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Category Archives: This, That and the Other!

Rosemary and Thyme: Cagney And Lacey Meets Gardener’s World

 

Many of the posts here on Nostalgia Pie are mainly focused on popular culture from the 1970s-1990s – what I consider to be my era.  But today’s post is all about Rosemary and Thyme, a murder mystery series that began in 2003 and lasted for three series, which starred Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris – two very familiar faces from my childhood.

A series about two gardeners turned amateur sleuths sounded like something that was right up my street. After all I did grow up on a diet Murder, She Wrote, Hart to Hart, and Miss Marple! So I couldn’t wait for this new ITV drama series to begin. And I did find it very enjoyable; maybe a little slow paced but then when the show is about two female landscape gardeners heading towards the autumn years of their life, it was never going to be Starsky and Hutch!

The series centres around Rosemary Boxer, a never-married landscape gardener and lecturer, and Laura Thyme, a former policeman and mother of two whose marriage ended upon discovering her husband’s affair with a much younger colleague. Laura is very close to her son Tom, but we later discover that her relationship with her daughter is rather strained although the two do eventually make up.

Rosemary and Laura meet and become friends  in the first episode and discover that they both have a love of gardening, which culminates in them working together on various horticultural projects through the series. It just so happens that many of these projects that they undertake also involve someone being murdered; a crime which is always solved by Rosemary and Thyme!

As much as I’m getting stuck into my new life in the States I won’t lie, I am very homesick and have a yearning for all things English, which is what brought me  to Rosemary and Thyme because the countryside, greenery, flower beds, stately homes and cottages… You can’t get more English than that! And despite being a city girl, the show does very much remind me of the place I still call home.

I’m disappointed that only three series were ever made but I am enjoying watching them again. Lounging around on the couch with a box of choccies while watching Rosemary and Thyme while the snow’s pelting down outside is definitely my idea of bliss.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in This, That and the Other!

 

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Streets Apart is Streets Ahead.

One of my fave sitcoms – Streets Apart written by Adrienne Conway, starring Amanda Redman and James Hazeldine as reunited lovers, Sylvia and Bernie.

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Ever recalled something so fleeting from your childhood that years later you wondered if you had imagined it?

Well for a while I did wonder if I had dreamt up Streets Apart before realising that it did in fact exist! This  BBC sitcom, written by Adrienne Conway,  was first shown in 1988, starring the late James Hazeldine and a virtually unrecogniseable Amanda Redman, as childhood sweethearts, Bernie and Sylvia, who reunite twenty years later only to discover that their lives have taken completely different paths: Bernie is now a black cab driver and widowed father of two, while Sylvia, having worked hard to escape her East End roots, works as a successful literary agent and has a plush central London home. So I set about watching all twelve episodes of Streets Apart again – and I’m so glad I did.

Th show's writer, the lovely Adrienne Conway The show’s writer, the lovely Adrienne Conway

Only two series of this superb…

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Posted by on January 30, 2017 in This, That and the Other!

 

The Start Of Something New

When I write my posts for Nostalgia Pie, I usually write them with the perspective of a yearning for times gone by, usually the late seventies to early nineties. But the next time I write a blog post, don’t be surprised if you detect an element of homesickness – because I’m very sure you will!

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This will be the last post I write from England for a while as we will be moving to our new home in Boston, Massachusetts! That’s right – we’re making a new home for ourselves right in the New Kids country! It has always been my dream to live in Boston, or at the very least visit and walk the same turf as Jordan, Donnie, Danny and co. And now I’ll be able to do exactly that!

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But on the other hand, of course I will miss my family, friends, country and all things British, and when I think about that, that’s when the sadness sets in. I’m naturally feeling a mix of emotions right now but I know how fortunate we are to have this opportunity, and everyone who has been to Boston keeps telling me how at home I’ll feel there, so I’m trying to be a little more optimistic each day and not let the uncertainty get to me. Plus there’s so much history and culture in New England, I can’t wait to dive in and explore – but I’m still holding back from doing the New Kids dance just yet. Maybe once I’ve settled in!

 

So wish me luck as I begin the journey to the new world. I wonder what I’ll find there!

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Posted by on January 11, 2016 in This, That and the Other!

 

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Happy New Year!!!!

Well we have less than three hours to go before we wave goodbye to 2015 forever and say hello to 2016.

For me 2015 was a year in which there was never a dull moment – which is both good and bad. But overall it hasn’t been a disastrous year so I’m a little sad to see it go – but I am more than a little excited about the arrival of the new year. I hope it will be an awesome year for all of you – and I, personally, hope to blog a whole lot more!

Happy new year everybody!!!!

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Posted by on December 31, 2015 in This, That and the Other!

 

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That’s My Boy!

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TITLE: That’s My Boy

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United Kingdom

GENRE: Sit-com

CHANNEL: ITV

YEARS: 1981

NUMBER OF SERIES: 5 including Christmas specials

WRITTEN AND CREATED BY: Pam Valentine and Michael Ashton

  • Molly Sugden- Ida Willis
  • Christopher Blake – Dr Robert Price
  • Jennifer Lonsdale – Angie Price
  • Clare Richards – Mrs Price
  • Harold Goodwin- Wilfred Willis
  • Deddie Davis – Miss Parfitt
  • Thelma Whiteley – Mrs Cross

PLOT: No-nonsense housekeeper goes to work for a young doctor and his wife. The doctor and housekeeper have an instant dislike towards each other – until the housekeeper discovers that the doctor is the baby she gave up for adoption almost twenty eight years ago…

There are some comedies that stand the test of time and are repeated over and over again to be enjoyed by new generations of viewers. Then there are comedies that fade into obscurity and are never mentioned again. Eighties sit-com That’s My Boy is an example of a comedy show that fits into the latter category. But if anyone thinks that’s a sign that it wasn’t very good or watchable – think again!

Over the years, I was vaguely able to recall a comedy show from my childhood that featured a young married couple with an older lady, who I guessed was some kind of live-in housekeeper. However, I could never remember the name of the show, and moreover,  I’d never seen it on TV since it was first shown, and I don’t remember anyone even mentioning it. I was beginning to wonder if I’d imagined it (like so many things from my childhood!)

A few of the things that I could recall were the appearance of the married couple’s flat; that the older lady looked like  Mollie Sugden;  the husband was very handsome, and whenever I thought of this comedy, I always associated it with the colour blue! I later realised that the older lady was indeed Molly Sugden, and that the blue association was because the opening and closing credits of series one to three featured a sketch of the apartment building where the trio lived with a sky blue background and also because Mollie Sugden’s character, Ida, often wore blue.

Despite there having been five series of That’s My Boy, my memories of this sit-com were a little on the hazy side but I did think about the sit-com over the years and was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down and spend some very pleasant evenings (and weekend mornings!) watching this show all over again. I was amazed to learn that I was actually able to recall certain scenes and episodes, although I didn’t remember Wilfred or Mrs. Price, and neither did I remember the move to Yorkshire. I was also surprised to hear that it was shown on Friday nights, as for some reason, I remember That’s My Boy being shown on Sunday afternoons (?)

THE STORY SO FAR…

When Yorkshire-born Ida Willis turns up at the Muswell Hill flat belonging to Dr Robert Price and his wife Angie, a model, to work as their new housekeeper, she and Angie instantly become friends. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Ida and Robert who appear to loathe each other on sight. However all that changes one afternoon when Ida confides in Angie about the baby boy she gave up for adoption called Shane. After showing each other baby photos of Shane and Robert, Angie and Ida are dumbstruck by the realisation that the baby is one and the same – meaning that Robert is Ida’s long-lost son, Shane!

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Had this been a soap opera, this storyline would have been drawn out for several months (or years) with plenty of tears, tantrums, sobbing into bottles of wine, with shrieks of ‘you ain’t my muvva!’ once the secret was revealed but comedy handles such a heavy topic in an altogether light-hearted manner with much hilarity that doesn’t see Robert scarred of life or going on a killing spree! The realisation that they are mother and son doesn’t make them become best friends overnight. Ida tries hard to be a mother to Robert, but she still grates on him, especially when she insists on calling him by his birth-name Shane. And Ida isn’t afraid to give Robert/Shane a piece of her mind when she thinks it’s called for.

Much of the humour is provided by Ida’s wayward brother Wilfred and the power struggle between Ida and Robert’s ‘other mummy’ – his adoptive mother, Mrs Price, an upmarket widow who is as far removed from Ida as you can get. The two naturally don’t get on as they battle to become the number one  ‘mummy’ in Robert’s life, but there are times when the two have to form an alliance, especially when it’s in the best interests of their son.

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But Robert and Ida do indeed bond and it is delightful to watch their relationship develop. Robert becomes very protective of Ida and when attending the wedding of Ida’s niece, it’s really heart warming to see Robert affectionately declare Ida as his mother. What was probably slightly unusual was the relationship between Ida and her daughter-in-law, Angie. A typical situation would have seen glamorous model and actress Angie, snobby and aloof who seriously clashes with her newfound mother-in-law. But then Angie doesn’t get on with her other mother-in-law Mrs. Price so I think it was clever of the writers to create a different scenario where instead of being the archetypal interfering mother-in-law, Ida is a friend and an ally to Angie.

And later on in the fourth series, when the family leave Muswell Hill and move to Little Birchmarch in Yorkshire after Robert secures the post of village doctor, we meet the dithering Miss Parfitt, Robert’s mousy receptionist.

WHY I LOVE IT:

One thing that’s dawned on me after watching That’s My Boy! is that I seem to be a fan of sit-coms that are not considered ‘classics’ or that most people might have forgotten. Fawlty Towers, Only Fools And Horses, Open All Hours etc. are firm favourites with me and my family and are undeniably terrific, but I really do think that there’s something good and a lot of fun to be had in watching the lesser repeated comedies.

That’s My Boy is  a wonderfully pleasant comedy and one of the reasons why I think it works is because of Mollie Sugden’s immensely likable and highly amusing performance. Mollie is in good form and relies on her genius for visual expression and excellent timing. She is a wonderful actress with great screen presence and her portrayal of Ida is no exception. For most people, Sugden will always be best remembered for her role in  Are You Being Served? but it’s very easy to forget the other great roles she played with Ida being a good example with her witty one-lines and hilarious put-downs – this is a lady who has an answer for everything!

Another reason why I think That’s My Boy is fantastic is because of the rapport that Mollie Sugden has with the supporting cast and the likeable characters they play. All the characters work brilliantly together, with the supporting cast acting as a backdrop for Ida to bounce off.

I enjoyed the  warm yet amusing storylines that kept the audience laughing throughout.. I found each episode to be hilarious and enjoyable to watch.  watch them you won’t get them any more today. The theme tune may consist solely of the lyrics “that’s my boy, that’s my boy. Lalalalalalala…” the upbeat tune somehow suits the show well, and after hearing it just a couple of times, the tune will never leave your head. That could either be a great thing or an annoyance – for me it was a great thing.

I found That’s My Boy to be a very pleasant comedy but wondered how it would be received today. Certain quotes and the play on stereotypes would not be acceptable today as it would be considered racist or homophobic. And I did wonder if That’s My Boy could be considered light-hearted family entertainment with all of Robert and Angie’s saucy antics – but then again, I think today’s kids are exposed to a great deal more!

I do think it’s quite a shame that That’s My Boy never reached the great heights I feel it should have and has more or less disappeared. I also can’t understand why it was hardly ever repeated after it was first shown on TV. But I’m so glad that I discovered this little nugget of TV gold – definitely what I call comfort food television and I will most definitely be watching it again.

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Romance On The Orient Express

Year: 1985 (UK)

Time: 96 mins

Written by: John Worthing

Directed by: Lawrence Gordon Clark

Starring : Cheryl Ladd     – Lily Parker

Stuart Wilson  – Alex Woodward

Ruby Wax      – Susan Lawson

Julian Sands   – Sandy

Betsy Brantley – Stacey

Sir John Gielgud   – Theodore Woodward

Barry Stokes         – Flavio

Danielle Tylke     – Alexandra

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During my much-needed time off from work last week, I stumbled across a film I first saw when I was about seven or eight; a film for old romantic fools like me – and it would appear that I started being an old romantic fool way back in my junior school days! I still remember the first time I watched Romance On The Orient Express. We were living in our first house in East London and it was a Saturday night – back in the days when Saturday night television was more varied and more entertaining than it is today and not overladen with irritating reality TV shows. Now I know it must have been past my bedtime when this film began but it might have been because it was Saturday that we were allowed to stay up late – and this film just happened to be on.

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THE STORY

The story centres around Lily, a glamorous and sophisticated American magazine editor who is traveling on the famous Orient Express train from Venice to Paris with her friend, the quirky, adventure-seeking Susan. The trip brings back bittersweet memories for Lily when she first travelled to Europe ten years earlier with her friend Stacey. It was on this trip that they met two handsome, young Englishmen, Alex and Sandy. Lily and Alex begin a relationship and their story is told through flashbacks. Their relationship ends abruptly when Alex walks out on Lily without saying a word leaving the devastated young woman to return to the States.

Fast forward ten years and the former lovers are reunited once again as Lily comes face to face with the man who broke her heart a decade ago. Alex, having tracked Lily down and knowing that she had booked a trip on the Orient Express, has booked himself on the same trip in a bid to explain to Lily what happened all those years ago. When the couple meet again, the pain and the anguish of the last ten years is still very raw, and Lily understandably doesn’t want to listen to anything that Alex has to say – but for how long can she resist him?

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And Alex’s reappearance plunges Lily into further turmoil as she now has to wrestle between her feelings for Alex and her obligation to her boyfriend back in the States. It is later revealed that her break up with Alex left Lily damaged and unable to form successful relationships with other men. And now she doesn’t know whether she should accept her boyfriend’s proposal or not – even though it’s very evident that she doesn’t love him.

Alex convinces Lily to meet him and the couple catch up on the last ten years and discover that they’d each been married and are now divorced, although Lily’s was the only marriage that produced a child. As the story unfolds, we soon learn that Alex isn’t quite the cad that we thought he was and that his feelings for Lily were genuine. We also learn that when he left Lily, she wasn’t exactly alone…

THE CAST

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When I first saw Romance On The Orient Express, the only person I recognized was Ruby Wax who was a big name in television back in the 1980s. I’d love to say that at infant-school age, I knew who actors Sir John Gielgud and Stuart Wilson were, but unfortunately I didn’t. I’d heard of Cheryl Ladd because I knew that she’d starred in Charlie’s Angels.

WHAT I LOVED ABOUT IT

Even though Romance On The Orient Express is a made-for-TV movie and not a Hollywood blockbuster, there’s something so beautifully moving and poignant about this film which has shades of Casablanca about it. You couldn’t fail to be dazzled by the luxury of the Orient Express and the stunning on-location scenes in Venice and Paris. The story, the setting, the scenery, the acting, the wardrobe… fantastic!   There is great chemistry between the lead actors Stuart Wilson and Cheryl Ladd, and I absolutely loved the riverboat scene with the significantly beautiful song, Time In A Bottle by Jim Croce.

I remember that the first time I watched Romance On The Orient Express, I found the subplot of the romance between Susan and Flavio, a staff member on the train intriguing. Even though it started off as just a bit of light-hearted fun for Susan who was looking for Mr Right -Now, towards the end of the film, Susan had a change of heart and admitted that she does love Flavio but decided to end it because there was no future in it:

“He’s Italian, he lives in Rome. I’m American, I live in New York… I finally meet someone and geography kills it.”

But there is hope for the couple as Lily convinces Susan that if she loves Flavio then they’ll find a way, and you can’t help rooting for the pair hoping that they will indeed find a way because they seem like such a cute couple.

Stuart Wilson as Alex

Stuart Wilson as Alex

What surprised me was that even though I’d only ever watched this film once, an awfully long time ago as well I may add, I was amazed by how much I remembered, including certain scenes and parts of the dialogue. I also didn’t think that anyone else would have even heard of Romance On The Orient Express let alone watched it, but was pleasantly surprised to find that there were others who had seen this film and remembered it very well.

I know that there are some that might find Romance On The Orient Express to be a little saccharine and predictable but I think it is a very memorable, romantic movie, with a simple, easy to follow yet entertaining storyline that keeps you watching til the end because you just have to know what happens to Alex and Lily. A delightfully charming, heart-felt tale about lost love, long-held secrets and second chances all bound together with the themes of friendship, family loyalty, and surprise revelations. Being a Mills and Boon fan, I feel as though I’ve just seen a classic Mills and Boon novel come to life on screen.

Will I watch Romance On The Orient Express again? Mais oui!

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Posted by on September 27, 2015 in Films, This, That and the Other!

 

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Good Grief! I’ve Been Nominated For A Liebster Award!

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It’s not every day that I get nominated for an award, so I was blown away to receive a nomination for The Liebster Award from the lovely Jenny, who’s the amazing blogger behind The World Of Jenny Pugh.

I know some people don’t like to receive nominations for a number of reasons but I absolutely love it! As these nominations come from fellow bloggers, it means a lot that one of my peers digs this blog and thinks it’s worthy of some kind of recognition. And as Nostalgia Pie is my very first blog and the one that kick started everything, I’m even more chuffed. Nice one, Jenny!

SO WHAT’S THIS LIEBSTER THING ALL ABOUT?

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For those of you who have never heard of The Liebster Award before, it’s an online award given to (usually new)bloggers  (generally with less than two hundred followers) by other bloggers. Accepting the award means adhering to a few rules which normally involve answering 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you, adding 11 facts about yourself, then nominating between 3-11 bloggers and asking them 11 questions of your own.

So I will gladly be following the above but before I do that I will be taking a little time out to thank the lovely blogger who nominated me.

THANKS JENNY!

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I was nominated by the fantastic Jenny whose blog The World Of Jenny Pugh is amazing and one of my favourite reads. If you haven’t checked it out yet, then get to it!

I’ve been following Jenny’s blog for two years and in that time, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know the lady behind the blog. Jenny isn’t just a talented writer whose posts have inspired and motivated me, but she’s also something of a sweetie and I don’t know anyone who couldn’t like her. It’s just too bad we live at opposite ends of the country as she’s someone I’d definitely like to knock back a few cocktails with!

So Jenny, thank you so much for nominating me for The Liebster Award. You know I how much I think your blog rocks, so this is awesome. Oh and like you, I also love the eighties, was into Fimo clay big time, and can’t walk in heels to save my life – hence my collection of ballet pumps. However, unlike you, no one can ever and will ever get me on a bike!

ANSWERS TO JENNY’S 11 QUESTIONS

1. If money was no object, what job would you be doing (if any?)

There’s a very frustrated, big-haired, leather-clad rocker trapped in the body of this teeny, weeny little girl who’s struggling to get out, so that’s probably what I would be doing. And if money was no object, I’d perform for free (but then again it would probably have to be for free as I can’t see anyone paying to see me!)
2. What’s your favourite colour, and why?

I really love jewel tones in emerald, amethyst, and magenta. Otherwise I’ll go for black. That’s me – from one extreme to the other!
3. If I beemed down in an alien spaceship and wanted to be shown your favourite place, where would you take me, and why?

I seem to have fallen in love with most of the places I’ve visited so I don’t really have a particular favourite. But maybe my new alien friend would like to accompany somewhere I’ve never been before but have always wanted to visit? Top of the list would be Australia.

4. If you could meet one famous person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Alfred Hitchcock. I’m a huge fan of his films and I’d love to know what goes on in that mind of his – but I reckon he’d be too shrewd to ever let me find out.
5. If you could ban one bad habit in people, what would it be and why?

Goodness – where do I begin??? I think I would start with people’s lack of gratitude. It drives me mad that people want. want, want all the time but never appreciate what they already have, or expect things from others and never express gratitude when they get what they want.
6. If you had to look like any celebrity, who would it be and why?

I’ve actually grown to (somewhat) like how I look and I’ve stopped wishing I could look like someone else (those were my teenage years for you!) But if I had to choose, I would be a darker version of French supermodel Laetitia Casta back in the 1990s.
7. What are your 5 favourite songs and why?

I have at least 500 favourite songs! But off the top of my head, I’d choose the following simply because they remind me of important moments in my life:

My Favourite Girl – New Kids On The Block

How Long – Hinder

Stranger Inside – Shinedown

Home – Alter Bridge

DJ Got Us Falling In Love – Usher
8. Do you have a signature dish that you are brilliant at making?

I have two. One is a seafood pasta dish which my sister said is restaurant quality – and my sis is notoriously difficult to please! The other is a grilled chicken dish made with coriander, chilli and lime, which I serve with couscous, salad and mango salsa.
9. Which fictional detective would you most like to be and why?

Nancy Drew without a shadow of a doubt. She was everything a young lady should be: strong; feisty; fearless, intelligent, and pretty with it but she was also very nice and treated people with respect. She could solve centuries-old cases that left even the local police baffled. Plus she got to go out with Ned Nickerson who we’re led to believe is quite hot!
10. What’s your favourite book and why?

Way too many to choose. I am a bookworm after all! But The Hypnotic World Of Paul McKenna has been pretty influential as it was the book that got me interested in hypnotherapy – which has been life changing in more ways than one!
11. What place most sticks in your mind and why?

I’ve been fortunate to visit many places around the world but I’m going to say that Euston, London is the place that sticks out in my mind the most. It may seem like an odd choice but when I was nearing the end of my twenties, I spent an awful lot of time in Euston and the surrounding areas: partying, getting sloshed, going to gigs, crashing in my sister’s room when she lived in halls; hanging out with mates and generally enjoying life. And when Hubby and I started going out, we tended to hang out around Euston a lot. But boy did I waste a lot of time there waiting for cabs in the freezing cold (yes Mum, I should have worn a jumper!)

The place brings back such good memories for me that I feel nostalgic every time I think about Euston, and I get goosebumps every time I go there.

11 FACTS ABOUT ME

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1. For some reason I feel very at home when I visit Canada. So if I would very much like to settle there if I could.

2. I absolutely love anything angel related.

3. I started celebrating Thanksgiving after I started going out with the Hubby and I now I love it as much as Christmas.

4. When it comes to mainstream music today, I am sooo clueless!

5. Despite having an interest in ballet, I have yet to go to a performance.

6. And despite being a die-hard rock chick, I have yet to go to a festival.

7. I once swore I would never in a billion years get a Facebook account. Well it looks as though a billion years has passed…

8. I’m a sucker for afternoon tea: a fantastic British tradition.

9. Scarves, along with shrugs, are pretty much my trademark.

10. My mum’s engagement ring and wedding gown was the inspiration for my own.

11. I used to be a soap opera fanatic when I was younger but sadly not so much now.

12. I spent a few months living in Bournemouth and to this day I miss living near the sea – despite being a die-hard Londoner!

13. I wish I could give up my caffeine addiction – but then there are worse addictions I could have had!

14. My husband and my job are the two things that happened to me completely by chance – and they’re the two best things that ever happened to me.

15. I am totally in love with Rodin’s The Kiss.

MY QUESTIONS FOR MY NOMINEES

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1. You’re president/prime minister of your country. What’s the first law you’d pass?

2. What would be your last meal?

3. What’s your favourite era?

4. If you could learn another language, what would it be and why?

5. What’s your favourite film genre?

6. Who would play you in a film about your life?

7. If you could go back in time and change something, what would it be?

8. Apart from your own, name a blog that you think is completely and utterly fantastic.

9. Which show were you addicted to as a kid?

10. You’re at a party. What song makes you head for the dance floor?

11. What’s your most overused phrase?

MY NOMINATIONS!

OK this bit is never easy because I am following some bloody amazing blogs and it’s so hard to choose. So I’ve had to narrow it down to those who – to the best of my knowledge – don’t seem to have been nominated for a Liebster before, don’t mind being nominated and have less than two hundred followers.

So here goes:

https://myberkeleybowl.wordpress.com

http://lifeofanelpasowoman.com

http://daniellajoe.com

https://chubbybiscuits.wordpress.com

http://splendidrecipesandmore.com

https://foodpassionandlove.wordpress.com

https://ganderpokeblog.wordpress.com

https://whatsonwhere.wordpress.com/

https://chocolatebottle.wordpress.com

https://sothisisforty.wordpress.com

https://candycrashtest.wordpress.com

Congrats to those who have been nominated – and thanks again, Jenny!

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