Monday, 26 January 2015

Up on the Roof...

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

Friday, 23 January 2015

Bucket List and Blog planning

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

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

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

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



  • Sunday, 18 January 2015

    Literary adventures in New York...

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

    14 festive reads from 2014...

    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 tin of quality street and as delicious to unwrap.
    Here's my thoughts on the 14 read for 2014;
    1. Christmas in the Snow - Karen Swan Allegra and Isobel are sisters, however they couldn't be more different. Allegra works in the cut-throat world of finance and is pitching the biggest deal of her life. Isobel is a yummy mummy to a toddler and happy to be a stay at home mum. Although their lives are different they have a mutual bond in caring for their mum who is in the grips of alzheimers. Mysteries and secrets unfold as a 60 year old hut is discovered in the swiss alps which link the girls to the body found. This leads to a impromptu visit to this ski village, where further secrets unfold. Aside from this Allegra is fighting for her pitch and career as a gorgeous one-night stand becomes a business rival and her safe and controlled world starts to un-ravel. I devoured this book when stuck on a delayed train and loved it. It takes you from the corporate financial world of London to the apres ski resorts of the swiss alps, throw in a gorgeous man and a little mystery along with some sisterly bonding and family secrets and you really do have a glorious read *****
    2. The Perfect Christmas - Kate Forster ~ Hollywood movie star Maggie embarks on an impromptu trip to London over the festive season with her friend and manager Zoe. Maggie plans to have the 'perfect' Christmas in London. Holly who works at the hotel that they stay at sets on arranging the perfect treats & sights for them during the holiday season, .. Maggie & Zoe embark on their own matchmaking trip during their stay at the hotel, which all culminates in Christmas eve carols at St Paul's Cathedral.... a lovely little read, showcasing London and some festive favourites in a gorgeous little read. ****
    3. Forever his Darling ~ Sarah Randall ~ Anastacia is at the top of her modelling career when she finds herself snowbound in the heart of Yorkshire at a Melville House - home and stud farm to Matt Darling. With an abandoned shoot and Christmas approaching Matt & Ana get to know each other with a lot of meddling from his sister and housekeeper. This seasonal read is filled with much fun, misunderstanding and some great characters.... a romp of a read, with a gorgeous brooding leading man.... loved it ****
    4. Christmas with Billy and me ~ Giovanna Fletcher ~ in this lovely little novella we re-join Sophie and her movie star boyfriend in Rosefont Hill at the little tea shop. Sophie is anonymously emailed to ask if the Little Tea shop can be used for a Christmas eve proposal, agreeing Sophie along with help from her family create the perfect proposal venue, culminating in a lovely surprise. It was lovely catching up with Sophie & Billy and their lives, especially set in such lovely festive surroundings. This little novella was like a big mug of hot chocolate, warming, delicious and like a very big hug. ****
    5. Little Shop of Hopes & Dreams ~ Fiona Harper ~ Alex is the New Years eve kiss that Nicole can't forget and now she finds herself planning his wedding to someone else with her wedding proposal business, the Little Shop of Hopes & Dreams. Alex & Nicole's paths keep crossing, culminating in another New Years eve. This was a lovely read and you completely start to root for Nicole from the start as she embarks on her business adventure, overcoming the school bullies and dealing with the 'one that got away'. ****
    6. The Little Christmas Kitchen ~ Jenny Oliver ~ When Ella & Maddy's parents divorced, Maddy lived with her mum in Greece and Ella stayed in London with her dad. Now adults, the girls find themselves trading places at Christmas due to Ella's errant husband's affair and Maddy desperately wishing to leave the Greek island that is home. Both girls embark on adventures that will not just change their Christmas but their lives... with a sprinkling of gorgeous greek christmas bakes and a great supporting cast of characters, this book whisks you from London to Greece in a great little read.***
    7. One Hundred Christmas Proposals ~ Holly Martin ~ in this Novella we join Harry & Suzie from One Hundred Proposals in the busy Christmas period. They have committed to arranging 100 proposals in December, culminating in a special New Years eve finale. Engaged themselves, Suzie starts to doubt if Harry still wants to marry her, especially when he starts to behave a little secretly. This was a lovely return to one of my favourite books from 2014 and a gorgeous festive read. delightful. ****
    8. Maybe this Christmas ~ Sarah Morgan ~ this is the 3rd book in Sarah Morgans snow trilogy, and the story of Brenna & Tyler. Brenna has lusted after Tyler since she was a schoolgirl, however Tyler has only ever seen her as his skiing partner and best friend... this Christmas things get shook up and suddenly Brenna & Tyler are more than friends. This book was a lovely return to Vermont and the family ski resort, catching up with old friends. This really is the ideal book of what the perfect christmas would be in a ski lodge, from the breathtaking snow capped mountains to the hot men!.. this book is like a winter snow globe, sprinkling magic and fairy dust on all. ****
    9. Sealed with a Christmas Kiss ~ Rachel Lucas ~ returning to the Scottish island of Auchenmor and the lives of Kate and the laird Roddy. Having decided to open up the ancestral home Duntarvie House for weddings, they find themselves agreeing to host a wedding over Christmas for an acquaintance of Kate's who is launching a wedding planning site. When things don't go according to plan with the wedding couple, Plan B kicks in involving Kate & Roddy and a Christmas eve wedding.... loved returning to Auchenmor and Rachel Lucas has written a gorgeous Christmas novella wrapping up Kate & Roddy's story in sumptuous festive style... ****
    10. The Great Christmas Knit off ~ Alexandra Brown ~ Heartbroken at being jilted at the altar, Sybil finds solace in her knitting, now her flat is filled with the overflow of her obsession. Realising that she may have caused a huge mistake at work, she flees to her best friend and the village of Tindledale. Here she finds Hattie's House of Haberdashery which is 'run' by Hattie who is now in her 80's and being bullied by her nephew to move into a nursing home. Sybil embarks on helping Hattie reestablish the house of haberdashery by knitting Christmas Jumpers... this was a delightful read, filled with fun and as warming as any Christmas jumper. It will make you want to move to the village of Tindledale and pull out your knitting needles, delightful. ****
    11. The Christmas Party ~ Carole Matthews ~ Single mum Louise is new to the corporate world and this is her 1st Christmas party at Fossil Oil Corporation... in amongst the fun, & frivolity of the festive party things aren't as perfect as they first appear and during the evening secrets begin to unravel and loves lost and new attractions start to rekindle and blossom. Spanning 3 days, Carole Matthews yet again sucks you into a story that you don't want to end. A fabulous read with some great characters that become like friends as you get to know them. Bravo CM.. rapidly becoming a Christmas tradition. *****
    12. I'll Take New York ~ Miranda Dickinson ~ I adored this book and desperately want the bookshop in Brooklyn owned by Bea. I think it helped that I was visiting New York when I read this book, which made it even more delightful. This book follows Fairytale in New York, but can easily be read as a stand alone. Beas boyfriend lets her down in spectacular style so she swears herself off men, Jake Steinmann moves back to NY from San Francisco after his wife asks for a divorce, a chance meeting as the 2 only singletons at a party see the pair make a pact to no relationships.... as friends they begin to explore the city and realise that the city may have other plans for them. Miranda Richardson has written a book, where New York becomes the 3rd character in the story and I loved exploring some of the paces that feature in this book... a must for any NY fan, culminating in a real "When Harry met Sally" moment on New Years eve.... magical *****
    13. Mistletoe Mansion - Samantha Tonge ~ masquerading as a housesitter- newly single & homeless Kimmy moves into Mitletoe mansion over the holiday season. Here she meets WAG Melissa who soon helps her launch her cupcake business by ordering lots of her Merry Berry cupcakes .. with a distracting handyman and a equally disturbing ghost Kimmy begins to live the life she always imagined. A fun read which eased my commute and had me chuckling on the tube. ***
    14. The Christmas Bucket List - Ella Fairlie ~ a cute little novella which follows Isobel as she works through her Christmas bucket list in London. Isobel's christmas in her native south africa is a continent away from her perfect christmas imagined. When her boyfriend/boss goes awol 5 days before Christmas, Isobel finds herself working through her list with work colleague Jamie. a delightful read filled with everything we imagine a perfect christmas to be... perfect for curling up in a cozy armchair with a hot chocolate.***
    I throughly enjoyed working my way through these 14 reads at Christmas ~ thankyou ladies for such fabulous reads and for keeping me entertained during my commutes & travels over the festive season.
    As delicious as a warm mince pie and a cream filled hot chocolate.....
    As you can see there is one book I haven't reviewed... pop over here for my thoughts on Alli Mcnamara's From Nottinghill with four weddings actually....

    Thursday, 15 January 2015

    Christmas isn't Christmas without Buble...

    Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a sprinkling of Michael Buble!... along with his festive album's, he has over the past 4 years owned the holiday season special.  He is a much part of my holiday traditions, which is why I was very excited to get tickets for his London show in December.
    I have seen Michael Buble several times over and is one of my favourite live acts.... an all round entertainer.
    Michael opened the show in glamorous red lit stage to Fever complete with legendary slide action!... he had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand... Michael's set list comprised of 20 songs and 4 for an encore, including some Christmas favourites - owning the stage for 2 hours.
    Set Listincluded: Fever, Haven't Met you Yet, All I want for Christmas is you, Try a Little Tenderness, Mack the Knife, Moondance, Come Dance with me, Feeling Good, Crazy Love,
    I've got the World on a String, Everything, Have yourself a Merry little Christmas, White Christmas, Home, Let it Snow ,

    Get Lucky, Ain't Too Proud to Beg,To Love Somebody, All you need is Love, Burning Love, Its a Beautiful Day.

    To Love Somebody, All you need is Love, Burning Love, Its a Beautiful Day.
    Michael crooned through many of his classics, fighting a cold and being very naughty with the audience!.... his opening speech promised a lots of fun, entertainment, some Christmas classics and to all the reluctant men in the audience a guarantee of some hot dirty sex when they got home!... much to the laughter and the camera crew zooming in on 2 very cute little girls in the front row!... this set the atmosphere for the night, which was fun, festive and fabulous.
    Encore:
    Cry me a River, Save the Last Dance for me, Christmas (baby please come home)
    and my absolute favourite A Song for You
    Michael put on a fabulous show and did not disappoint, the O2 was full to the rafters and every one was on their feet cheering at the end..... I loved it, he made me laugh, cry , dance & sing... the perfect night and a fabulous prelude for Christmas.... Christmas really isn't Christmas without a little Buble!

    Tuesday, 13 January 2015

    Rooftop dining at Le Chalet

    One of the most sought after tables for alfresco dining during the summer was on the rooftop at Selfridges and their collaboration with Q-Grill. Following this success of Q on the Roof, Le Chalet launched within the space for the Winter and it is a perfect apres-shop delight. Nestled on the rooftop high above the streets of the West End Le Chalet is shoppers ski lodge retreat.
    You enter Le Chalet via an express lift that transports you to the rooftop, where you enter via a fairy-light lit corridor into a space that is warm & inviting, bathed in sunlight during the day and candlelight during the night.
    Tables complete with woollen throws and rugs for chilly shoulders & knees add to the apres-shop ambiance. Le Chalet's menu offers breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea & dinner as well as some amazing hot chocolate cocktails.
    Friends & I grabbed a table in December for a quick bite to eat before we went for an evening with Michael Buble ... I chose the Buttermilk chicken schnitzel, with blue cheese fondue & seasoned chips. All were delicious, especially the buttermilk chicken.
    This was followed by Spiced Apple tart and custard, which was just perfect..... well worth the wait to bake!
    I loved the whole ambiance,and styling of Le Chalet, the food was good, however the service wasn't great and something that I did pass back to the team after visiting. I will visit again before the pop-up closes and hope to go during the day to enjoy the views across London as there is still more on the menu I would love to try.
    Le Chalet can be booked here.
    Q Grill also have a pop-up at Canary Wharf at the ice-rink as well as their signature restaurant in Camden.

    Monday, 12 January 2015

    Christmas at Claridges...

    One of my highlights of my Christmas countdown was an evening dining at Claridges. Bought as a gift the previous year and postponed due to my friends husband being ill in hospital, Claridges honored the booking and allowed us to visit this Christmas. Tucked away in a side street in Mayfair just a short walk from Oxford Street, this glamorous hotel is everything you imagine it to be and more. Sweeping into the art deco tiled lobby through the revolving doors you are transported back in time and decadence and in December greeted with the most gorgeous decorations and Christmas tree.
    Every year Claridges invite a fashion designer to decorate their tree in the foyer of the hotel This year it was the turn of designer Dolce & Gabbana.The tree was decorated with 300 hand glass blown baubles, hand painted with international flags from across the world and 9,000 fairy lights.
    A winter woodland scene was set at the base of the tree complete with animatronic reindeer's, rabbits & squirrels and a decadent red throne. The entrance and lobby of the hotel alongside the tree were bathed in gold, birdcages, baubles and woodland foliage. With a roaring fire in the firepace and sumptuous armchairs, this couldn't have been anymore inviting.... just gorgeous. 
    Moving through the lobby we were seated in the Reading room just off the Foyer for dinner. The rooms were busy with friends and families finishing off afternoon tea or an early dinner. With Christmas just around the corner we opted to dine off the festive menu. I choose : Roast goose salad Celeriac remoulade, crab apple jelly, and watercress.  Roast organic Cambridge Bronze turkey, roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, glazed sprouts, chestnuts, & bread sauce. Claridge’s Christmas pudding & Cognac Anglaise From the homemade rustic bread, through to the marshmallow petit fours with coffee every mouthful of this dinner was delicious. 
    The warm roast goose salad melted in the mouth and I would have been happy with this as a main course. With many main courses to choose from I opted for the turkey which along with all the vegetable trimmings was cooked to perfection. The turkey being the best I have ever had. Following such fabulous starters & main courses we opted for a rest before dessert and coffee.                         Dessert was Claridges world fabulous Christmas Pudding, doused in a 'healthy' dram of Brandy and set alight at the table...  delicious decadence in every mouthful.
    The service, and ambiance was perfect, we couldn't have asked for better. It wasn't just us that had a fabulous time that evening, the esteemed  actor Sir Ben Kingsley sat behind us during the evening, enjoying Christmas as Claridges. I loved my whole evening at Claridges and will be adding it to my Christmas must's for future festive seasons.... thankyou C for a fabulous gift & Claridges for exceeding all expectations.
    This wasn't my first trip to Claridges; I have previously visited for afternoon tea, both were fabulous however Christmas at Claridges is just that little bit special.

    Here is a sneak peak of how the Christmas fairies install christmas at Claridges...

    Boe & Burgers with friends...

    4 weeks ago back in December part of my Christmas activities included taking some special ladies in my life out for the evening to see Alfie Boe. The golden girls as they are affectionately known are big Alfie fans and I grabbed tickets for them as a Christmas treat.
    We headed to the O2 early so that we could make the most of the evening, the O2 has undergone a huge development of food offers and we were pleasantly surprised at the choices we had, opting for burgers at Byron.
    A couple of us opted for the Holy Cheesemas  ~ 2 6oz patties, four kinds of cheese;mature cheddar, american, red leicester, monterey jack, double bacon, red onion , iceberg, pickles & cheesemas sauce. With sides of fries, onion rings & a Brooklyn Beer it was the perfect pick me up from from stateside slump having returned from NY that week.
    Having been fed and watered we moved into the arena to be entertained by Mr Boe for the evening. We saw Alfie in Brighton in 2013 and expected a similar type of how, how wrong we were, this was a completely different show, complete with a fabulous orchestra & band.
    Highlights of the evening were of course the gorgeous "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables.

    At the end of the evening Alfie pulled a lady Emily out of the audience who asked to sing with him and this is what happened... Alfies reaction is just lovely
    .
    Myself and the golden girls had a fabulous evening and I am delighted to have ticked another box on their bucket lists!

    Saturday, 3 January 2015

    Hello 2015.......

    Well January is here and it cant come quick enough for me. The last week of December I spent predominately under a duvet, with the worse flu virus I've had (note to self, DO NOT miss flu jab in 2015!).. I did return to work too early, and its taking me ages to feel anything other than tired.
    I had so many gorgeous things planned in December and to finish off 2014, some I did do, which I will share with you this month; they include Dinner at Claridges, evenings with Alfie Boe and Michael Buble and of course Christmas. There is no news on Florence, so I am now battling the insurance company which will continue into 2015 unfortunately.
    Normally by this stage I have some plans mapped for the new year, but this year I am bucking the trend and sharing some of my favourite moments from 2014.
    1. Back in March I spent that day with 6 lovely ladies learning how to love my camera and to use it for blogging/social media and styling. Emily was a lovely teacher and I thoroughly enjoyed the day and have gained confidence with my camera in 2014. (more of the day here) 
    2. In September the gorgeous David Gandy launched his underwear collection for M&S to much delight by myself and many other ladies in London!
    3. Christmas 2014 saw one of my favourites Michael Buble return to the O2.... perfect night. The king of croon and Christmas did not disappoint. Here's Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas 
    4. In October I spent a glorious Sunday at the Savoy in decadent luxury, which was just amazing, now saving for another stay!
    5. September saw me meet the Spandau Ballet boys on the red carpet at the Albert Hall and watch the premiere of the Soul Boys movie..... relived my teens in glorious surroundings.
    6. An afternoon tea Mr Selfridge style and and evening in Memphis were the perfect treats with my 2 golden girls.
    7. The poppies at the Tower grew throughout the summer and became one of the most humbling sights in London for 2014. I visited often and every-time is left me speechless, here are more images from posts in 14.
    8. Summer in the City.... had a fabulous summer exploring the city, its parks and enjoying the glorious weather.
    9. Jonny Wilkinson hangs up his golden boots..... May saw me travel to Cardiff to watch JW play in the final of the Heineken cup against Saracens, it was his last game in UK soil before retiring from the game.... those gorgeous thighs will be missed!
    10. Claridges at Christmas was one of my festive favourites and I will share more details in January.
    11. New York in December was just gorgeous..... so many adventures which will be shared in full in 2015. My favourite city at my favourite time of year, magical.
    12. Paddington made a huge return in 2014 which was delightful, bringing back so many lovely memories from childhood, complete with marmalade sandwiches.
    13. Invictus Games - from the opening ceremony to the wheelchair rugby I had a humbling experience cheering along the wounded armed forces heroes. ( Prince Harry & Jonny Wilkinson were added bonuses!!) 
    14. Books & coffee, the perfect combination for downtime in 2014. I read lots and drunk lots, finding some great little coffee venues in London and NY to relax & read.... my kindle was my best friend in 2014.
    I hope that 2015 finds you all well and I look forward to sharing my adventures over the coming year....Thank you for sharing my adventures so far, for all the lovely comments and good wishes... Happy New Year to you all x


    Wednesday, 24 December 2014

    Christmas wishes to all

    As I type this Christmas Eve is coming to a close and Christmas Day is rapidly approaching. I want to wish you all a very Happy Christmas.

    I will be updating blog on the flurry of festive activities over the coming week, however now I'm doing the last minute bits before the big day arrives. Much Love Teresa & Merry Christmas x


    Sunday, 14 December 2014

    Christmas Plans...

    Midway through December and the panic has set in..... I am nowhere near ready for Christmas and since coming back from New York I have tripped from one disaster to another.....  If I didn't have such lovely things planned I would creep under my duvet and not come out until Spring!...
    Disaster 1~ the night before I flew to New York I managed to loose my work cards,and all my bank cards.... not something you need to do 8 hours before you board a flight across the Atlantic, thankfully I had $ but it was still a tad inconvenient.
    Disaster 2~ Florence my little car was stolen Tuesday whilst I was at work, which means that I am now having to deal with insurance companies etc... on top of Christmas this is an added stress that I do't need....
    Now waiting for the 3rd!....as they say bad luck comes in threes!
    Other than New York, I have done some lovely things and still have more planned. (blog posts to come)
    Cinema treats ~ the fabulous Paddington movie. A perfect family movie that will bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your heart.
    Bubbledogs ~ team night out full of fun & laughter, hotdogs and champagne.
    Byron Burger ~ Cheesmas burger, girly fun over burgers & boe.
    Alfie Boe ~ a great night at the O2 with the mecanic who became a tenor.
    This week I have some amazing treats to look forward to including Dinner at Le Chalet (Selfridges rooftop restaurant) an evening with Michael Buble, and Dinner & Drinks at Claridges. I also have an evening planned at friends for dinner and to exchange gifts for christmas ( I do have to think about wrapping some of that this week) The Christmas To Do list grows, but as I'm home alone this year I'm not going to stressed too much if it doesn't all get done....
    what have you got planned?.... are you all ready?... would love to hear how you are all getting on.


    Saturday, 13 December 2014

    Please look after this bear.....

    Some weeks ago I shared the Selfridges story of Paddington Bear and how fabulous the Everyman Cinema is in the basement of the big yellow store.
    Recently I spent an evening in this gorgeous little cinema to watch this Christmas's family treat Paddington. It really did feel that the lovable bear had come home.
    The film is magical from start to finish, a couple of times during the film it tugged on my heart strings an a tear came to the eye, it also had lots of fun and laughter and made my heart smile lots.
    Paddington finds himself leaving his beloved Peru and Aunt Lucy to embark on a huge adventure to London. Homeless and lonely he is found by the Brown family.... 
    here he is having tea & cake with Mr Brown (played by English gent Hugh Bonneville)
    Paddington is desperate to find the original explorer who visited Peru many years before and The Brown family offer their help in this, although thinks don't go to plan and he finds himself out in London on his own in the rain at Buckingham Palace.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this film, it was feel good, funny and had a fabulous villain in the guise of Nicole Kidman who plays a villainous taxidermist who resides in the bowels of the Natural History Museum. Great supporting cast & characters from Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent and voices of Ben Wishaw, Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon.
    Paddington has been making a surprise appearance in the yellow store during December much to the delight of children big & small!

    Monday, 8 December 2014

    A slice of the Big Apple....

    Hello.... I'm back from the Big Apple and straight into the flurry of work and Christmas events!
    The suitcase is only partially unpacked and I have over 1,000 pictures to review and edit!.... some of which I will be sharing over the coming weeks, so bare with me as I share a brief slice of my week.
    My 5 days stateside were fabulous and I packed so much in, when I look back on the pictures I think I will be posting all through January to share my adventures!....and adventures I had!
    My 5 days featured seeing rock stars, film stars and former presidents!...  I ate a sprinkle of cupcakes and supped a few cocktails, and savored lots of coffee!. My travels saw me walk many miles, and I lived lots of movie moments.
    There was also lots of fun and festivities as New York switched from Thanksgiving into full Happy Holiday's mode. The gorgeous tree was lit at The Rockefeller Centre whilst I was there. In amongst the festivities there was also time for some quite reflection at St Patrick's Cathedral and the heartbreaking 9/11 memorial museum and lots of protests in light of recent news events.
    My love of books also featured heavily in my trip.... my kindle was filled with fabulous NY reads which I will be sharing with you along with some great literary loves in New York, including the gorgeous NY library.
    I hope that I have tickled your taste buds from the Big Apple, and pop back for some bigger bites in days/weeks to come....

    Tuesday, 2 December 2014

    10 years on....

    And I'm back in the city that holds my heart for more than one reason...... This is where I was 10 years ago when I received the news that my Nan had died.... She was so much more to me than just a Nan... She was my confident, friend, and matriarchical grandmother in one and I loved her unconditionally.
    Growing up with her was a joy, and I got 34 years of that, of which I am blessed.... We had many 'things' and one of them was whereever I travelled she was my last call before I boarded at the gate. I never expected for that call on December 1st 2004 would be the last time I heard her voice and her "I love you Polly, be safe" would be the last thing she said to me.
    Within 12 hours of that call, I was in Times Square scrambling to catch a flight back to try and see her as the Dr's had given her hours to live.... Unfortunately I only managed to get to JFK & be at the boarding gate when I got the call to say it was too late.... On my own and with an 8 hour flight ahead of me, I thought my world had ended....
    So with a heavy heart in amongst the glamour & excitement of this amazing city today I will light a candle in St Patricks Cathedral for the women who loved me unconditionally and shaped the woman I am today... Thankyou Nannie... I love you, miss you and think of you every day....u
    10 years ago I lost a big chunk of my heart in this city, every time I return it heals a small part.❤️��

    Sunday, 30 November 2014

    Hello New York....

    As we say goodbye to November and say hello to December I will be on route to New York!.... I am really looking forward to it and kicks off my Countdown to Christmas in amazing style..... I am busy packing with my NY capsule wardrobe.....
    The weather looks mixed for the week, so I am packing or cold, sun & rain!... I hope to post via instagram and even post a couple of blog posts if I get the chance.... if not I will update you all when I return. I have 62 things on my "NY to Do" list...                
    see you all soon..... x


    Tuesday, 25 November 2014

    New York State of Mind.....

    This time next week I will be waking up in the city that doesn't sleep..... yes I am off to New York! I am a little excited.
    It's 2 years since I was last there and really looking forward to going back. My bucket-list of things to do/see/eat/drink is in excess of 60 ... not sure I will achieve that in 5 days, but I will do my hardest.
    My Instagram feed is full of pictures which are just adding to the excitement, here a few of my favourite sights over the last couple of weeks...
    • Saks holiday lights & Rockefeller Angels from marekrr
    • Rockefeller centre from library hotel
    • a fabulous B&W street photo taken by DanTVusa
    • Centre St/Broome St Taxi scene from A guy named patrick.
    • Veterans Day lit Empire State from Dantvusa
    • Bloomingdales gorgeous photo of the One World Trade centre
    • Brooklyn Bridge & City skyline from David Gandy
    • Empire State lit in Tiffany Blue for Alzheimers
    • Fall follliage in Central park from russnyc.
    As well as collating favourite sights, I have also collated some of my favourite eats & drinks locations. Looking at my list I think I am going to eat & drink my way around the city!
    • Sprinkles cupcakes & Bloomingdale's - the perfect combination.
    • Katz Deli - if it was goo enough for Harry & Sally then its good enough for me!
    • Baked - so pleased to see this Brooklyn Baker has moved into the Tribeca 
    • Sweet Revenge - a favourite NY must, where else can you get cupcakes & wine!
    • The Smith - perfect for breakfast & dinner... will definitely be visiting more than once. 
    • Campbell Apartment bar - tucked into the eves of Grand Central Station, looking forward to sipping a cocktail here in one of Gossip Girls favourites ... xoxo..
    • Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate & EggNog from Shake shack.... not just great burgers.
    • Bookmark Lounge in The Library Hotel, cocktails to match literary greats... complete with a heated balcony lounge.
    As I'm typing this I have my New York playlist on in the background and I'm listening to the aptly named New York State of Mind!.... showcasing Billy Joel & Barbara Streisand.
    will be sharing more of my New York countdown this week....

    Monday, 26 January 2015

    Up on the Roof...

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

    Friday, 23 January 2015

    Bucket List and Blog planning

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

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

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

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



  • Sunday, 18 January 2015

    Literary adventures in New York...

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

    14 festive reads from 2014...

    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 tin of quality street and as delicious to unwrap.
    Here's my thoughts on the 14 read for 2014;
    1. Christmas in the Snow - Karen Swan Allegra and Isobel are sisters, however they couldn't be more different. Allegra works in the cut-throat world of finance and is pitching the biggest deal of her life. Isobel is a yummy mummy to a toddler and happy to be a stay at home mum. Although their lives are different they have a mutual bond in caring for their mum who is in the grips of alzheimers. Mysteries and secrets unfold as a 60 year old hut is discovered in the swiss alps which link the girls to the body found. This leads to a impromptu visit to this ski village, where further secrets unfold. Aside from this Allegra is fighting for her pitch and career as a gorgeous one-night stand becomes a business rival and her safe and controlled world starts to un-ravel. I devoured this book when stuck on a delayed train and loved it. It takes you from the corporate financial world of London to the apres ski resorts of the swiss alps, throw in a gorgeous man and a little mystery along with some sisterly bonding and family secrets and you really do have a glorious read *****
    2. The Perfect Christmas - Kate Forster ~ Hollywood movie star Maggie embarks on an impromptu trip to London over the festive season with her friend and manager Zoe. Maggie plans to have the 'perfect' Christmas in London. Holly who works at the hotel that they stay at sets on arranging the perfect treats & sights for them during the holiday season, .. Maggie & Zoe embark on their own matchmaking trip during their stay at the hotel, which all culminates in Christmas eve carols at St Paul's Cathedral.... a lovely little read, showcasing London and some festive favourites in a gorgeous little read. ****
    3. Forever his Darling ~ Sarah Randall ~ Anastacia is at the top of her modelling career when she finds herself snowbound in the heart of Yorkshire at a Melville House - home and stud farm to Matt Darling. With an abandoned shoot and Christmas approaching Matt & Ana get to know each other with a lot of meddling from his sister and housekeeper. This seasonal read is filled with much fun, misunderstanding and some great characters.... a romp of a read, with a gorgeous brooding leading man.... loved it ****
    4. Christmas with Billy and me ~ Giovanna Fletcher ~ in this lovely little novella we re-join Sophie and her movie star boyfriend in Rosefont Hill at the little tea shop. Sophie is anonymously emailed to ask if the Little Tea shop can be used for a Christmas eve proposal, agreeing Sophie along with help from her family create the perfect proposal venue, culminating in a lovely surprise. It was lovely catching up with Sophie & Billy and their lives, especially set in such lovely festive surroundings. This little novella was like a big mug of hot chocolate, warming, delicious and like a very big hug. ****
    5. Little Shop of Hopes & Dreams ~ Fiona Harper ~ Alex is the New Years eve kiss that Nicole can't forget and now she finds herself planning his wedding to someone else with her wedding proposal business, the Little Shop of Hopes & Dreams. Alex & Nicole's paths keep crossing, culminating in another New Years eve. This was a lovely read and you completely start to root for Nicole from the start as she embarks on her business adventure, overcoming the school bullies and dealing with the 'one that got away'. ****
    6. The Little Christmas Kitchen ~ Jenny Oliver ~ When Ella & Maddy's parents divorced, Maddy lived with her mum in Greece and Ella stayed in London with her dad. Now adults, the girls find themselves trading places at Christmas due to Ella's errant husband's affair and Maddy desperately wishing to leave the Greek island that is home. Both girls embark on adventures that will not just change their Christmas but their lives... with a sprinkling of gorgeous greek christmas bakes and a great supporting cast of characters, this book whisks you from London to Greece in a great little read.***
    7. One Hundred Christmas Proposals ~ Holly Martin ~ in this Novella we join Harry & Suzie from One Hundred Proposals in the busy Christmas period. They have committed to arranging 100 proposals in December, culminating in a special New Years eve finale. Engaged themselves, Suzie starts to doubt if Harry still wants to marry her, especially when he starts to behave a little secretly. This was a lovely return to one of my favourite books from 2014 and a gorgeous festive read. delightful. ****
    8. Maybe this Christmas ~ Sarah Morgan ~ this is the 3rd book in Sarah Morgans snow trilogy, and the story of Brenna & Tyler. Brenna has lusted after Tyler since she was a schoolgirl, however Tyler has only ever seen her as his skiing partner and best friend... this Christmas things get shook up and suddenly Brenna & Tyler are more than friends. This book was a lovely return to Vermont and the family ski resort, catching up with old friends. This really is the ideal book of what the perfect christmas would be in a ski lodge, from the breathtaking snow capped mountains to the hot men!.. this book is like a winter snow globe, sprinkling magic and fairy dust on all. ****
    9. Sealed with a Christmas Kiss ~ Rachel Lucas ~ returning to the Scottish island of Auchenmor and the lives of Kate and the laird Roddy. Having decided to open up the ancestral home Duntarvie House for weddings, they find themselves agreeing to host a wedding over Christmas for an acquaintance of Kate's who is launching a wedding planning site. When things don't go according to plan with the wedding couple, Plan B kicks in involving Kate & Roddy and a Christmas eve wedding.... loved returning to Auchenmor and Rachel Lucas has written a gorgeous Christmas novella wrapping up Kate & Roddy's story in sumptuous festive style... ****
    10. The Great Christmas Knit off ~ Alexandra Brown ~ Heartbroken at being jilted at the altar, Sybil finds solace in her knitting, now her flat is filled with the overflow of her obsession. Realising that she may have caused a huge mistake at work, she flees to her best friend and the village of Tindledale. Here she finds Hattie's House of Haberdashery which is 'run' by Hattie who is now in her 80's and being bullied by her nephew to move into a nursing home. Sybil embarks on helping Hattie reestablish the house of haberdashery by knitting Christmas Jumpers... this was a delightful read, filled with fun and as warming as any Christmas jumper. It will make you want to move to the village of Tindledale and pull out your knitting needles, delightful. ****
    11. The Christmas Party ~ Carole Matthews ~ Single mum Louise is new to the corporate world and this is her 1st Christmas party at Fossil Oil Corporation... in amongst the fun, & frivolity of the festive party things aren't as perfect as they first appear and during the evening secrets begin to unravel and loves lost and new attractions start to rekindle and blossom. Spanning 3 days, Carole Matthews yet again sucks you into a story that you don't want to end. A fabulous read with some great characters that become like friends as you get to know them. Bravo CM.. rapidly becoming a Christmas tradition. *****
    12. I'll Take New York ~ Miranda Dickinson ~ I adored this book and desperately want the bookshop in Brooklyn owned by Bea. I think it helped that I was visiting New York when I read this book, which made it even more delightful. This book follows Fairytale in New York, but can easily be read as a stand alone. Beas boyfriend lets her down in spectacular style so she swears herself off men, Jake Steinmann moves back to NY from San Francisco after his wife asks for a divorce, a chance meeting as the 2 only singletons at a party see the pair make a pact to no relationships.... as friends they begin to explore the city and realise that the city may have other plans for them. Miranda Richardson has written a book, where New York becomes the 3rd character in the story and I loved exploring some of the paces that feature in this book... a must for any NY fan, culminating in a real "When Harry met Sally" moment on New Years eve.... magical *****
    13. Mistletoe Mansion - Samantha Tonge ~ masquerading as a housesitter- newly single & homeless Kimmy moves into Mitletoe mansion over the holiday season. Here she meets WAG Melissa who soon helps her launch her cupcake business by ordering lots of her Merry Berry cupcakes .. with a distracting handyman and a equally disturbing ghost Kimmy begins to live the life she always imagined. A fun read which eased my commute and had me chuckling on the tube. ***
    14. The Christmas Bucket List - Ella Fairlie ~ a cute little novella which follows Isobel as she works through her Christmas bucket list in London. Isobel's christmas in her native south africa is a continent away from her perfect christmas imagined. When her boyfriend/boss goes awol 5 days before Christmas, Isobel finds herself working through her list with work colleague Jamie. a delightful read filled with everything we imagine a perfect christmas to be... perfect for curling up in a cozy armchair with a hot chocolate.***
    I throughly enjoyed working my way through these 14 reads at Christmas ~ thankyou ladies for such fabulous reads and for keeping me entertained during my commutes & travels over the festive season.
    As delicious as a warm mince pie and a cream filled hot chocolate.....
    As you can see there is one book I haven't reviewed... pop over here for my thoughts on Alli Mcnamara's From Nottinghill with four weddings actually....

    Thursday, 15 January 2015

    Christmas isn't Christmas without Buble...

    Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a sprinkling of Michael Buble!... along with his festive album's, he has over the past 4 years owned the holiday season special.  He is a much part of my holiday traditions, which is why I was very excited to get tickets for his London show in December.
    I have seen Michael Buble several times over and is one of my favourite live acts.... an all round entertainer.
    Michael opened the show in glamorous red lit stage to Fever complete with legendary slide action!... he had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand... Michael's set list comprised of 20 songs and 4 for an encore, including some Christmas favourites - owning the stage for 2 hours.
    Set Listincluded: Fever, Haven't Met you Yet, All I want for Christmas is you, Try a Little Tenderness, Mack the Knife, Moondance, Come Dance with me, Feeling Good, Crazy Love,
    I've got the World on a String, Everything, Have yourself a Merry little Christmas, White Christmas, Home, Let it Snow ,

    Get Lucky, Ain't Too Proud to Beg,To Love Somebody, All you need is Love, Burning Love, Its a Beautiful Day.

    To Love Somebody, All you need is Love, Burning Love, Its a Beautiful Day.
    Michael crooned through many of his classics, fighting a cold and being very naughty with the audience!.... his opening speech promised a lots of fun, entertainment, some Christmas classics and to all the reluctant men in the audience a guarantee of some hot dirty sex when they got home!... much to the laughter and the camera crew zooming in on 2 very cute little girls in the front row!... this set the atmosphere for the night, which was fun, festive and fabulous.
    Encore:
    Cry me a River, Save the Last Dance for me, Christmas (baby please come home)
    and my absolute favourite A Song for You
    Michael put on a fabulous show and did not disappoint, the O2 was full to the rafters and every one was on their feet cheering at the end..... I loved it, he made me laugh, cry , dance & sing... the perfect night and a fabulous prelude for Christmas.... Christmas really isn't Christmas without a little Buble!

    Tuesday, 13 January 2015

    Rooftop dining at Le Chalet

    One of the most sought after tables for alfresco dining during the summer was on the rooftop at Selfridges and their collaboration with Q-Grill. Following this success of Q on the Roof, Le Chalet launched within the space for the Winter and it is a perfect apres-shop delight. Nestled on the rooftop high above the streets of the West End Le Chalet is shoppers ski lodge retreat.
    You enter Le Chalet via an express lift that transports you to the rooftop, where you enter via a fairy-light lit corridor into a space that is warm & inviting, bathed in sunlight during the day and candlelight during the night.
    Tables complete with woollen throws and rugs for chilly shoulders & knees add to the apres-shop ambiance. Le Chalet's menu offers breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea & dinner as well as some amazing hot chocolate cocktails.
    Friends & I grabbed a table in December for a quick bite to eat before we went for an evening with Michael Buble ... I chose the Buttermilk chicken schnitzel, with blue cheese fondue & seasoned chips. All were delicious, especially the buttermilk chicken.
    This was followed by Spiced Apple tart and custard, which was just perfect..... well worth the wait to bake!
    I loved the whole ambiance,and styling of Le Chalet, the food was good, however the service wasn't great and something that I did pass back to the team after visiting. I will visit again before the pop-up closes and hope to go during the day to enjoy the views across London as there is still more on the menu I would love to try.
    Le Chalet can be booked here.
    Q Grill also have a pop-up at Canary Wharf at the ice-rink as well as their signature restaurant in Camden.

    Monday, 12 January 2015

    Christmas at Claridges...

    One of my highlights of my Christmas countdown was an evening dining at Claridges. Bought as a gift the previous year and postponed due to my friends husband being ill in hospital, Claridges honored the booking and allowed us to visit this Christmas. Tucked away in a side street in Mayfair just a short walk from Oxford Street, this glamorous hotel is everything you imagine it to be and more. Sweeping into the art deco tiled lobby through the revolving doors you are transported back in time and decadence and in December greeted with the most gorgeous decorations and Christmas tree.
    Every year Claridges invite a fashion designer to decorate their tree in the foyer of the hotel This year it was the turn of designer Dolce & Gabbana.The tree was decorated with 300 hand glass blown baubles, hand painted with international flags from across the world and 9,000 fairy lights.
    A winter woodland scene was set at the base of the tree complete with animatronic reindeer's, rabbits & squirrels and a decadent red throne. The entrance and lobby of the hotel alongside the tree were bathed in gold, birdcages, baubles and woodland foliage. With a roaring fire in the firepace and sumptuous armchairs, this couldn't have been anymore inviting.... just gorgeous. 
    Moving through the lobby we were seated in the Reading room just off the Foyer for dinner. The rooms were busy with friends and families finishing off afternoon tea or an early dinner. With Christmas just around the corner we opted to dine off the festive menu. I choose : Roast goose salad Celeriac remoulade, crab apple jelly, and watercress.  Roast organic Cambridge Bronze turkey, roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, glazed sprouts, chestnuts, & bread sauce. Claridge’s Christmas pudding & Cognac Anglaise From the homemade rustic bread, through to the marshmallow petit fours with coffee every mouthful of this dinner was delicious. 
    The warm roast goose salad melted in the mouth and I would have been happy with this as a main course. With many main courses to choose from I opted for the turkey which along with all the vegetable trimmings was cooked to perfection. The turkey being the best I have ever had. Following such fabulous starters & main courses we opted for a rest before dessert and coffee.                         Dessert was Claridges world fabulous Christmas Pudding, doused in a 'healthy' dram of Brandy and set alight at the table...  delicious decadence in every mouthful.
    The service, and ambiance was perfect, we couldn't have asked for better. It wasn't just us that had a fabulous time that evening, the esteemed  actor Sir Ben Kingsley sat behind us during the evening, enjoying Christmas as Claridges. I loved my whole evening at Claridges and will be adding it to my Christmas must's for future festive seasons.... thankyou C for a fabulous gift & Claridges for exceeding all expectations.
    This wasn't my first trip to Claridges; I have previously visited for afternoon tea, both were fabulous however Christmas at Claridges is just that little bit special.

    Here is a sneak peak of how the Christmas fairies install christmas at Claridges...

    Boe & Burgers with friends...

    4 weeks ago back in December part of my Christmas activities included taking some special ladies in my life out for the evening to see Alfie Boe. The golden girls as they are affectionately known are big Alfie fans and I grabbed tickets for them as a Christmas treat.
    We headed to the O2 early so that we could make the most of the evening, the O2 has undergone a huge development of food offers and we were pleasantly surprised at the choices we had, opting for burgers at Byron.
    A couple of us opted for the Holy Cheesemas  ~ 2 6oz patties, four kinds of cheese;mature cheddar, american, red leicester, monterey jack, double bacon, red onion , iceberg, pickles & cheesemas sauce. With sides of fries, onion rings & a Brooklyn Beer it was the perfect pick me up from from stateside slump having returned from NY that week.
    Having been fed and watered we moved into the arena to be entertained by Mr Boe for the evening. We saw Alfie in Brighton in 2013 and expected a similar type of how, how wrong we were, this was a completely different show, complete with a fabulous orchestra & band.
    Highlights of the evening were of course the gorgeous "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables.

    At the end of the evening Alfie pulled a lady Emily out of the audience who asked to sing with him and this is what happened... Alfies reaction is just lovely
    .
    Myself and the golden girls had a fabulous evening and I am delighted to have ticked another box on their bucket lists!

    Saturday, 3 January 2015

    Hello 2015.......

    Well January is here and it cant come quick enough for me. The last week of December I spent predominately under a duvet, with the worse flu virus I've had (note to self, DO NOT miss flu jab in 2015!).. I did return to work too early, and its taking me ages to feel anything other than tired.
    I had so many gorgeous things planned in December and to finish off 2014, some I did do, which I will share with you this month; they include Dinner at Claridges, evenings with Alfie Boe and Michael Buble and of course Christmas. There is no news on Florence, so I am now battling the insurance company which will continue into 2015 unfortunately.
    Normally by this stage I have some plans mapped for the new year, but this year I am bucking the trend and sharing some of my favourite moments from 2014.
    1. Back in March I spent that day with 6 lovely ladies learning how to love my camera and to use it for blogging/social media and styling. Emily was a lovely teacher and I thoroughly enjoyed the day and have gained confidence with my camera in 2014. (more of the day here) 
    2. In September the gorgeous David Gandy launched his underwear collection for M&S to much delight by myself and many other ladies in London!
    3. Christmas 2014 saw one of my favourites Michael Buble return to the O2.... perfect night. The king of croon and Christmas did not disappoint. Here's Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas 
    4. In October I spent a glorious Sunday at the Savoy in decadent luxury, which was just amazing, now saving for another stay!
    5. September saw me meet the Spandau Ballet boys on the red carpet at the Albert Hall and watch the premiere of the Soul Boys movie..... relived my teens in glorious surroundings.
    6. An afternoon tea Mr Selfridge style and and evening in Memphis were the perfect treats with my 2 golden girls.
    7. The poppies at the Tower grew throughout the summer and became one of the most humbling sights in London for 2014. I visited often and every-time is left me speechless, here are more images from posts in 14.
    8. Summer in the City.... had a fabulous summer exploring the city, its parks and enjoying the glorious weather.
    9. Jonny Wilkinson hangs up his golden boots..... May saw me travel to Cardiff to watch JW play in the final of the Heineken cup against Saracens, it was his last game in UK soil before retiring from the game.... those gorgeous thighs will be missed!
    10. Claridges at Christmas was one of my festive favourites and I will share more details in January.
    11. New York in December was just gorgeous..... so many adventures which will be shared in full in 2015. My favourite city at my favourite time of year, magical.
    12. Paddington made a huge return in 2014 which was delightful, bringing back so many lovely memories from childhood, complete with marmalade sandwiches.
    13. Invictus Games - from the opening ceremony to the wheelchair rugby I had a humbling experience cheering along the wounded armed forces heroes. ( Prince Harry & Jonny Wilkinson were added bonuses!!) 
    14. Books & coffee, the perfect combination for downtime in 2014. I read lots and drunk lots, finding some great little coffee venues in London and NY to relax & read.... my kindle was my best friend in 2014.
    I hope that 2015 finds you all well and I look forward to sharing my adventures over the coming year....Thank you for sharing my adventures so far, for all the lovely comments and good wishes... Happy New Year to you all x


    Wednesday, 24 December 2014

    Christmas wishes to all

    As I type this Christmas Eve is coming to a close and Christmas Day is rapidly approaching. I want to wish you all a very Happy Christmas.

    I will be updating blog on the flurry of festive activities over the coming week, however now I'm doing the last minute bits before the big day arrives. Much Love Teresa & Merry Christmas x


    Sunday, 14 December 2014

    Christmas Plans...

    Midway through December and the panic has set in..... I am nowhere near ready for Christmas and since coming back from New York I have tripped from one disaster to another.....  If I didn't have such lovely things planned I would creep under my duvet and not come out until Spring!...
    Disaster 1~ the night before I flew to New York I managed to loose my work cards,and all my bank cards.... not something you need to do 8 hours before you board a flight across the Atlantic, thankfully I had $ but it was still a tad inconvenient.
    Disaster 2~ Florence my little car was stolen Tuesday whilst I was at work, which means that I am now having to deal with insurance companies etc... on top of Christmas this is an added stress that I do't need....
    Now waiting for the 3rd!....as they say bad luck comes in threes!
    Other than New York, I have done some lovely things and still have more planned. (blog posts to come)
    Cinema treats ~ the fabulous Paddington movie. A perfect family movie that will bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your heart.
    Bubbledogs ~ team night out full of fun & laughter, hotdogs and champagne.
    Byron Burger ~ Cheesmas burger, girly fun over burgers & boe.
    Alfie Boe ~ a great night at the O2 with the mecanic who became a tenor.
    This week I have some amazing treats to look forward to including Dinner at Le Chalet (Selfridges rooftop restaurant) an evening with Michael Buble, and Dinner & Drinks at Claridges. I also have an evening planned at friends for dinner and to exchange gifts for christmas ( I do have to think about wrapping some of that this week) The Christmas To Do list grows, but as I'm home alone this year I'm not going to stressed too much if it doesn't all get done....
    what have you got planned?.... are you all ready?... would love to hear how you are all getting on.


    Saturday, 13 December 2014

    Please look after this bear.....

    Some weeks ago I shared the Selfridges story of Paddington Bear and how fabulous the Everyman Cinema is in the basement of the big yellow store.
    Recently I spent an evening in this gorgeous little cinema to watch this Christmas's family treat Paddington. It really did feel that the lovable bear had come home.
    The film is magical from start to finish, a couple of times during the film it tugged on my heart strings an a tear came to the eye, it also had lots of fun and laughter and made my heart smile lots.
    Paddington finds himself leaving his beloved Peru and Aunt Lucy to embark on a huge adventure to London. Homeless and lonely he is found by the Brown family.... 
    here he is having tea & cake with Mr Brown (played by English gent Hugh Bonneville)
    Paddington is desperate to find the original explorer who visited Peru many years before and The Brown family offer their help in this, although thinks don't go to plan and he finds himself out in London on his own in the rain at Buckingham Palace.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this film, it was feel good, funny and had a fabulous villain in the guise of Nicole Kidman who plays a villainous taxidermist who resides in the bowels of the Natural History Museum. Great supporting cast & characters from Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent and voices of Ben Wishaw, Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon.
    Paddington has been making a surprise appearance in the yellow store during December much to the delight of children big & small!

    Monday, 8 December 2014

    A slice of the Big Apple....

    Hello.... I'm back from the Big Apple and straight into the flurry of work and Christmas events!
    The suitcase is only partially unpacked and I have over 1,000 pictures to review and edit!.... some of which I will be sharing over the coming weeks, so bare with me as I share a brief slice of my week.
    My 5 days stateside were fabulous and I packed so much in, when I look back on the pictures I think I will be posting all through January to share my adventures!....and adventures I had!
    My 5 days featured seeing rock stars, film stars and former presidents!...  I ate a sprinkle of cupcakes and supped a few cocktails, and savored lots of coffee!. My travels saw me walk many miles, and I lived lots of movie moments.
    There was also lots of fun and festivities as New York switched from Thanksgiving into full Happy Holiday's mode. The gorgeous tree was lit at The Rockefeller Centre whilst I was there. In amongst the festivities there was also time for some quite reflection at St Patrick's Cathedral and the heartbreaking 9/11 memorial museum and lots of protests in light of recent news events.
    My love of books also featured heavily in my trip.... my kindle was filled with fabulous NY reads which I will be sharing with you along with some great literary loves in New York, including the gorgeous NY library.
    I hope that I have tickled your taste buds from the Big Apple, and pop back for some bigger bites in days/weeks to come....

    Tuesday, 2 December 2014

    10 years on....

    And I'm back in the city that holds my heart for more than one reason...... This is where I was 10 years ago when I received the news that my Nan had died.... She was so much more to me than just a Nan... She was my confident, friend, and matriarchical grandmother in one and I loved her unconditionally.
    Growing up with her was a joy, and I got 34 years of that, of which I am blessed.... We had many 'things' and one of them was whereever I travelled she was my last call before I boarded at the gate. I never expected for that call on December 1st 2004 would be the last time I heard her voice and her "I love you Polly, be safe" would be the last thing she said to me.
    Within 12 hours of that call, I was in Times Square scrambling to catch a flight back to try and see her as the Dr's had given her hours to live.... Unfortunately I only managed to get to JFK & be at the boarding gate when I got the call to say it was too late.... On my own and with an 8 hour flight ahead of me, I thought my world had ended....
    So with a heavy heart in amongst the glamour & excitement of this amazing city today I will light a candle in St Patricks Cathedral for the women who loved me unconditionally and shaped the woman I am today... Thankyou Nannie... I love you, miss you and think of you every day....u
    10 years ago I lost a big chunk of my heart in this city, every time I return it heals a small part.❤️��

    Sunday, 30 November 2014

    Hello New York....

    As we say goodbye to November and say hello to December I will be on route to New York!.... I am really looking forward to it and kicks off my Countdown to Christmas in amazing style..... I am busy packing with my NY capsule wardrobe.....
    The weather looks mixed for the week, so I am packing or cold, sun & rain!... I hope to post via instagram and even post a couple of blog posts if I get the chance.... if not I will update you all when I return. I have 62 things on my "NY to Do" list...                
    see you all soon..... x


    Tuesday, 25 November 2014

    New York State of Mind.....

    This time next week I will be waking up in the city that doesn't sleep..... yes I am off to New York! I am a little excited.
    It's 2 years since I was last there and really looking forward to going back. My bucket-list of things to do/see/eat/drink is in excess of 60 ... not sure I will achieve that in 5 days, but I will do my hardest.
    My Instagram feed is full of pictures which are just adding to the excitement, here a few of my favourite sights over the last couple of weeks...
    • Saks holiday lights & Rockefeller Angels from marekrr
    • Rockefeller centre from library hotel
    • a fabulous B&W street photo taken by DanTVusa
    • Centre St/Broome St Taxi scene from A guy named patrick.
    • Veterans Day lit Empire State from Dantvusa
    • Bloomingdales gorgeous photo of the One World Trade centre
    • Brooklyn Bridge & City skyline from David Gandy
    • Empire State lit in Tiffany Blue for Alzheimers
    • Fall follliage in Central park from russnyc.
    As well as collating favourite sights, I have also collated some of my favourite eats & drinks locations. Looking at my list I think I am going to eat & drink my way around the city!
    • Sprinkles cupcakes & Bloomingdale's - the perfect combination.
    • Katz Deli - if it was goo enough for Harry & Sally then its good enough for me!
    • Baked - so pleased to see this Brooklyn Baker has moved into the Tribeca 
    • Sweet Revenge - a favourite NY must, where else can you get cupcakes & wine!
    • The Smith - perfect for breakfast & dinner... will definitely be visiting more than once. 
    • Campbell Apartment bar - tucked into the eves of Grand Central Station, looking forward to sipping a cocktail here in one of Gossip Girls favourites ... xoxo..
    • Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate & EggNog from Shake shack.... not just great burgers.
    • Bookmark Lounge in The Library Hotel, cocktails to match literary greats... complete with a heated balcony lounge.
    As I'm typing this I have my New York playlist on in the background and I'm listening to the aptly named New York State of Mind!.... showcasing Billy Joel & Barbara Streisand.
    will be sharing more of my New York countdown this week....