I’m not one for celebrating St. Valentine’s Day, as a rule. I’ve only ever received Valentines from the OH so, whilst nice, it’s all a bit predictable. It’s a pity that one feels forced to spend money on cards; flowers; chocolate; Champagne; overpriced cramped set menu dinners on one day of the year. If you don’t go along with this, you start wondering whether there’s something wrong with you. If you do, you’re aware you’re being manipulated by Consumerism. I’ve written all this stuff before so I’m not going to go into it again here really.

We’ll be going out for one of those meals but we don’t want to leave MsDD on her own, especially as she’s off on a French immersion trip to Normandy tomorrow, so we’re taking her along with us. It will be novel, but nice.


This week people have been vociferous about tax, the non-payment and avoidance thereof. It’s obviously quite right that people expect large corporations to pay towards supporting the infrastructure of the places where they set up and, presumably, make themselves lots of money. Of course, it isn’t fair that the very rich people who are buying up all the desirable properties in London don’t seem to pay much tax. They should pay their fair share too. But, for example, François Hollande’s baldly populist 75% tax rate in France has just led to more tax avoidance by those people it hits. They’ve come to London, for a start.

Have you noticed how it’s always OTHER people who should pay tax? Labour and the Greens, for example, have an election pledge to raise the top tax rate to 50p again. It’s dead popular because it affects no-one who pays basic rate tax or anyone on less income than that.

At the lower end of the top rate, it has affected us in practice. Even if it hadn’t, I don’t agree conceptually that people should be giving over half their income to the State. It seems especially unfair when we have always paid our way: we don’t get tax exemption or credits and we can’t claim non-dom status or park anything overseas to avoid tax. We’ve declared our child benefit so we’re not paid that. We’re not self-employed so we can’t claim our computers or phones or stationery or travel costs on expenses. So we are obliged to pay it. When the rate rose from 40p to 50p, it had a huge impact on us. Cutting it to 45p was not just a tax cut for millionaires. No Mr. Balls, I don’t care for your spiteful tone.

Haha, you might think. Serves you right, you rich b******s. Plenty of people openly express this view. As if we should somehow be sorry for doing well after honest hard work. I’d like so see whether people would be so sanguine if their own tax rate had risen by 25% overnight. Even if the basic tax rate rose 1p to 21p, there would be howls of protest. Generally everyone wants everyone else to pay without wanting to forego anything themselves. Of course, people always bring up JK Rowling, who is publicly very happy to pay 45% or even 50% on her vast income to pay back the State that supported her when she was an unemployed person penning Harry Potter in a cafe somewhere. Fine. Good for her and good luck to her. But actually it’s more affordable and easier to say if you are a billionaire and have more money than you could ever spend.

There are all sorts of things going around about tax avoidance, which is legal. Some of the stories seem obscene. But I wonder if the people baying for their blood have pensions or ISAs? Do they pay their cleaner in cash to avoid NI contributions and the charges related to employing someone? Do they pay builders in cash to avoid paying 20% VAT? If they’re self employed, do they make sure they declare every single cash transaction? Really?

I know this is not the same thing as billionaires shipping their money offshore to avoid tax but I think very few people would not take advantage of the system that exists to do this, were they in that position. The accountancy profession has been established on this whole premise. As usual, it’s very easy to point an accusing finger at someone else. How subjective morality can be! Fair is a subjective term, I find.

A little bit of politics there, Ladies and Gentlemen.



Sacré bleu!



Bromley hosted a continental market on Thursday from which I bought some delicious Italian nougat and sniffed the cheeses at a French cheese stall. Yesterday, I drove past this sad sight in Valley Road.



Chanel Vitalumière Aqua Loose Powder Foundation

A fan of both of the other Vitalumière formulations, I like this very much. I keep it in my gym bag. The packaging, with the little Kabuki brush that comes in the packet is cute. It’s not as messy as liquid foundation that I usually use. You tip the tub upside down and it dispenses the right amount of mineral powder for you to pick up with the brush and swirl over your face.

I don’t know how Chanel can tell it’s the right amount for everyone’s face. I have a small currant bun face and it’s fine for me but what if your face is long and large like a horse’s (and any number of those posh counties people with whom I went to University?) What then, eh Chanel?

I digress though. The powder is surprisingly not as matt as you’d think and not drying. This is probably something to do with applying primer first, but it does stay on all day and gives a natural finish. I wouldn’t say it’s enough coverage for formal but it’s fine for normal. I might, in fact, use it as barely there make-up in summer but, ah, that brings me to the one reason why I’d probably not buy this make-up again: the limited colour range.

Chanel make it in five shades and I’m currently using the very darkest they offer: No 50. Which still makes me looks slightly pale. Now is about the fairest my complexion gets so unless they expand their range, it won’t be suitable come April when I have acquired some colour despite my factor 30 sun block. The shades also have a slightly pinker base than some of the other Vitalumière foundations so the undertone is not completely suitable for my complexion. Whilst this isn’t disastrous at this time of year, it isn’t quite perfect. Which is a pity.