Today, aged 41 and a 1/4, I ran away from home! Suitcase carefully packed, lunch made, and with a spring in my step I practically skipped up the road.

The last time I ran away, aged approximately 6 and 1/2, it was a different story! Suitcase stuffed with random, fistfuls of socks and pants, nothing to eat or drink I dripped, yes dripped, my angry little self down The Dip to the bus stop. I can’t remember the exact details but they included me getting up from the Sunday lunch table, hand on hip and telling my Mother “You wouldn’t dare!” as she threatened, initially as a joke, to pour her glass of water over me. Needless to say, even the might of a 6 and a 1/2 year old’s fury cannot match the power of The Mother One!

I had no plan. I was going! Leaving my horrible, smelly family FOREVER!! Luckily for me, my family quite liked their 6 and a 1/2 year old so they gave me ten minutes to calm down, then  came and took me home. Luckily for them, the Sunday bus service was shocking!

Today, I have a plan! My family is not horrible or smelly, well most of the time! I am not, in fact, running away. I am running towards… 

…towards a healthier, happier me!

Let the adventure begin!


According to, the definition of a matinée is:

An afternoon performance in a theatre or cinema

However, for me, it has two additional and totally different meanings.

The first has been used in my family since I was a child. It refers to the fact that my lovely Mum (funnily enough pictured with me in front of the Gielgud Theatre about to watch the matinée performance of Blythe Spirit staring the fabulous Angela Lansbury) used to sit down to watch the Sunday matinée after cooking us a yummy, if sometimes ‘interesting’, family lunch and five minutes into the film, would fall fast asleep! To add to our amusement, she would wake up five minutes before the end, give the newspaper she had been ‘reading’ a shake and ask what had happened! This happened with such regularity that, if we feel tired during the day, we say we could do with a matinée!

The second meaning is one that, I think, only I use. It is directly linked to the very same matinée films mentioned above. I have such fond memories of childhood Sunday lunches – the whole family together around the table, talking and laughing and critiquing Mum’s latest concoction. And these happy family get togethers were always followed by a matinée and, if we were lucky a box of Milk Tray or Dairy Milk chocolates. Sometimes it would be a glorious Technicolor musical, others a more serious black and white drama. Either way there were, more often than not, tears. Sometimes tears from laughing so much at a funny scene or one of us joining in, tunelessly, to one of the big numbers. Sometimes tears triggered by the moving, often war time based, story. Either way, most weekends I’d have a good old cry or, as I now call it, a matinée.

My life today, while in no way hard, is full of pressures and tensions that the little girl of my childhood could never have imagined. I often get to a point when I know that the best way to move forward is to have a big cry and just let it all go. There really isn’t anything like letting all your emotions flood out of you, the relief and release is truly cathartic. It won’t change the situation or the things I have to deal with but releasing all my emotions and tension helps to face my troubles head on, a stronger and more in control woman.

So, should you need a matinée, be it the need for a good film, a nap or a good cry just do it, you will feel better for it!


I love buttons.  I always have. I can’t quite pin down what it is about them that I love – how pretty they can be, how they feel, how they sound – but whatever it is that draws me to them, I love them!

Now buttons, generally, are not like Marmite (other yeast spreads are available) as in it it’s not a case of you love them or hate them, there is a more even spread of feelings about buttons.  However, there are extremes. 

My lovely friend Liz had a phobia of buttons, specifically on clothing, called koumpounophobia.  I had never noticed that she never wore buttons until one evening, when I was sharing a house with her, she asked if I could cut the buttons off a new top for her.  She had, she told me, always been afraid of buttons but, as an adult, had managed to manage her fear enough to be able to cut them off and let them drop into a box that she kept under her bed.  I found it really interesting that she would keep the thing she feared so close by but I guess, she thought it best to know where they were!

At the other end of the scale are those, a bit like me but more so, who LOVE buttons!  I’ve not been able to find a scientific word for the love of buttons but I have found a few blogs and websites belonging to fellow button lovers!  Like the lady from Button Obsession who’s love for buttons resulted in starting her own online button shop  and Glenyce, from the blog Midcraftcrisis, who asked for buttons for her birthday and, amongst lots of other lovely buttons, received the ‘Family Button Box’ from her Auntie Jill.

  Glenyce’s Family Box of Buttons brings me back to what inspired me to write about buttons today.  We are visiting my brother in law and, while looking for a needle and thread, my OH found his late Mother’s box of buttons. Who’d have thought that this little, battered old biscuit tin could trigger such an outpouring of love, affection and memories! Just the way he held the tin, gently and lovingly in his hands showed how precious the memories are that are held within it. 

Some buttons had no meaning or memory for him at all and made us wonder who had worn them.  Others instantly brought back a happy memory of a favourite childhood item. And others had ‘always been there’ and, despite having no special person or event attached to the memory, provided a sense of continuity, safety and home.

I am very jealous of my big sister, Susan, who inherited our Family Box of Buttons from my maternal Grandmother.  Not only is it an amazing box of buttons, it is also a really lovely old, wooden box!  I can picture it clearly now, feeling the weight of it and gently opening the lid to reveal probably a hundred years of buttons and memories – a real treasure chest!

Two particular buttons I can picture in my Nanny’s button collection are a shiny brass button and a white, twinkly plastic button – both of similar sentimental importance to me.  I always imagined the brass button had come from the army uniform of my Nanny’s husband – he sadly died in the Second World War when my Nanny was six months pregnant with my Mum.  I used to hold the button and wonder what it would have been like to have a Granddad and how brave he must have been.  The white, twinkly plastic button was a spare from this fabulous cardigan my Nanny knitted me which had a mix of buttons on it (possibly from the button box!) which seemed very grown up to me!  There were two of the white, twinkly ones which looked like opals, a clear twinkly crystal like one and two red twinkly ones which looked like rubies! 

I loved the cardigan which was knitted from some fantastic white wool with rainbow flecks running through it!  That little plastic button reminds me of all the other lovely buttons on the cardigan, the cardigan itself, my lovely Nanny who knitted it for me, the excitement of opening it on my birthday and feeling like a grown up princess and being even more excited to find another little parcel which contained a knitted bikini in the same wool for my Cindy – all that from one button!

As I won’t have the honour of custody of the Family Box of Buttons, I have started my own. I didn’t do this consciously, just initially keeping the odd spare button in a drawer from new outfits of my own and then, once I had my own children, all the spare buttons from their outfits. 

I have since transferred the buttons to a little, flower covered tin that my Mum gave me a few Christmas’ ago which had been filled with toffees (I think). It still looks quite shiny and new but I am looking forward to bringing it out when I am a grandmother myself and showing my grandchildren all the lovely buttons I will have collected, telling them about all the wonderful people whose buttons they were and helping to create lovely memories for them to share with their children.