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Its Time To Make A Change…….

1 Oct

They say that changes are hard to do, but I think this is going to be a good one. I’ve long since tired of the limited design capabilities in WordPress, and so after 4 years, have made the move over to Squarespace, where I hope you will join me. I’ve got a fun new look but that’s the only thing thats changed, and I have vowed to post more regularly too!

The transition should be smooth, the URL stays the same ( but the difference is that you won’t see me pop up in your feed on WordPress, so please take the time to bookmark my new page or sign up for email updates there.

Thanks for all the support you have given me on WordPress, now head over and check out my new design, I would love to hear what you think!

Laura x

Grow Little Seedlings, Grow!

14 Aug

Green isn’t typically a colour you would associate with my fingers, and more often than not plants come to my house to enter Heaven’s waiting room; a quiet place of solace before they shuffle off their mortal coil. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I love them too much, but more I’m slightly forgetful in their care and they end up dying of thirst or being left directly in the sunlight to wither.

It’s not my fault, I swear.

But recently, I have developed a passion for helping things to live. Maybe I’ve become the antithesis of an Angel of Mercy; choosing to nurture and let them live. Or something.


The boy bought me a herb set for Christmas this year, and it is now August and only the coriander (my least favourite from the trio) has perished, and honestly, it’s not a great loss to the Tinker household. Billy the Basil (yep, named my plant babies) has thrived, and I now have a selection of chillies and some tomato plants that even I was surprised to see poke through the soil like chicks hatching.



It helps that I now have a little balcony so don’t have to turn my house into something synonymous of the Eden Project, and that I am actually in a lot more to ensure they are fed and watered, but all I can say is God help me for when I have kids.


Aren’t my plant pots cute? They are Joules (obviously, hence the little rabbits).

Are you any good at gardening?


A Warm Smile Is The Universal Language of Kindness

18 Oct

Yesterday was one of those days. You know the ones, when you step in a puddle on your way to the Tube, get barged about and arrive at the office looking like you’ve done a few rounds with a hurricane in a boxing ring.

The day got worse and worse, and a one point I sat in the loo and thought longingly to the cosiness of the bed I had left that morning, pillows all shaped just so and duvet wrapped round my like a cosy cuddle. Its days like this that your brain only deals in days beginning with an ‘S’, where you can wake up slow and ignore the fact that the weather outside means that the chances are high that you may have to start a collaborative ark building project with the other inhabitants of your flat block, submitting any ‘good wood’ for the cause.


Anyway, this post isn’t about bad things. OH NO ITS NOT.

Something truly lovely happened to me yesterday, and I wanted to tell you all about it as it touched me.

I got an email.

It began:

“First, let me apologize for bothering you on your email but since you are the only person I know (that I don’t really know but I do read your blog) who lives in London I could really use your expertise.

My family, husband, two teens( boy 15, girl 13) and myself are planning a trip to London”

It went on to ask me where I thought good to go in the city, what to bring and where to see, and it really brightened my day. Not only that its not just my Granddad reading these days, but that someone thought of me when they needed some help. Paying it forward. It’s the right thing to do.

I guess the moral of this story is to help people. Altruistic acts are what makes the world go round, and what makes people think the world is still a nice place. That one email, however innocent, made my day all the better, so thank you so much Leslie, from Florida, whoever you are 🙂


I’m in the process of pulling together all the fun things to do in the city, but for the time being I’ll share my favourite resource here; a great little secret if you are ever coming to London. I love it because even as someone who has lived in the city over 2 years, I feel like I have barely scratched the surface.

I Know A Little Place in London has a weekly update of pop ups and features across the city, and their Facebook page shares the most compelling images. It even inspired me to go to an outdoor Lido (which was essentially just Kensington Lake)in the summer, and that’s saying something!

Do something to make someone else smile every day. Its just nice, isn’t it?


What has someone else done recently that made you smile?

I know I have been a little quiet of late, but I am slightly addicted to Instagram so if you fancy a visual representation of what I SHOULD be blogging about, give me a follow (on the right).


Forgive Me, For I Am A Cross Dresser

13 Feb

I mean it.

F*!@ng cross.

I hate shopping. I know we have discussed this before, but I feel the need to cover old ground with this one. I HATE SHOPPING. It comes at you with alarming force (and for all those people who just happen to have a ‘spare’ outfit in the cupboard for the surprise event, I’m not a bit fan of yours right now either) suddenly you need a dress for something you have to go to this weekend, or your bra strap breaks and you have to make a non scheduled Victoria Secret stop, or your sister throws up on your boots…. it’s all the same. Sprung from nowhere like Robin Hood in the forest, you have to go.

Not THAT sort of cross dresser.....

Not THAT sort of cross dresser…..

Firstly, I’m a fan of online. Browsing through virtual shelves of sumptuous fabrics and delicately made garments is my joy de vivre. No being ram raided by some glamazon who is coveting that last size 10 you are halfheartedly looking at, or being asked every two minutes by the shop attendant if you “need any help at all?” (the answer being yes! Mental help if I have to carry on doing this) But it carries with it its limitations, in that you can’t be totally sure you havent accidently bought lycra unawares, or that you wont look like a doughnut trying to force itself into a test tube when you try it on.

Shops get the better of me. And so do playsuits. My best friend laughs at me for constantly picking up playsuits masquerading as dresses, and once I tried one on and managed to get both legs through one leg hole, before enquiring what the funny bit of fabric was and being hilariously informed by the dying shop assistant and my friend that that was in fact the other leg. Foiled by a playsuit once again!!

Secondly, I hate changing rooms. They either make you look like Halle Berry; all sinewy arms and washboard stomachs so that you purchase the item, get it home and model it for your sister who, once composed, recommends you take it back. This happens far too regularly. Or, you take your clothes off, look at yourself in the mirror in your underwear and are overcome by a sudden sense of horror. A combination of the oh-so alarming lighting and the circus house of mirrors cause a sob to rise in your throat while you speed dial your mother and beg “AM I THE ELEPHANT MAN IN DENIM??”

"The shopping is done, biiiiiitches!"

“The shopping is done, biiiiiitches!”

To make the whole thing worse. in London it doesn’t matter what day of the week or hour of the day you go, everyone else is there. Its like everyone has a pager, and as soon as I get the idea that I can’t put it off any longer and I simply must go shopping, the beeper goes off and everyone in the world springs from their sofas, puts on their shoes and hot foots it to Stratford, where I am innocently getting off the Tube, prepared to give this shopping lark that girls seem to love one more go.

Love it or hate it?

Smile and the World Smiles With You

4 Jul

When you are a teenager, you think that life is against you and that it’s your divine right to be rude to everyone. Everyone annoys you and you think that it is perfectly acceptable to tut and fuss and drive like a maniac and toot your horn at people who you see as inconsiderate drivers. You are a stroppy teenager, and if you are a girl, you are by far the rudest to your mother. It just goes with the territory. You think she has been put in your vision to drive you insane, and for that reason you must gun her down with cutting comments and pointless retorts. And you MUST ALWAYS have the last word. You stamp your feet and cry, and people secretly think that you are a horrible child, and hope for your mother that you come out of that phase as soon as possible. You make rude comments here there and everywhere, and you don’t worry about the consequences of how you make another person feel, whether it be a family member, a person in the street or someone that you don’t even know.

Or I did.

And then I grew up.

And now you know what? My biggest bugbear is people who are rude. I try to smile at people on the tube or say “have a good day” to the people on the till at the supermarket, and I can honestly say that it makes me feel better. I might not fall into that uber bitch category; skinny minnies covered in fake tan and giving withering glares to anyone who comes within ten feet of them, but I don’t feel horrible for glaring out some guy on the tube who accidentally stomped on my toe when the train stopped suddenly, because I just smiled and said “no worries”.

I think being mean gives you heart attacks. I have no solid clinical evidence to back this up, but being horrible to people for no reason has to have some sort of weird chemical reaction that makes your guts burn out and your organs ache. Or maybe it has the opposite effect. Maybe it hardens your heart, toughens your arteries and protects your organs, so that eventually you are old and alone with everyone you love having left you, and all you have to do all day is sit by yourself and think about how mean you were.

You can’t ever be happy if you are going around making other people unhappy, and for that reason I think it’s significant to be that one person who smiled on someone’s terrible day, the one girl who the checkout staff remember because you actually asked how they were, or the lady who you helped get their buggy off the bus because they looked like they were struggling. It might slow you down a bit, make your journey a little longer, but you know what, it will make you a better person.

And that’s my happy clappy thought today. Normal service will resume soon!

My Guiltiest Pleasures

16 Apr

My good bloggy friend Jules made it to Freshly Pressed this week, and when I saw her mug shining out at me from the home page, I must say, I was proud.

So in homage to the mantra of Geeking out on Guilty Pleasures, I have compiled a post of my guiltiest pleasures for your entertainment. And if you want a lifetime of guilty pleasures, I suggest you follow her blog!

1)      Stilettos. In the cupboard. Never worn.

Every now and then I find the most jaw droppingly awesome pair of shoes in a shop. You know the ones; they sparkle like Cinderella’s glass slipper at you from miles away, and they play on your mind when you aren’t close to them. They are the queen of the gorgeous shoe, and you simply must have them, regardless of how expensive they are / how painful they will make your feet / potential of breaking a bone. You buy them. You are victorious.


And then they sit in your cupboard for the rest of their life with you, never worn, and sometimes with the label still firmly stuck to the bottom of the shoe. The last time I fell off the wagon and bought a pair of stilettos that i darn well knew I wouldn’t wear was just over a year ago. I was slightly peer pressured into the purchase as I tottered around the shop and my friends marvelled at how awesome my feet looked and how wonderfully sleek my legs seemed. I bought them. I then danced around the house to the Spice Girls in them a few times until a wobble left me scared my ankle would soon be broken, and every now and then I get them out and show my sister, wondering at their sheer beauty. They will never know what it feels like to have tarmac beneath them, as I value my ankles too much.

2)      The alternative food groups: cheese, chocolate orange, diet coke and sushi.

Some days, I will eat only these, or combinations of the four. I might shake it up by throwing in a jaffa cake, but when you are at your lowest or most hormonal there is nothing that isn’t made better by a piece (read, block) or Wensleydale or a tube of Jaffa cakes. Some foods just make the world go round. I am the chopstick queen of sushi, chowing down on sashimi, edemame and California rolls and I often get the ‘wasabi nose’ when I venture across too much of the green stuff.

3)      Boybands

Be it One Direction (bless their chubby little cheeks), Five, Take That or Backstreet Boys, I am guilty of totally embracing my inner tween and warbling away. Now I have sold Betty Blue I can no longer make sure the windows are tightly shut and crank up the stereo, singing to my heart’s content, but when offered tickets to the New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys mega tour, I couldn’t say yes quick enough. If only Wham would make a comeback then my life would be complete.

4)      Pugs and Kittens


My lifelong dream is to gather an army of pugs and ginger kittens. I don’t know what it is about pugs but their faces make me melt. I saw one near Edgeware station the other day dressed in a Burberry body warmer and being dragged by its owner, and its eyes said it all. “Don’t look at me! I’m so ashamed! I hate this woman with over expressive, drawn on eyebrows… SAVE ME!”


FML! A frickin unicorn!

5)      Ryan Reynolds.

Ah come on, you didn’t think id miss the love of my life out did you? On my last trip to California I convinced my cousins to go see Safe House with me. They are teenagers, and boys, so weren’t convinced that my choice would reflect their interests. When we left the theatre they both marvelled at how well I had picked a storyline they would enjoy. My response?


“I bloody love Ryan Reynolds.”

I rest my case.

We Fear Change

13 Dec

I fear change. First boyfriend used to mock me with this fact when anything out of the ordinary happened, uttering in a voice not dissimilar to Gollum “Ooooooh, we fears change!” and often adding a “My Pretty” on the end. Oh hah bloody hah! But it’s true. I have realised this more and more as I get older and accept some of my weaknesses, and I truly am guilty of having a massive strop and panic in my head when something out of the ordinary happens. It normally causes me to end up in hot, angry little tears as my emotions bubble to the surface. Don’t judge me. I am a girl, and sometimes I get REALLY girly. I know the guys at work still haven’t got used to me saying “please ignore the crying. I’m just a bit cross”.

So it comes as no surprise that dashing to the supermarket yesterday, I had a minor meltdown. What is it with supermarkets redesigning and changing their layout? Surely it’s more pleasing to a customer to go into the store and know where everything is, rather than going to where the bananas normally are and walking slap bang into a massive great Costa. (Yeah, like we don’t have enough coffee shops in town). Usability it is not. It’s more to get you so confused that you go in for the ingredients to lasagne and come out with some really expensive steak, a two for one offer on cereal that you don’t eat, three leeks and a shed load of loo roll. And you can’t make dinner out of that, can you?

To make it worse, they have these people in bright yellow “here to help the redesign” t-shirts. As you know from my recent HMV rant, these people are not to be trusted as they don’t actually help. But in sheer desperation to get out of hell on earth and back into my warm flat (complete with joggy bums) I asked. “Excuse me, where’s the pesto now?” the answer I got did not bode well. “What’s pesto?” I quickly told him not to worry and scurried off to scour the pasta aisle again, but he was desperate to help and trailed me, offering someone else’s services. It didn’t get better from there, as every one of the five items I had popped in for had been moved. I ended up leaving, ready to tear my hair out, with fur of the five items, and once firmly back in the car realised that item five was my earl grey tea bags. NNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree!

So to add to my first day of Christmas choice yesterday (The Redneck Princess), my two turtle-dove choice for the second day of Christmas are two turtle doves, Brooke & McKenzie! These two little Christmas treats keep me giggling on gloomy days with dating disasters and men from their past, and are also in my top five things from Canada (watch out for my third Canadian bloggy friend soon!) I also love maple syrup and Toronto, bringing me up to five :).

My second blog post of mine I think you should revisit is I CAN Haz Inner Peace. It’s about my disastrous attempts at a slightly hippie yoga class in an attempt to get beach fit and flexible like a gymnast. As usual, epic fail.

Happy 13th of December!

Belle xx

He’s After Me!

16 Nov

Mother Superior has this phrase that she always uses “it’s not you; it’s all the others out there”. It’s often said after she has told my sister to take care on the roads, and my sister has responded with comments about her driving ability being fine and that Mum shouldn’t worry. I normally let this go over my head, but a few things I’ve seen over the last few weeks has really made me question whether we should be more careful of other people. Or maybe the Grim Reaper is hiding round the corner, slapping his forehead in a comedy fashion as I make all these near misses. Maybe I’m just creating him a hard weeks work…

The first occurrence was when I was in the supermarket last week getting some lunch. I was driving along, and a women pulled up at the give way of one of the little side entrances, and pretty much waited until I was upon her, before pulling out at force. I had to do an emergency stop and swerve, and give myself a strict talking to, to not wind down the window and give her a barrage of abuse. The worst thing was that she gave me this really friendly wave, and it made me want to kill her.

I went about my day, and then a few days later Emma came into my room in the morning. This is not unknown as she is lovely and brings tea to the angry morning monster on a regular basis, but this time she came in with “I haven’t got tea… I just thought you should get up as there has been an accident and your route is closed.” Arse. That’s not what you want to hear in the morning. Although she did make me laugh by saying “maybe it’s shut because of flooding again”. No Ems love, it hasn’t been raining. As Noah will tell you, you need rain for a flood.

Anyway, I drove the normal route as the traffic the alternative way looked really heavy, which was fine as the accident was in the other direction. It’s a straight bit of road, and the lanes are all different so people don’t normally overtake there. What shocked me was that one of the cars involved was on its roof. On its roof at 8am on a Tuesday morning, on a bit of road that doesn’t normally see speeds of more than about twenty miles an hour as it is really congested. It perturbed me that for the rest of the day as to how the car ended up on its roof, as it couldn’t possibly be travelling at the speed or velocity to make it flip. I’m still waiting to find a news report that explains this to me.

I’ll keep you informed into any more near death experiences in my car!

Life Lessons I Learnt From a Four Year Old

5 Oct

I spend a great deal of time with my favourite under eighteen in the world, little Miss Lilly. She is four years old and the oldest daughter of my very close friend LouLou, and she is my favourite little lady in the whole wide world. I love her because she is clever and chatty, and comes out with some of the best one liners I have ever heard.

We use her as a man tester. When I lived with ex-boyfriend, Lou bought babygirl round (being a great deal smaller at the time) and she took a shine to him, trying to sit on his lap and give him kisses. She had a bit of a runny nose, but he was appalled and it was later decreed that she should be used to vet all potential suitors early on, to establish their worth. After all, if you don’t like my Lil, you are not right for me.

And I have come to learn that the world is a different place through the eyes of a four year old, and maybe there are some lessons to be learnt here.

1) Say what you see. Don’t try to over complicate it.
When reading a bedtime story the other night, Lilly was pretty well behaved until we got to the letter N, where she got tired and began to act up. I swear she is fit for a career in the West End when she is older. “N is for……” said Lou “say what’s round her neck”.
Lilly looked at her, unimpressed. “bracelet” she said.
Well she wasn’t far wrong. It went on like this, some answers stranger than the others. “O is for…..” said Lou, pointing to the picture of the octopus. Fairly easy, there aren’t many O’s. Until we realised Lilly wasn’t playing.

2) There is always a need for matching socks.
My sister is really bad at matching socks. She just doesn’t care. Lilly came round when she was at our flat one Sunday, and Danielle and Lil chatted for about five minutes before my sister left. Over a month later, in the car on the way to my house she said “are we going to Laura? Is that girl with the different socks going to be there?” Oh the shame.

3) Friendship is very important.
Lilly is particularly fond of her dad’s friend, Lofty. She follows him around adoringly, asking “You are my best friend though, aren’t you Lofty? Aren’t you? AREN’T YOU LOFTY???” The poor man, in his thirties, is slightly perplexed why a four year old princess wants to be his best friend. But agrees nonetheless. He will be beholden to this for life.

4) Take a hold of love, wherever it comes from.
After a particularly bad day at work, I get to Lou’s house. She opens the door. All is fairly quiet until this little whirling dervish of curls and blondness comes hammering through the door and hits my shins. “OhhiLaurailoveyou” she says into my knees. And my day considerably improves. Regardless of her then demanding that I carry her everywhere until bedtime.

5) Picnics can be as imaginative as you require.
One cold day in the supposed British summer, we decided to have a picnic with the girls. Of course it monsooned outside, so we lay the blanket in the lounge and devoured our picnic from there. When discussing the eve before what we would have in our sandwiches, I ventured “how about cheese and pickle Lillypad?” she replied, authoritatively “Yes. And chocolate spread.” She didn’t seem to understand why I felt cheese, pickle AND chocolate spread might be a little odd.  “And crispies.”

Do the children in your life crack you up? Have they come out with any great one liners?

Life According To Emma Part 2

24 Sep

My darling housemate should have her own arena tour. She comes up with the funniest stuff. You may have read some of her Emma-isms before (and if you haven’t click the link and go back and read them!), but I’m back with some more little gems.


Emma, while watching debatable horror film Insidious “What’s up with the kid?”

Us “He is on a coma.”

Emma “Did he wake up like that?”


And for once, one from me! When cooking soup..

Me “I’ve put lots of garlic in it. Not fresh garlic, powdered garlic…….. Do you think that powdered garlic has the same effect on vampires as fresh garlic?”

Emma, in a rare moment of wisdom “I think that would be an actual issue if vampires existed.”


Me, discussing flab. “I need to get down the gym. My stomach is taking over my life.”

Emma “Well it’s a cross we have to bear. But look at those bazoomas. Amazing. Boobiesboobiesboobies. (Long pause) …. Boobs.” (That’s it settled then, pass me the Jaffa cakes!)


Emma, to Louise when the baby had fallen asleep on her lap “do you ever think about sticking a can of beer in her hand and taking a photo when she falls asleep like that?!”

Lou “No”.

Emma “I totally would.”


Emma “I well fancy Seth Rogan”.

Me “Really? Go on…”

Emma “Well, he’s funny. And chubby!”


Emma “My room is cold.”

Me “Put the radiator on. The heating’s on.”

Emma “Which way do I turn it?”

Me “Well, if its off then the only way it turns.”

The next day I receive an email….

“Hey, I don’ t think my radiator is working. I put the knob on again today and it didn’t even warm up. Weird.”

I replied “It wouldn’t have heat up if the heating wasn’t on. Was the heating on?”

Long radio silence….

“I see.”