Gizzi Erskine is taking on the ‘clean eating’ fanatics

Published in The Independent on Sunday on July 26, 2015

“People don’t know how to eat any more.” It’s a bold statement – but, then, that’s typical of Gizzi Erskine. The food writer, TV presenter and trained chef doesn’t mince her words. She credits this tendency for being a bit “gobby” as having helped launch her career more than a decade ago, when she was picked up for Channel 4’s Cook Yourself Thin TV series. Several hit recipe books followed, all with the basic premise that good food, cooked well, can be healthy and delicious. Continue reading “Gizzi Erskine is taking on the ‘clean eating’ fanatics”

Why I’m Over Audrey Hepburn as a Female Icon

Published in The Debrief on July 3, 2015

If anyone deserves to have a show at the National Portrait Gallery dedicated to photographs of their face, it’s beautiful, doe-eyed Audrey Hepburn, right? If anyone deserves to have their exhibition subtitled ‘Portraits of an Icon’, it’s Audrey Hepburn, right? She has become an icon: evoked in fashion editorials for her ‘timeless’ and ‘classic’ style; that Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster a student halls cliche; her gamine presence even posthumously inserted into adverts for chocolate. This show of 150 pictures of her neat, sweet face, her pretty pastel frocks and signature Little Black Dresses is bound to be a ticket-shifter. Continue reading “Why I’m Over Audrey Hepburn as a Female Icon”

Why do (some) guys turn into pervs the minute the sun comes out?

Published in The Debrief on July 2, 2015

It may be hotter than Hawaii in Britain this week, but life isn’t exactly a beach: most of us still have to navigate public transport, replete with strangers’ dripping armpits, before slaving away in an office that’s either stuffy as your nan’s airing cupboard or arctic with aircon. Continue reading “Why do (some) guys turn into pervs the minute the sun comes out?”

Remember #TheDress? Brain scientists now see the internet meme as invaluable research tool

Published in The Independent on May 14, 2015

Internet memes: here today, gone tomorrow, replaced by whatever new comedy pet antics, political gaffes or celebrity hubris are tweeting up a storm by lunchtime.

Not so, however, The Dress. You remember #thedress – in February, a snap of a lacy frock appeared online that divided the population vehemently over what colour it was. Offices rang to the sound “black and blue!”, “white and gold!” Social media convulsed. We fretted that our perception of the world was wonky. Then science explained it was all a trick of the light, and we moved on. Well – some of us. Continue reading “Remember #TheDress? Brain scientists now see the internet meme as invaluable research tool”

Lauren Laverne and Sam Baker: too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Published in The Independent on Sunday on April 19, 2015

One has enjoyed a distinguished career editing women’s magazines including Cosmopolitan and Red, the other is the hip presenter of a long-running Radio 6 Music show. Combine the talents of Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne and the end product was always likely to make a splash.

So it has proved, with the arrival of The Pool. For the uninitiated, it’s a website for women: smart, funny, down to earth, written by a “pool” of female writers providing appealingly varied content. Both Baker and Laverne take it as read that the modern woman is as keen to read about the leadership debates as she is about lipstick. Which shouldn’t exactly be controversial in 2015.… Continue reading “Lauren Laverne and Sam Baker: too busy to surf? Head to The Pool”

The family behind the Tyrrells crisps has found a new use for potatoes – artisan vodka

Published in The Independent on Sunday on March 15, 2015

Humble as it may be, the potato is a versatile vegetable. And it’s fair to say that its foodie potential has been thoroughly exploited by one Herefordshire farmer.

William Chase, whose parents were farmers themselves, began his career in potato trading before hitting on the idea of posh crisps – and so Tyrrells was born in 2002. The brand was a huge success, reconnecting snack foods with home-grown produce, and in 2008 William sold it for £30m. But he wasn’t done with spuds. Next up: potato vodka. Continue reading “The family behind the Tyrrells crisps has found a new use for potatoes – artisan vodka”

How synaesthesia inspires artists

Published in BBC Culture on September 4, 2014

The experience of colour as we usually understand it is a visual one: objects have colour, artists use colour, and we can recall a colour in our mind’s eye. But for some people, colour is a more multi-sensory affair, linked to sound, texture, taste or shapes. Music has a hue – like the parping of a trumpet that evokes a shower of burnt orange. Numbers, letters and days of the week have their own shade: the number one is white, the letter L is blue and Monday is red. Continue reading “How synaesthesia inspires artists”