Thursday 29 July 2010

What to do with the garden?

I was looking at our "garden" yesterday (more of a patio) and was full of despair. Its more like a small jungle and a big mess. We have a wonderful Olive tree that we bought from our first house so it's now about eleven years old and we have some lovely bamboo growing along the back wall and sheltering us from the neighbours,  but everything else is unruly. There are giant weeds, that look as though they should be growing in Costa Rica, and old pots, stones and a ladder gathering dust. I  read about a garden designer who specializes in small spaces and fantasized about commissioning him, only to discover that most of his gardens cost between £10,000 and £20,000 pounds. So when I saw this widget it seemed very serendipitous. 

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Friday 16 July 2010

Design a Fantasy Sofa

The other day, quite out of the blue, a man emailed to ask if I would like to judge a competition! I have never been asked to judge anything before so was curious. Why me? I wondered. The people at were at the final judging stage for a competition they had launched for children in  London, to design a fantasy sofa. They sent 4,000 A3 design template drawings to children at local schools and received an amazing 1,000 back. I agreed to go because I've never been a judge before and I actually need a new sofa as ours is eleven years old and so embarrassing that I even wrote about it in my Times column. I wanted to check out the sofas as I've only seen them online before.

I went to the newly designed showroom in Lots Road Chelsea. They are situated in a huge kind of groovy loft covering an entire vast top floor. I was given two piles of drawings to go through and a few in 3d.  Wow it was very hard to choose, particularly when you knew that the prizes were ipod nanos for the children and sofas and camcorders for the winning schools.

A couple of the designs were suspiciously too good.  One five year old had done better than I could with glitter and glue, and had far too much help from Mummy or perhaps Daddy. Sadly we vetoed the design even though it was fabulous. We were all impressed by Zaid of Flora Gardens School in the 9 to 11 category. His sofa was covered in a batman design which I could see in my 9 year old son's room. He came second but it was very close because in the end, we decided the winners' sofa  was more of a fantasy. But my favourite was the winner of the 5-8 category. The nature sofa with the last minute insertion of T was upbeat and kind of magical. Well done Anna! If you live in London, look out as they will be running the competition next year.

Thursday 15 July 2010

So much has happened

I don't know where to start. I have to start with the best news which is that I sold my novel, Seven Days One Summer to the lovely people at Short Books and it will be coming out next Summer. Hurray!! This will be my third published book, so I can actually feel justified in calling myself a writer.

And don't be fooled by strange men coming round to the house and asking you to sponsor them. I turned into a super sleuth and caught one man who did just that. He was perfectly nice, came round with a sponsor form, and asked me to sponsor him to kick goals at Fulham for action aid. I said I would pay him after the event, but my neighbour paid straight away. My son asked if he could go and watch and was told the tickets were sold out which made me suspicious.

He came back two days later and when I asked to check the charity registration number he stormed off saying he wouldn't be back. I called the charity the next day and they said they had done no such fund raising.


Is It Just Me Or Are Fad Diets a Waste of Time and Money?

I had lunch with a friend the other day. While I tucked into a substantial salad she sipped a sad black tea and boasted that she had lost 9...