We are coming to the time of year where my front room looks almost exactly like an Amazon warehouse.  I am happy to take in parcels for my neighbours – it’s kind and, well, neighbourly.  There are quite a few younger people on my street who seem to work full time plus hours and it isn’t such a hardship to say yes to the delivery guy (who probably has a terrible job and loads of parcels to deliver within mere minutes).

However, I am mildly irritated with the owner of one parcel.

Here it is

I took it from a panicking delivery driver who was running late.  Problem was, the label said:

“Jack Ryan (not his real name), Basement Flat – push the bottom buzzer hard, [My postcode]”

And that was it. Since I don’t actually know Jack Ryan, this kind of left me with a problem.  My street includes a whole bunch of houses that have been converted into flats (including basement flats) and I was imaging having to write out 15 to 20 notes to ask if the parcel was for that address.

So, I started off Googling Jack Ryan and got a result at Imperial College – I had a look at his LinkedIn profile and he looked like the sort of person who might live in a flat on my street.  I emailed him with a picture of the label and asked whether it was for him.  Then, when I didn’t hear back from him, I rang him (at work).  The Jack Ryan I got was kind and actually quite appreciative … however, he doesn’t live on my street (or even in north London) so it wasn’t for him.

Then I did a bit of Facebook stalking and sent messages to the two Jack Ryans I found who live in London.  Then I posted on NextDoor to see whether anyone knew him.  I fretted over it a bit and my Mum told me that it was using up too much headspace and I should just open the parcel to see whether it had a delivery note.  I did this (even though I suspect it is illegal to do so) but there was no such note.  I tweeted Amazon to see whether they knew who it should be delivered to.(they said that, as I am not the person who it is addressed to, they can’t tell me).

I went for coffee with a friend who said “For heaven’s sake, this is ridiculous.  Just take it to the Post Office and mark it Return To Sender”.  I was just about to do so when I got a response from one of the Jack Ryans on Facebook to say “Thanks for the message will come and collect ASAP”.  Turns out the delivery driver had put the while you were out card through the right door, totally by chance.  I’d been fretting with no need.  So Jack Ryan said that he was away but his housemate would come and collect.

And he hasn’t bloody come to collect it.

Sorry – this was a bit of a dull post.  I just wanted a whinge.


It is too early for Christmas

However, I have stocked up on a load of wrapping paper and a couple of advent calendars.  I usually buy lots of fairly neutral wrapping paper at Christmas and then can use it throughout the year.  There’s a thing in The Spike about wrapping paper, which is worth a read.  I was tempted to start using ribbon after reading it (and looking at the Pinterest photos) but then decided that as I have managed to get to now not being the sort of person who uses ribbon, I won’t start now.  I mean, I still use envelope labels for the from / to on the presents.

I probably won’t use all this right away
Here are the Advent Calendars

I got the advent calendars from After Noah.  This, thank goodness, is still going and hasn’t been made into an estate agent or scent shop.

On the bus this morning, there was a couple having really rather a vicious argument about Christmas.  I didn’t get the entire thing but the gist was that she wanted them both to go to her family at Christmas.  I would have been rather sympathetic but she was loud, passive aggressive and it was terrible trying NOT to stare at them.

The Christmas-cards-designed-by-a-child have come back from school so I guess I’d better start writing them soon.  Perhaps I should clear all the stuff off the mantelpieces too.


It’s unseasonably warm but I am loving October.  It’s nearly Hallow’een!  So exciting.

I love October

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had some men in, replacing the rotten windowsills (there were a few) and repainting all the outside bits that needed repainting.  They’re just finishing up now and are doing the front door.  I was a bit thrown when the man asked me what colour I wanted the front door – we’ve always had a dark red front door but I wondered whether it was worth getting a totally new colour as the door was being redone.  Plus my Mum said that everyone in the world should have a dark green front door.  In the end, I asked my son who is now six and said that he wanted it to be “completely the same, Mummy”.  Then I dithered a bit over whether to pick Rectory Red, Incarnadine or Eating Room Red (a bit too dark and “tasteful”).  So the door is or will be Rectory Red, which is a slightly lighter red than the colour it was before.  It’s also now in “exterior eggshell”, which seems to be more matte than the gloss.

The other day, one of my neighbours was outside, wearing a his-vis jacket and hanging out with the police.  So I went to have a nose – she was measuring the speed of all the cars and vans with one of those zappers and when anyone went over 25, the police pulled them over and gave them a ticket.  All of Islington is meant to have a 20 limit but a load of people use our road as a cut through and bomb it at nearer 40.  My husband almost never parks his car outside our house because people keep crashing into the cars parked there (a few years ago, one of them was his).  I found the whole Catching People Speeding Along My Road thing completely thrilling and signed up for a stint.  If it happens, I’ll let you know what it is like.  My husband asked why the police don’t just use the speed camera and catch people by themselves – I suspect it is a public relations exercise (which is fine with me).

Children’s books – Time Out list

It’s my daughter’s birthday next week and I’ve bought her some books.  I found these on this list published by Time Out.

Children’s books

I’ve had a quick look through them (they’re now wrapped) and I think they look pretty good.  One interesting one is the We Are All Born Free which is basically the Universal Declaration of Human Rights explained to children with pictures.  This is the sort of thing that an old boyfriend would have described as “right on” (not a compliment).  I’ll have to see whether she likes them.

Biker boots

I’ve been on the lookout for some biker boots – this was partly triggered by my husband who suggested that I needed a pair of ankle length boots.  Obviously, though, it was already triggered by me.  I do already have a pair of black ankle boots but these have a (small) heel and are a bit too smart for some outfits.

It was surprisingly difficult to find a pair that fit me.  I have peculiar feet.  They are short and wide – I once got measured for ski boots and the fitter said that I had feet that are a UK 4.5 length and 8 width (so basically square – I’m such a freak).  Plus I have really high arches.

I ordered this pair in John Lewis but couldn’t even get them on.  So back they went.  I liked the look of this pair in Jones but the sole is even lighter than it looks online (and looks a bit funny on black boots).  I really liked the look of this pair in All Saints but, although they have a zip, the strap around it meant I couldn’t get them on.

I also had a look in Office, Kurt Geiger, L K Bennett (lovely – but much too expensive) and Dune but had no luck.  Then I read this and ordered both of the pairs of boots the author recommended.  Both were too small so I sent both back and ordered the Niels in a UK size 8 – amazingly they fit.  A size 8 should be far too big for me but my old, slouchy UGGs also came up really small so perhaps UGG just make their shoes really small.

New biker boots

By the way, can I recommend The Circle?  It’s a really good film.

Getting things round the house fixed

Last week, we had a carpenter in to sort out our well-worn house.  Loads of our window frames needed a bit of work.  This wouldn’t bother me all that much but my husband likes to get things fixed.

I think it is because the house I grew up in had almost completely rotten window frames (I could put my finger through the wood in my bedroom window).  I remember my Mum telling me that I must never put my head out of a sash window, lest the glass comes through the wood in the manner of a guillotine.  At the time I thought it was a law but other people have told me that they didn’t have the same rule in their houses.

We also got the floorboard that bent replaced

Children’s clothes for Autumn

Now that the children have gone back to school and nursery school, I’ve done a bit of a cull of their clothes.  There’s stuff that was super and worn all the time but is now too short and tight.  So off to Save the Children with those things.

Last winter, my daughter got a lot of wear out of a couple dungaree dresses that my friend M kindly passed on.  Because she wore a long sleeved top and tights or leggings underneath, they were warm enough but also fulfilled my daughter’s constant want to wear a dress, regardless of how utterly freezing it is outside.  Plus, unless it is really soiled, denim doesn’t have to washed every time it is worn.

On the left is a dungaree dress from Boden, on the right is a pinafore dress from a place in Brighton called Toby Tiger.  I’d never heard of them but my friend N mentioned them and they look like the sort of thing I really like.

Dungaree and pinafore dress

I ordered a bunch of pointelle tops from Boden, along with a (reduced) top from Toby Tiger.

The cream top is from Next, the one with the apple is from Toby Tiger, the rest are from Boden

I don’t usually look at JoJo Maman Bebe but the other day I noticed a little girl wearing one of their dresses so I bought one for my daughter.

Mulberry cord pinafore dress and stripy dress

I love this cardigan.


My daughter’s leggings are getting a bit short so I’ve also got a few more in the next size up.  These were about £4 each from Next.


My son actually had a quite a lot for Autumn already (plus he wears school uniform for most of the time).  I did get him these tops from Frugi.


Last month a company I used to buy a few things from, LoveItLoveItLoveIt, closed down.  The lady who ran it said she hadn’t been enjoying it for a while and now is quite unwell so isn’t trading any more.