No Agenda

With all the Christmas shopping out of the way, I now have a whole week of doing nothing, no agenda, not a jot until the arrival of my mum and sister on Friday. So it was nice to be able to head into KIngston Upon Thames and meet up with a few friends for a spot of lunch and browsing. Both Wayne and I met up with Nick, Michael, Jamie and his girlfriend Natalie. I must be getting old because whilst shopping Jamie and Natalie made a beeline for ‘Superdry’ and once in the store all of a sudden I did not feel so hip and trendy, I looked at what I was wearing and just thought that I dressed for comfortability, now that is a sign of old age for ya. Is it me or are clothes in stores like this just a label and a rather large price tag or is this the going rate now? I browsed through the racks of clothes and stumbled on a selection of knitwear that would suit me and then only to be confronted with the price, £99 for 100% acrylic top, you having a laugh or what? I know we are in a throw away society but a £99 for something that is gonna last less than a few washes before it goes from a sweat top to a jumper dress, it is nuts.
A visit to kinston would not be complete without a browse in the Apple store even if I did not buy anything. I also had to take a peek into the Pandora shop where my senses overwhelmed me and I just had to have another charm.


At least one thing that was value for money and worth every penny, lunch at Caffé Castello.

The Run Up

One thing I am proud of, is how organised I can be. Okay I might not do things on time but I will have a reminders list detailing exactly how I am going to perform a task, a day out or a shopping journey. With the run up to Christmas this way of planning is ever more important and I have done it, everything bought, wrapped or refrigerated and now I am going to rest. My mum and sister are coming to stay for the Christmas and new year duration and so as my life seems to be in list format, for their stay I am just going to take things as they happen, no plans just food, drink and fun.


So after hitting forty I also hit probably my heaviest weight and though I can handle being forty, one thing I do not want to be is fat and forty. So I have taken a firm hold on ways to control my food intake and also ways to exercise that burn calories. I need it to be fun to do but also for me to be able to maintain, unlike my many failed attempts at the gym. I am aiming for five days a week, a little each day and steadily increase the exercise regime as I get fitter.
I have found three great applications that are helping me on my fitter journey. Calorie counter and diet tracker by ‘MyFitnessPal’ helps me record my calorie intake, iMapMyRun by ‘MapMyFitness’ helps me not only track my walks, runs, hikes or even days out shopping but also but also the calories I have burnt in doing so and finally I use weight monitor by ‘Essence Computing’ to record my weight loss or in some cases weight gain. What I love about weight monitor is that it not only shows your weight progress but also as a trend line, so even if you do put on weight half way through your diet you can see that overall you are losing it.
I aim to GFNF, get fit not fat.

Sunday Lunch

There are some traditions that happen once or twice a year but there is one British tradition that most grow up with and happens weekly, it is the good old Sunday roast.
I was lucky to have grown up with this weekly ritual and on some lucky weeks to have also had a mid week roast. More often or not it was a roast chicken with stuffing, several types of vegetables including the ever feared Brussel sprouts which I actually loved, a Yorkshire pudding accompanied the meal and then covered in lashings of hot meaty gravy made from the juices of the chicken. Wow what lucky child I was.
Remembering back to my childhood, today I am carrying on with the tradition myself still in love with a good Sunday roast but now being much older I sometimes end up being the one slaving in the kitchen doing what my mother used to do and what I took for granted, oh how I hate the preparation. You spend hours in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove and for what? Less than an hour of joy covered in gravy.
Today I still managed to have a Sunday roast but was treated to someone else doing the Sunday ritual as both Wayne and I joined Michèle and Anthony at their place for a gorgeous all the trimmings homemade roast, unfortunate because I was so looking forward to the meal my only photo of Michele and Anthony’s efforts was the empty plate, mind you that goes to show just how much I enjoyed all their efforts. Well done you two, I had a fabulous time.



I cannot quite believe it but my Pandora is very nearly full. Since my birthday I had four new additions.





I could possibly squeeze another one or two on there but I think it would look overcrowded so I am looking to start my second bracelet and this time round with bright coloured Murano glass beads.


I know I still have lots to do and I have been neglecting adding what you can physically see or read on this site but I have been busy with all things technical that go on behind the scenes that make this site run smoothly.

Maggie Ward 1950 - 2011

War and Peace 2010

This photo of Maggie and Dave is called ‘War & Peace’ and so appropriately named. Maggie one of the finer ladies in life who was a trooper battling with her own fight to Cancer sadly passed away at her home peacefully at 22:44.
Maggie spent some time in hospital but was soon released and able to be comforted and cared for at home by her husband Dave, sister Irene, daughter Karen and Kate her niece.
Kate would keep us all updated daily by here wonderful and truly touching private blog that she was running on Facebook and now even in Maggie’s passing the tributes, stories and fond memories are still being posted.
I consider myself to be very lucky to have been invited in to the lives of both Dave, Maggie and the Gardeners to whom non of my fond memories of Maggie would ever of happened if it was not for their warm hearts and ever friendly approach to those who they meet.
Maggie gone but not forgotten.

Courtyard Christmas Party

For the past 12 years the Courtyard Clinic have been holding a Christmas party for its users, friends and staff and over the years it has really grown, so much that this years event was held at The Antelope in Tooting. The venue and atmosphere was full of warm happy faces and everyone getting into the festive spirit early. Food was laid on by the Antelope which consisted of a gorgeous array of spicy chicken thighs, salmon and chilli fish cakes, sausage rolls, vegetable couscous, freshly sliced turkey with a warm cranberry sauce, freshly made coleslaw, spinach fajitas and some mini fresh mince pies and an endless supply of Champagne and non alcoholic juices. If that was not enough there was also a kitty for behind the bar and each party guest was given two tickets on entrance to the party. I gave my support this year by turning up and helping with the party as I offered my services in being the door host and greeting guests and handing out the drinks tickets and attaching attendance wrist bands. I really enjoyed myself this year by being involved as I got to meet everyone that turned up, in past years of attending these parties I have just been a guest and caught up with old friends. I had the hidden extra for being on the door as I had an endlessly supply of drink brought to me.
Before the festivities got underway I managed to take a photo and if you click on the photo you may just get the surprise of seeing the venue in full 360º view.


David Wallis 1951 - 2011


If it was not for the internet I would have never of met David Wallis, the charming character and a gentlemen amongst gentlemen with a plethora of knowledge but still with a keenness to learn more and so a journey began both Wayne and I as we pulled him into the 21st century with iTunes and then his iPod and finally his iPad.
David was a joy to be around and often he was my guide not just in life but in leisure. David was the walking talking tour guide that everyone wished they had, I was lucky to have been known as ‘one of his boys’.
David had been battling Cancer for many years before I had met him and his fighting spirit and sheer joy of life is what got him through some hard days and nights but alas his fight to Cancer ended on the 13 November 2011.
David I was privileged when you let me lose on some photos of you from you as a baby to present day and let me create a photo of you to be used for 60th birthday invitations and so it seemed fitting to also share this photo and make it the front cover for your order of service book that was created by Wayne Alton.
David you are my farther figure, my encyclopaedia and my old friend that will be truly missed but sure as hell never forgotten.

The Big 40th Aftermarth

Todays blog is dedicated to my gorgeous party guests and the lovely gifts I received.
Like most birthdays they start off with a bit of a buildup and waiting for the post to drop through the letterbox. So here goes with the first of the big THANK YOU announcements.
Thanks to all those of you that sent me a card in the post, there is nothing quite like getting a bit of mail that does not come in a brown envelope.


Thank you for my selection of gorgeously tasting chocolates, I am still working my way through them and on the odd occasion I am washing them down with a some of that lovely bubbly and wine.






My Pandora collection that I started earlier this year way back in May has now grown to the point that I have managed to fill my first bracelet, so a big thank you to those that have helped me fill it.





Skin care and a good beauty regime at our age is hard enough but a few of you bought me enough things that smell, purify, cleanse and brighten up my complexion.







And then there was gifts that just let you know your finally over the hill and on a steady decline.







And then came a gift or two that were extremely personal that did not fit into any bracket and clearly came from the heart.

1st Apple Card


I am truly grateful for the generosity to all my friends that bought me birthday gifts and attended my 40th celebration. I will pamper myself for along as I can in the vain that some of my birthday gifts might help halt or reverse the ageing effect. I also noticed that some of the surprises were not just in the gift but also in the unwrapping.



I am now going to chill and relax with my TeaPigs.


The Big 40

It was only a matter of time for the inevitable to come around and though I had several reservations about having a birthday party, looking back on it now I am so glad I did celebrate it with my close and true friends.
The preparations started a few weeks before hand when I thought it would be a great idea to have my party guests at the end of the meal let off into the sky some colourful Chinese paper lanterns. So I tracked down a supplier and bought 40 of them, one for each year. It was such a nice touch and lightened up the sky, you had to be there to see just how wonderful it was.
Thinking that would not be enough I also wanted to treat my guests to something for them to take home with them and at past parties I had put together party bags a bit like what the kids have but this time round I thought it what a nice treat for everyone to have their own birthday cake rather than just a slice of one and also some gorgeous individual chocolate slabs from Thorntons.


The individual cakes are like nothing you have seen before as I had a selection of both cock cupcakes and muff muffins that came in all shapes, sizes and colours, well the cakes were not but the cocks and muffs were. I attempted to make my gay male friends have the muff muffins, funny how I did not have to persuade the girls to help themselves to the large cocks on the cupcakes.


These cakes were made by The Cake Store in Sydenham where I had got Wayne’s rather rude 40th cake from, both of which were a real talking point.
Oh and do not worry I did have my own slice of cake, I got my very own muff muffin complete with candle.


40 With A Bang

Who can say that they also had entertainment at their party as my guests were amazed by the antics and magic of Dean. If that was not enough to top off the night, the icing on the cake came by way of a gift from Dean and Debbie Ward in the way of my birthday finally fireworks.

Thank you both for doing something so very special on my birthday, my friends are still talking about it today.


My birthday was on the horizon and it was no ordinary one, it was the big one, my 40th. I thought that I would take some time out and relax before the weekends birthday celebrations and take a nice day out and some pampering at a spa and a spot of light lunch. I thought at the time I would nice to have some spa treatments at one venue then afterwards head over the Brighton’s marina for lunch. Wayne pointed out to me that we would be feeling a little to chilled out after the treatments that we might want to find a venue that could cater for all our needs. I am glad he suggested we do just that as I then discovered the absolutely gorgeous Lansdowne Place Hotel.
I invited some very dear friends to join me for a facial, hot stone back and neck massage, head massage and then a spot of light lunch at Doyles. It was also an extra treat for two of my guests who could not make Sundays birthday party, well at least now they would not miss out on the birthday celebrations, if anything they were now having some extra special.
My friend Colin who is such a hard working butler and at best of times on days off or booked holidays finds it hard to relax, so I am glad he could make this spa day out as I knew it would be the only time he could truly relax. For the record I had to take a photo just to prove that at times Colin can relax.


David has been one of my closes and dearly loved gentlemen in my life and with his on going battle with cancer and treatments this was an ideal opportunity that I could spend some time with him away from all things bad that were going on in his life. Unfortunately David had decided that he did not want any treatments as he felt quite fragile but little miss food connoisseur would join us for the luncheon side of things. I am glad he joined us for lunch as I knew he was not eating to well as the cancer treatments he was having were suppressing his appetite.
Thanks to Wayne this little extra treat meant that the five of us could chill out and dine with all the time in the world at something that was exclusively for us to enjoy. I say exclusively as the treatment rooms and dinning area were just for us to enjoy as throughout the whole wonderful experience it was just the five of us. Doyles food was beautifully presented as you can see from the photo below.


For those that want a little time out and maybe only have a day or so to relax and recharge then I highly recommend a a few spa treatments and a spot of light lunch as The Lansdowne Place Hotel.


Since owning a iMac my workflow and productivity has greatly increased and this is due to the fact that Apple once again strive forward on being king of interfaces. What they do just works, do not ask me how, it just does. Even when you take a step back and look at it from a distance some applications structures and keyboard shortcuts just do not seem logical. It is not until you start to use their products that you realise things fit together and I have noticed there is an element of wit entangled into most things. Apples little rewards disguised as easter eggs, take for example ‘Aperture3’, if you look at the menu bar and locate to view> main viewer you will see that Apple thinks you are hot for discovering a how to use the viewing system within aperture.


It is weird how you do not really get a manual on how to use Apple products, you just instinctively know how to use them fresh from out of the box. I have learnt that over the few months in owning my array of Apple products that information, tips and tricks are very readily available and some times at a cost. Plenty of publications, be it books or monthly magazines are available but I have got to say that the best one on the market has got to be Mac|Life.

MacLife-logo_for web

If you are lucky to own an iPad and happy not to have all the bumf that you get with shop bought magazines then I would highly recommend subscribing to Mac|Life via Apples Newsstand. I do this for three reasons, 1) I am doing my bit for the environment, no trees went into making my copy of Mac|Life, 2) I do not have the clutter of read magazines laying about when I have finished reading them and if I want to re-read them I can download again from my account and finally 3) The cost. If you want a single issue it will set you back £3.99 but if you want it every month under a rolling subscription then it costs just 69p and your only other outlay would be special issues that have always been outside of any subscriptions. All in all what a deal and I am getting so much information out of them, be it fun facts or useful workflow tips and short cuts.

Steve Jobs: 1955 - 2011


Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. Apple offers you to share your thoughts, memories and condolences by emailing

Pandora Additions

When you start to collect anything you soon become astutely aware of what is an investment to collect and what can simply be added to your wish list. Most good collectables tend to have a regular refresh rate to their collection and with this in mind some older items are put into a back catalogue for seasonal re-release or discontinued. This is the best time to then add these items to your collection, I see it as once they are gone you then have an item in your collection that is treasured and for dedicated collectors highly sort after. So today I added a few items to my ever growing Pandora bracelet.



Ribbed Clip


David was excellent for educating Wayne and I with his plethora of knowledge but also he had a taste (no pun intended) for all things culinary. David took Wayne and I for lunch to the French restaurant Côte in Brighton to excite our taste buds to somewhere and something new. Wayne and David both had the Steak Frites and I had Poached Egg and Lentils with an infusion of herbs and oils.




Had a great night out with Wayne as he managed to get tickets for Paul Zerdin who was starting his ventriloquism show ‘Sponge fest’. Was a nice and relaxing yet entertaining evening as Paul’s show was starting off at Epsom Playhouse which is a nice sized theatre, not too big and not too small. We had tickets for a box so our seats had plenty of leg room and just added to the comfy experience of seeing the characters of Baby, Albert and the very rude Sam. Paul is a great entertainer in his own right but loves to get the audience involved and at one point Sam was talking to me, even though it is a puppet you are compelled to answer, but Sam being Sam you can expect to get a reply that makes you the joke.

Have You Tried


You know when Halloween or other holidays are close as retailers start to stock their seasonal aisles with things we really do not need. Confectionary companies are not new to this way of selling old sweets with a season twist to them.
I was in Surbition the other day and stumbled on Cadbury’s holiday spin egg, seasonally put for Halloween ‘Screme egg’. Same egg, just the goo that is normally yolk coloured yellow is now green coloured goo.

The Pandora Story

It all started nearly 30 years ago. Back in 1982 a jeweller’s shop that would one day become Pandora was established in modest surroundings in Copenhagen, Denmark, by Danish goldsmith Per Enevoldsen and his wife Winnie.
In 2000, Pandora’s charm bracelet concept was first launched in the Danish market. Consumers embraced the concept, and in the following years, driven by a growing and encouraging demand, the company began to expand internationally.

I have always loved silver jewellery over gold and was immediately drawn to this lovely and yet also very customisable piece of jewellery. My collection started off with a twenty one inch chain and two clips.

21 inch Silver Chain Swirl Clip Flower Clip

Shortly to be followed by a ‘Forever Together’, ‘Silver and Gold Stitch’, ‘Apple and Gold Worm’, ‘Pearly Hearts’ and ‘Twitter Bird’.

Forever Together Silver & Gold Stitch Apple & Gold Worm Mother Of Pearl Hearts Twitter Bird

And now two new additions bought for me at the weekend by my very lovely Wayne, ‘Alarm Clock’ and ‘Dice’. These will soon be no longer available as they are being deleted off of the Pandora catalogue. I consider these two charms as soon to be cherished collectables as they will no longer be found in jewellers.

alarm_clock dice


How time flies, I cannot believe it but my car is 1 year old today.


An Apple A Day

I so love my tech! I think I am way ahead of the Smiths and Jones of this world, possibly could have been born a few hundred years too early.
I am finding that slowly but surely I am once again reverting back to my old ways of when I once used a Mac in the publishing field.
One good thing about Apple that has never changed is the ability to take massive technological leaps that leave others standing in the past.
So going back to Apple products, albeit that they are more advanced than ever before, I do not feel that I have to start over again with learning how to use them.
Apple have got it sussed how to use tech in a simple and yet intuitive manner, the iPad is living proof of this in the way children as young as a few years old can just pick up the device, touch and swipe and use applications.
You can see why so many people who have used Apple devices end up being addicted to them. They just feel so right when it comes to practicalities and are also perfectly designed.

Picture-Taker-vpY6qs Picture-Taker-IznGBL Picture-Taker-WelQHi Picture-Taker-m0CBK6 apple_head Picture-Taker-foKNrH

My obsession started with the iPod, then it only felt natural when the iPhone came out, then came the iMac (Intel) and now to add to the collection, the iPad2. This slight obsession has rubbed off on Wayne, who was always so anti-Apple and now he is also slowly but surely being converted to the way of the Apple; he cannot live without his iPhone and now his iPad.
So what is next?

Scratches And Scrapes

I am very particular with where I park my car and in some cases if I cannot park in a safe place then my plans either no plans are made or cancelled.
Today I had a photo shoot in Brighton. At the best of times parking is both hard enough and costly. Depending on where you park seems to affect the parking fees. I could not begin to imagine the dramas residents must go through in order to park near to their homes.
Because my client lives in an area where parking spaces are for residents only, I was forced to park along the sea front. However a further drama was to unfold when leaving to go home.
I was washing my car the next day and as I was leathering the car down, I thought I noticed some dirt that I had missed. However it was not… it was some scrape marks, roughly the size of my hand. As I knew they were not there the day before, I assumed I had done this when pulling away. In fact thinking back, I heard a scraping noise and got out of the car to check the alloy wheels and saw nothing. I assume that that was when I caused the damage to the front bumper.
Well, owing to the wonderful skills of Ian Johnson at Paintbox, Cheam, my car is now back in pristine condition after what I call ‘a bit of a make-up’.

No Flies On Me


Despite the rain today, it was not going to put me off going down to Brighton to visit my good friend David. Of course, It would have been nice to have driven there with the roof down and the music playing but the rain really put a stop to that.
It would be typical of the weather clearing up when I finally got into Brighton. What this meant was that David and I could have a nice cup of tea and a chat with the balcony door open and a gentle breeze coming in. However that does not stop the pesky bugs and flies from coming in and making themselves welcome too, or as David and I would see it, not so welcome.
The only way to stop this was to erect a fly screen but with so many different types of screens out there, which one is best?
After trial and error and realising that flimsy plastic strips do not work, David found the solution. With a little bit of handy work and a few screws later, David now has a brand new chain fly screen.

Look No Wires

How times change, remember the days when you could only print in dots and only in one colour?
Now all that has changed and you can now print in all manner of colours, you even get the option to add a bit of extra oomph with a touch of photo cyan or magenta. Now that has all changed again and printing has gone full tech with the ability to print with no wires, they call it wireless printing. Hey you do not even need a computer to print from these days.
Of course you know that I would not leave it there. I would be finding the solution for the next leap in printing tech. Well, I have done it now as I am the proud owner of an ‘AirPrinter’.
I dare say you are wondering what is an ‘AirPrinter’?
Simply put, it is Apple’s next-generation Wi-Fi print architecture that dramatically simplifies printing by completely eliminating printer drivers and letting you print directly from your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and of course your Mac.
If you were thinking that because you may not own any Apple products that you would be somewhat left out, well, Apple has changed that too as they are for evermore being the company that do not leave anyone out; you too can join the party. If you are on the same network then you too can print via ‘AirPrint’ as easy as that.
Here is that very ‘proof in the pudding’.


Sunday Verses Monday

I love a Sunday for those quiet mornings of not doing anything in particular and then looking forward to a nice Sunday roast with all the trimmings, often followed by vegging out in front of the telly, letting your dinner go down as you watch that Sunday afternoon film, more often than not falling asleep to it.
I have to say there is now strong competition between a Sunday and a Monday. I guess you are wondering why I now look forward to a Monday? Well, Sunday dinner is now a nice plump bird (sorry to all those vegetarians) that goes down a treat. The fact that it is normally only myself and partner who eats this plump bird, then there is lots of meat left over. So now I boil up the carcase in a stock and then after a few hours of it simmering, the meat just falls off the bone and nothing is put to waste as I make a homemade chicken and sweetcorn soup ready for Monday.

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

Okay here goes.
It has taken some time to get to this stage but I am finally here and about to start on a new journey. I am putting my fingers firmly on the keyboard and starting to type.
So if you are interested and want to know more then keep your eyes peeled and watch this space.
It has only just started.

Incy Wincy

We all have our fears, yes all of us. Most of us fear something that walks, breaths, slithers or creeps and then there are those of us that fear other entities.
Now the typical household spider creeps across your lounge floor late at night under the cover of darkness but then you have the brave ones that come out in the day hopping to be unnoticed. This one made the mistake of doing just that and fortunately here at home we have a spider catcher.