New York, London & Everything in Between


Apartment living does have its drawbacks. Being able to throw open the back door onto a lush garden is one of them, especially on a warm summers’ day. It’s what I missed when living in NYC. Instead, I’d be hot footing it into Riverside Park with my little one loose on her scooter, whilst I trotted behind her laden with sun cream, snacks, drinks and ‘just in case’ things that I thought I would need but, as was usually the case, didn’t.

Now that I’m back in England I have a small plot out back; a blank canvas that can be cultivated (one hopes) into a worthy garden where I can fling open the back doors in the summer and enjoy its flora…Wait! Do we ever have a summer in England?


A blank canvas…

Anyway, I’m in need of some inspiration with what to plant etc, so I was very happy to be invited to see Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Our time slot was 1pm and it was, unsurprisingly, very busy. Tickets firmly in hand we made our way to the audio-guide centre (much needed in any exhibition) and headed towards the gallery.

Once I pressed play I was immersed in the horticultural world of (in my opinion) the greatest artist-gardener of all time: Claude Monet.  His inspiration from his gardens (Argenteuil and Giverny), so beautifully cultivated, shows on every brush stroke. An abundance of sunflowers, irises, roses, lilacs and water lilies bloomed beyond their frames.

There is much to devour at this exhibit, after all this was a time of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Avant-Garde artists who explored the theme of the modern garden. With over 120 works of art, or rather masterpieces, I took my time and was thankful for the audio-guide.  I should really do a roll call: Renoir, Cezanne, Pissarro, Manet, Sargent, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Matisse, Klimt and Klee.

Not only is it an impressive exhibition, it’s  visually stunning too. Most importantly though is Monet’s monumental Agapanthus Triptych. Shown in the UK for the first time, it’s a joyous scene to behold.


And whilst my garden remains a blank canvas for now, I have a little inspiration from the Master.

Until next time x

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse from 30 January until 20 April 2016










When I moved to New York almost fifteen years ago I didn’t realise how much I would miss my family and friends. To begin with you’re caught up with the excitement of a new city with its different cultures and idiosyncrasies but once the honeymoon period is over you start to crave familiar faces and voices. NYC is a hard city to crack when it comes to making new friends; it’s a very transient city and I was told on more than one occasion that its easier not to befriend people because they will be off again before you know it…

They did have a point. However, as I was in for the long haul at that time, I thought that I should make an effort and try to find some friends. School, I thought would be a good place to start. After all, my little one had just started Kindergarten: there must be lots of moms at the school gates waiting to invite me for a coffee. Alas it was not to be. Most children were dropped off by their nannies and the moms that did, sped off in their Escalades before I could say ‘Hi’. I did befriend one mom and we spent six months –IMG_1395Monday to Friday – going for coffee at Zabar’s on the upper west side…six months is a long time discussing the same old shit…

It wasn’t until the following Spring that I met Tracey, my first fun friend in New York, at the school gala of all places. We just clicked and have been firm friends ever since. She introduced me to a fellow Brit who remains one of my closest friends (thankfully fellow Brit is back in England) and from that moment the three of us had many a good night in NYC.  Towards the end of last year Tracey came to visit us for a weekend and we spent some proper girl time whooping it up in London.


NYC reunion

As I’ve gotten older I realise the importance of my girlfriends; from my best friend since time began, the close friends throughout school and working life and to my newer friends, both here and in the US, are all equally important in my well-being.  And while we may not see each other too often, when we get together, its like we’ve never been apart. A girl’s night out is the best tonic and a girl’s weekend is even better!


My best friend though thick and thin

And so, while 2016 is still a relatively new year, I’ve decided not to make resolutions. Instead I will make some quality time for my girlfriends throughout the coming year and hopefully will see my first fun friend in NYC this fall…

Until next time x






To an impressionable young girl the lure of getting an activewear outfit for £22 is irresistible, even more so when a sun-kissed blonde actress endorses the product and, it seems, is one of the founders. Targeting their brand through sponsored ads on Instagram and other forms of social media is probably how my then 17 year old daughter ended up being out of pocket on a couple of occasions.


This popped up on my Instagram feed

Fabletics is a membership-based company where customers can buy activewear online at affordable prices. Once you’ve signed up to the website it then takes you through three stages: a quick lifestyle quiz, suggested looks “just for you” and finally checkout. And it’s here that my daughter inadvertently signed up to the VIP contract, where unless you notify them that you want to ‘skip a month’, they will deduct £44 from your bank account.

Hearing her cries of injustice we were straight on the phone to customer service. This took a while…when we finally got through, the lady at the other end of the phone was very evasive, even when we tried to cancel the membership. On wanting my daughter’s money back we were given a credit…not what we wanted at all…we have enough activewear thank you, not even Mo Farrah needs that much sportswear every month.

It wasn’t until I threatened legal action that she became slightly more animated. I stated that as my daughter was only 17 at the time of ordering she shouldn’t have even been allowed to place an order. There is, it seems an age restriction. One must be 18 or over when placing an order. It should be clearly stated on the website. After about 45 minutes of my valuable day we were told that the monies would be refunded back to my daughter’s bank account.

Fabletics must surely be a breach of trading standards. It’s not the clothes that are the problem; it’s the business model. I loathe to see people being out of pocket, especially when its ones nearest and dearest. My daughter’s hard earned cash from her Saturday job gives her a sense of purpose and independence. And while she should be able to spend it how she wants, this is not the way to do it.

It seems that here in the UK  and across the Atlantic, Fabletics have a lot of disgruntled customers. Have you had a similar experience?

Until next time…







Now that I’m getting into my new year fitness regime I realise that I need more than two pairs of leggings and a couple of tops. With the weather being what it is, I’m more than a little muddy on leaving the park and the washing machine seems to be constantly spinning  soiled sportswear.

I’d like to have a splurge in Sweaty Betty or Lululemon but I can’t justify spending £60+ on a pair of leggings, especially when I’m rolling around in mud. So, on doing a shoe recce for my daughter, I stumbled across New Look and their new Sportswear line.


It doesn’t disappoint. The line looks fresh and funky; everything I like when working out. What’s more the price is affordable: from yoga tops to sweat pants and everything in between, New Look sportswear is kicking its way into Spring.

To browse the new sportswear range at New Look Click here

Until next time xx


One of the great things about living in NYC is the plethora of exercise on offer at any given moment of the day. Every neighbourhood has a number gyms, yoga studios, boot camps, spin classes, and the like and if you venture a little further afield you’ll find something slightly more exotic like a pole dancing class: I should know, dear reader because I gave that a go too. Manhattanites are spoilt for choice when it comes to exercise and I must admit that I thought I would never find an outlet as good as I had on the upper west side. How wrong I was…

For the last couple of years since living in St Albans, I’ve been a regular at  my local pilates studio which I love. However, I do feel the need for some hardcore cardio especially after the long Christmas break and the endless chocs and tipples.

And so after googling ‘boot camps in St Albans’, I came across British Military Fitness; in their own words: ‘a civilian friendly version of physical exercise used to improve and maintain the fitness levels of the British Army, Navy and RAF.’ Well, that’s right up my street, especially as the first class was free.

I arrived in Verulamium Park on a damp, cold morning clad in my kit along with hat, waterproof trousers and a bottle of water only to be told that I won’t need my outer layers and to dump my water bottle as water is provided. Crikey…this is serious! I grabbed a blue vest (beginners) and I was off.


We meet at the van to check in

I was surprised by how many people arrived for the morning session – men and women in equal numbers – green vests for hardcore and red for intermediate. I was happy to be wearing blue although on partnering with a red vest I was told that it wouldn’t be long until I would be wearing that colour too…what motivation! I did manage to keep up more or less once I got over how muddy it was. Trainers squelched, leggings drenched and my knickers were sodden but I found it most enjoyable. There’s something to be said for being at one with nature…

Most importantly, everyone was enthusiastic and welcoming including our instructor, Anthony whose motivation got me through some of the more challenging exercises.I actually found it fun. In all, I’m hooked.

IMG_2060It doesn’t break the bank either. £43 a month for unlimited sessions which works out to a little over £4 a session. Quite frankly a bargain!

British Military Fitness run classes across the country. Click here to find a class near you. You won’t be disappointed.

Until next time…
























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