Elizabeth: “I moved house last weekend and will be probably be without internet for a bit. So whilst I am knee-deep in cardboard boxes and frantically searching for the box containing the kettle I have some very lovely Guest Bloggers looking after Rosalilium. Please make them feel at home and share the love. See you on the flipside!”
I don’t really do self-help guides or beauty books. I’ll flick through them in shops and sigh over pretty pictures, but I’ve never felt compelled to buy one. Until, that is, I discovered the one book that every girl should own – Jane Seymour’s Guide to Romantic Living. No, it doesn’t offer tips on how to snare your married boss, conceive the heir he so desperately wanted only to die in childbirth and get immortalized by XX XX in The Tudors. Wrong Jane Seymour. I’m talking about the 1990s TV star, all arse-length glossy hair and a cut-glass British accent -the Medicine Woman herself.
It opens with the following, glorious line:
“One day standing in the shower, newly pregnant with my second baby and just finished with my latest film, I wondered, Now what?”
You could argue that, given she was on her fourth husband by the time the book was written, romance is something Jane Seymour is eminently qualified to talk about. But this, refreshingly, is less about how to hook the man of your dreams, and more about how to drift around from room to room in your castle in the English countryside between films, TV shows and shampoo adverts. It is a ‘how to’ guide to becoming Jane Seymour.
Reader, I tried, I really did. But when I attempted to grow my hair past the Dorothy Parker bob I’d been sporting for the past few years, my hair started falling out. It was like the universe was sending me a message -Jane Seymour is like the Highlander. There can only be one.
But although I haven’t succeeded in living quite the glamorous-yet-old-fashioned dream life she envisages for us all, I picked up some useful tips that actually work for me:
- When you go shopping, make sure you look fabulous. It’s the same principle as not going food shopping when you’re hungry – you’ll only end up getting something because the alternative is being stuck with whatever you already have, not because you like it.
- Don’t be afraid of customizing your clothes – it can feel like you have a whole new wardrobe. OK, technically all I did was sew on some adorable vintage buttons (white porcelain with green insects on) onto an old grey cardigan, but you know what? It looks amazing and I completely changed my mind about throwing it out.
- Sunglasses are the modern world’s version of the veil or the fan. Well, this was written in the 80s, so probably the modern world’s equivalent is now having a cryptic Twitter profile or only tweeting once a week, but having tried it, it’s surprisingly effective. You feel a bit mysterious, a bit coy, and a bit elegant. Provided you don’t walk into furniture because you got crappy £2 sunnies from Primark, I mean.
- “Candles, a bottle of fizzy wine or champagne, and some lump-fish roe or caviar should always be kept available to make an occasion of an ordinary day.” Ditch the caviar and this is the way to my HEART, people.
- When all else fails, don a Regency frock coat, curl your hair and pout in front of the mirror. I haven’t put this into practice yet, but it’s on my bucket list.
I love Jane Seymour because she has completely, cheerfully, abandoned any grip on reality she may have had. And better still – she’s here to teach us how to do the same!
She believes that women’s lib is “excellent” but worries it will mean losing her “femininity and imagination”. Luckily for the rest of the world, on whom she kindly bestows her advice, Jane has the latter two in abundance.
Unfortunately, even fairytale endings don’t last – that fourth husband she raved about throughout the book? Ended up embezzling her money and cheating on her. The only thing saving her (and her castle) from penury was an eleventh-hour audition for Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman, where she met her fifth husband and won a lot of Emmys.
One last priceless quote: “Another major fault of mine is to talk about myself too much…I try not to behave like this. But it keeps happening.”
A fact for which we can all only be deeply grateful.