Ready For Absolutely Nothing: ‘If you like Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner, you’ll like this’ The Times

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Ready For Absolutely Nothing: ‘If you like Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner, you’ll like this’ The Times

Ready For Absolutely Nothing: ‘If you like Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner, you’ll like this’ The Times

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Reflecting on her life, Susannah recognises that moving to Sussex 16 years ago has seen her life go full circle. Following the death of both of Susannah’s parents, the Constantine family moved out of The Priory after 40 years, but she still makes frequent journeys north to stay with her friends at Belvoir Castle, finding it the ideal writing bolthole.

I didn’t have any opinions of my own at the time. I was literally not a fully formed person in any shape or form. The only way I could become a fully formed person, as I understood it then, was if I had a husband!” When I first started writing, I was easily distracted and the house was never cleaner but my husband gave me some good advice and told me to look at it as a nine-to-five job and that’s exactly what I did!”I do love Lincolnshire and still think of it as my home,” says Susannah, who fell in love with the county from the age of four when her family rented The Priory, a “gentrified farmhouse” in the shadow of the historic seat of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland as a weekend retreat.

I was a highly functioning alcoholic so I denied it to myself and to everybody else for a long time, but eventually you realise it yourself. Yes, it’s a hard path to take, but my God, it’s worth it!” Susannah writes “pretty much anywhere, at the kitchen table, or in the village café, as well as on trains and planes,” on her Apple laptop while listening to rap music. It’s amazing to think she built a whole career around advising women how they might look more stylish ( What Not to Wear began on the BBC in 2001). In her royal days, after all, she sported a look that was “somewhere between Victoria Wood and Fergie” (polka dots, plentiful ruching). But I don’t know, for all that it must have been lucrative, that it made her happy, even if it was only after it ended that her boozing began in earnest (she once appeared drunk on QVC). Somehow, though, she got through this bad patch. A turn as Anton Du Beke’s worst ever partner on Strictly Come Dancingwould, indeed, one day be hers (in 2018), and it surely says something about her charmed life that, in the small hours, it’s Ann Widdecombe of whom she thinks enviously, the former politician having somehow made it to week 10 of that redoubtable, long-running talent show. If my family want to read it they can. My husband knows all about the content and has been incredibly supportive. One day my children will read it and when they do, I hope it’s a lovely thing for them to remember and understand their mum by.”Wonderfully written, very funny, but more than anything completely genuine Lady Anne Glenconner, author of Lady in Waiting

An intimate, relatable and funny memoir from Susannah Constantine, our favourite fashion guru and one half of the hugely popular, Trinny and Susannah's What Not to Wear Susannah recalls memorable childhood years spent indulging her passion for rural life shared with her “best friend” and next door neighbour, Lady Theresa Manners, describing it as “idyllic, like an Enid Blyton cliché”. Wonderfully written, very funny, but more than anything completely genuine' LADY ANNE GLENCONNER, author of Lady in Waiting It is a really entertaining read, but this was a book of two halves for me. The first half was a brilliant, brutally honest and fast paced read, covering her childhood through to her relationship with David Armstrong-Jones. I was totally fascinated by her world and what is was like to grow up in upper class Britain in the 60s/70s, being educated to be a society wife. I felt totally transported.This darkly funny, confessional memoir from the star of What Not to Wear tells all: from her posh upbringing and the dishy details of her career in fashion to her journey as a recovering alcoholic. I grew up in the 1960s and ’70s when the only expectation my parents had for me was to get married and that was it. Education wasn’t important, my father said you’re better off learning how to make a decent Beef Wellington than you are to go to university! But then it got me thinking and I realised that my life has been quite amazing and I’d taken everything for granted before.”

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