Author Archives: Alison May
Somebody remind me that buying delicious little edible or drinkable somethings from TkMaxx and Homesense is never a good plan when all too often their selection seems to include loveliness I will never have the pleasure of more than once. Tis both a pleasure and a crime.
Case in point? Charbrew Sleepy Tea. Now I do believe my sleeping issues are legendary around these parts. Heaven knows I moan about them frequently enough. So when I find something that helps me switch my overactive imagination off I find myself desperate enough to want to stock up with enough to last me in to the new millennium. And so it was with Charbrew Sleepy Tea.
For let’s face it, it is so very rare to happen across something that does exactly what it says on the pretty box. But Sleepy Tea works. The first night I was asleep within half an hour of sipping it from my cosy bedtime mug (You haven’t got a bedtime mug? Allocate one today!), and better than that, I stayed asleep all night. All night! This is something that never happens, for three o’clock in the morning and I are bosom buddies.
The second night having decided it must have been a fluke, I force-fed it to Ste and both of us slept like contented little logs. This stuff works! It really, really works and now I’m sad. Because we are nearing the end of the box and I cannot buy another because it is all sold out on Charbrew and as far as I can tell unavailable everywhere else on the planet.
Heckity pie, me and my first-world problems.
But anyway, this is a plea for help, so should you find yourself bimbling around TkMaxx or the ever rewarding delight that is HomeSense and you happen across a box or six of Charbrew Sleepy Tea, do think of me won’t you?
Sleeping well rather becomes me.
Welcome dear Housekeepers, to a new series here on BrocanteHome: a weekly round-up of all that is new on the School of Life…
On The School of Life This Week…
- The Get a Grip workbook is now live in the Salon and available to grab in your Salon Library if you are a member… (and available for four monthly payments of $10.00 if you are not)
- The next post from the Better ME Program is also live in the Salon Library for members (and available for two monthly payments of $10.00 if you are not)
- AND The very first PEP-Talk workbook is now live in the Salon – which means that all Salon members now have the opportunity to have a direct one one one conversation with yours truly, while they work through the six interactive workbooks and projects included in the PEP-Talk, and I guide them towards a set of domestic routines and rituals that will bring order to their lives. (Also available for non members for two monthly payments of $35.00).
I have been so excited to see that so many of you have already started to complete your first workbook and I want you to know what an absolute privilege it is to be able to get to know you this way.
Please note that the conversation between you and I will not start until you have answered each and every question in the first workbook, so please don’t worry if you don’t hear from me immediately, I am simply patiently watching from behind the scenes and waiting for you to be ready…
Not a Member of The School of Life Yet?
It’s time to create a life less ordinary…
It’s that time again me darlings. Time for me to glue the zip on my purse tight shut and hop around the internets on an imaginary shopping trip. Wanna come with? Hop on board!
This month I’m all about Spring. Because we have finally strung up a washing line and I am having a fine old time watching my sheets flutter over the garden, and even Ste cannot wait to empty the washing machine and get pegging things out across our double, bubblegum pink line.
It’s quite possible we need a life. Fighting over who gets to peg the washing out isn’t quite the stuff of love’s middle-aged dream now is it??
In This Month’s Edit?
A pair of nude ballet shoes. Because once upon a time my Mum would ring me up on a Friday morning in Spring and declare it “ballet shoe time” which would mean we would head in to Southport and treat ourselves to the shoes that would see us through the Summer after a Winter spent in boots. A laundry basket lined in floral oilcloth because here at BrocanteHome we are dedicated the elevating the mundane and a set of April Cornell tea-towels in a cheery yellow because it is terribly important to scatter a little Spring around the kitchen don’t you know?
Next up the world’s most beautiful chest of drawers (good old Anthropologie!) and a chair my entire body is aching for, to live in the corner of my bedroom – though I suspect it is too lovely to throw clothes over isn’t it? Oooh and speaking of my bedroom I also NEED a holistic silk ANTI-AGEING pillow case because I am wrinkling up like an old prune and it’s either that or Botox. Or maybe just constant re-hydration from a rather happy little glass water bottle because I have got it in to my head that the plastic in most water bottles is killing me and if water is the stuff of life I need a safe way to drink it and thus battle the creep of old-age…
I would like a Cath Kidston Mallory tape dispenser if you don’t mind, this candle because a little seduction never goes amiss (and the name made me laugh) and this darling Springtime wreath for my front-door because the people of Burscough look a little solemn and I feel obliged to spread a little pretty. Oooh and wouldn’t it be downright lovely to have a candle that smells of Spring at your breakfast table?
I want to go to New York so this tea-towel would make quite the loveliest representation of my dream, and I’ve got a rather charming Parish blackboard I never use, because I keep losing the chalk, so these blackboard pencils would be ideal for tying to the board with a length of velvet ribbon. I want my entire family wearing pink Easter Bunny ears at my Easter Dinner (though I’m not sure how well they are going to go down with the boys, damn them!) and before everyone I arrives I want to spritz the whole house with the scent of Prosecco because it sounds so deliciously light and celebratory – just right for our favorite Springtime meal…
Happy Spring Housekeepers.x
Hello my loves, I am back with a vengeance and here to tell you that the brand, spanking new School of Life has gone live today with all it’s lovely bells and whistles!
It’s not quite finished but I know how very eager my Living Room and Salon members have been to see what I was working on and so today I have decided to let you in, and hope that you will appreciate that it is a work in progress that will almost certainly make life easier here at BrocanteHome.
There comes a time in business, it seems that one either gives up, or scales up, and not being one to ever give up, scaling up was the answer. And so with significant time and financial commitment (and a lot of flustered mopping of my perpetually fuddled brow), I have created The School of Life to house all my courses, planners, membership programs and pep-talks in one oh so very easy to navigate site.
No more will you have to feel muddled about where the download your order is: it will be there, forevermore in your own School of Life library! Alongside your account details, access to all membership modules (140+ in the Salon!!), and coming soon, workbooks you can fill in right there in the School…
So what else is new?
Well not only can you manage your memberships, but you can also divide payment for any product you buy over a number of months, hopefully making my writing even more accessible to everybody, keep up with the School of Life blog where I will share updates on what’s new and offer discounts and other offers, and read all about my latest releases for your Kindle.
Yep. All in one place.
I’m soooooo excited. You see the past year has been something of a calamity. And I’m truly hoping you will find everything you need quickly and easily now and I won’t be pulling my hair out trying to make things work for you when technology just will not do what it should!
Do join the Living Room won’t you? It is just $3.00 a month and with my lovely housekeeping system 365 now being included in your membership absolutely FREE (Full price: $15.00), it is well worth the few pennies it will cost each month and go such a long way to helping me keep BrocanteHome online for always.
Thank you as always for your patience. It is so very much appreciated. And this, dear, lovely Housekeepers, is just the beginning of The School of Life.
P.S: Instructions for signing in if you an existing member are available over in The Living Room Facebook Group today.
Hello my Lovelies, I am taking a moment out of my behind-the-scenes work today to pop in here to tell you that a) I am not dead, b) I haven’t forgotten about BrocanteHome and I really am beavering away back here and c) in a deeply unrelated item, but which I am keen to share regardless… I have lost TWO STONE in the past six weeks!
So umm yeah. Moment of random showing off over so lets move on. Do you want to see what I have been working on and why all else has come to a stop around these parts while I get it fixed up?
A few months ago I told you that I was moving the Salon, the Living Room and all my PDF sales on to one site: never for a moment imagining that it would take as long as it has. You guys, I have written such a lot of content over all these years and gathering it together cohesively has taken an age, but I am here today to tell you that I am getting very, very close to the launch day (when all my lovely existing subscribers will be invited inside), and to going public once I’m sure everything works!
I am building The School of Life on the NewKajabi platform which means that life for all of us will be significantly easier from here on in because you will have just ONE account for all your Brocante content and it will live happily in your very own, always accessible LIBRARY. That’s all your Salon content, podcasts, links to the Living Room community and any downloads you buy separately. ALL. IN. ONE. PLACE.
Each and every membership element or download has its own page divided into categories as shown in the image of The Living Room above and then each category has its own set of associated posts and downloads as in the image below…
Each post or element of a course or subscription can be marked as complete and then it is just a matter of clicking NEXT to move on through the rest of the content…
So how does that sound? All good, yay?! I am sooooo excited because I KNOW this is going to be so much easier for you to navigate and for me to manage and I do believe it will allow BrocanteHome to grow in 2017.
I will have more news about the timeline for the launch in the next few days and as soon I can I will let you know how your Living Room or Salon membership will be transferred over to the new platform.
Love you lots, like jelly-tots and I will see you again, very, very soon.x
Happy March, Lovelies… I just wanted to break away from completing The School of Life today to tell you that The Spring House is now available in e-book form and you can hop over to Amazon straight away and download a tiny bit of Spring the Brocante way in to your Kindles….
All of the seasonal series will be available very soon, in line with your vote to have my work sold not as PDF’s but as e-books for your tablets and as an introductory offer The Spring House is currently just $0.99 (£0.79)!
I know things have been quiet around here lately but I am very, very busy behind the scenes and you will see the fruits of my labour very, very soon.
It has long been my belief that we know exactly what ails us and choose to pretend it doesn’t because what ails us is usually something we rather adore and cannot contemplate living without.
In my case it is gluten. I am positively gluttonous about gluten. Oh gluten how I love thee! A french stick still warm from the oven dripping in salty butter? Yes please! Iced donut? Why I don’t mind if I do! What’s that you say? Marks and Spencers are stocking their oh so delicious chocolate and toffee hot cross buns? Get me a trolley full!
When it comes to gluten my gluttony knows no bounds. And it is killing me.
A few weeks ago I got a letter through calling me to an appointment with an endocrinologist I don’t remember asking for and I took it to my GP and said and what would this be for and she said well frankly I have no idea but do go won’t you because appointments with that consultant are terribly hard to come by. And so I had my blood taken and trotted off to the appointment and there he was, a giant of a man who boomed as I sat down, well it’s no bloody wonder you don’t feel well! (Men do seem to boom around these parts.)
And I felt puzzled and he muttered on about various thyroid related numbers and as it turns out I am one of the 15% of thyroid patients for whom the usual treatment is useless as my (frankly awkward) body cannot convert it into anything worth having and thus I have been popping pills for a good few years now that have been doing nothing at all and I wasn’t going mad: I would still feel yukky and tired and fat because the issue was going unaddressed.
And I listened and said well now what can I do about it? And he said I can prescribe nothing at all on the NHS but you can buy some pills from America and take those instead and I have seen some excellent results with them and all shall be well IF you stop eating gluten too. For you m’dear have raised antibodies to gluten and it isn’t doing you any good at all and it will make you feel like death warmed up on a permanent basis and in the long run make you very ill and are you completely mad? You have a son with Coeliac Disease! You have an auto-immune illness! You KNOW gluten doesn’t agree with you and I cannot help you if you will not help yourself!!
Readers I considered myself suitably chastened by this shouty man. Chastened good and proper.
For I did know. I knew my fuzzy head and relentless lethargy weren’t normal. Of course I did. But I have been shuffling backwards and forwards to the GP for ever such a long time while she declared my results normal. Because GP’s do not order the comprehensive set of tests that reveal the truth so obviously to those consultants that do. So I thought my abnormalness was just a fact of life: I wasn’t normal and that was that. And yes, for sure gluten didn’t agree with me but heavens to Betsey, it was yummy and it couldn’t be the whole story now could it?
Well ummm…. possibly. So two weeks ago I gave up gluten and since then I have lost seven inches from my person. An inch off my over-inflated bust. Two inches off my once bloated stomach. An inch here and another inch there. Seven inches! And all I did was cut out gluten and replace it with more veg and protein. It wasn’t hard because I have had the most outrageous flu, but still no gluten for two weeks and the results are pinned inside my wardrobe where I have stuck a chart to measure my Monday morning inch-loss week on week.
Heck, self-deception should be a crime punishable in the Crown Court shouldn’t it? So if you take only one thing away from this post make it that self-deception is a crime against your person and YOU are supposed to be your persons greatest advocate.
You see I KNOW that you KNOW what ails you too. And if I can do it you can do it too.
I am about to show off and feel the need to warn you first. You see I am so stressed, the house is immaculate. Lickably, laughably clean. For when the going gets tough, I get the hoover out.
I do believe you see that the world is divided in to two types of people: those who create mess during stress and those who try to create order out of emotional chaos by going a bit bonkers with a squeegee. I am the latter. A lunatic with a damp-cloth permanently clutched between my worried fingers. A freak determined to control a life spinning out of control by standing on chairs to deal with errant corners.
Today I came home from the school run and suddenly appalled by the state of my skirting boards, dashed through the house to fetch a pail of warm water and a cloth with which to banish all evidence of my neglect. It was only when I found myself down on my hands and knees, coughing and spluttering with flu that will not fly away, worrying at a tiny mark that would not shift, did I notice I was still wearing my coat, a scarf and one finger-less glove.
Should you attend my premises and find it a little slovenly, then rest assured all is well. I will be busy looking after myself, reading, taking long baths, dashing hither and thither, enjoying the slings and arrows of motherhood and entrepreneurship and love and life and vintage housekeeping. But should you open the front door and sniff, basset hound style at air fragranced by tea tree, get ready to grab me by the apron strings, force me to sit down and take stock of my compulsion to clean anything standing still. Including the poor teenage child probably sprayed head to foot in deodorant and scrubbed at with the kind of tissue I have taken from my pocket, licked and applied to his face. Oh yes. Sometimes I am one of those Mums.
Stress comes in flutters. Sometimes in a sentence. Sometimes by the barrel load. Occasionally stress even comes dressed as a person.
Take Mark. The Father of my child. Now married to Hannah and father to another (adorable) child. Twice a week this relatively inoffensive man knocks on my door and I swear its as though someone pops batteries in me and winds me up. For in he comes and off I go. I run the tap for no good reason. Wipe down the stove. Get a dust pan and brush out. Swipe a duster over his bald spot. And he follows me around making small talk and telling me to step away from the sink and I chat away and fail to keep still and when things are really bad I start spritzing the greasy glass in the conservatory doors and he laughs and tells me I’m mental and then we have a cup of tea and all is well. But something inside me anticipates stress around him. So I clean. Which is really rather bizarre because I’m pretty sure my Dad would swear blind I never clean so relaxed I am in his chirpy company.
Today the house is spotless and Mark hasn’t even been over! A sweet-smelling, cosy antidote to Storm Doris raging outside my front door and Storm Alison raging inside my head. Cleaning then is sometimes a means to an end. Sometimes a coping mechanism. Something to keep my hands busy and my mind deliciously empty.
It’s when I start manically baking that you really need to worry…