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A pop of colour, bucket lists, Puglia: Nicky Haslam's snarky annual tea towel is back

 (Nicky Haslam)
(Nicky Haslam)

Nicky Haslam is a shameless snob. After all, we’re talking about the interior designer who made his name with a column in this very newspaper called “How Common”. His takedowns during that time included, “Complaining about being ill” or “Going somewhere hot for Christmas”.

Now, each year his niche gripes are immortalised on his annual More Things Nicky Haslam Finds Common tea towel.

“I wrote in The Standard once a week about things that were irritating me, and, blow me down, last Christmas on Instagram there they were as a tea towel,” Haslam said in a 2020 New York Times interview on his now infamous tea towels. “Someone had printed them up, and they were selling like hot cakes.”

He took the idea and ran with it and this year's tea towel has just gone on sale. Among the things he disapproves of for 2023 are "bucket lists", "selling your business," "a pop of colour”, "Wales family in blue" and "podcasts."

It can be yours for £40 (£45 if you want it signed, £50 if you want it personalised); all you need to do is email info@nickyhaslamstudio.com to place an order. I for one can’t get past one thing: surely Haslam ought to find tea towels a bit naff? We got our answer when one commentator asked on his post, “What could be more common than this man selling tea towels.” To which Haslam clapbacked: “You reading them”.

Read on for some gems from his other tea towels...

2022

Upset that you’ll probably never get invited to The Met Ball, or be able to afford the £40,000 price tag for a seat, then don’t worry because Nicky Haslam decided it was over — at least in his books (or should we say tea towels). Also out: side plates, coriander, divorce, Bond Street, flavoured tonic water, binge watching, neck pillows and cockapoos. Here's the full list:

  • Porn

  • Hydrangeas

  • P.G Wodehouse

  • Online gambling

  • Book clubs

  • Vogue

  • Pigs in blankets

  • Wood burning stoves

  • Foundations

  • Ed Sheeran

  • Cushions on beds

  • Nostalgia

  • 'and then it's half term'

  • Space travellers

  • Tormented topiary

  • Gilets

  • Candles at lunchtime

  • Craft gins

  • Blush wine

  • Twenty's Plenty

  • Sadly passed

  • Happy Place

  • Hauser and Wirth

  • Tote bags

  • Conversation instead of discussion

  • Having 'A rock'

  • See it, Say it, Sort it

  • Stanley Johnson

  • 'Ladies' Day at Ascot

  • Carriages at...

  • 'Let's unpack that'

2021

In 2021 the list took aim at exhausting phrases such as “How do you know each other” and “I hate having my photo taken”. Gents, put your Savile Row suits away. Why? Because Haslam told you to. Same goes for “Out of office” email replies. Other honourable mentions: Soho House, Nikki Beaches, Richard Osman, jiggling your knee, quality time and godchildren older than 21. Here's the full list:

  • Art

  • Side plates

  • Chilies

  • Baby showers

  • Butterfly stroke

  • 'Gorgeous'

  • Being Teetotal

  • Awards ceremonies

  • Celebrity ambassadors

  • Books about Churchill

  • Instagrams of David Bowie

  • Two-bite canapés

  • Carver chairs

  • Signature dishes

  • 'Juliet' balconies

  • Loud laughter

  • Wrinkled socks

  • Assouline

  • Frida Kahlo

  • 'Have I taken your chair?'

  • Saying uz instead of us

  • Across the pond

  • Vegetables 'from our garden'

  • David Hockney exhibitions

  • Right-ho

  • Gilded country gates

2019

 (Nicky Haslam 2019  tea towel)
(Nicky Haslam 2019 tea towel)

With perhaps one of the most iconic call outs in the list's four year history: "loving your parents", 2019's list was one of absolute nonsense (another thing that Haslam found common three years ago). Also common to Haslam in 2019: not eating carbs (fair), cappuccinos after 11am, pronouncing the 'e' in furore, most young royals, Oxfordshire, Richard Branson and Caribbean at Christmas.

  • Scented candles

  • Film stars

  • Celebrity chefs

  • Ibiza

  • Bottled water

  • Living statues

  • Polo

  • Personal trainers

  • Jet lag

  • Being ill

  • Glass fruit in a bowl

  • Relaxing

  • iPods and box sets

  • Coloured bath towels

  • Vodka tonic

  • Skiing in France

  • Airline pyjamas

  • Saying 'bye bye'

  • Expensive bikes

  • Jazz

  • Halloween

  • Organic food

  • Most young Royals

  • Dress codes

  • Cufflinks and shirt studs

  • Scottish accents

  • Speeches at weddings

  • James Bond

  • Gourmet canapés

  • Using dog walkers

  • Going to the gym

  • Minding about smoking

2018

Nicky Haslam 2018 list (Nicky Haslam 2018 list)
Nicky Haslam 2018 list (Nicky Haslam 2018 list)

The inaugural snobby list that started it all, with silly, almost surrealist suggestions like, "washing hands after the loo", having guests remove their shoes, tours of the house, central heating, self-pity, rinsing fruit and cash machines.

  • Initials on shorts

  • Being on time

  • Duty free

  • Signet rings

  • Conservatories

  • Knighthoods

  • Coloured wellingtons

  • Wine collecting

  • Feedback

  • 'Bon appetit'

  • Sorbets

  • Art fairs

  • Farrow & Ball

  • Sailing

  • The Proms

  • Swans

  • 'Love' on cushions

  • Scarves

  • Pronouncing the last 't' in 'trait'

  • Exclamation marks

  • Eating early

  • Henley Regatta

  • Palm trees

  • Woman's Hour