The Spike

Clothes, recipes, kids, interiors, London…


October 2017

The Lying Down Club

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I was sitting at my desk the other day feeling dejected and impotent – sad that the highlight of my morning, (an almond milk flat white VOMIT), was now over – when my phone rang.

It actually RANG, ladies. It RANG!!!


It wasn’t one of my beloved Insta followers sending me a furious message about something rotten their husband had done, it wasn’t my local NHS surgery telling me by text that it has been FOURTEEN THOUSAND YEARS since my last smear for the love of GOD could I just fucking come in and have one?!?!?

It was an actual phone call. And it was Annabel Rivkin from The Midult. Annabel is like a phantom in journalism. She is the idea of an idea – like the mathematical notion of “infinity”. A phone call from her is a bit like finding the the last purple one in a box of Cadbury’s Roses.

“Listen,” she said, as I tucked my shirt in and took my hands out of my pockets, “You know that bit at yoga, the end bit where you just lie down in the dark and no-one is bothering you?”

“Yes,” I said. “It’s the only reason I would ever go, if I ever went.”

“Well, we’re doing a thing with John Lewis. We’re turning it into an actual thing. At John Lewis.”

“It’s going to be a thing?”

“Yes,” she said, “it’s going to be a thing.”

“Fuck,” I said. “This sounds serious.”

And she invited me along to a preview of this thing, which is called The Lying Down Club. 

The premise is mad, but simple. On the 28th and 29th of November this year, the newly refurbished bed department at John Lewis on Oxford Street is going to be transformed into a magical, cosy dormitory, where you can book yourself in for a 2-hr “lying down” session between 6-8pm.

It’s not a massage or a spa (though you can have a foot massage if you want) or a yoga session. It’s just lying down, in dim lighting, for a few hours.

The idea is that you arrive at John Lewis, exhausted from your day of work and/or kids, (or work AND kids if you are a paediatrician), to find that you have rented a double bed in a beautiful dormitory, decked out in John Lewis finest linen with little bedside tables and lamps and everything.

You can either come alone or with a friend(s). You can help yourself to a VR headset or a meditation app or not. Just two hours of not being bothered. Of lying. Fucking. Down. Then you get up, refreshed and go about your evening.

Tickets will be £15 and are not available until November 8th (I will remind you) and can be bought online at The Lying Down Club. NOT YET DON’T TRY TO BUY THEM YET.

I know it sounds a bit of an odd concept so please join me on Instagram (I am @esthermcoren) where I will be showing you this thing in more detail tomorrow night.

I know it’s a bit annoying when people write about stuff happening in London when you don’t live there, but I really think that this might start being a wider social movement. Of what precisely I’m not sure… but it’s something to do with those nightmarish hours in the working day between about 5 and about 8 where all you most want to do is sit down in a dark room and just exist for a minute. Having first muted all your damn Whatsapp groups of course.

Brandy Melville WTF

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For most of my life I have felt older than I actually am – and neurotic that I am doing things that I am too old for. When I got my belly button pierced at 19 and my tattoo whenever the hell that was, all I thought really was “I am too old to be doing this.”

And then I had kids and I really knew what it was to feel old and fat and wheezy, to be ground down with care and woe, to feel tired all the time, to have to deal with nothing but piss and shit and puke and crying for years at a time.

But then my kids grew up a bit and I suddenly feel younger than I ever have – younger than I did before, younger than I did when I was actually young. This is compounded because I had my kids earlier than other people. I wasn’t young, at 30, to have my kids -but relatively, I was young.

Now, with 40 not all that far away, I find myself continuing a course of slightly mental too-young behaviour like getting extra ear piercings, dying my hair, getting as thin as I possibly can, substituting my kids’ toddler marker pens for eyeliner, listening to ridiculous music and calling everyone “pal”.

This is a well-trodden path, of course. I am as much of a cliche as the emo teen or a 27 year old girl with A Life Plan.

But I can’t stop. And I don’t want to. The relief of having hit certain life markers at vaguely the right age has sent me bonkers with relief and I am careering down this tunnel as if I was at the start of a massive, fast waterslide. I honestly can’t say that I a) give a shit or b) plan to stop any time soon.

So it was with complete and total nonchalance that I went onto the Brandy Melville website, recommended to me by our 15 year old dreamboat babysitter Alice, and bought at pair of blue cords.

Brandy Melville is completely hilarious in every single regard. The typical Brandy Melville girl, from what I can see, is the hopelessly slutty yet secretly ambitious 3rd child of a large Californian family with a washboard stomach, 10,000 friends and rotting cotton bracelets all the way up to mid-forearm.

But the absolutely nightmarish thing about BM, which made me laugh out loud, is that there are no sizes. It’s one size, from what I can see. I mean what the ACTUAL FUCK LADIES? I mean, personally I just saw this as a challenge.

Anyway, I will report back.

Weekend jacket

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The modern notion, mostly on Instagram, of “weekend style” makes me laugh. Actually no it doesn’t make me laugh it makes me feel faintly angry that I am not embarking on a series of activities that can be performed in a red trouser suit, bubblegum pink sweater and ice white trainers.

Because while you are at brunch in the Wolseley, I will be spending the morning breaking up fights and chipping Weetabix off my surfaces, before taking my kids to the ruinously expensive pottery cafe where they will slop paint everywhere and have a neurotic breakdown if I suggest they might like to make a plate or a bowl or a cup and insist, INSIST, on decorating instead a hideous Hello Kitty figurine or a ceramic dragonfly, which they will then smash five minutes after I have fetched them, post-firing, two weeks later.

THEN there will be a playground where they will run around getting hot and sweaty while I stand in a corner getting cold OR possibly football or tennis or some other hellische organised activity.

Red trouser suit? Non.

I dress for the weekend like I’m going to war. And I’m very pleased with this new thing, which is a sort of hybrid sweater/puffa jacket thingy from White Stuff. I’ve got no problem at all with a puffa gilet, in a tight spot they come out fighting, but the advantage of this is that it also has fabric sleeves, so you can put it on over a t-shirt or over your pyjamas frankly and it does the job of long-sleeved top plus puffa gilet all in one.

Then you can put a raincoat or a smart coat or, hell, even your new Reserved leather jacket over that and you will be prepared for almost anything.

Also terrific for after a spin class, (which I haven’t actually been to for 4 months because of chest infection/laziness), or nipping to the shops or anything. Don’t give me hassle about the blue and the black together – this is a perfectly acceptable colour combination these days. Keep up!



Two top tips

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before – a karabiner to anchor together the monstrous shuffle of book bags and discarded coats and other bags of shite I need to cart around on the school run!

I have got two smallish ones so I have been using those to stop coats from falling into  puddles, (guaranteed a child will then clumsily step on coat, forcing further into puddle), or book bags from bloody sliding and slithering around. WHAT IS WRONG WITH A RUCKSACK? Book bags are the devil’s doing.

But I am so in love with this idea that I went on Amazon and bought the largest karabiner I could find in the hope that if it’s big enough, I can just hook my children on there, too.

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The second thing I’ve discovered is on recommendation from my sister, which is Spice Tailor curry sauces, which you can get off Ocado or in Waitrose. When my husband is away the temptation in the evening to have not dinner just do vodka shots and eat cashew nuts while watching Ray Donovan and texting my friends is really tempting. And some nights that is exactly what I do BUT it’s also, I think, quite important to actually eat dinner sometimes.

I used these sauces twice to make myself dinner but they both looked so genuinely revolting in the photo as I am no food stylist, (though very tasty, promise), that I haven’t included a picture here, just a screen grab of the actual thing. Plus I interviewed Anjum Anand for a thing a few years ago and she is adorable.

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Also handy to give to my husband. I’m no good at making curry sauces myself- they always come out all tasting the same – but Giles is a massive fusspot about everything pre-bought sauces, says they leave a funny taste in his mouth – I mean I guess I know what he means but these really don’t and won’t.

AW event dress

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I saw this and thought of you – if you need to go to any event this AW be it a wedding or a big party or whatever. I absolutely love this dress and am seriously considering getting it even though I’ve got nowhere to wear it.

It really reminds me of an Alexander McQueen dress I saw Nicola Formby wearing at a party about 8 years ago. He (then later Sarah Burton) did a lot of that sort of Rorschach test/mirror image embroidery a while ago – and it still looks very beautiful.

Ignore the face that this is technically a Tall dress – if you get it and like it and it’s a bit long you can have it taken up.


****NB a reader – below – ordered the dress and it arrived and she hated it so proceed with caution. But, I do think that this style of dress is really lovely for a autumn or winter event, so keep an eye out for others like it and I will too ***



High-waisted jeans

I have been blobbing about on Instagram talking about high-waisted jeans on my Stories, (which are my new obsession because I can just empty out my brain through my mouth on there without having to type anything or speak in complete sentences), but I realise now that I really ought to be following up on here.

Because a) it’s a legit subject and b) not everyone is on Instagram, watching Stories, or watching every single one. WTF NOT???

So a goodly proportion of you will not know that I am in favour of moving onto high-waisted jeans. This is not for everyone, of course. It’s not a massively forgiving trend, although I don’t think you technically need a waist in order to wear them. I think the whole point is that high waisted jeans will create a waist for you where there isn’t quite one.

I’ve got a bit too much waist and left unchecked I look like a blow-up doll, which I don’t want, so I have for the last few years swathed myself in clothes that miss it my waist completely. But recently I have noted a slightly new aesthetic – brought to us mainly by French It girls – where the high-waisted jean can look good but also not ludicrously LOOK AT MY TITS AND ARSE.

Here are a few inspirational photos:

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This is basically the new way to wear a pair of high waisted jeans – with a slightly oversized T-shirt and trainers. I love this photo.

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This is slightly more gaggy Pinterest twattery but you get the idea – I mean NONE of us is going to look like this, but just gaze at it for a bit, get the idea of a new shape in your mind.

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You could even do it like this – I have a pair of similar jeans from TopShop, just called “Straight” jeans – these – which I wear as nonchalantly as possible to cover up for the fact that they might just be monstrously unflattering. My husband certainly loathes them with a passion and has requested that maybe perhaps I wear them only when he is away filming?

I have these, too, which are more wearable, from H&M 

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If you’re willing to take a risk on something that might be fabulous or might just be a massive fucking waste of time, have a look at these Sezane Mom Jeans. I ordered a pair that I thought looked promising called Le Brut Sexy, which were nightmarish – possibly actually just too big but I just flung them back in the box and sent them back.

Anyway I’m not arsed about trying these Mom Jeans because I’m happy now with my high waisters now but if you feel like going on a bit of a journey, go for it.

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I mean LOOK at the tittays on this girl


I  mean the best thing to do, always, is get yourself to bloody Selfridges one day – make a trip of it – go to their massive denim hall, (not on the weekend), collar some girl and just try on 40 different pairs.

But do have a crack at this if you think you might even vaguely like it. Because this is firmly a direction in which we’re going now so you might as well get used to it. Like all new jean phenomenon (skinnies, boyfriends) they take a lot of getting used to – and it’s a numbers game, you just have to try on as many as you can stand until you find something you like.

Dinny Hall

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HERE IT IS: your 15% discount code for Dinny Hall. Ready? SPIKE15. Valid one week from today.

But wait!!! Don’t go yet. Let’s talk about what to buy before you go rushing off like children into a funfair where everything is made of sweets.

My necklace on Instagram is in fact a charm necklace, the elements can be slipped on or off just as you fancy.

So you can have long sun and a moon. Or a sun and a locket. Or a sun and a circle. Or a moon and a locket – or whatever you like. I am totally in love with the celestial element to this collection – sun, moon, stars – I’m just really feeling all that at the moment.

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Personally I think if you’re going to go for anything, get a sun charm, (above), which is very unusual and beautiful and will go with absolutely everything. The chains come with a jump link so you can lengthen or shorten as you want. Or my other favourite is the locket, which you can actually open and close. I soaked a small piece of cotton wool in perfume and clipped it inside and now it smells delicious.

If you love this collection but now is not a good time budget-wise then do not fear as I’m sure I will be able to get another code closer to Christmas and you can just email this page directly to your husband (or wife or pimp or whatever).

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Above is the locket and moon charm together.


I have been holding off talking about sweaters because usually every year J Crew bring out some stunners – I have two from last year in grey and camel, big cosy thick roll necks.

But this year they haven’t done them – or haven’t done them yet I suppose, I’m still hoping that they will do something.

And because I worry about you guys being cold, I have been on the hunt for something similar, which I found in that temporary mystery, Arket, a sort of Scandi concept/superstore, which has opened on Regent Street in London, but also does a roaring online trade.

They have these sweaters, for £69, which is insanely good value. It is pretty much identical to the J Crew sweater I have, and it comes in sort of browny beige and also in navy.

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They have some other sweaters, too – really beautiful slightly shorter swing knits kind of like a fisherman’s sweater. I got that lurch in my stomach when I saw them, like the same one that I sometimes got as a teenager when I saw a really hot boy. How times have changed. But the sweaters are still nice.

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If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted much recently it’s because I’ve had some actual paid work on, which always takes precedence over this and other things (not alcohol) and also I’ve been having too much fun messing about on Instagram which is a damn sight easier than writing actual words down. And if I think that then WE’RE ALL DOOMED!

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