Christmas Tree Tales 🎄

So I left you last time saying I’d report back on how it all went.

Getting the house decked out was top priority; well in my head it was.So off we went on Saturday 8th December 2018 to get the trees. We got to the Stagsden Christmas Shop at 9am for tree selection duty only to notice that there was little stock about – what’s going on? Apparently people have been super keen and had started buying in November. Come on people! This is crazy, surely! Let’s agree not to talk Christmas until December 1st . We all need to know the rules of engagement. Anyway, I digress. Two trees are chosen within a few minutes- I can see more cars coming into the car park!! It pays to be early. And the kind people would deliver on Monday. Done ✅ Ofcourse we got some holly and mistletoe too.

Remember I become a magpie and have to have anything that is sparkly, shiny and glistens. So we then move onto Fleurette to buy a wreath. FFS they only have 2 left and they have to make one up for me and would be ready for Monday. Perfect planning: trees and wreath arriving together. What’s going on I ask? People have been super keen this year and we started selling Christmas things early. “Can I have a gold bow on the wreath please”? I ask. The young lady apologises and says calmly “we’ve run out of gold ribbon!!” I think, don’t be ridiculous .. it’s Christmas. Gold is one of the foundation materials – how can you possibly run out before Christmas Eve! Trauma is averted with use of silver bronze rosy gold number . Judge for yourself – it would have been better in gold.

Move swiftly onto Monday 10th December and two kind gentlemen not only deliver both trees but also place them in their respective holders. What a result for the hubby! Another job ticked off the list. The gentlemen refuse my generous offer of tea and mince pies – they have other customers that they need to make happy! 🎄🎄

So Miss Planning and Prep has the decorations all ready to do the smaller tree but the bigger tree would have to stay naked for the week!😂. But I decide that I can move it slightly as they have left it too close to the window. 10ft +tree falling on me alert. I dance and wonder what will break as it falls on me. I somehow manage to keep it from falling and as I move without any real idea of what I’m doing I hear a crack. Dread fills me and think how will I explain this … luckily the crack I’ve heard is the holder locking and the tree is stuck at an angle. It has neither fallen towards the piano or the sideboard.Whoever said I was clumsy can add this to the list. So I let go gingerly and step back and view the scene. I report the incident to hubbyquarters and visualise him rolling his eyes. I leave the the sad tree and go and spend time with the normal one in the lounge. I decorate it – silver and purple. All good. Take a photo and send to the fam. I then leave the house for a few days.

Both hubby and I return late on 15/12. Both are resolved to deal with the felled tree first thing on Saturday morning. After numerous attempts we know that this tree needs to be chopped at the bottom … they’ve sharpened it like a pencil and the poor holder can’t grab it however hard it tries 😂.

Can we find a saw? Ofcourse not !! Off he goes to buy another one. I think he is feeling quite macho as he saws away and shouts when he catches me filming him “is nothing sacred”! The Tree is finally in and looking fabulous.

The house becomes more Christmas like as the days go on. And then we have the second tree drama —2018 what is going on?? The smaller tree obviously feeling neglected decides to throw a tantrum and starts shedding its needles. At this rate there will be no second tree. What to do ?? “Hello, I’m really sorry to call you and I know it’s a strange thing to say. And for the 2nd year running….”. The lovely gentlemen came and replaced the sick tree. It happens occasionally.🤷🏽‍♀️

The house was used and abused.

Lots of comings and goings and that is what it is for afterall. We had a busy but bountiful and loving festive period. We won’t mention the silly cough cold flu thing that’s become my close friend.

There may be some glitter about but I will embrace it.

The day to pack up arrives and as I lie in bed I can hear him downstairs wrestling with the trees. If I dawdle a little more than normal the job will be done. He does have 3 trees to tackle. I find the packing away tiresome this year and have not been organised. I am sure that will cause angst in December.

But to more important things , Easter is April 19th! And I know from social media that Easter Trees are now a thing …. 😉




Planning done (that’s for another blog I’m working on 😂).I thought i’d share my observations of the event that we organised. Too many names to mention all but it was great to see everyone and meet new friends! No really it was 😉. And by now you know how obsessed I am with lists so I’ve done it chronologically -why wouldn’t you ?

11.30 Hair in curlers.

15:00 Henna on right hand – why not. It will make me sit still for an hour. And it’s a novelty for my American friend.

16:00What to wear yaar?

Lengha, sari or a cocktail dress.

Let’s go sari- Black net with lots of gold and red embellishments on palla -worn Gujarathi style to hide the belly!👍🏽. Poor things are either left hanging in the cupboard or stuffed in a suitcase for months. Let’s have a sari amnesty during 2019??It’s on, just about and in the rush I forget my bindi but not my spare comfy sandals (planning and prep ladies).Looking like a poodle with the curls now the pins are out. Oh well !!

17:15 Arrive to find there’s a party to be had. Mindi and his NRI crew are blasting the music and the catering team are in full swing of setting up. The Park Inn have done us proud.

17:30 The event planning team are all looking glam – Suman in electric blue sari, Sati in her silk pattered number, Deepali was the lady in red,Manasi in shimmery black, Parvati in her sharara and Preethi looking classy with her hair up in 60s stylie. Don’t worry we did have the obligatory visit to the ladies’ toilets with pins to adjust various saris – Suman’s and mine!!Ive said it before no Indian function is complete without it.

18:20 Welcome everybody – no we don’t have a red carpet !! How much can we give for £35!! Jeez what the hell has happened- all these guests are turning up early (Tejal!!) or on time. Don’t they know it’s an Indian function Luckily we are ready for them with the welcome drink of bubbles and for the teetotallers there is Shloer. Hmm there would be if I hadn’t left it in the boot of my 🚙. Emergency phone call to base – “bring Shloer now, over and out”.Holding measures agreed with caterer- orange juice quick ! And relax. Think we should have had clipboards? Cash was exchanged for last minute guests (they owe you Aparna 😉).

Hello .. welcome … please do help yourself to a drink, check your table plan (I insist you look at it and admire it – all those hours of-cutting and pasting need to be acknowledged 😂. I now recall how crap Prit Stick is- bring in the heavy duty glue ladies !) and move through. Thankyou.

Hello … no I don’t have you on our list. I understand there are other parties within the hotel tonight🤦🏽‍♀️

Hello .. no sorry sir I don’t have you on our list. In understand there are other parties within the hotel tonight. 🤦🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️

Hello.. no sorry think you’re at the wrong party. This is an Indian event. 5 minutes pass and Mrs Ramona Rodenas returns and I let her in as she is in fact at the right party 🙏🏽🤷🏽‍♀️ because she’s booked “one with Indian food”. Apologies accepted and I remember they booked through me 😂. The cutest granddad checking when dinner would be served as he has to leave early.

And Devinder Gabri arrives looking fabulous with her hubby … yes he has a camera. Our saviour for the evening. All the auntijis arrive in style. The unclejis have scrubbed up pretty well too. Must give a special shout out to Mayaji and Shabana who are always supportive.

Everyone is looking fabulous darling – saris, suits, dresses, jumpsuits and the men looked ok too. The volume of hairspray is tangible so watch those naked flames. Thank goodness for the no smoking policy.

The children are here. No, I don’t think you can have the bubbles how about some orange juice? Phew -a near incident with licensing laws. 🤫

19:30 We have a schedule… yes we do!

Suman and I get the party started. We welcome our guests, Mr Yasin, our MP and the BABA boys with their more important halves.We have a room full of elders,adults, teenagers, young kids, under 5s, Indians, non-Indians. dancers. Wannabe dancers , vegetarians, gluten free, vegans, don’t do spice 😂, drinkers, teetotallers and so many more.

Infact people had come from all over England (Leicester, Birmingham, Cheshire, Oxford..)and some as far off as San Francisco because they’d heard there was a party in town. The government has even sent the local MP to keep a close eye on the shenanigans.

19:45 Mindi – the crooner. Sing whilst we eat our starters we’d said, something gentle whilst we eat we’d agreed. Well that didn’t go to plan! Who could resist dancing to the lovely Hindi songs. My partners on the dance floor- Parvati, Manasi,Nicky,Monica and Arun. My hubby commented … “does everyone know the words to every Hindu Bollywood song “? Obviously 🙄.

20:15 Performances to entertain the crowd

⁃ Shreya first with her Bollywood numbers, jhatkas and matkas deserved a waah waah.She’s no Leila! She more … (if you know you know)

⁃ The dance group from Milton Keynes were just awesome. We thought the lead man would dislocate something with all frenetic moves.Their kaale chashme (Black glasses)were cool 😎!! Rashmi Diwadkar you guys were great.

⁃ And the ever classic Jitendra was doing fine . Then some woman insisted on joining him and not only singing but playing a giant rattle?!?

The flash mob just turned into a dance off between the guys and girls! Proper wedding style behaviour.

21:30 to midnight

Just a period of eating and dancing. What DJ wouldn’t want a crowd like this. Jumping from Hindi Bollywood numbers to Bhangra to a bit of pop. I have videos people – just remember this!I think I even saw Abhay,Deepali,Vinita and Sanjeev keeping up with the youngsters.

Think we needed a bigger dance floor so Gigi and her sister don’t have to dance on the carpet and Simon Grantham & Phil Naylor can really show their grooves – and not just the lightbulb and door knob moves! All the help from Sujatha on the dance floor was welcome. I looked around the room at one point to see family photos being taken by Sati’s clan – nearly half the room!😂. Others used the photo booth area set up which looked like a Princess’s throne – pretty and pink (in this new PC world – I would like to say it could be a throne for anyone).

22:30 Raffle

Manasi and Deepali carried this off with aplomb after Deepali and crew had sold tickets all evening. Happy winners were caught on camera.

Food glorious food

The catering staff led by Dal; small in stature but big in impact . A chair here , a chair there, a place setting somewhere else, more rice , more naans, more this, more that …. smiles all round and nothing was too much trouble. But Suman has briefed them well. If only I had a wedding party to book. There’s not even a special birthday in sight. 🤷🏽‍♀️

And let’s not forget the sweet table organised by Sati – enjoyed by both the kids and the adults. Am sure her dentist daughter did not approve.

Childminder Raksha

Where did the children go?? Oh yes that rooom we asked for – far as possible 🤫😉. So all the mums and dads could party.

Time to say goodbye

The security guard strolls in at 1am. Time to stop the revelry.The catering team are doing selfies, not without me they don’t !😉The DJs seem to be starting a private party…

I leave with my feet intact and a car full of dress-up materials, booze not drunk, stationery, boards, disposable cups and other random bits. I note that other members of the team and their families have quietly cleared up everything else.

See you next time (Parvati you may have been first on the dance BUT I was the last, did someone say I was competitive?)




As I approach my last day of being employed I think of all the things I could share. As it’s the holiday season let’s have some fun and let’s play bullshit bingo – sorry some of you may be living through this 😂😂 still – poor you. And those of you who have never partaken, what have you been doing during those long presentations!!The serious stuff can wait for a bit.

Many years ago I suddenly felt that my vocabulary needed some bolstering. I can’t quite remember what led me to this point (English is my second language don’t you know) but I recall being quite vocal on the subject … out came more books, The Times was purchased more frequently and beloved gave me a Thesaurus. I was all set to be a mini intellectual.

Imagine my surprise then at the randomness of some other words and phrases that started appearing at work. If you are responsible for any of these, shame on you (but Thankyou too, as you’ve given us all hours of fun).

🤷🏽‍♀️Deep dive: Does it look like I’ve got a diving suit on? I’m not confident under water !!! Am I not on dry land? Am I going hunting for treasure in the ocean?What do you actually mean … oh you mean study the subject in more “depth”. Yes of course I will before submitting my recommendation. Why didn’t you just say ??

🤷🏽‍♀️Dial up: Who are we calling? What are we calling them about ?Are you using an old school phone analogy! Have you forgotten we are all about the touch screen and swiping.

🤷🏽‍♀️Team dynamics: Are you asking as a HR official? What do you mean that we really shouldn’t be shouting at each other – that’s not normal then ? Yes they are like my second dysfunctional family – the dynamics are just perfect. We do make tea for each other – hang on I don’t let anyone make my tea. And we are doing Secret Santa -all good.

🤷🏽‍♀️Circle back : No it’s not some new dance step. Are you asking me to recheck something ?

🤷🏽‍♀️Regroup: We are not going into war! Let’s work together to get that business-it’s good to check. Perhaps we can regroup and circle back ? Don’t get dizzy and stay focused.

🤷🏽‍♀️New newness: Show me your “new newness” not old newness you see just new newness. I had this asked of me by a buyer. I should have evaluated my options then !🤔

🤷🏽‍♀️Soft launch:Hmmm …is this soft because there’s no budget I wonder or we haven’t ordered enough stock. Just selling stuff subtly…

🤷🏽‍♀️Outside the box : I’m not in a box. How can I think outside it when I’m not in it. Do you mean outside the room ? Or outside my normal head. Grrrrrr…. stop pigeon holing me into a box.

🤷🏽‍♀️Same page: Ok.. I’m ready for this one. Same page as what, which book, which paper? Again we’re all digital guys. Same screen? Perhaps I’m not on the same page because I’m still trying to get outside the box. Join you shortly.

🤷🏽‍♀️Traction: One of my favourites. No we are not in a hospital. We are just going to get some momentum on this thing we’re working on ! Right ? Hopefully not on the soft launch otherwise it wouldn’t be soft anymore.

🤷🏽‍♀️blue sky thinking: not grey sky because that might be dull and non creative ? Blue – bright blue with some fluffy clouds! This is where you get once you’ve left the 📦!

🤷🏽‍♀️Light bulb moment : hope it’s not one of those new tangled energy saving type. Your moment could be slightly delayed.

🤷🏽‍♀️Curated range: a range by definition would have had to be selected and therefore curated. If shops weren’t curated they’d need elastic shelves ( no dear buyer I know there is no such thing).

🤷🏽‍♀️Locked and loaded : Just too aggressive for my liking ! Think this lot are ready for action.

🤷🏽‍♀️At the end of the day. At the end of the day it will be dark, time to go home, it’s not life or death?

🤷🏽‍♀️Reaching out:Thank you to our American friends and one particular online retailer for reaching out to us !!! Don’t reach out all the time – feels like a constant failing attempt. I’m reaching out for you but never touching you ( sorry pc friends- getting through).

🤷🏽‍♀️Tone of voice. So you mean I need to write as I speak. Doesn’t bode well for me. Ok you mean I need to be serious on grave matters and not frivolous. Got it matey !

🤷🏽‍♀️Due diligence: Some of you may have spotted the fact that this is a legalise term. So let it stay there. If you’ve deep dived and circled back and double checked and triple checked, diligence can stay in the bloody box. Did I get the right tone there ?

I am quite sure that you all have many more gems hidden away. Feel free to share.

I wish you and your loved ones an awesome holiday season and hope that you all reach out to each other and deep dive into each emotion. Ensure there is traction to your generosity.

At the end of the day it’s Christmas so you don’t have to think outside the box to get aligned for this festive season.

I’m sure we’ll meet again before the year is out.


Seema 🎄😉🤷🏽‍♀️


⚠️Warning: I may get emotional but will cover it up with my silliness. I want to tell you about my parents and also just catalogue the events of the last eighteen months briefly. I’ve been warned about length of my blogs .. I write as I talk..too much. Papa and Mummy are in India (you’ll recall that 4 day trip to India 😂). I may just be missing them a little 😟.

So it took my mum nearly dying for us to show each other how much we love each other.We had never been a huggy family and love was demonstrated through actions and food and rarely through words. This has followed me through life too… feeding people anytime anyplace.Known as a Feeder. I will do anything to help if I can and that’s always been a constant but I may not tell you that I love you.

So , just before Easter 2017 mum (Shashi Bala Sharma – born 1946)had a fall. My dad (Rameshwar Prasad Sharma- born 1936) was unable to lift her. I mention their birth years to highlight their 10 year age gap. If you have ever seen them you’ll understand why papa couldn’t lift mum.So he summoned the ambulance and off she went to Ealing Hospital. Just to give you a little more context here – mum has had three minor strokes and a double heart bypass. Yours truly was holidaying in Oman at the time – that’s what Easter had become for us.Papa in his normal way didn’t actually tell me – he didn’t want to spoil our holiday. And then when we did find out he convinced me that she was in the best place or so we thought.

Note to self:don’t end up in hospital over holiday season. Mum was left to deteriorate and finally after Easter a scan showed that she had a gallbladder infection – sepsis (which had caused the initial fall). We walked into a ‘Casualty’ style scene as they were rushing to drain the infection. This led to her being admitted to ICU where she remained for 67 days. Each day bought its own level of hell. For papa , me and other family members. I came to know some amazing nurses and consultants and some who should frankly rethink career choice. 🙄. Each week bought an added complication and my memory of that period is

⁃ Being obsessed (but not as much as papa) by all the monitors and data and commenting as if we knew what it meant. A little like me being an expert at all sports during the olympics 👊🏾

⁃ playing religious songs on my phone: all help is needed in such situations

⁃ doing shifts with papa.

⁃ moisturising mum’s feet

⁃ combing her hair

⁃ forever washing my hands

⁃ being amazed at the 24/7 care by nurses who were in the same room as mum.

⁃ her being fed through a drip – man that can’t have been tasty? Sure she would have had something to say about that.

⁃ All those parking payments 🤦🏽‍♀️! Which could have been avoided by getting a permit. Well kept secret !!

⁃ being happy when she moved her fingers finally

⁃ hearing her make a sound when they did the tracheotomy

⁃ bemused at the thought of a physio spending time with mum.

⁃ Being taken to a room with Aarti and being told to prepare for the worst.

⁃ spending more time with my dad than ever before

⁃ astounded by my dad’s strength and energy and commitment to mum

⁃ being reprimanded for crying by my dad. So never did it again in his presence.

⁃ Repeating repeating repeating the whole thing to every new doctor/nurse that entered our story

⁃ our kind generous neighbours in Southall feeding us for 6 months. How was that even possible?

⁃ The most wonderful consultants who did not give up on her.

⁃ The number of personnel it takes to run a ward

⁃ The amount that is outsourced by the NHS

I can’t really talk about the next few weeks . But in summary she was finally discharged to the wards. If I talk about it I will be negative and I don’t want to be that person. We thought she was suffering from delirium and that was a source of huge entertainment (not at the time). She thought at one point she was a prisoner. Another day she was so cross with me because she wanted new shoes and why wasn’t I getting them. The shop is just there!! Calling out to strangers, shouting, being rude and it goes on. I had gone past the stage of being embarrassed unlike my father. And the consultant who was honest and set us up for this being the new world. We celebrated her 71st birthday on the wards and she insisted every nurse had cake – the feeder never goes away!💕And for once we got a chance to feed her during those days. Another note to self – don’t end up in hospital unless you have loved ones to feed you and have your back. So quick to take your bed.😟

We managed to get her to a rehabilitation (I covered days in a few words here) unit in Southall (room numbers 8 & 10). God love the team here. They taught mum to take steps again with a frame. Not an easy task when you are difficult and un cooperative – simply because she didn’t actually know they were trying to help. They even had Indian food for her. But she didn’t like these people that she was visiting, “they’re not friendly”. And then she was going to report me and my dad to the police for keeping her prisoner. They finally chucked her out after another little hospital visit in between. A&E visits during early hours of the morning – not an experience I wish to repeat.

The days at the rehab unit became the new normal and visits could be happy or challenging . It was just pot luck. Some thought I was hairdresser as it was my go to task for mum. She loved her feet being massaged too. Not your normal spa break sort of place though. The carers are a different breed aren’t they; ooze patience and love and take people who are not their parents/children to the loo! I know that may seem petty but let me tell you it’s a big deal for all concerned.

Leela (Hungarian carer who actually left because of Brexit – sorry I’ve managed to avoid the B word till now)and mum became friends. She genuinely loved mum and could calm her down and knew what she meant even when I didn’t get it. I watched others being visited and each family having their little routines. But I also was saddened by some who had no visitors ; thank goodness most of them didn’t realise. My abiding memory is of Mary, who sat near the TV in the common room with a red ball of wool. She would knit and knit 🧶 and then at some point undo it all and then start again. She reminded me of Penelope ( wife of Odysseus) in Homer’s Odyssey. I digress. Let’s just summarise those days as another challenge but we saw them as being a step closer to mum coming home. Mum would always sit facing the entrance and would announce us to all as she saw us approaching. She would be irritated by me continually trying to test her – what’s the time mum, how many children does X have, what did you have for lunch, shall we play cards, let’s do some maths…. It took me a long time to accept that she was never coming back. But I recall on 15th August (India Independence Day) as we watched BBC news she reeled off dates and names!! 🤷🏽‍♀️

She finally came home Diwali 2017 and I think that has to be another story. It is largely my father’s story of becoming a carer and the trials of finding support. I stayed in Southall for part of the week. In early January we got the diagnosis of early dementia for mum. This was no surprise to us and I truly believe that she had been on the path for a long time – long before the hospital drama. In March we took her to India and they stayed there till mid June. It was post this that we even considered care homes which only bought tears and we came to the conclusion that she was not ready and neither were we. It would be consigning her to the last chance saloon and we had other plans.

We got through the glorious summer with support. Papa went back to do his early morning power walks and yoga. I continued to spend some of the week in Southall. Simon and I spent most Sundays there and became expert wheelchair pushers. I mastered the art of manoeuvring in disabled loos – I want a badge please! I also accepted my new mum.

My mother was and still can be the life and soul and commands centre stage not just because of her physical presence. She is simply loud and full of fun and a little cheeky sometimes. In my younger years I used to find this embarrassing but now I see those traits in me (sorry Art) and my daughter (sorry Simon). God help our friends and family.

She was an incredible cook and would be like a magician in the kitchen rustling up large amounts of yummy food at any time for random visitors from next to nothing . I on the other hand open a tub of olives,delve into the freezer for M&S snacks or run to Bala (those who know just know).Over recent years due to mobility issues , lack of taste buds and early dementia mum has not been able to cook.But I’ve seen her and experienced her giving instructions as she sits and watches food being prepared. And still being brutally honest if she doesn’t like something.

My father is an ex Indian Airforce man- formal and regimental in his routines. Never late , always early. Mr Planning and prep . Living within your means. Why do it later when you can do it now? We had many years apart because of his job so I never experienced his humour and gentleness much. The last 18months have shown me what a great man he is. Proud, respectful and generous to those he loves. It took him many years to accept Simon (not only is he my second husband but also English). To be clear that was probably more to do with me than Simon. What wasted years – they now drink beer together !!

Am sure this is long enough for now. I could probably bore the pants off anyone who would care to listen about each hospital or care-home visit. But to close this off I wanted to share the following. I wrote it in the middle of a difficult night earlier this year and put it on FB- which had become my outlet.

That dirty word dementia…

Behind closed doors mum is not there…appears fleetingly only to vanish in an instant. Raised voices , gentle strokes, pleading again and then anything that comes.

Sucking all life out of those around her without meaning to. Leaving us in tears and confused as she is as to how to live life guilt free. How to find the strength , both mental and physical to help her and ourselves.

No one warned us… especially you mum that this would happen. You’re supposed to be there for us always. You’re supposed to have all the answers.

I’m praying that there will be some salvation for us all. Just need to find that strength to carry you all into the light.

It’s already tomorrow but my eyes are still open.


I have discovered I have the capacity to cope. I have discovered I have a truly wonderful network that just keeps giving. I have also discovered (I always knew I had a charmed life and thought I did not take people for granted) that life keeps going and it’s up to us to enjoy that journey and help others along the way. It gives our life purpose.

So Papa is in-charge of Mum for a while with help from extended family members all the way in India. This affords me the time to be self indulgent (all those parties 🎉)and write these blogs whilst I wait to go out there next year. I have finally been able to give her an answer when she says, “when are you coming Guddi?”



My kind of Christmas- it’s a themed party right ?!?! (Without being blasphemous)

Throughout I will use “Christmas” and not Xmas. This stems from being reprimanded many years ago and being called lazy. Take care when you speak to people – we don’t forget🙄.

Anyway, I had the best compliment ever recently.. “babe I don’t know anyone else who is into Christmas more than you“. That’s why he married me ! My Hindu parents would be proud. However, I have rules – please please don’t talk to me about Christmas before 1st December otherwise I’ll be expecting Birthday wishes in July (I’m a September baby).Diwali and Art’s birthday need to be enjoyed during November.

His contribution to all the tasks that lie ahead: babe I’ll sort out the booze! Really? Thanks 🤦🏽‍♀️. Our priorities may be a little different. As long as you don’t forget the Prosecco 🥂🥂. Oh and he will definitely get the Christmas jumper on at some point. And I will have the reindeer antlers.

Shall I share the list? It all begins with a list as you know.


Have only been asking for years for external lights!! And last year he put up some sensible little lights in a straight line along the wall and in the front garden wall ! Yeah 🙄. It’s not exactly Christmassy and I wanted to go larger !! I don’t need NASA to see my house but a a little more would be welcome. I’ll have another attempt this year.

Now indoor lights are another matter in our house at Christmas.Thank you retailers for all those battery operated varieties! Bright white, not so bright white, warm glow, small stars, big stars, copper wire and chrome wire for a more trendy look. Who hasn’t put two different types of lights on their tree and had to undo it all ?

Is there any area of the house that isn’t lit up? Note to self – emergency battery packs in kitchen drawer and start saving to pay next electricity bill!!

Trees 🌲

Xmas trees- yes we are at 2. I know this is decadent; don’t hate me. One for the lounge and one for the front room. It’s great-you can’t escape them!! And they are real. Yes they can be annoying and not quite symmetrical and needles drop. And those with pets – it’s an adventure trail for those 🐈. So off we go to Stagsden every year. This year’s visit will be the same as always but luckily this year there won’t be a pincer movement on me from hubby and daughter. They want to choose the first big one and smallish one we see. What the hell? We came to choose and that means taking time and studying the trees in detail. They’ve taken months to shine for us and the least we can do is to be polite and give some attention. We also need to have the annual tree related argument. Why aren’t we carrying a tape measure like that couple I wonder. So trees 🌲 🌲 finally chosen and time to pay. Hold your breath. Hubby is frantically trying to get me out of the Christmas Shop… soooo many sparkly shiny things to touch and buy. The annual new tree decoration purchased and I get dragged out.

And we’ve all had the dramas where

⁃ The tree needs replacing. Please it’s only the 18th and the tree is sick.

⁃ The tree that was too big : forget the fairy this year 😟.

⁃ The tree that was too fat. Babe I can’t get the baubles on – you’ll have to do it.

⁃ The tree that never looks right 😂 throughout the season – it’s on a slant . I’m sure it is.

And the annual tradition of decorating the tree with Michael Buble. Look at the tree from outside babe – is it ok? Actually I’ll do it myself. Anyone thinking I’m a control freak.🤔🤷🏽‍♀️


Don’t be in a rush to pack them away. You’ll only regret it next time. You know my rules on storage and organisation. This is a time when it comes in very handy. If possible pack by colour. Doesn’t everyone have a reindeer that lights up, garlands galore, gold stars 🌟🌟🌟 and silver 💕hearts. No surface should be left bare. Holly and Mistletoe- I got it all covered.No tinsel here. No paper chains like the old days

Presents 🎁

I love buying presents. There’s a definite art to it. List and budget and a full day’s onslaught with breakfast , lunch and tea breaks. Those cleverer people do that online thing. And those super annoying (but ridiculously organised) that buy all year and have everything wrapped and ready by December 1st. Where’s the fun and chaos in that ? No drama … not for me! You do your best in making everyone happy and it’s so much easier if the recipient throws some clues at you. I’ve been reminded recently that “if you believe you receive “ – hmm .. does that mean if you believe you deserve a present you get one? 🤔🤷🏽‍♀️ And if I happen to give you a present just take a moment to appreciate the wrapping, the ribbon, the bow, the tag and the general loveliness I’ve invested.🙏🏽


Charity cards purchased. Let the story telling begin. I applaud those that can write to/from.

Food & Drink

By food I don’t mean the main Christmas dinner. I mean the volume of other food that appears – dips, fruit, chocolate boxes, unopened nuts, cheese, biscuits for cheese, crisps, olives, every M&S party pack, made up snacks for festive season …did I miss anything ?

General food observation: shops are only shut for a few hours, so people don’t panic. Obviously you might be doubling up on supplies because of Brexit – see got it in here too👊🏾. But brussel sprouts are not allowed after 26/12 surely? We’ll have enough booze to see us through to Summer 2019 for sure.

Xmas Eve

Our annual Xmas eve party for local friends started 13 years ago when the kids were small and everyone was keen to head home early to watch Santa’s journey. Now they are bigger than us, eat and drink more than us and more to the point they take up more space than us. The annual question from hubby (attempting not to roll his eyes) “How many have you invited this year”?. Hmmm I may have got carried away again. We need a bigger house. And will we have the quiz again this year? Always a late finish tidying so we can wake up to calm on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day

Planning and prep is key! Ensure that you have foil and chestnuts and remember to stick the oven on. This is advice from bitter experience. Lunch/dinner for 3😂: Simon’s time to shine whilst Janet and I watch Toy Story from the sofa. Eat and back on the sofa.A visit to friends to eat and drink more ensuring you are sporting your presents! Lordy don’t forget the crackers – go large .. just so you can get a decent hat and useful present. That little comb, screwdriver , bottle opener. Makes it all worth while doesn’t it. I get mine from TK Maxx – there I’ve said it and put it in public domain. I forgot the most important thing – present opening pre breakfast. Everyone happy and if you’re not just pretend !!

Boxing Day

Home cooked Indian feast as you do. Let’s see if this continues.

Family & Friends

The largest and most important ingredient is “family and friends”. Hugs upon hugs and mistletoe kisses. Squeeze them all in and take rest afterwards. Pace yourself though as NYE will soon be approaching. Barocca every morning and stay hydrated.

Yes it’s all indulgent. But why not? As long as we note how lucky we are and don’t forget those in need and those not lucky enough to have loved ones to share this time.



I’ll tell you how it all goes and whether there were any injuries inflicted! Start the health campaign in the new year unless you can find additional hours in your day. Enjoy being with loved ones and those others 😉. Count to the 10 or the 12 days of Christmas. Keep the peace. X

Work breeds 🙄: we’re the normal ones .. right? Which type of colleague will I be today ??

The world is made of all sorts so why do companies feel the need to fill their businesses with a “type”. This surely will result in a blob of blancmange and lead to a tasteless mess. However the enlightened companies ensure that there is a diverse melting pot of

⁃ ages :although at this rate we’ll all be working till we are 80 🤦🏽‍♀️ (stay away from religion and politics Seema!)

⁃ sex :no I’m not implying that

⁃ experience :age doesn’t mean you go to the top of the class for this but the onus is on all concerned not to let the experience stay buried. Don’t see it as a threat but something that we can all enjoy and benefit from.

⁃ education :you don’t need a degree to do every job and you don’t need a degree to prove your intellect or capabilities. But you can be proud of your achievements. So we’re all good! 😅

⁃ backgrounds: the trick is to be open. This is so vast that I’ll come back to it another day.

Let me take you through some of the personality types I’ve encountered over the years – naming no names and in no particular order.Of course if you are a teeny tiny business of one feel free to be all the below if biologically/mentally/physically possible 😂😉. Perhaps not all and not all of the time. Some are my personal favourites and showcase all the wonderful women I’ve had the pleasure to work with.

⁃ The working mum: A class act that lives by lists and juggling. She has to hear nonsensical comments from time to time about commitment, time keeping and time off.Remember they are working not just at work but with our future !

⁃ The nosey one: They have to know everything about everything. Leave some space for things that matter people !! Closely linked to the gossip.

⁃ The gossip:creating bile and doubt. Often seen hovering at desks. One to be avoided at all cost.

⁃ The know it all: they’ve done it , seen it, tried it so shall we all move on. Don’t they know that history repeats itself.

⁃ The negative numpty: Minimise engagement at all costs. Some helpful escaping strategies for you. Sorry the CEO is expecting me(go big!!); just need to visit the loo or I think I’m needed at the hospital – a family member has just been taken ill. 🤔

⁃ The lazy one: why do you even bother pretending! 🙄

⁃ The missing one: oooh weren’t you supposed to be in London. Ooooh weren’t you supposed to be in the office. I think you need to go missing from our business for good.

⁃ The loner: The ones quite frankly that should work on their own.

⁃ The tryer: god love them

⁃ The one who has your back: closely linked with a possible friend.

⁃ The smoker: The one that annoys the non-smoker with their break times. And it’s an addiction so please don’t be mad at me 🙏🏽. Us non-smokers need a vice !

⁃ The whiner : they’ll be the ones gossiping about the smoker😉. They are energy suckers.

⁃ The feeder: proud to be one but I know that it can’t be easy if we keep feeding you with samosas/left over curries/ sweets. Forget about any diet if we are around.

⁃ The tea maker: no no let me do it again although it’s called a tea round. But please don’t be offended as I’ll make my own.

⁃ The late one: so you haven’t moved, and the start time hasn’t changed. Help me understand (©️Thankyou Mr Meek). They are pushing understanding to new limits .

⁃ The “don’t you have a home to go to”: in before everyone and leave after everyone. What are you doing ? Either you should question your work load or you’re not doing it right or you need to get off social media.

⁃ The Knowledge is power: yes I knew that and that. But am not going to tell you because then you’ll know more than me and that makes me feel insecure.

⁃ The one you walk on egg shells around: I’ll do the same here than shall I. Watch every word and every possible meaning of every word. So draining.

⁃ The ‘they just get it’: help to create a productive and fun team. They know the work like balance and why we’re at work.

⁃ The future CEO: you can just see them shining can’t you. They take us all with them and make things happen which we thought weren’t possible and they know they couldn’t have done it without you. And they tell you that.

⁃ The one who thinks it’s a fashion show: ok so I have been guilty sometimes of this.

⁃ The part timer: let’s get this clear. They work part time and get part time money so why do we expect them to be available at our whim.

⁃ The home based one: give them a break.. What do you care whether we do the work at 4pm or 8pm? Are you secretly jealous.

⁃ The friend for life: it will happen for sure to us all. They become your rock at work and outside.

⁃ The loud one/ disruptive: it’s fun but not all day long! Stick your do not disturb sign up.🙄

⁃ The drama queen: No there is no crisis but they will pretend there is one because they like the sound of their voice and need the attention. So tragic.

⁃ The sharer: we know what they watched on tv last night, what they had for dinner and what their partner’s colleagues are like too ! Ok so I may also be one of these. 😂

⁃ The emailer: lets cover our backsides shall we. It’s so much easier to email than talk to the whiner, the gossip the loud one. Yes carry on emailing even if it is to place a tea order !!

⁃ The meeting guru: let’s have another meeting. And let’s all turn up on time. Time is money. What are we here for again?

⁃ The “carry on colleague”: Keep your hands to yourself and no thanks to the smutty jokes and pathetic innuendos. We don’t need another Finbar Saunders. Please don’t misunderstand me – I and others are more than capable of standing our ground. Just accept us for the people we are – female colleagues who per chance may be better than you ? Goodness that could be possible in 2018. #metoo where were you for all those years.

⁃ The yes man: there could be an opinion in there somewhere 🤷🏽‍♀️

The Venn diagram will be rather complicated and messy but I’m sure some smart young thing will develop an app to work out which bits you are. And the beauty of us humans is that we have the capacity to change – if you don’t like something about yourself you have the gift to “explore and develop”. How many times have I felt the urge to be someone smarter, faster or not to be there 🙄.

Learn to adapt and be open. In each scenario you don’t have to behave to type! Surprise yourself and the other buggers. That’ll confuse them.

I know who I’d have in my boat … do you?

Work should be fun and fulfilling. Everyone has a part to play to make the bottom line.



Seema’s Sunday three ways: a country walk ;yoga;Hindi Karaoke (as you do- bet some of you didn’t even know that existed).

This is what you can look forward to when your child is 21 and independent (to a point – as long as you keep the bank of mum/dad /step-dad/grandparents open at all times). No extra curricular activities, no school uniform to prepare, no homework to supervise and no party drop offs. How did I manage all that and work. Now I will have neither for a while so need to find a new hobby. Perhaps one of the following could be the answer.

PART 1: The Walk: Cost = free

Get those walking boots on. About 10 minutes before you leave. Such a bore – flip flops are so much easier. These boots hardly get used so need to get them out and work on the cost:use ratio. I’m in training now you know; HE has signed us up for a challenge. Lake District ; 24miles, 10 hills, 5am start. Easy 🙄. Only saving grace is that it’s next June .Dear god he can’t sit still and always need to do something but feels the need to drag me along occasionally. Not many things I can do but walking is one. This walk did happen around Biddenham where there seems to be an explosion of homes. Hmmm perhaps the boots were an overkill and the mini rucksack and snack and water ! Oh well you know me – always prepared for an emergency. But we finally escaped buildings to the river and enjoyed the sun and the fresh cool wind. The obligatory chat of kids and life dramas was had and shared – the talking stick was passed and on a Sunday morning all was sorted. Refreshments (because apple had come back uneaten 😂) at friend’s house and then they made the fatal mistake of showing us their Aldi purchase. A soft toy – a 🥕!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes a carrot. That’s what middle England people are doing now and apparently fighting in stores to get said carrot. The demise of the high street become clearer. I also note that Aldi are donating £15k ONLY to charity. Please correct me if I’m wrong but that’s the most ungenerous thing ever. They’ve probably paid many times more just to make the you tube clips! But people feel free to buy the carrots – it’s your hard earned money. Sorry I did actually walk and the fitbit says I’ve done over 18,000 steps. That means I can sit still tomorrow for most of the day. How could I let a carrot get to me ?🤷🏽‍♀️.

PART 2 :The Yoga: Cost = free (today only)

Yoga and meditation 🧘🏽‍♀️.Moon salutations and yogic breathing . Looking inward and being good. Dragged Simon with me but he was behind me so not sure how his downward dog fared. He’s not flexible but bless him he tries. Sit cross-legged hold your right toe with right hand and left toe with left hand and extend. See what happens🙏🏽😉. My payback ! Namaste. Nitasha makes everything look so effortless and whilst she’s away doing some more amazing things around the world I’ll be sure to practice those poses.

PART 3: The Dosa Party:Cost=£15

You should know something. The new subway in Delhi (not so new now) has warnings stating “no spitting” and another telling “no singing”. Get a group of Indians together and just give them a slight nod on music and dance and watch the evening and them come alive.And add food to that heady mix it becomes a winning combo ( event planners take note- Kurry Karaoke – you heard it here first). Pooja’s Kareoke night at Cochin, Bedford’s best South Indian Restaurant was destined to be a huge success. Then it dawns on me, what does one wear to this type of do? Sari – not for me , not tonight, the tummy is not ready to be exposed yet. Play it safe, black kurta suit, minimal jewellery(it’s Sunday after all) and a sober bindi. Done!

Needs must – Pooja has set up by the bar with her system and was in fine tune. She managed to ignore the sound man, the waiter, us talking and trying to drown her when we actually sang. Gracious to all who were wannabe Rafis and Latas.

Damn the food – and you know I never say no to food. Starters , mains and pudding. I was going to skip the details but have come to my senses (chilli paneer, vada, bonda, masala dosa, Gulab Jamun or semia). Don’t they know I have a song to murder. Swarupa did remind me that I’d said ‘not singing, don’t let me sing, I’m not allowed to by Art and Simon’. Perfect they’re not here !! We will just sing with our mouths full or eat cold dosas 🙄.

Our wonderful table of Praveena, Monika, Deepali and Swarupa were of course the best table made even better by visits from Rekha and Suman. We would have welcomed you too Shabana, Fatima, Ritu and Asmita (who have I forgotten this time!!😬) Mr Google helped with lots of lyrics. Supplementary information our fave male actors are Amitabh Bachan and Siddharth Malhotra (not for his acting 😉- sorry guys I became un pc just for a few seconds).

So many songs sung by lots of people . I think Chris/John and Aparna need to take a bow!! Awesome 👏🏾🙌🏾Let’s not forget Sudesh and Gigi with their punjabi beat and bhangra moves . And Dr Patil sings as well as saving lives 💕. Did I mention yet again a room full of doctors.

Just recollecting a few of the songs ;

⁃ Tere mast mast do nain: your fit two eye

⁃ Kya Khub Lagthi ho: you look great (oh Thankyou)

⁃ Monika oh my darling :Monika oh my darling …(especially for Monika Kohli)

⁃ Chalte Chalte : walking walking

⁃ Yeh Dosti : this friendship

⁃ Bhaharo phool Barsao : winds scatter flowers

⁃ Mere sapno ki Rani kabh aayegi tu: the queen of my dreams when will you arrive

Not quite the same in English. Completely lost in translation ☹️. I’m sad about this.

Where I normally eat chilli paneer became the dance floor. Carpet and heels not good dance partners. And perhaps this is why someone thought I was actually drunk. How rude (Sudesh!!) just high on Diet Coke(other brands of teeth rotting drinks are available).

So what if I missed Indian idol; so what if there were no Latas, Ashas, Ushas or Alkas here I don’t care. I got to sing

“yeh dosti” with the Bandhan girls – long may it continue . First time ever I’ve selfied a video – more shouting than singing.😂

This Brit Asian loves surprising and did it again .. yes I can read Hindi lyrics . Singing them is another matter. Suman, however, the seasoned singer – even had the lyrics in English! Planning and prep even for Kareoke 👍🏽.

See you all at the next event – the dance floor at our NYE party to finish that song and dance challenge. Simon you’re coming with me – he loves to dance you know ! The singing 🎤- give me a few years more.