My first trip to the pictures with my Mum!

My first trip to the pictures with my Mum!


I was unlucky, in that my beloved Mum died when I was just 17, and of course in the passage of time, memories fade, but there are one or two things that I’ll always remember and when I hear, or see them again, reminds me just of her.

Although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, my Mum was quite a fashionable woman. She was a well-respected director’s secretary, and her ‘uniform’ of choice was usually a shift dress with a coat to match set off with a sparkly brooch, or small row of pearls.

An evocative fragrance for me!

An evocative fragrance for me!

She flirted with perfumes, and was always looking for a kind of ‘signature’ smell, and she surely did find it when Estee Lauder launched YOUTH DEW.  My Mum was overjoyed, and from her very first bottle, she was hooked, you definitely smelt her gorgeousness, before you actually saw her, and when she left the room, her fragrance remained long after!

It’s not a fashionable perfume now of course, but when an elegant lady of advancing years passes me by wearing it I can easily identify it.

My Mum had a sister who lived hours away from us, in the north of England, but every few months, my auntie would travel down to London, and we’d all meet up at Lyons Corner House, then on for some shopping in Selfridges, and sometimes to see a film or a show.

 As a young girl in the 60’sI don’t recall that film censorship was so prevalent then as it is today.  I remember going to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s and even at that age, thinking that Audrey Hepburn was the most wonderful woman.

Moon River still brings back happy thoughts of sitting eating ice-creams served from a tray by a ‘waitress’ in the interval!

Just as today’s young women go to concerts to see  Michael Buble and Gary Barlow, my Mum’s ‘hero’ was a singer called Frank Ifield.  A handsome blonde man, who had the uncanny knack of bringing a kind of yodelling into his love songs!

I do still remember you!

I do still remember you!

My first live concert that I ever saw was at the once famous London Palladium, and I’m sure I saw I my Mum swooned as the handsome young man sang ‘I Remember You oooooo’!   When I hear it now on the radio, I smile at the thought of her being entranced as she watched him sing it on the big stage.

I really envy 60 year old daughters who still have their old Mum in their life. So many grumble and groan about the responsibility of looking after them, but I’d give my right arm to have to look after mine now.

What brings back happy memories of your beloved parents?



IMG_0100What can be more upsetting at your wedding than guests behaving badly?

I’m not really talking about a bout of fisticuffs on the dance floor, or any other type of aggressive behaviour. This is about being inconsiderate to your host, and showing appalling bad manners.

Working at a wedding venue, means that I’m lucky enough to be involved in 3 or 4 celebrations a week, taking care of the newlyweds and guests during the wedding breakfast, which is usually a three course meal, including speeches, and toasts to the happy couple.

There are normally 8 or so, beautifully decorated round tables, full of chattering friends and relatives whilst the bride, groom and close family oversee the room from a vantage point of the traditional long ‘top’ table. In the run up to the wedding, very often for months, sometimes years, the bride plans how the room will look, who will sit next to who, and she will choose centrepieces for the tables to compliment her colour scheme.

It’s hard to imagine the amount of thought, and often stress, that goes into ensuring everything looks just perfect for guests to enjoy.   IMG_0101 So once these same guests have been welcomed into this lovely setting, and wine is poured for them, and tasty food is put in front of them, why can’t grown men and women, survive two hours, without leaving the table, to go outside and smoke a cigarette?

It honestly has to be seen to be believed. At almost every wedding, people will scurry outside 3 or 4 times in the space of a couple of hours. As soon as they have finished eating each course, they are patting at their pockets, or delving into handbags, for the familiar outline of the cigarette packet, and rush outside to draw on a cigarette like a dying man draws on oxygen.

Just before the speeches there is often almost a complete exodus, which leaves the room looking like a sad café. But last week I saw something even more indicative of today’s lack of social skills and consummate bad manners.

We had a wedding where the bride was let’s just say a bit ‘difficult’ and ‘particular’ about her wedding day.  She had the air of a ‘diva’ about her, and everything had to be even more just so, than it usually is. During her wedding breakfast, the starters had been cleared away, and the smoking fraternity had made their first dash for a nicotine fix, huddled together in groups all around the gardens.

The waitresses began to serve the top table first, with their main course, of crispy beef wellington, with all the trimmings. Eight portions were placed in front of empty seats, and whilst gradually the other diners returned to enjoy their food, the eight chairs at the top table remained empty with cooling plates of food still untouched.

Yes, whilst her new husband and closest family still stood outside preferring the company and taste of their cigarettes, and despite her quest for perfection, the bride was left sitting completely alone, with her plate of food, at the top table she had decorated so beautifully, looking very forlorn and unhappy.

Manners Maketh Man……….and all that.



DSC_0326I’m lucky enough to work at a very lovely wedding venue, where, on arrival guests are served with a variety of welcome drinks. This might be something like Bucks Fizz, a lovely summery Pimm’s or very often a drink called Kir Royale.

Traditionally, Kir Royale is made from Crème de Cassis, which is a gorgeous rich dark syrup made from blackcurrants.  It is usually mixed with sparkling wine or champagne, and served in flutes.

Last week a collegue was trying to be helpful and laid out all the essential items for us to make our large serving jugs of Kir Royale. She also kindly poured the fruit syrup into the bottom of the jugs, ready for us to top it up with a chilled sparkling wine.

Corks were popped and the fizz was fizzing.  However, on this occasion something had gone very wrong.  Our usually lovely, pale pink cocktails, had a distinct look of Tizer about them and were in fact bright orange.

We scratched our heads and sniffed and sipped, until all was revealed.

GRENADINE was the culprit.  Our ‘helper’ had mistakenly used Grenadine instead of Crème de Cassis and we’d already made up several jugs of the stuff before we noticed.

Well, as you can imagine, being an alcoholic drink, it seemed a shame to pour it away, so we hastily found some empty bottles and decanted the strange looking potion, which we decided couldn’t be ‘that’ bad and to save any waste we would take it home and focus on the sparkling wine part of the drink rather than the Grenadine.

It was an any old port in a storm situation really. If it contains alcohol, it’ll be fine…..that kind of thinking.

Trust me, words cannot describe how horrible it was.   Such a disappointment!