Wednesday, 15 February 2012


Esquire party Nov 2008, hair by Graham Tilley at Tilley & Montgomery

The Trefusis hair is, I guess, the apogee of up-do's - it took the lovely and very skilled Graham more than two hours to do (he's a virgoan perfectionist, what can I say) and it was so securely pinned I couldn't face taking it down after the party, so I slept with it like that, and went to work with extremely grand hair.

Anyway, much as I wish I had Trefusis hair everyday, possibly all as a clip-on-able hair-piece, like Joan Collins, I don't. If my hair is up, it's most likely because I've skewered it with a pencil, which is effective if inelegant. With a pencil, I seem to be able to achieve a MadMen kind of pleat, in a way I never can if left to my own devices with a can of Elnett and half a dozen kirby grips. But, you know, like shaking cocktails in an old Dolmio jar, the pencil-skewered up-do always felt a bit like I was letting the side down. Quite by chance, however, when in Boots buying a hairbrush, I stumbled upon a kind of thatching hook device (two colours, gold for blondes, dark brown for brunettes, redheads you're on your own) by a company called Goody. It costs about a fiver and does everything a pencil can do with infinitely greater elegance- it's also invisible once you've stuck it in your hair. If you have hair that's long enough to twist into a French pleat, all you need is this single pin - truly it is a product of pure genius.
Goody Simple Styles Modern Up-do pin

Goody Simple Styles Spin Pin

Up-do confidence spurred by the effortlessness of the hook thingy, I made another foray into Boots and discovered the hair screws above - all you do is twist your hair into a chignon (very on-trend this S/S '12), and screw the screws into it - two pins are all you need for a completely secure chignon. I've also used these do do a French pleat and one of those bouffy backcombed top knots that everyone seems to be wearing - they work best when you're creating quite a tight bun, but again, pure genius and not a pencil nor a trillion bendy hair pins in sight.

It's not Graham's Trefusis hair, but for an everyday up-do, it's pretty blooming brilliant.

Goody Simple Styles available in Boots stores or online at Amazon
Graham the hair God, available at Tilley and Carmichael, 5 Silver Place, London W1 Tel, 0207 287 7677

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


This little film won a short film competition Divine chocolate ran with Birds Eye View last year. What do you think? Is a bar of chocolate better than a snog?

Saturday, 4 February 2012


I know I'm obsessed by red lipstick, but I think this new Tom Ford one is a game-changer. The colour is a rich ruby red, neither too pink nor too orange.  It's very densely pigmented so it stays and stays yet it doesn't dry your lips but remains glossy (unlike the otherwise wonderful Bobby Brown red). It looks expensive, to boot, which is just as well since it's Tom Ford and thus costs eleventy three billion pounds.

It's not an everyday red like the Dior Addict 'New Look' one I mentioned a few posts ago, it is quite an emphatic shade. But by God, I love it.

I think it could be the red lipstick against which all other red lipsticks should be judged.

Tom Ford, Scarlet Rouge, £36

Thursday, 2 February 2012


When I was a child, birthday parties took place at home: my mother kicked off with children's party games - pass the parcel, of course, pin the tail on the donkey, musical statues - you know the drill - and then we'd have tea - cheese and pineapple hedgehogs, cocktail sausages,  jelly and icecream and a home-made birthday cake. Then, at home-time, off everyone would go with a balloon and a slice of cake wrapped in a paper napkin.

Fast forward nearly forty years and this kind of party seems a rarity - clever mums play it as a retro-riff and get away with it, but once the infants are primary school age, it seems one is expected to make the kind of effort appropriate to offspring of Oligarchs, or to the launch of a new beauty product. A venue must be hired, with an entertainer - possibly two - or alternatively, one might do what a friend of Trefusis Minor does every year, which is to hire an entire cinema for a preview screening of a hot-ticket children's movie. It seems that these days the food must be kiddie-lavish too - I remember a splendid party where the children were presented with the tiniest possible smoked salmon sandwiches, vast amounts of quails eggs, and a croquembouche of Ladurée macarons, but I suppose that's West London for you. Don't get me started on the awesome contents of party bags - I swear the infamously high-grade GQ Men of the Year goody bag has nothing on some of those Trefusis Minor has come home with.

Of course, these kinds parties are very lovely and the children have a marvellous time: I'm sure that if we were very well-off we'd pull out the stops too but we really can't run to that kind of opulence chez Trefusis: I do wish that someone brave would come out with a Party Non-Proliferation Treaty, and we could go back to the low-fi approach of the 1970's.

I'm old enough to know that I don't need to compete with the hiring of a cinema, or having a flower-fairy themed party with 'real fairies' in a West London garden square and until now, we've had parties at home similar to the ones i had as a child. However, if one has to invite the whole class even something very modest gets shockingly expensive - now that The TT is about to turn five and every single person she meets seems to be her 'bestest friend in the whole world', I've had trouble capping the guest list at school friends only. I can't see how I can get away without hiring the church hall and the thought of trying to keep thirty children happy for a couple of hours with me as the 'mum-tertainment' fills me with clammy-handed dread, so there will have to be someone hired in for a side-show too. I can manage the food on my own, and bugger the party bags - they can have cake and a novelty pencil - but still, it's working out at about £100 per hour. Yikes.

Does anyone have any suggestions about giving a fun children's party without busting the budget or a blood-vessel?