barber & parlour

I’ve told you before about the genie who lives in our house under the stairs. She’s very happy down there and only really ventures out to blow dry my hair while the Smalls help themselves to breakfast every morning. IN MY DREAMS. Because honestly, there’s no wonder that Anna Wintour’s tresses look so damn fine, day in day out.

However, in the real world, I simply throw a brush at my head and – more often than I should – my barnet goes up and out of the way before I exit the door. In a wild panic. Yes. I can honestly confirm that there is no genie whatsoever.

So, an invitation to get myself to Redchurch Street, Shoredich for a pre-work blow dry (and manicure) was too much to pass up on. But armed with my unhealthy desire to obsessively multitask – it felt more adpt to drag along ‘the boss’. Overdue a catch up and utterly positive that this would appeal to her crazy diary, we were first into Barber & Parlour as it flung open its doors on Thursday morning.

Barber & Parlour

Barber & Parlour

barber & parlour

Barber & Parlour

Within minutes, heads were wet and coffees on standby. A little painting and some big blow dries followed while our breakfasts were cooked. The whole process was seamless, relaxing and… actually really amusing too. You see, our host for the morning was Pooja – head of marketing at Soho House (of which B&P is one of their more recent ventures). I knew Pooja when she was the marketing head honcho for Food and Beverages at Harrods and she’s no less fun now with Soho House.

Barber & Parlour

Barber & Parlour

Barber & Parlour

superior multi-tasking from Jules co-founder of @londonontheinside

Barbour & Parlour

Jules and Pooja tucking into a PROPER breakfast

Pooja and Emma - colourful nails

Pooja and Emma ‘the boss’ with colourful @URCHEEKY nails

With digital/blogger gossip at full-throttle, the only issue was that no one wanted to leave the party.

Barber & Parlour 64-66 Redchurch St E2

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evils of perfection

Small brought me his maths homework last night.

I know this answer isn’t right’ he correctly volunteered. ‘But I don’t know how to do it so I guessed a number and added 2 to it.

I took a closer inspection and the rest of the homework was pretty much in line with what the teacher had requested. And I have this thing about perfect homework so I immediately agreed that he could kick a football in the garden.

Honestly, there really is NO place for perfect homework in this world. Not only does it feel manufactured, bad and wrong, it also happens to be poor preparation for any future life.

In fact, from where I’m sitting, perfection in general is a bit of a curse. Unrelenting, non-authentic and with very few upsides, I’d strongly advise those who feel the need to dot every i. Because the harsh reality is that nothing perfect is sustainable, especially as we live in a society flooding us with unattainable expectations around every topic imaginable. How often we eat our greens, have sex, save money, spend time with our children/elderly parents, exercise, cook from scratch…. the list is nothing short of exhausting.

So join my gang in being slightly messy, that little bit imperfect and do add a random 2 to any sum you don’t know how to do…

This column first appeared in The Lady where I am their Mum About Town.




Filed under The Lady Magazine

dating schools

I know we’re not allowed to talk about it. I know that – along with tutors and scholarships and everything else in between – the whole damn subject is COMPLETELY taboo. However ‘horses for courses’ and ‘go with the flow’ are all very well in theory but I do need to tell you how I put 2 and 2 together and BING! right there and then I had my not-so-academic revelation….

In fact, it was while I was touring a possible senior school for our Mini that this award-winning realization hit me. You see, I’m approaching school-hunting much as I did (all those years ago) when I might have been husband-hunting. And THIS is sure to be the reason why my emotions around secondary school viewings are proving a little left field. I’ll give you an example: I never could dig those boys who couldn’t look me in the eye – especially if their hands dug around in their pockets. Nor could I date the smarmies, the intellects and… what a utterly hideous turn off those A grades could be. No. Absolutely not. I was looking for someone properly fun, definitely not stupid and more than able to handle any social situation I might fling in their direction.

And – as it transpires – that’s what I’m looking for when considering our Smalls and their education – at large. Yet instead I am find myself faced with exam factories, overly-keen teenagers, pushy parents and droves of stressed out over-achievers. I just can’t fancy that.

This column first appeared in The Lady where I am their Mum About Town.


Filed under kids, The Lady Magazine

Gather & See / #PushNOIR press days

Last week was a positively crazy one. At Push HQ our #PushNOIR themed press days were in full flow and – as the first in The Arts Building – the intention to create a bit of a stir was utterly necessary.

a glimpse inside #PushNoir

a glimpse inside #PushNOIR


Thursday was party night and with Hemsley & Hemsley on the food, Mixology shaking up the Push cocktails and some of the most creative (and noisiest!) consuming our fashion and beauty spectacle, the evening was every bit as colourful as you might imagine.

push pr press day

Talking of colour and that passion for fashion, I made a beeline for beautifully ethical etailer, Gather & See, to discover more about Alicia Taylor and Stephanie Hogg – the duo behind this stunning retailer with a conscience.

Alicia Taylor and Stephanie Hogg / Gather & See

Alicia Taylor and Stephanie Hogg / Gather & See (photo: @clarewalshimage)

what is a fashion gatherer?  We love fashion gatherers! Someone who travels the globe near and far in search of beautiful pieces –from local vintage shops to local artisans handiwork.

how ethical is ethical in the world of fashion?  There is still a long way to go. Sadly it hast taken tragedies such as the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh to open up the fashion industry’s eyes to some of the biggest issues that supply chains face. Whilst there is still an appetite for fast fashion consumers are becoming aware that for a T-shirt to cost £3, someone somewhere is most likely being exploited.

Gather & See at #PushNoir

who do you consider to be the queen of fair-trade?  Safia Minney- the force behind People Tree. She has been an inspiring figure and definitely put fair trade on the map. It has taken many years of dedication from pioneers such as Safia to make a difference and to have built the fair trade fashion movement to where it is today.

which is your favourite piece in the new collection?  Steph: I love the Alix dress by Beaumont Organic – the soft cotton feels amazing and just so easy to wear. Every time I put it on , I get a compliment- can’t get better than that!  Alicia:  For me it’s the Mashua dress by Lalesso –  glamorous and elegant at the same time. I love the print which has a slightly retro vibe to it and I will be wearing it everywhere from the beach to weddings this summer.

what’s on your bedside table?  Steph: Lots of books, radio and water jug. I’m reading ‘My Brilliant Friend” by Elena Ferrante.  Alicia: Jane Eyre which (to my shame) I am reading for the first time, a picture of my husband laughing and Ren Moroccan Rose Body Cream.

what’s your tune of the moment?  Steph: Rosie Lowe “Who’s that girl?”   Alicia: I have notoriously dubious taste in music. At the moment my guilty pleasure is Nick Jonas,  Jealous. Probably shouldn’t admit that should I?

life long dream? Steph: To change the way people shop, and produce ethical fashion, long term. And to one day own my own getaway somewhere deep in the countryside.  Alicia: I think to develop a lasting, respected fashion retail company that maintains its core values and delivers customers a unique and enjoyable experience. Also to travel somewhere new every year – India is high up on my list at the moment.

most challenging issue behind the business?  Being an online business it’s difficult not interacting with our customers face to face. Building relationships with customers is something we consider really important and whilst you can do it to an extent online and through social media we do miss not having. Also breaking people’s preconceptions about what ethical fashion looks like – some people expect it to be outdated, hemp and beige. One look at Gather&See and you can see that is so not the case.

where to next? We would love to have a physical store in London – that’s definitely be our next step!

tell us a secret. Steph: I love early nights! Nothing better than getting into bed at 9pm with a good book! Alicia:  I think the Nick Jonas thing was enough of an admission for one day!

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