Quick Style Fixes for Busy Mums

It's not vanity. It's self-respect.

Are you a lady? And what I wore.

Have you heard of Rachel Johnson? She’s a Sunday Mail columnist, ex-editor of ‘The Lady, woman with family in high places. (Boris Johnson’s her bro.)

She’s fronting a TV documentary about ‘ladyhood’. I think she’ll be asking what makes a lady. I’ll be watching because I’m interested in feminism, ideas of female identity, how we construct our behaviour – all that sort of stuff. 

Anyway, I’ve had a think. I’m half-lady.

I care about manners but I know there’s other stuff like happiness and anarchy which is sometimes just as important. I’m not going to tell Polly 100 times a day to say ‘thank you’ – gratitude can be shown in lots of different ways and it doesn’t always have to be verbal.

On the other hand, if husband walks into the kitchen and switches radio stations without EVEN RUDDY ASKING ME I will go all prim and proper and say “Manners don’t cost anything.”

If I’m at a playgroup or party (rare) and somebody seems lonely, I’ll try to smile and chat – which makes me a lady, apparently (A lady always puts others first or makes a beeline for people at a party who seem left out) But I have had moments when I would rather just huddle with people I know, or stare into space/read an edifying book instead.


If I meet someone for the first time, I try to put them at ease, which I suppose is lady-like. But I do this by asking them lots of questions about themselves – because I’m an ex-journalist and old habits die hard – which can sometimes seem rude or intrusive. (I’m sorry if you’ve been at the receiving end.)

In some ways, motherhood has brought me closer to being a lady. Sometimes I am more considerate, respect parents more, and try to teach P. about those values too. But I do get bloody tired, snappish and self-centred, which probably isn’t in The Manual of Ladies.

My  blog, twitter feed, and an interest in online ‘sharing’ probably removes me from True Lady Status too, as most ladies are famously discreet and private (Just look at Kate Middleton, a very modern ‘lady’.)

So I suppose I’m half-way between these two ladies:



Which is probably the right place to be. It’s good to have choices.

What about you? Are you a lady? Has motherhood made you more or less lady-like, or do you think the concept is outmoded and restrictive? I’d love to know. How to be a Lady is on at 9pm on BBC4, 28th March. Read more about it here.

Finally – at the weekend I went along to the 48 Hour Fashion Fix at Cabot Circus, Bristol. This was my first event I’d attended as a blogger so I had little idea of what to expect. In the end, it was a Jolly Time Out. There was a big beauty bus, pop-up fashion shows, I met some lovely bloggers (hello!) and at the end we all ran in the rain to drink bubbly and eat calamari in a free bar. Thank you very much!

The lovely Gina Dyer took a snap of me, so here is what I wore:

me at cabot

Black Heels – ancient Russell & Bromley ones, M&S green jeans, Warehouse brown coat, black satchel from France – husband bought it while we were ‘courting’ – that’s when I knew he was a keeper. A few people have asked about my lipstick, it’s an Avon Extra Lasting lipstick and you can buy them online at the moment for £4. They are bloody good.

What did you do at the weekend?


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