Thursday, 16 December 2010

Chapter Four

An arm reached out and grabbed her from somewhere in the darkness. Yanking her roughly aside, a hand clamped across her mouth, cutting off the scream that rose in her throat. She tried to turn around but whoever was holding her had her locked in a vice-like grip. She watched in terror as the straggle of passengers moved further and further away. It was only then she realised that it was she who was moving away from them. She was being carried along, half suspended with the points of her heels grazing the tracks below. Then without warning, they leaped and she felt herself sucked through a vacuum. Floating on nothingness for what seemed like hours, they finally came to a stop.

She was thrown down on a hard surface, temporarily knocking her unconscious. When she came to, dread coursed through her veins. She was in the strange ballroom of her nightmare but this time she didn’t appear to be imagining it. She looked up to see Coffee Breath’s pockmarked face looming over her.
‘You!’ She met his unflinching gaze. ‘What the hell is going on?’
‘Wouldn’t you like to know,’ he said nastily.
‘Very nice you two, let’s take a short break.’ The director stepped out from the shadows signalling a rap. Lacey and her fellow actor dropped their assumed guises and gratefully slumped into their seats at the side of the sound stage as the production team and crew milled around with clapper boards and cardboard coffee cups. As the make-up girl approached though, Lacey detected a distinctly hostile air. When she had entered Lacey’s trailer earlier that day she had been chirpy and chatted incessantly in her cockney accent about how much she loved Lacey’s work on the series. But now all expression had deserted her features. Wielding a blusher brush as though it were a deadly weapon, she descended on Lacey’s face and attacked her cheeks with gusto. Now mere inches in front of her, Lacey saw that the girl’s skin was scaled and pale green, her eyes a muted pink. She seemed possessed. Lacey screamed for help but no one heard.

Looking wildly around Lacey saw that the area had been abandoned, scripts tossed aside, chairs overturned and coffee cups lying on their sides spewing their lukewarm contents onto tables and floor. The panic began to gnaw its way up through her insides. Her heart throbbed violently and her skin felt clammy and hot. Not knowing what to do, she carefully extricated herself from beneath the girl’s unblinking stare and moved slowly away, watching the girl who remained in position in front of Lacey’s chair. As she moved further towards the exit Lacey caught sight of a pair of shoes sticking out from behind a train carriage on-set. Brown suede lace-up brogues with denim cuffs above them. She moved closer, and as she stepped round a most shocking sight lay before her. Brown brogues was embroiled in an intense make-out session with a pair of scarlet pumps from which protruded a set of fishnet-stocking encased legs belonging to none other than Winnie Gravington. Lacey’s on-screen nemesis and an aspiring starlet famed as much for her private school-girl etiquette as her acting talent, Winnie currently had her hands glued to Coffee Breath’s head as she energetically probed his mouth with her tongue. Feeling nauseous at this most disturbing of revelations, Lacey’s instinct was to back away. But. She paused, realising Winnie and Coffee Breath, real name, Gus, were probably the only other people still on set at this precise moment. With the exception of course of alien make up girl who was still posing in front of Lacey’s abandoned chair, blusher brush in hand. Taking a deep breath Lacey ventured nearer the empassioned pair writhing around on the makeshift train track.

‘Winnie? Gus?’ she said in a small voice.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Chapter Three

Now 8.47am Lacey and her fellow commuters had been held in the blackened carriage for the best part of an hour. Passengers were beginning to get restless, bitching to each other about the failures of London’s public transport service. The driver could again be heard over the intercom announcing that there had been a power failure of sorts and more news would follow shortly. More grumbles followed and they were once more alone in the darkness. Somewhere in front of her Lacey heard the onslaught of an asthma attack as one girl’s panic gave way to jagged, rasping breaths for air. A haunting concerto kicked in on her iPod play list, as though echoing the drama unfolding before her as the girl’s breathing became distinctly shallower as she choked for breath. Calls for a doctor rumbled through the carriages as those around the suffering girl attempted to help. Lacey wondered if she should offer the girl a drop of her Rescue Remedy, but thought better of it and was relieved when word made its way back to them that a doctor was indeed on board and was making his way down now.

A cramping sensation suddenly attacked her calves as the pressure of balancing on heels threatened to overwhelm her pain threshold. She gripped the seat in front of her, the commotion around the asthmatic gaining force as the doctor arrived on the scene. Lacey watched shapes manifest in the darkness and a cacophony of soothing voices rallying round the girl whose breathing had begun to steady somewhat, aided by an inhaler.

The driver’s voice came over the intercom once more to say that he would be making his way through the length of the train. The passengers would now have to be escorted through the tunnel to the previous station but not before he secured the line. Murmurs of disbelief abounded and the checking of watches created a frisson of activity. Asthmatic girl had since calmed with her breathing regulated and even. Though Lacey feared this development would provoke a second attack and shot her a worried look. However, it appeared the man on crutches beside asthmatic girl was the more likely of the two to have a problem.

Two and a half hours of standing in one spot had reduced Lacey’s body to a vestibule of pins and needles. Still shrouded in near-darkness, her eyes had grown accustomed to the strange surroundings so when a set of emergency lights flickered to life in the tunnel alongside the train she felt a mild burning sensation behind her retinas. Squinting, she surveyed the carriage, her fellow passengers doing the same and shifting irritably in their places. Four policemen, accompanied by transport staff, made their way through the train now, imposing a red sea-like split of passengers and forcing Lacey to compress herself against the seats as they passed.

She caught the eye of the last policemen as he brushed past. Ruggedly handsome beneath his official cap, he smiled at her. Startled, Lacey smiled back too late and inwardly kicked herself for missing an opportunity. She was soon distracted as the driver’s voice could be heard once more. ‘Ladies and gents thank you for your patience this morning,’ he said. ‘If you will now begin slowly making your way through the train…’ People began shuffling forward further along the carriage and Lacey waited for the throng beyond her to show signs of movement before levering herself off her vantage point to join them.

Progress was slow with people waiting for those in front to navigate the darkened carriages, discarded newspapers and uneven tracks of the tunnel. When Lacey finally stepped down onto a wooden plank, the first of many stretching away before her, interspersed with large stones, she almost toppled over. She held out her arms for balance as she maneuvered herself along the uneven pathway, looking like a demented tightrope walker.

And then it happened.

Monday, 13 December 2010

The Matt that got the Cream!!

Four (Cher), three (One Direction), two (Rebecca), won (Matt),
The 2010 X Factor is for this year, done.

Take That ruled the stage throughout the weekend’s events,
As Dermot held the audience in constant suspense.

We waited, on edge, for that final result,
Waited for the drama, the tears, the exult.

Cher wore a skater skirt to rap with,
While One Direction adopted Robbie as their sixth band man.

Rebecca came out on top with a top blonde diva star,
Promoting her new flick Burlesque was Christina Aguilera.

Matt got all cosy with a flame-haired, leggy girl,
Steaming up the stage – is a romance set to unfurl?

We all drew a sigh of disbelief when SiCo’s boyband placed just third,
Convinced that their hoards of admirers would get them on top of the world.

Rebecca was stunningly glorious singing Lennox’s sweet dream hit,
It was a close call in that final showdown, though she needn’t worry one bit.

As far as a career with that voice is concerned, she’s our style and vocal queen,
She’ll get a contract without a doubt; she’ll live out her everlasting dream.

A bromance was sparked on that winner’s stage as Aiden moved in for a hug,
Championing his mate Matt to win, could Rhianna be in for a war of tug?

All the misfits from the audition process gave a terrible rendition of some song,
It was so bad I daren’t name it lest the artist in question should feel wronged.

Cheryl sported a slicked back do and a mermaid tail after that,
Dannii looked pretty in feathery white as she took a bow next to her Matt.

Louis sat patiently in his dickie bow tie looking on as his colleagues acts shone,
He put all his strength into supporting Rebecca urging scousers to pick up the phone.

But it wasn’t enough for the J-Lo-alike as decorator Matt took the crown,
Yet she stood and she radiated staying true to her grace in a floor-length shimmering red gown.

So what will become of our X Factor champ as critics are already quick to compare,
Him to Mr Brookstein of the debut show, of whom no one has heard hide or hair.

I predict more success for Dannii’s protégé,
Mark my words that Mr Cardle is definitely here to stay!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Chapter Two

The clanging became more insistent. ‘I have to get out of here,’ Lacey thought. Suddenly, her eyes flew open. Heart thumping; her eyes roamed wildly, searching for the source of the ringing. She alighted on the illuminated device on her bedside table. It was 7am.

It was a dream. It had all been a dream.

Frantically, she threw herself out from under the covers and began pulling out garments from drawers and cupboards. A rush of dizzying nausea washed over her and she slumped back onto the bed for a moment, regaining her centre. She continued with her morning routine, slipping into her shirt and trouser suit, which she had ironed and pressed the night before. Her mother, a nurse, had already left for work, leaving Lacey alone in the house. Her head throbbed as anxiety and panic gripped her. Doing her best to ignore it, she shouldered her handbag and retrieved her portfolio from the dining room table.

‘I’m going to get this job. I’m going to get this job.’ She repeated her mantra the whole way down the road, inwardly buoying herself along as she made her way into the train station.

Plugging her headphones into her iPod she stood back as the train roared into the station. Joining the crush of people flowing on, she squeezed herself into a space and leaned against the seats of the train carriage prepared to just immerse herself in the music. No such luck, at the next stop an inordinately rude girl stepped onto the train. Lacey tried not to listen as she spewed profanities and verbal abuse into her mobile directed at some poor sod who was apparently at home and thereby unhindered by the affliction of rush-hour tube travel. Phone call over, angry girl then turned her fury on some poor fellow standing in front of her. Blasting him for his McDonald’s-own coffee breath and abject proximity to her in such a small and confined space; she muttered that situations such as this explained how people were convicted of ABH. Lacey exchanged an alarmed look with the lady standing opposite. Coffee breath tried to explain there was little manoeuvrability for him as angry girl pointed out some space behind him. To her irritation he refused to move into it. She huffed and puffed until the train finally pulled into Finchley Road where to everyone’s relief she alighted – Lacey assumed to wreak havoc for the community of the Jubilee Line.

A deluge of people replaced angry girl and others who got off and the train continued forward on its journey. A few minutes after departing the next station, the train heaved to an untimely stop somewhere within the tunnel. Most people didn’t particularly notice this fact, engrossed in morning headlines and assorted literature. Then the lights went out plunging the train into darkness. Lacey looked up at the carriage ceiling, expecting the overhead beams to come back on. But nothing happened. Trying to ignore the unease tugging at her consciousness, she studied her fellow passengers in the muted light. People on top of people. Bags pressed into the backs of others. Sighs of irritation. The hands on so many watches ticking down the minutes as they stood and sat in unfriendly silence, willing the train to move forward so they could attend to appointments, meetings and other working commitments.

The driver’s voice crackled through the intercom. It sounded alien and far away.
‘Sorry for the delay to your journey Ladies and Gents, I’m just waiting to hear what the problem is but hopefully we’ll be on the move again soon.’ A murmur of discontented grumbles passed through the carriage. Lacey tried to peer out, beyond the double layered windows into the tunnel but recoiled at seeing the red brick of wall mere inches from the train’s exterior. Breathing heavily she fished in her bag for the bottle of Rescue Remedy she had plucked from the bathroom cabinet before leaving the house. Her trusty aid for the nerve-inducing ordeal of the interview; she slipped a few drops onto her tongue now, relishing the taste of the calming ingredients as they dissolved in her mouth.

She swallowed and shifted slightly on her 4” black Louboutin heels. Discomfort was beginning to settle on her limbs as the time passed, slowly.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Chapter One

She couldn’t understand it. One moment she’d been sitting patiently in the lobby with her portfolio, alongside all the other girls in their starched white shirts and Zara trouser suits, waiting for her name to be called. The next she appeared to be suspended in some kind of alternate reality. The room, empty and dark with high ceilings and low-hanging chandeliers looked across between the hotel ballroom in The Shining and the decorated hall of her graduation ball. The red leather couch which had moments ago been occupied by two other girls, fidgeting and nervous, was now bare. Lacey made to stand up, causing something to rustle underfoot. She looked down to find the pages of her carefully constructed portfolio fanned out in a chaotic pile on the marble floor.

She tried to peer into the blackness and called out. ‘Is anyone there?’ But all that she heard was her own voice echoing back at her from the cavernous corners of the eerie gloom.

The job she had been about to interview for was as a Junior Copywriter within one of London’s top advertising agencies. Highly competitive, ruthlessly creative and the ideal beginning to her dream career. The application process had been a nightmare. As it turned out, thinking outside the box was not as easy as the woman on the phone had made it sound. ‘Just remember, she’d said. ‘You’re idea has got to be better than all the other hundreds of applicants.’ Lacey was sure she had meant it to spur her on, but she’d hung up the phone more apprehensive than ever.

The brief she’d been set was to develop a television ad campaign for Blue Star, the up-and-coming denim brand of the tweenage generation. So she’d brainstormed and called upon the prepubescent thoughts of her youngest sister and her friends and worked it all out on a big A3 flip pad from Rymans. Convinced she’d landed on a genius idea she’d run it past her Dad’s advertising pal who’d been in the business for ten or so years, and who had encouraged her to apply in the first place. He had tweaked and critiqued in red pen and handed it back to her to polish up. She’d cried with premature defeat and had then wiped her eyes, berated her self-doubt and got on with the task at hand. Happy now with the final result, involving gymnasts wearing the jeans and performing a series of routines in them to reveal their elasticity and comfort before teaming them with the sparkly halter tops favoured by her sister’s generation to take them from day to night; Lacey had sent off her application to Wyatt and Sullivan with immense trepidation.

Hardly daring to check the post, her email or her answer machine messages, she had immersed herself in mundane chores around the house, helping her mother with washing, shopping, cleaning and cooking. Anything to distract herself from thinking about what the outcome would be. This was the first proper paying job she had applied for since leaving university. Of course she had managed to secure the required work experience, the first placement via her Dad’s advertising buddy, Phil, and afterwards, through sheer determination and initiative. She had proved herself a remarkable asset and all five placements had resulted in glowing reviews and reams of examples for her portfolio.

The call from Wyatt and Sullivan had come exactly eleven days later, not that she’d been counting, from the same woman who had filled her with doubt over her application. She’d been granted an interview and was to appear at the firm’s London office two days later. As soon as the line had disconnected, she’d emitted a scream of unadulterated joy. The nerves had soon set in however as it dawned on her that she’d only made it past round one.

Somewhere in the depths of blackness a ringing started up, muffled at first but gradually gaining momentum. Lacey shut her eyes.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Two Fat Ladies

Mary and Ann, no not wives of a King,
This weekend took their final spin and sing.

Strictly fans finally booted out, the mouthy PM known as Widdy,
As Scott & Nat danced circles around her, turning her head all giddy.

A twist in the usual proceedings saw Mary ousted for Cher,
Cowell, Cole & Minogue voted no, as Louis cried it just wasn’t fair.

Mary beat the crying Cher hands down with her vocal skill,
But Cher’s urban cool has Simon convinced she’ll more likely top the bill.

Last night saw a spectacular host of guests wow the cheering crowd,
From upside down violinists to Glee it was a night to make music proud.

Cheryl’s music pal and his fellow Black Eyed Peas,
Had the time of their lives on the X Factor stage – but that Will, he’s a right old tease.

He wouldn’t confirm either way which of Cheryl’s girls he prefers,
He thinks Rebecca’s having a Gaye old time but he also rather likes Cher.

The cast of Glee incited the finalists to keep on believing they can win,
As Matt, Rebecca, One Direction and Cher, prepare to learn who’ll sink and who’ll swim.

Meanwhile on Strictly a romance was aired as Kara’s partner confirmed they’re an Artem,
And their Moulin Rouge Tango was sizzling hot – the judges just can’t get enough of them!

Pamela scored a perfect 4-0 on the weekend she turned 61,
While Matt Baker injected the show with some goofy and groovy and most of all, fun!

Gavin finally turned in a brilliant performance with a Blues Brothers’ inspired routine,
Mastering the dancefloor with two weeks to go – will he realise his other sporting dream?

Back to ITV and the ‘next big boyband’ are continuing to take the show by storm,
Attending the world premiere of the new Narnia film, this lifestyle’s becoming the norm.

Although the clear vocalists are Rebecca and Matt, I’m not sure this year that’s enough,
As Britain’s population of teenage girls keep voting to save their teen crush.

Apparently flu was doing the rounds catching Simon and Matt in its trap,
To be honest though, I truly believe that VT was overkill of bedridden Matt.

It’s cold outside, and bugs abound, it’s standard for this time of year,
Let’s not make a federal case out of it, just get up and persevere.

Sympathy votes will no longer work as the finale edges closer to our screens,
But who will be voted as this year’s champion, our X Factor King(s) or Queen?

Friday, 3 December 2010

Life's Little Luxuries

* Is the knowledge that something is of the utmost quality
* Is embodied by prestige and superior craftsmanship
* Exists in Michelin starred restaurants, five star hotels, the rails in a designer store, decadent interiors and Fortnum & Mason
* Means paying top dollar because you know that it will last for years to come
* Comes wrapped in tissue paper with a silky bow around it
* Is exclusive, exceptional, unique
* Is the treat you indulge yourself with just once in awhile
* Distinguishes the classy from the classless
* Can be found where you are least expecting it – a boutique off a New York side street, a gorgeous body cream in Boots, the interior of a friend’s home…
* Is discernable by the rest of life’s experiences
* Can be enjoyed by just one person or by many all at once
* Implies a great deal of thought and affection when bestowed upon someone else
* Means something different depending on who you are and where you come from – it is something that makes you feel privileged, whether it be for one minute or one week
* Is immersing yourself in the pages of a good book
* Is a warm bath and hot food on a cold day
* A call from an old friend
* A handwritten letter from a loved one
* Is the way that dress, that necklace, that suit makes you feel when you wear it
* Is an hour long massage at your local spa
* Is a movie on a Wednesday afternoon
* Is a spontaneous lunch with friends
* Is spending the day at your favourite art gallery
* Is sitting front row at a concert or the theatre
* Is crawling into a comfortable bed at the end of a really long, hard day
* Is attainable for those who reach for it

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Hilarious easyJet tube ad

The Art of Long Copy - The London Long Copy Challenge 2010
In association with CBS Outdoor and my former workplace, Campaign magazine.

Read this hilarious entry from Publicis London, for easyJet:

So I said to Sofia (from £35.99), I said, ‘What the Helskinki (from £27.99) are you on about? I’m not getting up at 4am. That’s taking the Mykonos (from £35.99). I’m Tallinn (from £29.99) you, with Speedy Boarding there’s no need for me to be up that Orly (from €28.99). I’ll have plenty of time at the airport to get Cologne (from £25.99) for Uncle Tel Aviv (from £101.99). And something Nice (from £25.99) for your Nantes (from €24.99). Corfu (from £41.99) girl! My first business trip, and you’re acting like a Catania (from €24.99) hot tin roof.’ So off I go, and Kos (from £35.99) easyJet only fly to main airports, the hotel wasn’t too Faro (from £25.99) away. I’m on the terrace in two Sharm El Sheikhs (from £102.99) of a lambs tail, having an ice cold Biarritz (from €29.99) at the Bari (from €19.99) with this German fella Bilbao (from £27.99). ‘Venice (from £27.99) your return flight to Gatvick?’ he asks. ‘And after the meeting, do you fancy Lyon (from £25.99) on the beach?’ ‘Sure’ I said, knowing that if I got Bordeaux (from £25.99) and wanted to Split (from £23.99), I could always catch an earlier flight home at no charge. What’s Toulouse (from £27.99)? Wherever you’re flying on business, it’s a Pisa (from £27.99) cake on

Monday, 29 November 2010

Britain's shot one less "Talent"

Do my eyes and ears deceive me, can it really be true,
Finally, eight weeks in, the Wagner did not get through?

Well praise the lord is all I can say, I thought the haters would go for broke,
But come on, if he’d been in the final it would have been an almighty joke.

And pop goes the Waissel, how convenient for Mr Cowell,
His most talked-about acts booted just before the semi-round.

They’ve done their job putting bums in seats and getting headlines filled every day,
But with two weeks to go till the final showdown he has sent them both on their way.

Although Mary Byrne has lost the edge, I’m not so enamoured any more,
Feel she would benefit the West End stage, over selling out platinum world tours.

And OMG Rebecca came on stage in a totally different dress,
I believe it was a sign that the tides had turned (or maybe she’s just trying to impress).

‘Cause rumour has it that she and Matt are embroiled in a mutual crush,
Delaying their romance till the show’s end, it’s all about looks and don’t touch!

Cher’s ego grows with each strand of fake hair as she beams like a delighted child,
You ain’t won just yet love so please try to curb yourself from acting a little too wild.

Am loving One Direction though Zain he can’t count speaking for the very first time,
Said it’s great to come out with five of your friends each and every Saturday night.

Actually dear you’re one of those five, just had to set you straight,
Maybe just let your looks do the talking so we can still think that you’re great…

Rebecca needs to move just to show that she can, it’s starting to bug me now,
How she stands very still to deliver her songs, barely moving to take a bow.

Meanwhile last night a US teen sensation, the one who flirted with Ms Cole,
Mimed all through his act and elaborate dance routine (as if we wouldn’t know!)

Love The Wanted but wasn’t so keen on their performance at last night’s show,
Forwarded through Nicole’s debut, found it lacked the heart and soul,

That is ‘needed’ on X Factor to make people believe that you are connecting with the words,
Just saying perhaps Ms Scherzinger could make use of the lessons our contestants have learned.

Dermot and Konnie did their thing and Dannii’s hair beat out Cheryl in the charts,
The charity single went to number one but where are we next aiming our darts?

Who will be dropped in the semis next week and who will be our final four?
Whoever goes out, not to worry, they’ll be joining the X Factor tour.

Friday, 26 November 2010

It's Not Over till the Fat Lady Spins...

It is my general feeling that reality TV is a bust,
As those that defy its (true) purposes have become the public must.

Keeping in the likes, of Widdecombe, Wagner and McKeith,
To evoke salacious headlines, that are truly beyond belief.

Fainting fits and ridiculous claims that the old bat is (cough) ‘with child’,
Have the viewers agog and the press tuned in and her fellow jungle folk riled.

Sheryl Gascoigne has been booted out as McKeith goes slowly mad,
Raving like a loony behind jungle bars, things ain’t never looked so bad.

Meanwhile hopping back across, to this cold dark side of the world,
It’s the voters who’ve lost their marbles, perhaps you haven’t heard.

Seems us Brits have a penchant, for uncoordinated former PMs,
And loonies that lie and Brazilians that try, to send us to our wits’ end.

Yes poor Anton’s back must be in want of a rub, after weeks of dragging around,
His less than svelte partner whose misshapen routines, just worsen with every round.

There’s no room for talent, it seems, any more – no instead we’re just after some laughs,
As Strictly and X cater to an audience intent on garnering a farce.

The real X Factor favourite, he of the decorator’s hat,
Concerned about W’s voting power, last week cornered his foe in a spat.

Brawling at show rehearsals Matt accused the Brazilian of being rude,
Bad-mouthing their fellow contestants, with comments upsetting and lewd.

Convinced that Wagner will win, when it comes to the show finale,
He branded W a “joke” and said he had a “terrible feeling”,

That the TV terrorists who are keeping him in will be out in force on that day,
Condemning the real stars and their fans to a television parody.

Week after week he sails on through smug written all over his face,
Well I urge you people of Britain to knock him out before it’s too late.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The Naked Dress

As headlines turn to the all-important question of who will be chosen to design Kate Middleton’s wedding gown; the barely-there frock that caught the Prince’s eye back in 2002 is rumoured to be worth £100,000.

Worn by our future Queen at a charity fashion show while at St Andrews University, the designer Charlotte Todd said it cost her only £30 to put the dress together back in 2000. However, Ms Todd has also said she will never sell it despite bookies predicting it will rise in value to a possible £100,000 if Kate becomes Queen. The last time a “naked” dress sparked so much interest was back in the mid-1990s with season one (episode 6: Secret Sex) of Sex and the City which saw Big fall for Carrie, in a big way!

So what of the latest “naked” dress? Returned to Ms Todd’s mother’s closet following the fashion show, the 31 year-old received an offer for £1,000 to sell the dress but refused. A fashion one-hit-wonder, she did not go on to pursue a design career opting instead for a job in an aquarium. But she can hold onto her claim to fame with her role in the royal love story after William really noticed Kate when she strutted down the catwalk in Ms Todd’s design. She said, ‘It’s part of fashion history – the moment William could first have fallen in love with Kate – and that makes me really proud.’

With the date set and the venue booked, Britain prepares for the royal wedding and a new bank holiday weekend (which as luck would have it, coincides with my own wedding anniversary on May 2nd). So who will be the lucky fashionista who gets to join Ms Todd in continuing the tapestry of this royal love story? Bets are on Philippa Lepley as the designer of choice with those in the style-know predicting Ms Middleton will want to choose someone well-established but without a celebrity that will overpower her own on her special day.

Previous designers who have dressed those brides entering into the British monarchy include Sassi Holford (, Jasper Conran ( and Lindka Cierach ( Despite cementing their love with Princess Diana’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring, it is unlikely that William’s fiancée will opt to be dressed by Elizabeth Emanuel, who famously designed Diana’s bridal gown for her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981.

So we can but wait. Only five months to go… can our patience hold out?!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Please Sir, I want some more...

Little orphan Waissel went from blonde to brown,
Avoiding the bottom two for once, can she now visualise her crown?

They say a change is as good as a rest, and it seems to have done the trick,
As Katie was first to make it through, but can she make it stick?

An internet leak of the voting results revealed an interesting fact,
Katie and Cher came in at equal footing …methinks I smell a rat…!

Journalist Samantha Wood spoke to Xtra Factor’s Konnie Huq,
Asking where does Katie’s performance end (umm… what about her luck?)

A sobbing Cher went head-to-head with Dannii’s little soul man,
And Louis ended Paije’s dream (despite saying he was his biggest fan).

Dermot popped a little kiss on top of Cher’s fake hair,
(Yes Lloyd’s Mum revealed her secret stash in a slight TV overshare).

The headlines detailing Katie’s death threats had to share the limelight,
With the Pope approving of condom use, yes you heard that right.

And it seems someone will benefit, with reports Waissel’s nan charges by the hour,
But ITV insisted it wouldn’t mark Katie’s departure from X Factor Towers.

Rebecca wore the same damn dress for the third (or fourth week) in a row,
It must be lucky for the Liverpool lass (or else she’s run out of clothes!)

The joke of this year’s line up was MIA from the group performance,
It would have been a mockery for him to “sing” in the name of a worthwhile cause.

Mr Matt paraded out in a wife-beater for Beatles night,
Simon wasn’t keen on it …perhaps he found it too tight?!

Although we know that Mr Cowell is a fan of the clingy white shirt,
Maybe he wasn’t aware of the fact that imitation is a flattery of sorts.

One Direction is everyone’s faves, even Olly Murs is in their corner,
One look, one sound, one height it’s true is equal to five performers.

Last year’s runner-up took to the stage and put everyone else to shame,
Cheeky chappy Olly won us over again as he touted his rise to fame.

With just four weeks left in this year’s comp, the pressure is on the rise,
But who in the end will walk away with 2010’s X Factor prize…?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Will and Kate

Going to the A-a-abbey, gonna get ma-a-arried, getting to the abbey on time,
Yes Prince Wills and future Queen Kate’s engagement has inspired a rhyme.

Hiding the £28,000 ring in his backpack on a trip to the South African wild,
Wills took days to work up the nerve to propose to his belle with a smile.

Attending yesterday’s photo-call dressed in royal blue,
Miss Middleton’s certainly getting in gear by opting for that hue.

The sapphire and diamond heirloom that once graced the hand of Princess Di,
Has found its place on Kate’s fair hand, only a measly nine years shy.

Waiting for Wills to pop the question, with drama and break-ups in between,
Kate must have thought all her chances were up of becoming England’s future Queen.

Now the rumour-mill is abuzz with who will design the bridal gown,
Will it be Daniella Issa, whose designs share the spotlight with the crown?

Camilla declared the impending nuptials “wicked”, at least that’s how it sounded,
I’m sure she’ll be able to tutor Wills’ ‘commoner bride’ on how best to stay grounded.

Prince Harry is thrilled to welcome Kate into the fold, after big bro popped the question,
He’s “delighted” to be gaining the sister he wanted [he’s lining up pranks to get her attention].

Reports state that the young royal couple will marry in the summer of next year,
So all other brides had better take note and make sure their venues are clear.

‘Cause you don’t want to find out the caterer’s double booked or the florist can’t do your bouquet,
Or your dressmaker’s tied up and they’re out of confetti to sprinkle on your own special day.

The Queen released an official statement joining the ranks of twitterverse,
To wish one's grandson and his beautiful girl all the love in the world.

Harking back to glorious memories of royal weddings gone by,
All the royalists will be lining the streets to watch the son of Princess Di,

As he rides in the Palatial carriage to Westminster Abbey to wed,
His blushing bride, Catherine Middleton, the future of our UK homestead.

Because news just in, the PMs requested a bank holiday off for all,
So rather than work we’ll all be glued to our TVs in utter thrall.

Commemoration mugs and five pound coins will surely be going on sale,
So get yours quick to celebrate in style this imperial fairytale…

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Dior Illustrated: In Words

“To be inspired by Dior is to be inspired by René Gruau.”
John Galliano

Ploughing through the crowds streaming along London’s Strand, she clasped his hand tightly so as not to be plied apart. They bowed their heads against the burning winds, faces frozen with cold. With the weekend train lines operating a partial service, the journey had involved a multitude of different transport options. From overground rail to London’s red buses to overcrowded tubes they had battled their way into the capital. Passing an ongoing protest outside Zimbabwe House they observed a diverse mix of people flanked by white boards with varying slogans plastered across them. People stood to one side taking an assortment of photographs and video footage, but the couple continued forward. Tailored doormen ushered fur-covered guests of the Savoy Hotel into black taxis and groups of barely dressed teenage girls flowed out of the doors of Topshop and Pizza Hut.

Pausing to run into Tesco Express on the corner to grab some lunch, the couple spied a deluge of official cars and police horses fanning out around the juncture they were intending to go down. Exiting Tesco, complete with a £2 meal deal-a-piece, they crossed the road and headed toward their destination, watching as the police vans, cars and horses attended to maintaining a vehicle-free thoroughfare.

Seeing the entrance to Somerset House up ahead, they dove inside the arched passageway and made their way slowly into the courtyard. Standing to one side, they ate their sandwiches, watching as a group of workmen milled around the ice rink that was in the process of being assembled. Pieces of wood were being sawn and lights attached to the towering Christmas tree at the entrance to the rink. The word ‘SKATE’ had been applied in large lettering to the front of Somerset House and lunch eaten they continued down the right-hand side of the rink to the main entrance.

A gaggle of art students huddled together on the steps and the couple navigated past them, coming out into the warmth of the reception. A sign for the exhibition stood centrally, directing them towards the Stamp staircase where they were to follow the imprint of René Gruau’s trademark signature. Like fashion breadcrumbs the black star and symbol led them further and further down into the heart of the building, through a set of glass doors and into the atrium where a line of people was queuing to purchase tickets to the exhibit. She brandished their pre-printed tickets at the woman behind the till and they were ushered through. An introduction to the exhibition provided their first port of call within the empty space of black and cream. It spoke of the instantly recognisable and enduring fashion and beauty images created by Gruau throughout the 20th century and of the artist’s illustrious relationship with his great friend, Christian Dior. The couple read the full text and then turned to ascend the spiral staircase that would take them to the display proper.

On first impression, she was awed by the designs spread out before them along the narrow mezzanine of works on show. He pulled her attention back to the start, directing her to work her way round slowly, absorbing each element individually.

Starting with a collection of works entitled: ‘Flower Woman’, they marvelled at Gruau’s first advertising illustrations for Diorissimo, Dior’s perfume created in 1956. The image revealed the posterior of a woman clothed in a backless elegant black sheath dress, holding a bouquet of flowers. Text accompanying the group revealed Dior explaining his floral theme: “I was drawing flower women, soft, sloping shoulders, generous busts, a slim waist and wide skirts like flower petals.” The images were beautiful, she marvelled, and he too expressed his admiration of the diversity in presentation, from simple monochrome to sinuous floral compositions.

He enjoyed the playful and down-to-earth series for L’Homme Gruau, depicting a man’s hairy legs in a variety of poses and settings in advertisements for Dior’s Eau Savage aftershave. Gruau combined humour and near-nudity to transpose the age-old ideal of the femme fatale.

From the starkly modern illustrations featured in the series for line and silhouette, to the Pop Art-style impressions within gesture and attitude; Gruau’s designs revealed a sharp eye and intuition for coming trends and a wider awareness of the changing cultural landscape.

“I always seek to reproduce what I have come across in life. I record a pose, a look or a smile. It is almost photographic.”
René Gruau

The couple wondered along taking in the extent of works on display, coming to a selection of compositions at the far end of the exhibition that showed pieces created by a handful of modern artists in the guise of Dior’s central themes. Casting their critique on each of the works, they each agreed on one which certainly paid tribute to the exquisite genius of Gruau. She was drawn to a silhouetted sculpted work of black, yellow and white plastic, which revealed the outline of a woman holding an umbrella, while he recognised Gruau’s humour from the Eau Savage adverts, in an illustration by Richard Kilroy which featured a man attempting to extricate himself from his clothes leaving him faceless with just his torso on display.

They made their way along the opposite wall, stopping to admire a set of mannequins, behind glass, encased in various designs by Dior. Listening to the thoughts of other visitors to the works, the general consensus was one of praise and inspiration for Gruau’s flair and insight. The couple made their way out of the exhibition, deeply inspired by René Gruau’s line of beauty so intrinsically captured in the motifs and designs of Christian Dior.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Get Wagner Out!!!

It is now officially the world’s biggest farce,
As ‘Vagner’ rolls through again and Aiden’s out on his arse.

Paije was convinced he was a goner, it was written all over his face,
As Dermot revealed he’d made it through, escaping his fall from grace.

In the bottom two since the start of the show,
We were all convinced that Katie would go.

But no, the shock as Dannii’s crooner took the hit,
In favour of Louis’, tuneless Brazilian twit.

Simon is really starting to get on my wick,
Booting Rachel last year for not being the public pick.

But ‘cause Waissel makes headlines week in week out,
Cowell just sits back and lets the others fight it out.

So long as his boyband continue sailing through,
He honestly doesn’t care who else we hiss and boo.

Touted by their boyband peers to win this years’ contest,
The boys are moving higher towards their fame conquest.

Harry is the stud and Zain the token harmony,
Liam and Louis look the same, while Niall’s the lil blondie.

With over 150,000 facebook fans on the social networking site,
The other acts better watch themselves, they’re in for an almighty fight.

Rocking an Elton John anthem, fresh from a trip to Leicester Square,
They love Emma Watson and the spotlight, they’re literally floating on air.

And did anyone notice in this week’s results, Rebecca wore the same dress as before,
Am thinking her style crown may take a tumble post her Sunday night fashion faux pas.

While Cheryl rocked the Minnie Mouse look, with a hint of Princess Lea,
Cher stepped closer to her transformation to become Cole’s mini replica.

Mary for me has lost her appeal, think she’s tired and should cut her losses,
She truly belongs on the West End stage, could someone have a word with the ITV bosses?

Matt’s still gorgeous though wasn’t keen on this week’s song,
But it ain’t his fault that the theme was Elton John.

Feel sorry for Louis Walsh, Simon’s rudeness is beginning to get old.
But his acts JLS and Westlife last night proved their weight in gold.

The women squealed as then onto the stage came their girlhood fantasy,
The reformed Take That performed their song, complete with Mr Robbie.

Seal revealed he’s backing Rebecca as this year’s star,
But the way that things are going, it could be (gulp) Wagner!!!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Morning Catastrophe!

OMG!! I had the biggest catastrophe this morning,
As I was getting dressed I experienced a fatal dawning,

That my treasured ring bought by my Dad to celebrate my wedding,
Was lost, gone, vanished, I searched everywhere including my bedding.

I vaguely recalled I may have left it in the fourth floor toilet at work,
So panicking I raced to get out of the house, berating myself for being a jerk.

Then the damn train was packed to the hilt with people refusing to budge,
So I heaved and cajoled till they shifted aside with a deft little push and a nudge.

Some horrible man was loudly chewing literally right into my ear,
So with one finger rammed in my eardrum, the other had to hold on in fear.

As the train jolted and bucked from Harrow to town, my distress became gradually more,
I could feel the sweat building, my fear reflected in the fogged up windows of the door.

Swapping over at Finchley Road I raced from the Met to the Jubilee,
Thankfully chewing man didn't follow as I willed for the train to hurry.

Arrived at Green Park and did something unusual, well what I don't usually do,
I strode up the escalators at warped speed anxious to get to that loo.

Face full of panic I got to reception hoping someone handed it in to them,
No came the answer but we'll put out a message and let you know if it comes in.

Meeting a colleague waiting for the lift I recounted my tragic tale,
Together we rode up to the fateful loo as I rushed in face haggard and pale.

My heart stopped, as OMG sitting on the white windowsill I saw,
My ring, where I'd left it, sparkling in the sunlight, I exhaled and sank to the floor.

Gathering myself and my treasured ring I returned to my desk panic-free,
And sat down to write of all I've gone through with my morning catastrophe!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Exercising my right to stay in bed...

The cold weather is staging its yearly vendetta,
Convincing me that abandoning the gym for a lie-in is better.

Far better to stay where it’s warm and treadmill free,
Than emerge at dawn into conditions that are dark and icy.

The effort before bed of packing a bag, remembering trainers, knickers and shampoo,
When it’s so much easier to just stay at home where those things are all in plain view.

I’ll just walk up the five flights of stairs that take me from ground floor to work,
That’ll get the blood pumping and legs a burning, and without costing the earth.

Though of course that monthly membership fee with trickle on out of my account,
But I do go on Saturdays and train extra hard, I’m doing something to make it count.

It’s easier to plan to get out of bed when the light’s streaming in through your window,
When you don’t have to pile on a million layers just to take leave of your bed throw.

‘Cause the heating ain’t on at 5am so the house resembles an igloo,
And at this time of year I’m battling, all the yucky symptoms of flu.

No, my weekday gym visits may well be postponed, at least till the looming new year,
When I’ll reboot my resolve before the cold came, and force myself to persevere.

I’ll convince myself, that the violent shivering, that comes with these cold weather days,
Will shed many pounds of unwanted weight, leaving me trim for parties.

So my Saturday work-outs will just have to do, as I weight out the ice, rain and snow,
And then I’ll return, fighting fit, to reclaim that svelte figure I used to know.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Borne in the USA!!!

In the final four left standing before Dermot announced the last two,
I finally thought Wagner’s time was up, but shock horror D announced he got through!

So Little Miss Treyc was booted after last night’s drama show,
As Cheryl didn’t do a Meryl, refusing to let either girl go.

The Madness of Waissel continued as she publicly suffered a breakdown,
Slumping onto the stage mid-performance convinced she ain’t getting the crown.

Throwing her toys from her high-maintenance pram she looked to throw in the towel,
But lived to see another round saved by a Walsh and a Cowell.

Beautiful Matt and Rebecca, thankfully sailed into next week,
Followed by Aiden and the Bieber boys, who finally served up a treat.

Breaking formation from one straight line, they danced and grooved like Wild Cats,
Channelling High School Musical spirit and fun, they showed Efron who’s really the man!

Mary lost her will to sing, claiming she’s missing her daughter,
Surprisingly though instead of her, two other lambs were sent to the slaughter.

I guess one bad week ain’t enough to discourage fans of the Irish bird,
With Louis fighting her corner each week, adamant she be seen and heard.

Paije went all retro… oh yes, yet again, with his country club look on show,
Likened to comic Len Henry, with his yellow cardi in tow.

Cher glowered at Simon’s comments, “accepting” his view of her skill,
Though I worry for Mr X Factor, just saying, ‘if looks could kill…’

Dannii’s big sis came out sparkling complete with very high heels,
Bringing her level with Dermot, when he joined her to make his spiel.

JT lookalike Mr Shane Ward flaunted his bod and new song,
With a Matrix-style backdrop he stood up high well away from the screaming throng.

From Viva Las Vegas to Keyes’ New York, American Anthems reigned,
But who will the British public chop next as the hopefuls get nearer to fame.

Friday, 5 November 2010

A Fashion Night Out

Suave, sexy waiters bearing glassy black trays,
Of tubes of Prosecco and assorted canapés.

Furs and velvets, chiffons and silks, all crying out to be touched,
The spectrum of jewel tones in emerald, amethyst and ruby are this season’s fashionable must.

Complimented by soft greys and blacks, something shimmering catches my eye,
The black sequinned sleeve of a body-tight dress winks from the rail on my right.

Wellington boots with embellishments looking like equestrian overlays,
Ranging from leopard-print to sequins, makes light of rain-sodden days.

Perched on a black marble shelf I spy footwear that makes me exhale,
Shoe-boots emblazoned with buckles and studs call me over to check their details.

Too heavy to hold, let alone wear, I replace them and move onto the next,
Lace overlaid pumps in yellow and mauve, I consider bouncing a cheque.

Beautiful bags in leather and suede, buttery soft to the feel,
In browns and deep purples, camel and grey, I sense myself starting to reel.

The InStyle editor beckons us close to pay tribute to this incredible brand,
An assistant comes over and gives me history-in-brief of the polka dot shirt in my hand.

The shop-floor seems endless and I circulate further, roaming from one end to the other,
I step into the men’s side, forgetting myself, yet greeted by a hot Dolce lover.

But the one piece that repeatedly beckons me forth is protected by clear solid glass,
The most exquisite necklace I’ve ever seen, outstanding in look and in class.

Evocative of Tom Binns’ charm-laden creations, its amethyst stones twinkle bright,
Set in a chunky pearl and gold chain I imagine with which outfit it would look right.

A pear-shaped stone at the end of the chain, perfectly accenting the clasp,
My eye is suddenly drawn to a ruby version and unthinkingly I let out a gasp.

I stand and reflect if my desire is warranted to free these most beautiful things,
From their glass-cased enclosure of visual display, it’s a crime to keep them within.

Reluctantly though, I turn on my heel, taking one final look back,
At this wondrous trove of treasures and more, and assistants in top-to-toe black.

A black and gold bag is placed in my hands as I depart this most stylish soiree,
Filled with cosmetics and a magazine, unbeknownst to those glaring my way.

Sporting a bag bearing one of the most iconic of all fashion names,
I float home on a dream cloud of fabric and colour, now sure of my long-term aim!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Twitter and Tweet

I used to think it was a waste of space, chaps spouting out thoughts willy nilly,
But then I considered, after losing my job, I should really stop being so silly.

It really is a fabulous portal to network and spread it about,
That I’m kinda looking and if they …you know, then maybe they’d give me a shout.

From PRs to lawyers, and admen to eds, the creatives are tweeting in force,
And drivers and popstars, businessmen and women are also joining in of course.

A worldwide phenomenon, genius, inspired, it’s swept the globe far and wide,
As tweets flow fast all day and all night, people frantically keeping their stride.

Demi and Ashton like to post naughty pics, showing they really are real,
Girls follow Chace and other hot bods convinced this’ll clinch them the deal.

Copycats make bids for awesome book deals pretending to be random stars,
From Cole to Fry, Waissel and more, they fire off ‘witty-some’ bars.

Competitions and discounts, headlines and news all make it onto the feed,
As thousands sign on each and every day, hungry for the titbits they’ll read.

Collecting followers is the new biggest fad, replacing stickers and stamps,
As people revel in virtual fanbases, competing to be the tweet champ.

Addicted to knowing what’s just been posted, checking computer and iPhone,
Boring your colleagues, parents, lovers and friends, ignoring their long-suffering groans.

Jeopardising work and relationships to dedicate much of your time,
To refreshing the page just once more, to see if that person you mentioned replied.

Jumping with unconcealed excitement when a text alert vibrates through,
That you’ve just got a direct message from that person you think’s really cool.

Yes, Twitter is the online place to see, be seen and stay tuned,
To the ways of the world in this fast-moving era, where only our fingers get pruned.

Tapping away till our digits go numb, and the time fades into the past,
Perhaps in our future we’ll hazily recall what we said in our first Twitter blast?

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Strike Three...

They claim they’ve no power, financial or real, as we daily clamber aboard,
Fighting for space, a metro or seat, just to be told to get off!!

Windows get fogged in the cold winter months as viruses make use of the space,
Reluctantly people crack open the windows, though not before coughing in your face.

Silence typically settles as people choose not to converse,
Rather to sleep with headphones on ears or get lost in their favourite book.

Only when stuck in tunnels for hours on end do Londoners engage with their peers,
Sharing in common dislikes for the tube and discussing frustrations and fears.

You’d think for £169 a month they could deliver a service to boot,
I certainly don’t expect to complete, my morning commute on foot.

Millions of Oyster cards swiping us through as we head straight into rush hour,
Faces are dark, expecting the worst, turning ever so slowly more sour.

Delays, signal failures, people falling on tracks, the problems just seem to get worse,
At this rate, any hope of arriving on time will more likely come thanks to a hearse.

Huffing and cursing, in-fighting abounds as priority seats become sparse,
Forcing earlybirds up from their comfortable perches to make room for those old and knocked up!

As the third of three strikes takes effect on this eve, the buses will be crammed to the hilt,
I stop for a moment and consider just how TFL staff can sleep with the guilt,
Of causing such ‘mares for us London folk who rely on the carriages and wheels,
To transport us to work and meetings and such, where we’ll bash out our deadlines and deals.

Facing epic treks to locales far and wide most would prefer to stay home,
But bosses alike will hear none of that, ignoring our pleas and our groans.

With tube staff loitering outside the closed stations directing angry mobs away,
Bus drivers revel in the unadulterated need that commuters have for them this day.

Pushing and shoving to get on at their stop, getting thrown every time the bus halts,
We’ll all stand together, clinging on for dear life, bitching of all the tube’s faults.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Genius Comes in many forms...

They tried to revive the five-piece boyband, with a little F, Y and D,
But they were soon stripped of their dancing shoes live on Sunday TV.
The Brazilian joker of Walsh’s pack survived to the shock of the nation,
While a certain blonde cried her heart out, singing in desperation.
The headlines were full of spite, accusing Cheryl of not bringing her A-Gamu,
While an Italian diva and has-been rock leader were ousted by the public shoe!
Mad and brooding, creating a craze, Aiden let us into his world,
Evoking eerie presence and pin-up looks, his performance won over the girls.
A certain painter in a certain hat finally opened his eyes,
Melting the heart of every female with his lyrical, soulful surprise.
Camp and colourful, Simon’s duo painted the X Factor stage green, pink and blue,
An Irish songstress belted power ballads, but we’re now after something new.
On the cover of every weekly rag, a ‘breakdown’ saw Waissel cry,
Seems Topshop were out of the Kate Moss dress she’d been saving her pennies to buy.
The face of JLo and a voice in a million, a shy scouser flaunted her chops,
While a wonderful wildcard proved his worth, despite being styled by shmocks. may have found a replacement for the rapstar girl in his band,
With a snarl of the lip and a hand on her hip, Cher Lloyd is cementing her brand.
Walsh’s novelty act is still going strong, as facebook fans keep him on air,
While a voice known as John took his final bow on account of a right naughty pair.
One and the same in look and style, Cowell’s boys maintain their direction,
Headed straight for the bathroom mirror, to admire their united reflection.
Cheryl’s fourth girl ain’t doing so well even though her talent is grrreeaaaat,
Her act don’t stand out in the current comp, it’s kinda three years too late.
Simon looked bored, Louie looked meek, the girls shot daggers at JK,
Bon Jovi wowed with a huge ensemble, while a food-fight broke out for RiRi.
SiCo’s makeshift girlie band went one copy-act too far as they met the end of the line,
Halloween saw them fright for their lives, but the dong bell of deadlock called time.
Pacing the stage barefoot and wild, eyes rimmed red with distress,
A drama queen wept as she went to great lengths to prove she was a top songstress.
Weeks have passed and the numbers gone down, now only nine remain,
Who will be next to face the aXe in this rigged but addictive game?

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Act of Stardom

In the bottom two again on last night's X Factor, Katie Waissel 'broke down' almost before her performance of Etta James' 'Trust in Me' was over.

This girl has mastered the act of over-acting; from breakdowns in Topshop to spider-leg eyelashes, Waissel (fondly referred to by some as 'Weasel') is going above and beyond to cement her presence in the public consciousness.

Although her husky warblings are sensually appealing, and her kooky on-stage persona memorable; there is something of a mad desperation about her, which clearly came across on Sunday night. Walking around barefoot (uh, hello - been there done that, Diana Vickers) in a gold playsuit, her black root-powdery hairstyle up at all ends - she seemed to me nothing more than a lunatic woman stalking her bathroom shouting things out in frustration...

I feel no good can come from this madcap manner - calm down Miss Katie... that's a warning!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Tunnel Vision

Monday morning.

Severe delays reported on the Metropolitan line.

Leave house and get on Met line train at North Harrow stn. Husband calls to say has just arrived at work (in Holborn) and to switch at Finchley Road because train took ages to get from Finchley Road to Baker Street on the metropolitan line.

Arrive at Finchley Road and swap over the platform to get on a Jubilee Line train to Green Park. Sit for 5 minutes in the station.

Train plunges into darkness… nothing. Can no longer read Metro article about alleged nookie between X Factor contestants Katie Waissel and Matt Cardle… damn!

Driver announces there has been a power failure and assures us there will be information shortly.

Driver makes his way down the entire length of the train. Announces once at the back that we will be walking back to St John’s Wood station… in the tunnel. But he has to isolate that end and the staff from St John’s Wood need to walk down to meet us.

Passenger has asthma attack – calls for medical aid rumble through the cars like chinese whispers.

Sporadic lighting comes on in the surrounding tunnel. Hmmm, try to resume X Factor gossip catch up. Give up, play Solitaire on iPhone instead.

The driver – still at the back of the train – announces that actually he may be able to start the train and get us to Baker Street. Sighs of relief all round. He returns back through the train, thanking passengers for their patience: ‘Not that you have much choice, mind.’ Muffled laughter – heavy irony.

Driver back in his car announces the train will most definitely not start and that instead we will be walking the half-hour track hike to Baker Street, but we must wait for the police and station staff to arrive first to guide us through the tunnel.

Another girl has panic attack – fellow passenger gives up his seat to her (a bit late if you ask me). Offer her rescue remedy, she shuns it in favour of a bottle of water. Oh well, all the more for me then!

The driver announces that actually we will not be walking to Baker Street – man on crutches emits sigh of relief – we will now be walking to St John’s Wood… hmmm.

The police, station staff and our driver make their way through to the end of the train as some passengers verbally attack the police with exasperated cries of, ‘Well what the hell are we supposed to do now?!’ to which the police officers reply, ‘I don’t know… get a bus or something.’

There is movement at the far end of our carriage – people are starting to move towards the end of the train. We start walking. Thankful for UGG boots – heels stowed in heavy gym bag slung over right shoulder with precious Zara bag carefully balanced on right arm along with scarf and coat – desperately in need of a shower…

It’s dark, no sign of rodent life so far…

There is a light at the end of the tunnel… literally!! Various voices echo this sentiment, laughing at their own wit… oh please people... get a grip!

Nice man in orange vest offers a hand as I clamber out of the darkness up some narrow steps and onto the platform of St John’s Wood – am greeted by more men in orange, and a water fountain… with no water!

Stop to capture one last image of epic tunnel journey…

Am now out of the deserted station – smokers immediately block my path with furious puffing on assorted brands of cigarette. Try to call work – no answer on any phone. Leave message on one colleague’s phone. Mobile dies… regret amount of Solitaire playing on train. Wonder what to do now… need the loo and need to get to Green Park. Mum works at hospital two minute walk away, decide to make a pit stop… oh, what if Mum also stuck in tunnel. Call… she answers, is at work. Good – walk to hospital.

Been to loo, been fussed over by Mum and Mum’s colleagues. Offered tea, coffee and biscuits. Have cup of water and one biscuit.

Try to call work again – still no answer. Google central switchboard number and call – get through to temp who informs me that everyone in meeting. Tell her to pass on message of morning tube hell and that phone has died. Will try to get bus.

Mum suggests cup of tea, decline and insist that I must go in search of a bus. Routes discussed. Leave.

Miss intended bus, no.13. Wait at bus stop with fellow Italian mothers and their precocious offspring, elderly people and assorted professionals.

Bus arrives – not mine, but going to Baker Street so hop on.

Arrive Baker Street – endure slight conundrum – waver between approaching no.13 bus and entrance to Baker Street tube station. No.13 doesn’t stop, forced to attempt the tube station. Accost station staffer who confirms that Green Park is open and Victoria Line is running. Thank him and make mad dash to Bakerloo line.

Arrive at work. Light-headed from lack of food and fairly traumatic experience.

Monday afternoon
Regale employees and husband (via phone) of said traumatic experience. Much sympathy and offers to leave work early if necessary. Cancellation of evening dinner plans and brief contemplation of intended trip to gym – think best to leave all until tomorrow. Am still in shock.

Friday, 24 September 2010

A Gallery of Shoes!!!

“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot!”
Marilyn Monroe

LONDON - Tamara Drewe actress, Gemma Arterton was the envy of every girl, woman, shoe connoisseur last night as she oversaw the public launch of Selfridges' first ever shoe gallery and was given sole access to wander the cavernous trove of high-heeled treasures before the masses descended.

Created by renowned architect Jamie Fobert, shoe lovers can come visit, explore and indulge in the six unique shoe galleries, flanked by 11 beautiful boutiques featuring the world's most iconic shoe brands, and one hanging garden.

With 4,000 pairs of shoes on display at any one time, the new Selfridges shoe gallery houses in total a whopping 55,000 pairs from 150 brands, including 11 designer boutiques and stretches over 35,000 square feet. Every female's dream come true, the Selfridges’ new shoe hall is now officially open to the public!!

“I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty”
Imelda Marcos

To celebrate the public opening last night, a Balmain military jacket-clad Gemma Arterton oversaw a parade featuring the release of exploding shoe-printed balloons outside the store, while a plane flying a banner half the size of a football pitch above the store announced the shoe mecca OPEN.

Apartments dedicated to Prada, Fendi, Jimmy Choo and Coco Chanel are juxtaposed to the UGG chalet, designer rooms, Tod's Loft and an array of 150 high street brands, with River Island and All Saints both debuting specially created collections. To rest your soles, and credit card, the Aubaine restaurant is on hand opposite Gucci, to provide you with a place to eat and recuperate.

The perfect antidote to the end of London Fashion Week, I know where I'll be indulging in some retail therapy this weekend!!!

Explore for yourself -

Trawling the new shoe gallery this weekend? Why not also savour the catwalk-credentials of the Regent's Street festival on Sunday (26 September) with offers at surrounding stores and fashion shows in homage of LFW.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

SJP: Who do you think you are? [BBC]

Airing on Sunday, 13 Jun 2010, 21:15 on BBC One - my screen icon, Sarah Jessica Parker traced her family lineage on the programme's 'Who do you think you are' series.

Having always assumed that her ancestors were recent immigrants, and doubted that her family had any significant lineage in the United States Sarah Jessica Parker was shocked to discover another side to her family history. On her father's side she knew that she had Jewish roots, but her mother's side was more of a mystery. She knew that her mother was born and raised in Cincinnati's German community, like her parents and grandparents before her, but didn't know much more than that. But a visit to her mother revealed a distinctly non-German sounding name, Lillian Hodge, Sarah Jessica's great-grandmother.

Intrigued by the Hodge name, Sarah Jessica headed to Cincinnati, where she discovered an obituary for her three times grandfather that revealed that his father, John Hodge, died on a journey to California in 1849. Wanting to know more, Sarah Jessica embarked on a journey which took her to the gold fields of northern California, where she uncovered a tragic story surrounding another of her ancestors who, like thousands of other young men, travelled west in search of gold.

Digging further back, her journey also spanned to Colonial New England where she uncovered a collection of 17th-century trial papers, revealing that another ancestor was involved in one of the most terrifying events in American history.

Sarah Jessica, it seems, is much more "classically American" than she thinks.

Wikipedia: Sarah Jessica Parker (

Thursday, 26 August 2010

It's a Fashion House of Cards...

Omg!! Word is that US brand American Apparel may be at risk of bankruptcy, signalling the end for my ultimate supplier of leggings, bodysuits and casual chic!!

One of my favourite exports from the US of A, American Apparel first landed in the UK back in 2006, to much rejoicing from Britain's fashion cognoscenti who no longer needed to rely on Bundle Box and friends' and relatives' trips to the states for the brand's fabulous cotton basics.

My beacon for 1980s inspired fashions; walking into their Carnaby Street store is like stepping back in time as mini shorts, fanny packs and legwarmers adorn the rails and models on display. On a trip to New York this January the weather was so cold I was forced to go out and hunt down extra layers - it was my good fortune to find the closest store to my hostel was an American Apparel. Kitting myself out in their wares, I survived the brutal chill. For that reason alone they should be saved!!! They saved me from frostbite and hypothermia!!!

With ad campaigns sometimes veering too near the line of indecency, American Apparel made their name touting their easy-wearing jersey pieces, multi-coloured leggings and diverse dancewear creations reminiscent of Fame and Flashdance. And although 1980s chic is still somewhat on-trend in the current stylistic climate, it appears consumers are less enthralled with the brand than what they once were. With sales depleted by 16% and $120m of debt, American Apparel could be not much longer for our highstreets.

I am officially in mourning, and am planning an emergency trip to stock up on as much AA apparel as I can possibly afford...!!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Pretty in Pink

My awful week forgotten and my back significantly remedied by a combined sauna-steam room-jacuzzi-pool session at the gym on Saturday morning; I had my party, and there were no tears, just 25 cupcakes, 20 girls and one mega birthday cake...

Caption: Lovingly prepared by Completely Cakes

They came from north, west, the Midlands and Milton Keynes to celebrate with me in style!!

From funny (and slightly naughty) stories and traditional girlie gossiping spurred on by the Sex and the City trivia game, to cups of tea while watching the SATC movie and opening pressies - it was a party to remember (even if I say so myself).

The dining table was adorned with a pink tablecloth and laden down with an assortment of finger sandwiches on vintage cake stands, pink cupcakes, chocolate brownies, scones with jam and cream and strawberries. Milk and white maltesers and a selection of crisps were also on offer, served with pink lemonade and pink champagne in neon pink martini glasses!!

And of course an occasion of mine would not be complete without a rendition of Billie Jean from my younger brother who feels the need to entertain when there are more than two people in a room at any one time.

Party bags were doled out at the day's end, containing nail polish, a balloon, beauty sachet and SATC badge for each girl's enjoyment.

And the pleasure was of course, 'Ever thine, Ever mine, Ever Ours'...

Friday, 20 August 2010

It's My Party & I'll Cry if I Want to...

SO, it's my birthday on Tuesday (24th August). I'm going to be 25 years old. A semi-milestone in my young life. And to tell the truth I'm feeling somewhat down in the dumps. No, not because I'm just that bit closer to 30, but because I've had a shitty work week, my back is aching from stress, I'm overtired and my husband has to go away for a meeting, on my birthday.

I probably sound like some whiny egotistical pain in the butt, and I know this is self-indulgent, self-pitying tripe - but it makes me feel better.

Typically, when things are generally not going great I tend to withdraw into myself and pretend as though the world and his friends are against me. I am berating myself for having told people that it's going to be my birthday, preferring that they just ignore it and treat it as any other day. But some stupid attention hoe somewhere inside me has to go open up her big trap and blurt it out.

Then I thought I would just take the day off, and treat myself to a birthday day, but that's been blown to sh*t as I'm stuck in meetings all next week and can't have the day off. Poo!!

If I did have the day off, I would first treat myself to a pancake breakfast at Jack's Cafe near my flat, then I would take myself shopping (retail therapy = happiness), then I would come home, take a long relaxing bath with lovely music in the background. Afterwards I would snuggle on the sofa in PJs and the duvet and watch all my favourite movies with a cuppa tea. Mmmmmm... a girl can day dream. I will just have to content myself with doing some of those things in the evening after work :(

I am having a party on Sunday - a combination of cupcakes, Sex and the City and pink champagne. And I am going to see Sister Act, starring Whoopi Goldberg on Saturday night. So, maybe we'll hold the tears for next year...

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Closet Crisis

"You are not leaving the house dressed like that!"

How many of us can say we have heard this from our mother's lips at least once in our lives? I'm guessing most, if not all of us. However, what do you do when you no longer live under the confines of the parental roof and have to make important decisions on your own - like what to wear?

Throughout my working life I have come up against wardrobe restrictions - from the strictly 'black and white' protocol of a Joseph concession in Selfridges to the on-trend capsule wardrobe of working in publishing. Having struggled with my own fashion identity for years, finally settling into my 1980s-throwback ensembles of bodycon skirts, loud prints and leggings I have now arrived at a crossroads where I must disassociate my personal self from my work self.

Representing your company to not only the outside world but the seniority within, we are encumbered with the burdensome duty of maintaining a certain look for the majority of our lives.

It's difficult re-training ourselves to pick up garments in stores that we are not naturally drawn to. But now shopping must become a strategised plan as we navigate rails and online sites searching carefully for tops and skirts and dresses and shoes that will enable us to project the right impression.

Reeling from my latest 'wake-up call' to the fact that some of my style choices have not been well-received by my peers in the workplace, I realise that this situation reeks of the stand-offs I used to have with my mother when I wanted to wear something she didn't approve of. And it's forcing me to finally appreciate the method to her censorship of my fashion faux pas.

Ever my harshest critic, my mother has always bestowed upon me her most truthful opinions, advice and criticism. Not the type to shower unwarranted compliments I am by now used to her blunt honesty. Besides the fact that when she does pay me a compliment I know she means it. But without her acting as my stylistic compass, I'm afraid I am lost in a sea of bad wardrobe decisions that insist on coming back to haunt me time and time again.

So, if I am to follow the age-old adage that 'Mother knows best', I must gather the feedback that has been tactfully and, at times, unceremoniously thrust my way and use it to my advantage. Thankfully the fashion wheel of fortune has come back to rest on 1950s femininity, a la TV adland sensation Mad Men so finding modest, office-appropriate garb shouldn't be too tricky. I have already alighted upon a lovely knee-length black skirt for under £30 from River Island ( and a pair of black patent heels from Marks & Sparks for just £15 ( All I need now is to team it with a pretty blouse or shirt and my new look is complete!

I am sure that I will be faced by further closet crises in my future, either at work or for some other occasion where my personal taste doesn't quite fit the coutoure-criteria; I guess the best any of us can do is to imagine what our mothers might say before we step out of the house.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Choo or False?

Rumour has it that accessories mogul Tamara Mellon may be planning to sell her £500 million Jimmy Choo empire.

Made ever-more famous by esteemed shoegal Carrie Bradshaw, aka supreme fashionista Sarah Jessica Parker, it is unsurprising that the Jimmy Choo label could net a cool £100 million.

CEO and founder of the luxury label and recent recipient of an OBE, Mellon has been the catalyst and subsequent driving force behind the company's success.

Attributing Tamara's business sense to her late father Tom Yeardye (the money man behind the Vidal Sassoon empire), a family friend said: “It’s in the genes. He started with absolutely nothing and ended up a multimillionaire. He was the most determined and focused man, and he trained Tamara to be the same. When she was young, he used to match every penny she earned to motivate her to work hard. Just like him, she loves holding the winning cards.”

Adding a line of handbags and a collaboration with Hunter boots to her repetoire, I think we can safely say that whatever her next project we can expect great things from Ms Mellon.
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