How are you?……


How ARE you? or How are YOU? or, in the words of Joey from Friends, ‘How you doin?’

I bet you ask or answer this question at least once a day. It’s sort of a standard greeting these days. And, the usual answer (unless it’s a good friend who will tell the truth) is ‘fine’.

I was in a coffee shop yesterday morning, discussing the merits of a chocolate muffin versus a raspberry/almond flavoured one with a complete stranger.  This lady took great pleasure in making her decision – (Raspberry and Almond) – to go with her Chai Latte.  It was, she said her treat of the day and one she always looked forward to.

The Barista asked how she was, and with a beaming smile she said, ‘fan-tas-tic, I’m always fantastic’!!

This got me thinking, bearing in mind I know nothing about this lady, maybe the fact that she didn’t deny herself her daily treat kept her happy and indeed ‘fan-tas-tic’.


How many times have you said ‘No! I shouldn’t’  to  something? I don’t mean a second glass of wine if you’re driving, or a second or third slice of cake when you have a holiday coming with the hope of comfortably wearing a bikini, but the temptation of a delicious ice-cream when you’re on holiday or the choice of buying the baby blue cashmere sweater in favour the navy blue one.


picture of cupcakes

Image via

When I was a B.A. stewardess about 25 years ago, I remember often saying ‘sorry I can’t’  as I was working to pay my mortgage.  In the 80’s we had small mortgages by todays standards, but massive interest rates.  Looking back, I probably could have said yes to a few more things.  Skiing in California? A safari in Africa?  Don’t get me wrong, I had the most amazing time and enjoyed plenty of trips and did plenty of shopping. But perhaps I could have not denied myself as much, And I bet I would have still paid my bills!


So, perhaps we should try to enjoy ourselves a little more, not always take the lesser option or deny ourselves small pleasures. We should have a glass of fizz with afternoon tea if we want, or buy an eagerly awaited book in hardback rather than waiting for it to come out in paperback.  It doesn’t mean having what you want regardless of other commitments, but perhaps the odd treat is good for the soul.  You just never know what’s around the corner.


And, if anyone asks how we are, perhaps we should try to change our standard reply from ‘fine’ to  ‘fan-tas-tic’.


Have a lovely day,



January Blues……

It’s been a grim, grey start to the month.  We’ve had rain, snow and howling winds.

I think now’s the time to look for a few little treats to help us through to the end of the month.

A bunch of flowers……

It doesn’t have to be a big blousey bouquet.  A simple bunch of  tulips or daffs from the supermarket or garden will cheer up any room.



Open your christmas presents……

Were you given any perfumes, scented bath oils, or lotions or potions for Christmas?  Are they still in their wrappers or boxes?  I think today’s the day that you open them up and use them freely and daily.   These things are too lovely to keep for best.

Chanel boxes


Get outside……

It can’t rain all month. Wrap up warm and go for a long walk.  They say there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.  Grab your scarf and gloves and your pom pom hat and get outside.  If possible take a trip out of the ordinary – the beach, the woods, the park maybe? But if it has to be in town, then so be it. Just walk with purpose and  breathe in the fresh air.  It will do you so much good to be outside and if the sun does come out, what could be nicer than winter sun on your face?


Light a candle, turn on the the fairy lights……

I hope you didn’t take all the fairy lights down after Christmas. You can’t beat a little sparkle. I have candles lit all year.  And change them as the seasons roll by.  Heavier, earthy scents in winter, changing to lighter more floral through spring and summer.  But who cares if you’re still burning Christmas cinnamon, clove and winter berry. Use them!

picture of fairy lights


Book a treat……

Get something in the diary.  Book a spa treatment, lunch with a friend, cocktails or  a trip to the theatre or cinema.  Plan it, write it in the diary and look forward to it.  What can be better than laughing till you have tears running down your face to blow away the January blues.

Happy days


Or Splurge On Yourself……

You might be tightening your belt after Christmas, but a treat doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  A magazine, a book, new socks, a lipstick or nail varnish. You deserve it.

coffee and book


Join in……

January is a great time to start a new project.  An evening course, learn a language or skill. Join a gym(yes really) or running club.  Sing, dance, act, paint.  Release your hidden creativity.  You’ll meet new people and January will soon pass by.
the world is your oyster poster

We’re almost halfway through the month, the nights are getting ever so slightly lighter, snowdrops are appearing, we’re even getting the odd sunny day.  Roll on Springtime.

Have a great day,









2018……The Year Of The De-Clutter……


I have got a lot of stuff – not in a hoarding yellowing copies of the Daily Mirror in the hallway sort of way – although I do have nearly 20 years worth of Homes and Gardens in my study! Why? and what do I do with them when its time to bite the bullet and get rid?

But in a 10 black sweater – 4 of them polo neck – sort of way.

I would love to open my wardrobes and cupboards and see nothing – or nearly nothing.  A couple of pairs of trousers in black or navy – 3 perfect white shirts – and a few co-ordinating cashmere sweaters…… Bliss. via pinterest

Or a desk containing my computer, a stylish pot for my pens and a couple of baskets, one containing day to day letters or papers ready for action.  The other books, magazines or newspaper cuttings waiting to be read. Not my sons’ GCSE french notes from 10 years ago or expired white goods insurance renewals.


Decluttering pic of tidy desk




In my kitchen, in one cupboard there are 21 – yes 21 champagne glasses, and that doesn’t include those I keep for ‘best’. I could carry on, replace champagne glasses  for side plates or serving spoons or meat thermometers!


picture of crockery cupboard

via pinterest

Why, beside my bed are there three unread magazines and 6 books, two which are about de-cluttering?!  Why doesn’t my bedside look like this?……


photo of bedside table

via unsplash


As you get older you start to think that perhaps your forever home is getting a little large for just the two of you.  Thoughts of your children marrying and bringing grandchildren home looks like a distant reality, and you can count on one hand the rooms that you actually use – and on two the rooms that you don’t. I wrote about Empty Nesting in this post here,but before we could go anywhere we would have to have a massive de-clutter. And, this is the year!



Marie Kondo the high priestess of de-cluttering says that we should only keep things that bring us joy.  So I’ve decided to attack my wardrobes first.  I’m not sure that a lot of my clothes actually bring me ‘joy’! So will add to that criteria of keep or discard a very strict -‘no wear in the last year, you’re out’ – policy. I intend to start this weekend, so I’ll let you know how I get on.


Another area that needs urgent attention is in my pantry.  Yes, I know I’m very lucky to have one, but mine includes 4 large cupboards that I have no idea what they contain. So thats another job to add to my list.

Before putting my Christmas decorations away last week, I sorted and re-organised them. It gave me a great feeling of satisfaction and lightness, and in a strange way has spurred me on to start other rooms and areas.


2018 is the year of the de-clutter.  I hope to blog again soon with a progress report of how I’m getting on.  In the meantime……

Have a lovely day,







Christmas Wishes……


Christmas Wishes……

May your tree not droop and fade (like ours),

And your lights still twinkle brightly.

May your roast potatoes be crispy,

And your turkey moist.

May your fizz be cold,

And your chocolate be hot and creamy.

May your sprouts be green and tasty,

And your mince pies calorie free.

May your wrapping be appreciated,

And your presents ‘just what they wanted’

May the Christmas elves help you in the kitchen (particularly when its time to wash up),

And you find a film the whole family can watch.

But above all I wish you a Merry christmas and a happy and healthy 2018.

Have a lovely day,



Sniff……Scented candles for Christmas

It’s not exactly an addiction, but I LOVE scented candles.

I’ve spent many a time ensconced in Diptyque or Jo Malone with my nose stuck in a candle jar for probably a few moments longer than I should.

It’s at Christmas though I love to fill the house with festive smells, often burning two together to combine different scents.

Here are a few of my favourite Christmas candles ………


Diptyque Pomander ……

Diptyque candle

Did you ever stick cloves in oranges as home made Christmas decorations? Well this candle definitely hits that memory  nail on the head.  A warming spicy aroma – Clove, orange, cinnamon.  Delicious.


The White Company Fir Tree……

White Company Fir Tree candle

This could be one of the finds of the season.  It is a true scent of the forest smell without smelling like disinfectant.  A fresh, woody scented candle with hints of pine, eucalyptus, cedar and moss.  I bought the three wick candle which at £65.00 is a lot of money, but its definitely long-lasting and fills my hallway with this gorgeous scent.


True Grace Burlington Christmas Classic Candle ……

True Grace Candle

This candle has a slightly musty, smokey smell.  One of True Grace’s classic candles. The official True Grace blurb describes it as ‘A Christmas in London with a miscellany of scents”  Not too sure what that means, but a wonderfully warm scent perfect for a snug or tv room.  Also available in different sizes and room diffusers.


Jo Loves Christmas Tree……

This may be the  glamorous big sister of the White Company Fir Tree candle.  A very similar scent, but with undertones of lavender, incense and amber.  Beautifully packaged as always, this candle fills the house with memories of Christmas trees when they really did smell of Christmas trees!


Wild Planet Warm Hug……

Wild Planet Candle

My last candle, I found at Spirit of Christmas this year.  Wild Planet,is a small home fragrance company based in Kent. I chose Warm Hug for its heady blend of earthy notes reminiscent of old leather books, tobacco and warm firesides. This is a perfect accompaniment to some of the fresher pine based candles.


So I think you can see a pattern in my candle buying.  I love the Christmassy scents of pine, eucalyptus, cedar and moss.  But also the earthy woody tones in some of the more unusual smoky candles.  I love to move from room to room picking up the different scents as I go.


And now for the best piece of entertaining advice anyone has ever given you.  At Christmas time do you fill your house with tea lights only for them to run their course half way through the evening? Look out for these long lasting 8 hour night lights by Price’s. You can buy them in Robert Dyas or on Amazon of course.  They will twinkle and flicker away until bedtime.


I hope you have enjoyed my candle suggestions.  Of course there are many, many more.  What are your favourites?


Have a lovely day,




Jo Loves

The White Company

True Grace

Wild Planet