I need to look after you. No really, I do. I have a crippling compulsion to prioritise others’ needs far above my own and, naturally, put any hope of relaxation on the backburner.
I, thankfully, learned this force majeure is that of an OCD persuasion. And does far more harm than good. After years of running myself ragged, all it takes is a little bit of enforced perspective and I’m half-way unwound.
Nonetheless, I am a work in progress. Over the last few months I have discovered that dedicating at least one hour a day to something indulgent – be it cooking a meal or doing a dance class – keeps me sane. That music at least two decades old will always make me smile. That wearing a killer dress, even when working from home, takes my brain from ‘work mode’ to ‘party mode’ and almost doubles my productivity. That I can better help those in need when I help myself.
As stress is a heavy-handed trigger for acid reflex/heartburn/other such nonsense, I also make sure to physically limit any irritants while I work on my brain game. I avoid eating late (or forgetting to eat altogether), eating spicy or citric food, and drinking alcohol or caffeine (though, cards on the table, I will always be dependent on an espresso or five to run at a normal human pace).
In this age of digital distractions and predominantly demanding days, relaxation has to be a conscious choice. I fully advocate finding out what works best for you.
And listen to a lot of Robert Palmer while you’re at it.
What I Wore:
Red lace dress (almost everything I’ve worn over the last month has been from Mancunian fashion brand LOTD, for all of you who have been asking on Instagram!)
Just when I thought I knocked all of my train-loving bucket list dreams out of the park,
It has been a number of frenziedSteam Dreams Rail Co came along and carried me through a luxuriously vintage-style tour to the White Cliffs of Dover.
Very little could top such a day for a lover of all things retro. Steam Dreams’ Cathedrals Express is everything my Hitchcock-loving self fantasised about as a little girl.
Murder plots aside.
The steam train – now used by the company for tours and unique dining experience – is every bit the panelled, 1960s beauty you’d expect. And it plays into a the bygone age of train travel without a shred of vulgarity.
We set off with a glass of champagne in hand and hours ahead to put the world to rights.
Most day trips serve pastries with tea or coffee on your outward journey (with delightfully friendly service, to boot), but I advise leaving plenty of room for their culinary coup d’état – a four course mid-journey meal. Though the menus change on each journey, our burrata/beef fillet/champagne tart/English cheese extravaganza far exceeded typical train food standards.
With a comprehensive guide to the sights and stops along the way, we found our way to and from the English Channel in no time at all. Drawing quite a crowd at each water stop, while we were at it!
I can’t wait to see where I can steam my way to next.
This pink-hooded parka of snowtime ideals has caused quite an unexpected stir.
Though the thought rarely crosses my mind, I thought it might be a bit…well…extra. But snow needs must.
When I opened my windows to an unlikely flurry of southern snow, it was – quite frankly – the best sartorial decision I could make. And the numerous Instagram requests to buy the coat off me have only affirmed the decision.
‘Tis the season to be extra, after all.
What I Wore:
That parka from Miss Pap
A fluffy pink skirt (vintage – similar here)
Black scoop neck top
Studded ankle boots (similar here)
The first ‘non-essential’ I bought myself when I moved back to London as an adult was a ticket to La Soiree. Trading a week of caffeine-dependent sanity for nose-bleed seats to a modern circus no-one had ever heard of felt like a risk at the time.
Eight years later, it has become an essential annual ritual.
Be it from laughter that has you clutching the seat in front of you or the physical reaction required when seeing act after act defy death, La Soiree simply takes your breath away. Each act – be it this year’s raucously inappropriate Daredevil Chicken Club or blindfolded cradle act from The Chilly Brothers – is mischievous and magical by equal measure and only heightened by their well-deserved arrival at the West End’s Aldwych Theatre.
The Olivier Award-winning phenomenon is neither circus nor variety show nor dive bar nor burlesque act. Yet all of them, all the same. Though their cast changes annual, the show always feel like home. A home where people fly through the air, strip, and sing the most politically incorrect songs you’ll enjoy all year.
So, you know, normal Christmas vibes.
Do not miss out this year. But do watch out for the bananas.
Most December evenings riding the tube feels like something of a Christmas party on tracks. The women line seats in glitzed-up garms while men stand overhead in shiny shoes they forgot hurt until a few hooches in.
I bloody love it.
As part of Boohoo’s Christmas campaign, I’ve made an effort to be as sparkly as possible for the 24 days people will raise their eyebrows less. And their party dresses have been the catalyst of dreams.
What I Wore:
This glitter-threaded v-neck skater number (but honestly, all their party dresses are next level)
My trusty Sargossa nude heels