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The Book

Out now at Amazon | Waterstones

Middle Class Handbook on Twitter
Chattering Class

Putting chocolate in the fridge

Always pleasing

Chelsea Flower Show

Lovely as ever, but MC opinion divided about the WW1 garden

The Cbeebies Prom

Who needs Glastonbury?

Hot Punch Nike Frees

When did these become obligatory for MC school-run mums


Can we stop this, please? It’s “Coleslaw”. Thank you.

Frozen-themed children’s parties

An MC epidemic: snow-effect cake decorations now sold out across the internet


Somehow more appealing than a DM

TNT delivery people

Rubbish service, nice bikes

Tyrion Lanister’s trial speech

A great moment from a great MC hero


Very interesting but does anyone really know how to pronounce Piketty?

Latest Comments
The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    Last night as I busily absorbed last week’s Dream School, so I could watch it tonight ‘real time’ and participate in the office chat tomorrow it struck me that bar the benefit of zero adverts, I wasn’t quite enjoying it as much as I would have had I known it was ‘live’. In fact I wasn’t enjoying it at all. Basically I was watching it to feel like I had caught up, and to feel ready to talk about it the next morning at work, and that made it feel like a chore.

    I enjoyed the little bits that showed “what a decent guy that Rankin is” (half interesting to others six days ago, now redundant as a conversation piece), but generally felt that I just wanted to get through it so I could go to bed, safe in the knowledge that I was ready for Jamie today.
    I wouldn’t mind but a few weekends ago I spent the entire weekend sucking up six episodes of Episodes so I could join everyone for the finale, in the vain hope that I could make a contribution to the next day’s chit-chat. I’m actually beginning to feel like my entire life has become like a modern version of Mike Reid’s dreadful Runaround programme, jumping around in a big pack hoping you’ve caught the right show. Except that I’m 42 years old.
     So that’s it – I’m coming off the hamster wheel, and all attempts to be ‘relevant’. People can now catch up with me should they wish. Oh yes, I’m going to be living life live from now on. But just before I do, I’ve just been told last nights Lilly Allen’s Riches to Rags was “un-missable”.



    The internet has given us many wonderful things; an ever expanding library of knowledge, available to all; the opportunity to connect with fellow humans, all over the world, instantly; the means to rise up against oppressors & overcome them; but most importantly the chance to shop with an ease hitherto unimaginable.
    No need to find a space to park the Mini - which even with a residents’ permit is frankly a nightmare - no need to wrestle with loads of bags on the 52, no need to deal with the squillions of people in Selfridges. No need to skive off work.
    It seemed the perfect solution, until the fruits of my all-too-easy e-commerce experiences started arriving at work. It had never occurred to me that previously, shopping was essentially a private pursuit, and mercifully so. Can there be greater ignominy than the guys from despatch bringing 47 parcels to your office in a week? Only the creeping sense of dread you feel when you realise others not only see how shallow you are, but also imagine you are either well paid – horrors! - or indebted to Barclaycard – horrors!
    Last week, I took delivery of no less than 4 cardigans from All Saints, some leather trousers from theOutnet (mitigation: they were Balmain, at 70% off), 2 pairs of leather shorts from ASOS (leather again? Afraid so), and a mincer attachment for my Kenwood Chef from John Lewis (I told you I was middle class). It got so bad that one of my colleagues actually came right out and asked where I get the money for it all. Just describing it has sent shivers down my spine. So I am resolved: never again. Ok, never again after today’s parcel, just a tiny, essential leather jacket from the All Saints sale. Well I did send all that stuff from last week back. Well, most of it.
    Oh, the shame! 


    From bought to chavvy in 60 seconds: how Barbour became the new Stone Island

    I remember being very pleased a few years ago when that old middle-class favourites Barbour and Belstaff began doing coats in more fashionable styles and colours. They seemed to fill a gap in the market for woman’s coats that had that sporty element of men’s jacket, and they looked right for the moment somehow without being pretentious. They also had nice pockets, which in my opinion is rare in womens’ outerwear.
    For these reasons I have, embarrassingly, now bought three varieties of these coats, so you can imagine my disappointment when I looked around me at a football match last week, and noticed that about one in every three people was wearing one. It dawned on me then that Barbours and Belstaffs have now replaced Stone Island as the casual’s jacket of choice. And all the criticisms of Stone Island – too popular, worn by people to show off – are now fully applicable to these old country brands. In fact I’d say it’s worse; basically, Barbour and Belstaff are en route to becoming not only the new Stone Island, but also the new Burberry.
    The funny thing is, I don’t think this will stop anyone wearing them. Burberry’s ubiquity put people off, but these days lots of brands and consumer items seem to exist as both “upmarket” and “a bit chavvy”, with the upmarket lot not being put off. Tinted windows and personalised number plates in cars, for example. Or black Range Rovers. Seven For All Mankind jeans. Mojitos, and possibly all “cocktail culture”.  Maybe it’s because things seem to get more popular more quickly now, I dunno, but there is definitely a confusing, new sort of double-status to things. For middle-class trendsetters, it’s all rather upsetting. 


    Chattering Class

    Silly old Fergie

    Like your daft school friend who just can’t help herself

    Easter egg one-upmanship

    M&S has giant solid chocolate bunnies for £20


    27 percent exaggerate to colleagues about their weekend. We spent ours abseiling

    The Killing

    Episode 12 is far too late to play catch-up

    Lace-up festival wellies

    Green Hunters are so 2009

    BBC’s free iPlayer App

    That Sky+ Box is looking pretty unloved

    The shame of Dior

    But is wearing the perfume still okay?

    innocent veg pots

    The new Covent Garden Soups

    Mr Porter

    Because you can never have too many socks


    Hasn’t she done well?


    Reclaiming the Muffin 

    Time was not so very long ago that ‘muffin’ meant a cakey thing filled with blueberries. It was a national travesty that our good old British yeast leavened toastable treat had been overshadowed by this brash American confection; humiliated into having to adopt the prefix English muffin to avoid messy blueberry-and-poached-egg related confusion.

    But the revolution has happened and the traditional muffin has reasserted itself. It may have started with artisanal bakeries looking for ever more specialist types of bread rolls to give choice-obsessed customers incapable of being satisfied by just ‘a roll’. Or possibly in the sorts of local café frequented by homeworkers and Bugaboo owning parents, offering nursery food like porridge, or Marmite on toast. Or maybe even (though we’d rather not think it) with the Egg McMuffin.

    Now, not since the fabled Drury Lane Muffin Man has it been easier to get your hands on a muffin. Wholesome brands such as Kingsmill and Allinson have been quick to pick up on the trend. This week they’re two for a £1 in Iceland, and Sainsbury's is stocking at least four different names, including its own Basics range.

    And whither the American muffin? Gone the same way as the fairy cake, overshadowed by its compatriot the cupcake.