Get Yourselves A Signature!
I have just devoured the most delicious book, called the Little Lady Agency. It is about a ‘shy homely girl who can bake the perfect sponge, but can’t find the perfect man. Her friends adore her: her posh, eccentric family ignore her.’, and her alter ego, Honey ‘A multi tasking Mary Poppins in silk stockings who, as owner of The Little Lady Agency, can make over a man faster than Trinny and Susannah- and business is booming’. Definitely worth a read! Now when I had turned the very last page, I wondered ‘who is this fabulous woman, this Hester Browne who has written this lovely read?’ So I turned to the author information page that so many books have, but instead of the normal ‘lives in whichever town with her husband and two children and went to whatever university’ and all of the usual information, what I read was this:
Hester Browne bakes a perfect sponge, collects bright red lipsticks and etiquette books, and divides time between the King’s Road and Waitrose in Great Malvern. The Little Lady Agency if her first novel.
I thought this was the most scrumptious, evocative author bio I have ever read-until I popped by a website devoted to such lovely books, which gave a similar and equally delicious bio for her:
Hester Browne is a writer and journalist who divides her time between London and Herefordshire. She is a keen amateur baker and collects shortbread moulds, as well as etiquette books and red lipsticks.
What a woman! And don’t you feel like you know her just a teeny bit already? How alive she seems! Next time I am standing at the lipstick counter, trying to find myself a colour just like Cherries in the Snow, I will think ‘oohh, I wonder if she would like that one for her collection?!’. And while I am standing there, pondering between this red which may be just a little too much for the office, and that red which is a bit more demure but does not have the zing of the other, I will also be thinking ‘if red lipsticks and shortbread moulds and etiquette books are her signature, what is mine?’
Ladies, it is time to get yourself a signature! The more I think about it, the more ladies I know do have their own signature. You just have to look, and like one of those magic eye pictures, all of a sudden it will leap out at you. And if you can see the signatures of others, with a bit of time and practice, you will be able to see and develop your own. For example, I have one friend who wears all shades of green. She does this very carefully in that she avoids the power ranger look, but should you see a certain green bracelet or scarf, or pen, you will swoop on it immediately, thinking of her. Another friend wears the most magnificent earrings- the word small is not in her vocabulary when it comes to these beauties!
Now a year or so ago, I read about how you should develop your signature, and I was frankly thrown into a blind panic. First of all, what on earth was my signature?! And how to develop it without it becoming boring, or feeling false? The answer is to take it a little at a time, and slowly. Well, for a start, all of us ladies have an advantage in that all of us have the love of vintage going on, which is bound to be reflected at least a little in your dress or house. I started listening out for what people were paying me compliments on, and trying to take it from there.
Admittedly what you wear is a good place to start with discovering and developing your signature- after all, people see you a lot more than they see your home. So be it the clothes you wear, the way you wear your hair (I have another friend with the most amazing long, pre-Raphaelite curls, which she wears up in the most amazing styles, often looking like she has just stepped out of Pride and Prejudice), the colours you love, the fragrance that you leave a gentle whispering trail of, or your collection of bangles or rings, choose one little thing to focus on this week.
Remember though, your signature is not limited to your own appearance. Have you a signature dish or recipe? Not something that you churn out again and again until you and all those around you are bored with it, but something that is easy but scrumptious, and people beg you to make it or bring it. One friend does this marvellously cooling elderflower drink; another can be counted on for her amazing bread; I have found success with a macaroon recipe that was my mothers- I take it into work when we have cake sales for charity, or whip up a batch if someone drops round for tea. What delicious smell could you fill your kitchen with, which makes people automatically think of you?
Hopefully these little thoughts will spark lots of recognition in you of your many talents and fabulousnesses! If there is a signature trait that you particularly wish for yourself, well, just start cultivating it slowly!
One last thing before I go- do take a look at your actual signature. When you sign your name, is it legible? Does it convey all that you want it to? Is it fabulous? Beware of changing it too drastically, at least for signing cheques and so on lest your bank worry, but when you are writing letters or signing cards, make an effort to have a lovely signature. I like to use a pretty coloured ink; I must confess in moments of madness I have even considered sticking tiny diamantes over the i’s in my name! The general idea is to make it as special as you are!
Signing off for now,