Guest Appearances

The Trouble With Male Doctors

help pink pills

The NHS says 65 percent of consultants are male. If that’s the case I feel sure that I must have seen at least 50 percent of them. I’m exaggerating, and perhaps the area of medicine I fall under, or into – rheumatology, is not that interesting for women (frankly, it’s not even that interesting to me). Either way, in three years (the last month or two withstanding) I have seen precisely one woman in a consultation about my condition and she was a default because the incumbent had ‘a rush on’ that day. Read More…

How I Pull Myself Together

sliced cake loaf

A dear friend, lets call her B, has just suffered a bereavement. We agree to meet for a coffee and a shared piece of cake (let’s not push the boat out too far) at one of our favourite places. If you have read me before you’ll know that I’m wrestling with a chronic illness which leaves me exhausted and often at times struggling to make the simplest of decisions – for example, jeans or Zara striped pants? Today I’m in the jeans which are clean and a sweater which is un-pilled cashmere, so I’m ahead of the game.

Especially since I’m expecting B, who is the most exquisitely turned out person I know, to be somewhat diminished in appearance, given her trauma. When she walks into the café I barely recognise her, so entirely soigne does she appear. The details: a new haircut (thanks to the inimitable Joel at Nicola Clarke, John Frieda) great hair colour – Nicola Clarke herself, a fabulous new pair of shoes (Celine) and a beautifully crafted Yves Saint Laurent spring coat. Read More…

The Joy Of Dog

Dog biscuits and leesh

Readers the title of this piece, which is indeed a play on that joyless 1970’s sex book, is not in any way to suggest that there’s anything sexual by way of your (or for that matter my) relationship with your hound of choice. But ask yourself, over the past few years, which particular relationship has satisfied you more, the one with your faithful, greying companion with the dimming eyes, the increasingly laborious gait, occasionally given to displays excitable if limited affection……. or the one with your dog?

Maybe it’s just me and if you read me before you’ll know that I’m suffering from a chronic illness, which plays havoc with one’s hormones and overall well-being, but the older I get, the more emotional, spiritual and physical value I see in owning a pooch. I grew up with and around dogs and I suspect, if I’d grown up with cats I’d see a value in them too. I don’t though. And, spoiler alert, if you are a cat lover you might want to skip over this next bit, because felines have always seemed to me like the very worst example of a best friend – around for the good times (for which in a cat’s case read food and comfort)- and utterly disinclined to offer any succour in one’s time of need. Read More…

What It’s Like Living With An Autoimmune Disease

Hope stone on grass

‘The trouble with us’, says a friend who used to edit a Sunday newspaper and is now retraining as a chef, ‘is that we used to be somebody’. Did we? Or perhaps I should say ‘Did I’? Because said friend is now already officially ‘somebody’ again, a busy private chef, restaurant critic and food editor. I, on the other hand, find myself defined by something else entirely unexpected and unwelcome (though for the record I’m not convinced that editing fashion magazines, writing columns and sitting on uncomfortable chairs at fashion shows ever really qualified as anything meaningful). Almost three years ago I was diagnosed with an extremely rare autoimmune disease – Takayasu’s Arteritis, which attacks the aorta.

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The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

Image courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

When TV offers a more thought provoking take on women’s clothes than designers, it’s time to hit refresh


Most people in decent societies would agree (above the line at least) that a woman should be able to wear whatever she likes without being jumped on. But, as we’re finally beginning to acknowledge publicly, what we wear has consequences.

Clothes matter. They can offend in their sloppiness, their ostentatiousness and their lack (or excess) of modesty. Alternatively, they can seduce entire nations, as when a visiting Duchess wears a maple leaf hat in Canada, or a First Lady chooses British for a rendez-vous in London. Read More…