Month: December 2016

Why I Believe in the Magic of Christmas Shopping


If there’s one thing that makes people shrivel up like a raisin at the mere thought of it, it’s Des Lynam in the nude. If there’s another, it’s Christmas shopping.

Not only does it represent probably one of the nastiest features of the Pagan festival, but it can be a brain-melting, patience-sapping experience. Do you ever find yourself stuck behind a turgid, congested throng of human beings making their way though a doorway and think to yourself, “I bet there’s somebody at the front of this crowd languidly sauntering along the pathway, head in the clouds, browsing at their leisure because they have all the  time in the world to window-shop and waste other people’s precious time.” You imagine this person being a self-centred sociopath with a hook-nose, a criminal record and most disturbing of all, a pram.

But for some reason, I hold these infuriating elements of the Christmas shopping experience close to my hate-filled heart. I complain about them with a kind of affection, that I only reserve for my older brother and the Royal Mail.

I like going into shops to see gifts lined out for everyone to mull over, to wonder whether Jason would like that, to think about whether it’s really Helen’s style, to wonder how in the world you finally found the perfect gift for the hardest person to buy a present for.

The cashier working in Boots is polite, but you can tell she can’t wait for her last shift so she can finally get a proper break and be able to give the people she loves the things that she thinks they will love.


The kids are off school so families are out in packs -and for some reason Christmas makes unruly toddlers and crying babies a little easier to take. After all, Jesus was a crying baby once too, so maybe we soften more to the wailing at Christmas. Baby Jesus probably woke up everyone staying at the Inn. One is only human – even the son of God probably got on the guests’ nerves.* I am not a kid person, but I can’t help cracking a smile when a young, innocent little munchkin waves at the man dressed in a Santa suit riding in the Santa bus and him waving right back. Their eyes always sparkle with wonder and excitement, emotions we have tried to suppress in adulthood, because it’s not cool and shut up Santa, we have to check Facebook.

It’s dark by four o’clock these days and the twinkling lights in the street against the backdrop of the pitch-black night cloaks the sky – it’s romantic, melancholy and nostalgic all at the same time. There’s always a Christmas busker singing carols nearby, voice nearly being drowned out by Fairytale of New York blaring from the pub  around the corner and everyone is bound together by a common goal – to get to Christmas Day. There’s a sense of anticipation in the atmosphere and as you cross the street or come outside a shop, you might catch a brief whiff of vanilla or cinnamon or nutmeg or something that makes you think about a time when you were young and naive and maybe misinformed, but when Christmas was genuinely the absolute best time of the year.


Happy Christmas, everyone!


Style hero of the month : julia roberts in mystic pizza

As anyone with Netflix or Amazon Prime knows all too well, choosing a movie from their plethora of cinematic possibilities is akin to choosing a seat on a plane – even when you eventually choose one, there’s always a possibility you’ll end up regretting your decision. You might end up sitting next to a family with three screaming children on the plane and coming to the end of a movie depressed and empty (thanks for the massive downer, Still Alice). Most of the time when I’m scrolling through the minefield of motion pictures, I end up closing it down and putting on an episode of Seinfeld.

So the other night, after finishing and handing in my last university assessment for this term after weeks of stress, I decided to have a chilled one with a glass of red and a good flick. Something I hadn’t seen before. After a few scrolls, a title caught my eye – Mystic Pizza. I’d always meant to watch it, hearing of its cult status as well as being known for launching the career of Notting Hill darling Julia Roberts, but it was only until now that I happened to be in the right frame of mind for something new.

This is not a movie review of Mystic Pizza. I am not going to dissect the storylines of the three women it centres around or evaluate the minutae of each scene. This is a post about the character of Daisy Arujo (Roberts) and why she is my new style icon.

This is the 1980’s glory days of big hair and big collars. It is also the decade of notoriously horrific bridesmaids dresses. This is the dress in which we first see Daisy.


The main feature here, of course, is the hair. Even scraped up in a fussy updo, it refuses to be tamed.

Then it comes down and looks in. Cred.


This girl looks good working the long hours at a pizza joint. The hair should always be down, really. That said, I worry for the customers. I can’t imagine they’d appreciate on of those auburn tendrils in their 10-inch Quattro Formaggi.

What does Daisy do once she’s finished her shift? Head to the pub to sink a pint or four, obviously.


Okay, so more specfically, she heads to the bar to shoot pool and a couple of Coors Lights. But look at what she’s wearing – a red cardigan that looks like she nicked it off her gran, teamed with a tight black mini? The 80’s, man. It was a wild time.

Of course, this is where she has some serious eye – sex with the dreamy posho she’s been lusting after for a while.


Subsequently kicking his privileged arse at pool.


Looking foxy as per.

Fast-forward to when she’s showing off her new swag to her more reserved sister, hair looking sheeny-shiny and wild. The dress is killer, obviously. I sorely long for the days when women could wear a dress with a massive white bow stretched over their cleavage and nobody would give them a weird look.


You can see vibes of Vivian Ward here. You almost wonder where Richard Gere has buggered off to, leaving his paramour to buy a gorgeous dress with her own card and having to return it afterwards, too.


Again, another aran knit she probably shares with her auntie Maude. But teamed with an unruly ponytail, theatrical gold earrings and a cold one, it looks chic AND cosy. The dream. Shoutout to her sister Jojo for setting the ’90s flannel trend before it happened. Thanks for the ugliest fashion trend that won’t go away, Jo.


Pink stonewashed oversized denim jacket. Because what else does one wear when introducing your country-club boy to yer ma?


It is an understood fact that nobody wore smart/casual in the ’80s without a Big Belt. It was like the rosary beads of ’80s fashion.


Daisy is invited to Posho’s cabin in the country, which means she’s likely to get lucky. What does Daisy wear to bring that boy to the yard? A purple-and-black striped poloneck looking like a reject from the Beetlejuice costume closet and a sheepskin-lined aviator jacket. With supersleek hair. What kind of game is this woman playing? What is her deal? Can she pull?


Can she heck.

Because God is good and true, we get another scene to appreciate that aviator jacket. Over a denim jacket.


Then we get to appreciate Daisy being a crazy badass


Pouring sewage over Posho’s car because you mistaked his sister for his bit on the side is inadvisable, but at least she’s looking damn fashionable doing it.


Making a mental note to always wear my t-shirt sleeves rolled up. Also, where can I buy this t-shirt?!

Dinner with the Posho’s family. Wearing another massive bow.


Also, approximately how much hairspray would it take to get my hair into a poofy crown like that? It’s divine.

It just occurred to me that all this may all sound like I’m being sarcastic or ironic. But I don’t think you understand my fascination with the OTT-ness of the ’80s. The bigger and brighter, the better!


How does she get that one errant tendril to fall perfectly from the poof? What kind of mystic?(sorry)


Finally, the wedding is back on and we get a better look at just how atrocious and awesome the bridesmaid dress is. Off-the-shoulder taffeta will never not cause a stir. I also love the flower crown, reminding me of an era where flower crowns weren’t ridiculously overdone and cloying, associated with Pinterest boards and hipster bridezillas.

Now do you see? Do you see how Julia Roberts single-handedly won the crown of “smalltown girl living in a lonely world” ’80s fashion icon status? The film was a pleasure but the style, oh the style, was a revolution. People will always credit Pretty Woman for Roberts’ mark on fashion history, but I think Mystic Pizza has a strong case for making it cool to wear your sister’s skirt with your granny’s cardi.