Fiona Duff: Nic’s got knack in style stakes

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I have decided that I need a style makeover. The other day I saw a photograph of Nicola Sturgeon when she first became an MSP.

Whilst we don’t look alike physiognomically, there was something I recognised from when I dashed past the mirror that morning. It was a woman for whom clothes and appearance were not at the forefront of her thoughts. There she was sporting a greyish-green suit, flat shoes and a hairstyle that is what you get when you ask your crimper for something that is “easy to keep”. I couldn’t even make out if there was the slightest touch of make-up on her face.

Next door was a photo taken earlier in the week. I could hardly believe that it was the same woman. Gone are the sludgy colours and on was a fuschia pink dress with matching shoes, hair that has been streaked and styled not to mention the expertly applied make-up.

In the first photo is a woman who just wants to go about her work; like so many of us with busy lives she doesn’t care about being noticed. You just pull on some clothes that don’t clash (one hopes) and don’t have any of last night’s supper dribbled down the front. It’s like being the Invisible Woman, without any of the real benefits like the ability to listen to conversations close up without anyone knowing you are there.

Whilst being one of the great unseen has its benefits, it does get slightly wearisome when some school dads are introduced to me regularly and they obviously have no memory of a previous meeting. Yet one hello from a yummy mummy and he certainly doesn’t forget her.

Of course, what we wear shouldn’t matter, but the last few weeks have shown that it does if Ms Sturgeon is anything to go by. Currently she’s probably the most photographed woman in the UK – and frankly I’m happy with that as I was sick to the back teeth of looking at pictures of Pippa Middleton who is as interesting as a bit of dry toast. Sturgeon is now a woman whose image screams “Look at me! Listen to me!” and by gum it’s working.

So I need to get myself along to Totty Rocks in Bruntsfield where so many of her clothes come from. I’ve looked on the website and I could certainly manage to wear some of the clothes. They look stylish without showing off too much flesh, which I have in abundance.

Next, I need some killer heels and hope to goodness they don’t become kill-me heels as I do tend to blister a tad with new stilettos. Finally, I shall not go anywhere without both a hairdresser and make-up artist by my side – no more bare lips or mascara-rimmed eyes for yours truly.

Of course, if I was the highest-paid politician in Britain, paying for it wouldn’t be a problem. First of all I’m going to have to find a balaclava and rob a bank.

So now it’s till debt do us part

My niece got herself engaged at the beginning of this month. She is the first of her generation in my family to start planning a wedding.

When I saw her the other day it was obvious that this isn’t going to be a discreet, low-key affair. But the costs are huge when you want to invite lots of family and friends. I think that if she enquired about holding a birthday party at most venues it would be quite a different figure that they quote.

At the mention of marriage the owners must suddenly have pound signs whizzing around their eyes, like some out-of-control slot machine in Las Vegas.

My last wedding (I’ve only had two but that does sound a bit more exciting, doesn’t it?) took place in her mother’s back garden. It’s just a shame that she’s downsized and the space outside her new gaff would hardly fit the bride, groom and minister.

No need to give us a ruff time

There are some of you reading this who will go into certain bars and cafes, see dogs lying around everywhere and immediately head straight back out again.

I seem to have rather a lot of dog-owning friends and there is nothing quite like ending a walk with a cup of coffee or glass of wine.

At the weekend I met some friends in Hamilton’s for brunch and the place was heaving with our four-legged friends (although it does have a dog-free section for the caninely averse).

Daniel the spaniel loves nothing more than to be patted and played with; every time I looked around he was lying on his back in front of someone who seemed to be enjoying a bit of mutt love.

So if you don’t like dogs, please don’t complain. Just go somewhere that is pooch-free – believe me, there are plenty of them in Edinburgh.

He’s just vegging out in the sun

The mainly dry weather has meant that I’ve not seen much of Him Outdoors.

Every spare hour seems to mean the opportunity to visit his beloved allotment. I’m not one to complain as I do enjoy the fruits of his labour, but so far all I have seen is half a stick of rhubarb.

I suppose I should go along to check that he is actually planting some vegetables and not just lying on the grass enjoying a bit of peace and quiet.