Thursday, 1 September 2016

Toni My Story, by Toni Mascolo. Book review.

Hello. A book is a good place to get lost in, and I'm afraid that I don't always make time to read. I pick books from the library and often they only get a skim read, picking out a few pages. The last couple of weeks though I have needed to fill my brain with distractions and a book is a good way to do that. 
I like rags to riches stories, and I had heard of Toni & Guy the famous hairdressing conglomerate, but knew nothing about it's origins, so I chose this book. 
Toni Mascolo was born in a small town near Pompeii in 1942. His father was a barber. The whole family moved lock stock and barrel to London when Toni was 14 years old. They rented rooms in a large house which was occupied by several other Italian families. Toni's first recollections of an English school was to find no order or discipline, noise and wild behaviour was normal. He was shocked at the difference to his previous school in Italy. 
When he left school he worked with his father in a hairdressing salon. At the age of twenty he was devastated by the early death of his mother, and being the eldest son, he took over the role of keeping the family together. 
Jumping ahead a few years, Toni and his brother Guy opened their first salon in 1963, in Clapham Park Road. In ten years they bought two more salons, at Streatham and Mitcham, and realized that to establish themselves as leading London hairdressers, they had to move to the city. It's interesting to note that he said no one wanted to publicise a suburban salon, and the area around their salons was changing with a huge influx of immigrants moving into that part of South London. He said it was like introducing a nation into a nation when they all arrived at the same time. Funny how this is a talking point at the moment, history moves in circles.  Now, after half a century of amazing expansion, there are more than 500 salons across the world. 
On the whole I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed reading about the early years, the last few chapters focus mainly on the expansion of the company, which would be of particular interest to anyone looking for lessons on how to grow a business. Give it a go.
Yesterdays dinner. Onions, chick peas, mushrooms, half a tin of tomatoes, and Quorn sausages, on two microwaved potatoes. I made two portions and about to have the second for lunch today. 
The sun is shining and I'm off to road test the boots shortly, so I'll say tatty byes for now.
Toodle pip


  1. Sounds interesting. I hope you are feeling a little bit happier, or at least getting over the shock. It takes a while but does get easier, in my experience. Susan x

  2. We used to go to a Toni and Guy Beauty School, it has now changed hands. I remember reading his/their story in a big book which was in the reception area.

    You are doing well filling your mind and life with new plans following the sad time you just went through. I noticed that well over 200 readers have sent e mail condolences and I have a suggestion for all of us. What if each one of us sent some small donation to an Animal Shelter ( no kill) as a remembrance of Ilona's much loved Rocky? If someone cannot afford any kind of financial donation, how about performing a random act of kindness totally anonymously for someone? I think this would help Ilona in her mourning too. JanF

    1. What a nice idea. I am going to do both (donation and act of kindness). Thank you, Jan, for the idea. Susan x

    2. excellent idea - will be making a donation to Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk and remember lovely Rocky. onlyjo x

  3. Keep taking care of you ....... xx

  4. Interesting to read about the book Rags to Riches - I didn't expect to hear "English school was to find no order or discipline" I always thought the rules were on the strict side but clearly not his experience.

    Pleased to hear that the boots are working out so far and hope you are just as keen once you are back from your walk.

    Take care. Always enjoy your blog whatever you post about.

  5. I had no idea Toni & Guy was a conglomerate. A few years ago they purchased the hairdressing school where I live in northern Idaho, USA.

    I would love it if you told Rocky's story. Our beloved Lulu went to sleep for the last time about 3 months ago, and we (and the other dog) still are not over it. We adopted a terrier on Monday and were devastated to learn yesterday he has congenital knee problems. We have already bonded--he is such a sweet little guy--and don't think anyone else would give him a chance. We decided we would.

  6. Hi, Ilona; i'm sending in my miles for the month. It went up to 79. I'm happy with that although my work hours have increased, too. I'm not giving up, though.
    Have a fabulous day!

  7. I like those kinds of stories, too Ilona. And you are right...the more things change, the more they stay the same. It is truly a circle, isn't it?
    Hope the boots are top notch for you.
    My miles for August were only 67. Good enough. It's been raining like mad here, so that will have to do.
    Glad you are getting out into the sunshine. Always a salve for the soul.
    Lisa in Miami

  8. Unrelated, but I was wondering what your opinion is on the new requirement to have a TV licence to watch iPlayer. Will you be buying one or do you not consider it worth it?

    Not a criticism! I also only watch catchup TV.

    1. Hi. No, I will not be buying a licence and I won't be watching iplayer. It isn't worth it for me, I don't have to watch BBC I can manage without it.

      There is a discussion on MSE forum.

    2. By the way, you can watch all the other catchups but not BBC, though I don't know how they tell if you are. They are relying on people being honest.

    3. Thanks!

      Very frustrating as BBC offers the least of all catchup services, yet is the most expensive.

      Anyway, won't derail your post further. Enjoy your evening!

  9. Books are wondrous places, I agree. I've just finished reading Karen Wheeler's trilogy about her decision to quit London and move to a little French village all on her own. They are beautifully written well observed pieces on the rural French and Brit expats. Had me laughing and crying. Tout Sweet, Tout Allure and Tout Soul.

    I have to say that reading them I felt like I was transported away from the UK and living in her village and having coffee in the square and stuffing my face with patisserie, tres bon! I've just ordered her 4th book from the library Sweet Encore.

    Linda (no relation to Karen)xx

  10. An interesting story Ilona. I always thought it was a husband and wife team and certainly did not realise they had been going so long. Glad you are reading it's quite relaxing esoecially if you gave lots of unsettling thoughts. I have been re-reading the Monica Ferris books, very light reading but interesting the way she touches on so much needlework/knitting in her stories.
    Hope your boots were comfortable.
    Hazel c uk

  11. During our 45 years of marriage, we have had numerous dogs. Hate to call them dogs....they are our companions, our fitness trainers, and now our kids. All of them have had different personalities. How can that be...they are dogs?! No, they were part of our family and just like a family member we mourned each one when they passed. Great to stay busy at this time but I do hope you allow yourself a good does help.
    Cannot imagine a day without reading. Only read at night just before bed (too busy during daylight hours). I joke I'm reading myself a bed time story. Never heard of Toni & Guy but it isn't my type of read. Love detective stories and have recently discovered Deborah Crombie. Love the Gemma James and Dunkan Kincaid series. They are Scotland yard detectives.
    Ilona I am truly sorry for your loss. Only time seems to heal this kind of hurt. Have a blessed day. Patty Mc

  12. In the 1970s when I worked in London Toni always cut my hair at Toni And Guy. A few years in my late teenage years when I was well off as I worked in a bank in Regent Street and lived at home with my parents. My daughter cuts my hair now but I remember Toni as a funny charming young man. Jane xx

  13. I am the same about books; I always think I'll read more when I'm retired. I just feel I won't have the same energy as you have to do other things. Anyway, a good read and a long walk work wonders to alleviate the pain in a bruised heart ! Hope the road test went smoothly; I walk quite a bit but I have never bought walking boots because frankly, they scare me !! xx

  14. Hope the boots work out ok. I've just bought some new ones a whole size bigger than usual but they are really comfortable with extra thick socks. My total miles at the end of August is 667. Managed to catch up with a few long days but now my knees are letting me know!


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