Tuesday 30 September 2014

Real Denim is Back

How happy am I right now. I love jeans, I don't have fantastic legs so all these skinny 4-way stretch, bounce-back, super-tight jeans haven't been the best look for me. Don't get me wrong, I've worn them, encouraged other people to wear them and endorsed the mere fact that they do suit most people, but, HELLO, they do not make you look a stone lighter than you are! The only thing that can do that is... losing a stone! Do not be fooled! 

I digress, anyway my happiness comes as a result of the old-style jean coming back. Less stretch, or none at all, think Levi's 501. The boyfriend, with or without distressing, and the plain old-fashioned work denim jean. A lot of women might this that they can't do rips and baggy because of the 'age demon', but you can. I love them!
I really like denim with plain shirts or t-shirts teamed with a classic or boyfriend blazer for casual day wear. Skater shoes or high-tops finish the look. To sex-it-up, put on a pair of statement Lucy Choi's, cute little cami and a kimono, and away you go! Also, a top styling tip; the bigger the bag, the smaller you look!

I recommend Pop Vintage by Acne, Phoebe Boyfriend by MIH and for high-street you can't go wrong with Gap for denim, the 1969 Real Straight range is good.

ACNE, Pop Vintage, £179

MIH, Phoebe Boyfriend, £195

GAP, 1969 Real Straight, £44.95

Wednesday 24 September 2014


I am constantly being told by clients 'I can't wear that, I'm too old'... or too fat! These are the two phrases that seem to dominate the lives of women today. Why? It not only frustrates me enormously but also saddens me that we feel this way. Perhaps I'm lucky as I have sons rather than daughters, some mother/daughter relationships are challenged when the teenager feels her mum is in the same clothes, why not?

I don't feel old at 50, I feel excited, I'm ready for new adventures! I've brought up my kids, one is at uni and the other is finishing 6th form - it's my time now!

I wear what I want, I feel great, I'm happy to say I'm 50 and I'm enjoying the freedom this brings me. Please don't feel that we have to pack away 'Mrs Fun' and bring in the tweed and twin set.

Here are my top tips for looking good and feeling good at 50:
  • Detox - I do hot yoga everyday when I'm in London, in the country I run. This totally detoxes my body and makes me feel better.
  • Hair - Keep the grey at bay and hair looking good. I use Neil for cut and Stacey for colour at The Salon in Bond Street. They operate a 24 hour service, great if you want a blow dry before a party! In between hair appointments, when I spot those niggling greys, I use a root touch-up by Nice and Easy.
  • Skin - I get Vitamin C Facials with skin certicals, from the Cowshed in Primrose Hill, a real treat, but well worth it! In between use their products.
  • Youth Pills - Contain a trio of amino acids and marine extracts to boost skin repair and delay signs of ageing. I found these pills so beneficial I decided to stock them!
  • Confidence - You looked good at 49, you'll look great at 50+!
Neil Cornelius, The Salon
The Cowshed, Primrose Hill

Youth Pills

My ultimate tip is to experiment with something new: new clothes, new adventures, new look, new man...oops...sorry, only if you need one of course!

Friday 19 September 2014

Buying at Chiltern Street Studio

Chiltern Street Studio
Chiltern Street Studio's beautiful courtyard
People often ask me what I do all day… well, if I’m not on the shop floor, I’ll be at a buying appointment, usually with Pascale, my assistant. So I thought I would give you a sneak peek behind the scenes buying at one of my favourite agencies, Chiltern Street Studio!

Usually I spend the whole day at Chiltern Street Studios, they have a host of brilliant collections housed in their beautiful Victorian school house, a listed building, located in the heart of Marylebone.

I get a lot of old fave ANNA brands, like Bellerose and Leon & Harper, from Chiltern Street, but they always have something new to tempt me with. Last season it was Mes Demoiselles, a lovely collection with a bohemian feel, perfect for summer. For SS15 alongside the usual white floaty numbers I picked out a fab black based flower print with lurex running through, the shapes had a real 70’s vibe  , I see the 70’s being big for SS15! My star piece was a beautiful drop-waist embroidered dress with a one off vintage feel. Love it, want to take it home now, an occupational hazard when working in retail!
Buying with Jane
Browsing the collections
Delicious salt cod fritters
Lunchtime at Chiltern Street Studio is amazing, multi-tasking Denise today rustles up delicious salt cod fritters with salad, yum… always great to have a good gossip with Jane and Denise... one can hardly call this work!

Leon & Harper always have a great collection, fab wardrobe staples and brill statement pieces. I was instantly drawn to the lobster jumper, so fun! I saw a lot of sweaters in the showrooms, the sport luxe trend looks set to continue, which suits me down to the ground! Leon & Harper also had a cool faded dungaree, which I just had to try on! I big part of buying is trying on to check the fit and feel.

I think a lot about colour when I’m buying, which pieces will go together in an outfit and how the stores will be merchandised, what the colour story will be... I am a big believer in wearing colour despite age or season, and always look to buy colour… which becomes difficult in winter buys where the propensity is towards blacks and greys.
Leon & Harper's lobster jumper
Choosing colours
Spotted a great aztec sweater by Odd Molly
My essentials!
My buying essentials are:
1. Pascale!
2. My notebook, mine is by Filofax. It’s fluorescent pink, so easy to find under piles of lookbooks and orders!
3. Pens. I’m very specific about the pen I write with, I love Muji gel ink pens. However, I was recently bought a beautiful Mont Blanc pen by my children, which I adore!
4. My Ipad for taking pictures.
5. A vest and big knickers, so I can strip off to try things on!

Monday 15 September 2014

Fancy a Weekend in North Norfolk?

I always forget how lucky I am to live two lives, weekday a towny workaholic socialite and at weekends I morph into a country, bread making, sea swimming, bore..... joking apart, I am really happy to have both extremes. Let me share a little bit of North Norfolk with you, not the Royal part!

Cycling through Holkham Hall grounds on a sunny day at the end of August, bliss!
I also love running, and I really do this because I love to be outside. I often run to Overy Staithe and jump in the sea and swim across to the island, really invigorating, and if you're up for it I thoroughly recommend giving it a go! If you can't swim/run/walk to Scolt Head Island then jump on the island ferry, quite different from any other ferry, lots of verbal from Peter the ferryman and more expensive than a London cab. But very Norfolk darling!
After all that, head to Burnham up-market... oopps... I mean Burnham Market, and SHOP! You really can get the most wonderful things here. Humble Pie, the best deli in Norfolk, they seem to have every ingredient from Ottolenghi's cook books!
Get locally caught fish from the lovely boys at Gurneys, I get most of my meals there and ALL of the gossip!
And of course fashion.... Isabel Marant from Ruby and Tallulah, Ralph Lauren from Gunhill and not forgetting Norfolk's finest everything else from ANNA!

Saturday 13 September 2014

Healthy Supper for Friends at Home

I had some friends coming for supper and the boys were with us, so I decided to rustle up a tasty healthy meal that wouldn't take too much time, as I still had to get to the sea for my bracing swim (yes, I am completely bonkers!).
I thought I'd share it with you as it was such a success and very easy.


I've just discovered giant couscous! Very different and in my opinion much tastier than normal boring grainy couscous. I buy mine from Humble Pie deli in Burnham Market, but a lot of specialist food stores sell it now.


500g Tin (drained) butter beans
250g Giant Couscous
Bunch of spring onions (cut lengthways)
Red chilli (chopped)
Fresh chives & sorrel
Feta cheese (crumbled)

Prepare the couscous by lightly frying it first (I know that sounds weird but you have to do this) then cook it as you would rice, it will absorb all the liquid. I add a stock gel to the water for flavour.
Fry the butter beans carefully until slightly brown on both sides, set aside.
Using the same pan (without the beans) add your sliced spring onions and chopped chilli, and add a little garlic if you fancy. Lightly fry for a minute or so, take off the heat add the cooked couscous and butter beans, crumbled feta, torn chives and sorrel. Mix together, pile in a dish and serve on its own or as I did with Oven Dried Tomato and Lentil Salad and Kiln Roast Salmon (from Gurneys fish shop)

I do my own oven dried tomatoes and this is how I do it: 
Cut toms in half, place on skin side down, drizzle with rapeseed oil (I always use this, much better for you than olive) and good balsamic vinegar, a twist of salt and pepper and cook on a very very low heat (bottom oven of an Aga) for one and half hours. Delicious, try not to eat them before you add them to the salad!


Oven dried cherry tomatoes (bought or made as per above instruction)
2 bags of Merchant Gourmet lentils which are ready cooked (good cheat!)
Red onions (lengthways sliced)
Fresh (or frozen) peas
French dressing
Mint sprigs

To make the salad, soak the red onions in red wine vinegar for ten minutes, this softens the onions, then slice.
Open your cheeky cheating packets of lentils, pour them in a bowl, add all ingredients, obviously cooked peas not frozen!
Mix with rapeseed oil and a little french dressing, don't overdo the dressing as you have already soaked stuff in vinegar and it mustn't be too sharp.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Romping Around

I have a massive weakness for jumpsuits........but I've just realised that they're good 'ol fashioned rompers!! They are just so easy to throw on. Be careful though as you don't want to look like a 50 year old masquerading as a toddler!I think this one by Sea NY ticks all the right boxes, I love it!! No need to think about what goes with what... just pop it on and your outfit is complete. Especially great for me as I tend to be always running out of time in the morning.

My other massive LOVE right now is trainers, high-tops especially (never thought I'd say that)!
I just can't resist them, the wackier, the better.  Give me silver, glitter, gold and ponyskin any day! This is where Philippe Model comes in; great shapes and luxe finishes, these are not your average gym shoe! When you are as busy as I am you need something comfortable and practical... but really that's not why I buy them! My fave feature is the concealed heel, my Philippe Model Tropez Bassa trainers give me an extra 2 inches!

If you think jumpsuits and trainers just aren't for you, I challenge you to give it a try, you might like it!

Romper - Sea | Trainers - Philippe Model (available in ANNA) | Bag - Leon and Harper | Watch - Daniel Wellington

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