Yearly Archive: 2011

Welcome home

Posted on December 07, 2011

The captain came on the tannoy to apologise for the delay to our journey. We were flying into strong winds (I’ve forgotten the exact speed but it was alarmingly high). It might lead to some turbulence on our approach to the airport but he’d try to.. >>> more

Techno-zombie retribution

Posted on November 23, 2011

Techno-zombie: A person or persons who walk through public areas … text messaging on their cellphones, not paying attention to their surroundings. (The Urban Dictionary) Can you walk up three flights of steps and read a Kindle at the same time? No,.. >>> more

Sarkozy, insults and Witchy Poo

Posted on November 11, 2011

Have you ever insulted someone behind their back and then been found out? President Sarkozy has. Over the last few weeks he’s called the Israeli Prime Minister a “liar” and the former Greek Prime Minister a “madman”. He has also commented on the.. >>> more

To Fly. To Serve. To Strike?

Posted on October 18, 2011

The full page British Airways advertisements appearing in broadsheet papers are beginning to grate on me. The latest features a newly delivered baby swaddled in a pilot’s jacket. It’s a real tug at the heartstrings, designed to bring a smile to my.. >>> more

Who'd look after the winning lottery ticket in your house?

Posted on October 14, 2011

Your heart is beating faster as one number after another comes up. You check the results over and over again. Oh my god, you really have won the lottery! You now need to guard the ticket with your life. Which of you could be trusted with that task?.. >>> more

Sabotaging Nancy

Posted on October 08, 2011

Nancy Dell'Olio fears that someone is trying to sabotage her. Nancy’s mint green dress mysteriously ended up soaking wet and ripped at the hem just before she took to the floor in her first Strictly Come Dancing appearance. Are we to believe that.. >>> more

Is bad driving in my DNA?

Posted on September 26, 2011

Children pick up bad driving habits from their parents, according to a new survey. Oh dear! This isn’t encouraging news for me, given my dad’s track record with cars. He once summersaulted over a hedge in a dazzling display of mid-air.. >>> more

Morning gibberish

Posted on September 21, 2011

“Indian food gives me nightmares.” These are the first words I say to my husband this morning. At 4.30 am. I ask him why this happens every time I eat an Indian meal the night before. He groans and turns over leaving me to wrestle (in my dream.. >>> more

My wannabe action plan

Posted on September 16, 2011

Each Big Brother series brings a fresh wave of ambitious individuals, all desperate to claim their fifteen minutes of fame. At first I tried not to watch but in the end I couldn’t resist. And the more I watch, the more I am convinced that I’m every.. >>> more

What's in your rucksack?

Posted on August 29, 2011

Camping isn’t my thing. Never has been and never will be. Struggling to put up a tent in lashing rain, cooking measly portions of food on a primus stove, showering in a communal bathroom or, worse still, hovering over a campsite toilet seat trying.. >>> more

Anyone for pony stew?

Posted on August 24, 2011

Food shopping in Iceland is full of surprises. There are all sorts of horrors lurking in those deep freezers! I’m not in a branch of England’s favourite frozen food emporium. I’m in Hellnar on the Snaefellsnes peninsula which is about a two hours’.. >>> more

We're all going on a summer holiday

Posted on August 09, 2011

My favourite local restaurant is closed. So is my parliament. Why? “The restaurant staff need to take their summer break,” I was informed when I tried to book a table for this weekend. That’s great for the staff; inconvenient for the customer. But.. >>> more

Topshop and Tiffany's

Posted on July 18, 2011

My teenage niece and her friend paid a whistle stop visit to London last week. They were on a shopping mission. We started off, on the hottest day of the summer so far, with a pilgrimage to Topshop’s flagship store on Oxford Circus. After tagging.. >>> more

Living and dressing for the moment

Posted on July 13, 2011

Forward planning has never been my strong point. I blame it on my genes! My family has always had a laissez-faire attitude to arrangements and timings. On route to my brother’s wedding my father asked if anyone knew where the church was. There was.. >>> more

If I were a DJ ... I’d listen to her

Posted on June 30, 2011

Beyoncé had barely left the stage, having wowed the audience with her headline performance at Glastonbury, when the cameras switched back to the television studio. Congratulations were in order, right? Well yes, you’d think so. But instead we got an.. >>> more

Having it all, Obama style

Posted on June 23, 2011

Women are encouraged to ‘have it all’. I believe we can have it all but it doesn’t have to be all at the same time. A healthier way to experience life is to properly savour the different phases as we go through them - marriage, career, motherhood,.. >>> more

Why I’m ageing backwards

Posted on June 22, 2011

I’ve decided to age backwards like Benjamin Button. Why? Because I was recently told that “fifty is our cut off”. I’d just written a tongue-in-cheek piece for a magazine about a bickering couple (hubby and me), how misunderstandings can arise when.. >>> more

Bring out your inner sorceress

Posted on June 21, 2011

Do you have lustrous, waste length hair and perfectly applied smokey eye makeup? Are you wearing a long, sumptuous velvet gown with a bodice that is straining to contain your ample bosom? Yes? Ok, so you definitely have the potential to be a.. >>> more

Motherhood and freedom

Posted on June 16, 2011

My niece recently had a baby.  She’s 20 and didn’t plan on having a child so young but her seamless transition from late night clubber to devoted mother has astounded us all. She’s determined to continue her education and build a career but hasn’t.. >>> more

High heels; help please!

Posted on June 14, 2011

Could my days of skyscraper high heels be over? High heels are about walking tall, feeling fabulous and exuding red carpet glamour. They are Sarah Jessica Parker. Kitten heels are elegant yet girly and fun. Think Michelle Obama working a prom dress... >>> more

Simon, the pantomime villain

Posted on May 31, 2011

What’s going on? First Dannii’s out. Now it’s Cheryl who’s been dumped from the X Factor - on both sides of the pond! They’ve been swept aside in an act more brutal than any ministerial Cabinet reshuffle. This looks like sexist behaviour at its.. >>> more

The disagreement diaries

Posted on May 30, 2011

The average couple argues six times a week, according to a recent survey. Actually, I suspect it’s much more than this because men and women are worlds apart when it comes to how they interpret the same event – he’s on ‘planet thoughtless’, she’s on.. >>> more

Keep pedalling

Posted on May 27, 2011

Hubby told me that he burned 1000 calories on his last cycle ride. He revealed this just as we were both about to tuck into our dinner. Maths wasn’t my strong point at school (I scored marginally higher than dunce) but even I could work this.. >>> more

I'll be your 'little lady'

Posted on May 25, 2011

What’s so wrong about a man holding a door open for you? Or making sure you get the best seat at a restaurant table – the one where you’re looking out at other diners rather than staring at a blank wall? Or offering to place your (way too heavy!!).. >>> more

Maria can hold her head high

Posted on May 23, 2011

Maria Shriver recently came to my notice. Not because of the scandal surrounding her husband’s infidelity. I’d been vaguely aware that she was the niece of John F Kennedy and wife of Arnold (The Terminator) Schwarzenegger.  But it was her  ground.. >>> more

What a handshake reveals

Posted on May 18, 2011

Nick Hewer, who is Lord Sugar’s right-hand man on the Apprentice, has confirmed my suspicions: Ed Miliband has “the weakest handshake in western Europe”. Oh dear! How can you respect a man who can’t get to grips with something as basic as a.. >>> more

Unhappy workers

Posted on May 11, 2011

53% of employees are unhappy at work, according to a recent survey. And three quarters of all workers plan to stay with their current company rather than look for a new job. With many people fearing redundancy or having to work harder for less.. >>> more

Less is more

Posted on May 04, 2011

Could someone please edit my life? Because I’m feeling swamped by consumer choice. It was Coco Chanel who coined the phrase “less is more”. She was referring to over accessorising an outfit (her advice was to always remove one item to balance the.. >>> more

Britain’s Got Talent (but where’s it hiding?)

Posted on April 30, 2011

Tonight, under duress from my husband, I watched Britain’s Got Talent. I would rather stick pins in my eyes than have to do this again next week. The first series seemed gloriously funny; all those eccentric Brits plucked from obscurity and given.. >>> more

In dreams

Posted on April 28, 2011

Kate Middleton dreamt that she turned up naked for her wedding. Obviously there’s no chance of that happening tomorrow. There is, however, a very strong possibility that I’ll be in my pyjamas. Relax; I’m not intending to wear them to the Abbey. I’m.. >>> more

Don't wanna be ... ... all by myself

Posted on April 24, 2011

The weather is glorious and we’re eating outside for the first time this year. We’ve just finished off a delicious cut of barbequed pork and a fennel and tomato salad with balsamic dressing (a Jamie special). We’re sipping white wine and chilling.. >>> more

Weighty Katie

Posted on April 21, 2011

 So what if Kate Middleton looks slim? Kate was shopping in the Kings Road yesterday. To me, she looked happy and carefree but the papers have dragged up the ‘weighty Katie’ issue again, suggesting that she’s become too thin. I say, leave her alone... >>> more

Too much sun causes wrinkles

Posted on April 20, 2011

It’s too hot to iron! My pile of ironing is growing taller every day but I can’t bring myself to tackle it in this sunny weather. Neither can I put it out of my mind. My husband can. He simply irons one item at a time, as and when he needs it, and.. >>> more

Why the Royal Wedding isn't music to my ears

Posted on April 15, 2011

I suppose it was only a matter of time before the music industry jumped on the Royal Wedding bandwagon. But does it have to be this tacky? This morning I learnt that Blake are to make a return. Which surprised me because I didn’t even know they’d.. >>> more

Overwhelmed with happiness

Posted on April 12, 2011

Tonight I tried to log on to the Action for Happiness website. “We’re overwhelmed!” was the message I read. At first I thought it was their cuddly way of welcoming a new member. I was starting to feel all warm inside until I realised that the site.. >>> more

Nimble texting

Posted on April 12, 2011

Can you text ten words a second? No, I can’t either. But according to my niece’s boyfriend it’s entirely possible if you practice often enough. I’ve been helping him put together his CV so we’ve been texting information back and forth on our mobile.. >>> more

Breast intentions

Posted on April 08, 2011

I was a skinny teenager with gangly legs and a flat chest. When other girls were sporting padded bras I was still in vest tops. On the occasion that I did eventually get my first bra my aunt said I resembled “two fried eggs in a hankie.” That didn’t.. >>> more

Manners maketh the man (and the woman)

Posted on April 07, 2011

The key to success? Be polite and charming to each person you meet, regardless of their background. Make everyone around you feel important and appreciated. This is the advice that was given to Simon Cowell by his father. And he has a point. We do.. >>> more

Letter to Elizabeth Taylor

Posted on March 31, 2011

“Home was where Elizabeth was, and he wanted to come home." Shortly before his sudden death in 1958 Richard Burton wrote a final love letter to Elizabeth Taylor. Elizabeth never revealed the full details of the letter but the quote above is how she.. >>> more

A principled man

Posted on March 23, 2011

Lancelot is galloping to the rescue again. Only this time it’s not damsels in distress he’s saving; it’s the plight of modern day man. The reason I’m talking about knights of yore is because I recently discovered a book called Chivalry-Now: The Code.. >>> more

The Village: A right royal do

Posted on March 22, 2011

“What do you mean I’m cooking for the street?” This was my husband’s horrified reaction when I told him that I’d volunteered us to help arrange a street party. I explained that it was just a get together for the neighbours and that all we’d have to.. >>> more

Couples need proper selfishness

Posted on March 17, 2011

There is a term used in leadership development called ‘proper selfishness’.  It means taking time out to recharge your batteries without feeling guilty about it. The idea is that, in order to take care of others, you need to take care of yourself. I.. >>> more

A hop, skip and a jump

Posted on March 15, 2011

A recent survey has looked at how children play. And it has revealed that children don’t just rely on expensive computer games and high tech gadgets for entertainment. The traditional games of tag and skipping are still as popular as ever. Which.. >>> more

The Village: A bridge too far?

Posted on March 09, 2011

And there I was thinking that we were happily integrated into village life. I was wrong. Today the barricades went up; the village’s first no-go area is now official. I spent my formative years in strife torn Northern Ireland. They barricaded the.. >>> more

Skating on thin ice

Posted on March 08, 2011

A man should never take it upon himself to defend his wife’s honour unless he’s sure it will be appreciated. Denise Welch was voted off Celebrities on Ice at the weekend. But before she glided back to her day job as a Loose Woman, the judge, Jason.. >>> more

The book thief

Posted on March 05, 2011

As a child I was completely hooked on The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. My small country primary school had the full set and I spent every break devouring one book after the other. I was about to start the seventh and final book in the.. >>> more

May Day madness

Posted on March 04, 2011

Roll up your ribbons and dismantle your maypoles. May Day is cancelled! We’ve celebrated May Day in this country for centuries - the crowning of the May Queen, Morris and maypole dancing and necking down real ale (sorry, is it just Thaxted that’s.. >>> more

Bag lady

Posted on March 03, 2011

Result! After months of searching I’ve finally found the perfect tote bag. I wanted something large enough to hold folders, an iPad and all my usual handbag paraphernalia which is a lot! Not too large though; you could stuff an entire capsule.. >>> more

Eat your way to success

Posted on March 02, 2011

The age of the supermarket degree is upon us. It’s not enough to sell us insurance and banking on top of our weekly groceries. Now the supermarkets want a stake (no pun intended) in our education too. Exeter has become the latest university to say.. >>> more

I'm after a mobile phone, not a chunk of cheese

Posted on February 27, 2011

I have never rushed out to buy the latest ‘must have’ gadget. I could care less about gizmos and super-functionality. As far as I’m concerned the simpler it is, the better. Of course it also helps if it looks pretty. I’ve been putting off replacing.. >>> more

You bring in the money: I've had enough!

Posted on February 24, 2011

Chatting to my female friends over dinner recently, it suddenly dawned on me that they all earn substantially more than their partner. My friends are proud of their achievements and they enjoy the comfortable lifestyle that goes with their.. >>> more

Green and orange hair crisis

Posted on February 23, 2011

My stylist was halfway through cutting my hair yesterday when a colourist approached her, clutching a long, matted lock of hair. She was looking a bit anxious. “Remember that lady with the green hair I told you about?” she whispered. “Well, she’s.. >>> more

Irish and French demand a real deal

Posted on February 21, 2011

The French moan that they have to work too hard. The Irish complain that they can’t get work. The root of the problem? Reality television. Traveller families are considering taking legal action against Channel 4 over the negative impact that My Big.. >>> more

Thinking big

Posted on February 17, 2011

I was once a spectator at a young kids’ football match. The goalkeeper was a lot smaller than his team mates and half-way through the match he was faced with a penalty kick. As he prepared himself for the (unlikely!) save, his mother hollered, “Make.. >>> more

From white lilies to red roses

Posted on February 16, 2011

On Valentine’s Day I attended a funeral. No reds or pinks; just a monochrome day of dark suits and white lilies. The funeral was in Ireland which meant spending a few days away from home. When I got back I found that the fresh flowers in my living.. >>> more

Holding back the years

Posted on February 11, 2011

I was over the moon to hear that the soap opera Dallas is to return to our screens. Until I learnt that Linda Gray, who will reprise her role as Sue Ellen, is now 70. OMG, how and when did that happen? Anyway, she’s looking fabulous as her recent.. >>> more

Catherine the Great, Ena and me

Posted on February 10, 2011

I enjoy the odd glass of Guinness. And as a publican’s daughter I fully appreciate the craft involved with pulling the perfect pint - topping up slowly, allowing the drink to settle at each stage before finishing off with a perfect, creamy top. Now.. >>> more

Pilates please

Posted on February 09, 2011

Booking a place on a Pilates class at my local gym takes the kind of Herculean organisational skills that I obviously don’t have. I’ve been told that I have to book the class exactly 8 days in advance (no pre-booking is allowed) so this requires a.. >>> more

Coffee makes men stupid

Posted on February 08, 2011

“Two heads are better than one,” so the saying goes. Not if you happen to be male, stressed, and drinking coffee. A recent study, carried out by Doctor Lindsay St. Claire, a psychologist based at Bristol University, revealed that coffee helps women.. >>> more

Stay healthy: get a cleaner

Posted on February 07, 2011

Most days I eat lunch on my own. It’s sad, I know, but that’s one of the drawbacks of working from home. Although I do sometimes have a lengthy one way conversation with the neighbour’s cat if it wanders into my garden. So today, at a networking.. >>> more

Reality Radio?

Posted on February 04, 2011

My radio alarm is set to the BBC’s Radio Five Live every weekday morning. I switched from music a long time ago as it was way too cheerful for me first thing in the morning. It can be a bit disorientating waking up to a news channel though. I once.. >>> more

Modern love

Posted on February 03, 2011

“Love means never having to say you're sorry”. Come again? It’s the famous tagline from Love Story, the iconic 1970 film which I saw for the first time in years last night. The film is cheesy in the extreme but I watched it with a lump in my throat.. >>> more

Ban annoying adults from flights, not children

Posted on February 02, 2011

A survey has revealed that up to three-quarters of passengers flying business class find children annoying. Airlines are being asked to consider introducing child free flights. Well yes, children can be annoying especially if you end up sitting next.. >>> more

Ice and elves

Posted on February 01, 2011

I’m going to Iceland this summer. No, I’m not planning a cut-price bulk buy to stock up my freezer. I’m referring to Bjork’s homeland, the land of glaciers, geysers, spewing volcanoes and…..elves. I’ve been e-mailing holiday rental owners trying to.. >>> more

Nothing to Crow about

Posted on January 31, 2011

So Bob Crow has joined the growing swell of celebrities and politicians expressing concerns that their phone has been hacked.  Well I suppose even union leaders need to make sure they stay firmly in the public eye. And let's face it, you’re nothing.. >>> more

The Village: Switched on or tuned out?

Posted on January 30, 2011

I recently travelled back from Saffron Walden on a bus packed with schoolchildren. Each child was locked in their own private world either listening to their iPod, texting on their mobile phone or playing the latest computer game. The passenger in.. >>> more

I've cheated on my hairdresser

Posted on January 27, 2011

Have you ever strayed from your regular hairdresser only to find you’d made a huge mistake? Were you wracked by guilt? Did you immediately slink back and beg forgiveness or did you decide to tough it out for a while with your new ‘find’ in the vain.. >>> more

Motherhood and freedom

Posted on January 25, 2011

My niece has recently had a baby.  She’s 19 and didn’t plan on having a child so young but her seamless transition from clubber to mother has astounded us all. She is determined to continue her education and build a career but hasn’t yet figured out.. >>> more

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