Interview with the UK’s leading addiction specialist, Dr Robert Lefever – “It’s not just celebrities…”

Carlton’s Head of Comms, Nicole Ettinger, interviews author of Kick Your Habit, Dr. Robert Lefever, after the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman



The press have recently called upon you to discuss the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman – What insight can you offer?

His death was an avoidable tragedy that indicates two things: Mood altering prescription drugs (antidepressants, tranquillisers, sleeping tablets and some pain killers) are addictive to people who have an addictive nature. Addicts are never free from the risk of relapse. He had been free from addictive substances for 22 years but was then given mood altering prescription drugs, which I believe triggered his relapse back to using other drugs. Mood altering prescription drugs (antidepressants, tranquillisers, sleeping tablets and some pain killers) are addictive to people who have an addictive nature.

You have treated thousands of people in the UK with addiction problems, including celebrities – What could you have done to help Philip Seymour Hoffman?

Help him to see that he has the same risks that any addict has. Addiction is no respecter of persons. An addict is an addict by nature, irrespective of background or profession, wealth or trauma.

Why is addiction and overdose so common among celebrities?

It isn’t. Neither one is any more common among celebrities than it is among the general population. If it seems so it is because celebrities make the news.

What can be done to help the younger celebrity generation from heading in the same direction? 

They have to differentiate – through the questionnaires on my website – – between stupidity (which they can grow out of) and an addictive nature (which is probably genetically inherited). They can do so through the questionnaires on my website

You are very open about your own experience as an addict – How do you deal with your addictive nature?

I do five things on a regular basis

  1. I work the Twelve Step programme (first formulated by Alcoholics Anonymous) every       day.
  2. I attend regular meetings of Anonymous Fellowships in order to counter my ‘denial’ and remind myself that I really am an addict.
  3. I remain abstinent from all mood-altering substances and processes each day. I do many positive and enjoyable things.
  4. I read Fellowship literature every day.
  5. I am in regular contact with my sponsor (Fellowship guide) and sponsees.

What advice would you offer to anyone who thinks they may be addicted to something harmful?

Do the things that I do (as above). Sometimes therapy may be helpful in dealing with past trauma – but without descending into blame and self-pity

Is addiction genetic?

I believe the antecedent cause is genetic. This is treated (kept in remission) by working the Twelve Step programme each day.

The contributory cause is emotional trauma. This is treated appropriately with an emotional therapy such as psychodrama, EMDR or NLP.

The precipitant cause is exposure to mood altering substances or processes. The treatment is abstinence.


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Kate’s Style: How Kate has changed the face of maternity fashion.

Over the last ten years the Duchess of Cambridge has become a true British style icon, influencing fashion the world over. And now, thanks to a flawlessly chic pregnancy, Kate’s has had a similar impact on maternity wear, setting the fashion agenda for mums-to be for years to come. A phenomena fashion critics have dubbed ‘The Duchess Effect’.

Here Caroline Jones, author of new Carlton book: Kate’s Style: Smart, Chic Fashion for a Royal Role Model, looks at five key ways in which Kate has rewritten maternity fashion rules…

Animal print is okay

They’re a bold choice for late-stage pregnancy and one many mums-to-be might avoid, but despite being eight months pregnant, canny Kate managed to look striking yet lady-like in this unusual black and white Dalmatian print Hobbs dress-coat for the Royal Princess Cruise Ship naming ceremony in June. Expect a million copy-Kate maternity prints in shops very soon.


Hitch belts higher

Since she first started being photographed ten years ago, the Duchess of Cambridge has been a big fan of using belts to create a nipped-in waist on dresses and coats. While pregnant, Kate has cleverly switched from cinching belts at the waist to pulling them in just below the bust – forming a classic empire line shape that flatters her bump but still shows off her neat silhouette, as with this pale peach Jenny Packham lace dress and matching coat she wore on June 4th, for the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey.


 Become a (coat) swinger

She’s always loved matching summer dresses and smart coats in the same hue for formal occasions, and Kate has simply tweaked this staple look to suit her pregnancy shape. Rather than opt for her usual highly fitted jackets – such as the red Alexandra McQueen one she wore to the Royal Jubliee River Pageant last year – she’s switched to a looser flowing, swing style like this Tara Jarmon peach coat she wore while visiting Naomi House Children’s Hospice on April 29th. This kind of coat doesn’t need to be buttoned-up, but still looks super-smart, gently skimming even the biggest baby bump.


Dare to bare those legs

Part of Kate’s normal demure look is to favour skirts that falls just below the knee, but to avoid looking frumpy as her body shape’s changed, Kate has raised her usual hemline a few inches. By opting for a just-above-the-knee length she manages to emphasise her still-slender legs. The result is elegant and classy, even in this polka dot number costing just £38 from Topshop  that she wore to visit the Warner Bros Studios in April. Expectant mothers can expect this modest but feminine maternity style to become the fashion standard for years to come.


Don’t ditch your heels

Many pregnant woman switch to flats but Kate shows you don’t have to if you choose carefully – just be sure they have a platform sole for hidden extra support, easy balance and less backache. Luckily for Kate, her all-time favourite nude LK Bennett Sledge pumps that she’s worn on dozens of previous occasions fit the bill perfectly, which meant she could slip them comfortably back on for a trip to Windsor Castle for the annual Scouting Parade in April.


Caroline Jones is the author of Kate’s Style which is out now and available from and all other booksellers

Skincare Tips for the New Year

Esme Floyd, author of 1001 Little Skincare Miracles, gives us her top tips to keep your skin healthy following the indulgences of Christmas.  

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Wow. What a festive season! Unfortunately for your skin, though, the better the party the worse the after-effects … even if you did manage to keep up your skincare routine and not go TOO overboard on the mince pies, champagne, cocktails and turkey, the likelihood is the better time you had, the worse it was for your skin.

Your skin isn’t just a covering, it’s the largest organ you’ve got, and yet it’s the last to receive the nutrients and hydration you put into your body. So if like many of us, your skin’s taken the brunt of your partying over the last few weeks, here are a few simple tips to get you back on the path to hydrated, beautiful skin …

[image: 1001 little skin care miracles cover]

DRINK, DRINK, DRINK … sadly, not more champagne, but water. Winter is a dehydrating time for skin anyway, with central heating and cold winds, but alcohol and salty and sugary foods use up the body’s water supplies, meaning your skin can be left feeling dull and loose. Try downing a glass of warm (or hot) water before every meal, and make sure you top up during the day by keeping a bottle or jug of water nearby so you can see the level drop as you sip away. In fact, the beginning of January is a great time to start setting up some new alcohol rules – try having a dry few weeks to detox yourself, or make one of your resolutions to get the recommended two or three alcohol-free days each week for at least a month … you can guarantee your skin will thank you!

GIVE YOUR SKIN A GIFT …. Hopefully you’ll have received at least one new beauty product in your Christmas gift haul, but if not then treat yourself – new look skin needs special attention, and a great exfoliator and moisturising cream or oil should do the trick. One word of warning, though, don’t be tempted to use body products on your face, or vice versa – they’re made to have completely different effects so that’s one area where cutting corners won’t do you any good at all. And don’t forget the way you use your products is almost as important as what they contain …. Allow yourself enough time to relax and pamper yourself and your skin (and body) will feel the benefit of all those relaxing hormones flooding around your system. What’s not to like about that essential skincare tip?!

My SECRET SKINCARE RESOLUTION is to devote myself to my Eve Lom evening cleansing routine. Too many nights have gone by in the last few months were I’ve allowed various other pressures to get in the way of that precious five minute ritual, and my skin has been far worse for it, so this year I’m determined to give my face the nightly attention it deserves (and I know I’ll feel better for it too) …

… and last but not least, THINK TOP TO TOE … You might be the only person who sees your feet, but don’t neglect them just because it’s not flip-flop season any more. High heels and winter boots all take their toll, so give those tough little tootsies a break with a massage, pedicure or foot treatment followed by ten minutes with warm socks or slippers on with your feet up to help reduce puffiness and boost circulation. You know you want to… (and it’s the perfect time to settle down with your new Carltonbook!).

Esme Floyd

Other books by Esme Floyd include 1001 Little Beauty Miracles & 1001 Little Health Miracles.

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The Original Supermodel?

‘By far the best exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite art I have seen’ The Guardian

‘The Pre-Raphaelites are revealed as the cutting edge of art’ The Times

With rave reviews like these for The Tate’s Pre-Raphaelite exhibition, we wanted to find out more about muse, icon and titian-haired ‘stunner’, Lizzie Siddal, from her biographer Lucinda Hawksley.

‘With the success of the Tate’s Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde exhibition, Lizzie Siddal and her fellow models and muses are once more back in the spotlight. As Lizzie’s biographer, I often ponder over what she would make of the cult that has grown up around her image and of the legend she has become. I imagine conversations with her, in which I try to explainabout the 21st-century obsession with so-called “celebrities” (most of whom will be forgotten about in a decade’s time), about the weirdness of current ideas of feminine beauty, and about why she remains such a popular figure, despite all that has changed since her lifetime.

Lizzie’s life was short and at times extremely harsh yet this strangely haunting woman has become not only the icon of an artistic movement, she also defines an era in history – unwittingly spawning what is still referred to as “the cult of the redhead”. Her looks challenged and changed the rigid codes of what was considered acceptable female beauty in mid-Victorian Britain. By doing so, she and her fellow models helped to change the very core of female history. Women began to realise that rules and laws were made to be questioned, challenged and often broken.

Ironically, one of the images most commonly associated with Lizzie’s life is Beata Beatrix, which was painted after her death. It was Dante Rossetti’s emotional response to Lizzie’s suicide: a husband working out his grief, guilt and numerous other complex emotions – all translated onto canvas. It is the one painting that Rossetti did of Lizzie while she was not posing in front of him and yet is is the one that most people associate with the woman who took her own life 150 years ago.

I often think of Lizzie in terms of the very firmly 20th-century icon, Marilyn Monroe. Both died young, both still remain icons. If she had lived to grow old and less ethereal, if she had lived a full and happy life to a ripe old age, would Lizzie still be considered an artistic icon today? There were scores of Pre-Raphaelite models, but if you asked someone today to name one of them, they would almost invariably respond with the name “Lizzie Siddal”. Marilyn Monroe’s tragic death, while still at the height of her beauty, has made her far more famous today than her French contemporary – still very much alive – Brigitte Bardot.

Despite all her activism and political savvy, Bardot is far more likely to make the news because she has “lost her looks” than because of her work in the field of animal rights. Whenever I see Bardot mentioned it has nothing to do with her animal rights work, it is is because some sensationalist photographer has taken a picture of her daring to looking her age. In the eyes of the world’s media, Bardot needs to be despised because she has committed the terrible sin of growing older and no longer being “a sex kitten”. Marilyn Monroe and Lizzie Siddal remain icons precisely because they died young. They have never lost the allure of the young and beautiful – and deeply damaged.

This year, 2012, marked the 150th anniversary of Lizzie Siddal’s death. Unable to cope with the stillbirth of her daughter, and perhaps knowing she was pregnant again, Lizzie took an overdose of laudanum and died at the age of 32. Ironically, for a time when infant mortality meant that 1 in 3 babies died in infancy (in London), medical understanding of bereavement and grief was almost non existent. Post-natal depression, along with all other forms of depression, was censured simply as “insanity” and treated with harsh cruelty instead of understanding. The grief experienced by a bereaved mother was dismissed just as summarily, women were expected to “get over it” and have another baby as soon as possible. No effort was taken at all to understand what might be happening in the mind of a woman who had nurtured and then given birth to a dead baby.

When Lizzie’s daughter was born dead, it marked the beginning of the end for the model and aspiring artist. One of the most poignant stories I discovered when researching Lizzie’s life was that related by Georgiana Burne-Jones, who recorded that when she and Ned went to visit Lizzie shortly after the tragedy, Lizzie was rocking an empty cradle as though her daughter was sleeping inside and told them not to wake the baby.

I thought of that story in February this year, as a small group of us stood in Highgate Cemetery beside the family grave of the Rossettis – in which Lizzie’s body was interred, despite the fact that none of the family ever approved of her. (Dante Rossetti, by the way, is not buried with them. He left strict instructions at the end of his life that he was not to be buried in Highgate – perhaps fearful of being placed in the grave he had desecrated in order to retrieve the manuscript of his poems, seven years after the death of his wife. So, Lizzie lies there amongst all her disapproving in-laws, without her husband.)

On the 150th anniversary of Lizzie’s death, the cemetery was fittingly beautiful in a blanket of snow under a sky so blue it looked likeBotticelli could have painted it. At the side of the grave, Jan Marsh read some of Christina Rossetti’s poetry, John Waites read poems by Dante Rossetti and I read a couple of poems by Lizzie. It was very emotional and a fitting memorial for a woman whose image still remains such an important part of our cultural history. I like to think that had she been standing behind us, watching us remember her, she would have smiled in that simple way that Rossetti occasionally captured, and perhaps twirled a lock of her famous copper-coloured hair between her fingers.’

Lucinda Hawksley is author of Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel, Katey: The Life and Loves of Dickens’s Artist Daughter and, most recently, Charles Dickens about her great-great-great grandfather, Charles Dickens. See Lucinda discussing Dickens and Parliament at Portcullis House on the 21st November

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 Follow Lucinda on Twitter – @lucindahawksley

Lucinda’s piece is reproduced with kind permission from

See more about the paintings and Lizzie in this Art Fund video by Lucinda here.

For more information on the Pre Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate click here.

Dressing to Impress

This week’s guest blogger is the author of A Well-Dressed Lady’s Pocket Guide, Karen Homer. So, whether you’re a lover of an LBD, or more of a fan of this winter’s embellished trend, she’s here to offer her advice for looking like the belle of the (Christmas) ball…

As the Christmas party season approaches, invitations (hopefully) start pinging into your inbox and the office Christmas extravaganza is finally agreed upon, there is only one thing left to decide: what to wear? Whether you like to make a bold fashion statement with your party wear or prefer to slip quietly and elegantly through a champagne-fuelled throng of guests, there is plenty on offer this winter and if you choose carefully, there’s no reason not to be impeccably well-dressed whatever the occasion.

May your days be berry and bright…

Old-school Hollywood glamour and ladylike finesse were popular on the catwalks, with plenty of designers opting for elegant dresses in autumnal mulberry hues ranging from deep wine-red to stately purple. If you’re looking for a new colour to add to your wardrobe this is a sophisticated palette from which to choose, rich with shades that suit all complexions. Shape-wise, curves are popular this year so if you are genetically blessed with an hourglass figure, this is the season to show it off – high street stores like Zara are a good bet for a shapely party dress for a reasonable price. Always remember that the best-looking dresses, whilst flattering the figure, skim rather than cling.

Classic Chic

Traditionalists will be pleased that the Little Black Dress is firmly back on the map – choose a classic Audrey Hepburn style cocktail frock and it will last you for many a party season to come. And with an accent on accessories, with trends including eye-catching feather trims and bold costume jewellery, it is a viable option – and suitably in keeping with the budget-conscious times – to reinvent last year’s dress into something fashion forward. Lastly the Yves St Laurent-style glamour of the women’s tuxedo is also seeing a revival, so lovers of the trouser suit can bypass wearing a dress altogether.

Office to party transformations…

For many women, parties happen after work and changing for them is a hurried, office-bathroom affair. If this is the situation you find yourself in, it’s amazing what a pair of killer heels and a piece of bold jewellery will do for a simple shift dress. Or, with a nod to the trend for colourful prints, changing your work-day top for a Prada-style psychedelic blouse is enough to make an impression, even if teamed with a simple pencil skirt. A slick of lipstick (and the belief that you look wonderful) and you’re good to go! It’s always better to focus on one simple change than to try and force yourself into an over-the-top party dress that you feel self-conscious in. Never forget, the truly well-dressed woman is the one who feels comfortable in what she is wearing and, of course, in her own skin.


By Karen Homer, author of A Well-Dressed Lady’s Pocket Guide.

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

It’s a mere six weeks till Christmas (don’t worry, we’ll be providing you with a Christmas gift guide very soon!) when, despite our good intentions of getting out of the house to work off those mince pies, we know that really we’ll be spending hours sitting in front of the TV with the family, indulging in the classics.

Peter and Charlotte Fiell are the authors of Chairs, which covers 1,000 masterpieces of chair design, from 1800 to the present day, in a great big cornucopia of a book weighing in at an impressive 756 pages of sumptuously illustrated and glorious content. The book features everything from the immortal Eames LCW to today’s most progressive seating designs created by Jasper Morrison, Tom Dixon, Ron Arad and Thomas Heatherwick.

We asked Peter Fiell for his advice on choosing a classic chair to sit on whilst you’re watching the greatest Christmas films of all time…

A Christmas Carol (1938)


It’s a mere six weeks till Christmas (don’t worry, we’ll be providing you with a Christmas gift guide very soon!) when, despite our good intentions of getting out of the house to work off those mince pies, we know that really we’ll be spending hours sitting in front of the TV with the family, indulging in the classics.

Peter and Charlotte Fiell are the authors of Chairs, which covers 1,000 masterpieces of chair design, from 1800 to the present day, in a great big cornucopia of a book weighing in at an impressive 756 pages of sumptuously illustrated and glorious content. The book features everything from the immortal Eames LCW to today’s most progressive seating designs created by Jasper Morrison, Tom Dixon, Ron Arad and Thomas Heatherwick.

We asked Peter Fiell for his advice on choosing a classic chair to sit on whilst you’re watching the greatest Christmas films of all time…

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)


Arguably the greatest American Christmas drama ever produced, Frank Capra’s inspirational movie brought a much-needed heart-warming drop of cheer to the immediate postwar years, not unlike Charles and Ray Eames’ LCW chair from 1945, which is without question the most iconic chair of all time and a veritable landmark in seating history. This rare example with its cherry red aniline-dyed finish is especially festive!

Scrooge (1951)


Alastair Sim was the “classic” Scrooge whose terrifying encounters with the ghosts of Christmasses’ past, present and future gave him such a fright that he realised the error of his ways and made amends to the long suffering Bob Cratchit. Maybe he wouldn’t have been such a misery guts if he had enjoyed the padded comfort of Marco Zanuso’s stylish Senior chair from 1951 that used in its construction a new wonder material – latex foam – making it not only supremely comfortable but also aesthetically innovative with its seductive and inviting sculptural form.

The Sound of Music (1965)


A firm favourite for family gatherings at Christmas with the ever-so Bavarian von Trapp family giving it their musical all, while escaping the Nazi baddies…and of course, an all-important ex-Nun love interest thrown in for good measure. Along with whiskers on kittens, the De Pas, D’Urbino and Lomazzi’s Blow chair from 1965 is one of our favourite things. The most famous inflatable chair of all time, its rounded curves inviting playful interaction made it a quintessential Pop icon.

The Snowman (1982)


 From “Walking in the Air” to its adorable drawn animation, The Snowman is a modern classic of Christmas entertainment. Robert Venturi’s Art Nouveau, Queen Anne and Chippendale chairs of the early 80s were tongue-in-cheek homages to earlier historic styles.

Venturi was a leading proponent of Post-Modernism and these playful chairs certainly reflected his belief that “Less is a Bore”. Unlike the Snowman, however, these characterful chairs didn’t melt away and are now seen as masterpieces of Post-Modern seating design.

See Peter discussing more about how he became interested in chair design, and the intriguing poser of how a designer can ‘transcend chairness’ in this video:

Chairs is an ideal gift for anyone obsessed with style, as is the Fiell’s bible, Masterpieces of British Design. And if Christmas isn’t the same for you without The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook, you need the family scrapbook in your life!


With thanks to The Republic of Fritz Hansen for letting us film in their beautiful showroom.

The Ugliest Night of the Year


We do not have an annual celebration where pale, chaste virgins with flawless features, clear eyes and marmoreal skin recite epic poems in Attic Greek. But we do have Halloween. Who can explain our national fascination with poisonous toads, goblins, carbuncles, dripping blood, fang-toothed harridans, corpses, skeletons, howling wolves,venomous flesh-eating bats, homicidal owls, brindled mewing cats, fear, mutants, boils, spiders, whining hedge-pigs, poltergeists, ghosts, evil spirits, cauldrons of seething poison and creaking noises in the night?

The answer is: anyone who understands the hold which ugliness has over our imaginations.

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Beauty, peace and quietude are as boring as poems in Attic Greek. Repellent features, nocturnal anxiety and scarynoises are totally engrossing.On the evidence of Halloween and our national commitment to all that is threatening and repulsive, you would have to agree that ugliness is superior to beauty. Not just because it lasts longer, but because it is more…..interesting.