Thursday, 30 July 2015

A handtied bouquet of Cornish Life....

Today sees my friend Ali McNamara release her 6th novel The Little Flower shop by the Sea. Having received a
 pre-release copy as a birthday treat from Ali and having read it I can safely say that she has written another fantastic story with some fabulous characters.
The Little Flower Shop follows Poppy, who has recently inherited her grandmothers beloved flower shop in the village of Felix in Cornwall. Poppy and her brother Will spent many weeks each summer at their grandmothers, exploring the beaches & cliffs of this village. Some of their most special time's being spent exploring the secrets of Trecarlan Castle and listening to the wild stories from its mad owner Stan.
Grandmother Rose's bequeath of The Daisy Chain is accepted reluctantly by Poppy as she finds herself in Cornwall – somewhere she never thought she would return to. On Poppy's first day she meets Jake the local flower grower and owner of Miley (a very cute mischievous capuchin monkey) and a friendship starts to blossom. With a run-down flower shop to revamp, Poppy soon finds herself surround by a village community and friends of her grandmothers willing to help. For a girl who is more comfortable in her own company, opening up to strangers and accepting help doesn't come naturally to Poppy but soon she finds the magic of Felix and the Flower shop seeping under the tough exterior and into heart.
As with all of Ali's books the supporting cast of characters are as pivotal and strong to the storyline as the main character, and also have a way of capturing your heart My favourites in this book include Miley (the monkey), Basil (the basset, Jake (the hottie!!!) and Ant & Dec in the bakery!....
I absolutely loved his book and think it's my favourite read this year so far…. Loved it x
Thanks Ali for allowing me to visit Felix before other guests and tourists arrive…. It has been a joy and made my commute this week much more delightful. It evoked so many wonderful memories of childhood holidays along the coast of Cornwall; especially the cove of St Ives….. a magical blossom of a read.
A few weeks ago Ali and I caught up in London for a late lunch and to celebrate the new book. Our dining experience couldn't have been more appropriate; a slice of Cornish village life on the rooftop of Selfridges. Vintage Salt as previously shared is this year's rooftop dining experience for Selfridges and Des McDonald.

Going for the whole Cornish feel we opted for fish & chips which were huge and delicious. (the batter was amazing ) with chips and peas. Accompanied by raspberry lemonade... it was one of the hottest days of June when we visited so neither us could cope with alcohol & sunshine on a gorgeous afternoon.
Followed by 2 fabulous desserts it was a lovely leisurely lunch, gossiping and catching up on lots of book news.

As you can see we had much fun. Even taking a chance to have a giggle in the the drift bar beach huts.

Unfortunately I can't be at Ali's launch event today... hope that she has a fabulous day and I'm positive that the book will be a huge success.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Book Love ~ July

This month I am sharing 4 reads that have entertained me on my travels during the month; 3 new releases and one that has been languishing in my "to read" pile. July's reads have made me laugh lots and all have a lovely summer feel, complimenting both the weather and feel of the month


Dream a Little Dream – Giovanna Fletcher
When Sarah starts dreaming of a handsome stranger who shares a fleeting
resemblance to a guy she met in her past, it brightens what has become a little bit of a boring happyish life and not one that she planned. Dumped by her long term boyfriend when he meets his perfect one, she then has to spend time with him as they both share the same friends, this along with never quite fulfilling her mums life expectations means that "dream Brett" creates a huge pleasant distraction. This distraction is much welcome until he appears in real life at the end of her desk as the new guy in the office…. Thrown together within a work capacity Sarah & Real Brett's dreams may just become a reality.
Thoroughly enjoyed Giovanna's 3rd book; the main 2 characters are lovely and the supporting cast of friends are fun too… which creates plenty of opportunities for sequels of this story.(hopefully)..As previously blogged I was lucky enough to go to the launch party of this book, and met Giovanna who was delightful…
Molly is a newly divorced mum of 3 boys who finds herself inheriting her beloved aunts dilapidated bed & breakfast Harrington hall on the Devon coast. The three hundred year old house needs some tender loving care and restoration, not unlike Molly, the only bright hues on the horizon are the stunning rose gardens that her aunt tendered so lovingly. Along with inheriting the hall; Molly also inherits her eccentric uncle and his pet parrot; spurred on by her best friend Lola; who self-confessed puts the high in maintenance, Molly uproots herself & boys from her London life and moves to Devon. Molly now finds herself with saving the hall, managing her devious brother and father, adopting all the waifs and strays within her aunts life along with her dotty uncle and a verbally abusive parrot and dealing with her sneaky ex-husband and insipid new wife.
It's some time since I read a Gil McNeil novel and forgot how much she has the capacity to make you laugh about the most mundane things in life. Loved the characters of Lola (best friend) and Betty (parrot) who between them naughty behaviours and language is laugh out loud. Overall a fun read that made me chuckle on several occasions; even during the serious points.
·         The Great Village Show – Alexandra Brown;
The Great Village show sees a welcome return to the village of Tindledale.
(Great Christmas Knit Off). Meg is the acting head teacher of the village school; she is incredibly passionate about her school and pupils, this comes under threat when the local school board announce that the school may close due to pupil numbers and costs. Meg is determined to put up a fight and hopes that The Great Village Show will show all what a fabulous community and village  that Tindledale is. As the preparations step up a pace Meg meets two newcomers to the village; The Cavendish family – Jessie, Sebastian and their triplets – all is not what appears in this perfect little family and Meg soon becomes a friend and confident to Jessie's life and the dashing but very grumpy Michelin starred chef Dan Wright.  I absolutely loved this book and being back in Tindledale; it was a joy to catch-up with Sybs, Ben, Hettie  along with the new characters; Dan is quite delicious and does a fabulous job of winding Meg up at every moment. Alexandra does a fabulous job of describing the most perfect village to live in; and makes me hanker a move to rural life on every occasion. This is a perfect summer read… well-done AB
This is the second book in Jenny Oliver's Cherry Pie Island and features Holly and her vintage ice-cream van that she has inherited from …. The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Café hints at a back story of Holly and in this book we see how that story has got Holly in the predicament that she is.
Holly has since a teenager had a huge girl crush on her friends brother Wilf, Wilf however is a womanising super rich entrepreneur. One impromptu night later and suddenly Holly and Wilf find themselves linked for life with an unexpected addition. With Wilf's mothers wedding pending in the south of France and her desire for an ice-cream van to feature in the reception, they find themselves on a road trip across the channel. Enjoyed this book although probably not as much as the first, parts of it felt a little hurried, but characters were funny and leading man absolutely gorgeous (always a big tick in my book bubble)… looking forward to reading the next instalment starring Wilf's sister.

As you can see I have only managed 4 reads this month as life has been busy. It was lovely that one of them was an actual book and not on my kindle / iphone .... which led to lots of looks and conversations with commuters on the tube & train when I pulled a book out of my bag! I love the feel of books and determined to feature at least one 'actual' book in my monthly "to read pile" alongside the virtual. I already have 6 books queued to read in August, so hoping for some lovely weather so that I can go and curl up under a tree in the park and read.
Thankyou ladies for keeping me entertained this month on my commute and travels…. It's been a joy.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Social Media Sunday ~ July

Its been some time since I posted a Social Media Sunday post, but with my instagram feed overflowing with hearts and twitter starred with favourites I thought I would share with you what I have 'liked' this month
With Orange and Pink featuring heavily within my blog styling; this subconsciously influenced my social media this month.
Instagram Loves ...
  1. Mammothent - delicious image of Birch Coffee Bar in New York; showcasing the perfect place for iced-coffee in the west village of NYC.
  2. Johnnyonkers is becoming one of my favourite photographers within New York. This sunrise image looking onto the Empire State Building is stunning.
  3. Vassiliki's  delightful image of the library loung in this years must visit hotel;The Hamyard is lovely. Flowers & books... big tick on my instagram likes.
  4. Jimmy's Farm stunning Suffolk sunset - who needs anywhere else when the Uk can offer glimpses of Summer like this. beautiful.
  5. Oliver Cheshire usurped the gorgeous David Gandy from the token "scrumptious" shot this month... here he is playing with fire & cooking up a storm in Majorca.
  6. SignesJohansen instagram image of the golden hour across the London skyline sums up most of July in London... gorgeous.
  7. Paula FitzHerbert's  beautiful image of the stunning lobby of Claridges captures everything that this hotel is renowned for - classic elegance in opulent surroundings.
  8. ClaridgesHotel showcasing a cacophony of beautiful blooms for a summer wedding in the drawing room of their stunning hotel from @chris.amoroso in hues of pink.
  9. Sally's picture postcard image of her mum-in-law's garden is pure chocolate box picturesque. Fallen back in love with Hollyhock's this year. have complete garden envy!
  10. Nevie Pie's edible work of art on her floral cake is just delicious... one of my favourite cake artists.
  11. Becmillie's handtied boquet completely sums up my month ... roses & tulips; just perfect.
  12. Kerrie from Kerriehessillustration 's image is styled delightfully with roses and ballet pumps...love all her illustrations and images. 
  13. This month I discovered a whole new instagram world of planner addicts!... and this simply styled Kate Spade collection of treats are shared by the very tempting shop of RachelGeorge 
  14. and finally the fabulous Bette Midler shared this image of her and Adele backstage after her recent gig in London (more of that here!)... how amazing does Bette look for 69.
This month saw me getting back into Twitter, however Instagram is still my current favourite.... 2 skylines that I loved for different this month;
Everything NYC stunning image of a glorious sunrise across the NY skyline and a great book to read on my commute - perfect for planning another trip!.
London Air Ambulance tweeted this poignant image of London waking up to the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 bombing attacks in London.
    Two video's shared on twitter have also featured within my favourites this month, Looking at the number of times both tweets have been favourited it seems I am not alone in liking these!!...
    Video 1... the gorgeous David Gandy sharing his holiday favourites!
    and Video 2... the equally gorgeous Daniel Craig in the newly released Spectre movie trailer...
    I can't tell you how excited I am on seeing this trailer.... looking forward to the November release!...
    I hope you have had fun with my social media summer loves... here's some from previous months... thank-you all that have featured for brightening my month with your gorgeous images and witty little posts... I've loved them.

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015

    An evening with the Divine Miss M....

    Most of us within our heads or on a piece of paper have a bucket list of things to do / see / achieve within our lifetime, one of my bucket list moments was fulfilled on Sunday night when I saw the divine Miss M in concert. I am of course referring to the fabulously entertaining Miss Bette Midler. I have been a huge fan of hers for many years, and thrilled to have finally seen her live in all her ballsy glory.
    It's been 35 years since Miss M last appeared on stage in the UK, and that was a week's residency at the London Palladium, therefore tickets were in high demand when released early this year for a UK tour.
    With an O2 filled to the rafters with an age range of twenties to nineties from gays to grannies and every camp in-between it really was a divinely fabulous audience to be within.
    The show started with a bright pink whirlwind filling a huge video screen, culminating in Bette arriving on stage on a huge throne – a reminder to us all on what a huge force of nature this pocket rocket whirlwind is. Sashaying across the stage in a tiny pink mini dress Bette demonstrated what a remarkable women she is at the grand age of 69. With an opening line of "We're here to lift your spirits like a boob job for your soul" she did not disappoint. ( I had serious leg envy throughout)
    Bette is not shy of talking her opinion and thoughts, with frank honesty and it is this that sets her apart from some of her contemporaries, she is ballsy, bawdy and incredibly funny, on introducing her backing girls "The Staggering Harlettes" she commanders them to "wave to the wankers in the luxury seats" pointing to the corporate boxes to much laughter from the audience.
    This was the last night of the Divine Intervention tour in the UK and Bette was going home in style, veering from schmaltz to smut in seconds without breaking stride.
    Bette resurrected many favourites during her 2 hour set, including the fabulous Winifred from Hocus Pocus, complete with huge wig and buck teeth and a great rendition of "I put a spell on you" along with her alter ego Sophie Tucker which made an appearance  during "A Bird in the Hand" whilst dressed as a cabaret corseted burlesque feathered bird. Her other alter ego Delores Delago the wheelchair bound mermaid also made an appearance in video form along with a little dig at Lady Gaga who in recent years has performed a similar character. It wasn’t just Lady Gaga that Bette shared her views on Miley and the Kardashians were also a key talking point…. Bette lamenting that Boobs were no longer in fashion and it was now all about bums now!... this led into much discussion of social media & sex tapes with Bette sharing some of her supposed steamy conquests… including Boris Johnson, Jamie Oliver and Jeremy Clarkson (0-60 in 0.5 seconds) much fun and banter!
    Bette is brassy, bawdy and never less than brilliant, when introducing one of her most famous songs The Rose she deadpans; "I know you're all going to want to sing along to this one…. Please don't. There's only room for one diva in this room!... which is met with rapturous applause from the crowd.
    The divine Miss M's set culminates with three show belters; The Rose, From a Distance and Stay with Me, followed by an encore of her spine tingling Wind Beneath my Wings, and then Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. Bette then treated us to a further 2 encores before finally leaving the stage after a heartfelt thankyou to the audience, "I don't know why it's taken me so long to get here" she tells a crowd, who have for 15 minutes been on their feet giving her a standing ovation.
    Over the 2 hours BM showcased why she can flip between Broadway and Hollywood so effortlessly …. Something that I don't believe that she has got the credit that she rightfully deserves; Miss Midler is not for the faint hearted but she is also one that shouldn’t be missed,… they don't make them like that anymore a living showbiz legend. It really was a slice of Broadway/ Las Vegas under the dome of the O2… perfect entertainment for a Sunday Night….
    here is a video of part of The Rose and Wind beneath my wings
    Thank you Miss M… a huge tick off my life's list.
    Bette is a fan if social media and shared some images before arriving on stage and a gorgeous instagram of her and Adele.... 

    Sunday, 12 July 2015

    Food styling fun....

    Last Saturday I joined 10 other ladies for a day of fun, photography and  food styling with Emily Quinton and Catherine Frawley, both photographers and instagrammers that I have admired for some time. I met Emily last year when I attended a styling workshop with her.
    The day was held in Emily's new Makelight studio in West Dulwich which is a glorious space filled with the most amazing light, perfect for a day taking photo's...
    The day started with coffee and an introduction to the day, as well as exploring the studio before the fun began!
    Each attendee had a lovely place setting at the work table to use during the day and then take home to play with.
    Along with a glorious space to utilise during the day Emily & Catherine provided some amazing props to use to style the foods provided. I fell completely in love with the suitcase of vintage cooking and baking props along with glorious cakes, marshmallows and macarons  from Reshmi at  Anges de Sucre

    Catherine started by showing how an old door could showcase macarons complimented with jasmine. by building up the look. Taking shots at each stage it allowed us to see what works and what doesn't to make a great shot, viewing each shot on the PC to see in detail the staging and cut off parts of the photograph.
    Catherine's 2nd demonstration was with a box of doughnuts a lace napkin, a bread board and vintage cheese plate. 1. loaf tin, baking parchment. 2. add a vintage cheese plate. 3. cutlery and additional doughnuts. 4. doughnuts on the board. 5. final styling complete with a scattering on sprinkles. I loved this image styling, and to see it come to life was gorgeous, a simple box of doughnuts to a fabulous display good enough to eat.
    After Doughnuts it was time to play with Marshmallows in a vintage baking tin, muslin clothe and a scattering of flower heads..... simple effective styling complimenting the sweet treats perfectly.  Along with a host of sweet treats C&E also showed us how to style simpler everyday things from the vegetable rack & salad bowl.  Tomatoes and the Broad beans being my favourites.
    After lunch it was time for us to play with our camera's and i-phones.  I loved the old vintage French feel that the macarons and bake-ware and silverware created against the wooden background and fabric. So much fun with sugar.
    Emily has a glorious old wooden cabinet in the corner which provided the perfect backdrop for a spot of afternoon tea and biscuit styling.... Jammie Dodgers looking yummy. The tea flask and retro cup complimented the cabinet and styling perfectly along with a strategically placed peony... one of Emily;s signature style floral props. 

    Growing with confidence it was time to play with something a little grander, and Anges de Sucre's 3 tier extravaganza was perfect. This chocolate dripped, popcorn,macaron, marshmallow confection was a dream to shoot. With milk bottles, paper straws, and doughnuts accompanying the styling I had so much fun playing with this candy creation.
    My final style for the day was with my favourite Eat Cake for Breakfast journal and Reshmi's mini macaron & popcorn creations in glorious pastels.... complete with macarons,milk bottles & straw accompaniments the only thing left to do at the end was sample the mini confections.
    Emily and Catherine hosted a fabulous day and I met some lovely ladies along with learning lots.
    Here is a cute little video that Emily shot of the day.... 

    If you are a fan of gorgeous pictures, then I urge you to follow Emily and Catherine on instagram for a daily dose of flower and food loveliness. More images on instagram of the day on #makelightworkshops
    Thankyou Ladies, I had a fabulous day and I am learning to love my camera lots and have fun with photos.

    Friday, 3 July 2015

    July plans....

    July has certainly arrived in a glorious haze, with the highest recorded temperature for July ever recorded its been a sweltering start to the summer.
    With Sale finishing I am just about to embark on one of the busiest months of the year for me and my team... hopefully I will get some downtime along with a couple of lovely things planned.
    • Photography with Food ~ July see's me catch-up with Emily Quinton who I spent a fabulous day last year learning how to love my camera. This time we are styling with food which I am really looking forward to.
    • A night with the Divine Miss M! - so looking forward to seeing Bette Midler this month. It's a bucket list moment for me and I cannot wait to see this all round entertainer in action.
    • An afternoon with Jonny Wilkinson!... oh my!!! I am a little excited about this ~ Jonny will be coaching at Saracens Allianz park in July and I have a ticket!
    • Cinema trip to see Magic Mike XXL planned ~ don't care if its not great, it had Matt Bomer, Channing Tatum and Joe M in little clothes! (yes I'm shallow, a lady needs to get her kicks somehow!!)
    • and finally July sees me another year older .... so cake celebrations with Bruv x
    As you can see the blog has had a July summer make - over and I am completely embracing colour this month!... nothing shy and reserving about this blog for July!
    The orange tote has been hauled out of the cupboard along with the Birkenstocks! ... as you can see the orange & pink are out. Tote suitably styled with chanel sunglasses, coach, michael kors & dkny!
    DG in his orange swim-shorts is my screen saver for the month... with glorious summer mornings and nights; Taylor recorded 40'c in the car on wednesday evening... so happy that I have air-con :-)

    So here;s to a fabulous July... I hope that it brings you warmth, fun and love x

    Wednesday, 1 July 2015

    Goodbye June, Hello July....

    Well July has arrived in a heatwave, and as I am typing this I am sitting in the shade of a tree in the park. June started cold, but temperatures soon picked up and it felt like summer was kick started from its hibernation.
    Although I didn't have a much planned for the month it turned into a busy one filled with catching up with friends that I haven't seen for an age.
    • Lovely to see the sun on many of my morning commutes
    • Sweet Williams - my flower of the month. reminds me so much of my gramps, the allotment and back of the greenhouse was filled with these.
    • Taylor's trips in the sunshine for lunch with an old friend that I haven't seen in ages from Scotland  - so lovely to get the sunglasses and birkenstocks out 
    • Fathers Day - 2 trips to the cemetery with Taylor and mum; followed by coffee and breakfast at the cafe.
    • June saw me catch-up with another friend Ali, where we dined on the roof of Selfridges followed by an evening at the top of penguin books celebrating the book launch of Giovanna Fletcher's new book. Fab night filled with authors, popstars and cupcakes!
    • June's book post was one of the most read posts on the blog and on social media.
    • A beautiful day off was spent in the glorious grounds and castle of Hever in the countryside of Kent./Sussex. Filled with sunshine, roses and cake!.
    • Commute was filled with glorious sun-rays and fabulous fluffy clouds.
    • British flower week was filled with bowls of sweet williams and gardens of poppies.
    • A gorgeous hot sunny day was spent in a beer garden catching up with another friend that I haven't seen in over 10 years - so much fun.
    June also saw the kitchen-aid come out to play for some assistance in making a 3 tier engagement cake for my god-daughter. She loves pink and black so I used this to decorate the cake along with some diamonte initials and a blingy engagement ring.
    • As you can see my baking bits complimented fabulously with this months blog styling.






    Work was busy in June, but I also got a chance to spend some time with work friends and a little sale shopping!

    • A trip to Dorset was spent reviewing the Christmas Hamper range for 2015.
    • Enjoyed the summer sunshine on the roof drinking mock-tails and enjoying the view.
    • Coffee time spent with friends under the shadows of Mr Selfridge himself in Harry's bar. 
    • Taylor's first sale at Selfridges and he coped admirably with the yellow bags!
    • Office festooned with yellow bags on sale day!
    • New train provider hasn't eased the delays and cancellations in June... Liverpool street on a particularly challenging commute home one night in June.
    • Sale wouldn't be complete without a little treat!.... gorgeous ox-blood Lily added to the collection - another successful sale ~ birthday and christmas presents stored away.

    June certainly turned out much busier than I planned, lovely catching up with some old friends, new and have some fun in the sunshine..... roll on July for more fun with friends, birthday treats and some lovely things planned.

    Wednesday, 24 June 2015

    Book Love ~ June

    This month I am sharing 6 reads that have kept me entertained on my travels during June. Some of these have been languishing in my to read pile for some time, and I am now wondering why I've left them so long. This month's reads have taken me to the far flung places of  Hollywood and Greece, and contemplate running, gardening and opening a café on an idyllic island off the Thames coastline. They have evoked many childhood memories and a gap year in Greece!.... here's what has been keeping me entertained during June.
    Mattie Rose is the advice columnist for the Chicago Gazette under the pseudonym of "The Plate Spinner", mum to a brood of children, and husband to a hunky paramedic. In reality she's sworn off men, strapped with debt, haunted with childhood taunts of "fattie mattie" and slowly recovering from being jilted at the altar 2 years previously. Mattie's ex-fiancé is on the run for embezzlement and fraud, having framed his twin brother Nick to take the fall for his shenanigans. Nick having lost everything from his brothers scams is also trying to recover. Mattie & Nicks paths cross again when Nick is hired by the newspaper to coach The Plate Spinner to run the Chicago marathon…. Much fun, and heartache ensue as Mattie & Nick find themselves on a running journey. I really enjoyed this book and found Mattie adorable, she made me laugh lots, her enthusiasm for exercise is on a par with mine!... a fun read, perfect for anyone looking for inspiration to run a marathon.
    The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Café – Jenny Oliver    Annie White has recently inherited The Dandelion Café on the Thames-side island of Cherry Pie. Cherry Pie is Annie's childhood home, she returns to tie up loose ends, and renovate a tired looking café with the option of selling it. Soon the island, the cafe and its habitants (especially the gorgeous millionaire Matt) creep their way into Annie's heart and she has to decide what she wants. This is the 1st book of a new series by Jenny Oliver and I really enjoyed it, great characters and looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
    Coming up Roses - Rachel Lucas
    Daisy's parents take off for a midlife crisis gap year, leaving her in charge of renovating their ramshackle garden. A move to the countryside of Steeple St John couldn’t come at a better time for Daisy and she relishes nurturing the garden back to its former glory. Daisy befriends Elaine and Jo in the village who are both battling their own problems and collectively the 3 ladies embark on helping each other. Outside of their problems the village is battling its own problems with greedy garden developers and Daisy soon finds herself fighting to save her beloved garden with the help of pensioner Thomas.
    This is a glorious book for the summer, and a perfect read following my recent trip to Chelsea Flower Show, Rachel's description of the allotment evoked so many memories of me & Gramps trundling wheel barrows between the greenhouse and allotment and the character of Thomas could easily have been my granddad. Obviously Daisy needs a love interest and this comes in the guise of a charming Irishman and a hunky vet, both vying for her affection in different guises. I loved this book, its beautifully written and absorbs you into an idyllic village setting, a perfect book to transport you into a different world whilst travelling through the tunnels of London on the tube,… delightful Rachel Lucas.
    Mandy Baggot always writes some of the best heroes in her books and TMG doesn’t disappoint in the guise of Yan. Ellen's life has fallen apart and suddenly the capable, confident and career driven women is no more. Finding herself accompanying her Bridezilla sister Lacey to the island of Corfu to plan her wedding, she is hoping the time away will help her sort herself out and distract herself from her problems. What Ellen hadn't factored into her holiday plans was Lacey suddenly getting cold feet and her finding herself enjoying the company of a hunky Bulgarian holiday entertainer Yan. This book was a romp of a read. It's both emotional, & funny, and the  perfect holiday companion whether on a sun lounger or staycation it will keep you entertained.
    I first met the characters of Zoe and Maggie in Kate's novella The Perfect Christmas, Picture Perfect continues the story and also shares the back story of both women. Maggie is Americas sweetheart actress of 20 years and Zoe is one of Hollywood's most successful managers where stars clamour to be represented by her. The ladies are the best of friends and have each other's backs, especially as they both embark on journeys and relationships which take them away from their comfort zones of Hollywood expectation. Dylan enters both their lives, a young girl searching for her birth mother, and has an impact on both of them in ways they never expected, suddenly their picture perfect lifestyles aren’t looking so solid.
     It was so lovely to catch-up with these characters again and the old & new storyline thread running through the book is reminiscent of the blockbusters of Shirley Conran and Jackie Collins of my teens. This book had a real "Lace" feel about it, but totally up to date in its Hollywood setting … a great read with lots of storylines running together to culminate in a book filled with glitz, glamour and intrigue.
    Growing up Pippa's summers were spent in the idyllic Greek island fishing village of Taxos. Here she spent her days dreaming of her own tea shop alongside her childhood friend Nikos…. Grown-up life has given Pippa a secure accounting job and a sensible suave boyfriend. Returning to the village of Taxos after many years, Pippa's idyllic memories are tainted by how tired the little village has become, something her boyfriend Henrik is keen and quick to point out. Soon it is apparent that Henrik is here for different reasons to Pippa and with Pippa discovering her childhood friend Nik is no longer a gangly irritating boy but a bit of a greek hunk life suddenly doesn’t seem so safe and sensible anymore. With threats of development looming, Pippa finds solace in baking her legendary scones for all and soon the Tastiest Little Tea shop takes a life on its own and could be the villages saviour.
    Having spent many summers in a fishing village on the island of Rhodes and a gap year island hoping, this book touched many memories. The camaraderie and community spirit of the village was so familiar it evoked memories of smells, tastes and  friendships. Enjoyed the character of Pippa, but it was Nikos grandma that I adored, so typical of that generation and Nik was delicious :-)… only wished that Samantha had shared the recipes of all the delicious scones that she described.

    As you can see I have had so much fun with my reads this month, and surprised myself with 6 books making the Read pile. My book reads have influenced my instagram feed and lifestyle during June!!

  1. David Gandy launched his swimwear range at the beginning of the month and the advert launched to support completely had me thinking of Yan in TMG.


    • The sneakers are out and i'm walking more, not quite to marathon standards just yet!
    • Completely obsessed with roses this month, and have snapped and savoured when ever I have seen them, including a trip to The Rose Garden at Hever castle.
    • Cherries are in season and I can't go a day without sampling and seeking opportunities to make cherry pie... still can't get it as good as the ones my nan made.
    • A sneaky scones & jam was the perfect accompaniment to Game of Scones, alas not on a greek island but on the rooftop of work.
     My pile is overflowing for July and I am struggling with what to pick as so many of my favourite authors have released books in recent weeks. Pop back next month and see what has made the cut! Here's some posts from previous months. What has grabbed your attention recently on the book front, what would you recommend, would love to hear from you.

    Tuesday, 23 June 2015

    A week of fun in June...

    last week was a whirlwind of fun activity both at work and at play!... here's some of the images snapped on my social media accounts

    • Hever Castle; a day out in the picturesque hamlet of Hever discovering the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.
    • Selfridges Sale; Saturday snap of the calm before the storm!
    • Beautiful British florals at Phillipa Craddock in the Selfridges foodhall. one of my favourite displays.
    • Book launch at Penguin books meeting some favourite authors.
    • Stunning London skyline of London at sunset from the rooftop of penguin books.
    • Drinks and laughter with Mrs Christmas herself - Carole Matthews and Ali Mcnamara
    • Thursday morning fun when David Gandy appeared in my time line photographed with Mr & Mrs Le Bon.... as a huge Duran Duran fan this was all too much for a hormonal female!... that Yasmin is a lucky lady!
    • Monday morning saw me secure pre-released Duran Duran tickets for December!... beyond excited!
    • 9th Selfridges sale and the yellow bags multiplied under my desk throughout the first day... multiple birthday and christmas presents purchased, along with a couple of treats for myself!... my mulberry collection may have been added to!
    As you can see it was a busy week and somewhere and how I did lot some work in between!.... hope you are all having a lovely week... look forward to catching up with posts this week :-)

    Monday, 22 June 2015

    A dream night for a book-lover...

    This week saw me catch-up with my lovely friend Ali..... what started as a planned lunch turned into a late lunch/early dinner and a book launch! How do you ask?... easy, my friend is Ali McNamara  author of 5 books … and very soon to be 6!
    Ali and I met through social media after her 1st book and bonded over the love of New York, Richard Curtis movies, and books. It's been some time since we caught up in person, which we did over a fab dinner on the roof of Selfridges ( for a later blog post!)…. I then joined Ali for an evening celebrating the launch of Giovanna Fletcher's new book Dream a Little Dream at Penguin books on The Strand…. Not a usual Thursday night after work.
    Giovanna's party was held on the 10th floor offering the most fabulous views of the city along the river from the balconies hugging the function room. Inside, the space was festooned with bunting, and stunning floral displays complimenting the books cover and style. Along with this the tables were decked with roses, cupcakes, Nutella and ferreo rocher (my niece would have been in 7th heaven!) all again complimenting the books displayed.
    Giovanna is of course married to Tom Fletcher and mum to Buzz who were both in attendance along with the rest of the McBusted boys and a few other well-known faces; including Emma Willis and husband Matt and Gi's brother Mario. (fans of Towie will of course recognise). Tom was very much the proud husband, snapping away on his camera during the evening as well as chasing after Buzz!
    I was as equally excited if not more thrilled to meet some of my favourite authors who were also in attendance. These included Carole Matthews, Ali Harris, Paige Toon, Dorothy Koomson and Eleanor Moran. I spent much of the evening talking to Carole, Ali and Ali which was fun and involved lots of chatter about Christmas, Selfridges, and of course books. I also got to meet the "lovely kev" husband of Carole, who is featured in many tweets. 
    Views & goodie bag from Penguin books
    It really was a book-lovers perfect evening, meeting up with so many people who's words have transported me to other worlds. All these ladies have, whilst I have either been commuting on the tube, curled up in an armchair on a lazy sunday afternoon or keeping me company whilst travelling...
     thank-you it was so much fun to meet you all. 
    I had a lovely evening... Congratulations Giovanna on a fab launch, looking forward to reading the book... thanks Ali for a fab night.. looking forward to celebrating your 6th at the end of July x

    Thursday, 30 July 2015

    A handtied bouquet of Cornish Life....

    Today sees my friend Ali McNamara release her 6th novel The Little Flower shop by the Sea. Having received a
     pre-release copy as a birthday treat from Ali and having read it I can safely say that she has written another fantastic story with some fabulous characters.
    The Little Flower Shop follows Poppy, who has recently inherited her grandmothers beloved flower shop in the village of Felix in Cornwall. Poppy and her brother Will spent many weeks each summer at their grandmothers, exploring the beaches & cliffs of this village. Some of their most special time's being spent exploring the secrets of Trecarlan Castle and listening to the wild stories from its mad owner Stan.
    Grandmother Rose's bequeath of The Daisy Chain is accepted reluctantly by Poppy as she finds herself in Cornwall – somewhere she never thought she would return to. On Poppy's first day she meets Jake the local flower grower and owner of Miley (a very cute mischievous capuchin monkey) and a friendship starts to blossom. With a run-down flower shop to revamp, Poppy soon finds herself surround by a village community and friends of her grandmothers willing to help. For a girl who is more comfortable in her own company, opening up to strangers and accepting help doesn't come naturally to Poppy but soon she finds the magic of Felix and the Flower shop seeping under the tough exterior and into heart.
    As with all of Ali's books the supporting cast of characters are as pivotal and strong to the storyline as the main character, and also have a way of capturing your heart My favourites in this book include Miley (the monkey), Basil (the basset, Jake (the hottie!!!) and Ant & Dec in the bakery!....
    I absolutely loved his book and think it's my favourite read this year so far…. Loved it x
    Thanks Ali for allowing me to visit Felix before other guests and tourists arrive…. It has been a joy and made my commute this week much more delightful. It evoked so many wonderful memories of childhood holidays along the coast of Cornwall; especially the cove of St Ives….. a magical blossom of a read.
    A few weeks ago Ali and I caught up in London for a late lunch and to celebrate the new book. Our dining experience couldn't have been more appropriate; a slice of Cornish village life on the rooftop of Selfridges. Vintage Salt as previously shared is this year's rooftop dining experience for Selfridges and Des McDonald.

    Going for the whole Cornish feel we opted for fish & chips which were huge and delicious. (the batter was amazing ) with chips and peas. Accompanied by raspberry lemonade... it was one of the hottest days of June when we visited so neither us could cope with alcohol & sunshine on a gorgeous afternoon.
    Followed by 2 fabulous desserts it was a lovely leisurely lunch, gossiping and catching up on lots of book news.

    As you can see we had much fun. Even taking a chance to have a giggle in the the drift bar beach huts.

    Unfortunately I can't be at Ali's launch event today... hope that she has a fabulous day and I'm positive that the book will be a huge success.

    Monday, 27 July 2015

    Book Love ~ July

    This month I am sharing 4 reads that have entertained me on my travels during the month; 3 new releases and one that has been languishing in my "to read" pile. July's reads have made me laugh lots and all have a lovely summer feel, complimenting both the weather and feel of the month


    Dream a Little Dream – Giovanna Fletcher
    When Sarah starts dreaming of a handsome stranger who shares a fleeting
    resemblance to a guy she met in her past, it brightens what has become a little bit of a boring happyish life and not one that she planned. Dumped by her long term boyfriend when he meets his perfect one, she then has to spend time with him as they both share the same friends, this along with never quite fulfilling her mums life expectations means that "dream Brett" creates a huge pleasant distraction. This distraction is much welcome until he appears in real life at the end of her desk as the new guy in the office…. Thrown together within a work capacity Sarah & Real Brett's dreams may just become a reality.
    Thoroughly enjoyed Giovanna's 3rd book; the main 2 characters are lovely and the supporting cast of friends are fun too… which creates plenty of opportunities for sequels of this story.(hopefully)..As previously blogged I was lucky enough to go to the launch party of this book, and met Giovanna who was delightful…
    Molly is a newly divorced mum of 3 boys who finds herself inheriting her beloved aunts dilapidated bed & breakfast Harrington hall on the Devon coast. The three hundred year old house needs some tender loving care and restoration, not unlike Molly, the only bright hues on the horizon are the stunning rose gardens that her aunt tendered so lovingly. Along with inheriting the hall; Molly also inherits her eccentric uncle and his pet parrot; spurred on by her best friend Lola; who self-confessed puts the high in maintenance, Molly uproots herself & boys from her London life and moves to Devon. Molly now finds herself with saving the hall, managing her devious brother and father, adopting all the waifs and strays within her aunts life along with her dotty uncle and a verbally abusive parrot and dealing with her sneaky ex-husband and insipid new wife.
    It's some time since I read a Gil McNeil novel and forgot how much she has the capacity to make you laugh about the most mundane things in life. Loved the characters of Lola (best friend) and Betty (parrot) who between them naughty behaviours and language is laugh out loud. Overall a fun read that made me chuckle on several occasions; even during the serious points.
    ·         The Great Village Show – Alexandra Brown;
    The Great Village show sees a welcome return to the village of Tindledale.
    (Great Christmas Knit Off). Meg is the acting head teacher of the village school; she is incredibly passionate about her school and pupils, this comes under threat when the local school board announce that the school may close due to pupil numbers and costs. Meg is determined to put up a fight and hopes that The Great Village Show will show all what a fabulous community and village  that Tindledale is. As the preparations step up a pace Meg meets two newcomers to the village; The Cavendish family – Jessie, Sebastian and their triplets – all is not what appears in this perfect little family and Meg soon becomes a friend and confident to Jessie's life and the dashing but very grumpy Michelin starred chef Dan Wright.  I absolutely loved this book and being back in Tindledale; it was a joy to catch-up with Sybs, Ben, Hettie  along with the new characters; Dan is quite delicious and does a fabulous job of winding Meg up at every moment. Alexandra does a fabulous job of describing the most perfect village to live in; and makes me hanker a move to rural life on every occasion. This is a perfect summer read… well-done AB
    This is the second book in Jenny Oliver's Cherry Pie Island and features Holly and her vintage ice-cream van that she has inherited from …. The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Café hints at a back story of Holly and in this book we see how that story has got Holly in the predicament that she is.
    Holly has since a teenager had a huge girl crush on her friends brother Wilf, Wilf however is a womanising super rich entrepreneur. One impromptu night later and suddenly Holly and Wilf find themselves linked for life with an unexpected addition. With Wilf's mothers wedding pending in the south of France and her desire for an ice-cream van to feature in the reception, they find themselves on a road trip across the channel. Enjoyed this book although probably not as much as the first, parts of it felt a little hurried, but characters were funny and leading man absolutely gorgeous (always a big tick in my book bubble)… looking forward to reading the next instalment starring Wilf's sister.

    As you can see I have only managed 4 reads this month as life has been busy. It was lovely that one of them was an actual book and not on my kindle / iphone .... which led to lots of looks and conversations with commuters on the tube & train when I pulled a book out of my bag! I love the feel of books and determined to feature at least one 'actual' book in my monthly "to read pile" alongside the virtual. I already have 6 books queued to read in August, so hoping for some lovely weather so that I can go and curl up under a tree in the park and read.
    Thankyou ladies for keeping me entertained this month on my commute and travels…. It's been a joy.

    Sunday, 26 July 2015

    Social Media Sunday ~ July

    Its been some time since I posted a Social Media Sunday post, but with my instagram feed overflowing with hearts and twitter starred with favourites I thought I would share with you what I have 'liked' this month
    With Orange and Pink featuring heavily within my blog styling; this subconsciously influenced my social media this month.
    Instagram Loves ...
    1. Mammothent - delicious image of Birch Coffee Bar in New York; showcasing the perfect place for iced-coffee in the west village of NYC.
    2. Johnnyonkers is becoming one of my favourite photographers within New York. This sunrise image looking onto the Empire State Building is stunning.
    3. Vassiliki's  delightful image of the library loung in this years must visit hotel;The Hamyard is lovely. Flowers & books... big tick on my instagram likes.
    4. Jimmy's Farm stunning Suffolk sunset - who needs anywhere else when the Uk can offer glimpses of Summer like this. beautiful.
    5. Oliver Cheshire usurped the gorgeous David Gandy from the token "scrumptious" shot this month... here he is playing with fire & cooking up a storm in Majorca.
    6. SignesJohansen instagram image of the golden hour across the London skyline sums up most of July in London... gorgeous.
    7. Paula FitzHerbert's  beautiful image of the stunning lobby of Claridges captures everything that this hotel is renowned for - classic elegance in opulent surroundings.
    8. ClaridgesHotel showcasing a cacophony of beautiful blooms for a summer wedding in the drawing room of their stunning hotel from @chris.amoroso in hues of pink.
    9. Sally's picture postcard image of her mum-in-law's garden is pure chocolate box picturesque. Fallen back in love with Hollyhock's this year. have complete garden envy!
    10. Nevie Pie's edible work of art on her floral cake is just delicious... one of my favourite cake artists.
    11. Becmillie's handtied boquet completely sums up my month ... roses & tulips; just perfect.
    12. Kerrie from Kerriehessillustration 's image is styled delightfully with roses and ballet pumps...love all her illustrations and images. 
    13. This month I discovered a whole new instagram world of planner addicts!... and this simply styled Kate Spade collection of treats are shared by the very tempting shop of RachelGeorge 
    14. and finally the fabulous Bette Midler shared this image of her and Adele backstage after her recent gig in London (more of that here!)... how amazing does Bette look for 69.
    This month saw me getting back into Twitter, however Instagram is still my current favourite.... 2 skylines that I loved for different this month;
    Everything NYC stunning image of a glorious sunrise across the NY skyline and a great book to read on my commute - perfect for planning another trip!.
    London Air Ambulance tweeted this poignant image of London waking up to the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 bombing attacks in London.
      Two video's shared on twitter have also featured within my favourites this month, Looking at the number of times both tweets have been favourited it seems I am not alone in liking these!!...
      Video 1... the gorgeous David Gandy sharing his holiday favourites!
      and Video 2... the equally gorgeous Daniel Craig in the newly released Spectre movie trailer...
      I can't tell you how excited I am on seeing this trailer.... looking forward to the November release!...
      I hope you have had fun with my social media summer loves... here's some from previous months... thank-you all that have featured for brightening my month with your gorgeous images and witty little posts... I've loved them.

      Tuesday, 21 July 2015

      An evening with the Divine Miss M....

      Most of us within our heads or on a piece of paper have a bucket list of things to do / see / achieve within our lifetime, one of my bucket list moments was fulfilled on Sunday night when I saw the divine Miss M in concert. I am of course referring to the fabulously entertaining Miss Bette Midler. I have been a huge fan of hers for many years, and thrilled to have finally seen her live in all her ballsy glory.
      It's been 35 years since Miss M last appeared on stage in the UK, and that was a week's residency at the London Palladium, therefore tickets were in high demand when released early this year for a UK tour.
      With an O2 filled to the rafters with an age range of twenties to nineties from gays to grannies and every camp in-between it really was a divinely fabulous audience to be within.
      The show started with a bright pink whirlwind filling a huge video screen, culminating in Bette arriving on stage on a huge throne – a reminder to us all on what a huge force of nature this pocket rocket whirlwind is. Sashaying across the stage in a tiny pink mini dress Bette demonstrated what a remarkable women she is at the grand age of 69. With an opening line of "We're here to lift your spirits like a boob job for your soul" she did not disappoint. ( I had serious leg envy throughout)
      Bette is not shy of talking her opinion and thoughts, with frank honesty and it is this that sets her apart from some of her contemporaries, she is ballsy, bawdy and incredibly funny, on introducing her backing girls "The Staggering Harlettes" she commanders them to "wave to the wankers in the luxury seats" pointing to the corporate boxes to much laughter from the audience.
      This was the last night of the Divine Intervention tour in the UK and Bette was going home in style, veering from schmaltz to smut in seconds without breaking stride.
      Bette resurrected many favourites during her 2 hour set, including the fabulous Winifred from Hocus Pocus, complete with huge wig and buck teeth and a great rendition of "I put a spell on you" along with her alter ego Sophie Tucker which made an appearance  during "A Bird in the Hand" whilst dressed as a cabaret corseted burlesque feathered bird. Her other alter ego Delores Delago the wheelchair bound mermaid also made an appearance in video form along with a little dig at Lady Gaga who in recent years has performed a similar character. It wasn’t just Lady Gaga that Bette shared her views on Miley and the Kardashians were also a key talking point…. Bette lamenting that Boobs were no longer in fashion and it was now all about bums now!... this led into much discussion of social media & sex tapes with Bette sharing some of her supposed steamy conquests… including Boris Johnson, Jamie Oliver and Jeremy Clarkson (0-60 in 0.5 seconds) much fun and banter!
      Bette is brassy, bawdy and never less than brilliant, when introducing one of her most famous songs The Rose she deadpans; "I know you're all going to want to sing along to this one…. Please don't. There's only room for one diva in this room!... which is met with rapturous applause from the crowd.
      The divine Miss M's set culminates with three show belters; The Rose, From a Distance and Stay with Me, followed by an encore of her spine tingling Wind Beneath my Wings, and then Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. Bette then treated us to a further 2 encores before finally leaving the stage after a heartfelt thankyou to the audience, "I don't know why it's taken me so long to get here" she tells a crowd, who have for 15 minutes been on their feet giving her a standing ovation.
      Over the 2 hours BM showcased why she can flip between Broadway and Hollywood so effortlessly …. Something that I don't believe that she has got the credit that she rightfully deserves; Miss Midler is not for the faint hearted but she is also one that shouldn’t be missed,… they don't make them like that anymore a living showbiz legend. It really was a slice of Broadway/ Las Vegas under the dome of the O2… perfect entertainment for a Sunday Night….
      here is a video of part of The Rose and Wind beneath my wings
      Thank you Miss M… a huge tick off my life's list.
      Bette is a fan if social media and shared some images before arriving on stage and a gorgeous instagram of her and Adele.... 

      Sunday, 12 July 2015

      Food styling fun....

      Last Saturday I joined 10 other ladies for a day of fun, photography and  food styling with Emily Quinton and Catherine Frawley, both photographers and instagrammers that I have admired for some time. I met Emily last year when I attended a styling workshop with her.
      The day was held in Emily's new Makelight studio in West Dulwich which is a glorious space filled with the most amazing light, perfect for a day taking photo's...
      The day started with coffee and an introduction to the day, as well as exploring the studio before the fun began!
      Each attendee had a lovely place setting at the work table to use during the day and then take home to play with.
      Along with a glorious space to utilise during the day Emily & Catherine provided some amazing props to use to style the foods provided. I fell completely in love with the suitcase of vintage cooking and baking props along with glorious cakes, marshmallows and macarons  from Reshmi at  Anges de Sucre

      Catherine started by showing how an old door could showcase macarons complimented with jasmine. by building up the look. Taking shots at each stage it allowed us to see what works and what doesn't to make a great shot, viewing each shot on the PC to see in detail the staging and cut off parts of the photograph.
      Catherine's 2nd demonstration was with a box of doughnuts a lace napkin, a bread board and vintage cheese plate. 1. loaf tin, baking parchment. 2. add a vintage cheese plate. 3. cutlery and additional doughnuts. 4. doughnuts on the board. 5. final styling complete with a scattering on sprinkles. I loved this image styling, and to see it come to life was gorgeous, a simple box of doughnuts to a fabulous display good enough to eat.
      After Doughnuts it was time to play with Marshmallows in a vintage baking tin, muslin clothe and a scattering of flower heads..... simple effective styling complimenting the sweet treats perfectly.  Along with a host of sweet treats C&E also showed us how to style simpler everyday things from the vegetable rack & salad bowl.  Tomatoes and the Broad beans being my favourites.
      After lunch it was time for us to play with our camera's and i-phones.  I loved the old vintage French feel that the macarons and bake-ware and silverware created against the wooden background and fabric. So much fun with sugar.
      Emily has a glorious old wooden cabinet in the corner which provided the perfect backdrop for a spot of afternoon tea and biscuit styling.... Jammie Dodgers looking yummy. The tea flask and retro cup complimented the cabinet and styling perfectly along with a strategically placed peony... one of Emily;s signature style floral props. 

      Growing with confidence it was time to play with something a little grander, and Anges de Sucre's 3 tier extravaganza was perfect. This chocolate dripped, popcorn,macaron, marshmallow confection was a dream to shoot. With milk bottles, paper straws, and doughnuts accompanying the styling I had so much fun playing with this candy creation.
      My final style for the day was with my favourite Eat Cake for Breakfast journal and Reshmi's mini macaron & popcorn creations in glorious pastels.... complete with macarons,milk bottles & straw accompaniments the only thing left to do at the end was sample the mini confections.
      Emily and Catherine hosted a fabulous day and I met some lovely ladies along with learning lots.
      Here is a cute little video that Emily shot of the day.... 

      If you are a fan of gorgeous pictures, then I urge you to follow Emily and Catherine on instagram for a daily dose of flower and food loveliness. More images on instagram of the day on #makelightworkshops
      Thankyou Ladies, I had a fabulous day and I am learning to love my camera lots and have fun with photos.

      Friday, 3 July 2015

      July plans....

      July has certainly arrived in a glorious haze, with the highest recorded temperature for July ever recorded its been a sweltering start to the summer.
      With Sale finishing I am just about to embark on one of the busiest months of the year for me and my team... hopefully I will get some downtime along with a couple of lovely things planned.
      • Photography with Food ~ July see's me catch-up with Emily Quinton who I spent a fabulous day last year learning how to love my camera. This time we are styling with food which I am really looking forward to.
      • A night with the Divine Miss M! - so looking forward to seeing Bette Midler this month. It's a bucket list moment for me and I cannot wait to see this all round entertainer in action.
      • An afternoon with Jonny Wilkinson!... oh my!!! I am a little excited about this ~ Jonny will be coaching at Saracens Allianz park in July and I have a ticket!
      • Cinema trip to see Magic Mike XXL planned ~ don't care if its not great, it had Matt Bomer, Channing Tatum and Joe M in little clothes! (yes I'm shallow, a lady needs to get her kicks somehow!!)
      • and finally July sees me another year older .... so cake celebrations with Bruv x
      As you can see the blog has had a July summer make - over and I am completely embracing colour this month!... nothing shy and reserving about this blog for July!
      The orange tote has been hauled out of the cupboard along with the Birkenstocks! ... as you can see the orange & pink are out. Tote suitably styled with chanel sunglasses, coach, michael kors & dkny!
      DG in his orange swim-shorts is my screen saver for the month... with glorious summer mornings and nights; Taylor recorded 40'c in the car on wednesday evening... so happy that I have air-con :-)

      So here;s to a fabulous July... I hope that it brings you warmth, fun and love x

      Wednesday, 1 July 2015

      Goodbye June, Hello July....

      Well July has arrived in a heatwave, and as I am typing this I am sitting in the shade of a tree in the park. June started cold, but temperatures soon picked up and it felt like summer was kick started from its hibernation.
      Although I didn't have a much planned for the month it turned into a busy one filled with catching up with friends that I haven't seen for an age.
      • Lovely to see the sun on many of my morning commutes
      • Sweet Williams - my flower of the month. reminds me so much of my gramps, the allotment and back of the greenhouse was filled with these.
      • Taylor's trips in the sunshine for lunch with an old friend that I haven't seen in ages from Scotland  - so lovely to get the sunglasses and birkenstocks out 
      • Fathers Day - 2 trips to the cemetery with Taylor and mum; followed by coffee and breakfast at the cafe.
      • June saw me catch-up with another friend Ali, where we dined on the roof of Selfridges followed by an evening at the top of penguin books celebrating the book launch of Giovanna Fletcher's new book. Fab night filled with authors, popstars and cupcakes!
      • June's book post was one of the most read posts on the blog and on social media.
      • A beautiful day off was spent in the glorious grounds and castle of Hever in the countryside of Kent./Sussex. Filled with sunshine, roses and cake!.
      • Commute was filled with glorious sun-rays and fabulous fluffy clouds.
      • British flower week was filled with bowls of sweet williams and gardens of poppies.
      • A gorgeous hot sunny day was spent in a beer garden catching up with another friend that I haven't seen in over 10 years - so much fun.
      June also saw the kitchen-aid come out to play for some assistance in making a 3 tier engagement cake for my god-daughter. She loves pink and black so I used this to decorate the cake along with some diamonte initials and a blingy engagement ring.
      • As you can see my baking bits complimented fabulously with this months blog styling.






      Work was busy in June, but I also got a chance to spend some time with work friends and a little sale shopping!

      • A trip to Dorset was spent reviewing the Christmas Hamper range for 2015.
      • Enjoyed the summer sunshine on the roof drinking mock-tails and enjoying the view.
      • Coffee time spent with friends under the shadows of Mr Selfridge himself in Harry's bar. 
      • Taylor's first sale at Selfridges and he coped admirably with the yellow bags!
      • Office festooned with yellow bags on sale day!
      • New train provider hasn't eased the delays and cancellations in June... Liverpool street on a particularly challenging commute home one night in June.
      • Sale wouldn't be complete without a little treat!.... gorgeous ox-blood Lily added to the collection - another successful sale ~ birthday and christmas presents stored away.

      June certainly turned out much busier than I planned, lovely catching up with some old friends, new and have some fun in the sunshine..... roll on July for more fun with friends, birthday treats and some lovely things planned.

      Wednesday, 24 June 2015

      Book Love ~ June

      This month I am sharing 6 reads that have kept me entertained on my travels during June. Some of these have been languishing in my to read pile for some time, and I am now wondering why I've left them so long. This month's reads have taken me to the far flung places of  Hollywood and Greece, and contemplate running, gardening and opening a café on an idyllic island off the Thames coastline. They have evoked many childhood memories and a gap year in Greece!.... here's what has been keeping me entertained during June.
      Mattie Rose is the advice columnist for the Chicago Gazette under the pseudonym of "The Plate Spinner", mum to a brood of children, and husband to a hunky paramedic. In reality she's sworn off men, strapped with debt, haunted with childhood taunts of "fattie mattie" and slowly recovering from being jilted at the altar 2 years previously. Mattie's ex-fiancé is on the run for embezzlement and fraud, having framed his twin brother Nick to take the fall for his shenanigans. Nick having lost everything from his brothers scams is also trying to recover. Mattie & Nicks paths cross again when Nick is hired by the newspaper to coach The Plate Spinner to run the Chicago marathon…. Much fun, and heartache ensue as Mattie & Nick find themselves on a running journey. I really enjoyed this book and found Mattie adorable, she made me laugh lots, her enthusiasm for exercise is on a par with mine!... a fun read, perfect for anyone looking for inspiration to run a marathon.
      The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Café – Jenny Oliver    Annie White has recently inherited The Dandelion Café on the Thames-side island of Cherry Pie. Cherry Pie is Annie's childhood home, she returns to tie up loose ends, and renovate a tired looking café with the option of selling it. Soon the island, the cafe and its habitants (especially the gorgeous millionaire Matt) creep their way into Annie's heart and she has to decide what she wants. This is the 1st book of a new series by Jenny Oliver and I really enjoyed it, great characters and looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
      Coming up Roses - Rachel Lucas
      Daisy's parents take off for a midlife crisis gap year, leaving her in charge of renovating their ramshackle garden. A move to the countryside of Steeple St John couldn’t come at a better time for Daisy and she relishes nurturing the garden back to its former glory. Daisy befriends Elaine and Jo in the village who are both battling their own problems and collectively the 3 ladies embark on helping each other. Outside of their problems the village is battling its own problems with greedy garden developers and Daisy soon finds herself fighting to save her beloved garden with the help of pensioner Thomas.
      This is a glorious book for the summer, and a perfect read following my recent trip to Chelsea Flower Show, Rachel's description of the allotment evoked so many memories of me & Gramps trundling wheel barrows between the greenhouse and allotment and the character of Thomas could easily have been my granddad. Obviously Daisy needs a love interest and this comes in the guise of a charming Irishman and a hunky vet, both vying for her affection in different guises. I loved this book, its beautifully written and absorbs you into an idyllic village setting, a perfect book to transport you into a different world whilst travelling through the tunnels of London on the tube,… delightful Rachel Lucas.
      Mandy Baggot always writes some of the best heroes in her books and TMG doesn’t disappoint in the guise of Yan. Ellen's life has fallen apart and suddenly the capable, confident and career driven women is no more. Finding herself accompanying her Bridezilla sister Lacey to the island of Corfu to plan her wedding, she is hoping the time away will help her sort herself out and distract herself from her problems. What Ellen hadn't factored into her holiday plans was Lacey suddenly getting cold feet and her finding herself enjoying the company of a hunky Bulgarian holiday entertainer Yan. This book was a romp of a read. It's both emotional, & funny, and the  perfect holiday companion whether on a sun lounger or staycation it will keep you entertained.
      I first met the characters of Zoe and Maggie in Kate's novella The Perfect Christmas, Picture Perfect continues the story and also shares the back story of both women. Maggie is Americas sweetheart actress of 20 years and Zoe is one of Hollywood's most successful managers where stars clamour to be represented by her. The ladies are the best of friends and have each other's backs, especially as they both embark on journeys and relationships which take them away from their comfort zones of Hollywood expectation. Dylan enters both their lives, a young girl searching for her birth mother, and has an impact on both of them in ways they never expected, suddenly their picture perfect lifestyles aren’t looking so solid.
       It was so lovely to catch-up with these characters again and the old & new storyline thread running through the book is reminiscent of the blockbusters of Shirley Conran and Jackie Collins of my teens. This book had a real "Lace" feel about it, but totally up to date in its Hollywood setting … a great read with lots of storylines running together to culminate in a book filled with glitz, glamour and intrigue.
      Growing up Pippa's summers were spent in the idyllic Greek island fishing village of Taxos. Here she spent her days dreaming of her own tea shop alongside her childhood friend Nikos…. Grown-up life has given Pippa a secure accounting job and a sensible suave boyfriend. Returning to the village of Taxos after many years, Pippa's idyllic memories are tainted by how tired the little village has become, something her boyfriend Henrik is keen and quick to point out. Soon it is apparent that Henrik is here for different reasons to Pippa and with Pippa discovering her childhood friend Nik is no longer a gangly irritating boy but a bit of a greek hunk life suddenly doesn’t seem so safe and sensible anymore. With threats of development looming, Pippa finds solace in baking her legendary scones for all and soon the Tastiest Little Tea shop takes a life on its own and could be the villages saviour.
      Having spent many summers in a fishing village on the island of Rhodes and a gap year island hoping, this book touched many memories. The camaraderie and community spirit of the village was so familiar it evoked memories of smells, tastes and  friendships. Enjoyed the character of Pippa, but it was Nikos grandma that I adored, so typical of that generation and Nik was delicious :-)… only wished that Samantha had shared the recipes of all the delicious scones that she described.

      As you can see I have had so much fun with my reads this month, and surprised myself with 6 books making the Read pile. My book reads have influenced my instagram feed and lifestyle during June!!

    1. David Gandy launched his swimwear range at the beginning of the month and the advert launched to support completely had me thinking of Yan in TMG.


      • The sneakers are out and i'm walking more, not quite to marathon standards just yet!
      • Completely obsessed with roses this month, and have snapped and savoured when ever I have seen them, including a trip to The Rose Garden at Hever castle.
      • Cherries are in season and I can't go a day without sampling and seeking opportunities to make cherry pie... still can't get it as good as the ones my nan made.
      • A sneaky scones & jam was the perfect accompaniment to Game of Scones, alas not on a greek island but on the rooftop of work.
       My pile is overflowing for July and I am struggling with what to pick as so many of my favourite authors have released books in recent weeks. Pop back next month and see what has made the cut! Here's some posts from previous months. What has grabbed your attention recently on the book front, what would you recommend, would love to hear from you.

      Tuesday, 23 June 2015

      A week of fun in June...

      last week was a whirlwind of fun activity both at work and at play!... here's some of the images snapped on my social media accounts

      • Hever Castle; a day out in the picturesque hamlet of Hever discovering the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.
      • Selfridges Sale; Saturday snap of the calm before the storm!
      • Beautiful British florals at Phillipa Craddock in the Selfridges foodhall. one of my favourite displays.
      • Book launch at Penguin books meeting some favourite authors.
      • Stunning London skyline of London at sunset from the rooftop of penguin books.
      • Drinks and laughter with Mrs Christmas herself - Carole Matthews and Ali Mcnamara
      • Thursday morning fun when David Gandy appeared in my time line photographed with Mr & Mrs Le Bon.... as a huge Duran Duran fan this was all too much for a hormonal female!... that Yasmin is a lucky lady!
      • Monday morning saw me secure pre-released Duran Duran tickets for December!... beyond excited!
      • 9th Selfridges sale and the yellow bags multiplied under my desk throughout the first day... multiple birthday and christmas presents purchased, along with a couple of treats for myself!... my mulberry collection may have been added to!
      As you can see it was a busy week and somewhere and how I did lot some work in between!.... hope you are all having a lovely week... look forward to catching up with posts this week :-)

      Monday, 22 June 2015

      A dream night for a book-lover...

      This week saw me catch-up with my lovely friend Ali..... what started as a planned lunch turned into a late lunch/early dinner and a book launch! How do you ask?... easy, my friend is Ali McNamara  author of 5 books … and very soon to be 6!
      Ali and I met through social media after her 1st book and bonded over the love of New York, Richard Curtis movies, and books. It's been some time since we caught up in person, which we did over a fab dinner on the roof of Selfridges ( for a later blog post!)…. I then joined Ali for an evening celebrating the launch of Giovanna Fletcher's new book Dream a Little Dream at Penguin books on The Strand…. Not a usual Thursday night after work.
      Giovanna's party was held on the 10th floor offering the most fabulous views of the city along the river from the balconies hugging the function room. Inside, the space was festooned with bunting, and stunning floral displays complimenting the books cover and style. Along with this the tables were decked with roses, cupcakes, Nutella and ferreo rocher (my niece would have been in 7th heaven!) all again complimenting the books displayed.
      Giovanna is of course married to Tom Fletcher and mum to Buzz who were both in attendance along with the rest of the McBusted boys and a few other well-known faces; including Emma Willis and husband Matt and Gi's brother Mario. (fans of Towie will of course recognise). Tom was very much the proud husband, snapping away on his camera during the evening as well as chasing after Buzz!
      I was as equally excited if not more thrilled to meet some of my favourite authors who were also in attendance. These included Carole Matthews, Ali Harris, Paige Toon, Dorothy Koomson and Eleanor Moran. I spent much of the evening talking to Carole, Ali and Ali which was fun and involved lots of chatter about Christmas, Selfridges, and of course books. I also got to meet the "lovely kev" husband of Carole, who is featured in many tweets. 
      Views & goodie bag from Penguin books
      It really was a book-lovers perfect evening, meeting up with so many people who's words have transported me to other worlds. All these ladies have, whilst I have either been commuting on the tube, curled up in an armchair on a lazy sunday afternoon or keeping me company whilst travelling...
       thank-you it was so much fun to meet you all. 
      I had a lovely evening... Congratulations Giovanna on a fab launch, looking forward to reading the book... thanks Ali for a fab night.. looking forward to celebrating your 6th at the end of July x