Thursday, 4 February 2016

6 Flicks to look forward to in 2016

So it feels like ages since I shared a movie moment and some time since I spent an evening at the cinema. There wasn't a great deal of movies released in 2015, that I thought warranted an evening at the cinema and I only went a few times. However I do believe 2016 may be a little different as there are a number of movies being released this year that I will definitely want to see on the big screen.

Me Before You
I am so excited to see this movie; I adored the book, have cried through the trailer and know that I will sob throughout the film. Fabulous casting and cant wait to see it when its released in June. This will be "The Notebook" movie of 2016.
Money Monster 
Its been some time since the gorgeous George Clooney did a movie that got me giddy!... but Money Monster looks interesting, not too arty and looking forward to seeing him & Julia Roberts back in screen together (loved their chemistry in the Oceans series) and directed by Jodie Foster
My Big Fat Greek wedding 2 
So thrilled to see this Greek family back again, with another wedding to plan along with lots of love, fun and laughter! This looks like the perfect girls night out movie.
Batman V Superman 
Henry Cavill is pulling on the blue tights and red cape again and Ben Affleck is pulling on the bat suit to see who is the best superhero for Gotham City... I'm team Cavill, but looking forward to see this summer release.


and finally 2 movies that have yet to release any trailers but some images have been posted frequently on social media.... Bridget Jones and baby!... I am a little excited about this winter release and looking forward to seeing Bridget back with Mr Darcy and the gorgeous Dr McDreamy Patrick Dempsey!!!... oh my, I am a little giddy... how gorgeous does he look on this motorcycle.
The final movie that I am looking forward to is Mother's Day; directed by Garry Marshall from Pretty Women acclaim it follows in the genre of his previous 2 movies Valentines Day and New Years Eve and stars an ensemble cast featuring Jennifer Anniston, Julia Roberts and Kate Hudson.
As you can see its a varied movie bag and I look forward to a night with a big box of popcorn being entertained... what movie are you looking forward to in 2016?

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Hello February.....

Hello February, its a new month so I've said goodbye to my January blush and gold styling and hello to a little winter blues. This probably suits my  mood at the moment as I'm in a little fog of January blues and hoping that February will lift me out of it.

I have a little more planned in February than I managed in January, as I am hoping that my workload reduces, so I am going to have a Thankful February...

  • Weekend brunch planned for the Forest restaurant on the roof at 400 Oxford street.
  • Spent many hours with Mr Selfridge in Jan and enjoying series 4 of his amazing life.
  • I am liking that the mornings are a little lighter as I walk to work each morning.
  • Planning a visit to the Crime museum exhibition at the London museum - excited to see some of Scotland Yards Black museum.
  • Have plans to explore a little more of London and walk a little more as the weather improves. 
I am also celebrating some friends and families birthdays in Feb, so watch this space for further updates. I hope that you are all having a lovely start to the new month and look forward to reading your adventures. x

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Goodbye January...

wow where did January go?... one month of 2016 finished already. January was a month of storms, sunshine and a dusting of snow, fortunately in my little corner of the country I was relatively free of the extremes of these that some of the country faced.
Those familiar with my blog and my life will know that January gets written off in my house; due to a really heavy work schedule, culminating in financial year end. I have one more heavy week to go and look forward to my first full weekend off next weekend since before Christmas.
Although busy at work, I still managed to spend some special moments with friends and some time to myself.
1. Spent a Saturday afternoon at Harvey Nicks having tea.
2. Had lots of fun with my new kate spade planner.
3. Raised a glass of bubbly and said goodbye to a great colleague at work who is off to new adventures.
4. Fitz & Darcy spent many hours cuddled together in front of the fire and loving their cushion that they got for christmas.
5. Brunch at Forest on the roof of Selfridges (blog post to come)
6. Savoured a glimmer of blue sky and sunshine on Mr Selfridge as I arrived at work.
7. My desk!.... something that I've seen a lot of !!!
8. Friday lunchtime catch-up with 'bestie' in a good old Essexpub... with mini pails of fish & chips.
1 & 2. January planning and cuddles with the Kits were regular features.
3. Healthy breakfast in a jar at my desk.
4. A welcome reading break with a coffee and a great rugby book with the delicious Dan Carter.
5. Cosy nights in with a fire, blankets & throws. perfect for a cold night.
7. Hat & cashmere gloves staple feature for January's adventures with Taylor.
8. Chilly mornings in Taylor with temperatures dropping below freezing.
9. A little splash of pink to brighten the gloom of January.

January also saw us say goodbye to 3 of Britain's most loved; David Bowie, Alan Rickman & the great Sir Terry Wogan. Each have touched my life in their own way and I'm sad that cancer has taken all 3 of them too early in their lives. - David Bowie influenced so many and although I was a little too young to appreciate his heady years of the 70's, without him I wouldn't have had my 2 favourite 80's bands Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet. From art, to fashion to music his influenced so many over the past 50 years and was a genius of his craft.
Alan Rickman - a guilty pleasure and an actor that never failed to disappoint, Guilty crush developed as the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood,  swept me away as Colonel Brandon in Sense & Sensibility, Despaired in Love Actually and put me under a spell as Severus Snape in Harry Potter. Another genius of his craft.
Still love this scene from Love Actually filmed in Selfridges with the very funny Rowan Atkinson.
and finally Sir Terry Wogan - I woke up with Wogan as a child as my mum loved his breakfast show and radio 2, something I despaired as, as a teenager. Very sad to wake up on Sunday and hear that he had passed away. I've spent many Sunday at my desk over the last few years avidly listening to is sunday brunch show, with fond memories. Along with his radio show, he was a consummate professional TV presenter, bringing fun, laughter and joy to many lives, none more so than introducing Pudsey to us 35 years ago for Children in Need and assisting in raising over 600 million £. What an amazing legacy to leave behind.
So as I say a fond farewell to January, I hope that February is kinder, less stressful and brighter.

Insta Love ~ January

So before we say goodbye to January I thought I would share some of the images on instagram that I have been loving during January.
  • allaboutkate - I met Kate a couple of years ago at a photo styling workshop and have avidly followed her instagram feed since, this elegant stylish january image sums up Kate perfectly. loving the Kikki K calendar.
  • This gorgeous archway framing Big Ben and a beautiful winter sky is stunning from sidd_bisht
  • leafycouture - this gorgeous wreath is full of winter florals, roses, succulents and gorgeous anemones. A new insta find this month, but one I am sure to share more of during the year.
  • For 4 days in January the Lumiere light festival came to London, with huge crowds it was difficult to see everything, The connaught's image of the lights in Regent Street capture the essence of the festival perfectly.
  • Brooklyncoffee not only serves fabulous coffee it also shares some great images of its coffee and the surrounding area.
  • My Instagram favourites wouldn't be complete without an image Mr Gandy!... my social media feeds were full of Mr G during January as he was everywhere for London mens collection and the launch of his new loungewear range with M&S. Loving the grey ensemble and hat in this image. 
  • Another instagram feed that is becoming a regular feature is valeriemckeehan illustrator. I love this styled shot of coffee favourites. delicious.
  • Not only is Dan Doherty a fabulous chef at Duck & Waffle he is also turning into a budding photographer, during January not only has he shared some delicious dishes but some very enviable and gorgeous sunrises. There is always some perks to being up very early and working 30 floors above the London streets.
  • Another new find for me in January is Melissa from milkthistles, this styled desk image for january ticks all of my likes and I have complete desk envy.
Blizzard Jonas struck many states of the United States in January and I adored all the snow images that sprinkled my insta feed and I had complete snow envy. Here are my favourites;
  • Snow ploughs captured in glorious tandem by russ_nyc. This is exactly how they are and appear by magic as soon as the snow arrives.
  • Soho street captured in glorious colour creating a picture postcard image from travelinglens
  • Central park captured in all its wintery gloriousness by friends of paulafitzherbert.
  • New Yorker hotel and streets from chief770
  • Wintery blue sky from craigsbeds in the heart of a night stroll in central park
  • A firefighter never gets a snow day!... times square & fire truck from rickycaciopponyc
  • Grand Central station from its instagram feed in stunning snow day splendour.
  • and finally another central park shot, this one at dusk from gigi.nyc
  • One of my absolute favourite things posted on the big Snow Day was the video clip of the giant Panda Tian Tian at the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington... this is just adorable.


Thankyou all for sharing such lovely images in January and kicking off 2016 so gorgeously.

This month I also caught up with sharing my festive favourites both here and stateside and also some of my #2015bestnine .
I hope you have had fun with my social media sunday loves... here's some from previous months... thank-you all that have featured for brightening my month with your gorgeous images ... I've loved them.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Tea & treats at Harvey Nicks

Last Saturday I spent a fun afternoon with friends having fun, shopping and a spot of afternoon tea.
The venue was Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge and was a belated birthday treat from my friend C.
 Due to my friends ill health in the 2nd half of last year it hadn't been possible for us to get there, so decided on January when we could coordinate diaries.
On previous visits the restaurant at Harvey Nicks has been located away from the 5th floor food court in a lovely area. I was a little disappointed to see when we arrived that it has been relocated to an area adjacent to Yo Sushi and the Bar. The space is quite small and the tables are very near each other; not somewhere that lends itself to a leisurely ladies that lunch or afternoon tea. HN's have a small balcony seating area and we asked to be-seated there as we thought it would be a little quieter and relaxing. The only downside to this was that it is a smoking area, but we were quite fortunate that we were only bothered by this at the beginning of our tea as the large young male party that were drinking left before our tea arrived.
We opted for the classic afternoon tea, sandwiches, scones & pastries, also include were some mini quiches, which were delicious, and a sweet pineapple baba type dessert.
The tea was nice, my favourites being the quiche and the scones. The sandwiches and pastries were nice, but think Nicks is trying to be too adventurous with what should be a classic tea.
The service was excellent and the team couldn't have been more attentive. Seated under a heater, it was still a little chilly and the only thing that was lacking was the option of a blanket/throw to place on your lap / shoulders.
We still enjoyed is and we laughed lots and it was lovely to catchup.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

2015 Insta Love - best 9

At the end of 2015 Instagram feeds were full of #2015bestnine and having shared my instagram festive favourites earlier in the month I thought I would share my insta9's before January passes.
Instagram has firmly become my favourite social media platform and I have chosen my 9 for many different reasons and no surprises there are as many from New York as there is in the UK.

Claridges Hotel - this gorgeous hotel's instagram feed allows you to step inside the revolving doors without a trip to London. No surprises that their Christmas décor was some of their most liked images for 2015, along with Dame Maggie Smith having afternoon tea and their image of Selfridges on Oxford Street.
DanTVusa is a british  TV and cameraman working in the US, predominately within the New York area. Dan was one of my first favourites on Instagram and his images of the city are quite stunning. His Best 9 are just fabulous and capture some of the best and most iconic scenes of New York City. From Manhattenhenge to Fireworks over Lady Liberty, day or night Dan's images are fabulous.
David Gandy Official
Those that know me well, would know that a favourite instagram compilation would always include the gorgeous David Gandy. As he features monthly in my social media favourites I couldn't ignore him at the end of the year! ... obviously no explanation need!!
London View Points is run y Michael and he shares some of the ordinary and extraordinary views of London from above and at street level. Love the London eye and Tower Bridge bathed in natural and spotlights.









Most of my likes have been views and places, however a home favourite of mine is from Tink72x
Tracey shares life inside and outside her home on the beautiful Isle of Wight. I have fond memories of the IOW as a child and love her images, along with having complete kitchen envy within her house
Empirestate bldg shares both images that people have taken of their iconic statue in New York, but also shares a few of their fabulous visitors each year.
Whether bathed in sunlight, at dawn, dusk ans under the stars one of the most recognisable buildings of the city looks stunning.
Forest _ldn is the rooftop restaurant at Selfridges which is of course where I work. With the entrance a magical festive woodland and gorgeous food and hot choctails being served it was always going to get a lot of likes. my favourite aside from the hot chocolate are the rooftop winter chalets, complete with fur throws, blankets and cushions. Perfect for drinks and fun.
Pretty City London is an instagram feed where Siobhaise shares the most gorgeous images of London when shared on the ~ pretty city london. Inside or out the feed really does share the best of London. doorways, wreaths, mew's fabulous cars, & pink are all regular features. Love them all.
and finally Grand Central nyc - my favourite building in NYC had to feature in my favourite 9 from 2015. This grand old dame is just stunning both inside and out and whether in snowy conditions or bathed in sunlight always looks stunning.
The only railway station that makes commuting look like a huge choreographed ballet.

Thankyou to all for sharing such gorgeous images during 2015... I look forward to seeing what fabulous photo's 2016 brings.


Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Christmas treat at Claridges

I know that it’s the middle of January but I am still working my way through my Christmas activities, I'm therefore giving myself until the 25th of January to share my Christmas fun and then I'm blocking out February to share my New York adventures. As blogged last week Breakfast treats were my new thing for 2015 and my Christmas breakfast was indulged at the beautiful Claridges.
Having spent my birthday breakfast there, and had such I lovely time, I booked a return for the festive season.
Every year Claridges invites a  designer to create their Christmas tree for the season which takes pride of place within their lobby ; this year it was Christopher Bailey from Burberry that got the honours. With his unique creativity a Christmas tree of gold and silver umbrellas was unveiled early December.
Visiting Claridges on the Monday of Christmas week was special and due to the early time of my booking I felt like I was watching a unique little corner of Mayfair wake up. The team were as accommodating and friendly as on previous visits and it was the perfect way to start the week.
Claridges breakfast menu is huge and offers so many options it's hard to choose, however I opted for the English; accompanied by juice, toast and coffee. All beautifully presented and cooked to perfection. (any breakfast menu that has burford browns on them is a winner in my world)
Aside from the Umbrella Christmas tree, Claridges decorations were distinctly traditional and starred The Nutcracker. The outside canopy and wreaths along the wrought iron fence line all had varying sized Nutcracker dolls along with huge christmas trees, gold branches and red and gold baubles. Little woodland nutcracker christmas scenes nestled in glass pears on furniture, alcoves and the fireplace, creating magic and theatre in the most unexpected way, it really was a delight to see.
Claridges has become a Christmas must for me and one year I have promised myself a stay on Christmas Eve, until that time I will look forward to visiting in December for breakfast, dinner or tea. 
Thank-you Claridges for making my visit so lovely and kicking off my Christmas week in such fabulous style.
Here are my previous trips to this lovely establishment in Mayfair. Look forward to visiting again in 2016.

Monday, 18 January 2016

15 Festive reads from 2015

Over recent years festive reads have become part of my Christmas musts and a glorious way to spend some 'down'time during the busy holiday season.
I love a Christmas book... and look forward every year to compiling my seasonal wish list... this years selection is as varied as a box of celebrations and as delicious to unwrap.
Here's my thoughts on the 15 read for 2015;

Wish upon a Christmas Cake –Darcie Boleyn - Kate would really like to spend Christmas at her cosy tearoom Crumbtious Cakes; instead she finds herself with her celebrity brother, judgemental mother and ex-boyfriend who is now a widower with 2 small children. mourning the recent loss of her beloved grandmother; Kate finds herself facing lots of reflection and the possibility of christmas wishes coming true. A delightful read from Darcie; perfect with a roaring fire and a plate of warm mince pies.
Let it Snow - Wendy Lewis – We are introduced to Karen as she is loading up her caravan and leaving her lazy husband Frank. She and her much loved pooch Eccles take up a 'live-in' post with an elderly lady in her childhood home town in Sussex. It soon become apparent that this is not the ideal solution and with her parents help buys a remote semi derelict farmhouse on the downs.  Karen finds herself by lucky accident working at the local vets, which is headed up by a very attractive vet! With her elderly father being diagnosed with dementia, a troublesome Ex, a local admirer and a crush on her boss; Karen's life is suddenly a little complicated. Through in a snowstorm and christmas around the corner this makes for a fun, though provoking festive read. This was my first read from Wendy and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are laugh out loud moments along with some heartache; a lovely little read for a winters afternoon.
Christmas Ever After – Sarah Morgan - this is the 3rd book in the Puffin Island trilogy and features Skylar and Alec. Skylar and Alec's paths cross in London and Skylar finds herself spending the lead up to Christmas with Alec and his family. Alec finds his opinion of Skylar changing and they return to Puffin Island for Christmas. I have loved the Puffin Island trilogy and as well as following Alec & Skylar's story you catchup with the Emily and Brittany from the previous books. This is a gorgeous, sexy winter read, perfect to warm a cold winters night and will make you seek out holiday cottages in the islands off the maine coast!
Four Weddings and a White Christmas – Jenny Oliver - Book 5 in Jenny Olivers Cherry Pie Island and a welcome return to such a lovely place. Hannah is offered a dressmakers job of a lifetime and finds herself back on cherry pie island; a place she spent many happy moments as a teenager and reunited with friends from school. She also crosses paths with cynical chef Harry Fontaine and with 4 weddings to assist with she spends the year doing her up most to ensure all brides are happy. - a lovely welcome return to all previous stories, sprinkled with a dusting of snow, a twinkle of christmas magic a jaunt to New York and a lice of love and friendship and cherry pie. 
Christmas at the Castle –Victoria Connelly - a lovely little novella from Victoria set in the Highlands of Scotland. Catriona Fraser and her 2 children live at the family Caldoon castle; bequeathed after her husbands death. Hiring out key rooms for Christmas they find Iain MacNeice and his 2 daughters arrive for the holiday period. Things aren't as idyllic as they appear and both families find themselves needing each other before the holidays are over.
One Wish in Manhattan –Mandy Baggot - Hayley is a single mum to Angel and as well as fulfilling a Christmas wish to spend the festive season in New York with her brother; she also embarks on a journey to try and find Angel's dad and fulfil her wish for a Dad for christmas. As she embarks on the search she crosses paths with billionaire Oliver, here the adventures become even more thrilling. I started this book on my journey to New York in December and it really was the most perfect read. Another great story from Mandy.
A Miracle at Macy's – Lynn Marie Hulsman - Charlotte is a shy homebody who is much happier at home writing her cookbooks and blog. She finds herself loosing her beloved pet dog Hudson in a week before Christmas. Her celebrity aunt loans her her assistant Henry to help with the dog hunt. Hudson leads Charlotte and Henry on a merry dance as he is spotted in Central park with Santa's helpers, in Times Square with a supermodel and in multiple locations across New York.... I read this book whilst in New York in December and i loved it, it made me laugh lots.. its like Home Alone 2 for dogs!
Midnight at Tiffany's – Sarah Morgan – loved this little christmas novella by Sarah Morgan – Matilda is a waitress by day and budding author by night. When she is rescued by a handsome stranger at an event and finds herself out of a job; she embarks on one magical night with him. Chase Adams is a millionaire and when he finds himself talking to Matilda who has no idea who he is or what he is worth he finds himself wanting to spend more than one night with her…. Can they find magic at midnight at Tiffany's. Sarah Morgan writes fabulous stories with great characters and she
Doesn't disappoint in this festive read. Gorgeous men, New York and Christmas … ticks lots of my boxes!
Chocolate Lovers Christmas –Carole Matthews – CM is a favourite of mine and I looked forward to catching-up with the ladies from the Chocolate Lovers Club. It’s a couple of years since I read the 1st book and this is the 3rd in the series; it felt like I was catching up with old friends.  Lucy is now running chocolate heaven; Nadia is coming to terms with her husband's death and all the complications that that has created. Autumn is dealing with tragedy and not getting much help from her fiancé and Chantal is besotted with her new baby and trying to hold her marriage together. As Christmas approached the 4 ladies find each of their lives unravelling a little; throwing up all sorts of surprises from estranged families, ex fiancés, new beginnings and  loves lost it is soon apparent that their friendship is the commonality that will help them through it all.
It took a little while for me to familiarise myself with the characters, but once in I was completely absorbed and it was like curling up with a huge mug of hot chocolate and a warm blanket. As with all of CM's books; it's never plain sailing for the characters and all of them had their share of heartache, fun, love and laughter and I loved it all.  Anxiously now awaiting Book 4 in this series and their next adventure.
Last Christmas – Lily Greene - Last Christmas Ella had her heartbroken on New Years Eve by her banker boyfriend Robbie. This Christmas, Ella is embarking on her debut exhibition in a London gallery. Whilst shopping on the run up to Christmas she keeps bumping into mysterious handsome stranger. Their paths keep crossing and Ella finds herself falling for Fergus a war photographer.Just when she thinks she is finally moving on with her life; Robbie turns up at her opening night. Ella has some choices to make.  Last Christmas is a lovely heart-warming read and a lovely modern twist on the classic love triangle and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
My Big Fat Christmas Wedding– Samantha Tonge - we join Pippa back on the Greek island with her fiancée Nico. with her christmas wedding approaching she heads back to England for her ex's engagement party. Can she really give up the glamour and excitement of London for the slow life in the teashop on the sleepy greek island. This was a much welcome return to the village of Taxos and its inhabitants... perfect as a stand alone read or squeal to Game of Scones.
A Christmas Hideaway – Emily Harvale – Holly thinks herself still in love with her long term boyfriend, (now her ex who ran away with her best friend) and the thought of them both coming back to Hideaway Down for Christmas fills her with dread. She volunteers to look after her mums holiday cottages and hopes that this will keep her away from the village and the chance of bumping into them both. Someone else who is hoping to hideaway for christmas is author Gabriel Hardwick who has hired one of the cottages for the festive season; thus avowing his agent and ex-girlfriend Bryony. With one of the coldest winters upon them and a series of unfortunate incidents Holly finds herself falling for Gabriel in more ways than one. – This novella was a pleasant surprise and I now look forward to the 2nd book in the series. The characters were fun and the village delightful. With a couple of sweet twists this made for a delightful read.
Christmas wishes and Mistletoe Kisses – Jenny Hale - Abbey has put her dreams on hold to raise her son Max and help her mum look after her grandfather. By a lucky accident she finds herself taking on the challenge of decorating Nick Sinclairs large mansion before his family descend for Christmas. Not only is the house absolutely gorgeous so is its owner!. Abbey starts to transform the house into a home and also finds herself spending a lot of spare time with the delicious Nick... can Christmas sprinkle is magic on them both. I loved this book; a delicious festive romance perfect for the holiday season... sheer escapism from the start.
Holly's Christmas Kiss – Alison May - Holly Michelle Jolly hates Christmas and has been the brunt of festive jokes since she was a child. With a flight to a dream holiday cancelled, she finds herself meeting Sean. Sean loves Christmas and hopes to change Holly's opinion of Christmas for the better... this is a fun little novella and the characters and story are worthy of a bigger read. Look forward to reading book 2.
Christmas at the Cove –Victoria Connelly - Victoria's first Christmas novella and this one sees us meet Millie at Christmas a her aunts cottage on the north Devon coast. Unbeknown to Millie her elderly auntie has been meddling and she finds a handsome man and his son in residence when she arrives. Deciding to share the cottage for Christmas a lovely story unravels and develops between them. This is a lovely story and evokes some lovely memories of spending winters on the Devon and Cornish coasts. perfect reading for a cold Saturday afternoon curled in front of a roaring fire.
Thank-you to all authors for their gorgeous stories which kept me occupied at airports, on aeroplanes and commuting across London during the festive season.I enjoyed them all, and look forward to compiling my festive list for 2016. Here are some previous book posts from recent months.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Festive Insta Love...

Last year saw me add some new features to the blog and regular posts. One of my most favourite and popular was sharing my social media loves from the previous month. December passed in a blur hence why I am now sharing what I was 'hearting' and liking on Instagram over the festive period.
With a trip across the pond early December I have 9 from New York, 9 from London and 9 festive favourites.... 
London:
  1. j_r_photography - love this image of the London Eye and river bridges during the festive season.
  2. levanterman - stunning shot of Tower bridge and the artistic christmas tree by city hall.
  3. the connaught - twinkly tree and lights at The Connaught hotel - old school christmas glamour
  4. elensham - loved elena's instagram feed during December, mixing the ordinary with festive sites in London - this shot in Leadenhall market is glorious.
  5. aurelien_le_roch - stunning shot of the new years fireworks .
  6. geminatrix - heathers photography around London is stunning - clean lines and stunning skylines  this shot of regent street is fabulous.
  7. paulafitzherbert - love Paula's image of the carriages outside Claridges Christmas morning.. this is being added to my bucketlist!
  8. in_and_outside_london - love this image from inside Duant books in Marylebone from Cecilia - christmas tree & books a perfect combination.
  9. neiljamescartwright - lovely shot from the Sky Garden's seasonal decoration  from Neil.
Christmas & New Year - festive posts from some of my favourite instagrammers of 2015.

  1. Love this porch picture from Sally @ gettingstuffdoneinheels the picture postcard cottage christmas... could have been lifted straight out of an enid blyton!... love it.. I absolutely want to move into her house. 
  2. Could Crate & Barrel's Christmas table scream the holiday season anymore!... egg-nog, gingerbread, cake & bakers twine....soooo many of my favourites.
  3. The Berkeley's rooftop holiday cinema looked just glorious and has been added to my Christmas bucket-list... anywhere that shows Miracle on 34th Street is a win for me.
  4. Emily's Christmas eve table, sums up everything lovely about Emily and her make-light studio, the cookie cutters are my favourite..
  5. Love Lou from The little green shed 's festive kitchen activity is delightful. Another kitchen that I am coveting!.
  6. Valerie's chalkboard egg nog recipe is a firm favourite of mine and the calendar was in a lot of the stockings that I gave this year... lovely
  7. For someone that has been practically tee-total for 10 years the Jack Daniels instagram account is a tempting treat and nothing more so than the Jack Daniels Egg Nog recipe!... do love a mason jar & egg nog....mmmm
  8. The lovely Kitty from the PS team at work shared the most delicious treat table in the personal shopping suite at work.. hoe fab does this look.
  9. New Year cranberry mimosa toasts from Tifforelie is lovely, a perfect way to toast and see in 2016.

New York:

  1. The Empire State Building's New Year lights are captured spectacularly by jennifer, her images from the city are just stunning.
  2. The Plaza Hotel's Christmas tree festooned with baubles, lit by twinkling lights under a fabulous chandelier brings christmas to life in this iconic hotel.
  3. Love the everyday that Johnny captures in New York, the vintage subway is a hidden gem on the NY subways during the holiday season and having stood on a platform when one pulled in I can say its as exciting as The Polar Express!!.
  4. The Peninsula's canopy is worth checking out if you are in the city during the holiday's, a fab little treat tucked down a side street off of 5th avenue. Captured fabulously by Rosemary.
  5. The Tavern on the Green's christmas tree was a festive delight under a canopy of lights sitting in Central Park, magical.
  6. This image of the NYPD on the sidewalk of Times Square on News Year is as powerful as it is humbling... on duty ready to patrol and protect those celebrating the NY festivities in the square. fantastic shot from Elena of pictures_of_newyork
  7. This close-up of the christmas tree outside the New York stock exchange is beautiful from javan, his images of the city are stunning.
  8. Love this image of the Rockefeller Christmas tree in a bauble from Craig, a new instagram discovery. His images of the city are strikingly beautiful, look forward to more from him in 2016.
  9. Kelly's images of the city capture the everday and the ordinary fabulously. This of the One World tower nestled among the evergreen is perfect... thankyou, another new favourite.

Thankyou to all for sharing such glorious images through the festive season. I have loved them all. For more of my Social Media favourites from 2015, check out previous posts here.
Later this week I will share my favourite  "2015 nine from 9 "

Monday, 11 January 2016

Breakfast in the Sky Garden

Last year Breakfast became my new 'must' for 2015 and I took pleasure in both what I ate at my desk and treats in and around London. I finished the year with 2 fabulous breakfast treats; one at Claridges Christmas week and then the other at the Sky Garden New Year's week.
I started 2015 visiting the Sky Garden and finished with a return visit. It became one of my go-to places in 2015 and I enjoyed seeing the seasons and skyline of London change over the year. The light and space is just glorious 38 floors above the London streets.
I have no doubt that Sky Garden will remain on my musts for 2016.
This visit I booked a slot at the Sky Pod bar which allowed me to arrive just after 7 to an empty Sky Garden, which was lovely and allowed for some quiet contemplation watching London wake-up. With it still being dark as I arrived it also allowed me to capture The Shard's festive light show in all its, white, green & red splendour.  

Sky Garden bar offers a range of breakfast pastries, juices, coffee and porridge for the early morning treats and I opted for porridge with berries and coffee whilst watching the sunrise. Both were delicious and as dawn broke and the sun began to rise it really was the most perfect way to start a work morning.
With a visit between Christmas and New Year, the garden was still festively decorated and I loved the pink decorative accessories; especially the optional hot water bottles and the splash of colour bought the space to life adding a cosiness to the seating areas.

For anyone visiting London I couldn't recommend this space more, especially as there is no charge to enter, something which takes the sky Garden head and shoulders above its competitors, but also allowing you to eat & drink in spaces bathed by glorious views. For further detail on how to book a slot visit Sky Garden.

More of my breakfast adventures can be found here.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

2015 you were fabulous...

January is always a month of reflection for me and a time to take stock and reflect on the previous year before making any big changes... its also a chance to share some favourites from the previous year. Here's 15 favs from 2015;
1. January saw me visit the newly opened Sky Garden at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street. Its become one of my favourite places in London in 2015.
2, Lunch at the Ritz was on the menu in March for a friends 60th birthday. Beautiful surroundings, fab food and lots of fun.
3. 2015 saw me drive a new Fiat 500 off the forecourt and I have loved every minute of driving Taylor over the year.
4. Book fun with some author friends  (and a few pop stars!!) was the perfect way to spend a summer evening.
5. Something that is becoming a regular annual treat is a trip to the Chelsea Flower Show.... glorious in every way.
6. An absolute bucket list moment when I saw the divine Miss M live - Bette Midler an absolute superstar.
7. 2015 saw Spandau Ballet reform and travel the world with a fabulous show, me and the girls had a fabulous night reliving our youth and singing our heads off.
8. Claridges is becoming another favourite treat and a birthday breakfast was topped off with a cute macaroon birthday patisserie.

9.September saw me attend the premiere of the Rugby movie Building Jerusalem, where I met the gorgeous Jonny Wilkinson.
10.Being gifted a corporate ticket for the opening ceremony of the Rugby World cup was pretty spectacular and I loved it all.
11. Culmination of the world cup saw the All Blacks take the Webb Ellis trophy - during the tournament I saw the NZ team play twice and I got to see another rugby hero Dan Carter.
12. A dark misty night was the perfect setting to meet the author Patricia Cornwell in November and listen to her talk about one of my favourite book series of all time - the Scarpetta novels.
13. New York - probably one of my favourite visits and everyday was an adventure; including a trip to Washington.
14 - Back to Claridges for Christmas this time and a lovely festive breakfast in gorgeous surroundings..
15 - December saw Duran Duran take to the stage for one night and an opportunity to feel 14 all over again.They absolutely rocked the roof off and I had a fabulous time.... the perfect final treat for 2015.
As you can see 2015 was pretty fabulous and along with doing some amazing things, I got to spend some time with friends and family. 2015 was kind to me, but many of my friends weren't so lucky and for 2016 I wish it to be happier and healthier, filled with love, friendship and lots of love.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

hello January....

Hello January.....

One week in and I thought that as the decorations have now come down its time to give the blog a New Year spring clean for 2016. 
I'm not a big fan of resolutions and don't really make any drastic changes until March when Spring starts to glimmer and I've come out of my work induced and seasonal hibernation.
Over the coming weeks I will share some of my plans for the coming year but mainly I will be sharing more of my adventures from New York and December.
 I have a list of blog posts to write and schedule and a long list of Things To Do; however I am not going to stress like I have done previously.

1. New Year arrived with a bang. I thought the fire works this year were fabulous.
2. Still sifting through the New York photo's.
3.Planning lots of blog posts and things in my new Heidi Swapp planner.
4. Kate Spade diary for 2016 and life looking fabulous on my desk.
5. Worked throughout Christmas; many days the tube was like a ghost train.
6. Cold nights are drawing in and soon time to get the hot water bottle out; taking inspiration from the Sky Bar.
7. Planning more trips to the Sky Garden throughout the year.
8. Sad to say farewell to the lovely decorations, especially those in Covent Garden and the fabulous chanel no5 snow globe.
9. Desk treats for 2016 are glorious in black and gold.
I received lots of lovely things for Christmas... here are a few with a re-occurring theme! New York!!
Hope everyone is having a fabulous start to 2016; I look forward to reading all of your adventures this coming year.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Goodbye December....

Before we close our doors to 2015 and embark on a new adventure in 2016 its time to look back on my highlights from December. Spending the 1st week of the month in New York was just fabulous and was one of the best weeks that I had had there. (no week is anything other than great, but somehow this year was just fabulous)
The build up to Christmas was energetic, fast and full of fun things and will share more in January when the nights are long and cold and my diary is bare! Here's some of my instagram snaps from the month of favourite things.....
1. December Daily / Journal your Christmas - for the past 5 years I have documented and scrapbooked my December via prompts from the talented Shimelle; this year I am looking forward to doing the same and then crafting in the new year. Here is my album from 2014.
2. Duran Duran took to the stage at the O2 in December for an amazing gig where they absolutely rocked the roof off!..no Christmas songs, but lots of happy middle aged ladies!
3. Christmas songs - love getting the Christmas CD's and playlist on the ipod for trips in the car & tube.
4 & 5 Planning and wrapping are 2 of my christmas moments - every year a new theme; this year black, gold, silver & white. Loved this years themes.
6. Taylors 1st Christmas - boot filled with yellow bags and commuting to and from work singing along to Christmas tunes and decked with fairy lights!
7. Team night out involved Shake Shack and Somerset House for a night of Skate & Shack.
8. Christmas morning breakfast with Nans legendary sausage rolls.
9.Remembering loved ones passed during the festive season with holly wreaths and roses.
It wasn't just me that had lots of fun at Christmas - the kits had bundles of fun along with lazy sleeps too!
Fitz definitely the most inquisitive of the 2, or the one that got caught the most; whether sneaking kisses, exploring gift bags and even inside the tree he explored lots!  Darcy liked the holiday duvet lots and was often found asleep there or curled up with his brother on my lap or by the fire. He did find a parcel that he thought was his! With there own stocking from their fur buddies Jax & Roxy, they were not left out.
After much deliberation the Christmas tree went up late in T's terrace. From the many decorations that I have, I selected the black, gold, white and silver decorations to compliment my theme. I was really pleased with how it all came out.
The kits definitely seemed to like it and it was the first year with the kits that it remained upright for the holiday period!
Boxing Day was spent as in previous years at work. Driving into London, the streets were desolate until you hit the big department stores, were Q's snaked around the block.
Busy day all round and welcomed the sofa in the evening for a rest.
Early morning breakfast's in glorious surroundings were spent in December. Claridges in Christmas week was just magical and then the Sky Garden pre New Year watching the sun rise was equally as magical.
Detailed posts to follow.








As you can see December was busy and hard to believe how quick that it and 2015 have flown by. With the New Year approaching its time for a blog overhaul, with so much to share from Christmas I am going to keep the blog Christmassy until the 12th night when the decorations come down...
29 days ago I was standing in Times Square looking at the big silver ball that would drop on New Years Eve...

Thursday, 4 February 2016

6 Flicks to look forward to in 2016

So it feels like ages since I shared a movie moment and some time since I spent an evening at the cinema. There wasn't a great deal of movies released in 2015, that I thought warranted an evening at the cinema and I only went a few times. However I do believe 2016 may be a little different as there are a number of movies being released this year that I will definitely want to see on the big screen.

Me Before You
I am so excited to see this movie; I adored the book, have cried through the trailer and know that I will sob throughout the film. Fabulous casting and cant wait to see it when its released in June. This will be "The Notebook" movie of 2016.
Money Monster 
Its been some time since the gorgeous George Clooney did a movie that got me giddy!... but Money Monster looks interesting, not too arty and looking forward to seeing him & Julia Roberts back in screen together (loved their chemistry in the Oceans series) and directed by Jodie Foster
My Big Fat Greek wedding 2 
So thrilled to see this Greek family back again, with another wedding to plan along with lots of love, fun and laughter! This looks like the perfect girls night out movie.
Batman V Superman 
Henry Cavill is pulling on the blue tights and red cape again and Ben Affleck is pulling on the bat suit to see who is the best superhero for Gotham City... I'm team Cavill, but looking forward to see this summer release.


and finally 2 movies that have yet to release any trailers but some images have been posted frequently on social media.... Bridget Jones and baby!... I am a little excited about this winter release and looking forward to seeing Bridget back with Mr Darcy and the gorgeous Dr McDreamy Patrick Dempsey!!!... oh my, I am a little giddy... how gorgeous does he look on this motorcycle.
The final movie that I am looking forward to is Mother's Day; directed by Garry Marshall from Pretty Women acclaim it follows in the genre of his previous 2 movies Valentines Day and New Years Eve and stars an ensemble cast featuring Jennifer Anniston, Julia Roberts and Kate Hudson.
As you can see its a varied movie bag and I look forward to a night with a big box of popcorn being entertained... what movie are you looking forward to in 2016?

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Hello February.....

Hello February, its a new month so I've said goodbye to my January blush and gold styling and hello to a little winter blues. This probably suits my  mood at the moment as I'm in a little fog of January blues and hoping that February will lift me out of it.

I have a little more planned in February than I managed in January, as I am hoping that my workload reduces, so I am going to have a Thankful February...

  • Weekend brunch planned for the Forest restaurant on the roof at 400 Oxford street.
  • Spent many hours with Mr Selfridge in Jan and enjoying series 4 of his amazing life.
  • I am liking that the mornings are a little lighter as I walk to work each morning.
  • Planning a visit to the Crime museum exhibition at the London museum - excited to see some of Scotland Yards Black museum.
  • Have plans to explore a little more of London and walk a little more as the weather improves. 
I am also celebrating some friends and families birthdays in Feb, so watch this space for further updates. I hope that you are all having a lovely start to the new month and look forward to reading your adventures. x

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Goodbye January...

wow where did January go?... one month of 2016 finished already. January was a month of storms, sunshine and a dusting of snow, fortunately in my little corner of the country I was relatively free of the extremes of these that some of the country faced.
Those familiar with my blog and my life will know that January gets written off in my house; due to a really heavy work schedule, culminating in financial year end. I have one more heavy week to go and look forward to my first full weekend off next weekend since before Christmas.
Although busy at work, I still managed to spend some special moments with friends and some time to myself.
1. Spent a Saturday afternoon at Harvey Nicks having tea.
2. Had lots of fun with my new kate spade planner.
3. Raised a glass of bubbly and said goodbye to a great colleague at work who is off to new adventures.
4. Fitz & Darcy spent many hours cuddled together in front of the fire and loving their cushion that they got for christmas.
5. Brunch at Forest on the roof of Selfridges (blog post to come)
6. Savoured a glimmer of blue sky and sunshine on Mr Selfridge as I arrived at work.
7. My desk!.... something that I've seen a lot of !!!
8. Friday lunchtime catch-up with 'bestie' in a good old Essexpub... with mini pails of fish & chips.
1 & 2. January planning and cuddles with the Kits were regular features.
3. Healthy breakfast in a jar at my desk.
4. A welcome reading break with a coffee and a great rugby book with the delicious Dan Carter.
5. Cosy nights in with a fire, blankets & throws. perfect for a cold night.
7. Hat & cashmere gloves staple feature for January's adventures with Taylor.
8. Chilly mornings in Taylor with temperatures dropping below freezing.
9. A little splash of pink to brighten the gloom of January.

January also saw us say goodbye to 3 of Britain's most loved; David Bowie, Alan Rickman & the great Sir Terry Wogan. Each have touched my life in their own way and I'm sad that cancer has taken all 3 of them too early in their lives. - David Bowie influenced so many and although I was a little too young to appreciate his heady years of the 70's, without him I wouldn't have had my 2 favourite 80's bands Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet. From art, to fashion to music his influenced so many over the past 50 years and was a genius of his craft.
Alan Rickman - a guilty pleasure and an actor that never failed to disappoint, Guilty crush developed as the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood,  swept me away as Colonel Brandon in Sense & Sensibility, Despaired in Love Actually and put me under a spell as Severus Snape in Harry Potter. Another genius of his craft.
Still love this scene from Love Actually filmed in Selfridges with the very funny Rowan Atkinson.
and finally Sir Terry Wogan - I woke up with Wogan as a child as my mum loved his breakfast show and radio 2, something I despaired as, as a teenager. Very sad to wake up on Sunday and hear that he had passed away. I've spent many Sunday at my desk over the last few years avidly listening to is sunday brunch show, with fond memories. Along with his radio show, he was a consummate professional TV presenter, bringing fun, laughter and joy to many lives, none more so than introducing Pudsey to us 35 years ago for Children in Need and assisting in raising over 600 million £. What an amazing legacy to leave behind.
So as I say a fond farewell to January, I hope that February is kinder, less stressful and brighter.

Insta Love ~ January

So before we say goodbye to January I thought I would share some of the images on instagram that I have been loving during January.
  • allaboutkate - I met Kate a couple of years ago at a photo styling workshop and have avidly followed her instagram feed since, this elegant stylish january image sums up Kate perfectly. loving the Kikki K calendar.
  • This gorgeous archway framing Big Ben and a beautiful winter sky is stunning from sidd_bisht
  • leafycouture - this gorgeous wreath is full of winter florals, roses, succulents and gorgeous anemones. A new insta find this month, but one I am sure to share more of during the year.
  • For 4 days in January the Lumiere light festival came to London, with huge crowds it was difficult to see everything, The connaught's image of the lights in Regent Street capture the essence of the festival perfectly.
  • Brooklyncoffee not only serves fabulous coffee it also shares some great images of its coffee and the surrounding area.
  • My Instagram favourites wouldn't be complete without an image Mr Gandy!... my social media feeds were full of Mr G during January as he was everywhere for London mens collection and the launch of his new loungewear range with M&S. Loving the grey ensemble and hat in this image. 
  • Another instagram feed that is becoming a regular feature is valeriemckeehan illustrator. I love this styled shot of coffee favourites. delicious.
  • Not only is Dan Doherty a fabulous chef at Duck & Waffle he is also turning into a budding photographer, during January not only has he shared some delicious dishes but some very enviable and gorgeous sunrises. There is always some perks to being up very early and working 30 floors above the London streets.
  • Another new find for me in January is Melissa from milkthistles, this styled desk image for january ticks all of my likes and I have complete desk envy.
Blizzard Jonas struck many states of the United States in January and I adored all the snow images that sprinkled my insta feed and I had complete snow envy. Here are my favourites;
  • Snow ploughs captured in glorious tandem by russ_nyc. This is exactly how they are and appear by magic as soon as the snow arrives.
  • Soho street captured in glorious colour creating a picture postcard image from travelinglens
  • Central park captured in all its wintery gloriousness by friends of paulafitzherbert.
  • New Yorker hotel and streets from chief770
  • Wintery blue sky from craigsbeds in the heart of a night stroll in central park
  • A firefighter never gets a snow day!... times square & fire truck from rickycaciopponyc
  • Grand Central station from its instagram feed in stunning snow day splendour.
  • and finally another central park shot, this one at dusk from gigi.nyc
  • One of my absolute favourite things posted on the big Snow Day was the video clip of the giant Panda Tian Tian at the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington... this is just adorable.


Thankyou all for sharing such lovely images in January and kicking off 2016 so gorgeously.

This month I also caught up with sharing my festive favourites both here and stateside and also some of my #2015bestnine .
I hope you have had fun with my social media sunday loves... here's some from previous months... thank-you all that have featured for brightening my month with your gorgeous images ... I've loved them.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Tea & treats at Harvey Nicks

Last Saturday I spent a fun afternoon with friends having fun, shopping and a spot of afternoon tea.
The venue was Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge and was a belated birthday treat from my friend C.
 Due to my friends ill health in the 2nd half of last year it hadn't been possible for us to get there, so decided on January when we could coordinate diaries.
On previous visits the restaurant at Harvey Nicks has been located away from the 5th floor food court in a lovely area. I was a little disappointed to see when we arrived that it has been relocated to an area adjacent to Yo Sushi and the Bar. The space is quite small and the tables are very near each other; not somewhere that lends itself to a leisurely ladies that lunch or afternoon tea. HN's have a small balcony seating area and we asked to be-seated there as we thought it would be a little quieter and relaxing. The only downside to this was that it is a smoking area, but we were quite fortunate that we were only bothered by this at the beginning of our tea as the large young male party that were drinking left before our tea arrived.
We opted for the classic afternoon tea, sandwiches, scones & pastries, also include were some mini quiches, which were delicious, and a sweet pineapple baba type dessert.
The tea was nice, my favourites being the quiche and the scones. The sandwiches and pastries were nice, but think Nicks is trying to be too adventurous with what should be a classic tea.
The service was excellent and the team couldn't have been more attentive. Seated under a heater, it was still a little chilly and the only thing that was lacking was the option of a blanket/throw to place on your lap / shoulders.
We still enjoyed is and we laughed lots and it was lovely to catchup.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

2015 Insta Love - best 9

At the end of 2015 Instagram feeds were full of #2015bestnine and having shared my instagram festive favourites earlier in the month I thought I would share my insta9's before January passes.
Instagram has firmly become my favourite social media platform and I have chosen my 9 for many different reasons and no surprises there are as many from New York as there is in the UK.

Claridges Hotel - this gorgeous hotel's instagram feed allows you to step inside the revolving doors without a trip to London. No surprises that their Christmas décor was some of their most liked images for 2015, along with Dame Maggie Smith having afternoon tea and their image of Selfridges on Oxford Street.
DanTVusa is a british  TV and cameraman working in the US, predominately within the New York area. Dan was one of my first favourites on Instagram and his images of the city are quite stunning. His Best 9 are just fabulous and capture some of the best and most iconic scenes of New York City. From Manhattenhenge to Fireworks over Lady Liberty, day or night Dan's images are fabulous.
David Gandy Official
Those that know me well, would know that a favourite instagram compilation would always include the gorgeous David Gandy. As he features monthly in my social media favourites I couldn't ignore him at the end of the year! ... obviously no explanation need!!
London View Points is run y Michael and he shares some of the ordinary and extraordinary views of London from above and at street level. Love the London eye and Tower Bridge bathed in natural and spotlights.









Most of my likes have been views and places, however a home favourite of mine is from Tink72x
Tracey shares life inside and outside her home on the beautiful Isle of Wight. I have fond memories of the IOW as a child and love her images, along with having complete kitchen envy within her house
Empirestate bldg shares both images that people have taken of their iconic statue in New York, but also shares a few of their fabulous visitors each year.
Whether bathed in sunlight, at dawn, dusk ans under the stars one of the most recognisable buildings of the city looks stunning.
Forest _ldn is the rooftop restaurant at Selfridges which is of course where I work. With the entrance a magical festive woodland and gorgeous food and hot choctails being served it was always going to get a lot of likes. my favourite aside from the hot chocolate are the rooftop winter chalets, complete with fur throws, blankets and cushions. Perfect for drinks and fun.
Pretty City London is an instagram feed where Siobhaise shares the most gorgeous images of London when shared on the ~ pretty city london. Inside or out the feed really does share the best of London. doorways, wreaths, mew's fabulous cars, & pink are all regular features. Love them all.
and finally Grand Central nyc - my favourite building in NYC had to feature in my favourite 9 from 2015. This grand old dame is just stunning both inside and out and whether in snowy conditions or bathed in sunlight always looks stunning.
The only railway station that makes commuting look like a huge choreographed ballet.

Thankyou to all for sharing such gorgeous images during 2015... I look forward to seeing what fabulous photo's 2016 brings.


Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Christmas treat at Claridges

I know that it’s the middle of January but I am still working my way through my Christmas activities, I'm therefore giving myself until the 25th of January to share my Christmas fun and then I'm blocking out February to share my New York adventures. As blogged last week Breakfast treats were my new thing for 2015 and my Christmas breakfast was indulged at the beautiful Claridges.
Having spent my birthday breakfast there, and had such I lovely time, I booked a return for the festive season.
Every year Claridges invites a  designer to create their Christmas tree for the season which takes pride of place within their lobby ; this year it was Christopher Bailey from Burberry that got the honours. With his unique creativity a Christmas tree of gold and silver umbrellas was unveiled early December.
Visiting Claridges on the Monday of Christmas week was special and due to the early time of my booking I felt like I was watching a unique little corner of Mayfair wake up. The team were as accommodating and friendly as on previous visits and it was the perfect way to start the week.
Claridges breakfast menu is huge and offers so many options it's hard to choose, however I opted for the English; accompanied by juice, toast and coffee. All beautifully presented and cooked to perfection. (any breakfast menu that has burford browns on them is a winner in my world)
Aside from the Umbrella Christmas tree, Claridges decorations were distinctly traditional and starred The Nutcracker. The outside canopy and wreaths along the wrought iron fence line all had varying sized Nutcracker dolls along with huge christmas trees, gold branches and red and gold baubles. Little woodland nutcracker christmas scenes nestled in glass pears on furniture, alcoves and the fireplace, creating magic and theatre in the most unexpected way, it really was a delight to see.
Claridges has become a Christmas must for me and one year I have promised myself a stay on Christmas Eve, until that time I will look forward to visiting in December for breakfast, dinner or tea. 
Thank-you Claridges for making my visit so lovely and kicking off my Christmas week in such fabulous style.
Here are my previous trips to this lovely establishment in Mayfair. Look forward to visiting again in 2016.

Monday, 18 January 2016

15 Festive reads from 2015

Over recent years festive reads have become part of my Christmas musts and a glorious way to spend some 'down'time during the busy holiday season.
I love a Christmas book... and look forward every year to compiling my seasonal wish list... this years selection is as varied as a box of celebrations and as delicious to unwrap.
Here's my thoughts on the 15 read for 2015;

Wish upon a Christmas Cake –Darcie Boleyn - Kate would really like to spend Christmas at her cosy tearoom Crumbtious Cakes; instead she finds herself with her celebrity brother, judgemental mother and ex-boyfriend who is now a widower with 2 small children. mourning the recent loss of her beloved grandmother; Kate finds herself facing lots of reflection and the possibility of christmas wishes coming true. A delightful read from Darcie; perfect with a roaring fire and a plate of warm mince pies.
Let it Snow - Wendy Lewis – We are introduced to Karen as she is loading up her caravan and leaving her lazy husband Frank. She and her much loved pooch Eccles take up a 'live-in' post with an elderly lady in her childhood home town in Sussex. It soon become apparent that this is not the ideal solution and with her parents help buys a remote semi derelict farmhouse on the downs.  Karen finds herself by lucky accident working at the local vets, which is headed up by a very attractive vet! With her elderly father being diagnosed with dementia, a troublesome Ex, a local admirer and a crush on her boss; Karen's life is suddenly a little complicated. Through in a snowstorm and christmas around the corner this makes for a fun, though provoking festive read. This was my first read from Wendy and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are laugh out loud moments along with some heartache; a lovely little read for a winters afternoon.
Christmas Ever After – Sarah Morgan - this is the 3rd book in the Puffin Island trilogy and features Skylar and Alec. Skylar and Alec's paths cross in London and Skylar finds herself spending the lead up to Christmas with Alec and his family. Alec finds his opinion of Skylar changing and they return to Puffin Island for Christmas. I have loved the Puffin Island trilogy and as well as following Alec & Skylar's story you catchup with the Emily and Brittany from the previous books. This is a gorgeous, sexy winter read, perfect to warm a cold winters night and will make you seek out holiday cottages in the islands off the maine coast!
Four Weddings and a White Christmas – Jenny Oliver - Book 5 in Jenny Olivers Cherry Pie Island and a welcome return to such a lovely place. Hannah is offered a dressmakers job of a lifetime and finds herself back on cherry pie island; a place she spent many happy moments as a teenager and reunited with friends from school. She also crosses paths with cynical chef Harry Fontaine and with 4 weddings to assist with she spends the year doing her up most to ensure all brides are happy. - a lovely welcome return to all previous stories, sprinkled with a dusting of snow, a twinkle of christmas magic a jaunt to New York and a lice of love and friendship and cherry pie. 
Christmas at the Castle –Victoria Connelly - a lovely little novella from Victoria set in the Highlands of Scotland. Catriona Fraser and her 2 children live at the family Caldoon castle; bequeathed after her husbands death. Hiring out key rooms for Christmas they find Iain MacNeice and his 2 daughters arrive for the holiday period. Things aren't as idyllic as they appear and both families find themselves needing each other before the holidays are over.
One Wish in Manhattan –Mandy Baggot - Hayley is a single mum to Angel and as well as fulfilling a Christmas wish to spend the festive season in New York with her brother; she also embarks on a journey to try and find Angel's dad and fulfil her wish for a Dad for christmas. As she embarks on the search she crosses paths with billionaire Oliver, here the adventures become even more thrilling. I started this book on my journey to New York in December and it really was the most perfect read. Another great story from Mandy.
A Miracle at Macy's – Lynn Marie Hulsman - Charlotte is a shy homebody who is much happier at home writing her cookbooks and blog. She finds herself loosing her beloved pet dog Hudson in a week before Christmas. Her celebrity aunt loans her her assistant Henry to help with the dog hunt. Hudson leads Charlotte and Henry on a merry dance as he is spotted in Central park with Santa's helpers, in Times Square with a supermodel and in multiple locations across New York.... I read this book whilst in New York in December and i loved it, it made me laugh lots.. its like Home Alone 2 for dogs!
Midnight at Tiffany's – Sarah Morgan – loved this little christmas novella by Sarah Morgan – Matilda is a waitress by day and budding author by night. When she is rescued by a handsome stranger at an event and finds herself out of a job; she embarks on one magical night with him. Chase Adams is a millionaire and when he finds himself talking to Matilda who has no idea who he is or what he is worth he finds himself wanting to spend more than one night with her…. Can they find magic at midnight at Tiffany's. Sarah Morgan writes fabulous stories with great characters and she
Doesn't disappoint in this festive read. Gorgeous men, New York and Christmas … ticks lots of my boxes!
Chocolate Lovers Christmas –Carole Matthews – CM is a favourite of mine and I looked forward to catching-up with the ladies from the Chocolate Lovers Club. It’s a couple of years since I read the 1st book and this is the 3rd in the series; it felt like I was catching up with old friends.  Lucy is now running chocolate heaven; Nadia is coming to terms with her husband's death and all the complications that that has created. Autumn is dealing with tragedy and not getting much help from her fiancé and Chantal is besotted with her new baby and trying to hold her marriage together. As Christmas approached the 4 ladies find each of their lives unravelling a little; throwing up all sorts of surprises from estranged families, ex fiancés, new beginnings and  loves lost it is soon apparent that their friendship is the commonality that will help them through it all.
It took a little while for me to familiarise myself with the characters, but once in I was completely absorbed and it was like curling up with a huge mug of hot chocolate and a warm blanket. As with all of CM's books; it's never plain sailing for the characters and all of them had their share of heartache, fun, love and laughter and I loved it all.  Anxiously now awaiting Book 4 in this series and their next adventure.
Last Christmas – Lily Greene - Last Christmas Ella had her heartbroken on New Years Eve by her banker boyfriend Robbie. This Christmas, Ella is embarking on her debut exhibition in a London gallery. Whilst shopping on the run up to Christmas she keeps bumping into mysterious handsome stranger. Their paths keep crossing and Ella finds herself falling for Fergus a war photographer.Just when she thinks she is finally moving on with her life; Robbie turns up at her opening night. Ella has some choices to make.  Last Christmas is a lovely heart-warming read and a lovely modern twist on the classic love triangle and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
My Big Fat Christmas Wedding– Samantha Tonge - we join Pippa back on the Greek island with her fiancée Nico. with her christmas wedding approaching she heads back to England for her ex's engagement party. Can she really give up the glamour and excitement of London for the slow life in the teashop on the sleepy greek island. This was a much welcome return to the village of Taxos and its inhabitants... perfect as a stand alone read or squeal to Game of Scones.
A Christmas Hideaway – Emily Harvale – Holly thinks herself still in love with her long term boyfriend, (now her ex who ran away with her best friend) and the thought of them both coming back to Hideaway Down for Christmas fills her with dread. She volunteers to look after her mums holiday cottages and hopes that this will keep her away from the village and the chance of bumping into them both. Someone else who is hoping to hideaway for christmas is author Gabriel Hardwick who has hired one of the cottages for the festive season; thus avowing his agent and ex-girlfriend Bryony. With one of the coldest winters upon them and a series of unfortunate incidents Holly finds herself falling for Gabriel in more ways than one. – This novella was a pleasant surprise and I now look forward to the 2nd book in the series. The characters were fun and the village delightful. With a couple of sweet twists this made for a delightful read.
Christmas wishes and Mistletoe Kisses – Jenny Hale - Abbey has put her dreams on hold to raise her son Max and help her mum look after her grandfather. By a lucky accident she finds herself taking on the challenge of decorating Nick Sinclairs large mansion before his family descend for Christmas. Not only is the house absolutely gorgeous so is its owner!. Abbey starts to transform the house into a home and also finds herself spending a lot of spare time with the delicious Nick... can Christmas sprinkle is magic on them both. I loved this book; a delicious festive romance perfect for the holiday season... sheer escapism from the start.
Holly's Christmas Kiss – Alison May - Holly Michelle Jolly hates Christmas and has been the brunt of festive jokes since she was a child. With a flight to a dream holiday cancelled, she finds herself meeting Sean. Sean loves Christmas and hopes to change Holly's opinion of Christmas for the better... this is a fun little novella and the characters and story are worthy of a bigger read. Look forward to reading book 2.
Christmas at the Cove –Victoria Connelly - Victoria's first Christmas novella and this one sees us meet Millie at Christmas a her aunts cottage on the north Devon coast. Unbeknown to Millie her elderly auntie has been meddling and she finds a handsome man and his son in residence when she arrives. Deciding to share the cottage for Christmas a lovely story unravels and develops between them. This is a lovely story and evokes some lovely memories of spending winters on the Devon and Cornish coasts. perfect reading for a cold Saturday afternoon curled in front of a roaring fire.
Thank-you to all authors for their gorgeous stories which kept me occupied at airports, on aeroplanes and commuting across London during the festive season.I enjoyed them all, and look forward to compiling my festive list for 2016. Here are some previous book posts from recent months.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Festive Insta Love...

Last year saw me add some new features to the blog and regular posts. One of my most favourite and popular was sharing my social media loves from the previous month. December passed in a blur hence why I am now sharing what I was 'hearting' and liking on Instagram over the festive period.
With a trip across the pond early December I have 9 from New York, 9 from London and 9 festive favourites.... 
London:
  1. j_r_photography - love this image of the London Eye and river bridges during the festive season.
  2. levanterman - stunning shot of Tower bridge and the artistic christmas tree by city hall.
  3. the connaught - twinkly tree and lights at The Connaught hotel - old school christmas glamour
  4. elensham - loved elena's instagram feed during December, mixing the ordinary with festive sites in London - this shot in Leadenhall market is glorious.
  5. aurelien_le_roch - stunning shot of the new years fireworks .
  6. geminatrix - heathers photography around London is stunning - clean lines and stunning skylines  this shot of regent street is fabulous.
  7. paulafitzherbert - love Paula's image of the carriages outside Claridges Christmas morning.. this is being added to my bucketlist!
  8. in_and_outside_london - love this image from inside Duant books in Marylebone from Cecilia - christmas tree & books a perfect combination.
  9. neiljamescartwright - lovely shot from the Sky Garden's seasonal decoration  from Neil.
Christmas & New Year - festive posts from some of my favourite instagrammers of 2015.

  1. Love this porch picture from Sally @ gettingstuffdoneinheels the picture postcard cottage christmas... could have been lifted straight out of an enid blyton!... love it.. I absolutely want to move into her house. 
  2. Could Crate & Barrel's Christmas table scream the holiday season anymore!... egg-nog, gingerbread, cake & bakers twine....soooo many of my favourites.
  3. The Berkeley's rooftop holiday cinema looked just glorious and has been added to my Christmas bucket-list... anywhere that shows Miracle on 34th Street is a win for me.
  4. Emily's Christmas eve table, sums up everything lovely about Emily and her make-light studio, the cookie cutters are my favourite..
  5. Love Lou from The little green shed 's festive kitchen activity is delightful. Another kitchen that I am coveting!.
  6. Valerie's chalkboard egg nog recipe is a firm favourite of mine and the calendar was in a lot of the stockings that I gave this year... lovely
  7. For someone that has been practically tee-total for 10 years the Jack Daniels instagram account is a tempting treat and nothing more so than the Jack Daniels Egg Nog recipe!... do love a mason jar & egg nog....mmmm
  8. The lovely Kitty from the PS team at work shared the most delicious treat table in the personal shopping suite at work.. hoe fab does this look.
  9. New Year cranberry mimosa toasts from Tifforelie is lovely, a perfect way to toast and see in 2016.

New York:

  1. The Empire State Building's New Year lights are captured spectacularly by jennifer, her images from the city are just stunning.
  2. The Plaza Hotel's Christmas tree festooned with baubles, lit by twinkling lights under a fabulous chandelier brings christmas to life in this iconic hotel.
  3. Love the everyday that Johnny captures in New York, the vintage subway is a hidden gem on the NY subways during the holiday season and having stood on a platform when one pulled in I can say its as exciting as The Polar Express!!.
  4. The Peninsula's canopy is worth checking out if you are in the city during the holiday's, a fab little treat tucked down a side street off of 5th avenue. Captured fabulously by Rosemary.
  5. The Tavern on the Green's christmas tree was a festive delight under a canopy of lights sitting in Central Park, magical.
  6. This image of the NYPD on the sidewalk of Times Square on News Year is as powerful as it is humbling... on duty ready to patrol and protect those celebrating the NY festivities in the square. fantastic shot from Elena of pictures_of_newyork
  7. This close-up of the christmas tree outside the New York stock exchange is beautiful from javan, his images of the city are stunning.
  8. Love this image of the Rockefeller Christmas tree in a bauble from Craig, a new instagram discovery. His images of the city are strikingly beautiful, look forward to more from him in 2016.
  9. Kelly's images of the city capture the everday and the ordinary fabulously. This of the One World tower nestled among the evergreen is perfect... thankyou, another new favourite.

Thankyou to all for sharing such glorious images through the festive season. I have loved them all. For more of my Social Media favourites from 2015, check out previous posts here.
Later this week I will share my favourite  "2015 nine from 9 "

Monday, 11 January 2016

Breakfast in the Sky Garden

Last year Breakfast became my new 'must' for 2015 and I took pleasure in both what I ate at my desk and treats in and around London. I finished the year with 2 fabulous breakfast treats; one at Claridges Christmas week and then the other at the Sky Garden New Year's week.
I started 2015 visiting the Sky Garden and finished with a return visit. It became one of my go-to places in 2015 and I enjoyed seeing the seasons and skyline of London change over the year. The light and space is just glorious 38 floors above the London streets.
I have no doubt that Sky Garden will remain on my musts for 2016.
This visit I booked a slot at the Sky Pod bar which allowed me to arrive just after 7 to an empty Sky Garden, which was lovely and allowed for some quiet contemplation watching London wake-up. With it still being dark as I arrived it also allowed me to capture The Shard's festive light show in all its, white, green & red splendour.  

Sky Garden bar offers a range of breakfast pastries, juices, coffee and porridge for the early morning treats and I opted for porridge with berries and coffee whilst watching the sunrise. Both were delicious and as dawn broke and the sun began to rise it really was the most perfect way to start a work morning.
With a visit between Christmas and New Year, the garden was still festively decorated and I loved the pink decorative accessories; especially the optional hot water bottles and the splash of colour bought the space to life adding a cosiness to the seating areas.

For anyone visiting London I couldn't recommend this space more, especially as there is no charge to enter, something which takes the sky Garden head and shoulders above its competitors, but also allowing you to eat & drink in spaces bathed by glorious views. For further detail on how to book a slot visit Sky Garden.

More of my breakfast adventures can be found here.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

2015 you were fabulous...

January is always a month of reflection for me and a time to take stock and reflect on the previous year before making any big changes... its also a chance to share some favourites from the previous year. Here's 15 favs from 2015;
1. January saw me visit the newly opened Sky Garden at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street. Its become one of my favourite places in London in 2015.
2, Lunch at the Ritz was on the menu in March for a friends 60th birthday. Beautiful surroundings, fab food and lots of fun.
3. 2015 saw me drive a new Fiat 500 off the forecourt and I have loved every minute of driving Taylor over the year.
4. Book fun with some author friends  (and a few pop stars!!) was the perfect way to spend a summer evening.
5. Something that is becoming a regular annual treat is a trip to the Chelsea Flower Show.... glorious in every way.
6. An absolute bucket list moment when I saw the divine Miss M live - Bette Midler an absolute superstar.
7. 2015 saw Spandau Ballet reform and travel the world with a fabulous show, me and the girls had a fabulous night reliving our youth and singing our heads off.
8. Claridges is becoming another favourite treat and a birthday breakfast was topped off with a cute macaroon birthday patisserie.

9.September saw me attend the premiere of the Rugby movie Building Jerusalem, where I met the gorgeous Jonny Wilkinson.
10.Being gifted a corporate ticket for the opening ceremony of the Rugby World cup was pretty spectacular and I loved it all.
11. Culmination of the world cup saw the All Blacks take the Webb Ellis trophy - during the tournament I saw the NZ team play twice and I got to see another rugby hero Dan Carter.
12. A dark misty night was the perfect setting to meet the author Patricia Cornwell in November and listen to her talk about one of my favourite book series of all time - the Scarpetta novels.
13. New York - probably one of my favourite visits and everyday was an adventure; including a trip to Washington.
14 - Back to Claridges for Christmas this time and a lovely festive breakfast in gorgeous surroundings..
15 - December saw Duran Duran take to the stage for one night and an opportunity to feel 14 all over again.They absolutely rocked the roof off and I had a fabulous time.... the perfect final treat for 2015.
As you can see 2015 was pretty fabulous and along with doing some amazing things, I got to spend some time with friends and family. 2015 was kind to me, but many of my friends weren't so lucky and for 2016 I wish it to be happier and healthier, filled with love, friendship and lots of love.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

hello January....

Hello January.....

One week in and I thought that as the decorations have now come down its time to give the blog a New Year spring clean for 2016. 
I'm not a big fan of resolutions and don't really make any drastic changes until March when Spring starts to glimmer and I've come out of my work induced and seasonal hibernation.
Over the coming weeks I will share some of my plans for the coming year but mainly I will be sharing more of my adventures from New York and December.
 I have a list of blog posts to write and schedule and a long list of Things To Do; however I am not going to stress like I have done previously.

1. New Year arrived with a bang. I thought the fire works this year were fabulous.
2. Still sifting through the New York photo's.
3.Planning lots of blog posts and things in my new Heidi Swapp planner.
4. Kate Spade diary for 2016 and life looking fabulous on my desk.
5. Worked throughout Christmas; many days the tube was like a ghost train.
6. Cold nights are drawing in and soon time to get the hot water bottle out; taking inspiration from the Sky Bar.
7. Planning more trips to the Sky Garden throughout the year.
8. Sad to say farewell to the lovely decorations, especially those in Covent Garden and the fabulous chanel no5 snow globe.
9. Desk treats for 2016 are glorious in black and gold.
I received lots of lovely things for Christmas... here are a few with a re-occurring theme! New York!!
Hope everyone is having a fabulous start to 2016; I look forward to reading all of your adventures this coming year.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Goodbye December....

Before we close our doors to 2015 and embark on a new adventure in 2016 its time to look back on my highlights from December. Spending the 1st week of the month in New York was just fabulous and was one of the best weeks that I had had there. (no week is anything other than great, but somehow this year was just fabulous)
The build up to Christmas was energetic, fast and full of fun things and will share more in January when the nights are long and cold and my diary is bare! Here's some of my instagram snaps from the month of favourite things.....
1. December Daily / Journal your Christmas - for the past 5 years I have documented and scrapbooked my December via prompts from the talented Shimelle; this year I am looking forward to doing the same and then crafting in the new year. Here is my album from 2014.
2. Duran Duran took to the stage at the O2 in December for an amazing gig where they absolutely rocked the roof off!..no Christmas songs, but lots of happy middle aged ladies!
3. Christmas songs - love getting the Christmas CD's and playlist on the ipod for trips in the car & tube.
4 & 5 Planning and wrapping are 2 of my christmas moments - every year a new theme; this year black, gold, silver & white. Loved this years themes.
6. Taylors 1st Christmas - boot filled with yellow bags and commuting to and from work singing along to Christmas tunes and decked with fairy lights!
7. Team night out involved Shake Shack and Somerset House for a night of Skate & Shack.
8. Christmas morning breakfast with Nans legendary sausage rolls.
9.Remembering loved ones passed during the festive season with holly wreaths and roses.
It wasn't just me that had lots of fun at Christmas - the kits had bundles of fun along with lazy sleeps too!
Fitz definitely the most inquisitive of the 2, or the one that got caught the most; whether sneaking kisses, exploring gift bags and even inside the tree he explored lots!  Darcy liked the holiday duvet lots and was often found asleep there or curled up with his brother on my lap or by the fire. He did find a parcel that he thought was his! With there own stocking from their fur buddies Jax & Roxy, they were not left out.
After much deliberation the Christmas tree went up late in T's terrace. From the many decorations that I have, I selected the black, gold, white and silver decorations to compliment my theme. I was really pleased with how it all came out.
The kits definitely seemed to like it and it was the first year with the kits that it remained upright for the holiday period!
Boxing Day was spent as in previous years at work. Driving into London, the streets were desolate until you hit the big department stores, were Q's snaked around the block.
Busy day all round and welcomed the sofa in the evening for a rest.
Early morning breakfast's in glorious surroundings were spent in December. Claridges in Christmas week was just magical and then the Sky Garden pre New Year watching the sun rise was equally as magical.
Detailed posts to follow.








As you can see December was busy and hard to believe how quick that it and 2015 have flown by. With the New Year approaching its time for a blog overhaul, with so much to share from Christmas I am going to keep the blog Christmassy until the 12th night when the decorations come down...
29 days ago I was standing in Times Square looking at the big silver ball that would drop on New Years Eve...