Happy Saturday Honeybuns. Who fancies a teeny bit of ever so restorative retail therapy today?

I am longing for Spring and swinging a basket over my arm as I make my way in to the village, peeking at the heads of tulips, snowdrops and daffodils forcing their lovely way through the last vestiges of Winter strikes me as quite the most soothing way to celebrate this cheery little sunny morning…

Of course my village is good for little more than fresh bread, a newspaper or a roll of carpet, which is why indulging in a little hop around the internets is always just the thing when a person has a retail itch that just will not be scratched by a pint of milk…

And so, once a month I will be gathering a collection of needful things here on BrocanteHome. A fantasy shopping list of sorts, to reflect the seasons of both home and heart.

In My First Edit?

A pair of Moroccan slippers because the terracotta tiles in my kitchen are a little (a lot) chilly first thing in the morning and I am resolving here and now to always wear something pretty on my feet. Girl Boss because its time to get serious and extend my tiny little empire and I do believe Sophie Amoruso knows what she is talking about. The much heralded Blue Tansy Clarity Mask because Winter has laid a blanket of dust upon my skin and it needs banishing pronto. One perfect candle for my bedside chest now that my bedroom is almost finished. The prettiest blanket in the world for snuggles and tears. Divinely scented, deliciously old-fashioned bath salts in a glass decanter because afternoon baths are still my favorite thing in the world, second only to midnight, candlelit baths in salts blessed with abundance and intention. Two reminders…. Be Happy, Be Bright, Be You (because sometimes I shove the most authentic me under worry and anxiety) and Home Sweet Home, because above all else home matters to me. A set of rose gold stacking letter trays because I have got paperwork coming out of my ears, and a quirky lampshade for the laundry room because it so very much reminds me of being a kid in the seventies. Marvis Jasmine toothpaste because it is JASMINE and really, if we cannot elevate the mundanity of brushing our teeth, then pray tell what is the point of this life?? Oh and I am obsessed by my teeth. OBSESSED I tell you. Obsessed! Finally, the perfect hemp shopping basket for wandering up to the village, a pretty something for around my neck,  a pretty something else for displaying my little collection of vintage perfume bottles (currently living in the loft!) and a pair of fancy embroidery scissors, not because I have ever really embroidered anything in my entire life, but simply because sometimes a person gets to needing something she doesn’t need at all…

Enjoy the rest of February won’t you?

Once upon a time family portraits were a rare and exquisite thing, requiring the wearing of one’s finest stuffy dowdery and a solemn, or mystified expression. Nowadays most of us have at our disposal, the ability and opportunity to take a dozen snaps aday, letting them live forever in the cloud and stripping from the memorization of precious moments, every last ounce of ceremony, purpose and formality…

While there is no doubt that there is some kind of wonderful about instagramming every fleeting, aesthetic moment and I for one would dash back into a burning house to save my darling phone and the much treasured memories locked inside it, the fact that I very rarely go to the trouble of printing any of the myriad of photographs I take, so I can pop them into an envelope and send them to a friend, or frame them so that something cherished could live on my bedside table, really saddens me.

All too often we take the time to take a billion photographs of our babies, but do not take thoughtful portraits of our own father, so we can long treasure the wisdom in his ageing eyes. We avoid having our own picture taken as much as possible and at the end of each year look back on a family apparently without a mistress of the house. We snap a hundred photo’s in the garden, but never think to photograph the ordinary: the changing fashions in our own living rooms: each sofa with a tale to tell, each table the scene of much family magic..

Today I want to suggest a new ritual: the taking of a family portrait on a particular day each week, an informal gathering of each family member taken in the same room every time so that you can mark the children growing up, see the changing shape of the family and the house and reflect upon the ravages or delights of time…

And then (and this is the important bit), once a month you go and get your weekly portraits printed out and put them inside a large album, creating for yourselves, a true family album you will come to treasure for always..

This then is a ritual you should adopt today. For one day you will look back and be truly grateful that all those moments of ordinary are captured in your hearts and hands for always…

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american housewife abc

Oooh people I want to watch this! Mostly because I relate a little too closely to the plight of a not so perfect housewife in a sea of small town perfection…

“Katie Otto, a confident, unapologetic wife and mother of three, raises her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut, filled with “perfect” mommies and their “perfect” offspring…”  


Apparently an “insanely accurate reflection” of life in Westport, Connecticut, and I suspect, an insanely accurate reflection of what it is to have a bottom the size of a mini-bus in a land peopled by bodies honed by yoga, money and plastic surgery, looks set to be the perfect replacement to Modern Family now we have reached the end of the series available on Box Sets…

Coming very soon in America and sure to follow twenty-five years later in the UK, I am rather looking forward to this one, aren’t you? 



This my lovelies, is the bath to take when it seems as though the whole world is against you and you are oozing bruised and bad feelings out of every pore. You know, one of those days…

Melissa is a particularly spiritual oil, highly regarded as being blessed with the ability to soothe emotional pain, cleanse damaged aura’s and sedate jangly, troubled nerves. The idea with this bath is to restore a sense of order and well-being, while soothing your soul and reminding you just what is beautiful about this life…

* Begin by taking a quick shower to cleanse your body before the bath.

* Then wrap yourself up warm and run a hot bath.

* Turn off all electric light and light as many candles as you can find.

* Now carry something you consider beautiful to the bathroom: an object, vase of flowers or meaningful image and place it where it will be directly in your eye-line from the bath.

* Play something soft or spiritual. Choose music without words so your attention will not be diverted by the emotions certain phrases or songs can inspire.

* Now add 8 to 10 drops of Melissa oil to the bath and swirl it with your fingers.

* Undress and climb into the bath. Now scoop this blissfully scented water up with your hands and pour it over your head. This ritual is as old as the hills and is thought to cleanse the aura and refresh the soul, while allowing you to truly sense the spiritual powers of the oil.

* Lie back and focus on the pretty or meaningful object you brought into the bathroom. Allow your entire being to focus on it and let all other thoughts drift away.

* Step out of the bath as soon as it cools. Wrap up in warm night-clothes, sip a cup of night-time tea and get into bed, feeling nourished and pampered…

Enjoy Darling Housekeepers…x

I fell in love with a nightdress last night. You see I am the kind of woman that likes to waft about in a floaty something around the house, in strict contrast to the black trousers/black vest and pretty ballet slipper combo I wear everyday outside of it.

I like my nighties long and floaty and fresh and I accessorize them in preposterous style with silly bed-socks and holey cardigans and must often be seen pottering around the garden looking ludicrously attired.

But oh how lovely I feel. Isn’t it funny how so very often there is a huge dis-connect between how we actually look and how we feel?

So yes. Last night I fell in love with a nightie because really floaty nighties are getting harder and harder to come by and this one is so fresh and crisp and tent-like with both a really flattering neckline and deliciously useless sleeves so I’m really not sure I can live without it.

I have said it before and I will say it again: the heart wants what it wants and will not be persuaded that the neighbours would probably appreciate me more in a nice pair of pyjamas instead of the ghostly vision I must seem to be at six o’clock in the morning.

The heart wants what it wants. And feeling lovely is half the battle don’t you know?

Starting a new life together when you are in your forties is umm… a challenge.

In fact Ste and I are challenged daily by what it takes to meld worlds already so firmly established, together. There are kids to consider. And parents. Work. A business. Entanglements with ex-partners. Family. Bills. House moves. Personal routines and rituals it takes times to fathom. Weird quirks about food. Arguments about TV schedules. And football (damn football). All the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life but without the certainty of a shared history.

We knew it wouldn’t be easy. Last Summer we looked at the months ahead of us and said if we can get through them we can get through everything. And we have. Much of the bickering has stopped (with the exception of the absolute HISSY FIT I had yesterday morning over dishes still left in the sink from the night before: a hormonal response to a petty crisis if ever there was one!) as we have come to understand each other better. To know each other’s children and to present a united front to their respective parents as we seek to establish a family of our own. 

But now we are facing new challenges: working out what we want from next week. From next year. From the rest of our lives together. And more than that: finding the time to work these things out that isn’t compromised by my PMT and Ste’s unrelenting dedication to Liverpool F.C.

We know we need to be more mindful of both our personal and our shared goals and that we need to be deeply aware of how much those goals need to shape our days. That we need to be on the same page, as I frequently remind Ste in a manner that I am sure is driving him completely up the wall. And that time has to carved out before eleven in the evening, when we currently seem to have our most deep and meaningful conversations, so that we can bring fresh thought to our goals and dilemmas instead of exhausted, hackneyed responses to the same old conversations.

Introducing Make Over Your Year…

Which is why for us, Crystal Paine’s new course Make Over Your Year is so very timely. Set over four weeks with four hour-long videos filmed with her own husband Jesse, Make Over Your Year encourages us to work with our partners to establish personal priorities and shared goals and to encourage us to use what we learn from each other during the process to stop the muddle that so can often be daily life.    

I’m kinda excited. Luckily Ste loves shared projects like this and I know he will enjoy it. And I simply love Crystal Paine. She is one of only two women whose work I frequently share here at BrocanteHome (the other being the lovely Leonie Dawson) because her goals as a partner, Mum and business woman are so closely aligned to mine, and though her accent and no doubt her daily life is very different to my own it feels good to know that we are all experiencing the same struggles, and her Make Over Your Morning course has proved invaluable to me.

Make Over Your Year

You see though I buy and work my way through lots and lots of online courses in my relentless search for inspiration, please know how cautious I am about those I recommend you spend your own money on because I want each resource I do suggest to provide the up most value for you as you too forge a path to Brocante betterment..

So if you and your partner are ships that pass in the night, or are no longer singing from the same choir sheet, then Make Over Your Year might just be the kick- start you need to re-align the shared values that have long been the backbone of your relationship. 

Over the 4-week period, you’ll learn:

  • Why & how to decide your most important priorities in life
  • How to narrow your priorities down to specific focus areas
  • The 4 keys to creating goals that you’ll actually follow through with
  • How to give yourself grace – without falling off the bandwagon
  • And more…

What could be more important?

To us very little else at the moment. So tonight I am planning to fill the coffee table with delicious, nibbly food – little squares of cold Spanish omelette, pink olives stuffed with garlic and some beetroot hummus – pour two glasses of good red wine, present Ste with the folder in which I have bound our copy of the Make Over Your Year workbook, and pop the first of the four videos on to the television…

This then is the weekend we really start our lives together. Won’t you make it the weekend you pick up the strings of your relationship too?

P.S: Click the banner below and you will get a lovely little introductory discount off Make Over Your Year too…

Life is horribly complicated isn’t it?

And lately I have noticed that if I can complicate it even more then hell’s bells that’s what I’m going to do. Why stick to one supermarket, when I could visit four in one afternoon? Why get my hair cut, blown and colored by the same hairdresser, when I can call upon the services of three different stylists? How about notebooks? What kind of crazy lady keeps all her notes in one place, when she could drive herself dividing her thoughts in to a series of pretty little books? Use one skincare range? Hair-care product line? Ecologically sound cleaning products? No Siree! A person can waste hours hopping around the mall and the internet in search of fifty different products instead!

I am mad. Ste told me the other day that in the year we have been together I haven’t cooked him the same meal twice. Today I went to three different supermarkets because I wanted a certain soup from one, a completely delicious olive loaf from another and cranberry lemonade from the third. And during the weekend gone by, I discovered that I am the proud owner of twenty-three lever arch files, all in different patterns, and all eschewed in favour of the set of shiny white ones I have finally settled on. This is proof of my utter madness mais non? 

Seeking solutions…

You see I spend my life looking for solutions. Often costly solutions. Solutions that take an age to source and then do not work because I am so busy looking for a better alternative I actually fail to commit to anything at all, and thus never quite allow the things I spend money to fulfill their potential in my life to make things calmer. Smoother. To make life work like clockwork and allow me to shift my mind to more needful matters…


Sometimes I am in search of better. Often I am looking for variety. Occasionally (whisper it) I just want to spend money. Yep there is a range of mad reasons I flitter, and fritter (and often end up in a jitter)! Even knowing as I do that the most effective of women streamline their lives so that they take thinking about as many necessities of life completely out of the equation, still I keep on complicating things so I can keep on telling myself that life will be better when I find the perfect moisturizer, the diary that helps me keep track of my entire life, and the supermarket that stocks absolutely everything I like at a price that’s right.

Enough already, right?

It is time to change the habit of a lifetime and start committing to all manner of things.

To a place to shop.
To an under eye cream.
To one notebook in which to keep my entire life.
To a hairdresser.
To a bag I use daily, instead of confusing myself by swapping bags constantly.
To an organic delivery box.
To a library (last week I hopped around three in one afternoon!)
To a monthly meal plan so I don’t spend my life dreaming up new concoctions.
To a lipstick that suits me.
To a range of well-being products that don’t work against each other (step in Modere?).
To a diary ( I have just ordered a Daily Greatness Journal).
To a man. (Tick!).
To a box-set (recommendations please!)
To a doctor (I am a revolving patient: constantly asking for a different GP in the hope of discovering one who will banish my thyroid problems!)
To a pen (I am yet to find the perfect tip. The perfect blackest of black ink).
To a social network.

You name it I need to commit to it so that the routines and rituals I live by aren’t constant compromised by change. That the products and the services and even the people that provide them are secondary to the commitment I make to those routines and rituals, so that from my efforts to fashion days from a series of lovely habits, I can go on living a life less ordinary without imagining I need this, that or the other to improve them…

Commitment it is then. Commitment not complication.

Is the time right for you to commit to your own life too?