Chelsea Flower Show

This year we went to Chelsea for the first time. It was a bucket list item for Big T so I surprised him with tickets and off we went with a spontaneous picnic lunch on what turned out to be a gloriously sunny day.

We’d been tipped off about the crowds so arrived by 9:30am and had knocked off the bigger show gardens before they were too busy. By 11am, the place was heaving with middle aged, middle class ladies in florals (see previous post).

At lunchtime we sat with an exorbitantly expensive glass of champagne in a plastic flute (why not!) and people/fashion watched as the hordes passed by in a variety of hues and sizes. Fascinating and almost as good as the gardens themselves.

The gardens gave us ideas for France (and perhaps beyond) with a garden room (don’t get me started), water features (me again), plants and rustic paving (Big T). There were definitely trends in the planting styles, colour palettes included shades of purple and antique pinks whilst wildflowers and less formal planting have become very popular.

Despite my complaints, we’d been watching the coverage each evening on BBC so we already had an in-depth knowledge of what to look for, the winning gardens and an interesting conundrum of whether a rewilding garden is truly a garden or a landscape.

I enjoyed the nostalgia of the rewilding garden though, a contrived name for what otherwise looked like a bit of countryside complete with fake beaver dam.

By mid afternoon we’d done it all. With the paths filled to bursting, our senses truly overloaded and I had reached fashion saturation deciding never to wear a floral dress again, it was time to go home to sit in our tranquil communal garden in the midst of the city.

The ubiquitous London summer uniform

Summer appears to have arrived in London and with it comes the arrival of the annual floral summer dress synonymous with summer in London.

This summer the pastoral-style dress is very much on trend for all ages but in particular the mature lady. This longer length midi or maxi dress has puffed sleeves (short or long), shirred elastic in various places and a loose structure designed for absolute comfort. I have certainly embraced elements of this style, after all, what’s not to like?

This being London, there’s no guarantee the day will end the way it began (or vice versa) so each summer these delightful floral dresses are topped off with cropped denim or black leather biker jackets, paired with leggings and most often coupled with trainers for comfort. It changes the overall aesthetic somewhat, but it’s important to be a realist.

Attending the Chelsea Flower Show yesterday (more to come on that later) it was a veritable sea of middle aged ladies in the most varied of loose fitting, midi and maxi floral dresses. I could barely concentrate on the gardens as I started dress-spotting, critiquing from the sidelines. It was mesmerising!

The most popular dress of choice, somewhat ironically, was a green and white large geometric print maxi which I recognised from Zara. I saw at least ten of them which made the whole concept of wearing the same dress to a party as someone else, quite hilarious. If only I’d seen them all together!

Some outfits were more successful than others but the overall mood was of summer, sunshine, flowers and joy and so even this most cynical of fast fashionistas couldn’t deny it was the right outfit for the day. I was wearing a Kate Spade daisy print maxi shirtdress in black, white and yellow (bought in the sales) with trainers but sans jacket which luckily was not spotted on another middle aged lady, a bit of a miracle!

If you can’t beat ’em…!

The final test

Over the past few weeks I’ve been going through a number of tests for various cancers and I completed my final test this morning with my first jolly mammogram.

Probably the least fun of the lot, it involved going all the way to Canary Wharf in pouring rain in order to be sandwiched, squashed and scanned in a brisk fifteen minute appointment.

Results are due in a couple of weeks and then all being well with brain, blood, boobs, heart and bowel, I should be good to go!

Count down to Summer

In the next two weeks we will embark on our relocation to France for the summer! It’s a mammoth exercise in planning with dog travel and paperwork, the exorbitant dog taxi and flights back to the UK for work and family commitments over the next three months.

We had almost everything sorted but realised our cunning plan of a French passport for Agnes was scuppered by the French authorities and she was going to have to get the dreaded post-Brexit Animal Health Certificate which costs a fortune and is a massive pain in the arse.

At least we realised before we made it down to Folkestone where we would have been turned away, our faces downcast and our tails down.

So roll on June 2nd, we’re even missing the Jubilee for this!

All hail the Mighty Chickpea!

I have always been a fan of the humble chickpea as a life long devotee of humous but things have suddenly moved to another level.

This week I made Socca for the first time and discovered an easy and delicious flatbread but so much more. We know Socca from Nice where it’s sold on the Cours de Saleya in large warm triangles wrapped in paper and liberally sprinkled with salt and pepper. Delicious!

I decided to have a go and whilst my version was a little thin, I’m having a second attempt today as it was all eaten immediately.

My other Chickpea success story were baked falafels which I made for the first time. With garlic, fresh herbs and soaked chickpeas, this recipe was incredibly simple, cheap and much more delicious than the hard, dry dog turds we get from our local shop.

Next on my list, the holy grail of humous. I’ve tried it before without success. It’s time to try again…

West Bay and Friends

Last weekend we spent a delightful weekend in West Bay (Dorset) in the company of old friends.

We enjoyed some of the best weather (and a little of the worst) which was perfectly combined with pottering around antique shops, eating delicious food, getting a little sunburned and generally catching up, talking and laughing.

It doesn’t get better than that!


After several months of faffing around talking about a small brick shed which adjoins our kitchen, I asked the direct question of our prospective buyers, were they buying a flat or a brick shithouse?

Of course, this being London even a tiny brick shed is premium property which could house an entire family of Ukrainians but in this case, it’s simply an old garden shed which will never be demised as part of our property for that very reason.

Anyway, that seems to have done the job as we are now making progress and provided the lease extension gets done soon (having taken at least seven years) we should be in a position to make our epic move three flats along.

As always, if it’s meant to be and all that. It all makes sense on paper and hopefully it’s a good decision emotionally. More to come soon…

The blue corduroy jacket

Last week I met a man wearing a blue corduroy jacket. He was standing outside a pub with a small dog in tow, and already had a glass in his hand (the man that is). Some things never change!

It was, of course, the same chap I met, at the same pub, ten years ago. We decided to celebrate a decade together by taking a trip down memory lane.

After dinner we walked across Primrose Hill as the light was fading. In early May, it’s a lovely time of year with the freshest, greenest young grass and new leaves.

We ended up walking home through St John’s Wood chatting as we went and sat in our large communal garden as evening turned to night and our reminiscing came to an end.

Ten years later and we still have plenty to talk and laugh about and it turns out it wasn’t such a bad decision to go and meet the one in the blue corduroy jacket!

Here’s to the next ten!