Monday, February 27, 2012


What are Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez doing here? The 40-something's Last Stand? This was a very, very bad moment at what was, let's be honest, not a great night for the ladies, The Oscars 2012.

There were so many once-pretty faces ruined by plastic surgery and fillers on that red carpet, someone should have sent in an interventionist squad. Where's Elton, David and the helicopter when you need it? Plus, despite the hype, once again too few movies with strong female characters, apart from the obvious, i.e Meryl as Maggie.  The Help troubled me too deeply on too many levels as a movie to go into here but Octavia Spencer's win was fabulous and it at least shone a light on something so recent yet so buried within society but oh, I promised myself NOT to go there....

Meanwhile at the ceremony, the female presenters were either fall-guys for the guys (Gwyneth Paltrow) or just plain desperate and drinking in the Last Chance Saloon (see above). Is Hollywood going back in time? Perhaps Billy Crystal's odd, gurning, old-time routine rang a litte too true.  As Hollywood stars bare their asses not their brains in true olde-worlde style and female performers only make it on to the winner's lists for acting - forget technical movie-making and directing/producing, I wonder. Something's got to give. Next year I predict youngsters all over the place and women winning ANYTHING other than just best actress/best supporting actress. This will only happen if the doom and gloom of recession breeds creativity, like it did in the 1980s, rather than hunkered-down-traditions that nobody dare step outside of. Here's hoping. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

SECRETS OF FASHION'S TOP BRASS (and my shoe shame)

The inside of my shoe closet. This is why my personal style is what it is and my bedroom door remains locked and barred to my children, lest they discover the horrible hypocrisy behind my 'Tidy up!' mantra.

Today, a Top Editor told me that her Top TV Star Fashion Director always gets dressed from the shoes up. Chooses the shoes first, then the rest of the outfit. A fast and efficient way to style oneself, I'm sure you agree. I do this too. However, my system is not as efficient as the style cognoscenti, hence my frequent lateness and stylistically compromised looks. My problem is, I can never find the shoes I want. See above. I open the closet door and there it is, Shoe Mountain. It is actually the floor of my wardrobe. I have another one down the hallway, opposite my son's room which I can only go into when he is either asleep or out. Really, I should sort out Shoe Mountain but where else would I put the shoes? There is no room in our cramped apartment for shelves neatly stacked with shoeboxes, polaroids stuck to the front etc.  If I line my shoes up on the floor, they just collect dust and get kicked around, looking worse than Shoe Mountain. I have a shoe hangy thing over the back of the wardrobe door for pumps and flats, but my platties, wedgies and stillies all lie around argy-bargying on the wardrobe floor. I do sometimes tidy them up but inevitably, the ones I want to wear are at the back and I end up in a last minute panic, chucking them all out behind me like Butch digging up a bone in Tom & Jerry.

So, if I won the lottery I would not buy a new chin, car or rocks - I would buy a giant shoe cupboard with living quarters attached. Then, I would buy even more shoes to put in it. I know, people are starving in the world and things are so awful for so many women out there that I would probably give it all away. But if I was dim, more vain about everything and genuinely believed any of this stuff is that important really,  I would buy and build that shoe cupboard.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


The teenager in me still remembers that it's Valentine's Day and all three males in my life know they have to deliver on this Very Special Day.

This year, my husband got the flowers here early this morning. This was wise of him because in previous years I have been too grumpy by the afternoon to really enjoy them once they FINALLY arrived. Legend has it that I once dumped a huge bunch of roses in the bin when I worked briefly on She magazine, so hacked off was I by their lateness and shoddiness. That' s not true by the way, it's just a legend.

So,  imagine how excited I was today to receive several Valentine's texts and emails, all seemingly anonymous, from different numbers. I was beginning to get that warm, fuzzy feeling when, on further investigation, I discovered they were all from Real Estate agents (I looked at some apts for sale at the weekend).

Only in New York. 


Here I am, top of this pic, having an attack of Fashion Face

I started out as a fashion assistant on a now defunkt magazine. Editing became my schtick but I've been to the odd fashion show in London, Paris and New York through the years. At aforementioned shows I perfected my Fashion Face.  I learned from the best, having always sat either well behind or opposite (not alongside or too close to backs of heads) the fashiony A list, thus giving me the perfect view of them as well as the clothes. At a fashion show, as in so many other situations in life,  composing one's face into the appropriate expression is what it's all about. 

Yesterday I beetled down to the NY shows and honestly, I had forgotten what it was like. Packed and hot,  teaming with students and interns.  There is even a transvestite ballerina this year who I keep seeing outside the Lincoln Center. It can't be easy. After sitting through Reem Acra's infinitely gorgeous, wearable - and I stress that word - collection,  'twas enough for me.  I learned once more that perfecting a relaxed, nonchalant facial expression is my life's goal and I am not there yet. 

Grabbing the nearest gals I hotfooted it off to the Mandarin Cocktail bar at 4pm and managed to get a Mojito and a Margarita down my neck,  then home before 6.  Now that's what I call fashion. 

Monday, February 13, 2012


Watching Taylor Swift on the Grammys last night prompted me to get out the i-poddess this morning and enjoy a little bit of Bobby. Bobby Gentry (see above) has the most amazing, cracked country voice that any woman would die to have. Bobby is a feminist and the embodiment of the Womens Lib movement in the 1960s. Her song, Fancy is such a classic. While Ode To Billy Joe and Harper Valley PTA are the huge hits, Fancy says more about the plight of poor women down through time than tons of other country, soul and blues songs.

Thank the Goddess we no longer live in a world where Fancy's story is the only path for poor women _ but have we come far enough? I look at the glamour girls vying for soccer/basketball players in the media, or accidentally catch an episode ofThe Bachelor and wonder.  It all sickens me. So many women in the world still struggle against Fancy's situation. The ones lucky enough to be born and educated away from that should get off their backs (literally) and try something more constructive instead. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012


MADONNA - she looks gorgeous in this pic from a few years ago. The thing that keeps her looking so hot is her jawline. Chiselled, defined and strong. Only the very best surgery can maintain this after a certain age. Look at pictures of Madge when she was younger and her chin is just small and sweet. She has had something fabulous done and if I had the money, connections, knew who did it and er, was not terrified of all hospital procedures along with my new, New York needle phobia - I would have it done too. Since I came to NYC, needles and probes have plagued me. You cannot go for any kind of health checkup without some kind of unpleasant, body invasion that leaves you (or rather, me but I'm not comfortable with 'one) feeling a bit shocked and in need of ibuprofen. This is why, contrary to what a lot of people think, I've never had anything 'done' as they say. However, when you live abroad, flit in and out, only see folk briefly when you're done up to the nines I can see how those folk might imagine, due to all the makeup and Clarins wrinkle filler, you have been done. Have not.

Well look, back to Madonna. She strikes me as a person who is unencumbered by female friends. I can see how this could be a very efficient and free way to live. Often, the sign of a very successful American woman is no female friends. They claim to have lots of them but in fact they never give a second thought to the feelings and views of other people, particularly women. Other People, unless it is their children, simply do not factor in. Women like Madonna pay lipservice to female friends and even give them a wee bit of time but ultimately, Madonna and co are moving through this world alone, free and un-inhibited by the prospect of EVER possibly offending someone. Any woman who has offended hoardes of female friends and particularly friends of close friends through the years,  might think there is something to this Madge philosophy. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012




Last year I wrote a post called 'Magnificent Millie Jackson' and it's had way more hits than anything else I have ever written on here. So here is a bit more from me, on her...

It's kind of confession time - in that, despite trillions of years at the coalface and never once being busted/sued or even having to apologise for a wrong fact, I have had something very wrong in my head for a long time. So much so that this week I feel like I've been re-born because the Wrong Thing has been righted. I don't know why, I think maybe I heard it once on the radio, I cannot be sure so am not saying I did - hear that Millie Jackson was no longer with us, as it were. This is ridiculously wrong, Ms Jackson is busy touring and singing as wonderfully as ever. I can't believe how the wrongness got a hold in my head for so long but I do apologise profoundly for it. Still wondering though, as I never normally get this stuff wrong..starting to think it might even have been from a record company press office in London but oh, no idea.

Anyway, I am now planning a trip to see Millie. It will be divine. No seriously, for me it will be a Divine Experience because she is truly a Goddess. Right from the start of her career Millie has been ultra cool, an amazing singer and performer. I can't understand why she is not a megastar like Diana Ross or Barbra Streisand. Why isn't she singing at the Oscars and being a Huge Star like oh, Madonna? She is Fabulous, beyond fab, she was Mary J Blige before Mary J Blige was. I just. don't. get. it.

I've mentioned before the ladies from Chic - in that I went to see them perform in a pretty sad way, at a midtown ballroom, singing to a backing track that kept breaking down. The voices of all these women were the soundtrack of a decade, a lifetime for many. I cannot believe they are not Huge MainStream Stars, judging on America's Got Talent and X-Factor, selling out Yankee Stadium. Also, why don't young singers haul them up on to the stage with them at the MTV awards or whatever? Don't they know they owe Millie, in particular, huge amounts for breaking boundaries galore in her youth. Please don't tell me Gaga, Minaj, M.i.a (sp) and co are shocking. Sorry to sound old - but people who think that really need to check out Ms Jackson in her heyday. Maybe she was just too shocking , too punky-soulful, too honest and freaky for the mainstream to ever catch her up. Ahead of her game totally, that's Millie. I can't wait to go and see her.



When New York City parenting pressure gets too much for me, I plug my i-pod into the speakers and I belt out 'Simple Man' by Lynyrd Skynyrd. My boys know and understand this song and I want them to keep it in their hearts for the rest of their lives. 

Thanks and RIP you freaky old Freebirds.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Went to see W.E on Friday. Half of a good film, the retrospective bits on Edward and Wallis were stunning and I would loved to have seen more of Madonna's interpretation of their story. I also liked her modern plot but it beggared too much belief.  On the other hand, the subject of fertility absolutely rages on among my 30 something friends so perhaps there's more reality in there than I quite understood.  One of the best bits in the movie happens to the soundtrack of Pretty Vacant by the Sex Pistols. The opening bars of that song encompass so much more than merely a punk rock tune. It's not the first time a period piece has been set to modern music but this was pure brilliance.

I love Madonna. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Tweeting with Leah Hardy, beauty blogger today prompted me into a few nail bar musings. Nail bars exist on every street corner in NYC. Tempting though they look, after three or four visits to the average N.B you can end up with literally, no nails. This is because most technicians file too fiercely.  Although you leave with very short, neat nails, as they grow they simply peel and break at the sides, so weakened by the trouncing. You can also end up with super-raggy skin around your nails if you allow the technician to trim back the skin around your nail instead of just pushing back cuticles. Finally, the dreaded fungus. No matter how clean the salon, this tell-tale yellowing of your nail bed shows the nasties have got you.

So here are my tips for a NYC nail salon visit. You're welcome!

1. Wash your hands thoroughly in their bathroom before you sit down and ask your technician to do the same.
2. Ensure all the technician's tools come in a sterile pack, like a hospital surgeon's, including emery board.
3. Never let a technician pick up and use a used emery board on your nails.
4. If possible, just file your own nails before you go. I never allow technicians to file my brittle nails, they just break.
5. Have your cuticles pushed back and nail base scraped but not cut or trimmed.
6. Allow a bit of rough buffing of the top of your nails so polish can stick but that means  literally one or two swipes across. They sometimes forget and end up buffing thin nails almost away.
7. Don't have gel or acrylic nails if you value your own nails underneath. Shellac is the only harmless, hard nail topping worth considering.
8. For best results, bring your own favourite nail colour from home or a brand new bottle of something fab. Cleanliness guaranteed.

Call me picky....they do at my local Pinky (their name) Salon but I give them a decent tip so we all go home happy.