Friday, 30 December 2011

New Year's Eve

As we fast approach the biggest night of the year, if you haven't already decided what to wear, now is a good time to give it some serious thought.

There are many ways to celebrate the ending of one year and the beginning of another, from a quiet meal for two, to a massive party ball. What you do will direct what you wear. There are too many permutations for this post to cover, so perhaps just a little New Year’s Eve guidance for a night out in the bars and clubs of your town.

First thing to think about is the weather. This is becoming much more important ever since we started having these snowy and cold winters. I have checked and the forecast for Saturday evening (New Year’s Eve) and it is warmer that of late. In my homeland possibly as high as 7C as an overnight low. Positively tropical!

This is a great help as helps solve the first problem - coat or no coat.

The general rule to follow for coats, is that over 0C it is fine to go without coat, whereas any temperature with a minus in it - you really should think of some sort of upper body covering.

This rule of course does not apply to my friends living in more southerly locations, where the general advice is, unless it is the hottest day of the year, you must wear a duffel coat at all times just in case a tiny square inch of your flesh is exposed to chilling night air.

For your New Year's Eve outfit, you should consider the following key points:

  • Your chosen fashion items for the night should be selected from the most expensive items you own;
  • Consider buying something new for the event, but make sure you had given it a trial run first, New Year’s Eve is no time to find out that your new outfit drains all your colour and makes you look like Baby Jane Hudson;
  • There is a great temptation to wear black. This is often considered to be 'sophisticated' and gives the impression you have been somewhere more glamorous first. This is incorrect, it just looks like you have given your outfit no thought and since 90% of other people at your venue will also be wearing black, you are unlikely to stand out. Also, unless you are very skilled in this area, you will look like staff - so don't be surprised if someone asks you if there are any vol-au-vents left;
  • As it is New Year’s Eve, some sort of embellishment is quite in order, whether it is tiny fleck of sparkle or full on rhinestones;
  • Wear layers so they can be removed as bars and clubs become more crowded; avoid hite, you are likely to have gained a few pounds over the holiday period, and nothing shows this more than a white figure hugging outfit;

  • It might be cold, but try and avoid wearing a hat scarf and gloves combination - it really does make it look like you would rather be home in front of the fire and the TV. You may of course wish you were at home, but as you are out, it is best to just get on with it and enjoy yourself.
Although not strictly fashion advice, I do have a tip for a safe return home after a New Year night out. Consider placing a small sheet of paper with your address on it and a £10 note into a sealed envelope. This can be handed over to the taxi driver when you go home. Thereby avoiding an awkward scene where you try to describe where you live but can’t quite get the words out due to the amount of alcohol consumed.

Have a good night and Happy New

Celebrity Week

A look at this week’s celebrities:
  • Chloe ended up in accident and emergency after the TOWIE Christmas night out;
  • Chloe has a look of Michael Jackson without her make-up on;
  • Dawn and Jennifer told Anne to shut her mouth - amen to that one;
  • Jordan had her first Christmas as a single woman - this was just a technicality and had something to do with the coincidence of the alignment of planets and a two day strike by newspaper reporters;
  • Beyonce might have had her baby;
  • Katy and Russell aren’t having problems again;
  • Harry and Kate wore Wellington boots;
  • Dawn wore a skirt above the knees - well all skirts are worn above the knees, I mean that the hem line ended before reaching her knees;
  • Dawn wore tights with baggy knees;
  • Dawn isn’t used to wearing clothes that show her knees;
  • Katherine and Gethin aren’t engaged any longer - aawww;
  • David and Victoria had a pie and some potatoes - well David did, Victoria watched;
  • the beach Boys are back on the road - saints preserve us;
  • Donna Douglas settled a lawsuit over a doll - who is Donna Douglas! Oh keep up; and
  • Rihanna was in a bikini - must have been doing the housework.

International Date Line

You might have heard about Samoa moving the International Date Line today (you read it here first a few months ago). Well today is the day.

I have my reservations about all this. As far as I can find out, they don’t seem to have asked anyone if they can do it - they are just doing it.

It is all very well for them, stuck out in the middle of the South Pacific as they are, but what if everyone started doing it.

Just suppose France (and I wouldn’t put anything past them) suddenly decided to move the International Date line a few miles to the west, today it would be tomorrow over there but over here it would be yesterday.

And knowing the French, they probably wouldn’t tell anyone they had done it. It hardly bears thiking about it.

No, on balance I think they should leave the International Date Line where it is!

Thursday, 29 December 2011


Popped into town for a couple of items and have a look at the sales we hear so much about on the news.

What a load of tat - didn't get anything.

But I did spot my arch nemesis in the distance. Didn't see her full on, but I know it was her, I'd recognise that scarecrow hair-do and scrawny neck anywhere.

Although what she was doing in Bainbridge’s new beauty treatment area I have no idea - I’m surprised they didn’t chase her off!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Dear David - Boxing Night Party

Dear David

Any tips on arranging a family party taking place tonight.

David Responds

For the Boxing night party much depends on who is invited, whether there will be children present or not.

If children will be present, turn down the formality and make it a family party atmosphere. Wear chunky knits and woollen scarves. Arrive with that final present for the children. Make sure there are plenty of colouring books and crayons to keep children amused, and some discrete alcoholic drinks for adults. Consider a punch with lots of vodka - but make a children’s version with lemonade and red coloured pop.

If children will not be present turn up the glamour.

For city parties, high gloss lipstick and dramatic eyes, diamonds and plunging necklines with as much glitz and sparkle as you think you can get away with.

For country dwellers, don’t miss out on the glamour stakes, why not take off your Barbour jacket and give your Wellington boots a wipe over with a damp cloth?

For Boxing night party food - give yourself a well earned break and have a buffet style affair. You can prepare all you need during the day and the wise guest will turn up with a meat and potato pie to add to your festive offerings.

Whatever your style of party, have a great night but remember, no tiaras on Boxing night.

Dear David - Boxing Day 2

Dear David

Why is Boxing Day so called?

David Responds

There are a number of theories around the answer to this one. The general view is that it goes back to Victorian times where many poorly paid people were required to work on Christmas day. At the end of the day their employers would present them with their ‘Christmas boxes'.

Another view is that it comes from the opening of ‘Alms boxes’ in churches - always done the day after Christmas and the money distributed to the poor.

Also in the 18th century Lords of the manor would ‘box up’ their left over Christmas food and give it to the poor.

So take your pick - and there are probably other versions as well.

Dear David - Boxing Day

Dear David

Just a small note to request some advice...

What is one supposed to do on Boxing Day?

Much obliged

Still full and slightly groggy, Worksop

David Responds

As yes Boxing Day, the much forgotten and maligned partner to Christmas Day.

We spend so much time, money and effort into arranging Christmas Day that many forget Christmas is a two day festival and hardly any thought goes into what to do on Boxing Day.

This is why so many people spend the day after Christmas walking around dreary retail parks looking at sofas.

When making your Christmas plans you should give equal thought to this second day of Christmas. It is a day for visiting friends and family and swapping gifts with the people you don’t like as much as the people you spend Christmas Day with - although you might want to keep that thought to yourself.

For the Dear David household, I look on Boxing Day as a continuation of Christmas Day where you are allowed to remain in your dressing gown until 08:30. Maybe have a Cadbury’s flake before breakfast. Just generally treat the day as Christmas Day, but hold back a little on the rich food - maybe just two helpings of sherry trifle for tea instead of three - that sort of thing.

Have a quieter day than Christmas day, maybe reflect on some of the things you said the day before, like ‘Well you said you didn’t want anything’. Think of the wisdom of such things and what you have learned for next year.

A personal tradition is to start a book I have been saving up all year - don’t rely on starting a book you might have been given for Christmas, that is much too open to chance.

Whatever you do, have a quiet, gentle peaceful day - it won’t last.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve Visitor

Had her from next door round this afternoon, she must have been looking out for me when I got back from the gym. I had hardly taken my coat off and she was knocking on my front door - no kids with her this year, he must be looking after them.

And just for the record, last year I did not make her little girl cry because I said the reindeer she drew me looked like a cow. I only said that as she hadn’t drawn antlers on it, some people might think it was a cow.

Anyway made a nice cup of coffee which she offered to help me make. I knew she was after a root around the kitchen to try and find my gypsy creams, but I was onto that one. A bit of fast footwork and I had a packet of digestives open before she could say a word.

We normally stick to swapping boxes of chocolates, but this year she has bumped me up to an electric carving knife. I think she is trying to show up my box of Guylian sea shells, but I bet that knife is a ‘re-gift’!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

To all my readers

Gym on Christmas Eve

Popped into the gym - on Christmas Eve, how good am I?

Bit busier than normal and the place was full of men, not a single woman (well apart from her that has a funny hair-do that makes her look like a Labradoodle), in sight. I suppose they must all be giving the gym a miss today and staying in roasting turkeys.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Celebrity Week

A look at this week’s celebrities:

  • Ola and James aren’t doing the Strictly tour;
  • Price Harry had a night out with James Cordon - he must have better friends than that, I'd rather stop in;
  • Harry won strictly - not that Harry the other one;
  • Abbey and Peter left a kitchen window open - again;
  • Holly is getting married;
  • Coleen has a new fringe;
  • Melanie someone or other won the first US X Factor;
  • Jennifer and Justin sent a joint Christmas card - cheapskates;
  • Scarlett always wears make-up and isn’t the sort to ‘slop around in sweatpants’;
  • Scarlett doesn’t have to get up at 6 in the morning to spend her day on the checkout in Tesco;
  • Mark won Sports Personality of the Year - it says here;
  • One Direction started their UK tour - yes really;
  • George is feeling better and is back home;
  • the ‘orange one’ seems to have gone out without her skirt on;
  • Jason arrived in Australia;
  • Tobey left Australia (there is no connection); and
  • Jon Bon denied he had died during the week.

Dear David - Christmas Day

Dear David

I will be on my own all over Christmas. You seem like a nice person, can I spend Christmas day with you?

David Responds

No you can’t. Sling your hook.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Dear David - Santa Letter

Dear David

I forgot to send my letter to Santa Claus, is it too late to send it now?

Sarah age 5

David Responds


Dear David - Gift

Dear David

I have been invited out for Christmas Day. I want to take my host a present to say thank you. I thought of taking a hard boiled egg or some nuts. What do you think?

I am 93 and only have a small pension

David Responds

Oh bless you dear, I am sure your hosts are not expecting a present and wouldn’t want you to go to a great deal of expense.

Why not give them one of those string bags of Satsumas? Open the bag and wrap them in individual pieces of silver paper to make them look festive.

Christmas Update

Time is running out for your final Christmas preparations. If you:
  • haven’t already sent Christmas cards and or presents by post;
  • haven’t made your Christmas cake\pudding;
  • haven’t ordered your turkey\goose;
  • don’t have your tree in place and decorated
it’s too late so don’t bother.

For the last couple of days you need to:
  • Concentrate on food shopping;
  • Make or put final touches to your Christmas food and
  • Wrap those last few items you plan to give in person on Christmas day.

You might also wish to prepare a small basket of Christmas goodies to take around your neighbours on Christmas Eve. 

You will be invited in for a drink in exchange for a box of your home made mince pies. This is very kind, but decline the offer. The drink will invariably be sherry and rotten QC or Harvey’s Bristol Cream at that. This is poor return for your beautiful mince pies. Much better to leave the neighbours feeling guilty about taking your present but giving nothing in return. You can exploit this all next year – a much better return!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Ramsay at Christmas

I see Ramsay has a Christmas programme.  He is going to swear at us and show us how to cook Christmas lunch, live on TV on Christmas day (Channel 4 10:00 to 14:00).

Times must be harder than I thought if he has to work on Christmas day to get a bit of publicity on TV!

Dear David - Magnets

Dear David

I often use a magnet in my daily routine but wondered if I could wear out the magnet and it might lose its magnetism.  Could this happen?

David Responds

I can't possibly imagine what you would use a magnet for in your daily routine, but it is possible for a magnet to lose its magnetism, but it is unlikely.

Loss of magnetism can be caused by heat.  Heating to a high temperature (known as the Curie point) could cause a loss of magnetism but you are unlikely to encounter this temperature in your daily life - unless you put your magnet in the oven.  Don't put magnets in the oven.

Another possibility is Via a demagnetising magnetic field.  This involves coercivity and is a little complicated to explain here, but to be safe, best keep your magnet away from other magnets displaying an opposite polarity.

The last way is by a shock, such as by dropping or hitting with a hammer. This only affects older magnets, so if your magnet is new you should not encounter this problem.  To be safe, don't his your magnet with a hammer!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Christmas update

Christmas draws ever nearer, check my update to make sure you are on track (and Miss P I hope you have caught up!)

You should
  • by now have interviewed your turkey\goose and placed your order with your butcher;
  • have your routine for lighting indoor candles (lighting up and blowing out times) should be established and in place;
  • have confirmed you list of invitees for Christmas Day and Boxing Day;
  • have confirmed you full menu for Christmas Day;
  • decided your TV viewing\Radio listening schedule (if you are doing these activities) to avoid arguments on the day;
  • have your Christmas food shop list completed and ready to purchase - remember the shops will be closed for eight minutes over the holiday period so you need to buy a quarter of ton of food in case you run short;
  • considered your medication requirements for the holiday period and have a stock of headache tablets, digestive remedies, an elasticated leg bandage (don't ask, high jinx last year involving a pair of roller boots, a dvd of Dancing on Ice and an industrial strength catapult) and an elastoplast.

Brian Cox on the Box

I like the occasional science programme on TV and particularly ones about quantum physics, so I was looking forward to a programme with Brian Cox on Sunday night.  Don't know if you saw it, but I learned lots of new things.  For instance if you pour sand through a slit in a sheet of cardboard it will fall through to the other side.  And if you wait long enough, a diamond will jump out of a box unaided

If you missed it, catch it on iPlayer.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Christmas Candles

As you know I spent last week putting up my three Christmas decoration - well two as I thought three was a bit too much so I put one of them back in the cupboard - I have now decided to fully embrace the season of lights in the dark by buying some candles. They are now placed in strategic points in my house.

Next year I think I might light them!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Mince Pies

Finally managed to track down some mice pies made to my preference - no lid but with an icing topping in Fenwick’s, (£2.50 for box of six).

I know it is early but had to taste test one - purely in the course of duty to inform via my blog of course.

Verdict - the icing was hard and thick, shortcut pastry was stale and dry and the mince meat filling was miniscule to the point of non-existence.

The overall experience was as if eating a solid block of icing sugar, not pleasant.

Does anyone want a box of five mince pies?

The search for the perfect mince pie continues.

Celebrity Week

A look at this week’s celebrities:
  • Peaches is getting married - again;
  • Elizabeth sold her jewels for $115 million;
  • Kerry has a new man and he is 'the one' - again; and
  • Britney a new man too;
  • Shane hurt his hand;
  • some annoying group won X Factor - thank goodness that is over;
  • Sam wore a furry hat and sunglasses;
  • Nigella had a night out in a little black dress - I don’t mean she had a night out inside the little black dress, I mean she wore a little black dress on a night out - and anyway the neck didn’t fit; while
  • Jude has been wearing lots of hats;
  • Sylvester went for a walk with a friend in Beverly Hills;
  • Gwyneth got a bag full of clothes off Philip;
  • Harry and Chelsee are in the Strictly final, oh and Jason is there too; and
  • Rebecca lost a pair of Christian Louboutins.

Christmas update

If you are starting to feel a little pressure with the approach of Christmas, I will be issuing updates on where you should be and what you should be doing over the next week.  First update:
  • your Christmas tree should be in position and decorated;
  • your internal house decorations should be in place;
  • Christmas Radio Times should be in your position;
  • Christmas parcels should have been posted - last posting date was Wednesdayy and
  • The single bag rule is now relaxed until Boxing Day.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Dear David - Hilda Approach

Dear David

I have heard of the ‘Hilda Ogden’ approach to random callers, but I don’t know what it is. What is it?

David Responds

As yes, technically it isn’t a Hilda device, it was demonstrated in a role played by Jean Alexander, but the character is much the same.

Use this approach if you are at home and don’t want to be disturbed by unannounced visitors.

Whenever someone comes knocking, put on an overcoat before going to answer the door.

If the caller is someone you are happy to see, take off your coat and say you have just come in.

If the caller is someone you don’t want to see, say sorry, but you were just on your way out! You might have to play this one out and go for a walk around the block, but that is a small price to pay for a quiet afternoon undisturbed to watch Diagnosis Murder.

It was the weekend before Christmas ...

Getting close to the last weekend before Christmas … but there are dangers ahead. 

I am going to have to keep a sharp eye out for her next door on Saturday morning otherwise she will be straight round and sit there all morning drinking all my coffee and making her way through my Gypsy Creams. And then she will casually ask 'oh you couldn't look after the kids for an hour while I pop into town could you?'

I am ready for her this year, and time for the Hilda Ogden approach I think ….

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Dear David - Bucket

Dear David

I saw your recent letter about carol singers and in your reply you seem to say that red buckets for collecting money are not acceptable. Why is that?

Also I have a galvanised steel bucket for daily use, is that the correct type of bucket to use?

David Responds

No one buys a bucket to go out carol singing, so the implication is that carol singers carrying a bucket already have said bucket in their possession. I have difficulty imagining the kitchen\utility room that would support a bucket in bright red. You are much safer with a grey bucket.

Technically your bucket should be made of metal, and galvanised steel would have been my recommended option in days gone by, but unless you want forearms like Ma Broon, you should probably go for a plastic bucket.

Dear David - Haircut

Dear David
My wife is always on at me about my hair. She says I should get a more modern cut. What do you think? (picture enclosed).

David Responds

Thank you for your question - and your photograph. Your hair is err … very nice, but not everyone can get away with the 'I was a prisoner on Devil's Island' look. Perhaps you should think about upgrading. Go online and check your local area for hairdressers and pick one where you have to make appointment. 'Drop-in' arrangements are not suitable for hair-cuts.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Dear David - Spangles

Dear David

I have been trying to find selection boxes containing packets of Spangles, but without luck. Where can I get them?

David Responds


Dear David - Carol Singers

Dear David

We often get carol singers around our way, but I never know how much to give them or if I should even encourage them. Can you give me some advice for handling carol singers?

David Responds

Ah yes carol singers, no Christmas film or play would be complete without this seasonal accompaniment.

As to your question, much depends on how you feel about carol singers and whether you enjoy them or not. For myself, I think of them much as I do Halloween callers, to be avoided at all cost, but if you like standing on your front doorstep in the dark, while all the heat escapes from your house and you miss the last ten minutes of Coronation Street, then follow my seasonal guidance for carol singers:

  • Once you open your door, carol singers will launch into a half hearted rendition of a song of their choice. This is wrong, you are paying for the service, they should sing a song of your choice;
  • It is Christmas so be flexible, tell them you are happy to negotiate on song choice, but you will not accept any carol that contains any of the following concepts, Santa Claus, reindeers, sleighs, robins (rocking or otherwise) or jingle;
  • Allow your carollers a few moments to select an appropriate carol, but be quite firm, tell them you want two verses and three full choruses.
When deciding how much to give, start off by considering a donation of £1, but make the following adjustments

  • If they are carrying a plastic bucket for contributions, reduce the amount;
  • If the plastic bucket is red, reduce your amount further;
  • If your carollers are all wearing woollen hats, scarves and gloves, increase the amount;
  • If hats, scarves and gloves match, increase the amount further;
  • If your carollers are wearing track suits, or anything that can be bought at JD Sports, reduce the amount;
  • If your carollers bring offerings of warmed mince pies, increase the amount;
  • If it snows during your impromptu carol service, increase the amount;
  • If they have a small child in the front shivering with the cold but joyfully singing along, increase the amount;
  • If they have a lantern on a stick; increase the amount; and
  • If the lantern holds a lit candle, increase the amount further.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

X Factor Competition

Bit of a competition on X Factor tonight. You could win lots of tickets to see some people I have never heard of all around the world - and some more people you have never heard of right here in the UK. Plus you get £10,00 to do it with. Think I’ll have a go.

Some lad sang a song and you have to guess the missing word.

The song went like this …

‘I’m walking on ????'

The options are

A - Sunshine

B - Eggshells

C - Water

Hmm tricky one this. I don’t think it is A - Sunshine, as you can’t walk on sunshine because it is high up in the sky.

Not sure about B - Water. I know Jesus had a go at that, but I don’t think anyone else has done it, although maybe David Blaine has done it?

But I think the clue is in the programme. All the finalists are nervous so I think it is B - eggshells.

Christmas Presents

A few years ago I got involved in one of those schemes where you buy and donate a Christmas gift for local disadvantaged children. Not sure what they mean by disadvantaged, but if they think they get nothing for Christmas now - wait till they get older.

Anyway I usually get something, but I struggle a bit with what to get for children, I have no idea.

But this year I think I have a triumph.

I bought some lovely napkins from Bainbridge. I can’t wait to wrap them up and donate them.

Admittedly they weren’t their finest quality napkins, but they are only children!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Gardener's World

Caught a bit of Gardner’s World tonight, not one of my usual programmes, but the remote was at the other end of the room and I couldn’t be bothered to get up for it.

Anyway it was a Christmas special and there was this mad woman on it with red hair. She said there had been a stray windfall plant in her garden during the year and she liked it a lot so she took some seeds from it.

She then proceeded to give all the other presenters a little envelope filled with free seeds as their Christmas present.

What a marvellous idea, I must get some seeds!

Celebrity Week

A look at this week’s celebrities:
  • Times are hard at X Factor, the finalists are singing with their mentors - thank goodness Kitty isn’t in the final!;
  • Kelly isn’t that fussed whether Amelia wins X Factor or not - we already knew that, as you kicked her out in the first week;
  • Simon says he might watch the final;
  • Duggie won the jungle thing; and
  • Robbie left the Strictly thing (aaaww);
  • one of the little lads in One Direction is going out with some bird you have never heard of;
  • Jenny lost a shoe as she left a party; and
  • Angelina cought her shoe in her dress;
  • Declan got a new car;
  • Kim Cattrall or Samantha Womack might be on Britain’s Got Talent;
  • Bear wore some slippers when he met the Queen;
  • Tom thinks he might make another Top Gun film - I haven’t seen the first one yet!;
  • Central Perk’s sofa is on sale;
  • Charlize wore a red dress - that was last season lovey;
  • Sian is thinking of leaving the BBC while Christine thought ‘oh there might be a job going.

Dear David - Father Christmas

Dear David

We hear a lot about Santa Claus these days but not much about Father Christmas. Why is that and is there a difference?

David Responds

There is very great difference and you pick up on an issue of much sadness for your blogger. Father Christmas is an early European mystical figure with great tradition and sophistication. Santa Claus (or worse, the bile inducing 'Santa') is an American abomination probably derived from the Dutch Sinterklaas when New York was a Dutch colony.

The contemporary incarnation of Santa Claus is largely a coca cola invention and would be unlikely to be the source or have an involvement in hundreds of years of European magical Christmases.

Please, by all that is sacred, stop using the appalling Santa and let us at least bring back Father Christmas!

Thursday, 8 December 2011


You might have seen the really bad storms north of the border on the news.

Apparently it is the worst weather in Scotland since the back end of July!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Dear David - Christmas Baubles

Dear David.

I want to buy some new baubles for my Christmas tree. I was thinking of having some engraved ‘Jill and Jack’s first Christmas 2011’. Do you think this is a good idea?

David Responds

No. Have them engraved ‘Our first Christmas’ then you can use them again in the future.

PS If you are called Jill, you shouldn’t be dating someone called Jack!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Christmas Radio Times

When is the Christmas Radio Times issued?

I need to know the order in which all the programmes that were on last year are going to be shown this year. 

I also need to know which film I am going to fall asleep in front of and miss on Christmas day.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Christmas Decorations

Time for my Christmas decorations. I have spent the weekend rounding them up and assembling them for consideration and allocation.

To avoid 'over decoration' I think I will display them across three different rooms.  But which goes where ...

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Dear David - Saving Money at Christmas

Dear David.

We are in a recession and money is tight for us all. Do you have any tips for saving money this Christmas?

David Responds

Yes times are hard and Christmas can be especially hard on the wallet, so follow my top tips for making your money go further this festive season:
  • When doing your Christmas food shop, ask yourself ‘do I really need this item’? If your answer is yes then fine buy it, but if you answer ‘no’, put it back. If you answer ‘yes’ just in case’, then you should put this back on the shelf also. The shops are only closed for three and a half minutes on Christmas day, you will not leave yourself open to a culinary disaster;
  • Also remember at least 25% of the food you buy for Christmas will end up in the bin!;
  • For your Christmas Day meal, save money by not having specially ordered and prepared table decorations. Make your own. Take an orange and stuff some cloves in it. Your family will gasp in admiration when you tell them you made it yourself;
  • If you are having a buffet for friends and family over the holiday period, put out your food, but don’t slice large items like quiches and pizzas. Your guest will feel reluctant to ‘break-in’ to an ‘unstarted’ food item and with a bit of luck you might salvage a meat and potato pie for another day;
  • For your party, consider having a ‘Christmas jumper’ theme. This will get everyone in the party mood and allow you to turn your heating down a few degrees;
  • If you have children, send them out carol singing. This is a great money earner as you can set off what they bring in against their pocket money. Hope for snow or a howling gale, frozen children shivering with the cold trying to sing Good King Wenceslas will bring in more money from your neighbours;
  • If you have a party occasion coming up, save money by wearing last year’s little black dress, no one will notice you wore it last year (well I might but I won’t be at your party). Dress it up with some polka dot tights and borrow a killer clutch from your girl friend. For that extra special wow factor, add a brooch and a chiffon scarf.
I hope I have given you some things to consider, and I am sure you can think of many more ways to make your money go further this Christmas!


Popped into Sainsbury's this morning and I notice they have a new 'Charity Book Table'.

How very thoughtful - so I took one!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Celebrity Week

A look at this week’s celebrities:
  • Christine is packing it in on Monday; and
  • Gary will probably be packing it in next weekend as well;
  • Christine is getting £280k compensation for not having to get up at 4 in the morning and sitting on a sofa next to Adrian;
  • Katy has denied her marriage to Russell is in trouble - again;
  • Peaches has a new hair-do;
  • Simon might be coming back to do X Factor again, but not until 2013;
  • William, Kate and Harry are getting lots of free tickets for the Olympics,
  • Stella is going to be on Ab Fab;
  • ladies in Liverpool are getting celebrity eyebrows;
  • Demi isn’t in a relationship with her beauty guru - you’re kidding right?;
  • the vile Osbourne kept covered up - thanks Sharon;
  • Headline News - ‘Zac is in LA’ - isn’t that where he lives?;
  • Kell;y wore some hot pants;
  • Kelly danced with a dancer - I guess that is what they do;
  • Russell got a tattoo - there is no truth in the rumour it said ‘Next!’;
  • the jungle programme rumbles on - is it finished this weekend?;
  • her that used to be her off of Birds of a Feather, but is now her off of Emmerdale has lost a bit of weight; and
  • a few of our TOWIE favourites might not be in the next series.


I have just been watching a trailer for a new ITV drama called Without You.

Rather a lengthy trailer, so I get the gist of the story and needn't bother watching now.

Can we have more of these, will save me loads of time!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Dear David - Gifts for Him

Dear David

What on earth can I buy for my husband for Christmas? He has no sartorial sense so clothing is off the agenda. More golfing paraphernalia than I can imagine and his DVD/CD collection is complete. I am a stuck confused woman!

David Responds

Oh dear confused this is a difficult one. But there are answers.

Much depends on what you want to achieve from the present(s) you give. If you are sick of the sight of your husband in the same old tat, then the fact he has no sartorial elegance is immaterial. Decide what you want to see him in and buy it for him.

If he really has no fashion idea then he won’t notice the difference and wear what you give him, and in a single stroke you may have started the long road to fashion decency.

If he is only pretending to have no fashion sense because he can’t be bothered and doesn’t like what you have bought him, he will still have to wear your chosen items at least once to keep the peace. When he doesn’t wear your present again, all next year whenever you feel like it you can say ‘you never wear that shirt\jacket\suit etc I bought you’. This will put him at a disadvantage and he will have to go and put your bought item on!

If you are fed up having your husband under your feet at the weekend, Christmas is a great time to get him to take up a new hobby. I see you have made a start on this and have him interested in golf, but you can’t make him play golf every weekend.

Buy him a telephoto lens. This is especially effective if he doesn’t have a camera. He will have to go out and buy a camera, thereby ensuring his buy-in to his new hobby. With a new camera and telephoto lens he can go far and wide at the weekend taking dramatic photos of the countryside. Leaving you in peace to enjoy your valuable weekend time.

Why not arrange a mini weekend in London. Arrange travel and hotel accommodation and tickets to your favourite show. This is a great gift for your husband as you get to go too!

I hope I have given you some ideas - and remember a gift isn’t about what the person wants to receive, it is about what you want to give!

Dear David - Christmas Present

Dear David

Thank you for your advice on what to buy my wife for Christmas. I had bought her perfume and chocolates, but I think your suggestion of an iron and ironing board is much better. But now I am stuck with a box of chocolates and some expensive perfume. What should I do?

David Responds

I am pleased to be of help. All is not lost with the gifts you have already bought.

After your wife has opened her new iron and ironing board you can show her the perfume and chocolates you have already bought. Offer them to her at a discount - say 50% off - your wife will be so pleased with the gift already opened she will readily buy these items off you.

Everyone is a winner, your wife gets some reduced price perfume and chocolates and you get some of your money back to spend on manly things like a monkey wrench or a socket set (whatever one of those is).