What Keeps Me Sane


Life is hectic in the Izzillo household, as I’m sure it is in any household where there are two active children under four and both Mummy and Daddy work full time. My parents and mother-in-law live abroad so we don’t have quick and easy access to reliable (and free!) baby sitters. I don’t remember the last time my husband and I went on a date, and life can sometimes feel like a never- ending treadmill of kids-work-kids-sleep. It’s no surprise that I realised one day that I’d lost sight of what made me me, and had lost myself in trying to take care of everyone else.

So I stopped, took stock, and made a decision to take some time for me. Here are some of the things that make me happy and sane.


Once a week, I spend a whole evening at pottery class – moulding, shaping, pinching, turning, coiling, and glazing bits of clay into (in my mind) works of art. Well, I’m not quitting my day job, and my creations are basic at best, but oh how I love it! The satisfaction of making – of creating – something from scratch! Taking a lump of clay and watching it take shape into another form in my hands – an ice-cream bowl, a spoon rest, a make-up brush holder, a beer tankard – the possibilities are endless!

It’s incredibly relaxing: try worrying about the kids or work, or making a to-do list in your mind when you’re trying to get the shape of the mug handle exactly right. It just can’t happen. Pottery clears my mind and calms my soul like nothing else can. It grounds me and puts me back in touch with me. Read More…

Out On A Limb


This month I share the community platform with Melanie Harrison, an avid VH’er with a strong penchant for airing her views on our Facebook page. Melanie writes poignantly about life-changing decisions, including the reasons why she has put her career as a lawyer on hold whilst her children are young. This is a subject that will be close to many people’s heart and outside circumstances will often determine a very difficult decision, which will of course include the high cost of childcare. The subject is open to debate and I look forward to hearing from you. Claire x

I remember some years ago, when I was still working in private practice in Manchester and The Times Online was still free, reading an article about a lady who had started a successful blog about her move from the city to the country to escape the rat race. I read some of the blog, and felt a quiet pity for this intelligent woman. Her husband still got to travel to the city for work while she went slowly potty at home with the kids in their ramshackle house in the middle of nowhere. At the time, I was settled into my career as a Commercial Property lawyer, lived in a fashionable village in Cheshire while working in a major city and loved it, thanks very much! Read More…

Kazu Namise’s Los Angeles


Although I grew up in LA, I don’t think I ever thought too much about my love for this city until I was in my early 20s! Spending much of my youth plotting my departure, I left to Washington DC for university and also spent a year living in NY. But LA called me back. It is very much home for me now, the place I live and love! Less like a city and more like a collection of sweet little pockets, much of LA’s best has to be found, or shared! And so here are my tried and true that hopefully you will love too!

Let’s start with Shopping (!):

Satine Boutique – the best and most unique of the collections from European, Japanese, and American designers. Owners Jeannie Lee and Virginia Pereira definitely know how to put everything together. Mixed with cute little odds and ends from all over the globe, Satine is my favorite & fun destination shop for my girlie place of fashion dreams. A whole lot of window shopping going on here. Read More…

The joys of ageing, and is it all about the free bus pass?


This month I am absolutely thrilled to be sharing the VH community platform with the wonderful Linda Randell, who writes about the joys of ageing. When I first read this I had tears in my eyes and together with Gill, I am overwhelmed with the magnificent support and passion that so many of you have given to us. We continue to grow the community spirit, so do let me know if you would like to participate. I hope you have a wonderful November and do stay in touch over on Facebook. Linda, take it away! Claire x

Well, 60 wasn’t too bad. There was a certain novelty about it, and you get your bus pass! 65 last year did upset me, possibly because it was exactly half way between 60 and another number! (Don’t mention it!) I felt a little glum on approaching 66 a few weeks ago, so it was time for a change of attitude!

I’m very grateful to still be here of course, but that wasn’t the point. I had to think exactly what the problem was, and it seemed that it was apprehension about what happens towards the end of life. I’ve seen first hand with close relatives and elderly friends and neighbours the loss of dignity that can come with ageing and how slow and painful the decline can be. Frightening and depressing.

So, here’s the plan!! Time to change the way of thinking about age and find good role models. Well, I might as well start with my lovely Dad, who as it happens, was born 100 years ago and passed away at the age of 91 from old age. He wasn’t on any tablets at all, and had achieved his ambition of still dancing at the age of 90. He loved his sequence dancing – very good therapy for body and mind. I can remember him grabbing hold of me once and showing me how to dance the latest foxtrot. We were in the local library at the time, which brings me to another joy of ageing – you don’t bother much about what people think! Read More…

Review of the Innovative Skincare range


Month three, the VH community is thriving. The whole essence of a community is to share and so this month I am delighted to introduce you to Yenli Izzillo, whose posts on our Facebook page have become legendary. Her independent review of the Innovative Skincare products follows, which I am sure you will find really interesting, so take it away Yenli and thank you for being completely magnificent.

The fun continues over on Facebook, we look forward to welcoming you at Have a great month. Claire x

Review of the Innovative Skincare Range
By someone who’s new to the brand but is now a hardcore fan!

  • Gill, after my third application of the whole range, THIRD!, my skin is glowing!!!
  • Oh my god! I want to scream with joy. I don’t remember the last time my skin glowed! My husband can’t tear me away from the mirror and my two little boys think I’ve gone mad! I have a permanent happy grin on my face.
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

The above is an email I sent Gill, word for word, on the second day of using the full range of Innovative Skincare products. I’m writing this review because I’m a life-long beauty junkie who’s bought into almost every hype and ‘miracle’ product on the market, and because this is the first time I’ve seen a significant difference to my skin as a direct result of the skincare I’m using.

Let’s start at the beginning, though, and I’ll tell you more about myself. I’m in my late thirties and have always had reasonably good skin. I’ve also always invested in my skin, and have done so since my late teens. I don’t know what my friends were buying with their pocket money, but I was buying Clarins skincare. Read More…

VH Community


I’ve made it to the second month and before anything I would just like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who took the time to read my first article about the VH Community. When it went live I was actually on holiday and my internet connection was down, which wasn’t the best start, but I eventually got through and I was touched and excited by those of you who took the time to leave a comment on my article and on the VH Facebook page.

I was slightly nervous that there would be ‘radio silence’, but seeing so many of you join in was an enormous relief. I have always thought there was a ‘strand’ that held us all together and I’ve quickly discovered that aside from our shared love for all things VH, we seem to share a slightly crazy sense of humour, which has had me laughing out loud too many times to mention. Who knew that we would be introduced to the world of ‘giddy kippers’ and Innovative Skincare boxes being used as pet substitutes. Just too funny. Read More…