Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Single Women Can't Cook

I was watching that new series that started last week called Brothers and Sisters. It is a drama starring Calista Flockhart, she of Ally McBeal fame who plays Kitty Walker, a hard driven career woman. Brothers and Sisters is an ok drama, nothing remarkable apart from one scene where Kitty is making dinner for her boyfriend. She is on the phone and then we see her rush to the oven and take out some burnt dinner. Yep, girlfriend might kick ass as a TV host but she is totally wack in the kitchen. If that scene sounds familiar then it is probably because you have seen it a thousand times before. How many times have we seen single career women on TV being portrayed as undomesticated and unable to boil an egg? Let me see there was the tough DC Jane Tennison played by Helen Mirren in the award winning Prime Suspect who lived on recipe dishes. So lame was she in the culinary stakes that her boyfriend who was also a Policeman had to come round and rustle up a tasty dish for her after witnessing the sad contents of her fridge. Funny how he managed to cook and hold down a career at the same time. As much as I loved Sex and the City that show also let me down in the kitchen as well. Neither of my gals could cook to save their lives and in fact a couple of them seemed proud of it. The closest Miranda ever got to the kitchen was when she was putting her Chinese takeaway onto her fancy plates and Samantha only seem to go into her kitchen when she was looking for the wine corker. The hopeless Susan from Desperate Housewives couldn't cook either, oh and neither could Bridget Jones - the ultimate singleton. I once saw a documentary a few years ago about modern relationships where a bunch of guys where discussing the perils of the modern lady. One of them said that if you went to a young lady's home and you looked in her fridge you wouldn't see any food but you could bet on finding a couple of bottles of wine in there. How cheeky!!

I am a single woman but I can cook, in fact if I couldn't cook I would probably starve as there would be no-one else to cook for me. Either that or I would go bankrupt from eating out all the time. I am sure there are lots of single woman who cannot cook but there also are loads that can and I think it is ludicrous and harmful to consistently present single ladies who do not know one end of the kitchen to another. Most of the women I know simply adore cooking and love trying out new dishes and the majority of them have fantastic kitchens to cook in. With food being the new black and chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey now household names it is time TV bosses got real and started portraying single women in a realistic view. Great in the boardroom and fabulous in the kitchen. Thank god for Nigella Lawson with her wonderful foodie programmes, as well as the delightful programme, Dish it Up which features singers and best chums, Neneh Cherry and Andrea Oliver.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

In Her Shoes

After vowing never to betray my VHS videos I have succumb to pressure and finally accepted that DVDs are here to stay. Also the DVD feature on my MacBook is wonderful and I just love the subtitles as well as the extra features that you get. Ok, I stand corrected, DVDs are not so bad after all. I treated myself to two DVD titles over the weekend, In Her Shoes starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette and Shopgirl with Claire Danes. I have not finished Shopgirl yet but I totally and utterly adored 'In Her Shoes', it was just the sort of film that makes me go ga ga. It is about two sisters who are at complete end of the spectrum. Maggie played by Diaz is blond and ditzy and wonders through life aimlessly leaving others to pick up the pieces from her mess and Rose is a serious brunette who has a high powered job as a lawyer at a prestigious firm. Despite their huge differences the sisters are very close and tied by a huge tragedy from their past. However a traumatic event occurs that causes a rift between the two sisters and it is left for a lost family relative to bring Maggie and Rose back together. This gem of a film has wonderful dialogue, a sexy storyline and a happy slushy ending. Right up my street. 'In Her Shoes' is a film adaptation of the book of the same name which is written by uber chick lit author, Jennifer Weiner. Now I am a member of a few Chicklit groups and Ms Weiner is right up there as one of the gods of this exciting genre. However, funnily enough I have never read any of her titles so I really didn't know what to expect from this film. The movie is directed by Curtis Hanson whose other works include LA Confidential, Wonder Boys and 8 Mile and he does a fine job with the legendary Ridley Scott in producer capacity. However it is screenwriter, Susannah Grant who makes this film tick what with her witty and sharp dialogue. Grant has certainly had plenty of practise with lush dialogue while working on hit TV series, Party of Five and the award winning film Erin Brockovich. Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and grand dame, Shirley McClaine all put in stunning performances that make this film shine. I am off to check out Jennifer Weiner's collection on

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Style Bibles

Victoria Beckham aka Posh is famous for many things; being the wife of one of the greatest footballers in the world, being a former Spice Girl and also being as thin as a rake. She is also renowned for being a shrewd businesswoman with products such as designer jeans, his 'n' her perfumes with hubby David as well as a style bible called That Extra Half an Inch: Hair, Heels and Everything in Between. All this has not gone un-noticed by Glamour magazine who have awarded her Woman of the Year. Posh's book is one of the most stylish I have ever seen; it is full of gorgeous pictures and amazing illustrations. Moreover the book offers practical advice on clothes, shoes, bags and accessories that every lady needs. Ok the advice may not be ground breaking but the design of the book is so seductive that you will just have to buy it to add to your collection. Another style book that I adore is The Goddess Guide which is written by Gisele Scanlon. This title is completely sumptuous and amazingly put together and covers topics like style, beauty, design, home and lifestyle. The Goddess Guide has a suede cover that is intricate and you cannot get anymore luxurious than that. I absolutely adore this book, it is so special and unputdownable. I also love Shopping for Vintage: The Definitive Guide to Vintage Fashion which is penned by Fummi Odulate, an A-Z to buying vintage and like Posh's book it is also equipped with yummy illustrations and graphics. Plus it is also compact and handy to carry round in your handbag. These are three books that I will never let out of my sight.

Picture from

Monday, 11 June 2007

Designs of Grandeur

It seems like the whole country has gone eco wild. Not a day goes by without me reading a newspaper or magazine about eco-friendly materials, energy saving methods and recycling. A few years ago, issues like these were considered naff and something only batty people like train spotters did but those days are over and the whole world along with Gordon Brown seems to be on a mission to save the earth. This weekend I attended Grand Designs LIVE with my house mates at EXCel; based on the very popular TV series which is presented by the even more popular Kevin McCloud and the magazine. Grand Designs LIVE is now today what The Ideal Home Show was in the 80s but a bit more edgier. The show was divided into six sections, GRANDBuild, GRANDInteriors, GRANDKitchens, GRANDBathrooms, GRANDGardens and DESIGN Shopping Arcade and visitors were treated to lots of FREE seminars hosted by the good and great of property and interior. There was Naomi Cleaver from Grand Designs: Trading Up, Sarah Beeny, presenter of Property Ladder, Diarmund Gavin who presented Home Front, Oliver Heath of Changing Rooms fame and of course Kevin McCloud. This year there was a special eco theme with a brand new eco feature which showed you how to reduce your carbon footprint and there was also a 'Going Green Trail' which helped you to locate companies offering products that are energy efficient, sustainable or which contribute to the 'Eco Challenge.' There was also a show house produced by Baufritz for us to browse through that was the first of its kind to be Carbon Positive. I thought it was ok although some of the interior designs were a tad bit bland.

The show was very enjoyable although it was heaving in there with loved up trendy couples carrying their eco friendly shopping bags. The exhibition itself was huge and even though I was moaning during the long journey about the organisers choosing EXCeL instead of Earls Court, the answer became apparent as soon as we got there. Grand Designs was every bit as grand as its name and took up the whole of the venue. There were also lots of freebies on hand like magazines and useful knick knaks for the house. We even got to meet the main man himself, Mr McCloud when he was signing books and took some pics. The show is definately worth attending if you are into property and design but I think the price of £14 in advance and £18 on the door is a bit steep especially as it includes nothing except entry into the premises and you had to pay £5.00 extra for a brochure.
Media 10 who produce Grand Designs LIVE expected around 50,000 visitors over the weekend so at £14.00/£18.00 a head they must have been raking it in. It would have been nice if they had included a brochure as well as a FREE copy of Grand Designs magazine with that price instead of employing sales staff to flog subscriptions to people. Still consumer trade shows are big money these days and if you can tie it into a TV show you are laughing and if you have a magazine as well then you will be rolling down to the bank. Look out for Property Ladder Live which comes to Birmingham this October.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Graduate Fashion Week

On Monday I woke up with a migraine and had the sudden urge to stay in bed all day. I had planned to go down to Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) to see the collections but my head was saying different things. However, temptation got the better of me, I figured that the fresh air as long as the innovative ideas that I would see at the event would do me the world of good. I was not wrong, a few hours and two paracetomols later I was at Battersea Park Arena along with my press pass and goodie bag feeling revived and very inspired. I did have to pinch myself that I was at the right event because the last time I went to GFW it was a low key affair with a few portfolios on display. Today GFW is a huge event that attracts high profile sponsors such as River Island, Revlon, L'Oreal, Pringle and magazines like Cosmopolitan, Company and Glamour. In fact the event is highly acclaimed as one where you find the latest talents in fashion; Stella McCartney got her break here a few years ago along with Alexander McQueen, Julien MacDonald and John Galliano.

At the exhibition what I saw before me were magazines, business cards, posters, brochures, bags and other promotional merchandise that were produced to an amazingly high standard. Battersea Park Arena was filled with a buzz of excitement, expectation and amazing energy and I am so glad that I made it down.
The first show I saw was the University of the Creative Arts which featured everything from hoodies, monochrome designs and tailoring. After that I grabbed Nwannie who was working hard backstage dressing the models for that show and we headed to the press office for some lunch. I must admit I was very impressed with the press office at this function, they served non stop food and plenty of drinks. It was also decked out with cosy sofas, fancy tables and wifi where the grande dame of fashion journalism, Hilary Alexander was seen looking rather stressed. In fact the treatment of the press at GFW was commendable; we were ushered into each show without having to queue and were allocated front row seats. This is a far cry to London Fashion Week where we have to queue for ages in the cold and even when we get in we have to stand. It will certainly be a shock to go back to that. As well as seeing vibrant and wonderful collections we met some characters along the way such as a young man from a glossy magazine who was taking pictures with his camera phone. In the press room we got chatting to a journalist from menstyle and we also met some great guys from Disorder magazine who were lots of fun. It was a truly gratifying day and I am still blown away by the amount of talent that is produced in this country and I just hope all of them find jobs in the area that they wish. Picture taken from Graduate Fashion Week website