Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

Today I decorated my Mum's Christmas cake:

I made the roses out of ready-made icing rolled out and squidged into spirals, then poured some silver balls over it to make it a bit more jazzy...

I know: am artistic and domestic-science genius - you don't need to tell me (but don't let me stop you if you really want to). I am available for weddings, christenings and bar mitzvahs.

In background: snowy garden and barn. Brrrrr... Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Tips on how to get your car through its MOT

Madame la Moue writes:

This is a short post with two purposes. Firstly so I can try to show this grey dress in a more positive light and secondly so I can share with you tips on how to get your car to pass its MOT. Since I swished this dress last Sunday I haven't worn anything else. It is SO cosy, perfect for this weather. It is like wearing a winceyette nightie all the time. I am wearing it here over swished leggings and swished beaded vest top, the modern day equivalent of thermal underwear. Warm as toast! On top I am wearing my GORGEOUS new cardi courtesy of the Red Cross charity shop in Lewes. (By the way there are some fabulous pink sequinned shoes in there that Mrs Maloo thought I should buy - why? Am not a drag queen, or is she trying to tell me something?) Actually she thinks we should start wearing full over the top evening dress to all our swishes. Yeah OK Mrs, we'll think about that one, do some brainstorming and then make an executive decision.

You cannot really tell from this fuzzy photo taken by Spoddy but the cardi has lovely polka dots on it. F & F would you believe? Tesco is so stylish these days.

So anyway regarding the MOT. My car's MOT is always due at Christmas when we are most skint. So yesterday before I took it to the garage the other half suggested I use my feminine wiles to try to get it to pass. Now I would not usually go along with such ideas but in these most difficult financial times I took a deep breath and went for it. I wore this dress and my most cleavage enhancing bra and leaving my coat open (despite the sub zeros temps) I sashayed up to the garage and engaged in some mild flirting with the nice MOT fella. And would you believe it THE CAR PASSED!!!!! It has NEVER EVER passed it's MOT in all the 7 years we have had it. Three cheers the LK Bennett dress!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Swishing in the snow

Today Madame la Moue and I went to a swish at the New Venture Theatre in Brighton. It was a quieter affair than we had expected - probably because Sussex is currently buried under a large ice-rink - however we still managed to do exceedingly well despite (or perhaps because of?) this. Here is a selection of the loot we walked away with:

Madame la Moue wears: tunic, Monsoon and stilettos, ASOS, from today's swish; jeans, necklace and bracelet, from previous swishes; oversized clutch from Loved, Worn and Reborn.

I wear: dress: Monsoon, from today's swish; all other items, model's own. I think of this as my Boden/Cath Kidston-esque look, ideal for doing a spot of light weeding while you wait for the gardener to turn up.

MLM wears: purple-and-white-striped shirt, Next, from today's swish; all other items as before. Spoddy's outfit: model's own. I ADORE this picture. I should be a portrait photographer - am clearly artistic genius.

MLM wears: dress, L.K. Bennett, from today's swish; hat and gloves, mine (Why MLM??? This is NOT a good look), all other items as before.

Find of the day: this amazing Hermes wallet in its original box! I KNOW. We couldn't believe it either! Swishing: what's not to love? No seriously, what?

Saturday, 18 December 2010


Actually, I forgot, I DID take a few photos at the swish on Sunday, but only AFTER we had repaired to the bar for a post-swish debrief. Needless to say, we were a *little* the worse for wear by this point. Well, Madame la Moue was anyway. I was actually intending to drive home, however my poor 12-year-old, £150 Clio, Nicole, had other plans. The freezing weather didn't suit her delicate French temperament and we ended up having to walk home.

But I digress. As I say, I did take a couple of snaps. This should give you an idea of their general tone:

Madame la Moue: she may be a frightful lush, but at least her roots are done. And she no longer sports a Rick-Wakeman-esque mullet. Which is the main thing.

N.B. MLM is simply laughing here (albeit with her head on the table). I felt I should point this out as MM has just said: 'She's not being sick into her hand, is she?' No, she is not. She is far too classy for that.

Friday, 17 December 2010

The thrill of the swish

Our Christmas swish at Pelham House in Lewes went amazingly well, with around twice as many swishettes as our last one in Brighton. You'll have to take my word for that though, as Madame la Moue and I FORGOT TO TAKE ANY PHOTOGRAPHS. BECAUSE WE ARE IDIOTS.

Idiots who were extremely busy, it must be said: Madame la Moue was physically holding back scores of swishtini-cocktail-crazed women, high on the heady vapours of the free clothes macerating beyond the closed doors behind her...

...meanwhile, I was in the next room with our super-fabulous My Swish team, who worked like Trojans-on-benzedrine-washed-down-with-triple-espressos to get the clothes graded, tagged and hung within the hour. Poor Charlie actually turned white with the effort of getting through OVER 500 ITEMS OF CLOTHING IN 60 MINUTES!!

When the swish opened (a mere 10 minutes late, miraculously), women actually ran - ran! I kid you not - past the cordons and up the steps towards the clothes. I virtually had to hurl myself out of the way to avoid being trampled in the rush.

As Mrs H pointed out, however, this is the buzz of swishing. It's all about being part of an event - in the thick of the camaraderie with the potential of securing untold fashion treasure if you can only hold your nerve and maintain the keenest eye, the swiftest hand and the most mongoose-like cunning under the toughest conditions this side of Basra. If you can do all this, you'll be a man, my son. Or something...

Ah, that little rallying cry has filled me with an Agincourt-like zeal to be back in the fray again. Fortunately the New Venture Theatre in Brighton is holding a clothes swap this Sunday and the My Swish team will be there in force. Once more unto the breach, dear friends!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

On why fashion is my life and swishing is the way forward

Madame la Moue writes:

This evening Leila, Nadia and I went to a swish. Having stumbled across the event some weeks ago on Facebook we decided we must attend, not only to check out our competition but also because as swish organisers we realised we don't get to do any actual swishing ourselves anymore. We needed a swish fix. 

Not knowing what to expect, we were delighted with what we found. The organisers, Sussex War on Want, were running the event in a corner of Hector's House pub in Brighton. The clothes were displayed on rails and tables and rather cleverly, we thought, pegged on clothes lines. Why didn't we think of that? (We may well borrow this idea for our own events...)

Leila and I arrived first, paid the very reasonable entrance fee, placed a load of our flyers for our next swish on the front desk (ever the opportunist business women) and hotfooted it to the tables. We were not disappointed.

I immediately snagged a gorgeous grey Topshop sweater dress with pockets:

...and soon afterwards found a pair of Topshop Baxter jeans in my size. Leila, meanwhile, had found a divine Radley leather bag and I found her an amazing Primark black mac (which by coincidence Therese la Tease also has). Moving on I found a soft as butter black leather biker jacket (I know!!).

From the other side of the table Leila had snaffled a pair of gorgeous leather boots for me:

Whilst I was deciding on a pale denim shirt/dress which Leila thought was fashion-forward and Nadia thought would be good for doing the decorating in...

...Leila came up trumps again for me by finding a wagtastic sparkling peacock feather t-shirt:

My lucky day! A leopard print, sequinned bag appealed to my inner wag and topped the lot. I was officially in heaven.

If you are in need of a swish fix our next event is THIS SUNDAY!!!! Pelham House in Lewes, 3pm, book online to ensure you get a goody bag brimming with fabulous treats including a £10 voucher for Pelham House restaurant and Dermalogica goodies.

*you may notice my photos are fairly harshly cropped, this is because I am officially the least photogenic person IN THE WORLD. It's the truth.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Deer oh deer

After we spotted the Orangina deer-in-bikini aberration, MM and I couldn't resist going online to have a look at their French TV ads. And goodness me, were we glad we did... This is the first one we saw:

Even better, in my opinion, is this one. I think it's the way the afghan flashes her teeth with such a winning smile:

Best by far, however, has to be the Panda with, *ahem,* intimate hygiene requirements:

Hilarious, disgusting or just plain surreal? What do you think?

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

What I wore: Paris

This is what I was wearing this morning outside the petit appartement MM and I stayed in in Paris:

Camel coat: Zara, £15 from a garage sale; Peacock feather-print scarf: Liberty, £3.99 from Oxfam; Boots: last year's Office; Bag: £16 from vintage fair; Hat: a present from MM, 5 Euros from a vintage shop in the Marais (LOVE LOVE LOVE this new chapeau).

Friday, 3 December 2010

A report from your Paris correspondent

Here are some of the things MM and I have seen in Paris. They're a rum lot, these Frenchies, is all I can say:

Tree of shoes

Advertisement for Orangina on bar window, featuring deer in underwear



 Me on telly

Yoda foetus

Galeries Lafayette all lit up like Notre Dame

A modest Christmas tree inside Galeries Lafayette

I'm afraid we'll have to wait for our appearance in the Daily Mirror (or as Madame la Moue and I are calling it, Plan for World Domination: Step 1). We will be in print at some point, but MLM will have to tell you about it as I am in Gai Paree. I texted her to ask whether she had been checking the Mirror, but all she replied was 'Yes, I check it regularly. Am still stunning...'

Saturday, 27 November 2010

I love Paris in the winter...

...which is fortunate, because if it's anything like it is here at the moment it will be very wintry indeed. Last night I slept with the following:

1. pyjamas
2. socks
3. a cardi
4. 3 duvets
5. 2 quilts
6. an eiderdown
7. a hot water bottle
8. the heating on

And I STILL woke up feeling cold.

Anyway enough of this complaining: I'M GOING TO PARIS!!! This is the apartment we are renting:

I picked it for the two big windows, those oh-so-French hexagonal floor tiles (what is the name for these?) and the pretty wooden sideboard...

...oh, and for the location, location, location, bien sur: slap-bang in the middle of the Marais, the chic-yet-bohemian district that is home to the gay quarter and the Jewish quarter (the Rue des Rosiers, packed with falafel shops, is particularly handy for us vegans).

We'll be on the tres jolie Rue des Blancs Manteaux:

In other news, plans for the Lewes swish at Pelham House are continuing apace. We can now confirm that we will have a gorgeous 'Pamper Zone', where you can have a manicure, pedicure or massage when you've swapped till you've dropped! As an early Christmas present to all our customers, we've also got a 3 for 2 offer on tickets - why not book now at and make it a girly day out?

My Swish continues to garner media attention: yesterday I was interviewed by a lovely lady from the Daily Mirror. She will be featuring My Swish, along with's Lucy Shea, in an article in Monday's paper! Don't forget to buy your copy...

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Photos from the Brighton swish

Here are some photos from our swish at Lansdowne Place in Hove. These were taken by the talented Rachael Silverlock of Thanks to Rachael and everyone else who helped make the event such a success! Let us know if you spot yourself or any of your swished items in the photos...

The changing area before the mayhem began. Tasteful, non?

The super-fabulous Sharon Lewis, ukelele superstar.

 Our spa prize winner, the beautiful Alex, takes time out with a cocktail. Tres chic, we think.

The swishtini cocktails went down a storm...

Let the swishing begin: the swishettes get stuck in!

Therese la Tease looking divinely elegant, as always (that waist!). 

The goodies went fast, but I am pleased to report that ladylike behaviour was maintained at all times...

WHICH lucky swishette got this dress? I have swish-envy...

The My Swish team hit the bar post-swish: tired but undaunted, we live to swap another day.

If you enjoyed the Brighton swish and feel like doing it all again or if you're a swish-virgin and fancy giving it a try, why not book now for our Christmas swish in Lewes on 12th December? Book online at to get our special 3 for 2 ticket offer!

In other news, MM is taking me to Paris for a week on Tuesday. I am already planning my outfits for the week. Madame la Moue told me I am the luckiest person she knows. I cannot disagree...

Monday, 15 November 2010

Swishing success!

Yesterday's My Swish Clothes Swap Extravaganza was a great success. Amazingly, everything went like clockwork, thanks in no small part to our truly wonderful My Swish staff. Thank you lovely ladies!

Here is Therese la Tease delighting us all with her fabulous can-can:

 Today I'm absolutely shattered after a weekend of swishing and funerals, so will have to tell you all about it tomorrow. If you can't wait to find out how it went though, visit the fabulous Vintage Brighton blog to see how the lovely Jo-Ann got on at the swish...

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Goody bags

This morning I went to pick up the goody bags for Sunday's My Swish Clothes Swap Extravaganza at Lansdowne Place. They've been provided by our sponsors, the lovely people at Barefoot Wine and will be stuffed full of all sorts of goodies and vouchers. They're only for those who have booked in advance though, so if you want one, make haste to our website and snap up your ticket asap.

Another very exciting bit of news about Sunday's swish: we will have stylists from the University of Brighton Fashion Society on hand to offer advice to swishettes, as well as customising swished items on site. I'm really excited about this - with a bit of luck it will become a regular feature of future swishes.

Madame la Moue and I have been astonished at the way everything has fallen into place with our new business. Practically everyone we've approached has been amazingly enthusiastic about what we're doing. It seems that we've tapped into a huge groundswell of demand for fashion that is ethical and free, but glamorous and desirable at the same time. I don't want to count our chickens, but it really does feel like the sky's the limit at the moment...

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Vintage fashion fair

Today Madame la Moue and I had  lovely day out at the fabulous Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair at Brighton Racecourse. Very cheering and an excellent opportunity to meet some very friendly and creative people and persuade them to have stalls at our upcoming My Swish events.

I gave myself a strict budget and promptly went over it. By 100%... Oh well, I did get some super bargains, including this ensemble. Camel jumper: Pringle; raspberry tweed skirt: Towncliffe. I adore these two together. Raspberry and camel: my tip for the next hot colour combination. You heard it here first. MM told me I looked like Miss Jean Brodie in this outfit. That's a good thing, right?

I fell in love with this black silk dress, which has a lace bodice covered by a sort of black chiffon capelet. It is actually *slightly* too small for me, but I did negotiate a fantastic deal of £43 for the three and as long a I don't breathe the pain is almost unnoticeable, so all in all a good deal I feel.

I will be accessorising my new outfits with this fabulously grown-up handbag, which came from the lovely girls at Vintage Owl Boutique, who had a stall at the vintage fashion fair and, with a bit of luck will also be gracing the My Swish events with their special brand of vintage glamour:

In other news, My Swish has been getting its name about all over the place this week. Have a look at fab blog Vintage Brighton to see our top tips for a successful swish. We're also going to be featured in the Brighton Argus Woman section tomorrow, as well as Latest magazine this week. AND, AND... My Swish will be featured in the January issue of Cath Kidston Magazine. I KNOW. Cath Kidston's ACTUAL magazine! We're in it!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

A sad week

Things are very sad here at the moment. My astonishing, wise and beautiful grandmother, whom I have talked about on here before, has left us very suddenly.

Here she is in her in her prime in Italy this summer. This is how I will remember her: surrounded by a family who adored her, always engaged, always intelligent; glamourous and beautiful till the end.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Co-businesswomen of the year 2010

Things have been very busy at the new My Swish company HQ this week (aka my kitchen table). Madame la Moue and I have been having business meetings aplenty (aka tea and cake) and have taken to signing ourselves co-businesswoman of the year 2010...

Tickets are flying off the interwebnet like hot cakes for our Swishing Extravaganza on 14th November, so if you are planning to come I implore you to book online in advance to avoid the soul-sucking disappointment of turning up on the day and finding that we have sold out. Can you even imagine the devastation? No, neither can I.

We will soon have more exciting news for you, of which I can give you but a few tantalising hints at present. On Monday we hop to be able to tell you about an upcoming My Swish event in lovely Lewes, as well as a collaboration with another gorgeous local burlesque artiste... Perhaps most excitingly of all, yesterday I was interviewed about My Swish by a truly fabulous national magazine. When we were contacted about this, Madame la Moue and I were actually shaking with excitement.

In other news, MM and I had a little trip to Eastbourne. I have lived in Sussex for 13 years and, to my great shame and consternation, had driven through Eastbourne but never actually stopped and been into it. This was a mistake on my part. It turns out that Eastbourne is full of amazing places that haven't been touched in fifty years and which have been entirely purged from trendy Brighton and gentrified Lewes.

Here I am in a seafront cafe that must be almost untouched since it was built somewhere around 1960. Fabulous:

MM and I are off out to Brighton now, where it is White Night. All manner of performances and events are taking place all night. We are going to visit Mrs L-P, who is manning the Brighton Pavilion till midnight. What larks.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Big News...

Hello dear and patient readers. Thank you for bearing with me while I cruelly witheld our secret plot from you. Well now the moment has arrived: all can finally be revealed...

Madame la Moue and I have started... a business! Yes, don't laugh, we are now bona fidey businesswomen who have business meetings in business outfits and everything.

So what is this pioneering new enterprise, I hear you ask? We have actually created our dream jobs: from now on we are going to be professional Swish Mistresses! Our new company is called My Swish: take a look at our sparkly new website:

We were waiting until we had secured our first event before the grand unveiling and I hope you think it was worth the wait. It will be taking place at the gorgeous Lansdowne Place Hotel in Brighton on 14th November on a Sunday afternoon:

The hotel has been fabulous: they have created an special Swishtini cocktail for us, which will be half the price of the other ones, swishettes can have afternoon teas - including champagne afternoon teas for the more decadent among us and therapists from the exclusive Lansdowne Place Hotel Spa will be doing manicures.

As if that wasn't enough, our stunning friend Therese la Tease will be performing a burlesque can-can for the delectation of swishettes!

I am only slightly trepidatious about going into partnership with Madame la Moue. Do you think I should regard this as a warning sign: she just asked me if 2 for one is cheaper than buy one get one for 53p...?

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

What I wore

MM and I dined out on Sunday night at Serena the sculptor's. I wore an almost entirely swished outfit:

Silk jacket/blouse, Topshop, swished from Terese la Tease last Sunday; black satin skirt, Atmosphere, swished from Sarah Dann; black and white bangle, swished from Mrs H; camellia necklace, Topshop; shoes, J by Jasper Conran.

The jackety-blousey-thing was one of my top finds of the swish last Sunday. I love its vintagey look and feel. MM took this snap of me coming down his spiral staircase - isn't it just too gorgeous (the staircase, not the pic, that is)?

In other news, Madame la Moue and I have been working on a VERY exciting project, which is almost ready to be revealed. Stay tuned - more details coming very soon...!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Looks from the Sunday Swap Shop

We had a fantastic swap yesterday. The sun shone its little socks off and swishettes all over Sussex emerged blinking into the unaccustomed light and followed the scent of free clothes to MM's front door.

MM, by the way, was beyond amazing. While I swanned around the Gauguin show on Saturday, he knocked up a vast vat of veggie chilli and the most delicious split pea soup that had everyone coming back for seconds. And thirds.

The men were confined to the downstairs sitting room and kitchen to allow us girls to try things on to our hearts' contents upstairs. Here are a few snappettes from the girls' swish:

Michele has a good rummage

Suzy, Nadia and Terese la Tease get stuck in

Kate looks fabulous in this dress brought by Madame la Moue

Claire looking stunning in a dress that has already done the swishing rounds once before - from Mrs H via Madame la Moue

MLM in newly-swished outfit: pose-tastic

MLM and me: my gorgeous dress was swished from Mrs Loske-Page. This is what we believe the beautiful people do when stopped by the paparazzi. We are tragically deluded, obvs.

While the girls got on with the clothes swapping upstairs, the boys were in charge of the menswear, book, CD and tool swapping downstairs. Now it must be said that, while they made a valiant effort, the men weren't quite as good at swishing as we were. For a start, not as many of them turned up (free clothes not having the same irresistible lure for the male psyche), and those that did make it seemed to prefer standing around chatting over a drink. Tsk.

Still, I haven't given up on the idea of men's swishing altogether. I have high hopes that with the right training the less-fair sex can learn to enjoy the thrill of the swap just as much as we do. Girls: this is your mission if you choose to accept it. Who's with me?

Elsewhere in the swishosphere, there is VERY exciting news from the people at Brighton 10:10, who are holding a swish THIS WEDNESDAY! See here for details. Ooh, I can hardly wait!

(Incidentally, we held our swish on 10:10:10, when people all over the world were doing things to cut carbon emissions as part of the brilliant 10:10 movement (sign up here if you haven't already). This was in fact sheer coincidence, but in any case we did our bit.)