There Were Three In the Bed…

When I am trying to sleep, there is nothing I hate more than having someone touch me. I simply cannot bear the warmth of someone’s arm across me. The weight of a leg draped across mine. The sound of someone’s breath in my ear. In fact many an unsuspecting bed companion has felt the heat of my wrath when they have dared to lean as much as a little toe on me. It makes me feel, you see, like stabbing said person in the night and clearly that is the kind of impulse that very definitely must be contained.

boy and dog

Especially when you find yourself sharing your cosy, beautiful, lavender scented bed with a ten year old boy and his puppy. Oh yes. stabbing either one of them for needing the warmth of she who is clearly the leader of the pack would simply never do.

Last night Alfie came to holiday at our house. Alfie, the puppy Mum bought for Finn. Alfie the puppy who is growing faster than Japanese knotweed and has already reached a size none of us were expecting. Finn was delirious with excitement and I was worrying about picking up poo. And whether Alfie would eat Alice the cat, or Alice the cat would hide, never to be found again, after encountering our shaggy little enthusiastic maniac of a puppy.

All went swimmingly well. Alice clung to me like a teeny chimpanzee and Alfie shot around the house carrying, variously, a doillie, a tin of Coty talc, and at one point, my black bra and looking for all the world, like he was having the absolute time of his life. And then it was bed time. Ordinarily Alfie sleeps in a puppy cage too big for my house and so it was decided that he would sleep upstairs, with Finn, at a safe distance away from little Alice’s room, and with his own snuggly blanket for company.

Bad idea. You see Alfie worships me in a way I have never before been worshipped.  As soon as he realised I was both behind two doors and across the hall, he started to whimper. Finn came and fetched the camisole I had been wearing that day to try to settle him down but when half an hour had passed, and the whimper looked set to turn into a full doggy howl, I knew I had no choice in the matter but to call both child and dog into my room.

Readers I am not the kind of person who believes it sensible to share her bedroom with a canine, but needs must and very soon I was huddled on one side of my bed, while Finley spread himself as wide as possible across me and the darn dog settled himself down to sleep across my legs, heavy breathing like an amorous octogenarian. I was struggling. I was holding in my urge to stab the pair of them with the Kindle I was trying to read in the dark, when all of a sudden it was seven o’clock in the morning and said dog was curled up between me and Finn, who was holding a snoring Alfie as if he was a rather large, curly haired teddy instead of the mad cockapoo that he really is.

How the heck did that happen? How in the name of Pedigree Chum did I have the best nights sleep of my life sharing my bed with a boy (all long limbs and curly hair) and a puppy?

I thought I was way beyond my comfort zone and it turns out I simply have no idea where my comfort zone begins and ends. Bless my silly heart.

The Little Things

Ah the little things. These my darlings are the little somethings that shore us up in monotonous or aggravating times. The little somethings that bring a spark of possibility, inspiration, joy, or sheer luxury to your day.


This then is a list of three of the little things currently brightening my world…

AromaWeek Candles


One of things I both love and hate about T.K.Maxx is that when you buy something, you can be pretty certain that you won’t be buying it again for T.K.Maxx is where lovely things go to die. And so it is with this box of AromaWeek Candles I am currently using on my new desk. With one deep tea-light for each day, each with a different scent, I am thoroughly enjoying experiencing the different mood each scent creates and I rather feel as though I am dabbling in establishing scents for every mood. Tuesdays candle is peppermint, just what I need today when my energy is slipping and I need to feel refreshed and clear-headed…

The Let’s Bring Back Journal


This was a treat to myself when I was shopping in Liberty, London and it is quite the most darling of old-fashioned journals celebrating all manner of graceful puttery treats and ways of living we modern gal’s simply no longer make time for…

Examples? This…

~Spend the morning lounging in a dressing gown, eating bonbons, and watching Jean Harlowe films. Bonbons used to be the symbol of glamorous indolence, the vice of the lady of leisure.

And this…

~ Use oversize  cutlery – it will give your guests the sensation of dining with the Mad Hatter in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Fabulous, mais oui? I am using this lovely journal to write down my puttery treats as and when I enjoy them so that I can share them with you at a later date…

The Kenwood Smoothie To Go

smoothie to go

I’m juicing. Juicing. Hope you like juicing too! Though green (and red and purple) juices have long been a part of my daily diet, I was getting entirely fed up with dragging out my giant blender and decanting vast amounts of juice into jugs, only for it to go to waste because I was unable to judge how much I was likely to drink. Enter then the Kenwood Smoothie to Go, as recommended by my friend Kath, my go to girl for good advice. I just unscrew the little jug, fill it with fresh veg and a tiny bit of fruit and whizzzzzzz… and there it is, one Alison sized juice I can drink straight from the jug it was blended in. Inspired!

P.S: My current favorite juice? Spinach, cucumber and pear. Green, good-for-you bliss. 

The Desk

I have come to the conclusion that a person is never done. That whenever we think we are done, we are simply treading water until the urge to change things strikes us again. What is sad about this state of affairs is that we never learn that this is the way of all human life, and so we labour on imagining that one day everything will be just right and more than that, that thereafter things will stay the same because the need for change will be obsolete because we are so happy with the life we have created.


Damn that it is not so. Damn it, damn it, damn it.

Having started a course of CBT with a therapist, I have been instructed to create a proper workspace for myself again, as it has been pointed out to me that running a business from an armchair probably isn’t terribly professional and I will no doubt get more done if I have everything in one place, preferably on a desk. And so my Darlings, being the kind of woman who likes to do as she is told, I have spent the last few days creating a little home office, in exactly the space it used to be in before I got it into my mad head that I am the only person on earth able to function squashed up in a chair.

I found a lovely old school teachers desk in our local furniture recycling centre and went shopping for wallpaper for one wall in my bedroom so that my working space could be clearly defined. I have scoured Ebay for a desk chair that will be comfortable and bought some darling mirrored frames to frame a set of four posters I found inside Flow Magazine. I have set up my printer, added speakers so I can hear my laptop, and organised something resembling a filing system. I am trying to be normal.

The daft thing is that this is how life used to be. I always used to work from a desk like any sensible person does. And then life went a little pear-shaped and I sought refuge in the hug of an armchair and while the house stayed lovely because I was busy adhering to my well-established routines and rituals, work has become ever so slightly ad-hoc.

Um yeah. So this is where I am at. Trying to reconcile what should be with what is. Trying to make the two ends of this ever revolving wiggly circle meet again, so that I can be whole again. The car was a start, this desk another inch forward. I have never shied away from telling you truthfully how I am and this is just a little bit more of that truth.

Do bear with me won’t you? While my head might just be ummm, up my bottom, my heart is always in BrocanteHome.

Morning Pages

It isn’t morning. It is half past one. I am trying to get back to my desk but my ten year old has got other ideas. He is hungry. He is thirsty. He wants to use the sewing machine. He wants to go to the post office. What should he do now? How late can he stay up tonight? Can he build a den in his bedrooom? Can he play Minecraft? On and on he goes until bored of firing questions at me, he lifts my computer off my lap, lies across my body and demands to be snuggled. To be tickled. To help him meditate his way to a nap he really doesn’t need.

morning pages

And so it has arrived again: this barrier between me and my creative self. Not always Finn shaped, this barrier prevents anything meaningful being written. Compromises my ability to sit still long enough to write anything at all. I keep busy. I discuss the merits of Roman Reigns and The Shield and keep popping into my bedroom to stare at the mountain of mess Summer seems to have created. I simply cannot fathom where I have got to. Where she who is so organised at both my desk and on the domestic front has gone. It is always like this in summer, always the the same, and I am always, always surprised. It is a depression this. The opposite of SAD.

The weekend past in a flurry of socialising. Even when my days are empty, ripe for productive work, I run away and sit in other people’s living rooms watching television and wishing myself away to wherever it is that my Muse spends her days. And the longer it goes on, the more frightened of the internet I become. The less willing to peek inside my inbox, do my accounts or read about all the wonderful things more motivated people are dreaming up in my absence. I  tell myself, feel the fear and do it anyway, but again I close the lid on the laptop and wander into the kitchen to decorate a rose jelly with pistachios and edible lavender. Nibbling at all the little something’s summer fills my fridge with:  the cold snow pea and asparagus frittata, the chocolate dipped strawberries, the ice cold pineapple juice lolly ices, the vine leaves cradling fragrant rice. All of it reminders that that there is life to to be consumed, that every bite of Summer is to be relished.

Today Finn and I went the library. Yesterday we breakfasted in Starbucks and tomorrow we will go to the fair to eat candy floss and frighten ourselves out of our wits. And I am looking for her: believe me, in every nook and cranny I am searching for she who used to be my most inspired self. She who holidays in far-flung places and will likely, not return, until my son has turned eleven and donned his uniform ready for a September start of new beginnings.

Perhaps then I should not chase her. Perhaps I should not tear out my hair with frustration at my inability to do what needs to be done and should instead forgive myself. Be kind to myself. Go gently and cease worrying. But I won’t. I will seethe and rage and still no words will come. No coherent thoughts gather to help me make sense of business obligation and domestic responsibility.

I want to go gently but I cannot help but beat myself up with a great big stick in the meantime. 

i murdered my library

I Murdered My Library (Amazon, 2014)

Well if this isn’t the most wonderful title for a book then I don’t know what is. I downloaded this short Kindle Single last night and read it in no time at all, nodding my head past myself as novelist Linda Grant tells of what it is to dismantle your library, and choose to read on your Kindle thereafter. A lament for all our lost books, Grant’s feeling on her (indispensable) e-reader remain ambiguous  until the very end when she is settling into a tiny flat after many a year in a rambling house, and finds herself with empty bookshelves…

Read it and weep for all those hardbacks lost for ever. 

The Car Seat Conundrum

So me Darlings I bought the car and my Dad had to drive it home because I am so used to an automatic car I couldn’t remember how to manage the gears and juddered and jolted all over the place, but after a morning zipping around, all is well, except for the responsibility of pale blue upholstery, and a pale blue interior and a pale blue dashboard. You see I am a dirt magnet.  A fact not only exclusive to my taste in men…

vintage rose seat covers 1

I also ferry three little dirt magnets to and from school, so I decided that the only way to cope with pale blue upholsery is to cover it up and pretend it is a sensible colour, so that when little Josh has kicked his way through the mole-hills next to school, or Finley has thrown his entire self into a puddle, this here Mummy won’t have a dicky fit.

So I started looking for car seats and heavens to Betsy they are so ugly, they hurt my poor, over the top aesthetic heart. Most seem to go in for go-faster flashes of electric blue or frankly frightening Hawaiian prints and I was having none of it until in a moment of inspiration I typed “women’s car accessories” into Google and happened across Me-Mo which seems to specialise in both the pretty and the pretty ludicrous, when it comes to snazzing up one’s automobile.

I am of course, utterly mad about floral prints. Of this I think we will agree. I luuurve a floral print. I’m just not sure whether indulging my love of vintage roses in my car is fabulous or ridiculous. While car seat covers are clearly going to be a necessity to get us through another snowy, muddy winter, would Brocante-homeing my car be a step too far? Why are we all so utterly conformist when it comes to our cars?

I can’t decide. So it’s over to you dear reader: when it comes to these pretty vintage rose seat covers, are you a yayer or a nayer?


One of the things I am very bad at is anticipating how much time I have to do all the things I have convinced myself I need to do. Take last week. I got back from my little holiday, spent a few days in the bosom (bosum is such a good word isn’t it?) of my family and then lost the rest of the week to trawling around second-hand car sites in search of a car that would go,  cost buttons in fuel and tax and (most importantly) be both red and cute. Oh yes. Very important was red and cute to me.


So that is why I have bought a blue car. Because the best laid plans of mice and vintage housekeepers go out of the window when people inform me that there are more important practicalities to consider, and when it comes to the choice between a red car and a blue car and the blue car is in better condition and a person really cannot afford to lose too many more working hours, wandering around the garages of the internets and debating the merits of air conditioning when a person cannot bear to drive in a car without the windows open, then a person must bite the prettier bullet and buy the blue car. So I did.

I thought you see that buying a car was a science. But after consulting various men on the matter, who I had imagined might just have opinions on such things, all looked at me doubtfully and told me that it was the luck of the drawer and that my friends, was that.

So yey! I have a sky blue car. The very first car I have bought for myself since I was 21 when I drove a spanking new, diddy little green Citroen off the forecourt. (Life seems to have gone a bit downhill since!). A car chosen by me, taxed by me and insured by little old me. So I can feel truly independent without having to drive the enormous Kia bus  I was previously given by Richard, or having to speed away in the car leftover from from our relationship, leaving Mark standing screeching on the pavement as I leaned out the window and told him he would have to walk. For the rest of his life…

This means such a lot to me. I can’t quite tell you quite how much it means without sounding a little ridiculous but frankly I am downright proud of me and I cannot wait to get back on the road properly trawling treasure troves, picking up Ouissi and disappearing for hours on end on little missions of my own, just because I can…

I plan you see on tootling. Tootling is another good word isn’t it? I consider tootling to be the  travelling equivalent of puttering, with the windows wide open and a dash of lavender and mint oils sprinkled on the little heart dangling above my dashboard. I plan on harassing my Mum with impromptu visits and popping a picnic rug in the boot so Finn and I can eat gluten free sandwiches while searching for squirrels. I plan on going the library more often. Driving Kath around like Miss Daisy and generally getting some much loved freedom back…

I can’t wait. I pick the car up at five this evening, and I simply cannot wait. Happy Monday Darlings.x