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Happy New Year, one and all.

After a Christmas spent eating everything not bolted down – do people still get gout? – I’m ready to roll off the sofa and commence the new year looking like a before picture for Weight Watchers with a contented tummy and good cheer.

What of Christmas?

Among the many presents beneath our tree on Christmas morning – I must have been a good girl last year, or simply better at covering my tracks – there sat a box from Smythson. Inside? Navy leather and paper, a beautiful diary.

With the year yet to be written, I’ve begun to tattoo the pages with plans and fun things to do – along with the more regular, ‘Collect dry cleaning’, ‘Buy milk’ and, every six weeks, ‘Get muff waxed’.

There are resolutions, too:

1. Snog/Shag Spencer from Made in Chelsea. Let’s start easy. Oh, come on, are you telling me Spencer isn’t easy?

2. Buy a Vespa.

3. Often, it seems like every person and every opportunity will gladly say “No” to me – yet I, a veteran people pleaser, have not found a way to use the word without anxiety or guilt. This will sound the bullshit of middle-shelf therapy but, in finally befriending “No”, I hope to assert and better protect my needs.

4. Wear my new Chinti and Parker star sweater to stave away the January Blues.

5. Think less, do more. Except on this blog.

The snooze button will be hit on these resolutions by early February but, until then, Mr Matthews should consider himself…

Laid in Chelsea.*

* Whatever the year, my usual service of crap jokes will be maintained.


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Life More Perfect


Sometimes, whilst schlepping home on the tube, I drift into daydream and fantasise of a life more perfect. A life in which, relievedly, I’m not rattling around the underworld of our ‘Great Wen’ with my nose pressed into the armpit of a middle-aged banker.

It plays something like this…

Daydream: Chauffeur.

Reality: Walk. Bird craps on me.

Daydream: The Ledbury.

Reality: M&S ready meal. Two days out-of-date.

Daydream: Julia Restoin-Roitfeld. BFF.

Reality: Kevin from Accounts.

Daydream: Reed Krakoff. Pre-fall 2012.

Reality: Primark’s ugly sister, Peacock.

As the tannoy confirms our arrival into Victoria station, I’ll return – to the gaze of the banker, surveying me in much the way a wolf would rib-eye steak – and realise that, actually, Reed Krakoff would be wasted on a crowd like this.

Tell me, do you have a daydream life?



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All the Best

The Fumoir, Claridges // Molecule 01 – Rediscovered after years of not wearing. Great on me, even better on him \\ Rococo Sea Salt Wafers // Ice-skating at Somerset House \\ Andrea Garland – beautiful, beautifying trinkets.

Pollen Street Social – try the scallop ceviche // Presents wrapped with brown paper and ribbon \\ Smythson’s ‘Peace Tree’ Christmas cards // Seeing Katy B live \\ Diptyque ‘Epinette candle // Rice milk porridge and maple syrup.

The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet // Christmas shopping and warming up, afterwards, with tea at the Dean Street Townhouse \\ Tom Ford ‘Scarlet Rouge’ lipstick // Opaque tights – winter’s giving me the sartorial horn.


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Silver Lining

It’s 21 days until Christmas.

As the season of good cheer and mince pies draws nearer, my modus operandi is to postpone preparations until the last minute. That’d usually be Christmas Eve, whereupon I blitzkrieg the local all-night garage – scooping armfuls of condoms, car air fresheners (which never smell ‘fresh’, why is that?) and colossal bags of Haribo sweets to gift to loved ones.

Who, given this, I mustn’t love at all.

In wanting never again to see my sister’s bemused face – as she unwraps a Ginsters pastie on Christmas morning – my new watchwords are ‘organised’ and ‘out of sodding character’. The turkey is on order. The tree, too – soon to have parcels from Mulberry, Gieves & Hawkes, and Diptyque sitting prettily beneath it.

The cause of this volte-face?

I’ve been wearing Chanel’s Le Vernis in ‘Graphite’ these past weeks – a hybrid of metallic grey and green – and it’s making me feel festive. For those of you who haven’t already, it’s not too late to beg, borrow or eBay a bottle. Best? Should my good intentions disappear on first sniff of Christmas eggnog, it will make me the most stylish person in the all-night garage come December 24.

Silver linings, and all that.


There are changes in my personal life – for better or worse, let’s see – and, as a consequence, there’ll either be (1) many more or (2) many less updates on this little blog of mine.



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On the Road

|The Fashion Spot|


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Mr & Mrs

Unlike some, I’ve never been the kind of girl to dream about getting married.

I didn’t fashion wedding dresses for my Barbie dolls from white toilet paper. I would roll my eyes whenever Cinderella et al. found their prince. Tiffany was the name of a badly-permed singer. What’s more, the only part of a wedding ever to appeal came with three tiers and copious amounts of sugar icing.

As an adult – a term used somewhat jocosely here – I am not quite Carrie Bradshaw.

I haven’t yet broken into an angry bushfire of hives whilst trying on wedding frocks or chiffon-based anaphylactic shock – but, who am I kidding, that’s because I’ve not so much as ventured within a ten-mile radius of a bridal shop since becoming engaged. That makes me worse than Ms. Bradshaw, huh?

So, what’s the problem?

I would love to sing from the rooftops of this blog about cake toppers and garters, but the circus of a wedding – and the attention it will bring – is daunting. I blame the parents. When they divorced, it threw a grenade into the centre of our family, leaving behind shrapnel pieces of cynicism for this ‘happy ever after’ stuff.

Like the lyrics to this song, when it comes to Napoleon: ‘I’m his girl’. For nearly ten years, he’s been my boy.

We will marry – perhaps the two of us, in jeans – and I’ll figure this out. Until then, it would be good to hear your experiences of the transition between girlfriend, next diamond-clad fiancée, to wife. Or simply your thoughts on this newly-signed Brooklyn band, Friends.

So hipster it hurts, aren’t they?


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My little sister came to stay last week.

She’s starting university – reading law, for her sins – and this was our last hurrah before she becomes bound to her books. Cocktails were downed by the dozen sipped. Gossip was shared. And she remains, without question, my one true soulmate.

The best kid in the world.

Always beautiful, the past two years have imparted a maturity, a womanly assurance – nascent and delicate, though it is still – to amplify her existing beauty.

It has taken me by surprise.

In my sister, I behold a sprog with pigtails and a droopy diaper – the little girl, forever decorated in Wotsit dust, to whom I would read bedtime stories and sing to sleep as she squeezed my hair – and yet, to the world, she is a woman. The legs have grown. The braces have come off. The shutters from my eyes, too – and look, see what we’re dealing with.

A younger, prettier Elle Macpherson.*

Sassy and intelligent, she’s the kind of girl who could wear every piece from the new Balmain diffusion line, Pierre Balmain – whose lookbook is pictured here – without risk of them wearing her.

In leaving for university, my sister reaches another milestone on the road to adulthood.

It is difficult to let her go – my instinct, as the eldest sibling, is to protect and continue to hold her close – but I couldn’t be more proud of all that she is becoming and know that the next three years will be amongst the happiest of her life.

Good luck, little lobster, I love you.

* Such are the perils of having a sister ten years younger. For the record, I’m a shorter, rounder Dawn French… ;0)

|Pierre Balmain|


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Green-eyed World

I wouldn’t say that I was jealous of Joanna Hillman – Market Editor at US Harper’s Bazaar – but, yeah, I’m definitely in that neighbourhood.



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Service Interrupted

* Exclusive 10% discount for Style Souk Readers *

This might seem a little left of field.

We’ve become accustomed to talking shop around here and, by shop, I mean fashion. There may be the occasional vignette about the jejuneness of my personal life – or, even, a political tirade – but, otherwise, the party line is toed.

Frocks and Slacks.

On the recommendation of model, Ruth Crilly, I recently discovered organic skincare brand, Pai. It seemed a timely introduction. Late nights and stress have taken their toll on my skin, but the final straw came with an allergic reaction to a Dr Sebagh moisturiser. Naively, I had thought the £95 price tag of his Extreme Maintenance could alone induce tears… until the rash developed.

I shan’t bore you with evangelical details about the company or their ethical approach – for risk of sounding in the pay and play of a PR contact and, besides, you can read about it here – but, what I can say is that, within a week of using the Camellia and Rose cleanser, my skin was clear and calm.

Four weeks later, it is even better.

I also bought the Chamomile and Rosehip moisturiser (Natalie Portman’s favourite!) and, though lovely, it is the cleanser that has really blown me away. Enough, in fact, to interrupt our normal service of fashion… and organise an exclusive treat for readers of Style Souk.

For one week only, the good people at Pai have agreed to offer an exclusive 10% discount on their entire skincare range. That’s right, anything that takes your fancy! All you have to do is type stylesouk at checkout. I will not benefit or profit for any sales and make this recommendation for a simple reason: It’s genuinely beautiful. It genuinely works.

You can order from Pai on-line here:

And, hey, the creator is a girl called Sarah. She studied history. At Nottingham University. The exact – insert music for the Twilight Zone – same as me.

If that ain’t reason enough to support a sister, what is?


* The discount for Style Souk readers will close on Sunday 25 September 2011 at midnight. Open to UK and international customers.


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