Are sell-by dates for real?

After my whirly-gig thingy in a kitchen cupboard broke under the weight of produce I finally got round to performing a long-overdue kitchen cupboard clear out and unearthed things that went out of date back in 2010 – the year we moved into our house!!

I ended up throwing quite a few things away, which made me feel a bit ashamed really, but my kitchen cupboards are now fresh and tidy and I actually know what I have in store.

It did make me think though: do all sell-by dates really matter?

Not eating or throwing away out-of-date food was one of my mum’s bug bears about me.  I think it was her post war era sensibilities that were totally at odds with me throwing away food she saw as perfectly edible.

This is the woman who had a turkey in her freezer for 10 years!  It was in our family for so long it even had a name.  She wanted to feed it to us all on the first Christmas we’d all been together as a family for years – we protested as it could have resulted in the swift demise of our entire blood line!  She ended up gifting it to friends, who were aware of it’s heritage, defrosted and ate it on Christmas day and lived to tell the tale.

Further proof to my mum that freezing things literally cryogenically freezes them in time, that whenever you defrost them they are as fresh as the day they were frozen – even if years have gone by!

Tins got a similar treatment, according to my mum anything that came in a tin would literally last at least your own lifetime, if not the lifetime of you, your children, and your children’s children!

She used to buy un-labelled tins of things from a friend of questionable repute which literally resulted in an Open-All-Hours type lucky-dip lunch of anything from beans and peaches to soup and pineapple!

This was a motto my mum lived by and it never seemed to do her any harm!

She also had a rather fast and loose approach to defrosting things…but that’s another matter entirely!

So, it begs the question: are sell-by dates for real????


What I Would Tell My 30 Year Old Self…


With a few weeks to go before I turn 41, I started wondering what I would tell my 30 year old self so, here it goes:

  1. Don’t panic – your Mr Right is just around the corner!
  1. Spend as much time as you can with your Mum – her time here is limited.
  1. Open yourself up to friends – true friendship is built on secrets shared.
  1. Stand your ground – don’t let people bully or grind you down.
  1. Enjoy your international marketing career – don’t get so stressed – take it all in!
  1. Trust your instincts – they will rarely lead you wrong.
  1. Really consider if you want to have a child of your own as soon as possible – don’t put it off!
  1. Invest more time and energy into your friendships.
  1. Be less judgmental – you will never understand the path someone else has taken.
  1. Pay into your pension!
  1. Stop using shop bought skincare products and go to the professionals: Aestheticare and SkinCeuticals have changed my life!
  1. Wear sunscreen on your face Every Day!
  1. Stop using home hair dye – it will wreck your hair.
  1. Exercise more – the weight creeps on and is harder to lose.
  1. Start a blog – it will help you rediscover your love of writing!




My Random Musings

Ladies First


I was in the shopping centre going down an escalator thinking about my fantastic Primark haul when I noticed a man and woman approach the ‘up’ escalator at the same time.  He was marginally in front so went on the escalator first.  She raised her eyebrow, gave him a disparaging look and got on after him.

It got me thinking:  do we still expect men to be chivalrous and let us go first, just because we are women?

If so, should we still be championing true gender equality?

Ask most women if they believe in equality and the overwhelming cry will be ‘Hell Yeah!’

But is what we say reflected in how we behave?  And is 50/50 gender equality even possible?

Sheryl Sandberg wrote in the inspirational Lean In, ‘A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.’

But is this something we truly want?  Are the sexes not genetically different after all – neither better or worse, just different?

I think we’ve painted ourselves into a bit of a corner here.  I think we want equality when and where it suits us and, fundamentally, is that fair or equal?

Maybe not.  But shouldn’t the focus be on our basic human right of choice?

Does the average woman want to work as many hours as the average man?  Do we, on average, want the high powered, high pressured, work-all-hours career as much as the average man does?

*Part time working is overwhelmingly dominated by women, with 5.85 million women in part-time work as opposed to 2.11 million men.

*Women’s unemployment is at a 24 year high – but is this because we are down-trodden and can’t find jobs, or is this us exercising our basic human right of choice?

Some of us are choosing to stay at home and raise our kids and take care of our husbands.

Some of us are choosing to commit our time to careers, ambition or travel.

We’ve fought for, and achieved, shared parental leave, but will this victory change the picture?  Will the average new mum be happy to go back to work while the dad stays at home?

You may say that’s a question of finances rather than choice.  But is it?

Very few men even consider a future wife or children when making a career choice but for the majority of women this is a contributing factor to her decision.

The difference fundamentally lies in the choices we make and they do differ based on our genetic make-up.

Fundamentally, anyone can choose to put their careers and ambitions above everything else in their lives; anyone can choose to have children and become a stay-at-home parent.

The consequences may be different for us all, but we have the right to choose.

I think the truth is that many of us don’t care for total gender equality!

Before shouting at your screens hear me out:

  • A high percentage of women would rather be working part time or not at all.
  • Most of us love it when a man opens the car door, let’s us go first, picks up the cheque.
  • The majority of mums want to have maternity leave so they bond with their new baby.

And so what!?  Surely it is our right to choose how, when and where we want equality?

So yes, lady on escalator, I agreed with your raised eyebrow and thought he should have gallantly let you go before him.  Because the majority women want to feel cared for and protected.

And maybe that’s not equality.  But maybe that’s okay.

What I do feel passionately about is protecting, supporting and promoting our right to choose.

So whoever you are, whatever you do, as long as you are doing what is right for you, I salute you.

And if I was a fella, I’d open the door for you too!



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The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback

Fairytale of New York

Every year I vow to learn the words to my favourite Christmas song: Fairytale of New York.  In an effort to do so I’m posting the lyrics here and vow to read them every day until I nail it!

Who’d like to see me singing along in two weeks’ time to test my new found knowledge??

Fun Fact: Apparently Americans can’t understand why we Brits love such a depressing song about being drunk and alone on Christmas Eve.  Go figure!Fairytalk-of-new-york

“Fairytale Of New York”

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me,
Won’t see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I’ve got a feeling
This year’s for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They’ve got cars
Big as bars
They’ve got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It’s no place for the old

When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on the corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing ‘Galway Bay’
And the bells are ringing
Out for Christmas day

You’re a bum
You’re a punk
You’re an old slut on junk
Living there almost dead
On a drip in that bed

You scum bag
You maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God
It’s our last

The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing ‘Galway Bay’
And the bells are ringing
Out for Christmas day

I could have been someone
Well, so could anyone
You took my dreams
From me when I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can’t make it all alone
I’ve built my dreams around you

The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing ‘Galway Bay’
And the bells are ringing
Out for Christmas day





Purple Hearts


I’ve been digging through my old diaries from a time gone by when I was young, innocent and wrestling with the meaning of it all.

This is a poem I wrote about the Vietnam War (after watching an episode of China Beach – did you ever see that show??).  Anyway, it seemed rather apt for the world we live in now and demonstrates that we haven’t come very far at all!



Give the injection to ease your pain

Put on the bandage it’s part of the game

Doctor’s and Nurses in the Vietnam War

Zip up the bag and even the score

Millions of boys, black and white

Died for peace…during the fight


A sip from the bottle to forget your hurt

Blood in the basin to wash your dirt

Another lies dead gun at his side

He fought for peace, for peace he died

American flag, draped over his coffin

Proud shots fired and he is forgotten


For their country, for peace, they fight the war

But what if they lose, then what is it for?

All the innocent lives, lost in vane

In a few years time, will it happen again?

Why are we fighting, why doesn’t it cease?

We all want the same thing, to live in peace.





Walk within your Truth

Our Truth is what lies deep within us – it is what makes us who we fundamentally are.

Finding our Truth can take minutes, months, years or even a lifetime.

It is different for everyone and no-one can ever truly know what yours is, or fully understand it.

Finding our Truth starts with being honest with ourselves, taking time for introspection and answering some questions on a deeper, spiritual level:

Who am I

What do I really want

What don’t I want

What makes me happy

What makes me sad

What nourishes my soul

The secret is to not simply follow along with someone else’s Truth because they expect you to and it’s easier – fulfilling your true potential will never come from this.

Finding and facing our Truth can often be a long and difficult process, really looking at ourselves in the mirror, examining all those hidden inner thoughts and feelings can be uncomfortable.  It’s far easier just to go through life following everyone else’s Truth.

But where will that get you if you are never really being true to you?  Will you find happiness, peace, true love?

Let’s face it, unless your inner being is a crazed narcissistic psychopath (in which case perhaps a little therapy wouldn’t go amiss!), everyone will accept your Truth and admire your courage to walk within it.


Let Go

We take ourselves too seriously sometimes don’t we!?

Being embarrassed or shy about who we are, our strengths, weaknesses, loves and hates can lead to wasted opportunities.

We Brits are too self-effacing.   If we are asked to put ourselves forward as being excellent at something we get a bit embarrassed.  We don’t want to put our hands up and say ‘Yes, I’m fantastic at that!’.  We blush and look into our tea cups.

If the same scenario played out in America, 98% of the room would be clamouring to put themselves forward as the expert, even if they weren’t.

The difference between us and other cultures is that we are afraid to say how good we are, afraid to put our hands up and say ‘I’m fantastic!’.

Are we worried that someone will find out that we actually aren’t that fantastic?

What’s the worst that could happen?  We discover we weren’t as good as we thought so we take steps to make the improvements necessary so that our internal belief matches our external proof.

If we don’t try though, how will we ever truly know?

Taking ourselves too seriously can lead to a life half lead.  Not truly throw ourselves into experiences because we are embarrassed or worried about what others will think about us.  Trust me, all they will think is ‘Shit, I wish I could let go and enjoy myself like that guy!’.

This is never more true than in our relationships.

Where has the fun and laughter gone?

Remember when we were love’s young dream and we had fun together, were silly together, weren’t afraid to show how immature and vulnerable we could be.

As we go through life things get so serious: children, mortgages, careers, dogs, cats, cars, loss……its all very grown-up and we seem to fall into a rut of ‘acting responsible’.

All very well and good and I’m not proposing that we run from place to place squealing at the top of our lungs and dropping our ice cream cones!

But we do need to let go and have fun.

Go down the slide after your kids and shriek with laughter, sing along to your favourite song as you make dinner without caring who hears you, go out at lunchtime and walk barefoot in the grass….do stuff just for the pure joy of it, because it feels good.

You will find yourself feeling happier, freer and less stressed out.  And, your kids / partner / parent / siblings will see you letting go and having some fun, and they’ll soon join in.


No-one is going to think ‘Look at that idiot having loads of fun.’




Hello and welcome to Sunshine in my Soul.  I’m Sally, a Yorkshire lass raised in the South African sunshine who has come home to roost.

I am lucky enough to have found and married my Mr Right who just happens to be tall, dark and handsome.  He’s my best friend and makes me laugh every day.

My mum always used to say I have a Poet’s Soul.  When I was a young girl I spent hours in my room writing poetry and short stories.  As I got older I left this creative and imaginative part of me behind. In many ways I think I was more spiritual and enlightened back then!

This blog is for me to find my way back to my Poet’s Soul.

I have called my blog Sunshine in my Soul because I have a golden light inside that guides me through my darkest hours and wakes me up with a song in my head and a smile on my face.

I will share my thoughts, feeling, experiences and my view of the world.  I hope to make you smile, laugh and reflect on your own beliefs and experiences.  I also hope to, in whatever small way I can, inspire and motivate you to live with Sunshine in your Soul.

So please join me as I trundle along, singing my song, with Sunshine in my Soul.