Old Bag / New Bag

It has to be one of the most exciting experiences – I was going to say ‘if u r a girl of my age’, but actually, I have ALWAYS loved a new bag!!

better bag

It is almost like becoming a new person – and in this case, a much more organised, sophisticated person….Oh dear – I think that every time – but this time – my new bag – which is actually ‘two bags plus a purse’ – really does have a pocket for everything – never again will I lose my keys, glasses, mobile phone…


I love my old bag of course…a beautiful, grey, polka dot, Cath Kidston – practical as well as pretty I thought…except, it is actually a bit low on pockets and if I ever need to take a magazine with me, which is quite often in my job, I am literally bursting out all over the place! Laptop? God help me – I need another bag – so I really am all over the place


Where on earth my phone, glasses and keys are by now – just don’t ask!

No more though…now I have my new bag – more a ‘system’ really – for storing items that I need constantly, such as, aforesaid, phone, keys and glasses and for carrying them around whilst looking intelligent and fashionable, I hope – rather than hopelessly dis-organised and a bit weird.


wee bag

both bags

There is literally somewhere to put everything – somewhere ‘I’ can find things, but a pick pocket would struggle to – joy!! I can just leave the house so quickly now, because I know where everything is – I will never again walk for miles around my house looking for my sunglasses, missing trains, arriving late for friends…to find they have made new friends in the meantime and no longer wish to know me!

Thank you Fiona of My Boutique Home, interior designer and purveyor of a selection of bags that will change your life.

A bit busy

Prompted by Laura Ashley, very kindly sending me this beautiful throw…here I am grabbing a little bit of ‘me time’…they have sent a throw to 15 bloggers and they are looking for 15 different uses for their lovely throws…I am using mine to wrap myself up to enjoy a hot chocolate…the Christmas tree is done…

throw looking away

I can remember trying to arrange a Christmas shoot with a family and apologising wildly, saying: ‘I know it is awkward – such a busy time of year’ and they replied ‘not for us it isn’t – we do nothing between Xmas and New Year…that is what it is all about for us’

Absolutely right aren’t they? However, I think it is the run up that is so mad…school concerts, shopping, work drinks, family visits…so hard to fit in a bit of ‘doing nothing’

However, we do have choices, we can focus more on family and friends than ‘getting the house ready’…Is anyone else guilty of feeling the house ‘has to be ready’ to invite folk round??

What is that all about?? What kind of friends or relatives would not want to come round unless the house was ‘ready’??

Well, we are ready! You can come and see us!


Eva’s room

We have just done a makeover of a bedroom in our house for our daughter – part of a major shift around resulting from building our garden building…more about that in future posts – it is very nearly ready!


Lovely offer from Argos, when they realised that we were doing this, of some furniture. It is always good to have a fresh look at the Argos catalogue – they are constantly updating and re-inventing themselves – very good to know that they now stock Habitat as well!

Abigail bed

We chose this very pretty ‘Abigail’ bed and ivory full length mirror.

Ivory full length mirror

The curtains conceal a wall of wardrobe storage…


Eva has a sewing table now…it is just a length of oak kitchen worktop resting on a cupboard and a chest of drawers…

three way mirror

Elsewhere in the room we created a dressing table with this lovely three way mirror from Argos.

'London, Paris, New York' wallpaper

‘London, Paris, New York’ wallpaper from B&Q, other bits and pieces, Ikea


Happy Valentines

paper heart

Was utterly charmed to meet at a Business Women’s Networking lunch, a lovely, lovely lady, Karen Barr of Beswitchedon A life style coach who specialises in helping single ladies find a relationship and who guarantees single clients that they will achieve better connections with friends, family, and men within 8 sessions of coaching by her. Even though I am an old married lady by now, relationships are still a priority for me and I suspect that this is true for everyone. For single people, relationships with friends and family are a huge support and if you are married or have a partner it is always going to be something that needs attention – it does not get easier after a few years unfortunately!!

I asked Karen for a few words of inspiration that I could share with my readers on Valentines Day and she sent this, a twenty-first century guide to meeting people online.

Internet dating is THE new way to meet people. However there are still a lot of sceptics out there. Here are my top tips for safe and effective internet dating…

1. Facts about Internet Dating
60% of all single people who are looking are looking on-line
That means there are around 90 million people searching on line right now!
One in 5 marriages from the last 3 years are couples who met on the internet
I personally have been to the weddings of 4 internet couples, and know at least 10 more who are married or long term dating.

So it DOES work!

2. Attitude is everything!
One of the first things you need to get clear is your attitude. My favourite expression is “You reap what you sow”, so if you don’t believe the internet will work for you then it won’t. I do however empathise with you because I thought for a long time that the type of guy I wanted to meet would never be anywhere near the internet looking for a partner. WRONG!!

3. Intention
Once you have cleaned up your attitude, write out a statement of intention stating that you will put the appropriate effort into finding love on-line.

4. Writing a great profile
The key here is to know yourself and who you are looking for. Most women don’t think twice about the type of man they want, they just date anyone who is interested – no much wonder it doesn’t work out.

First, write out the top 5 adjectives that best describe you – these can include things you like to do. Then write out a statement that proves each one! Yes, just like a competency based interview! “Tell me a time when you…”

For example, have you any idea how many people say they like to travel?? So instead of just saying “I like to travel”, say something like, “One of my favourite cocktail moments was sipping Daquiri’s in Hemmingway’s Bar in Havana” or “I love watching the sun set over Hong Kong Harbour”. You get the idea. This is ‘show and tell’ stuff!

If you are extrovert and spontaneous, say so! An introverted planner needs to know that.

5. Invest in a decent photo
There is no excuse for not having a good clear head and shoulder shot. Get it done professionally if you really want to make a good impression. Men love women in red (a cliché I know but its true!) And show just a little cleavage – just a LITTLE mind!!

If you have to have a picture of you on your mountain bike, or you with your cuddly toy collection, have them as additional photos, not the main one.

6. Which site do I use?
Well, this is a bit like joining gym, it doesn’t matter which one you join, it’s using it that counts.

As I long suspected, recent research suggests that sites with psychometric profiling are a bit of a waste of time, so I wouldn’t bother with those. I also think that anyone who won’t even pay for a subscription shows lack of commitment, so I would also avoid those too.

Generally, the top sites such as match.com, cupid.com or datingdirect.com are good. So are the ones associated with newspapers such as Guardian Soulmates or Telegraph Dating depending on your political allegiance!

7. “Dos”
Do flirt, wink, favourite, or whatever the site allows. Or just go straight for it and email someone you like the look of directly.

Do go on-line often; most men won’t even bother with you if they see you haven’t been on-line for a few days, so try to do this at least every 48 hours.

Ask questions relating to your date’s profile, there is nothing nicer than knowing someone has actually read about you and is showing a genuine interest

8. “Don’ts”
In my experience, there are a few men who think that having a relationship based on emails or text is acceptable. If they are always texting and never calling – forget it.

Same with emails. If you are looking for someone local and can meet up easily, do so as soon as you feel comfortable.

ALWAYS speak on the phone before you agree to meet up. THIS SHOULD BE A NON NEGOTIABLE RULE. I think you get a much better feel for the person if you can talk to them. And besides, if you can happily chat to them for 30 minutes or so on the phone, then at least you know you can manage a decent conversation even if the spark is not there.

9. The Date
Go somewhere central – this just makes sense for safety’s sake. And always get your own way there and home.
Tell friends where you are going , and text them once you are on your way home. I’m sure they are dying to know how it went anyway!

Only stay for an hour. I think this is the easiest way to get out of a tricky situation. Tell your date that you only have one hour for a quick drink or a coffee. If it’s going well you can always change your mind or if it’s going really well, you have the rest of your lives to spend more time together.

10. Keep at it
It is very easy to get jaded if you are not finding anyone to your liking on the site. This is where you have to remember your commitment to yourself.
Just go out and enjoy meeting new people. It might not all end in ‘happy ever after’ but if you decide to have fun and be interested in others, you will find people interested in you.

Leaf heart Gummy Sweets

Wow, some real eye-openers there…Do men like women in red?? Her advice about meeting up as soon as possible, I think is very pertinent. Sorry to add a cynical note to this most romantic of subjects, but unfortunately you do get married men on dating websites and their inevitable reluctance to actually meet or suspiciously tight ‘work’ schedules are a real give away.

Inspiring though…get in touch with Karen through her website Beswitchedon

Happy, Happy, Happy 2013

Xmas disasters in our house included our TV blowing 5 minutes before the start of the final episode of Homeland….YES 5 Minutes…and NO it is NOT just as good the next day on 4OD…especially if you live in a small village and your broadband speed is about as reliable as the local bus.

A few of you might also have noticed that my blog broke down…hence my radio silence over the festive break and my ‘Dear Santa’ post at the beginning of January…?? So sorry.

However, I was saved from freaking out completely hearing that my dear friend Marie’s husband, fellow photographer, John Owen, fell on Christmas Eve and ended up in hospital with a cracked rib and a punctured lung…

That kind of news puts things in perspective, so I decided to pull myself together and just enjoy Christmas…We were invited to my brother, who very sensibly married Elaine, who does a very nice Christmas indeed, so a lovely time was had by all.

New Year at our house was based on ‘The Killing’ our favourite Scandinavian Crime drama. Had not quite realised how complicated these murder mystery dinner parties are – have been to a couple already – can’t remember much about either of them…(oh dear, wonder why?)

table decs

Made a real effort with my table decorations at least.

Anyway, everyone arrived beautifully togged up, as various Danish characters, only most were not equipped with the right reading glasses, which made following the script quite difficult.

Trish & Adria

Adria and Dave

Never mind though, a few drinks and a couple of well known Abba songs later and we were completely into the swing of it. I am ashamed to say, we never quite worked out who did it though.

Doug & Dave

A working TV is not everything…you can always visit friends and neighbours who have one.