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The Book

Out now at Amazon | Waterstones

Middle Class Handbook on Twitter
Chattering Class

Leicester City overkill

Yes we get it, it's lovely. But can we talk about something else now?

Online petitions

Please sign our online petition to have them banned

Zootopia

The new Frozen

Artisan marshmallows

Unconvincing

The word “artisan”

Overused

Discussing sourdough recipes

You buy it? Might as well wear a Burberry baseball cap

Getting the right shade of fake tan

“Just enough to stop my legs looking like something I dug up”

Travelling off-peak on rural branchline trains

Lovely

Pointless gadgets made by start-ups

Usually no better than Innovations catalogue stuff

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The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    Saturday
    Dec052015

    Secret Snob #18: traditional Welsh blankets

    The duvet has a lot to answer for. Much as it revolutionised middle-class life, it also meant blankets, and the blanket box, ceased to be essential items, disappearing as we de-cluttered our households and embraced our continental lifestyles.

    On the plus side, once something is no longer “essential” we can start to appreciate its finer qualities and move it into the category of items classed “object of desire”. On that basis, it’s time to stand back and appreciate the work of craft that is the traditional Welsh blanket.

    You’ll be vaguely familiar with the pattern: a checked arrangement of fuzzy squares and lozenges – currently being replicated on tea trays and lampshades by admiring designers – and the slightly coarse texture of the thick, woven wool. These are heavy-duty blankets for a pre-central heating world.

    Over in Pembrokeshire, Melin Tregwynt is wooing the design shop market with some contemporary patterns and mid-century modern crossovers, while Trefriw Woollen Mills in the Conwy Valley stick so closely to tradition that they even spin their own wool. But today we are heading to Rock Mill at the heart of Welsh blanket country on the Ceredigion/Carmarthenshire border. Not only is it the last water-driven woollen mill in Wales (check out the water wheel), but the low stone mill was built by the present owner’s great-grandfather. 

    Friday
    Dec042015

    CHATTERING CLASS: WHAT'S THE STORY

    Advent calendars

    When did we all get so snooty? Chocolate ones are perfectly acceptable

    Being able to order 'the usual' in your daily coffee shop

    You can't force it. The staff have to take the lead. Can take years

    Christmas crockery

    Awful. Better to use plain china and dress up with festive napkins etc

    The smaller the poinsettia...

    The naffer it is. Go big or not at all

    Having a box of tissues in the car

    There's something lovely and thoughtful about this

    Marcus Wareing

    Doing a great job on MasterChef this year. He gets twinklier and twinklier

    People parking in front of your driveway and only moving if you ask

    Just not on

    Excessive announcements from train guards

    We're trying to read! Be quiet!

    Multiple Christmas trees

    No, says @cunarders: yes to proper decorated tree in main room, twig-like tree with just lights in secondary room

    Wednesday
    Dec022015

    HOW TO BE MC: WIN AT AIRBNB

    Gone are the days of using Airbnb to see the world on the cheap or to get a taste of local living. Now it's all about finding the most whimsical or avant-garde dwelling out there – chosen for its particular instagrammability, of course. 

    Airbnb oneupmanship has become serious business. Yurts are old hat – we're now talking geodesic domes, castles, windmills and fairy cottages, ideally with an outdoor hot tub or candlelit grotto thrown in.

    “We stayed in the astronomy dome in Chile with self-contained observatories for star-gazing.” “Sounds lovely, but we could never top our tree cocoon in a forest in France.” “Our hobbit-hole underground was carbon-neutral – an amazing feat of eco-architecture.”

    This is the kind of conversation you get these days among keen Airbnbers, and sooner or later you'll be feeling the pressure. Here's our guide to coming out on top.

    1. Stay in an eco-dwelling in one of the world's most extreme environments.
    2. Go tiny – stay in a shipping container or a house within a house.
    3. Make sure your hot tub gives you a spectacular, even cosmic, view – the Northern Lights would be perfect.
    4. Ignore health and safety – candle-lit treehouses guarantee Instagram love.
    5. Ruffle some feathers by revealing that you found your last holiday digs on onefinestay instead of Airbnb.
    Friday
    Nov272015

    CHATTERING CLASS: THIS WEEK'S FADS AND FLOPS

    Quality Street

    It's too soon for the first box of the season

    Mince pies

    Too soon for them, too, unless homemade for a school fair

    MasterChef's pig's trotter challenge

    A bit much

    Secret Life of Five-Year-Olds

    Those little monsters are just brilliant. Lovely teachers, too

    'Reach out'

    This has to stop

    Being told 'things' don't bring you lasting happiness

    Yeah, but what about things like the NutriBullet?

    Waitrose 'Heritage Collection' bath stuff

    We see what you're doing, and we're not biting

    'Excited for'

    This is creeping in and it's very worrying

    Over-hashtagging tweets

    #Notnecessaryorclever #Really #Annoying #Stop

    Quilts

    Back in, and we couldn't be happier

    Wednesday
    Nov252015

    Is it ever really OK to lick a yoghurt lid?

    It's a question most likely to strike you mid-lick. With a quick glance around you, you carry on, the pleasure of not wasting any of the yoghurt outweighing the shame and uncertainty, the question lingering as you tongue the last bit stuck to the lid: is it really OK that I'm doing this?

    The Naomi Campbell ads for Müller a few years ago went a long way to making the lid-lick more acceptable. However, there are limits and nuances. When eating a Fruit Corner-style yoghurt, for example, it’s OK to lick the yoghurt itself, but not so OK to slurp up the syrupy fruit bit. And in no circumstance must you ever take a taste from the replaceable lid of a large, sharing pot – even if you’re the only one eating from it.

    And with any yoghurt, you don’t want to be taking more than two licks if you're in public – one is ideal, two looks acceptably indulgent, three is gluttonous and infantile, frankly. Even if you don’t manage to get all of the pleasantly concentrated goo from around the edges, never ever go beyond that second lick.

    With any luck, the lid-licking dilemma will soon be a thing of the past, if news of technological advances in this area is to be believed. But where technology marches forward, nostalgia is hot on its heels. All while marvelling at liquid-repelling lids and how far yoghurt has come, MCs will surely complain that the yoghurt-eating experience is just not the same without the treat of licking the lid – and the accompanying dollop of shame.

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