Perfect attire

Perfect attire for Autumn

I am pretty sure that it is warmer outside my house than it currently is inside it. Though I have just eaten the cosiest chicken roast, sipped copious amounts of tea and warmed the cockles of my heart by striding around a huge forest in thick socks and a puffy fluffy anorak, with a scarf wrapped around my head and thermal gloves on my blue fingers, I am still ABSOLUTELY freezing.

Rumour has it that it is all in my mind, though you need to know that I strongly object to this opinion. Despite the fact that the other occupants of this house are currently wandering around in tshirts and looking knowingly at each other as if me and my foibles are just something they have to deal with, I do believe that as Mistress of the house, my opinion on the temperature of the house is the only one that matters. So if I say it is cold it is damn cold and they are only warm because they are a)to stubborn to admit that is otherwise and/or b) too full of the kind of joie de vivre I seem to be lacking on a freezing Sunday in November.

Anyways this rant (I promise it’s nearly over) is to tell you that in my dreams I am heading upstairs to a hot bath in a warm bathroom and that when I have luxuriated in milky, rosy waters I am climbing into the cosiest pair of grey marl pyjamas, and topping them with a pink UGG Frances robe because frankly in my fuddled, frozen state I am almost hallucinating about how utterly warm I would be in something both flannel and fleecy.

Then I want a chai hot chocolate, an engrossing book and a  handsome man to rub warm cinnamon oil on to my pedicured toes (try it: it warms up your entire body!). Spicy hot chocolate? Tick. Steamy novel? Tick. Handsome man? Tick. Everything but the robe m’dears. Everything but the robe.

I do hope Santa Claus is on the case.

Source List
1. Ugg Frances Robe available at the cosy store that is Plow and Hearth.

2. Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin. Currently just $1.99 on Amazon.Com here.

3. Chai Hot Chocolate. My preferred brand at here (because it isn’t sickeningly sweet) and at here.

4. Cinnamon Oil. Please see this page for my preferred essential oil brand.

One really shouldn’t bother making plans. One should not take it in to one’s head to say this is the week that I am going to do a Seasonal Scrub and this is the week I am going to release a new download and this is the week I am going to have cwoffee with my bestest friend because I can’t remember the last time I laid eyes on her.

Oh no. One really shouldn’t acknowledge such plans out loud at all. Best to keep them tucked inside your head and hope for the best for anything else is tempting fate and fate frankly takes any opportunity to take advantage of your trusting nature. The betch!

Today Finley is at home sick with a hacking little cough. Ste remains off-colour and I am fighting off the kind of  fierce war with a tickly cough and snuffly cold determined to consume me, with a battery of Vitamin C, Zinc, Echinachea, essential oils and many, many layers of thermal vests and cosy fleecy cardigans.

And I will win Housekeepers. I will win because anything else in unthinkable. Where other people take coughs and colds in their stride I behave abysmally and screech about how no-one else suffers like I do and generally a need a good smack before I can be dragged kicking and screaming out of the kind of self-pity generally reserved for those on their last legs.

I will win because I have coated my entire, overly buxom chest in a mixture of my own devising, that will I hope see off everything from the flu to the plague, a blend that includes cloves, cinnamon bark, rosemary, lemon and Eucalyptus.

While it’s use in my home may have come too late to prevent the arrival of this seasons’s colds, today I am making the most of this so-called Thieves’ blend anti-bacterial properties by adding a few drops of lavender, because I am Alison and I wouldn’t be Alison if I didn’t chuck a little lavender at any given problem now would I?

The Recipe?

Get Better Balm

Six tablespoons of coconut oil
3 drops of Cloves Oil
2 drops of Lemon and Cinnamon Oils
1 drop each of Eucalyptus and Rosemary Oils
Five drops of Lavender Oil

Gently warm the coconut oil in a bain-marie until you can sir it, then add the oil drop by drop and spoon in to a glass container and allow to set.

I have rubbed the oil in to my chest as I said, but for children I would recommend rubbing it into their feet and then popping a pair of warn socks on, or if the cough is particularly hacky, gently massaging it into the back of their neck as I have just done with Finn.

There now.  I feel better already. Although that might just be down to the fact that I am curled up with my lovely boy, watching Scooby Doo and abandoning the remainder of my seasonal scrub until we are all a little better…

It’s any excuse really isn’t it Housekeepers? If I can’t be a good example I am going to have to be a terrible warning.

Source List
1 . The Seasonal Scrub. My step-by step guide to conducting your own week or month long seasonal house clean. Get it on Amazon.Com here for $2.99 and on Amazon.Co.Uk here for £1.99

2.  The oils I use: I would be thrilled to tell you more about using essential oils in your home. Visit my oil lifestyle page and I will tell you everything you need to know. Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions you might have, and look out for a dedicated essential oil post here on Brocante in the coming weeks, for this is something we can do together Housekeepers…

3. Glass containers for aromatherapy: Purely for (silly) aesthetic reasons I prefer the amber glass jars and bottles for all the lotions, balms and potions I mix up. Buy them on here and and on here.

The beauty of the house


A Plea for Just a Little More Dirt and Much More Order and Happiness

The children were safely stowed away in bed and there was the prospect of a quiet hour before me. Not even stopping to pull down the window shades, I placed myself in a comfortable chair, my feet on another and began to write down some ideas that had been accumulating in my head. A rocking horse was hitched to the sofa, all the available furniture in the room had been converted into a rail-road train and toys were strewn about.

A ring at the bell; a neighbour said “As I was passing I saw you sitting here alone and couldn’t resist coming in. I trust I don’t interrupt.”

” Oh no, I was just cudgeling my brain for some ideas for a paper I am writing”

“What is your subject?”

” The beauty of the house is order”

This is a Vintage Housekeeper’s Circle post – Click here to read more.

Seasonal Scrub

Seasonal Scrub

Sooooo excited I could crush a grape! For yes m’dears,  The Autumn 2015 Seasonal scrub is upon us and over on The Vintage Housekeepers Circle we are tying our work-a-day aprons on, and getting ready to spend the next seven days scrubbing the house from top to bottom.

I am in fact having to slightly extend my own scrub because I got in a muddle and thought Finley was back in school today but he actually doesn’t return until Wednesday and so I am indulging in scrubbing-lite until then and will carry on until next Wednesday, which is probably a good thing because for the first time in fifteen years of scrubbing I cannot turn the house completely upside down in case potential buyers take it in to their heads to come and view the house in the next few days and find themselves astonished by a house not so much staged but desecrated!

So in my house I will be conducting a slow, bird-by bird scrub: being careful not to turn it into scrubby chaos (which I usually rather enjoy because there is nothing more rewarding than putting it all back to lovely togetherness when all is spick and span!), and doing one room at a time instead of my usual task by task routine.

For this is the thing with the Scrub: if you use the plan included in either the book or the download and tick off each task it really doesn’t matter which order you do things in, or how long it takes you to get through them. Though I do believe it helps to allocate an end-point for the scrub or else you compromise the intensity of a really deep clean and lose the satisfying impact of a week or a month’s hard work. After which you can put everything I talked about in The Winter House into effect and really start to layer your deliciously clean slate in loveliness.

Okey-doke, are we ready? Members of the Housekeeper’s Circle it is time to head over to the forum and declare your intentions for the scrub. I will be checking in a few times a day with my own progress and together we can push each other to cinnamon scented bliss…

And those of you who aren’t members can still join in: simply pop over to Amazon and grab The Seasonal Scrub and find within it’s pages everything you need to know to conduct your own scrub the Brocante way… 

Twelve deals

Twelve deals

It’s rather a worry how very forgetful I am isn’t it? In the midst of half-term, horrible trips to see the Blackpool illuminations, and the constant feeding of two boys with hollow legs, it quite went out of mind to share the tenth deal in my Twelve deals of Christmas series!

And so here it is: my best deal yet! 75% off my inspiration 25 pdf series, (25!!) Trash It or Treasure It, available this week, for just $10.00 – $30.00 whole dollars off the usual price of $40.00!

If you only ever buy one download from BrocanteHome then this is the one to treat yourself to, for this is the one that changes lives and makes the women who read it re-evaluate exactly why they are so keen to hang on to physical, virtual, emotional and ACTUAL trash, when they could be channelling their energy in to a life worth treasuring…

So if today is the day to change your life, then do not pass go my lovely… hop over to the store and grab today’s wonderful deal, then get yourself cosy this evening and take a long, hard look at how life could be better…

Click here to buy Trash It or Treasure It now.

Winter lighting

Winter lighting at Brocante

Come winter I get obsessed with two things: keeping warm and getting the lighting right throughout the house so my delicate senses are never jarred by the need to switch on overhead lights and I can tip-toe around the house enjoying pretty pools of low light from the myriad of lighting options I have in each room…

This has long been an obsession because I have two pet hates in decorating life. First and foremost, finding myself sitting in somebody’s house in that odd grey hour between early Winter dusk and dark when those too mean to switch on a lamp will insist on blinking their way through until light becomes a necessity if they aren’t to kill themselves tripping over the dog, and then, probably somewhat worse: those who take it in to their heads to throw a LOT of light on the subject by clicking the switch and illuminating the entire street with a bare 100 watt bulb dangling over their silly heads.


As I mention in The Winter House it strikes me that the place to start when it comes to Winter lighting is having all your existing lamps on timer plugs so that when darkness begins to descend, your lamps auto-magically switch themselves on and all those who might ordinarily be tempted to switch on the overhead light are not afflicted by squinting eyes and thus the thought never enters their head. Though let it be known here and now that I am not adverse to removing bulbs from overhead light fittings and even had my electrician REMOVE the overhead light fitting in favour of gorgeous wall lamps in my living space. I am of course the extreme in all manner of things. And the fact that in other areas of the house I favour chandeliers dripping in loveliness, but insist that they only be switched to the lowest setting on their respective dimmer switches should tell you all that you need to know about me.

vintage squirrel cage bulb

My next tip is never to skimp on bulbs. You can of course head to the pound shop and bulk buy cheap bulbs that not only pop left, right and centre but all too often omit either dim, barely there grey light or the kind of harsh, uncompromising glare only Cold War era spies under interrogation should ever be subjected to. But the options for creating the kind of cozy lighting so central to cocooning you in Winter are vast and you simply need to consider spending just a teeny few more pennies to buy bulbs that will not only last longer but also enhance the light provided by each of your lamps, You can buy cream bulbs, fireglow bulbs, vintage bulbs (like the one above), pearly bulbs and pink ones, each casting a unique glow and gently offering warmer pools of light than the standard bulb generally can.


Finally I do believe that Winter is the time to upgrade at least one of the lamps of light fitting in your house. While we may barely think about our fittings as decorative elements in the Summer months, they become all important and very often the next focus of a room after the fire during Winter, and they are also quite the most perfect way to create an eclectic vibe in a vintage room by the careful introduction of a well chosen fitting along modern lines like the Axo Light range from LampCommerce.

Oooh and Housekeepers? The best tip I know for optimising the light from your existing lamps and fittings ? Keep the bulbs and shades thoroughly dust free: it really does make a difference and only takes a few seconds to swipe your microfibre duster over each one in turn…

Here’s to a cozy, well-lit Winter Darlings.

Twelve Deals

Twelve Deals


Welcome back to my happy little discount-making machine –  twelve deals, offers and general giftiness once or twice a week between now and Christmas…

Today I am offering a one-month trial of Floral Membership of The Vintage Housekeeper’s Circle for just $6.00. You simply sign up and you are in: the subscription will end thirty-one days after you join and will NEVER renew until you decide you would like to be a fully fledged member of our darling little community!

This is the ideal opportunity for the curious or the cautious.

A sneak peek inside our inner sanctum and oodles and oodles of inspiration on the Floral blog with no commitment required at all. Should you decide to stay at the end of your trial and enjoy The Christmas Countdown, The Shine workshop, the forum, the blog and of course get access to all my lovely downloads in the Rose library, you will simply choose your level of membership and you will be welcomed in to our fold…

Sound good? It is! It’s a lovely deal, and I would be downright delighted if those of you who have ditherd about joining took advantage of this offer and grabbed a little domestic inspiration…

Ready to start your free trial? Just click here and select One Month Trial from the list of available Membership options at the bottom of the page and you will be good to go…

I will look forward to seeing you inside the Circle.x



Once upon a time a mean girl on the internet called Brocantehome “the Pink Palace” in a midst of what turned out to be a rather spiteful comment. But I was delighted! It struck me that having my very own pink place on-line was nothing short of wonderful and so I took it in the spirit it was not meant at all. Inspired and ten years later, I still find myself adoring all things pink and liberally sprinkling my on-line home in my very own happy colour.

And so my dears in honour of this pink palace, today I bring you the FABULOUS Kay Thompson urging us all to Think Pink in Funny Face. Because it is the weekend. Because I feel a little giddy. Because I’m in the mood for celebrating Brocantehome entering its TWELTH year on-line and couldn’t love my little pink palace more…

Have a lovely weekend Housekeepers…