So you know how sometimes you get a bit happy and hormonal and run-down all at the same time? And you do too much and decide you have got too much to prove to the world and you don’t go to bed early enough because you are busy having a nice time and all of a sudden there is a cold-sore on your lip and you are shuffling around feeling a bit bonkers and looking like death warmed up but you have lost two and a half stone and all of a sudden you don’t care? 

Well yes. That. Last night, with Ste working late and Finley lost in a book, I took myself to bed early because cold-sores make me feel horribly grubby and I have no desire to inflict my grub on anyone else even when there is no-one else to admire it beyond my reflection in my candle-lit living room.

So I made white rose tea (I like Numi) in a tiny cup, switched off the lights and headed to bed with my beloved Kindle under my arm, then got cosy under my yellow quilt and puffed my pillows with lavender and laid back and then leaned up again to swat them about in a violent fashion until they were comfortable and then I switched on my Kindle and found myself unable to commit to any of the lovely books lurking in there because they required way too much thinking and some nights thinking isn’t something I can manage.

Now once upon my fourteenth Summer, my best friend Debbie and I dedicated every waking moment to reading the Rainbow Romances in the Harlequin section of our library. There were hundreds of these chaste Mills and Boon-esque delights and we were a little bit thrilled with the giddiness of stolen kisses and unrequited love and thought nothing of wasting whole afternoons reading together and eating crisp butties and then the Summer passed and I for one, never, ever picked up another romance of the kind.

In fact I rather decided that romance of any sort was a bit low brow and pretended I only ever read from the literary women’s fiction shelf  or the kind of 1930’s domestic drama I dedicate my life to discovering (with the occasional dalliance with Liverpool WW2 sagas and a certain section of the cosy mystery shelf to boot). Until last night. When my brain wouldn’t work. And I needed comfort, ease and escape and though I had in my possession a book that described itself as a modern-day Madame Bovary, I couldn’t quite face the coarse hurly-burly of the chaise-longue and instead settled upon Shabby Chic at Heart.

Because it had Shabby Chic in the title.  And it was about real estate and a furniture shop. And it talked of distressing things and cabinetry and it had a cosy Auntie Winnie in it and I used to have an Auntie Winnie! And a furniture shop! And I made a living distressing things (mostly men)! And what could be lovelier than spending an hour or two in a world I understand even if the writing was a bit you know and the whole business an obvious set up on the road to romance that veered between irrational spikiness and sickly sweet description.

Oh but Readers, it was perfect.

Now hark this: I am not necessarily recommending it. It is chippy, shabby fluff and pretty, frilly nonsense. But should you ever find yourself in bed without a brain for thinking much, or in possession of a yukky cold sore and you are the kind of person who rather adores description of shops filled with the kind of shabby treasure most of us only happen across once or twice in a lifetime then I rather think you will enjoy what I can only describe as bookish comfort food for the minds of the lost and hormonal.

Oooh and there are three books in the series… #justsaying.  

Buy Shabby Chic at Heart on Amazon.Com here for just $2.99 or read it absolutely FREE on Kindle Unlimited (My favorite thing in the WHOLE world!).

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It is half term in our neck of the woods and I have already had the little joys of Wrestlemania, a book-shop dash for the next in the series Finn is reading, and a traipse around the woods during which I slipped down a hill, hung on to a branch, gave up and tumbled to the bottom while Finn roared laughing and reminded me yet again how utterly inept I am at almost everything, (including standing up straight) and I wiped mud off every part of my astonished person.

Today I am putting the finishing touches to the Kindle Version of The Summer House (after the lovely success of The Spring House) , and dilly-dallying with a web-site  storage issue that is going to require a little faffing behind the scenes.

This means that the site might be behind a maintenance screen for a few days but panic not, I will of course be back as soon as possible! In the meantime I will send out a newsletter announcing the release of my lovely Summer House book and I shall be continuing to engage with all those who are taking part in the Salon Pep-Talks at The School of Life….

This feels like a new season in so many more ways than one. Spring is so much wonderful isn’t it? 

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Is one middle-aged when mornings suddenly become so terribly hard to wake up to? As if enduring a hangover born of crazy cocktails on a permanent basis. 

Today. An early morning doctors appointment with a lady with quite the primmest smile you have ever seen. Tea with no milk because the milkman who has taken to blowing kisses at you is late again.  A gluten free Tiger Loaf that toasts exactly as it should. The spinning of yesterday’s revelation round and round your head. Cold feet.

A conversation with your son who tells you he just doesn’t understand why adults don’t take more advantage of being grown up. Outrage when he realises you have accidentally doodled on the back of his homework. The house messier than it usually is. A spot of red wine still staining the coffee table. Bags to be packed for a weekend in Oxford. The ache for a hug from your Dad. Salt and vinegar rice cakes with marmite and cucumber. Yoga clumsily performed on the bedroom floor. That yearning for a nap that never leaves you. Ten minutes staring at a flickering flame.

Perhaps a film? This one? Or another hour spent re-reading Mrs. Miniver. Funny how re-reading no longer strikes you as a waste of time as it once did, but instead simply re-affirms the truth you long ago injected in to your veins. Peppermint rubbed in to the back of your neck to wake you up. Another cup of green tea. The constant tribal thump of the washing machine.

Eyes closing as you take your elevenses on the sofa. A head-long dive in to the rosemary plant on the kitchen windowsill to wake you up. Yet more dishes to be washed. A puttery hour spent in the bedroom. Wiping away the dust that permanently coats your glossy walnut dressing table: as if to remind you that it is less vintage than it is relic. Creating a pyjama drawer lined in lavender paper. The mattress sprinkled with baking soda and the deadly windows flung open so wide a person could surely just step out of them.

The prospect of two and a half weeks filled with boys freed from the shackles of school. A sense of gloom and gladness at the thought. A sharp smack across your own hand for not being the kind of Mother who treasures every single moment her son forces her to listen to the demise of Wolverine. Easter eggs to buy.

Later, a trip made specially to procure a gluten free Scotch Egg that is your teenage boys favorite treat. Mince and onion in the slow cooker. The return of the grown-man home for dinner. A long bath in Fenjal. An early night.

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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.

Scrumptious Picks For Today...


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…

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. 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?

Read more about becoming a Salon member here, or dip your toes in with Living Room membership for just $3.00 a month first and receive 25% off everything in store as part of your subscription…

It’s time to create a life less ordinary…

Scrumptious Picks For Today...

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


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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. 

Scrumptious Picks For 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