RIH Drinks

Is the civilised world going to give up its obsession with gin any time soon? Probably not is the answer to that question, oh gin-swigging friends. Known once upon a time as ‘mother’s ruin’, these days gin couldn’t be hipper, with bars regularly offering special gin & tonic menus, gin festivals taking place across the country, and a bottle or two gracing the booze cupboards of most homes. But not all gins are created equal – and Pinkster Gin has something just a little different to just about anything you might have tasted before…

Described as a “natural gin with a mischievous grin,” Pinkster Gin is the creation of a chap who began experimenting at home, after enjoying making his own sloe gins and other flavoured concoctions. Pairing different fruits with everyone’s favourite spirit, it quickly became obvious that the delicate flavour of raspberry worked beautifully with gin – adding a sweetness and freshness to offset the aromatic botanicals.

The raspberries used in Pinkster Gin are grown in rural Cambridge – so yes, this is a British gin through and through! And how best to imbibe said spirit? Well, the people at Pinkster suggest that topped up with tonic is the best way to bring out the subtle raspberry flavours, before garnishing with fresh fruit and herbs. Mint works well, as does a hint of rosemary – plus a zingy twist of lemon. We’ve also added some fresh rose petals and a drop or two of rosewater to our G&T for a very slightly scented finish. Plus they also make this look SO sophisticated, right?

This is the easiest cocktail to prepare, serve – and impress – your guests if you’re having people over for dinner or hosting a drinks party. Everyone loves a G&T! Choose some pretty glasses, fill with ice cubes, raspberries, lemon slices and mint or rosemary. Add Pinkster gin and a couple of drops of rosewater then top up with good quality tonic. So simple to make, serve and DRINK!

For more information, to buy Pinkster Gin and to find stockists near you, see the brand’s website, where you’ll also find cocktail recipes plus events where you can try the magical stuff.

Modern Women

Sure, it’s a cliché, but Kira Cochrane’s Modern Women: 52 Pioneers is cover-to-cover #inspo. Keep it on your nightstand, display it on your coffee table and definitely, definitely buy a copy for the women in your life. Featuring one woman for each week of the year, Modern Women: 52 Pioneers celebrates the lives of 52 remarkable females who have all made their mark on the world – “from suffragettes to scientists, activists to artists, politicians to pilots and writers to riot grrrls”. Some you’ll have heard of, others will be new discoveries, but all of them will inspire you to be bolder, braver and keep breaking down boundaries – no doubt about it, this is a book you’ll keep coming back to. We’re delighted to share an exclusive extract from Modern Women here – let us introduce you to one of the 20th century’s most fascinating feminists, Sophia Duleep Singh…

The art galleries at Hampton Court Palace were closed, subject to an unspecified threat from the suffragettes. This was 1913, the height of the militant movement, when the campaign for women’s votes included arson, window smashing and iconoclasm – paintings slashed or vandalised. But outside Hampton Court Palace, the area where she lived in a grace and favour apartment, Sophia Duleep Singh was selling copies of the newspaper The Suffragette. Public anger towards the campaigners was growing, but she would not be silenced. Photographs show her in a fur coat, her bag bearing a ‘Votes for Women’ sash, beside a sandwich board reading ‘The Suffragette Revolution!’

The struggle for votes for women then stretched back more than a century in Britain. In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft had made the case for women’s right to political representation in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and the first petition for the women’s vote was presented to the House of Commons in 1832. Forty years later, Emmeline Pankhurst, aged fourteen, attended her very first women’s suffrage meeting, and when she was in her mid-forties, in 1903, she co-founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU).

The non-militant movement, known as suffragists, led by Millicent Garrett Fawcett, had been campaigning carefully and determinedly for years, but with the advent of Pankhurst’s suffragettes (a diminutive and pejorative coined by The Daily Mail newspaper, which the women embraced) the next decade was explosive. Women chained themselves to the Prime Minister’s railings; unveiled a banner on a steam launch on the Thames; and took to the skies in a balloon, scattering suffragette leaflets.

Around 1,000 suffragettes were imprisoned in Britain over the course of a decade, and in 1909, artist Marion Wallace Dunlop went on hunger strike, demanding recognition as a political prisoner. Other women followed her lead and the authorities responded with forcible feeding: a tube forced into a woman’s mouth, nose, or rectum. In June 1913, Emily Wilding Davison was martyred for the movement, stepping on to the racecourse at the Epsom Derby into the path of the king’s horse Anmer, a suffragette banner rolled up in her hand, another pinned around her waist. She died in hospital four days later, and suffragettes processed through London, dressed in white, to mark her funeral.

Sophia Duleep Singh joined the WSPU in 1908, after meeting Una Dugdale, a passionate member, who became the first woman in England to drop the word ‘obey’ from her wedding vows. As Anita Anand writes in her essential 2015 biography of Singh, her activities began, gently enough, with fundraising and bake sales, but in 1909 she became part of the tax resistance movement – women who refused to pay taxes on the basis that there should be no taxation without political representation. On 18 November 1910, Singh was in the vanguard of nine women, including Emmeline Pankhurst, who led a march on parliament, after the latest bill to secure the women’s vote had been deprived the time needed to pass. When they reached parliament, the group found themselves pressed up against the gates, unable to enter. Not far away, more suffragettes were massing, and Singh watched helplessly as they were brutalized and molested by police and the crowds, in what became known as Black Friday.

This didn’t dent Singh’s commitment. In 1911, she joined the suffragette action to subvert the census, one of thousands of women who stayed out on the night of the count, because ‘if women don’t count, neither should they be counted’. That same year, Singh staged her most audacious protest, hurling herself at Prime Minister Herbert Asquith’s car, pulling a banner from her fur muff reading ‘Give women the vote!’

This presented a problem for the authorities. Singh was the goddaughter of Queen Victoria, and the granddaughter of Ranjit Singh, the so-called Lion of the Punjab, founder and ruler of the Sikh Empire in India. A decade after Ranjit Singh’s death, his son Duleep Singh, aged eleven, had been forced to sign over his kingdom to the British, who took control of the territory and proceeded to expel him. He was brought to Britain, where Queen Victoria treated him as an exotic pet, and he was given an annual income by the India Office.

Duleep Singh married Bamba Müller, the child of a German merchant and an Abyssinian slave, and they had seven children, six of whom survived infancy. Sophia Duleep Singh was the second youngest. A rift opened in her parents’ marriage while Singh was a child; her father was increasingly unfaithful and his anger at the British deepened. Her mother was lost to a serious depression and drank dangerously, before dying of renal failure when Singh was eleven. Duleep Singh was in Russia, and the care of his children was left to the palace and the government.

Singh became a debutante, moving into a house opposite Hampton Court Palace, her life a round of parties, banquets, shopping and dog shows. But trips to India in her twenties and thirties changed everything. The campaign against British colonial rule awoke Singh’s political consciousness, and on returning to Britain she wrote in her diary of her loathing for the English and desire for India to awake and free itself.

Her dog show days were over. Singh campaigned in support of the lascars, merchant seamen from India and China who were recruited by the British to transport cargo and often exploited, beaten, or left to starve. She became a suffragette, and when Emmeline Pankhurst called for the suspension of campaigning at the start of the First World War, she worked at one of the British hospitals where Indian soldiers were being cared for.

In 1918, women over 30 who owned property won the right to vote in the UK; in 1928, women secured voting rights on the same terms as men. The suffrage campaign was over, but Singh’s commitment to women’s rights was lifelong. In Who’s Who, under interests, she simply wrote, ‘The Advancement of Women’.

Extracted from Modern Women: 52 Pioneers by Kira Cochrane. Published by Frances Lincoln, an imprint of The Quarto Group (£20).

Cocktails & Culture

What do a 79-year-old artist from Yorkshire and a Notting Hill restaurant have in common? Not a lot, you’re probably thinking. But Mr David Hockney and hot new West Coast-style restaurant Pomona’s actually share something very important. In amidst concrete grey London with its cloudy skies and distinct lack of sunshine, both share a true understanding of colour and the instantly uplifting power it can have. So yes – it makes perfect sense that Pomona’s have come up with a special collection of cocktails, inspired by – of course – David Hockney’s blockbuster exhibition, currently showing at the Tate Britain.

Created by Head Barman Kestutis Stirba (formerly of The Sanderson and The Electric), the collection comprises four cocktails based on iconic Hockney art works. Grand Canyon is inspired by his sweeping studies of the dramatic rock formations to be found in the Arizona National Park – and its deep, bold colours. The cocktail is an update on everyone’s favourite drink du jour – the Negroni – with a very Cali addition: freshly-pressed carrot juice. We loved the Bigger Green Valley – which pays tribute to the verdant landscapes shown in Hockney’s 2008 work of the same name. With cucumber, chartreuse, vodka and citrus accents served long over ice, it captures that fresh, leafy feel of the painting – a spring day on the cusp of summer.

Then there’s the Beach Umbrella – by far the sunniest of the menu. We’re in high summer here, midday on the beach, the sun is high in the sky and colours couldn’t be brighter. This is 100% California – with surf-style pineapple, pisco and arrak, finished with (what else?) sea salt. Finally, Rainy Promenade takes us back to Hockney’s native Yorkshire, inspired by Rainy Night on Bridlington Promenade, with its intense blues, purples and indigos. It’s dark and stormy, but this is a summer storm, and there’s electricity in the air. The cocktail – strong as you like – is our favourite new aperitif, with an unusual combination of port, tequila and orange, which shouldn’t work, but definitely does!

And if you’re having a cocktail or two, it would be rude not to have a little look at Pomona’s menu. However, to glance at the menu would be to decide to order it all – trust us. Simply divided into small plates, mains, salads and sides, it’s a sunny menu that will have you dreaming of moving to California. Cali’s diversity and fusion flavours up the ante on dishes such as steak tartare, served with kimchi to add a sweet-sour freshness to the plate. There’s seafood aplenty, with excellent soft shell crab and generous fish or prawn tacos to add to your must-order list. And yes, you can have Instagram’s fave avocado on toast – served zeitgeisty vegan-style on sweet potato ‘toast’ with coconut ‘labneh’.

Save some space for the mains though – there’s beautifully-cooked organic meat from the Ginger Pig on offer, best accompanied by Asian-style daikon slaw or home fries depending on whether you’re planning on considering the restaurant’s concise selection of desserts. Even if you’re not, you should – served with velvety creme anglaise, the ridiculously rich caramelized croissant and prune pie is a life-changing experience. Pair with a Salted Caramel White Russian, and then book your gym session tomorrow! Alternatively, can we suggest another walk around Mr Hockney’s unforgettable exhibition? Culture and cocktails – you can’t go wrong.

For more information and to book, see Pomona’s website or telephone +44 (0) 20 7229 1503. The David Hockney cocktails are available until May 29th.

Elevate Every Day

Mindfulness. It’s something we seem to talk a lot about these days. When you’re scrolling through Instagram feed and Facebook updates, mindfulness is probably the last thing you’re thinking about though. But – sharing aside – social networks do present us with a practical way to record our daily lives and save memories to look back over later.

How about if you could keep your happy moments and memories to treasure – without having to think about likes, comments or anyone else’s opinion? Meet Elevate: “a beautifully simple way to keep track of the small happy moments in life.” Free to download, the app allows you to take small digital notes – every day, or as often as you like – and save them to look back on later, along with corresponding images.

Elevate is private to you – no social sharing is involved here – meaning that it’s a lovely way to start being mindful about those simple, everyday moments that make you happy. A long walk in the park on a sunny afternoon? Coffee and a catch up with a close friend? Snuggling on the sofa with your kids? Reading your favourite poems on Sunday morning? Add them to Elevate. “No sharing. No likes. Focus on remembering the good times”. Open the app, add details of what you’re remembering, plus the date and time – then take a photograph or add a stock image if you prefer. Press save, et voila.

Feeling sad, depressed or just in need of a little inspiration? Open up Elevate and look through your happy moments and those times you want remember. Mindful scrolling and celebrating those small wins? #winning

For more information, see the Elevate website. Download for iOS devices here and for Android devices here.

RIH Drinks

We like to think we have a pretty healthy relationship with gin, and honestly if you’d told us that we’d fall head over heels for a anything else, we’d have assured you of our unshakable devotion. Well, that was until we met Freya. Don’t worry, you’re not going completely mad as you read this… We’re talking about Freya: an exquisite, unique natural spirit distilled from the purest birch sap. And yes, we mean birch trees.

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It’s hard to describe the flavour of the 40% ABV spirit accurately, but crisp, clean and elegant are all words that come to mind. It’s genuinely unlike anything we’ve ever tried before. And once you’ve tried Freya, you won’t want to drink anything else –  vodka, gin and tequila all seem boring, banal, bland and rather flat in flavour. So what does one drink with Freya? It’s best to keep things simple: poured over ice and topped up with tonic is all you need to do – no complex mixology skills required. As you can see, we’ve added a little fresh mint, some lemon and a few slices of fruit, that’s all.

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So how did this miraculously delicious spirit come about? Freya’s founder Dave Wallwork explains: “I wanted to create a completely new spirit for the best bartenders to build cocktails with from this great base ingredient.” And the name? “Freya was the Norse goddess of Love, life and fertility. A strong character worshipped in the wild forests in Springtime. The perfect embodiment of our new wild spirit.”

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How is this magnificent creation made? “We source the birch sap from wild forests in Northern Europe. The trees are tapped each spring using sustainable and traditional methods.The sap is then frozen and brought to the UK where our craft distillery uses it to create Freya.” It’s true that there’s a unique natural freshness to Freya – like a crisp, cold walk on a winter’s day, it’s both invigorating and energising.

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Try Freya once, and you won’t walk to drink anything else. Wine, beer and even gin all seem like poor substitutes for such a beautifully light, fresh, clean-tasting spirit. Sipped over ice, served martini-style or paired with tonic, there’s nothing quite like Freya.

For more information and to find stockists of and bars serving Freya, see the brand’s website.

New Books 2017

There are plenty of reasons to be glad that it’s a new year – the last one wasn’t exactly uneventful – but an array of new books is certainly one of them, especially when there are so many juicy novels being published.

First up is Little Deaths by Emma Flint (Picador, 12th Jan), a retelling of a real life murder case from the 1960s. Over a sweltering New York summer, Ruth Malone’s two small children go missing and turn up brutally murdered; almost immediately, the police and the neighbors point the finger at her, a struggling single mother with a penchant for drink. Composed and remote despite this, Ruth is judged for not performing as the exemplary grieving mother, and soon police and press are digging through her life to paint it as sordid and scandalous. Cleverly written – we know from the outset she is in jail, what we don’t know is whether she is culpable – Flint examines the double standards applied to women in the public eye and at the same time carves out a thrilling, unpredictable mystery based on a real case.

Speaking of women accused of murder; Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done goes back a century and picks up the pieces of the notorious Lizzie Borden case. The real-life Borden was put on trail for the axe-murders of her father and stepmother but never convicted despite a high-profile trial. Schmidt takes a look at the day leading up to the slayings and the one after, with a cast of (real life) characters including Lizzie’s shady uncle, her loyal sister, and the miserable Irish maid. Lizzie herself is variously portrayed as Machiavellian and vulnerable; can she even be held responsible for her actions? It’s claustrophobic, creepy fun; every character has a motive and everyone is so hateful you think they deserve what they get. It’s not out until May, and we can’t wait!

Moving away from murder, Katie Khan’s Hold Back the Stars (Doubleday, 26th Jan) is a sweetly written tearjerker about a couple of astronauts with 90 minutes to live. Instead of using that time to find a way to survive, it’s a chance for them to revisit the highs and lows of their relationship; which it turns out took place on a dystopian version of earth where young people aren’t supposed to form permanent connections. So far, so Logan’s Run, but Khan elevates it from stuntish sci-fi to create a charming ‘he said, she said’ romance that would make an excellent film. The ending felt a bit like a cop out, but nonetheless I enjoyed the ride.

Staying with the sci fi theme, The Possessions, by Sara Flannery Murphy (Scribe UK, 9th March) is the unusual novel with a clever premise that more than delivers. Edie is a ‘body’ at the Elysium Society; when she takes a pill she is possessed by the dead relative of whichever paying client is in the room at the time. For five years she does the job professionally, never getting emotionally attached, until she meets Patrick, who is seeking to reconnect with his dead wife Sylvia. But what kind of relationship can a ghost have? And what really went on in Patrick and Sylvia’s marriage?

With January 20th and Trump’s inauguration on the horizon, American fiction is perhaps far more desirable than reality. Nathan Hill’s debut, The Nix (Picador, 26th Jan) is a doorstop of a book in the vein of Donna Tartt or Garth Risk Hallberg – more than 600 pages of sweeping narrative, moving between the student protests of the 1960s, 1980s suburbia, and the safe spaces of the modern university campus. The main focus is the relationship between Samuel, a college professor and failed writer, and his mother, Faye, who disappeared when he was eight. Her arrest for an attack on a presidential candidate throws them back together and prompts him to look at her life before and after motherhood. There are occasional detours that come across as indulgent on Hill’s part – the entitled student who plagues Samuel’s life is a thinly drawn-caricature – but overall this is a masterpiece of a book that will keep you hooked until the end.

For non-fiction fans, Samantha Ellis offers the chance to brush up on your Bronte trivia with a new biography of Anne Bronte. Take Courage (Chatto & Windus, 12th Jan) paints the youngest and littlest known sister as the greatest, the most talented, and the most feminist of them all, exploring her short but remarkable life through her poetry, letters and novels. It’s a treasure trove of information about Haworth and the fantasy worlds the Bronte siblings spawned; Charlotte in particular comes off poorly for not appreciating Anne’s talent. If you enjoyed Ellis’s first book, How to be a Heroine, this won’t disappoint.

The Edit: Faux Fur

Fashion trends come and go, but we couldn’t be more delighted that this year, faux fur seems to have really come into its own. Not too long ago, it looked like we were heralding the return of real fur, but thankfully with faux fur coats, gilets and scarves looking ever more stylish for Autumn/Winter 2016, there’s even less excuse for mink, fox and all the other non-PETA-approved fabrics. From leopard to stripes and high street to high end, staying warm and stylish has never been easier. Here’s our edit of the best faux fur coats to buy right now…

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Mango Leopard faux-fur coat          Mango Faux Fur Jacket

Mango Leopard Faux-Fur Coat

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Missguided Blue Oversized Collar Faux Fur Coat          Missguided Collarless Short Faux Fur Coat

Missguided Navy Bubble Faux Fur Coat

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Mango Faux Fur Coat        Mango Faux Fur Coat

Mango Faux Fur Jacket

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Missguided Pink Bubble Faux Fur Bomber Jacket          Missguided Pink Pressed Faux Fur Coat

Missguided Pink Longline Faux Fur Bomber Jacket

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X Revolve Bonita Faux Fur Jacket          Unreal Fur Dream Faux Fur Jacket

Milly Faux Fur Jacket

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Shrimps Fifi Leopard Print Faux Fur Coat          Shrimps Jean Striped Faux Fur Coat

Shrimps Claude Leopard Print Faux Fur Coat

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Reiss Alexia Faux Fur Coat           Reiss Meyer Faux Fur Gilet

Reiss Alexia Faux Fur Coat

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Whistles Faux Fur Cocoon Coat          Whistles Jacquard Faux Fur Coat

Whistles Duvall Faux Fur Jacket

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Karl Lagerfeld Faux Fur Coat         Elizabeth & James Balin leopard-print faux fur coat

Alice + Olivia Kinsley oversized striped faux fur coat

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Lazy Oaf X Disney 101 Dalmatians Faux Fur Coat          ASOS Faux Fur Cropped Jacket

ASOS Faux Fur Coat in Leopard Print with Contrast Collar

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Zara Short Faux Fur Jacket          Zara Faux Fur Bomber Jacket

Zara Animal Print Faux Fur Coat

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J.Crew Madison Faux Fur Coat          Michael by Michael Kors Leopard-print faux fur wrap coat

J.Crew Madison Geo Striped Faux Fur Coat

SJP’s Must-Have Shoes

When you think of Sex and the City, New York streets, the girls’ epic dating antics and Carrie’s pondering voiceovers are probably what come to mind. And then there was that shoe collection. Yes, when we weren’t lusting over Smith Jarrod et al, it was Sarah Jessica Parker’s incredible footwear that lit up the screen. She might not have invested in property, or done any of those Serious, Important Things, but boy, did Carrie have an amazing collection of shoes. So the news that SJP has created a capsule range of shoes for Net-A-Porter is sweet, sweet music to our ears.

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SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Westminster Metallic Leather Sandals

Launched just in time for the festive season, the collection of party shoes includes heels and flats – all as opulent and eye-catching as you might have hoped! Think jewel-encrusted satin pumps, shimmering metallic leather sandals and bow-adorned heels plus elegant flats and pretty Mary Janes. These are classics, with a twist – SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker’s shoes are timeless pieces to wear this season and next too. Add these show-off shoes to any LBD and you’re good to go. And party dressing made easy is something we think Carrie would definitely approve of!

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SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Windsor Crystal-Embellished Satin Pumps

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Carrie Metallic Leather Pumps

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SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Carrie Satin Point-Toe Flats

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Tartt Crystal-Embellished Satin Pumps

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SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Lucille bow-embellished satin pumps

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SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Windsor Crystal-Embellished Satin Pumps

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Fugue Glittered Leather Sandals

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SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Carrie Satin Pumps

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For more information, and to shop the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker collection, head to Net-A-Porter. Prices range from £245 to £400.

Festive Feasts Help the Homeless

Christmas? If you love the fizz-fuelled, gift-buying, sequin-clad occasion, it’s quite probably the most wonderful time of the year. But if you’re homeless or living in temporary accommodation, it’s likely to be one of the worst. Cold, dark, lonely; most of us can only imagine what it must be like to sleep rough on the streets, fairy lights twinkling cruelly over our heads and on the other side of shop windows.

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“We really want to challenge the stigma surrounding homelessness”, says Meg Doherty, Founder and CEO of Fat Macy’s: the supper club project that gives the homeless a helping hand. “The people we work with just need a chance” and by training homeless young Londoners to run supper club events so they can save money for a rental deposit, Fat Macy’s does just that. It allows people who have become homeless “to get on with rebuilding their lives, rather than getting stuck in a benefits trap”.

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But as well as being a great social enterprise, at Fat Macy’s you’ll also eat one of the best meals you’re likely to get this December. A velvety roasted garlic and potato soup, hearty turkey pie with smashed cranberry sauce and boozy quince trifle make up a menu you’d never guess was cooked up by newly trained twenty-somethings, recently down on their luck.

fat-macys-christmas-menu

Fat Macy’s are hosting twelve evenings throughout December at Clerkenwell’s Printworks Kitchen (a short walk away from Farringdon Tube and a hop and a skip from Exmouth Market). With long sharing tables the sociable atmosphere is electric and it’s a great way to meet new people (what supper clubs are famous for), as well as helping those in need.

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Buy your tickets for Fat Macy’s here for £30, including three courses and a welcome cocktail (bargain).  It’s honestly the best night out you’ll have this Christmas and leave you feeling all fuzzy inside. #WIN

Workwear 101

Let’s face it, office-appropriate dressing can be something of a minefield. What is “appropriate” varies enormously from workplace to workplace. Strutting past the water cooler in a silk pyjama suit and statement heels might earn you sartorial points of a Monday morning in a creative office, but leave the cleaners sweeping up the entire third floor’s dropped jaws in the corporate world. Part of the joy of working in a creative industry is the workwear freedom that comes with it. So, this time around, our advice is aimed at the white-collar world, where getting it right is key, and getting it wrong can be a bit of a disaster.

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First up, it really pays off to build your working wardrobe around some hardworking classic staples. Think of these foundations as an exercise in utter simplicity, Clare Underwood-level simplicity, because it is from here that all the good stuff can follow (prints, colour and personality), without undermining office acceptability. Having a handle on the staples lets you amp up the volume on days when you feel like it, and keep things sober and appropriate when the type of work day demands it.

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Time and time again, simple staples and accessories will finish your conservative looks neatly – and also appropriately anchor your more adventurous outfits. They offer up conservative, corporate touch points, and allow you to play with prints and textures. Arm yourself with fine block-colour merino or cashmere knits in charcoal or heather grey, navy, black and camel (every season, Cos line their rails with simple knits in a variety of necklines), and crisp white and light blue shirts. Choose a structured, subtle bag with clean lines in navy, berry, forest green, black or camel. If you’re feeling adventurous, a leather backpack with simple, clean lines can be a chic and practical option.

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Discover the game-changer that is owning a pair each of black, nude and navy courts. (This may sound a tad dull, but these shoes will be interchangeable with everything you own and bring your more adventurous outfits down to earth). For classic heels, the best of the bunch can be found at Gianvitto Rossi and Manolo Blahnik, with high streeters LK Bennett and Zara offering up some great options too.

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Make some space in your wardrobe for a selection of “no-brainer” dresses. When paired with heels (simple or fun) or chic super flats, the no-brainer dress can be reached for in the morning with no extra engagement of your pre-coffee brain, and relied upon 100% to make you look like you know exactly what you’re doing. Focus on the cut and shape first – if these are classic, nearly any colour or pattern will work.

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For the best examples of these hero-dresses, look no further than J.Crew and Boden. Here, classic shapes (crucial) are combined with fun prints and interesting textures. They are also fully lined and made from fabrics that hold their shape. Pop over a tailored (see below) long line or box-cut boucle jacket and you’re good to go.

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For a corporate wardrobe, there is just no getting away from the fact that tailoring is a must. It has transformative powers in both boardrooms and meeting rooms, particularly if your base outfit is more casual. It does so much of the hard work on the rest of your wardrobe’s behalf, pulling together your whole look.

blazer-workwear

For an ode to the power of tailoring, look no further than Olivia Palermo. When asked about the secret of her flawless style, she repeatedly highlights the importance of tailoring as a cornerstone of her personal style successes. The best fit on the high street comes courtesy of Reiss (an OP favourite, natch). What’s more, their already brilliantly well-cut pieces can also be altered to suit your body shape.

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Massimo Dutti have the confidence to offer up colourful tailoring options, bringing much welcomed variety (and femininity) into the typically navy or black suiting arena. Their current collection also features a beautiful dark grey cinched-in wrap suit jacket that will add something fresh to your jacket collection.

massimo-dutti-blazers

Now, nothing injects more joy into workwear than a dash of something a bit more unexpected. Prints can absolutely work in the office when paired with your classic courts, simple knit or a crisp, collared shirt. H&M and Zara have cornered the market lately in affordable, printed cigarette trousers. Courts in a fun print or a punchy shade can add an unexpected touch to your classic dresses or tailoring. Love a collarless cropped jacket? Why not try it in metallic bouclé instead? Out of the ordinary, printed or colourful pieces may only last you a couple of seasons, but with your classics close at hand, this shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

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Put simply, the best way to approach your working wardrobe is with one eye always on the classics. When you’ve mastered these, prints, trends, colours, shapes can be embraced and then moved on from when the time is right – allowing you to have fun with your workwear, show your personality, and keep your wardrobe ever-evolving, whilst always striking just the right tone.

cos-jumper-office

Cos Round Neck Wool Jumper          Cos Round Neck Wool Jumper

nude-pink-leather-bags-workwear

Whistles Regent Soft Leather Tote          Jigsaw Blake Leather Backpack

Mansur Gavriel Sun Leather Crossbody Bag

j-crew-workwear-dresses

J.Crew A-Line Dress          J.Crew Bracelet Sleeve Dress

J.Crew Monday Dress          J.Crew Cap Sleeve Dress

workwear-shoes-zara

Zara Mid-Heel Shoes          Zara Contrast Mid-Heel Shoes

boden-workwear-day-dresses

Boden Aurelia Ottoman Dress          Boden Sixties Jacquard Dress

Boden Marisa Dress

cos-knitwear

Cos Twisted Detail Jumper          Cos Long-Sleeve Cashmere Jumper

leather-handbags-work

Launer Judi Leather Tote          Saint Laurent Cabas Rive Gauche Leather Tote

3.1 Phillip Lim Ink Leather Pashli Tote

hm-cigarette-trousersH&M Spotted Cigarette Trousers          H&M Patterned Cigarette Trousers

H&M Cigarette Trousers

courts-shoes-office

LK Bennett Fauna Metallic Leather Courts          LK Bennett Fern Monochrome Printed Courts

massimo-dutti-workwear-blazers

Massimo Dutti Navy Blue Suit Jacket          Massimo Dutti Boiled Wool Blazer

Massimo Dutti Blazer With Tie

court-shoes-workwear

Manolo Blahnik Fawn Suede Pumps          Manolo Blahnik Black Suede Pumps

boucle-chanel-style-jackets-workwear

Massimo Dutti Short Ecru Jacket          Zara Tweed Jacket

Zara Metallic Fabric Blazer

reiss-womens-tailoringReiss Murphy Jacket          Reiss Hanako Jacket