Sunday, 2 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I hope your Christmas holiday was everything you hoped it would be! With a dreaded bout of the flu doing the rounds here in this part of the world, the last few days have been quiet and restful, and just about getting back up to full speed and strength.

This time of the year always brings about thoughts of making, maintaining and breaking New Years Resolutions. The beginning of a brand new year often seems like a great time to make changes; it's a natural break in proceedings, but those fervently made vows to lose weight, get fit and take up elaborate new hobbies quite often fizzle and fade by the end of January. The media would have you believe that on a given day, usually in the middle of the dreary first month of the year, the world is at its most depressed and desolate.

Enter my friend and yours, Dame Barbara Cartland. Prolific romance writer and lover of pink, she also wrote and published her very own Etiquette Handbook back in 1962. My friend bought a copy for me as a Christmas present a couple of years ago, and whenever I'm in need of a laugh advice on how I should be conducting myself, I look no further than the pages of this erudite volume. So, as a New Years gift to you, I give you a choice sprinkling of Dame Barbara's searing insights into life lived through etiquette. If you haven't yet made any New Years Resolutions, let this advice be your post-Christmas pick-me-up and companion...

Barbara on Being a Good Wife: "Unless she is ill a woman should get up and cook her husband's breakfast before he goes to work in the morning. It is bad manners to do this in curlers, without lipstick, in a shabby dressing-gown and down-at-heel slippers."

Barbara on the Perils of Nagging: "Ask any man the the most usual marriage fault of women and he will almost inevitably say, 'nagging'. If you can only say thing which are critical, then don't say anything...Most women talk too much anyway..."

Barbara on Sex: "Women must remember that the act of surrender does not necessarily mean they should abandon all modesty. The act of love - in which there should be no reserves, no barriers, no restrictions - should be followed by the woman putting on her elusiveness with her clothes."

Barbara on Courtship: "A young man taking a girl out for the evening usually calls for her at her parents' house or flat. It is correct for her father or mother to offer a cocktail or sherry and to talk to him for about five or ten minutes."

Barbara on Equality in the Home: "A misguided idea of the twentieth century is that a considerate husband is a home slave...Emancipation may have brought women votes, higher education and careers, but it has certainly not brought them the happiness of being a fragile, delicate little woman protected and looked after by a big strong man."

Barbara on Correct Attire at the Office: (For gentlemen) "Bright ties, most of the Italian styles in tailoring and footwear, are unsuitable. So are gaudy pullovers, badges and jewellery."

Extracts from Barbara Cartland's Etiquette Handbook: A Guide to Good Behaviour from the Boudoir to the Boardroom. (First published 1962, re-printed 2008).

Image courtesy of Retrogasm.


  1. Happy new year to you, too!
    Hope you had a good one. I enjoyed reading the quotes by Barbara;-)

  2. Gosh that book is too funny!!! Thank you for sharing these bits of etiquette. I'll have to look for a copy so that I can have a daily chuckle. Best wishes for a happy new year and also that you avoid the flu.

  3. Happy New Year to you all and thanks for the visits! Barbara's book is a gold mine of pointless and outmoded information. I could have given a thousand more quotes!

    Ingrid - I have unfortunately not avoided the flu, so am lounging around here not doing very much at the moment, but feeling much better than I was.


  4. Salut Laura, those bits of advice are so brilliant and funny - thanks for showing me what's missing in my life ;-) I actually think I should get that a totally ironic way of course, you know... Wishing you a good week ahead. Love from London xo

  5. I'm so glad I helped you get back on the straight and narrow ;)

    Have a lovely week! :) x

  6. This is delightful, Laura. How funny :-) Happy new year to you! x

  7. Thanks Karen! Happy New Year to you, too. Hope you're well!

    PS- Glad you enjoyed Barb's wisdom!