Friday, 27 February 2015

Friday 5 .... funnies from February

Its Friday, its the end of what feels like a very long month and I so need a chocolate break, so grab a cup of tea whilst I share 5 things that have made me chuckle during February....
  1. New York Fashion Week and the Grand Dame of the fashion industry Anna Wintour made me howl with laughter. They say  a look says a 1000 words, especially when AW cannot hide her look of disgust when North West threw a tantrum on the front row of the Wang & Kanye collections..... such a contrast from her reaction to Harper Beckham..... any of you that follow me on Instagram will know my thoughts on this... parenting & manners what a contrast.
  2. Ellen's spoof trailer of 50 shades of Cinderella, a fabulous mix-up of the new Disney Cinderella movie & 50 Shades of Grey!.... loved it.                                                                            
  3. London Fashion week.... this time Anya Hindmarch.... the designer that never fails to amuse with her quirky collections... last year it was supermarket favourites... this A/W we can look forward to hanging a handbag influenced by the M25 off your arm.... the London Gay choir dressed as roadside construction workers is just fabulous....                                                
  4. OPI launched a polish collection in collaboration with the 50 shades franchise ... their PR and social media team did an fabulous job of selling the product to us... so much fun.
  5. Google box returned and I laughed out loud lots, even at one point spitting my tea out!... who gave them Basic Instinct, Wolf Hall & Ukip winning the election! ... Scarlett Moffatt was just fabulous!... here's the full episode...Google box Ep1 season 5.
As you can see its a diverse mixture of things that have made me chuckle this month, many silly but so much fun,  and we all need a little fun in our lives.... what's been making you laugh this month?.... please share.... laters x

Monday, 23 February 2015

New York moments.... XOXO gossip girl style

As we are currently in amidst fashion weeks I thought I would share a couple of my adventures from December that featured in one of fashions favourite TV shows, Gossip Girl.
Of the many locations featured in the series, today I am sharing 2 which featured in the Pilot episode.
The New York Palace Hotel which sits on Madison Avenue and 50th street behind the gorgeous St Patricks Cathedral. Along with Gossip Girl, many of you will recognise the hotel from other movie moments, including 27 Dresses. I love the Palace courtyard and at Christmas time it just becomes magical.
I had lots of fun taking arty shots in the baubles on the Christmas trees as you can see below...
  As beautiful as this hotel looks in the daytime, it comes to life at night and is a must see, perfect to pop in and sample a cheeky cocktail at their old school glamour bar called Tavern 51 which has a cool 'Mad Men' vibe from a New York of yesteryear. The courtyard really is stunning after dark.
My 2nd location that I visited this year for the first time was The Campbell Apartment tucked up in a corner of Grand Central Station.(15 Vanderbilt Avenue) Although never an apartment this very old school NY location was the office of 1920's tycoon John Campbell. Restored to its former glory it is one of the chicest cocktail bars in the city. (Plan ahead if visiting as there is a dress code to enter). The venue is full of antiques, complete with a glorious baby grand piano and oodles of glamour.... this location ticks the box of any Gatsby, Truman Capote or Mad Men fan. (Gossip Girl fans will recognise this bar from where Nat & Serena romped in the pilot episode)
After a short while I was seated at the bar, where I enjoyed a leisurely hour sipping a cocktail, people watching the city folk of NY.
My Cocktail of choice was The Prohibition Punch;
"A refreshing blend of Passion Fruit Juices, Appleton Rum Estate VX. Gran Gala VSOP crowned with Moet & Chandon Champagne" - deliciously decadent but very lethal!...
I had a gorgeous time in The Campbell Apartment, a fabulous find, and one I will be going back to the next time that I visit New York......


If these have wetted your appetite for more GG moments, there are 100's of locations featured in the 6 seasons of Gossip Girl and if a fan I would recommend the GG tour, which features favourite locations and gives you a fun and different view of NY......
.................. xoxox NY gossip girl x

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Pancakes from across the Pond....

A trip to New York is not complete without a breakfast of pancakes.... there are many places that claim to serve the best in NY, but my favourite has to be at Pershing Square. This fabulous little eatery is tucked underneath Park Avenue viaduct and opposite Grand Central Station.
It claims to be the busiest & best breakfast venue in the city, and on all the occasions that I have visited I've never had reason to be disappointed....filled to the rafters with business wear along with tourists, be prepared to queue.
The menu is vast catering for all; from the healthy options of egg white omelettes and fruit & oatmeal to full breakfast and pancake stacks..... as you can see I opted for a healthy option! pancakes, bacon & maple syrup, topped off with freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice and coffee. All absolutely delicious, pancakes melt in the mouth fluffy filled with blueberry's.
This fabulous diner has a real old school feel of  new york of old and with a great sweeping bar its the perfect location to meet up when travelling via the station.
Along with a great breakfast menu, Pershing square offers a great take-out option... great for grabbing coffee & muffin on the go...
Pershing Square is one of my musts when visiting this great city, and I cant recommend it enough, it offers great service, food and a very stylish diner perfect for people watching and sampling a taste of city living NY style... delicious x



Monday, 16 February 2015

A New York movie moment.....

another day and another NY movie moment from my trip in December, Today I am sharing  a couple of favourites from an old school classic "When Harry met Sally"....
One of the most infamous scenes of the movie is staged in Katz Deli. Katz's is located on  East Houston Street and the corner of Ludlow on the Lower East side and is early til late! it maintains all the charm of an old school diner and is extremely busy. You can either choose to be seated and be served by one if the waiting team, or queue along the counter.  When seated you are given an old style ticket which becomes your bill at the end....it was a grey and damp day when I visited but was soon warm and toasty once inside enjoying the wares of Katz's
The menu is vast and I opted for an open sandwich of hot brisket, chips, gravy and a side of macaroni cheese... served with a complimentary dish of pickles, washed down by Katz's lemonade.
It may have not looked much, but it was delicious, the beef was just amazing, melt in the mouth tenderness on a slice of sourdough........ full of flavour.
I loved the old couple sitting at the infamous table, apparently they visit every week and sit at that table! The walls of Katz's is full of photo's showcasing its history and many famous diners including Harry & Sally, one of my favourite pictures was of Sarah-Jessica Park & Matthew Broderick looking very young.
I had a fabulous lunchtime in the deli and thoroughly recommend it for fans of the movie or anyone wants a glimmer of old school New York.
A short walk from the dinner over on the West of Houston is Washington Square park.... those familiar with the film will recognise this location as the drop off point when Harry & Sally arrive in New York.
The park is located at the foot of Fifth Avenue and gives you great views of uptown towards the Empire State Building and downtown towards Freedom Tower, One World Trade Centre. The arch in Washington Square is often used as a meeting place and celebrating cultural activity and non-conformity.  Most of the buildings that now surround the park are part of the NYU campus... so the park is a great coffee stop between lessons.
I had a great time living a couple of movie moments from Harry met Sally.... here's some previous posts from my NY movie moments.

pop back later in the week when I will be sharing more of my adventures in the city.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Valentines Day... Mr Selfridge style...

This weekend saw Valentines Day fall on a Saturday..... fantastic for us singletons who didn't have to put up with the office banter and see endless flowers being delivered to desks near & far.... this year it felt bigger than ever and Selfridges pulled out all the stops for a a red filled heart festooned declaration of love, turning the yellow store pink for the weekend.
I have already shared my valentines adventures at The Everyman cinema but also enjoyed the sights and smells around the store.
From the beautiful selfridges selection roses to the gorgeous pastries from the patisserie, it has been a feast on the senses all week.
5 things i Loved:

  • "You had me at Hello" movie sign,
  • Phillipa Craddock hanger displays -- bring fashion & flowers together.
  • Be Mine Mr Selfridge eclairs.
  • The rose petal carpets showcasing the floral displays
  • 400 Oxford Street in all its pink splendour.
My favourite feature was the Philippa Craddock flower stand outside the store... stunning floral displays gloriously staged... I'm sure Mr Selfridge would have loved seeing his store entrance looking so gorgeous.... fragrant inside and out....more adventures from 400 Oxford Street soon. x

New York moments.... The Plaza

As its the weekend of love I thought I would share some more of my New York Chick flick favourites .... starting with The Hotel of old school glamour & romance... The Plaza.
The Plaza opened its doors in October 1907 on the corner of 5th Avenue and Central Park south, and became the most sought after address to reside at. Originally,The Plaza served as a residence for wealthy New Yorkers. Mr. and Mrs Vanderbilt were the first to sign the register. For guests who chose to rent on a nightly basis at the time, this New York City luxury hotel’s single rooms started at $2.50 per night.... now you could probably add a couple of noughts to that!

The Plaza palm court and The Champagne bar are 2 of the loveliest parts of the hotel to relax in .... whilst visiting this year I had breakfast on my last day in The Plaza which was just gorgeous and the perfect end to my stay. 
Most people will be familiar with The Plaza as it is a regular feature as a backdrop in many classic movies....something that they take pride in promoting in the hotel gift store. Outside of the Holiday period my film favourites include that classic scene from "The Way we Were".... 
replicated in Sex & the City with Big's engagement party to Natasha....
Christmas movie must for any New York fan is Home Alone 2 lost in New York, when Kevin stays in The Plaza.... here he is arriving. For old school glamour then The Great Gatzby is the movie for you in collaboration with this hotel.
The hotel has undergone many changes internally over the years, with the big foyer check-in area seen in Home Alone relocating and now exclusive for guests, however this doesn't mean that the entrance is any less impressive.... here is what greeted me when I stepped into this gorgeous hotel.
a beautiful entrance, with a huge sumptuously decorated tree, complete with Hotel Plaza packages flanked by glorious chandeliers. I couldn't resist the beautiful hand-painted Christmas bauble of the hotel and it came home with me to add to my NY holiday collection. 
The Plaza is a lovely outside as it is in and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring this lovely hotel.... even if you cant afford to stay in this very glamorous address, don't let this put you off visiting... Breakfast or Afternoon Tea in The Plaza court is gorgeous (advisable to book ahead online to secure booking) The Food court in the basement of the Hotel is filled with New York favourites and if visiting during the holiday season then look out for Santa story telling in a secret location!. Along with great movies, The Plaza is featured in many books... one of them being my friend Ali Mcnamaras From Nottinghill with Four Weddings...  a perfect accompaniment when breakfasting at The Plaza...

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Mr Grey will see you now.......


Its been one of the most talked about films over the past year and everyone has an opinion on it, but the 'Fifty' phenomenon reached it climax yesterday with the release of the movie.
It was always going to be a given that I would see the film once the casting of Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey had been announced. I had minimal expectations of the film, but after seeing it, was pleasantly surprised.  Fifty Shades is never going to win critics views, and fans opinions will be mixed depending on who you imagined would play Anna and Christian, however its a great girls movie and will tick lots of boxes.
The film is so much more about the relationship between the characters than the sex, yes there is sex in the movie and Dakota's boobs will bring envy to any women over the age of 30! but there is chemistry between the 2 characters (contrary to previous media reports) and they have nailed the characters to the book.
From the launch of the book it has divided opinions widely.... yes the story is not great, yes it is repetitive, grammatically it made every other author scream & lament about their craft, however it has added a new dimension to reading, books became sexy again. The hopeless romantic in all of us got swept up in the love story of Anna & Christian, the inner goddess in all of us wanted to meet a billionaire with a fast car, helicopter, & a red room that could give us endless hours of pleasure!...this book & movie is a very modern fairy tale.
With tickets booked months ago for The Everyman cinema at Selfridges, it was always going to be a little bit more special than the local cinema in Romford!  Best laid plans and all that meant that it ended up me & a friend from work going, as both friends who were originally coming couldn't make it... this didn't distract enjoyment once we entered the red room of the Everyman. Greeted by waiters we were handed complimentary champagne to sip, the bar and lounge were full so we decided to grab a special cocktail and head into the screening room.
Cocktail options included; Cosmo Tango, Anastasia's Mojito, Hearts & Flowers and BDSM... we opted for Rope, Tapes & Cable Ties - Sweet ripe strawberries, mixed with white rum & a sting of fresh lime.
On arrival in the screening room, a goodie bag was left for the ladies... with some fun things from the Box of Grey lingerie company, & YSL cosmetics. a bag of fun for laters....
along with champagne & cocktails, no trip to the movies is complete without a pick & mix!... Fifty style. I made some sweet bags complete with lips, cable ties, love eggs & hearts....
The film is cleverly shot and the direction of some scenes is cinematicaly gorgeous, the gliding and charlie tango scenes are lovely. There are a some awkward moments, but the these are few and the film moves along in line with the book.  Dakota Johnson is very good as Ana, and captures her innocence, naivety and 'sassyiness ' well. Jamie is gorgeous as Christian, less stern than I imagined but very very delicious in low slung denim!
For anyone who has not read the book, the end will come as a huge surprise but this of course leaves the elevator open for Fifty darker....... this movie will never win awards, but it will grab the heart of many .... for now... Laters baby xx

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Social Media Sunday ~ January

With us nearly being into the 2nd week of February,I thought it was about time that I shared some social media favourites from January. Work has been so busy I haven't had much time for fun, but social media has kept me entertained, Instagram being my favourite for January
Here is what I've been liking this month...
  • Claudia Pranata ~ discovered Claudia's instagram feed when M&S re-grammed her great styled shot of Pretzels complete with a little yellow taxi... so cute.
  • MailModels ~ a very lovely styling feed, filled with colour, & great words of wisdom.. loved this pink ensemble for friendship.
  • Emily Quinton ~ i met Emily last year, when I attended one of her styling photography workshops, I love the simplistic styling of this shot, daffodils being one of my favourite flowers, along with a gorgeous typewriter.
  • GrandCentralNYC ~ this gorgeous instagram site is filled with gorgeous pictures from Grand Central Station ... one of my favourite places to visit in NY city. So many lovely pictures, but this one with the snow, bought back lots of lovely memories from my snowy days in NY a couple of years ago.
  • KLMPink ~ love this picture of my friend Kate's fox terrier Minnie... Minniw features lots in Kates instagram account, along with lovely crafty goodies... her other Instagram site for her craft business The Homemakery is also worth a follow.
  • David Gandy - this gorgeous man has lots of likes on my instagram feed, this gorgeous photo from his home was featured for a Debretts article.... love the map wall & the desk is divine.
  • MPSinthesky ~ the metropolitan police helicopter features often in my favourite social media feeds. Loved this picture of The Shard that was taken to welcome into the new year....
  • Dantvusa ~ Another favourite instagrammer, discovered through my friend Ali Mcnamara the author... Dan's images of New York are breathtaking and you will find it hard not to like them all. This gorgeous picture of The Plaza overlooking a snowy central park is gorgeous.
  • M&S ~ David Gandy in a suit for the Spring Summer collection is delicious!... i do not need to say anymore.
  • and finally this gorgeous happy smiley baby is my god-daughters son... born at the end of October, his happy smiley face is a daily feed in my instagram and it doesn't do anything other than bring a huge smile to my face.... can't wait to meet him when I travel to Scotland soon.
Thankyou to all for brightening up my January..... here's a few images of what I've been IG'ing in January... featuring Flowers, Movie's, New York, and shades of grey!
and previous Social Media Sunday posts...... what have you been favouriting, liking & re-tweeting this month?...

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Musical Moment in Times Square...


Times Square over the 20 years that I have been visiting New York has evolved immensely.... it has gone from being a sleazy junction of electric bill boards to a very busy predominately pedestrianised family location.Crowds gather at multiple locations, early morning to feature in the back drop of Good Morning America, or at the Ticket booth for discount Broadway shows, there is always something happening.
On my first night in New York I was returning to my hotel via Times square, I had earlier in the evening walked up to the Rockefeller and along 5th soaking up the sights and sounds.
On turning into Times square at 48th, I noticed that something was happening in the square and it was extraordinarily loud and lots of red screens.... a friendly NYPD officer who was holding a "Do Not Cross" tape asked if I was going to the 'show' and if so I could sneak in the side entrance!..... I opted to duck in the side, having no idea what was going on, to be greeted by a huge red stage which was hosting U2 for an unannounced gig for World Aids Day.  With Bono incapacitated from a bike accident they were being fronted by Chris Martin in a fab Substi2u T-shirt.
Even though the weather was turning a little damp, I chose to stay for a while and watch 2 music icons perform on stage.....it really was a beautiful day.... closely followed by With or without you
Its not often you get to see one of America's rock legends for free in Times Square, but I did experience that as Bruce Springsteen joined U2 on stage ....... soaking up the moment was magical. 
As I was watching I had a complete klutz moment and ended up tripping over the man next to me, who gallantly helped me up, when I looked up to thank him I came face to face with Bill Clinton!.... the klutz then became a stuttering idiot and just about managed to murmur thank you.... by this stage I though it was best to make a hasty exit before an FBI agent apprehended me!
I couldn't have planned a better first night in New York  if I had tried.... completely unexpected with some fantastic memories that will stay with me into my old age!....heading back to my hotel a little wet & cold but with a big smile and a bucket list moment to talk about.....
What a fantastic start to my 5 days in New York....

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Welcome to New York...

8 weeks ago I landed in the city that doesn't sleep for 5 days of city living New York style... with Christmas & financial year end I haven't had much time to sort my photo's and post any of my adventures... but February's here and I'm determined to share them with you through this month!...
My New York adventure kicked off at Heathrow and this year I flew Delta and was upgraded at the point that I checked in!... with a comfy seat / bed, films & food and drink on tap the 7 hour flight passed in a blink of an eye...Landing at lunchtime in JFK refreshed & relaxed was a lovely and after the regulatory queues through immigration and customs I was soon in arrivals. This year unlike many others I opted to travel into Manhattan via the airtrain and subway. I have always taken the shuttle bus or taxi but after several visits to the city, I was confident that I would be able to get to my hotel via the train without getting lost!....
The air train took me to the Long Island Rail Road where I swapped over to the subway (E) train to Times Square. ... what a breeze, and for the bargain price of $7, instead of a $70 taxi! and only took an hour (traffic dependent this can be considerably longer via taxi/shuttle)
Travelling by train I got to see a different approach to the city and its fabulous landscape, which I snapped from the train
I found the train so straight forward that I decided that if my luggage allowed I would travel back this way, saving $'s both ways.
Arriving into Times Square mid afternoon my hotel was a short walk from the subway on West 45th street. I stayed at a little hotel called Room Mate Grace, which was in a great location, free wifi, a very comfy bed and a very funky swimming pool...
New York room's are small, (unless you book luxury), this hotel ticked lots of boxes for me and although it was basic it was in an ideal location, had a small fridge, flat screen TV, comfy double bed (raised on a platform) and very luxurious bedding and very funky wallpaper!... perfect sleeping zone after busy days in the city.
With bags dumped and unpacked I headed out to explore the city!...... pop back tomorrow  when I share my first night adventures in New York City, featuring rock stars & former presidents!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Goodbye January,Hello February....

wow where did that month go?....
I know where mine went........ it was spent sitting at my desk, getting the year end closed. I did amongst the paperwork have some fun, and caught up with some friends.
For the past couple of years my blogging friend Caroline from Mrs M's Meanderings  visits London with her mum for a few days. We have caught up for drinks and a chat, this year we gossiped for an hour over a bottle of wine on the roof of Selfridges at Le Chalet.... it was so lovely to see them both and gave a welcome break from a pile of paperwork and a huge amount of stress over my car/hire car... thank you for letting off load!.
As previously blogged my little Florence was stolen early December, which resulted in a hire car for 28 days and the hassle of sorting out insurance. I had intermittent warning light problems with the hire car and by the time I returned the car I was concerned that the breaks were failing. I pointed this out at the drop off, one week later the hire car company telephoned me to say that I had damaged the suspension and was required to pay £250... having only driven 200 miles in the vehicle I was quite alarmed. This has been ongoing during January, thankfully after many conversations, the hire company finally dropped all claims for payment on Friday.
With no car, a hike to and from the station is now part of my daily commute. This winter I have discovered the joys and warmth of cashmere, courtesy of my gorgeous Mulberry scarf and gloves.  Uggs have been keeping both my feet and ears warm, which have been perfect for a chilly January morning!... especially as I can link my earmuffs to my ipod!
Other things that have been giving me a warm glow was spending one glorious morning at the roof garden of the newly opened Sky Garden in the city, enjoying breakfast and the fabulous views it has to offer. January also saw London awash with stylish men as London kicked off Mens London collection... it was great fun seeing my stylist friend Joe, out & about with the gorgeous David Gandy! Talking of gorgeous H&M launched David Beckham's spring collection this month, which included gratuitous underwear shots being released to the press...
Downtime this month was spent blog planning and catching up on The Fall series 2 with the delicious serial killer Jamie Dornan.... who in February will become Christian Grey!... Oh My!
I hope that you all had a lovely January filled with warming treats... here's to a very flirty, shades of grey February!...
laters x

Monday, 26 January 2015

Up on the Roof...

Last week I spent a gorgeous morning eating breakfast and watching the sunrise over the London skyline at the new 'view' in town. - The Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street. (affectionately known as the 'walkie-talkie' building or controversially the 'walkie-scorchie' building after it started melting cars, all now fixed with its own sun shade).. The Sky Garden opened to the public earlier this month and booking can be made via their website.
The Sky Garden is only accessible via tickets, a number of free slots to level 35 daily, however these are currently fully booked for February & March. Sky Garden also offers 2 dining experiences along with the Sky Pod bar on level 35. The Sky pod bar is currently styled like a very urban apres ski winter retreat, with glorious fur throws, blankets, and lanterns... stunning against the London skyline.
Fenchurch Seafood Bar & Grill is on level 37... offering a very 'city' gent menu and dining experience.
Darwin Brasserie is located on level 36 a glorious mezzanine which offers stunning views onto the Thames and the sky garden below, offering a softer dining experience. I booked for breakfast, which allowed me access into the building early and the opportunity to explore the surroundings and soak up the atmosphere with very few others.
 Breakfast dining is one of my new favourites in London and is now a close second to Afternoon Tea treats. Sky Garden is now added to my London musts for this. Darwin is a 'rhubarb' venue and prides itself on using seasonal home grown ingredients. Here is a sample of the menu.
My breakfast was gorgeous, an English (opting out of the beans & black pudding), with coffee and grapefruit juice it was the perfect start to a Friday morning.
I had a table which offered fabulous views onto level 36 and out across the Thames and skyline. Darwin's team were delightful, and the service and food fabulous...
The Sky Garden's planting is a mix of Mediterranean and South African species, planted in waterfall banks alongside seating areas and sweeping staircases.
I can't put into words how glorious the light is in this building, It changes by the second, drawing your eye to something new.... stunning, a fabulous legacy left by the architect. 
Last year I blogged about 5 of my favourite ways to view London from above... well I think I've just added a 6th... Sky Garden is gorgeous and I am hoping to visit again this year, exploring the seasons and how the space changes throughout the day... 

Friday, 23 January 2015

Bucket List and Blog planning

January gets written out of my calendar each year due to the incredibly heavy work schedule. Every year I think it might be a little different, however new challenges and old issues  rear their head and any thoughts to leaving home later than 5.45am and getting home before 8pm go straight out of the window. Daylight is only glimmered from my desk and weekends off are a non-starter!.
As with most things there is a small silver lining and it gives me an opportunity whilst on the train to idly daydream and create my bucket list for the year ahead. Its always lovely to look forward to things and I try to book stuff in January for the coming year. This year I am also trying
to be less compulsive and a little more impulsive (the only thing that bucks the trend to this is my handbag purchases, where I need to revert more to type!)
Here's a few things I have to look forward to:

  • Spandau Ballet Soul Boys tour - so excited that these are back together and touring, especially after seeing the movie last year - looking forward to an evening of Gold with the girls.
  • Alexander Mcqueen's savage beauty exhibition at the V&A - stunning when I saw it at the Met in New York, so looking forward to seeing it again in his home town.
  • Photography styling workshop with Emily Quinton - thoroughly enjoyed my day with Emily last year and look forward to joining her again later in the year for Food photography and styling.
  • An evening with the Divine Miss M herself - Bette Midler - beyond excited about seeing this lady live, a fabulous all round entertainer,who I know puts on an amazing show and been on my wish list many years.
    My bucket list also includes a few food and afternoon treats in London and some days out in the UK; planned locations being Winchester, Bath and
    Derbyshire --- the book lovers amongst you will guess the connection between the locations!

    Aside from bucket listing I have also been Blog planning, enhancing on what I started last year around structure to my posts. Some of the themes worked for me last year and I enjoyed planning and writing them and it is these that I will continue with this year. Some of my blogger favourites have diversified into v-logging which I enjoy to watch, however its not something I will be trying myself as I loathe photographs (especially selfies - I could have a whole ranting post on this concept, but will refrain - fine if you are 14, not if you are 30+).. so the thought of being on video brings me out in hives! Bravo to all that video, talk & edit.
    • Social Media Sunday will continue, one of my favourite posts and it broadened my blogging & instagram platform, along with much fun on twitter.
    • London & New York loves - this will continue under a new title of City loves. I have over 40 post topics of things to share from my 5 days in New York in December and with some new city adventures planned this year, I hope to expand on my love of city's home & abroad and to continue to share my London adventures.
    • Book Loves  - Wednesday words will now become Book Loves, books will always play a key feature in my blog due to the volume that I read and my love of the literary world. Monthly posts planned fall round themes... so watch this space.
    • #Project Life - snapshot of the simple things in my life for that month,loves, likes, laughs & loathes.
      New Posts:
    • Coffee, Cake & T - a monthly coffee and cake stop either combined,homemade or from the city. Sharing my favourite of each for that month.
    • Last year I shared my handbag favourite for the month, in Totes Tuesday,I am sure I could fill another year of arm candy favourites, but I'm going to diversify and share my styling trend for the month, this will encompass handbags, accessories & beauty as I really enjoy using my Polyvore app to create this along with photography styling.
      Along with post themes, I am planning on having a monthly blog theme, I started to style my blog last year and have enjoyed styling the look for the last couple of blog updates, with my chalkboard styled christmas and gold styled January .... tips learnt from Emily and inspired by Kate Spade and her planner!
      My blog side bar has also had a little overhaul.
    • Calendar corner now shares my Dieux de Stade fortnightly rugby hottie! and On My Desk shares my David Gandy calendar for the month.... a little eye candy for the ladies.
    • Afternoon Tea favourites - links to some of my favourite tea treats visited.
    • Favourite Food Meets & Eats - cookery and baking celebrities & cooks & chefs
    • Favourite eats in the City - favourite food haunts in London.
    • Life with Mr Selfridge at 400 Oxford Street ~ adventures from the big yellow store on Oxford street,

      As you can see lots of plans for 2015, I hope that I can stick to them along with my 15 for 2015 commitments..... pop back soon to see how I am getting on, I would also love to know what you are planning for this year, so would love to hear from you.
      Tx



  • Sunday, 18 January 2015

    Literary adventures in New York...

    with Ali and Scarlett.
     Ali McNamara's 3rd book in her From Nottinghill series published late October and with much self control I refrained from reading until I embarked on my own New York adventure early December. I read book 2 on a previous visit and loved reading Scarlett's escapades whilst in the big apple.
    Book 3 ~ From Nottinghill with Four Weddings actually sees Scarlett commuting between New York and London as she manages 2 successful businesses each side of the Atlantic... her popcorn business in London and the dragonfly trust in New York. She is also planning her forthcoming wedding with her gorgeous fiance Sean.
    In typical Scarlett's ditsy style she finds herself becoming friends with paparazzi darling Gabriella Romero and soon her little life is thrown off plan as it becomes a little hectic. With best friends Oscar and Maddie both having wedding & marriage dramas, Scarlett's perfect wedding is thrown into jeopardy, especially when best man Alex starts to meddle.
    This book features so many of my favourite locations in both London (The Globe & Nottinghill) and New York and it was a joy to read whilst stateside.
    It was lovely to catch-up with Scarlett and co, like meeting up with old friends. Alli's book features some new locations and old friends from The Plaza to Bradley Cooper and during my stay in New York this time, both featured in my week!.... pop back soon when I share both adventures!... along with a many more.
    Thanks Alli for keeping me entertained whilst in New York... it was like having an old friend with me x

    Friday, 27 February 2015

    Friday 5 .... funnies from February

    Its Friday, its the end of what feels like a very long month and I so need a chocolate break, so grab a cup of tea whilst I share 5 things that have made me chuckle during February....
    1. New York Fashion Week and the Grand Dame of the fashion industry Anna Wintour made me howl with laughter. They say  a look says a 1000 words, especially when AW cannot hide her look of disgust when North West threw a tantrum on the front row of the Wang & Kanye collections..... such a contrast from her reaction to Harper Beckham..... any of you that follow me on Instagram will know my thoughts on this... parenting & manners what a contrast.
    2. Ellen's spoof trailer of 50 shades of Cinderella, a fabulous mix-up of the new Disney Cinderella movie & 50 Shades of Grey!.... loved it.                                                                            
    3. London Fashion week.... this time Anya Hindmarch.... the designer that never fails to amuse with her quirky collections... last year it was supermarket favourites... this A/W we can look forward to hanging a handbag influenced by the M25 off your arm.... the London Gay choir dressed as roadside construction workers is just fabulous....                                                
    4. OPI launched a polish collection in collaboration with the 50 shades franchise ... their PR and social media team did an fabulous job of selling the product to us... so much fun.
    5. Google box returned and I laughed out loud lots, even at one point spitting my tea out!... who gave them Basic Instinct, Wolf Hall & Ukip winning the election! ... Scarlett Moffatt was just fabulous!... here's the full episode...Google box Ep1 season 5.
    As you can see its a diverse mixture of things that have made me chuckle this month, many silly but so much fun,  and we all need a little fun in our lives.... what's been making you laugh this month?.... please share.... laters x

    Monday, 23 February 2015

    New York moments.... XOXO gossip girl style

    As we are currently in amidst fashion weeks I thought I would share a couple of my adventures from December that featured in one of fashions favourite TV shows, Gossip Girl.
    Of the many locations featured in the series, today I am sharing 2 which featured in the Pilot episode.
    The New York Palace Hotel which sits on Madison Avenue and 50th street behind the gorgeous St Patricks Cathedral. Along with Gossip Girl, many of you will recognise the hotel from other movie moments, including 27 Dresses. I love the Palace courtyard and at Christmas time it just becomes magical.
    I had lots of fun taking arty shots in the baubles on the Christmas trees as you can see below...
      As beautiful as this hotel looks in the daytime, it comes to life at night and is a must see, perfect to pop in and sample a cheeky cocktail at their old school glamour bar called Tavern 51 which has a cool 'Mad Men' vibe from a New York of yesteryear. The courtyard really is stunning after dark.
    My 2nd location that I visited this year for the first time was The Campbell Apartment tucked up in a corner of Grand Central Station.(15 Vanderbilt Avenue) Although never an apartment this very old school NY location was the office of 1920's tycoon John Campbell. Restored to its former glory it is one of the chicest cocktail bars in the city. (Plan ahead if visiting as there is a dress code to enter). The venue is full of antiques, complete with a glorious baby grand piano and oodles of glamour.... this location ticks the box of any Gatsby, Truman Capote or Mad Men fan. (Gossip Girl fans will recognise this bar from where Nat & Serena romped in the pilot episode)
    After a short while I was seated at the bar, where I enjoyed a leisurely hour sipping a cocktail, people watching the city folk of NY.
    My Cocktail of choice was The Prohibition Punch;
    "A refreshing blend of Passion Fruit Juices, Appleton Rum Estate VX. Gran Gala VSOP crowned with Moet & Chandon Champagne" - deliciously decadent but very lethal!...
    I had a gorgeous time in The Campbell Apartment, a fabulous find, and one I will be going back to the next time that I visit New York......
    
    
    If these have wetted your appetite for more GG moments, there are 100's of locations featured in the 6 seasons of Gossip Girl and if a fan I would recommend the GG tour, which features favourite locations and gives you a fun and different view of NY......
    .................. xoxox NY gossip girl x

    Tuesday, 17 February 2015

    Pancakes from across the Pond....

    A trip to New York is not complete without a breakfast of pancakes.... there are many places that claim to serve the best in NY, but my favourite has to be at Pershing Square. This fabulous little eatery is tucked underneath Park Avenue viaduct and opposite Grand Central Station.
    It claims to be the busiest & best breakfast venue in the city, and on all the occasions that I have visited I've never had reason to be disappointed....filled to the rafters with business wear along with tourists, be prepared to queue.
    The menu is vast catering for all; from the healthy options of egg white omelettes and fruit & oatmeal to full breakfast and pancake stacks..... as you can see I opted for a healthy option! pancakes, bacon & maple syrup, topped off with freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice and coffee. All absolutely delicious, pancakes melt in the mouth fluffy filled with blueberry's.
    This fabulous diner has a real old school feel of  new york of old and with a great sweeping bar its the perfect location to meet up when travelling via the station.
    Along with a great breakfast menu, Pershing square offers a great take-out option... great for grabbing coffee & muffin on the go...
    Pershing Square is one of my musts when visiting this great city, and I cant recommend it enough, it offers great service, food and a very stylish diner perfect for people watching and sampling a taste of city living NY style... delicious x



    Monday, 16 February 2015

    A New York movie moment.....

    another day and another NY movie moment from my trip in December, Today I am sharing  a couple of favourites from an old school classic "When Harry met Sally"....
    One of the most infamous scenes of the movie is staged in Katz Deli. Katz's is located on  East Houston Street and the corner of Ludlow on the Lower East side and is early til late! it maintains all the charm of an old school diner and is extremely busy. You can either choose to be seated and be served by one if the waiting team, or queue along the counter.  When seated you are given an old style ticket which becomes your bill at the end....it was a grey and damp day when I visited but was soon warm and toasty once inside enjoying the wares of Katz's
    The menu is vast and I opted for an open sandwich of hot brisket, chips, gravy and a side of macaroni cheese... served with a complimentary dish of pickles, washed down by Katz's lemonade.
    It may have not looked much, but it was delicious, the beef was just amazing, melt in the mouth tenderness on a slice of sourdough........ full of flavour.
    I loved the old couple sitting at the infamous table, apparently they visit every week and sit at that table! The walls of Katz's is full of photo's showcasing its history and many famous diners including Harry & Sally, one of my favourite pictures was of Sarah-Jessica Park & Matthew Broderick looking very young.
    I had a fabulous lunchtime in the deli and thoroughly recommend it for fans of the movie or anyone wants a glimmer of old school New York.
    A short walk from the dinner over on the West of Houston is Washington Square park.... those familiar with the film will recognise this location as the drop off point when Harry & Sally arrive in New York.
    The park is located at the foot of Fifth Avenue and gives you great views of uptown towards the Empire State Building and downtown towards Freedom Tower, One World Trade Centre. The arch in Washington Square is often used as a meeting place and celebrating cultural activity and non-conformity.  Most of the buildings that now surround the park are part of the NYU campus... so the park is a great coffee stop between lessons.
    I had a great time living a couple of movie moments from Harry met Sally.... here's some previous posts from my NY movie moments.

    pop back later in the week when I will be sharing more of my adventures in the city.

    Sunday, 15 February 2015

    Valentines Day... Mr Selfridge style...

    This weekend saw Valentines Day fall on a Saturday..... fantastic for us singletons who didn't have to put up with the office banter and see endless flowers being delivered to desks near & far.... this year it felt bigger than ever and Selfridges pulled out all the stops for a a red filled heart festooned declaration of love, turning the yellow store pink for the weekend.
    I have already shared my valentines adventures at The Everyman cinema but also enjoyed the sights and smells around the store.
    From the beautiful selfridges selection roses to the gorgeous pastries from the patisserie, it has been a feast on the senses all week.
    5 things i Loved:

    • "You had me at Hello" movie sign,
    • Phillipa Craddock hanger displays -- bring fashion & flowers together.
    • Be Mine Mr Selfridge eclairs.
    • The rose petal carpets showcasing the floral displays
    • 400 Oxford Street in all its pink splendour.
    My favourite feature was the Philippa Craddock flower stand outside the store... stunning floral displays gloriously staged... I'm sure Mr Selfridge would have loved seeing his store entrance looking so gorgeous.... fragrant inside and out....more adventures from 400 Oxford Street soon. x

    New York moments.... The Plaza

    As its the weekend of love I thought I would share some more of my New York Chick flick favourites .... starting with The Hotel of old school glamour & romance... The Plaza.
    The Plaza opened its doors in October 1907 on the corner of 5th Avenue and Central Park south, and became the most sought after address to reside at. Originally,The Plaza served as a residence for wealthy New Yorkers. Mr. and Mrs Vanderbilt were the first to sign the register. For guests who chose to rent on a nightly basis at the time, this New York City luxury hotel’s single rooms started at $2.50 per night.... now you could probably add a couple of noughts to that!

    The Plaza palm court and The Champagne bar are 2 of the loveliest parts of the hotel to relax in .... whilst visiting this year I had breakfast on my last day in The Plaza which was just gorgeous and the perfect end to my stay. 
    Most people will be familiar with The Plaza as it is a regular feature as a backdrop in many classic movies....something that they take pride in promoting in the hotel gift store. Outside of the Holiday period my film favourites include that classic scene from "The Way we Were".... 
    replicated in Sex & the City with Big's engagement party to Natasha....
    Christmas movie must for any New York fan is Home Alone 2 lost in New York, when Kevin stays in The Plaza.... here he is arriving. For old school glamour then The Great Gatzby is the movie for you in collaboration with this hotel.
    The hotel has undergone many changes internally over the years, with the big foyer check-in area seen in Home Alone relocating and now exclusive for guests, however this doesn't mean that the entrance is any less impressive.... here is what greeted me when I stepped into this gorgeous hotel.
    a beautiful entrance, with a huge sumptuously decorated tree, complete with Hotel Plaza packages flanked by glorious chandeliers. I couldn't resist the beautiful hand-painted Christmas bauble of the hotel and it came home with me to add to my NY holiday collection. 
    The Plaza is a lovely outside as it is in and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring this lovely hotel.... even if you cant afford to stay in this very glamorous address, don't let this put you off visiting... Breakfast or Afternoon Tea in The Plaza court is gorgeous (advisable to book ahead online to secure booking) The Food court in the basement of the Hotel is filled with New York favourites and if visiting during the holiday season then look out for Santa story telling in a secret location!. Along with great movies, The Plaza is featured in many books... one of them being my friend Ali Mcnamaras From Nottinghill with Four Weddings...  a perfect accompaniment when breakfasting at The Plaza...

    Saturday, 14 February 2015

    Mr Grey will see you now.......


    Its been one of the most talked about films over the past year and everyone has an opinion on it, but the 'Fifty' phenomenon reached it climax yesterday with the release of the movie.
    It was always going to be a given that I would see the film once the casting of Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey had been announced. I had minimal expectations of the film, but after seeing it, was pleasantly surprised.  Fifty Shades is never going to win critics views, and fans opinions will be mixed depending on who you imagined would play Anna and Christian, however its a great girls movie and will tick lots of boxes.
    The film is so much more about the relationship between the characters than the sex, yes there is sex in the movie and Dakota's boobs will bring envy to any women over the age of 30! but there is chemistry between the 2 characters (contrary to previous media reports) and they have nailed the characters to the book.
    From the launch of the book it has divided opinions widely.... yes the story is not great, yes it is repetitive, grammatically it made every other author scream & lament about their craft, however it has added a new dimension to reading, books became sexy again. The hopeless romantic in all of us got swept up in the love story of Anna & Christian, the inner goddess in all of us wanted to meet a billionaire with a fast car, helicopter, & a red room that could give us endless hours of pleasure!...this book & movie is a very modern fairy tale.
    With tickets booked months ago for The Everyman cinema at Selfridges, it was always going to be a little bit more special than the local cinema in Romford!  Best laid plans and all that meant that it ended up me & a friend from work going, as both friends who were originally coming couldn't make it... this didn't distract enjoyment once we entered the red room of the Everyman. Greeted by waiters we were handed complimentary champagne to sip, the bar and lounge were full so we decided to grab a special cocktail and head into the screening room.
    Cocktail options included; Cosmo Tango, Anastasia's Mojito, Hearts & Flowers and BDSM... we opted for Rope, Tapes & Cable Ties - Sweet ripe strawberries, mixed with white rum & a sting of fresh lime.
    On arrival in the screening room, a goodie bag was left for the ladies... with some fun things from the Box of Grey lingerie company, & YSL cosmetics. a bag of fun for laters....
    along with champagne & cocktails, no trip to the movies is complete without a pick & mix!... Fifty style. I made some sweet bags complete with lips, cable ties, love eggs & hearts....
    The film is cleverly shot and the direction of some scenes is cinematicaly gorgeous, the gliding and charlie tango scenes are lovely. There are a some awkward moments, but the these are few and the film moves along in line with the book.  Dakota Johnson is very good as Ana, and captures her innocence, naivety and 'sassyiness ' well. Jamie is gorgeous as Christian, less stern than I imagined but very very delicious in low slung denim!
    For anyone who has not read the book, the end will come as a huge surprise but this of course leaves the elevator open for Fifty darker....... this movie will never win awards, but it will grab the heart of many .... for now... Laters baby xx

    Sunday, 8 February 2015

    Social Media Sunday ~ January

    With us nearly being into the 2nd week of February,I thought it was about time that I shared some social media favourites from January. Work has been so busy I haven't had much time for fun, but social media has kept me entertained, Instagram being my favourite for January
    Here is what I've been liking this month...
    • Claudia Pranata ~ discovered Claudia's instagram feed when M&S re-grammed her great styled shot of Pretzels complete with a little yellow taxi... so cute.
    • MailModels ~ a very lovely styling feed, filled with colour, & great words of wisdom.. loved this pink ensemble for friendship.
    • Emily Quinton ~ i met Emily last year, when I attended one of her styling photography workshops, I love the simplistic styling of this shot, daffodils being one of my favourite flowers, along with a gorgeous typewriter.
    • GrandCentralNYC ~ this gorgeous instagram site is filled with gorgeous pictures from Grand Central Station ... one of my favourite places to visit in NY city. So many lovely pictures, but this one with the snow, bought back lots of lovely memories from my snowy days in NY a couple of years ago.
    • KLMPink ~ love this picture of my friend Kate's fox terrier Minnie... Minniw features lots in Kates instagram account, along with lovely crafty goodies... her other Instagram site for her craft business The Homemakery is also worth a follow.
    • David Gandy - this gorgeous man has lots of likes on my instagram feed, this gorgeous photo from his home was featured for a Debretts article.... love the map wall & the desk is divine.
    • MPSinthesky ~ the metropolitan police helicopter features often in my favourite social media feeds. Loved this picture of The Shard that was taken to welcome into the new year....
    • Dantvusa ~ Another favourite instagrammer, discovered through my friend Ali Mcnamara the author... Dan's images of New York are breathtaking and you will find it hard not to like them all. This gorgeous picture of The Plaza overlooking a snowy central park is gorgeous.
    • M&S ~ David Gandy in a suit for the Spring Summer collection is delicious!... i do not need to say anymore.
    • and finally this gorgeous happy smiley baby is my god-daughters son... born at the end of October, his happy smiley face is a daily feed in my instagram and it doesn't do anything other than bring a huge smile to my face.... can't wait to meet him when I travel to Scotland soon.
    Thankyou to all for brightening up my January..... here's a few images of what I've been IG'ing in January... featuring Flowers, Movie's, New York, and shades of grey!
    and previous Social Media Sunday posts...... what have you been favouriting, liking & re-tweeting this month?...

    Wednesday, 4 February 2015

    Musical Moment in Times Square...


    Times Square over the 20 years that I have been visiting New York has evolved immensely.... it has gone from being a sleazy junction of electric bill boards to a very busy predominately pedestrianised family location.Crowds gather at multiple locations, early morning to feature in the back drop of Good Morning America, or at the Ticket booth for discount Broadway shows, there is always something happening.
    On my first night in New York I was returning to my hotel via Times square, I had earlier in the evening walked up to the Rockefeller and along 5th soaking up the sights and sounds.
    On turning into Times square at 48th, I noticed that something was happening in the square and it was extraordinarily loud and lots of red screens.... a friendly NYPD officer who was holding a "Do Not Cross" tape asked if I was going to the 'show' and if so I could sneak in the side entrance!..... I opted to duck in the side, having no idea what was going on, to be greeted by a huge red stage which was hosting U2 for an unannounced gig for World Aids Day.  With Bono incapacitated from a bike accident they were being fronted by Chris Martin in a fab Substi2u T-shirt.
    Even though the weather was turning a little damp, I chose to stay for a while and watch 2 music icons perform on stage.....it really was a beautiful day.... closely followed by With or without you
    Its not often you get to see one of America's rock legends for free in Times Square, but I did experience that as Bruce Springsteen joined U2 on stage ....... soaking up the moment was magical. 
    As I was watching I had a complete klutz moment and ended up tripping over the man next to me, who gallantly helped me up, when I looked up to thank him I came face to face with Bill Clinton!.... the klutz then became a stuttering idiot and just about managed to murmur thank you.... by this stage I though it was best to make a hasty exit before an FBI agent apprehended me!
    I couldn't have planned a better first night in New York  if I had tried.... completely unexpected with some fantastic memories that will stay with me into my old age!....heading back to my hotel a little wet & cold but with a big smile and a bucket list moment to talk about.....
    What a fantastic start to my 5 days in New York....

    Tuesday, 3 February 2015

    Welcome to New York...

    8 weeks ago I landed in the city that doesn't sleep for 5 days of city living New York style... with Christmas & financial year end I haven't had much time to sort my photo's and post any of my adventures... but February's here and I'm determined to share them with you through this month!...
    My New York adventure kicked off at Heathrow and this year I flew Delta and was upgraded at the point that I checked in!... with a comfy seat / bed, films & food and drink on tap the 7 hour flight passed in a blink of an eye...Landing at lunchtime in JFK refreshed & relaxed was a lovely and after the regulatory queues through immigration and customs I was soon in arrivals. This year unlike many others I opted to travel into Manhattan via the airtrain and subway. I have always taken the shuttle bus or taxi but after several visits to the city, I was confident that I would be able to get to my hotel via the train without getting lost!....
    The air train took me to the Long Island Rail Road where I swapped over to the subway (E) train to Times Square. ... what a breeze, and for the bargain price of $7, instead of a $70 taxi! and only took an hour (traffic dependent this can be considerably longer via taxi/shuttle)
    Travelling by train I got to see a different approach to the city and its fabulous landscape, which I snapped from the train
    I found the train so straight forward that I decided that if my luggage allowed I would travel back this way, saving $'s both ways.
    Arriving into Times Square mid afternoon my hotel was a short walk from the subway on West 45th street. I stayed at a little hotel called Room Mate Grace, which was in a great location, free wifi, a very comfy bed and a very funky swimming pool...
    New York room's are small, (unless you book luxury), this hotel ticked lots of boxes for me and although it was basic it was in an ideal location, had a small fridge, flat screen TV, comfy double bed (raised on a platform) and very luxurious bedding and very funky wallpaper!... perfect sleeping zone after busy days in the city.
    With bags dumped and unpacked I headed out to explore the city!...... pop back tomorrow  when I share my first night adventures in New York City, featuring rock stars & former presidents!

    Sunday, 1 February 2015

    Goodbye January,Hello February....

    wow where did that month go?....
    I know where mine went........ it was spent sitting at my desk, getting the year end closed. I did amongst the paperwork have some fun, and caught up with some friends.
    For the past couple of years my blogging friend Caroline from Mrs M's Meanderings  visits London with her mum for a few days. We have caught up for drinks and a chat, this year we gossiped for an hour over a bottle of wine on the roof of Selfridges at Le Chalet.... it was so lovely to see them both and gave a welcome break from a pile of paperwork and a huge amount of stress over my car/hire car... thank you for letting off load!.
    As previously blogged my little Florence was stolen early December, which resulted in a hire car for 28 days and the hassle of sorting out insurance. I had intermittent warning light problems with the hire car and by the time I returned the car I was concerned that the breaks were failing. I pointed this out at the drop off, one week later the hire car company telephoned me to say that I had damaged the suspension and was required to pay £250... having only driven 200 miles in the vehicle I was quite alarmed. This has been ongoing during January, thankfully after many conversations, the hire company finally dropped all claims for payment on Friday.
    With no car, a hike to and from the station is now part of my daily commute. This winter I have discovered the joys and warmth of cashmere, courtesy of my gorgeous Mulberry scarf and gloves.  Uggs have been keeping both my feet and ears warm, which have been perfect for a chilly January morning!... especially as I can link my earmuffs to my ipod!
    Other things that have been giving me a warm glow was spending one glorious morning at the roof garden of the newly opened Sky Garden in the city, enjoying breakfast and the fabulous views it has to offer. January also saw London awash with stylish men as London kicked off Mens London collection... it was great fun seeing my stylist friend Joe, out & about with the gorgeous David Gandy! Talking of gorgeous H&M launched David Beckham's spring collection this month, which included gratuitous underwear shots being released to the press...
    Downtime this month was spent blog planning and catching up on The Fall series 2 with the delicious serial killer Jamie Dornan.... who in February will become Christian Grey!... Oh My!
    I hope that you all had a lovely January filled with warming treats... here's to a very flirty, shades of grey February!...
    laters x

    Monday, 26 January 2015

    Up on the Roof...

    Last week I spent a gorgeous morning eating breakfast and watching the sunrise over the London skyline at the new 'view' in town. - The Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street. (affectionately known as the 'walkie-talkie' building or controversially the 'walkie-scorchie' building after it started melting cars, all now fixed with its own sun shade).. The Sky Garden opened to the public earlier this month and booking can be made via their website.
    The Sky Garden is only accessible via tickets, a number of free slots to level 35 daily, however these are currently fully booked for February & March. Sky Garden also offers 2 dining experiences along with the Sky Pod bar on level 35. The Sky pod bar is currently styled like a very urban apres ski winter retreat, with glorious fur throws, blankets, and lanterns... stunning against the London skyline.
    Fenchurch Seafood Bar & Grill is on level 37... offering a very 'city' gent menu and dining experience.
    Darwin Brasserie is located on level 36 a glorious mezzanine which offers stunning views onto the Thames and the sky garden below, offering a softer dining experience. I booked for breakfast, which allowed me access into the building early and the opportunity to explore the surroundings and soak up the atmosphere with very few others.
     Breakfast dining is one of my new favourites in London and is now a close second to Afternoon Tea treats. Sky Garden is now added to my London musts for this. Darwin is a 'rhubarb' venue and prides itself on using seasonal home grown ingredients. Here is a sample of the menu.
    My breakfast was gorgeous, an English (opting out of the beans & black pudding), with coffee and grapefruit juice it was the perfect start to a Friday morning.
    I had a table which offered fabulous views onto level 36 and out across the Thames and skyline. Darwin's team were delightful, and the service and food fabulous...
    The Sky Garden's planting is a mix of Mediterranean and South African species, planted in waterfall banks alongside seating areas and sweeping staircases.
    I can't put into words how glorious the light is in this building, It changes by the second, drawing your eye to something new.... stunning, a fabulous legacy left by the architect. 
    Last year I blogged about 5 of my favourite ways to view London from above... well I think I've just added a 6th... Sky Garden is gorgeous and I am hoping to visit again this year, exploring the seasons and how the space changes throughout the day... 

    Friday, 23 January 2015

    Bucket List and Blog planning

    January gets written out of my calendar each year due to the incredibly heavy work schedule. Every year I think it might be a little different, however new challenges and old issues  rear their head and any thoughts to leaving home later than 5.45am and getting home before 8pm go straight out of the window. Daylight is only glimmered from my desk and weekends off are a non-starter!.
    As with most things there is a small silver lining and it gives me an opportunity whilst on the train to idly daydream and create my bucket list for the year ahead. Its always lovely to look forward to things and I try to book stuff in January for the coming year. This year I am also trying
    to be less compulsive and a little more impulsive (the only thing that bucks the trend to this is my handbag purchases, where I need to revert more to type!)
    Here's a few things I have to look forward to:

  • Spandau Ballet Soul Boys tour - so excited that these are back together and touring, especially after seeing the movie last year - looking forward to an evening of Gold with the girls.
  • Alexander Mcqueen's savage beauty exhibition at the V&A - stunning when I saw it at the Met in New York, so looking forward to seeing it again in his home town.
  • Photography styling workshop with Emily Quinton - thoroughly enjoyed my day with Emily last year and look forward to joining her again later in the year for Food photography and styling.
  • An evening with the Divine Miss M herself - Bette Midler - beyond excited about seeing this lady live, a fabulous all round entertainer,who I know puts on an amazing show and been on my wish list many years.
    My bucket list also includes a few food and afternoon treats in London and some days out in the UK; planned locations being Winchester, Bath and
    Derbyshire --- the book lovers amongst you will guess the connection between the locations!

    Aside from bucket listing I have also been Blog planning, enhancing on what I started last year around structure to my posts. Some of the themes worked for me last year and I enjoyed planning and writing them and it is these that I will continue with this year. Some of my blogger favourites have diversified into v-logging which I enjoy to watch, however its not something I will be trying myself as I loathe photographs (especially selfies - I could have a whole ranting post on this concept, but will refrain - fine if you are 14, not if you are 30+).. so the thought of being on video brings me out in hives! Bravo to all that video, talk & edit.
    • Social Media Sunday will continue, one of my favourite posts and it broadened my blogging & instagram platform, along with much fun on twitter.
    • London & New York loves - this will continue under a new title of City loves. I have over 40 post topics of things to share from my 5 days in New York in December and with some new city adventures planned this year, I hope to expand on my love of city's home & abroad and to continue to share my London adventures.
    • Book Loves  - Wednesday words will now become Book Loves, books will always play a key feature in my blog due to the volume that I read and my love of the literary world. Monthly posts planned fall round themes... so watch this space.
    • #Project Life - snapshot of the simple things in my life for that month,loves, likes, laughs & loathes.
      New Posts:
    • Coffee, Cake & T - a monthly coffee and cake stop either combined,homemade or from the city. Sharing my favourite of each for that month.
    • Last year I shared my handbag favourite for the month, in Totes Tuesday,I am sure I could fill another year of arm candy favourites, but I'm going to diversify and share my styling trend for the month, this will encompass handbags, accessories & beauty as I really enjoy using my Polyvore app to create this along with photography styling.
      Along with post themes, I am planning on having a monthly blog theme, I started to style my blog last year and have enjoyed styling the look for the last couple of blog updates, with my chalkboard styled christmas and gold styled January .... tips learnt from Emily and inspired by Kate Spade and her planner!
      My blog side bar has also had a little overhaul.
    • Calendar corner now shares my Dieux de Stade fortnightly rugby hottie! and On My Desk shares my David Gandy calendar for the month.... a little eye candy for the ladies.
    • Afternoon Tea favourites - links to some of my favourite tea treats visited.
    • Favourite Food Meets & Eats - cookery and baking celebrities & cooks & chefs
    • Favourite eats in the City - favourite food haunts in London.
    • Life with Mr Selfridge at 400 Oxford Street ~ adventures from the big yellow store on Oxford street,

      As you can see lots of plans for 2015, I hope that I can stick to them along with my 15 for 2015 commitments..... pop back soon to see how I am getting on, I would also love to know what you are planning for this year, so would love to hear from you.
      Tx



  • Sunday, 18 January 2015

    Literary adventures in New York...

    with Ali and Scarlett.
     Ali McNamara's 3rd book in her From Nottinghill series published late October and with much self control I refrained from reading until I embarked on my own New York adventure early December. I read book 2 on a previous visit and loved reading Scarlett's escapades whilst in the big apple.
    Book 3 ~ From Nottinghill with Four Weddings actually sees Scarlett commuting between New York and London as she manages 2 successful businesses each side of the Atlantic... her popcorn business in London and the dragonfly trust in New York. She is also planning her forthcoming wedding with her gorgeous fiance Sean.
    In typical Scarlett's ditsy style she finds herself becoming friends with paparazzi darling Gabriella Romero and soon her little life is thrown off plan as it becomes a little hectic. With best friends Oscar and Maddie both having wedding & marriage dramas, Scarlett's perfect wedding is thrown into jeopardy, especially when best man Alex starts to meddle.
    This book features so many of my favourite locations in both London (The Globe & Nottinghill) and New York and it was a joy to read whilst stateside.
    It was lovely to catch-up with Scarlett and co, like meeting up with old friends. Alli's book features some new locations and old friends from The Plaza to Bradley Cooper and during my stay in New York this time, both featured in my week!.... pop back soon when I share both adventures!... along with a many more.
    Thanks Alli for keeping me entertained whilst in New York... it was like having an old friend with me x