Sunday, 28 September 2014

Live It Up. It's Later Than You Think.

image via 

I don't know about you, but I sometimes find it hard to keep a positive spin on the old ageing process. Yes, I know it happens to everybody and we were all bright young things once. But it seems youth only accounts for a small part of our lifespans and the rest of the time we are fighting against being perceived as 'over the hill' or worse 'past it'. I can't see that changing anytime soon, if indeed ever.

Now I'm over fifty I think about my own mortality more as well, something that never really crossed my mind at all before. Not in a morbid or panicky way. I just want to enjoy my life to the full in the time I have left on the planet, which I'm hoping, needless to say will be way into the future. Time is a precious luxury and not to be wasted.

Being fit and healthy is the key, creating and seizing opportunities is a must and let's face it, a goodly amount of cash does help too.

I recently stumbled upon a lifestyle website for grown ups. Which seeks to inspire women who, shall I say are past the first flush of youth. And let me tell you it succeeds.

Take a look at Jacky O'Shaughnessy (62) talking about the self-esteem issues that have been with her throughout her life.

In one sense I'm amazed at how such a beautiful and sensitive woman could have (had) any body image issues, and in another I'm not surprised at all, given our society's views on ageing.

I see only her beauty.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Debo, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire

Sometimes you hear of the death of a very famous person and it means a lot to you personally. I met the Dowager Duchess of  Devonshire a handful of times. She was a truly special woman, for many reasons.

I'm so sad to hear she has passed away. I'll miss her not being on the same planet as me.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Sir Roger, Peggy, Jenny, Trixie & A Cheeky Monkey

My lovely eldest brother John, lives in Australia, and has done for many, many years. I miss him a lot so it's always very special when he comes over to visit the UK. He and his wife left this morning after staying with us for five nights. (Sad face).

But It's been a really fun-filled packed week. We had a bit of a family get together in Battersea on Wednesday. Thursday we visited Hever Castle during the day and then popped into Brighton for 'An Evening With Sir Roger Moore'.

I have very fond memories of watching him when I was a child, playing the debonair Simon Templar in the tv series 'The Saint'.

Sir Roger is 86 now, so was a little bit creaky getting in and out of his chair on stage, but had no trouble remembering every tiny detail about his life and film and tv career. He is a fabulous raconteur, and entertained us all evening with his great sense of humour and his gracious manner. Yes, I am a teeny bit in love with him now.

Friday we went to the seaside and took in the Peggy Angus exhibition at the Towner Gallery. Just made that in time as it finishes today.

Then yesterday we bombed it over to Chatham Dockyard for the 'Salute to the 40s' event.

The Dockyard also stars as the East End backdrop in the filming of 'Call Out The Midwife'. Here is a pic of me on the right as Trixie Franklin and my besty Prof as Jenny Lee. Good innit?

I brought another friend home with me yesterday too. Here he is after a little mend and wash, hanging in the greenhouse to dry.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

After Dinner Entertainment

The mister and I had a smashing Saturday evening, visiting some fairly new friends for dinner. I didn't document and photograph every thing we ate and drank, (even though it was all delicious and well presented), as I would rather enjoy the moment than record it. But I did take a few pics of the 'terribly artistic' models produced after we had finished eating. Which you might guess was quite late into the evening.

After dinner, Anita, our hostess, suddenly produced a small pack of modelling clay, gave us all a good wodge of it and said "make something". Here is what we all made.

Jeremy's, Dog, Duck & Anita.

Anita's, Dog.
Funny that both husband and wife sculpted their gorgeous and huge Labradoodle, Bertie. Although he was circling the table like a loveable lunatic.

The Mister's Stonehenge with sacrifice

Mine, an extra from Chicken Run
Btw the beer wasn't mine, I was the nominated driver for the evening, so a single glass of Prosecco was imbibed as an aperitif.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Goodbye Donald

Only just heard that lovely old Donald Sinden has died, aged 90. Good innings as they say. Here he is with another favourite British actress of mine Diana Dors. Our 'answer' to Marilyn.

Saturday, 13 September 2014


The not so well kept secret is out and the mystery plant is an Akebia Quinata, known as the Chocolate Vine.

Thank you to all of my blogging chums who left a comment about the strange looking pods. Some of the comments were very funny indeed so I hope it has given everyone a chuckle if nothing else.

From my research it would seem that the bitter skin of the pods can be eaten fried and the leaves have been used as a tea substitute. The seed oil can be put to good use as well, in the making of soap and vegetable oil.

The seeds can also be pureed and made into a drink that has a mild coconut milk flavour.

I'm not sure I'll be partaking of anything the plant has to offer at the moment, but you never know, if times get hard.........

A new addition to my front garden this week is a very pretty little statue that I managed to win at a local auction house. I'm very fond of old classical garden statues but they are normally way out of my price range. This piece isn't particularly old, maybe 30 years or so, who knows? But I think she has real charm. Reminding me of the exquisite, Birth of Venus by Botticelli.

She's a good size, about 5 feet high and tremendously heavy, so let's hope nobody takes a shine to her and decides she may look better in their garden rather than mine.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Invasion of the Bodysnatchers

I have taken a leaf out of Rosemary's book today, to pose a green fingered question. Something strange has been lurking in our garden. Giant pods that have burst their breeches to reveal a gooey, sticky and somewhat spotty innards.

Does anybody out there know what planet or indeed what plant they are from? NO GOOGLING mind, that's cheating. A clue: they are edible.

Sorry no prizes this time, but I will be putting together a most sumptuous and delightful giveaway for an upcoming blog anniversary. Watch this space as they say.

They don't come with a free pound coin either btw, it's a size comparison as you well know.

Hello and welcome to my latest Google Friends Connect follower, Kylie.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Hulanicki at the V&A

Oh my giddy aunt, what a night I had on Friday at the V&A Museum. It was so exciting.

V&A courtyard

The mister and I travelled up early in the day and had a smashing time, mooching around the Borough market and Southbank, before going on to the V&A for some nosh and to see and listen to one of my heroines, Barbara Hulanicki. You know, of Biba fame.

Barbara Hulanicki

Big Biba

I have missed out on seeing this lady in person so many frustrating times, always just finding out about events a wee bit too late. But not this time. Cock-a-Hoop doesn't even begin to cover it.

The chair for the event started proceedings by telling us all how lucky we were to get tickets. Duh, yes we know lady.

The lecture theatre was packed to the hilt. Looking at the members of the audience was almost as exciting as seeing Barbara.

Celia Hammond, Pauline Stone and Twiggy.
All of these beautiful models from the swinging sixties were sitting alongside me, enjoying every minute of Barbara's conversation. During question time, Twiggy spoke of her admiration and fondness for Barbara, remembering times when she would bicycle over to Biba in her lunch hour to spend her pocket money. And of course the times she modelled for Barbara once her own career took off.

Barbara was very humble about her contribution to the fashion world and came across as a very sweet and genuine sort of person. All to quickly the event was over. But it continued pleasingly when we were invited down to one of the galleries for a wine reception and book signing, where I managed to get a few pics of Miss. Hulanicki taking time with her fans.

The V&A regularly hold events on Friday evenings. This one was a ticketed event but the last Friday of every month (except December) they hold free drop in sessions with DJ's, food, drinks and late-night exhibition openings. If I lived a bit nearer and had access to the tube I would be there every Friday I think. It is such a cool place to be, the surroundings are truly beautiful and the food and drink offer is really very good.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Turning Over a New Leaf

Whoa, c'mon it's not as bad as that!

But my friends the time has come, and there's no denying it, I want to shed some weight and increase my fitness.

In my 40's (no Willie, not the 1940's before you start), I was a bit of a gym bunny. It wasn't a chore to go. I loved it. The right gym, the right classes and the right people. I enjoyed every minute. Well almost ever minute. I kept at my ideal weight for years. But somehow in my 50's the weight has crept on, even though I have been exercising on a fairly low key basis all the while.

Last week I changed my gym membership from a private, supposedly upmarket health club, to our local council run leisure centre. It feels like a very positive move. It's cleaner, brighter and has a much wider range of classes and facilities. What a surprise.

This morning I went to my first Pilates class. That was a shock to the system. I exercised muscles in places I didn't know I had places.

The teacher was lovely, the class small and the result is, I feel like I'm moving in the right direction at last.

I've also tried out their swimming baths, and been on a few long walks this week. All in all, a good start. I'm not working at the moment so I must plan in the time to keep the good work up.