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Life: January, Baileys & Adult Toys

Life: January, Baileys & Adult Toys

Christmas is over, the decorations are down and so is the general mood. It’s that time of year when not much happens in my world, apart from procrastinating over my tax return and trying to lose the two kilos I acquired drinking Baileys and eating festive food. It’s a well-known fact that it’s much harder to lose that bottle of Baileys than it is to drink it, and FYI a bottle of Baileys equates to a kilo of wobbly body fat. How do I know this? It’s not scientifically proven, but, a client of mine once put on a staggering 10 kgs over Christmas, which by her own admission, was mainly due to the fact that she drank ten bottles of Baileys over a two month period. I’m reminded of this every time I pour myself a generous half pint on the rocks and I’ve never quite gotten my head around whether or not I think it was admirable of her to be so indulgent.  Surely drinking one of Ireland’s best exports with such abandon would have resulted in a mild case of diabetes?

Another observation that I’ve made over the years having watched my friends get married and have children is how their Christmases have evolved. Few have little enough time for themselves, but at Christmas, this seems exacerbated by their commitments to school activities, the social whirl of their offspring, and keeping both sets of in-laws happy. But once they have stopped dashing round the country seeing family, shouting out at pantos and cleaning up bloody wounds after ice skating, the time finally comes when they can enjoy their presents and the “adult toys” can come out to play.

And so the perfect day arrives, a drizzly Sunday at the beginning of January. All that remains of Christmas are a few stubborn pine needles that refuse to be vacuumed up and the stale remains of a panettone – that may or may not get made into a bread and butter pudding. The children are huddled over their devices plugged into the matrix, no human interaction is required. And there they are, unwrapped, but still in their boxes, untouched since the chaotic present opening on Christmas Day, the latest speakers, the drone and the watch that is akin to wearing mission control on your wrist, so vast is its functionality. All the toys come with the re-assuring instructions  ‘easy to set up.’ But as aware as we are of how hard it is to lose the Baileys weight, we are also aware that nothing is ‘easy to set up’ unless you have a degree in engineering, are still at school, or designed the product yourself.

The pleasurable anticipation of playing with the adult toys rapidly dissipates. You quickly realise that the manufacturer’s promise of ‘easy to set up’ is a lie and it’s triggering your insecurities about being out of touch and technologically inadequate. In total frustration and to avoid the humiliation of having to ask your eight-year-old for help, you turn to Google. This only adds to your overwhelming sense of failure, as it quickly becomes apparent that nobody else in the world has ever typed in the questions you are asking regarding the set up of your toys. So you put them back into their boxes, pour yourself a large Baileys, dunk in a chunk of stale panettone and decide a) to wait for another rainy Sunday before you try again, or b) ask your eight-year-old.


This article also appeared in the Brighton and Hove Independent and The Huffington Post



Vienna: Two Days, Two Nights & A Lot Of Twinkly Lights

Vienna: Two Days, Two Nights & A Lot Of Twinkly Lights

I am SO full of Christmas cheer, it’s ridiculous. If you are reading this and lacking in cheer, please get in touch, I’m sure we can arrange some by osmosis. One of the reasons I am so incredibly festive is due to a recent girls’ weekend in Vienna for the Christmas markets.

Why Vienna you may ask? Why not Berlin or Cologne? Is Germany not the place to go for an authentic Christmas market experience? There was no science involved, it was purely for the dates. Vienna kicks off early, they open the shutters to their faux wooden huts filled with trinkets in mid-November, compared with the rest of Europe opening up at least a week later.

Our journey was easy, just short of a two-hour flight from Gatwick, and at the Austrian end a very efficient – obvs – 16-minute journey on the CityExpress from the airport. A quick change, onto the metro and in less than 30 minutes we emerged from the underground opposite the splendid Opera House. We were greeted by an abundance of twinkly lights and our ears filled with piped music. The Viennese are rightly, very proud of Mozart, and his music is something we would be very familiar with by the time we left.

Upon arrival, we discovered that there are seven Christmas markets in Vienna, and not just one big one. It didn’t take us long to realise that we would probably be over the initial excitement quite quickly and so the reality of visiting all seven was quite slim. We sought advice and decided to visit three; The Royal Place at Schönbrunn, The Adventmarkt Am HoF and the Altwiener Christkindlmarkt.

If there is such a thing as a handicraft Christmas heaven then we visited it, three times. The markets are filled with stalls mostly selling the same bits and bobs. Christmas decorations fashioned from all sorts of materials, candles, toys, and edible seasonal goodies. The air was filled with tummy rumbling smells of food. If you like your food cheesy, sausagey and sugary, Austrian Christmas market fare is right up your Strasse. If you have quit sugar, off carbs and are a vegan, take a picnic. I’m not a huge sausage fan – stop it – but I did very much enjoy my enormous spicy bratwurst with sauerkraut, washed down with a ‘hot apple wine’ aka hot cider. To avoid filling Vienna up with plastic cups, each market has their own specially designed ceramic mug on which you pay a deposit. It gets filled up with hot booze at regular intervals and when you are sated, you hand it back in and get your deposit back. Zero waste and much nicer than drinking out of a plastic cup. Although open from 10:00, the evening is much more conducive to the market experience. At night, the pretty lights come on, the markets are busier, the atmosphere increases and everyone are merrily knocking back glugwein and chomping on gingerbread.

The other items on our tourist tick list were; eat a Wiener Schnitzel, eat Sachertorte and go to the Opera. Opera was out of the question, tickets are booked months, if not years in advance, so in our quest for cultural fulfilment, we booked seats for a classic ensemble at the incredibly beautiful St Peter’s Church. It was an hour of ‘classic’ classical hits played out by a string quartet. Serene and magical, it was the first time I had spent an evening with Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, and they were surprisingly good company.

As per usual when I go away, I find I rarely eat green food. Why is holiday food so yellow? Our Weiner Schnitzel didn’t disappoint. We had reservations at Plachutta and I was expecting a very traditional, dark, wooden, cave-like restaurant – which wouldn’t have been a problem – but Plauchutta was modern, airy and buzzy and, like the majority of eateries in Vienna, stylish, efficient and laid with the most fabulous tableware. Yes, it’s the little things which, for someone like me who likes to drink out of nice glass and eat off a nice plate, make the whole dining out experience even more pleasurable. We went totally traditional at Plachutta, two glasses of the luscious sparkling Schlumberger and two Weiner Schnitzel straight up with potato salad. The only bit of green was some cress, something I haven’t seen as a garnish for years, pointless, but amusing.

Mooching around Vienna – and it is a very easy city to mooch around – it is apparent that the Viennese like the finer things in life. We delighted ourselves by playing Vienna Bingo. Every time we saw a jewellers, a fur shop, or a cashmere and silk shop, we mentally ticked it off on our bingo card. It didn’t take long to get a full house. There are no pound shops in Vienna.

The other establishments that had a clear presence were coffee and cake shops. Why are the Viennese not fat?  All they seem to eat is cake and massive sausages. When we checked into our hotel there was cake in the fridge and on two occasions we bought cake to go as we couldn’t resist. Sadly we picked the wrong place for coffee and Sachertorte. We went touristy and queued unnecessarily to get a shabby table with rotten service, stale cake and dated tableware at the Cafe Central. Disappointing when there are SO many places to have coffee and cake. But we put it behind us and soldiered on.

In our eagerness to blot out the experience at Cafe Central, karma had us stumble on Sum Schwarzen Kameel. A local bar in the upmarket Am Hof area of the city, it was one of the few bars at street level and it was uncharacteristically busy, which is why we ventured in.  On entering we were greeted by a glass cabinet full of open finger sandwiches, and a packed bar of people standing at tall tables, drinking, eating said sandwiches and SMOKING! – the Viennese have a blatant disregard for the European non-smoking rule.

We gingerly pointed at the morsels in the cabinet as we didn’t really know what the toppings were but that was all part of the fun, and we interpreted that the waiter behind the glass cabinet was telling us to find somewhere to stand, he’d bring over the nibbles and someone would take our drinks order. We squeezed in amongst the crowd and found our pitch, ordered the house white at less than €2 a glass and had one of those fab, impromptu evenings, off the tourist trail that makes a trip so memorable. FYI the toppings were mainly tuna fish or carrot based, which although quite random were delicious.

Our decision to visit the Albertina museum was not necessarily a cultural one, but somewhat based on the fact that the shops are, refreshingly, closed on a Sunday, and after almost 48 hours we really were over looking around Christmas markets. However, it was a worthwhile cultural fix. It amazes me at how many Warhols, Picassos’s, Monets etc there dotted all over the world in various different museums. They must have painted relentlessly to enable us in this age to have so many in circulation.

I have to mention our hotel, The GuestHouse. Located right behind the Opera House, and opposite the Albertina Museum, not only is it in the perfect location I think it is probably the perfect hotel.  Modern and stylish without being too modern and stylish, and a reception and concierge that couldn’t have been more friendly or helpful. The Brasserie and Bakery were amazing – Eggs Benedict with artichokes a standout –  and obviously one of the places to eat and drink in Vienna, especially for brunch. Each day we had FOUR bottles of complimentary wine in the room, and the room only slept two, you do the math. We had the most wonderful window seat with a view of the Opera house, an abundance of Molton Brown toiletries, a bath big enough to swim in, the most flattering mirror in the world,  and a top of the range coffee machine. It’s a wonder that we actually left the hotel and did any sightseeing.

At the end of our two-night stay, I was uplifted. I can now see why Vienna is consistently voted as the world’s most livable city, it’s friendly, safe, beautiful and luxurious. The only downside for me was the smoking. But it was not only the city that uplifted me, it was the company of my friend. We giggled incessantly about all manner of things, especially the frequent mentions of ‘sausage’ its size and the amount consumed. School girl humour that would have been lost on many others. It’s proof that it doesn’t matter where you go, what you see, what you eat, but it really does matter who you share it with.

Dedicated to my top chum and sausage guzzler MM Xxxx



This article also published in The Huffington Post on 21st December 2016


Life: Practicality, Plumbers & Pumpkins

Life: Practicality, Plumbers & Pumpkins

I like to think of myself as an independent kind of girl, getting along nicely without a husband to drive me mad, but there are times when being single sucks and I’m not talking about just birthdays, Sunday mornings and Christmas. I’m talking about DIY. The smallest household job of a practical nature can send my coveted independence flying past the broken blind in the kitchen, the 3 light bulbs that need changing, the broken lock on the front door and out onto the street, hysterically looking for a man to come and put it all right.

It’s not a needy, emotional cry for help at all, it really is a genuine practical requirement for assistance. Ask me to write you a story, transform your look with a fabulous new hairdo or rustle up a banquet with the mouldy contents of your fridge and I’ll happily oblige. But ask me to change a light bulb, go shopping for washers for a gushing showerhead, or measure up for a new bath panel, and you will have to bear witness to me having a physical and emotional meltdown generated by DIY overwhelm.

In an effort to confront my fears and attain some DIY independence, I decided to watch a YouTube tutorial to repair the wireless thermostat that controls my heating. NB the ending of this story is going to be of no surprise. I followed the video, but the inside of my unit was totally different to the one in the demonstration and then I couldn’t get it back together. I had no option but to scoop up the components of my deconstructed thermostat into a carrier bag, walk into the plumber’s yard and ask to buy a new one. It was akin to being on trial when I was cross-examined as to why the innocent thermostat was in a thousand bits. Luckily, there was no bible present so I lied and told them I had dropped it. My sentence, to humbly accept that I should never attempt to fix anything ever again, but bow down to the prowess of those of a more practical persuasion and ask for help.

Once released from the plumber’s yard, I escaped to the countryside with my pseudo-husband – who is as useless at DIY as I am – and his son, my godson. Our mission, to seek out and walk through the Tree Tunnel of Halnaker and then visit the magnificent selection of Pumpkins on show in Slindon. Mission accomplished and autumnal feeling of fresh, chilly sunshine and satisfaction of stomping through crisp leaves achieved. It was comforting to know that my brain may not be wired up for home improvements, but it is wired up to plan a day out, pack a picnic, and rustle up a pot of soup from a Baby Bear pumpkin, procured from a gourd enthusiast, in the depths of West Sussex. Sometimes, life is just about embracing your weaknesses, accepting defeat, and running through a pile dead leaves.


This article also appeared in The Huffington Post  and the Brighton and Hove Independent


Travels: Brooklyn

Travels: Brooklyn

Having been to New York a couple of times before and based myself in Manhattan, I decided this time around to stay in Brooklyn. I was looking forward to not having an agenda or a list of attractions to visit. I just wanted to hang out and soak up the city without the need to run around looking at things. I was, for a short period of time, to become a New Yorker.


Brooklyn is on an island and you can see it from the island that is Manhattan. Once the poorer sister, Brooklyn has now come into its own. I was told that ‘Manhattan is so over” and Brooklyn is the place to be. I’m not sure that statement is entirely true, Manhattan is Manhattan. It’s iconic, it’s energetic, it’s frantic and there is no other place like it in the world.  Cross the Hudson River and you arrive in historical Brooklyn. With its back story of Irish and Italian immigration, it has a totally different atmosphere from Manhattan. Nowhere near as frenetic or busy, wide leafy green avenues and streets lined with designer boutiques, coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. The once rundown brownstones have been renovated and are now desirable des res’ for the families, hipsters, and stalwart residents of a bygone era.

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I was staying in Carroll Gardens, a delightful suburb of Brooklyn, with a shady past, it was once a stronghold for The Mob. There are signs that indicate a strong Italian influence, prominent shrines to the Virgin Mary in many of the front gardens and numerous delis and garages named Vinnie’s or Frankie’s.  I was fascinated by the accent, and one day I found myself following a man talking on his mobile, he wasn’t happy and was desperate for his “Ma’ to put “Ant-tOe-knee” on the line. The poor kid was getting the blame for something. Sadly I never got to find out what Ant-tOe-Knee had done, but I said a prayer for him just in case.

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Apparently The Mob doesn’t exist anymore, but when I repeatedly bought the most unctuous Mozzarella from “Toe-knee” who made it three times a day in his deli – unsurprisingly called “Tony’s Deli” – and I observed his other customers, I got the impression that perhaps The Mob hadn’t completely disappeared from the city and that maybe a few members of the Genovese or Gambino family were still knocking about.


I walked most of the time, the grid system is easy to get to grips with and tourist maps are widely available. There is always something new to see and walking was the best way, for me, to take it all in.

I had a moment of madness and hired a Citibike, it was terrifying. I’m a confident cyclist at home, but deciding to cycle in New York was just stupid. There are no roundabouts, the avenues and streets are one-way and the cars are BIG. The NYPD didn’t take kindly to me cycling on the pavement, but this was, at times, necessary in order to save my own life. Rent a bike at your own peril, I’m just saying.


The subway is hot, busy and full of crazy people, I tried to avoid it as much as possible. There are signs up saying you are not allowed to put your make up on whilst riding the subway. You can carry a gun, be a danger to society and a total and utter nuisance but you can’t put your lipstick on. Sort it out.


The one time I used Uber, I was picked up in a Limo – what are the chances of that? – with a wonderful Peruvian driver. He had never heard of Paddington Bear but he did pass on his recipe for a perfect Pisco Sour. It was a very memorable cab ride.


The Brooklyn waterfront with its awesome views of Manhattan was once a busy working dock. It’s now too shallow for the visiting containers and has been turned into a well used and well-respected community space. Water parks, restaurants, public BBQ’s, hockey pitches, basketball courts and gyms line this pedestrianised area from Red Hook to DUMBO and beyond.

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They love a locational acronym in New York, and DUMBO stands for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Underpass. Once a disused area and out of bounds to anyone who valued their safety, it is now the buzzing ‘MetroTech,’ full of bright young things coding, drinking coffee and sinking craft beers. I loved the cobbled streets and the big waterside warehouses, which have become coffee shops, workshops and digital hubs. Standing on the cobbles in Dumbo you can’t help but look up in awe at the giant Manhattan bridge that looms overhead *bridge geek alert*.

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Vinegar Hill leads straight on from Dumbo. It was where the Irish settled in the 1800’s. I didn’t know this when I first wandered through the romantic cobbled streets, but there was something about Vinegar Hill that drew me back for a second visit and that must have been the Irish in me. It was a place where I just sat and pondered. An oasis of peace and quiet and a strange feeling of being at home.

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I went to Williamsburg on a Monday, specifically to follow up a couple of restaurant recommendations and coffee roasters. The two eateries I wanted to visit, Martha’s and Rider, were both shut – bad planning on my behalf – but Blue Bottle Coffee didn’t disappoint. That said, I wasn’t impressed with Williamsburg. It was dirty and scruffy and a bit too cool for school. However, the view of the Manhattan skyline from the Ides rooftop bar at the Wythe hotel was well worth the trip.

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Walking across Brooklyn Bridge was on my bucket list – tick.  It is a phenomenal structure and a thing of beauty – not something I thought I would ever say about a bridge. The day I walked across, was a beautiful clear day and the unadulterated view across to Manhattan was breathtaking. Empire State building to one side, Statue of Liberty on the other, Financial District straight ahead. It’s busy, you need to take a deep breath and ignore the other pedestrians – mainly tourists – elbowing you out the way, or the frustration of having your journey thwarted every few minutes by a selfie stick and its owner. Find a gap, put your camera down and just take in the view.

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Surprisingly, Americans, on a whole drink really weak coffee. Last time I visited New York, I wasn’t a coffee drinker, and I certainly hadn’t turned into the coffee snob I am now. I like one, strong, coffee a day and it’s such a disappointment if doesn’t hit the spot. To save you the pain of a disappointing coffee, here are my recommendations:-

Seeds of Love Coffee (SOL) – one shop, one man and his very expensive coffee machine. The best!

Seeds of Love "SOL" Brooklyn


Blue Bottle Coffee – They take coffee really seriously. A roasters in Williamsburg and a few shops dotted over Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Blue Bottle Coffee, Dean Street, Brooklyn


Café Regular – a little bit of Paris. Great coffee, really friendly staff and warm cinnamon buns. C’est tres bon.

Cafe Regular, Berkley Place, Brooklyn


Blue Stone Lane – Australians were responsible for the coffee revolution in the UK, so generally, they can be relied on to make a good, strong coffee. Blue Stone Lane is Australian owned and not only do they do a great coffee, they also do a great brunch.  You’ll find them in DUMBO and in Manhattan.

Blue Stone Lane cafe, Carmine Street, West Village


The following coffee shops didn’t, in my opinion, do great coffee, but if you’re not as fussy about your coffee as I am, they are all great places to sit and people watch:-

Smith Canteen – terrible coffee, BUT delicious quinoa breakfast bowls and really buttery croissants with really buttery scrambled eggs.

Smith Canteen, Smith Street, Brooklyn


Henry’s Local – gorgeous little place, but you’ll need 3 shots if you want your coffee to hit the spot.

Henrys Local, Henry Street, Brooklyn


Brooklyn Roasting Company – Uber cool hangout in DUMBO, a roasters and cafe in a big old warehouse, great music, great salads, and lots of beards.

Brooklyn Roasters, DUMBO



New Yorkers, in general, don’t cook. I was staying in a fabulous house, with a wonderful Whole Foods around the corner, so I thought one night I would cook rather than eat out. Just as well I checked the cupboards before I went shopping, there was nothing to cook with, or in, or on. The food scene is impressive and it would appear to me that the American’s work to eat, they easily spend $30 plus, each a day on eating, which makes for a huge variety of food on offer, and some wonderful eating.

Happy Hour in Brooklyn is usually beer or wine and a plate of oysters. The Kittery was located at the end of our street, and $10 got you a large glass of very dry, drinkable Rosé and six oysters. It was a no-brainer.

The Kittery, Smith Street, Brooklyn


There is nothing to make you feel more like a local than perching on a bar stool at the open window of a Pizzeria, ordering fresh pizza by the slice and drinking cold beer. It’s hard to get it wrong and ‘joints’ like this are all over the place.

Pizzeria, Brooklyn


Juliana’s is an institution. Massive pizzas under Brooklyn Bridge.

Juliana's Pizzeria, Brooklyn


Wilma Jean for when a dirty dinner is required. Delicious buttermilk fried chicken and potato salad. I was too busy licking my fingers to take a picture.


Alma is an understated Mexican restaurant, the kind of place you would walk past, but don’t. It has an amazing roof terrace and spectacular views across to Manhattan. Perfect spot for watching the sunset, accompanied by a cucumber margarita and a plate of fish tacos.

Alma, Brooklyn


MilkMade ice cream – One girl and her ice-cream machine. I tried a Cobble Hill made with peach and cinnamon, a great combo.

Milk Made, Sackett Street, Brooklyn


Van Leewen – where the cool people eat ice-cream. I can highly recommend their vegan, salted caramel.

Van Lewen, Bergen Street, Brooklyn


I have never seen Thai Ice-cream rolls in Thailand, but they are a work of art and being brought to Brooklyn by Blossom Ice Cream. The ice-cream mixture is poured onto a freezing plate and manipulated as if making a crepe, the end result, wafer thin ice cream rolled up and put in a cup. UTTERLY delicious. If you can’t quite picture it, watch the video of how they do it here.



Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain – a traditional seltzer bar that will bring out the kid in you. I wanted to try everything, but I restrained myself and just ordered a creamy and nostalgic root beer float.

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Brooklyn Social – has a dark and fascinating history. Originally an Italian men’s’ club, for members only – what was I saying about the Mob? – it now welcomes non-members, and women – welcome to 2016.


Brooklyn Social,


Smorgasburg the street food market to beat all street food markets. Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in Prospect Park. Innovative and exciting food from all over the world, the highlight for me was pulled and bbq Jack Fruit an exciting discovery from pop-up vegan restaurant Chickpea and Olive. Braised jackfruit is made into a patty and bbq to give you a burger with the texture of pork, it was delicious and so exciting to eat something totally new. I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan but I do love plant-based food and in NY they are doing amazing things with vegetables, it’s really inspiring.

Smorgasburg, Prospect Park, Brooklyn


I feel I should also mention some of the great food that I tried over in Manhattan,

Sweet Green – delicious fast food. Big bowls of salads, grains and proteins mixed up with amazing dressings. Who would have thought of putting watermelon and coriander together and through a juicer? It so works.

Sweet Green, Manhattan


By Chole – pure vegan, but a bit too much ‘fake meat’ for my liking.

The Butchers Daughter – vegan food and amazing juices.

Butchers Daughter, West Village, Manhattan


Black Seed Bagels – hand rolled and cooked on a wood fire, yes they are as delicious as they sound. I had a #8 Lox (smoked salmon) dill cream cheese, radish and sprouts. I’ve tried to re-create at home, but to no avail, their bagels and radish’s are something else.

Black Seed Bagels, West Village, Manhattan


Egg Shop, does what it says on the tin, sadly we couldn’t get a seat.

Egg Shop, Lower East Side, Manhattan


Café Henri – the most amazing Dragon Bowls with turmeric poached eggs and gentlemen’s relish.

Cafe Henrie, Forsyth Street, Manhattan


Balthazar – a French bakery that makes very fattening, but very delicious, doughnuts.

Balthazar Bakery, Spring Street, Manhattan



I wanted to keep up my regular yoga practice whilst I was away, and I had heard great things about the standard of yoga in NY and I wasn’t disappointed. I was lucky enough to have two established and respected yoga schools on my doorstep, Preema Yoga and Brooklyn Yoga Project.

Prema Yoga, Court Street, Brooklyn Brooklyn Yoga Project, Sackett Street, Brooklyn

I practised classes at both studios, all were Vinyasa Flow based and set to music,  I loved them all. I’d like to thank Bobbie Marchand, Miles Borrero, Ossi Raveh and Jessica Weiss for their inspiring classes, hands-on adjustments and words of wisdom.



Looking back on this trip, the one thing that really stood out for me, was the friendliness of the people in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. I met only one really grumpy person and he was working in a booth on the subway. Given his dark, airless environment and diversity of customers, I could forgive him his bad temper. New Yorkers are keen to speak to visitors, and on many an occasion I got asked about Brexit and told about their concerns for the upcoming Presidential elections. Shop assistants, baristas, men in suits, all forthcoming and friendly and when someone says ‘have a nice day,” I think they really mean it.


If you’d like to see more of my photos, head over to my Instagram page @jofuller_life


Life: Spiders, Smoke & Seasonal Change

Life: Spiders, Smoke & Seasonal Change

It was by chance that I walked into a scene from Arachnophobia when I went to watch Brighton v Someone in my local. My three “blind’ friends had caused a right kerfuffle when one of them spotted a spider HIGH up on the wall. Blind friend number one had the poor barman on a stool trying to eliminate the spider, which had caused petrified blind friend number two to seek refuge in the garden. Blind friend number three, was directing the scene from the comfort of his chair. I don’t have 20/20 vision myself, but even I could see that it wasn’t a man-eating spider at all, but a bit of fluff, most probably left over from Halloween, blue tacked to the wall.

Spider season is upon us. The time of year that turns perfectly rational, lucid people into fear-filled humans made of jelly. A time of year when spiders seek refuge in the warmth and comfort of our homes as the temperature outside drops. If I were a spider I would most definitely want to come inside, share a sofa and watch Great British Bake Off, or pop to a comfy pub for a decent roast. I’m not sure though, that I would want to climb up someone’s plughole and into their bath.

Spider season is the time of year when social media is awash with pictures of “have you seen how big my spider is?” “I may have done a Tough Mudder, a triathlon and 1000 push-ups a day for charity, but that’s nothing compared to the size of the spider that joined me in the shower this morning.” #hardasnails.

Spider season is of course also a sign that summer is melding into autumn. No longer will we be able to draw a comparison between the funeral pyres of the Ganges and the beaches of Brighton and Hove, due to the biblical amount of smoke produced by the total and utter overuse of cheap disposable BBQ’s. We will soon once again be able to venture down to the beach without the need to wear a decommissioned WWII gas mask to block out the fumes of burnt sausages and the suffocating smell of copious amounts of warm Rosé. Dogs and bikes will once again be allowed to roam freely on this hallowed ground as the tourists leave and the nights draw in.

I’m always sad to say ‘adios’ to summer, but I do love the change of the seasons. Every year I love the idea of going blackberry picking to make a crumble. And EVERY YEAR I leave it too late and the best places in Brighton to forage these succulent beauties have been totally ravaged of their bounty by the time I get there. And so every year my first crumble of the season is made from fruit courtesy of Tesco Express, however, it still tastes delicious, doesn’t require BBQ-ing and definitely doesn’t contain spiders.

This article also appeared in The Huffington Post and the Brighton and Hove Independent