blogpic.jpgIt is said that writing can betray more about the writer than the subject being written about. I am aware that I have in the past referred to my guilty affection for many seemingly inappropriate men, such as Marco Pierre White, and more recently, Russell Brand. This week I am off down the same path, but this time the subject of my affection is Prince Harry, a young man who seems to be really coming into his own of late.

I always liked Harry, perhaps because as a little boy he looked like he might have been more at home on a farm in deepest rural Ireland, with his red hair and pale, flushed complexion. He always seemed to suffer by comparison with his older and more handsome brother. But time has been good to the junior Prince. He has developed into a very attractive young man with an open, expressive face and eyes that are full of devilment and high jinks. And he has just that slight whiff of danger about him, which is obviously why he is joining Messrs White and Brand among my guilty pleasures.

Not so his older brother, who in his youth seemed very much his mother's son with classic blond good looks. But as he ages, Prince William seems to be morphing into his father. He's most likely a nice fella, but he does somewhat give the impression of being old before his time and will probably make a good husband; conservative and steady. Perfect King material, I suspect. But, as we say in Ireland, for a bit of craic, give me Harry O'Windsor any day.

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I have a strange relationship with Russell Brand. For many years he has frightened the life out of me. His unique, off beat, quick-fire, articulate and often controversial style of comedy both attracts and repulses me in almost equal measure.

russell and katy.jpgHis physicality has the same effect. There is no doubt he oozes sexiness with his long, often leather clad legs, which are a treat, as his swagger. But too often he has looked as if he needs a bath. And as for that bed head, birds nest that occupied the back of his head. Well, all I can say is that it was more collapsed Ivana Trump than sex symbol.

But have you noticed the change in dear Russell? No more birds nest and he looks quite fragrant now! He is altogether shinier and brighter. Nowadays I often find myself smiling at the pictures of him and his new fiancée Katy Perry. They look so great together.  He looks like he has finally found himself and has kept what was working and ditched what was not. Proving perhaps that there is nothing like the love of a good woman to bring out the best in a man!

Good luck to them both. I hope to go the distance. I can't wait to see their kids!

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vicb.jpgSwinging on a swing that seems to be strung in the porch of a posh London house must be great fun.  Imagine the wind in your hair as you carve an arc out over the footpath.  And even if you were actually swinging as part of an advertisement, surely it must still make you smile. 

 

Not so Victoria Beckham.  This is a wonderful photo of her on the aforementioned swing, not a hair astray, pout in place, eyes behind huge shades and heels pointing downwards.  And apparently she was directing the ad.  One would also imagine that directing a film would also make you become a bit animated.  Not Posh.  How can being on a swing be so serious? 

 

Now take a look at the seemingly mad wombat who is Eva Longoria Parker on holiday.  A wild and reckless leap off a yacht into the ocean.  Full of animation and joy! Perhaps it's her Latino spirit!

evalp.jpg 

And aren't these women friends?  OK, Hollywood friends rather than bosom buddies.  Anyway they do see each other occasionally.  Maybe Victoria should go on holiday with the desperate housewife and learn how to throw caution to the wind every now and again.  Uncover her inner joy.  You never know she might even learn to let the pout go occasionally!

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cherylafter.jpgOk, this week I have to admit that I am somewhat horrified and stunned that anyone would spend £250,000 on their appearance, unless they had some major plastic surgery needed after an accident or a severe birth defect.  But for someone as gorgeous as Cheryl Cole to fork out a quarter of a million pounds on improving what was a beautiful, natural face and body is a little unnerving to say the least.  And I cannot resist wondering which of these overpaid stylists advised her on the dress she wore to her birthday party which looked more Jordan than style icon!

 

To my mind, Cheryl is now in the 'Lollipop Head' category of too skinny women with big hair (thanks to over priced extensions).  How is it that these women - Cheryl, Victoria Beckham etc. - cannot see how beautiful they are, as they are?  And how will they cope when age does finally catch up with them? 

 

I have long wondered how tattoos will look on saggy skin when Angelina and Victoria and indeed Peaches Geldof hit their 80's and 90's.  Scary thought?  What do you think?

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katie price.jpgKatie Price has clearly had a great time partying day and night in Ibiza for the last week or so. Good for her. Everyone needs to let their hair down sometimes. 

 

However I will restrain myself from commenting on some of the 'outfits' she was photographed cavorting in. And I won't pass judgement on her decision to have a big X tattooed over the tattoo of her ex husbands name on her arm.  Mmmm. 

 

However, Katie, or Jordan as she seems to have regressed to, does not look like a happy girl to me.  There is something kind of manic, and dare I say it, more than a little sad about this mom of three children behaving more like a teenager on a drunken binge holiday in the sun. 

 

Where are her friends?  We all need good pals who can hit us with the truth when we ourselves can't see the wood from the trees.  And to me (and my perhaps over active imagination) Katie, although surrounded by people, looks lonely and lost.

 

In the meantime, Peter Andre is playing the perfect father and indeed stepfather as pictures of him spending time with their children in Cyprus seem to prove.  The photos, especially of him and Harvey are heart warming. 

 

Look at what you have lost, Katie.  It is no wonder you are acting so crazy.  If I was your friend I would be telling you to take time out and make sure you are doing the right thing.

 

Or is this all some bizarre PR game that is too subtle for me to understand? 

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emmat.jpgThis week I was struck by two photographs which appear on the website. One was of Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman at the premiere of their new movie Last Chance Harvey. The other was of Sophie Dahl and her fiancé Jamie Cullum attending a fundraising dinner at Hampton Court.

 

Yes, you've got it! What's the story with taller women and smaller men? Is it just me or does anyone else think that this arrangement looks just a little strange?

 

I've not seen the movie Last Chance Harvey, but I would bet money that in it the height differential between Ms Thompson and Mr Hoffman is not as obvious as it was in real life at the premiere.  If my theory is right, I think it proves that, for many of us, the sight of tall women with significantly smaller men is a little uncomfortable.  sophie d.jpg

 

Am I just ridiculously old fashioned about wanting to feel a little protected by my man and to be able to comfortably able to rest my head on his shoulder? And how on earth does dancing work? I'm fascinated. Am I alone?

 

Perhaps my fascination has something to do with the fact that I'm six feet tall. And for the record my other half is not Mr Universe, he's also six feet tall. But it works!

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susan-b.jpgBritain's Got Talent was a huge hit in our house. My kids, aged from 21 to eight (I've only got three; the one in the middle is ten) loved it and were glued to it every week. Our personal favourite was Stavros Flatley. The humour and affection between father and son was a joy which lit up their uninhibited performances. They were brilliant. Their lack of talent was more than made up for by their attitude, which seemed to be "we are having a great laugh and making great memories that we will dine out on for years." It was wonderful stuff.

At the other end of the scale was Susan Boyle. Like everyone else I was very moved by her beautiful voice and I was cheered by the fact that here was a middle-aged woman who has clearly missed all the widespread advice about botox, anti-ageing creams and even a good eyebrow trim. But what a talent. I read about her life in Scotland, where she was clearly a well-known and much-loved member of her local community, active in her church and living quietly with her cat, and it seemed idyllic.

So as the press interest in her increased I did start to have some concerns as to how she would cope. And so it is with sadness I read she was admitted to the Priory Clinic after the final of Britain's Got Talent. Perhaps fame and massive fortune are not for Susan. I am now hoping she will be surrounded by good people who will care for her and give her the best advice.

And that may just be to look back on all this as a wonderful adventure, a story to tell around her fireside in Scotland as winter closes in and the nights grow longer. Maybe it will be enough to just be a local hero, rather than an international one. Either way - I wish her well!
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lumley-b.jpg

I don't for one moment claim to understand the political issues of the Gurkha soldiers and their being allowed settle in Britain. In fact I am not entirely sure what a Gurkha is. But, I really enjoyed watching Joanna Lumley work her magic on the British Government in her campaign to secure the rights of these brave men to settle in the UK.

 

Surrounded by these adoring ex soldiers Joanna was every inch a goddess. She wielded her power in an assertive but least aggressive manner and in the true style of the goddess. It was a lesson in how women can change the world their way. 

 

She used humour. That withering look she gave the Immigration Minister was pure Patsy from Ab Fab.  She used compassion... these honourable men have fought for Britain, how can they now not be allowed to settle here? But most effectively she used persuasion.  Speaking of Gordon Brown she said "I know him very slightly personally and I find him to be a man of integrity".  She went on to speak of him as the head man, the man at the top, the leader of the entire nation and was most assured he would have it all sorted out by the end of the month. And so it was.

 

So all hail Joanna Lumley - mature woman, goddess and changer of great political minds.  She never lost her temper; she never let her dignity slip. She showed how women can be great leaders on their terms.  As a former colleague of mine used to say "she is some woman for one woman".


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peaches.jpgI am old enough to remember Paula Yates in all her quirky beauty. Being Irish I had a special interest in her life when she was hanging out with Bob Geldof as he was belting out dodgy songs with The Boomtown Rats. The band called her 'The Limpet'  in the days before Bob began to save the world. 

 

As Paula matured she maintained her gamine beauty, and displayed a sparkling intellect which she regularly exhibited in her heyday as one of TVs most popular presenters.  I clearly remember watching her flirting and presumably falling in love on the Big Breakfast Bed, as she interviewed the beautiful Michael Hutchence. And the rest is history. Her end was made all the more tragic by the fact that she left behind four beautiful young daughters.

 

These days, the media is full of Paula's middle daughter Peaches who seems, like her mother, to like living life on the edge. And she worries me. She seems, at times, to have the most tenuous of grips over control of her life. As Peaches swings from a career as a journalist to TV presenter, from magazine editor to model, and commits to a short-lived wedding in Las Vegas, I have an uneasy sense of deja vous.  

 

Peaches, like her beautiful mother, often seems to be just one step away from disaster.  On the one hand I admire her spirit and her energy, on the other I suspect there's an unsure little girl beneath the tattoos and the bolshie attitude. Is her fractured family life behind her crazy quest for fulfilment? I don't know. 

 

I know how uncomfortable it is to watch your teenage daughter heading off for a night out in what you consider a wholly inappropriate outfit. Peaches makes me uncomfortable in the same way - and I am not her mother. What would Paula think? How would she advise her?  I am sure she would not like her daughter to make the same mistakes she did.

 

This week Peaches was photographed at a party in Cannes and she looked stunning; an elegant and very beautiful young woman - although her famous tattoos did detract slightly from the effect. I hope she can see just who she can become. The world is her oyster.  The choices are hers. History does not always need to repeat itself. Peaches, you are a special beauty. Your mother would have loved those photos from Cannes, but she would also want you to mind yourself!

 

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I have a confession to make. One I am slightly ashamed of.  Have you ever thought about your own 'guilty pleasures'; things you like, although you know you shouldn't? Well I think I have recently discovered mine - Marco Pierre White. 

 

As a middle-aged woman I shouldn't be impressed by his over-the-top dramatics recently on Hells Kitchen. A scarf worn around his head as a bandana should make me laugh, not melt. And most of all I should be able to see through his particular, and often peculiar, version of pop psychology. But I can't - and I don't want to.  Jamie Oliver may be lovely, but he's a boy. Gordon Ramsay is powerful, but he is a bit too grumpy. My Marco is a man.

 

I was glued to Hell's Kitchen, not to see who got voted off. I merely enjoyed watching Marco lording it over his kitchen!  My head screamed at me not to be so ridiculous!  But my heart really enjoyed imagining what it would be to be in the kitchen with him.  He wouldn't even need to teach me to cook. I would happily just peel potatoes all day and wash up... as long as my work station had a good view of his!

 

Now I am glued to The Apprentice, and the other night had a dream about Sir Alan Sugar. This is altogether more worrying. Marco is a big bear of a man, but with all due respect to him Sir Alan is a bit short and a bit grumpy. But, my goodness, is he powerful? 

 

I have to admit that my shallow side loves watching him emerge from one of his posh cars or his helicopter. His craggy face and wonderfully sarcastic comments add to the aura of power. And, like Marco in his kitchen, I love watching him lording it over all and sundry in the boardroom.  Come to think of it, his side-kick, Nick Hewer has a certain charisma too...  That's it, I need to get out more!

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