Monday, 15 September 2014

Steal her style - Cat Deeley

I love it when I see celebs stepping out in stuff that us normal people can afford.  I say afford, that depends on your financial circumstances but anyway.  I just like that feeling that there are actually shoes, clothes and accessories out there that we can all afford.  Fashion in my book shouldn’t be about being elite and ‘better than anyone else’.  Of course celebs can afford to throw a few thousand pounds all over themselves in the name of fashion and either make a statement if that’s the mood they're in, or just look fabulous.  Style for me is about looking good in what you’re wearing.  I don’t think I could make it more simple and more obvious than that.  Why truss yourself up in all sorts of gear that make you feel and look a bit horrendous when you can just go for simplicity and look great, just the way you are.

Which is why I love, and have always loved these…

Converse All Star Low White Canvas, £44.99 – Office (shop around though as you can get them much cheaper!)

Cat looks gorgeous in them and she looks even more gorgeous because evidently, she’s found and married the right man.  The surprise couple if ever there was one but how much in love do they look?

Maybe it’s because they were always great friends. 

So, back to the shoes.  You can wear them with practically anything and they look chic. I bought my first ones about 15 years ago and I replace every few years with a new pair.  They’re affordable and always look cool.  So long as the weather stays this lovely sunny, hazy way!


Sunday, 14 September 2014

The last vote

"Give the vote to that man over there."

“Who, him?”

“Yes for goodness sake.  Just do it!”

“With all due respect First Minister, the gentleman is from outer space.”

“Well what the bloody hell is he doing here?”

“He says he loves Scotland.  His Grandmother is Scottish.”

“Give him the bloody pen then!”

“Sir, he has no poll card.  He is a Wookie.  Wait a minute, that girl over there Sir.  The one with the little dog.”

“Is it possible Chief Advisor for you to bring me someone who is not from outer space or the Wizard of Oz?”

“Wait…she looks ok, she’s turning around and walking towards us.”

“Great, at long bloody last... I don’t like all the red, white and blue stuff she has going on.  And she’s wearing a hoody.  Is there absolutely nobody else here!!??”

“First Minister.  We have an equal number of votes for ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.  4,285,322 people have voted.  We need one more vote to decide the outcome.  Just one person.  A human.  With a poll card in their name.”

“So she can’t give her card to Chewbacca? I prefer the look of him.  He looks more…well, Scottish. How can it be that this is all down to one person? Her?  The future of this country hangs in the balance and the only person who can swing it either way is that girl with the red, white and blue hoody and the Ewok dog that needs a bloody good cut.”

“Sir, because everyone who has a poll card has a vote and may I add, the result is not down to her, that girl with the hoody and the scraggly dog.  It was down to everyone.  They all had the last vote.  The cross in the box that would swing it either way.  They just didn’t all see it quite like that."

“And, no, she can’t give her poll card to Chewbacca.  And also Sir, she said she likes the dog just the way it is.  She also said thanks to the Yes campaign for pushing forward these hugely important issues that mean so much to us, to get to a point where Scotland will have more power than it ever did within the Union but she said she would never vote for something there was no way back from.”

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Girl crush

I’ve had a girl crush on Nicole Appleton for forever and I was sold right in to the All Saints attitude, swagger and her superwatt smile quicker than you can ‘Goodbye Liam Gallagher’ when they appeared on the scene all these years ago and made the Spice Girls look like they'd raided the dressing up box.  

I always thought she was far too good for Gallagher.  She’s class in a pair of trainers.  He is the pair of trainers…  I’m so glad she said ‘Never, ever’ to him.  Who would put up with that I ask?  

I heard All Saints playing a set on Chris Evans' show a few months ago and Paulo Nutini dropped in to do his unique brand of what I call ‘octogenarian reggae singer’ music.  I was hoping that Nicole and Paulo would emerge from BBC studios, arm in arm, skipping off into the superstar sunset but sadly, that match does not seem to have been made.  I think they’d be perfect.  If I fail as a PR and writer, I will most definitely be having a go at celebrity matchmaking.  Now there’s a programme ITV.

Anyway, I have always loved the All Saints style.  So much so that when I was carrying my growing bump around nearly 12 years ago (Oh my goodness am I that old? Is the bump that old?), I was doing so in a pair of trainers and Maharishi snopants with little vest.  

Hmm – I wonder where I got that look.  Yes – All Saints.  No ‘mummywear’ for me.  

No – I was rocking the All Saints look right up until day of hospital admission when I swapped my £300 Maharishis for a pair of men’s cargo pants from Gap, because that was the only pair of cargo pants that would fit.  I still laugh at the fact that I took a pair of size 10 jeans with me to wear the next day when I left hospital, with brand new baby and of course a pair of hair straighters so that I would leave hospital with baby looking fabulous.  As I stepped out of Queen Charlotte’s hospital in London, the story could not have been more different..!  Let’s just say the jeans remained in a bag for a few months and the hair straightners became the last thing on the planet I would even have time to look at!  

But anyway, back to my love of All Saints.  Not to be confused with the shop of course, although I do also love All Saints the shop, but also feel now and again when wearing a new purchase that I look a little more like someone from Star Wars than I might want to.

Anyway, really back to All Saints.  They just always look really cool, in great shape, with an understated look and a couple of statements going on but nothing too over the top. Usually on the trainer front. Quite often on the bling front.

Faultless really but if you’re over 30 (and certainly if you’re over 40 like these girls are), may I suggest that you make sure your hair is cut well, groomed, your make up is perfect, nails done and you’re looking good, otherwise in one of these outfits, you might like a crack whore.

For me, my ‘go to’ Nicole Appleton outfit is a pair of black skinnes, my black patent heels, a sheer black top I got in Top Shop 15 years ago (and it’s still my favourite), a black patent cuff bracelet which my beautiful friends Sally and Sharon gave me, little black patent clutch bag and a big, big smile!

Get your Nicole look here:

Zara Collarless Frock Coat - £79.99

LK Bennett Avona Clutch - £95

Tory Burch Skinny Leather Inlay Cuff - £112.15

Zara Varnish Effect Trousers - £35.99

Ladies Dark Side of the Moon T-shirt - £16.99, Sugarbullets.

And do you know what one of the best things about All Saints is?

They are proper women, being girls, without any hint of a duckface pout or poured into ridiculously revealing dress.

Girls in your 20s - take heed.  This is how it's done.  

We look good for us, not the men.


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Instant comfort...tick!

So I told you I would do it and I did it x 2.

I have my girls coming round Friday for bubbles and gossip and of course, five strong heads and shoulders.  That sounds like a weird game I play at my house.  It's not, but the world is a lighter place when you can laugh about it and share with your girlfriends.  Maybe the odd game of head and shoulders would be good.  Pretty much everything has gone down in this house, including 3am ballet. I was a spectator...

Nigella's Mughlai Chicken on the right, Good Food's Pea & New Potato Curry on the left.

Non-maverick cooking but I do have to say, veggie friend, hold on to your head...


Instant comfort

Some days we all just need a little bit of comfort and consolation for whatever reason - we know the life list.

Life is hard and we all bear a heavy load.  We just have different flavours of cargo.  The quietest people can often be the happiest and most content.  The loudest, funniest and smiliest folk can be the ones in the most pain.  We never really know what's happening in someone's world or head.

There are two things we can do.  Be good to as many people as we can, because really, we don't have a clue what's going on, and be good to ourselves.  We are rarely good to ourselves.  We don't have enough time, we feel guilty, we have too much going on and we end up just giving ourselves the scraps of everything.  No wonder we feel in total disrepair at times.

What use are we to our families, friends, employers and colleagues if we're feeling a bit broken. We all need time to mend and on a rainy day like this, with five headlines of awfulness, it seems like a good day to have a bit of patching ourselves back together time.

Cooking is my 'go to' activity for instant happytime.  Sometimes on a Saturday night I will shun social invitations (yes I will!) in favour of having some 'me' time in the kitchen because life is so busy and sometimes that's the only time I have in the whole week when I know I'm not working, doing school work (not my own obviously...I don't actually go to school although now and again I don't think it would be such a bad idea...), running my child around clubs, keeping up with friends, play dates, shopping blah blah blah.  It helps if what I cook is absolutely delicious but in a way it doesn't really matter as it's the whole pottering thing that ticks the box.

I'm sure there are many people who have eaten in my house and felt I may have been 'pottering' rather than actual 'cooking'.  A dish or two have fallen below my lofty standards due to 'pottering' (replace pottering with 'maverick cooking after a couple of glasses of red wine in the style of Keith Floyd'.

So tonight is definitely going to be a bit of a cosying in night, sticking some music on and pottering in the kitchen with some pots and wooden spoons.

My 'go to' pottering dish is curry because there are lots of stages to it and faffing around opportunities.

This is my favourite to cook.  It's Nigella's Mughlai Chicken.

It is also much, much better than my 'maverick' curries which are likely to blow your head off.


Monday, 11 August 2014


Like countless other people, I have tried the juicing diet and lost pounds and then started eating normally and it all just goes back on again.

I've probably approached juicing in the wrong way, using it as a weight loss tool rather than as part of an overall healthy eating lifestyle.  It really bores me when experts talk about not dieting and just embracing a healthy lifestyle instead, like it's so easy to say "Oh, no thank you to the slice of pizza and glass of Prosecco, I'm quite happy with my bowl of quinoa and green tea".  

It is not easy.  Or maybe it is if you have embraced a healthy eating lifestyle to the point where you would recoil at a big triangle of pizza coming towards you.  I don't think that will ever be me but hey ho.

I love food and I love really good food although I laughed recently at my brother's observation that if we ever go out and too many wines, we spend the next day with terminal hunger and eating processed food which is orange only ie Heinz Tomato soup, cheese toasties, Wotsits...  So - yes, there are times when not such 'good food' can be consumed but I haven't looked at a Wotsit since June.

I love the French lady diet of red wine, coffee, cigarettes, baguettes, butter, cheese, pate and seafood. The French Paradox they call it.  I guess French ladies keep themselves trim by eating only small portions of all of the above, at leisure whereas us Brits tend to scoff.

So anyway, I don't want to swap food for three juices a day for any period of time because I'd be MISERABLE!

But one a day will work for me as it gives me my five a day in a oner, a big energy boost and you do feel rather wholesome and virtuous when you juice.

If you don't know it already, Jason Vale is the God of juicing.  In fact, he has an empire built entirely on juice, with pineapple stilts.

I've done his three day detox, his 7lbs in 7 days and it's all great but I love food and I'm not giving it up so I'll use one of his recipes once a day and grab my bottle in the morning as I run out the door, chasing
the dog around the front garden, set off on the school run and my work commute.

My favourite is the Turbo Express Smoothie.  You can find out what your juice type is here.

And once you're all set with that, you'll probably feel totally guilt free when you enjoy the weekend naughties!

This is my absolute favourite pizza recipe.  I make this every time, it's always a winner, and it's not too unhealthy!

Life is too short not to enjoy small pleasures.

And the Song of the Day is 'Automatic' by the Pointer Sisters, for absolutely no reason at all other than it's rather fabulous and you can't not feel happy listening to this! 

Happy Monday!