Monday, 29 December 2008

Fleamarket Finds

Looking for some new gear to start the year? Forget the High Street sales and head to the flea market instead. It's so much more fun, and your chosen treasure will last a lifetime. Unsure of how to bag a bargain? Watch my one-stop guide to closing the deal - this time at the Barras Market in Glasgow.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008


Dear readers - I wish you all a very happy, peaceful Christmas. May we all try and share the best we have to offer and enrich one another's lives with kindness, friendship, beauty and joy. Let's hope 2009 is a year of promise and creation.

Saturday, 6 December 2008


I write features for a fabulous magazine called SELVEDGE which is as far from the fusty world of old-style arts and crafts magazines as it's possible to get. Editor Polly Leonard started SELVEDGE five years ago, after a rather racy knitting feature for the in-house Embroiderers' Guild publication got her fired from her job. It was Polly's chance to start the magazine that she'd always wanted to read - a publication that weaves together the worlds of textiles, fashion, design and interiors and creates something fresh. It's more like a book than a magazine, with captivating photos and illustrations that keep you flicking through your back-issues long after you've filed your latest copy neatly on the shelf. When I first visited the Selvedge "office" I was amazed to find the staff sitting cosily around Polly's large dining room table, every inch of space crammed with computers, contributors' copy, and cups of coffee! Polly is the true woman at the helm - the magazine is self-funded and manages to hook both the experts in the field, as well as aspirational makers and dreamers. Each issue sells 25,000 copies - not bad for a bi-monthly niche publication. It's now celebrating it's fifth birthday - long may it continue to inspire and delight. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SELVEDGE!


OK - I've resisted so far - but now I'm adding my tips to all those others. Here are my top 10 for beating the credit crunch. Please feel free to send in your own!

JOIN THE LOCAL LIBRARY - no more paying for expensive books - they can usually order the title that you want if it's not on the shelves.
MAKE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS GIFTS - this year I'm making candles in teacups, which will also come in useful when the lights go out!
SWAP HOLIDAYS - two months ago I swapped Italian language lessons in Rome for working as a gardener. Bargain holiday, new skill. Result.
POM POMS - cheap and cheerful way to brighten up your woollies.
ROAST CHICKEN - obviously not for vegetarians. Buy your chicken when the prices are reduced, roast it in the oven with a few herbs, potatoes, carrots and parsnips and it'll do for about 2 or 3 meals.
VEGGIE OPTION - onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, pumkin - salt, pepper, splash of oil - roast for 40 mins, eat with yoghurt and corriander. Tasty and under £2.
TAP WATER - we are lucky to have it. Let's drink it.
HOT WATER BOTTLES - Cosy and cheap - especially if you make a cover out of an old jumper! A purring cat can also help keep you warm and comforted.
MAGAZINE EXCHANGES - swap Vogue for Elle Deco, or Grazia for Living Etc. All the glossiness less expense.
GROW YOUR HAIR - make like Rapunzel and just let it go - no more expensive haircuts!