Sorry for the delay between blogs, we had a few technical issues with our hosting server, AKA I am getting old and things take longer to do than they used to……

Anyway, back to the story

I asked Helen to give her side of the story of our first meeting at Erddig, here it is

“In 2013 I was a single mum to a beautiful daughter. Money was tight but our little life was rich – we camped, we walked, we talked, we cooked and baked, we made things. I did a food shop on £40 a week – I could even make a chicken last 4 days.

Even though I led a frugal life I was able to make ends meet by my part time work of being a massage therapist and when my daughter went to bed I would sew into the early hours. I made soft furnishings and bags which I sold at events and markets.

In 2012 I attended the Christmas Market at Erddig as a stall holder, and by attending markets I got to know a number of other stall holders. I had a sewing buddy at this time and we would do events together as our products complimented each other’s. My sewing buddy had a baby and wasn’t able to attend the Winter 2013 events, so we decided to give Erddig a miss as stallholders.

Sunday November 24th 2013 and I ask my daughter if we should go to Chirk Castle (a local National Trust property) or Erddig (an even more local National Trust property) and she opted for the latter. So off we go, all wrapped up in jackets, gloves, scarves and wellies to wander around the Christmas Market, catch up with a few friends and buy a few Christmas presents.

One of the last stalls of the day was a guy selling ‘rusks’, he described them as South African Dunking Biscuits, so basically similar to biscotti. I’m a hard woman to sell to and before I knew it I had bought 3 packs. He briefly told me his story that he was new to the country, he baked and went to markets.

As I turned away from this chatty guy with a gorgeous accent I heard Rodriquez playing on his iPad. A few nights previous I had watched the film ‘Searching for Sugarman’, a film about an American musician who was virtually unheard of outside of South Africa. I said ‘Do you know Rodriquez?’, he replied ‘I grew up with Rodriquez’. I smiled, turned away and our time at Erddig that day was over.”

Tuesday morning, 26th November 2013 I am sitting at my desk, planning the next markets and doing admin work, when all of a sudden I get an e-mail notification. I open my outlook, and to my utter surprise I see that the email has come from a person called Helen Done….. The only Helen I know is the Helen I met at Erddig 2 days ago, and that Helen was married, so why was she emailing me..?

I open the email, and I see that Helen has sent me a message with some possible outlets for the South African Dunking biscuits.

From: Helen Done <HD>
Date: 26 November 2013 at 11:29:21 GMT” <>
Subject: Possible outlets…..

Hi Philippe

I’m just having a toffee dunking biscuit with my cappuccino and thought I’d forward you some possible contacts.


This is an independent coffee shop owned by a friend of mine (HV). You never know there might be a SA community in Wrexham who want a taste of home!
Hope all goes well.
Helen(Rodriguez fan)”

So here I was, now armed with 2 things, some useful contacts to approach to see if they would be willing to stock our biscuits, but more importantly, I also had the contact details of the most beautiful woman I had ever met…even though she was married…!!

After about 6 or 7 emails back and forth, and of course very professional from my side as Helen was a customer of the brand now, I decided to ask the question that I should have asked a while ago….. So on the 3rd December 2013 at 16:51 I asked the all important question….

“One quick question, Are you married. Noticed you were not wearing a wedding ring. Would be great to meet for a coffee if you are able to and up for it…!!


Have a great Wednesday..!!!!”

And on the 4th December 2013 at 12:15, Helen’s reply was………

“Hi Philippe

I’m just going to reply very quickly as I’m off to work.

I’ll answer your last question first – no I’m not married – ‘Happily divorced’!, a coffee would be lovely. I understand you’ll be really busy with your daughter and work, so I’ll leave the when and where up to you.

Do you know London?

Must dash.


So here we were, two people engaged in email conversation, both single and both feeling the same connection towards each other were now able to pursue each other.

My daughter had arrived from South Africa a few days before to spend six weeks with me. I had told Helen about my daughter, and Helen asked me if I would like to attend the Rossett Christmas tree carols with her and her daughter. I accepted, and was over the moon to getting to see Helen again.

About 2 hours before we were supposed to meet I was all ready and waiting to go, my mom was laughing at me, saying that I was like an excited teenager waiting to go on his first date, and that was exactly how I felt, I couldn’t wait. The time came, my daughter and I were going to walk down to Rossett to go and meet Helen and her daughter…

At first we couldn’t find each other, but then with the help of cellular technology we connected, and Helen was even more beautiful than the first time I had seen her. She introduced me to a few of her friends that were there, and after the singing, one of her friends invited us to their house for a small bite to eat and a drink. We accepted, and we all walked to her friend’s house.

While at her friend’s house I was being asked lots and lots of questions about South Africa, about my life and about the reasons for coming to the UK. It was a spectacular night, I was with Helen, her friend and her husband made my daughter and I feel very welcome. They played South African music and we drank Prosecco all night long. When we left Helen offered to drop me and my daughter off at our apartment.

A few days later, Helen asked me if I would like to meet her for a coffee at the Grosvenor Arms in pullford. I said that would be great, and we decided that we would meet at 10:00 am

I arrived about 15 mins early, I am always punctual and don’t like it when other people are inconsiderate with time. I found a nice sofa by the fire and settled into it while I waited for Helen, 10:00 arrived and there was no sign of her anywhere, 10:05 arrived and still nothing, I was now standing by the window looking out thinking to my self… “I knew this was too good to be true, I have been stood up”…. 10:10 and no Helen in sight… I thought to myself, right, I’ll wait till 10:15 and then leave…. 10:15, and still no Helen, so I picked up my jacket, I was standing facing the fire putting it on, when all of a sudden from behind I could hear hurried footsteps on the wooden floor.. I turned and to my delight I saw Helen approaching me…. Our first official date was about to happen…!!!!