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I spent a very satisfying 20 minutes in bed this morning with Charlie.

I know, sounds saucy doesn’t it? I haven’t taken a fast but efficient lover though, I was actually discovering some NEWS. I say it in capitals because really THE NEWS is not my thing. For a while a few years ago I thought I would try to take an interest and so I set my alarm to wake me up to Radio 4, but after a few weeks I was just so depressed. The awful news seeping into my subconscious from around the world was just too much.

Over the last couple of years it’s become even harder to take anything positive away from the news – it’s been a literal daily death count – and as a form of self-preservation I’ve had to step away completely. I have too much to manage in my own life, I don’t feel able to soak up everything else around me, especially when it’s stuff I can’t do anything about. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds the news overwhelming?

The downside of filtering out all news of course is that you can feel like a bit of an idiot when people are talking about something big, that clearly everyone in the world knows about but you. ‘Ukraine?’ you say, ‘something going on with them is it?’

Okay, so it’s not quite that bad, but it definitely leaves you feeling ignorant, in all senses of the word when it’s a humanitarian issue.

How do you filter the news though? How can you make sure you have an awareness of what’s going on but still preserve your sanity? How do you pick out the stories that interest you without getting swamped in bad news?

Cue Charlie – your personal journalist.

Charlie is an AI bot who helps you sift through the news in a neutral, healthy way, giving you a selection of headlines and letting you find out more about any that take your interest. It’s a bit like having a partner sat in bed next to you, scrolling the news sites so that you don’t have to. They pick out things that might interest you and read out highlights, sparing you all of the anxiety inducing doom and gloom clickbait that news sites use to increase traffic and revenue.

Charlie - your personal journalist View Post


Advertisement feature in association with Brew Company

I was talking to my brother-in-law this week about the importance of joy, and was telling him about how much joy I can take from the very smallest of things. ‘Honestly,’ I said, ‘I can go to bed excited about having a nice cup of coffee the next morning.’

And it’s true. The ritual of either spending time making myself a cup of good coffee or treating myself to one somewhere out and about is a seemingly small thing that can have a huge impact. Factor in meeting up with a friend or family member to share your coffee with and it takes on even more significance. Suddenly that simple cup of coffee has become an experience, an opportunity to exchange news, to share worries and to feel closer to someone. I’ve definitely felt that over the last couple of years during lockdowns, when so many of my meetups with friends have been spent walking through parks, our hands wrapped around takeaway cups of coffee.

When you think about it, a cup of coffee is pretty special isn’t it? Buying someone a cup of coffee MEANS something.

Which is why I think this Mother’s Day could be the time to switch it up a bit. Forget flowers and chocolates and buy the special mum in your life coffee from The Brew Company instead.

(Don’t worry if your mum isn’t a coffee drinker, they do tea too.)

Coffee from The Brew Company

The idea behind The Brew Company’s Coffeebrewer range is simple – premium quality ground coffee that you brew in the bag, without the need for any kind of fancy coffee machine. The patented brewing system ensures a state-of-the-art coffee infusion that gives a result that’s a bit of a crossover between pour-over coffee and a French press. Basically you get to be your own barista, wherever you are – at work, travelling, or how about camping? I think they’d be brilliant for that. View Post


Looking for plastic free Easter eggs this year? Or maybe you want a vegan Easter egg? I’ve picked out five of my favourites so you can enjoy your Easter treats guilt free.

best plastic free easter eggs

Happy nearly Easter!

I’m not in anyway religious, but I’m happy to jump on the bandwagon of any religious festival that requires the eating of chocolate eggs. Judge me if you will but there we are.

One thing that has always annoyed me though about Easter and Easter eggs in particular is all the waste that goes with them – all those chocolate eggs in huge plastic shells, just waiting for the wrappers to be torn off so that the plastic can get chucked in a lake and eaten by a pregnant dolphin, or whatever it is that happens to it. It’s definitely something like that. But then of course the fishing industry does more damage to fish than plastic, so perhaps veganism is really the answer. Not that Easter eggs normally have fish in them, but still, the principle is sound.

One really easy change you can make this Easter is simply to look out for plastic free or vegan Easter eggs, or ideally both! I’ve picked out five of my favourite options for you, plus if this has got you feeling the vegan Easter vibe why not have a go at making my vegan hot cross bun recipe?

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If there was one thing I could change that I feel would significantly change the quality of my life it would be the consistency of my sleep.

When I was a teenager, pre-children, (I was 16 when I was first pregnant so my teenage years and parenting overlapped), my sleep was impeccable. I used to be in bed by around 9pm every night and I slept so soundly that sometimes my mum and my sister would worry that I was actually dead. They could shout at me and shake me and nothing, I was out cold.

And then I had a baby and honestly I’m not sure I’ve slept properly since. With my first daughter it wasn’t so bad – I still did the half ear open thing that all mothers do, but she slept well and I didn’t have a prolonged period of sleepless nights. Belle though found sleep more difficult. For the first couple of years she slept in bed with me and would wake sometimes hourly, and it wasn’t until she started school that she started sleeping through the night.

Fast forward another 10 years or so and the perimenopause and all her delights were upon me, most noticeable of which was an apparent inability to sleep for more than an hour or two at a time without having to balance it out with an equal amount of time spent thrashing about uncomfortably, counting down the hours until I knew I would have to be awake again.

Starting HRT last year helped massively, and I do wake up less and for shorter periods now, but my sleep is still far from perfect and it varies during my cycle too, some nights letting me go for hours at a time, others keeping me on high alert with anxious dreams and periods of overheating.

Fun. Times. All. Round. View Post


A little while ago I posted this picture on Instagram.

It was a bit of a spur of the moment picture – I was lighting a candle and realised that I put dead matches back into the box specifically because I once had a boyfriend who used to hate it. Every time he opened a box of matches and found a dead one that I’d put back in, unthinking, he’d get cross. Not cross like he’d pick up the candle and throw it through a window or anything, but genuinely annoyed enough to make me feel like I’d done something wrong.

good things about being single

I’ve had a lot of boyfriends who have got that level of cross about stupid things like dead matches. It’s exhausting. It leaves you with that walking on eggshells feeling, never sure what small thing might actually be super irritating or send someone into a sulk. It wears you down, makes you question yourself and can leave you feeling like you’re not really good enough, like those ‘flaws’ somehow make you a less than desirable partner. View Post


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Have you been watching the Sex And The City reboot, And Just Like That?

I have and I loved it, even though it made me cry a LOT.

I was never an OG Sex And The City fan. I have a story about how when I first decided I wanted to be a freelance journalist and started my blog it was because I’d been watching a lot of Sex And The City and fancied myself sitting about outside cafes writing a relationship column and drinking cocktails every night with hot men. While the story is true, it happened in 2009, over 10 years after the show first aired. Not exactly ‘finger on the pulse’ stuff.

I started watching it because I’d just come out of a nine year relationship, aged 30, and I needed something to remind me what it meant to be single. The version of single I saw on Sex And The City wasn’t my version though. They were single and childless and seemingly had endless money available for high heels and parties, despite spending most of their time on dates. I on the other hand had a teenager and a six year old, I definitely did not have endless money, I spent most of my time on the school run or cooking fish fingers, and my cocktail options were pretty much limited to WKD at the local Wetherspoons.

And then there was the fashion. Women’s clothing has just never been something I’ve understood. Sure, they looked pretty, but I would never have been able to tell you what designers they were wearing, nor would I have cared. I wanted the lifestyle and the freedom, but not to have to maintain such high standards. I wanted the male attention, but not at any cost.

If we’re laying it out, I never especially like Carrie either. I found her whiney and difficult and selfish. But perhaps partly that was jealousy, as I’d never felt like I’d had the opportunity to be selfish.

When And Just Like That came out then, it wasn’t like I was wetting my pants excited about it. I wanted to take a look, but I wasn’t expecting to feel a particularly strong connection. I watched the first episode though and BOOM, suddenly I could see what all the fuss had been about first time around amongst the single women in their twenties and thirties.

Suddenly I could RELATE. View Post


Much scientific research has shown* that drinking a hot chocolate with a homemade marshmallow cloud can increase overall happiness rates by up to 47%. If the marshmallow cloud has a face that happiness boost increases by eight percentage points.

In fact, some research** has even concluded that simply looking at a picture of a homemade marshmallow cloud with a smiley face can trigger the release of serotonin and boost feelings of contentment for up to 90 minutes. It’s very similar to petting a particularly fluffy dog you meet in the street or getting an unexpected rebate on your electricity bill.

Let’s try it shall we?

homemade marshmallow clouds

How do you feel? You feel better than you felt three minutes ago right? I knew it.

If you want to scale up the good feelings and recreate these marshmallow clouds at home, where you can see AND eat them, then here’s what you need: View Post


Advertisement feature in association with Sinful

Okay, I know, I’ve given it away just a tiny bit in the name of this post, but take a look at my new necklace from Sinful. Pretend you didn’t see the title… can you guess what it is?

vibrator necklace sex toys

What’s that? You think its a mini clitoral vibrator? Oh my God, you’re right! However did you guess?


If you hadn’t known though, it wouldn’t have been the first thing that sprang to mind would it? I definitely haven’t come across any vibrator necklaces before. (Pun intended. Sorry not sorry.) This one is the Crave Vesper Necklace from Sinful, which immediately makes me think of James Bond and Vesper martinis and makes it extra sexy.

It has four different vibration programmes – three continuous and one pulsating – and you never have to worry about it running out of batteries because it’s rechargeable via a USB cable that’s included. The whole thing comes in a beautiful box, making it look simply like an innocent piece of jewellery. View Post


Hello and welcome to another ‘I made this a year ago and I’m just catching up!’ post. I’m very happy to have you here. I made this focaccia flower art bread around the same time as the tear and share chocolate star bread I posted a few days ago, and it has taken me an equally long time to actually get round to telling you about it.

You might say that the moment has passed, many, (many) months ago, and I that should do something new instead, but this focaccia bread art is just so damn pretty and I was so proud of it, I’m going to make you look.

Focaccia flower art bread


To be honest, I probably need to apologise for the quality of the pictures in this post. It was lockdown, I was lazy – I don’t know, I just didn’t have the enthusiasm for lights or a proper camera. It’s not as bad as the photography in my Pizza Hut vs Dominos review mind you. We can all be grateful for that.

Anyway the gist is that it’s not that hard to make your own flower art bread, it’s just a little time consuming. Totally worth it though if you are a show off like me. You could casually turn up at a PTA picnic with your homemade loaf and be all ‘Oh this? Oh it’s nothing, just some focaccia art bread, nothing fancy.’

You’d be lying of course, because it’s super fancy. View Post


I made this tear and share chocolate star bread in January 2021, in full lockdown banana bread hysteria mode, but as lockdown also left me feeling like I’d much rather be making and eating chocolate bread than actually writing about it, I’m only just getting around to this post now.

Never mind. As Bee always says when she’s editing stuff I’ve written – no one will miss it because they won’t know it was there in the first place.

It’s here now, and that’s the main thing, because it really is worth telling you about. It’s the kind of baking that ticks a lot of boxes – it’s very fun to do, it makes an excellent picture for Instagram AND it tastes good. Normally I’m a ‘two out of three ain’t bad’ kind of girl with cooking, (RIP Meatloaf), so this star bread nails it.

Tear and share chocolate star bread

See? I told you it was good for Instagram – nice and symmetrical and square, like we used to do in the old days. Bung a polaroid photo style border around it, job done.

As you’re here you’re probably wondering how to make it. I tore the recipe out of a copy of one of the Tesco magazines sometime in late 2020, but I did share a picture of it on Instagram at the time, which I’ve managed to find. I’ve zoomed in, squinted a bit, and hopefully have got all the ingredients right.  View Post


Who doesn’t love a good candle? They may be the ultimate self-care cliché, but a good scented candle really does have a positive impact.

Scented candles have become a big part of my work from home life during the pandemic. Where once I’d head out to a cafe in town to work for the morning, (and not just for the brunch, honestly), I’ve instead had to create a workspace for myself at home. It’s been hard. I spent a lot of 2020 not working very much at all, and when I finally forced myself to put down the murder mysteries and come in from the garden, I repainted my spare room a dark green in a bid to create myself a serious but soothing work environment. (I have an Instagram highlight called workspace if you want to have a nose.)

I also bought about 48 scented candles.

I have a whole row of them lined up on the windowsill that faces me as I sit at my desk, and more on the desk itself. Whenever I realise I’ve been at my desk for an hour and done nothing but share Tinder screenshots on Instagram stories, I light some candles. I find the process of lighting them in itself can be a useful ritual, signalling to my brain that it’s time to get on with things, and the gently flickering light and the soft smells that quickly fill up my tiny green office lull me into a more contented state of work flow.

One of my favourite candles at the moment was a gift from Nooraa – one of their dark amber and sandlewood soy candles, made in the UK and with natural soy wax. Nooraa is all about sustainable luxury, so their candles contain no plastics, aren’t tested on animals and are 100% vegan.

Nooraa scented soy candle View Post


Includes gifted items from Lily Blanche

On Monday I went into town for a meetingThat sounds terribly exciting, but I use the word town in the traditional sense i.e. I walked into Taunton town centre, not the fancy sense that rich people use to mean going into London to see a show. Shame.

Still, it WAS exciting. I changed out of my muddy dog walking clothes especially, and wore my fur coat, which I only get to wear I’m on my own as otherwise Mako freaks out a bit. I think she might think I’m being attacked by some other sort of animal? I took the obligatory selfie, and here I am, looking quite the part.

Lily Blanche pearl necklace

As you may have spotted, I’m also wearing a rather lovely baroque pearl necklace, which was a recent gift from a lovely jewellery company called Lily Blanche, who have a whole range of beautiful necklaces, lockets and personalised jewellery. I chose the baroque pearl because of the inspiration behind the Lily Blanche brand, which you can read about on their website:

‘The Lily Blanche story beings on the windswept Island of Skye in the Inner Hebrides, where I spent childhood holidays with my grandmother, Lily Blanche Sheridan. It was here, playing on the shore of the loch, opposite my grandmother’s white-washed croft, that I first came across real pearls washed up on the rocks.’

Isn’t that a lovely image? When I’m wearing the necklace I can imagine the thrill as a child of finding a real pearl just lying there, sandy amongst the rocks. It sounds like just the sort of adventure I longed for when I was younger. (And now if I’m honest.) View Post