Phew, its been a busy week or two. My big sister came to visit last week for a few days and it was great. However, it is a bit like a visit from my mother by proxy so I knew everything had to be spic-and-span.Laundry, vacuuming, cleaning all had to be done with a little more commitment than just a 'lick and a promise' as my mum use to say. (Do people still even say that?)
Anyway, I set to the task with gusto (again, does anyone still use words like this or am I stuck in a time warp?). There was so much more to do once I had started, it's always the way isn't it?
My sister is actually fairly laid back and wouldn't really have minded if a few cushions were out of place or if there was a mark or two on the floor – but I would have. Worse still, I know that when she got home to Ireland and was having a catch-up with mum any little slip up would have been mentioned in conversation and I would have received casual recommendations from mum on how to rid myself of those pesky marks on the floor. All out of helpfulness and kindness you understand. Still, I thought, best not to have anything to report back on!
Having swept and vacuumed them, my floors still didn't look right. They were dull, or something, not really sure how to explain it, so I got out my H2O X5 Steam Mop and got to work. When a friend who was visiting that evening asked how I got my floors so shiny I knew I had done the right thing, I even used it to get the limescale off the glass in my shower. I tell you steam cleaning is addictive!
This was the first time my sister had come to visit me in London so I wanted everything to be just right. I'm sure many of you know what I mean, when you've had family coming to stay, you just want it all to be great! So I decided to light a few scented candles to give the place a fresh, inviting feeling as well as looking great. I lit some of the new fragrances we have from Yankee Candle (they are coming up as a Today Special Value on Thursday 17th May). They are the Summer Love Limited Edition Fragrances and they are, for want of a better word, yummy!
In the living room I had First Kiss (the fragrance that is, not my first ever kiss you understand – that happened at a Scouts and Girl Guides disco – but that's a whole other story!) which as well as being a delicious soft pink colour has a wonderful, sweet yet fresh scent to it. I can't quite put my finger on exactly what it is that makes this scent so endearing but it reminds me of summer punch, fruit trifle and fresh linen. I know that sounds a bit mad, but it has a lovely mellow watery sweetness to it, a bit like when you eat a juicy watermelon but at the same time there is a clean fresh scent that cuts through.
I loved it so much I had to try it in the bedroom as well, which is where I left it during their visit so the room would be infused with that lovely fresh, summery, slightly sweet fruity scent that I knew my sister would enjoy. In the hallway I had a True Crush T-Light set inside an etched glass chandelier. It looks great as you enter the apartment but also exudes a more spicy exotic aura with a warming vanilla or Tonka Bean note to it. Perfect for making that first impact. This one is my favourite of all three fragrances in the Today Special Value.
The third fragrance is 'Love Me Lots', and I do! It is a wonderful zesty, uplifting fragrance with notes of fresh squeezed limes and crushed lemons, a great one to get you started in the morning or revitalise you if you are in a slump. I had this in a votive holder on a window sill ready for action when ever needed! I think Yankee Candle have excelled themselves with this collection and its limited edition as well so I feel just that little bit more special for having them!!
So the scene was set everything looked great. I had fresh Northern Nights sheets on the bed. The floors were sparkling and everywhere smelled great. I couldn't wait for my sister and her husband to arrive. Having my family come and visit, for me, is like going on holiday without actually travelling anywhere. None of the normal rules of life apply. You stay up late, eat what you want and maybe have that extra glass of wine! It feels naughty but good.
Since they were going to be here for a couple of days I thought it would be a great opportunity to go to a show or an event. My sister had mentioned a few months ago that the Channel 4 Comedy Gala in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital was going to be on at the O2 so I got us tickets for that. Well any opportunity to help a good cause and have a laugh shouldn't be missed!
The show was opened by Jessie J singing a poignant track I hadn't heard before and she was joined by comedian Alan Carr (Chatty Man) on stage wearing a wig (like Jessi's hair) and one of Jessi's infamous figure hugging lycra body suits, gyrating for all he was worth! He was so out of breath afterwards he could hardly maintain his hosting duties. A great start to the evening.
I did wonder why Jessie J was opening the show? She isn't a comedian after all but I thought it was nice of her to offer support. What I didn't know was that Jessie J had spent several months at Great Ormond Street as a child because of some heart issues she had, and because of that it was a cause quite literally, close to her heart. She went back and filmed a piece with some of the children there which was shown during the gala, and was a heartfelt reminder of why we were all there.
The stellar talent on display included Sean Lock, Lee Evans, Kevin Bridges, Jo Brand, Jack Whitehall, Jack Dee, Lee Nelson, Josh Widdicombe, Paul Chowdhry and many more including hosts like Keith Lemon and Jonathan Ross.
We had such a great evening and big sis was happy so that was all that mattered to me really! Big Sis has gone home happy and I feel like I've been away on holidays for a few days. It was definitely a visit to remember!