Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Our new house (but not our car!)
... is a virtue. Sadly, it's a virtue that I struggle with. Over the summer Mr B and I moved into a new house in a pretty little village called 'Bunny' (I kid you not, it's really called Bunny!) We've been hunting high and low for a family house for a while now, only half seriously, but when this one came on the market we knew we had to have it. At the time it didn't really feel real, and even on moving day I'm not sure I was prepared for the fact that we were ACTUALLY moving from our little new build townhouse into this; our 1930s, family, 'forever' home. In fact, even 3 months later, I still feel like I'm settling in and the pangs of homesickness(?) I feel when I pass our old house are only just starting to diminish.

The thing is, now we actually live there (here?!) the enormity of the task that lies ahead is just beginning to dawn on us. Moving into a house that's as old as this one (ok, it's not old old but it's certainly not new build) means we have got lots to do. At the weekend we sat down and wrote down a whole list of things that we either need, or would like to do to get the house ship shape and exactly how we want it. It's enormous: Everything from painting to double glazing, from insulating to buying a new cooker (that's a story for another time) - but obviously all of this requires money. Money that, given we have just moved and taken on a bigger mortgage, we simply don't have. Little by little I'm sure we will get there, and perhaps, as Take That would say we just need to 'have a little patience' - it's perhaps not a very modern attitude, but it's certainly one that I could do to take heed of - and one that I think the new house is intent on teaching me.

Monday, 5 November 2012

The magic of John Lewis

When I was at university I remember a friend saying to me, "If I could, I would live in John Lewis" - and I was, at the time, totally perplexed, but over the last few years I've really come round to her way of thinking. If ever there was a shop that epitomised the life I aspire to (ok, call me a snob)  it would be John Lewis.

John Lewis, for the uninitiated, is a UK high street department store that trades on the tagline Never Knowingly Undersold. There's something incredibly British about the whole shop; it's understated rather than flashy, and sells a range of products and brands from the upper-middle end of the British high street. From typical 'yummy mummy' brands such as White Stuff and Joules to impeccably designed white bedlinen and crockery by Emma Bridgwater or Vera Wang right through to wallpaper, furniture and white goods (they give a free 2 year guarantee with everything!) We had our wedding list at John Lewis, and oh, what fun it was to go round the store with one of their magical list-making scanning machines. There's just something about the whole experience that makes you feel like you're incredibly safe and special.

But, aside from all of that, over the last few years, John Lewis has cornered the market in the MOST amazing adverts. Adverts that don't really sell a product but that capitalise on this very British yearning to be part of their brand story. Many other brands have followed suit but none do it quite as emotionally 'on key' as John Lewis. I won't wax too lyrical, but the first of these (check it out) had me in tears on several occasions, using, as it did Billy Joel's 'She's always a woman to me' to track the life of a woman from birth through to old age. Who really cared that the whole advert was full of anachronisms? Because in so many ways it was utterly, perfectly timeless. Apparently JL's sales soared by 40% in the months following the release of this advert, and I don't know a woman who didn't fall totally in love with the whole concept.Take a look at their most recent advert if you don't believe me that they must have geniuses of epic proportions working on their perfectly targeted campaigns:

So, call it clever marketing (well done 'Adam and Eve'/DDB ad agencies) but I'm right there. I want that John Lewis life, and, well, failing that, can I just have a copy of the tracks used in their last 5 adverts - they, like everything else about the brand, epitomise good taste!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

In search of a fairy godmother

I wonder if the lilac fairy would step up to the plate?
Ok, ok, I know it's rude to ask for things, or to seem wantonly materialistic, but the thing I is made a big mistake. BIG mistake. I accidentally tried on (well, sort of accidentally - I blame my mum for this one!)  this beautiful coat from Reiss in John Lewis and, well, I now can't stop thinking about it...

It fitted perfectly (not an easy task, I promise you) and flattered my colouring and figure and, well [sigh] I really, really wish I could afford it. Sadly, I think I'm going to have to wait until the January sales or until I've saved up enough since even Santa isn't £265 generous (and nor, honestly, would I expect him to be.) I'm kind of hoping that I find out that I have a generous, and as yet unknown, fairy godmother, who will flutter down and grant me this one purchase, but I don't think such miracles exist. 

A girl can dream though, can't she?! 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Dancing in the rain

I was recently given a card with these words on it. It's not the first time I've heard the expression (in fact it's one my husband will often quote) but it is, perhaps the first time I've really understood the meaning. Life isn't always easy. That's a platitude, I know, and one I've churned out myself, but it's true. It's not always easy. Being alive isn't just about the good bits. We can only really appreciate the good if we've known the bad, but granted, most of us would rather not experience the bad if we had a choice. But that's life: The good, the bad and the ugly. And I suppose these words were never truer: If we waited for all of life's storms to pass, or for the sun to always shine we'd miss out on all the opportunities for real life; the opportunities to dance every type of dance and not just the joyous ones; the chance to really live, because that's what makes us human, and that's what makes us interesting, varied creatures with stories to tell and experiences to regale. From a purely practical point of view, let's face it, I live in England: if I never went outside in inclement weather, I'd spend well over half of my life stuck indoors, missing out!