Q. Is it OK to wear black to a wedding? Toni
A. It is much easier to get away with black at a winter wedding (I take it you are a guest, Toni?) especially if it is velvet/tulle/ a swishy fabric and if you add flashy accessories (or a nice tartan, perchance? Not Black Watch). For a summer wedding, black is only acceptable if you are a waiter, waitress or Goth.
A. I was entertaining recently and one of my guests asked me (rather impertinently, I thought) if the salmon I was serving was organic. It wasn't, and I blushed almost the same colour as the fish as I explained how expensive organic was. What would you have done in this situation, Martha? Lee, Jersey
A. This is a classic. Guests have been asking awkward questions like this since time immemorial – "Did you bake this bison yourself, Mrs Flintstone?" You must never allow these questions to get to you. After all, they're accepting your hospitality. Smile brightly and be graciously evasive with one of the following catch-all phrases: "Why, do you have an allergy?" "I'm so glad you like it" and "Thank you, I caught it myself!"
Q. I want to accept a job I've been offered in New York but my mother and father have offered to pay my monthly mortgage fee if I stay in this country. Should I accept their kind offer? LH, London
A. Look into your heart and you know what you should do. Martha knows. You know. They know. Don't be bought. There's only one thing worse than being bought, and that's being bought by your parents. It's sad when families get split by continents – it contributes to the decline of our social fabric, and the lack of family care for older people, etc – but really... Go fly, little one! You can always come back for Christmas.
Q. Is it OK to put old school/team photos in my loo? Or is that unfashionable now? Do I have to stick to pot pourri and twigs? Bachelor, 37
A. If you are in the Shadow Cabinet, or have any ambition to be so, you should hide those pictures far away. If they depict the Bullingdon Club, in fact, I think the best place for them is in my custody. Otherwise, Batch, it's fairly obvious that you're dying to display shots of yourself and the lads in rugger kit in the bathroom, so go for it. I am sure they will inspire many great motions, not to mention conversations. And though we are not in fact acquainted, Sir, my legendary social intuition leads me to believe that the trade passing through your bathroom will find your pictures enchanting.
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