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!


If you find yourself living alone, either through choice, or circumstance, here are some affordable things that can make it a whole lot nicer. I know they make a difference, and make you feel instantly better, no matter how crap things are.


double bed.Your bed is really your sanctuary so make it as comfortable and snuggly as possible. Get your bedside lamps just right for reading, and all your bits and bobs close to hand on your beside table. Snuggling down into your bed after a lovely bath or shower is one of the best things ever. Now, not only is the duvet is all yours, the snoring will be all yours too. That’s just one good thing about living alone. 




cup and saucerBreakfast tea, afternoon tea, anytime tea, simply tastes so much better when you drink it from a bone china cup.  Honestly, I have no idea why, but it does. Try it, you’ll see. Don’t go buying the value pack T bags either. 160 Clipper unbleached T Bags are THE best, and they will be worth the extra pennies.





Make your tea in your lovely china cup and saucer,  grab the paper from the letter box and cosy up in bed while you dip in and out of whatever interests you in the Sunday supplements. Yes, of course you can keep up to speed on world affairs just by watching the News at Ten but there is something lovely and indulgent about devouring the Sunday papers in bed. Read the film reviews, which might inspire you to want to go to the pictures. Believe me, sitting in the cinema, watching a film on your own can become a guilty pleasure. How do I know?  – My lips are sealed!


croissant-319534_640I’ve become Aldi woman during the week, but, that means I can have a few treats at the weekend. If there’s just YOU, buy small quantities of nice things that you know you will enjoy. Swap the £4.99 bottle of wine for a special offer, £6.99 one, that has also been heavily reduced.

Buy a tub of Millicano coffee, instead of your usual store brand, add a splash of real cream instead of milk, you will ‘taste the difference’!  You can now buy what you like, even if you are on a budget, you are only buying for one, YOU,  so make sure it’s good quality. One pot of Beau Maman black currant preserve is worth 3 pots of blackcurrant Basics, a lovely flaky croissant, beats crustless tasteless toast all day long!  Combine the three, and be good to yourself!


Nothing beats a lazy afternoon on the sofa, snuggled up in a cosy blanket reading your favourite magazines, or losing yourself in back to back episodes of the latest box set, or even, dare I say it, the Omnibus edition of Emmerdale and Corrie. There is NOBODY to answer to, It’s OK to be lazy, no-one will know!




red shoeOut of all the little aches, pains and niggly bits, that twinge here and there, as you get a little bit older BUNIONS are in a league of their own. 

Shopping for shoes is no longer a pleasure and finding gorgeous shoes to compliment a trendy outfit AND accommodate a bunion will take more time than choosing a dress, hat, bag, bangles and beads put together!

I don’t believe bunions are a result of wearing unsuitable shoes in your ‘yoof’.

Yes I wore killer heels in my 20’s, but it was only my heels that got blisters, and my little toe that was squashed to a pulp, so why are my bunions situated where they are!    It’s a mystery!

For those of you with slim dainty feet, who have no problem slipping your tippy toes into the prettiest of shoes, you cannot imagine the pain we bunion heads suffer as we slide our feet into that inviting low cut pump – very aptly named in my view, as the pain does indeed pump through your foot. feet

A strappy sandal must be ‘strapped’ to either get over or under the protrusion never across it! Peep toes, court shoes, Mary Jane’s – forget it!

Even a Marks and Sparks Footglove should be cautioned under the trades description act.  Someone invent a Bunshoe please!

Here’s some handy tips if you are in the bunion club

If you have found a shoe that makes your feet happy, let us know!






Can I be alone in questioning the increasing amount of ‘victims’ coming out of the woodwork some 50 and more years after their ‘abuse ordeal’?

Whilst I acknowledge rape is, and will always be a hideous thing to either perpetrate or endure’, I do feel there are some women who have chosen to let much lesser ordeals blight their life, using it as an excuse for every relationship breakdown, and a reason why their life has turned out the way it has.

A recent letter in the press told of how a ‘mature woman’ had her whole life blighted by an assault which had taken place some 40 years earlier, and the attack had left her feeling useless and afraid to be normal and that her family had turned against her.


Why would you feel ‘useless’ and ‘afraid to be normal’? Why would friends and family ‘shun’ you over something that was not your fault?

Shouldn’t women accept ‘some’ responsibility for continually dwelling on their admittedly horrible experiences and, instead of using it as a reason for every other misfortune that has happened since prefer to put it behind them and get on with their lives?

As a 16-year-old girl working in the East End of London in the late 60s, I too experienced the indignity of being ‘groped’ by my then boss, on almost a daily basis. My bum was regularly pinched by much older men, and as young office juniors, my friends and I were easy targets for the lecherous company Director when he demanded we accompany him on unnecessary journey’s in his Rolls Royce, where his clammy hand would land on our thigh and would have travelled further without a sharp slap and a shout of ‘get off’.

It went on all the time, it was part of life which we laughed off, describing him simply as a ‘dirty old man’ and if cornered by someone else whose intentions were even more inappropriate, a loud, more enhanced version of ‘go away’ worked wonders.

Things were different in every way back then, and I just don’t feel the police and media should react to things that happened in the 60s with the same zero intolerance level which we now apply in 2022

How can you define now, what constituted actual ‘sexual abuse’ back then? It probably had a different meaning to different types of women.  An unwanted kiss on the lips may be described as an assault by one woman, but completely ignored by another.  A male hand against a female breast may be brushed off by a strong-minded street-wise girl, but be seen as something far more sinister by another less worldly woman.

 One thing is for sure, to let any man’s inappropriate behaviour blight your life for 50 years, is surely only prolonging his power over you. You are only a ‘victim’ if you allow yourself to continue to be one, and possibly only have yourself to blame if you choose to let these experiences ruin your life.

Let’s be clear here, rape is a totally different situation, to someone having their bum pinched. I do not wish to trivialise in any way the trauma some people have been through. Let’s not blur these lines.

Have you ever experienced ‘wandering hands’, or something more sinister?



SNORING – grounds for divorce!?

 Something that relationship experts never tell you when they give out their advice on what to look for in a prospective partner is, ‘DOES HE SNORE?’

Well, take my advice. Forget about the fact that he is kind and caring, he sprays and flosses daily, he’s romantic and he makes you laugh.

If he snores all night, trust me, you won’t be laughing then.

After a few nights of disturbed sleep, you will feel ready to kill the very next time you hear his breathing change and his throat start to rumble. You know what’s coming. Right.

Are your nights like mine? I got to bed at least 3 hours before the man just to get ahead of the game. To his credit, he does ‘try’ to be quiet, when he gets into bed. But men don’t really do ‘quiet’ do they!

For some reason, known only to himself, for a start, he has to scratch his legs all over before swinging them under the duvet – why?

Then, after the plumping of the pillows, there’s the yawning, the sighing, and quite a bit of tossing and turning, before peace finally descends.

But then heaven forbid if he rolls onto his back, it’s game over.

To start with, for the first session of snoring, I’m reasonably sweet and lovely. I tap his leg with my toes and whisper sssssshhhhh and he stops for at least a whole minute. But as the time goes on, I get progressively more demented and the gentle tap becomes a kick and the soft whisper becomes a full-on FFS shut up!

Sometimes I simply give up and get up. The dog looks confused as I make him shove up on the sofa while I drink a consoling cup of tea, then,  the snorer goes quiet, I creep back into bed, desperate not to wake him in case he rolls onto the wrong position and the whole thing starts all over again.

Isn’t it THE most annoying thing, firstly be disturbed and woken up by the snoring, then to have to lie awake listening to someone who is actually in the deep sleep you want to be enjoying.
Oh, the irony of it all.

And how I hate myself when I have to get up before him in the morning and find myself creeping silently around the bedroom, just in case I wake him up.

Please tell me I am not alone!