Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Mini World

I am a girl and am not interested in cars, I see them as a means to simply get me where I want to go in the safest way possible. However, I am lucky enough to own a beautiful Mini Clubman (that's an estate version of the Mini), and it is the ideal vehicle for me to zip about the countryside and squeeze into small spaces when I am in London, it also fits in the small herd, two dogs and Handsome Husband, so is a multi-tasking beauty, just like me.

I recently had to take my lovely Mini in for a Service. Normally this is a tiresome event, and does not take long enough to warrant a courtesy car so I have to wait about reading out of date issues of What Car, Classic Car or Top Gear, none of which are normally on my reading radar. To top that the showroom seating is uncomfortable and there is a ghastly coffee machine, that splutters out something that looks more like weak ale than coffee and I cannot tell you what it tastes like as I surreptitiously poured it into the plant pot next to the brochures.

This visit turned out to be a little more interesting than I had expected, as I decided to take a look at the new Mini Countryman which was proudly displayed in the showroom. The eager salesman (Julian) was more than happy to talk me through this Mini beast, and he talked enthusiastically about all sorts of technical issues which went straight over my pretty head, but I nodded, smiled and agreed with everything he said, but after about 5 minutes of his waffling I began to glaze over a little until I spotted something I had to enquire about.

"What on earth is that" I asked pointing to what looks like the accelerator handle on a small speedboat. "Aaah that is the handbrake" he said in hushed tones, and then continued "I know, it's horrible isn't it"? It certainly is a ghastly looking thing, and frankly spoils the whole look. It was then that I gave this Mini a critical once over and decided that it is all wrong, it's huge and I thought Mini was supposed to be small, and despite having four doors it offers no additional leg room than my current gorgeous little Mini, its body design also resembles and clumsy London Taxi and there are some strange poles which run all the way down the middle of the interior of the car which give the appearance of it not being quite finished. Julian then began to give me the sales talk about Mini being a brand and that they had listened to what customers want and this is it. Well not me Julian, I don't want one at all I shall be sticking to my Clubman, although when the very helpful man on the Service Desk re-appeared with my keys he gave me the bad news that my little car will need new front and back brakes in about 1000 miles, so what with that, the newly due MOT it may just be cheaper to get myself a new little Clubman.

As I've been a very good girl this year, maybe Santa could be persuaded. What do you want for Christmas? xxx

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Rugger Buggers

The Gorgeous England Rugby Player, Ben Cohen

My eldest and middle chap both play the game that mummies often find difficult to watch, rugby. It is difficult on three levels for me, firstly it is mostly played when the weather is cold, sometimes wet and often windy, and having sensitive skin the combination of these elements can prove challenging, but I have found the perfect barrier to shield me from the assault, a rich cream from Dermalogica (Intensive Moisture Balance) which not only protects but also gives my skin a healthy glow.

Another difficulty which is impossible to avoid is that of the injured son. Does one dash onto the pitch with Belstaff jacket flying behind you to tend to the wounded, or does one stand silently looking on as the boy lays on the ground gasping in pain and being ignored by everyone, until he drags himself up and limps on. It is a dilemma, and I have been told that unless the paramedics are called on, I am to stay rooted to the spot and not even show a flicker of interest. So far I have obeyed my instructions but I will be honest with you and say, I have found it extremely difficult to do so, but I do understand that there are unspoken rules which must be obeyed or my son will be ribbed endlessly by his team mates.

The final challenge is that of the Rugby Dad, who I have been able to observe at close range for nearly a whole season. Although they may vary in height, age and looks they all share some defining characteristics, an extremely loud voice, a complete disregard for the instructions and directives from the referee and a need to pace the field roaring at his own son, particularly if he makes an error. They are indeed terrifying and I have on several occasions felt quite tempted to kick one or two of them very hard on the shin, but being a lady, I haven't.

Should their sons team win they gloat boorishly during tea, should they lose the are like great big babies skulking around, and then admonish their son when he arrives looking battered and bruised from the gladiatorial battle he has just lost. There is one feature I feel that these bully boys must also share, although I have no evidence for it, that these sad excuses for men all seem to have very small bulges and I'm not talking about their wallets.

My very own Handsome Husband, I'm sure you will be pleased to know, neither paces nor shouts loudly, and chats gleefully to the other normal dads while watching with one eye while his son is being crushed, pulled, winded and occasionally scoring a try. Perhaps that may have been why he has had no trouble ever scoring himself.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

A Distinct Chill

It has been some time since I have sat down to write as the summer holidays whizzed by in a flurry of cricket courses, days at the beach, rugby courses, day trips to famous English tourist destinations, art courses, and visits from friends from London and finally our own glorious holiday in France.

Tasks I normally tend to with great care were ignored and I have had a backlog of dull administrative items to deal with. As I sat at my computer attempting to make an online payment for our telephone bill I felt a distinct chill which must mean autumn is about to hit us. So after doing what any sensible girl would do and order some new soft and warm cashmere pieces to ensure the cold does not reach my bones, I will be wrapping up in a cosy Fendi sweater which sits comfortably under a rather indulgent Thomas Wylde poncho. With my own body dealt with I turned my attention to the rest of the household and remembering how cold this lovely old house can get I rang the elusive log man, aptly named locally as Bob The Log, yes really, and everyone around here is always desperate to track him down at this time of year, so they can stock up on logs to burn throughout the winter months.

Last year I was told of the difficulties of getting Bob The Log to deliver and people often have to wait for a month for their load to arrive (sounds like an ex-boyfriend), so when he brought our precious cargo last year I had a plan that would guarantee that Bob The Log would always be eager to put me on the top of his list. Naturally, I did my research prior to his arrival. I was told he could be quite grumpy, was often in pain due to some problems with his legs, he was quite large, and most importantly, his dog was his constant companion and he took her everywhere with him. Simple, he would be putty in my well moisturised hands.

He did not disappoint and was exactly as I imagined him to be and arrived in the most frightful grump. He didn't really want to talk to me and asked for the "man of the house". He was quite huffy when I told him he wasn't in, but not to worry as I could deal with the logs. "But" I said, "Why not have some tea before we unload, you must be exhausted after all that chopping". I saw his eyes brighten and then I added I that I had some delicious chocolate cake that I had just made that he might like to have with his mug of tea. Then I went in for the kill and began cooing over his lovely dog, and asked if it was alright if I gave her a dog biscuit, at that moment I knew I'd be able to have as many logs as I wanted, whenever I wanted them.

So when I rang him I was delighted to hear him say that I was on the top of his list, and he was going to call me with a delivery time as the weather was turning and he knew I'd be wanting some logs. Handsome husband was delighted when I told him the good news that we wouldn't be freezing this year, and was quite excited when I mentioned that some of the logs needed breaking up as they were quite large. He told me that wouldn't be a problem he would just get his big chopper out again.

Monday, 12 July 2010

A Golden Weekend

The countryside really comes alive during the summer and we have found ourselves to be busy virtually every weekend from now until the end of the season. Fortunately there is a slot available for me to make a quick visit to London for a cut and colour with the lovely girls at Mahogany, essential for me to maintain glossy locks. If this weekend is an example then we shall definitely need to pace ourselves. Attire will not be an issue as I have planned my wardrobe in advance to ensure there are no possibilities of being seen in the same pieces twice, except for my exquisite new sequin dress from Matthew Williamson, which deserves several outings.

Friday began with dinner at friends, which was eaten al-fresco under a gazebo from which we could gaze at the stars which all winked at us endlessly. We were fed my favourite summer treat of Gazpacho, with all the bits and bobs to accompany it, a feast of chicken and mushrooms served with a bowl of summer vegetables and all finished off with a summer pudding. Every single thing other than the bread and chicken came from our hostesses garden and all tasted so divine it could have been a banquet fit for the gods. We were introduced to yet more new people who were delightful and other than one man with metallic painted toenails (on grubby feet) all elegantly turned out for an evening of outdoor entertainment. We ate and drank until the early hours and it wasn't until I looked at my watch as I felt a sudden chill and wrapped my Zadig and Voltaire lightweight cashmere cardigan around me, that I realised it was so late, always a good sign.

Saturday morning was spent with some warmed croissants and jam together with steaming cups of tea being consumed on my terrace, with handsome husband and a charming gentleman we met recently who is a genius PR guru who had kindly dropped in to bring some historical research he had carried out on his Grandfather who had been at Pegasus Bridge during D-day, which he thought middle chap might be interested to read (his pet subject). Whilst here he told us about the fabulous Serenata Festival which during its first summer is taking place not too far away from here, and offers a luxurious event for those who love classical music. There is a palatial boutique tented hotel with butler service if required, the coolest kids clubs with babysitting from highly trained staff, and lavish food to be devoured from some of the best eateries here. We were so taken with the idea that we decided to go and check out the venue.

We took smallest and middle chap to join us on our adventure with a flask of tea and a Victorian Sandwich cake. We drove along a couple of A roads and then turned off in the direction of Kimmeridge Bay where the festival is being held. We drove through two tiny old villages and then arrived at the dazzling location of the bay itself. A large sweeping curve of ancient rocks towering above the clear sea where all kinds of amazing water species live. We walked around the curve and sat upon some rocks and I watched as the three men went off for a swim in the sea, soon coming back in for tea and cake. It was a glorious scene and I can see why it has been chosen for the Serenata Festival where we can all listen to the music overlooking the sea, just about as idyllic as one can get.

If this wasn't enough, on Sunday we had been invited to a tea party on the lawn of a magical garden, where all ages mixed together and were treated to firstly a small and impressive musical performance from a wind trio followed by a traditional Punch and Judy show and, my favourite part an enormous selection of cakes, dainty sandwiches and of course scones, clotted cream and jam. As I sat greedily eating my scone, and observing the scene which could have slightly resembled a scene from Alice in Wonderland, a grey haired tall gentleman joined me with his own scone and we chatted about a variety of topics including his time as a sub-mariner. My eldest chap came to join our conversation and he and the delightful gentleman discussed, novels, music, rugby, sailing, cricket and rowing, and spent much time on the subject of sub-marines as this is eldest chaps current area of obsession. Later on during the afternoon as I talked with our hostess, she informed me that the delightful gentleman was the father of a winner of 3 Olympic gold medals. How refreshing to meet a man who really does have something to brag about, and not mention it once, even when the opportunity arose. If this is how my weekends are to pan out then I'm glad to be in England where the tea is strong, the cakes are light, the sea is cool, the sky is clear and the White Rabbit can be seen if you look carefully, running across the green and lush countryside.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Birthday Boy

My smallest chap is 6 today. His world is a fun filled happy place and I hope to keep it that way for him for as long as possible. He is much loved and kissed and squeezed on a daily basis. Sometimes when I look at him I just have to tell him I Love Him and he tells me he loves me right back.
Happy birthday beautiful boy xxxxxx

Monday, 28 June 2010

Beach Babe

I have been so slack recently and I really shouldn't have been, as I have so much to do before the end of term when my small herd of 3 growing chaps will descend upon me demanding 3 meals a day plus copious snacks, as well as some entertainment for 9 weeks until they return to school in September.

There are some valid reasons for my being so slow off the mark. Firstly my new fancy pants smart phone has needed some fine tuning and has had to be reset twice, but at last it seems to have settled down, particularly as I have worked out how to switch the mobile tweet alerts off, so I am no longer receiving fifty bleeps an hour and am back on to my moderate number. Secondly, the weather being so hot and delightful, I have found myself heading off in the direction to several fabulous beaches some easily reachable within 35 minutes, when really I should have been preparing for other things, such as the two parties I am hosting this week, the picnic required for middle chaps sports day, deciding what to wear for the sports day, speech day, and the parties and choosing end of term gifts for the magical teachers of smallest chap. Last but not least I also need to ensure the guest suite has sufficient towels, and matching linen for the several guests that we are expecting very soon.

So I should be getting a little hot under the collar at the thought of all the things I haven't done because I have been laying on a sun lounger on the white sand at Sandbanks beach, with my sun hat, swimsuit and plenty of sunblock. I must say right here, right now, that I seldom panic as I know it is futile, and calmness means errors will not be made. I simply made my lists while laying on my sunlounger and made some calls on my new phone after I'd found what I needed through the various apps I'd downloaded and a little local knowledge, so all is well the caterers and staff have been confirmed, the wine and champagne ordered, flowers will be arriving very soon, teachers gifts are winging their way here by DHL and I can now see that I can run my mini kingdom with a few swift clicks of some confirmation buttons, on my clever little phone.
All I need to do now is turn up and look gorgeous, and with my sunkissed skin and hair, that shouldn't be too difficult.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Birthday Girl

Today is the day, it's birthday time for me...I so love celebrating my big day, my special day, the day that is all about me. It's about other people in my life too, my mum who brought me into this wild, weird and crazy world, she cradled me when I was tiny, fed me, kept me warm, held my hand and hugged me. Thank you for all the love. Sadly, my dad isn't here anymore so I send him lots of love too on my special day and love to my gorgeous, sexy friends who make me laugh. My small herd who make me so proud I could burst. Finally, handsome husband, the keeper of my heart who loves me just for being me.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

That's Just Not Cricket

It almost felt like summer, as I schlepped across the field with smallest chap, two dogs, new fold up chairs and picnic to watch middle chap playing cricket for the school teams 1st XI. This is a momentous occasion, as having arrived here last summer this is the first cricket season he has had an opportunity to show the new school his great bowling and batting skills.

I know I may sound like a terribly pushy mum, but to be frank, although I like to watch a bit of the cricket, I'm afraid I am fair weather attendee and I see it as an opportunity to get a little sun and participate in a little polite chatter with other parents.

Attire is not the main focus, and layers are sensible as the pitch is quite exposed and the temperature and wind tend to fluctuate, naturally there are some schools when clothing is a little more considered and this was one of those matches, so I went for some Gstar jeans, t-shirt underneath a Michael Kors over sized cashmere cardigan and my oh so comfortable Bensimons and all topped off with my newest purchase, a Eugenia Kim panama hat.

We placed ourselves in a great viewing spot and more importantly in direct sight of the sun, and I began to unpack the picnic not a huge feast as the teas at cricket are magnificent, just a few titbits to munch on.

It was just as I was biting into a Royal Gala, when I saw them marching towards the pavilion, the opposition mothers, a formidable selection of finely tuned, tanned long limbed ladies, with the leader of the pack, a fine specimen of female perfection, barking orders at the others. I was not intimidated in the slightest actually I was amused as I watched their lovely heeled shoes slowly sinking into the grass as they began to quicken their pace in an attempt to avoid getting completely stuck. They planted themselves right in front of the pavilion doors, so boys coming in and out would have to walk around them and the leader delegated the unpacking of chairs, rugs, cushions, hampers, coolers and an enormous umbrella to keep the shade off. All this would have looked at home in some bygone era of the Indian empire, but here in this world it all looked rather affectacious.

The match began and the visitors batted first. We politely clapped as they scored the odd run here and there, and did the same when they were bowled out, caught out and on one occasion run out. The opposition mothers screeched and screamed loudly whenever a run was scored, and remained silent and sullen when one of their boys were out. This is pretty poor behaviour for a cricket match, where rules and etiquette are keenly observed. However, I could have gladly dealt with this without being bothered but it was the behaviour of their coach that was highly questionable. I won't bore you with the details, as you may not be familiar with the rules of cricket, but basically there are a limited number of overs in a game and it is normal that whichever team bats first, declares after tea giving the other team the same amount of overs to reach the winning target. For the first time since I have been watching my sons play cricket, this did not happen and the visiting team continued playing until they had played 30 overs, leaving only 14 overs for our home team. This just isn't fair play, just not cricket, not gentlemanly and an outrageous example of bad sportsmanship to set as an example to these boys of privilege.

This turned out to be one of the most exciting matches I have ever watched (except of course the Ashes) and our boys were completely brilliant, our first two batsmen scored fast and furious taking us to within 4 runs of a win with 4 balls left. My son was batting at number 4 and as the other two boys has been batting brilliantly it seemed unlikely he would get walk onto the pitch in order to bat for the school, but with all the excitement, one boy was caught out, and then another boy having scored 3 of the four runs needed was run out, which meant my middle chap on his debut had to come on and score one run to win, with only one ball left to bowl - this was a do or die moment. Now I knew he would be nervous under normal circumstances, as he would want to prove himself more than capable with the bat, but this pressure was immense, what if he was bowled out, what if he couldn't score a run, or was caught. I could barely watch, as I felt a mother next to me squeeze my knee in support as he walked on looking cool and calm and in control.

We watched in silence as he walked to the stumps, lined himself up and looked out. The bowler made his run up and bowled so fast I could not see the ball, but I saw middle chap raise his bat and heard the thump as he smashed it away. We had won and I jumped up and screamed, the other parents in our group all jumped up too and we hugged and cheered and I had tears of joy and pride which I could not hold back.

I turned to the pitch and saw middle chap take of his helmet and raise his bat in victory, he then walked over to the opposition captain and shook his hand and in the true spirit of Cricket showed the opposition there and then how to behave like a gentleman..

Friday, 23 April 2010

Oh, This Old Thing

School holidays are over and spring is upon us and I have now begun the delicious ritual of replacing my winter wardrobe with my spring wardrobe, taking care not to get too enthusiastic by unwrapping summer pieces just yet, I don't like to tempt fate. I so enjoy sealing away winter in my vacum seal bags from The Holding Company and gently opening, unwrapping and unleashing spring.
Being a creature of habit I put aside two days for this event to ensure I can focus entirely on the job at hand as it is vital that no errors are made in the packing up process and all items have already been checked carefully to establish if any repairs or dry cleaning is needed. I always begin with the heavy items such as coats, jackets and boots and follow on with lighter pieces until I reach my cashmere section, and after removing a few of my more delicate pieces suitable for chilly spring and summer evenings, I reach the point where caution is needed as any potential nasty moths need dealing with in advance. I have taken advice from the experts and add some gorgeous scented wooden balls into the airtight environment for the summer and they really do seem to do the trick as my knitwear is completely unblemished.
On day two, when I have a beautiful assortment of sealed joy laid out before me, all labelled and dated, and the familiar sense of satisfaction washes over me I embark on the packing up process and all items are carried to the loft which has a constant cool temperature which is ideal for clothing storage (except fur which goes into professional storage), and placed in wooden packing cases which have been adapted with hanging rails or shelves for flat items. Everything is closed up and it is only then that I commence the unpacking of Spring.
Bags have been unsealed, boxes sliced open and tissue removed and everything has been placed out in order to be appraised for selection. Our tastes do change from season to season and what was gorgeous last spring, can look out of place a year later. For example, a Jil Sander very sleek but now seemingly dull dark coloured long silk hooded top and skirt is so wrong with this seasons soft pastels. However, more significantly, what has really changed for me and my wardrobe of beautiful clothes is that countryside chic is very different from London chic and I have hit a tremendous potentially life changing dilemma. Do I need all this stuff, are these clothes really going to serve me well here, am I just holding on to my London life through them, when will I wear them, and will the heels of my Giuseppe Zanotti shoes survive the uneven stones and paths I now tread. Attitudes to clothes is very different here compared to London, and it has become obvious that having 14 coats and 16 jackets (not including suits) is perhaps a tad extravagant, and although I wonder to myself why women on the school run only seem to ever wear one coat all winter and one jacket during the summer is there anything wrong with that. Should I just keep what I need and pieces that will be useful and off load the rest, or do I say, I am what I am and if I want to wear heels and a Matthew Williamson dress on the school run, than I shall.
I did ponder on this big question, and decided that I am a North West London Girl In The Country and I shall always hold my head high, be true to myself and not bow to the masses, I will always have my hair blow-dried, have regular manicures and facials, and above all I will always find any excuse to dress up.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Twinkle Toes

The shame of it all. One morning last week I was caught short. I had just woken from a deep and satisfying sleep and was stumbling around for my favourite mug when the doorbell rang. This was very early and I was slightly alarmed as I could not think who would be on my doorstep at such an uncivilised hour. Handsome husband was not here to protect me (gone the previous night for meetings in London), so I grabbed the still slumbering dog (not the puppy) to accompany me to the door. I slowly unlocked the many bars and chains and peeked out while telling the dog to "STAY BACK", trying to make it appear that I was holding back a vicious beast, and there before me was Margaret our post lady holding a package. The dog bounded out pushing the door wide open and gave her a huge lick. "Special Delivery" she announced. Gosh this early, Margaret proceeded to explain that they had been running a bit behind due some industrial issues and they were therefore starting earlier to get up-to-date. It was then that I noticed her gazing down at my footwear and I suddenly felt very exposed and was reminded of the time Cherie Blair was photographed looking horrendous whilst opening the door to take a delivery also early in the morning. Naturally, I thanked her for being so super efficient and dashed back indoors, dragging the dog with me.
It isn't that I am concerned with the appearance of my body or hair, which I know all holds up quite well in the morning, or my silk nightwear and gown which coming from Carine Gilson will never let me down, it is my footwear, my slippers which really are something that I should be quite ashamed of, and I have been meaning for sometime to deal with, but have overlooked. I have been wearing what once were a perfectly decent pair of Cash-ca slippers but have been worn down to a thread and were looking quite unsightly, not very me at all.
The only slippers I have seen locally just have not been to my taste and I think they have mostly been aimed at ladies with very wide feet. I had become concerned that this matter would have to be remedied on my next return to London, nevertheless being determined in my quest for comfort and elegance I will never give up, and it is due to this steely desire for my needs to be met that I found exactly what I had been looking for in a most unexpected place.

I had been enlisted to accompany middle child on a school trip to a small town with an enormous Abbey, I have visited the town many times as it has attractive ancient buildings and a friendly and easy atmosphere, it also has a couple of boutiques where I have made the odd purchase. We had completed our tour of the beautiful Abbey and made our way through the obligatory attached shop when my eyes were drawn to something twinkling at me from a shelf of accessories. I have a weakness for things that sparkle and I walked over for a close-up inspection and was overjoyed and astounded to find a small selection of treasure from my favourite accessory designer, William Sharp , I have several of his scarves, hats and gloves, and amongst the booty were a pair of ruby red cashmere slippers emblazoned with a shining crystal star pattern. After my initial shock of finding these delights in such an odd place, I asked the volunteer working in the shop why and how they were able to stock these beautiful pieces. Apparently Mr Sharp spent quite a bit of his youth in this town and had been inspired by the twinkling prism of light from the old stain glass windows. How heavenly.

Now I am happy to answer the door whenever the bell rings, as I am assured in the knowledge that I will never ever have another embarassing morning episode and will always put my best twinkling foot forward.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Killer Cows

Following a hearty weekend lunch with our small herd and a couple of teenage visitor friends of our eldest chap, handsome husband and I felt a gentle walk with the dog along the river was the ideal way to walk off my over the top toffee apple crumble, and an opportune moment to leave the teenage boys to some washing and drying of dishes.

We kitted up for the cool, but sunny weather and ambled down the lane to the fields and the stream. I felt relaxed with the faint glow of lunch time red wine as we squelched through the mud avoiding the familiar sight of cow pats. As we turned a corner I caught a glimpse of some cows. Now normally when I come across cows on my daily walks with the dog I go out of my way to give them a very wide berth, and stick as close to the hedge as possible, I suppose I'm a bit of a coward when it comes to cows since I read some articles telling tales of vicious killing cows.

I mentioned this to handsome husband who being made of macho stuff said he could handle it and he strode straight through the middle of them. I followed reluctantly and ensuring I had marked my escape routes should they be needed. All was well until our naughty dog decided it would be fun to bark at the cows and try to play with them. Well what ensued has left me even more convinced that I shall never walk near cows again.

A large Guernsey, quite rightly, felt affronted by this outburst from the dog and began running towards her, this spooked a couple of nearby cows who in turn reared up and then also joined in the chase, they are faster than you would imagine a cow to be and I screamed which was no help to anyone including myself, the dog realising her folly sprinted towards the safety of the hedges, leaving handsome husband to deal with the chaos. I was glued to the spot in terror and watched in awe as he raised his trusty stick, pointed it at the cows and shouted loudly "GET BACK", and do you know what, they did and calmness was once more restored. We found our dog trembling and stuck to brambles in the hedge, when we released her she whimpered and bolted off with her tail between her legs in the direction of home.

Handsome husband and his trusty big stick come to the rescue again..

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Farrier, a Loyal and Brave Beagle

It isn't all fun here, some of the things that occur are really quite brutal, but as I have said before it is the way of the countryside, and many peoples lives depend on it, and there are plenty of protesters around to stick up for the foxes, hares and other hunted animals.
Farrier was out with the pack when the hounds slightly over-ran the trail and crossed a minor lane. The whole pack, bar Farrier, crossed safely and picked up the line and hunted strongly onwards. Very sadly Farrier, who was behind the main pack was struck by a car on the road. The driver stopped immediately and Farrier was quickly attended to by several members and was taken back to the kennels by the Master and another member with veterinary advice being received during the journey by mobile phone.
The seriousness of the injuries sustained made the decision inevitable and, on arrival back at the kennels, he was swiftly and kindly put to sleep.
Farrier was already on borrowed time, last summer the members became aware that Farrier had firstly one and then latterly two tumours growing at a steady rate, and it had been fully expected that a final difficult decision on his future would have to be made towards the end of this season. The outcome would have been the same for any hound in that situation. No one was to blame for what happened and a hunting day can never be completely risk free nor can every eventuality be planned for. It is this unpredictable element and the associated risks to everyone that makes the hunt such a vital antidote to the often synthetic and hazard averse world that so many people live in.
Farrier would not have been happy being retired, the hounds rarely settle into a domestic environment after growing up with the pack, and they howl for their friends when separated. He was loyal, strong and brave and will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Bid Easy

Spring is in the air which is a great excuse for a fresh round of activities, and what does any style conscious woman need for all of these forthcoming social gatherings but new frocks. I am aware that I already have some stashed away, so I felt it only proper to begin my frock project within the warmth and safety of my wardrobe, to see if I had anything within it that would be suitable for a birthday lunch party, a school shindig and an evening drinks.

After 2 hours of fashion scrutiny I came up with 3 possibilities, one for each event, however although they were satisfactory they did not express fully the gratification I normally feel when I know I have succeeded in garment selection, and simply conveyed a sense of 'making do', but I will never give in so I tried a different angle and began to look at separates, which are repeatedly overlooked, as the statement dress is often the easier choice, separates require considered thought of colours, fabrics, styles and patterns that work together, separates involve more work and creativity on the part of the wearer.

I narrowed my search down to three items that demanded I find another piece to finish the ensemble. This was going to be a very exciting project, I would require a jacket for some soft suede navy YSL trousers, a bright top for some plain black skinny Earl jeans and blouse for a velvet Ralph Lauren skirt. Where on earth should I begin my search? My question was answered when I attended a one-off charity auction in one of the larger cities here, which one of the mothers at school had invited me to, not a furniture auction, but one where elegant genuine vintage clothing was up for sale along with some small pieces of bedroom items for the dressing table, very much a female auction. I have been to a couple of auctions since our arrival here and they have been pretty informal events, this was considerably different with some eye watering polished ladies sharpening their Manolo heels to ensure they snare their target items before anyone else. We arrived in good time to register and to peruse the vintage goods which were mostly in pristine condition and I earmarked five potential pieces.

The sale was enormously exciting and I found myself completely absorbed in the tension of the room. These buyers clearly frequented auctions regularly as it soon became clear that some lots were completely ignored while others had many bidders, these women knew what was worth having and what wasn't. My first item came up a Moschino (mainline) navy jacket with small mirrored circles embroidered on the flaps of the pockets. Bidding began and with my heart pounding I raised my hand, big mistake, as I had played my hand to the women of prey who could smell my fear and my novice credentials. I was completely out of my depth and I was lulled into believing I would get my prize as bidding was slow and low, but then the big guns waded in as the jacket hit the price I wanted to pay and then quickly sored out of my reach and into the arms of a woman with slits for eyes.

My friend told me to wait until the last moment to bid on the next item I wanted and be willing to go 10% over my top price. So I was better prepared when my next piece came up a beautiful Pucci print shirt made up of all my favourite pastel colours and perfect for my Earl Jeans. I was patient and observed the other bidders more closely, the price had crept up close to my top price when I raised my hand, "Any more bids on this gorgeous piece"? the auctioneer boomed out, yes there was and a sinewy blonde raised her hand, I waited as the auctioneer looked over to me, I feigned disinterest and then he looked out to the rest of the room, no more bids, I seized my moment and raised my hand again, holding my breath and waiting. It seemed to take forever as he looked over the the blonde who shook her coiffed head, then "Going, gone" and he banged the hammer down. Oh joy, it was mine. I showed no emotion as I had not seen any of these cool customers flicker any clues to their enjoyment of winning, I kept my head focused on the remainder of the auction and winning the further objects of desire.

I lost one piece, a Lanvin blouse, but made up for this with a Chloe blouse for my skirt and was brimming with confidence. My final treasure was within reach a Chanel jacket (navy with gold buttons) and I knew that it would be sought after, anything with the Chanel label is always going to sell well and I wanted it, I had tried it on and was instantly in love with this gem and it had to be mine. To buy new, this piece of art would cost me close to £3,000, so I was prepared to go quite high on this as we all know Chanel rarely have sales. The auctioneer announced the jacket and the room fell quiet as bidding began at £150, there were two telephone bidders and I was actually quite scarred that I might get carried away and buy it at any price just to win, I had done well with my other two purchases paying less than I anticipated so had some extra in the pot should I need it. Very quickly we were up to £500 and I still hadn't shown my hand, at £610 the bidding had slowed and I sensed the moment was not yet there and waited. £620, from a new bidder with a rich ginger bob and glossy lips, a pause for a show of a hand, £630. Things were definitely slowing £640, no one moved, he looked around and opened his mouth to speak, and then I knew my moment had arrived and I raised my hand £650, ginger bob spun round and glared at me raising her hand, £660, I breathed and calmly lifted my hand £670. Silence I could feel the heat of ginger bob seeping out and I knew I had victory, I didn't move my gaze from the auctioneer who was looking round the room and he raised the hammer and said "Going, gone" bang. "Yes", I blurted out, possibly a little loud as several shiny heads turned in my direction, but I did not care what these skinny latte loving, salad eating women thought, I was overjoyed and beaming, I would love and cherish this jacket forever and give it it's very own special space in my wardrobe.
To ensure handsome husband didn't feel left out I slipped in a bid to snare a vintage Leonard tie for his own collection, and left the auction delighted that I had benefited from the day along with the very worthwhile charities.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


Ladies and gentlemen, I apologise for my lack of response to your comments and for my failing to comment on your own interesting posts. I have been feeling a little unwell (nothing serious), and had a little op on Tuesday, I shall return some time later this week, or early next week with some more tales from the English countryside for you. I have been gathering much material and it is all firmly lodged in my brain. There have been killer cows, a mouse in the house, and the fashion nightmare of a Mexican evening to contend with and to top it all the shame of sub-standard slippers, I only hope the anaesthetic doesn't do anything untoward to my memory.

Monday, 1 March 2010


Oh yes, he may well look like butter wouldn't melt, with those great big paws, that wet nose, and that soft and shiny coat, but he has, within 5 days turned my life, and the life of my other gorgeous dog upside down. I have done absolutely nothing except play with him, kiss him, sniff him (yes odd I know, but he smells divine), and have not done any of things I am supposed to do, I've fallen behind with my writing and I need a manicure, but I just don't care. It's love ...

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Thrill of the Chase

We received an unexpected invitation to the opening Point-to-Point of the season which produced huge excitement from our household as my eldest and middle chap have developed a passion for country pursuits and it seems that there is always something going on either following a hunt, beagling, shooting or beating all involving some form of killing or attempting to kill, all rather savage but these are the ways of the country and there are plenty of people around to protest and stand up for the rights of vermin which are the blight of most farmers.

Handsome husband and the small herd have all been kitted out with suitable country clothing for these various events and they work the country look convincingly, handsome husband looking particularly rugged. I however, have struggled as sludge green, the shade of all country attire, does nothing for my complexion and the box shapes of most jackets are not remotely flattering. My verdict is that English country clothing favours the male of the species whilst leaving even the most striking woman looking rather dowdy, perhaps that is why many of the younger women choose to dye their hair with peroxide, in the hope they may stand out.

In pursuit of perfection, I have solved the problem with ease and have the ideal combination of town and country and all thanks to some quality tailoring from Holland & Holland where I found a jacket of the softest and warmest cashmere I have ever touched in a deep cornflower blue, to which I added a silk twill Hermes scarf for my neck and all cleverly found in the same London Street.

So with clothing dealt with I only needed to concentrate on our picnic as this, along with betting on the horses is the highlight of any point to point and as ever ensuring my herd are properly fed and watered to the highest levels is a priority. I find Delia is the best help for picnics with a little input from Nigella and you not only have delicious pies, pastries, tarts and puddings to eat they also look beautiful spilling out of my Louis Vuitton hamper which I had purchased at a local auction (a tale for another time). There you have it the quintessential English picnic all set out and eaten from the boot of your car whilst sitting on your tartan rug.

We were not disappointed and we arrived just as the first race began and were instantly captivated as we watched these magnificent creatures jump hedges far taller than ourselves with ease and grace. We met a variety of people, some attending for the social aspect whilst others there very much to make a bob or two on the betting.

I left Handsome husband in charge of our gambling as he had done a little studying of the form, and eldest and middle chap were given £20 and told to double it. They weren't actually allowed to place bets themselves due to their ages, so they shrewdly roped in the Master of the Hunt who was glad to assist not only placing but also advising on where best to place their money.
Watching racing is fun, but watching when you have your money on a horse is completely thrilling as you can feel the adrenalin pumping as you shout, encourage and cheer for you horse as it takes the last jump and charges for the finishing line, and when you win the surge of elation is exhilarating.

We had turned our afternoon into a profitable one, our two chaps had won on 4 out of 6 races and handsome husband being victorious in 5 out of 6. When I questioned him on his expertise he simply gazed at me adoringly and replied that he had always known a winning filly when he sees one.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Secret Orders

Every week, on the same day and at the same time, the good ladies of the local Women's Institute (WI) gather their wares to sell. There is a cake stall, a savoury stall (pies, sausages rolls, flans and quiches etc), a vegetable stall, an egg stall, a goats cheese stall, a jam and pickle stall, there are also a couple of craft stalls, though no one ever seems to pay them any attention so I'm not quite sure why they continue showing up, and it is the the cake and savoury stall that have the biggest queues and the highest demand. All goods are homemade and I know from personal tasting experience are all delicious.
It is fair to say that I am often the youngest person in attendance so I can be pretty quick off the mark to ensure I get my greedy little hands on the items I want. Most of the buying public are women, and appear to choose their clothing on the basis of comfort dressing. Heels are definitely out, shape is out, as are jeans, and any form of colour other than grey which if it's matching your hair colour is not terribly flattering. I can ignore all this, but what I have found odd is how unfriendly most of the attendees are. I have attempted engaging them in conversation, but they are not interested and on occassion have been quite rude. One of the ladies behind the stall has implied that it is because I am a newcomer and not to take it personally. I'm not painting an attractive picture here but I believe in being honest and fair, which I discovered not all these ladies are.
I had enlisted handsome husbands assistance as I could not be at the market at opening time which is essential to avoid missing out as items sell fast here. I gave him a list with instructions of which stall to visit first to be sure not to lose out on these popular items. This was his first visit to the the market and as he is a lover of food he was happy to fulfil this task for me. We had arranged to meet at the market about half an hour after opening and as I flounced in I spied him surrounded by 6 women all looking gooey eyed and laughing and giggling.
Surveying the other customers it was simple to see why he was receiving so much attention. There is a distinct lack of gentlemen at these weekly events and the few that are there don't look up to much, and are mostly lurking in the coffee corner looking bored or having a snooze.
Handsome husband did not look comfortable and as I caught his eye, he mouthed "HELP ME". I did feel a bit sorry for him as having a woman who is 30 years older than you (around the same age as his mother) openly flirting would be difficult for any man to stomach. This was the moment where I could re-pay all the times when he has rescued me and gotten me out of one fix or another. So I walked over, grabbed him by the arm and said "There you are, I thought I'd lost you, now have all these ladies sorted you out"? I could see the panic drain away from him and he showed me what he'd purchased with pride. His admirers backed off and he explained that he'd commented that it was unfortunate that there was only one blackberry and apple pie left and that he would have taken more, whereupon the lady whispered to him that they keep some popular items back for 'Special Customers', and that if he wanted another one it wasn't a problem. He had then had the same experience with four of the other ladies who also told him that he could order items and therefore wouldn't need to be there for opening time and could come along anytime before closure.
Not once on all my visits here, had anyone mentioned this private little system, they were keeping it all to themselves, not exactly charitable. Handsome husband has recovered from his ordeal and has begged me never to send him there again, which I won't but I shall reward him for his discovery with my very own buns.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

I've Been Picked

Although the weather may be grey and wet outside and many people seem to be suffering from different forms of SAD. I have to confess that I am absolutely beaming with joy. I like to keep up with what is going on in the universe, and I do not neglect the great blogging world as it provides such random and fascinating views, along with topics I have never even considered, and I have been inspired to experiment with cooking, taste new foods, look at styles of clothes I may have dismissed in the past. There is a wealth of knowledge and information out there and I soak it all up.

Whilst blogsurfing recently I came across a post from Shopping In Suffolk inviting anyone who fancied being published in her monthly magazine, to send in a post (old or new) relating to a selection of categories she had chosen. I was feeling bold that day, so I duly sent in two posts for consideration, and after receiving an email confirming it had been received, I really didn't think any more of it until last week, when I received an email informing me that my post had been chosen to feature.

This is a great big public THANK YOU to the gorgeous
Shopping In Suffolk for choosing my little post.

I really am supremely proud and motivated to continue writing as I do enjoy it so much. Handsome husband has been going around telling everyone he comes into contact with. I think he may have been exagerating as when I popped in to our green grocer to select some ingredients for my chick pea and pasta soup (perfect for the cold spell), and handed over the money to pay for them, the owner greeted me with "I hear we will be reading about your exploits here in next weekends colour supplements". He has such faith in me. Go on have a go and send in something to SIS right now.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Magic Cupcakes

The time had come for me to host my first gathering of ladies at home for the 'Committee', and I recently felt that all these coffee mornings are beginning to get a little repetitive, only on the refreshment front I might add, not with the company which is stimulating, hilarious,insightful and somewhat competitive in a discreet British manner.

Always the best china is used, as are the table linens which are neatly and accurately pressed, not a stain in sight, plates piled high with cakes and biscuits which are always homemade, and naturally, tea, which is mostly bags but occasionally leaves, although this does create all sorts of logistical tea pouring problems, so most stick to tea bags or coffee. Outfits carefully considered and most seem to be channelling a Jaeger look which is not really me, but fear not as I have found my very own version of country casual courtesy of a combination of those stalwarts of Britishness, Burberry and Mulberry (although I believe they are sadly no longer Brit owned).

I was really quite excited and decided that although I am now very much living here in the countryside that I would add a little London to my coffee morning, starting with the tea, and along with Lapsang Souchong, Darjeeling and Earl Grey I was going to add my two new favourite herbal teas in their girlie packaging from Pukka Tea, Harmonise and Pleasure and I was going to use something quite radical, mugs, not just any old mugs, but a very sexy variety from the esteemed maker of tea and coffee sipping accouterments, Keith Brymer Jones . I knew this would cause a stir, as tea is always served in cups and saucers at these events, but the time has come to shake these ladies up a little, and change can be a good thing.
I also made the decision to move away from the traditional cakes and biscuits and produce some vivid and unique cupcakes.

The morning arrived and I felt completely satisfied that I had left nothing to chance. I had decided to hold the main event in our drawing room rather than at a table in the dining room, and had positioned a selection of small Victorian side tables at strategic points so the ladies would be able place their mugs and plates down when the wished, beautiful bouquets from a nearby florist I found were placed in two of the window seats offering up hints of spring.

At the allotted hour the ladies began to arrive and after their coats had been taken, were shown into the drawing room which at this time of day has the sun shining through it, highlighting the wood paneling, lead windows, beamed ceilings and stone fireplace. A small fire had been lit and the room glowed. While the ladies chatted about the state of the potholes and the weather that had caused them the tea, mugs, coffee, milk and sugar and cupcakes were brought in to the drawing room and placed on my antique bureau.

I had decided not to serve, but invited my guests to help themselves and I watched as the chair lady lifted her rear from a newly Pierre Frey covered chair and made a dash for the refreshments, elbowing others out of the way to get there first. She was transfixed and I was unsure if it was in horror or shock or both perhaps. She gasped at the woman on her right and as I shimmied over I heard her whisper (loudly), "Do you think she made these herself"? She then grabbed the spectacles which dangled around her neck on a plastic chain and read the inscription on the mug "Sex+chocolate" she spluttered, "outrageous". The woman on the right then said "Actually Daphne, (not her real name), I think it's thoroughly refreshing, and you really must find your sense of humour". With that, I interjected and offered to pour the chair lady some tea and picked up the plate of cupcakes and offered them to her. She took her tea and chosen cake decorated with chocolate flowers and a raspberry coloured bow, and stomped off back to her chair.

During the remainder of the morning, much tea, both normal and herbal were drunk by my guests and nearly all the cupcakes eaten, many subjects were discussed and plans were made to begin the task of organising the Summer Fete. I noted that throughout the proceedings that the Chair Lady seemed less forceful than usual and others were allowed to freely make suggestions without being verbally slapped down.
Two hours later we were finished and the ladies all said their thank yous, and complimented me on introducing them to some new teas, and on acquainting them with the fine art of cupcakes. The Chair Lady was last to leave and after she had taken her coat, she looked me in the eye and said "That was the most beautiful thing I have ever eaten, not only the taste but its design, you are a very talented young woman, and I'm very glad you have joined our committee, you have much to offer, and although some of your ideas are rather 'modern', I can see that there is humour within them" she then patted me on the back and left. I am now quite chuffed knowing I have the regal seal of approval from our very own local Majesty, and that there is some magic dust somewhere in my cupcakes.

Time for a Break

I'm off for a little well earned break (hopefully not a limb). I not only pack for myself, but I also have to check the small herd have everything they need too, and I find I need to be super organsied for the build up, ensuring dogs are being looked after, plants fed and watered and the house is being taken care of. Once this has all been done, I can concentrate on myself as I like to take my time packing, I love the ritual of placing layers of clothes in between the tissue paper and all in perfect sequence. I never forget anything as I hate the thought of not being comfortable wherever I am in the world. When final checks have been made I can then relax knowing everything will run smoothly.
I wish you a very happy Easter whatever you are doing and wherever you are. Don't eat all those chocolate eggs, please save some for me. Au revoir and I shall return to update you in a few weeks...

Friday, 22 January 2010


My school run has changed from being a stressful and disagreeable event for myself and the small herd to a delightful pleasure. We now leave at a most civilised hour as the journey is traffic and congestion free, besides the odd tractor or milk lorry, we drive past fields, farms and cows, down country lanes. On arrival, there are plenty of parking spaces to choose from, no fumbling around for credit cards or loose change for pay and display as there is none, and, most gratifyingly, no traffic wardens.

We glide into our chosen space vacate the car without panic, older chaps wave goodbye (no kissing just the occasional hug) and smallest chap and I meander into his class chatting to other parents and small people along the way, and all done with calmness.

After the drop off and obligatory chat with teachers, mothers and some fathers about the news and views of the world we all drift off to our next destinations. Today, my first appointment was with a seamstress I had found to make some alterations to an evening dress that is now (hooray) too big. My drive took me along some unfamiliar country lanes and I drove carefully as one never knows what may be lurking around the next corner.

It all happened so quickly that I didn't have time to brake until it was too late. A large rabbit dashed out of hedge at lightening speed, I screeched to a halt unsure of whether we had collided or not. Initially I was too scared to get out to look, but I knew I had to be brave for the sake of the poor rabbit. I swung open the door, hazards on, and slowly inched round to the front of the car, eyes squinted and ready to look away quickly in case of a very nasty mess. Nothing on the drivers side, I moved further round, nothing in the middle or on the passenger side, so I knew I had to look under the car where the poor dead, or even worse injured animal would be, so I crouched down (not actually kneeling for fear of dirtying my new Balenciaga cords) and holding my breath took a look, and there it was crouched under the car trembling, but as far as I could tell uninjured. I was unsure of what to do, and was concerned that if I just drove off and left it another vehicle might come along and crush it, at least under my car it was safe. Whilst this was all going on a car had driven up and was waiting behind me, I hadn't noticed as I was too busy worrying about the rabbit, and in a city I would by now have caused a tailback about a mile long and have horns blowing, people shouting and waving angry fists around, but that sort of behaviour just doesn't happen here, so I was unaware of anyone else being around until I heard the opening of a car door. I tall man approached and asked if I needed assistance, I explained and he said I just need to reverse and the rabbit would hop off, brilliant idea. I did reverse and the rabbit did hop off but not back to the hedge just back under my car. Further discussions took place and we decided we would have to give the rabbit and incentive to move. I pulled a long stick from the ground and pushed it under the car to give the rabbit a little prod to get it to move, and it did but just further back under the car. A couple of more cars arrived and the drivers got out to see what was going on, and we all discussed the best way to deal with the rabbit. A darling old lady came up trumps, I get back in my car and blow my horn, so I did, and how right she was, the gorgeous bunny jumped for its life and made a quick dash back into the hedges and hopefully back down into its warm hole in the ground.

We all drove of waving to each other and as I pulled my Bamford coat around me for warmth it was then I realised that I was probably wearing one, or several, of the rabbit's relations around my neck. No wonder it didn't want to move away from the safety of the underside of my Mini, it didn't want to be added as decoration on my cuffs.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Nearly Nude

This weather has had an unexpected effect on me one which I never thought possible. I have been going out into the world almost nude as I now feel confident that I won't be shunned or sneered at. You might be shocked by this and think it rather brazen. I will explain. I had a rather unpleasant incident last week while out and it was only be sheer good fortune that I was visiting one of the larger towns here when this traumatic event occurred within close proximity of one of my favourite shops, Space NK, the very beautiful sweetie shop for ladies who like to take great care over their appearance.

Whilst strolling along I was hit by a huge gust of wind and rain directly in the face, it was as if someone had switched on my power shower outside. After I had regained my dignity I dashed straight into the serene haven of my favoured shop and was greeted by a fresh faced girl with the dewiest skin I have seen in some time. I needed immediate attention in order to fix my face as all my make-up had either been removed or had smudged in my soaking. This glorious youngster soothed me with her calmness and unfazed approach to my bedraggled appearance and gently guided me over to the counter of miracles, the place where all evidence of age, self inflicted abuse, and late nights are swept away with some brushes and magical potions, and clever beauty industry tricks. She sat me down with a cup of chamomile and appraised my face in a highly professional manner (I know as my face has been appraised by some serious skin specialists over the years). "What can you do to fix me" I asked pathetically. I was completely astonished when she replied "absolutely nothing". She then went on to explain that she thought (other than the smudged mascara) I looked completely gorgeous, my skin was in radiant condition with a natural flush which simply highlights my high cheekbones, other than a few very fine signs of happiness around my eyes (lines), my skin looked that it should belong to a woman about 8-10 years younger than me, and that whatever skincare range I use it obviously works for me, (a mixture of all the obvious contenders, in case you are wondering).

I was won over, and at that moment she could have sold me the entire shop should she have wished to, but being modest I did not wish to sound to grateful for this praise and I simply thanked her but suggested that with age comes the knowledge that everything can be improved. She agreed, but insisted that all I might need to enhance my natural features was some mascara and of course my favourite cosmetic of all time, lip gloss. I think I could probably write a thesis on the subject as I have at least 200 in my current collection, some of which are now quite rare to find. She gathered some examples for us to play with and showed me how to apply mascara avoiding those irritating lumpy clumps that can appear at the end of lashes. I just couldn't come to a decision regarding the lip glosses so I bought 7, one for each day of the week.

I have taken this young woman's advice and have been leaving the house with a nude face, not a scrap of foundation, blusher, concealer, or highlighter and I must tell you ladies (and any gents who like to touch up their skin), that it is an extraordinarily liberating experience and one in which leaves me more time to work on that natural flush with handsome husband. Check out the alluring Space NK for some guidance on all beautification matters.

Monday, 11 January 2010

The Best Service in Town

As I sat in my Crumpet England cashmere lounge wear sipping my morning tea, and contemplating another day of snow torture, there was a knock at my front door. After unlatching all the locks (I believe in security), there before me was the young man from our local butcher. I asked how I could help and he told me that as our lane is snowed in (like most of the lanes in the British Isles) it was he who could perhaps help me. I was intrigued and invited the shivering waif into the warmth of my kitchen. He explained that the owner had sent him to check on all the households down here who might need food and were finding it difficult getting up the hill. How very thoughtful, and as it happens he was right on time as my fridge was beginning to look quite bare and I had began to ponder how I was going to get more supplies for my small herd, who had told me only last night that they were fed-up with pasta and couldn’t I manage anything else.
He took my order of meat, a selection of sausages, bacon, chicken and steaks and then proceeded to tell me that he could also bring other supplies from the assortment of traders in the village. This is better service than
Ocado, and none of that annoying online ordering confusion. So I hastily wrote a list for him and took out my wallet. “No need for money madam, we will add it all to your monthly bill”. Completely marvellous, and off he went continuing his journey down the lane.
Approximately 3 hours later the small herd, who had discovered about this mornings visit when they had wafted down from their beds, and had ever since been sitting at their bedroom windows looking out for their saviour from gastronomic boredom, all came tumbling down the stairs with shouts of excitement and joy. We all ran outside and watched as the butchers van with trailer attached made its way carefully and slowly down the slippery icy road, coming to halt at our driveway.
The trailer was laden with boxes filled to the brim with goodies for many of the residents. Waif boy unloaded all our boxes and insisted on carrying them inside (with eager help from the hungry herd), and then hopped back into his van and carried on down the lane.I have never known such excitement for food, as we went through all the boxes, meats, crisps, sweets, cakes and biscuits, fruits, vegetables (fresh and frozen), milk (goats included as smallest of the herd is quite partial to goat products), cheeses, butter, yogurts, bread, iced buns, teas, soft drinks and most importantly of all on these cold nights
Gin and several bottles of tonic. No need to worry about ice either as I just break off a few icicles hanging from the bird bath, take my drink and curl up in front of the roaring fire, and let them eat cake to the little hearts content….

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Highlights of 2009

I was kindly tagged by the lovely Metroplitan Mum to discuss personal highlights of the past year. I did not need to think too long and hard about this as for me there were two. 1. Leaving the heaving metropolis of London for peace, beauty and ease of the countryside, and 2. Discovering fashionable finds in my new surroundings, so I'm never far away from an item of silk, cashmere, cotton or fur whenever I have the desire to splurge on an item of luxury. You see I have, at last, found the one one emotion I have been seeking - contentment.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Limited Edition Chanel Give Away

Having the latest beauty products is essential to my life, and I prepare myself well for launches of must-have items. I am on first name terms with the women and men at my favourite stores who keep me informed of what's coming in and when and they happily put items aside for me. However, I have encountered the waiting list problem with only one item. Nail Varnish. When I did finally get hold of the Jade coloured varnish from Chanel last summer, having paid far more than I should have on Ebay I was bitterly disappointed as the colour did not work for me at all. So when I learnt about the newest colour from Chanel 505 Particuliere, which was launched at the end of January, I rang the Bond Street store and spoke to the woman who is the keeper of all things glossy there and was told that absolutely no polishes would be held for anyone it was non-negotiable. So unless you are the editor of a magazine where you can demand your beauty editor hand over the sample that was sent in months ago, it's not going to be easy getting hold of a pot.

Why do I care, you may ask, well this particular colour is the colour I have been searching for my entire life and I want it desperately. I had asked all my London girlfriends to do everything they can to get me one, I just can't bear having to pay £45 on Ebay again, for something that should only cost £16.50, fundamentally there is something wrong with this. So you can imagine my delight, joy and excitement when I found one of these gorgeous varnishes in a town about 11 miles from here that I was visiting on one of my weekly visits I have been making for research purposes. I am compiling a small booklet for my guests of places to visit when they come to stay and I can only give my seal of approval if I have called in on these places and spent a little time there.
The pot sat proudly on display of this small store and when I approached the counter I felt the surge of love pour over me as I knew the colour was perfect. I picked it up and casually asked if this colour was in stock and gulped as the overly, but expertly made-up woman behind the counter told me she had lots. So trying to hide my excitement I purchased a bottle and as I was leaving the store I thought of all the women out there desperately trying to find a small bottle of this liquid joy, so I popped back to the counter and bought another and have decided that I would give it away to one of you in order to spread some goodwill around the world.
To win simply tell me what should be on every woman or mans must have item list, and please be kind and fair and pass on the news of this give away to whomever you feel would love to have a go. I shall pick the winner on the 15th February, with the help of handsome husband.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

The Winner Is.....

I had great difficulty in choosing a winner for my Chanel Limited Edition varnish competition, and I definitely needed the help of handsome husband who brought some fairness into the judging as it was obviously tempting to me to feel a pull to the virtual friends I now have.
So without further ado I pronounce the winner is Eleanor at Pretty Much Penniless who entertained us with her rose tinted view of the world. This is not the end of my prizes as there were two very close contenders, and because they were so close, I have awarded them with runner up prizes of another Chanel Varnish (Ming), firstly to Julia at The Thank You Project who charmed us with the virtues of blush, and Sarah at Brit Gal in the USA who for taking a 6 hour round trip for a cosmetic item absolutely deserves a gift (still waiting for an address for you Sarah).
Also I must mention Daisy Chain who made a sensible suggestion of clean underwear and Ashley at Breakfast at Saks who charmed us with smelling sweet and nearly swung it with my weakness for lipgloss.
Thank you to everyone who entered and I will ensure that if I am fortunate enough to come across any further limited edition treats that I will offer them to you first.
Have a great weekend....


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