That's all we need! Marriage guidance from Gwyn

Stay-at-home wife: Gwyneth Paltrow revealed this week how she always had a hot meal on the table for hubby Chris Martin

Stay-at-home wife: Gwyneth Paltrow revealed this week how she always had a hot meal on the table for hubby Chris Martin

The time has come to ask a serious question — are you a Madonna or a Gwyneth No, really. Concentrate please. One is a blonde multi-millionairess with a full-time staff, with chauffeurs and private jets on tap, with the world at her fingertips.

Not to mention an adoring fan base, a supportive professional network and the words ‘succeed or die’ drilled through her core like seaside rock.

And so is the other.

Of course, Gwynnie and Madge were once best friends for years, but fell out over a yoga mat or something. Now they are not even frenemies.

The absence of Gwyneth at the recent premiere of Madonna’s film W.E. did not go unnoticed. Ditto the no-show of Madonna at the launch of Gwyneth’s cookbook, My Father’s Daughter, last year.

The gals are not pals, and no wonder, if their very different ideas on what makes a successful marriage work are anything to go by.

In an interview with Harpers Bazaar magazine this week, Paltrow (right) revealed she was the kind of stay-at-home wife who looked after the kids and always had a hot meal on the table to welcome home her husband, Coldplay rock star Chris Martin.

‘It may not be feminist, but it is about compromise. If you want a family, you have to be a wife. That is part of the equation,’ she said.

Meanwhile, Madonna told a Newsweek reporter how she had spotted ‘cracks in the veneer’ of her relationship with Guy Ritchie. Towards the end of her eight-year marriage, she began to realise: ‘It’s not as romantic as it used to be. You think: “This isn’t what I thought it was going to be,” and “How much am I willing to sacrifice”’

Interesting. In her search for what she calls ‘the perfect love’, Madonna thinks only of herself and her happiness.

She is the sun at the centre of her own universe; nothing and no one is more important than she. Those around her bloom in her warmth, or wither when she turns her back on them.

/02/03/article-2095751-03F6EA0E000005DC-779_468x391.jpg” width=”468″ height=”391″ alt=”Not even frenemies any more: Madonna (left) and Paltrow have very different ideas about what makes a successful marriage work” class=”blkBorder” />

Not even frenemies any more: Madonna (left) and Paltrow have very different ideas about what makes a successful marriage work

Unlike this pair of glossy high achievers who can cherry-pick interesting projects on a whim, lots of women have to work; it’s not a career choice or a vocation or a calling. It is an economic necessity. It’s a shift. It’s a grind.

Equally, few mothers would dare to thunder through life thinking only of me‑me-me in that terrifying Madonna way. She has lived her life like a selfish man — almost admirable, if there were not children and a husband in the equation.

Yet their differing takes on marriage were very revealing. Yes, perhaps Paltrow always does have a hot meal on the table for her husband — except when she’s off making a movie or travelling the word on an exciting project, that is. But at least she is trying.

At least she takes it seriously. ‘I have little kids in school,’ the actress said. ‘I want to maintain my marriage and my family.’ Unless you are going to commit to each other and family life, why bother

The recent brief marriage of Katy Perry and Russell Brand suggested a typical clash of celebrity personalities: two people used to sucking up attention like water gurgling through a plughole; a couple who think compromise is what others do to accommodate them.

One reason given for the split was the long periods they spent apart because of work commitments. Yet military wives have exactly the same problem, with none of the glitzy trappings to cosset and comfort them through the lonely times. And with a lot more to worry about.

Meanwhile, back in the world of Gwynnie and Madge, it is business as usual. Madonna is off around the world, promoting her new film. Gwyneth is at home, making macro-biotic suppers.

No one is right and no one is wrong, but I suspect Gwyneth has the better grasp of what makes a marriage work.

It costs a not inconsiderable 199. It is covered in red and blue sequins. It has —brace yourselves, fash fans — a cowl neck.

And we all know that the only thing that should have a cowl neck is a cowl.

So I’ll tell you what I don’t want, what I really, really don’t want. One of Geri Halliwell’s Union Jack dresses from Next. Ugh!

Top Totty beer

Consternation in Parliament, where Top Totty beer (right) was withdrawn from Commons bars yesterday.

Complainants, led by Labour MP Kate Green and Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow, said the beer was misogynist.

Maybe so. But never mind the sexism.

What gets me is why MPs get subsidised beer in the first place At work!

Apparently, a northern MP went into a bar and asked the barmaid for a pint of Top Totty and a double entendre.

So she gave him one (sorry, Kate and Sally).

Ikea's tribal following

Wow, stunning images of the Mashco-Piro people released this week. One of the few remaining tribes who live in isolation, they are almost untouched by the modern world.

From deep in the Peruvian Amazon, the Ma-Pi peeps rarely venture into the open — only to the riverbank to collect turtle eggs or reeds to make boats.

In the photographs they look confident and fit; compact and muscled, their bare feet as big and wide as shoeboxes, all the better to bound through the rainforest.

Time for a sofa The Ikea catalogue has enormous reach

Time for a sofa The Ikea catalogue has enormous reach

However, what really amazed me was that they were sitting quite happily there on a log, reading the Ikea catalogue.

Well, not quite — but not quite impossible either. For the Ikea catalogue has an enormous reach. It is the biggest circulation mag in the world, with more than 197 million copies published every year.

After the Bible and the Harry Potter books, it is the third most printed publication on the planet.

Our appetite for God, the Goblet of Fire and flatpack Pax wardrobes, not to mention the Billy bookcase, has never been greater.

Never mind the Amazonian tribesmen, what does this worship of the stackable, the foldaway and the flokati say about us

Heavy price to pay for being civilised

A gang of terrorists inspired by al Qaeda have admitted plotting to set off a bomb in the London Stock Exchange.

The nine men compiled a detailed list of targets for their terror campaign, including tourist hotspots such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye.

They wanted to kill as many innocent people as possible. You can practically feel the heat of the hate that courses though their veins.

And now, because they have pleaded guilty, the four who confessed to the most serious crimes could be out of jail within six years. The others are likely to serve much less time in prison.

They plotted to maim and kill, they planned to build nail bombs and pipe bombs — but they’ll be back on the streets in the blink of an eye.

As far as punishment goes, this is just not enough. That is our fault for being a civilised and evolved society.

How can these men live in a country they despise If they hate it here so much, why don’t they just leave and go somewhere that suits them better, instead of trying to kill us all


The Muppets are back with an eponymous new movie and — gasp — a controversy. U.S. TV channel Fox News has blasted the film for pushing a ‘dangerous liberal agenda’ and trying to ‘brainwash kids against capitalism’.

This is because the villain of the film is an oil tycoon called Tex Richman. Booo! Even if little kiddies can see it’s a joke. Hurrah!

Rock star Alice Cooper

Miss Piggy

Katherine Jenkins

Related Rock star Alice Cooper, Miss Piggy and singer Katherine Jenkins

(PS Fox, the cow didn’t really jump over the moon and Popeye gets his strength from working out, not just spinach, OK You’re welcome.)

Still, lovely to have the Muppets back. And like true stars, they have returned from a decade in the showbiz wilderness looking spookily the same.

Especially Miss Piggy. Age has not withered her. She’s nothing short of ham-azing.

Indeed, the porky star has even launched her own muppetational make-up range for Mac; eyeshadow, false eyelashes and eyeliner.

Modelling them in her glam gold jacket, who does Miss Piggy look like A cross between Alice Cooper and Katherine Jenkins, is my guess.

However, I know exactly who she sounds like every time she opens her gorgeous snout — television host Piers Morgan.

Everything she says could have been uttered by him. Typical quote: ‘I’ve already achieved a ridiculously high level of international celebritude.

Being coveted, fted and worshipped is something I’ve grown used to.’
Who said it Piggy or Piersy

This sexpot souffle has sunk already
Wannabe: TV chef Aldo Zilli's daughter, Laura, is making a half-baked attempt to be the next Nigella

Wannabe: TV chef Aldo Zilli's daughter, Laura, is making a half-baked attempt to be the next Nigella

Laura Zilli — daughter of television chef Aldo Zilli — is the latest wannabe launching a half-boiled attempt to be the new Nigella.

Please Laura, don’t do it. Turn off your smokin’ grill right now. For that cheesy, sexpot souffle is overdone. It’s gone rancid. Whatever it is you’re selling, no one is buying it.

Miss Zilli (below) calls herself the High Class Cooker, although the details of her new career as a culinary star are laughably vague. There is a ‘book’ and a ‘show’, although not details about when and how.

The why High Class Cooker will teach novices the culinary basics. ‘It will not be salacious,’ insists Laura. ‘It’ll show people it’s possible to cook in your Jimmy Choos and prepare a three-course dinner, yet still look fabulous.’

Dearie me. There is also a lot of unsisterly fighting talk about how other television cooks are rubbish. Laura thinks Nigella Lawson’s a blobso who uses too much full fat. She says that Sophie Dahl has no credibility.

And what does she think her own credentials are, apart from having a (quite) famous dad

Number one, she’s Italian. Uh-oh. Sound the homemade cannelloni klaxon. Laura, simply being Italian is not a qualification. Once eating an ice cream on holiday in Rome doesn‘t make you Giorgio Locatelli.

It’s all nonsense from a know-nothing wannabe. She’s just another pretty girl throwing showbiz pizzas at the wall, hoping one will stick.

There are a lot of talented, hard-working chefs and authors out there. I can think of at least six who actually deserve a television series. Laura Zilli isn’t one of them.