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The Book

Out now at Amazon | Waterstones

Middle Class Handbook on Twitter
Chattering Class

Leicester City overkill

Yes we get it, it's lovely. But can we talk about something else now?

Online petitions

Please sign our online petition to have them banned

Zootopia

The new Frozen

Artisan marshmallows

Unconvincing

The word “artisan”

Overused

Discussing sourdough recipes

You buy it? Might as well wear a Burberry baseball cap

Getting the right shade of fake tan

“Just enough to stop my legs looking like something I dug up”

Travelling off-peak on rural branchline trains

Lovely

Pointless gadgets made by start-ups

Usually no better than Innovations catalogue stuff

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The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    Entries in Louise J (27)

    Saturday
    Feb062016

    class phwoar: extreme muesli

    There’s no doubt muesli is upping its game as 2016 gets under way. The industry has worked out a way to bring traditional muesli, which once defined us as a class, out of its crisis.  The stuff we used to fill our breakfast bowls with is loaded with gluten, carbs and dried-fruit sugars – which simply won’t do any more. So it’s a relief to see new and more acceptable pathways opening up.

    In fact, we have two options. We can stick to old-school carbs but make it worth our while by going super-indulgent: Waitrose offers flower-petal and coffee-infused varieties if that’s our solution. Alternatively, we can submit to the paleo revolution and experiment with the truly extreme: not just the courgette granola that is finding its way into MC homes, but RAWnola or Beetroot and Ginger Muesli from Primrose’s Kitchen. Thank goodness, we can chomp away self-righteously once more.

    Saturday
    Jan232016

    class phwoar: almond milk

    Is there anything MCs love more than loudly and anxiously giving things up? That's basically what defines our behaviour at this time of year.  And dairy is often top of the list. But soya milk has never quite been an acceptable substitute. It sounds a bit basic and studenty – just a bit too 1970s healthfood shop. Of course it does the job if you’ve got a serious intolerance, but doesn’t really inspire if you’re doing a bit of non-dairy dabbling.

    So MCs are giving a warm welcome to almond milk, which froths up beautifully for a latte and generally sounds so much more exotic. Artisan coffee shops are stocking up on it too – ask your barista. 

    Friday
    Dec182015

    Joyeux Noël, Mr Bore d’Eaux

    Christmas chez Bore d’Eaux involves peculiarities you won’t find in other households. For instance, Mr Bore d’Eaux is convinced that British culture places too much emphasis on Christmas Day itself – which turns into a "bit of a binge", as he sniffily puts it.

    He’s all for what the French do instead: a big dinner on Christmas Eve to open the celebrations. So, in fact, he ends up with two binges instead of one, but he’s quite happy with that.

    What you won’t find at any point chez Bore d’Eaux is turkey: too American for their tastes. For them only goose, or even capon, has the kind of authentic French rural feel they’re going for with their festivities.

    On Christmas Eve, it will be foie gras, of course. If any of the guests gets squeamish about the prospect, Mr Bore d’Eaux will remind them that the French don’t get "sentimental" about animals the way the British do. Over there, they’re so much more in tune with rural realities, of course.

    Flickr: Jérémy Couture

    Monday
    Dec072015

    How to respond when someone says they're an accountant

    It's Christmas party season, which means MCs up and down the country will soon be asking each other that most boring of questions: “What do you do?” But what on earth do you do if you get the apologetic, verging on self-loathing, answer: “I’m an accountant, I’m afraid.” Or: “Accountant. Very boring, I know.” It’s an etiquette minefield.

    It seems that no matter what you do you’ll end up making things worse. Here are four ways MCs tend to respond when faced with a new acquaintance who works in accounts.

    1. Have recourse to Dharma by sagely talking about how “everyone has a role to play. Where would we be without accountants? All those creatives wouldn't make a living without an accountant to sort them out.” Pretty patronising, this.
    2. Make the accountant feel better by playing up the downsides of your own job: “Well, at least you have nice regular hours and know where you are. You wouldn’t believe how draining it can be having to travel all the time.” A bit insulting.
    3. Protest too much. “No, no, NO! There’s nothing boring about accountancy. I imagine you must work on some tremendously exciting projects and meet lots of different people!’ Implausible and embarrassing.
    4. Struggle for words and fail to find any. Make a little “ah” of feigned interest and wait for the accountant to change the subject. Awkward.

    Tumblr: Uber Brick

    Wednesday
    Dec022015

    HOW TO BE MC: WIN AT AIRBNB

    Gone are the days of using Airbnb to see the world on the cheap or to get a taste of local living. Now it's all about finding the most whimsical or avant-garde dwelling out there – chosen for its particular instagrammability, of course. 

    Airbnb oneupmanship has become serious business. Yurts are old hat – we're now talking geodesic domes, castles, windmills and fairy cottages, ideally with an outdoor hot tub or candlelit grotto thrown in.

    “We stayed in the astronomy dome in Chile with self-contained observatories for star-gazing.” “Sounds lovely, but we could never top our tree cocoon in a forest in France.” “Our hobbit-hole underground was carbon-neutral – an amazing feat of eco-architecture.”

    This is the kind of conversation you get these days among keen Airbnbers, and sooner or later you'll be feeling the pressure. Here's our guide to coming out on top.

    1. Stay in an eco-dwelling in one of the world's most extreme environments.
    2. Go tiny – stay in a shipping container or a house within a house.
    3. Make sure your hot tub gives you a spectacular, even cosmic, view – the Northern Lights would be perfect.
    4. Ignore health and safety – candle-lit treehouses guarantee Instagram love.
    5. Ruffle some feathers by revealing that you found your last holiday digs on onefinestay instead of Airbnb.