The Sunday Times Column: design your own perfume? Welcome to my personal hell.


Ihave a really limited skill set. There are fewer than four things I am good at, and one of those is playing Twister. I was a nightmare for the careers adviser at school. Thank goodness I stumbled upon journalism when I did.

I am no Renaissance woman — I’d much rather outsource my life. If I could afford to pay professionals to do everything for me, I would. Which is why I don’t understand why we’re all sold on this new DIY culture that presents itself as some kind of luxury. It’s not.

It started with the promise that you could personalise everything: your diet, your Twitter profile, your tattoos, your shampoo. Then things became even more personal — items were not just bespoke, but individually “curated” by you. So now companies allow you to design your own cupcakes, with a frosting of your choice — sparkly blue or orange? — or mix your own perfume combining all your favourite smells.

In the culinary world, it’s not only Burger King that allows you to Have It Your Way; proper restaurants are getting in on the trend, letting you cook things yourself, at your table, and styling the menu to suit you. You can design personalised pizzas, tailor-make stir fries and create your own frozen yoghurts.


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