x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Demi Moore, Andy Murray, and carnivores

Less for Moore recommended, but more for Murray; the appeal of bedtime stories, good memories and carnivores; and the agony of muzak.

The actor (and model) Ashton Kutcher, left, with his wife, the actress Demi Moore, at the Colcci fall-winter 2011 collection at Sao Paulo Fashion Week, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The actor (and model) Ashton Kutcher, left, with his wife, the actress Demi Moore, at the Colcci fall-winter 2011 collection at Sao Paulo Fashion Week, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Less is Moore

There's no doubt about it, Demi Moore looks like a million dollars as she perches on a front-row bench at a fashion show in Brazil where her equally dishy husband Ashton Kutcher was modelling for a Brazilian fashion designer.

She ought to, really, having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on, to use a show-business euphemism, "having work done". Whether that work has been surgical or not, she'll probably never admit, but there's no denying she has a nutritionist, personal trainer, yoga teacher and kick-boxing coach to keep her in such fabulous shape.

Beside her at the fashion show was her 16-year-old daughter Tallulah Belle and looking at the pictures you'd think they were sisters: same long, glossy hair, similar shoes, equally short hemlines and practically interchangeable outfits. Don't tell me Moore wasn't trying.

That's just it, she's trying way too hard and that can't be good for her daughter's self-confidence. No matter how much she loves and admires her mother, what 16-year-old wants to go out looking like a clone of mummy?

I have the greatest admiration for Moore as an actress and have watched her looking much less gorgeous but just as powerful in the movie GI Jane countless times. I also admire anyone approaching the age of 50 who can keep it all together like that.

Nobody will be more conscious of every wrinkle and bump than Moore, who is married to a man 16 years younger than herself. She was a foxy 42 when she married Kutcher and he was 27, but as every woman knows, keeping your youthful looks gets harder with the passing years. I wouldn't blame her for having a few nips and tucks, I just think it makes her look silly to try to look as though she's in her 20s.

No woman of almost 50 should be wearing such short skirts and long hair. It doesn't mean she has to turn herself into a frump overnight. With her money and access to the best stylists, she could surely come up with an elegant and still sexy look that's more subtle and age-appropriate. A lower hemline would be a good start.

The last of the bedtime stories

One of the saddest stories I read this week was that modern British parents are just too busy to read bedtime stories to their children any more. Even parents who loved being read to as children say they're too tired to do anything more than kiss their kids goodnight, turn off the lights and close the door.

Only 52 per cent of parents polled in a survey by the UK telecoms firm TalkTalk say they still read to their children, which is such a shame. It's also harmful to their development in all sorts of ways. These parents are producing a generation of children who will end up incapable of having a literate conversation, whose vocabulary is poor and whose imagination has been smothered by too much television and too many electronic games.

Nothing beats the cosy feeling for a child of cuddling up in bed and listening to a parent's voice reading a reassuringly familiar story. It's such an important part of a child's development and not only is it stimulating but it forges bonds in life's most precious relationships.

Parents who can't find the time to read to their children are losing out on so much and so are the children.

Moving stuff to make room for more stuff

My Dubai life has been gradually disappearing into boxes. A couple of days ago the movers came and sent my precious "stuff" off on the high seas. There were 34 packages in all and that didn't include furniture. I'm baffled as to how I managed to accumulate so much "stuff" in just three years.

The worst thing is that now that the house is bare, I can remember what's in only about 10 of them. They are mostly memories of my fantastic three years in the UAE, and I shall treasure them always - framed Arabic jewellery, woven camel saddle bags and terracotta jars bought at a Fujairah roadside market and other souvenirs of Dubai. There are the books I have read here, many of them signed by authors who appeared at the Emirates Airline Literary Festival, baskets bought at the Liwa Date Festival and CDs of musicians I've seen performing live at the Abu Dhabi Classics.

As for what's in the other 24 boxes, it's just "stuff" that I probably don't need. In four weeks time I'll be on a plane home just in time to have a mammoth clear out of other "stuff" I don't need and never use, so I can make room for more "stuff" when the boxes arrive.

Real men eat meat

Just when men were becoming more health conscious and staying off red meat for fear of heart disease or cancer, new research brands them as wimps.

Veggie men are seen as virtuous but they're not very sexy, according to women who took part in a survey at the University of British Columbia. Real men should eat meat, they believe.

Even women who are vegetarian themselves and appreciate a man who loves animals and can't bear to eat them, see veggie men as less masculine.

I guess it's the old caveman thing. There's no getting away from it: there's something about a man tucking into a huge steak that appeals to many women no matter how much they try to cut down on their partner's cholesterol intake.

My husband's face says it all if I serve up fish more than twice a week. He says nothing, but I'm left feeling that he thinks he's been short changed.

No sympathy for Murray's court performance

If he wasn't such a miserable looking so-and-so, I'd feel some sympathy for Andy Murray. Beating Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open, where the two best players in the world, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, were no longer a threat, was his best chance yet of a grand-slam win, but he blew it.

Personally, I hate his surly, swearing on-court manner and don't believe it's doing him any good. He has the talent to beat Djokovic but it's the mind game that's weak and it's clear he's falling at the last fence every time because of inner demons.

The next few months sees tennis moving up a gear in the run up to Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Murray is due to play in the Dubai Tennis Championships later this month and let's hope he doesn't pull out in a surly sulk or crash out in the first round pleading exhaustion. It can't be easy knowing that the hopes of two nations are riding on your shoulders. During the All England Championships he's a Brit, although most of the year he's a Scot.

British tennis lovers know the agonies of supporting the next great hope. Sitting despairingly on what used to be called Henman Hill year after year watching their former hero Tim getting beaten predictably in the semis was true tennis agony. Now they call it Murray Mount but the pain goes on. Murray is the best tennis player the British have had since the days of three-times Wimbledon champion Fred Perry in the 1930s so they should be satisfied with that, but they're not - they want a winner.

One of the greatest pressures the 23-year-old has is having his mother sitting up there in the stands. True, she is probably the single person whose support has pushed him to his current position in world tennis but when he loses she really should try harder not to look as if she's just swallowed a sour plum.

It might help if she took a tactical back seat for a match or two and let the lad grow up.

Please stop the muzak

The British Master of the Queen's Music has described canned "muzak" in shops as "moronic" and "cultural terrorism", and I couldn't agree more. Old favourites featuring the original singers or at least a good cover version played in shops, however, put a spring in my step and make me linger longer at the clothes rails and more likely to buy something.