Monday, 29 December 2008

The 2008 Hero - You!

Well, 2008 is nearly finished.. it's been a bit like a box of chocolates hasn't it?! - never quite knowing what's coming out of the box next. For many, it's been an incredibly difficult one - a year in which we have seen the misery inflicted on families worldwide as a result of the global recession. Job cuts, a major slump in industry and the housing market-deep uncertainty will be weighing very heavily on the minds of millions as we approach the New Year.

I wanted to just share something that I stumbled upon last week- Simply because I felt it might just throw a slightly different emphasis on this time of the year and the way in which we may be approaching 2009.

On Wednesday (New Years Eve) our usual group of patients will be meeting up for their Day Therapy Session at our local hospice. I am a volunteer and was desperately trying to think of something that would be a welcome diversion from their situation at this time of the year- trying to think of something a little upbeat along with a large dose of the 'feel-good factor'. Hmm..not easy.. Nothing immediately came to mind that would be appropriate for this very special group of people. I decided to 'sleep on it', hoping that inspiration would come from somewhere, and fortunately it did - just simply one word. Hero.

Why 'hero' and, more importantly what was I going to do with or about that word??! ..We are all familiar with the numerous 'award' type media events ...The Oscars..The Golden Globes..The Television Awards etc etc.. So, I thought, what fun it would be for us at the hospice to hold our very own 'Hero Awards' ceremony for each of the patients. - Each of the patients will receive their own 'certificate' with a little humorous comment or an 'in joke' along with a rosette. Okay, maybe we can't have too many glasses of bubbly like the celebs do, but with a glass of sherry who knows the heights of humour that will be reached! I just happen to believe that every single person who walks through those doors of the hospice are hero's - staff included, so everyone involved in our little unit will be receiving their very own 'Special Hero Award' too! Looks like Wednesday may be a busy one - If nothing else, if each of the patients return home with a renewed sense of themselves, and a smile on their faces, then it will be worth it.

So what has a 'Hero Award Service' really got to do with the rest of us facing the uncertainty of a New Year? Lots actually, or at least I think so. I believe that every person facing the possibility of redundancy,the loss of our savings/pensions and so forth, the reality of losing their home, the family desperately trying to hold it together in the midst of financial ruin, the mental and physical illness that can and does stem from being under tremendous pressure - each and every one of these people is a hero.

Okay, so maybe the answer isn't that we all all give each other simplistic 'awards' or rosettes - but what we can give is our time, our friendship, our patience and understanding.Of course we may be in a position to offer practical or financial help - but most importantly we can give our energy, our patience - and above everything else - respect.

My Best Wishes for 2009...and don't forget there's a hero standing not far from you right now! - Do tell me some of your 'hero stories' - It's good to share and I would love to hear from you.

Love Molly x

Saturday, 27 December 2008

That Post- Christmas Feeling...

Phew! - It's over..until the New Year festivities begin of course!

I trust each of you enjoyed your Christmas as much as we enjoyed ours - and really look forward to hearing some of your festive stories!

With an excess of all things tasty and good..I leave you a photo of dear Hollie, which I think sums up that post-Christmas feeling for many of us today!


Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Coming Home For Christmas..

Following on from my 'Doting Daughters' post of the other day which was dedicated to our two beautiful, sparkly girls , I felt I should not let an opportunity pass without paying homage to our lovely sons..

As we await the arrival home of two of our sons for Christmas Eve ..

I give you our 'three pieces of gold'.. our sons. Who complete our Precious Treasure Chest!

Look forward to seeing 'ya boys! x


Flick's Festive Flick

I always enjoy cuddling up with family to watch a Christmas film, and last night we kicked off the holidays with a smasher; - ‘The Holiday’ (2007) starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law & Jack Black.
If you want charming English snow scenes and a roses-around-the-door cottage, all expertly wrapped up with a handsome looking cast, then this is the film for you
We can always guarantee that our younger daughter, Felicity (or Fliss as she is known by all who know and love her – or as as in the case with my headline 'Flick' which I think you will agree sounds snappier) will choose the right film for the right occasion and she really chose well last night. For a couple of fun love stories, a large dose of the feel-good-factor mixed with heavenly scenes of glowing fires and steamy hot baths this really is a film for the season
With our own fire crackling in the grate, the three of us sat enveloped in our cuddle blankets sipping hot chocolate...Indeed it was treats all round. The gorgeous Jude Law for Fliss and myself and hubs insisting his toes were feeling the warmest they had felt all day having seen the oh-so-stunning Cameron Diaz.
Knowing that the film was shot in a couple of different Surrey locations – Godalming and Shere , I was determined to discover the exact location of this perfectly beautiful little cottage, charmingly called 'Rosehill' -I wanted to go and see it for myself one day , to relive my dreams of Jude Law .. I Googled away..only to find out that the cottage never existed and that in fact it was built as part of the film set! – What a disappointment!
Oh well, bring on the next flick Fliss.
…The moral of the story girls -and boys? Some things in this life are best left to the realms of fantasy!
Love Molly x

Monday, 22 December 2008

Doting Daughters..

'Daughters are the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present and the hope & promise of the future' . (author unknown)

I love that little quote and felt it an ideal starting point as I attempt to pay a small tribute to my own darling, beautiful daughters this morning.

Yesterday my husband and I were invited to the home of our eldest daughter, Katie for a meal. Although she works very long hours and is a little saddened that she is not living in different accommodation this Christmas as she had hoped, she set out to thoroughly spoil us with her kind hospitality and cooking - & what a fantastic cook she is too! My husband adores fish, but living with someone who cannot stand the sight of a fish, he only ever gets to eat fish when he eats out (nasty me!)- Therefore Katie surprised her Dad with a fabulous Organic Devon Trout and selection of beautiful steamed veg. Meanwhile, I was tempted with a simply delicious array of home prepared curries - Palak Paneer (spinach & paneer cheese curry), Vegetable Curry along with another whose name escapes me, but was truly divine! What a treat!

To finish off our beautiful meal we tucked into Homemade Brownies,which must be the best I have ever tasted, made with beetroot!...yes, beetroot! I shall ask Katie for the recipe so that I can share it as they really are gorgeous.

So, as you can see we were well and truly spoilt last night -Thanks Katie!

I cannot finish this piece without mentioning our beautiful younger daughter, who although not living in her own home as yet, still manages to spoil us and treat us like Royalty with her lovely kind ways. - I know that once she has found that dream she so deserves she will be there, inviting everyone to her fun- filled- fairy-lit home!

Indeed daughters are a treasure...thanks girls x

Love Molly x

Sunday, 21 December 2008

A Taste of the Arctic...

Just a little reassurance to those planning on coming down to the South Coast of England for Christmas – we are not experiencing arctic conditions here on our beautiful South Downs -Slightly chilly, grey and damp but most certainly not arctic conditions, so you can throw out the snow boots now okay?
Arctic Roll – to be precise. There was no way that I could let this week pass without spending a moment or two reminiscing about an old family favourite which not only became evident in almost every freezer during the 1970’s but, found its conception within a ‘rolls throw of where I live – Eastbourne! Becoming a big seller for good old Birds Eye, its popularity eventually wavered and Arctic Roll ceased being manufactured around ten years ago.
Remember this family favourite from your childhood maybe? Miss it? Never had it anyway? – What is it did I hear you say from across the water?
..For those of you who (mercifully) escaped the delights of growing up with such a sweet sickly ice-cream dessert I had better explain. Arctic Roll originally consisted of vanilla ice cream rolled in what appeared to be luminous red jam and then wrapped Swiss roll style in a thick layer of sponge – and frozen. Therefore the ‘ideal family dessert’ that could be kept in the freezer in readiness for a quick and convenient dessert for the family- indeed an Arctic Roll could feed the largest of families due to its ease of being cut into the thinnest of slices, or of course hulking great pieces if one was feeling extravagant!
Way back in 1939 Dr Ernest Veldon, a Czechoslovakian lawyer fled the Nazis and eventually found himself living in Eastbourne (just a few miles from where I live).He set up an ice-cream factory and Artic Roll was born in 1958.

UK’s largest frozen food manufacturers Birds Eye set up a factory in Eastbourne (now closed and the site of Tesco's) where it became a large employer for the town. Employees would treat family and friends to the numerous products that were deemed ‘seconds’ from the factory shop – therefore Arctic Roll, became almost part of the Eastbourne scene as a walk along our famous Carpet Gardens.
Speak to anyone over twenty and they will each have their own particular memory of the good old Arctic Roll. The way in which it was eaten became almost a family ritual. Some would swear by 'eating the ice cream first technique' thus leaving the sponge for last. Others would carefully roll out the sponge from around the edge, taking care to scrape off and eat the sticky jam first. If you really wanted to impress friends and family back in the 70’s a slice of this ‘delicacy’ could be topped with tinned fruit (a nightmare ‘dessert’ from my own childhood…who remembers tinned fruit cocktail with vivid plasticlike pink cherries?) – Then the ultimate ‘garnish’ could be carefully placed on the top …..A dollop of Birds Dream Topping. On reflection we may wonder how any of us have survived that era of quick and convenient and vile packet mixes!
Personally, I must have been in my late teens before I tasted the delights of this British ‘delicacy’, - and it wasn’t until I went to my boyfriends house that I was introduced to such things. I can remember now the look of disgust on my Mothers face when I relayed to her what we had had for dessert one Sunday. The look of distain said it all and I was firmly reminded that the foods we eat are forever linked to the good old British class system, and like it or not they remain so -possibly even to a greater extent now in 2008.
Well, let’s say the eating habits of the boyfriend I spoke of certainly didn’t put me off – I married him! Not only that, I indulged him in his passion for Arctic Roll - and even introduced our children to it before it was withdrawn ten years ago….but I don’t think I ever presented my Mother with a slice in all that time, maybe I should?!
As for me, I don’t think I have ever had another slice of Arctic Roll since that day at my mother-in-law’s house – Just not my idea of a dessert I’m afraid. I can’t help feeling that now Birds Eye is reintroducing it, there may be just the odd Arctic Roll appearing in my weekly grocery order…but only occasionally!
To read more up to date info on this and many more of our favourite British Frozen Foods go to
Love Molly x

Friday, 19 December 2008

Under Pressure?

A familiar experience around at this time of the year...pressure! So when looking for a photo to describe how one or two of us may be feeling with the Big Day looming fast , I found this...and the following description!
Pressure Cooking in the 1880s
'Pressure cookers have been around for a lot longer than many people realize. Unfortunately, a lot of misconceptions remain from some of those early days of cheap imitations, poor quality, and unregulated production. So it might be good to point out that today...
Pressure cookers are NOT prone to blowing their lids, denting ceilings, and spreading their contents throughout the kitchen
Pressure cookers do NOT need to be approached with undue caution when checking pressure levels.
Pressure cookers are NOT blowing, hissing, steaming monsters that shudder and rumble on your stove top'.

Ever get the feeling someone's talking about you?!

Molly x

PS ...Do any of you actually use a pressure cooker I wonder? - I've always been far too scared of them myself, all that hissing and blowing going on. Let's face it there's enough of that going on in the kitchen anyway without kitchen appliances joining in!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

What a 'Knit'!

Click, clack, click, clack…a familiar sound to those who knit I’m sure. But did you know that for many people who suffer from frequent or continual chronic pain the rhythmic action of knitting can take their minds off their pain, thus enabling them to relax and face their lives with a more positive outlook?
Of course, there may be many of us who have developed a hobby out of knitting, crocheting or cross-stitch who would readily say this is nothing new and that, for them the very action of sitting down, taking up your knitting or stitching has always given them the relaxation they need.
It’s not often in life that you come across someone who you know is a visionary. You just sense from their energetic outlook on life that their vision just makes such pure and utter sense it is almost palpable.
I came across one such person just this week – Betsan Corkhill , a volunteer who, when just 18 months ago, set up a knitting/stitching group to groups of patients suffering with chronic pain had no idea just how beneficial this age-old hobby would be.
Very soon Betsan was receiving enormous amounts of emails and letters extolling the health benefits of cross-stitching and knitting, saying they helped alleviate depression and even allowed patients to reduce pain medication. Feeling inspired, she began to research the therapeutic effects of knitting and stitching, and as well as starting up a knitting group in Bath, Somerset, Betsan launched, where support, information and friendship are as important as the stitches.
People with long-term pain can easily become isolated and depressed. Being part of a knitting group makes them feel they have a place in the world. Betsan and other experts are certain that the action of knitting has a neurochemical effect on the brain. An expert who assists Betsan says, ‘It changes brain chemistry for the better, possibly by decreasing stress hormones and increasing feel-good serotonin and dopamine. One day we’ll be able to explain the pathways but, meanwhile, it’s a cheap and accessible intervention that functions as an incredibly effective, informal pain management solution. I’m sure knitting/stitching groups would make a huge difference to millions’.

Wow! This such exciting work Betsan – you are a star and I’m sure we all join you in very much hoping that this research project gets underway very soon.
For more information on knitting/stitching – plus bucket loads of fabulous ‘feel-good’ tips visit Betsan’s website at . I know Betsan would love to hear your stories of how you find stitching/knitting/cross-stitching benefits your lives. Do you find it helps you to relax and switch off? Do you feel in a far more positive frame of mind for having done some stitching? Do you feel energised when you stitch? – do pay her website a visit and complete one of her questionnaires. As well as picking up lots of tips from her site, you may well be contributing to some fantastic future research.

I am sure I am not alone in wishing Betsan all the very best for her project, it is so very exciting.
Currently a ‘non-knitter’ I am tempted to send off for a Knitter’s Starter Pack from Betsan’s web shop. I feel sure that the patients I work with at my local hospice could benefit so much from this age old hobby that maybe we hadn’t realised could be so very beneficial.


Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Good Golly Miss Molly!

Where did you get that photo? Well, yes it’s a Christmas photo. Yes, it’s me a couple of years ago and a couple of stone lighter, but hey-ho, me. And, Big Yes, I look a little too smug. – You agree? – I agree. Maybe a little too damn smug- Sort of ‘I’ve got Christmas all wrapped up sort of smug’. -With creamy pearls at a tanned wrist sort of smug. Now before you dash away into blogosphere for fear of becoming as smug looking as Miss Molly, please, let me explain.
It seemed so easy at the time you see. For a few years I have been involved in TV, film and extra work- We’re not talking ‘Big Screen’, nothing major, just the odd programme, magazine article or minor film here and there. But for fear of actually sounding as smug as I clearly appear in this photo I will refrain from dropping any TV or film names at this point.- Merely a hobby that hubs and I use as a little diversion every now and again from the serious stuff of life. It’s helped towards paying for the odd holiday or freebie across the pond even but certainly nothing big time and definitely not something we take seriously.
The agency we were contracted with at that time posed me a question ‘Molly, are you an organised sort of person at Christmas’? He explained that the magazine in question was planning an article to be published pre-Christmas entitled ‘Little Miss Organised V Little Miss Disorganised’. And would I like to be the ‘Little Miss Organised’? Well, of course as any mother of a large family will tell you that us busy Mums live by the creed –‘. Being organised isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for life’ and, if the prospect of a cheque waved under the nose by an eager editor who is desperate to fill a couple of pages is not something a girl turns down easily is it? Coupled with the incentive of having my very own makeup lady for the day along with one of the leading daily newspaper photographers waiting to turn a Cinderella into a someone who looks like an organised lady then I certainly wasn’t going decline an offer like that. Who would? Okay, probably a sensible person I admit. But did I say I was sensible? Organised - yes, but sensible?
Before the photo shoot could take place I had to submit my reasons as to why I thought I was worthy and smug enough to deserve the title ‘Little Miss Organised’. No problem, Little Miss Organised had it organised in no time at all and very soon I was given a date for the Christmas photo shoot..
The photo shoot was to take place in my home, which came as a great relief as this is far easier and aids a more relaxing (smug even) look than having to catch early morning trains up to London or beyond. The photographer duly arrived and having found a suitable well-lit area of my conservatory set to turn my home into a Christmas den …and given this was September, no easy task! It took a whole day of being ‘made up’ (I had to look organised after all) clothing changes, more make up on/off before the photographer went home satisfied that she had enough photos to choose from to make the article look just right. I pondered, with maybe a little too much smugness just how Little Miss Disorganised would be. I wondered if in fact she was a highly organised person who had to be roughed up especially for the photo – poor lady! I looked forward to seeing my rival on our double page spread in the December edition of a well known glossy magazine.
The great part of it all was of course that all I had to do was wait for my cheque to arrive – brilliant! Easy. Smug easy. End of story? Not.
A couple of months later I put my Little Miss Organised Cheque to good use –just before Christmas we went on holiday. Yes, of course I had to apply my great organisational skills prior to going away because we weren’t due back to UK until 7am on Christmas Eve –therefore meticulous preparation had occurred prior to us going away; food in freezer, favourite desserts frozen in readiness, shopping order submitted ready for delivery at noon on Christmas Eve, even Christmas cards posted at the airport. Everything was organised. Mum kindly agreed to pop in to take the frozen turkey out of the freezer a couple of days prior to our arrival home so that it could thaw out gently in the fridge. Yes, indeed I was just like the ‘Little Miss Organised’ of the magazine article. Or so I thought. Rather smugly – too smugly.
We enjoyed a wonderful holiday and the plane duly arrived at 7am prompt and we walked into the house at around 10am expecting to bask in organised smugness…To our horror we discovered no Bronze turkey defrosting in the fridge, no scrumptious desserts sitting happily in the freezer awaiting consumption the next day. In fact there was no food whatsoever other than the usual jars and bottles of boring pickles at the back of the fridge. There was, however a hurried note from my poor Mum telling me that she had popped in the previous day to take the turkey out of the freezer only to discover that the electrics must have somehow switched off just after we had left for our holiday two weeks previously – so of course she had walked in to a very smelly, wet kitchen where food had defrosted and had gone rotten! All the Christmas food had gone to waste, including all the handmade desserts were all now sitting in black bin liners at the rubbish tip – so rotten even the local seagull community would have turned their up noses.
Thankfully, and by then far less smug, we were able to find the last remaining turkey at our local supermarket and some goodies for Christmas Day, but had to smile at the ‘Little Miss Organised’ who wasn’t so organised after all.
I’ve often wondered just how that Christmas fared for Little Miss Disorganised. Bet it was a lot better than ours!
The odd thing was that instead of receiving a copy of the magazine where the feature was appearing, I received a letter instead apologising that the article had been ‘binned’ at the last minute – ‘it sounded a bit too smug’ said the editor. -You’re telling me!!

Pride comes before a fall. Yes, indeed it does!
..PS and for those of you who may be convinced you read this post some days may be correct! - I did post it, but some odd reason it appeared way down on my list of posts, so decided to delete and try again! - Told you I was learning!


Tuesday, 16 December 2008

In the words of Gloria Gaynor..'I WILL Survive'!

Therefore...... (scroll down...)

We CAN survive Christmas!

Keep calm...keep cool and enjoy - it'll soon be New Year!

Love Molly x

Monday, 15 December 2008

Open Your Mouth...& Sing!

Okay! – No hesitation in putting my hands up straight away folks…this fantastic photo taken inside Chichester Cathedral was not (unsurprisingly) taken by me!! – How did you guess I wonder?! .. In any case, methinks you've have sussed my photography skills very quickly.
Full credit for this little beauty goes to Steve Gold. Whilst searching for an unusual photo of Chichester Cathedral, this little treasure (gold/treasure..get it?!) popped up and I just had to write and ask if I could use it…not only did he say that I could use it but also informed me that this was 'the' photo that appeared on the front cover of the carol service programme from last year …so I reckon that must have been a good choice! …More of the talented Steve later…
What a fantastic feeling it is to just open your mouth and sing?! I appreciate my family may say I open my mouth a little too often anyway and a lot of rubbish comes out of it, but do you know I had quite forgotten just how good it feels. Having now belted out some fabulous traditional carols at Chichester Cathedral, I can now say, at last, I am ready for Christmas. As some of you know my family and I went to Chichester Cathedral on Saturday night for the BBC Southern Counties Radio Carol Service.
We almost had second thoughts when setting off in the terrible storms that lashed the south coast at the weekend, but so glad we did, it was a real treat to feel a part of the congregation amongst such history.
There’s something about collective worship in a place that is so old that touches me– Chichester Cathedral is celebrating its 900th Anniversary this year. The choirboys (why oh why were neither of my three boys choirboys?.. an inheritance of their mother's singing ability I suspect) from the Cathedral School almost looked like a scene from traditional Christmas card as they sang out the well known carols. The Christmas tree was simply decorated in some tasteful twinkly lights, which gave a lovely glow to the stonework.
The carol service was recorded by the BBC SCR to be aired on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We must have all been in fairly good tune, as there weren’t too many retakes at the end!
With a lovely meal to round off the day, we all seemed to agree that Christmas 2008 has arrived!
Back to Steve Gold - my ‘catch of the day’.. Steve comments on the above photo ‘Chichester Cathedral Light’ (which incidentally won Mayor’s Choice at the 11th Didcot Arts Festival/runner up at the Woodstock Photography Exhibition), he says; ‘a favourite of mine, capturing how the light from the stained glass windows falls on to the floor, and how the dappled rainbow of colours contrasts with the grey of the stone’.
…I bow down now to the talent of Mr Gold! – To see more of Steve’s work go to - a talented chap for sure.
And don’t forget if you want to listen to the BBC Carol Service from Chichester Cathedral – it is to be aired on Christmas Eve at 5pm and again on Christmas Day morning. -Online too for those of you too far away..
Go on your mouths and feels good!
Love Molly x

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Those Three Wise Men...

I heard this on the Paul Ross Show on BBC Southern Counties Radio this morning and it made me smile – thought I would share it…
Just imagine if the Three Wise Men who went in search of Baby Jesus had actually been a women..
For starters, they would have planned the journey to such an extent that they wouldn't have had to ask for directions - taking with them ample supplies of food (and chocolate) to last a lifetime . They would have made sure to arrive on time, promptly rolled up their sleeves, put water onto boil whilst assisting with the delivery.
As for gifts - one of the Wise Women would have cleaned the stable from top to bottom; another would have thoughtfully brought a nourishing casserole to pop on the fire, and the third an ample supply of mother and baby necessities.

…And it goes without saying that there would be Peace on Earth!

As for this, supposedly ‘Wise Woman’ I’m off to the wonderful Chichester Cathedral for a carol service. With the vile weather we are experiencing along the south coast today, maybe it’s not very ‘wise’ of me!
Enjoy your (much wiser) day everyone -

Molly x

Friday, 12 December 2008

Keeping Christmas Clean!

Morning all!
Keeping Christmas Clean? Well, I'm not advocating that we all refrain from the odd naughty joke or two this Season - but it seems that my friends and loved ones will be especially 'clean' this Yuletide in the true sense!

If you are anything like me you will have friends and colleagues that you wish to remember at Christmas time by giving them just a small gift. - I like to buy or make unusual personalised gifts wherever possible, but of course they can soon add up when you have to buy so many.

This year I decided to have a go at decorating soap and candles - all relatively cheap items to purchase. I managed to find high quality gentle fragrance free soap and some chunky, plain candles at a pound shop. I then bought some fantastic laser water-slip decals from my favourite online craft shop- 'Crafty Computer Paper' - . It's amazing just how many images and words you can place on one sheet of A4 decal! They are really economic, and such fun to make. It was such an easy process, - first choose your image/write your wording then just print off your sheet, cut around your image or wording, place in a bowl of water for about 45 seconds and then gently ease off from the backing paper and place on your candle or soap - done! - easy as that!

I am so pleased with the results - I know the picture doesn't really do them justice as they are, but once they are wrapped up in their individual bags, tied up with ribbons and embelishments they will look fantastic. The nice thing about these is that you can make them so individual for folks, something we all appreciate.
Incidentally, Crafty Computer Paper sell some fabulous really unusual papers/decals etc - in fact everything for being 'crafty with your computer'. They are also extremely helpful if you should get stuck and need to ask anything - which is always a bonus!
I have embelished some nice cardigans and tops using their fabulous cotton iron-on transfers. They are great quality, and survive the laundry process (with care!), and of course it's a great way to turn a fairly ordinary garment into something unusual and individual. - I'll see if I can post some photo's of them in the New Year.
Enjoy your Friday everyone! - and remember if you want an especially 'clean' Christmas - get out there and buy some soap to decorate!

Love Molly x

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Weeping For Woolworths ..

Woolworths slashes prices by 50%- so the headlines tell us today. In a last ditch effort to sell off stock our dear old 'Woolies' is a sinking ship for sure. But why the outpouring of grief? Surely if much loved Woolies were quite so special to us we would have been frequenting her stores far more and thus spending our money? – Well, yes that could be argued. When did you last go into a Woolworths? – Or, more importantly, when did you last spend any money in Woolworths? Bless her heart; she had clearly lost her way even before the current economic climate, so really we shouldn’t be surprised at her downfall. She is fast becoming a fossil on our High Streets – and that is what makes me weep for Woolies.

Woolies have been an enormous landmark in our little town here on the south coast. She could always be relied upon to sell us everything from a pack of paper clips to the latest CD. But clearly we haven’t been using her enough.

Like many of us, my own recollections of Woolies stem from my childhood, and I can still remember now the sound of the old wooden floorboards as people dashed from the counter to counter. There was the cheese counter where one would queue to purchase odd coloured ‘processed cheeses’ – which resembled plastic – and tasted like it too! The most sophisticated cheese one could buy would have been a piece of Edam with its vivid red wax covering. The biscuit counter always held great fascination for me. For although I was never told not to buy them, my Mother would always look slightly aloof if I ever suggested buying a few to take home. Looking back that was most possibly the first purchase I ever made as a child without an adult beside me – a bag of broken biscuits ate whilst hiding around the corner - which tasted fairly stale anyway. Maybe Mum was right?

From childhood purchases of toys and sweeties, Woolies would always tempt me with her array of garish cosmetics – Miners Make Up. One could be guaranteed to find the very brightest of acid green eye shadows, or the clumpiest of black mascaras.
Who remembers the ‘Winfield’ brand? This was a forerunner of the ‘Savers’ or ‘Value’ brands we find in our supermarkets today. Cheap and cheerful, ‘Winfield’ brands could be relied upon to give you the sweetest and sickliest of own brand perfumes and talc! – Was there ever a mother in the land who didn’t receive a bottle of Winfield Perfume with matching hand cream and talc – all topped with, most probably a bright mauve ribbon?

From Miners make up to a finding your first ‘Saturday Job’ – Woolies was ‘the’ place to be seen on a Saturday. In fact it was the only place to go to listen to the pop songs of the day. One would queue patiently at the counter to request what song you wanted to hear. This process could take quite some time, especially on a Saturday afternoon when half the towns population of teenagers were all wanting to listen to ‘Puppy Love’ at the same time! Small ‘listening booths’ were installed next to the record department and we would make our way to the vacant booth, place a pair of greasy, mucky looking headphones over our ears and await the glorious sound of Donny Osmond- Oh sweet memories!
I was one of those ‘Saturday Girls’ – in fact, I worked full time for Woolies at one stage. Employed on the ‘record counter’ I was in heaven! Not only that, it was deemed that all employees of the record counter would not have to wear a uniform. Thus it became very much a fashion parade of tank tops, mini skirts and platform shoes. Great thick bleached streaks adorned my hair, and although I had, by then moved on from the delights of Miners Make Up I was purchasing Brute aftershave by the bucketful – and, like many girls of the time ‘splashing it all over’ not only my boyfriend but myself!
There I would be with my platforms clip clopping around on the wooden floors listening to anything from The Bay City Rollers to Demis Roussos – it was a perk of course to be able to choose what music to relay around the store. However, on entering my Leonard Cohen phase the manager would come storming over to switch the record player off as he was convinced that listening to Leonard Cohen would make his sales drop.- He was most probably right.
The really young teens would come in and buy their ‘Top of the Pops’ LP (a long player) – these were ghastly ‘cover’ type records which the uninitiated lapped up but were very much frowned upon by anyone with a scrap of taste! Another big seller would be ‘Pickwick Records’. These would be ‘middle of the road’ type LP’s and thus the ideal gift to give to parents or an elderly relative for Christmas.
Working on the record counter introduced me to the world of ‘stereos’ – or rather ‘music centres’ as we called them. Enormous great machines that gave us the ultimate in choice of listening to a record, a cassette or the radio. I remember one Christmas in particular when these music centres were ‘the’ Christmas purchase. Ferguson and ‘Alba’ were all the rage (courtesy of Alan Sugar I believe?).

Indeed Woolies are inevitably facing the end now. I know for many of us customers and ex staff alike will always have special memories of ‘our good ‘ol Woolies’.
On a final note I would like to say an enormous ‘thank you’ to one particular member of staff at our local Woolies. Out of courtesy I will not name her of course, but I think a tribute should be made – listen out Seaford Gazette or Eastbourne Herald! – This member of staff has been working at this store since she was around 15 years old. In all that time she has served our little town tirelessly. – Always with a smile and always has time to stop and chat however busy her day may be. Over the years this dear lady has seen the families of our town grow from babies to adults, she has helped them make their first childhood purchases of sweeties on a Saturday, or that little gift for Mothers Day whilst Mummy’s not looking. She’s seen those children grow into stroppy and sullen teens and finally into adults now with children of their own. She remembers all their names, and never fails to ask each of us about our families. She is indeed a star and one person I know will be surely missed by us all. – Let’s make sure those of us in this town look out for her in the future, just as she has smiled daily at us.

Molly x

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Bad Backs & Magic Knickers!

Bad backs..Something many are afflicted with I believe?
Magic Knickers are something you may or may not be acquainted with, depending of course on whether you need to wear them – or not! You can probably guess what they are of course, but I had better explain for the likes of those who, very annoyingly do not have an extra ounce of flesh on them that would warrant them wearing them in the first place.

Putting it simply, Magic Knickers are large tight knickers made from Spandex. There sole purpose in life is to cut off all feeling from the waist down (and up), prevent natural breathing occurring, whilst ensuring a feeling of constant nausea. Of course, its main function is supposed to be to flatten and pull in a tubby tummy, but somewhere in between one gets the odd bump or roll when the excess flesh attempts to escape. Initially, a reasonable silhouette can be created especially when trying a dress on in the changing room of your local department store. However wearing this magical number for more than five minutes should carry a Health Warning.
Priced at around £30 these nifty knickers are all the rage. Buy one too small and expect life-limiting results. Too big and you just don’t get the required look.

Now, my Mother at 78 is a true fashionista. She looks at all the fashion makeover programmes and can tell you at a glance what your body shape is, as declared by the infamous ‘Trinny & Susannah’. “You’re a perfect melon darling!” she proudly tells me. “No Mum, I think you’ll find I am an apple shape”. Then it will be “Oh so and so is just such a ‘brick’ or the lady across the road is the perfect ‘vase’. Takes it all very seriously does my lovely Mum.

My Mum and fashion go together like cheese and wine or lemon and meringue. In fact she has always been someone I have looked up to as she is constantly in the vogue as they say always one step ahead with the colours and shapes of the season. I’m very proud of her. No matter how much I think I have got my ‘look’ together I always feel just ever so slightly ragged around the edges when standing next to my Mum. She just seems to have the edge you see. I suppose I should have taken heed many years ago, during the 70’s I believe when she took me aside one day and said, most gently whispering “to wear too many colours darling can make one look like a carnival float”. Oh, so that’s been my look for the past thirty years – ‘The Carnival Float Look’-Totally unique to me of course. Anyone interested do contact me for hints and tips on how you too can look like a carnival float.

At 78 Mum struggles with severe back pain owing to some of the discs in her spine ‘fusing’, this has not only caused her to lose height a little but leaves her in much pain and discomfort often finding walking around the house difficult or almost impossible at times. This doesn’t get in the way of her love of fashion of course – oh no! It’s still off to M&S almost on a weekly basis to keep up with the changing fashions and seasons. The postman on her round almost has to bring a trailer for all the mail order packages from various fashion houses for her! No, she is most certainly an inspiration in many ways.
So this week when trying on and choosing her latest LBD for the various Christmas functions she will attend, she made sure she took Trinny & Susannah’s advice to the hilt and bought herself two pairs of Magic Knickers to help create the right look. Seeing just how effective these Magic Knickers were she decided to wear them the next day under her normal everyday clothes. Amazingly she soon discovered that not only did they keep her tummy looking pretty trim, but more importantly they gave her relief from her spinal problems! Incredibly it seemed to give her almost instant pain removal – such a joy! She really couldn’t believe it. Only the previous week she had been in so much pain and discomfort she had been to see the doctor yet again, but knew that there was nothing he could offer her only more strong painkillers which didn’t really seem to do the job or the vague possibility of facing a very major operation that may help her, but could also possibly paralyse her. So it wasn’t much of an option for someone of 78. She would have to put up with it. She had put much hope in having an epidural to relieve her discomfort, but was most disappointed when this too failed to provide the relief she was seeking.

So a pair of £30 Magic Knickers does the job! Not only do they help in keeping the tummy a little trimmer, but allows for a relatively discomfort free day! – Amazing!

So, its Magic Knickers in your Christmas stocking then? Just think of the benefits – no more going to the gym! Being able to consume large meals! – Looking good – and with back pain relief. And you skinny ones amongst us – just remain feeling smug that you will never have to squeeze yourself into a pair of these delights – Unless, of course you have a little backache!

As for me for the time being I will happily continue with the carnival float look, tummy et all!

Monday, 8 December 2008

BBC Declares - 'Christmas Starts Today'!

Phew! Just back from a fabulous morning walk on the Seven Sisters, which happens to be just two minutes from my home - it is a glorious place to relax and watch the ever changing colours of the sea and countryside. Also a great place to blow away any cobwebs. I get home, put the radio on and -Yes, ‘tis true, my friend -the young Mr Gordon Astley from BBC Southern Counties Radio has declared that from today, Monday, 8th December it is formally Christmas and therefore the designated date to begin playing Christmas music. Like it or not it’s here. Note to self: Contact Auntie Beeb to find out when it is safe to turn my radio back on again.
Yep, lovely Gordon can always be relied upon to keep us up to date with the flavour of the week. But you missed out on this one didn’t you Gorden, eh? eh? How about the fact that my home has been filled with so much testosterone over this weekend that it is surely bouncing off the walls and floors? – Yeah, that’s one you missed for the Mid Morning show. .. Let me explain. No, not about my friend Gordon – he is beyond explanation...
You see our youngest, dearest, darling son decided to 'throw' (why 'throw'?) a sleepover on Saturday night. Now don’t get me wrong here, nothing dreadfully bad about that as one at least knows what and where ones teenage son is doing if they are in their own home on a Saturday night... But with a total of nine strapping great seventeen year old lads stretched out asleep on sleeping bags, cushions, sofa’s – in fact anything, including the dog, it doesn’t take long to imagine just how 'fragrant' they were. Impeccably behaved, so much so hubby and I even managed a couple of hours sleep, but despite the lads, who I am sure keep themselves clean and fresh they were, well just so hormonally fragranced.
Once the lovely darlings had departed on Sunday morning – and with temperatures not much above freezing I must of opened every window, dusted, hovered, sprayed and de-fumed every surface to rid the house of male.. Meanwhile darling son was back to his cosy bed catching up on the missed sleep from the night before. As I stepped into the cloakroom to give it all a good clean down (nine boys remember...) what did I find? A flippin’ great needle. – No! Not THAT sort of needle. A sewing needle. “Darling” I said when he woke, “What was that needle doing in the cloakroom this morning?” Looking at me oddly he replied “Oh that! That’s Jacks. He takes it everywhere with him to prick his spots. If you look at the mirror you’ll probably see his puss too”. Back into the cloakroom I go and sure enough I had missed the gift left for me on the mirror. Boys eh?
Time for a sit down and, I suppose a listen to some Christmas music. Thanks Mr Astley. X
Love Molly x

Saturday, 6 December 2008

My First Follower!

No, not this little darling (although she does literally follow me everywhere!) - I mean - My First Blog Follower! - and that, by me is a special mollymoment this morning when I came down to a rather chilly kitchen first thing and switched my laptop on! What a lovely surprise to hear from 'The Blog of MBW' - all the way from Germany. - Your blog is just lovely (so, so pretty you clever girl you!) and your vintage furniture is just gorgeous. Old is def the best isn't it!

So, I am off for my Christmas Fair in the hope that we sell lots of goodies in aid of WRAS (check out the dear little badger photo). Oh! Should say, can you be very patient with me please if you do happen to leave me a comment it may take me a while to work out how to respond!! - My apologies, I really do appreciate it and am currently tearing my hair out trying to figure how too!! - so thanks anyway and I will be taking a trip 'over' to you in Germany again very soon to see all those gorgeous pieces of furniture. - Germany certainly knows how to 'do' Christmas!

Love Molly x

Friday, 5 December 2008

What a Gift!

There's nothing I like better than on finding myself with a day off these gloomy, grey chilly winter afternoons. I love to draw the curtains, light the candles and cosy-up by the fire and sit at my craft table and cut, stick and glue to my hearts content! Ideally with a nice hotpot or suchlike that sends out fabulous smells from my kitchen..which also lets me know I have a few hours to myself - and know that dinner is taken care of!
This week I made these very sweet 'gifts' to sell at a local Christmas charity sale ... I very much hope that each little gift will raise some much needed funds for a charity that so needs our support locally. They are such an easy and unusual idea for events such as this - or indeed as extra 'gifts' for friends and loved ones to hang on the Christmas tree. Give them a go!
They are very 'unusual' little gifts! - In fact there is nothing inside them apart from tissue paper or cut up tatty Jiffy bags, wrapped up in pretty paper and tied with a shiny bow - the recipient NEVER gets to see the inside of the gift you see... For on the label it reads:
"This is a Very Special Gift that you can never see
The reason it is so special is that it comes to you from me.
You only have to hold this gift and you we think of you.
You never can unwrap it, please leave the ribbon tied,
Just hold the box close to your heart - it's filled with love inside".

Now I realise that most of you are far far away from any Mollyevents..However, just on the offchance of any of you catching this who do live around these parts read on...
What? A Christmas Fayre in aid of the Wildlife Rescue Ambulance Service (WRAS)
When?: - 9.30-1pm - Saturday, 6th December 2008
Where? The Clinton Centre, Clinton Place, Seaford, East Sussex
Come along and buy lots of unusual Christmas gifts and treats - special appearance by a gentleman dressed in red I understand..
See you there!

Molly x

Here - Catch!

Why 'catch'!? - Well, I'm sending out a bunch load of glittery, sparkly gold Molly stars to all you girls (and boys..) who have inspired me to get going with my own blog. - You know who you are and I thank you for the pure joy I receive from reading of your joys and sorrows - and all of your wonderful pictures too.
With my bucket of shiny stars overflowing I'm sending them out to anyone who may have just stumbled upon me - here - catch! - Do please return over the next few weeks as I attempt to make Molly's Mellow Moments a special place to visit. We will be talking about lots of subjects, and there is sure to be something of interest to you. Why not subscribe now?
I feel very much the new girl at school today as I begin to blog. You girls seem to have it down to a fine art in coming up with such interesting posts- I can only aspire to be like 'the big girls'!

The most important aspect I wish to convey in my blog is YOU! - Yes, of course you will hear about some of the things I get up too, or projects I am working on etc - but a blog isn't a great blog unless it's a two way thing - so please feel free to send me a 'Mollymessage'!
Just like the new girl in school, here I am wearing my new shiny shoes and very much finding my way around the blogging world - please be patient with me - I am always open to suggestions, and if I make a mistake or you can't understand my Mollythinking let me know!
An enormous thank you to a girl who really knows what she's doing! - Amber from Shabbee Chick Designs ( who is responsible for my gorgeous blog graphics. I am sure you will agree with me that she has made such an excellent job. Thank you once again Amber - you really have a gift to know what was going on in my head and convey that in graphics!!

So for now I will make a little visit to some of my favourite blogs where I feel I already 'know' many of you, maybe leave a message and an invitation for you to come over to mine to play.

Happy Friday to each one of you!

Molly x