On the Quest for My Bed Soul Mate!!! oooh errr missus!@!@


After spending the whole of my married life obsessing on creating the perfect bed (like the one on our honeymoon) …A sumptuous hotel bed that literally hugged the hell out of us the moment we climbed in. (I’d like to say it was the start of a first wedded night of bliss…. but to be fair we were so knackered  after the long day of smiling and wearing posh clothes.. it took us 4 whole days to make our vows legal!)

Well after 25 years of searching for my perfect bed that even came close to our honeymoon bed of dreams but now……  I finally found the holy grail !

I know!

….but this is big news for a 45 year old woman.. can you believe I used to get my thrills from nightclubbing and drinking copious amount of alco-pops at illegal raves (and all the treats they would bring) Rock and Roll baby.. it all about the bed these days!!!

So over the years I have worked hard on my search, finally plumping for the Eve mattress, Soak and Sleep silk filled pillows, an amazing feather and down duvet and the most glorious silk and microfibre mattress topper you can ever imagine!!!!.

Our bed is, we realise, an understated grown up and constant support and comfort..but the actual bedding and sheets where still unfound..

I have tried lots of different sheets and duvet covers to bring the combo together, from decorative prints, white lace, fleece covered, high and low thread count and everything in-between… realising that the only way forward is plain and super high thread count. But although I have some amazing sheets ( mostly from Soak and Sleep) they were never quite hitting the ‘honeymoon spot’.

Just before Christmas I spent a LOT of money on some bedding from a high end hotel range..The same hotel that provided us with that dream bed of years gone by.. I saved up for a few years for it and finally went for it just before Christmas as a gift to us to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary..

The plan was we finally returned to our honeymoon bed of dreams and our silver wedding anniversary would be the moment that we returned to those lazy hotel days.. ( I say ‘we’ but my husband is so over this obsession… (he could literally get comfy for sleep stood up in a storm barefooted on a bed on nails)

I couldn’t wait.. it was imported from France… Paris no less!!! the excitement was tangible..( well in my head anyway) When it arrived I unwrapped the tissue paper and removed the silk pouch of lavender that graced and adorned each individual piece.. I really did feel like I had something special….. I could not wait to get them on the bed… I felt like a 22 year old Parisian lady… opening her luxurious purchases with class and pretended that is was a normal occurrence that I received such luxury… ” this is normal for me’ I said to my invisable audience.

 Oh the disappointment!

Up to now the bedding set have been washed 5/6 times, I have tried all kinds of fabric softener and even bought a special cashmere softening solution to do the job…. but… they are still very scratchy!
They are still really stiff and you can hear the rustle as I spread it over my glorious cloud like mattress topper… I don’t want a rustle.. I want to hear the sound of a sigh.. a sigh that floats up from the silky smooth fabric as I stroke it smooth across the bed ( albeit in my chipped nail varnish adorned hands) …but no… its more of a grunt than a sigh… it reminds me of sleeping in hospital as a young girl, as the nurse tucked me into the far too hard bed with sheets of a hardness that would put off even the most laid back of decorator looking for a sheet to cover the carpet.

I don’t want function and hard wearing!!! I want softness, indescribable pleasure and comfort hugging me daily and making me groan with pleasure as I slide my feet about under the plump of the quilt, finding the cool spots against my hard heeled trotters.

I could weep for my saved up money.. our special treat… lost now as they won’t change or refund because I washed them.. aren’t you are supposed to wash new sheets before you use them?!?

(I could have kitted the whole family out in Linenbundle twice with that money!!… ‘gutted’ is an understatement )

The Customer service was rubbish too!!! The once purring Parisian accent that soothed me through my order had been replaced with an ‘Edith from Allo Allo’ doppelgänger  as she lectured me about the quality of the product and how I had now ( imagine the accent of a snooty Parisian madam) ‘used the sheets so they were no use to anyone now’… I imagined her inspecting her nails as she spoke to me with an air of utter disinterest.

I was very upset .. (this is a polite way to put it because I was really p*ssed off) All that saving up, the expectation of the utter luxury they promised… I was very sad .. and yes I know this is pathetic.. but some people get obsessed with the perfect lipstick or pair of designer shoes, maybe you’re are obsessed with dolphins or some ludicrous sports car.. I know.. I know… I’m just obsessed with my bed.. ok?

So as I sulked the facebook spooky spying elves had been listening and started throwing up loads of luxury bedding sites…. and yes I started looking again… and then I saw them…




I knew straight they were going to look after me even if I didn’t like the product, they were saying everything on their page that I wanted.. I mean there was actual a list of reasons why I should buy them… that list could have been written by me!!



I felt like I’d met my bed soul mate!

So I spent some more money (albeit it a hell of a lot less than the posh hotel stuff but still money I had put aside for the fancy new tap in the bathroom) on one of the splendid bundles !!!




They arrived in a little grey canvas bag and although not individually wrapped in tissue paper with a silk lavender bag.. there was postcard with Lionel Richie on it and cute little pun… I LOVE THAT!




As soon as I opened them I knew I’d found what I’d been looking for.. soft, natural, classy, and kind of understated really… but in a ‘Im really amazing but I don’t need to tell you about it’ kind of vibe….

I put them on the bed and OMG!!!!! they are just what I have been searching for for the last 25 years!!!! I climbed in at exactly 5pm and did that weird thing where I kind of cycle my legs about between the sheet and duvet testing the smoothness and enjoying the coolness of the fabric.. I am very weird like that! I made lots of groaning and MMMMmmmming noises and thats where I was found an hour later by my hubster..

I was in bed with my pjs on watching Tv with my 5 year old as he walked in ( if he was a cartoon he’d have had a question mark above his head) .. unapologetic and knowingly I just just held up my hand to stop his questions before they started!



I simply flipped over the quilt on his side, with no hesitation at all he kicked of his trousers and climbed in…



God I love that man!


So we all sat there unspeaking and happy for another hour before dragging ourself up and downstairs to pretend we were normal.



There was a small issue with the quilt cover which Im not even going to add because it was quite irrelevant in the whole scheme of things and besides it was rectified in 24 hours as a new one sent out no quibbles.. they even said the keep the old one as a spare!!!

So yes.. they are Fab! I love them!!! the customer service was fab.. friendly, quick and faultless. just the kind of no fuss I like.

I’ve now got a set for my daughter and will get a bundle for each of my other brood, one  every month I reckon.. so by the summer we will all be languishing in glamorous beds!!!



So in a nutshell…

Yes  Linenbundle sheets and bedding are a little pricy but, they are by no means as expensive as those selling equivalent quality!

These sheets are NOT Argos or ASDA.. they are not ‘£7.99 for a fitted sheet’ that after three washes looks like a whole load of un-soaked orbies as it turns into a million little balls of irritation!!! These will get softer and more loved with age… you can just tell its going to keep on getting nicer and nicer!!

No printed unicorns, peacocks of flamingos to fade and go out of fashion, no faux satin panels or Broderie anglaise frill… these are plain and understatedly expensive looking.. a bit of quiet class..

Ditch the prints…and fuss….after all no-one expects the queen to sleep under a duvet sporting a black and white printed image of London ( with the phone box the only thing showing colour) .. her majesty  is in plain, soft and expensive sheets.. you know it…she knows it.. it the only way to go.




This purchase isn’t a throw away fashion purchase..

It’s an investment!!!

Your bed is important!!!

Spend extra on it! ( but you don’t need to spend too much.. the price is just right)

It so worth saving a little and getting these, you’ll never buy a scratchy patterned printed duvet cover again that will bobble up in the wash and go out of style before it’s pattern fades to a grey shadow of its former self ..

keep in plain…

keep it soft..

keep it classic…

keep it classy!!!


Be aware that you may have unwanted visitors though…. my little girl and teenage son keep jumping in and saying with a whine “whhhhhy is your bed soooo comfy?’

Even my 18 year old daughter climbed in on Sunday morning!!!! there is totally no privacy when you have 4 children!

So… I’ve done it.. I have my perfect bed… and the snooty Parisian lady can sniff at me all she likes.. I’m sticking with Linenbundle.


PS: I’d like to say the new bedding allowed us to reacting our honeymoon at last.. but to be honest we’ve just been sleeping too well for all that!!!

15 Lazy New Years Eve Party Tips. For a middle aged lazy and frugal Cowbag.


Ok so I’m in my 40’s and we don’t want a Rave or Orgy anymore… we also don’t want ( can’t be arsed) a formal dinner party or cocktail party….Similarly I’m not planning on the house been filled with drunken 20 somethings throwing up in my plant pots and snogging each other … but I do want to do New Year and I am having a house full again at new year..

I want my friends around me, I want a laugh and I want us all to be together without anyone getting stressed out…

I’m a prolific lazy Cowbag so know how to make things easy, cheap and effective!

Here are my  tips to a lazy and effective middled aged party.

15- Only invite people you know and like.


You really don’t have to invite anyone just to be polite… your house your rules.

Inviting people you know well and who can relax and have fun with while knowing they won’t steal your family silver or fall asleep in your bath.

We all have relatives and friends that need keeping apart or they’d be falling out with everyone about football , Brexit or the finer details of Fracking. Its ok to choose who you want to spend time with… its not a crime.

14-Don’t start too early.


If you start the party at 7pm you have 5 hours to kill before the new year hits…people will all stay for the new year and thats the crux of the night, start at about 9pm, you have time to have a drink and get giddy without getting blotto and losing guests to sleep

13- Tell everyone (not ask) to bring booze! 


If you ‘ask’ your guest to “feel free to bring a bottle” … you don’t know if they will or not…will you have enough????  The risk of running out of booze on new years eve is the stuff of nightmares, so you will end up buying it all anyway ‘just in case’.

 You will have to buy everything.. beer (lager and bitter) wine (all colours) cider, spirits, mixers and juices… if you state “bring enough booze for yourself and we will share” it’s friendly and direct.

Make it clear that everyone should bring booze!!!.. I normally say “Bring enough booze for yourself and we can all share it” Do this and you will only need to buy what you will drink yourself… you always end up with loads left over too! always a bonus!

12: Make it a joint effort with food with a healthy dose of competition! 


Tell everyone you are having a food competition, tell them to bring either a sweet or savoury and hold a vote at the end of the night. 

Our table is like something from Master Chef and Great British Bake Off on New Years Eve,

We all love trying to impress each other with food and skills… we love to share food and  and we totally love laughing at disasters too!!!

Offer silly prizes and different awards, It’s great fun and everyone shares their skills and you’ll have a feast without spending all day in the kitchen and spending a bomb at Asda.

11- Make life easy for clearing up!

il_fullxfull.356753869_6lio.jpgUse paper plates, bowls and cups/glasses, tie bin bags everywhere and just keep filling them… it will make life so much easier in the morning.

When folks say ‘do you need help’ say yes !

10- Atmosphere and Decor


Easy! You will still be decorated from Christmas, so add candles in containers everywhere and turn off the lights to add atmosphere. Have different music in each room so there is a different vibe in each place… its easy. ( see Getting outside below)

9-Get outside

Open the garden up, build a camp fire, put out deck chairs, cover with blankets and cushions  pull the benches close and put rugs son the floor over tarps… pile up blankets and throws and fill the garden with candles in jars… if you know musicians get them to bring their instruments and you will find the house will be empty! An idea to warn guests to come in warm clothing.

8- Crap fireworks 


It’s obligatory at our house that our fireworks are really shit! 

It’s hilarious waiting for them to go off and do something and then watching the kids laugh historically when you adults all pretend it’s the best thing you’ve ever seen! Lots of frantic oohs and ahhs as well as over-dramatic reading of the names and descriptions on each firework.. one year we were setting chit fireworks off one by one for an hour…

NB; This year we have some good ones.. we are all disappointed! 

7- Involve the teens and let them invite a friend.


It is important for teens to see adults having a good time without taking drugs or getting absolutely blotto. They love feeling equal to adults older than them and they engage really well when given the chance. If they are shy or need some back up, let them bring a friend, it will keep them happy and comfortable. Ask the parents what their rules on alcohol consumption is if they are under 18. We allow our 15 year old a couple of drinks with us, but not all parents do… its good to be clear of what their expectations are or you will end up with a teen ‘spreading their wings’ big style and you sending them home to Mum and Dad with an empty tesco bag (just in case)

6- Invite the little kids with their parents.


No need to keep the kids with babysitters, let them join in! They can sit and enjoy the campfire, join in the daftness.. they love been involved in adult conversation and adore it when they see their adults been silly! 

When they get tired, they can bring pjs and go to bed… make a bedroom up for them all, cushions, blankets and mattresses, bowls of sweets and a number of dvds… if there are loads and they are all different ages they will look after each other. These are the parties that make memories for life.

5- Countdown to Big Ben on Radio 4.


Forget your cheesy tv countdown.. get outside and turn radio 4 up loads.. we all have fond memories of listening to the bongs of Big Ben on a crackling radio… and if you are outside, when it does turn midnight you can pop corks and let off streamers without worrying about the mess. Just sweep it all up the next day… or the next week…

Also you probably all have more room outside to all be together and not spread over various rooms in the house… and of course you can enjoy the fireworks too.

4- Acknowledge your traditions and share with your friends.


My husband is half Irish and half Italian.. he has two traditions we now do every year and now our friends adore playing along. 

First one (Italian) is that you must be outside to see in the new year and the first person to enter the house must take in wood (for fuel) and silver (for money) at our house now, all our friends cheer when one of our kids goes through the door with the package…

Secondly we have new year fairies (Irish) the children put their slippers under the Christmas tree when they go to bed and the new year fairy fills them with treats for when they wake! 

3- Invite everyone to stay! 


It may fill you with dread but folks will be greatful for the offer and not having to drive or pay expensive cab fees.

Tell them to bring air beds and bedding and fit them where you can. If you are a close friendship group like us, you’ll have a great time ‘indoor camping’ 

Also it allows everyone to really relax, we often end up sitting playing cards or watching videos till dawn, we get the left overs out and if some wants to go to bed they can… it’s much easier to just move in and have fun…everyone relaxes.

We like people feel at home, and having somewhere to go and have some peace and quiet through the night is really important to helping people relax. I generally try and show folks to their rooms before they party so they can set up home and feel like it belongs to them for the day.

2- Mornings are special


New Years morning is just as special for me, we put the Radio on and sit around eating breakfast, drinking copious amount of tea and have a generally gentle time. It’s a lovely way to start the year.

1- don’t be afraid to relax and have a great time! .


You don’t have to be the perfect host.. in fact if you serve and offer all night folks will feel formal and less welcome.. I always say.. ” I serve the first drink then you help yourself” it breaks the ice and instantly give folks permission to treat your home like their own. 

I don’t invite anyone I don’t trust or don’t love dearly, so I don’t have to worry about my house or belongings as I know my friends will all treat my home like their own. 

So you have to relax and enjoy too or what’s the point in spending time with everyone. Remember everyone is capable of looking after themselves so let them just do that! 

Have a great time and Happy new year!!!!

Payment to the volunteers 

10 years ago Keith and I decided to be a host family for a couple of children from belarus. The whole ideas is to open your home and your heart to these kids to enable them to live in a ‘clean’ land, breathing clear air and not eating food that is contaminted from the soil in which it all grow. 

Long story short is that the girls came and lived with us, at the time money was short, I was back at uni full time training to become a pshychotherapist ( A life long dream) 

I was breast feeding and working full time teaching. All this was going on and along with my kids and keith business still in its infancy, money was short.

 So we called around some local attractions to see if they could donate a couple of tickets to allow us to get the russian girls into places and allow us to give them a great experience.

One of the places we contacted was the Northern Green Gathering, it was happening just up the road from us, we offered our skills and painted up the composting loos so we could get a couple of free tickets for our guests. 

While I was there I supported the team in the welfare tent and continued to create bits of arts around the site. I’d not been to a festival for years and years and it felt like going home, talking to folks like us, letting the kids runs wild and watching our Russian girls enjoying such simple pleasures without poisoning themselves with every breath that they took.

From that weekend, lots of weird things came together and before I knew it I was selling a concept to number of festivals, offering a free creative space and asking only for donations. 

Volunteers came forward and a crew formed and we suddenly had a prospective business that could allow us to enjoy the festival scene offer something back and assist others to get into the festivals without having to buys tickets.

Looking back, Keith and I were funding it all ourselves, we bought materials and paid for insurance, fuel and various other bits and bats…( I still remain in awe of the kits we have collected over the years and maintaining it is always a challenge. ) 

by the end of that first season i had plowed over £3k into the space and was still not charging festivals for the work I was doing.. things had to change, I was funding not only the festival organiser’s profit margins but was litrally paying for my crew’s summer!

I learned fast and things got better, I started to ask for a small fee which covered costs and began to look at ways in which i could make enough money from the space without over charging and charging the public tons of money… my aim was to provide free creative activities.. I didn’t want to loose that.

Things grew and my stratergies developed and by year 4 a system and concept had evolved. I invited subcontractors into the space who charged the public and gave me a percentage, this paid for the free activities we offered, some fuel costs and other random items such as phone bills and stationary galore. 

Suddenly it felt viable, it had taken time but we were nearly there, nearly paying for the hours per day i was working and also offer others the chance to make a few bob too.

But with growth came casualties, crew who had vollunteers wanted to develope their businesses, and quite right they were too, they like me needed to make a living. But my business wasnt ready to pay anyone, I’d only just started to cover costs and still needed £7k to come back to our savings account to repay our investment over the years. 

I didnt dare to work out what my hourly rate was, i just knew it was best not to look. But no one saw it and friends left, often unappy, feeling I had let them down, that i was been stingy and greedy. I felt awful, it hurt me to think folks could feel this way

But.. It’s our tenth anniversary and things are much clearer these days. We have an amazing ethos and the community we have created a wonderful space and business.

I have a mixture of staff now, we have paid managers and performers as well as traders who pay a pitch fee or percentage to us to be in the space. We still have volunteers and I work hard to ensure they don’t feel cheated. 

Festivals have run off the back of the work of volunteers for years and without people working in return for their ticket, the whole sector would collapse.

It’s a funny thing but it’s actually the volunteers that get more out of working for us! And in turn we get more in return! They are the ones who arrive with ideas and nervous energy and the ones who come away inspired and content. Those who are paid tend not to emerge themselves in quite the same way. 

Maybe when you get a wage you get responsibility? You need to fulfil your role and with that expectation comes more stress?  When you are employed you feel you need to fulfil an aim and objective and I find it holds people back in terms of confidence to explore their work.

I find volunteers are much more able to explore their own ideas and  happily and confidently take ownership of their roles. They come up with ideas and go above and beyond with the opportunity to experiment with their role.. Maybe this isn’t something you can do if you’ve been paid a fee for a specific task? I don’t know.. I’m trying to work it out, 

It’s important to me that all crew wether volunteers or paid , feel trusted and acknowledged. We have very high standards and expect the best , but the best way to do this is not to design and force people in to roles that simply act put your ideas. (Square peg round hole) 

Giving staff the trust and freedom to own their job means everything. We all know that if we feel secure, interested and confident then we thrive. I happily encourage everyone to take a given role with an object and aim and let them decide how to play it out. .. Let them run with it! 

This creates a collective of massive diversity, a range of exciting activities and a whole host of unique experiences for the public. 

When we started I used to set up each tent and out a workshop activity in it. Staff would be on a rota and just turn up, run the workshop and go!  It worked but it wasn’t special.. It was missing the angel gardens magic that oozes out of the space today. 

Now we have huge amounts of workshops (designed and run by volunteers) and activities. All set out differently and all looking and feeling different too. All owned and reflecting the crew who are running it! 

 It’s what brings a vibe to the space.. Each little area buzzes to its own tune.. Together the whole space sings as an orchestra playing the most modern and exciting score… I’m just the conductor.. The skill and work comes from those sat in front of me, 

We work hard to offer our volunteers not only space to explore their abilities and ideas.. But also to demonstrate what they are capable of. Working in the arts and music sectors is tough and the first step is finding a way to be heard.

By offering creatives an audience and opportunity to create something for that audience you are providing a kind of self guided aprentiship  . We encourage group and one to one mentorship but find the crew don’t need guiding into mentorshipdom as they are empowered enough to share and take freely from their fellow crew on their own terms.

I’ve never seen anyone loose their confidence in the space. We have had crew in who brought negative energy in the past and it really did bring down the group.. One bad apple can change the whole barrel! So we work hard to ensure people understand that bitching and negativity isn’t welcome. We aren’t the happy police we just encourage everyone to respect, hear and support each other openly.

If people don’t want to be there then they shouldn’t be there.. Our spaces are well fought after and we always have a waiting list, thankfully we find these days that those that don’t fit in simply move on.. No hard feelings .. It just wasn’t for them… 

Some people stay forever, some people jump in and off, some find their mojo and go off and go start doing things on their own… And getting good money for their amount work… It’s all ok! 

We don’t just ask that crew take ownership of their role in Angel gardens but ask that they learn to take ownership of their role in life. 

We will play our part in that in however they need it,, it’s our payment to them…to support and believe in them and their work.