Tag Archives: books



It’s all change!  I have recently started a website www.nelliepompoms.co.uk and am   s l o w l y   but surely moving the blogs from here across to there.  Huge thanks to Gabriella Buckingham who designed my original logo and Sarah at Studio Spence who has put it all together for me, if you’re looking for a website then do get in touch with Sarah, she’s very clever (and patient!).

The website has been an idea of mine for ages.  Drawing on my many adventures and journeys, shopping experiences and personal recommendations I have brought everything together and popped it all in one place.  It’s where you will find food and drink suggestions, recent book reviews, the Instagram feed, Twitter timelineNellie Pom Poms Facebook status updates, blog and shopping inspiration from some very lovely people and businesses like Common Farm Flowers, Myddfai, Bowlovers, More-Hall, Bodlon, 2 Little Boys, Hunter Gatherer and more!

So, this blog post is short and sweet (much like myself!), but I do hope you will bookmark www.nelliepompoms.co.uk, sign up to the blog on the website and tell your friends.


Commuter tales


Years and years ago I used to commute from Wokingham to London, first to Shad Thames and then to near Bishopsgate. We used to get on the train at Wokingham (smoking carriage as was back in the day) armed with The Wokingham Times, the Today paper and a book. It was like a travelling library as we all shared books and would ask for recommendations. After the initial morning greetings and bums on seats we’d settle into a routine of working, reading, applying make up, lighting up, chatting and mentally preparing for the jostle at the other end. 

Workplaces were varied and some would head off on the tube, drain, bus, walk or (if I was lucky and timed my arrival to coincide with the boss) taxi. Well there had to be some perks to leaving home at 715am!  Due to the fact we were smokers (and therefore social pariahs) we would sit in 1 of the 2 smoking carriages on the train and over the years built up quite a rapport, so much so we’d pick up books and belongings if anyone left them behind and would wake fellow commuters up if they fell asleep and were nearing their station. 

We knew everyone. Lots of commuters had nicknames. There was Fluffy who was wildly good looking and had curly hair, Captain who was in shipping, looked like Captain Birds Eye and smoked a pipe, Jean who we called Jean Shrimptom for no other reason than we could, Fenchurch Annie who worked in Fenchurch Street, well you get the picture!

Birthdays were always good fun as we would have fizzy intoxicating liqueur on the way to work and then on the way home. If the trains were delayed we’d head to Bonapartes and drink ourselves stupid until the trains behaved. They were sociable days!

Catching the last train home was when we ran for our lives, no one wanted to be stranded at Waterloo!  As young twenty something girls we felt safe and looked out for. If some drunken driveller invaded our space there was always someone who would move to our rescu and be a buffer to unwanted beer breath. 

Some of the friends from the train are still friends years later, one is Mook’s Fairy Godmother, one had a wedding we all went to – actually her wedding was like a birthday journey minus the ticket collector. 

Travelling to London for Gavin Collinson’s book launch on Thursday reminded me of my commuting days and whilst it was lovely to be back in the throb and thrall of a commuter carriage I don’t miss those days, but I’m glad I met the friends I did on the 724. 

Gifts for mother’s day (and my birthday)


My mother likes to remind me that I was born in the late afternoon on Mothering Sunday and chastises me still (at very nearly 46) for keeping her waiting.  All day!  Well back in the day there wasn’t much on the telly box and maybe I wanted to appear in time for a nice cup of the and a sandwich spread samwich!  So arrive I did and as well as having my official birthday I also feel that I own a little bit of Mothering Sunday as well!

The lovely children of the house have been asking me what I would like for my birthday and I have to admit I am a little bit stuck between deciding what I would quite like and what I really need.  So far I have come up with a watch and a docking station/charging/alarm clock combo but there are some things that I do like and I am sure that some of these ideas could be on any mother’s list.

I could really do with a new blender as mine is groaning under the weight of hearty soups I have recently been making, a whizzer or chopper would cut down on the time I chop but would involve more washing up and I would probably lose the whizzy bit so I will shelve those ideas for another time.  Besides Big Welsh has a birthday in a few months and maybe he would like them?  The wok I bought him for Christmas was a great success after all!

Mook asked whether I would like some flowers from Georgie, well yes of course!  Doesn’t everyone want flowers on their birthday?  I particularly like Georgie’s creations because she grows most of them herself, Common Farm Flowers is a small British business with a big heart and I do like to support my friends.


Having just spent the evening at Nirvana Spa with my stepsister as an early birthday treat I would thoroughly enjoy a day of pampering and relaxing, there are so many treatments to chose from and to be honest who wouldn’t want to float around all day in a nice big bath robe wondering which lounger to lie on!


I’m not really a bag person.  I’ve yet to find a bag that I will actually use and use and use but I am rather partial to the bags at Pioneros and Cloudberry who I found via Country Wives.  My Mulberry purse is now 15 years old and is looking tired so maybe a new purse?  But saying that I do have a lovely green Ted Baker one with bobbles somewhere and I can’t for the life of me remember where it is and it does contain my Cath Kidston family and friends discount card so I must make an effort to find it as I am rather partial to the bedding!

Notebooks are also another favourite of mine and my very clever crochet friend Prettybea has sent me some notebooks from Bread and Jam which I love, Katherina from Ella’s Kitchen Company gave me a notebook which I also love and I do enjoy perusing stationery companies.


Jewellery is always a nice gift, I particularly like Rococo in Wokingham and often nip in to see Juliette and ooh and aah over the displays.  Despite having my ears pierced years ago I don’t wear earrings much but I do like the simple ones from JojoJewellery.


Sending a food gift is always a winner!  I am more than partial to Gower Cottage Brownies, to be honest I don’t know anyone who isn’t – they’ve just not found them yet.  Kate is THE Brownie Queen.  Fact.  As it’s mother’s day the rule is that the mother should be treated to mugs of coffee at regular intervals to go with said brownies.


Then maybe a little glass of something with a fizz.  Last year Tiffinie came over for a fundraiser for The Brain Tumour Charity and HeadSmart and we sipped a dash of her Wiltshire Liqueur Blood Orange with Prosecco in the garden.


Or how about a fizzy red, yes you read it right fizzy red, I like the Vultu from Zotta Deli.


I’m very fond of the Gordon Castle Gin and Angus has suggested mixing it with Fever Tree tonic – what’s not to love?


I love giving books to people and equally love being given books.  As a supporter of small local independent book sellers I don’t mind being given a book token so I can go and choose a book myself.  I am not averse to vouchers as they are such a convenient gift to send and can bring hours of pleasure perusing and choosing what you would really like.

Books really are my thing and when I see a book I remember where I was when I was reading it.  Another way to hold memories is with a Treasure Pod from the amazing Jane Rafter.  I have one with a birth stones and charms.  What would you choose?


Smellies and candles are another firm favourite and the world is full of gorgeousness.  I love Jo Malone MBE’s new range Jo Loves and the fragrance discovery gift experience is an ideal gift, it is easily wrapped up and can be put in a pretty padded envelope from Hunter Gatherer.  I was fortunate to have facials over the years from Tracey Malone who started her own business called Lubatti which has the most glorious bath oils and skincare range.  Last year I found Noble Isle who have a delicious range of products that I am also fond of.

Being a spring baby I obviously feel the need for people to wrap up so have given a number of friends bobble hats from Forage Somerset as well as Powder gloves available from Ty Cariad in Brecon.

Of course keeping hands warm also looks after hands so I use Niki’s Warming Balm which is quite frankly gorgeous smelling and warming.

But what I love most about Mother’s Day and my birthday is that I get to spend it with the most precious people in my life


and I know that come what may I will always be there for them, laughing with them


and even though I might embarrass them


I will always love them and I will always be their Mummy.

Gifts for gardeners



I’ve been asked for gift ideas for gardeners. Easy!

Here are just a few suggestions

The Flower Farmer’s Year, an interesting and very enjoyable book by Georgie Newbery of Common Farm Flowers.  Georgie also runs courses in Somerset as well as sending out #Britishflowers by post which I can highly recommend.

Anything from The Gluttonous Gardener, years ago I bought my brother a Wine & Vine, the wine has long gone but he makes his own with grapes from his vine.

Frilly Pickers are two friends who have set up in Wokingham and offer a range of gardening services. I got 4 hours of gardening for my birthday which was ideal for kick starting a project.

Membership to National Trust, the National Garden Scheme, English Heritage are all firm favourites, allowing you to visit when the mood (or road) takes you.

We can never predict what the weather will do but you can bring the garden in with these faux plants from OKA, they’re so realistic.

Sally Swannell has a stunning range of artwork which can hang on the wall, whether it is a picture or you make your own display with any number of cards in a frame.

A nice gift that always looks bright and cheery in the garden whatever the weather is  piece of glass art from Quintessential Glass, I have 2 in my garden and when I look out of the window I see a flash of colour.

Another book that might be of interest is The Plant Lover’s Guide to Snowdrops by Naomi Slade, I never knew there were so many species of snowdrops!

After all that gardening and with books to read you’ll need somewhere to sit.  I really love the bright and cheery company Deck Chair Stripes, the windbreaker takes me back to windy days on the beaches (who remembers those parental words “never mind the weather we’re here at the beach for the day” in the 70s?).

I hope you will find something of interest that will make you smile!

Books, cooks and memories


I love books, my family love books. We’ve got books everywhere in the house. Some books are on shelves, some are piled high on the floor, some are in boxes and some are in book bags, hand bags, glove compartments or on the stairs.

Today I was prattling around and looked at one shelf – fairly empty, a mixture of books, a mix of shapes and sizes …


I’ve had these books for years but haven’t really taken much notice of them. I regularly move books and furniture around so it’s always a surprise to find something that isn’t new but is in a new place! My eyes were drawn to this beauty ….


It made me chuckle because my Granny was a collector of useful information, hints and tips, recipes and household solutions …


She used to write lists and explanations and I think the funniest was for chocolate spread. Chocolate spread (good) as if Granny would ever have a bad recipe!


I’ve never seen a bad recipe from Granny but more hilariously I’ve never seen a mystery recipe either …


There you go!! An insight into Granny’s 1944 Recipe Book “a handy book for the housewife”. I must have a look through the shelves and boxes to see what other hints and tips I can glean!!