Claudia Winkleman on getting over other people's perfect lives

Back on our screens with Strictly and definitely on our reading list with her debut book, Quite, the funny and fabulous Claudia Winkleman is here to get a few things off her chest

claudia winkleman

Back on our screens with Strictly and definitely on our reading list with her debut book, Quite, the funny and fabulous Claudia Winkleman is here to get a few things off her chest

Maybe it's that fringe, maybe it's her one liners, or maybe it's her legendary eyeliner skills, but can we please bow down to the TV gold that is Claudia Winkleman. I'm a loud and proud fan of the smoky-eyed one, which is why I couldn't wait to read her first memoir, Quite. I mean, who doesn't want to plunge full-on into the wonderful world of the Winkleman?

Sharing her thoughts on melted cheese, how it's never OK to sleep with someone who judges your date outfit, why nurses are our most precious national treasure, and much much more. So, for those of you who haven't yet clicked Quite to add to basket, Claudia Winkleman is here sharing her feelings on the madness of comparing yourself to others. Yes, we all do it and as the Winkleman says, 'stop it now'. Over to Claudia...

'Evaluate sweaters, weigh up the differences between your local restaurants, check all the holidays on offer before you purchase. That’s good common sense.

But don’t compare yourself to humans. It’s a mantra I was taught early and am so grateful for it.

They’ve got a better kitchen, her boss clearly admires her more as she’s getting a company car, they must be more in love because they held hands all night. They have a fully-trained dog, why does ours jump up, eat all our socks and mount Grandma?

It always leads to misery, it’s unfair (both on them and you) and, without being too dramatic, it ends today.

claudia winkleman

Claudia Winkleman: funny and fabulous

Of course they have a better kitchen, it’s made out of solid marble, FFS. Don’t stress. They’re prettier, cleverer, and funnier too (this one hurts the most) and they're more in love. Be happy for them, life might not always go their way, something might be round the corner, so please don’t begrudge them the immaculately-behaved miniature Schnauzer, the great sex, the respect from their boss or the happiness. When they feel joy, feel it with them.

Stop worrying what others are doing

It’s just not sustainable to constantly worry about what everyone else is doing and if they’ve got it better. And if they do - maybe it’s genes, it’s luck, or perhaps it’s because they might just be… better. And that’s more than OK.

You want to be good enough for your parents and your siblings and your partner and your friends and, if you have them, your kids. Everything else is just croutons. Don’t want somebody’s life, take full responsibility for your own.

Also, while we’re here maybe let’s spend a second on people who post their flawless life. Our real friends reveal all the good and the bad but there are others whose life looks just like a postcard, like a movie.

They’re doing a star jump on a beach, their kids are in matching seersucker cotton shirts with perfect scruffy hair and beaming smiles, their house looks just right. Their lunch is perfectly placed and looks both delicious and healthy (I have yet to believe this food exists but I remain optimistic).

Live your life, don't post it

Maybe their life isn’t necessarily better than yours, maybe they just choose to show you the best bits and filter out the rest. Why are they not just serving up fluffy pancakes topped with some homemade organic compote? That would be the thing to do, I reckon. Gather the kids and family together for movie night with personalised tartan blankets but then maybe just, you know, live it instead of posting it.

Know that if someone is constantly looking for validation, if they’re saying ‘Look at us, isn’t it great?’ well, it might not be great. I love social media but it took me a while to grasp this.

Know that every great photo has been taken maybe three or four times. It’s not an accident she/he looks slim/is laughing/is holding the perfect glass of wine against the perfect backdrop. Why isn’t living it simply enough, why would they want to show every minute, every avocado on toast, every view from their hotel window?

claudia winkleman

Claudia's debut memoir is out now

I’m not saying they’re evil or are intentionally trying to make their friends jealous (that’s preposterous, we’re talking about grown-ups here) but it’s almost like if they haven’t captured it and shown it, maybe it didn’t happen?

Please remember a post is often, well, a boast. Your life is just as great. You managed to be at the zoo at the right time and saw the penguins being fed; he brought you a cup of coffee and ruffled your hair; she got a good mark in her biology even though she’s yet to fully grasp photosynthesis.

Comparing and contrasting is excellent and useful for bars and coats and cat breeds – not cool for people. Wish them well (I hope he gets a raise, she buys and wears that coat, am so happy their kids tan easily and play trombone) and be delighted for them.'

Quite by Claudia Winkleman is published by HQ, HarperCollins in hardback, eBook and audiobook

Maria Coole

Maria Coole is a contributing editor on Marie Claire.

Hello Marie Claire readers – you have reached your daily destination. I really hope you’re enjoying our reads and I'm very interested to know what you shared, liked and didn’t like (gah, it happens) by emailing me at:

But if you fancy finding out who you’re venting to then let me tell you I’m the one on the team that remembers the Spice Girls the first time round. I confidently predicted they’d be a one-hit wonder in the pages of Bliss magazine where I was deputy editor through the second half of the 90s. Having soundly killed any career ambitions in music journalism I’ve managed to keep myself in glow-boosting moisturisers and theatre tickets with a centuries-spanning career in journalism.

Yes, predating t’internet, when 'I’ll fax you' was grunted down a phone with a cord attached to it; when Glastonbury was still accessible by casually going under or over a flimsy fence; when gatecrashing a Foo Fighters aftershow party was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy and tapping Dave Grohl on the shoulder was... oh sorry I like to ramble.

Originally born and bred in that there Welsh seaside town kindly given a new lease of life by Gavin & Stacey, I started out as a junior writer for the Girl Guides and eventually earned enough Brownie points to move on and have a blast as deputy editor of Bliss, New Woman and editor of People newspaper magazine. I was on the launch team of Look in 2007 - where I stuck around as deputy editor and acting editor for almost ten years - shaping a magazine and website at the forefront of body positivity, mental wellbeing and empowering features. More recently, I’ve been Closer executive editor, assistant editor at the Financial Times’s How To Spend It (yes thanks, no probs with that life skill) and now I’m making my inner fangirl’s dream come true by working on this agenda-setting brand, the one that inspired me to become a journalist when Marie Claire launched back in 1988.

I’m a theatre addict, lover of Marvel franchises, most hard cheeses, all types of trees, half-price Itsu, cats, Dr Who, cherry tomatoes, Curly-Wurly, cats, blueberries, cats, boiled eggs, cats, maxi dresses, cats, Adidas shelltops, cats and their kittens. I’ve never knowingly operated any household white goods and once served Ripples as a main course. And finally, always remember what the late great Nora Ephron said, ‘Everything is copy.’