Showing posts with label Victoria Beckham. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Victoria Beckham. Show all posts

Monday, 25 February 2013

Snow in Paris

Victoria Beckham looked frozen as she watched her husband make his debut for Paris St-Germain last night. I’ve just spent two days in Paris and I’ve rarely felt so cold. The temperature never lifted above -2 degrees, there was a biting wind and flurries of snow fell all weekend. My daughter wore three jumpers and I kept my Brora fingerless gloves and scarf on indoors and out. We had to dive into cafes every half an hour to stop our teeth chattering. Yet when I glanced at the papers this morning Victoria had stepped off the Eurostar in an unfastened coat, with her ankles bare and no gloves. She’s clearly tougher than the rest of us.

But never mind the cold, Paris is one of the prettiest cities on earth. We stayed at the super-stylish Mama Shelter, which boasts chic rooms, friendly staff, reasonable prices and a great brunch. Even though it’s slightly off the beaten track (in the 20th arrondissement) buses whizz past every ten minutes to whisk you into the centre for the princely sum of two euros – which meant we were at Bastille in fifteen minutes and in the Rue de Rivoli in thirty. As we chatted on the number 26 bus a Paris-based sports journalist from the UK tapped us on the shoulder and said he never usually heard English voices “on this route.” He made us feel like real locals.

Instead of sticking to our usual haunts we decided to visit an area we hadn’t been to before –the Batignolles, where Manet had his studio and artists like Degas, Renoir, Monet and Cezanne used to gather (at the Café Guerbois on the Avenue de Clichy). It boasts a pretty park, a village-like atmosphere and lots of quirky shops and art galleries. My daughter bought a pink hyacinth at the lovely flower shop below – I only hope it survives the winter on her student windowsill.

Mama Shelter is a five-minute stroll from the famous Père Lachaise cemetery so on Sunday morning we headed down the rue de Bagnolet and through the ancient archway. It’s the largest cemetery in Paris and one of the most famous in the world. Among the renowned names buried there are Chopin, Moliere, Proust, Colette, Modigliani, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. Not surprisingly, with a total of 69,000 tombs at the cemetery, a map is essential.

Actually, a snowy Sunday morning in February was definitely the time to visit this historic graveyard. A distant church bell tolled solemnly and the pale grey sky gave it a gothic, rather eery air – like something out of a Balzac novel in fact. Actually - and rather appropriately - he is buried there too.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Viva Forever! - Reliving the Spice Girls years

Seeing the Spice Girls reunited to promote the new musical based on their songs was like stepping back in time.

In the mid-1990s, when Posh, Scary, Sporty, Ginger and Baby were at the height of their fame, my daughter and her friends were captivated by them. No party was complete without Wannabe and Spice Up Your Life belting out of the CD player (I know, it was a long time ago) and the primary school playground was full of little girls discussing which Spice Girl was their favourite. Sadly, Melanie Chisholm (aka Sporty) never featured because she wore boring tracksuits whereas the others all got glitter, sparkles and Union Jack dresses.

But when the Spice Girls assembled yesterday I reckoned Melanie C and Emma Bunton looked the happiest by a long chalk. Melanie Brown and Geri Halliwell were still trying to be the stars of the show, while Victoria Beckham, now a hot-shot fashion designer who counts Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes among her best pals, looked like she didn’t want to be there at all. Once the launch was over she headed straight back to LA to tuck her baby daughter Harper in. “I’d love to stay and hang out with the girls but I’m desperate to see her before she goes to bed,” she said. 

The Spice Girls are all in their late 30s now and won’t actually feature in Viva Forever!, the musical that’s been created by producer Judy Craymer and written by comedienne Jennifer Saunders. The show, which Saunders wanted to do because her three daughters loved the Spice Girls when they were growing up, weaves the band’s songs into a drama about a girl called Viva who is swept into the world of instant celebrity.

Actually, if I got my way I’d give Melanie C a part in it straight away. I saw her in Blood Brothers a few years ago and she was sensational. Aside from her sporty tracksuits, jaunty pony-tail and onstage back flips, Melanie C was best known for being the only Spice Girl who could actually sing. Well, she can act too. She grew up on Merseyside and was utterly compelling as Mrs Johnstone, the hard-pressed Liverpudlian mum who agrees to give one of her twin sons away.

I’ve seen Willy Russell’s wonderful play several times during its 29-year history but Melanie C knocked spots off the other actresses I’ve seen in the part. Her voice was stunning and she had exactly the right blend of toughness and vulnerability to make the character believable.

Viva Forever! opens in London in December and is set to be a smash hit. I’m definitely going to book tickets and take my daughter with me…

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Why do baby girls always wear pink?

Victoria Beckham, who dresses her seven-month daughter Harper in subtle hues of cream, navy, black and slate grey, isn’t the only mum to eschew pink for girls.

When my daughter was born, I never dressed her in girly pink colours. For her christening party she wore a chic tartan all-in-one, while for her aunt's wedding she sported a blue silk beret from a milliners called Herald & Heart Hatters. Her most stylish outfit of all was an ochre jacket with bright orange buttons and matching tights.

I’ve never understood why parents love pink for a girl. Babies and toddlers look so much better in strong, vibrant colours than in washed out shades of pink and mauve. Admittedly a woman in the supermarket once tapped me on the shoulder and said “excuse me, your little boy’s hat has fallen over his face.” I thanked her politely and adjusted my daughter’s headgear, wondering why she’d assumed my baby girl was a boy simply because she was wearing navy blue dungarees.

And even though Harper is clearly the best-dressed baby in the world, why does her mum keeps talking about wanting to do “girly” things together? In an interview before Harper was born Victoria said she could imagine “painting her nails, putting on make-up and choosing clothes” as she grows up.

With two very independent-minded children, the one thing I’ve learned over the years is that you can’t dictate their style, interests or clothes. So it’s perfectly possible that Harper Beckham, especially as she’s got three big brothers, may turn out to be the sort of girl who loves climbing trees, riding bikes and kicking a football round the park.  Then again, maybe she won’t.

Image: Photo © 2010 J. Ronald Lee, CC Attribution 3.0

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Harper Seven - where did that name come from?

It was obvious from the start that Posh and Becks were never going to call their new baby daughter something plain and simple - like Mary or Jane.

But how on earth did they come up with Harper Seven? I know her name had to match up to Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz, her three big brothers, but Harper Seven sounds like an upmarket washing liquid. Even though the Beckhams themselves say they named their little girl after a character in the Disney TV series The Wizards of Waverly Place, other theories have been flying around thick and fast. Some reckon her moniker comes from Harper’s Bazaar magazine, while others claim it’s inspired by Harper Lee, the novelist who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird (I really don’t think so!)

Choosing children’s names is always fraught with difficulty, with relations quick to take offence if the baby is named after one side of the family and not the other. “Where did that come from?” asked my mother-in-law when I first told her Ned’s name. “Don’t you mean Edward?” Ahem. No, we didn’t. Ned is just Ned.

It’s also a good idea to check the baby’s initials don’t spell something dire and that the names don’t rhyme embarrassingly. On the day Lottie was born we were about to tell everyone that our darling daughter was called Lottie Rose when I stopped in my tracks. Fast-forwarding a few years, I could suddenly hear classmates shouting “Snotty Nose” at her the minute she started school. We had a quick rethink and came up with Clementine – which nearly 20 years on, she absolutely hates.

The best tip I’ve ever heard on choosing names was from my glamorous Lancashire grandmother. Her advice was to fling open the back door and yell the name you’ve set your heart on at the top of your voice.

If “Harper Seven – it’s tea-time,” sounds completely ridiculous, then it’s back to the drawing board.
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