Monday, 30 September 2013


Although why you’re all called that I really don’t know. There’s nothing particularly fresh about that first fortnight apart from the guys trying to get first-time hands into first-time knickers. Bar that shuddering experience – and not in a good way – that first two weeks of freedom will mostly be rolling up to lectures in yesterday’s clothes, coping with the student squalor of a second or third year’s home (think House of Horrors by way of Pat Sharp's Fun House), living almost exclusively on dry shampoo and Dove deodorant and never having enough loo roll or washing up liquid to hand. See, distinctly non-fresh.

Apart from cleanliness though, starting Uni is very much like a breath of a 'fresh' air. It’s a brand new start. The first step towards the greater you. It may be a faltering step but it’s all contributing towards Your Grand Plan.

As you embark on this next stage of your life most people are telling you WHAT TO DO – apart from your weeping mother who will alternately tell you she loves you but NOT TO TAKE DRUGS. But for the most part, your friends and the media will have tips and ideas on what you should be doing. I however, am going to tell you what to stear clear of.

Don't do Initiations: You’re desperate to make a name for yourself. You want to be funny and brave and reckless and impress the rugby squad/Bullingdon Club/chess team. But don’t forget that everyone has a camera phone and that delightful image of your freshly shaven bollocks hanging over someones’s nose whilst you drink the entire top shelf through a funnel, will end up on social media and that’s tougher to get rid of than your fresher flu or, heaven forbid that delightful remnant of a truly forgettable and less than savoury liason. Which leads me on to..

Don't have Sex with the First Person you Meet: You have just swum down the river of youth and reached the ocean of opportunity, paddle for a while.  Don't forget, your beer goggles will be firmly on for the best part of a month and therefore your judgement will be severely impaired and so cannot be trusted. Although on the plus side, a near-stranger during the winter months is cheaper than paying for that electric heater.

Don't be Tight: There is nothing worse than a parsimonious person. We’re all broke – and it’s going to get a lot worse, but in your first week, put your hand in your pocket and buy a bloody round. That study book isn’t going to help you laugh your way through the coursework all-nighters but friends who you've shared a bottle of Pinot with, will.

Don't Be the Gap Year Bore: Yes, we’re impressed that you helped build a school/visited Machu Pichu/had The Best Time Ever at a full moon party but unless you’ve truly done something one off, then change the record. And banish all clothing and accessories you compiled along your year of discovery.  

Don't Live on Pasta: You think it’s your cheap, cheerful, easy friend now – two months down the line though and you’ll be wondering where the third chin came from and why your face has exploded with acne you thought you'd said adios to at 15. Buy some vegetables, they’re better for your waistline. No they won’t cure your hangover, but your body has already taken a nueclear hit of jaegermesiter, it doesn’t need to be asphyxiated with carbs too.

Don’t be a Version of Yourself: I get it, you’re in your late teens, you’re in a new city you’ve barely visited, you’re thrown into a melting pot with people you don’t and, perhaps rather not, know, but enough with the self angst. Be yourself. Not with false bravado, a dodgy accent or a host of stories based on your much cooler, older brother. You’ll get caught out. And it will be awful.

Don't be Political for the Sake of it: You're an idealist who thinks they'll change the world. And maybe you will. In ten or twenty years time. Now, you're just avoiding 9am lectures, being neighbours from hell and spouting rubbish from the pulpit of not paying tax or slogging it in the office.

Don’t Ignore your Mum: You may think that five texts, two phonecalls and 20 emails a day is a bit overboard, but she won’t stalk you quite so much if you just reply once. She thinks youre dead, pick up the phone. 

Enjoy, you only get this opportunity once. Or you should do, so DON'T fail your exams. 

Thursday, 19 September 2013


So today is Carine Roitfeld's birthday. Model, former Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Paris, current Editor of CR Fashion Book and the muse to the sexiest of all designers, Tom Ford, Carine is the embodiment of style. Look for chic in the dictionary and a picture of her appears under it alongside Coco Chanel. C’est pas magnifique! Happy birthday Corine, you gave good eyebrow long before Cara.

Credit where credit's due: Into The Gloss & Google

Friday, 6 September 2013

Walk With Me In Wonderland

What's your regular Tuesday night like? Sweating it out in the gym in your dad's old t-shirt (actually, gym? Who am I kidding?)? Heading home to attack the laundry and scale the mountain of ironing? If it's near the beginning of the month, perhaps a surf of the internet and a shop-a-thon of shoes that you really don't need?

That's pretty much my standard early weekday vacuous evening. Slightly happier than post the doom of Monday, but it's not quite the Wednesday where the end of the week is in sight. This week, however, was a total break from the norm. This week, the neon stilettos were slipped on, extra eyeliner ringed my baby blues and I headed to Alice's Wonderland.

Joined by my adventurous accomplices, Sam Bawden, founder of Cheltenham Fashion Week (2nd - 7th Dec) and Louise Lowdell of House of Pandora vintage fame we leapt in my post-Feastival filthy car to drive to Aynhoe Park for an evening with Matthew Williamson. The sun lit up the Cotswolds, Radio 1 didn't let us down with some evening serenades and we all had a chance to talk fashion and gossip. 

I have always wanted to disappear down the rabbit hole of madness which is Aynhoe. It is the single most beautiful house in Oxfordshire, which easily steals the show in any fashion shoot and even stands the bride up at the many weddings they host here. This interior hasn't been designed; it's been curated. And like Sonnet Stanfill at the V&A, James Perkins (previous life incarnation as the club and rave promoter to know) has an incredible eye which has transformed Aynhoe into an eclectic shrine to the bygone days of the stately house parties, where people came for a summer solstice and didn't leave until the Christmas decorations had come down. 

And one of the bedrooms in this beautiful home – and venue – has just had an overhaul. In fact it looks like this boudoir rocked up at one of James' raves and was doused in a riot of rainbows and dance music. This is courtesy of the maestro of colour himself, Matthew Williamson. From the Osborne and Little songbirds romantically covering the walls to the pops of neon edging the cushions; from the quintessential Williamson peacock feathers adorning the bathroom to the sell-my-grandmother-for silk dresses hanging in the closet, this room would still have sunshine on a seriously cloudy day. I'd love to show you pictures but a magazine had the exclusive - I'll wait 'til I invite myself back and stay next time. 

James took us for a tour of other rooms featuring naked photographs of Kate Moss – she's stayed here pretty often – taxidermy cheetahs and polar bears, neon chandeliers, stone statues which rival the Elgin Marbles and art to take your breath away. And the stories that would be whispered if these walls could talk; I'm sure even I would blush. It's mad and over the top but totally liveable – James and his partner Sophie are undoubtedly artists with an extraordinary eye and a wonderful bonhomie that is incredibly welcoming and impossibly cool. 

After champagne and enjoying the last of the August sunshine, 30 of us stayed for supper at a great long table in the orangery overlooked by three huge glitterballs and a unicorn. I told you it was magical. 
I couldn't have been less Williamson-attired in my leather trousers, black silk shirt and just-got-off-a-tour-bus hair, but I don't think it held me back fitting in too much. I bonded with Tuli, Matthew's model who was initially dressed in beautiful fuchsia pink but with her rough-n-tough boots keeping her cool and pretty. Discussing the direction of Matthew's latest collection, it seems he's rocking up his aesthetic and featuring some more tailoring. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he'll also feature some boobs too so I can wear his beautiful prints and inject some of Ibiza into my wardrobe – even if I'm not going to make it to the actual white isle this year. And the Mancunian Matthew was just  gorgeous, so warm and bitchily funny, I just wanted to curl up in a corner with him and laugh (decidedly non-poorvo).

And so the evening dissipated into madness, trying on Matthew's hot-hued clothes (his dresses obviously, not his actual pants), disappearing into the darkness of the basement Club and defiantly requesting Beyonce to dance around to. I could tell you more, but then that's not very Aynhoe. See, we don't kiss and tell there...
Suffice to say, it was unbelievably glamorous. And a much better Tuesday night workout then hitting the gym.

We also had fab goodie bags with vouchers for Matthew Williamson's pop up boutique at Bicester Village, so guess what I'm doing this weekend...

With huge thanks to Sam at Cheltenham Fashion Week for having me as her plus one (and check out her Phone Book Interview with me here) and James and Sophie at Aynhoe.