From Saturday job to partying with Mick Jagger,  you don’t need a degree to achieve – Lesley Keating

Mick Jagger - ever stylish.
Mick Jagger - ever stylish.
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Here’s a modern-day fairy tale. Once upon a time there was a boy from Portsmouth.  He was clever and hard-working, but circumstances meant he didn’t complete his A-Levels. 

Leaving college, he asked at his Saturday job in fashion retail if he could go full-time, all the while dreaming of a more creative role – the type you’d normally need to go to university for. 

But as that wasn’t possible, he decided to make his own luck. He offered to take on responsibility for visual merchandising. And the most important thing he did was offer to undertake that role ‘unpaid’.

His talent came to the attention of head office and he was offered a visual merchandising job in a neighbouring city. Within months he’d shown enough potential to be flown to Scandinavia to singlehandedly merchandise a new store. He was only 20.

But he aimed higher still. With that added experience he then spent two years at London’s busiest High Street fashion store; Top Shop, Oxford Circus. 

Later, still hungry for more, he spotted a fashion stylist job for a YouTube TV programme. He was the least experienced of the 80 applicants, but his enthusiasm, creativity and drive won him the role. Not bad for a boy who didn’t go to university. 

But the tale doesn’t end there. 

Last week, without warning, a fairy godmother suddenly said, ‘You shall go to the ball’.  In a flash he was whisked off to The British Fashion Awards at the Royal Albert Hall. When the clock struck midnight, instead of turning into a pumpkin, he was at the glittering after-party, networking with famous fashion designers and chatting to stars like Mick Jagger.

At 18 he’d thought he’d have no career opportunities. At 23 he’s now a TV fashion stylist mixing with celebrities and stars.

So, dream big. You never know what might happen. Let setbacks become your opportunities. Be nice. And go that extra mile.

A degree can certainly pave the way to career success but hopefully this story will also inspire those who don’t have one. It’s not the only way.

Why DO people buy so many toilet rolls before Christmas?

I’m as guilty as the next person in flapping over whether I’ve bought enough food for Christmas. After all, the last thing any sane person wants to do on the day is hot-foot it to the local Coop in search of sprouts.

I also can’t help wondering why everyone seems to have a trolley piled sky-high. And what’s with the catering-size packs of toilet rolls? Why do we have such crazy expectations of Christmas Day?

It’s just one day. It will be over in the blink of an eye and the moment Boxing Day arrives all the adverts will change from Elton John to Summer Holiday. So, try to relax and enjoy it. 

And that meal you’re faffing over? It’s just a roast.

Perils of not concentrating when you shop in December

A friend noticed strange, yellowish marks between her fingers and toes when she stepped out of the shower. At first, she’d thought it was the bathroom lighting, but the marks were still there later. 

Alarmed, she turned to Google for advice and, in minutes, had self-diagnosed a range of worrying potential conditions, the least of which was jaundice.

As she did, indeed, feel a little unwell by this point, she rang her GP who asked if she’d changed skin creams, used herbal supplements or had been abroad? She hadn’t.

Days later she noticed the lid of her usual body lotion was a different colour and realised she’d inadvertently picked up the ‘hint-of-a-tan’ version by mistake…