The Spike


September 2016

Grunge cardigan

When I say grunge, by the way, I don’t actually mean actually dirty hair and a dog on a string and holes in my clothes. I mean grunge lite. Modern grunge.

Those of us who managed to snag one of those Isabel Marant massive zip-cardigans with all bits of wool hanging off it will be laughing.


And I rather fancy this cardigan from Uniqlo, to be worn oversized and long with leggings or tights and clumpy shoes.

I can confirm that it is a *tiny* bit scratchy, but not unbearably so and good value.




Chubby sticks: £17 in store but I got this off Amazon for £14. I hope it’s not a fake one that will melt my lips off

I’ve decided that the answer to AW16 casual dressing might be grunge. Yes you heard me: GRUNGE. There’s a fair amount of it about and I think I might be really good at it this time round, being 13, chubby and skint last time around.

I’m starting with a brown lipstick, this Clinique chubby stick in Graped-Up. It looks much less brown on than in the stick, but still: it’s brown. Lara Flynn-Boyle – I’m coming for you.

Check shirt dress

V neck cotton tunic, H&M £19.99

I am a big believer in getting rid of clothes that you no longer wear. It is pointless to hang on to things that don’t suit you, or you never wear.

But more and more I find myself lamenting things I have given to charity in fits of pique – I was sick of the sight of them or I just couldn’t fathom when or how they would come back into fashion. Only, years later, to miss them. Or for them to come back into fashion.

Two things are bothering me at the moment – a red flowery printed skater dress from TopShop in 1992, which would look amazing now with a black leather jacket. And a checked flannel shirt dress that I wore during both pregnancies.

It would be terrific and very now to wear it with boots and tights and, later, with a beanie and maybe an oversized cardigan? With a lot of black eyeliner? Very Instagram Tiny Fragile Freezing Princess/grunge lite.

And now I just really want it back but I’d feel an idiot spending even £20 on this very similar one from H&M (pictured above), having tossed out a perfectly good one years ago.

Why didn’t I keep it? I know why. I looked at it and went: I hate you and I never want to see you again.

Anyway, I am now much more cautious when getting rid of things. I only get rid of that which truly doesn’t fit or doesn’t suit me. Anything that I’m just a bit sick of, I put away for another time. I think it’s called “archiving” for douchebags.




I have got 2 tickets for any readers who want to go to Stylist Live on October 13th, street value £25!

The only drawback is that I will be talking with some other people on a stage about, like, mums or sthng at about 4pm, by which time you will probably be bored and have gone home anyway so it’s win win.

The first 2 people to leave a comment in the little box below get a ticket each. Or if you’re the first person and you want both tickets for you & a friend, that’s fine.

Then I will email you a code and you have to go to the website and redeem your code to get your ticket.

Yes? Clear as mud? Great.

Don’t all rush at once.

And, err, some other stuff


SORRY no Spike recently. A few domestic issues and, errr, some other stuff at the moment and I find myself in a tight corner.

Back soon!

We just don’t gel


I had my first gel manicure the other day and I was initially pleased as punch with it. “This is absolutely brilliant,” I thought. “Why would you ever have your nails any other way?”

And the answer is, because you will get utterly sick of it and the colour and the rather “heavy” feel of it on your nails within three days but rather resent wasting £23 on having it done and then a further £6 to have it removed.

So hurrah, then, for TopShop gel nail colours, where you apply a base coat, the colour, then a top coat and it’s pretty much as good as gel except you can get it off in the peace and quiet of your own home without needing a jackhammer.

I haven’t actually tried this yet, but most things that TopShop beauty do are good – there is no reason to think this will be otherwise.


Uniqlo coat

They have styled this so horribly, but it’s a nice coat 

Only for my kids would I forgo buying this extremely good coat from Uniqlo.

I was in High Street Kensington begging seeing my friend Emma for work lunch and I was very early on purpose, hoping to bump into some of my old buddies at the Evening Standard, whose offices are just there, and also to have a quick poke round the shops.

The result was that a) Cos is amazing at the moment and b) this Del Boy coat from Uniqlo is very nice and good value at £99 and c) some joke about the Evening Standard that I can’t quite summon up the wit to make.

But the girls on the till at Uniqlo were not quick enough and I left without buying it because I had to peg it back to Kentish Town in time to fetch Kitty from school. The journey from HSK to KT is no joke and I only just made it back in time.

I suppose I can now easily buy the coat online, and I probably will because it will be a very useful coat this Autumn, but I just wanted to point out that I actually put the coat down in the shop and walked out without it, because of my dedication to not ever being late for my kids. That’s how much I love them.

Don’t forget you


Okay a genuinely shocking thing has emerged following my Family Book post on Friday, which is that we are all taking hundreds of photos of the kids, and none of ourselves!

This is a rotten state of affairs – brought about because (sorry to be sexist) but we are the ones most usually wielding the camera, or who think to take a snap but ALSO because we don’t like photos of ourselves, because in our heads we look like Gisele and don’t want that delusion messed with. That’s my reason anyway.

But this is all topsy turvy and wrong and the real losers here are our kids. There are only a handful of photos of my mother from when we were young and hardly any of us with her. Some is better than none, but still it’s sad.

So PLEASE, everyone – just remember: you’re not asking to have a photo taken with your kids for yourself, because you’re a vain nutter: you’re taking them for your kids. I don’t care if you’re all red in the face and need to lose a stone. Your kids won’t care and they will be so sad not to have any photos of you together. They will treasure the ones that they have. DO IT. Show this post to your husband. Hand him your phone, grab the kids by the back of the neck. Get it done.


Family book

Yes, Sam has his pants on his head. All-time greatest photo

As a labour of love for the past four years I have made for my husband a family album for his birthday, which falls at the end of July.

And, god almighty, it is a labour of love. Choosing the photos, schlepping down to Snappy Snaps, printing them out, finding the right sort of album, remembering what size of photo I printed out so that it will fit in the stupid slippery pockets. Collecting the photos. Ramming them in the pockets, writing out the little captions.

I’m not good at this sort of thing and it always looks a bit shit.

So this year I didn’t do it. I bought my husband a pair of upmarket espadrilles and hoped he wouldn’t notice about the photo album.

But I feel sad about it now. A yearly family album is a good thing to have and you do have to do it reasonably regularly or it gets left undone for years because it becomes such a mammoth task. Shoals of unsorted photos in shoeboxes has been replaced by shoals and shoals of photographs on the laptop, unsorted and unused.

There must be an easier way, though? And better value. I was astonished at how expensive this photo print out + album ended up being.

Then my sister pointed out that you can just create any old photo book on a Mac, using iPhoto. (So sorry, this is totally irrelevant to anyone not using a Mac.) I had no idea you could do this and possibly you don’t either, which is why I thought it might be worth pointing out.

You go to iPhotos, then up to the top left of your computer, File/New Book and you’re away! The whole thing ended up costing me about £25 and it was reasonably easy to use – and I am really hopeless at things like that.

So there you go! Your weekend craft activity is sorted.

Anyone know the equivalent on a PC? She added as an insulting afterthought.


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