Life ReVamp 2015

Heavens. A heck of a lot can change in ten days don’t you know? It has been just that since I wrote my Goodbye to 2014 post and since then, though I resolved to switch off my computer and gather my spirits, it turns out that a) I can only think straight when I’m typing and b) Had I turned my life off, I would have missed the great #VatMoss debacle and found myself in all kinds of legal and financial lumber come January 1st!


Those of you who do not dabble in digital internet sales will very definitely have no clue about what I am talking about. In fact until my friend Racheal Lucas casually mentioned it over coffee on Monday morning, I had no clue either and was merrily planning another lovely year selling digital loveliness to your good selves and expanding my little empire of good old fashioned domestic advice. But alas thanks to the lunatic fringe in the EU, it is not to be and I have suddenly found myself having to re-think every single aspect of BrocanteHome if I am to survive without having to register for VAT or dallying in the kind of dubious ten year record-keeping I cannot even begin to imagine.

If this sounds dramatic, it is because it is: at this moment in time, until someone sees fit to overhaul these new rules pretty darn quick, (explained in full and rather wonderfully in this post on BritMums), I have simply got no choice but to overhaul my business model and close down all sales from January 1st 2015.

Darlings I have been freaking out. I have phoned everyone I know and ranted and sought advice and at this moment in time there is no other choice but to significantly alter how I do business here at BrocanteHome. At this stage I do not know how, but being of a practical nature I have taken immediate action and ummmmm, created a School of Life course to help me work through this crisis and to help you ReVamp your life in 2015!  A School of Life  course that will only be available for sale until NEW YEARS DAY!

Yes m’dears there is no better time for CHANGE than with the arrival of a gorgeous New Year and so allow me to invite you to join me this year as I abandon all notions of New Years Resolution and instead begin the process of saying goodbye to all that is NOT WORKING and hello to the one thing that I see fit to FOCUS upon in order to bring about the most significant CHANGE to ALL aspects of my life (and yours!).

This is not a glittery, think of a word for the year, frippery laden course: it is a serious process designed to help you focus on what you really need to do to alter the course of your life in 2015. It is resplendent with a resource list, journal prompts and a few little puttery to-do’s and I truly hope you will find it as useful as I have, while I have begun the process of working through how to come out the other side of this year with firm plans for happiness…

So sign up today and start planning a better way of life!

Sometimes you see, change is forced upon us, in just the way VATMOSS looks sets to alter the course of my business. To that end please know that I am committed to making sure that as much of Brocantehome remains as possible in it’s current form, but it is likely that there will have to be significant and immediate changes come the New Year. In the meantime, please feel free to continue to PAY WHAT YOU WANT for any of the partworks, blogging planners and housekeeping downloads available in the current store (offer cannot apply to the School of Life unfortunately) as they will no longer be available come January 1st.

This is a massive blow at the end of a difficult year… but sometimes disasters are merely opportunities in disguise and my very own Life ReVamp 2015 course is helping me to both see it and create necessary change…  

Goodbye to 2014

Welcome my Darlings to my last post of 2014. I know it isn’t time. I know there is still much of December to be be devoured before we can usher in 2015 but readers I am done with what has turned out to be my very own annus horriblus, and so rather than trying and so very frequently failing to keep excavating what does not seem to be there, I am calling time on this year and under Doctors orders and my Mum’s insistence I am going to fall head long into the festive arms of my family and try to put all that has been so desperately distressing to bed, once and for all. Please know that I would not abandon you to the maelstrom that is Christmas without very good reason, and that there is still, among the archives here on BrocanteHome, ten years of the Christmases we have so far shared together…

at christmas

But before I disappear into a pile of glitter and snot (for Finn and I have been struck down most horribly by a really yucky, rather hot virus), allow me to regale you with my own plans for the festive season and of course a really, rather wonder PAY WHAT YOU WANT offer that is my Christmas Gift to each and every one of you this holiday….  


Ready? Ok lets get this farewell party started!

Ten Things I Will Be Doing During My Unexpectedly Long Holiday…


1. Attending my sisters lovely wedding on December 28th. Though I am yet to buy a dress to wear to it, I am so very much looking forward to Helen’s wedding and if  her and Louie’s stunning engagement photographs are anything to go by, it will surely be a beautiful whirlwind of tweed, feathers and gin…

2. Spending the first Christmas of my grown up life at my parents new house. As there have been so many changes this year, I have decided that the only way to make sure that the gaps Finn and I might experience at home, are not too sorely endured, is too make Christmas as different as possible from what we have become used to. Though I am a long time advocate of how precious our routines and rituals are, a change in this instance, may just be as good as a rest and I know Christmas Eve will be heavenly in Mum and Dad’s lovely, twinkly, peaceful house…


3. Helping Finn welcome his new baby brother to his very first Christmas, for yes, Samuel Joseph was born last Monday afternoon and Finn couldn’t be more thrilled with this tiny little dot of a sweet babba…

4.  Writing my 100 Things lists in Leonie Dawsons workbooks. Though this year may have seemed like one long list of trauma and disaster, in actual fact when I looked back over last years 100 Things list, I was astonished by just how many of the little somethings I hoped to have and experience actually came to be. This then is the kind of magic that works and I am happy to put my faith in to making another list…

5. Letting my Mum help me to eat again because I have quite forgotten how. Yesterday this meant her chucking Posh Cheese on Toast and Mulled Winter Warmer in to my shopping basket at Mark and Spencer’s and comes accompanied by the refrain “little tasty titbits, little and often”. One would imagine that this lack of food would be accompanied by dramatic weight loss but sadly this is not the case and outrageously, I remain as buxom as I have always been. Kim Kardashian eat your heart out.

6.   Listening to other people. For yes I am a stubborn old mule and more often than not truly believe I know better than most. But I don’t. And I’m too tired to think at the moment so I have been letting other people think for me and one friend in particular has come up trumps by pointing out something so obvious about BrocanteHome that I’m really not sure how I didn’t think it up years ago. More on this in the New Year me darlings.

7. Going the cinema. Lots. To see Paddington, Get Santa and whatever else I can get Finn in to the cinema to see. For he has developed a quite ludicrous and rather hysterical fear of going to the pictures, fuelled by the rather preposterous notion that we may find ourselves sitting watching a scary film instead of the film of our choice and recently this has meant dragging him inside the theatre, and then insisting he open his sobbing eyes when I am able to confirm that we are in fact watching the right film. Tonight we are going to see Nativity 3 and by arriving after the trailers have been shown and accompanied by Kath and Eleanor, I am really hoping that we will not have to cope with the screaming abdabs…

8.  Planning a frugal Christmas. Money is incredibly, scarily, tight this year and I cannot go to the occasionally silly lengths I usually do to weigh Santa down with all the little bits of scrumptious nothing I usually like  to bestow on friends and family. And so I am looking upon this year as a challenge to delight not with money but with ingenuity, experiences and presence… Erm yeah. Wish me luck won’t you?

9. Looking for the perfect dog coat. I know. I know it doesn’t do to dress your dog up. I know dog clothes are in fact the preserve of the mad and the lonely and the kind of ladies one does not aspire to be, but the thing is this, Alfie the maddest cockapoo in the world, he who scares kids and grown men alike with his sheer enthusiasm, gets cold. He gets cold, he starts to shiver and then he parks his bottom on the pavement and refuses to budge another inch unless I balance an umbrella over him and drag him home. So yes. He NEEDS a coat. And if the town of Aughton wants to laugh at my bandana sporting, duffle coat wearing hound, then so be it. My pride went out the window a long time ago.

10.  Making my world small. For it has been too much with us lately, and both Finn and I need to come back home. To slow down and concentrate on becoming the tiny little family we are once again. And so over the next month I intend to be there for him. To make new festive rituals that are just our own and to be present to what feels like the last Christmas he will really see the season through the magical eyes of a child.

My Christmas Gift To You…


I said I wouldn’t be doing this again. But I can think of no better way to spread the Brocante word, than to make my existing body of work available to all those who have so far been unable to afford it, and so welcome to my Christmas gift to all of you: the chance to PAY WHAT YOU WANT for any or all of my downloads, including the Christmas planner and Countdown, Housekeeping advice, Homemaking Instructions or the ultimate guide to Trashing it all and starting again.

I have in the past ten years created a vast amount of downloadable inspiration and before 2015 arrives and with it a new era in the future of BrocanteHome I want to give my work to as many women as possible: to each and every one of you who feels ready to take a little bit of this lovely way of life away with you so that you can sit down by the fireside in the run up to Christmas and plan for yourself a lovelier new year…

Ok.  Ready to PAY WHAT YOU WANT?

Simply hop over to the shop and browse through all the lovely PDF’s and Planners available, then come back here and click the button below. Type whatever price you can afford into the box, press UPDATE, and then tell me which download you would like delivered to your in-box. No catches Sweetie, I want you to have a truly lovely, inspired Brocante life at a price you can afford today! Your donation is entirely up to you, and you may offer it for whatever reason you choose.  You can also choose to divide the full price into a monthly donation should you so choose. It really is up to you.

I truly hope this makes BrocanteHome more accessible to everybody and that you won’t feel too embarrassed to pay only what you can. Please allow up to 48 hours for delivery and if you are currently waiting to hear from me, please rest assured that I will be using the silence of the next week, before the madness of the season truly starts to catch up with everything that is left over from this year….

Pay What You Want is my gift to all of you, and more than that is your way to continue to support BrocanteHome in to the New Year. For if 2014 has been lost to chaos and pain, I truly hope that 2015 will bring with it the opportunity for Brocantehome to shine in your hearts all over again. And if nothing else I want you to know that I am absolute proof that you can live through some of your worst nightmares and still come out standing, and that I will be using this strength to help you grow in whatever way I can during the next twelve months.

Happy Christmas Housekeepers! 

#DecktheHalls With Matalan

Darlings, I am astonished to announce that Wreath Day (December the 1st on the Brocantehome Christmas Countdown) is almost upon us, though quite frankly I cannot fathom how when it was July only yesterday. #truefact


This year my pale green front door will be adorned with the wreath above, a festive flounce of white twig and silvery sage foliage, courtesy of Matalan, who have rather excelled themselves in the Christmas department this year by focusing their range tightly within the realms of three strong themes: Serenity Silvers,  Fable Traditional Reds and Rustic Wild Woods

Follow Brocantehome’s board #Deckthehalls With Matalan on Pinterest.

And so my Darlings, in celebration of Matalan’s fabulous festivity I am pleased to be able to invite you to take part in a competition Matalan are running to create a Pinterest board like mine filled with all the scrumptious Christmassy things you like from the Matalan Christmas range along with as much festive creativity and good ideas as you can summon…

The details of the competition are below, but you need to be quick if you want to win some of the items you select as the competition closes in just three days: so get your ice skates on and create a board that truly represents what decking the halls means to you…

“Calling all creative souls! This is your chance to show us your creative flair and inspire us with your Christmas-themed Pinterest board. Simply create a new Pinterest board titled #deckthehalls and pin your favourite products from our Christmas range to it along with other Christmassy images – make it creative, make it inspirational, make it festive! Once you’ve completed your board, make sure you Tweet Matalan with a link to your board and the hashtag #deckthehalls for your chance to WIN a selection of the Matalan products featured on your board. And even if you’re not crowned with 1st place, you’ll still have the chance to win a few of the Matalan products featured on your board, in 2nd and 3rd place. Terms & Conditions Apply.

Imagine how wonderful it would be to win and get a box of Christmas delivered to your door! Get pinning!

Good luck.x

Happy Thanksgiving

Though I wish with all my heart that we had a similar holiday in the UK, Thanksgiving has forged a place in my life thanks to all my wonderful American readers…


For me it serves as a reminder each year that there is so very much to be grateful for, that Brocantehome continues to thrive on both sides of the Atlantic and that I am truly blessed to still have the friendship of so many wonderful women.

Tonight I will eat a roast dinner at my Mum’s table and I will think of you all; each and every one of you enjoying the company of your family and simply feeling glad to be alive.

May we share many, many more Thanksgivings to come….  

Leonie’s Workbooks Are Here!

Oh me Darlings. I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I am for all the comments and emails you sent me yesterday. It is astonishing to feel so loved and to find in your words so much comfort, reassurance and yes… help. Thank-you. As always, thank-you. Today I feel lifted. Almost held up. And I am so very, very grateful.

It is time to look to to the future. Though I have always paid lip-service to making plans for my tomorrows, in the past few years, those plans have been spectacularly bull-dozed time and time again, mostly I think because I have always been so willing to take my eye off the ball and attend to somebody else’s needs. This year, 2015, I so very much want it to be different: I want to commit every last inch of me to making our world a better place for Finn and I, and I desperately want to achieve all that I have had to leave by the wayside in recent times.

Which is why I am so grateful for the serendipitous arrival of Leonie Dawson’s 2015 workbooks in my in-box. Sometimes a person needs to stop and take stock. To make links between what has gone wrong and what needs to be done to make things right. She needs to sit down, quite alone and make plans, or else she will continue to flounder: to tread cold, exhausted water while failing to imagine exactly how she can get back on track with creating a life that matters.

Leonie is so very inspirational. She is the kind of woman who tells it like it is. Even when that is hard to hear. But heckity pie, she is real. This is a woman with real oozing out of her pores and I know for a fact that if I were to sit down in front of her and tell her how I came to be quite so very down and almost, but not quite, out, she would look at me aghast and tell me to throw every fibre of my being in to creating the kind of life where no such thing could ever, ever be allowed to happen to me again.

This year I am going to heed her. I am going to use her prompts to pull me out of the mire and concentrate on me. What a revelation that might be my lovely readers. Won’t you let Leonie pull yourself out of stuck too?

Asking For Help

It’s official. My marbles have rolled under the bed. Or the dog has chucked them out of the window. Today I did something I have never done in eleven years of blogging: I accidentally posted something I have posted before. (Blink and you would have missed it).


After a morning of  dog walking and carrot juicing I was feeling fired up and I sat down with my little notebook full of scrawled poems and settled on one that seemed to reflect my mood. I added a picture, pressed publish and lo and behold I had posted a poem I had already shared and didn’t realise until I found myself thinking as I stood pouring water on to coffee, that the reason why the poem seemed so familiar is because I had already posted it.

I am not good at asking for help. In fact I am even pretty rubbish at taking it when it is offered. And people are so very kind. Lately I have been awash with offers of help as I continue to drag myself out of the mud that has been the past three years. They offer and I pretend I didn’t hear them. Or I mutter, please don’t worry, I am ok, no really I am ok, when it must be obvious to all and sundry that right now I couldn’t be less than ok. Shouldn’t be ok. Ok is in fact something not required of me at all right now.

You see, put it this way: If my house was a hotel and I arrived to stay here and met me, as my landlady, I would not only refuse to stay but would firmly confound matters by writing the kind of review of Trip Advisor that would make the national newspapers. Hell yes: I can no longer refer to Chez Brocante but must now call home, Shed Brocante where she who used to be Alison May now resides.

Help is a conundrum of awkward manners and the admittance of failure. Refuse it and you seem rude. Or stubborn. Or stupid and curmudgeonly. Accept it and you feel as though you are letting the whole world down. And worse than that, that you have failed in the kind of spectacular fashion it is all too obvious, the whole world can see. That makes me feel ashamed. Vulnerable. And silly. And weak. And silly and weak are the kind of personality traits I cannot abide in other people so how in the name of all things festive am I too admit that today I am feeling both silly and weak? Frankly it’s a no-can-do in a situation where help right now could make all the difference.

But people want to help. They offer time, and money, advice, cold hot chocolate and a hug. They bring flowers and a smile, they send middle of the night texts that simply say “Are you ok?” and they tell me that they love me over and over again and that none of this is my fault. That it would be ok to stop sacrificing all that I need and sit down and have a little sob for all that is lost. For all that will soon be lost. That it would be mighty fine and just downright bloody dandy to say I can’t do this right now. I don’t know what to do next on a list of a million things I don’t feel capable of doing. I’m a little frightened Sweetie…

It would be all right for me to say it and readers, my darling lovely readers, it would be all right for you to say it too. For here is the thing: if we were watching someone else struggle we would down tools and do everything we could to help them, even when we are utterly incapable of helping ourselves. We would step out of our coat and wrap it around someone who really needed it. Hand over our last penny. Stop the clock and try to fix them. I would. You would. We all would. So why is it so terribly hard to ask for help with both the big stuff (the un-paid bill, the child who seems sad, the house we cannot keep warm) and the little stuff (the door that sticks, the pint of milk we could do with someone bringing in, time out from a busy day)? I would like to say I have the answer, but I am probably ludicrously prouder or even more stubborn than you are.

So this is a turning point. Today I am going to ask for the help I need. I am going to say NO to anyone who asks me if I’m ok and then I am going to take whatever they offer because despite my reluctance to accept help, today I need it. And maybe you do too. Maybe you too need a little patience from those who care. Maybe you need to hear them say I love you and I can fix this and for once you are going to let me. Maybe you need to return the calls, answer the texts, lose yourself in their arms or let them cook dinner tonight.

Maybe it is time to stop and face the music: you cannot do everything yourself and you are destroying your whole life, trying. Your body will give in long before your head does and that is a dangerous place to be. You don’t have to keep on keeping on when you are going around in circles. You aren’t designed to handle catastrophe all by yourself. No-one, not even you, is strong enough for that.

And so there we have it readers: another blogging first – the first blog post I have written with tears in my eyes. Time to stop trying to be strong.

Stocking Fillers: Simpkins Lavender Drops

May I please just give a great big, affirmative, delighted BrocanteHome nod to Simpkins Botanical Drops?

simpkins lavender drops

They really are little drops of restorative heaven and come in well-being enhancing flavours as diverse as Cherry and Echinachea to Green Tea and my favourite (obviously), Lavender…

Quite the most soothing treat at bedtime… and the perfect gift for refined ladies everywhere.