Launching Soon: The Easy Guide to Happy Feet

I’m thrilled to announce that my latest book will be launching next week on Tuesday 25th July.  Drawing on my time as a foot health practitioner, may I present: The Easy Guide to Happy Feet!

Happy Feet

Often ignored and hidden away, your feet are your flexible friends and work hard on your behalf for the whole of your life. Neglecting the smaller foot problems can create a bigger problem for the rest of your body so now’s the time to learn the foot signs that will benefit you later.

The Easy Guide to Happy Feet (For a Happy You) is an entertaining look at what’s normal and what’s not, spanning from childhood to old age; with shaggy shoe stories, unusual cures for common foot problems, fun foot facts, foot dreams and superstitions. Happy Feet by Patricia Barber will make you smile and give you the foot knowledge you need for a happier healthier life.

‘When our feet hurt we hurt all over’ – Socrates.

‘All we are saying is give feet a chance.’ John Lennon – almost!

More news soon!

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Snakes, Iguanas and other Tenants

You can meet some strange tenants on property inspections. I didn’t mind the large snake a few months ago – even gave it a cuddle, not slimy at all and rather pleasant since you ask! But I do draw the line when I open a bedroom door to find a large iguana staring at me from his sawn off tree branch. Not sure that the usual no-pets clause will cover this one.

During my day job as an Inventory Clerk I see all sorts – including naked men who answer the door with just a flannel over their bits. ‘Just out of the shower, they say, wont be a mo, then turn around and wander up stairs not caring that I am standing there trying not to look. Since I have been in this business for 30 odd years actually I no longer care. Time is money so the faster they get their clothes ON the quicker I can check the house and get away to the next one.

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Crescent Singers Xmas Fun


And with one of my other (many!) hats on: the Crescent Singers, which I co-run with my youngest daughter Helen, are having a 4 week Christmas workshop!  So if you’re local to Earley/Lower Earley, drop by and join us!
Starting on: 18th November
At: Trinity Church Hall, Lower Earley (behind ASDA)
On: Fridays 7.30pm – 9.30pm
Cost: £5 a week, pay as you go, no commitment.

Come along and learn some easy two part harmonies to some great Christmas songs:-
•    O Little Town of Bethlehem
•    Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
•    Santa Baby
•    The Holly and the Ivy
•    Hark the Herald Angels Sing
•    Silent Night
•    Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
•    Jingle Bell Rock
•    Walking in the Air
•    Stop the Cavalry
•    Winter Wonderland
•    Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

We will finish on Friday 16th December with a ‘bit of a do’ – all your friends and family are invited to join us (free of charge) and enjoy the music and song – and of course sing along with us all if they wish.

For more information – Tel. 0118 986 3737
or visit:

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New Community News Magazine

I am just about to launch ‘The Link’ a great new community news magazine for Earley and Lower Earley. Local news straight to your inbox. First issue available free on our website from 1st November, then small annual subscription (£18 pa) The magazine is currently 10 x A4 sized pages packed with news, views, tips for home and garden, quizzes and even a monthly tarotscope.

The Link is free to use for any community group or charity to publicise their events or activities and readers are encouraged to email their local news and views. Watch this space for more website information.

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Just Published: 25 Top Tips for Landlords

25 tips for landlordsEverything a landlord needs to know. My new book has just been released, packed with useful practical tips that could save money, time and stress. After working so long in the lettings industry and having seen landlords get into all sorts of trouble, I thought this sort of information was badly needed.

Easy to read and only £1.99 from Amazon, my 25 Top Tips for Landlords covers everything from preparing your property for let, finding the perfect tenant, health and safety and what to look out for when using a letting agent right through to the end of the tenancy and how to deal with all the problems you may have. Enjoy!


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The Gift: The Terror of Dolls

Last week it was announced that I won the Writing Times Halloween themed Short Story competition with my story ‘The Gift’ (available online here) – much celebrating ensued.  This is the first horror story I’ve ever had published and the first time I’ve written in the epistolary style, and as stories go, was one I very much enjoyed writing.   ‘The Gift’ is about a seemingly innocent birthday present – a rag doll that holds some nasty surprises.

So what is it about dolls? They give me the creeps. When I was very young I preferred teddy bears, nice, safe, cuddly and soft. Dolls were hard, with those glass eyes that seemed to follow you around the room. They were cold and uncompromising whereas teddies were soft and accepting and would make any child a lovely best friend.   Dolls just sit there looking at you, wherever you are, they are mini humans, frozen and timeless. Dolls won’t get wrinkles, they will just stare at you like a scolding aunt, watching everything you do with those evil little eyes. I often wondered who or what was trapped inside that plastic skin.

When I was young my teddy family were always welcome in my bed to keep me company every night but dolls always stayed safely tucked in their own little cot the other side of the bedroom, or preferably, in a room downstairs (or locked in the shed at the bottom of the garden?) People gave me dolls but I just couldn’t take to them. They quite frankly gave me the creeps. I had a long skinny doll with flaxen hair – a prehistoric Barbie type – made of hard plastic.  It had a moving head, arms and legs; the trouble was the hair kept falling out in clumps along with one of her eyes, not a good look. Or did one of the other dolls do it out of jealousy?  I had little doll triplets, with moulded plastic hair and blinking eyes with long eyelashes. My mum used to make clothes for them all which only made it worse. Teddy on the other hand looked lovely in his hand made pyjamas, the same material as my own at the time. In fact he is sitting on top of the bookcase in the spare room still wearing them today, it’s probably the only thing keeping him together at his great age. The dolls are long gone, thank goodness.

Where-ever the dolls were, when the lights went out, I would have to listen for signs of movement. Dolls always had the potential to jump up from their cot and start doing things in the night – or day. Doing what, I have no idea, but my fertile imagination could see them dancing around and getting up to no good.

When I was about ten years old I saw an old black and white horror movie which involved a rag doll. The little girl kept it on the end of her bed but every night it jumped up and caused all manner of evils. I won’t dignify the thing by calling it ‘she,’ that would only make it worse, ‘it’ tore at the bedspread, threw toys around, ripped the curtains and did more serious things like leave things at the top of the stairs ready for someone to trip and break their neck.

I think this probably finished me off in the end as far as dolls were concerned. I fail to understand why adults actually collect the things and fill their houses with them. I cannot look at just one of the evil little midgets without shivering and imagining all the evil that these little frozen people can do!  Which is why there was no question about what was going to star in my Halloween story.

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Adventures in Enterprise: Family Business Partners, Part 1

While my early adventures in enterprise had been for the fun of meeting my school’s challenge, my first serious business venture, and one of the most important ones I’ve ever done, earned my fiancé (now husband of over forty years) and I enough money to put down a deposit on our first home.

At the time we both worked at Heathrow Airport as export and import clerks and were saving hard for a house, but the pot was slow to build up. One day someone in my office mentioned that they were interested in buying a bulk amount of tights, if the price was right. I thought about this and wondered if there was an opportunity to make some money. I was surrounded by about a hundred other offices and probably several hundred potential customers.

I had a quick chat with my other half who said that he knew of a wholesale warehouse not too far away so we rang them to check opening hours and eligibility to buy, then dashed down there the same night. It was like Aladdin’s cave. We made a list of all the things we thought would sell, a quick note of wholesale price versus our possible selling price and soon spotted that there was a good profit to be made provided we could find the customers. I typed up a sales sheet with our names and phone numbers on the top – while not the most sophisticated catalogue, it worked a treat. We asked nicely and our bosses were happy to allow us to use the office photocopier (if we didn’t take the mickey) so we could then drop off copies of the list to all the other offices.

In a couple of days we had taken orders for all sorts of things, not only tights but gallons of washing up liquid and bleach (they were a big seller!) duvets, pillows, batteries, you name it we sold it. Customers knew where we worked and used to drop in order forms or pass them to us as we went around the building. Then we would hit the warehouse and fill up our car boots. We could then back up to the delivery door of our customer’s office, unload the orders and collected the cash. No credit was a good rule even then. The only problem with the whole thing turned out to be fitting in our daily trips to the wholesaler with our actual employed jobs, but needs must when money is to be made.

As a young couple just starting out, it was a bonus to find that we also worked very well together in business; we both saw the possibilities in what was a very simple business, had a lot of fun and I discovered that my future husband was great at keeping control of the finances of a venture. (A skill that would come in useful several times in the future.) After a year of trading, we managed to save enough for our house deposit and we will always be grateful for that first business for providing the home we started our family in.

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