I Am…

I will happily describe myself as an Aries because it’s true on many fronts. I was born April 13th, so just towards the end of the timescale that runs March 21 – April 20 but I’m also relatively typical of the traits of an Aries.

I can be adventurous, energetic, optimistic and confident but also self-centered, short-tempered, impulsive and impatient (but I never hold a grudge – I forgive and forget). I like to think I’m a pretty friendly person, and I have no tolerance for injustice. I do put myself first – but I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. Oh, and if you’re looking for subtlety or diplomacy, I’m not your gal! I can talk for England – possibly Europe, I live very much in the moment and I will go and get what it is I want. See impatience; no time for waiting for it to come to me! I do not like insincere flattery – or the spelling of insincere.. is that even correct?

I’m definitely very passionate and now that I’ve met Jade Rachel I definitely believe in a love that can last forever. I’m not especially jealous or possessive though, which is are typical traits, but then I’m confident in our relationship.

Now, in the Chinese Zodiac, I was born in the Year Of The Rabbit. Rabbits tend to be gentle, quiet, elegant, and alert; quick, skillful, kind, and patient; and particularly responsible. However, they might be superficial, stubborn, melancholy, and overly-discreet. Generally speaking, people who belong to the Rabbit zodiac sign have likable characters.

I think that meshes very well with the traits of an Aries and is actually a relatively accurate overview of my personality.

Brody (my twin) on the other hand? Could not be less of an Aries if he tried! OK so yes he’s stubborn and impatient and impulsive but he’s not got the confidence. He’s much quieter, keeps to himself but notices everything. He’s a lot more Rabbit than Ram!

The difference a generation makes

Jade Rachel & I were watching Top Gun earlier. It’s one of her favourite movies and neither of us can believe how long its been since the film premiered. 30 years next week. Some parts of it have dated, some parts of it are now nostalgic in their 80s-ness. It’s still a damn good film though – and I must say that Tom Cruise in it still makes my heart go aflutter.

I adored him back in the mid-80s. I err on the side of caution in calling it his prime, per se, because he is still making some pretty awesome movies. But my favourites of his were all from that time – the mid 80s-mid 90s:
Top Gun, Cocktail, Legend, Born On The Fourth Of July, Rain Man, The Colour Of Money, Days Of Thunder, A Few Good Men, The Firm, Interview With The Vampire, Mission Impossible, Jerry Maguire…

Regan walked in while we were watching and just rolled her eyes. It’s such an old, dated movie. Starring that scientology freak. Or so she tells us.
But will she still be swooning over Zac Efron in High School Musical in 20 years time?


One of the things I still find most bizarre about having a step-daughter in her late teens, and one who is very smart at that, is some of the more peculiar conversations we have. This evening it was about the demography and diversity of the population in London.

For a little bit of context, Regan is starting a degree in socio-anthropology in the autumn so for her at least this is not that peculiar a topic – it’s simply her area of interest.

We were talking about all the different nationalities and languages we encounter, travelling by public transport everyday. Curiosity struck and I decided I might as well share some of the facts we learned.

Contrary to seemingly-popular belief, the largest ethnic group in London is ‘White’ with 59.79% of respondents in 2011 census. Over half the population of London identify as white. And the majority of these (44.89%) are ‘White-British’.
Asian/Asian-British come in at 18.49%, Black/Black-British at 13.32%, ‘Mixed’ at 4.96% and ‘Other’ (including Arab) at 3.44%
Clearly, London is being over-run with foreigners, just like shock media would want you to believe…

The census also recorded that 36.7% of Londoners are foreign born – with 24.5% being born in a non-European country. London has the second highest immigrant population in the world.
Although, that’s still only marginally over 1/3 being foreign born.

We then looked into languages.
77.9% of the population spoke English as a main language, with a further 19.8% speaking it as a second language or well to very well. That’s a total of 97.7% for those playing along at home. Yes, we’re being so taken over by foreigners that don’t speak English that… oh.. only 2.3% of Londoners don’t have English as first or second languages.
In fact, only 0.6% of those surveyed didn’t speak English at all. Not quite 2500 people out of a population of over 8 million.
The main languages, other than English, spoken here are Polish, Bengali, Guajarati, French, Urdu, Portuguese, Turkish and Spanish. Arabic is the 10th most common language with a grand total of 0.9% of the population.

The last thing we looked at was religion. And, like me, 48% of Londoners identify as Christian. The second most stated was ‘no religion’ at 20.73, with Muslim coming in third at 12.39%.
The remaining 18.88% was made up of ‘not stated’, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist and, like Jade Rachel, ‘other’.

I found all this absolutely fascinating to learn about to be honest with you. I love the diversity of the population of this city and was actually quite surprised by a lot of those figures. It just goes to show you the difference between the truth and what popular media wants you to believe.


I discovered today there are a couple of guys in our IT department who play Dungeons & Dragons, and have spent this afternoon trying to convince me to join them. Not really my kind of thing but their passion was definitely enjoyable.

They were trying to decide what alignment I would be. I looked at them very blankly because quite frankly, I didn’t have a clue. Possibly they were speaking Klingon…

But no, it seems your character’s alignment is central to a D&D character’s personality. D&D uses two measures to determine a specific character’s ethical and moral attitudes and behaviour.

The moral axis has three positions: good, neutral and evil. Good characters generally care about the welfare of others. Neutral people generally care about their own welfare. Evil people generally seek to harm the others’ welfare.

The ethical axis has three positions as well: lawful, neutral, and chaotic. Lawful people generally follow the social rules as they understand them. Neutral people follow those rules find convenient or obviously necessary. And chaotic people seek to upset the social order and either institute change, or simply create anarchy.

For some reason I actually agreed to take this… personality test type thing that would tell them about my character’s view of right and wrong.
And the survey said:
Chaotic Good

A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he’s kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit.

Sounds pretty accurate, actually. Although you still won’t find me playing Dungeons & Dragons!😉


I have the strangest desire to be sitting on a beach; somewhere tropical, with clear blue skies, translucent water, golden sand beneath me. A book in one hand and a cocktail in the other.

Unfortunately, there’s so much wrong with that image I don’t even know where to begin!
I hate beaches, sand getting everywhere and making everything all gritty.
Hot sun? I’ll turn into a lobster.
Cocktail? I’d rather an ice-cold bottle of beer.
And I couldn’t sit still for five minutes without getting bored, getting up and wanting to do something. How do people do it? Lay there for hours cooking themselves? How are they not bored?

So I have no idea where this daydream came from. I suspect it isn’t mine so if you’ve lost it, let me know and you an come and pick it up…

Where would I rather be?
I’d like to be wandering the streets of Amsterdam. It houses more historic buildings than any other city in the world and it has one of the largest historic city centres in Europe, consisting of 90 islands linked by 400 bridges. Most of its historic buildings and streets have remained unchanged since the 19th century, due to the fact that there was no major bombing in the city during World War II.

Where am I?
London. I do however have that ice-cold bottle of beer in my hand!.

Choosing the right scen


There are a bewildering array of aromatherapy fragrances to choose from, but it’s to get the hang of picking the one that’s just right for you

Some fragrances will ease you off to sleep, other will help you to wake up in the morning. Some relax you, easing away stress and anxiety; others are revitalising and will gee you up for that important meeting.

Follow your nose

Oils that smell very similar often have very different effects. Lemon is a stimulant, yet lemongrass is a sedative. Rosemary and peppermint on the other hand, smell nothing alike, but both are excellent for fatigue.

Orange, which reminds of us of the sun, produces an oil that will brighten your mood and complexion

Scent and associations

Smell is the most primitive of our senses, and the one that is most closely linked to our memories and emotions.

When we think of our mother’s kitchen or a beautiful day at the seaside, heir smells are often the first thing that springs to mind. We can use these memories when choosing aromas to create specific moods.

Fond memories
As scents are linked to your memories, not everyone will enjoy the same aromas. Lavender is often considered uplifting but if it reminds you of your crotchety old grandmother it is unlikely to relax you!

Luckily, as most conditions can be eased by a number of different oils, there will always be a right one for you

Woody smells that remind us of the outdoors can be helpful in easing away urban stress. Strengthen the association in your mind by burning incense coils in your garden on calm summer evenings

The Magic of Aromatherapy

You can harness the healing and uplifting qualities of plant fragrances to help you relax, unwind and even treat minor ailments

You can find out simply and pleasurably just how beneficial aromatherapy can be by adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to the next bath you take. You will notice the difference immediately. As you smell the relaxing fragrance of the oil surrounding you, its peacefulness and tranquillity will lift your spirits, promote relaxation and soothe stress.

Aromatherapy is the art of healing with ‘essential’ oils – distilled essences that have been extracted from plants. These can be used in massage and inhalation techniques, added to bathroom products such as soap, skin creams, bath gel and shampoo, and also used to create room fragrances.

Aromatherapy also involves the use of incense (in loose,, powdered form or as joss sticks), pot pourri, steam inhalations, scented candles, and fresh flowers. You can use all of the above to raise your mood, treat ailments and improve your sense of wellbeing

How it works

Through the nose
When we smell a fragrance, we take its healing molecules into our bodies. Heating essential oils and burning joss sticks vapourises the oil so that we can breathe in its molecules more easily

Through the skin
Essential oils applied to the skin are absorbed into the bloodstream to take immediate effect