True Brits


Some questions.

Aren’t the Kaiser Chiefs just a Jam tribute band? 

Weren’t Prince and Kanye about a gazillion times better than anyone else?

Is anyone else thrilled that Coldplay have decided to take a break? 

What is Chris Martin doing with a Kevin Keegan perm? (Poor Gwyneth).

How did James Blunt survive in the Life Guards with that voice?

Was this the final nail in the coffin of Chris Evans’ career?

When will someone tell Madonna (whom I admire greatly) that her long stringy hair looks awful? Totally wrong colour and completely wrong for her face shape.

Feel much better having got that off my chest. Next stop the Oscars I think…


Just the two of us

1clanger_small Went to see a supplier today (remember the gorgeous Darling It’s Perfect earrings? – well they’re going to be on the site VERY soon). 

I put on dangly fan earrings (impossible to wear with a grasping baby), lots of lippy (no danger of it being wiped off with snotty kisses) and walked out feeling very light and carefree and strangely underdressed. 

It took me some time to work out why – instead of my usual huge changing bag full of bottles of milk, sippy cups full of water, miscellaneous snacks, soggy rusks, mussies, nappies, bibs, assorted large picture books, Small Clanger, telephones (Minx’s and mine), bottles of suntan cream (heaven knows why in an English February) and a small plastic tambourine, I just had a small handbag containing purse, keys, phone and lipstick.  Of such pleasures heaven is made.

The meeting was in Clerkenwell and afterwards I called the Husband, who works nearby, who took me for a delicious lunch at the Zetter.  We looked at each other awkwardly, conscious only of the large, buggy-shaped, absence at the table.  What on earth do couples, going out for their first lunch sans baby talk about?  But of course, we talked about her.



BreakevenAm feeling a bit despondent at the moment as orders have tailed off dramatically after Valentines Day and and the Independent-fuelled flurry earlier in the month.

The problem is that mirror mirror is currently in the wonderful world of ‘breakeven’ ie. we only just about make enough each month to cover our costs, which is all faintly depressing (particularly when Christmas, when we do much more than breakeven, is so far away). Sometimes this business feels like pushing a huge boulder downhill.  It seemed to gain momentum over Christmas but it’s got bogged down a bit now and I need to push at it a bit more again.

I know in my heart of hearts that online retail is a volume business, that I just need to keep going and hopefully the volume of orders will continue to build gradually so that we flip easily into profit each month.  However we’re not quite there yet and every time we get a dip in orders I worry that it’s all going pear-shaped and I will be left with thousands of pounds worth of unsold stock. (The Husband says I overdramatise things somewhat).

I didn’t make the above graph, but am finding it strangely reassuring as it’s telling me that this is the classic pattern for a small business.  I read somewhere that the start-up period was basically a competition to get the business to a stage where it can cover its basic costs before you run out of money to invest. Once you’ve got to that stage you know you’ve won and can then focus on growing the business.  Scarily though most small businesses never get there.


Rebecca De Winter

029_1 "THIS season I have been inspired by a strong spirited, mysterious and yet utterly glamorous woman with more than a touch of Du Maurier’s Rebecca De Winter," Amanda Wakeley wrote in her show notes. "She lives dangerously, drives too fast, flirts expertly and dresses immaculately."

I want her to shop at mirror mirror

(This image from Wakeley’s new collection shows what I’m going to wear when I become a foot taller and ginormous post-breastfeeding boobs shrink into beestings.)


Jake the Rake

Img_5628_5The Minx got more Valentines cards than I did.

One from her father as is only natural and proper (though I wonder how long it will take for her to become horribly embarrassed by them?) and one from the little son of one of the very nice mothers I’ve been hanging around with recently (well apparently he’d instructed his mother to buy Lulu a card).

The only thing was that he also gave a card to another baby girl at the same time.  It seems that boys are not to be trusted even at 8 months. Here are all the components of this love triangle ‘playing’ (and I use this term loosely) together.


Saint Valentine

Val288aWhat a difference a year makes. 

This time last year I was still recovering from a dreadful labour and birth, breastfeeding was going badly, my baby was underweight and looked like a little wizened gnome. She was so small that I was too scared to take her out in the cold, even if she’d had a snowsuit small enough to fit her.  So instead of going out to buy a card for my husband, I painted her tiny foot with red watercolour paint and printed her footprint on a piece of card.

This year we’re all going to breakfast together on our traditional Eggs Benedict and then we’ll open the Valentines card the Minx ‘made’ for us both at nursery. Much preferring this year.



Express delivery

06476_86_1Some rather unexpected coverage today in the Sunday Express ‘S’ Magazine.

Last November we took a stand at the House & Garden Spirit of Christmas fair and were rather sadly excited when Linda Barker (a very well-known celebrity interior designer here in the UK) came and bought loads of stuff.

Well, here she is in today’s magazine showing off our extremely delicious Creation Mathias bath confetti which we import from France.

Am I being ungrateful to wish that she had a slightly more upmarket ‘brand’?*

*I have to say that she did seem extremely nice when we met her.  I just wish she didn’t also endorse Curry’s and DFS


Travels with my aunt

Img_5941As promised (we aim to please here at mirror mirror), here’s a bit more about our trip to Southern California.  It’s not really about business or babies, but hey!

As we were going to be on the West Coast in Seattle, it seemed sensible to travel down to visit my aunt down in Orange County (just south of LA).  Actually it wasn’t very sensible at all, it was only after we booked the flights that we realised that she actually lives 1,000 miles from Seattle – America sure is BIG.

But in the end it was definitely worth it.  I had last seen my aunt about eighteen years ago at my father’s funeral – we’ve never known her very well as she moved to Canada and then the US when she was about 20.  Nevertheless there was the immediate shock of the very familiar – she looks a bit like my father, but even more like my father’s (and her) aunt, an old lady whom I knew when I was a child.  Her wry, slightly deadpan, sense of humour is also very much like my father’s – and completely un-Californian.  And therein lies the rub.  For my aunt, though living in paradise, is a rather sad and lonely woman.

She lives with her cat in her slightly-Austin-Powersish-but-nevertheless-beautiful house with views over the ocean, listening to Tom Jones and surrounded by photographs of herself in her 1960s heyday. She is slim, immaculately well-groomed and elegant, and looks to be in her early sixties rather than 75.  Money is clearly no object.

But her life has been tough. She and my father were orphaned during the war, she then lost her only brother (my father) when he was still quite young, her husband died only a few years later and her only child, her daughter, died last year of cancer at the age of 48.  So now she has no-one and seems to find it impossible to make real friends in California, with Californians.

She talks of coming back to England, which she fondly imagines is an oasis of old-fashioned good manners and intelligent conversation (I didn’t disabuse her), but knows no-one here either and doesn’t think she could cope with the weather.

We had a lovely time together and I learnt lots I didn’t know about our family history which was fab (may blog a bit about this as well).  But it’s left me feeling sad and thoughtful.  Not sure what to conclude except that money clearly doesn’t buy happiness.  It also gives an new interesting perspective to the ‘should I have another baby’ debate (which I will DEFINITELY blog about later).

The above photo was taken from the lounge of the Ritz-Carlton hotel. How can I in all honesty tell my aunt to come back to England?


Moderately tasty mummy

PedicureThis morning I escaped to the hairdressers to get my hair cut and was BULLIED (this is for my husband’s benefit) into having a pedicure at the same.   Two hours of being worked on at both ends with me reading magazines in the middle – utter bliss -(though the amount of dead skin which was removed from my heels was somewhat alarming).

I would never have believed before I had a baby how pathetically grateful I would become for a bit of ‘me’ time.  Or how pleased I would be to look almost like a human being. I can’t even find any snot on my shoulder.


The Minx

Img_5455All of a sudden my baby girl seems all growed up. 

In the last few days she seems to have acquired incredible manual dexterity – she can feed herself with her fab spoon-on-a-telephone-wire, point to various pictures in books very accurately, throw things properly and even reach out and pick things up without having to look directly at them.

She gives us the most wonderful hugs, can say about five words -mostly beginning with ‘c’ – and understands a whole lot more, loves music and dancing, and adores cats and dogs.

She’s still not walking, though doing everything but – practically running behind her brick walker, standing unaided for long periods of time, cruising on tiptoe and standing supported on one leg.  I don’t think she sees the point of walking at all when she can crawl so easily.

Most importantly of all SHE HAD A GREAT DAY AT NURSERY TODAY AND CAME HOME IN A GOOD MOOD.  I know I’m supposed to be all nostalgic for the baby days, but goodness me I’m enjoying these days so much more… And am I a bad mother to enjoy her absences so much?