Posted on

My Volunteering Story

Summer 2015 was quite a stressful time for me I was working as a Fashion PR, juggling the commute from Brighton to London with major fashion events and clients.  I was also working with my husband trying to save our men’s accessories company in quite a volatile department store market.

That Summer was also our third attempt at IVF, sadly this didn’t work for us.  With business crumbling and pressure rising I felt a jolt of anxiety and stress, that turned at times, into an overwhelming wave of depression.

We decided to close the accessories company and my husband landed a good job in London.  For health reasons, I decided to stop my work as a PR and concentrate on writing more.

I had started to write my blog as a fashion insider back in 2010, now I had a great opportunity to do something I loved and those summer weeks and months helped me to channel my stress into writing and getting better.

Although I loved writing from our studio shed in the garden I still felt lonely and craved other human interaction.  I started to volunteer at my local British Red Cross Shop in Shoreham by Sea.  First, for one day a week, and then two.

The structure of this gave me something to get up for in the mornings.  My back ground as I’ve said was fashion so I loved the fashion aspects, recognising good brands, sorting and pricing items.

During this time volunteers turned into friends and I found myself working in a way I’d not worked before, working not just as a shop volunteer but listening to others concerns and problems.  I felt genuinely supported and loved, something that you don’t always feel in Fashion.

People volunteer for many different reasons; sometimes it’s a link between not working for a while and paid work.  Sometimes it’s for companionship, friendship, or to work through a dark time in your life, for many it’s a happy safe place to grab a coffee, have a chat and sort some stuff both physically and mentally.

Two and a half years on and I now work for the British Red Cross, I help to manage the team at Shoreham and write pieces like this to highlight what an important place a Charity Shop can be to bring a Community together and engage individuals with problems that society can often overlook.

Our little shop in a relatively small seaside town took over £120,000 last year.  I’m so proud of the profits we make but I’m far prouder of our volunteers’ achievements which can be anything from speaking another language to gaining confidence or new skills.  My proudest moments strike when you least imagine, I overheard a volunteer with learning difficulties explaining how donating just £5 can save a person’s life.  Right there in that little second I felt so proud.

You can volunteer with British Red Cross by going to the website to find your nearest shop.

Or read the recent article in The Shoreham Herald 34

Love DSB

Posted on

Top Five tips on Beating the January Blues

January can be a funny time, the high of Christmas and New Year can result in the January blues.  Partying and revelling can mean crashing with a bang in Jan.  With every up must come a down.

I’ve never been a fan of January.  Oh no,  cold and dark and depressing, its my least favourite time of the year, however after living with depression and anxiety for some years now I have a few tricks up my sleeve, ways to make my life better in the middle of winter.

1/ Hygge is the scandi buzzword of the moment, to me it means looking after yourself, I’m a fan of Simplicity on a Sunday. On your day off do the things that make you happy and make you smile.

2/ Go for a walk, there’s nothing like walking by the beach or in the countryside to clear the mind and put you in a good mood.

3/ Light candles and fires.  As soon as I come home on a night I light candles, it fills the air with beautiful aromas, at the moment I can’t get enough fig and musky smells.

4/ Put the music on and dance!  Well you don’t have to dance but music uplifts the soul and can be the key for me to make a bad day good and a dark day bright.

5/ Cook!  I love preparing and cooking food, I also love laying the table and making a celebration out of  the dishes you create

Ok, that’s my top five, if I can add a PS I’d say have a bath with a herbal detox oil such as Olverum, which smells delicious and go to bed with a good book and freshly washed linen.

How do you Hygge?

Love DSB X

Posted on

Warming your Winter home

The last days of November can be bleak, it can also be so incredibly beautiful.  Clear bright skies but very cold nights.  December marks the beginning of Winter, so digg those woollies out!  

This time of year you can turn on the central heating but what truly warms your home is the little touches of love. 

I hail from the North East of England where it feels Baltic and freezation that is abominably cold on the best of days.  So We do Winter well.  Some folk now call it Hygge, I call it warming up for Winter.

Here’s my almost Winter tips.

Light a fire.  An open fire or wood burning stove comes into its own this time of year.  If you don’t have this luxury fake it.  We have two fireplaces but the previous owners converted the loft, taking out the chimney breast so a real fire is not possible.  We fake it in one room with twinkly lights and in another with a gas fire that looks like a wood burning stove.  It kind of does the trick of looking like a wood burner and boy does it knock out some heat!

Lighten up – light candles and switch on twinkly lights, mood lighting is so warming in the winter.  Lights can trick the brain into calm, and positive mood enhancing stuff, so soft lighting and fairy lights mean relax.  Harsh blue mobile lighting is not so good. Put the phone down after 10pm! 

Buy the biggest scented candle that you can afford and indulge.  Dont just wait for the weekends.  light in on a Monday night when you get home from work, and need a pick me up, its my first step to a chilled night in.

Now pile on the pillows.  More cushions and throws on your sofa, more pillows and duvets on your bed.  Start with linen bedding then add blankets and woollies.  Snuggle up.  Keep warm.

Smells like …Candles, sprays, perfume, whatever makes you feel good, evoke the smells of the season, pine cones, I love fresh flowers in the house and eucalyptus leaves, I’m also a fan of a good pillow spray, This Works does a good spray and roll on for bedtime.

Finally, Cook.  I cook more one pot cosy dishes in the Winter, soup, broth, casserole, stew, good cooking smells enduce happy thoughts.


Enjoy your Winter and embrace the season, Sending you all a big British hug, (not a Hygee) not offence to our Scandi neighbours but we got this, we know you Winter. 

Love DSB x 

Posted on

Sunday Supplement #41 |Garden Life 

I think I speak for the whole country when I say thank the Lord for the sun this week.  After a devastating start to the week with events in Manchester, I think everyone spent the beginning of the week feeling sad and slightly down.  I suffer from anxiety and any sort of sad news can work as a trigger.

I relax by watching gardening programs (I know!) I have a particular soft spot for Monty Don, unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the Royal Chelsea Flower Show this year but I did watch it on catch up and its given me some great ideas for a little garden redesign.


Talking of which my roses are in full bloom at the moment, and the peonies will be making a show anytime in this next week….Watch this space.

I spent some time in London at press days this week mostly looking ahead to Autumn Winter launches.  As a sneak peak of what’s to come for Autumn check this beautiful burgundy clutch from Jigsaw and silk scarf from Marks and Spencer.

I also love the gold personalized passport holder and these danglers from River Island, all available in shops from September.

Friday was a scorcher of a day in Brighton, I spent the morning meeting with fellow Brighton influencers Style Memos, Hunt Continues, and Natalie Courtois we ate brunch in Mange Tout which was so lip-smackingly good I’m surprised I was able to hold a conversation.

I also walked by the sea and popped into The Grand Brighton to check out its event rooms.  Have you been to the newly refurbished Victoria Terrace recently?  It’s a beautiful Victorian conservatory overlooking the sea, such a beautiful place, I think I will be back very soon.

Love DSB X

PS If you would like to donate to the Manchester Emergency Fund with the British Red Cross you can do so by clicking the link.

Posted on

Sunday Supplement #40 – The Other Room

Last weekend I had some of my best friends come to visit, delighted to have visitors I set about sorting the spare room and ‘the other room’.  The spare room was not difficult, my parents stay with us a lot, quick sweep, change of linen, done.  To properly accommodate my friend her husband and two children would mean me tackling The Other Room.

The other room has been many things, an office studio before we built the studio shed.  A bedroom while decorating the spare room and latterly my walk in wardrobe, a study for writing and studio for taking most of my photographs.  It’s also a gatherer of dust, books, magazines, excess tut.

I cleaned and took out all of the tut.  I hung some pictures and made a gallery wall of sorts.  It’s a bit thrown together, I’ve just chucked up a couple of charity shop old paintings and some wedding pictures, I don’t know if it’s all those beautiful people smiling back at me but I like it, it’s kinda chinzy and cozy, I’ve dotted the room with candles and flowers and added a painting I’ve been working on, Grey Storm.

Hmmm, let’s say the painting is a work in progress…..and I need new cushions, but give it time.  In other news, our dire weather has had me reaching for the fake tan.  Skinny Tan sent me a box of lovely products.  As well as the tan mousse, they sent me exfoliator mitt, primer, applicator mitt and a detailed list of how to do it.  I now have a healthy glow, no streaks and importantly non-orange palms!

I’ve also this week felt that seasonal change in skin, not sure if its more walking the dog or exposure to the elements (I can’t really say the sun can I?).  So I’ve been reaching for a moisturizer to combat, tired, uneven lackluster skin.  This Bio-Radiance Face Cream from Christopher Courtney London really works.

As soon as you apply this authentic, ethical, luxurious cream you can feel it tingling and working.  It smells incredible and of course, it’s all natural and made in the UK.  If you don’t  know this company follow this link.

All photographs by me, have a fab week, I’m going to work on the other room.

Love DSB X

Posted on

Sunday Supplement #39


How are you all for a Sunday?

I had a couple of days off this week with Mr. B, no holiday, no time abroad or even an overnight hotel stay.  Instead, we opted for a staycation, that’s right a week at home in the Boston Abode, time to reset, recharge and do all the jobs we had been putting off for an age.

After the first exciting day of work free home togetherness, i.e. lie-ins, takeaways, and netflix.  We found the garden.  I pruned and weeded, deadheaded and fed the flowers.  Mr. B mowed, hoed and dug a trench for the new front fence and lavender patch, more on that in a later post.

Next, we looked to the studio shed, after running denisonboston and BostonandBoston for almost four years from the studio we had a lot to do.  One and a half days and four runs to the local tip later it’s once again become a cool haven at the bottom of the garden for working and writing.

I cut some flowers and greenery from the garden this morning.  Lilac and the last of the Cherry Blossom, Bluebells, and Muscari, and Ivy for a little deep green.  Then as the Instagram obsessive that I am, I took lots of photos of the arranged flowers.  Mr. B took some photos of me and Blue.

Blue is very photogenic and I don’t look bad for an old gal.  Although, I do have to give some credit here to the serum and moisturizer I’ve been using lately.

It’s a new anti-age cream for women.  Eucerin Elasticity + Filler helps to strengthen the skin’s structure by improving elasticity and plumping the appearance of deep wrinkles.

I’ve been using the Eucerin for four weeks now, it’s defo a good combo, I still have wrinkles but they look a whole lot better, plus I have pruned garden and a tidy studio shed, all set for a beaut of a Spring and Summer, hazy days of laughing and gardening and writing ahead!

Love DSB X

PS Please excuse the double denim, trainers and scraped back hair, natural and not always Insta ready!

Posted on

Sunday Supplement #38

I’m not too fond of Halloween to be honest.  I think it’s all got too big and American and over the top.  Two entire rows in Tesco were given up to Halloween-themed costumes, plastic pumpkins, and treats.

When I was young I’d never seen a pumpkin, well maybe in an American movie?  No, we carved Turnips, stuck a candle in a Swede and took our odd looking vegetables proudly to school.

Now I know I went to school about a hundred years ago but this seemed to be a civilised way to celebrate Halloween, not some supermarket fueled vampire frenzy. I could happily have skipped Halloween for the rather spectacular and altogether British tradition of Bonfire Night!

Bonfire Night was our own very British festival, fireworks, bonfires, jacket potatoes and pork pies.  Our efforts were not spent on dressing up in supermarket bought latex Witches costumes like our friends across the pond, no.  We used our imaginations.  We stuffed our Mams stockings with paper to make arms and legs, stole our Dads caps to put on a turnip head.  We had our own special Guy Fawkes to throw on top of the bonfire.  And he looked spectacular!


I must admit I did dress up for Halloween some of my twenty and thirty something years, but I am happy in the knowledge that I never will again.  The idea of fancy-dress now makes me cringe.  I think it’s my age. And yes you can be too old for face paint!

I’m sure if I had children it would be different and I’d be trick or treating or apple bobbing my way to hell.  I did feel like I missed out on this but now I feel like I’m lucky not to be charging around to my neighbours for something called Candy.

If you live on my street don’t be afraid to call, I did give in and bought orange coloured mini muffins from a sexy witch in our Co-Op.  See.  I’m not a total bah humbug!

Love DSB X

Thanks to Linden Tree Flowers for the Green Chrysanthemums and Green Gourds.  I will admit to loving Pumpkin farm pictures on instagram just hold off on the sexy witchy snaps!


Posted on

Sunday Supplement #36

A couple of weeks ago over dinner with friends, I was introduced to the Danish idea of ‘Hygge’.  Now I knew the Danes have an amazing sense of style but I knew nothing of this Scandi coated lifestyle nonsense.  Over dinner, I learned it’s the way the Danes get through the cold dark winter by restoring and recharging, and a rule, come ritual by which they live.

My dinner companions were the beautiful and talented Danielle and Natalie from LadyLoves blog.  I’ve since learned a thing or two about Hygge, with the ladies dedicating the month of October to all things Hygge related.

Hygge is about mindfulness and living in the present, it’s enjoying and partaking, friends for dinner, drinks in a nice hotel.  It’s also about making time for yourself in equal amounts doing the little things that give you so much pleasure.

I met a lovely lady this week who said she read my blog, after feeling first embarrassed, then flattered I listened to why she read it.  She explained her favourite post,  I had an unplanned day at home, and with a zillion things to do I drank a pot of tea in the late Summer sun and arranged Hydrangeas!  Totally self-centered gratification.  This is my Hygge.

If Hygge is to be ‘self-indulgent’, no, better word,  ‘self-mindful’ then Sunday is my Hygee.  Waking up late in freshly laundered sheets, a cup of tea and Monty Don on TV with his gardening jobs for the weekend.  We walk the dog on the beach or over The South Downs.  Stopping for a hearty brunch, kippers, eggs, bacon, avacado.  Whatever I like, because I’m in Hygee, I will not count calories, I shall indulge.

Sunday afternoons bring a spell of writing usually in my office surrounded by candles and flowers, today the candles are from Floris and Noble Isle the flowers are the dried smell of wheat, eucalyptus and roses.  Definitely more Autumnal now.

Writing and listening to music is my big indulgence, they are my symbiotic Sunday rights of passage.  As I sit at my desk I can hear the dulcet tones of John Peel from 1970, the sounds and smells provide the background to my Sunday Supplement writing session and make the fabric of my Hygge.  This feels good!

Once I’ve finished writing I’ll throw some meat and veg in a big pot, I might take a bath, swathe myself in delicious body potions, read the Sunday papers or watch a bit of weekend TV.

The night will end curled up on the sofa eating a warm bowl of goodness with a glass of red in hand.  Mr B and Blue doing exactly the same thing next to me.  Maybe Blue won’t have the wine but she loves a Sunday Supper.  And after we will snooze smelling of bath oils in our slippers until the time comes to put out the candle and say goodnight.

Now I know this sounds idyllic, and, of course, it doesn’t always go like this, (how many times did I rearrange the candle and my mug of tea?)  Life is not always as perfect as your Instagram feed.  In this crazy fast paced word in which we live and as a women, in particular, celebrate yourself and all that is good.  I may not go to church but I do practice a religion on a Sunday; me, home, our little loving family and the good things in life.

For more on Hygge check out Lady Loves blog here.

Love DSB

Noble Isle, Rhubarb Rhubarb Candle and Body Hydrator here.

Leonor Greyl hair oil and body oil here.

Monu Spa Recovery Balm and Body Oil here.

All images DSB x

Posted on

Sunday Supplement #34

Happy Bank Holiday!

Can it be the last bank holiday of the year?  Possibly the end of Summer?

I’ve had a lovely long weekend. I’ve gone a little green.  I styled some hydrangeas for my friend’s wedding.  I’ve reorganised my garden and my shed(s). I’ve pruned picked and potted herbs, ferns and my new favourite succulents.  Oh!  How I love these rubbery little critters.

I’ve bought a second dress in green, that’s two in the last four weeks.  Both from the British Red Cross shop in Shoreham. I’m loving that bright, vivid garden green, I’m considering painting a wall or perhaps some furniture?  Maybe I will make do with lots of plants for now.

I’ve cooked up some feasts and drank pots of tea, coffee, and little prosecco. I’ve had a much-deserved lie in with the puppy and walked for miles along the beach.

I’ve also installed Amazon Fire TV Stick.  In preparation for the Autumn and the Autumnal nights which are beautiful but not so warm.   I’ll want to snuggle on the sofa with a box set or film.

Amazon Fire TV Stick gives you access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Video, Demand 5 and more.    I love it so far, instant film and all my  favourite programs.Tonight I’m going to sit in the garden, enjoying food with  friends,  and when they go I’ll be curling up with the puppy and Mr B to watch…Who knows? Maybe we will keep the weekend green and go for a little Monty Don from Gardeners World or maybe full-on IncredibleHulk?  Anne of Green Gables?  Ok I’ll stop now…

You can buy Amazon Fire TV stick here.

Love DSB x


Posted on

Sunday Supplement #33

I’m going to share a Sunday secret with you!

Since opening last Summer, I’ve spent many a Sunday in West Sussex’s best kept secret,  Perch on Lancing Beach.

Lancing is one of those towns that you go through to get to somewhere else like Worthing.  Since we moved West of Brighton a couple of years ago we like to take our dog Blue to Shoreham Beach and Lancing Beach.  The beauty of Lancing Beach is that the shoreline sit’s low and when the tide goes fully out you have magical white sand.

Perch on Lancing Beach is a casual restaurant/ cafe serving everything from great fish and chips through to excellent coffee and cake in the cafe area. With direct sea views and housing inside one the largest low carbon buildings on the South Coast. It sits right on the beach.


Double bonus time, the cafe and restaurant are dog-friendly!  So after a lovely beach stroll, it’s onto the cafe for coffee or restaurant for breakfast or lunch.  The breakfast baguette and Pizza are beyond yummy.

From 3rd June they will open on Friday and Saturday nights for dinner.  You can book this online. I have a feeling it will be popular, perhaps I shouldn’t have shared my Sunday Secret after all?



Posted on

Sunday Supplement #32

Some things in life are sacred.  For women, happy home, happy family, happy work.  For men ditto.  For women nice shoes, nice clothes, nice bags.  For men nice shoes, nice clothes, nice watches.  For Me good food, good wine, amazing book.  For Mr B good food, good wine and a BMW???

So Mr B is embracing his new role in London, heading up sales for a luxury leather brand. Life has changed forever, commuting, early starts, early nights.  The perks are living life to the full at the weekend, paid holidays….any kind of holiday!  We have gone from working for ourselves to working for other people, the change is profound.

Two weeks into the new role and Mr B wants a new car.  I am in two minds about this, on the one hand, a new car is an unnecessary indulgence, on the other it’s a reward for hard work and a hard commute.

If your working all week and want a bonus then if a car is your thing, buy a car, for me its books, clothes and shoes….oooh and flowers and handbags.

So Mr B bought a car this weekend and I bought books and flowers.  I recently bought How to be Parisien and Ozzy Clarke diaries.  Both brilliant books, both from British Red Cross Shop in Shoreham.  Penny saving treats.

I’ve also got into a habit of buying flowers from our local florist Linden Tree.  My frugal trick is this, one week buy the foliage – a big bunch of Eucalyptus, for example, the following week I buy long stem Ranunculus or Roses.  Thus freshening up the bunch without the big weekly bill.

 So as I wake up on a snoozy Sunday morning I know Mr B is thinking about the new car over his coffee, meanwhile I’m dreaming of books and flowers, whilst scouring the internet for new season bags and shoes. Have we turned into the ubiquitous middle-class couple?  Nah, life has taught me to go with whatever makes you happy be it frugal or frivolous!

Less ranting and more fashion this week on the blog……

Enjoy the rest of your weekend


Posted on

Sunday Supplement #31

How glorious has the sun been today?

We were all at home today in what seems like weeks of doing different things.  We decided to walk over to our beach and catch a bit of this year’s Brighton Marathon.

A week of doing other things here and there, Brighton, Shoreham, London makes home seem so much nicer on a Sunday.  Our beach Southwick Beach looked resplendent today with golden sands, still blue sea and big, big sky.

We paused to throw the ball for pups and take in the scene, then we cheered on marathon runners.  12,000 runners this year, just the sixth year since the run began in 2010.  The run has such an international pull to our beautiful city. One your running by the sea, two its a very flat course so good for those PB’s, three it’s Brighton whats not to like go for a run, kick back in Brighton on a Sunday night and take the Monday off work, right?

I pondered this over lunch of a bacon sarnie and coffee in the sun…..

I decided that going forward I, one, need to take more pictures and improve my sky technique, two I should think about running Brighton Marathon and three I’m really quite proud that so many people travel to our fair and dandy city.

Well done to all the runners and Tom, Fran and the team @Brightonmarathon

Love DSB X

Posted on

Sunday Supplement #29

The strangest thing has happened to me in the last couple of months.  I’ve had a bit of an unplanned career change.  I’ve somehow and unintentionally gone from Fashion PR to Charity Shop Champion.

I started volunteering for my local British Red Cross Charity Shop in Shoreham by Sea back in August of last year.  You may have read about my Charity Shop finds in other posts.  I found it an amazing place to spend my time, sorting donations, researching finds and meeting new people.

 More recently I’ve been spending more time in the shop finding it such a fab place to hang out and talk fashion and style while serving customers and doing a little shopping myself.  An Assistant Managers role came up in the shop and I only went for it and got it!

So PR for the moment is taking a bit of a back seat though I’ll still be looking after my favorite fashion bloggers Danielle and Natalie from Lady Loves.  I’m also still involved with fashion Accessories website Boston & Boston.

Of course I’m still going to be blogging, my spring target is 3 posts a week, so expect more fashion, lifestyle, beauty and stuff as well as the regular Sunday Supplement.

So now I’ve blogged and had a nice cup of tea from my new tea set (A great bargain from British Red Cross).  I’m off to cook a Roast and listen to Jarvis Cockers Sunday Service on BBC 6 Music…….Bliss!

Have a lovely rest of your Sunday.

Love DSB x

Posted on

Sunday Supplement #27

Where did Sunday go?

I’ve been lazily trying to rearrange my studio, I say lazily because apart from the cleaning I’ve been trying to rearrange my books.  Trouble is, every time I move a book to sort it, keep, chuck, or maybe? The book takes on a story from my past, a memory or a meaning, then I open the book and start reading.  Game Over!

My day has passed like this, I move a few books, see one I recognise to be good, start reading, Mr B shouts “Have you finished yet?” “We should take the dog for a walk”  and so my day continues with minor eating and walking interuptions until now, I am still in the middle of cooking, blogging and spring cleaning a room.  Where does the time go?…..I guess Mum’s have this ten fold.

So today was mother’s day.  We celebrated Mother’s Day last Sunday with a truly yummy pub lunch at The Fountain in Ashurst, Ma, Pa, me and Mr B and pups.  I bought my mum a pretty scarf and some Dream Oil Serum by Deborah Mitchelle. Mum bought lunch pub lunch for us all plus drinks, it seemed fair at the time, …..But perhaps we take our Mum’s for granted?  I know I do.

 Mother’s Day was invented by American greetings card manufacturers to make more sales, a lot of people don’t like it, my Mum would say, “Dont bother its only a day” but Mum’s are important every day.  More each day.

My mum has always said “Your Mum is your best friend,” and It’s true, she is.  It took me some time to work this out but my ma is there for me come hell or high water, she’s only ever a phone call away, a confidant, an advisor, a teacher and a friend.  My Mum would defend me to the hilt, she is truly my best friend and a great lady!

Love you Ma xxx

Hope you all had a special day x


Posted on

Sunday Supplement #26

Sunday for me is such a good food day.  Sunday is the day to relax and take pleasure in leisurely preparing and eating your dinner.

Sunday feels like a day when you don’t need to be just refuelling, you can take time to plan and cook and make the most wonderful things to eat and share.

However what with London Fashion Week, and a super busy work week I’ve just not had the time to plan and prepare my usual culinary cuisine.  My midweek meals have consisted of goody bag fodder, popcorn, cupcakes and coconut milk and take aways on the London to Brighton night train home….Hmmm.

Thankfully this week I got my first Simply Cook pack in the post, four amazing recipes in one box posted through the door.

It is THE way to Transform Your Mid-week Mealtimes if you a short on time but big on food.

SimplyCook is obsessed with flavour. They hunt the world for delicious dishes and work out the flavour combinations that make them so tasty. Then they source and combine these flavour blends and deliver them to you, along with simple 20 minute recipes to follow.

Four delicious recipes, regularly delivered through your letterbox as often as you want them.  Each recipe comes with 3 authentic flavour blends (like stocks, spices and glazes). With up to 18 ingredients in each flavour blend, these make the meals taste truly authentic.
I have to say I’ve been really impressed with the Simply Cook pack and how easy they make midweek meals, I cooked all four recipes in one week, I especially liked Goan Fish Curry, and this is how I did it…….


Have a lovely food filled Sunday!

Love DSB X