So tricky these days making sure you live a tasteful and stylish life. To help you all out, here’s my top 20 of all that is naff this season.

20. Patchwork Chesterfields.

Luminous yellows, pinks and purples. Enough to force a psychedelic Beatle into rehab.

19.Radley handbags and purses.

Those little Scotties were cute once. Now definitely time to donate to the Battersea old bags home.

18. Bamboo serving bowls.

Bless John Lewis. Selling huge ranges of serving bowls you can’t ‘immerse in water’. Lick clean?

17. Meerkats.


16. Buddha heads.

Unless you can put your legs behind your head and chant convincingly I suggest you stop buying ‘objets’ from TK Maxx.

15. Black lampshades.

There is a solid theological and scientific argument here. God said, ‘Let there be light”.

14. Turquoise and chocolate brown colour schemes.

B & Q have entire departments devoted to it, nuff said.

13. Glass and chrome media units.

A remnant of the 1980’s. The furniture equivalent of lycra and legwarmers in the corner of the room.

12. Chip n dip dishes.

Takes up half a cupboard and you eat nachos out of the bag anyway.The fondue set for the Noughties.


Not kitsch, not funny and almost certainly politically incorrect in Labour wards.

10. Pink things in the kitchen.

Utensil holders, silicone basters, Nigella’s entire range. No. Pink plastic should remain in the bedroom.

9.Seaside styled bathrooms.

You know, all white with ‘accents’ of blue. They generally have a wooden beach hut and a driftwood something. TK Maxx has a lot to answer for.


On the walls, on the curtains, on the light shades and on the cushions. You laugh at it in the Gulshan Tandoori, that should tell you something.

7. Acrylic shag pile rugs.

A passing fad but everywhere at the moment. It’s acrylic, it’s shag pile, it’s an electro-static sin.

6.Orla Kiely.

Look closely. Look even closer and what can you see?.. Pure unadulterated UGLINESS

5.Sequins on bedlinen.

Well honestly.

4.Mirrored furniture.

What a stupid idea, firstly they look downright tacky and secondly you’ll need a Filipino there  24/7 with the Windolene.

3. Union Jacks on anything.

Footstools, cushions, sofa’s and so on. When it’s all over BHS and next to Kelly Hoppens discount range,  it’s all over.

2. Cupcakes.

There are ranges of plastic ‘stuff’ in Robert Dyas covered in cupcakes. There’s a cupcake store in the Arndale centre. Jeremy Clarkson said he likes them. Get the picture?

1. Hairy bikers.

How has this come to be? I can’t move without seeing packets of crisps, cheap woks and tea towels enscribed with Hairyisms. Is it pretty? Is it witty? Is it clever? No, it’s Numero Uno Naffness. 


Who lives in a house, (with a car), like this?


A little tip when you are house hunting. The car parked outside should give you a darn good idea of what you will find upon entering. I shall run through the ‘buyer bewares’ below.

The car will have a National Trust sticker.The house will have swirly and sculpted carpets and an Ercol coffee table. A standard lamp with original 1950’s tasselled shades. Kitchen will be an homage to formica, usually yellow and will have a serving hatch to the G-plan furnished lounge-diner. This will have an artexed ceiling and wood chip paper on the walls. All walls and ceilings will be freshly painted with silk-finish paint. This will not be intentionally ‘retro’.


It’s all about Retro-mania these days.


Have you ever tried getting wood-chip paper off?

Mini One.
The car will have a name and the Vendor will be a single female. There will be cuddly toys and heart shaped lace cushions piled up on the bed.  Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe black and white photo’s will be on most walls. The DVD collection will include Bridget Jones, Four Weddings and anything with George Clooney in it. The kitchen will provide just enough space for 3 months supply of Slimfast and Whiskas. There will be a lot of pink.


There will be lots of shoe storage.


Getting rid of the smell of cat.

Porsche Boxster
The Vendor hasn’t quite made it or he would have a 911 or at least the ‘S’. Therefore the bathroom fittings will be Philippe Starck-esque, the kitchen John Lewis not Bulthaup and the furnishings Habitat not Conran. Bedding and towels will be of a dark colour to reduce the need to launder and the bed will be one of those low wood base things that you gash your shins on. Don’t look under the bed.


The kitchen will be pristine, other than the microwave with exploded bolognese interior.


There will almost certainly be a hot tub to dispose of.

Land Rover Defender.
There will be gun cabinets and an Aga. It will smell of Labrador and un-rinsed waders. Linoleum will be the floor covering of choice, even on the stairs.
Furniture will have been handed down from Granny in the ‘big house’ and there will be a scullery. You won’t be able to see the farmhouse kitchen table for the back copies of The Field and horse sized worming syringes.
Don’t expect Central heating or double glazing, that’s only for the Prols.


Your Notting Hill friends will be dribbling with envy at it’s ‘shabby chic authenticity’


Actually it’s just upper-middle-class shabby, bloody freezing and in technical parlance… ‘a money-pit’.

Mercedes SLK

This is a girls car. The house will be a girls house. It will smell of Jo Malone and flowers she has bought herself. The bathroom will be a sanctum of candles and potions. The bedroom will have a metal framed bed and White company linen. A silky La Senza bath-robe will be hung behind the door. Carpets will be cream and you will have to take your shoes off. There will be lots of photos of her looking sultry and of nieces christenings. You will be able to self-help yourself to your hearts content from the bookshelves. Nigellas ‘how to be a domestic goddess’ will have remained unused. Like the kitchen.


You wont need to buy your own festoon blinds and every door you open will have a full length mirror.


If you are a bloke, you will have to rip out the cream carpets and replace with practical cheap laminate.


In London this will be the Mrs’ car for taking kids to the prep school. She will have forgone the Aga for a Falcon and will absolutely have a Sub-Zero fridge freezer and a Miele steam oven. Everything in the kitchen will be from Divertimenti, the rest of the house will be interior designers own sources, which means Skandium and Conran. There will be ‘mood lighting’ and a Bang and Olufsen sound system. One bedroom will have been made into a walk-in wardrobe for her. This will smell of Diptyque and there will be a tie rack for him.
Only other concession to Mr will be a half landing study for his Macbook and his collection of comics he saved from the skip.


Lots of state of the art gadgets.


You will never work out how to use any of the appliances, the Lutron lighting or the sound system.

And my favourite…..

The Toyota Prius

This is a Fulham Victorian mid-terrace, or Clapham, Chiswick… you get the picture. The front door will be Farrow and Balled and an Abel and Cole organic veg. box will be on the doorstep. A yoga mat and the family Crocs will litter the hallway. Windows will have plantation shutters from sustainable wood. The eat-in kitchen will have a scrubbed pine table with old church pews and Boden catalogues. All the floors will be stripped pine with Kilim rugs everywhere.The bookcases will be full of Vegan eating and  Rough Guides to places hot, dirty and third world. You will need to rifle through the top shelves to find the Tantric sex ones.


They will take the Kilims with them.


After all those years of Waitrose bio-cleaning products, you’ll need industrial strength Civit Bang to clean that bathroom.

Oh,  just one more thing…… his Aston Martin will be parked in the next road.

The A-Z of a middle-class home.


I am so often being asked, soto voce and bashfully, ”what can I do to make my home look middle-class”. To save the blushes of all you aspirational middle-classers, I have put together a helpful little guide. A hard copy is available and can be delivered by courier in discreet packaging.

Let’s go on an alphabetical stroll through a middle class home and see what you need to do. Continue reading