I finished eating the last of the 500g bag of dried fruit. That was exactly 400g of left-over-from-Christmas-cake sultanas in one sitting. Five minutes before, celebrity plastic surgery ‘before and after photos’ had caught my attention. And before that, a six-part series on Aussie budget weddings served up a perfect procrastination plate. After writing seven cookbooks, their structure is familiar to me. I think of a simple dish, then change it substantially to make it my own. A shepherds pie with both rosemary and thyme. A creamy mash topping enhanced with some squash. A splash of sherry to give…

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I used to live in a small town outside of Oxford. When we moved in, we had a patch of garden at the back of the house. At first, it was just a pile of earth, but my mother paid someone to come in and cover it with AstroTurf. When it was finished, it was beautiful, perfectly lush and green. However, each morning when we woke up it looked a mess. Dog owners were walking passed and allowing their dogs to wander into the garden. Our beautiful lawn was becoming a magnet for dogs to poo and for people to…

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Ever tried so hard to be liked or loved? Knowing that no matter how hard you try, nothing seems to work? You have glimpses of the love you seek but it is never quite enough. Love is consistent, it is safe and it is kind. You can tell how someone loves you by the way you feel when you are around them. Love allows you to really like who you are in that person’s presence. We know people have challenges of their own which render them less likely to be able to freely give love, but should we make their…

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I was so excited about my New York work trip with my partner. I decanted creams into small pots, dusted off adapters and bought a few bits from Zara. I had 10,000 words of my book left to write. And a couple of meetings with some fabulous media folk. I booked restaurants and museums for the day we had off and could not have been more excited. But after our first meal and some questionable prawns, all of my plans were thwarted. I wasn’t looking up at the Empire State Building lit up against the inky sky.  I was head…

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  There are days when I don’t feel good enough. When the cross of high self-imposed expectations becomes a heavy cross to bear. . On days like these I try to fill the void with Netflix, fashion or food. Of course none of these fixes work to fill the ‘good enough shaped hole’ inside.   We can turn to the past and blame the inconsistent/tough parents we tried to please by being the ever ‘obedient child’. Always making sure everything and everyone was ok. Or perhaps the memory of a disapproving and critical ex who was never happy no matter…

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