Saturday, 30 July 2011

Castile Soap- Origins and History

Jabon de Castilla or Castile soap originated in Spain, and was named after a region of modern day Spain known then as the Kingdom of Castilla due to the amount of castles that had been built there to reconquer the area back from the Moors.

At that time soap making in northern Europe focused on the use of animal fats, whereas in Spain the abundance of olive oil lead to a pure olive oil soap that became known as Castile soap. Due to its incredible moisturizing properties, this soap became a luxury commodity in the rest of Europe, being a favorite amongst royalty and noblemen. The infamous Louis the fourteenth of France became so hooked that he ordered French soapmakers to make the switch to olive oil, and this tradition continues to this day- commonly known as Savon de Marseille.

Many soaps are sold with the castile label even though some have very little olive oil in their formulations, a true castile soap should have 100% olive oil, and preferably extra virgin olive oil. A pure olive oil soap is unlike other soaps in that it doesnt produce an abundant fluffy lather, but rather a creamy, small bubbled lather that leaves the skin extremely moisturised and is suitable for extremely sensitive skin, babies, and small children. Olive oil is naturally rich in Oleic acid, containing between 60-80% which means that an olive oil is a natural moisturiser helping to attact moisture from the surrounding air inturn keeping skin supple and soft. The other extremely important ingredient in Olive oil is Squalene, and Olive squalene is close in chemical structure to the skins own squalene which means that it can penetrate the skin effectively and inturn this helps the skin to stay moisturized and helps it to naturally regenerate, even helping to heal damaged skin. To find out more about how the my castile soap is made there are more details in this former post

All this makes choosing a Castile soap for your daily hygiene routine a good choice expecially if you have dry and sensitive skin. Or if you are looking for a safe natural soap for newborns or small children. Just remember not to expect the same sort of lathering properties in other soaps, even natural ones.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Migas- a traditional Andalusian tapa.

Here in Ronda in many restaurants and bars you can order a tapa of Migas. Its one of those dishes that just by its name piques the imagination and Im nearly always asked to explain by visitors what it is exactly. Migas is a truly typical example of an Andalusian farmers dish. Years ago when I first came out to Andalusia, this was one of the dishes that my neighbours would cook, when the store cupboard was bare-or to go alongside the spoils of the Mattanza ( Pig slaughter). They also explained to me that there was another version called Gachas that was made during the civil war, when there was nothing else to be found, made from a simple paste of flour and water, cooked. If they were lucky it was sometimes served with honey or pieces of pig fat. Migas as offered here in the bars as a tapa is usually made from pan duro, or hard bread, crumbled into breadcrumbs, or slithered laboriously with a sharp knife, that is then left overnight slightly moistened with a cloth to cover. The most simple version consists of frying the migas in olive oil and garlic until lightly browned, and then serving them with any number of either sweet or savoury accompaniaments such as fried eggs, chorizos, bits of pork belly, or the sweet version with melon, grapes or even chocolate. Usually though they come served on their own to be eaten alongside other tapas.

Migas are thought to have developed during the time of the Moorish occupation of Southern Spain, being similar in style to couscous. Although apparantly the Christians added pork fat inorder to distinguish their dish from the similar dishes of their Arab and Jewish neighbours. Its sometimes also called Migas del Pastor or Shepherds Migas as it was a dish principally eaten in rural areas. It is a bit of an aquired taste but when done properly can be quite delicious especially on a cold winter evening. If you want to try it yourself heres a recipe from a Ronda cookbook.


1 Kilo of farmer style bread
1/2 a glass of olive oil
4 chorizos
1 bulb of large garlic.

Crumb the bread into small pieces and place in a bowl, slightly moisten the bread with water and cover with a towel. Leave to stand until ready to use or overnight.

In a large heavy frying pan heat the oil and add the garlic and chopped chorizos fry until golden, removing from the oil and set aside.

In the remaining oil fry the bread crumbs until golden, dry and loose. Just before serving add the chorizo and garlic mixture. Serve with marinated olives.

Monday, 25 July 2011

De- stress aromatherapy essential oil blend

Unfortunately we all seem to suffer from the general stress of everyday life, and with the economic climate here in Europe seemingly on a unstoppable downward spiral for many life has become a real hard slog just to get by. Aromatherapy is a great way to combat feelings of anxiety, stress and even depression. One of the most effective essential oils is Geranium. The latin name for this essential oil is Pelargonium graveolens and it is distilled from the stalks and leaves and can be quite green in colour. It is a relatively expensive essential oil but as you only need a few drops a small bottle will go a long way. Geranuim essential oil has a balancing effect on the mind and also on hormone levels and is a useful oil in the treatment of PMS and menopausal problems. Its a great mood lifter and is used to help patients that suffer from anxiety and stress related problems.

In the following blend I have combined the above with Lavender and Bergamot essential oils. Lavender is well known for its ability to calm nervous tension, relieve headaches and promote a sense of calm, whereas the Bergamot aids lack of confidence, anxiety, and depression. As in the insect repellent recipe just add the essential oils to a base of Almond oil, or even any oil you have to hand.


30 mils Almond oil
15 drops of Geranium
5 drops of Lavender
10 drops of Bergamot

Apply to the pulse points on the wrists, temples and around the neck area.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Natural Aromatherapy Insect Repellent Recipe

This year in Andalucia the insects are abundant- as it was a very wet winter and spring there is lots of water still in the ground, and the insects in particular the mosquitos are prolific. I react very badly to mosquito bites so I really need to protect myself from them. There are several essential oils that are really effective against bites, and I have made myself a blend in a base of sweet almond oil in a roll on that can be put on the areas most affected- around the ankles, arms and I always put a dab or two around the neck. It doesnt smell as bad as commercially bought insect repellents, and has the added bonus of moisturizing the skin.


30mils Almond oil
8 drops Thyme essential oil
16 drops Lemongrass essential oil
8 drops Lavender essential oil
8 drops Peppermint essential oil

If you dont like oil based products you could try the same amount of essential oils in a spray bottle mixed with a floral water preferably lavender.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Andalusian Lamb Caserole- Ronda style

Ok I though it might be a nice idea to share some really typical Ronda recipes, which I sourced through a cook book that was brought out called "Recuerdos de Ronda y su cocina" (Memories of Ronda and its cuisine). The book has been compiled by some residents of Ronda using the most treasured and favorite recipes of the town, often recipes handed down through the generations. Unfortunately as its only a small publication its not readily available and is of course only in Spanish but I managed to get hold of a copy. This recipe uses a very typical method called the "sofrito" which normally uses a mix of tomatoes garlic and onions with stale bread but in this case uses a mix of almonds, garlic and bread.


1 Kg lamb
200 gms spring onions
200 gms almonds
100 gms pine nuts
4 cloves of garlic
juice of 1 lemon
1 glass of white wine
1 cup of white flour
4 slices of brown bread
1/4 liter of olive oil
1 bay leaf and a pinch of thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan and fry the almonds, garlic and bread ripped into small pieces. Once browned take out with a slotted spoon leaving the oil in the pan and in a pestle and mortar pound them into a paste. Next in the remaining oil fry the lamb pieces that have been seasoned and covered in flour until nicely browned. Transfer the lamb, the sofrito of almonds, and all the rest of the ingredients in a caserole dish and cover with water or stock. Cook on a medium heat for around 35 minutes. This dish would traditionally be served with potatoes, and fresh country style bread to mop up all the sauce.

New Soap - Basil, Rosemary and Orange.

This handmade soap has been made to order for a boutique retreat near Ronda. But I was so pleased with the outcome that I then made another batch for sale on my website. The soap has a beautiful pale orange colour that I got by macerating a part of the olive oil in Annatto seeds. This oil I then added to the base oils in the pan. The original brief for the scenting of the soap was to make an aroma that reflected the surroundings of the retreat. I chose a combination of Basil, Rosemary and Orange and the resulting scent is peppery and herbal with a light citrus top note. Basil can be very dominant in essential oil blends so it has to be used sparingly in combination with other essential oils. Basil has a very uplifting effect and is a stimulant and therefore is used in aromatherapy to combat tiredness and aid concentration. As a skin care oil it is useful in balancing oily skin conditions, and due to its anti-bacterial properties it is also an aid in the treatment of acne. It can help to stimulate the blood circulation which is why it is often found in anti-cellulite massage formulas. Combining it with the properties of Rosemary a powerful astringent, and the addition of Orange essential oil that also aids blood flow to the skin its an excellent choice for sufferers from oiliness, acne, or just generally sluggish skin. The uplifting aromas also make it a great choice for morning skin care routines, giving one a helpful pick me up to start the day.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Plaza de Toros ( Bullring) Ronda - Classical Concert conducted by Daniel Barenboim with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

On July the 30th, a Saturday there is a concert by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in the beautiful location of the Plaza de Toros here in Ronda. Conducted by the celebrated Daniel Barenboim, they will be playing two symphonies by Ludwig von Beethoven.

I've always been impressed with the idea behind this orchestra since I first heard about it around the beginning of 2000. In 1999 Daniel Barenboim of Argentine-Israeli descent and Edward Said, a Palestinian-American academic, founded the Orchestra with the idea to provide a platform for the two conflicting nations to come together. Ironically their first workshops were held in the German town of Weimar which gave its name to the ill-fated Weimar Republic that preceded Nazi Germany. Barenboim himself describes the project in these terms: "The Divan was conceived as a project against ignorance. A project against the fact that it is absolutely essential for people to get to know the other, to understand what the other thinks and feels, without necessarily agreeing with it."

Since 2002 the Junta de Andalucia together with a private foundation has provided a base for the Orchestra in the nearby capital of Seville. In 2004 the Barenboim-Said foundation was formed with funding from the Junta de Andalucia to promote education through music projects with the aim of promoting dialogue and coexistence. After a summer of workshops the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra starts its tour and luckily they are coming to Ronda to play in the oldest bullring in Spain. It should be a magical location for such an event and if I can I'll be getting tickets. If you want to book you can at or if you are near Ronda you can buy tickets in advance at the ticket office in the Bull Ring.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Easy recipe for luxurious body butter

Ok its summertime and if you are anything like me your skin is beginning to suffer from the sun and the sea. So not being able to find the kind of product I wanted at the price I decided to have a go myself. In the past Ive made lip balms, massage oils and bath bombs but had never tried making creams or body butters. So I had a look online and found some basic instructions and then adapted these to what I had to hand. I was really pleased with the result- a light, quite creamy buttery body butter that melts on impact with the skin. I scented it with pure Jasmin absolut and Tangerine essential oil and it really smells delicious and has a light yellow colour. Jasmin essential oil is recommended for giving the skin back elasticity, and the tangerine as with most citrus oils is great for cellulite issues. So heres the recipe and its pretty easy to do at home but you do need an accurate digital scale. The quantities make around a 100gms in total but its pretty rich so you only need a bit at a time.


56gms Unrefined Cocoa butter
56gms Jojoba oil
7gms Beeswax pellets
5gms Cornstarch, or rice flour.
7gms Essential oil of choice

Prepare a large bowl with ice cubes in which will later fit another bowl with the oils in.

Using a double boiler, start by melting the beeswax pellets and the cocoa butter until liquid.

In a separate bowl mix the jojoba oil with the cornstarch and the essential oils.

Add the jojoba oil mix to the cocoabutter mix. Then place this bowl into the prepared ice bowl and start to whip with an electric mixer. Keep whipping until the mixture sets up but is still maneageble. Then transfer to your jar or container with a lid. Thats it!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Hair care - Hot oil treatments with essential oils.

A couple of posts ago I wrote about using a solid shampoo bar for washing hair instead of chemical laden high street brands. This post is about using warmed oils combined with essential oils to condition the hair naturally. Essential oils are very useful in treating many conditions including hair problems, such as hair loss, dry itchy scalp or just general poor condition.

The best essential oils to use for hair treatments are Lavender, Rosemary, Lemon, Basil, Peppermint, Chamomile and Sage. These oils can be combined or used alone in a carrier oil such as Jojoba, Almond or Olive oil.

Here are a few recipes to try at home, they are easy to prepare, completely natural and although the initial outlay on essential oils can be expensive, because you only use a few drops at a time they will last a long time.

Hair loss blend.

For best results use 10 drops of Rosemary and 10 drops of Lavender essential oil. Combine the two oils with 100gms of Jojoba oil and store in a dark capped jar. Use the mix every night by applying a few drops to the scalp and massaging thoroughly.
You could also gently heat some of the mix and use it like a hot oil treatment before washing the hair. Massage a small amount into the scalp and hair and wrap in a towel, leave on for 20 mins and then wash out.

Anti Dandruff blend.

Mix 5 drops of Lemon and ten drops of Tea Tree essential oil in 45 gms of carrier oil, such as olive, almond or jojoba. Apply a small amount to the scalp and hair massaging the scalp wrap in a towel, leave on for 20 minutes and then wash hair as normal.

Hair Growth blend.

Combine 5 drop of Sage with 8 drops of Rosemary essential oil in 45 gms of Jojoba oil, take a small amount and massage into the hair and scalp wrap in a towel leave on for 20 mins and then wash out.

As with most natural skin and hair treatments you need patience and consistency to achieve results, remember it's not an overnight cure.

Spanish Traditional Crafts- Jarapas

The Spanish "Jarapa" is actually a rug woven out of bits of surplus material, the technique was originally introduced into Spain by the Moors in the 12th Century and has continued on to this day. Although they are made throughout Andalusia the main production areas are Coy in Murcia and Nijar in Almeria. In Coy there is a museum where you can see them being produced on the original wooden looms.
One of the great things about Jarapas is that they are made from recycled cotton, usually left overs from the textile industry in Catalonia. Using up to 80% recycled cotton each Jarapa is unique in its colour and pattern scheme. They are also extremely hard wearing, and the smaller ones can be washed in a normal household washing machine.

Traditionally the Jarapa was used as a layer between the bed base and the mattress to protect the mattress from wear from the bed springs, but nowadays they are used as wall hangings, bathmats, and floor coverings.

There are many styles of Jarapa but the most common is the Andina, a blend of wide stripes that normally features cream alongside a bright colour. Jarapas can be bought throughout Andalusia, and here in Ronda there is a selection for sale at Rondas natural soap shop on the Calle Sevilla 23 or if youre not in the area you could check out the website for andalucianrugs that offers a wide range of rugs at competitive prices.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Traditional Spanish Crafts- Esparto

Here in Andalucia there is still a strong tradition of using Esparto to weave various objects from baskets to shoes. The Esparto grass comes from the Graminea family and it grows wild in arid and stoney areas, particularly in the provinces of Almeria, Murcia, Alicante and La Mancha. The grass itself grows to about 70 cms in height and has been used since Roman times due to its exceptional hardwearing properties.

There are many uses for Esparto crafts but its mostly used for baskets known as an Esporton that is fairly large with two handles and is used for harvesting and transporting produce such as Olives. The Espuerta is a small mat used in the entrances of houses and you can also get a bigger version that is used like a blind at the windows to shade the interiors from the strong Andalusian sun. An Espartero is the name given to a person that works with Esparto.

The process of collecting Esparto is considerably labor intensive and although it can be collected all year round its best done in the Spring. The Esparto isnt cut but collected in small bunches that are ripped out including the root. Sometimes the remaining plant is then set alight to encourage new growth for the coming year.

Once collected the Esparto is then sorted for the best blades and then tied in bunches and left out in the sun for 40 days to dry it out fully and get its golden colour.

Once its been dried there are two ways of working the Esparto- Esparto Crudo or Esparto Picado. For Esparto Crudo the dried leaves are re-moistened for one or two days to give it back enough flexibility to work with. The Espartero then works the bunches of grass in pairs usually between 13 and 18 pairs plaiting them to make a cinta or long ribbon of esparto. This is then used to make various objects and is sewn together with the Esparto Picado which involves soaking the bunches of dried esparto for another 40 days to increase its resistence and then drying it out to later beat it against a tree trunk inorder to separate the fibres that make up the leaves and with these fibres they make strings with which to bind the plaitted esparto together.
Just near Ronda in the town of Igualeja there is a cooperative of 8 women that make all sorts of objects from Esparto and you can even have things made to order, although it takes several months to complete. Esparto products can be found in most of the handicraft shops in the town and there is also a large amount for sale in the Tourist office of Grazalema. Although quite expensive to buy an esparto object will last almost indefinately.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Spanish medicinal plants- sticky cistrose wound cure

I have been meaning to write something about this plant as it is a fantastic natural wound healer, and general antiseptic. I first found out about the benefits of Jarra as they call it here in Spain through my Spanish campesino neighbours. When I first came out here some twenty years ago, they still lived on the neighbouring cortijo in very much the same way as they had for centuries. They had no transport except an ancient donkey called Rosario, washed their plates with a furry herb that only grew on the north facing slopes of the mountain, made their own espadrilles and seats for their wooden chairs with esparto, made from wild grass type plants and basically lived off their animals, wild foods and small vegetable garden. We quickly got our own donkey from a gipsy horse trader from the next but one village, who turned out to be a little unsteady on her feet and was definately not the young 15 year old as promised. To cut a long story short we took her out on a mountain trail for the day and she slipped on a loose rock and ended up falling 50 meters down a steep slope. It took all day to rescue her with the help of our neighbours who coaxed her out using their own donkey as willing leader. Sadly she had a huge wound in her backside that went right the way down her haunch. Manolo came a few hours after we got her back clutching a bunch of what at first glance looked like sticky twigs. He told us to cook them in lots of water for a few hours and then use this to wash her wound with. We did this everyday, having found a nearby crop of the sticky cist rose, and within two weeks the wound was all but gone. I cant quite describe the wonderful smell this plant has when its cooked its slightly medicinal but with a lovely fresh, flowery aroma. I have used this cure on our horse in the hot summer months after the vet had been to clean out the wound but thought it would take at least two months to close up completely, and had it closed within 3 weeks. The problem with animals and horses in particular is they hate the smell of medicines, so they shy away from being treated especially if its a deep wound. Using herbal medicine doesnt seem to bother them in the same way and they are much more relaxed about being treated. So next time you need to treat a wound even a deep one and you have access to the mountainsides go out and find this plant. It grows quite tall, about 2 meters and has extremely sticky branches that culminate in sticky pointy leaves. Its best to collect this plant in the early months of the summer when its at its stickiest. In June it also has a large white flower as in the picture. Collect some and cook it up in a pan of boiling water for a couple of hours. The resulting water can also be stored in a carafa or water can. Use a fresh clean cloth soaked in the water to rinse out the wound and do this 2-3 times a day. Believe it or not this water also makes a great aftershave- and its wonderful smell beats any expensive designer perfume!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Creating a Herbal Solid Shampoo bar

Not many people know that much about the moisturizing properties of castor oil, but this oil when used in soap making helps to give the final bar a texture and creaminess unrivalled by any other oil Ive ever used. Formulating a shampoo bar that gives an abundant lather, cleans the hair effectively without stripping it of its natural oils, has to in my experience have a fairly high level of castor oil for it to be effective. With a bit of experimentation I created a Herbal Shampoo Bar with approximately a third each of castor, olive and coconut oils and then superfatted it with jojoba oil thats known for its benefits for scalp and hair care.

Many people have problems with dry scalp conditions, that culminate in dandruff or sebhoeric dermatitis that doesnt seem to go away with the chemical based shampoos on the market. Some people are also allergic to some of the chemicals used in High Street brands thus exacerbating the problem even further. Using a blend of essential oils, specifically aimed at scalp problems this bar has a lovely herbal scent with touches of Thyme, Rosemary and Sage. Its very easy to use by just wetting the hair as normal and then rubbing the bar directly on to the hair, its quite amazing how quick it is to lather up just like normal shampoo. Usually one wash is sufficient although if you have very long hair you might need two goes. One thing I would recommend is to rinse the hair and scalp after shampooing with a vinegar rinse. This helps to clear the hair of any soap residue, leaving it beautifully soft and silky.If you are sceptical about using soap as a shampoo you might like to read the following blog which explains in more detail the experience of switching from commercial shampoos to a natural shampoo bar.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Extra moisturizing homemade summer scrub recipe

In the summertime our skin tends to suffer more from dryness. Much of this is to do with over exposure to the suns harmful rays and lots of swimming in drying salty water or chlorinated swimming pools. Its also during the summer that most of us want to look our best for the beach and going out on warm summer nights. One of the best ways to treat your skin is to moisturize and exfoliate at the same time. Getting rid of the skins dead cells, helps with the skins circulation and elimination of toxins through the skins pores. Using a cocoa or shea butter based scrub moisturizes and protects the skin at the same time. There are lots of scrub recipes all over the internet many of which feature oil and either sugar or salt as the base. I like to use a cocoa butter or shea butter based scrub as it moisturizes more intensly and isnt quite so messy in the tub and easier to handle- you dont end up with a runny mess thats difficult to apply. So I thought Id share with you a lovely scrub recipe I found on the web and tried and its really easy to make.

You can also tailor this scrub for different needs by using different combinations of essential oils. If you want to attack cellulite at the same time try combinations of Grapefruit, Basil, Juniper, Rosemary, lemon and Peppermint or Cypress.

You will need: 1/2 cup cocoa/shea butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sea salt
25 drops essential oil
2 vitamin E caplets (to preserve)

Firstly melt the cocoa butter in a double boiler or in a large bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. Remove the cocoa butter from the heat as soon as it has completely melted.

While the cocoa butter is melting mix the salt and sugar getting rid of any clumps.

Then whisk thoroughly the essential oils and the melted cocoa butter and add add the liquid from the vitamin E capsules.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients stirring to combine thoroughly.

This scrub can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container and best in a cool and dark place or the fridge.

If you find that the scrub leaves your skin too oily then you can just wash this off with hot soapy water.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Avocado oil- skin care benefits

Avocado oil is made from pressing the soft pulp of the Avocado fruit. Usually mature avocados are used as they have a higher oil content. The pulp is first macerated and then the resulting mass is thoroughly mixed. In the second phase the oil, water and solids are separated by centrifuge. The resulting oil is then stored in stainless steel vats. Avocado oil has such a high chlorophyll content that it is dark green in colour and needs to be bottled in dark bottles to prevent deterioration from light and air.

Rich in vitamins A, D and E alongside lecitin and potassium it is a very deeply penetrating oil and has numerous health benefits on the skin. Being also high in sterolins it is an effective oil in the treatment of age spots, scarring and skin affected by sun damage. Its deeply moisturizing properties also make it ideal for dehydrated skin types helping to regenerate and rejuvenate the skin. There have also been some studies that show that it also helps to boost collagen production lessening the effects of aging. Avocado oil is easily absorbed by the skin and can therefore be used directly to relieve itchy dry skin conditions. In soap making adding Avocado oil to soaps at trace ( which is the stage just before pouring the soap into the molds) makes the soap extra rich and creamy- cleansing the skin but also leaving it smooth and moisturized. I have formulated a lovely Avocado oil soap that is also rich in Shea butter and is the richest soap in the dry skin soap range ideal for super dry, dehydrated skin types or sufferers from excema. Scented delicately with bay and lime essential oils it has a scent that appeals to both men and women.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

One for the boys-Juniper and Ginger - exfoliating, detoxifying natural handmade soap

Ive been trying to make an alternative to my usual tea tree soap for helping in the treatment of acne and problem skin types. I also wanted to create a soap that had a complex but subtle aroma that would also appeal to male customers that often want a soap that deep cleans with a masculine scent. So I decided to combine the woody, refreshing aroma of Juniper essential oil with the warm spicey scent of Ginger in this olive oil rich bar that also has ground rosehips added to gently exfoliate the skin.

Juniper essential oil is an effective treatment for acne sufferers or general oily skin conditions. It has a detoxifying, toning, antiseptic and astringent properties that help to alleviate excess sebum production in the skin and helps to reduce further inflamation and infection. Ginger essential oil adds a warm note and its aroma works effectively on the nervous system helping to reenergize and revitalize.

I think this bar is a welcome addition to the range and has a beautiful creamy colour flecked with dark pinky brown rose hips. To order contact via the website but it will be listed shortly!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

July wedding madness - Kate Moss vs Withers-Bourne

Living here in the rather tranquil and sleepy town of Ronda, celebrity weddings seem something of an extravagant, fairytale event that happens somewhere out there in the wider world of glamorous obsession, flamboyant wealth flaunting, and just the right kind of in-crowd followers. To be honest Im not remotely interested in the ludicrous amount of bridesmaids Kate Moss has at her wedding ceremony, her Vintage gown designed by recently disgraced friend John Galliano, or how she managed to stop the traffic in an until recently rural idyll. But one story has got my attention and thats the hilariously funny national debate thats developed around the Withers-Bourne controversy. This anti-fairytale stars a seemingly poisonous future mother-in-law Carolyn Bourne, cultivator of lowly Pinks and Dianthus, and her future daughter in-law Heidi Withers. Mrs Bourne, disgusted at aforementioned's behaviour on a recent stay in the family home, makes the now fateful decision to send an email to the future daughter-in-law to make her disgust clear and make it quite obvious that she really doesnt like the idea of such an etiqueteless individual entering the wider Bourne clan. Heidi after some reflection, then promptly sent the evil missive to some friends and somewhat miraculously it then went viral- a modern phrase that somehow sums up everything. Despite the subsequent silence of both parties, the father of the bride to be decided to add his own character assessment of Mrs Bourne and it really doesnt leave much to the imagination. So now the hottest ticket for the summer is how to get on the guest list of this ill-fated ceremony- where a serious bit of "schadenfreude" will be played out to the glee of a public that seem to have an endless appetite for such antics. I eagerly await the book, the film and of course the T-shirt.