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Writer, reader, sunglasses-lover, reluctant yogi, amateur meditator, permanent chill-seeker | London, UK | www.theshadeylady.com @thetinkpanther

Ditch the guilt and splurge on this everyday item (it’s worth it).

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What makes me the expert on hairbrushes and how much you are allowed to pay for them? I have no skills at styling hair whatsoever. I got a stress ulcer the day of my daughter’s last school photo. Rather than tongs I have to use a hefty tool that sucks my hair in to create curls, GHD straighteners for less frizzy hair and a hair-tie for all other styles (i.e. a ponytail). This is my entire repertoire of “hair-styling.”

However, as a kid who was always so desperate for literature I would grab any bottle of shampoo or shower gel…


Before mobile phones, perverts were still only a phone call away.

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Have dirty old men — and dirty young ones for that matter — changed their tack this millennium? Now that (somewhat scarily) pornography is accessible at absolutely any time to almost everyone for free, you may hope that the lewd phone callers of the past have just upgraded to adult porn channels. Maybe they enjoy calling live chat rooms instead so they can continue to talk dirty without recourse, ignoring the small remuneration for the women on the receiving end of their banter. After all, these women love it don’t they. Don’t they?

I wonder if there are still men…


It’s not all doom and gloom if you come down with Coronavirus.

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When life give you lemons, make lemonade. When you get the dreaded ‘Rona, embrace your missing sense of smell. I honestly couldn’t recommend it highly enough! Doing so helped me to be a better version of myself and improved my familial relationships no end.

To clarify, I have a very sensitive nose. Great for enjoying perfumes and overpriced designer candles you could weightlift with. Bad for allergies, smelly humans and too good to be true Air BnB rentals.

Being in a UK-wide lockdown I’m not exposed to the beautiful smell of new scents at the Harrods perfumery right now, nor…


And other unlikely ways to achieve beautiful skin this winter

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I am not a dermatologist. Just a well-meaning, tired, slightly vain person who is over 40 and a little bit obsessed with non-surgical techniques for achieving beautifully clear and glowing skin. Not committed enough to do a ten-step Korean cleanse, I am also unwilling to part with significant amounts of money in this quest. Bar one, my tips come via personal experience, not a freebie overload from a Beauty PR, and they won’t cost you a thing. But they will help your achingly dry winter skin.

Many of us have suffered with drier skin than usual this year, due to…


A controversial opinion about something other than THAT green velvet coat

Warning: this article contains spoilers

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It wasn’t all about Ms Kidman’s stellar acting, her understated bohemian-luxe wardrobe, or the beauty of Manhattan in the winter. It wasn’t even the outright sexiness of Matilda De Angelis’ mysterious Elena. The Undoing was about three beautiful men and a cheap(er) dress.

Reflecting on the HBO six-parter, I can’t help but feel everyone has been distracted by focusing on just one obvious aspect of the show. Yes, Nicole Kidman’s wardrobe was amazing. But wasn’t it always going to be? She is rich, elegant, model-tall. Everything is going to look fabulous on her figure and…


Let jeans help you to get shit done.

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How can we put ourselves in the right mindset for producing our best work? In her bestseller ‘Big Magic’ Elizabeth Gilbert talks about seducing creativity. She writes, “Get dressed up, light a candle, put on some lipstick, woo creativity to come to you.”

You can do this, too – 2021 style. Just by swapping out your well-worn pandemic joggers for a pair of jeans, you too can more easily find the impetus to start — and complete — your work. Even seduce your inner creativity. No candles or make-up required.

“Which jeans though?” you may ask, when you probably have…


Home improvement without mess or drama.

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An open plan kitchen is great for entertaining (adult-speak for getting wasted at home, saving money otherwise spent on restaurants/bars/Ubers and being in bed by 10.30). When we moved in to our end-of-terrace home a decade ago nothing needed doing, apart from buying some furniture, and the open plan was a definite bonus. It was the opposite of a fixer-upper. The seller was a construction manager who had expertly renovated our north-west London 1930’s end-of-terrace throughout. …


Save time, money and the health of your nails with easy tips for a DIY mani.

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Remember when you just groomed yourself and didn’t have to spend a ton of cash at a salon or spa? When making regular appointments weeks in advance to secure a particular therapist was something you had no experience of? I miss those days. I wonder if the growing importance of beauty-related services is just another thing that slowly creeps up and happens to you, like more frequent night peeing. …


But I can tell my little girl she is beautiful every damn day

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“Oh, my pretty little granddaughter!” my mum exclaims, full of admiration for my six-year-old. It’s so superficial it makes me uncomfortable and my body starts to stiffen against the emotions it sets off inside me. Mostly, I’m just annoyed.

It reminds me so viscerally of the importance that was placed on looks in my formative years. Not just mine but everyone around me, from neighbours to relatives to complete strangers. Passing comment upon the beauty (or perceived lack of it) in others was a recurring point of conversation for my mother and aunt. They saw nothing wrong with it.

Conversely…


My most played song of 2020 is full of late nineties nostalgia — listen to it now if you’re longing to travel to happiness.

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I first heard Jayda G’s ‘Both of Us’ at home during the early summer and later stages of Lockdown Mark I. The first time should really have been at a summer festival, perhaps an Ibiza opening party, under the carefree Balearic sun and alongside the White Island’s playas and players. I’m guessing that’s what the label heads and Jayda herself had envisioned as a more deserving debut venue for this summer banger than my suburban London kitchen.

This song is quintessentially a love letter to classic soulful house. When you close your eyes and let the uplifting vocals and piano…

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