Reading Time: 5 minutes


About 20 years ago I was utterly ‘shocked’ when a rather mumsie middle aged woman who was trying to revive her sex life with her husband told me that with or without a partner, a gloriously hot bath full of bubbles, surrounded with a multitude of candles and dimmed lights was the answer to any maiden’s prayer.

I think I was more surprised that this lady of around 50 was having any sex at all, but now that I am approaching that age myself am far more sympathetic to her revelation.

A beautiful bathing experience is not only good for your sex life, it is also wonderful for your wellbeing, can help you to think and sleep – especially if you have a long luxurious soak just before going to bed.

I have also been reading about how more and more people are getting back into bathing as their relaxation regime, together with meditation and love this quote from health guru  Gwyneth Paltrow:

“I take a bath every single night – unless I’m somewhere where there is no bathtub,  I started getting really into taking baths when I was probably 22-years-old and did my first movie in London. It’s such a kind of damp cold there, a bath is the only thing that gets the cold out your bones. So, I started taking baths every night – and then I came home and I just never stopped.”

I decided to put this to the test recently as I had been waking up earlier every morning and having difficulty in getting back to sleep.  My restlessness had increased with the colder weather, as Gwyneth had said, the damp air in the UK does something to the bones when you reach a certain age, and I was amazed at the difference a late night bath made to my sleeping and indeed my increased energy the following day.

It also felt incredibly pampering, far more than a shower which is refreshing but far less nurturing.   It gives you thinking time, and somehow it is a stress free zone where you can really unwind.  It also gives some well-earned ‘you’ time.

Going back to the disclosures of my lovely ‘Mumsie’ middle aged friend, Gwyneth is not the only movie star who sang the praises of the Bath Tub, and not just to keep warm, Hollywood Icon Marilyn Monroe who was the epitomy of ‘Sexy’ made bathing sensuous and beautiful in the famous bathtub scene in Seven Year Itch back in the fifties.

Luxury Bath salts for calm and great sleeps:

Herbivore calm bath salts – £16

Cowshed – sleepy bath salts – £18

Bath soak heaven is – £22

Neom Real – Luxury Mineral bath salts – £38

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Reading Time: 3 minutes
You may have never tried this before but we do recommend you ‘do try this at home’ as if you bake it now, it will not only be a memorable table centre for your family meal  but also a huge accolade of achievement for you.
The first time I tried this recipe I was amazed how easy it actually was, and the fruit makes it moist and delightfully tasteful.

You never know, it may also inspire you to be more adventurous in the kitchen all round this party season.



150 g dried figs
225 g soft prunes
100 g pure almonds
225 g soft butter
185 g brown sugar
250 g self-raising flour
0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground ginger
1 good pinch of ground clove
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
225 g raisins
1 juice and zest of 1 large lemon
3 tbsp black treacle
4 tbsp dark rum


Preheat the oven to 150°C, fan 130°C, gas 3. Line a 7cm-deep 20cm square tin with buttered baking paper.

Slice the figs and prunes into small pieces. Roughly chop the almonds. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until fluffy.

Sift the flour into a bowl with the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Add this and the beaten eggs alternately to the butter and sugar in the mixer, beating on a low setting all the time.

Stir in the fruit, almonds, lemon juice and zest, treacle and 3 tablespoons of the rum by hand. Tip into the tin and even out with a spatula.

Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.

Once cool – make small insertions in the surface and add a little extra rum. To ice your cake, brush the cake with a little warmed apricot glaze, then cover it completely with 500g rolled-out marzipan, trimming off the excess. Brush the marzipan with cooled boiled water. Cover with 750g rolled-out white icing and trim off the excess.

If you prefer you can also bake this cake in a round 20cm tin; cook for 2-2½ hours.

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Reading Time: 4 minutes


I have been watching so many period dramas and movies recently, and I have been obsessing about the power of the hat.

My grandmother, whose hay day was in the fifties, would go to great lengths to ensure each outfit was perfectly co-ordinated, and her crowning glory would be the most important accessory to complete an outfit.  In fact, she wouldn’t go out without a hat and matching handbag and shoes – especially when visiting the Capital.

I remember trying on a multitude of hats when playing dress-up in her bedroom, and loved every minute.  Milliners were then in abundance and every department store boasted a vibrant hat department.

To endorse my debate, the word Milliner actually came from Milan, which still is the height of fashion, and this is why I am thrilled that hats are making a massive come back.  You can’t beat them as a major styling accessory, and can even create an identity.  But nowadays a Milliner is actually someone who designs and makes a hat, and there are some fabulous styles to choose from.

We have seen it with Meghan Markle who loves wearing a French style beret, and Jenifer Aniston recently was seen donning a Fedora.

If you want a more urban image, there has been a surge in the more masculine tweed ‘peaky blinders’ style beret but worn by women, and for Winter some gorgeous beanies to enhance your ‘cool’ whilst keeping warm.

Stunnning organic cable cashmere hat in natural white – Pure – £55

The ultimately cool BBCo Elan Beanie – £28 by wildbounds

Classic Fedora by Joules – in felt oxblood – £34.95

The 30s style Floral wool pleated cloche by Kelkoo – John Lewis – £28

Chic grey wool blend plain beret by Swoop at Topshop – £10


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Reading Time: 4 minutes


When I told my young daughter that we were using brown wrapping paper this Christmas, it was as if I had told her there was no such thing as Santa.  So I immediately came up with a rescue plan, as only Mums can, for both my daughter and the rest of the Planet.

It may encourage you to know there can also be a good money save here too as Staples are selling brown paper at only £1.67 per roll, so that is a good place to start.  There are numerous ways to decorate brown paper without causing any harm environmentally.   Plain and natural string can be purchased from places like & and then you are ready to go.

Cut outs from magazines are perfect for decorating the gifts.  You can then glue images onto the paper with sustainable glue obtained from any store or purchased online.    I picked a perfect flower and some vibrant images from some old copies of journals I had stored throughout the year, and alternatively you can download images from the Internet in black and white and just colour them in.

It may sound strange, but newspapers are also a cool way to wrap presents, and can again be decorated by add-ons like black and white bows or even old jewellery to stick on.  You can find odd bits of vintage pieces in charity shops to tie or glue onto the wrapping, especially if you enjoy a good ‘find’ and will be appreciated by friends who enjoy receiving gifts with a bit of creative flair and care.

Pressed flowers or leaves also look great, and you have time to prepare them for Christmas if you start now.  There are still some wild flowers and fabulous brown leaves around, so dry them out and place them in the middle of the biggest book you possess, and bring them out to add to your present wrap a few days before 25 December.  Holly is also very pretty on pressies and you can acquire stems nearer to the big day.

You may just want to keep it simple and paint images onto the plain wrapping paper, and there is nothing wrong with that.   You don’t have to be a Picasso to achieve a great effect, just some vibrant colours and even the most child-like attempt will not go unappreciated by your loved ones.  In fact your kids or grandkids could have a field day splashing paint on the present wrapping.

So hopefully I have inspired you a little into the art of sustainable creative wrapping, and still managed to add a little sparkle to the big day.   As you know we are always open to ideas, and if you can come up with some good alternatives for decorating brown paper, please let us know.

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Reading Time: 5 minutes


How many times recently have you heard the words ‘don’t beat yourself up’ or ‘don’t put yourself down’.  I can bet it has been said to you a number of times in recent years.  I know I am guilty of doing both, and it is now time to stand up to the ‘inner bully’ and show it who is boss.

It is hardly surprising as we are constantly ‘bullied’ by the media, ordering us to look more attractive, younger, thinner, smarter – unrealistic goals when juggling any sort of descent lifestyle.

As a woman of a certain age, I now feel compelled to fight back at this tough tyrant within, and have begun to congratulate myself on bringing up a family – no easy feat, being a great friend and partner, my own skills and talents, and doing a list of my assets.  I don’t mean in monetary terms, but my own attributes, and if you search you will find there are many that you can write down about yourself.

If you have this list by your bed, or in a prominent place where you can read it daily, I guarantee the negative feelings relating to yourself will begin to disappear.

Since I instigated this exercise into my own regime, as advised by a renowned life coach, ‘miracles’ started to happen, I was advised that they would.  I was sceptical at first, but seeing a close friend successfully turn her life around, I was urged to try it, after all what did I have to lose.

So this, along with daily meditation, my life began to turn around for the good.  I can’t explain how things began to improve, but can certainly pinpoint when, and that was the moment I stood up to the inner ‘bully’ and resolved to overturn the negative feelings I had for myself and stop setting myself unrealistic goals.

Small things started to happen at first, like a Yoga class appearing, practically on my doorstep and a part time job opportunity mysteriously coming up that would not eat too much into my time.  I have even been given affordable beauty products and treatments at the local spa, and a multitude of benefits I hadn’t previously been made aware of.

Perhaps it is the Universe rewarding me for taking action against the ‘bully’, or maybe I am now freed up to notice my own good fortune, but I recommend taking charge, as it can only be for the greater good, and certainly in these circumstances, it will be for your own inner strength and future.

So, the rule of thumb is that bullies are actually cowards, and if confronted will always back off.  So if you have done any sort of meditation, now is the time to have a serious talk with your inner ‘bully’ and tell them their voice is no longer effective in your World.

When the pressure is off you can then decide what is best for you, and you will be surprised at how liberating it will be to make your own decisions, based upon what you really need to make you happy.

If you would like more information on the above subject or any sort of holistic help, please contact us at, where we can recommend related reading and life coach options.

Also check out the following for inspiration

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