Linda has recently retired. She now has the time to embrace life, laugh a lot and do all that she loves. Discover what that looks like for her and let her adventures inspire you…



Fascinating night out tonight as the guest speaker at the Rotary Club was Brian Bernie. He set up Daft as a Brush. This caring charity organises travel from door to door so that cancer patients can be taken from home to hospital. After his wife had cancer treatment, he saw an opening for a charity to transport patients to their treatment. Lively anecdotes about his early life in the East End of Newcastle were amusing. His passion for giving and helping is rooted in his early life. From this, he sold Duxford Hall, bought an ambulance and expanded to a fleet of twenty two ambulances. The volunteer drivers, with a great personal touch, transport patients for chemo or radio therapy from the Scottish Borders, Northumberland, Yorkshire, West Cumbria and local areas. This fantastic help allows people to arrive for sometimes daily treatments. He is driven and passionate about helping and caring. Great night!


Well I never thought it would happen, but Homes under the Hammer has been replaced by My Dream Home and then further relegated by Fixer Upper, my latest obsession in house programmes. For those of you looking bemused, the first is set in GB and renovates houses for rent or sale. The second takes a doer upper house, priced well under a budget, leaving a healthy amount to complete the house reno to a top spec. It is set in the USA. The two brothers who deal with the sale and building work have a comedic relationship with constant competition for oneupmanship. My latest favourite is Fixer Upper. Set in Waco, Texas, a married couple transform hovels to stylish homes with a country ranch/farmhouse flair. They make me laugh, specially on demo day. This is when he guts the house ready to fix and for his wife to design and develop or decorate to a fab style. They truly look amazing. However when he kicks walls down, literally, through sheet rock or plasterboard and often misjudges it, he falls through floors, jumps up and over anything. He does anything for a dare, even eating a dead cockroach, yuk! It makes me laugh when she takes him to a reclamation yard for antique architectural delights, whilst he appears in crazy outfits. His antics are hilarious at times.


linda-9Poppies are a glorious flower that symbolise WW1. Creative ideas have exploded over the past few years to raise money. The visual sea of red from the ceramic poppies outside the Tower of London was echoed by the Weeping Window sculpture of red poppies at Woodhorn Colliery. Both are stunning. On a smaller scale, an individual poppy can now be sewn, knitted crocheted, made from metal, plastic or enamel. It is such a creative way to raise money. I love it.

I try to live, laugh and love each day xxx




Linda has recently retired. She now has the time to embrace life, laugh a lot and do all that she loves. Discover what that looks like for her and let her adventures inspire you…



linda-8I always judge restaurants by their signature meals. If a chicken tikka masala is good, then it is a good curry house. Similarly, a cafe can always be judged by its carrot cake. So when I decided to check out an artisan bakery, it had to be carrot cake to accompany my green tea with lemon. The Running Fox at Felton is nine miles north of Morpeth and opposite a beautiful bridge. The carrot cake was divine. My other half loved his coffee and walnut cake. Despite being a Tuesday lunchtime, the bakery was fully booked. They only had a half hour free on one table. We were served straight away and had ample time for tea and cake. I can recommend a walk to the very old church and round the art and craft gallery, Studio 5, to burn off any calories. We shall definitely return for afternoon tea at some point but will be sure to book this time.


This is the week of five close family birthdays. After presents are bought and wrapped, it is time to think about my husband’s evening entertainment. We gather together and share a meal. Then the fun begins. As this takes place the night before Bonfire Night, we always have fireworks in the garden. Each year is slightly different. Two years ago, we bought boxes with continuous multiple bangs, which were hilarious. One year, the box of goodies created huge clouds of smoke. We could barely see two feet in front of us. Last year we had crazy rockets, which were very loud. They also shot up erratically. The description on the box is never quite what happens. Who knew that a Catherine wheel could mark the fence? One year, we had a faulty rocket, which was not fun. To add to the general air of fun, each year we find different glow sticks. We have had bangles, necklaces and sword-shaped glow sticks. These started off as a source of light. Now they are a source of fun. It is a hilarious night that gets a mention throughout the year.


In 1972, my family moved to Bath in Somerset. A new clothes and home designer had set up a shop called Laura Ashley and I fell in love with her ideas. I made clothes. I bought clothes. I decorated rooms. I still do, although the dressmaking days are over. I still shop there but most of my purchases are now wallpaper. Although the clothes are very different today, a recent retro shirt was a replica of a pattern that I had made a dressing gown from during 1972. Haha! I know she is not to everyone’s taste and not every garment has her trademark flowery patterns any more, but I am still in love with Laura Ashley shops after all these years. It is almost a lifelong obsession.

I try to live, laugh and love each day xxx

What are you reading at the moment?

Helen H: I’m not reading anything at the moment, last book was ‘Girl on the Train’ which I loved.  I like to have time to totally indulge in a book and I don’t have that at the minute.

Helen R: I’m reading ‘Life after Life’ by Kate Atkinson. It’s taking a while. It’s not that I’m not enjoying it, I just feel like I need to really concentrate so I tend to read it on long train journeys. It’s not the kind of book you can dip in and out of.

What exercise are you into at the moment?

Helen H: Yoga – Ashtanga……powerful and exhausting yoga.

Helen R: I’ve decided to stop running for a bit. It’s a long story and I’m not really sure what’s going on with that myself. I’m loving Ashtanga Yoga and my Contemporary Dance classes. And walking the dogs every day. And I need to get back to the gym.

What are you watching at the moment?

Helen H: We have a few series recorded but on the whole we are not watching anything other than movies.  Latest one being The Intern……a really good film but I can’t quite put my finger on why.  The importance of living life rather than your job maybe.

Helen R: The Walking Dead and Lucifer are my current favourites. Just finished watching The Fall which was incredible.

What’s keeping you cosy at the moment?

Helen H: Kids and my man are being very cuddly at the minute…..that’s got to be a good thing, right?

Helen R: My beautiful, beautiful cosy blanket. It feels amazing to the touch and is a rich teal colour. And has great tassels that I can’t stop fiddling with.

What’s making you laugh at the moment?

Helen H: Choir, being part of the naughty 3 altos always puts a smile on my face.

Helen R: Usually my dogs, my kids and my husband. There’s usually something funny every single day in our world.

What are you wearing at the moment?

Helen H: Denim skirts, stripy tights and Docs.  I love that this time of year allows me to wear everything I love.

Helen R: I tried on two coats in TK Maxx recently and couldn’t choose between them so ended up buying both! I hate being cold so much that I know I’ll get plenty of wear out of both of them. And having said recently I don’t buy anything from Joe Brown’s any more, I bought a beautiful deep red dress with spotty net sleeves. I couldn’t resist. They sold it as a tunic but I’m so short, I can wear it as a dress!

What are you eating at the moment?

Helen H: There’s a lot more green in our diet right now, pea shoots being a big hit.  Also lots of nuts and oats.

Helen R: I’m not eating sugar, well refined sugar anyway. It’s just an experiment at the moment. So I’m trying to eat more healthily at what is normally the worst time for me food-wise. It’s a real challenge.

What are you drinking at the moment?

Helen H: I’m mainly drinking water with pomegranate and lemon, very refreshing and quite good for me so I’m told.

Helen R: I’ve just discovered the joy of a flat white – and what a joy it is! And as part of my healthy intentions, I now drink warm lemon water in the mornings and hot spiced milk in the evenings.

What are you enjoying at the moment?

3-11-2Helen H: I’m enjoying the change, the different colours, light and temperature.  My stress levels fall dramatically in Autumn/Winter and I completely love it.

Helen R: I find it hard to enjoy things at this time of year, but one thing I really, really enjoy is fairy lights. I got all my Christmas fairy lights out of the loft on Saturday and intend to use them now to light my way through the darkness.

What are you filling your days with at the moment?

Helen H: I started working again in September, so find myself in the shops most days.  And my love for Christmas means lots of lists and organising.

Helen R: Lots of writing. I spend most of my days in my studio working on blogs. I have a couple of weeks off before Christmas, but will still be writing – working on my dance book instead of yoga-related writing!