Wednesday, 14 September 2011


After the overwhelming response to my last post (which was roundly ignored by everyone in the world) I have made the executive decision to continue ‘beauty blogging’ at least until the end of September on the grounds it might be useful for book 9 of the 12 Books project.

Today, dressing for autumn.

Here in Edinburgh, the average woman on the street (or on the streets involved in my work commute, at any rate) completed the autumn change-up on September 1st.

I am vaguely aware from the style supplement of the newspaper that fashion goes in seasons, which are loosely based around the weather. Some of you may remember the good old days when there were four quite disparate seasons, which were called spring, summer, autumn and winter. These days, of course, we only really have two and a bit seasons: autumn, winter, and a fortnight of sprimmer which is spread out on odd days here and there between April and August.

During sprimmer, a lot of women do their level best to pretend it’s nice enough outside to justify cotton dresses, sandals, and even a day or two of bare legs – although for the intervening days it’s necessary to supplement these items with cardigans, leggings, and mackintoshes. This is because sprimmer is unpredictable – a day will start off with blackened skies and thunder in the air, and by lunchtime it will have morphed into the most beautiful sunny day since records began.

Autumn is different. This is a season where you know what’s what: it might look nice outside but it definitely won’t be warm; if it looks like rain it’ll probably snow; and either way you’ll want waterproof shoes and an industrial strength brolly. Preferably adamantium.

As a result, the women I see on my daily walk to work are now clad in knee high boots, wool coats, scarves, jumpers and so on. They look fabulous.

Having said that, I haven’t conformed to the autumn change-up myself. Well I have a bit, but not really so as you’d notice. My main concession was to buy a pair of jeans that fit, because gale force winds are likely to be commonplace between now and next April so I won’t get away with wearing skirts every day.

What I tend to do in lieu of buying lots of new things when autumn hits is go to my bottom drawer and come back with another layer to add to the clothes I wear all year round. So for instance if I’m wearing one of my four dresses, I’ll have a long sleeved T-Shirt under there instead of a camisole. Either that or I’ll wear a cardigan over the top. Not both, though – that’s wintertime layering, baby.

The reasoning behind this is pretty exclusively financial, although there are elements of sizing tied in. Since I reached the dress size 16-18 mark (about...oh, 6 or 7 years ago) I have avoided buying new stuff where possible on the grounds I’m going to lose a bit of weight any day now, so there’s no point. My inner accountant claims this is canny, and the part of me that wants to indulge in retail therapy compensates by buying books I don’t have time to read; and occasionally updating the tech in my life under the guise of it being useful for freelance journalism purposes.

It’s probably just as well I’m conditioned not to update my wardrobe correctly, though, because have you seen what’s in for autumn? Neither had I until I looked it up just now, and I can tell you its high necked, 20s style dresses of the sort that only look reasonable on ladies the shape of Kiera Knightley; ponchos to give the impression you have no shape at all; and snakeskin.

Snakeskin? Really? What is this, 1972? Seemingly that rebirth of tastelessness originates somewhere in the vicinity of Jimmy Choo and Kate ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ Moss. Years of replacing food with Class A drugs will do strange things to a person’s perception of what looks good. I think I’ll take my chances with my 8 year old polo neck from the British Heart Foundation charity shop...

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Anyone Still Here?

Hello, patient readers. Several apologies for neglecting this blog for an entire month, I am most embarrassed about it - especially after going down to one post a week, which ought to be pretty manageable.

The excuse, as you might expect, is the 12 Books in 12 Months blog, which I have been comparatively successful in updating every day should you be interested... there's stuff about the Fringe and Edinburgh Book Festivals, an interview with Mr Gum author Andy Stanton, and this weekend I'm embarking on THE GREAT KINDLE CHALLENGE where I read a book or two on the kindle to see if it can turn my head away from traditional print.

Other than that I have been bumbling away as usual, not quite managing to fit in all the things I want to do but getting around to some of them in a haphazard kind of way. Last week I actually made myself a timetable, which I mostly ignored, but getting so close to that level of organisation was pretty exciting. Today I hope to tidy up a bit and perhaps timetable next week in a more efficient manner. Said timetable will include scheduling a post on here, although I'm not sure what about yet - I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

Although having said that, maybe you can help. If you would like to read some more beauty blogging in September, let me know in the comments - but if you found that dull and crappy (the hair one wasn't very inspired, I know) also let me know that too. I will take your thoughts into consideration, then do whatever the hell I want.

In the meantime if you want to hear from me on a properly regular basis (yo), click on 12 Books in 12 Months. September's genre might be entertaining because it is humour, which is a wide ranging and frightening choice. I haven't started the book yet, but I'm thinking in terms of a novelisation of Confessions of a Jobless Graduate... Some of you may remember that once upon a time I was going to blog about that for The Skinny, but it never quite happened. I believe it's high time The Unusual Handyman was immortalised in fiction.