Oh my…. Oman 

So,the time had come. Work was done, and my driver had collected me from my office in Dubai to drive me across the border to Oman, destination – The 5 star, and stunning Six Senses resort in Zighy Bay. Now, as a bit of background, I had booked this only 8 days before I arrived, desperate for some me time, I was well and truly on empty. My body looks the worst it has in years, and my brain can’t take anymore pressure. The valve needed releasing to say the least. 

When we crossed the border (only 1 hour and 45 million minutes from my office) it was dark. So climbing the mountain and going down into the resort was a little scary but no worries from my driver who took it all in his stride (despite me gasping for breath and worrying).  

As we pulled up to reception my arrival team awaited. Literally. I was whisked into reception, seated, given a hot towel, a date and mango smoothie (delicious) and the warmest of welcomes. I was escorted to my Villa (yes Villa for 1) by my Guest Experience Manager (GEM) who was utterly charming and friendly. He explained all the stuff I got included, along with his services 24 hours a day. Wow. 

The Villas are beautiful. Spacious, but large features! Large bed (I slept diagonally most nights) a bath to get lost in (or have a party in 😉), separate indoor and outdoor showers, living area with a full tea/coffee/fridge/wine cooler fully stocked arrangement. You also have a stunning pool with water as warm as a bath, sitting area, sun beds and a mini shack for seating in – a Bedouin area. All lit in the warmest and comforting way. 


I flopped into bed after a lovely dinner in the restaurant accompanied by a cracking Chenin blanc (organic so good for you) and slept like a baby for 12 hours. I woke to the sun streaming through my window, and with the biggest smile on my face. 

I strolled up to breakfast, and was stunned at the high quality and variety of food on offer. Juices, smoothies, any combo you wish. Fresh fruit, breads, fruits, nuts, sugar free jams, wow. Heaven indeed. I sat out on the balcony scoffing my vast choices for a good hour, with the most wonderful attentive staff who throughout my whole trip knew when to serve, clear or ask if all was ok, without being over the top or ignorant. Now that’s quite a skill, especially when I travel alone, some people find it necessary to practically sit with you out of pity (note to waiters – I’m cool on my own I choose to be!), or ignore you pretty much as I should be grateful for any service only spending money on one meal! Not here. I’ve never been anywhere that gets it spot on, thank you! 


The day continued with a trip to the private beach, where I was refilled with ice cold water every half hour, and refreshed with fruit kebabs at regular intervals. And what a beautiful beach it is, white sands and turquoise seas, it truly is stunning. With plenty of activities on hand (paddle boarding, boat trips, or,for the more adventurous of you paragliding! Too scared for that personally, but it looked fab!

Now, the point of me being here was to relax the body and mind, but to restart my health campaign. Work has kinda got in the way over the last year, and I am sooo unfit and flabby. Here no one knows me, so I can get to the beetroot face/cowboy walk stage without fear of ridicule! The spa here has a gym area, with all the kit you need. I decided to have a little workout on ,y first day, them get my free Personal Training sesh the day after forgetting how unfit I was……

After my workout (beetroot face from sweating and sun) I decided to use the outdoor shower. How liberating! And refreshing. Showers will never be the same again post gym. My reward – a fab dinner from a stunning buffet of local foods, BBQ seafood, salads and sides to die for. Food coma onset, I retreated for another nights sleep setting my alarm for a 6.30 AM start, in order to join the 7am yoga. Now, if you know me I am NOT a morning person, but I do love my yoga so the early start seemed worth it. It certainly was, not just for the yoga but the stunning sunrise observed from my villa sipping a coffee. It actually brought tears to my eyes, and that doesn’t happen often. And here is why. 

Inspired and Gym kit on, off I trotted for my personal training session. Trotted is the word as I was hurting a lot from my,first session on my own yesterday, as if I needed any obstacles! But my trainer Daniel got it spot on. The exercises were challenging, but didn’t make me want to throw up or faint (past horrific trainer experiences). An hour flew by, with me triumphantly finishing feeling energised and very happy. That post gym feeling I’d forgotten about. Happy, tired Al.

Every day after I had a training session with Daniel, and it was worth every penny. Thank you Daniel for getting me back on track and making me laugh all at the same time (quite an achievement I am a grumpy gym bunny normally). 

Each day I had the pleasure of a Spa treatment, mostly stunningly relaxant restorative. I did opt for one session that didn’t work for me. I do not like it when I don’t know what is going to be done, so the special guest for that week didn’t do it for me. Holistic doesn’t work in my world, so don’t not tell me what you are going to do, don’t flick things on me, and then just leave the room when the treatment is over without some kind of indication the session has ended! I’m being picky, but it did not sit well with me, and I didn’t think it was worth the money. However, my deep,tissue massage and reflexology done by the Spas regular therapist was the best i have ever had. 


The daily routine continued- Sunrise, Gym, outdoor shower, breakfast for a good leisurely hour, beach, pool, spa, dinner, sleep. For 4 whole days. That doesn’t sound like long but it was the most restorative and invigorating 4 days I have ever had the pleasure of. 
Soon enough it was time to leave. I didn’t want to. I’d experienced such serenity and a sense of wellbeing eye, whilst being made to feel like a Princess. I know that’s what I paid for, but on many of my trips that is not how it feels! So with a heavy heart, but a reinvigorated one, I was whisked back up the mountain and out of the resort back to Dubai Airport in under 2 hours. That two hours gave me time to make myself some promises. Work less, exercise more. Eat well, laugh more. Be adventurous. Smile more. Breathe deeply. Wake up earlier. Live life how I want to, not how I think I should to please others. So thank you Six Sense Zighy Bay. You’ve rebuilt Al, and I won’t forget you anytime soon. 


#alsadventures #sixsenses #zighybay #spa #fitness 

Kit kat rules…. 

Taking a break…. 
  Hey all, sorry it’s been a while. Thought I would get back to blogging after a tricky time, and plus I miss updating you all (mainly for selfish therapeutic reasons!) 

It’s been a year since I went back to work, & what a challenging year it’s been. I’m not going into the deets, but I can describe what impact it’s had on me.  
After having nearly 4 months off, I dived straight back in the deep end. My choice. And I loved it. I got my team to run, and now I am one of the most empowered Women in my Industry. Such a proud feeling after all that hard work during the last 20 years, especially in such a male dominated Industry. Personally I haven’t felt I was ever discriminated against for being a girl, as my job is quite technical and needs a lot of experience in order to make the right decisions – we are dealing with millions of dollars with every decision we make. 

Only in the past few years though have I really been given the opportunity to show what I can do. Why? Well it’s all down to my behaviours and attitude. After losing Mum, and nursing Dad, I realised That if you want something you need to man (or woman) up and show it. That’s when I took control of my future. From that day I never looked back. 

That’s not always easy, especially in such an Industry. Over the years I haven’t helped myself by not listening, partying too much and quite honestly not working hard enough. So I made the decision 3 years ago to jump over that wall & land on the ‘grown up’ side. 

My timing was pretty poor. Dad was very ill, but work was my sanity. Bizarrely that hideous time also gave me the thick skin I needed to be the professional I wanted to be for my job, & so Al the Adult was born… (Note – work only. Still a big kid and a softy at home!). 

So as always I threw myself headlong into my new role earlier this year – and it certainly has been a challenging time in my industry-more than usual – however I love a challenge! 
The problem is, & the skill I was, and still am missing, is getting it all done. There quite simply are not enough hours in the day. Believe me I have tried. I have spent the last 6 months giving up evenings, weekends, cancelling holidays, nights out with friends all in the hope of being the perfect boss. Being the best. Has it worked? Ofcourse not. Does it for anyone? I’ve watched others and learnt so much this year, including when to take a break. 

How to do that? The only sanity has been my house in Kent and my wonderful friends who know when I need help. I try to be Miss Independent and keep smiling, as I believe positive vibes can get you through your darkest days – I should know. The brain is more than 70% negative & it needs a bloody good kick up the backside sometimes to want to be positive. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy has been a lifesaver for me. Practical tips and processes to stop my brain freaking me out, stopping the panic and anxiety taking over.

All good? No. The bit I forgot. To take time off and let your brain rest. I’m a busy bee, I like to be busy & I put a lot of pressure on myself to be everything to everyone. During a tough time it’s finally all taken it’s toll. I didn’t realise the effect of physical exhaustion. I haven’t been sleeping well due to the stress, not eating great, drinking way too much booze – a vicious circle. Result – Al ending up very poorly. My body had enough. My brain has been trying to tell me for ages to stop, slow down, have a break. I tried to ignore it & tell it all was alright. Big mistake. 

So after a horrible day of illness & realisation being told in no uncertain terms by a wonderful Doctor & Nurse  (thank you so much), I have made a deal with me. I have nothing to prove at work. I have nothing to prove at home. It’s alright to take a day to relax and eat loads. It’s good to have healthy days too. Balance in the brain, not just in the kitchen. I loveKent, love my seaside walks, blogging, cooking, eating & drinking-all those things. 

I’ve been given a yellow card. I’m taking it as a lesson in life, & a warning. So on that note, I’m off to book a holiday, pour a cup of tea & snuggle up on the sofa.

Tomorrow is a beautiful new day! Als Adventures maybe not so adventurous for a little while, but always fun and smiling!

Speak soon, have a fab fortnight  😘

The Big One. 40…….

The big one.

Now now, not that kind of blog, but the one about me turning 40. Or halfway as someone bluntly put it! 😁
For me it’s a time to reflect back, draw a half time analysis, and go into the second half all guns blazing.  I’d summarise the first half as a bit like Liverpool’s first half 10 years ago during the Champions league final – having some disastrous moments that had the potential to send you crashing out, but when you have a couple of team members who are not giving up, and a crowd cheering you on – there is hope.
For the record I have had an amazing month celebrating. I am so lucky to have such great friends. It all started with my team spoiling me with very generous gifts
and cards. Mind you, the balloons were a little loud.. But all meant the world. Thank you team!
The big weekend was a little chaotic, mainly as I had finally got the keys to my new City Pad in Bermondsey.  All great, but I was attempting to organise and take deliveries plus do all the basic shopping, along with our busiest time of the year at work. This led to a 4pm dash to Westfield to buy an outfit to wear 3 hours later to MY PARTY! Yes I know, I finally took the plunge and booked it.  Having never organised my own do before, I was a little cautious and tried to find a way to invite everyone and their children – but that led to a wedding size bill, so I went with an evening adults only party instead.  Sorry little ones, I will make it up to you all over the summer at Al’s beach house!! The Ice Creams are on me.
The build up day was not how I imagined it.  I was picturing a leisurely brunch, hours of pampering, a cheeky glass of bubbles & a taxi there in plenty of time. Instead, I had 35 minutes to get ready, eat and be at the venue. Yes, 35 tiny minutes but somehow I managed. Big love to The Uber driver for driving slowly enough to allow me to put my make up on without arriving looking like Coco the Clown!
I won’t lie, I was nervous. Would people come? Peoples plans change, did I organise it on the wrong day? Is there enough food? drink? Panic started to set in….. until all my friends started to arrive, then it didn’t matter – it was time to party!
Thanks to all those who helped make it such a special night. We danced, drank & laughed a lot. Thank you to the deadly duo who put me in a cab when it was time to go home, and big love to my DJ for the evening! I made it along with all my fabulous gifts and beautiful cards.
Post pig out I trotted home to my flat & decided to carry out a mid life review.  This idea was given to me by a very wise person, who I saw focus their 40th year into something truly remarkable.  Not saying that will be me, but  what did I have to lose?  At my hungover best I have great intentions to improve, its the sorry for yourself feeling when you just need someone to make you feel better – anyway possible!! It took hours and a lot of tea, tears & laughter.  So here goes…..
OK, the last few years have been horrific at times, but overall pre May 2011 I have nothing but fun memories. Of course I have had my ‘sad times’, being dumped, having my heart broken (well, don’t we all at some point!) but all those things make us meet new people, and explore new paths.
I was incredibly blessed to have the most amazing parents and family who brought me up in a wonderful environment for which I will always be grateful. Obviously the last few years have pushed me to the limits, and it’s still no walk in the park, but I have also learned so much about myself.
I won’t bore you all with the full details (and yes, there was a lot of paper, different coloured pens – well if you are going to do something you may as well do it well!)
I now know when to stop and take a deep breath and not get stressed, anxious or upset.
If I do get anxious I now how to control it, not let it control me.  I suffered from this most of my 30’s and it can be hideously debilitating.
I know when someone is taking advantage of my good nature.  I am not going to change but I am going to be smarter about who I invest my time in.
I know when I am in the wrong- nobody’s perfect.
I don’t owe anyone anything.  I am responsible for me.
I know when to say no, even if it upsets people. No longer am I doing things just to keep others happy (unless its a birthday!)
If I want it, I will find a way.
Two main focus points and further action needed items became clear:
 1)  I’m surrounded by great pals. I haven’t been the best friend over the last few years. I’ve let people down. I am aware. So, that’s my must try harder, & I am truly sorry. My Mum would tell me off, so Im doing it for her!
2) You make your own luck in this world. I work incredibly hard.  I have an amazing job, and I love my lifestyle.  I have a beautiful house by the seaside to show for it, and Im proud of what I have achieved to date. Hard work pays off eventually. The downside is my work life balance is all off. So lesson learned here is its time to start enjoying it just a little bit more, not taking it all so seriously.
So, my conclusion is ‘good first half, but must try harder’. Be a better pal, do what I love more and work smarter.
Here we go. Time to rehydrate, limber up, get my kit on & get out there for the second half. Watch out, I’m after the winners medal!
Speak soon!

May day, May Day!

Hi there, from a chilly but beautiful beach picnic rug! Thought I would come and sit on the beach, wrapped up well & with a flask of tea (obvs), and update you all on the latest adventures – well, if that’s the word for it all……

Let’s get the annoying stuff out of the way – the flat farce.  It’s been an interesting fortnight  with everything thrown at me.  There’s been a lot of tears, tantrums and time wasting.  My buyer has stalled, tried to ask for a guarantee the windows will last another 20 years, make me pay his house Insurance, fought over the price and finally is making me wait another flaming 4 days before we exchange.  Stalling tactics, lies, and damn right bad behaviour to push me to the limit.  But, as a very wise man once said to me, I am keeping my nerve.  I thought we had exchanged yesterday, and even at 5.30 my wonderful solicitor was fighting to get the contracts exchanged. In typical t@&*$r style, his solicitor had switched off his phone & left us all hanging.  So, we have to wait till Tuesday.  However, being the positive chick that I am, this gives me the opportunity to recharge and be ready for battle again next week. I WILL win.  No one gets in the way of my plans as you all know by now, so wish me luck, cross everything for me for next week and watch this space!

The good news that I have been dying to share with you all is the work stuff.  As you know I was promoted to Offshore Team Leader in January, which was a great start to the year.  Helping lead such a great bunch of peeps during what is an extremely difficult and challenging time in the Energy Insurance Market is such fun.  It’s long hours, high pressure, with no time to think, but I love it!
Then a few weeks ago (sorry, I couldn’t tell you!) I was surprised to be promoted again to the Head of Offshore Energy.  What’s the difference? It’s my responsibility now to make all the plans, set the budgets, meet the budgets, and take all the responsibilities for the team.  The full shabang. The whole enchilada. It’s quite a big job, big scary numbers, with a big team to match – but it’s the best team out there.  It’s a bit like being Pep Guardiola.  He went to manage Bayern Munich (football for those who are losing my drift here) to take over from someone who had rebuilt a team from scratch and turned them into a winning side.  That’s how I feel.  My job is keep us at the top, keep us strong in a tough league, and try and outperform the rest.  Not easy in such an elite league of Insurance, but we have the best support from the top down and I am truly blessed for that.  No excuses, time to prove I can deliver.  So proud to take the role, it will take me some time to adjust (got to be a bit sensible these days), but I’m so excited.  And a great excuse for a new wardrobe!

It seems like it’s all coming together after the last few horrific years – beachside retreat, city pad, & the dream job.  Guess my 2 guardian angels are working miracles for me! Maybe life does begin at 40 (3 weeks left till the big day – eek!)
Now if they can just sort out Becks becoming single for me……

I intend to spend the weekend relaxing. It’s been a rollercoaster few weeks which has taken it’s toll. I’ve stumbled through the last week, so it’s time to breathe in the fresh (very) sea air, run, walk, lie down, cook, eat great seafood, lie down again, enjoy. Repeat several times till 5.45am Tuesday when battle recommences.  I’m off now, time to refill the flask as well-a girl needs her fluids!  *reminder to buy gin on way home* -it is the weekend after all!

Happy May Day Weekend!

Al xxx 😍💓💓💖

Flats, houses and beach retreats…

Hey. I know, its been a while. Sorry, but it’s been the most topsy turvy kind of month. Where to begin…..

Last time we spoke I had got my keys to the house in Kent and was looking forward to moving in. Well I am loving it here (I am sitting on the beach writing this!) and I am finally all moved in. Refurbishment mearly complete, project beach is in its final stages, so feel free to visit anytime. Fridge is stocked, spare room is looking forward to seeing you all! 
My house in Hertford is now all empty and locked up awaiting its new owner hopefully this week or early next. As you may know I am buying a flat near to work to help take the strain of my weekday madness! To say the sale of Hertford & the purchase of the flat has been tricky would be the understatement of 2015. I am honestly staggered at the level of incompetence and arrogance in the unruly  world of house buying and selling. It almost makes me want to become a politician to change it. If Dave Cameron, or quite frankly any of them (except Farage obvs) stood up and pledged to reform the Housing Market in England I would vote for them. No other Western Country is so out of date in the way we go about it all. Unregulated, uncaring, greedy & antiquated. I am not aiming this at one part of the jigsaw, all are utterly shambolic. Let me explain…
I lost my buyer for a short time as his buyer lied about his income. HOW is that allowed. In many Countries, especially European ones (including Scotland) if you make an offer it is binding. You put down a deposit which is non refundable if you don’t complete. Why not here?? It would cover any survey costs, or legal fees & would be taken off the final settled amount. That’ll get rid of the lying so and so’s.  
Then I have the joy of dealing with Solicitors who live and trade in an ancient legal system that takes FOREVER. Nowhere else does this happen. Average  sale time outaide of England is 3-4 weeks. Here it is 12. 
No one cares, no one chases things, because they have you by your bits. Without everyone being paid whatever they demand (& can’t demonstrate the value) the sale can not complete, leaving people so stressed and worried it affects their lives heavily during the whole process. Do they give a damn? No, and that is the bit that enrages me the most. 
If I was to behave like this on my job, I wouldn’t have one or a business. I am always happy to pay for good service, and I pay people on time and stick to my word. Professionally and personally. Maybe if some of the housing market trades did that the world would be a better place.  Hopefully one day someone will have the guts to change it to be in 2015, not in its current 1920 state. Fingers crossed for completion this week. Wish me luck!! 
All that aside, the change of pace and the improvement in my lifestyle will be remarkable. I am currently staying in town a few nights a week to help, & it is staggering the difference not having to commute makes. I’m more productive, happy & ready for anything- & I certainly need that in my job at the moment! More to come on that soon…….
All of this will help me inx my quest to shift that last half a stone. I promised myself that I would be at my goal weight by my 40th-so 6 weeks – Eeeek. So be kind to me over the next few weeks, I’m on a serious health kick!! More importantly I will be back up to optimal fitness by then, more important than anything. Strong not skinny. 
So, wish me luck on all fronts! I’m certainly going to need it!! 
Have a fab fortnight, enjoy the sunshine- I will be!!! 

Location, Location, Location (wish Phil was my partner…)

Hi there strangers! My apologies for not blogging sooner, its been a whirlwind 6 weeks of stress, fun & excitement….

Since we last chatted I have started my new role at work & it’s bloomin marvellous! I’m still getting used to it all, and it will be a tough old year in this economy, but I have the best team in the business around to look after me in good times & my moments of madness! From cups of tea, sushi lunches & general banter, they are all amazing. So thanks guys, I couldn’t do it without you! 

I have also in the last month become the very proud owner of a new beautiful house in Whitstable. I got the keys 4 weeks ago, so the decorating is now nearly all done. (No, don’t worry I’m not a DIY bod, leave that to the experts). Had the usual Al blonde moment when I was too busy chatting whilst clearing old wooden flooring & managed to drive a rusty nail into my hand, which of course snapped off – must pay attention when carrying stuff. At least I found out where The Minor injuries unit is-right around the corner from the house! All ok now, little X Ray needed to check for foreign bodies (no rude comments please). 

Of course, me being the fussy madam I am, has now decided to replace the bathroom, so I will move in the second week of March. The house has room for all you lovely lot to come and visit, and is a 4 minute walk from the beach! With lovely restuarants, cafes & shops my house is in Tankerton, a 20 minute seaside walk to Whitstable town centre, where we have a selection rich in pubs, restaurants & oyster sheds – perfect for a few days escape- or every given opportunity in my case! Yay!

So at the moment I am driving down with a car load of stuff, with my music blaring out excited to get to the seaside- even at 5am! There is something so relaxing for me when I get off the M25 and am heading onto the M2. Well, also the driving changes too-it’s less aggressive, slower, enjoyable-bit like the area! I’m biased as I grew up in Kent so maybe its the familiarity of the place that chillax’s me. I’m coming home I guess, & it feels so good to be back. 

To make life even easier for myself I have finally found a flat a mere 15 minute walk from work, which will change my life completely. The job keeps me in the office till at least 7 most nights, & later if socialising or seeing Clients etc. it seems all I do at the moment is sit on a train for an hour (or more if I time it wrong which I usually do), eat (if I can be bothered), sleep for 6 hours and am back on the 6.46 train. I’m no spring chicken anymore and the old body is letting me know how it feels! The new pad is beautiful, all mod cons, right in the heart of London town, it is stunning. Very exciting but also very scary if I think about the tight deadline I am up against to complete. All needs to be done by the 31st March, or it costs me more. A lot more. So fingers crossed for me! Maybe asking for food parcels for a few weeks……

As for the internet dating- well last attempt stood me up, so I think I’ll just concentrate on my property stuff for a little while… Watch out Men of Whitstable here I come!!! 

Off to pack some more boxes, clean some more & take a trillion things back to B&Q. Is it just me who buys stuff without thinking & takes it all back a week later?! 

Take care & see you all soon!!! 

A xxxxx

Moves and shakes……

2015. I’m so excited. New year isn’t something that normally gets me leaping around like the duracell bunny.  I usually dread it. I don’t mean New Years Eve, where we all get dressed up, drink obscene amounts of booze, & spend the day after eating the Christmas leftovers and lazing around (just me?!) promising ourselves that this is the year we get fit, lose a stone, make more ‘me time’ & be a nicer person

Usually There is good reasons to not be a fan of Jan. Everyones detoxing (including moi), not going out, gym 4 times a week – which I am also guilty of! btw if you want to lose weight you need to exercise 6 times a week according to my new trainer. Gym sessions 3/4 times a week & a high intensity session on another 3 days. So i have purchased Davina’s 7 minute plan DVD, I shall report back! 

This year its different. As usual though, my misery started with a text on NY day at 8am from my trainer to remind me the break was over & now its time to get back to reality. Joy. In revenge I opened a Choccie Orange & ate it all during the day! Haha. Not really I then felt so hyper I did the 7 minute routine, annoyingly he was right…..

Then came the calls from friends, text chats & general fun. So, it wasn’t all bad. I knew it wouldn’t be- all the usual stuff that makes January the longest month isn’t bothering me in the slightest. Why? Well…. 

1) My promotion. After 18 years of learning, working hard & being patient I have been given the role I have been striving for. Recognition is a wonderful thing especially when it has been earned, & especially in this Industry at my age. I’m so excited and happy along with nervousness for the new role, I have the best in the business around me to guide me. I still have a lot to learn, but lets do this!! 

2) Seaside Retreat – I get the keys in 2 weeks & the fun begins. After a lick of paint & some new flooring its ready for me & all of you lovely lot. Watch this space! It really will make a difference in my life, more than anyone can know. 13 more sleeps…..

3) New City Pad. As I will only be in town half a week, the benefits of Living in Hertford don’t really add up anymore. So, sadly the house here is up for sale & Im looking at flats in Wapping/Borough. I’m working longer hours & socialising more for my job. But I also want to be nearer to some of you lovely lot in town so I can see you all more without an hour & a half journey home at best. Again, watch this space!! 

So hopefully now you can see why January isn’t getting me down. Nor will any other month. Its a new chapter, such exciting times for me after a rotten few years. I’m loving life, and being part of all your wonderful friendships. So thank you, and lets grab 2015 by the neck & enjoy!! 

Speak soon! 


Here we goooo….

2014. What a year. If i look back and report back my comments would be “needs significant improvement from January to July, but “much improved” from August to now.

The first half of the year saw the loss of Dad. To watch a loved one die in your arms, take thier final breath with u holding them is the darkest of times, even if it stops thier suffering. Even when it makes sense it tears your heart apart. Losing your parents is bloody tough. Being an only child & single makes it even worse. So, it was time to take time out from everything and everyone & rebalance life.

My time off was tough in parts. No doubt. But it was also the best thing I have ever done. It made me realise exactly what I want and how I can get it. It made me realise who matters, who my friends are, and what’s important to me.

Laying in Italy, staring at the mountains I had a moment. I realised how lucky I am. Im healthy, I have an amazing set of friends and family, a fab job, & a lot to look forward to. I can be anything I want. I know everyone tells you that but for the first time I believe it. I remember my Dad telling me that once. Id been cheated on by someone & was devastated. Dad said “come on girl, toughen up, because anyone who hurts you or betrays you isn’t worthy of your tears. You’re the most beautiful and smart person I know, you can be whatever you want-Anything is possible if you work hard and treat people with love and respect”. That stuck. And he was spot on.

Over the last weeks I’ve been promoted. Which is some achievement. I’m now head of an amazing team in one of the biggest Companies in the world of Insurance. I have the most amazing friends and family around me. I’m truly blessed and I can’t thank you all enough.

So now i ask you all to be super kind to all around you. It’s not always obvious if someone’s hurting or in a situation. I scream it from the rooftops, but others don’t. Let’s make 2015 a year of kindness. The odd text to a mate, a hug here and there, a cup of tea or a G&T to someone you haven’t seen for ages. Remind them you are there even in our fast paced world. Beleive me it makes it all worthwhile when that happens. At 4am when you feel like you’re alone it helps to read a text from a mate, or remember a call you had.

Here is to an amazing 2015. Stay safe, healthy & bloody well beautiful as you all are. Oh, & thanks for being amazeballs…


Its Chrissstttmmasssss…..

Thanks Noddy Holder & your timely reminder every half hour on the wireless! Oh yes its that time of year when we all seem to need 29 hours in a day to be able to get everything done. All trying to buy the perfect present for our loved ones, learn from King Jamie & Queen Delia how to cook the pefect bird (no lads not that kind), make the perfect roasties (part roast then squash down gently with a masher to get maximum surface area to roast on high heat), concoct the best cocktail, wrap half of Amazons warehouse (wrap tip – use the ironing board as a table it’s the right height so no bad backs), get to the gym, and see everyone you know in the space of 3 weekends.  Despite all of that I bloomin love Christmas!!!
It’s going to be a little different this year. I dont have to get on a plane with half of Tescos Christmas selection (one year I actually took a Turkey), I don’t have to watch Dads Army or Christmas Corrie (I probably will though, its a tradition), I can watch the Snowman without Dad laughing at the absurdity of a grown woman crying at the end, i get to spend more time with my friends and get some rest. Well maybe not that last bit. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but at the moment it feels strange.
I’ve kept the traditions of the Clarke family going – large tree, after eights ready for sitting under the table to scoff so no one sees me (I was 4 at the time, not drunk but hey I’ll just keep going on that one), Champagne for brekkie (all holiday days including weekends), tea by the gallon, vast amounts of buffet food just because its allowed & in every shop I dare to go to, and a bloody good time with special people. That’s how Mum and Dad brought me up – to love it. Xmas is the best time of year and that will never change even without them. Xmas was almost perfect as a kid, well they messed up the Santa bit. Or should I say my Grandad did.
Nan & Grandad loved Xmas. They used to stay with us for the holiday. Grandad took pride in cooking the Turkey and would stay up all night to make it perfect for us. Problem with that was he knocked back Santas whiskey (I put out milk & a carrot, Mum persuaded me to go whiskey & mince pies which I argued would not help Santas waist line- even at age 6 I was a bit opinionated) & was subsequently a little merry, but somehow it was ok as Grandad could pass for Santa. Or Captain Birds Eye…..
Dad was mid ‘operation present drop’ into my room, when Grandad yelled up the stairs half cut to my Nan “Joan wheres my clean trousers”. Funnily enough I woke up only to see Dad putting my presents at the end of my bed complete with Paddington Duvet (original not the current scarey one) while Mum shoved my head into the pillow like some bloody kidnap training. Aged 6. I was always a bit suspicious of Santa since then….. Great Whiskey lover though!
I am blessed wnough to be spending Christmas with some very special friends, who have held me up through the last few years & have kept me sane. I’m so humbled by their kindness at such a time of year, & Im thoroughly looking forward to a great Christmas. We all take for granted those around us all year, but for a few days & in the words of Jerry Springer (my Dads hero, except Kylie) “be nice to yourself and each other”.
Right, time to have another glass of fizz, eat a lot of quality street (stop nicking the Purple Ones team), dance to a bit of Wham (Last Christmas of course), snog someone I shouldn’t & spend the next day eating bacon sandwiches and laughing at the exploits of the night- yes Its Christmas alright!!!!!   No driving or standing near a naked flame for me for at least the next fortnight…..
I hope you all have a fabulous time, go and thoroughly enjoy it – lifes a short one, so party on!!
Now, wheres that mistletoe & wine………