Reading Time: 5 minutes


The word ‘retirement’ would always conjure up images of sweet old couples downsizing from their family houses to move even further into the country or seaside location of their dreams to live a simple life of quiet and calm whilst playing bowls at the local club or strolling along the promenade having planned their ‘twilight’ years long before their ‘sell by date’.

The entire concept of ‘retirement’ is really dying out, especially with folk living longer and being given the opportunity to explore the world after the ‘nine to five’ or selling their own company to explore new pastures.

How many times do you hear of someone ‘retiring’ and achieving their life long ambition to give up work entirely and to then suddenly expire themselves the following week!  Sorry to be so morbid, but it is a fact, and explanations for this demise range from the ‘sudden lack of stress’ to ‘having nothing to live for’ having fulfilled their ambition.

So it is not surprising to learn that it is fast becoming a trend, once the kids have flown the nest or reaching a certain age, that people are moving into town to enjoy all the amenities of city living with the amazing variety of restaurants, theatres, shopping and culture centres literally on their doorstep.

It may be you haven’t reached that stage yet, but are thinking about a life or career change, as the concept of life employment is also changing, with the uncertainty of the economy and diverse career paths on offer.

It is also a belief that living in a town can work out more expensive than living in the country, but our research has revealed the opposite, as with careful planning you can ditch the car in the City and opt for free transport or walking everywhere if you live centrally.  You can also obtain less expensive deals on eating out and entertainment if you shop around or acquire memberships.

The first example is a female freelancer who had decided that marriage and kids was not for her, so at the age of 55, cashed in her pension early, relocated to the East End of London, and now works from home just a few hours a week.  The rest of the time she catches up with exhibitions and theatrical productions, and eats out at least twice a week, all within her budget.

Another is a writer who has relocated to the centre of Birmingham, after his kids left home, where he walks to his office space (as writers never retire) and enjoys all the amenities of the City with its trendy restaurants and bars, shopping and art galleries.

Both are good examples of where focus is changing when it comes to retirement or early relocation, with choices in town outweighing those of rural climes.  So whatever age or income the possibilities are endless.

So if you live in the country and are being deafened by silence, consider your options, and don’t rule out the opportunities that are waiting just a heartbeat away, in the centre of your nearest City.


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Reading Time: 5 minutes


Just over 20 years ago, when I lived with my family in South London, I was lucky enough to experience the wondrous ‘corner shop’ in all its glory before they virtually disappeared from our streets for good. My daughter was just two years old when we moved to ‘The Borough’, and that was before it had become Yuppie Central. We lived in a fabulous square, inhabited by actors, artists, writers and the original South Londoners who had inherited the flats and houses from their families.

It was a fantastic time for us all – mainly due to the corner shop which was run by an Italian couple who treated us all like their own offspring. It was a meeting place for us to link up with the other inhabitants of the Square, an emotional support centre when you had a problem and a crèche when any one of us parents had to dash across town to a meeting or audition. On several occasions they delivered soup to my door when we had a bug and couldn’t go out, and even fed our cats when we were away. More like a family than a grocery store, and they managed to keep the food at a reasonable price in spite of the Supermarket being down the road and even ran a ‘tab’ for elderly residents who were struggling to meet their food bill until they received their monthly allowance.

Like so many of these spectacular places, they eventually had to close because of the extortionate rates that were raised by the greedy commercial landlords, and this was in spite of a huge petition from us all and a plea to maintain some sort of heritage in the area.

I am telling you this because I feel passionate about our High Street, and really don’t want the same thing to happen to so many shops and outlets throughout the UK that are being affected by our lack of support through the convenience of the online purchasing that is becoming the norm.

A very good example of a successful remaining retail outlet, I am happy to say, is a local boutique which is still being supported by customers in the flesh, who need to try on their fabulous clothing – a big ‘shout out’ for The Forge in Gerrards Cross This is similar to the corner shop concept as a meeting and greeting place – and I was amazed when I moved to the area two years ago, and found someone being comforted in the boutique just before Christmas. The poor lady had a melt down because it had all got too much for her with the demands of the time of year with the food and present buying shopping, preparing the house for a large number of people – do I need to go on!

But I was delighted to witness that with some TLC from the customers, and a hug from the shop keeper, she went away feeling she had the strength to cope.

This is why we have to take responsibility and somehow build into our schedule the time to go out and hit our High Street. It doesn’t mean we have to spend lots of money, but you will be surprised how much you can save when you search for a bargain in some of the local stores, and the satisfaction and pleasure it will give you knowing you are contributing to keeping the heritage of the High Street alive.

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Reading Time: 6 minutes


We begin every new year with good intentions, and some of us see them through and others waver as the year or even January kicks in.  Well don’t beat yourselves up because we are human after all, and with the pressures of everyday life, other priorities take over.

The most common goal after Christmas in the Western World is to lose weight, and that has become a constant challenge with growing obesity and ill health as a result.

As someone who has tried most diets, both successfully and unsuccessfully, I feel qualified to give some sound advice based upon a great deal of experience.

Top of my list for instant weight loss is Slimming World, which is definitely the diet I could maintain, as the portions are still substantial and ‘snacking’ is allowed, which we need to sustain our energy and sugar level, if our days are busy, either at work or at home with the family.

With this diet, you never go hungry and it is affordable at only £5 per week, with an introductory free offer online in January.  It is based upon a low fat intake, and this does not mean you have to deprive yourself of the very basic foods that you love like fries and yoghurt, these can be modified and combined with other foods which can also include a variety of carbs like pasta and potatoes.   So a win win for every palate, and comes with some great recipes.


If you want to dig a bit deeper, you could look at a nutritionist, and I know I have spoken about her before, but Gudrun Jonsson is definitely life changing in her approach, and has saved my life on many occasions.

Gudrun believes that a ‘healthy gut equals a happy healthy life’, and since I was introduced to her by a friend, I have lost two stone in weight in just over 14 months, and look ten years younger.

Gudrun is also nutritionist to the stars and the rich and famous, although it took me a while to fathom that, as she is extremely confidential and compassionate.  She is also very reasonable and will not cost you an arm and a leg, although you will see improvement in both areas almost immediately, as well as the rest of the body!

Here is a little more about Gudrun and her treatments taken from her website:

Gudrun Jonsson believes that if you can understand your digestive system, you can and will leap towards health.   In fact, she believes everything changes and moves, and therefore we can reverse symptomatic issues.  Her unique philosophy focuses on a combination of the traditional healing arts from the subcontinent, biopathic treatments, and the latest advances in scientific health, ageing and wellness. 

Based in London and Morroco, Gudrun visits and receives clients worldwide and enjoys both learning and teaching. Before establishing her practice in London, Swedish-born Gudrun trained and qualified as a biopath at the Institut for Biologisk Medicin in Copenhagen. Gudrun has written two bestselling books – ‘Gut Reaction’ and ‘The Gut Reaction Eating Plan’ – and has made numerous television appearances. Her success has earned her the respect of complementary and medical practitioners alike, and a devoted following among her many clients. 

Drawing upon her extensive knowledge of the healing properties of plants and foods, Gudrun’s treatments lead her clients to have a more alkaline and balanced digestive function that impacts on their overall health and wellbeing. Her treatment also includes plant-based serums, oils and balms that can heal skin conditions ranging from acne to psoriasis and can balance acidic constitutions and heal inflammation. 

The one thing I would say about Gudrun is, she does not take any prisoners, and you have to be ready to take on her remedies and advice, but if you are serious about a life change, then just feel the fear and do it anyway.


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Reading Time: 4 minutes


It is a great time of year to meet up with old friends and family, going to School Nativity plays, Church choirs and Christmas Shopping, but the down side is, it can be pretty exhausting too, and this is the time when our immune system can be low and we are prone to picking up bugs.

I attended a brilliant concert put on by the Nottinghill Community Choir last weekend and had VIP status having known the Pastor from a ‘past life’ when he was still a performer, but not in a religious sense, and I found myself sitting next to one of the top voice coaches in London.

With our compatible interests, and before the singing began, he and I struck up a conversation, and as we spoke he tipped an aromatherapy oil on his hands, explaining that he carried a potion called Four Thieves around with him at all times, to ward off the inevitable viruses that were in abundance at this time of the year.  He also went on to tell me that the source of this incredible remedy stemmed from as far back as the Bubonic Plague in France in the 17th century, when four thieves who lived underground, robbing graves and bodies of the afflicted, were completely immune to the disease through their discovery of this unique elixir.

On further investigation when I returned home, I discovered that these essential oils are a combination of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary, which smell divine as well as being an incredible preventative potion against ill health.

Fascinated by his story of its source I also investigated that this story, recorded in French folklore, goes on to say that these four reprobates were captured and put on trial and the inevitable sentence of the time, Death by Hanging was bestowed upon them.


However, using their wits, they promised to reveal their source of immunity to the plague and were subsequently pardoned.  The rest is history, and the remedy remains in their name, although 20th century French herbalist Jean Vardet has since perfected it in his wisdom.


I am astounded that the Four Thieves remedy is not a household name and so have done some more digging and discovered that they are incredibly expensive on most health websites, but a major find is they can be purchased at a reasonable price from Anglesea Organics Ebay Store online.

As you can imagine, I could not wait to share the news with you all, and have already put in my order for myself and the whole family.

As some of you may know, I have a daughter and son-in-law and three young grandchildren, who will all benefit from this amazing remedy, especially before Christmas when taking part in so many activities and being exposed to the elements and as many of us are.

I believe in it, and at only a few pounds, it would be great for all of us to try it and see.  If it works as my new ‘friend’ insists, he will definitely be on my Christmas card list now and for many years to come.





Reading Time: 4 minutes


I have always enjoyed sending hampers to special business associates or colleagues to say a seasonal ‘thank you’, but over the years I have discovered that my close family and friends really appreciate speciality hampers that come with their favourite food, tea, coffee and wine.

Last year I sent my my bestie a hamper each which included something for everyone, including her husband and their three kids.  So I have been requested to repeat the gesture this year.

To give you an idea of the content, it included her special label coffee, their best choice in Malbec and chocolate and treats for their young offspring.

Here are some of my favourite Hampers:


I adore receiving a hamper from Fortnum’s, not only because I love the quality of contents, but because their baskets are great to keep for storage throughout the year.

Their perennially popular Classic Christmas Hamper presents everything you need for the big day. It contains a range of wine and drinks, both still and sparkling, rich and delicious puddings, utterly buttery biscuits and the sweetest to crunchiest of food jars.
Total: £175




It comes with Fiorito Prosecco and Golden snowflake Christmas cake.  It also includes a yummy selection of Belgian milk chocolate coated mint flavoured cream biscuits, a Robin tin filled with all butter petticoat tails shortbread, chocolate assortment, jams, marmalade, luxury gold tea tin, wine and non-alcoholic drinks.  Presented in a dark-stained handmade wicker hamper with brown faux-leather straps.
Total:  £100



Paul Langlier champagne, with all the trimmings of cake, chocolates, truffles and a great combination of Christmas festive delights.  Comes in traditional picnic basket.
Total:  £99.60



This contains some incredibly good Christmas ‘must haves’ from Sauvignon Blanc to Prosecco, and exquisite Christmas fruit cake to Christmas pudding, fudge and truffles.  It has also got a five out of five star rating.  It is delivered in a gorgeous basket, and is of course extremely competitive on price.
Total:  £79.99


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