Bold and bright clothes are definitely beautiful in my book. Unless of course, I happen to find myself in London. Not only does my mood darken somewhat as I walk under its overcast skies, but my wardrobe seems instantly to transform itself from sunny Technicolor to gloomy shades of grey.
From my jet-black knee-length coat to a charcoal high-necked knit and dark skinny jeans, I was a vision in monochrome upon a recent visit to the Big Smoke. Inevitably, after a couple of weeks wearing widow's weeds - practical and warm as they were - the novelty had truly worn off.
So it was that one afternoon, armed with my umbrella, I took a deep breath and headed for the West End. As I trailed the shops in search of a zing of colour, I was dismayed to find the window displays awash with winter tones of mahogany brown, pewter and icy silver. Visions of purchasing a red winter coat, à la Red Riding Hood or a colourful Pringle-esque V-neck sweater were fading fast. And as I returned back to base armed only with a new pair of sunglasses (yes, in black) I had to admit defeat.
Maybe the UK in winter is just one of those places that deserves its own fashion guidelines, such as "when in town wear brown" or "it's always OK to wear grey". Much like the US holding relatively fast to the urban rule of "Not wearing white after Labour Day", Britons and tourists alike should by no means feel the pressure to wear citrus in Siberian temperatures.
Thus I came to the conclusion that it wasn't actually my constant wearing of black that was the problem: it was my lack of imaginative styling. Thankfully, this problem was easily solved. For if there's one thing London arguably does better than any other fashion capital, it's affordable shoes and handbags.
So in the end, having acquired a serpent-style cuff, a pair of over-the-knee flat suede boots and a sparkly minaudière, I was equipped for the next three seasons.
On the flip side - and anything but glam - is the one piece of clothing that always travels to London with me irrespective of the time of year - a trusty puffa jacket. Nothing keeps in the warmth and keeps out the wind quite as effectively as the goose feather and down mix coat, which having reached a landmark eighth birthday, was treated to the addition of a chunky elasticated belt with a gold and onyx clasp. And so it was, looking a little less like a Michelin Man and with my makeover complete, I spent my last days in the sub-zero capital feeling pretty haute-to-trot.