Famous women who wore the trousers

Who wears the trousers in your relationship?

Throughout the ages many a strong woman has donned a pair of men’s trousers – in both the metaphorical and the material sense.

Here’s our round-up of some pretty formidable ladies who feel right at home in a pair of slacks.

Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson
Image source: Wikimedia
Amy Johnson

Hull lass Amy Johnson appreciated a pair of warm trousers in 1930, when she flew single-handed from Britain to Australia at the tender age of 26.

Sadly this pioneering aviatrix died in the line of duty delivering a plane as part of the war effort in 1941.

Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich
Image source: Wikimedia
Marlene Dietrich

German actress and singer Marlene Dietrich wore men’s suits on stage and screen.

A vocal anti-Nazi, she abandoned Germany for the US in 1939. Dietrich played for the Allied troops on the frontline throughout the war and was awarded the Légion d’honneur for her bravery.

Wallis Simpson

Wallis Simpson
Image source: Wikimedia
Wallis Simpson

Wallis Simpson – ‘that woman’ – was the American divorcée, fashionista and socialite for whom Edward VIII gave up his throne.

Simpson’s sartorial elegance made her a fashion icon of her era, even if her politics and morals were decidedly questionable.


Image source: Wikimedia

Ranked one of the most powerful women of the 20th century by Time Magazine, trouser-wearing Madonna continues her campaign of world domination in this century.

She is the world’s best selling female recording artist, ever, and the most talked about celebrity of the last decade.

Annie Lennox

Singer, songwriter, activist and philanthropist, Annie Lennox is a passionate woman of many talents.

Dressed in a city suit, with orange, cropped hair and the face of an angel, Lennox questioned the nature of femininity in the ‘80s.

Grace Jones

Jamaican Jones is far from your average ‘singer/actress/model’.

With some outstanding music under her belt and an amazingly sculpted body – even now aged 64 – Grace is still a force to be reckoned with.

Hilary Clinton

Queen of the trouser suit, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has served in politics for over 20 years.

Having survived the Lewinsky scandal with her dignity intact, Clinton has proved herself an extraordinary diplomat, politician and wife.

Queen Elizabeth II

Ok, so we admit this is a rare photo of the Queen wearing a pair of trousers. Elizabeth II prefers skirts to slacks, even when jumping out of a helicopter with James Bond.

But as the nation’s figurehead for the last 60 years we figure she deserves a metaphorical entry in our list.

Men’s slippers – the perfect base for a cheese toasty

What have cheese toasties and men’s slippers got in common? Why would you need a shoe to finish your meal? Which fish is named after a Roman flip flop?

If you have spent sleepless nights pondering these questions, never fear, for we have the answers. And if you have never worried about such matters, take heart in the knowledge that they might one day crop up in your local pub quiz.


Image source: Keko 64
Melted cheese on your slipper?

Oh, the ciabatta, mistress of all things toasty and slightly Mediterraneany. The long, flat Italian loaf which forms the perfect base for those naughty, gooey panini that tempt you away from your usual cheese and pickle.

But did you know that ‘ciabatta’ is Italian for ‘slipper’! Why? – you may ask. Well, it (ahem) clearly looks like a slipper, doesn’t it?

‘Doing the little shoe’

doing the shoe
That naughty little shoe!
Source: Under the Tuscan gun

Another Italian foodie phrase for you. ‘Fare la scarpetta’ or ‘to do the little shoe’ means using bread to mop up those lovely bits of sauce left on your plate at the end of a meal.

Why a hunk of bread resembles a little shoe is matter for debate. But you don’t need to go there. And while it’s not exactly elegant behaviour in Italy, it’s authentic, it’s old-school and it’s bloomin’ lovely.


Image source: Wikimedia
The unfortunate sole

The tasty sole is an unfortunate creature. If being skew-whiff in the facial department and rather on the thin side weren’t enough of a burden, this poor fishy has a rather unglamorous name.

And no, you’ve guessed wrongly. It’s not named after the sole of your foot, although you’re getting warm. It gets its name from the Latin ‘solea’ – a type of Roman flip flop!


heel tap
Cowell’s secret weapon
Source: Hester Vlamings

A heeltap is the name for a ‘lift’ or extra bit added to the heel of a shoe to give the wearer extra height. Think Simon Cowell, Tom Cruise and Nicolas Sarkozy and you’ll be on the right lines.

It’s also an old English name for the dregs at the bottom of your drink. If you don’t fully sink your pint or drain your wine you’re guilty of leaving a heeltap!

Choux pastry

profiteroles dessert
Profiteroles paradise
Source: BigStock

Choux is the French spelling of the English ‘shoe’. The French named this delightful pastry after the dainty shoes worn by Elizabeth I on her trip to France in … No. Sorry. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Choux has nothing whatsoever to do with footwear. It actually means cabbage. Confused? So are we. Never mind. Any excuse to look at pictures of profiteroles.

Leather slippers make you more attractive

Yes, it’s true, leather slippers make you much more attractive to women.

So throw away your famous brand deodorant, and ditch the triple-blade superduper razor…they’re not going to get you anywhere. If you want to impress the opposite sex you need to start wearing mens leather slippers.

Why? Well read on and we’ll reveal what your slippers say about you…

Leather slippers

leather slippers clifford james
Leather slippers make you more attractive
Source: Clifford James

A good friend once advised that in matters of the heart, one should always ask oneself: what would James Bond do? There’s no doubt, leather slippers are the only way Bond would go in the comfy footwear department.

So when you need to fetch another bottle of champagne from the fridge mid-loveathon, make sure she sees you slipping your feet into some stylish leather slippers, like the Carltons pictured above.

Novelty slippers

novelty slippers
We don’t love them tiger feet
Source: Morberg

Novelty slippers are an absolute no no. They’re not ‘fun’ and unless you’re Adonis incarnate it’s far too dangerous to wear them ironically. Please, please don’t do it. Ever.

Trust us, the only thing shuffling around in tiger feet or wearing your football colours on your tootsies expresses is your severe lack of judgement, taste and sex appeal.

Slipper socks

slipper socks
Slipper socks rank low on the footwear social scale
Source: T Stokes

It’s more than a sock yet it’s not quite a slipper. The slipper sock is neither one thing nor the other. It’s an inbetweener, a try-hard, a climber of the footwear social scale.

Far from making a good impression, wearing a pair of slipper socks infers that you can’t quite make up your mind and that you lack integrity. Not a good start.


holy socks
Avoid white and worn out socks
Source: Caitlin Regan

You have to be so, so careful if you choose to go down the stocking-feet route. Choose the best socks you own and make sure there are no holes – there’s nothing worse than a protruding big toe to put you off your carbonara.

Avoid white socks, Christmas novelty socks, garishly coloured socks, man-made fibres…in fact, forget it, just get some leather slippers.

Bare feet

bare feet
Keep your terrible toes undercover
Source: Randen Pederson

Unless you are the kind of gent who takes good care of his feet – are you? are you really? – baring your pinkies to a new love is the worst thing you could do.

You don’t need to give everything away on the first date. Save the sole searching (sorry) for later on in the relationship when you’re comfortable enough to bare all.

Convinced? You should be. You need a pair of leather slippers and you need them now.

Cute kittens in mens slippers

Slippers are popular with people and pets. They bring joy, comfort, warmth and relaxation to our tired toes.

For playful puppies, slippers make a great chewy toy to throw around and tear apart. And for active cats and kittens, slippers offer a cosy sanctuary for sore paws.

These furry felines seem particularly partial to mens slippers.

Photo by Sergiu Alistar
Photo by a-birdie
Photo by Cutest Paw
Photo by Kittens
Photo by Björn Hermans
Photo by Dr Case
Photo by Adrianne Lacy
Photo by Jeff McCann
Photo by Jason Devitt
Photo by cattoo

Celebrity babes in mens slippers

Slippers are smoking hot
Image source: Grufnar
Slippers are smoking hot

Believe it or not, the latest trend in ladies’ footwear is the ‘smoking slipper’.

Strongly resembling mens slippers for the home, smoking slippers come in varying shades of velvet, leather or fabric and can be plain or patterned.

So fashionable are these new smoking slippers, that they have gone from the kind of thing only Hugh Hefner would dare to wear outdoors…

Hugh entertaining a couple of bunnies in his slippers

Hugh Hefner
Image source: s_buckley / Shutterstock.com
Hugh Hefner in slippers

…to the shoe of choice for celebrity babes and female fashionistas. Here’s our pick of the best:

Linsday Lohan looking lovely in leopard print

Alexa Chung in cute cat slippers

Olivia Palmero looking stylish in embellished slippers

Nicole Richie low-key in velvet slippers

And if, by chance you are wondering if men can also get away with wearing slippers outside the home, take poor old Kanye West as a warning.

The multi-millionaire rap star might know a lot about the music business, but his fashion sense leaves much to be desired.

Kanye West giving Hefner a run for his money

From automatic potato peelers to mincers – our top 5 amazing kitchen wonders

The automatic potato peeler

With some kitchen gadgets it’s a case of, once you have ‘em, you simply can’t live without ‘em.

We’ve rounded up our all time top 5 kitchen gadgets that are a must-have for any modern kitchen.

1.) The toaster. What, after all, would we do without toasted bread? It just goes with everything – whack some jam on it, or baked beans, or Marmite, or just simply spread some butter on and enjoy.

2.) The Kettle. Hot water in seconds, brilliant. The world’s economy would grind to a halt if tea and coffee took more than minutes to make. Thank you kettles for keeping our bellies warm and our minds alert.

3.) The automatic potato peeler. Cooking is fun. Peeling potatoes isn’t. Why spend hours doing the tedious bit when you can bung all your potatoes in the automatic potato peeler, flip a switch and watch in wonder as the skins disappear? You’ll find one of these in every professional kitchen, so why not have one in yours – it’s something you’ll never regret.

4.) The mincer. It’s great- you buy your own beef, making sure you get a really good cut, put it through the meat mincer and you’ve got excellent quality mincemeat – just like that. It’s so much better than the stuff you buy in the supermarket – or even from your local butcher. Trust me, once you’ve tried it you’ll be hooked.

5.) The bread maker. If you could bottle the smell of freshly baked bread then you’d be a millionaire, but in the meantime there’s simply no substitute for the real thing. A bread maker is therefore the ideal gadget. Just stick in your ingredients, hit a switch to say exactly what type of bread you would like and… voila! Freshly baked bread on demand.

Dolls house blogs we love

Dolls houses are definitely not just for children. Whether you’re putting together a dolls house for your grandchildren or you’ve got your very own dolls house to play with, there is plenty of inspiration and ideas out there on the web. We’ve found some great dolls house and miniatures blogs to get you started…

Making Dolls House Miniatures

Making Dolls House Miniatures is the ultimate guide to dolls house DIY. Some wonderful ideas, from building model fireplaces to creating miniature sepia photographs of your dolls and creating beautiful doll-sized photo frames. There’s even instructions on how to build a mini artists pallet! A great blog for inspiration.

The Magic Bean

Colleen is a cloth doll designer and teacher, and here she shares her tips and ideas on how to make dolls, ornaments and other great things to go into your dolls house – or even on a shelf in your own home. Bright and colourful, with fun updates and a ‘Freebie Friday’ givaway once a week.


The Dolls House Dolls Blog

Mary Williams has been making dolls for about 10 years, and here she exhibits her latest works. There are some fantastic photographs of the dolls (all so life like!) as well as advice on how she made the dolls and the scenes they represent. I particularly liked the drunken maid doll! Well worth a look.

Dolls and Daydreams

Dolls and Daydreams is a fantastical creative blog. Here Sarah shows us how to make all manner of dolls and dolls houses, with some other interesting things to try along the way. One of my favourites was a ‘eco dollshouse’, with step by step instructions on how to make and decorate it. Truly stunning!

Janet Granger’s Blog

Janet embroiders beautiful and tiny decorative ornaments for dolls houses. Whether it’s a minute ‘Home Sweet Home’ sign on the wall, or a tiny Christmas stocking, nothing is beyond Janet’s capabilities. Here we get cheerful updates from Janet, as well as pictures of her latest works.

On being a mini mum

It’s not easy being a mini mum! Here Janice blogs about her favourite hobby – collecting miniatures and dolls houses (and finishing bargain dolls houses on eBay!). Quirky, fun and with some great hints and tips, Janice is sure to keep any enthusiast busy with her great ideas.


Tiny Treasures

Here Debbie collects everything miniature, from tiny little ‘welcome’ doormats to beautful tiny birdcages. Debbie herself has been making dolls-house miniatures since 1989, so she’s got plenty of experience to pass on! A good read.


The Mini Food Blog

The mini food blog is exactly that – a blog all about beatifully miniature food for dolls houses. Tiny (but looking absolutely delicious) roast turkeys, venison chops and miniature fruit bowls. Create your own miniature food with their step-by-step photo guides. Stunning!

Madshobbithole’s Blog

You really can’t help but be impressed by Maddie’s realistic miniature Hobbit Hole – exactly like the one in Lord of the Rings! Here Maddie blogs about her progress, with amazing pictures of the ‘Hobbit Hole’ and a step-by-step guide as to how she made it. Simply amazing!

Too freaky for the potato peeler

Some things are just too weird to be sacrificed to the potato peeler, blender or oven. Just take a look at these weird veg (and see how many you can identify)…

Some sort of bizzare alien planet?
Photo by Jitze Couperus
No idea!
Photo by Cindy Funk
Weird sea creatures?
Photo by Glen
A gigantic monster centipede?
Photo by Mark
Vegetable maracas!
Photo by Ian
Loved up veg
Photo by Zep 10
Photo by Roger H. Goun
Alien cucumbers
Photo by Tony Hisgett
Definately another life form
Photo by Till Westermayer
Freaky tadpole
Photo by Anne-Lise Heinrichs
Butt tomato!
Photo by Dmitry Fedoseev
Super cool dude veg
Photo by Myrrien

How many could you name?  Post your answers in the comment box and check back next week to see if you were right!

Log splitters and other revolutionary garden gadgets


Spending time in the garden is something that many of us enjoy – whether it’s using those green fingers to their full potential or simply sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the surroundings.

And for every avid gardener there are some garden gadgets that have simply revolutionised the gardening process, taking away the hard work and allowing you to spend more time doing the things you enjoy. So we’ve put together our top five revolutionary garden gadgets – how many do you own?

The Log Splitter

The Log Splitter

What would we do without log splitters in the winter months? For those (including myself) that are far too clumsy to be wielding an axe, the log splitter makes for an ideal alternative. After all, what could possibly be more cosy than an open fire during these cold winter months?


The Lawnmower

The Lawnmower

Enough said really – I mean, how on earth could we live without it? A well kept lawn is a joy for any garden enthusiast, and short of spending hours with a pair of scissors, there’s simply nothing that could replace the humble lawn mower. The new, cordless mowers are a particularly good idea.

Motion Sensor Lighting

Motion sensor lighting

Practical and safe, these simply have to feature in our best gadget list. They’re ideal if you want a brighter light whilst you’re moving around outside, and they put off those potential trespassers by putting them well and truly in the spotlight (as well as catching out the odd cat…). You can also get solar powered lights, so they don’t rack up your electricity bill. Perfect!



The oldest and most basic of garden gadgets – but what would we do without them? Certainly during the summer months, the BBQ rarely gets a moment to itself, whether you’re entertaining or just cooking for the family. Definitely a top garden gadget!



The Garden Vacuum

The Garden Vacuum

Why spend hours sweeping up those autumn leafs when you can suck them up in an instant? Just like an indoor vacuum, it suck up any small bits of debry in your garden. Then comes the cunning bit – it shreds what it pick up, making it dead easy to dispose of. How did we cope before?

Traditional craft blogs we love


Traditional crafts form part of our cultural heritage and keeping them alive is both educational and great fun. We’ve put together a list of blogs made by people who practice traditional crafts such as pottery, wood-turning and glass staining so you can learn more about what they do and perhaps be inspired to start a new hobby yourself.


Hampshire Wood Turners Association Blog

The Hampshire Wood Turners post galleries of their amazing work, from ornaments and bowls to curios and chess pieces. Posts also present and review woodturning demonstrations by masters in their field for the benefit of all to progress in the woodturning craft.

Woodturning Blog

Follow Andy as he blogs about his work as a professional woodturner and pick up some tips from his musings on his own work and ideas. Andy posts about how his ideas evolve and shows you the steps along the way to making art pieces for his small Cobweb Crafts shop.






The Traditional Crafts Blog

This is the blog of the Heritage Crafts Association in the UK. Here you can learn about the living heritage of basketry, pottery and metal work as well as countless other old methods kept alive by die-hard crafters with a sense of history and copious skill.







A Devonshire Pottery

From Stockleigh English in Devon, Doug Fitch blogs about the goings on at Hollyford Pottery. See his clay birthday cake, all the pottery’s creations in photos and take a look at his jugs covering the modesties of the local ladies in their annual fundraising calendar.


Little Wren Pottery

Little Wren Pottery is Victoria Baker who blogs here about her hand-thrown stoneware pottery. Learn how to deal with cracks and chips in pottery and find out what ‘crazing’ and ‘crawling’ are. You can also find out what Victoria has been making with photos of her wares posted as she finishes them.






My stained glass adventures

David Gomm documents the pleasures and pitfalls of sandblasting, designing curved glass and finding suitable nudes for a sauna project. Posts are monthly updates on his work and thoughts with photos and links to beautiful examples of exquisite stained glass.


Blacksmithing Blog

James Price combines ancient metalworking techniques with modern technology as a blacksmith in West Sussex. He traces the development of his projects on his blog as well as exhibitions, special events and the unveiling of special commissions.





Beautiful wood blog

Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement as well as a background in boat building, Marcus Sly blogs here about his woodwork creations. He also blogs about his thoughts and ideas on use of space, detail and keeping heritage crafts alive.


Robin Wood

RobinRobin Wood’s blog will help you discover the best tools for woodcarving and whittling, show you how to carve a spoon and suggests some excellent heritage craft Christmas gift ideas. Robin is  a wood turner who is passionate about all heritage crafts and campaigns to help preserve and promote them.


Dye studio diary

Queenie operates a dye studio in Suffolk and documents all her wares and tips for working with wool here on her blog, the Dye Studio Diary. Not only are there tips and advice on dyeing fabrics but also photos of clothing made by the Queen of wool herself.