Monday, 31 December 2012


"Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right".  Mark Twain

All the best to all of you my fellow bloggers and followers, give 2012 a good send off and have a bustin time tonight. Let's all greet 2013 with hope and optimism.

image found on

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Seek and Ye Shall Find

It appears that I'm not the only one in blog world assessing my life at the moment, no surprises there really what with New Year an' all. On this subject one of my favourite Ozzie bloggers Pip has been busy sorting out the good stuff for us all, I love this girl.

Apparently I'm a Maximizer and I need to adopt a bit more Satisficer attitude into my thoughts and decision making. Note to self, don't over think it.

Here’s a quick stroll through some of the key findings on the art of decision-making:
1. Satisficers vs Maximizers.
Coined by the economist Herbert Simon in 1956, “satisficing” is an approach to decision-making that prioritises an adequate solution over an optimal solution. Gretchen Rubin sums up the difference between the two types of decision-makers well in a post over at the Happiness Project:
Satisficers are those who make a decision or take action once their criteria are met. That doesn’t mean they’ll settle for mediocrity; their criteria can be very high; but as soon as they find the car, the hotel, or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied.

Maximizers want to make the optimal decision. So even if they see a bicycle or a photographer that would seem to meet their requirements, they can’t make a decision until after they’ve examined every option, so they know they’re making the best possible choice…

In a fascinating book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz argues that satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers must spend a lot more time and energy to reach a decision, and they’re often anxious about whether they are, in fact, making the best choice.

If you're in the same boat as me, pop over to Pip's blog and you can read some more helpful stuff.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Big Decisions

One of the nice things that I remember about my childhood was that feeling of living in the moment. Enjoying what I was doing without thinking too much about what I needed to do next. 

My brother Jack and I on holiday at Putnem.

Not too many decisions to make and certainly no big decisions.
I struggle to do that now. I have to plan my work for the year. I try to plan holiday breaks and activities for both my husband and myself that will break up our workload and give us some recreational time. To live a balanced life as it were.

I sometimes feel that unlike my Mother's generation we have so much choice about which way we direct our lives, it can make me anxious about making the right choices. I always feel this more acutely at this time of year. 2013 is before me and I have just had another birthday so as I get older I increasingly feel I have to be more discerning about how I spend my time.

I wondered if anyone else in blog world feels the same as me and If so how you make your big decisions?

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas One and All

All done now, just remains for me to say to you all, have a very merry Christmas and a healthy, happy, prosperous new year.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Perfect Christmas Hideaway

It's been a longtime ambition of mine to stay in the Hunting Tower at Chatsworth, and I nearly did recently, but the bloomin boiler broke down and we had to stay somewhere else. Can you believe it?

Booked at the beginning of the year as a birthday treat for me, I had been looking forward to it all year. But it wasn't to be...............this time. The lovely people at Chatsworth offered us the Russian Cottage instead,

which is a delightful place, a bit like a ginger bread house, especially when we had two days of haw frost. I fell in love with the chandelier in the kitchen, but I think they might have noticed if it went missing.

Chatsworth is worth a visit any day of the year but at Christmas the staff  really go to town and turn the house into a real fun palace. 

They have excelled themselves this year with a pantomime theme.

You can just see the Duke and Duchess in the picture above the big bad wolf's head, the customised wallpaper printed with the faces of the staff is typical of the tongue in cheek unstuffy attitude at Chatsworth.

This Captain Hook 'mannequin' frightened the life out of folk when he suddenly moved, just after I had decided 'it' looked a bit creepy and my friend Gina had peered into 'it's' eyes about an inch from his face. The staff obviously have a great time working at Chatsworth. Ah me, if only I lived a bit nearer it would be my dream job.

We popped over to Haddon Hall as well, the house was authentically freezing, so we huddled around the roaring fires which were in most rooms, whilst we took in the gorgeous natural seasonal decorations.

I'm orff to ice my Christmas cake now, pics tomorrow.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Biba and Beyond: Barbara Hulanicki

If you're in or around Brighton in the next few weeks take some time out and pop into The Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. They have a major fashion exhibition on celebrating the Biba lifestyle, which also examines Barbara Hulanicki's post Biba design successes.

I just about caught the last glittering days of Biba before it's sad demise, and honestly I still miss it. What a concept, what a place, it's never been matched since. The exhibition brought it all back to me.

All Biba logo designs by Steve Thomas of Whitmore-Thomas, c1971.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Probably the Best Mulled Wine in the World

Eh up devoted blog followers, sorry about the break in transmission but I've been away up t'frozen north.

I'm back now to share my own mulled wine recipe with you, you lucky lot. It's for peeps who don't like mulled wine, no really. If I had a pound for every person who has drunk this concoction and said that's the best mulled wine I've tasted, I'd be in Barbados now sipping rum punch.

So this is enough for about 15 small glasses. So scale it up or down depending on the size of your party.


1 bottle red wine (plonk)
Equal measure water
I carton orange juice 
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Large handful of raisins
Sugar to taste

It's that simple, slowly heat, stir and quaff.

Any raisins not eaten are good to use in bread and butter pudding or porridge, hic.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Don't Stress ...........Enjoy

Just remember in this hectic run up to Christmas that STRESSED is DESSERTS spelt backwards.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas Knitted Chains

I have very fond memories of making paper chain Christmas decorations as a small girl. Sitting quietly and concentrating to make sure they looked perfect. The house decorations signalling the slow build up to Christmas and the much anticipated visit from Father Christmas.

I haven't made any for over twenty years, not since my son Jack was a boy. But I have been inspired this year to make some knitty chains, and I think they are going to turn out quite nicely.

The two woollen cones cost me 10p each, so VERY thrifty indeedy.