I notice it most starkly when I go to London. There are people everywhere, rushing from one place to the next, and it’s like a sea of black and grey. Occasionally you walk past a woman in a pink coat and you think ‘yessss Queen slay!’

(I think that in my head in Bee’s voice.)

It’s so bloody miserable isn’t it? All these DRAB clothes, making everyone look DRAB. Come on guys! Spice things up a little bit!

red dress

I guess people are nervous about wearing colour. It’s not something that I’ve ever been worried about, but then in my family I am notoriously badly dressed. Having said that, there are definitely ways to wear colour without having to be too conspicuous.

To make the point, Joe Brown’s sent me some bits from their new spring/summer range, all on a red theme. Using these pieces, I came up with four ways to wear red and feel SUPER sassy: View Post

In association with No7

Did you ever do that thing when you were a teenager where you’d just stare at your face in the mirror, really close up, for ages and ages?

It’s the kind of thing you have time for when you’re 15. It’s all measuring at that age isn’t it? How many friends do you have? How wide apart are your eyes? What’s the circumference of your calves?

(I had a disagreement with Belle the other night, who is 15 now, the same height as me, and about four stone lighter. She was insistent that she her thighs were just as chubby as mine. Even when I made her measure them and could show her that mine were EIGHT INCHES rounder than hers, she still seemed fairly cynical.)

At 39 I spend a lot less time staring at my face.

This is what it looks like:

No7 Face Study anti-ageing serums

No7 Face Study anti-ageing serums View Post

Post in association with NatWest

A couple of weeks ago I found myself sat alone at the bar of a members’ only club in London, sipping prosecco and feeling that heady mix of nervous and excited as I messaged my family WhatsApp group.

‘What are you doing in London?’ asked my sister Annabel.

‘I’m going to a speed dating session being run by NatWest to show how easily you can be emotionally vulnerable to online scams,’ I told her. ‘I was MADE for this.’

‘Do the other daters know,’ asked Annabel, ‘or is the assignment to go in and try and scam them?’

‘I think they have to scam ME,’ I said, ‘but I know there’s going to be ‘a twist’. A behavioural psychologist is going to be there. Maybe they just watch and laugh at how gullible I am??’

‘You’re going to get so scammed,’ she said.

‘I’m going to get scammed RIGHT UP,’ I agreed. ‘Hopefully someone will step in before I hand over any cash.’

tips to avoid being scammed

Because I wasn’t joking when I said I was made for this experiment. View Post

I had a day last week where I looked at the step counter on my phone and it said ‘789’.

For an ENTIRE DAY.

Gawd.

789 steps. What’s the matter with me??

(Can I just say, in my defence, that I don’t have anything on my wrist, so it does only count steps I do whilst I have my phone on me and not things like walking into the kitchen to make a cup of tea, but still.)

NOT GOOD.

I was about to say it because it’s winter – the cold etc – but then I checked myself, because it’s not really that at all, I’m just a lazy bones. I don’t play any sports, I do not RUN, (*shudders*), and unless it’s towards the packet of rich tea fingers on the floor by my chair then stretching doesn’t feature high on my list of activities either.

In fact, my own laziness was a big part of the motivation behind me getting an office a couple of years ago. When you work at home those 789 step days can become a common occurrence. At least now, (most days), I walk to my office and back. Unless it’s pouring with rain. Or I can think of another legitimate excuse.

But still. It’s a bit lame.

What’s especially lame is that once I’m actually out and walking, I really quite enjoy it. It’s a bit like the washing up – it STARES at you, taunting you, making you imagine how AWFUL it’s going to be, but it’s never as bad once you start.

I’m going to hit 40 in a few months though, and I really don’t want to become one of those middle aged ladies who groans getting in and out of chairs.

(‘Become’ – ha!)

So I have decided to take action.

It’s clearly not enough for me to HAVE a step counter, I need other people to SEE my step counter. I need to be shamed into taking action. I need to feel that competitive instinct – the one that doesn’t let small children beat me at SNAP.

(They don’t learn if you let them win.)

So I’ve downloaded the Sport Relief app.

Sport relief app View Post

Post in association with Breville

cauliflower hummus recipe

I seem to have become a bit obsessed lately with roasted cauliflower. Often when I’m pottering about in the mornings at the weekend, doing fun stuff like emptying the bins, I’ll chop up a cauliflower, pop it in the oven and then casually nibble a floret or two every time I go past.

GET ME.

(NB: an entire cauliflower is a bit much to eat all at once and can give you tummy ache.)

I just LOVE cauliflower so much though. If you ever want to impress me through the medium of roast dinner, then include a side of cauliflower cheese. That’s literally all you need to do.

When Breville got in touch recently then to ask if I fancied using the Breville Blend Active Accessory Pack to make my own hummus, I was like ‘Cauliflower? What?’ I had my roasting tray out before you could say ‘creamy cheese sauce’.

I’ve written before about the Breville Blend Active, when I came up with four unusual smoothie recipes, and the accessories pack works in combination with this to give you a whole load of extra features, including:

  • a compact food processor
  • a grinding mill
  • a whipping disc (ooer)
  • and a citrus juicer

View Post

You know when something happens that just makes you despair of humanity? Well that.

Here’s what happened. (I deleted the actual messages as I was so cross, so this is roughly what went down.)

I had arranged a brunch date with a guy I met online. We’d exchanged a few messages, but he seemed keen to meet. Fine. All good. And then I got a cold, which turned into a horrible cough. Anyone who knows me knows I get horrible coughs. I had visions of coughing and spluttering eggs benedict in his face.

It was not sexy.

So a few days before we were due to meet I let him know that I wasn’t feeling well.

‘Are you trying to tell me something?’ he said.

‘Well yes,’ I replied, ‘I’m trying to tell you I’m not well. I wanted to warn you, in case I didn’t get better.’

‘Right,’ he said, ‘only if you’re fobbing me off then I’d rather you were just up front about it.’

‘I’m not fobbing you off,’ I said, bristling. ‘I have a cough. I’m telling you, that’s all. Would you like an audio file?’

‘It’s just that six ladies since November have suddenly developed coughs a couple of days before we’re meant to go out, so I’d rather you were just honest with me if you’re going to cancel and then I’m never going to hear from you again.’

I was annoyed. I don’t care how many people have said what to him. That’s not me is it?

online dating View Post