As you know, on Friday night we had a little party. An old friend from the playground has recently switched from running Pampered Chef parties to ‘Virgin Wines At Mine‘ parties (which personally I think is a much better idea) and I’d promised her ages ago that I’d hold one at our house. The tricky thing is that you need to keep the numbers to a maximum of 18 so that she can talk about the wines and get everyone’s feedback. So, given that it is exactly a year since our builder abandoned us mid-project (I can’t say more than that because legal proceedings are still dragging on) we thought we’d invite the friends who pitched in to help. Here’s a picture of where we were a year ago:


Last November it was freezing cold and the back of our house was open to the winds that gust in from the bay. We had no kitchen, no heating, no electricity and no water. If it hadn’t been for our friends I don’t know what we would have done. Between them in true DIY SOS style, they pulled in favours, helped us find workmen, fed us, housed us, listened to our woes and even gave up their evenings and weekends to labour alongside Mr MC who worked day and night to finish a lot of it himself. So who better to join us a year later to celebrate the finished space.


As you can see I decided to wear my jumpsuit because it felt sufficiently celebratory without being too fussy. If you’re wondering what to wear on Christmas day, jumpsuits are brilliant – they’re really just a glamorous onesie and they stretch in all directions. Mine wasn’t an expensive one because I wasn’t sure whether I’d go off it but it has become a staple part of my going out arsenal and the quality is fine. They’ve obviously been popular for party season because they seem to be sold out nearly everywhere. Mine is available here in limited sizes or this cowl neck version is in the House of Fraser sale at the moment for £18!!!

what to wear for an 'at home' party


TopShop have the same one as mine here in coral.

what to wear for an 'at home' party

This one from Warehouse gives you a bit more coverage but is still very elegant.

what to wear for an 'at home' party

And I really love the tuxedo reference on the neckline of this one.

what to wear for an 'at home' party

Or there is this lovely bejewelled version from Phase Eight

what to wear for an 'at home' party

Anyway the best place to look is probably this page at John Lewis where you can see at a glance what is still available and price match the many promotions that are going on at the moment.

I did try to take photos at the party because my friends were wearing some lovely outfits but nothing has come out very well – this gives you a glimpse.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 15.19.20

The wine tasting takes about 2 hours, you taste 8 wines  and your advisor gives you information about each one and asks you to mark it out of 10 (which is why everyone is holding clipboards). It worked well for us because not everyone knew each other so it was a great ice breaker. When the wine advisor has finished, she gathers everything up and so I wanted to make sure we had enough nice wine glasses for people to carry on ‘tasting.’ I just thought I’d show you these red wine glasses in case you’re looking for any new ones for Christmas. I knew that I wanted this particular shape and searched everywhere for them. In the end I found them at Tesco Direct of all places and they were an absolute bargain. They’re lead crystal and fabulous quality. I have now bought 15 boxes (I should mention that there are 2 in a box not 6) so that we can keep some in the cellar to cover the inevitable breakages. I’ve added the bottle to try to give you a sense of how luxuriously large they are. The white and champagne versions are out of stock at the moment but I will certainly pounce on them as soon as they come in. Also (sounding like a real voucher queen here), you can use ‘clubcard boost’ so I didn’t end up parting with any cash at all!


So that was the party. It was quite civilised with the last guests leaving at 1.30am (I think they saw Mr MC starting to nod off in the corner and decided it was time to go)! Here’s a pic of the morning after. I was feeling inspired by Beth at StyleGuile who wore heeled boots with jeans last week. It isn’t a look I’ve tried before so I thought I’d give it a go. I did feel a bit like a principal boy and endured a few panto jokes from the boys during the day but I quite liked the fact that it added length to my legs, the extra couple of inches balances me out a bit.



On Sunday with work heads on, we needed to go to sunny Morecambe to visit The Winter Gardens. A client of ours is sponsoring the comedian Jon Richardson who is on tour there in January and we wanted to investigate opportunities for branding. It’s very rarely open because it is in a sorry state but the trustees occasionally allow events to be held to try to raise funds for its restoration. It’s beautiful inside but quite a spooky place and looking at the calendar it seems that their most popular events are monthly Paranormal ghost hunting nights!


We then popped into Brucciani’s cafe next door which hasn’t changed since the 50s. People travel from all over the world to have a cup of tea here. It isn’t remotely chichi, it’s simply untouched and, as always, there was a table of Londoners dressed in full 50s regalia enjoying the genuine nostalgia.


If I’m looking a bit peaky in these photos it’s because our next stop was to be a sad one. This weekend was the third anniversary of my mum’s death and so we were driving on to the village where I grew up so that we could visit my parents’ grave. It isn’t something I enjoy doing, I have no sense of them being there. I always remember my mum standing besides me and catching hold of my hand as we buried my dad. At the time the thought struck me that one day I would be standing on the same spot missing her too and of course now that day is here. I still can’t believe that they’ve gone and sometimes funny little things happen that make me feel they’re still around.

At last week’s Remembrance service in the village, it so happened that they’d chosen the hymn that we sang at my dad’s funeral which is the one to the theme of the Dambusters. He flew Lancasters as part of Bomber Command and I used to be so proud of him wearing his medals at our village parade. Somehow the hymn made me feel that he was giving me a little nudge. The other curious thing has been my shoot with Woman magazine. When I was little my mum used to buy it every week so it seems strange that they contacted me to do a story about her dress and then pulled it forward by 2 weeks to appear during the week that she died. You’re probably all going to think that I’m crazy now and stop reading my blog (please don’t). Normal service will be resumed soon.

I won’t be able to do my usual post on Friday because I will be having a couple of days in London loving every minute of my Selfridges reunion and lunch with an old friend at the ubercool Shoreditch House – I should have a few stories to share with you when I’m back. Until then, as a tribute to my mum, I’m going to leave you with the Woman story from the current issue. Don’t forget to keep in touch.

woman article