Friday, 29 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Jony Ive

"It is very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better."
Jonathan Ive, SVP of design at Apple

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Meg Wolitzer

"The world will whittle your daughter down, a mother never should."
Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Vivienne Westwood (again)

Westwood"s autobiography will be published next year by Picador (can't wait)

"My fashion advice is to have a flattering mirror at home and then forget about it."
Vivienne Westwood

Monday, 25 November 2013


It's that time of year again; the Christmas shopping has begun, the Ocado delivery slots have been all booked up since October, and the John Lewis ad has been trending on youtube for what feels like months.

So while you're drawing up your gift lists - for friends, children, nieces, nephews and godchildren - why not buy a present for someone else's? A child who won't be sleeping in their own bedroom this Christmas, a child who far from having a stuffed stocking at the end of their bed on Christmas morning will be lucky to get a single gift. A child who will be spending Christmas in a refuge. 

Over the course of a year, thousands of women and children pass through the doors of one of the safe houses run by domestic violence charity Refuge - each day they support 2800 women and children -  and most of those leave home, fleeing a violent partner, with only the clothes they are wearing. Children's clothes, toys... everything is left behind.

Which is why Refuge's Christmas list is such a brilliant idea. For as little as £5 (or as much as you fancy spending) you can buy a little bit of Christmas for one of these children (or their mums). Every year, Refuge try to ensure every mum and child spending the festive season in one of their refuges receives a minimum of two parcels under the tree. If you'd like to make sure that there's a child in a refuge opening a gift on Christmas morning because of you, here's how:

* Click on Buy a Gift and enter the gift list number 564013
Browse through the gifts and purchase one or more gifts of your choice (gifts start from as little as £5)


In fact, I love Jennifer Lawrence so much, here are twelve more quotes to get you through the week (because I couldn't get it down to ten...)

On mean girls
“Don’t worry about the bitches in school — that could be a good motto, because you come across people like that throughout your life.”

On acting
“Not to sound rude, but [acting] is stupid. Everybody’s like, ‘How can you remain with a level head?’ And I’m like, ‘Why would I ever get cocky? I’m not saving anybody’s life. There are doctors who save lives and firemen who run into burning buildings. I’m making movies. It’s stupid.’”

On fashion
"I really would not call myself a fashion icon. I would call myself somebody who gets dressed by professionals. [It's like], 'Dance, monkey, dance,' right on the red carpet. I would call me more of a monkey."

On diets (she hates them)
“I don't really diet or anything. I'm miserable when I'm dieting and I like the way I look. I'm really sick of all these actresses looking like birds... I'd rather look a little chubby on camera and look like a person in real life, than look great on screen and look like a scarecrow in real life.”

On diets (she really hates them)
“What are you gonna do? Be hungry every single day to make other people happy? That’s just dumb.”

On diets (no, she really hates them)
“If anybody even tries to whisper the word diet, I'm like, 'You can go fuck yourself'."

On exercise
“I hate saying, ‘I like exercising’ — I want to punch people who say that.”

On the Hollywood machine
“There are actresses who build themselves, and then there are actresses who are built by others. I want to build myself.”

On job interviews
“I picked up [a magazine] the other day that had tips for job interviews, because I was like, 'I need to get better at interviews.' The article was basically about how to get someone not to hate you in 20 minutes. Every single thing they told you not to do, I was like, 'I do that every day.'”

On friendship
“As hard as it is and as tired as I am, I force myself to get dinner at least once a week with my girlfriends, or have a sleepover. Otherwise my life is just work.”

On getting over it
“Things can happen to you, but they don't have to happen to your soul.”

On not letting success go to your head
“‪I’ve never understood why people have to become brats when they become successful. I think you should work harder when you become successful because people are expecting more from you. Success doesn’t mean that you’re allowed to work less and treat people like shit.”

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is in cinemas now.

Today (and everyday) I'm channelling... Jennifer Lawrence

"You don't have to follow the feet in front of you."
Jennifer Lawrence

Saturday, 23 November 2013


It's that weekend. The weekend the Christmas gift guide avalanche descends, and the supplements are stuffed with Books of the Year round-ups. So, why be left out? Literally thousands of books have passed through my spare room this year, I've skimmed more than I can count, read over a hundred and loved, roughly, twenty. Back in August I blogged the 8 books I loved from the first half of the year (if you missed it, read it here, all are worthy of your time and your tenner). Here are the second...

1. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt 

I confess I was nervous about reading Donna Tartt's third novel, The Goldfinch. So much so that I put it off as long as possible. I'd loved The Secret History with a passion, missing tube stops and narrowly avoiding an altercation with a lamp-post. Ten years later, when Little Friend arrived I devoured it. Or tried to...  Unfortunately it was more like a pudding you'd been looking forward to for so long that by the time I got to it, it was a bit, well, stodgy. And so, I hedged around The Goldfinch for weeks, engaging in a complicated dance, putting it down, picking it up, lured eventually by the prologue, set in Amsterdam some fourteen years after the death of our hero Theodore Decker's mother. Luckily, The Goldfinch is far more The Secret History than Little Friend, if anything, better. From the thriller-like prologue to the barren deserts of Las Vegas to the Dickensian setting of Tartt's very own Manhattan-based Old Curiosity Shop, The Goldfinch establishes Tartt as a storyteller in the grand tradition. Plus it's way better company than whichever random relative you have to spend Christmas with.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Little Brown, £20)

2. Love, Nina, Nina Stibbe

Back in the spring I received a copy of a really ugly proof. It had the kind of lazy, illustrated cover that screamed recycling. Stuck on the front was a post-it note from the book's publicist saying, roughly, 'I think you will love this book, please ignore this bloody horrible cover, the actual book will have a lovely one.' For some reason, I did and was rewarded with the wryest, funniest read of the year. By now you will probably have read a lot about Love Nina, the letters of a young nanny from Leicester who finds herself in the midst of 80s North London literati. If you're old enough to remember them, think Jill Tweedie's wonderful Letters from a Fainthearted Feminist with a liberal dose of Just Seventeen and you won't be far wrong.
Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life by Nina Stibbe (Viking, £12.99)

3. The Silent Wife, ASA Harrison

I've got a not-so-secret fetish for crime novels - not one I got to indulge as often as I'd have liked this year. But amongst those I have devoured and adored - Rankin, Mina, Hayder and Nesbo to name just a few - one stood out. In amongst the sea of Gone Girl-alikes that splattered the bookshelves of summer, it would have been easy to lose sight of this seemingly quiet little story. But The Silent Wife turned out to be so much more than a tale of two unpleasant people in an ugly marriage (although it definitely is that). Skilfully written, beautifully told, and far more subtle than I've made it sound it takes some talent to tell your audience on the first page that one character will kill the other and keep them turning to the very end to find out why. The only pity is that ASA Harrison died in the spring, never getting to see her sleeper hit inveigle its way into the New York Times bestseller lists.
The Silent Wife by ASA Harrison (Headline, £6.99)

4. Letters of Note, Shaun Usher

The genius of Shaun Usher's wonderful blog,, is in its simplicity. If you are yet to discover it, I am deeply jealous. You know when you discover a new author and find they have a hidden treasure trove of backlist for you to explore? That, only better. Prepare to lose hours exploring the letters of the great, the good and the gruesome historic figures. This, the book of the website, if you like, brings together Usher's edit of some of the most witty, poignant, intimate and occasionally out and out offensive - from Zelda Fitzgerald to Iggy Pop by way of Winston Churchill and Katharine Hepburn. A love letter to letter writing, this deserves to be this Christmas' runaway bestseller. Maybe one day someone will do the same with emails or tweets but somehow I just don't think it will have the same appeal.
Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience by Shaun Usher (Canongate, £30)

5. Her Brilliant Career, Rachel Cooke

You thought the 50s was all Betty Draper and tea on the table at six o'clock, didn't you? So did I, until I read this unexpected and engaging collection from journalist Rachel Cooke. Meet QC Rose Helibron, journalist Nancy Spain, plantswoman Margery Fish and the seven other pioneering women who turned their respective professions on their head during the decade that progress forgot. Inspiring, informative - and frankly a bit of a wake up call (stop moaning and get yourself on a coding course), if these women don't motivate you to get off the sofa and get going then nothing will.
Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties by Rachel Cooke (Virago, £18.99)

For more book recommendations, visit my Bazaar on Books blog every Wednesday-ish,

Friday, 22 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Rick Owens

Rick Owens SS14 show

"The coolest thing is when you don't really care about being cool any more."
Rick Owens

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Anna Quindlen

"After all those years as a woman, hearing, 'not thin enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not this enough, not that enough,' almost overnight I woke up one morning and thought, 'I'm enough'."
Anna Quindlen, author and journalist

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Monday, 18 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Bill Cosby

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone."

Bill Cosby

Friday, 15 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Aneurin Bevan

"We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run down."

Aneurin Bevan, architect of the NHS (15 November, 1897 - 6 July, 1960)

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... William Shakespeare

"And though she be but little, she is fierce."

William Shakespeare (Helena on Hermia, Midsummer's Night's Dream)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Whoopi Goldberg

"It's being willing to walk away that gives you strength and power - you're willing to accept the consequences of doing what you want to do."

Whoopi Goldberg (born 13 November, 1955)

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Anais Nin

Nin, photographed in 1934

"We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are."

Anais Nin

Monday, 11 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Grace Coddington

"Always keep your eyes open, keep watching, because whatever you see can inspire you."

Grace Coddington

Friday, 8 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Carrie Fisher

"Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."
Carrie Fisher

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Socrates (get me)

Socrates, Louvre

"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."


Wednesday, 6 November 2013


Isabel Marant, the godmother of boring-but-cool

Boring clothes are having a moment. Suddenly we can't get enough of grey sweatshirts, cashmere joggers, ever so slightly battered converse. Blame it on bloggers. Blame the internet which has enabled us to see how fashion editors really dress - as opposed to how they tell us to dress - and rebel against the enforced turning of the trends, when it suits us. Blame Isabel Marant (the doyenne of comfy, useful, boyish and yet somehow strangely feminine). There's a reason why Marant's range for H&M (online at one minute past midnight Thursday 14th November and probably sold out before the doors open in selected stores at 9am) is the most sought after in the history of H&M's very sought after collaborations; everyone wants to dress like her, 46 and still got it, despite her protestations that she looks like a motorbike courier.

The fact is, cool women embrace boring. The mainstay pieces of most vaguely stylish women's wardrobes are peculiarly, well, dull. Cast your eye along most front rows, fashion blogs and pinterest boards and you'll see the same things: grey sweatshirts, slouchy coats, super-skinny black trousers, denim shirts, trainers, ankle boots you can actually walk in... Usually teamed with the most unlikely of wardrobe partners. Take the denim shirt. Give or take the grey sweatshirt it has to be the most boring thing it's possible to buy. But put it with a sequin skirt/leather trousers/white jeans/leather skirt/thrown over a black dress or under a chunky jumper and cost-per-wear it will be the best thing you ever bought. Here are five more brilliant but boring buys...

5 Boring-but-go-with-everything items every wardrobe needs...

1. The Grey Sweatshirt

Once you've got a grey sweatshirt in your wardrobe you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. This is one area where it really does pay to splash out on the best you can afford. But, that said, this one is just £18 from Topshop and looks far pricier.

Topshop, £18

2. Skinny Black Jeans (leather optional)

(I refuse to say The Skinny Black Jean)
Way, way easier to wear than they look, leather leggings or jeans make everything you own look instantly edgier. If leather is a bit scary, try these black leather-look skinny jeans, £98, from Jigsaw.

Jigsaw, £98

3. The Denim Shirt

The seventies throwback from your mum's wardrobe that you swore you'd never touch? Turns it out it's the most useful thing ever. You can get cheaper from Gap but this chambray selvedge shirt, £98, from J Crew will be your friend for life.

J Crew, £98

4. The boring bag

A boring bag will be the best investment you'll ever make. Should you be in the market for a £1000+ investment, the large Smythson Eliot tote is money well spent. Failing that, this black leather tote, £160, from The White Company, is made from lovely soft leather and big enough to fit your entire life in.

The White Company, £160

5. The mannish grey coat

Leave the pink coats for people who have time in their life for coats that are on the fashion scrapheap by Christmas. An over-sized slouchy grey coat will still be your fashion friend in February. I love this big-enough-to-fit-a-jumper-under grey shawl collar coat, £150 from Cos.

Cos, £150

Today I'm channelling... Ingrid Bergman

"Be yourself. The world worships the original."
Ingrid Bergman

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Robert Orben

"Smart is when you believe half of what you hear. Brilliant is when you know which half."

Robert Orben, comedy writer

Monday, 4 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Anna Wintour

"It's always about timing. If it's too soon, no-one understands. If it's too late, everyone's forgottten."

Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief, US Vogue (born today 1949)

Friday, 1 November 2013

Today I'm channelling... Erica Jong

"You see a lot of smart guys with dumb women, but you hardly ever see a smart woman with a dumb guy."

Erica Jong