What to wear when you work at home.

Efficiency experts say that even for an ‘at home’ day it’s best to dress like you’re in the office. I can understand why. Many’s the time I’ve begun my day with good intentions but then, after choosing soft lounge wear over power dressing, my day’s gone rapidly downhill. Hello wasted hours searching on-line for a pair of PJs, endlessly rearranging vases of flowers, lighting umpteen candles and religiously selecting essential oils to burn – all instead of doing my actual work! It’s probably not how Richard Branson built the Virgin empire.

Luckily Stylist magazine have the perfect compromise: sports gear. Why? Well when the editorial team were faced with the challenge of putting together an issue in 24 hours they were split into groups, each trying a different method to help them through the task: hypnotism, nutrition, napping, exercise and old-fashioned grinning and bearing it!

By far the most helpful was exercise. Yes, the girls were running round the block, playing catch in the office and doing star jumps inbetween writing articles. The result? Energy levels up and work rate through the roof.

In other words, if you’re going to dress down when you’re working at home just as make sure it’s in a track suit instead of cashmere. Sportswear is just as comfy as loungewear and you’ll be able to go for a run in it to keep you motivated. So thank you Stylist magazine – now I can be fit, efficient and snug all at the same time!

Beat The Winter Blues

Beat The Winter Blues

Wow – isn’t staying happy and positive tough during the dark British Winter? (If you’re reading this outside the UK, somewhere sunny, then I’m not jealous… much!) I know I’m not alone in struggling with these grey days either. I’m pretty sure even the most ‘happy go lucky’ of us finds things tough come January.

But we have to fight back. Yes it’s an effort and yes we might fall ‘off the wagon’ some days but… fight back we must!

So, here are some of my favourite pick-me-up tips that will help get you happily through to the Spring. Mmmm… I can feel that warm sun on my back already!

1. Exercise. It doesn’t matter what you do – Zumba, swimming, walking, football, gym, ballroom dancing, cycling, judo, yoga, pilates or a hundred others – just find something that you enjoy and gets you moving regularly.

2. Don’t be a hedgehog! In other words, try not to hibernate. Get outside, even if it’s for no other reason than to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Meeting up with friends or relatives is great too. Taking an interest in other people helps you forget about your own problems (think how easy it is to ‘lose yourself’ in a movie). Maybe even make the effort to speak to that neighbour you’ve always avoided (my husband should read this!) You never know what new relationships might blossom when leave the house.

3. Eat healthily. You ate enough junk at Christmas, right?

4. Put fresh flowers around your home. This doesn’t have to cost a fortune – one of my favs is carnations in jam jars. These little gems give bright bursts of uplifting colour that last for ages. Floral scents also have a direct effect on our emotional responses. If I don’t have fresh flowers to hand then I mix essential oils such as Rose and Sweet Orange in an aromatherapy burner.

5. Spring clean. After all, who said you had to wait until actual Spring to take control of your surroundings? Take extra care to get your windows sparkling. With Winter’s low light levels it’s important the maximum gets through. If you still feel your home is dingy, try light therapy. Waking up to an anti-SAD lamp (Lumie makes good ones) tricks the brain into thinking it’s a bright sunny day.

6. Pretend you’re prepping for a holiday: fake tan, pedicure, brighten your hair colour. Okay, maybe you’re not actually going away at the end of it but that pre-holiday excitement is all part of the fun, right?

7. And finally, my favourite is my gratitude book. Treat yourself to a cute notebook, keep it by your bed and then every evening record 3 things to be grateful for from that day: a compliment at work, a shopping bargain, no traffic jams – anything! It’s a simple, but amazingly powerful, way of filling your mind with sunshine.

Slade and The Mission sing Merry Xmas Everybody!

My favourite Christmas song? Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody! Even better, I was lucky enough to work with Noddy Holder on his charity version from the 90′s. Glam outfits, trashy make up and ridiculous dancing – great fun. And yes, that’s me in the pink jumpsuit!

Merry Christmas, see you in the New Year x

What to wear when you work at home

Efficiency experts say that even for an ‘at home’ day it’s best to dress like you’re in the office. I can understand why. Many’s the time I’ve begun my day with good intentions but then, after choosing soft lounge wear over power dressing, my day’s gone rapidly downhill. Hello wasted hours searching on-line for a pair of PJs, endlessly rearranging vases of flowers, lighting umpteen candles and religiously selecting essential oils to burn – all instead of doing my actual work! It’s probably not how Richard Branson built the Virgin empire.

Luckily Stylist magazine have the perfect compromise: sports gear. Why? Well when the editorial team were faced with the challenge of putting together an issue in 24 hours they were split into groups, each trying a different method to help them through the task: hypnotism, nutrition, napping, exercise and old-fashioned grinning and bearing it!

By far the most helpful was exercise. Yes, the girls were running round the block, playing catch in the office and doing star jumps inbetween writing articles. The result? Energy levels up and work rate through the roof.

In other words, if you’re going to dress down when you’re working at home just as make sure it’s in a track suit instead of cashmere. Sportswear is just as comfy as loungewear and you’ll be able to go for a run in it to keep you motivated. So thank you Stylist magazine – now I can be fit, efficient and snug all at the same time!

JAM JARS & FLOWERS – LOW COST, BIG IMPACT.

Jam jars make such pretty cost effective vases and it’s amazing how quickly they accumulate!


I bought 5 metres of 65mm wide edged scalloped ribbon from ‘Fabricsandfancies’ on eBay.

I carefully measured each length around the jam jar, not forgetting a few millimetres of overlap, and cut to size.


Then using a crafting glue gun, I placed 3 dots of glue on the jar to stick down the ribbon edge.


Wrap the ribbon around the jar until the two ends meets. Using your scissors press down the overlap. The glue will secure both layers of ribbon to the glass. Trim off any excess.

Pop in an eclectic collection of flowers or go minimal as I did by placing one dramatic hydrangea head in each vase.

Fairy Tale Wedding

Ciona Johnson King

So I was very excited to be invited to Skibo Castle to provide hair and make up for a gorgeous client of mine. Working in the very place where Madge and Guy got married? Yeah, I’ll have some of that! The journey up there, however, wasn’t quite so glam…

I was in First Class on the sleeper train from London to Inverness but don’t be fooled by that ‘First Class’ bit. The room was like a cross between a disabled toilet and a prison cell. Yes, I admit I’ve often sneaked into the disabled loo when the queue for the Ladies is bladder-burstingly long and I’ve seen Deirdre and Gail in prison on Corrie so I know what I’m talking about. Well this had all the ‘charm’ of both but a quarter of the size.

Can they get away with calling it a sleeper train? Nah. No one sleeps, not even my friend who took ultra-powerful sleeping pills. Snoozing is impossible because to stop yourself rolling out of the bed you have to have one hand out onto the floor, with your arm locked – kinda like a human table leg – and the tiny mattress is sealed in plastic which is a recipe for a sweaty, slippy night. Not exactly Siberian goose down on a four poster…

Ciona Johnson King

Also, I didn’t realise until I spent the night horizontal on one, how much a train pushes and pulls in all all directions. One minute all the pressure of your weight is pushing on your neck, the next your left side, then your feet… stop, start… chunk, clunk… FOR 11 HOURS. Agony!

One great thing though – the communal toilet at the end of the carriage was always free, whether I went in the evening, the middle of the night or in the morning. Never any queues. Of course I didn’t need to go so much but it was a change from having my 8 stone forced on my neck. That said, it later dawned on me that no-one was using the public loo because there had probably been some multitasking going on with the sinks in the cabin.

I didn’t wash my face that next morning.

Finally we arrived. I bet Madonna didn’t get here like this, I thought, silently thanking God for the invention of baby wipes. But after a car ride through stunning scenery I soon felt perky again and Skibo Castle itself is a beacon of beauty, warmth and friendliness. As memories of prison cell gradually melted away in the clean air of The Highlands, I set to with my foundation, blusher and eyeliner and began creating the fairytale…