The Sofa Saga


We purchased two very nice and enormously comfortable cream sofa’s from a few years ago.

I know, how you laugh, but we didn’t know about toddlers then.

Anyway, we had a small incident a few weeks back involving a misplaced glass and some red wine which resulted in some unwanted decoration of a sofa arm. Luckily Neil is the sort for forward thinking (and having had experience of me and my blunders), and had enrolled us into something quite marvellous called ‘Guardsman’ where they send someone out to clean, or in the scenario where a stain cannot be removed, replace the affected bit of sofa for you.

So yesterday I phoned what I believed to be ‘Guardsman Sofa Protection’. Sadly in my distracted state (The Peppa Pig episode had ended and was dealing with a fractious toddler) I had accidentally dialled the wrong number and ended up having a delightful, if somewhat confused chat with an elderly lady called Edna. Our call went something like this…


‘Hello, is this Guardsman Protection?’


‘Guardsman, I have a stain on my sofa and was wondering if I could claim on our policy?’

‘Who is this?’

‘Amy Ferguson, I bought a sofa from 2 years ago and took out a policy with you….have I got the wrong number? I think I do, I do apologise, I shall let you get on.’

‘I am Edna Bridge. The stain on my sofa.’


‘I have put my cushion over it.’


‘You can’t get someone to clean it you say?’

‘I apologise, the stain is on *my* sofa…’

<At this point I realise how terribly English I am>

‘…But I can recommend the fabric and upholstery stain remover that you can get from Sainsbury’s. it comes in a blue bottle and you just squirt it on. It’s very good. That might help.’

‘Ok dear. Thank you for calling.’

<And she puts the phone down>.

Now that is what I love about older people, they can accept that totally random strangers may just call them in the middle of the day and dispense stain cleaning advice without any question about the normality of this.

I just hope her stain comes out.

But at least I can rest well tonight in the knowledge that if it doesn’t, at least she has a cushion to put over it…

Why didn’t I think of that?


Toddler Sunglasses

Previously it was all about the balls.

And now for some context to that statement.

Moving on. The new fad in my toddler’s life is sunglasses. She has been major fans of both mine, Neil’s (and well anyone’s really) for some time now, so when strolling amongst the aisles of summer attire, I finally caved in and purchased some for the young lady in my life.

Kate had a choice of four pairs, including two brandishing the much favoured ‘Peppa Pig’, but apparently unable to influence the decision in any way,  we ended up with the bright pink oversized polka dot pair. They have not left her nose since.

I kid you not, even bath time has not been taken without the accompaniment of specs.

So without further ado, introducing the Toddler and her ‘rays’…

Toddler Sunglasses
They went on in the shop. They have not come off since.
Eating dinner in my sunglasses
Eating dinner 
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Digging the shades
Digging the shades
Greys Court Garden - National Trust
Giving coach tours 
Kate and Benjamin
Cake scoffing incognito


What can I say.

She’s a special girl.

A Post on Post

I think it is possible that the former occupant of our house received the most post ever. For months on end we were e-mailing an incredible amount of organisations to remove us from their mailing lists – from double glazing manufacturers to decathlon training outfitters, freemason organisations, and the one which tugged at my heart strings a little (and I had serious thoughts about joining). – ‘Friends of Ferrets’. Two years later we are still receiving letters for Mrs W, and ‘returning to sender’ has become almost a ritual in our household.

There is however one subscription that there is no way I will ever be able to part with, and that is Mrs W’s bi-annual wig catalogue.

Now I had little experience or knowledge of wigs until this arrived on our doorstep some months ago, but it has opened up a whole new world to me.

Firstly there is the choice (and considerable) price point between a synthetic and a real hair piece. It is a difficult decision, but having researched the issue thoroughly, I believe ‘real hair’ does indeed give you a more luscious look, but I am still unable to come to terms with the thought of stepping out with a head of hair manufactured by a foreign scalp. There is also the hassle of split ends and the thought of lingering dandruff or even head lice that seals the deal with synthetic for me. Even though this does, as warned, pose with it a greater risk if the wearer were to experiment with naked flames, or even ‘open the oven door’ in some cases. If attending an event therefore where unusually the host has brought in the caterers, the reason may not be purely gastronomical. And one ought to be cautious around the candelabra.

The main reason however, I appear to be so enthralled by these fascinating reads of follicle loveliness, is the rather endearing names given to each ‘do’. Rather than referring to each wig as a ‘bob’ or ‘elfin cut’ as one might given a conventional style, they are given monikers such as ‘The Virginia’, ‘The Sophia’, or if you are feeling rather racy, ‘The Mauritius’.

What is more, you may also choose from a wide range of shades such as ‘shaded wheat’, ‘platinum’ and the rather disappointingly named brunette choice – ‘medium’. For the older lady not afraid to sport some silver, ‘granite’, ‘truly mink’ and ‘sahara’ are also available. I am always rather tempted by styles in the fetching tone of ‘honey glaze’, but I then become rather distracted by a longing for gammon.

The Sophia
The ‘Sophia’ courtesy of
The Virginia
‘The Virginia’, courtesy of

‘Jacqueline Wigs’ and ‘Natural Image’, the two publications we receive also carry ‘wig styling and care’ tips which, of course, I too have a penchant for. Achieving a ‘wet look’ for example is possible by simply combing your ‘wig conditioner’ through from scalp to tip, and leaving for an hour for the fibres to assume a stylised placement.  An ‘up do’ may also be achieved for longer wigs by conventional means, but go easy on the hair spray as even a venture out in fine weather may mean a visit from the emergency services. The most important feature of securing the desired look however is to achieve a good fit on your wig. This is possible by adjusting the velcro fastenings inside the head piece, along with the ‘anti-slip strips’ which means the wearer may feel ever confident in blustery conditions. Vital I would have thought, particularly by the coast.

And so, I shall leave it here, sad in the fact I shall have to wait a further 6 months until my next wig fix, but rather excited at the thought of what the winter collection may bring. I shall be looking up tips on ‘hat hair’ in preparation.



Now I always think to myself, there is nothing more inspiring than a pile of rockwool on a Wednesday.

But for me it is actually rather magnificent as it marks the start of building works at our home, and at long last, we can get this place looking a bit more like we own it and we can banish the ‘Granny smell’ of the previous occupant forever. There are likely to be many more updates on this over the coming weeks, particularly as I do love a mini digger, and nothing gets the heart racing like a plastic down-pipe, so bare with me but I will need an arena for my excitement.

In other news I have been working hard to counter the parts of my personality I take issue with, namely my inability to commit to a project for longer than 5 minutes without getting distracted and a new flight of fancy steering me off course. This is why I continue to watch a TED talk each morning, and why I am feeling particularly chipper that I find myself still sitting here typing at you.

Today I would like to share this from my a.m. viewing – definitely worth a watch if you have a few minutes – a very funny, provocative and (unfortunately for Stella) inspiring talk on disability.

P.S. UPVC patio doors will be going in the next few weeks. If these have been missing in your life, and the days have been long, hard, and at times rather chilly without the appropriate fenestration, then do get in touch. Also available with or without toddler lick.

A collection of random

Boston Common - Make way for the ducks

Today I found the charger to an Eee PC that was my work horse for a number of years until it was replaced with a shiny big screened Dell. Regrettably I haven’t turned it on for years, but have had a lovely couple of hours reuniting myself with old writings, classic tunes and best of all, forgotten moments captured on film. I always tend to have a folder for miscellaneous photos, and these are always my favourite to rediscover. Here are a few gems from this evening’s little foray.


The wife and I visited Vietnam and Cambodia on our honeymoon, and typically when Neil and I go anywhere, there are moments when we want to cry. But in a good way. Our driver greeted us with this sign in Hanoi. I am pleased to report spellcheck is alive and well in Vietnam.


There is a famous children’s book in the US called ‘Make way for  Ducklings‘ set in Boston Common, and I found them. A bit star struck here as you can tell.


Also Boston – and now it is Mr F that is often on that plane heading home from Logan Airport. Wave if you see him.


My friend Kat who sadly I don’t see as often as I like, but when I do it is always an adventure. This photo was taken on a no.17 bus after a night on the town, when Kat engaged some pearly queens in a rendition of such war time classics as ‘There’ll be bluebirds over’. A verse in and the entire lower deck had joined us. There should be more singing on buses.


Clearly I have issues. This was taken pre-toddler and when I was home alone for the weekend and happened upon some shaving foam. I would like to say this doesn’t still happen.

Addy Road

My very good friend Adeline Santos had the cheek to change jobs when we were both working as planners at Wokingham Borough Council. We made her our own version of a mix tape and named it ‘Addy Road’, featuring all of our favourites we used to rock to when the bureaucracy just got too much.


The Euphorbia Wulfenii from my our old garden. One of my most favourite plants. It will be featuring in our new garden, and frankly, it doesn’t feel like spring without it.

Matias Hampton Court

Matias Sakorai. A legend in his own right and my intern buddy when we were both learning the social media trade in Kew Gardens. A 118 body double, he is also in a heavy rock band and arrived from Brazil to the UK with nothing but a set of kitchen knives (apparently an essential) and a bottle of Jack Daniels he bought in duty free. This photo was taken on our first assignment to interview the Chairman of a Digital Leaders think tank, and we of course got lost. Epically so. Carrying thousands of pounds of camera equipment on the tube.

Fun times.


Scarecrow Trail

Willy Wonka Scareceow Trail 2014

The village of Sonning in Berkshire hold an annual Scarecrow Trail. If you know anything about the residents of Sonning, you will know that a charity shop suit stuffed with straw would never hold muster.

A collection of 2014 entries:

Policeman - Sonning Scarecrow Trail 2014
The Old Police Station
Eeyore - Sonning Scarecrow Trail 2014
Wouldn’t sell houses…
Neil and Kate - Sonning Scarecrow Trail 2014
Wildcard entry
Mr Mannering, Dads Army - Sonning Scarecrow Trail 2014
Stupid boy…
Willy Wonka - Sonning Scarecrow Trail 2014
‘Because I’ve got a golden ticket!’
101 Dalmations - Sonning Scarecrow Trail 2014
Lacked true commitment. There were only 15.
Vespa - Sonning Scarecrow Trail 2014
Mod squad

Indian food served on the street, the chance to nose around residents gardens. Pimms.

I know.

See you next year.

The great debate

because because

I have much admiration for the Allsopp. She can pull off a bit of casual chinz with impractical heels, she has a lovely house with blue windows, her cousin is Cath Kidston so invariably she gets a discount, and, well, she works with Phil Spencer.

But yesterday this interview with Ms A was published, and my fan-ship felt rather in turmoil.

I have long resisted a temptation to enter into the great debate on parenthood – i.e. when it should be entered into and under what circumstances, but for what it is worth, here’s my ten pence worth.

It is proven that fertility does start to pack its bags after a lady’s 35th birthday. I believe this is because the price of Oil of Olay begins to render the expenses associated with child raising untenable. I do however also believe that it is impossible to put an age bracket on when its considered ‘the right time’ to produce offspring.

I had my daughter at age 31. This was due to a number of another including finding the right person to have her with, being in a place both physically and financially that we felt we could give her the best start in life, and because sometimes shit happens. Eight months before I became pregnant with Kate, I had a miscarriage and emergency surgery. Not caused by age, just misfortune.

Regardless of all of the above, I would not have wished to have had my daughter any sooner. Indeed, I felt that to be the best sort of Mum I wanted to be, I needed to grow up first. So I spent my formative years getting things wrong, and getting things right. I was in relationships that didn’t work out for one reason or another, but I learnt from them. I got myself an education, a career, I traveled quite a bit. I saw, I thought, I tested myself, I listened and I formed opinions. I did all the things you are meant to do when you are young and silly, and it doesn’t matter.

Because now it does.

If I had been a Mum in my twenties I could not have afforded to stay at home and raise our daughter as I had wanted. I wouldn’t have had the emotional maturity to deal with the relentless responsibility you face as the parent of a small child, and I certainly wouldn’t have had the life experience to answer the questions no doubt my daughter will have for me in later life.

So I feel very lucky really that everything came together at the right time for me, and I was able to have a baby without the need for medical intervention. But this also goes for ladies both older and younger than me. And there are women of all ages too who do require help for one reason or another to have their children. It’s a bit of a lottery as to whether our bodies are up to the job, and yes we can maybe increase our chances in when we buy a ticket, but that doesn’t always guarantee a win. And don’t I know.

To conclude finally (and apologies for the metaphorical stream in this post) I think that whereas our baby bearing potential is set against a clock, I don’t think it is ever practical to set an alarm. In my opinion, children deserve us at our best, and not just be at our convenience.