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The Kimono: Mrs. D’s Summer Must-Have

 

Everyone who knows me that I’m a shrug girl. I live in them as much as I live in my jeans. My brother often asks me why I keep wearing cardigans that have shrunk in the wash but I don’t care: along with scarves, it’s something of a trademark for me and a godsend for us girls who prefer to keep our less-than-toned-arms covered. In fact I even had a shruggy, bolero-type thing to go with my wedding dress – but that was more at my mum’s insistence as she didn’t want Father John tut-tutting!

Anyway the recent, warmer weather has made it virtually impossible to wear a shrug, especially at work where the building is overly warm in the winter months alone – so it’s like a furnace in the summer!

So what’s a girl to wear?

I saw kimono-style tops in the shops last summer and toyed with the idea of getting some but didn’t think that I could pull it off. I figured most of the styles would swamp my petite frame. So instead I just wore my shrugs and roasted!

This summer, I decided that I couldn’t go another three months in a sweltering classroom and decided I’d give the kimonos a go in a bid to stay cool. And it’s a good job I did.

I actually think kimonos suit me, and I’ve had quite a few compliments from colleagues – who are probably relieved I’ve discovered a new look! They don’t swamp my frame at all; they go with everything in my wardrobe and I actually feel quite elegant, boho and trendy in them (yes – all at the same time!) The kimonos I have are all made of very light-weight fabrics, some of them have fringing, one is made of lace, and I have an array of patterns and colours.

Kimonos are really versatile, and can easily take you from day to night. They are cool, edgy, funky and are the epitome of festival chic. And the longer length ones work great as something to throw on over your cossie when you’re at the beach.

 

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Things I Got From My Mother – And Other Stories!

 

Here in the UK, Mother’s Day was way back in March. But the rest of the world -including Mr. D. – will be honouring their beloved mums on Sunday. But whether we’ll be celebrating or not, we’ll definitely be keeping our mums in mind.

Everyone says I’m my mother’s double. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve actually been mistaken for her. No it’s not that I look so old (well at least I hope not!) but Mum looks so young. She really could pass for my (slightly older!) sister. But I always felt that our looks are where our similarities begin and end as personality-wise we couldn’t be more different. I’m definitely more outgoing whereas Mum’s a bit reserved. Our style in dressing is very different: I probably dress a little too young for my age (why not? I can get away with it. I think!) whereas Mum dresses in a way that makes the Queen look like Avril Lavigne (which always frustrates me!) I like a good drink and can really put those cocktails away but Mum’s a teetotaller  who just has to look at a glass of wine and her head starts to spin. I like my music loud and angry while Mum’s the queen of the easy listening classics. We couldn’t be more different – or so I thought…

I was in bookshop this afternoon, perusing the cook books and wondering what to add to my already ever-increasing stack of cook books when it dawned on me where I got my addiction from – Mum! As a kid Mum had a whole load of cookery books (and I do mean a whole load of books) which I used to pore over, looking at the pics, while Mum would be putting the recipes to good use. All these years later, I’m doing the same (all I now need is the little girl to sit on the kitchen worktop and pore over the books…)

It got me thinking about other ways in which I’m a lot like my mother. I’m often so busy focusing on the differences that I don’t think about things that we have in common. It’s the same with the majority of my friends – they love their mums to bits but don’t think that they’re anything alike. Maybe one day they’ll also discover that they’re more alike than they think.

1. MUM AND I ARE BOTH FEEDERS!

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This is where the cook books come into effect. When you come to our homes, you’d better be coming with an empty stomach. Just don’t think you’ll be leaving with one. In fact you may need a crane to carry you out because we’re in danger of overstuffing you! Nothing makes us happier than cooking for other people and having people around our table (something we both get from Mum’s mum and my lovely grandma) and we feel really humbled by the appreciative comments we get.

2. WE WATCHED ALL THE SOAPS RELIGIOUSLY… BUT DON’T NOW!

 

I got my love of soaps from my mum who used to watch them all: Coronation Street, Crossroads, Dynasty, Dallas, Emmerdale Farm… and naturally I’d watch these too and became something of a soap addict myself, especially with the advent of EastEnders, Neighbours, and Home And Away. It was amazing because I couldn’t remember my six times table but I could remember what caused Sue Ellen to slap JR six episodes ago!

However over the years our love of soaps dwindled. In Mum’s case it’s because she’s too busy to keep up with what’s happening in Weatherfield or Albert Square, and in my case it’s because I just don’t watch TV as much as I used to, and on the odd occasion when I do tune in, I’d much rather watch something other than soaps (which in my opinion aren’t as good as they used to be anyway!)

3. WE’RE GREAT WHEN IT COMES TO THE OLD HOSPITALITY!

 

I only invite people into my home if I really like them, so it’s very important to me that everyone who does come to our home, whether it’s for a quick visit or to stay for a while, is made to feel very welcome and know that we are happy to have them over. So we go out of our way to make sure they’re happy, comfy and that they treat the place like their second home  (even though all of the above meant that Mr.D. and I once had to sleep on the sofa. Not good but hey – it was for our friends!)

And looking after guests is something I learned from Mum. However I think most people prefer to go to Mum’s than mine because she’s a much better cook than I am!

4. SPORT IS NOT OUR THING.

 

Just about everyone in our family is into a sport of some kind. And just about everyone supports a particular football team.

All except Mum and me. I’ve tried to get sporty in the past but it just wasn’t happening. Mum didn’t even try! It’s a good job I don’t live in California or I really would be in trouble.

We do however tune in to watch the World Cup especially when England’s playing. That’s as sporty as we get!

5. AND NEITHER IS DRIVING!

Mum never learnt to drive and nor has she ever wanted to. I once asked her why and she said that if she learnt to drive then that would be one less thing that Dad did – and he doesn’t do much as it is!

I did get my licence but sadly I’m a real hazard on the road so I tend to leave the driving to those who are less of a calamity.

6. WE’RE NOT ONES TO COMPLAIN

 

OK maybe not strictly speaking true as we have been known to have the odd grumble. But compared to a lot of people we know, we hardly ever complain. If life’s getting us down, something seems unfair, or we’re just having a bad day, we just suck it up and get on with it.

And on the rare occasions when we do complain, it’s only because it’s absolutely necessary. I guess you could say that we know how to pick our battles.

7. OUR BODIES ARE MADE UP OF NINETY SEVEN PER CENT SUGAR!

 

It’s not just my looks I got from my Mum but my incredible sweet tooth. Thanks to her, I’m a real sucker for sugar and it’s virtually unheard of for me to go to a restaurant and not end a meal with a dessert. And if I’m too stuffed for dessert, I at least take a peak at the dessert menu to see what I’m missing out on!

8. WE’RE USELESS WITH TECHNOLOGY

Oh my goodness, where do I begin with this? At least with Mum, she was born way before technology took hold of us the way that it has. She didn’t grow up in an era where people stopped breathing if they were clinically detached from their iPhones. I however, have no excuse especially as I’m a blogger as well. I’m not as bad as I’m making out as given a certain amount of time, I can usually figure things out. That said, I’m still far from good!

9. ADVICE IS OUR MIDDLE NAME

 

For as long as I can remember, people having been calling on my mum whenever they had a problem of some kind – and they still do. Perhaps it’s because Mum’s very understanding, a good listener, gives good advice, and tries to help out in any way that she can.

Well it’s a good job I’ve been trained by the best because at I’ve had all sorts of people – friends, family, colleagues, clients, random people on the bus – confiding in me about their problems.

I guess I just have one of those faces!

10. WE’RE REAL HOME BIRDS

 

Mum was always a home bird. I don’t think she even went to the pub as a teenager. I, on the other hand, was a real night owl, and once I got a taste of London night life there was no stopping me.

However now that I’m older, those wild nights out are pretty much a thing of the past – although nothing comes between me and my rock gigs! I’d much rather stay at home and cook for friends. and believe it or not, we still manage to have a great time!

Hope all the mums out there enjoy their special day!

 

My Anti-Bucket List

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Kick the Bucket.”

In the last few years, the world has gone bucket list mad – including me! There’s tons of things we all hope to do before we ‘kick the bucket’.

I’ve always been a bit of a bucket list girl and I’ve already managed to tick quite a few things off my list including being front row at a concert; visiting certain countries; going to a New Kids On The Block concert; finding my dream job, and marrying the love of my life.

But there’s still plenty of things that I haven’t done and am still waiting to tick more off my list, such as spending NYE in Time’s Square; writing a book; becoming a really good baker and confectioner; reading the entire Bible, and becoming fluent in another language… and many, many more! In fact I don’t think I’ll ever have a completely crossed-off list as I keep adding to it.

But the thought of an anti-bucket list had never occurred to me until I saw The Daily Post’s writing prompt, and it got me thinking about things I would never in a million years want to do, want to have, or want to go to!

So here’s my selection of twenty (that’s right, twenty) things – in no particular order – that complete my anti- bucket list!

1. LEARN TO MAKE QUICHE

image from bbcfood.com

image from bbcfood.com

I absolutely hate quiche with a passion. If you came to my house for lunch, you can be sure that you won’t be served with this vile savoury tart/flan/whatever you want to call it. Why the rest of the world is quiche crazy, I’ll never know. Even though I want to hone my baking skills, this is one area of baking I don’t feel I need to even bother trying to learn let alone improve upon.

2. BECOME A BIGOT

Obviously no one goes through life intent on becoming a bigot. And even when most people do have an extreme intolerance towards others, they naturally won’t admit to it or even realise how offensive their views are- though you will get a few who don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with having such prejudicial views and will defend these views to the hilt. What they don’t seem to understand is how ignorant they sound.

Going through life with an open mind is so important on many different levels and for so many reasons- at the very least it makes the world a far better place.

3. APPEAR ON THE APPRENTICE

 

Don’t get me wrong – I love watching The Apprentice and tune in every year to find out who will be Lord Sugar’s new business partner. It’s addictive, and as someone who’s keen to go into business, it is of great interest to me.

There are times I think, fleetingly, about applying to go on the show but I know I never would. The other contestants show way too much arrogance, ruthlessness and attitude, and many of them are nowhere near as good as they claim to be. I really don’t think I could handle so many huge egos under one roof.

I’ll still continue to watch the show though!

4. VOTE UKIP

 

The media would have you believe that the whole country is full of UKIP supporters even though I know that that’s not necessarily the case. I can see why a lot of people have fallen under the spell of Farage and co. but those who can look at things objectively can see that they clearly lack credibility, so whether they are the flavour of the month or not, I will not be jumping on the bandwagon and be voting UKIP.

And is it just me, or does their logo resemble something similar to a budget supermarket chain?

5. READ FIFTY SHADES OF GREY

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It’s meant to have enhanced activity in the boudoir and had women buying the E.L. James novel in droves. Nothing wrong with that of course. However, unlike Christian Grey, I am a hearts and flowers kind of person, so this isn’t a book that will be gracing my bookshelf, and I prefer old-fashioned though slightly corny romance rather than raunchy in your face erotica. Give me Mills and Boon any day!

6. WATCH WHAT’S SUPPOSED TO BE HOT ON  BRITISH TV RIGHT NOW

 

The Only Way Is Essex, Made In Chelsea, Big Brother, The X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, I’m A Celebrity… these might constitute compulsive viewing at the moment but quite frankly I find it all quite boring.  I used to watch shows like these a long time ago but then it started to lose a bit of its gloss and I just gave up. However, I can’t escape these shows entirely because the ‘stars’ are always in the media. Even though I can’t profess to be a National Geographic kind of girl, this sort of telly really isn’t for me either.

7. BABYSIT A SPOILT CHILD

I like children as much as the next person but when it comes to children who lack discipline, don’t know the meaning of the word no, and think that all adults should do as they’re told (by them)… forget it! I once had the misfortune of babysitting a child (and not just any child, but a relative!)  who was a complete and utter nightmare but clearly thought that his behaviour was cute. And when his mum was told about his behaviour, she clearly couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

I think it takes a special kind of person to be able to handle a spoilt child. I’m obviously not one of them.

8. BECOME ADDICTED TO TECHNOLOGY

There’s no denying that we’re in the digital age and we all use technology to some degree. But to become addicted to gadgets to the point where it overrides common sense and courtesy is unacceptable. I really don’t wish to be that kind of person.

9. APPEAR ON MASTERCHEF USA

 

Once again, Masterchef USA is a show Mr. D and I tune into religiously every year, and we’ve actually picked up a few tips from this cooking competition. However, I would never want to be a contestant on this show, even if I did live in The States, because Gordon Ramsay and Joe Bastianich could very easily reduce me to tears and turn me into a nervous wreck. No thank you!

10. ATTEMPT TIGHTROPE WALKING

 

 

There are a lot of adrenaline junkies out there but I’m not one of them and heights are not my thing, so you won’t see me on a tightrope anytime soon.

11. SWIM IN SHARK INFESTED WATERS

 

As I’ve said I’m not an adrenaline junkie and clearly do not have a sense of adventure, so once again not for me.

12. RETURN TO WORKING IN RETAIL

 

Before anyone accuses me of putting down people who work in the retail sector, let me explain. I spent more years than I care to think about working in retail, so I have a lot of respect for those who work in retail because I know how tough it can be – especially at this time of the year.

In theory, it should all go swimmingly. After all it’s not the worst job in the world; you get to meet people every day; and there are some exceptionally enjoyable perks i.e.- going to trade shows, generous staff discounts etc.

However in practice I’ve found it incredibly draining. Dealing with the general public is not easy. Dealing with those in head office is even harder. Sometimes your colleagues don’t understand the importance of working as part of a team. And let’s not forget with more and more stores open for longer hours and seven days a week, it leaves you with little time for yourself, family and friends. I still like the idea of owning a shop of some kind but I doubt I’ll ever do it as I found it incredibly draining.

13. WORK FOR A NATIONAL NEWSPAPER

 

It was my childhood ambition – until a careers officer said after a consultation that I lacked the ruthlessness and forceful character to be a journo. That and the fact that I didn’t like to pry into other people’s business!

Yep, I think I’m better suited to teaching English!

14. HAVE BOTOX

 

I know I’m getting older and I can see the signs. I don’t look or feel twenty one any more. However, I don’t believe that Botox is the answer – why would I want to inject poison into myself? I don’t believe in putting anything into my body that really shouldn’t be there, so I will fight aging with happy and healthy living.

15. BUY SUPER EXPENSIVE CLOTHES

 

When I was a teenager I was into labels and brand names as most of my peers were. That didn’t always mean I’d get them though and fast forward several years, I’m very grateful that my parents didn’t give into my every whim. I still love clothes and probably have more than I need but I don’t spend a fortune on each item and love spotting a bargain. I’d hate to spend a grand on a coat and then feel I’d need to wear it for the rest of my natural life and then be buried in it just to get my money’s worth!

16. BECOME A POLITICIAN

 

Where do I begin???

17. BE PART OF THE IN-CROWD

 

During the course of my life, I’ve met some exceptionally interesting people who seemed to have it all. They said all the right things, had all the right things, looked the right way, surrounded themselves with all the right people and were seen in all the right places. In a nutshell, they were the in-crowd.

The only thing is that their hearts weren’t often in the right place and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised what’s important.

18. TO WATCH ANY MOVIE THAT’S BOUND TO LEAVE ME TRAUMATIZED

 

Twelve Years A Slave and The Passion Of The Christ are out as interesting and as fascinating as they are, when I watch a film, I want to be entertained not left feeling depressed.

19. OWN A FLASHY CAR

We’d all like a flashy car parked on our drive but I can’t help thinking what a waste of money it is. Unlike houses, the value of a car generally tends to go down not up. So I think I’ll invest my money in bricks and mortar, thank you.

20. RIDE A BIKE AROUND LONDON

I am most definitely not hot on two wheels at the best of times but riding around London with its super busy streets which I don’t believe is really ideal for cyclists… I’ll give it a miss. I’ve heard a great deal about accidents on our roads and even been at the scene of one, and my heart really goes out to those who have been hurt or worse. And I take my hat of to those who are far braver than me and are willing to have a go.

What’s on your anti-bucket list?

 

The Vintage Tea Party Book: A Must For Tea Party Fanatics

 

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I bought a book today which is absolutely, fantastically, smack-you-in-the-face awesome! It’s called The Vintage Tea Party Book and it’s by – I just love her name – Angel Adoree.

I’m a huge fan of books about tea parties, dinner parties and home entertaining because it’s based on something I love to do – have a house full of people eating, drinking and having a bloody good time! Angel says in her book that her parents ‘ have always been motivated by feeding people’s souls with food laughter and cocktails,’ – and that pretty much sums up the story of my life! And like Angel, I think my own parents played a big part in my love of home entertaining as it wasn’t unusual for them to have dinner parties and gatherings at home when I was growing up. I was allowed to join in even though I should have been tucked up in bed. But I grew up with memories  of Dad’s awful jokes; raucous laughter; happy people, and empty dishes as everyone loved Mum’s cooking. So it’s no surprise that when I grew up I had an overwhelming desire to recreate those fabulous evenings.

Angel Adoree

Angel Adoree

The first thing you notice about the cover of The Vintage Tea Party Book is the shades of red, white and blue, and the images of top hats, monocles, pocket watches, Union Jacks, pipes, a cake stand, china teacups and teapots, pearls, butterflies and rose buds. What you get is a cross between a quintessential British vibe with full-on vintage glamour – two themes which feature heavily in this book. This suits The Vintage Tea Party Book down to a, well, tea!

The cover also explains that The Vintage Tea Party Book is ‘a complete guide to hosting the perfect tea party,’ but in reality it is so much more than that. What you essentially get is Angel Adoree between a hardback cover. We get a glimpse into the author’s life with pictures of her family, friends, and some childhood snaps. There are also quite a few pics of the present day Angel; a buxom lady with cherry red lips, and hair the exact same colour worn in a victory roll.

We hear about her childhood, work, entrance into the world of business, appearance on BBC’s Dragon’s Den, and her business venture, The Vintage Patisserie. And as if her appearance wasn’t enough of an indicator, the reader also learns about Angel’s lifelong love affair with all things vintage.

The Vintage Tea Party Book

The Vintage Tea Party Book

 

The Vintage Tea Party Book contains more than just recipes for a good tea party. There are ideas about how to host a party; helpful hints about sourcing vintage items; fashion and beauty advice for those who want to look 1940s; grooming advice for men; a little about the history of the Union Jack, and suggestions for games to play. There’s also arts and crafts with instructions for sewing aprons; drying edible flowers; making a butterfly display, and more. And let’s not forget templates for invitation and thank you cards. All this before we even get to the recipes.

And you won’t be disappointed with the recipes. They’re divided into three parts: brunch, afternoon tea, and evening tea.

The usual tea time treats are still there but they’ve been elevated to a more sophisticated level. So instead of your usual cucumber finger sandwiches, you’ve got cream cheese and cucumber heart-shaped, open sandwiches, and there are lemon scones with lavender cream instead of your usual run-of-the-mill (but nonetheless delicious) scones with clotted cream. There are some really unusual and delicious sounding treats such as hot baked grapefruit; chilled raspberry soup; crab choux, and pork and lemon quail scotch eggs. I especially liked the sound of the romantic sounding rose panna cotta, and the very unusual rose petal sandwich. There are also recipes for a selection of drinks including iced teas, smoothies, cocktails and hot drinks. I particularly want to try the white chocolate mocha and the bourbon slush.

Cream cheese and cucumber hearts

Cream cheese and cucumber hearts

The Vintage Tea Party Book is most definitely going to be one of the most inspiring books I own, and I can’t wait to try out the recipes and put the other suggestions to good use.

And just to give you a hint of how awesome this book is, I’ve posted Angel’s  recipe for the divine sounding cherry and dark chocolate trifle shots. Yum!

Angel Adoree, we adore thee!

CHERRY AND DARK CHOCOLATE TRIFLE SHOTS

INGREDIENTS:

6 sponge fingers, broken into small pieces

100ml cherry brandy or chocolate liqueur

50g dark chocolate, grated

1 pack of dark cherry jelly, made up according to instructions, then chopped up

jar of morello cherries

100ml custard

100ml whipped cream

METHOD:

  1. Arrange sponge finger pieces at the bottom of 6 shot glasses.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of chosen liqueur to each one.
  3. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon chocolate.
  4. Once the sponge fingers have absorbed the liqueur, add a heaped tablespoon of prepared jelly to each shot.
  5. Top with a few cherries and more grated chocolate.
  6. To serve, top each shot with a heaped tablespoon of custard, and a tablespoon of whipped cream.
  7. Finish with decorative sprinkle of grated chocolate.

The Vintage Tea Party Book by Angel Adoree

Mitchell Beazley

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What A Girl Wants… Never Goes Out Of Style!

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As everyone knows, things go in and out of fashion and trends change whether it’s clothes, shoes, hair, or make-up. But there are some things that have never changed and probably never will, and will always be a mainstay in a girl’s wardrobe and handbag. So let’s take a look at some of the things that a girl can’t live without regardless of changing trends.

1. THE LITTLE BLACK DRESS

Black will always be the new black and nothing screams glamour and sophistication quite like the Little Black Dress. A little black dress or LBD is traditionally  an evening or cocktail dress, which is usually cut simply and often quite short – hence the ‘little’.

The origins of the little black dress are linked back to the 1920s designs of the legendary Coco Chanel. The dress was intended to be simple but stylish, long-lasting, versatile, affordable, and neutral in colour. No lady’s wardrobe is complete without the “little black dress” and it is considered  a rule of fashion that every woman should own a simple, versatile, elegant black dress that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Every girl has at least one trusty black dress in her wardrobe which she can slip into and it’s our go-to dress when the occasion calls for it – which saves a lot of faffing around, deciding what to wear. My own fave LBD has tiny white polka dots, spaghetti straps, a (very short) scalloped hem, and ruching along the front. It’s great for a party, informal dinner, and I can dress it up with boots and a leather jacket for gigs. It’s also short enough to pass as a top so I can team it up with jeans or leggings. Not only do I feel great in it but it’s also very versatile.

Although the original LBD was intended to be simple, these days anything goes, and as party season approaches, you can bet your life you’ll see a stunning array of black dresses in different fabrics with various necklines, hemlines, sleeves and embellishments. With so many different styles, the little black dress can never be boring or outdated. And with so many styles available, there’s always an excuse to add another one to our collection! LBD

2. JEANS

Skinny, Bootcut, Hipster, Flare, Straight Leg and Boyfriend… whichever cut, wash and colour you choose, jeans are a wardrobe necessity. The styles of jeans may have changed over the years but those faithful denim trousers have always been a part of our wardrobes. With the exception of my mother, I really don’t know anyone who doesn’t own a pair of jeans. I practically live in mine and I’ve lost count of the amount I have. Right now skinnies are in, so I have loads of those in black, charcoal and various shades of blue. But I do have some boot-cut ones too and loved that particular style – until I discovered skinny jeans!

During the tomboy years, I used to wear my jeans  big and baggy to the point where they were practically falling off me before graduating to a more straight-leg style. A few years back there was a trend for teaming jeans  with short floaty dresses. I was surprised that I could pull off that look and thought I looked great – though my brother told me that he thought I just looked confused! But then, what does he know about fashion?

One thing I love about jeans is that with the exception of formal events, you can wear jeans just about everywhere. I always go to work in jeans and wear them on nights out. It might look as though I don’t wear anything else but I always feel my best in a pair of jeans. However, I’ve never particularly cared for white or coloured jeans. Give me a pair of blue or black any day! images5WGFX4EY

3. CHANEL No. 5

I’ve heard that giving someone a bottle of Chanel No.5 is the equivalent of giving a bouquet of flowers. Well in that case – as much as I love flowers – give me a Chanel No.5 every time! This fragrance is a timeless classic launched by Coco Chanel (who else!) and a bottle of this perfume has adorned the dressing tables of women around the world for decades. The key flowers are ylang-ylang, mayrose and jasmine.

 I’ll never forget being given my first bottle of Chanel No.5 when I was in my early twenties. I suddenly knew what all the fuss was about. It was like glamour in a very sophisticated, sleek bottle. No wonder it was all Marilyn Monroe wore to bed. It’s not really one for those who like subtle fragrances. This one is bold and really makes an impact. I know some people have criticised it for being old-fashioned and ‘an old lady’s perfume’ but I reckon these are people with a very poor sense of smell! This fragrance is a classic and continues to be a firm favourite with women all over the world – regardless of their age.
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4. SCARLET LIPS AND NAILS

Gwyneth Paltrow’s secret to being super-confident is wearing a lipstick in a ‘kick-ass red.’ Red is a colour that never seems to date, and although lip and nail colours may change in terms of what’s hot and what’s not, red has always been the number one colour for those who wish to make a statement. Bold and attention-grabbing, it’s synonymous with power, seduction and glamour. It’s not a colour you wear if all you want to do is blend into the background. Not all of us can wear the bright fire-engine red – definitely not a colour for me – but thankfully with so many shades available, we can all find a red lippy and nail colour that suits us and to release our inner-vamp.

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5. BACKCOMBED HAIR

I love wearing my hair like this, and Mr.D thinks it’s awesome too. It’s a look that was made famous by The Ronettes and Brigitte Bardot and was very popular during the 1960s. It even became Claudia Schiffer’s signature look during her modelling heyday, and of course it’s synonymous with Amy Winehouse.

Whether hair’s backcombed into a beehive do or a tousled mane, us girls know that when we need an instant dose of glamour, backcombing is the only way to go. It’s a great look for a night out but I’ve seen women rocking backcombed hair while wheeling a trolley around a supermarket during the day – and it works! Backcombing also instantly gives the appearance of thicker, fuller hair but unfortunately it can be quite damaging especially if you backcomb hair regularly, so it’s probably best saved for special occasions.

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6. VASELINE

You could honestly write a book about the million and one uses of Vaseline – or petroleum jelly to use it’s non-brand name! It can be used to soften lips, moisten dry knees and elbows, condition eyelashes, slick eyebrows into shape, add a shimmer to cheek bones, put around nails when painting them… I’ve even come across one beauty tip which instructs putting Vaseline on teeth before drinking coffee in order to avoid staining. Er, yeah, I think I’ll be giving that one a miss thanks. But with so many uses, is it any surprise that women the world over have a little tub of this wonder product in their handbags?

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7. HEELS

Despite the fact that I’m a bit of a shorty, I definitely feel more comfy in a pair of flats so tend to wear them every day. However, comfort counts for nothing when it comes to dressing up to the nines when only a pair of heels will do – the higher the better. Not only does it look better with the outfit you’re wearing, but it makes you feel more confident, foxy and glam. So whether they’re dainty little kitten heels or skyscraper stilettos, us girls definitely have a collection of heels to rock any outfit. True, I can’t walk in a pair of heels to save my life but as a friend once said, trainers are for walking in and heels are for posing in. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

HEELS

8. SMOKEY EYES

Where make-up is concerned, trends seem to veer towards a more natural look with lots of ‘nude’ shades. However, full-on smokey, vampy eyes will never go out of style no matter what the in-thing may be. Like the LBD, smokey eyes are timelessly sultry, It’s also right up there with the red-hot lips – but of course we all know the eyes or lips rule so would never wear them both at the same time. Smokey eyes are perfect for when you need a little sophisticated drama. I remember that a few years ago when I was getting my acting headshots done, the make-up artist gave me the most amazing smokey eyes. She did such an amazing job that even strangers stopped me on the street to comment on my eyes. To this day, I am kicking myself for not getting her card.

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9. BALLET STYLE PUMPS

Ballet pump style flat shoes are what I live in during the summer months. They’re more forgiving than sandals and I find them easier to walk in than flip flops. I also think they’re really sweet looking and you can wear these ballet type shoes with most styles of clothes. These shoes are literally everywhere and they come in an array of styles. You can get very simple designs for everyday use and more glitzy, glam ones for more special occasions. I’m not surprised that they’re such a hit with women everywhere because they are a practical solution to footwear and can be worn both day or night. I’ve been known to carry a pair of these in my bag on nights out which is a very welcome relief to my poor, weary feet. Heels might make me feel sophisticated and womanly, but I feel super cute and girly in my ballet style pumps – so I definitely have the best of both worlds.

FLATS

10. BLACK LEATHER

Black leather may be considered very 1980s, but it’s very edgy, practical and rock n’ roll. I really don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t own something made from black leather, whether it’s a jacket, boots, shoes, trousers or even a wallet. It’s extremely durable and can be worn for both day and night. I absolutely love my boots and jacket, and they have often received admiring looks and comments. Even my old PE teacher who was veering towards vegetarianism last time I saw him, admitted to having a leather jacket because it was the only thing he had that kept him warm – and in London that’s essential! Of course, it’s all about the look, so for those who don’t wish to wear genuine leather for ethical reasons, can’t fork out the hefty price tag, or in my sister’s case, can’t stand the smell, there are some pretty good leather-look items out there. imagesUA3VR946

Even though it’s unlikely that leather  will go out of fashion, it can look dated. So I never wear anything that’s covered in millions of studs – even though heavily studded leather jackets seem to be in all the shops at the moment – and as I’m not a biker or in a 1980s tribute rock band, there’s no need for me to wear head-to-toe leather. Instead  prefer to mix leather with other fabrics and styles for a unique look.

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Please Rain On My Parade!

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We’re still in August but the cooler temperature of the last few days has been an indicator that Autumn will be here before we know it – and I couldn’t be more thrilled! It’s pelting down with rain as I’m writing this post but instead of feeling dismayed at the grey skies I cannot wait for Autumn to arrive which is most definitely my favourite season.

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As a Summer baby, the irony that I don’t ‘do hot weather’ isn’t lost on me. I put it down to the fact that I’m a Londoner, and that the cold and the rain is what I’m used to but then I know that that doesn’t count for much as most Londoners crave the sun – mainly because we don’t usually have any! But I’m most definitely an Autumn-bordering-on-Winter kind of girl. When planning our wedding, the original date was to be in Winter (Mr. D’s birthday to be  exact) but the reaction from our guests – who acted as though we’d just announced that our wedding was gong to be held in a morgue – made us reconsider. So as a compromise, we held our wedding in the twilight month of September: technically Summer but with a more Autumn feel.

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I understand that to say you don’t like hot weather is like saying you don’t like chocolate, can’t stand Friends or never listen to music! I’m not totally sure where my negativity regarding the Summer comes from because I’m quite sure I loved it when I was a child.  I put it down to the fact that as I got older I became less tolerant to the sun (or maybe the sun became less tolerant towards me!) But I don’t see anything great about sweating like a spa; having your make-up slide off your face; getting heat rash  and sunstroke… I could go on and on. Sure we get to indulge in ice-cream, barbecues, picnics, give our summer clothes an airing, and drive with the top down if we’re lucky enough to own a convertible. But for me, the colder months have more appeal.

So why do I love Autumn so much? Well…

1. If it gets too cold, you just put on extra layers. What do you do when it’s too hot? I don’t live near Miami Beach so running around in a bikini is not an option!

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2. I’m very much a jeans and boots kind of girl, but who can wear boots in scorching hot weather? I love the ballet style pumps I live in throughout the warmer months but it feels so good to be back in a pair of knee-high boots!

b4e6a25b83ef8c80e736e40fc392ece53. I love my snug, cosy jumpers, sweaters and cardis.

b6d50e938049e42d1175d6ed956511464. The colder temperature means lots of frothy, hot drinks. I love the wonderfully flavoured hot chocolates and coffees that are available. Gingerbread, eggnog, pumpkin pie lattes… bring it on!

9dac74f8b853b89380b8696fdc948ac55. All the best holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Bonfire Night, Christmas and Valentine’s Day – take place during Autumn and Winter.

91ef87c27baacc591457da8c505abb1b6. There’s no denying that blossom looks gorgeous in Spring but there’s just something naturally stunning about the simplicity of Fall colours. Plus walking ankle-deep in fallen leaves reminds me of my childhood.

e0e4af7801503de99673e4e9991824ec7.  It’s the perfect excuse to lie around in cosy pjs, with a warm blanket watching movies all day (providing it’s the weekend of course!)

jam8. Comforting soups, stews and stodgy puds were made for this weather!

c22bf7b45c460be365672c6fdcc6810d9. There’s something quite beautiful about a  dark city street, after it’s been raining and seeing the street lights reflected on the glistening ground.

imagesHAY40OMF10. If you think miserable weather means being cooped up indoors, think again. Some of my best nights out have occurred during cold and wet weather.

imagesJNYNTT8111. …but if you do decide to stay in, sofa Saturday nights with takeaways, booze, movies and mates are fab.

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12. You can ditch the exercise plan as you won’t be getting your bikini bod out for a while!

images52SLUESX13. It’s great news for holidaymakers and soon-to-be-marrieds as everything tends to be cheaper around this time.

919cba7fcc60496198876a96b44c36ad14. No one wants to be stuck indoors during the Summer, especially not in a hot kitchen, but Autumn’s great for practising your baking skills.

af17f96ebd70102e575eadee310cb16815. There’s an extra hour in bed!

child-sleeping16. It’s great to fall asleep to the sound of falling rain.

swr17. The crisp, cool weather makes for great walks.

322594c5e6154444c0e2aacd2bec075918. Who wouldn’t like to sit in front of a real log fire?

imagesBS01HPVG19. Packed tubes, trains and buses are way more bearable when it’s cold.

efee4-imagescap4210j20. I can wear my beloved scarves and not look like an idiot!

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I can’t wait to say

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Bring it on!

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Fashion Goes Bust!

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A recent article in a women’s magazine made me seethe. Emblazoned across the top of the page was the headline: WHICH SIZE BREASTS ARE BEST?

SERIOUSLY??? ARE YOU SERIOUSLY GOING TO ASK US THAT??? I had to check the cover of the magazine because for a moment, I thought I might be in possession of a lad’s mag. Nope – definitely a women’s weekly!

“FLAT IS THE NEW BIG THING!” shrieked the pull quote. “HAVING A HUGE BUST IS OUT OF FASHION IT SEEMS!” the intro proudly announced.

Original image from pixabay.com

Original image from pixabay.com

 

Oh OK then. I’ll just remove my big boobs, stick them back in the box, return them to the store and exchange them for a pair of smaller, pert, perkier ones. I would never have known they were out of style had it not been for this feature.

Excuse me, fashionable? Clothes, shoes and hairstyles may go in and out of fashion but not body shapes as far as I’m concerned. I was always under the impression that body parts were functional rather than fashionable. Most parts of our anatomy are not like hair which can be cut, lengthened, coloured, curled, shaved, straightened, teased etc. to best fit what is considered to be the look du jour. What do you do with body parts which are not the right shape or size?

 

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

 

The article went on to state that envy over big-busted girls has gone out the window as women prefer to have a more toned and athletic physique over Jessica Rabbit curves. Yes, breast enlargements are still being carried out but now women are opting for a more natural look  over anything that screams plastic. Small busted ladies are encouraged to thrown out their underwired bras and ‘be proud of those fried eggs!’ Despite the fact that the closing paragraphs encouraged ladies to love what their born with, the overall tone of the article was to big up (excuse the pun!) those who are not massively endowed while diminishing (again no pun intended!)  those who have more up top. I can’t help but feel a bit miffed – and that’s putting it mildly.

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

 

The basis for this feature came from findings from a poll that was carried out by  a company who develops and manufactures implants and expanders in which 2000 people were surveyed. It found that 72% of women said that, if they had to have surgery, they would only go up one bra size, while men also agreed that when it came to boobs, less is definitely more.

That’s all very well when you’re talking about cosmetic surgery and people’s expectations from cosmetic procedures but what about when what you’re naturally blessed with isn’t  necessarily the look that’s being coveted? How does that make you feel?

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

 

SMALL BOOBS ARE BEAUTIFUL… AND SO ARE BIG!

During my teenage years, my mother was alarmed at the rate in which I was moving up cup sizes. I, on the other hand, like most teenage girls, was delighted. And it wasn’t just because they made my jumpers hang nicely! I wasn’t blessed with a flat stomach and when supermodel pins were being handed out, in all the excitement, I fell over and knocked myself out while running to join the queue – so Cindy Crawford got what should have been mine. Therefore, I was naturally quite proud of my chest. Even when I lost the puppy fat, my bust was still very evident even though I didn’t have page three bazookas!

So do I think big boobs are better than little ones? Not at all because even I know that there’s a downside to being bigger on top. You have to deal with spiteful comments from women and goggle-eyed stares from men (don’t even get me started on the drunken comments) You have to be careful what you wear because the wrong items of clothing will over-emphasise the bust area; leave you looking matronly, or have you fearing fall-out! Then there are the problems when you get older where your boobs have the bizarre urge to say hello to your feet whereas ladies with smaller boobs look more youthful. And girls who are massively endowed have complained about back-ache to the point where a breast reduction is a necessity rather than for vanity’s sake.

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

Have there been times when I wished my boobs were smaller? Yes. In order to be taken seriously and to stop the stares. I also got quite frustrated at how certain style of clothes looked so elegant on small busted girls while it just looked trashy on me. And of course I do worry about what they’ll look like after pregnancy – will I be tempted to go under the knife in order to obtain perfection? And when complete strangers comment on them, there have been times I’ve definitely wished I was less curvaceous.

But when all’s said and done, I absolutely love what I’ve been blessed with. They’re not totally in your face but they’re mine, they’re a part of me and they’re what I’m used to. And Mr. D is definitely very happy with them! Hollywood stars Christina Hendricks and Catherine Zeta-Jones have both said how having an ample bosom makes them feel “womanly and sexy” and I know exactly what they’re talking about.

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

I didn’t find the article annoying because it seemingly went against what I’ve naturally got. But I feel that talking about what’s en vogue body-wise can have a detrimental effect on women, especially impressionable young girls. Body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders and teenage depression and bullying all seem to be on the increase. You only have to pick up a paper to know that and I don’t feel that features like this help – even though I’m sure it was intended to be nothing more than a light-hearted talking point. It’s one thing to report on survey findings but totally another to debate which breast size is best. And anyway, aren’t we supposed to encourage women to be more than just boobs on legs? Don’t we criticize glamour models, WAGS, and reality stars for being just that? Isn’t it  better, in an age, when breast cancer is a growing concern, that we focus more on having healthy breasts rather than their size?

Image from pixabay. com

Image from pixabay. com

 The truth of the matter is that people are very rarely totally happy with what they have – maybe it’s just human nature. And if my boobs are out of fashion then it’s just a damn good thing that I’ve never really been a follower of fashion which is proven by the number of calls I get from the 1980s! When it comes to loving your body, I would leave all talk about what’s fashionable or not to the catwalks of Paris and Milan and focus on being happy and healthy and making the most of what you’ve been blessed with.

So whether you’ve got pancakes, fried eggs, or melons, stand tall and be proud. Embrace what’s yours and feel totally gorgeous.

 

 

Red Herring Red Alert!

 

You might remember the stunning red lace dress from Marks and Spencer that featured in a Chez Mrs. D post. Well I also stumbled across this equally gorgeous, racy little number by Red Herring, available from Debenhams. I’m not usually one for bright, fire-engine red but to say that I like this dress is like saying Mary Berry enjoys doing a little baking from time to time.

At only £40 it’s a steal. I got to get me down to Debenhams – and quick!

 

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Marks And Spencer’s Red-Hot Red Lace Number

I’ve fallen madly in love… with a dress.

 

 

 

 

 

I came across this vision of loveliness which is part of Marks and Spencer’s new range for autumn 2013. I love everything about this dress from the deep shade of claret to the exquisite design of the lace and the gorgeous scallop-edging. It has a very flattering v-shaped neckline and is slightly off the shoulder. The overall look is classy and elegant and I would love to have this as part of my ever-increasing-to-the-point-where-it’s annoying Mr. D wardrobe.

 

 

 

 

Myleene’s Dress Is Pure Klass

 

I’m not a huge fan of yellow. I don’t think it does anything for me and I have very few yellow items of clothing in my wardrobe. Plus if I did have anything yellow, I’d have to combine it with something black which is the predominant colour in my wardrobe and risk looking like a bumble bee!

And I’m certainly not one to fawn over garments worn, designed or promoted by celebrities. However, I saw this gorgeous yellow, strapless,  broderie dress by singer and presenter, Myleene Klass – and it was like falling in love for the first time! It is stunning. And I think the vibrant yellow shade actually adds something unique to the overall style of the dress. I couldn’t imagine it in any other colour. The cut, the look, the design… I would be thrilled to own something as beautiful as this.

 

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Myleene wore this amazing dress to the Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Awards back in June of this year – and as expected, she looked fabulous in it. For those of you who aren’t into the strapless look, the dress also comes with detachable straps.

 

The dress is available to buy at isme.com

 

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