Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Book Love ~ June

This months book reads have been a joy, I have travelled to New York, Turkey, as well as some gorgeous fictional villages in England. They have featured Cake, Fairytale castles, Shoes and lots of gorgeous men!
Heidi Swain – The Cherry Tree Café - Lizzie Dixon thinks that her boyfriend is about to propose but instead she finds herself dumped and heading back home to a village that she grew up in and thought that she had left a couple of years previously. Jemma her best friend is delighted to have her back and gets her helping her to restore the run down little cafe in the village that she has bought.  Jemma's high school crush Ben is also back in the village and the spare bedroom of Jemma and her husband and also is thrown into help restore the cafe. Utilising her sewing skills she starts to transform The Cherry Tree Cafe and also slowly starts to build her broken heart.This along with a budding friendship with Ben, Lizzie needs to decide if the village is a short term stop or a long term plan. - this is a delightful read and I only wished that there was a Cherry Tree Cafe near me!..
Caroline Roberts - The Cosy Teashop in the Castle  – Ellie takes a big gamble and bluffs her way into securing her dream job of running her own tea rooms in the grounds of a Claverham castle. Escaping from the humdrum of office life, her secure little family unit and nursing a broken heart she moves into a room within the towers of the castle and sets about living her dream and that of her beloved Nanna. Armed with her Nanna's trusty recipe & baking book Ellie sets about convincing both her family and the rather old fashioned traditional Lord Henry, owner of said castle that not only is she capable but can run a profitable business. Slowly with slices of cake, kindness and lots of hard work Ellie starts to win over the locals, Lord and Tourists visiting the tea rooms. As with all recipes, a cake isn't perfect without a little love and a sprinkle of magic and Ellie finds this start to bloom with the brooding estate manager Joe. Can Ellie find the show stopping success that she deserves both in and out of the kitchen… This is a lovely easy read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Caroline narrates in a way that you feel like you are living the life at the castle alongside Ellie. The characters are funny and you see the work family develop as the story unfolds, along with a couple of twists and surprises. Ellie is a delight and I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
Jill Mansell – You and Me Always – Lily lost her mum at a young age, she has been bought up by her mums best friend Coral and her old baby sitter Patsy, surrounded by love in a village that has really taken her to all their hearts. Her best friend is Dan, Patsy's naughtier younger brother who is incorrigible with the ladies, but always finds himself falling back to Lily's friendship.
 We meet Lily on her 25th birthday where she is given the last letter that her mum wrote to her before she died. Here Lily's mum reveals the surname of the man (Declan) that was her one true love , (alas not Lily's dad) and a bracelet that he gave her – Lily embarks on tracking him down to find out more about her mum. On the same day Lily also meets a famous film star actor Eddie who Patsy is harbouring secretly in her house and suddenly Lily's world in the quiet village of Stanton Langley is suddenly turned upside down. Jill Mansell has been one of my favourites and never disappoints, I really liked Lily and loved the story and adventures that she had.
A.L. Michael – Goodbye Ruby Tuesday - Four friends; Ruby, Evie, Mollie & Chelsea were the bad girls at school, thrown together as the misfits, of all the girls Ruby was the baddest. Often in detention they dreamed of bigger & better things; Ruby a singer, Evie as an artist, Mollie as a baker and Chelsea as a dancer. 10 years later the girls meet up at the funeral of Ruby a pop star who died at the height of her fame. It seems that only Ruby fulfilled her dream, and in her will she leaves the girls a house in Camden with conditions. This is book 1 in the Camden Square series and I am avidly looking forward to book 2. The characters are complex and interesting and have good back stories as well as the story of making Camden square a success and fulfilling their dreams. This book resonated lots with me as I am still friends with my 2 besties from school and related to lots of the school girl humour within this. 
Debbie Johnson – The Birthday that Changed Everything - Sally Summers knew that her husband wasn't likely to surprise her with an amazing birthday present, what she didnt expect was that he would leave her for a Latvian lap dancer half her age. With her life a complete mess she books a holiday to the blue bay resort in Turkey with her reluctant kids for some sun, sea and relaxation. Here she meets a group of people that meet up the same 2 weeks every year at the Blue Bay, one being a gorgeous Irish man James. It seems that all of the friends have secrets but take Sally to heart and encourage her to become part of the group. This book is funny, heartwarming and a great holiday read relaxing on a sun-lounger - if you have ever wondered about the friendships created lounging around the pool this is perfect for you.
Marcie Steele - The Second Chance Shoe Shop Riley Flynn manages Chandlers show shop in the town centre, Sadie works for Riley and is slowly trying to build her and her daughters life after the death of her husband. Riley is desperate to bring Chandlers into the 21st century but is being met with resistance from the owner who is threatening the shop with closure. Riley starts a social media campaign to attract some interest for the shop and through this she crosses paths with a freelance photographer Ethan. Riley is recovering from a broken heart and resists Ethans advances, however as her social media profile builds, she finds herself struggling with the realities of what that brings and suddenly the shoe shop that she loves is in jeopardy. This is a fun read and fans of social media and shoes will adore this.
Sarah Morgan – Sleepless in Manhattan - ok I've thoroughly enjoyed all the books that I have read this month, but Sleepless in Manhattan just tips the rest as my favourite. Great friends. Amazing Apartment. An incredible job. Paige has ticked off every box on perfect New York life checklist. Until disaster strikes and instead of shimming further up the career ladder, Paige is packing up her desk.
Her brother’s best friend Jake might be the only person who can help her put her life back together. He also happens to be the boy she spent her teen years pining after, and Paige is determined not repeat her past mistakes. But the more time she spends with Jake, the more Paige realises the one thing that was missing from her world all along: The perfect New York love story… Oh I loved this book and Jack really is the most gorgeous hero. This book is a must for anyone who loves New York and dreams of living in a Brooklyn Brownstone. All the characters are great and cant wait for the next instalment.

Jo Jo Moyes – Me before You – a re-read after seeing the movie at the beginning of the month. A book that stayed with me on reading the first time and continues to leave a mark on my heart on the 3rd read and the seeing the movie. Heart-breaking love story that makes you want to live every day as if its your last and urges you to #Liveboldly. 

Thankyou authors for 8 fab reads for June, I've loved them, definitely a pile that have featured some of my favourites; New York, Shoes, Cake & castles!...I am now 41 books into my 75 book reading challenge….Here's the previous 33 from 2016.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Makelight in Kew

Last month I shared with you my Makelight adventures on my photography walk in Hampstead. This month I joined Emily and some other makelighters on a walk around the lovely Green and Gardens of Kew.
I have visited Kew before but have always travelled by car, this time having worked the morning I travelled by train and got to explore some of the beautiful roads and gardens around the station.
Arriving early I was able to explore for some time before meeting up with Emily & Co on the village green. Along with snapping lots of doors I was also able to capture some favourites of this month - Roses. From Aprils blossom, to May's wisteria I have loved capturing natures floral seasons each month.

As well as some beautiful gardens and blooms, Kew Green also houses a gorgeous pond.  Considering how close to the road the pond is, I was amazed to see a family of swans setting up home, complete with a brood of signets. I spent awhile watching them on and off the water, a very loving family.
On meeting up with Emily we set off for a wander around the green - i'm not sure what the villagers and the locals in the pub thought of us with our cameras and i phones out snapping doors, windows & foliage.
We entered Kew from the Elizabeth gate where we passed the Nash Conser vatory which was being set up for a wedding. The following day I read that a TV presenter from channel 4 married in Kew the previous day!....
We walked up-to Kew palace where another family of ducks and signets were resting under a tree. Normally I am a flower girl but the trees at Kew fascinate me. There size, age and the shapes that they grow are stunning.



A trip to Kew wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Palm house - which really is like a mini rain forest, the heat and humidity is replicated so that the palms and plants that live within are exactly as they would be in their natural environment. I even ventured up the spiral iron staircase to view the planting & palms from above.

After a leisurely coffee it was soon time for our walk to be finished and for us all to head home to review all our images taken. As with previous walks & workshops with Emily I learnt lots and my confidence with my photos is growing. I met some lovely ladies and I am enjoying seeing their images on social media.
I look forward to further Makelight adventures.
Here's some of mine from previous walks & workshops with Emily.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Breakfast at The Connaught

Over the last year I have shared some of my favourite breakfast stops within London and last Friday I stopped for breakfast in a venue that has been on my "Breakfast & Brunches" list. Fridays breakfast stop was at The Connaught - sister hotel to Claridges and The Berkeley and part of the Maybourne hotel group.
The Connaught sits in St Carlos place a short walk from Bond Street in the heart of Mayfair. Its a beautiful hotel steeped in old school classic glamour. Breakfast is served in the ESpelette which overlooks Tadao Ando's Silent water feature which is a calm tranquil pool offering haven to a family of ducks in the corner of the Mayfair village.
The revolving doors that you enter via lead you into a dark wood lobby, complete with sweeping staircase and a fireplace. The Maybourne group are renowned for their stunning floral displays within their hotel (here's a recent trip to The Berkeley) This weeks floral displays were glorious puffs of hydrangeas and peonies, perfect for the start of June...
Even the bathroom had its own hydrangea display along with a vanity units filled with delicious Dior treats.
I was seated alongside the window which offered a view of the square and I watched the world wake-up.
I opted for the full English which is a healthy option for me on Slimming world and thoroughly enjoyed it all.
The food was delicious and the service and ambience was impeccable. I loved my Friday fry-up treat in lovely surroundings.
The Connaught is a gorgeous hotel and I will definitely go back for another visit.... thank-you Connaught for making me feel welcome and special.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Movie moment with Me before You

I have shared previously my love of Jo Jo Moyes book Me before You, and was thrilled when the
news broke that it had been picked up for a movie.  The book left a huge impact on me even though I sobbed at the ending I loved the book.
With the release of the trailer, the tears fell again and applauded the casting of Sam Claflin as the quadriplegic Will Trayner and Emilia Clarke as the ditzy loveable Louise Clark.


Friday the movie was  released and I booked a ticket to see it at my local Everyman cinema after work - (fully booked for a 6.20pm showing) armed with a box of tissues I settled down for 2 hours of tears and laughter. Jo Jo Moyes has written the screen play and what a fabulous job she has done. There are some parts that have been cut (as with all book to screen adaptations) but the casting is fabulous and they absolutely capture the characters. 
Those not familiar with the book; Lou Clark finds herself being
employed as a carer /companion to Will. Will is a gorgeous live life to the full kind guy who after a tragic accident is bound to a wheel chair dependant on all to just manage the basics of living. He has promised his parents 6 months and they employ Lou as his companion. What evolves is a magical heartbreaking journey of discovery and one of the most romantic love stories bought to the screen.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film and cried at several key moments during the film as did the majority of the audience. The subject matter is controversial, but has been shown in a beautiful way and the film has had as profound affect on me as did the book. Huge applause to JoJo Moyes and the cast and crew.
It really is quite beautiful and I will see it again. For now I am reading book 2 and finding out what happened next.
This book / film will question your beliefs, it will make you treasure those that you love and it will make you #liveboldly. Don't put off til tomorrow what you can do today.... 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Hello June....

So June is here along with an arctic blast from the north and dreary weather in London. It seems that other areas of the country are bathed in glorious sunshine and temps hotter than the med except the capital!... So as I shared earlier this week I am now on a countdown at work to leaving and moving onto a new adventure... I am sure I will share more nearer the time and relive some of my favourite Selfridges moments.
June is fairly quiet for me, things planned are:
  • A trip to Scotland to celebrate my goddaughters wedding - Taylor and I will be taking a trip, complete with wedding cake!
  • Continue with my Slimming World journey ( a blog post to come)
  • Breakfast treat at The Connaught Hotel (sister of Claridges)
  • Movie nights with a couple of trips planned to the cinema... kicking off this weekend with one of my favourite books "Me before You" by Jo Jo Moyes.

Work eases up a little bit with the Sale season (lots of shopping!) and I am hopping to catch-up on some reading and have several books queued on the Kindle.
I also have a list of blog posts to catchup on featuring photo walks, new york, books, food and movies.... Regular posts will include the books that I have read during the month, my Instagram and social media favourites and share with you some of the slices of my life in London, home & the kits.
As you can see the blog has had a  spring/summer make-over from the blues and pinks of May to the peaches and blush of summer.... heres to a fun filled month.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Farewell May....

How we are heading into the 6th month of the year is quite amazing, this year is
passing so quickly. May was a month for me filled with some big decisions, some travel, fun and a reminder that friendships are very special. May also saw me catch-up on some blog posts from previous months, I was on a role until I lost broadband at home for 10 days which made me realise how dependant our lives have become on technology & wifi, so I still have a backlog of posts which I am slowly working my way through.
So where do I start!.... May saw me celebrate 10 years of being at the big yellow store, I have had an amazing adventure at the home of Mr Selfridge, but my adventure is coming to an end as I have made the decision to leave and start a new adventure with a new family. From August I will be joining the Fenwick family on Bond Street in a new role. This is hugely exciting and has been a really big decision for me, it's one that has taken up lots of sleep, and counsel with my closest friends over the past few weeks along with lots of meetings and discussions once the big decision was made. Aside from this work has been busy with new launches, a celeb guest appearance from Kendal Jenner to launch the new estee edit range and I also have spent lots of time exploring the streets of London on my walk to and from work.
Last month I spent a Saturday afternoon walking the streets of Hampstead with Emily and some of her makelight ladies, this month I spent a lovely afternoon exploring Kew green and gardens with Emily and some new makelight ladies… pop back later this month when I will share more of my day.
May saw 2 weekends filled with big Rugby adventures as Saracens reached the finals of both the European Champions Cup and the Aviva Premiership cup… the champions cup was held in Lyon. I had a fab 24 hours in the French countryside. The Aviva premiership was a little closer to home in West London at Twickenham on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. Both games Saracens were the victors, sealing the double in Europe and the Uk which has made for lots of celebrations. I thoroughly enjoyed myself at both games, even if Sarries did make for a nail biting finish in both games!
Closer to home I have been enjoying some down time reading, walking, catching up with friends and enjoying some relatively good weather (although today is quite horrid).
May also saw me book a holiday for next year with my Aunt, not only has she managed to get me away from my desk for 16 days, she has also managed to get me to agree to going on a ship!... we have booked to cruise the Baltics, travelling to St Petersburg and then back via Sweden / Norway… so I'm swotting up on my Danish & Russian, with Wallander, The Killing and war & Peace cued up on my kindle & ipad.
May saw London awash with floral displays to coincide with the Chelsea Flower show, I enjoyed a couple of early morning walks photographing some of my favourites; Claridges, Peggy Porschen, and The Ivy Garden on the Kings Road. (separate blog post to follow). The Kits turns 3 in May and Fitz passed the day sleeping and Darcy spent it trying to eat my peonies that I bought back from France!.... I have so many blog posts to share, I hope that you pop back over the coming weeks to read more of my adventures from the month along with regular features. I hope that May has been filled with lots of lovely things and I look forward to sharing June with you ... 

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Insta Love ~ May


May has been a busy month for me on social media today I am going to share some of my favourite images posted during the month, later this week I am going to share some of what I've been doing on Social media and some photo adventures..
May's instagram has been awash with images of Spring moving into Summer and a lot of my feed was filled with gorgeous pictures of blossom's and wisteria... I couldn't just pick one image so there are 9 of each along with 9 of the fun things that made me smile this month along with 9 gorgeous images of a fab launch from M&S!
  • Oh My Gandy ticked lots of boxes with this image of Simon Le Bon, Yasmin and David Gandy at the recent Vogue 100 party.
  • Love Claridges feed and their lobby florals were beautiful during May.
  • Johnny Yonkers is one of my favourite photographers that shoots in and around New York, this stunning image of the One World Trade center in its birthday month is stunning.
  • Sticking with New York, this image from the Empire State Building is lit purple & blue to honour those that have fallen within the line of duty for Police Memorial week.... beautiful.
  • Blue bell love from Buildarocketbickers is captured perfectly.
  • Fireworks captured over the bay of St Ives from my friend Ali Mcnamara is just fabulous... here week on the Cornwall coast is captured gloriously in her feed this month.
  • A new feed for me this month, but with her glorious home covered in wisteria I have fallen in love with Charlotte_annefidler 's posts... how beautiful is this sunset.
  • Georgianlondon's image of wisteria in charlbury is perfect....
  • and finally Emily Quinton's image of her bouquet which she created 100 images from one bouquet on her Makelight account is lovely.
May started with the blossom season in full bloom... here are a few of my favourites from some of my favourite places in beautiful hues of pink...
* katya_jackson - has captured the early blooms of blossom along with a lovely coordinated little fiat 500
* dancingwiththeflowers -bicycles and magnolia.. perfectly coordinated, a dreamy feed, so many lovely images.
* meanderingmacaron - another favourite feed.. whats not to love about blossom and little figaro's
* sparrowflu - Michael shoots some of the most beautiful images of London.. this blossom at St Pauls is stunning.
* nyclovesnyc - Noel's image of the cherry blossom at roosevelt island is fabulous. I love his images of new york.
* love this image that dc_explorer - captured of marine one flying past the Washington monument and the cherry blossom is fab.
* janemeans image of the blossom at the Notre Dame in Paris is delightful... a departure from her ribbns and wrapping, but have loved her images of her recent trips to Paris and Luxembourg. - wrapping around the world.
* Having visited the the_berkeley  last month, their flowers are some of my favourites each month... how beautiful are these blossoms
* winsomelaiws  is a travel food photographer and when Starbucks launched their spring cups, she captured it perfectly against a backdrop of cherry blossom.
  Charlotte_annefidler wisteria covered house is just gorgeous in both daylight & dusk.
3. Love mrsjpage 's image of her wisteria and her gorgeous boxer Izzy... the look of indifference is just fabulous.
4. Elena's capture of a pink door behind the wisteria in Notting hill is stunning.
5. Love this shot of the wisteria in Cambridge by scwilder it is lovely.
6. Room with a view captured perfectly by amykatefelicity.
7.Georgianlondon's wisteria in London is perfect - this year it seems that the Wisteria has bloomed in abundance.
8. I couldn't post favourites without an image from Emily Quinton this house in Dulwich is delightful.
9, Final image is of Siobhaise the perfect pretty city london shot.
My final favourites for the month of May are from M&S and the gorgeous David Gandy. May saw the launch of DG's 2nd swimwear collection with his Gandy autograph collection with M&S. Shot in on the South African coastline it is just gorgeous.... along with the video this has brightened many a dull day in May!
Thankyou all for sharing such lovely images during May, they have been beautiful, fun full of flowers, fauna & delicious men! With 3 instagram accounts now -@tcake31 for London life and things that I love,@tcaketess for planner, crafting & stationery happiness and my healthy eating journey on @tcakes_sw_adventure pop over and say hi... look forward to seeing what May brings on insta love.
I hope you have had fun with my social media Sunday loves ... here's some from previous months... 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Book Love - May


My reading challenge continued in May with 5 books completed, a little bit of a slowdown from April. This was partially due to the fact that I am walking more after work which cuts into my reading time on the tube as I am now walking from Bond Street to Liverpool Street a couple of times a week when the weather is fine.
This months reads are a mixed bag of mystery, murder, love and friendship and have taken me to Italy, Jersey, 'Up North' the South of France and the English countryside.
Last month I waxed lyrically about a new author that I had discovered Helen H Durrant, May saw me continue with the Calladine / Bayliss police partnership in the 4th book of this detective series with Dead Lost. The pair find themselves investigation a series of events which lead to a group of homeless people that have set up camp in a disused cotton mill, which as the story develops becomes more horrific. Alongside this the pair have to juggle their personal lives alongside their professional, as the investigation develops they find that the crimes are are further reaching than they imagined. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and with each story they become a little more darker and complex. D.I Calladine is definitely becoming a little bit of a guilty pleasure and look forward to reading the next in the series.
My next read saw be hoping the channel to Jersey for Georgina Troy's – A Jersey Kiss – here we meet Bea who along with dealing with a messy divorce is learning to live without her beloved god mother. Bea's god mother has left her, her beautiful home along with "A Jersey Kiss" which is proving to be a bit of a mystery. At work an old flame Tom reappears in her life, along with a gorgeous builder Luke who she hires to action some repairs to her home. With her ex-husband threatening court action for half of her home, Bea's life is a little chaotic, with the thought of losing her home, and some serious trust issues she has little time for romance, however things aren’t always as they seem and the mysterious legacy could be the thing that saves it all. This is a lovely story and I really liked Bea, being familiar with Jersey having spent some time there in my teens it was easy to visualise some of the places within this book. Having enjoyed this book I immediately downloaded the 2nd book within the series which is loosely connected to book 1.
A JerseyAffair is Georgina's 2nd book and features Paige. Paige is jilted days before her wedding and decides to spend her honeymoon for one in Sorrento. Paige is a shoe designer and has a small shop within one of Jersey's old department stores. Whilst on her 'onemoon' she meets Sebastian Fielding, a wealthy entrepreneur, he spends a platonic 2 weeks with Paige showing her the sights and sounds of Sorrento and its surrounding coastline and Paige's broken heart slowly begins to mend. On returning to Jersey Paige finds out that her department store is being taken over and the mystery buyer is none other than Sebastian, can their budding romance survive the threat of Paige losing her shop and  dealing with the press intrusion. Another delightful read from Georgina and had me scouring travel sites for a short stay in Sorrento. Sebastian is quite delicious and I enjoyed catching up with some of the characters from the previous book…. Book 3 is now downloaded and sitting in my "to read" list.
My 4th read of the month is a Jill Mansell novel – Three Amazing things about You. Jill is one of my all-time favourite authors and yet again she didn’t disappoint with this book. In this book we meet 3 women, Hallie, Flo and Tasha unbeknown to each of them they will all become connected in ways that they never would have thought of; Hallie is a young women who is on a donor lost awaiting a lung transfer having suffered with cystic fibrosis all her life. We meet Hallie as she is heading for the hospital having received the call that a donor has been found. Hallie for the past few years has been hiding a number of secrets; 1. She is the author of a blog which answers peoples problems via 3 things about you, what she has never shared is who she is and the condition she has, she shares her secret on route to the hospital. Her other secret is that she is in love with the most perfect man, something she has never shared with her best friend or even him an now time is running out should she share that secret too? Flo has met Zander through the most bizarre circumstances, Zander's scary sister loathes Flo and the thought of them becoming friends would send her apoplectic, anything more would send her crazy. Tasha meets her perfect man and the only issue is that he is a bit of an adrenaline junkie, the complete opposite to safe, planned Tasha. She spends her tome apart from him worrying that something terrible is going to happen. One day all these womens lives collide and their lives will be intricately woven for ever more. This was a thought provoking emotional read, and Jill manages to make you laugh, cry and think in every chapter. I loved Hallie and desperately wanted her life to be better… I will leave it up to you to read to find out if she got her happy ending and got the courage to share her secrets.
My final read for the month is The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard – Emmy Jamieson books a fortnights escape to a guesthouse in the French Countryside with her boyfriend Nathan. After 5 years their relationship has become a little dull and Emmy is hoping a couple of weeks in the south of France will inject a little life into their lives. Having barely unpacked Emmy's holiday takes a turn when she finds her boyfriend with his pants down with the owners cougar wife Gloria and the owner Rupert collapsing with a suspected heart attack unaware of his wifes antics. Nathan & Gloria scarper and leave Emmy holding the fort at the guesthouse and gites. With Rupert convalescing, Emmy agrees to stay and help out for the remaining holiday. She finds herself thrust into the heart of the local community which involves a sexy young gardener, and a infuriating delicious accountant. Emmy finds herself extending her stay and with Ruperts support she has some decisions to make about her future. This is a lovely read and one that I devoured whilst travelling through the French countryside on Eurostar with a large coffee and croissant. I loved Emmy and the characters were delightful. I do hope that Helen does a follow-up as I am sure that there are future stories with some of the supporting cast.
Thankyou authors for 5 fab reads for May, I've enjoyed travelling in Italy, France, Jersey alongside some heartache, murder, mystery, fun and friendship…. I am now 33 books into my 75 book reading challenge…. Here's the previous 28 from 2016.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Make-light in Hampstead

A few weeks ago I spent a fun filled Saturday afternoon exploring and
photographing the streets and heath of Hampstead with a dozen other ladies. I had never visited Hampstead before and grabbed the opportunity to explore this lovely little corner of London with Emily Quinton. I met Emily a couple of years ago when I attended one of her photography workshops, I enjoyed it so much I spent a day food styling with her last year. Emily has now added photography walks to her make light portfolio in some of London's most loveliest of places.
The walk started early afternoon and although the day was a little cold and overcast it didn’t spoil the fun that the groups of us girls had in the lanes and side streets of Hampstead. I'm not sure what any of the residents thought of us snapping images on our phones and cameras of their front doors and gardens, but I fell in love with many of the houses and gardens as we walked around.
 No time with Emily would be complete without a prop or two and a beautiful bunch of blooms from a local florist added much fun and silly image opportunities for some of us along with video fun from E herself.


After a good couple of hours of walking, photographing and chatting we finished the day off with tea & cake in a local restaurant, swapping images, instagram accounts and details. I enjoyed myself so much that I came home and booked for the next walk which will be within the grounds of Kew gardens.

Prior to meeting up with the makelight ladies I spent an hour exploring the heath and the surrounding streets leading to the high street. 















Some of my favourite images from the day are of a man and his gorgeous dog….

Friday, 20 May 2016

24 hours in Lyon ..... part1

I have already shared the 2nd half of my 24 hours in Lyon with some culture and food, the first half was a little different and evolved around a game of rugby. My trip was planned to attend the European Champions Cup Final between Saracens and French team Racing Metro.
This was Saracens 2nd time reaching the Final of this championship, having lost to Toulon in Cardiff at the last final, so there was much to play for in France. When Saracens won their semi-final I was on the internet immediately booking tickets for Eurostar and the game as I knew with Racing metro securing the other spot it would be incredibly popular. This game would also allow me to see one of my rugby hero's Dan Carter who now plays fly half for Racing after leaving New Zealand and the All Blacks after the world cup.
With the weather a mixture of sunshine and heavy showers it would make for a greasy game. The game was being held at the newly built Stade de Lyon stadium on the outskirts of the town. The main public transport to and from the ground is via tram, which was much fun and a first for me to travel to a from a rugby game in. One of the things that I noticed lots when I was travelling to and around Lyon is the poppies dotted everywhere. I saw lots from the Eurostar as I travelled across France and it really struck a chord to see them. There were several blooming around the ground which many fans commented on as we walked to the game.
I arrived at the game early as I had been told to expect lengthy security checks and they didn’t lie, aside from the Olympics this was the lengthiest checks that I had ever had at a game; including a full body pat down. Arriving at the game early allowed me to see Jonny Wilkinson being interviewed by Will Greenwood and the squads warming up between the very heavy rain showers. This also allowed me to spend lots of time gazing at Dan Carter and his thighs as Racing were warming up near to where I was sitting!.
Having purchased my ticket from the French ticketmaster I found myself surrounded by Racing fans who were very friendly and not too hostile as the game commenced!
With a fanfare of fireworks the game kicked off at 5.30 to a huge roar from the crowd. The ground was a sea of blue with pockets of red and black for the Saracens fans.

 From previous experience final games are usually tight fought contests, with neither side wanting to take too many chances, thus preventing conceding penalties and points. This game was much of that with both teams holding tight to the ball and points being gained from penalty kicks instead of trys.
All points scored by Sarries coming off of the boot of Own Farrell. Racing always seemed to be on the back foot and were penalised a number of times. With heavy rain during the warm-up hour it made for a slippery and greasy game with the ball being lost by both teams several times.
 2nd half saw Racing attempt a comeback and at one point with minutes to go I thought that they may push a try across the line, however the Sarries boys held their nerve and defence and were crowned champions as the final whistle blew.
Huge celebrations took place as the Champions cup was presented and red & black flags waved around the stadium to roars of "Sarries". Here are some images from the game and the after celebrations.

The atmosphere was amazing and I am so glad that I made the journey from home to Lyon to watch the game, I got to see so many Rugby heroes: Jonny Wilkinson, Dan Carter and Sarries lift the Champions cup a bit of a dream weekend for a Rugby girl.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Book Love ~ June

This months book reads have been a joy, I have travelled to New York, Turkey, as well as some gorgeous fictional villages in England. They have featured Cake, Fairytale castles, Shoes and lots of gorgeous men!
Heidi Swain – The Cherry Tree Café - Lizzie Dixon thinks that her boyfriend is about to propose but instead she finds herself dumped and heading back home to a village that she grew up in and thought that she had left a couple of years previously. Jemma her best friend is delighted to have her back and gets her helping her to restore the run down little cafe in the village that she has bought.  Jemma's high school crush Ben is also back in the village and the spare bedroom of Jemma and her husband and also is thrown into help restore the cafe. Utilising her sewing skills she starts to transform The Cherry Tree Cafe and also slowly starts to build her broken heart.This along with a budding friendship with Ben, Lizzie needs to decide if the village is a short term stop or a long term plan. - this is a delightful read and I only wished that there was a Cherry Tree Cafe near me!..
Caroline Roberts - The Cosy Teashop in the Castle  – Ellie takes a big gamble and bluffs her way into securing her dream job of running her own tea rooms in the grounds of a Claverham castle. Escaping from the humdrum of office life, her secure little family unit and nursing a broken heart she moves into a room within the towers of the castle and sets about living her dream and that of her beloved Nanna. Armed with her Nanna's trusty recipe & baking book Ellie sets about convincing both her family and the rather old fashioned traditional Lord Henry, owner of said castle that not only is she capable but can run a profitable business. Slowly with slices of cake, kindness and lots of hard work Ellie starts to win over the locals, Lord and Tourists visiting the tea rooms. As with all recipes, a cake isn't perfect without a little love and a sprinkle of magic and Ellie finds this start to bloom with the brooding estate manager Joe. Can Ellie find the show stopping success that she deserves both in and out of the kitchen… This is a lovely easy read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Caroline narrates in a way that you feel like you are living the life at the castle alongside Ellie. The characters are funny and you see the work family develop as the story unfolds, along with a couple of twists and surprises. Ellie is a delight and I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
Jill Mansell – You and Me Always – Lily lost her mum at a young age, she has been bought up by her mums best friend Coral and her old baby sitter Patsy, surrounded by love in a village that has really taken her to all their hearts. Her best friend is Dan, Patsy's naughtier younger brother who is incorrigible with the ladies, but always finds himself falling back to Lily's friendship.
 We meet Lily on her 25th birthday where she is given the last letter that her mum wrote to her before she died. Here Lily's mum reveals the surname of the man (Declan) that was her one true love , (alas not Lily's dad) and a bracelet that he gave her – Lily embarks on tracking him down to find out more about her mum. On the same day Lily also meets a famous film star actor Eddie who Patsy is harbouring secretly in her house and suddenly Lily's world in the quiet village of Stanton Langley is suddenly turned upside down. Jill Mansell has been one of my favourites and never disappoints, I really liked Lily and loved the story and adventures that she had.
A.L. Michael – Goodbye Ruby Tuesday - Four friends; Ruby, Evie, Mollie & Chelsea were the bad girls at school, thrown together as the misfits, of all the girls Ruby was the baddest. Often in detention they dreamed of bigger & better things; Ruby a singer, Evie as an artist, Mollie as a baker and Chelsea as a dancer. 10 years later the girls meet up at the funeral of Ruby a pop star who died at the height of her fame. It seems that only Ruby fulfilled her dream, and in her will she leaves the girls a house in Camden with conditions. This is book 1 in the Camden Square series and I am avidly looking forward to book 2. The characters are complex and interesting and have good back stories as well as the story of making Camden square a success and fulfilling their dreams. This book resonated lots with me as I am still friends with my 2 besties from school and related to lots of the school girl humour within this. 
Debbie Johnson – The Birthday that Changed Everything - Sally Summers knew that her husband wasn't likely to surprise her with an amazing birthday present, what she didnt expect was that he would leave her for a Latvian lap dancer half her age. With her life a complete mess she books a holiday to the blue bay resort in Turkey with her reluctant kids for some sun, sea and relaxation. Here she meets a group of people that meet up the same 2 weeks every year at the Blue Bay, one being a gorgeous Irish man James. It seems that all of the friends have secrets but take Sally to heart and encourage her to become part of the group. This book is funny, heartwarming and a great holiday read relaxing on a sun-lounger - if you have ever wondered about the friendships created lounging around the pool this is perfect for you.
Marcie Steele - The Second Chance Shoe Shop Riley Flynn manages Chandlers show shop in the town centre, Sadie works for Riley and is slowly trying to build her and her daughters life after the death of her husband. Riley is desperate to bring Chandlers into the 21st century but is being met with resistance from the owner who is threatening the shop with closure. Riley starts a social media campaign to attract some interest for the shop and through this she crosses paths with a freelance photographer Ethan. Riley is recovering from a broken heart and resists Ethans advances, however as her social media profile builds, she finds herself struggling with the realities of what that brings and suddenly the shoe shop that she loves is in jeopardy. This is a fun read and fans of social media and shoes will adore this.
Sarah Morgan – Sleepless in Manhattan - ok I've thoroughly enjoyed all the books that I have read this month, but Sleepless in Manhattan just tips the rest as my favourite. Great friends. Amazing Apartment. An incredible job. Paige has ticked off every box on perfect New York life checklist. Until disaster strikes and instead of shimming further up the career ladder, Paige is packing up her desk.
Her brother’s best friend Jake might be the only person who can help her put her life back together. He also happens to be the boy she spent her teen years pining after, and Paige is determined not repeat her past mistakes. But the more time she spends with Jake, the more Paige realises the one thing that was missing from her world all along: The perfect New York love story… Oh I loved this book and Jack really is the most gorgeous hero. This book is a must for anyone who loves New York and dreams of living in a Brooklyn Brownstone. All the characters are great and cant wait for the next instalment.

Jo Jo Moyes – Me before You – a re-read after seeing the movie at the beginning of the month. A book that stayed with me on reading the first time and continues to leave a mark on my heart on the 3rd read and the seeing the movie. Heart-breaking love story that makes you want to live every day as if its your last and urges you to #Liveboldly. 

Thankyou authors for 8 fab reads for June, I've loved them, definitely a pile that have featured some of my favourites; New York, Shoes, Cake & castles!...I am now 41 books into my 75 book reading challenge….Here's the previous 33 from 2016.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Makelight in Kew

Last month I shared with you my Makelight adventures on my photography walk in Hampstead. This month I joined Emily and some other makelighters on a walk around the lovely Green and Gardens of Kew.
I have visited Kew before but have always travelled by car, this time having worked the morning I travelled by train and got to explore some of the beautiful roads and gardens around the station.
Arriving early I was able to explore for some time before meeting up with Emily & Co on the village green. Along with snapping lots of doors I was also able to capture some favourites of this month - Roses. From Aprils blossom, to May's wisteria I have loved capturing natures floral seasons each month.

As well as some beautiful gardens and blooms, Kew Green also houses a gorgeous pond.  Considering how close to the road the pond is, I was amazed to see a family of swans setting up home, complete with a brood of signets. I spent awhile watching them on and off the water, a very loving family.
On meeting up with Emily we set off for a wander around the green - i'm not sure what the villagers and the locals in the pub thought of us with our cameras and i phones out snapping doors, windows & foliage.
We entered Kew from the Elizabeth gate where we passed the Nash Conser vatory which was being set up for a wedding. The following day I read that a TV presenter from channel 4 married in Kew the previous day!....
We walked up-to Kew palace where another family of ducks and signets were resting under a tree. Normally I am a flower girl but the trees at Kew fascinate me. There size, age and the shapes that they grow are stunning.



A trip to Kew wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Palm house - which really is like a mini rain forest, the heat and humidity is replicated so that the palms and plants that live within are exactly as they would be in their natural environment. I even ventured up the spiral iron staircase to view the planting & palms from above.

After a leisurely coffee it was soon time for our walk to be finished and for us all to head home to review all our images taken. As with previous walks & workshops with Emily I learnt lots and my confidence with my photos is growing. I met some lovely ladies and I am enjoying seeing their images on social media.
I look forward to further Makelight adventures.
Here's some of mine from previous walks & workshops with Emily.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Breakfast at The Connaught

Over the last year I have shared some of my favourite breakfast stops within London and last Friday I stopped for breakfast in a venue that has been on my "Breakfast & Brunches" list. Fridays breakfast stop was at The Connaught - sister hotel to Claridges and The Berkeley and part of the Maybourne hotel group.
The Connaught sits in St Carlos place a short walk from Bond Street in the heart of Mayfair. Its a beautiful hotel steeped in old school classic glamour. Breakfast is served in the ESpelette which overlooks Tadao Ando's Silent water feature which is a calm tranquil pool offering haven to a family of ducks in the corner of the Mayfair village.
The revolving doors that you enter via lead you into a dark wood lobby, complete with sweeping staircase and a fireplace. The Maybourne group are renowned for their stunning floral displays within their hotel (here's a recent trip to The Berkeley) This weeks floral displays were glorious puffs of hydrangeas and peonies, perfect for the start of June...
Even the bathroom had its own hydrangea display along with a vanity units filled with delicious Dior treats.
I was seated alongside the window which offered a view of the square and I watched the world wake-up.
I opted for the full English which is a healthy option for me on Slimming world and thoroughly enjoyed it all.
The food was delicious and the service and ambience was impeccable. I loved my Friday fry-up treat in lovely surroundings.
The Connaught is a gorgeous hotel and I will definitely go back for another visit.... thank-you Connaught for making me feel welcome and special.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Movie moment with Me before You

I have shared previously my love of Jo Jo Moyes book Me before You, and was thrilled when the
news broke that it had been picked up for a movie.  The book left a huge impact on me even though I sobbed at the ending I loved the book.
With the release of the trailer, the tears fell again and applauded the casting of Sam Claflin as the quadriplegic Will Trayner and Emilia Clarke as the ditzy loveable Louise Clark.


Friday the movie was  released and I booked a ticket to see it at my local Everyman cinema after work - (fully booked for a 6.20pm showing) armed with a box of tissues I settled down for 2 hours of tears and laughter. Jo Jo Moyes has written the screen play and what a fabulous job she has done. There are some parts that have been cut (as with all book to screen adaptations) but the casting is fabulous and they absolutely capture the characters. 
Those not familiar with the book; Lou Clark finds herself being
employed as a carer /companion to Will. Will is a gorgeous live life to the full kind guy who after a tragic accident is bound to a wheel chair dependant on all to just manage the basics of living. He has promised his parents 6 months and they employ Lou as his companion. What evolves is a magical heartbreaking journey of discovery and one of the most romantic love stories bought to the screen.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film and cried at several key moments during the film as did the majority of the audience. The subject matter is controversial, but has been shown in a beautiful way and the film has had as profound affect on me as did the book. Huge applause to JoJo Moyes and the cast and crew.
It really is quite beautiful and I will see it again. For now I am reading book 2 and finding out what happened next.
This book / film will question your beliefs, it will make you treasure those that you love and it will make you #liveboldly. Don't put off til tomorrow what you can do today.... 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Hello June....

So June is here along with an arctic blast from the north and dreary weather in London. It seems that other areas of the country are bathed in glorious sunshine and temps hotter than the med except the capital!... So as I shared earlier this week I am now on a countdown at work to leaving and moving onto a new adventure... I am sure I will share more nearer the time and relive some of my favourite Selfridges moments.
June is fairly quiet for me, things planned are:
  • A trip to Scotland to celebrate my goddaughters wedding - Taylor and I will be taking a trip, complete with wedding cake!
  • Continue with my Slimming World journey ( a blog post to come)
  • Breakfast treat at The Connaught Hotel (sister of Claridges)
  • Movie nights with a couple of trips planned to the cinema... kicking off this weekend with one of my favourite books "Me before You" by Jo Jo Moyes.

Work eases up a little bit with the Sale season (lots of shopping!) and I am hopping to catch-up on some reading and have several books queued on the Kindle.
I also have a list of blog posts to catchup on featuring photo walks, new york, books, food and movies.... Regular posts will include the books that I have read during the month, my Instagram and social media favourites and share with you some of the slices of my life in London, home & the kits.
As you can see the blog has had a  spring/summer make-over from the blues and pinks of May to the peaches and blush of summer.... heres to a fun filled month.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Farewell May....

How we are heading into the 6th month of the year is quite amazing, this year is
passing so quickly. May was a month for me filled with some big decisions, some travel, fun and a reminder that friendships are very special. May also saw me catch-up on some blog posts from previous months, I was on a role until I lost broadband at home for 10 days which made me realise how dependant our lives have become on technology & wifi, so I still have a backlog of posts which I am slowly working my way through.
So where do I start!.... May saw me celebrate 10 years of being at the big yellow store, I have had an amazing adventure at the home of Mr Selfridge, but my adventure is coming to an end as I have made the decision to leave and start a new adventure with a new family. From August I will be joining the Fenwick family on Bond Street in a new role. This is hugely exciting and has been a really big decision for me, it's one that has taken up lots of sleep, and counsel with my closest friends over the past few weeks along with lots of meetings and discussions once the big decision was made. Aside from this work has been busy with new launches, a celeb guest appearance from Kendal Jenner to launch the new estee edit range and I also have spent lots of time exploring the streets of London on my walk to and from work.
Last month I spent a Saturday afternoon walking the streets of Hampstead with Emily and some of her makelight ladies, this month I spent a lovely afternoon exploring Kew green and gardens with Emily and some new makelight ladies… pop back later this month when I will share more of my day.
May saw 2 weekends filled with big Rugby adventures as Saracens reached the finals of both the European Champions Cup and the Aviva Premiership cup… the champions cup was held in Lyon. I had a fab 24 hours in the French countryside. The Aviva premiership was a little closer to home in West London at Twickenham on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. Both games Saracens were the victors, sealing the double in Europe and the Uk which has made for lots of celebrations. I thoroughly enjoyed myself at both games, even if Sarries did make for a nail biting finish in both games!
Closer to home I have been enjoying some down time reading, walking, catching up with friends and enjoying some relatively good weather (although today is quite horrid).
May also saw me book a holiday for next year with my Aunt, not only has she managed to get me away from my desk for 16 days, she has also managed to get me to agree to going on a ship!... we have booked to cruise the Baltics, travelling to St Petersburg and then back via Sweden / Norway… so I'm swotting up on my Danish & Russian, with Wallander, The Killing and war & Peace cued up on my kindle & ipad.
May saw London awash with floral displays to coincide with the Chelsea Flower show, I enjoyed a couple of early morning walks photographing some of my favourites; Claridges, Peggy Porschen, and The Ivy Garden on the Kings Road. (separate blog post to follow). The Kits turns 3 in May and Fitz passed the day sleeping and Darcy spent it trying to eat my peonies that I bought back from France!.... I have so many blog posts to share, I hope that you pop back over the coming weeks to read more of my adventures from the month along with regular features. I hope that May has been filled with lots of lovely things and I look forward to sharing June with you ... 

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Insta Love ~ May


May has been a busy month for me on social media today I am going to share some of my favourite images posted during the month, later this week I am going to share some of what I've been doing on Social media and some photo adventures..
May's instagram has been awash with images of Spring moving into Summer and a lot of my feed was filled with gorgeous pictures of blossom's and wisteria... I couldn't just pick one image so there are 9 of each along with 9 of the fun things that made me smile this month along with 9 gorgeous images of a fab launch from M&S!
  • Oh My Gandy ticked lots of boxes with this image of Simon Le Bon, Yasmin and David Gandy at the recent Vogue 100 party.
  • Love Claridges feed and their lobby florals were beautiful during May.
  • Johnny Yonkers is one of my favourite photographers that shoots in and around New York, this stunning image of the One World Trade center in its birthday month is stunning.
  • Sticking with New York, this image from the Empire State Building is lit purple & blue to honour those that have fallen within the line of duty for Police Memorial week.... beautiful.
  • Blue bell love from Buildarocketbickers is captured perfectly.
  • Fireworks captured over the bay of St Ives from my friend Ali Mcnamara is just fabulous... here week on the Cornwall coast is captured gloriously in her feed this month.
  • A new feed for me this month, but with her glorious home covered in wisteria I have fallen in love with Charlotte_annefidler 's posts... how beautiful is this sunset.
  • Georgianlondon's image of wisteria in charlbury is perfect....
  • and finally Emily Quinton's image of her bouquet which she created 100 images from one bouquet on her Makelight account is lovely.
May started with the blossom season in full bloom... here are a few of my favourites from some of my favourite places in beautiful hues of pink...
* katya_jackson - has captured the early blooms of blossom along with a lovely coordinated little fiat 500
* dancingwiththeflowers -bicycles and magnolia.. perfectly coordinated, a dreamy feed, so many lovely images.
* meanderingmacaron - another favourite feed.. whats not to love about blossom and little figaro's
* sparrowflu - Michael shoots some of the most beautiful images of London.. this blossom at St Pauls is stunning.
* nyclovesnyc - Noel's image of the cherry blossom at roosevelt island is fabulous. I love his images of new york.
* love this image that dc_explorer - captured of marine one flying past the Washington monument and the cherry blossom is fab.
* janemeans image of the blossom at the Notre Dame in Paris is delightful... a departure from her ribbns and wrapping, but have loved her images of her recent trips to Paris and Luxembourg. - wrapping around the world.
* Having visited the the_berkeley  last month, their flowers are some of my favourites each month... how beautiful are these blossoms
* winsomelaiws  is a travel food photographer and when Starbucks launched their spring cups, she captured it perfectly against a backdrop of cherry blossom.
  Charlotte_annefidler wisteria covered house is just gorgeous in both daylight & dusk.
3. Love mrsjpage 's image of her wisteria and her gorgeous boxer Izzy... the look of indifference is just fabulous.
4. Elena's capture of a pink door behind the wisteria in Notting hill is stunning.
5. Love this shot of the wisteria in Cambridge by scwilder it is lovely.
6. Room with a view captured perfectly by amykatefelicity.
7.Georgianlondon's wisteria in London is perfect - this year it seems that the Wisteria has bloomed in abundance.
8. I couldn't post favourites without an image from Emily Quinton this house in Dulwich is delightful.
9, Final image is of Siobhaise the perfect pretty city london shot.
My final favourites for the month of May are from M&S and the gorgeous David Gandy. May saw the launch of DG's 2nd swimwear collection with his Gandy autograph collection with M&S. Shot in on the South African coastline it is just gorgeous.... along with the video this has brightened many a dull day in May!
Thankyou all for sharing such lovely images during May, they have been beautiful, fun full of flowers, fauna & delicious men! With 3 instagram accounts now -@tcake31 for London life and things that I love,@tcaketess for planner, crafting & stationery happiness and my healthy eating journey on @tcakes_sw_adventure pop over and say hi... look forward to seeing what May brings on insta love.
I hope you have had fun with my social media Sunday loves ... here's some from previous months... 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Book Love - May


My reading challenge continued in May with 5 books completed, a little bit of a slowdown from April. This was partially due to the fact that I am walking more after work which cuts into my reading time on the tube as I am now walking from Bond Street to Liverpool Street a couple of times a week when the weather is fine.
This months reads are a mixed bag of mystery, murder, love and friendship and have taken me to Italy, Jersey, 'Up North' the South of France and the English countryside.
Last month I waxed lyrically about a new author that I had discovered Helen H Durrant, May saw me continue with the Calladine / Bayliss police partnership in the 4th book of this detective series with Dead Lost. The pair find themselves investigation a series of events which lead to a group of homeless people that have set up camp in a disused cotton mill, which as the story develops becomes more horrific. Alongside this the pair have to juggle their personal lives alongside their professional, as the investigation develops they find that the crimes are are further reaching than they imagined. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and with each story they become a little more darker and complex. D.I Calladine is definitely becoming a little bit of a guilty pleasure and look forward to reading the next in the series.
My next read saw be hoping the channel to Jersey for Georgina Troy's – A Jersey Kiss – here we meet Bea who along with dealing with a messy divorce is learning to live without her beloved god mother. Bea's god mother has left her, her beautiful home along with "A Jersey Kiss" which is proving to be a bit of a mystery. At work an old flame Tom reappears in her life, along with a gorgeous builder Luke who she hires to action some repairs to her home. With her ex-husband threatening court action for half of her home, Bea's life is a little chaotic, with the thought of losing her home, and some serious trust issues she has little time for romance, however things aren’t always as they seem and the mysterious legacy could be the thing that saves it all. This is a lovely story and I really liked Bea, being familiar with Jersey having spent some time there in my teens it was easy to visualise some of the places within this book. Having enjoyed this book I immediately downloaded the 2nd book within the series which is loosely connected to book 1.
A JerseyAffair is Georgina's 2nd book and features Paige. Paige is jilted days before her wedding and decides to spend her honeymoon for one in Sorrento. Paige is a shoe designer and has a small shop within one of Jersey's old department stores. Whilst on her 'onemoon' she meets Sebastian Fielding, a wealthy entrepreneur, he spends a platonic 2 weeks with Paige showing her the sights and sounds of Sorrento and its surrounding coastline and Paige's broken heart slowly begins to mend. On returning to Jersey Paige finds out that her department store is being taken over and the mystery buyer is none other than Sebastian, can their budding romance survive the threat of Paige losing her shop and  dealing with the press intrusion. Another delightful read from Georgina and had me scouring travel sites for a short stay in Sorrento. Sebastian is quite delicious and I enjoyed catching up with some of the characters from the previous book…. Book 3 is now downloaded and sitting in my "to read" list.
My 4th read of the month is a Jill Mansell novel – Three Amazing things about You. Jill is one of my all-time favourite authors and yet again she didn’t disappoint with this book. In this book we meet 3 women, Hallie, Flo and Tasha unbeknown to each of them they will all become connected in ways that they never would have thought of; Hallie is a young women who is on a donor lost awaiting a lung transfer having suffered with cystic fibrosis all her life. We meet Hallie as she is heading for the hospital having received the call that a donor has been found. Hallie for the past few years has been hiding a number of secrets; 1. She is the author of a blog which answers peoples problems via 3 things about you, what she has never shared is who she is and the condition she has, she shares her secret on route to the hospital. Her other secret is that she is in love with the most perfect man, something she has never shared with her best friend or even him an now time is running out should she share that secret too? Flo has met Zander through the most bizarre circumstances, Zander's scary sister loathes Flo and the thought of them becoming friends would send her apoplectic, anything more would send her crazy. Tasha meets her perfect man and the only issue is that he is a bit of an adrenaline junkie, the complete opposite to safe, planned Tasha. She spends her tome apart from him worrying that something terrible is going to happen. One day all these womens lives collide and their lives will be intricately woven for ever more. This was a thought provoking emotional read, and Jill manages to make you laugh, cry and think in every chapter. I loved Hallie and desperately wanted her life to be better… I will leave it up to you to read to find out if she got her happy ending and got the courage to share her secrets.
My final read for the month is The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard – Emmy Jamieson books a fortnights escape to a guesthouse in the French Countryside with her boyfriend Nathan. After 5 years their relationship has become a little dull and Emmy is hoping a couple of weeks in the south of France will inject a little life into their lives. Having barely unpacked Emmy's holiday takes a turn when she finds her boyfriend with his pants down with the owners cougar wife Gloria and the owner Rupert collapsing with a suspected heart attack unaware of his wifes antics. Nathan & Gloria scarper and leave Emmy holding the fort at the guesthouse and gites. With Rupert convalescing, Emmy agrees to stay and help out for the remaining holiday. She finds herself thrust into the heart of the local community which involves a sexy young gardener, and a infuriating delicious accountant. Emmy finds herself extending her stay and with Ruperts support she has some decisions to make about her future. This is a lovely read and one that I devoured whilst travelling through the French countryside on Eurostar with a large coffee and croissant. I loved Emmy and the characters were delightful. I do hope that Helen does a follow-up as I am sure that there are future stories with some of the supporting cast.
Thankyou authors for 5 fab reads for May, I've enjoyed travelling in Italy, France, Jersey alongside some heartache, murder, mystery, fun and friendship…. I am now 33 books into my 75 book reading challenge…. Here's the previous 28 from 2016.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Make-light in Hampstead

A few weeks ago I spent a fun filled Saturday afternoon exploring and
photographing the streets and heath of Hampstead with a dozen other ladies. I had never visited Hampstead before and grabbed the opportunity to explore this lovely little corner of London with Emily Quinton. I met Emily a couple of years ago when I attended one of her photography workshops, I enjoyed it so much I spent a day food styling with her last year. Emily has now added photography walks to her make light portfolio in some of London's most loveliest of places.
The walk started early afternoon and although the day was a little cold and overcast it didn’t spoil the fun that the groups of us girls had in the lanes and side streets of Hampstead. I'm not sure what any of the residents thought of us snapping images on our phones and cameras of their front doors and gardens, but I fell in love with many of the houses and gardens as we walked around.
 No time with Emily would be complete without a prop or two and a beautiful bunch of blooms from a local florist added much fun and silly image opportunities for some of us along with video fun from E herself.


After a good couple of hours of walking, photographing and chatting we finished the day off with tea & cake in a local restaurant, swapping images, instagram accounts and details. I enjoyed myself so much that I came home and booked for the next walk which will be within the grounds of Kew gardens.

Prior to meeting up with the makelight ladies I spent an hour exploring the heath and the surrounding streets leading to the high street. 















Some of my favourite images from the day are of a man and his gorgeous dog….

Friday, 20 May 2016

24 hours in Lyon ..... part1

I have already shared the 2nd half of my 24 hours in Lyon with some culture and food, the first half was a little different and evolved around a game of rugby. My trip was planned to attend the European Champions Cup Final between Saracens and French team Racing Metro.
This was Saracens 2nd time reaching the Final of this championship, having lost to Toulon in Cardiff at the last final, so there was much to play for in France. When Saracens won their semi-final I was on the internet immediately booking tickets for Eurostar and the game as I knew with Racing metro securing the other spot it would be incredibly popular. This game would also allow me to see one of my rugby hero's Dan Carter who now plays fly half for Racing after leaving New Zealand and the All Blacks after the world cup.
With the weather a mixture of sunshine and heavy showers it would make for a greasy game. The game was being held at the newly built Stade de Lyon stadium on the outskirts of the town. The main public transport to and from the ground is via tram, which was much fun and a first for me to travel to a from a rugby game in. One of the things that I noticed lots when I was travelling to and around Lyon is the poppies dotted everywhere. I saw lots from the Eurostar as I travelled across France and it really struck a chord to see them. There were several blooming around the ground which many fans commented on as we walked to the game.
I arrived at the game early as I had been told to expect lengthy security checks and they didn’t lie, aside from the Olympics this was the lengthiest checks that I had ever had at a game; including a full body pat down. Arriving at the game early allowed me to see Jonny Wilkinson being interviewed by Will Greenwood and the squads warming up between the very heavy rain showers. This also allowed me to spend lots of time gazing at Dan Carter and his thighs as Racing were warming up near to where I was sitting!.
Having purchased my ticket from the French ticketmaster I found myself surrounded by Racing fans who were very friendly and not too hostile as the game commenced!
With a fanfare of fireworks the game kicked off at 5.30 to a huge roar from the crowd. The ground was a sea of blue with pockets of red and black for the Saracens fans.

 From previous experience final games are usually tight fought contests, with neither side wanting to take too many chances, thus preventing conceding penalties and points. This game was much of that with both teams holding tight to the ball and points being gained from penalty kicks instead of trys.
All points scored by Sarries coming off of the boot of Own Farrell. Racing always seemed to be on the back foot and were penalised a number of times. With heavy rain during the warm-up hour it made for a slippery and greasy game with the ball being lost by both teams several times.
 2nd half saw Racing attempt a comeback and at one point with minutes to go I thought that they may push a try across the line, however the Sarries boys held their nerve and defence and were crowned champions as the final whistle blew.
Huge celebrations took place as the Champions cup was presented and red & black flags waved around the stadium to roars of "Sarries". Here are some images from the game and the after celebrations.

The atmosphere was amazing and I am so glad that I made the journey from home to Lyon to watch the game, I got to see so many Rugby heroes: Jonny Wilkinson, Dan Carter and Sarries lift the Champions cup a bit of a dream weekend for a Rugby girl.