It’s been a long time…

So please excuse my rusty writing style, poor grammar and lack of content. You know what they say, use it or lose it – well I’ve lost it, the ability to string a decent sentence together that is.

I do, however, feel the need to share the gem that is Herve Guyer; the pieces are cheap yet have a designer flair and benefit from being slightly different whilst still being band on-trend but, most importantly of all, everyone won’t be sporting them when you venture out in yours – enjoy!

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New Year

So the New Year has begun along with all kinds of unrealistic and irrelevant resolutions. But, as I see it, it is important one looks one’s best by the 21st December, so despite feeling lethargic and miserable the diet has commenced. I put such emphasis on this year’s tenacity to slim as it is likely to be the last year of resolutions and so one should really stick to them. It is particularly important as there are bound to be some extraordinarily extravagant end of the world celebrations for which I want to be skeletal, bronzed and groomed to within an inch of my life. What will make my newly formed image even more magical is that many (well, I’m hoping anyway) will react to the news we are all to perish in some horrible global catastrophe later this year with my initial optimism and ensure they enjoy their final 11 and a bit months fully; by my reasoning this should leave me looking wonderful in a room full of over-indulged, gluttonous fatties and when the party ends and we celebrate the continuation of the human race I will be over-whelmed with utter joy that I did not use the potential end of the world as an excuse to do nothing but gorge.

With the end of the festive season the regular repetitive routines recommence, no more long luxurious lie-ins followed by champagne and chocolate breakfasts then full-day shopping excursions or duvet days; no more parties simply for the sake partying; no more fun and frolics with family and friends. It’s no wonder January is the most depressing month of the year. I, however, am feeling strangely sanguine, sensible, sagacious, serene, sane and superb; shocking, I know, especially given my up-coming yearly tantrum. For the last 6-years this has involved standing teary-eyed gazing in the mirror trying to convince myself I still look 18 despite the early onset of crows-feet, the deep-set smile lines, sagging blackened bags consuming my under eyes and the greying completion that was once glowing and youthful.  BFF2 has just had her 29th and, to quote, “it was the nicest birthday ever” which made me hopeful that this round of growing-old (or birthdays as most people call them) would go swimmingly for all of us, however, once removing her rose-tinted spectacles and recovering from the sparkling rose she too had some reservations about ageing. I don’t think having a new year so close to your ageing day does you any favours at all, it’s like you lose 2 years of your life in one foul swoop and all those unfulfilled goals for the previous calendar year also become unfulfilled for your year of age too.

Yet I am still so bright, breezy, bubbly and buoyant, and all without any medication! I feel 2012 is going to be a good year.

Happy New Year all! x

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It’s nearly Christmas – AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

Winter is well and truly here. The German market has hit (few weeks late reporting this I know), it gets dark at 4pm, there’s frost on the car in the morning, I’m rapidly piling on the winter weight and the shops are full of tacky, tasteless Christmas crap.

In a vain attempt to keep warm and look remotely slender I have rummaged through all manner of ridiculous storage solutions for warm, flattering and large sized clothes. The selection process has left me wondering if I have ever actually purchased any nice winter clothes and why I let myself put on winter weight every year (it is, to be fair, keeping me warm so it seems like a sensible thing to do given the distinct lack of nice winter clothing available – business idea anyone?).

During my rummage I found some scrumptiously soft cream leather flat boots, once worn and then lost forever (or at least until now) in the abyss that is my third wardrobe; these beauts have been reinstated into my wearable wardrobe and will be perfect for manoeuvring my way through the mass of idiot Christmas shoppers that appear to be taking over Birmingham, although one wear has left them scuffed and stained – cream is not a good look when you have a three-year-old.

My endeavours to bring back other items was, unfortunately, less successful. Upon a recent visit to my son’s favourite indoor soft play centre (Imagination Street – in case you’re looking for somewhere easy to take the kids) I tried to spruce up a recycled jumper by teaming it with high-waisted dark denim, sky-high rich purple suede ankle boots and a perfectly matching handbag, in both colour and texture. The lovely proprietor of Imagination Street said just how lovely I looked but then commented “well apart from that jumper; it’s a shame when we try to please granny by wearing her well intentioned but complete ludicrous presents, never quite works does it?” Bloody cheek!

Another nearly reinstated item didn’t even make it out the house after enduring an hour of torment from my lovely family about how I should only wear this once beautifully fitting dress after a couple of months at the gym and eating nothing but salad. Well if your family can’t be honest with you who can?

Other items that I would LOVE to prance around a winter wonderland in either simply don’t fit; have been eaten by moths; discoloured by being partially sunlit for the last year (one part is now considerably lighter than the rest of the garment); or distorted by a home wash from mother when the label quite clearly states ‘dry clean only’.

Well this has been an enjoyable rant, I leave you with a picture of my boots – the only successfully re-established item. Happy Christmas shopping! x

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So I am finally evaluating my suits!

After a long and tedious trip I finally found a suit that was corporate in colouring, remotely fashionable and yet still smart and comfortable.

My initial favourite was a hot-pink, tartan Vivienne Westwood number (naturally). Luckily I had a friend with me to remind me of the purpose of my trip – to find a suit that would actually be perceived as professional by the interviewing partners. My response went a little something like this: “So not bright pink Viv then? Do you think it’s a bit much? I really like it and it’s such a flattering cut. It’s all about me feeling comfortable and being myself; don’t you think? Not even with black accessories?” The answer was short and not so sweet.

We had already bought some black shoes (that looked very sensible) from Burberry. Unfortunately, after wearing for a total of 5 minutes I was leaving a trail of blood in my wake from my seriously injured ankles and now have even more scars on my poor feet (I had thought they were just a mass of scar tissue already but obviously they had some patches of fresh skin still). Yet pain is beauty and as the scar tissue seems so much thicker than my ‘bruises like a peach’ skin it does mean they can be worn again, eventually.

After, of course, reuniting my feet back with my old battered black stilettos that haven’t been worn since sixth form, we gallivant round more shops to find an ‘appropriate’ suit (code for boring).

The first with any potential is in Versace, in typical Versace style it is (according to friend) slightly too snazzy. After being compared to a robot (so many buttons), a Christmas tree (shiny bauble buttons), a pilot and Donatella herself (fake tan and wrinkles missing I hope) I decided to move on.

 I really don’t think the picture does this justice – it was much more ‘bling’ in the flesh!           


On to Diane Von Frustenberg; here we find a suitably boring, miserable-looking, imagine- your-old-widowed-accountant-wearing-it, plain black suit. I try it on to prove to my friend that I don’t look right in something so dull, she loves it – of course!

I throw a strop and on we go to Michael Kors (via D&G; Gucci; Matthew Williamson; Alexander McQueen; Fendi; Yves Saint Laurent; Temperley; Amada Wakeley (you get the idea) – none stock appropriate suits (or just don’t have suits at all)). So we had now been in Bicester for about 6 hours, thoroughly fed-up I reluctantly try on a trouser suit and, finally, friend agrees it is appropriate – I, or possibly she, had given up arguing. We finally buy; we high-five ecstatically, revelling in our in awe-inspiring accomplishment, achieving our nigh-on impossible goal. I was especially gleeful as is it was so cheap I could buy another pair of Burberry shoes (black pair in first image, nude pair in second image).

The moral of the story: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again! Everyone was a winner, we sped home happily, if a little exhausted and the interviews went swimmingly. Can I get a ye-ha and a whoop-whoop?! No? Just me then.

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Sending love to those who need it the most at the moment.

When life gives you lemons make lemonade – what a stupid saying; if only life was that easy. Only a truly devastating, shocking event can make you stop, think and appreciate how frail and fleeting life is.

For those who read my blog for a giggle I suggest you come back for the next post.

People who need to read this will know who they are. When life gives you really big bitter lemons – sit, hold hands, hug it out, drink yourself into a semi-conscious coma-like state and, finally, cry (yes men even you can use man-sized Kleenex to make yourself feel like a proper bloke). After this you can reflect on how cruel life can be, how the young and loved can be taken from us when the old, lonely or bitter seem to live forever. For people reading this who know why I am writing this I send you all my love.


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For such an enthusiastic shopper…

…I really struggle to shop for suits.

I am not sure if this is because of the monotonous pallet of black, grey and dark sick-coloured beige; the slightly altered yet always the same cut; the complete lack of ability to dress creatively or add any personality to a suited outfit; or simply because they never seem to fit quite right and always hang a little funny.

Don’t get me wrong, Viv (Vivienne Westwood) does a fantastic job of producing suits with personality, but they are typically just a little too much for a job interview, a client meeting or generally looking professional through the eyes of others. Personally, if my lawyer (yes I do have one) or accountant (not yet but maybe one day) showed-up to a meeting in a sensibly coloured but quirkily cut Viv suit I would stand, applaud, curtsy and shout ‘BRAVO you look a little different to everyone else in the office’. Unfortunately, my flair and passion for creative dressing and not looking like another office drone is not widely shared by potential employers. This means I have to spend good money on a hideous, unflattering, exactly-the-same-as-everyone-else, suit  that will most definitely go shiny and baggy at the knees and elbows; this displeases me.

As the owner of a lovely cream cashmere and wool summer-suit, having a box jacket with unusual mandarin collar and a high-waisted sculptured skirt, I am aware other designers also have the ability to make non-boring suits. However, feedback from a recruitment manager has made me wary of using this suit for interviews as I believe he actually commented that I should have worn a suit; clearly he is not one to follow his own advice of paying close attention to details and being observational of surroundings and situations.

So tomorrow I am hitting Bicester village to try and find an employer pleasing, suitably dull in colouring yet remotely attractive and mildly different suit – wish me luck!

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Job Applications

I am, unfortunately, reaching that stage of life where I have to join the working world. It appears that being a lady of leisure has been stretched to its maximum capacity, having been in continuous study mode for the past 22 years (if you include the hard graft of Nursery). I have been advised an LLM/MBA may well be pointless in achieving my dream job of professional housewife and yummy mummy (minus any cleaning or other un-fun stuff) and may be equally unhelpful for all back-up options.

I am now at a complete loss of how else to delay attempting to answer an endless list of questions. They encompass all manner of completely unrelated topics, need dissertation length answers and only offer a measly 100 words to explain why you are the best thing since sliced bread. Some of these questions are just mind-boggling. A hippopotamus wearing a tutu, balancing on a motorcycle, on a high wire, above a lake of crocodiles and piranhas trying to land on X with a 3mm diameter would appear more relevant and less ridiculous than some of these apparently appropriate questions.

Applications to all professional jobs of interest (back-ups) have commenced, thus the rant. Should I escape the first round of ludicrous questions, my skills will then be put on trial by a multitude of aptitude tests; some appear to check that I can spell my own name; others would only be expected if applying to NASA as chief-astronaut of all outer-space. These tests then increase in trickiness, covering all basic skills, including maths; spelling; case-study exercises; judgment appraisals; essay-writing techniques and research ability (god only knows what would come after the NASA-esque test, probably a basic verbal reasoning?)

If, due to some divine intervention, I make it through the minefield of online tests, these skills will be re-checked in person to make sure I am not a lying little cheat. Should I prove my weight in gold, and not be overcome by nerves, I may get an interview with the HR department (who have no clue about the job I have applied for, so will ask me similarly irrelevant questions to those tackled in the initial application). If I miraculously manage to wow the HR team with my charming wit and vast knowledge of all manner of topics, their one and only connection being how completely irrelevant they are to the job applied for, I may eventually be interviewed by someone who actually knows what I will be doing. At which point, I will be so filled with joyful elation at having got so far, I will act like a buffoon and so the process will inevitably start all over again.

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Sailing away into the sunset…

…was not how my weekend turned out. Our boat was definitely built for speed, not comfort.

My cabin would have made Thumbelina feel claustrophobic, add to this the joy of sharing said cabin and, as you can imagine, sleeping became difficult.  I now know how it feels to be buried alive, the sheer fear that you will run out of oxygen at any minute, or, in this case, be otherwise drowned whilst trying to escape from a tiny space. Our cabin was, naturally, equipped with top-end luxuries: a fire extinguisher; torch; first aid kit; and even a ‘bed’ (the cabin was more a cupboard with spot lights (you could not see anything) and a damp, uncomfortably firm surface, that took up the entire floor space save enough for one set of feet, dressed up as a mattress). The whole experience has made me have sympathy for all big boned people; never in a million years would a chubster have got inside the cabin and even the most determined would have been leaving in an ambulance after being cut-out by the fire brigade.

I am not sure the photograph truly does justice to the complete lack of space (the gap between my face and the indented ceiling was roughly 20cm.

The actual sailing was fantastic fun. All the people were friendly, helpful and informative. The weather held out for the duration, with sunglasses being an essential piece of equipment, and the winds were, so our skipper told us, perfect. Unfortunately, despite all these marvellously wonderful factors, I was sick, repeatedly. I imagined the trip would be a couple of hours tops, given the boats were built for speed, so once I got through the first hour happy, contented and learning to sail like a demon I was like “oh yes, I’m half way there and doing fine; I rock.” Unfortunately, this was when I started feeling queasy; this was shortly followed by continued throwing-up for the duration of the trip, which was actually another four hours. I was thoroughly disappointed in myself wondering why I was suddenly one of those annoying people who suffer from sea-sickness. Fortunately I am still thoroughly ill, so I am not set to be forever parted from sailing trips, ferries, barges and pedalos (although I am not really feeling very blessed or fortunate now, it is clearly a case of short-term loss but long-term gain).

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On this, the very day that I will be boarding a boat equipped with sleeping bag, waterproofs and thermal long-johns, I am struggling and longing for heat, sun and all things beautiful about summer. If I am not to be blessed with glorious sunshine and sweltering heat (which looks highly unlikely), I just want to stay in bed and have a duvet day. This, alas, will not happen. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, the Boston Legal box set and my duvet will have to lay in wait for another miserable Friday and the, soon to be purchased, sleeping bag will have to take their place.

When talking with my little sister to ask if she owns a sleeping bag, (the sheer terror that entered her eyes upon hearing the question made me realise that none of the sisters in the Fashion Foreplay house are particularly outdoorsy and I am likely to die attempting to sleep al fresco all weekend), the inevitable question (after the rabbit in headlights look) was: “why on earth do you need one?” I explained I was off sailing and needed a sleeping bag; the response has left me wondering if I will ever return back to solid ground.

She said. “This weekend? Don’t you think you should have started collecting sponsor money sooner; you could have made loads if people knew you were doing this earlier. What charity is it for? NSPCC?”

Good god, what have I signed myself up for. I am still completely unequipped, although I have found some warm clothes and white-ish soled wellingtons, I am entirely at a loss for boat shoes (and I am not happy about not being nautically themed when on a boat).

Anyway, this fear led me to flick through old pictures to refresh my memory of my life, so that if my whole life flashes before my eyes in this life-threatening experience I will be able to remember all of it (my memory is not the best when in a contented state, I should imagine a near death experience will have me completely flummoxed and preparation is the key to nearly dying successful).

I thought I would share some pictures from a lovely summery vintage shoot to warm the cockles on this cold, drizzly morning.

Photographer: David Swailes; MUA: Sukhi Panesar; Stylist: Pam Cheema at Frock on Vintage.
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Grease is the word

Images from a self-styled Grease-themed shoot.

Right – the outfit.

Left – the image.

Talking about Grease makes me reminisce for by-gone days of girlie sleepovers. Clad in brightly coloured fluffy pyjamas; adorning a gooey green facemask of porridge consistency; scoffing chocolate; slurping wine; and gossiping about all manner of mind numbing, usually factually incorrect, recent incidents.

Lucky for me, BFF 1 and 2 still enjoy acting like teenagers as much as I do ( We obviously need more advanced planning to partake in our sleepovers now, which makes it much less spontaneous but still highly enjoyable, well apart from the now necessary military preparation. Not only do I need to pack all the vital girly essentials (nail polish, face masks, fatty treats, magazines, films, pjs and the obvious: outfit, underwear, toothbrush etc.) I also have to be fully equipped with teddy; cars; postman pat moving night-light; little pjs; 3 little clean outfits; wellies; slippers; sleep socks; activity bumper pack; wii (with remotes and games) and children’s DVDs.

The girls also have new found responsibilities. They have to check with respective partners; get a dog sitter; ensure they’ve cancelled yoga, or whichever other activity should have taken place that evening, in time not to be charged as a non-show; ensure the house is tidy enough to have guests, so they always plan for the night after the cleaner has been (although we never care what the other’s house is like we still all ensure it is spick and span upon arrival – the morning after the night before is a whole other kettle of fish).

Today, I am adamant that I will be able to arrange a date where both BFFs can come to a sleep-over, preferably during half-term or on a weekend so we don’t have to wake by 6.30, although with Christmas and New Year coming and both BFFs birthdays in-between we may be scheduling for February!

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