.

Final word on the subject: most of us ladies are quite happy with sparkly stuff – it is Christmas after all – it doesn’t have to cost a fortune but if it adds a bit of twinkle to the end of the year, or even just the ear lobes, then I will be happy. I will also be pretty chuffed if you buy my book as a gift but I don’t want to ruin the moment… ahem… the link is below.

A very merry and lovely Christmas to all my loyal readers, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading as much as I’ve enjoyed researching and writing!

Buy SHOPPED here!





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A Winter’s Wail

Autumn looks so glamorous in the movies doesn’t it? Couples in cashmere beanies laughing with rosy cheeks as they joyfully kick at the leaves on the ground, mugs of steaming hot chocolate waiting for them at home. Then there’s winter – soft sparkly snow falling neatly on window ledges, children making 6ft tall snowmen with carrots as noses. Hmm… it doesn’t really happen like that does it, certainly not in London anyway. You are likely to end up with dog poo on your snazzy boots if you go frolicking through piles of leaves and snowmen simply don’t come in sizes bigger than 3ft and you have to be quick even to catch them at that size before they melt.

However I don’t mind the cold weather, hats are a great excuse to have crap hair and scarves and gloves can make an otherwise drab coat look really rather chic. My one gripe about all these extra clothes is the rate at which my six year old son gets through them. At his school somewhere there must be an accessory mountain but despite the fact it must be made up of at least ten thousand small gloves, it is entirely naked to the human eye. I had initially thought that the £3.99 two pack of gloves at H&M were  a steal until I realised my son lost one glove every three days – not so frugal after all.

I have discovered it’s a losing battle. You wrap the little terrors up in all that cheap brightly coloured wool, they moan on the way to school that’s they’re still cold and then when you go to pick them up they come out in a t-shirt waving their coats around their heads gleefully explaining that they last saw their hat on the pirate ship or possibly in the computer room. Finally, at the end of the term the school newsletter solemnly announces that the five truckloads of lost childrenswear will be transported to Africa in the holidays. The children love the drama and outrage of this but not enough to set about rummaging through the lost property buckets to save their lost items. I wouldn’t get so hot under the collar about it only my otherwise small son has a huge head and it isn’t all that easy to find hats to fit it.

So anyway, the lost gloves made me cross until this week when our heating broke down forcing me into a reality check. I am now sitting here in several layers and a pair of Ugg boots I neither remembered nor cared to admit I owned. I can barely move for thick clothes. You don’t see Alexa Chung looking like a bag lady though do you, or Victoria Beckham, and yet they spend most of their time in New York where the winters are far more ferocious. If they can look fab in the freeze, then so can we.

Let’s embrace the opportunity to wrap up in faux fur and velvet, it’s far less hassle than fretting about toned arms and fake tan after all. Yes, there’s hat hair and the dilemma of how to wear a scarf without getting it stuck to your lip gloss, but personally I’d rather that than melting make-up and strap marks. Also, scarves, hats and gloves can be bought for a song so you can have a set for every day of the week. Oh and if you’re wondering, we have found the lost gloves – one was on the pirate ship and the other on the floor of a cloakroom about a mile away from my son’s classroom. I feel I’ve achieved a lot this week – or I will do once the heating is fixed. In the meantime I’m going accessory shopping. Have a great weekend!

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The Glittering Balls

My Strictly Come Dancing round-up is slightly later this year and for that I apologise. There are two reasons. Firstly, Terrible Tess hasn’t had such screamingly awful gowns so far this series and secondly, how do I put this… well, Ed Balls.

Ed and Katya perform their Charleston

Ed and Katya perform their Charleston

Yes we’ve had the comedy contestants before, the Anne Widdecombes and the John Seargants but they were bad and ridiculous and they stayed that way – great entertainment but hugely frustrating for the serious viewers (and judges) who objected on the basis that this is a dancing competition and should unfold as such. Well, this is 2016; the year that we shooed away Europe and ushered in Donald Trump, you think we’re going to get our leotards in a twist about a fake tanned, sequin clad Ed Balls?


Ed Balls and those white trousers

Not likely. You see Ed Balls has charmed us and not because of anything he’s said – he’s uttered a few political jibey type things to the judges – but because he has fully embraced the experience, wears the tight trousers with pride and has bloody well gone on and learned to dance! We’ve had Charleston Ed, Salsa Ed, and Jive Ed and despite some terrifying moments when it looked like he might drop partner Katya on her head or worse, split his trousers, thanks to some clever themed choreography Ed has performed with such enthusiasm, it is hard not to fall for him. His facial expressions are priceless, as are those of his wife Yvette Cooper sitting in the audience. Ed’s moments on the Strictly dance floor are hilarious, heart-stopping and frankly inspiring. Is there anyone out there not thinking he looks like their dad prancing about on the telly? Oh that my own dad were here to see this exhibitionism! A Labour man himself, he would have bust a gut watching this. Talking of which, it takes guts and a remarkably thick skin to be a politician these days, and if you’ve lost your seat and you’re still only 49, well why not do Strictly – what’s the worst that can happen?

But I’m supposed to be here to talk about the outfits… Is it me or do the dresses seem to be less showy this year? I’ve actually been imagining myself down the pub in one or two of them. Ore’s partner Joanne seems to be getting all the best frocks (there’s always one, last year it was Helen George) so she must be in with the seamstresses. Meanwhile, poor Louise Redknapp has been struggling weekly with a dry mouth, her big grins permanently getting stuck to her teeth whenever she does well.

Ore and Joanne - all the best gear

Ore and Joanne – all the best gear

They are all a more approachable bunch of ‘celebrities’ this season and their clothes are echoing that, there are many looks that will translate beautifully for Christmas and the high street has much to offer that wouldn’t look out of place on Strictly. I’ve picked out my favourites. The underwiring and sensible pants are up to you.

Ruffles, sheer panels, lace, off the shoulder, long skirts – all the trends are there, it’s almost as if festive dressing has come courtesy of the BBC this year. The way I see it, it is the perfect excuse to dress like the world is your dance floor.

I suspect, as I write this, that Ed may be coming up to his last week – those left in the competition are now very good indeed and scoring tens to his fours. However this is 2016, there are those who believe (my friend Rich mostly) that if Strictly is going to be won by an underdog, someone who was to many a joke even before the spray tan, then this is the year. I have to say I’m tempted to place a bet, there are far more deserving winners but the world is in need of a good laugh and Ed Balls has certainly provided that. Balls – never not funny.


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