Tuesday, 29 July 2014

beauty treats

I don't often blog Beauty posts, and Selfies even less, however after 3 great beauty experiences of late I decided to share ...
Working in a department store like the one that I do, I have a host of amazing goodies, treats and indulgences at my finger-tips when the bank manager allows!
Last weekend on Sunday I had an invitation to a friends 65th birthday soiree, as I was working prior I made the decision to get a helping hand from work to get ready, before heading into the Essex countryside to the celebrations.
Nails
First stop was a much needed manicure at the Paint shop where I got some TLC to my nails and a coat of Tom Fords fabulous Viper polish... gorgeous. I love this colour polish, and have learnt that dark colours suit my nails much better than lights & brights.
The nail bar is perfect from the Express through to the Gel manicure, catering all options for lunchtime stops to leisurely visits.

Hair

The next stop for me was a quick blow-dry at Hershesons ...I've used this service a few times now and love it, I have long thick hair and the luxury of someone  styling it in half hour is just perfect for me. Maurice is my stylist of choice and is a master with the brush and dryer!
I recently had a colour refresh and really loving the red & purple slices that I've had added, these were showcased to their best from a 'big 'blow dry adding volume & curl. If I could I would get him do it every week!
Face
Final stop for me was a make-over. Day look for me is quite minimal, however needing a little lift I opted for a party make-over from Bobbi Brown. This was my first make-over from Bobbi and I really enjoyed it.
Favourite products used were the CC cream, and Long-wear even finish Foundation which were both gorgeous and now on my pay day buy list. Suffering with combination skin which is prone to shining, these 2 products combated this lots for me, and as I am always looking for the perfect foundation, this is definitely worth a try for me. Bobbi's concealer also worked miracles and has been added to wish list.
 I stuck with my Chanel waterproof mascara which completely works for me. This completely accentuated the glimmer sticks (Golden & Violet Plum used on my eyes, which worked miracles on making my eyes appear very blue! .. all framed with fabulous brows. My make-over stylist was Cesar who was fun, very knowledgeable and put me at ease which is much help for a novice. I left with a Pink Beige lipstick in my pocket which is the perfect nude from day to night, perfect for touch-ups during the night.
My make-over was complete with the perfect handbag accessory for the evening which was a Victoria Beckham clutch, complete with Lanvin pouch and a little beauty help from Chanel, Bobbi, & Tom Ford... delicious.
 
All services are available from Selfridges and can be booked at the following;

Hair - Hershesons blow dry bar
Make-up - bookings currently available via the Bobbi Brown app (coming to Selfridges website soon)



Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Totes Tuesday ~ July

Having missed last months Totes Tuesday post I was determined to share some handbag love this month. However not realising where the moth had gone I had to snap a quick pic on phone & light wasn't great! (cardinal sin for an budding photographer!)
This month I am sharing the love of my gorgeous Kate Spade Cobble Hill Ellen turquoise cross body bag. With the signature stripe lining, hidden pockets, its perfect for trips on the tube and wandering around London in the sunshine. I picked this up in Kate Spade's sale a couple of summers ago and love it.
This month I have styled this bag several times with Kate Spade Manhattan map tote. Perfect for carrying picnic treats, camera & water cup. My KS manhattan scarf made a great impromptu picnic cloth.
Accessorised with white linen trousers, blue birkenstocks & loose top... perfect style for a hot summer in the city.

Monday, 21 July 2014

New York loves ~ Ice-Cream

Its that time of the month again, when I share some favourites from New York. .... what with it being warm on both sides of the pond I thought I would blog something sweet to keep us cool, so this week its all about Ice-Cream.

I've picked 5 of my favourites either for flavour, ambience, showcasing New York or just theatrical fun.
  • Serendipity ~ famed for its Frozen Hot Chocolate desert, this was the 1st coffee house boutique to open in New York in 1954, offering coffee and desserts it soon became a venue to be seen in. You can easily wait up to an hour to be seated without a reservation... however the wait is worth it as the Hot chocolate dessert is delicious... situated a short walk behind Bloomingdales, its the perfect cool down after a shopping bonanza.
  • Sprinkles ~ the cupcake specialists from LA opened a cupcake parlour a few years ago in New York, this has been joined this year with its ice cream parlour. This is on my "to visit" list this year as I would like to try the Red Velvet cone & ice-cream... if its as good as its cupcake then I am in for a treat...(will post back when I have visited.)
  • Davey's ~ this very cute little parlour in the East Village is the brain child of David Yoo. With the ice-cream made from scratch its become a social media delight this summer... I am really keen to try the 'Brunch' cream - sweet cream ice-cream, with brioche French toast, cinnamon maple syrup & coffee glazed bacon.
  • Emack & Bolio ~ founded in Boston by a lawyer, the name originates from 2 homeless guys that he did pro-bono work for. The funky little parlours are famed for its creative dipped cones. This soho parlour has been open 9 years and is a eclectic cacophony of sprinkles & treats. Next time I visit I am opting for the coffee ice cream float.... mmmm
  • Brooklyn Ice Cream factory ~ situated in an old fire-boat house on the fulton ferry pier underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. This iconic NY parlour not only serves delicious creamy ice cream, but also serves some of the most iconic and fabulous views of the city.... this venue is the perfect treat along with rest point on the waterfront after a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge
 
I hope that these 5 flavours of parlours have cooled you down a little!.... What are your New York Ice-Cream recommendations and why?.... would love to hear so that I can add to my list for my next visit. I hope that you have enjoyed my NY loves post this week Here are my previous posts, pop back next week for London's equivalent Ice-Cream loves.
.... (please note that all views are my own and I have not received any payment for this post)




Sunday, 20 July 2014

4th July food treats

When you find yourself in London on the 4th July ambling around the city on a Literary adventure, then the only food treats to seek out are of and American influence. 
My morning started in Notting Hill where I stopped for a coffee and a gorgeous maple syrup infused  bacon sandwich in one of my favourite cafes ... Charlie's. I have blogged about this venue a couple of times and it is a little hidden gem in Portobello Road.
A short stroll to the top of Portobello Road I popped into Recipease  where 4th July celebrations were in full celebration.... Jamie's America book taking pride of place at the front of the store. The blueberry & cream cheese looked gorgeous and I grabbed a slice to take home with me ( I ate the following day and it was delicious, moist, full of flavour with gorgeous cream cheese frosting) Recipease is on my list of places to pop back to.   
  After a long walk it was time for a Shake stop! in Covent Garden.... this visit I opted for a shake dog, fries & a limited edition Blueberry Lemonade!.... oh my the lemonade was amazing, cool, sharp, complete with real blueberries... America in a cup!.
Late afternoon tea before I headed across the river to the Old Vic theatre was at the very cute Primrose bakery tucked down a side street just off of Covent Garden square. Here I savoured a coffee and a 4th July vanilla cupcake, which was moist, dense and the perfect treat to end a day of lots of walking!...
 
(I will blog the rest of my visit at this little cupcakery in a separate post as the décor was scrumptious on a summers day. )                
I had a gorgeous day exploring London on a Literary adventure and the American food treats just made the day better, with blue skies and sun shining it was one of the loveliest days I've had in ages, work free & very indulgent!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

A Literary Day in London .... chapter 4

My literary day in London culminated in a trip to the Old Vic theatre to watch the literary classic "The Crucible". This book was a set piece at school and I was intrigued to see how this would play out as it was being set in the 'round'.
For those not familiar with the story it was written by American playwright Arthur Miller in 1953. It is  a partial fictional dramatization of the Salem Witch trials which occurred in Massachusetts during 1692 & 1693. Miller himself was held in contempt of congress over the content, one that continues to fascinate and divide readers/viewers to this day.
I am a big fan of the Old Vic theatre, which has gone from strength to strength under the artistic direction of Kevin Spacey. This production again bought a big screen name to the stage to showcase their craft. Richard Armitage (Spooks, Robin Hood, The Hobbit, North & South) steals the stage playing John Proctor, suported by a fabulous cast of veterans and newbies.
With the audience surrounding the stage, the lighting, props and cast placement are critical to creating the atmosphere and intensity of this piece,  Yael Farber delivers this with his direction without the fanfare of gizmo's and gadgets often found in today's theatre. This is a stunning piece of theatre, dark, intense and delivered superbly.
I enjoyed this play, however its not for everyone, the first act is 2 hours long and with a break of 20 minutes this play doesn't finish until after 11... it is long, so plan ahead if you need to catch trains.... equally tough going when sweltering in the summer heat!. However it is a superb piece of American literature bought to life in a unique and simple way, with the actors owning and showcasing their skills to an incredibly high standard. Richard Armitage shirtless gets a big tick from me as well!
A great end to an impromptu literary day in London.... chapters 1-3 can be found at the following links;-



Friday, 18 July 2014

A Literary Day in London.... chapter 3

Having spent the morning ambling through Notting Hill and then the lunchtime on a Book trail of book benches in Bloomsbury it was time to take a rest and enjoy just being.
I'm not a big sun person, but I do love exploring London's Parks... a stone's throw from Covent Garden is a lovely green space along the Embankment called Victoria Embankment Gardens... Stretching along the river this secluded green space is perfect for taking time out from the hustle and bustle of London life. There are many statues and memorials dotted through the park, one of which is Robert Burns.

With a couple of hours to kill before walking across the river to the Old Vic, I settled down under a tree and enjoyed a read on my Kindle and laying watching the clouds drift across the blue sky.
The park was busy but not overcrowded. A local office team build looked huge fun and involved lots of frivolity ad I think a little alcohol.
Here are some of the reads that I have been enjoying in the Park this month.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

A Literary Day in London ... chapter 2

As previously blogged a day in London recently became a bit of  Literary Love Day, here is Chapter 2 of my day...
After exploring Notting Hill in Chapter 1 I jumped on the tube to Holborn, an impromptu stop in Bloomsbury Square Gardens made me discover the fabulous Book benches dotted around the city, (more details here on Books about Town site) The Book benches will be across London from now until the 15th September and showcase 50 of the best of London's Literary reads.  There are 4 trails across the city and I am hoping to see as many of them throughout the summer.
Downloading the Bloomsbury trail map I managed to see 4 of the benches as they were a short walk from each other and loved them. The benches are decorated front, and back, there are also little surprises hidden within the pages on the sides.
Bloomsbury Gardens
Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly ;this bench is situated in the lovely Bloomsbury garden overlooked by some of London's majestic architecture and a short walk from the British Museum. Filled with some of Agatha Christies most iconic symbols from her Poirot books its a gorgeous representative of one of Britain's most loved authors.

James Bond Stories ; This bench is situated opposite Hercule Poirot, thus displaying one of the most iconic detectives and MI5 operatives alongside each other that this country has seen in the literary world. This book is a mixture of colour, brutishness and cool objects synonymous with 007. I love the Ian Fleming signature in the book sleeves.
Red Lion Square
A short walk from Bloomsbury gardens into another square of greenery of London sits one of children's literary icons from JM Barrie, there are 2 JM Barrie benches across the city this one is themed "Always Try to be a Little Kinder than necessary" This is a gorgeous colourful bench, a short walk from Great Ormond street Hospital, featuring fairies, monkeys, mermaids and a small boy flying across the London skyline with Big ben.
Queen Square
My final bench found on my short walk was Pride & Prejudice, which I discovered in Queen Square, adjacent to Great Ormond street campus. I loved this bench, it features Elizabeth and Pemberley along with a Mr Darcy on the back. Sitting amongst the greenery and shade of a majestic tree, this was the perfect place to sit a while, enjoying the view and reading my kindle with a lolly from the ice-cream van.
 
This stroll through part of the city that I hadn't really explored before was an unexpected treat and one I will be doing again. This is a must for anyone who has a love for books. Great fun for big & little kids alike.
 
chapter 3 continues tomorrow.....


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Wednesday Words ~ July

This month most of my reads have had the common theme of Summer. As well as them keeping me company on my commute to London and Birmingham, I have also taken much advantage of the weather and reading under the shade of  a tree in the park.
  • You're the one that I love ~ Giovanni Fletcher ... Maddy is poised to marry her soul mate, but which one will she choose?.. both are waiting at the end of the aisle for her... Maddy met her soul mates at the age of 8, they have been inseparable since, this story explores the life, friendship, and love of Maddy and her 2  best friends Rob & Ben. I enjoyed this book, there were times when I didn't like Maddy much and it seemed a little slow in places, but overall an easy read for summer.
  • The Unfinished Symphony of You & Me ~ Lucy Robinson ... sally is an amazing singer, who only sings in secret in a wardrobe. Her parents have discouraged any form of public display and her love affair with opera has been her guilty pleasure since childhood. To appease her love of the operatic world she secures a job in the royal opera house in London as a wardrobe assistant. This see's her embark on a huge adventure when the company secures a summer in New York. Sally meets a mystery man in NY and falls in love, when tragedy strikes she finds herself back in London this time however she finds herself starting at the royal college of music honouring a promise she made. When the mystery man turns up on her doorstep clutching an I.O.U Sally has some decisions to make. ~ I loved this book, it sucked me in from the start, anywhere that transports me to New York is a win for me. Lucy Robinson writes the most beautiful funny & heart breaking characters you feel like you know. This book is gorgeous, set across operatic acts, its a must.
  • A Summer to Remember ~ Victoria Connelly ... Nina's life is a little dull, after nearly being knocked down by a speeding car, and finally telling her bullying boss to shove her job, she realises that her life needs to change. Fate finds herself being offered a job back to the Old mill house that was her only sanctuary when she was younger when she used to baby-sit the Milton boys. This time her job is to help the the Senior Milton (Dudley) write his book and generally keep the house organised. What Nina finds is that its not only Dudley that needs disciplining, there's a mad dog and grown-up handsome Milton Boys!. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, set in the country side of Norfolk, it transported me back to childhood summers in this part of the world. A gorgeous read, evoking long summer days, walks by the rivers and lashings of ginger beer!
  • Ice Creams at Carringtons ~ Alexandra Brown .... we join Georgie & Tom in the 3rd Carringtons book. Georgie is now head personal shopper at Carringtons along with writing a column in a national magazine and still madly in love with Tom. Georgie is nominated to help organise the local summer festival for Mulberry-on-Sea. She embarks on huge plans, but suddenly an amazing offer comes her way which involves a trip to New York and choices to make.... can Georgie & Tom survive and can she pull together the festival 100's of miles away?.... It was lovely being back with Georgie and her friends, another great read from Alexandra and look forward to further adventures... delicious.
  • The Beach Hut Next Door ~ Veronica Henry .... returning to Everdene Sands, we embark on a summer of secrets, love, loss, hopes and dreams for the owners of the Beach Huts and the Big Grey House on the Cliff. Veronica Henry has written another fabulous summer read. This really does evoke you into long lost summers, picnics on the beach and days that seemed endless. The perfect read for an afternoon on the beach.
As you can see, my reads have been perfect for the weather that we have been having,  I have enjoyed each one in its own right so Thankyou authors for 5 great reads.... Here's previous Wednesday Words posts..... What's been grabbing your attention this month and what reads would you recommend?

A Literary day in London .... chapter 1

A couple of weeks ago saw me spend a lovely day exploring London. This was my last day off for a couple of weeks, so I ignored the housework and headed into London to enjoy a day of exploration.
The day turned into a bit of an unexpected Literary fest, which is too big of a novel to blog in one post so I have  split it into chapters.
Chapter 1 - Notting Hill
My day started in Notting Hill where I ambled around the side streets before exploring the sights and sounds of Portobello Road.
This is one of my favourite parts of London, which was showcased to its finest in the summer sunshine.
Notting Hill features I many of my favourite reads in recent years; Christmas at Claridges ~ Karen Swan, and the fabulous From Notting Hill series by Ali McNamara. The Notting Hill movie is now 15 years old, but I appears the love affair with the movie and area is still a huge draw and still brings lots of tourists to the streets.
Here are a few photos of some of the famous sights from the movie, including the big door, the Curzon cinema, the book shop and the coffee corner.
Walking through the market in the sunshine was gorgeous and the wares on sale from the market traders were as eclectic as you would expect from this famous market. With the sun shining in the sky, the hat man was doing a roaring trade. I loved the vintage cake stand stall along with the collection of cameras from the adjacent stall.
It was just lovely strolling along the colourful streets and glimpsing into peoples lives from this area. I love the hidden gardens and mews in and around this area. Perfect part of the city and worth any page in a book.
to be continued tomorrow with chapter 2.......


Monday, 7 July 2014

New York Loves - Central Park

This weeks New York loves is all about Central Park. Its one of my favourite parts of the city and every visit I spend many hours walking and exploring this beautiful oasis of nature.
The park is 843 acres and started being built in 1858. Following the depression the park slowly began to decline and the flower beds and lawns eroded and decayed. The park over many years became the playground for illicit and often illegal activities and gained a reputation as a place to avoid after dark. Over the last 2 decades a number of task forces and committees have worked tirelessly to bring the park back to its former glory and become a safe haven for families, communities, tourists and new-yorkers to meet, play and enjoy.

I have many favourite spots in the Park... here are 5 of many!
The Boathouse ~ featured in many movies and synonymous in Sex & the City when Carrie & Big end up in the water, this beautiful eatery is the essence of summer dining in the Park. From early morning breakfast to weekend brunch through to sunset dining, the views across the boating lake are delightful. Nestled mid point in the park, the boathouse is adjacent to a number of gorgeous walking trails and landmarks.... perfect, even if just stopping for a coffee. More from my visit here.

Alice in Wonderland ~ this gorgeous bronze statue is a short walk from the Boathouse and sits just north from Conservatory water. Commissioned by philanthropist George Delacore and constructed by Jose de Creeft in 1959.
Alice stands eleven feet tall. The Mad Hatter is a caricature of George Delacore and Alice is modelled on de Creeft's daughter... more information here.
Belvedere Castle - Sited halfway into the park, this quaint little castle offers panoramic views of some of the parks legendary landmarks, from The Great Lawn to Turtle Pond  and The Ramble. This landmark started out as a Victorian Folly, but has over the years been used as a post for the National Weather service and recently as a Nature Observatory.( more from my visit here.)
Hans Christian Anderson -This stunning statue was opened to the park in 1956 to celebrate the authors 150th birthday. The statue is extremely popular in the summer months as each afternoon story telling takes place around his feet, where little children and big children alike can listen to  Andersen's well-known tales, such as The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Little Match Girl and The Ugly Duckling being told. The statue in recent years has been dedicated to all the children that lost parents in the 9/11 attacks.


Gapstow Bridge - this is my favourite little bridge in the Park. It was built in 1874 and then replaced in the stone structure that you see today in 1896 and offers some of the best views of the new York City skyline from the park. It is one of my musts on every visit. .. just a short walk in from the Plaza entrance to the park it really is delightful. I have visited over many seasons, from spring to autumn and my favourite time in the city.... Christmas. The picture below demonstrates what a difference a day makes in the city... Christmas day 2010 (top) and Boxing day 2010 (top).
As you can see the Park offers so much for so many and its why its a must for any trip to the Big Apple. Here are other posts from previous visits, along with my previous New York Loves posts.Please let me know if you would like a particular topic covered in my NY loves posts, pop back next week when I will be sharing my London loves equivalent.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Social Media Sunday ~ June

It's Social Media Sunday again on the blog... this post is a round-up of things that I have enjoyed reading and viewing across the Blogland and Instagram in June.
Blogland
9 Staycation Locations - Victoria Connelly ~ This lovely post from author Victoria Connelly is a picturesque amble through some of this country's finest locations for a short holiday or long weekend. I am definitely adding some of these to me "To Visit" list. If we continue to have the weather that we are having I am determined to see a little more of this country.
Hand Luggage Only - 9 Cheap things in London ~ This fun and quirky post about how to see some of London's finest sites on a budget is very informative. Although a couple of them aren't really my thing (Madame Tussauds & Harrods!!!- cant be seen shopping at the competitor!) I love the idea of jumping on the bus and the clipper.
Temporary Secretary - Photo Tips for Beauty Bloggers ~ Although not a big beauty blogger I thoroughly enjoyed this post from this newly discovered blog on how to photograph beauty products at their best. I liked that it posted imagery mistakes as well as what good looks like. An informative post with lovely images. I will be coming back to this blog often. 
This Fashion is Mine - iPhone photography ~ For someone who is constantly trying to take good photo's on my phone and with recent workshops and avid blog reading I am slowly getting there. This post was a great prompt of the key things of taking great photographs, with some great tips. Will definitely be coming back to this blog for more photography posts from Gwen... thank-you x
Painting Kitchen Cabinets - Hearthandmade ~ A favourite blog which has appeared in previous Social Media Sunday posts - this gorgeous post epitomises everything I would like to do I my tiny kitchen. This year I would like to overhaul the kitchen, this post has given me lots of ideas and plans to do something later this year. I could 'like' nearly every post on this blog as it is filled with gorgeous pastel loveliness. - delightful x
 

Instagram
Four of this months favourites all showcase what I love about summer and the final because the styling and colour palette are delightful. I am getting more into Instagram and this moth I am embarking on posting a snap everyday.... I will collate a share later in the month.
Brightbazaar - Will recently published his first home styling and lifestyle book, which is a mix of primary colours and gorgeous styling. I love the magazine styling in the background of this picture, it completely compliments the gorgeous mint green kitchen-aid perfectly - yum!
klmpink - Kate's gorgeous jug of sweet peas is my favourite shot of the month. My gramps grew sweet peas around the back of his shed and they were beautiful, they bloom for such a short time but are my favourite flower .. this picture evokes the summers of long ago along with a delightful fragrance.
StephanieHowell - Stephanie's photographs as she, her 4 delightful girls and GI J live a posting in Italy is just gorgeous, every day is an adventure which she catalogues, snaps and scrapbooks beautifully.I have followed S's blog for about 6 years now and live a vicarious Italian life through her images. This fruit snap sums up the fabulous offers that Italian markets sell daily - delicious, I could devour the peaches, my mouth is watering just looking at them.
Mrs_Button - another Instagram favourite and another jug of sweet peas. I love Mrs's B's posts, gorgeous styling in her home in the country - gorgeous. This snap looks like a perfect day.
Kate_mystylediary - This gorgeous market snap is shot at Borough market and sums up all the fabulous fruits for the summer. The glut of cherries is gorgeous and one of my favourite summer fruits.... scrummy.
That's it for social media sunday for this month. Here are previous social posts from this year. Thankyou to all that have posted me comments, messages or 'likes' on twitter, Instagram or my blog. They mean a lot and always put a smile on my face...so this month what have you been tweeting, 'liking' following lately? would love to know. What blog recommendations do you have ... happy Sunday x

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

An afternoon at Hampton Court Palace

Before the horticulture world descend on Hampton Court Palace, let me share my impromptu visit to this historic landmark from a few weeks ago. Hampton Court has always been a favourite of mine from visits as a child who had a small obsession with The Tudors. The Palace has a fascinating timeline ... Here's more details from its official site.
Finding myself a short drive from the Palace and with a couple of hours to spare I arrived and parked easily within the palace grounds, all for the bargain price of £4. Before exploring the palace and grounds I walked along the river to grab some lunch. The weather was lovely and it was heavenly to sit by the river and watch the people and boats go by. A female swan was nesting nearby, and when she moved you could see that she was sitting on 7 eggs, which she was guarding fiercely!
The Palace was busy, but not at the point that you were tripping over people, many taking advantage of the lovely weather and picnicking in the grounds. From its majestic entry, through into the courtyards and chambers, the palace is a beautiful building. The last time I was at Hampton Court was for one of its musical events which was fantastic.


Recently the Palace have unveiled the Chocolate Kitchen which is the first time they have been open to the public in 300 years. The 18th century Chocolate Kitchens were once the domain of Thomas Tosier, personal chocolatier to King George I. Throughout the year historic chefs will be hosting chocolate making lessons from the kitchen and exploring Tudor cookery classes. I have bookmarked a couple of dates to return.
With the sun shining it was perfect weather to explore the grounds and gardens of the Palace. I avoided the Maze as they freak me out slightly and hate the feeling of not being in control! The Privy gardens were stunning, the landscaping was so precise it was a work of art. I loved the little nooks in the hedgerows which gave sneak peeks into the gardens.
I loved the structured gardens, however some of my favourites were in the cottage beds running alongside the palace. With Iris's, foxgloves and stocks settling against the mottled old brickwork, it was a photography dream.
The rose garden was my final meander before leaving the palace. Alas, the roses weren't at their best, but they still smelt heavenly and full of gorgeous colour palettes. With the palace as a backdrop it is a gorgeous setting for a rose garden.
Its been a few years since my last visit to the Palace, I am determined that I will visit more often. There are a few events that they are hosting this year that I would like to attend. This historic landmark is within zone 6 of London's tube & train map, so I have no excuse for visiting if I don't want to drive, as the palace is a short walk from the station. Alternatively you can pick up a river bus from Westminster, Richmond & Kingston.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Hello July....

With July dawning bright & sunny... here's what I have planned for this month:
Along with these blog posts I have lots socially in the diary, I have friends celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary & her 50th birthday, another friend having an afternoon soiree for his 65th birthday and several family birthday celebrations as well.
I have 2 big projects at work along with closing the financial half year which is always a little stressful. I have a trip to the theatre planned along with a few other events after work.... pop back later this month and I will hopefully have shared some of them!
Happy July x 

Monday, 30 June 2014

#Project Life ~ June


Well where did June go?.... how we can be diving into July is beyond me.... before we plunge headfirst into July, let me share what kept me busy in June.
First of all, blog posts were few are far between in June for a number of reasons, and they weren't because I was hooked on the football!... Sale started at work which kept me busy and a horrible virus knocked me for six for over a week. I can cope with a summer cold, it was the dizziness and fainting I didn't cope very well with, it was like having perpetual jet lag. A call to the Dr's resulted in me finding out that I had been de-registered as I don't visit enough or generate enough income for the surgery!.. I have now to re-register which I can only do between the hours of 10 & 2!... clearly not catering for the employed!. (rant over!!)
  • Sale was fruitful and I bagged a number of birthday & Christmas presents to put in the present cupboard. I did also bag a new work bag which I will share later this month!.
  • The Kits turned one and they had lots of treats & cuddles to celebrate.... they have bought a year of mischief and mayhem to T's terrace, but bought lots of love & fun.
  • Early in the month I spent a Sunday soaking up the sun in the Parks & Southbank of the city, enjoying great food & drinks  from Kerb.
  • At the beginning of the month I spent a Saturday morning in a picturesque village in Surrey meeting up with some crafting ladies and Kate from The Homemakery which was lovely. We have been blogging buddies for over 5 years and it was lovely to finally meet up... looking forward to more craft dates later in the year.
  • I also spent a day on the Dorset coastline, enjoying some downtime and loving my camera. The day also included a visit to Mr Selfridge's weekend retreat at Highcliff castle.
As well as getting out and about I've enjoyed catching up on some magazine reads along with a couple of TV shows, one of which was Beckham into the Unknown,... David's journey from Rio down the Amazon. I thoroughly enjoyed the TV show, DB's best friend made me laugh throughout. A fun and entertaining show.
This month I also grabbed a copy of Mollie Makes special edition Photography magazine which is just great... lovely to see another blogging bud Shimelle as the feature editor.

As well as shopping at Selfridges I also did a little online shopping at Fineside. Fineside is the clothing brand from Jonny Wilkinson and his brother. Jonny tweeted that he was on the packing floor packing orders post rugby retirement. I was very excited to receive the attached with my order!
 
I hope to blog a little more in July, I have lots to share including my day in Dorset, Hampton Court, Parklife in London along with some fab beauty buys of late and a little stationery love!....
what did you do in June... would love to hear from you.. x

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

beauty treats

I don't often blog Beauty posts, and Selfies even less, however after 3 great beauty experiences of late I decided to share ...
Working in a department store like the one that I do, I have a host of amazing goodies, treats and indulgences at my finger-tips when the bank manager allows!
Last weekend on Sunday I had an invitation to a friends 65th birthday soiree, as I was working prior I made the decision to get a helping hand from work to get ready, before heading into the Essex countryside to the celebrations.
Nails
First stop was a much needed manicure at the Paint shop where I got some TLC to my nails and a coat of Tom Fords fabulous Viper polish... gorgeous. I love this colour polish, and have learnt that dark colours suit my nails much better than lights & brights.
The nail bar is perfect from the Express through to the Gel manicure, catering all options for lunchtime stops to leisurely visits.

Hair

The next stop for me was a quick blow-dry at Hershesons ...I've used this service a few times now and love it, I have long thick hair and the luxury of someone  styling it in half hour is just perfect for me. Maurice is my stylist of choice and is a master with the brush and dryer!
I recently had a colour refresh and really loving the red & purple slices that I've had added, these were showcased to their best from a 'big 'blow dry adding volume & curl. If I could I would get him do it every week!
Face
Final stop for me was a make-over. Day look for me is quite minimal, however needing a little lift I opted for a party make-over from Bobbi Brown. This was my first make-over from Bobbi and I really enjoyed it.
Favourite products used were the CC cream, and Long-wear even finish Foundation which were both gorgeous and now on my pay day buy list. Suffering with combination skin which is prone to shining, these 2 products combated this lots for me, and as I am always looking for the perfect foundation, this is definitely worth a try for me. Bobbi's concealer also worked miracles and has been added to wish list.
 I stuck with my Chanel waterproof mascara which completely works for me. This completely accentuated the glimmer sticks (Golden & Violet Plum used on my eyes, which worked miracles on making my eyes appear very blue! .. all framed with fabulous brows. My make-over stylist was Cesar who was fun, very knowledgeable and put me at ease which is much help for a novice. I left with a Pink Beige lipstick in my pocket which is the perfect nude from day to night, perfect for touch-ups during the night.
My make-over was complete with the perfect handbag accessory for the evening which was a Victoria Beckham clutch, complete with Lanvin pouch and a little beauty help from Chanel, Bobbi, & Tom Ford... delicious.
 
All services are available from Selfridges and can be booked at the following;

Hair - Hershesons blow dry bar
Make-up - bookings currently available via the Bobbi Brown app (coming to Selfridges website soon)



Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Totes Tuesday ~ July

Having missed last months Totes Tuesday post I was determined to share some handbag love this month. However not realising where the moth had gone I had to snap a quick pic on phone & light wasn't great! (cardinal sin for an budding photographer!)
This month I am sharing the love of my gorgeous Kate Spade Cobble Hill Ellen turquoise cross body bag. With the signature stripe lining, hidden pockets, its perfect for trips on the tube and wandering around London in the sunshine. I picked this up in Kate Spade's sale a couple of summers ago and love it.
This month I have styled this bag several times with Kate Spade Manhattan map tote. Perfect for carrying picnic treats, camera & water cup. My KS manhattan scarf made a great impromptu picnic cloth.
Accessorised with white linen trousers, blue birkenstocks & loose top... perfect style for a hot summer in the city.

Monday, 21 July 2014

New York loves ~ Ice-Cream

Its that time of the month again, when I share some favourites from New York. .... what with it being warm on both sides of the pond I thought I would blog something sweet to keep us cool, so this week its all about Ice-Cream.

I've picked 5 of my favourites either for flavour, ambience, showcasing New York or just theatrical fun.
  • Serendipity ~ famed for its Frozen Hot Chocolate desert, this was the 1st coffee house boutique to open in New York in 1954, offering coffee and desserts it soon became a venue to be seen in. You can easily wait up to an hour to be seated without a reservation... however the wait is worth it as the Hot chocolate dessert is delicious... situated a short walk behind Bloomingdales, its the perfect cool down after a shopping bonanza.
  • Sprinkles ~ the cupcake specialists from LA opened a cupcake parlour a few years ago in New York, this has been joined this year with its ice cream parlour. This is on my "to visit" list this year as I would like to try the Red Velvet cone & ice-cream... if its as good as its cupcake then I am in for a treat...(will post back when I have visited.)
  • Davey's ~ this very cute little parlour in the East Village is the brain child of David Yoo. With the ice-cream made from scratch its become a social media delight this summer... I am really keen to try the 'Brunch' cream - sweet cream ice-cream, with brioche French toast, cinnamon maple syrup & coffee glazed bacon.
  • Emack & Bolio ~ founded in Boston by a lawyer, the name originates from 2 homeless guys that he did pro-bono work for. The funky little parlours are famed for its creative dipped cones. This soho parlour has been open 9 years and is a eclectic cacophony of sprinkles & treats. Next time I visit I am opting for the coffee ice cream float.... mmmm
  • Brooklyn Ice Cream factory ~ situated in an old fire-boat house on the fulton ferry pier underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. This iconic NY parlour not only serves delicious creamy ice cream, but also serves some of the most iconic and fabulous views of the city.... this venue is the perfect treat along with rest point on the waterfront after a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge
 
I hope that these 5 flavours of parlours have cooled you down a little!.... What are your New York Ice-Cream recommendations and why?.... would love to hear so that I can add to my list for my next visit. I hope that you have enjoyed my NY loves post this week Here are my previous posts, pop back next week for London's equivalent Ice-Cream loves.
.... (please note that all views are my own and I have not received any payment for this post)




Sunday, 20 July 2014

4th July food treats

When you find yourself in London on the 4th July ambling around the city on a Literary adventure, then the only food treats to seek out are of and American influence. 
My morning started in Notting Hill where I stopped for a coffee and a gorgeous maple syrup infused  bacon sandwich in one of my favourite cafes ... Charlie's. I have blogged about this venue a couple of times and it is a little hidden gem in Portobello Road.
A short stroll to the top of Portobello Road I popped into Recipease  where 4th July celebrations were in full celebration.... Jamie's America book taking pride of place at the front of the store. The blueberry & cream cheese looked gorgeous and I grabbed a slice to take home with me ( I ate the following day and it was delicious, moist, full of flavour with gorgeous cream cheese frosting) Recipease is on my list of places to pop back to.   
  After a long walk it was time for a Shake stop! in Covent Garden.... this visit I opted for a shake dog, fries & a limited edition Blueberry Lemonade!.... oh my the lemonade was amazing, cool, sharp, complete with real blueberries... America in a cup!.
Late afternoon tea before I headed across the river to the Old Vic theatre was at the very cute Primrose bakery tucked down a side street just off of Covent Garden square. Here I savoured a coffee and a 4th July vanilla cupcake, which was moist, dense and the perfect treat to end a day of lots of walking!...
 
(I will blog the rest of my visit at this little cupcakery in a separate post as the décor was scrumptious on a summers day. )                
I had a gorgeous day exploring London on a Literary adventure and the American food treats just made the day better, with blue skies and sun shining it was one of the loveliest days I've had in ages, work free & very indulgent!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

A Literary Day in London .... chapter 4

My literary day in London culminated in a trip to the Old Vic theatre to watch the literary classic "The Crucible". This book was a set piece at school and I was intrigued to see how this would play out as it was being set in the 'round'.
For those not familiar with the story it was written by American playwright Arthur Miller in 1953. It is  a partial fictional dramatization of the Salem Witch trials which occurred in Massachusetts during 1692 & 1693. Miller himself was held in contempt of congress over the content, one that continues to fascinate and divide readers/viewers to this day.
I am a big fan of the Old Vic theatre, which has gone from strength to strength under the artistic direction of Kevin Spacey. This production again bought a big screen name to the stage to showcase their craft. Richard Armitage (Spooks, Robin Hood, The Hobbit, North & South) steals the stage playing John Proctor, suported by a fabulous cast of veterans and newbies.
With the audience surrounding the stage, the lighting, props and cast placement are critical to creating the atmosphere and intensity of this piece,  Yael Farber delivers this with his direction without the fanfare of gizmo's and gadgets often found in today's theatre. This is a stunning piece of theatre, dark, intense and delivered superbly.
I enjoyed this play, however its not for everyone, the first act is 2 hours long and with a break of 20 minutes this play doesn't finish until after 11... it is long, so plan ahead if you need to catch trains.... equally tough going when sweltering in the summer heat!. However it is a superb piece of American literature bought to life in a unique and simple way, with the actors owning and showcasing their skills to an incredibly high standard. Richard Armitage shirtless gets a big tick from me as well!
A great end to an impromptu literary day in London.... chapters 1-3 can be found at the following links;-



Friday, 18 July 2014

A Literary Day in London.... chapter 3

Having spent the morning ambling through Notting Hill and then the lunchtime on a Book trail of book benches in Bloomsbury it was time to take a rest and enjoy just being.
I'm not a big sun person, but I do love exploring London's Parks... a stone's throw from Covent Garden is a lovely green space along the Embankment called Victoria Embankment Gardens... Stretching along the river this secluded green space is perfect for taking time out from the hustle and bustle of London life. There are many statues and memorials dotted through the park, one of which is Robert Burns.

With a couple of hours to kill before walking across the river to the Old Vic, I settled down under a tree and enjoyed a read on my Kindle and laying watching the clouds drift across the blue sky.
The park was busy but not overcrowded. A local office team build looked huge fun and involved lots of frivolity ad I think a little alcohol.
Here are some of the reads that I have been enjoying in the Park this month.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

A Literary Day in London ... chapter 2

As previously blogged a day in London recently became a bit of  Literary Love Day, here is Chapter 2 of my day...
After exploring Notting Hill in Chapter 1 I jumped on the tube to Holborn, an impromptu stop in Bloomsbury Square Gardens made me discover the fabulous Book benches dotted around the city, (more details here on Books about Town site) The Book benches will be across London from now until the 15th September and showcase 50 of the best of London's Literary reads.  There are 4 trails across the city and I am hoping to see as many of them throughout the summer.
Downloading the Bloomsbury trail map I managed to see 4 of the benches as they were a short walk from each other and loved them. The benches are decorated front, and back, there are also little surprises hidden within the pages on the sides.
Bloomsbury Gardens
Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly ;this bench is situated in the lovely Bloomsbury garden overlooked by some of London's majestic architecture and a short walk from the British Museum. Filled with some of Agatha Christies most iconic symbols from her Poirot books its a gorgeous representative of one of Britain's most loved authors.

James Bond Stories ; This bench is situated opposite Hercule Poirot, thus displaying one of the most iconic detectives and MI5 operatives alongside each other that this country has seen in the literary world. This book is a mixture of colour, brutishness and cool objects synonymous with 007. I love the Ian Fleming signature in the book sleeves.
Red Lion Square
A short walk from Bloomsbury gardens into another square of greenery of London sits one of children's literary icons from JM Barrie, there are 2 JM Barrie benches across the city this one is themed "Always Try to be a Little Kinder than necessary" This is a gorgeous colourful bench, a short walk from Great Ormond street Hospital, featuring fairies, monkeys, mermaids and a small boy flying across the London skyline with Big ben.
Queen Square
My final bench found on my short walk was Pride & Prejudice, which I discovered in Queen Square, adjacent to Great Ormond street campus. I loved this bench, it features Elizabeth and Pemberley along with a Mr Darcy on the back. Sitting amongst the greenery and shade of a majestic tree, this was the perfect place to sit a while, enjoying the view and reading my kindle with a lolly from the ice-cream van.
 
This stroll through part of the city that I hadn't really explored before was an unexpected treat and one I will be doing again. This is a must for anyone who has a love for books. Great fun for big & little kids alike.
 
chapter 3 continues tomorrow.....


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Wednesday Words ~ July

This month most of my reads have had the common theme of Summer. As well as them keeping me company on my commute to London and Birmingham, I have also taken much advantage of the weather and reading under the shade of  a tree in the park.
  • You're the one that I love ~ Giovanni Fletcher ... Maddy is poised to marry her soul mate, but which one will she choose?.. both are waiting at the end of the aisle for her... Maddy met her soul mates at the age of 8, they have been inseparable since, this story explores the life, friendship, and love of Maddy and her 2  best friends Rob & Ben. I enjoyed this book, there were times when I didn't like Maddy much and it seemed a little slow in places, but overall an easy read for summer.
  • The Unfinished Symphony of You & Me ~ Lucy Robinson ... sally is an amazing singer, who only sings in secret in a wardrobe. Her parents have discouraged any form of public display and her love affair with opera has been her guilty pleasure since childhood. To appease her love of the operatic world she secures a job in the royal opera house in London as a wardrobe assistant. This see's her embark on a huge adventure when the company secures a summer in New York. Sally meets a mystery man in NY and falls in love, when tragedy strikes she finds herself back in London this time however she finds herself starting at the royal college of music honouring a promise she made. When the mystery man turns up on her doorstep clutching an I.O.U Sally has some decisions to make. ~ I loved this book, it sucked me in from the start, anywhere that transports me to New York is a win for me. Lucy Robinson writes the most beautiful funny & heart breaking characters you feel like you know. This book is gorgeous, set across operatic acts, its a must.
  • A Summer to Remember ~ Victoria Connelly ... Nina's life is a little dull, after nearly being knocked down by a speeding car, and finally telling her bullying boss to shove her job, she realises that her life needs to change. Fate finds herself being offered a job back to the Old mill house that was her only sanctuary when she was younger when she used to baby-sit the Milton boys. This time her job is to help the the Senior Milton (Dudley) write his book and generally keep the house organised. What Nina finds is that its not only Dudley that needs disciplining, there's a mad dog and grown-up handsome Milton Boys!. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, set in the country side of Norfolk, it transported me back to childhood summers in this part of the world. A gorgeous read, evoking long summer days, walks by the rivers and lashings of ginger beer!
  • Ice Creams at Carringtons ~ Alexandra Brown .... we join Georgie & Tom in the 3rd Carringtons book. Georgie is now head personal shopper at Carringtons along with writing a column in a national magazine and still madly in love with Tom. Georgie is nominated to help organise the local summer festival for Mulberry-on-Sea. She embarks on huge plans, but suddenly an amazing offer comes her way which involves a trip to New York and choices to make.... can Georgie & Tom survive and can she pull together the festival 100's of miles away?.... It was lovely being back with Georgie and her friends, another great read from Alexandra and look forward to further adventures... delicious.
  • The Beach Hut Next Door ~ Veronica Henry .... returning to Everdene Sands, we embark on a summer of secrets, love, loss, hopes and dreams for the owners of the Beach Huts and the Big Grey House on the Cliff. Veronica Henry has written another fabulous summer read. This really does evoke you into long lost summers, picnics on the beach and days that seemed endless. The perfect read for an afternoon on the beach.
As you can see, my reads have been perfect for the weather that we have been having,  I have enjoyed each one in its own right so Thankyou authors for 5 great reads.... Here's previous Wednesday Words posts..... What's been grabbing your attention this month and what reads would you recommend?

A Literary day in London .... chapter 1

A couple of weeks ago saw me spend a lovely day exploring London. This was my last day off for a couple of weeks, so I ignored the housework and headed into London to enjoy a day of exploration.
The day turned into a bit of an unexpected Literary fest, which is too big of a novel to blog in one post so I have  split it into chapters.
Chapter 1 - Notting Hill
My day started in Notting Hill where I ambled around the side streets before exploring the sights and sounds of Portobello Road.
This is one of my favourite parts of London, which was showcased to its finest in the summer sunshine.
Notting Hill features I many of my favourite reads in recent years; Christmas at Claridges ~ Karen Swan, and the fabulous From Notting Hill series by Ali McNamara. The Notting Hill movie is now 15 years old, but I appears the love affair with the movie and area is still a huge draw and still brings lots of tourists to the streets.
Here are a few photos of some of the famous sights from the movie, including the big door, the Curzon cinema, the book shop and the coffee corner.
Walking through the market in the sunshine was gorgeous and the wares on sale from the market traders were as eclectic as you would expect from this famous market. With the sun shining in the sky, the hat man was doing a roaring trade. I loved the vintage cake stand stall along with the collection of cameras from the adjacent stall.
It was just lovely strolling along the colourful streets and glimpsing into peoples lives from this area. I love the hidden gardens and mews in and around this area. Perfect part of the city and worth any page in a book.
to be continued tomorrow with chapter 2.......


Monday, 7 July 2014

New York Loves - Central Park

This weeks New York loves is all about Central Park. Its one of my favourite parts of the city and every visit I spend many hours walking and exploring this beautiful oasis of nature.
The park is 843 acres and started being built in 1858. Following the depression the park slowly began to decline and the flower beds and lawns eroded and decayed. The park over many years became the playground for illicit and often illegal activities and gained a reputation as a place to avoid after dark. Over the last 2 decades a number of task forces and committees have worked tirelessly to bring the park back to its former glory and become a safe haven for families, communities, tourists and new-yorkers to meet, play and enjoy.

I have many favourite spots in the Park... here are 5 of many!
The Boathouse ~ featured in many movies and synonymous in Sex & the City when Carrie & Big end up in the water, this beautiful eatery is the essence of summer dining in the Park. From early morning breakfast to weekend brunch through to sunset dining, the views across the boating lake are delightful. Nestled mid point in the park, the boathouse is adjacent to a number of gorgeous walking trails and landmarks.... perfect, even if just stopping for a coffee. More from my visit here.

Alice in Wonderland ~ this gorgeous bronze statue is a short walk from the Boathouse and sits just north from Conservatory water. Commissioned by philanthropist George Delacore and constructed by Jose de Creeft in 1959.
Alice stands eleven feet tall. The Mad Hatter is a caricature of George Delacore and Alice is modelled on de Creeft's daughter... more information here.
Belvedere Castle - Sited halfway into the park, this quaint little castle offers panoramic views of some of the parks legendary landmarks, from The Great Lawn to Turtle Pond  and The Ramble. This landmark started out as a Victorian Folly, but has over the years been used as a post for the National Weather service and recently as a Nature Observatory.( more from my visit here.)
Hans Christian Anderson -This stunning statue was opened to the park in 1956 to celebrate the authors 150th birthday. The statue is extremely popular in the summer months as each afternoon story telling takes place around his feet, where little children and big children alike can listen to  Andersen's well-known tales, such as The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Little Match Girl and The Ugly Duckling being told. The statue in recent years has been dedicated to all the children that lost parents in the 9/11 attacks.


Gapstow Bridge - this is my favourite little bridge in the Park. It was built in 1874 and then replaced in the stone structure that you see today in 1896 and offers some of the best views of the new York City skyline from the park. It is one of my musts on every visit. .. just a short walk in from the Plaza entrance to the park it really is delightful. I have visited over many seasons, from spring to autumn and my favourite time in the city.... Christmas. The picture below demonstrates what a difference a day makes in the city... Christmas day 2010 (top) and Boxing day 2010 (top).
As you can see the Park offers so much for so many and its why its a must for any trip to the Big Apple. Here are other posts from previous visits, along with my previous New York Loves posts.Please let me know if you would like a particular topic covered in my NY loves posts, pop back next week when I will be sharing my London loves equivalent.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Social Media Sunday ~ June

It's Social Media Sunday again on the blog... this post is a round-up of things that I have enjoyed reading and viewing across the Blogland and Instagram in June.
Blogland
9 Staycation Locations - Victoria Connelly ~ This lovely post from author Victoria Connelly is a picturesque amble through some of this country's finest locations for a short holiday or long weekend. I am definitely adding some of these to me "To Visit" list. If we continue to have the weather that we are having I am determined to see a little more of this country.
Hand Luggage Only - 9 Cheap things in London ~ This fun and quirky post about how to see some of London's finest sites on a budget is very informative. Although a couple of them aren't really my thing (Madame Tussauds & Harrods!!!- cant be seen shopping at the competitor!) I love the idea of jumping on the bus and the clipper.
Temporary Secretary - Photo Tips for Beauty Bloggers ~ Although not a big beauty blogger I thoroughly enjoyed this post from this newly discovered blog on how to photograph beauty products at their best. I liked that it posted imagery mistakes as well as what good looks like. An informative post with lovely images. I will be coming back to this blog often. 
This Fashion is Mine - iPhone photography ~ For someone who is constantly trying to take good photo's on my phone and with recent workshops and avid blog reading I am slowly getting there. This post was a great prompt of the key things of taking great photographs, with some great tips. Will definitely be coming back to this blog for more photography posts from Gwen... thank-you x
Painting Kitchen Cabinets - Hearthandmade ~ A favourite blog which has appeared in previous Social Media Sunday posts - this gorgeous post epitomises everything I would like to do I my tiny kitchen. This year I would like to overhaul the kitchen, this post has given me lots of ideas and plans to do something later this year. I could 'like' nearly every post on this blog as it is filled with gorgeous pastel loveliness. - delightful x
 

Instagram
Four of this months favourites all showcase what I love about summer and the final because the styling and colour palette are delightful. I am getting more into Instagram and this moth I am embarking on posting a snap everyday.... I will collate a share later in the month.
Brightbazaar - Will recently published his first home styling and lifestyle book, which is a mix of primary colours and gorgeous styling. I love the magazine styling in the background of this picture, it completely compliments the gorgeous mint green kitchen-aid perfectly - yum!
klmpink - Kate's gorgeous jug of sweet peas is my favourite shot of the month. My gramps grew sweet peas around the back of his shed and they were beautiful, they bloom for such a short time but are my favourite flower .. this picture evokes the summers of long ago along with a delightful fragrance.
StephanieHowell - Stephanie's photographs as she, her 4 delightful girls and GI J live a posting in Italy is just gorgeous, every day is an adventure which she catalogues, snaps and scrapbooks beautifully.I have followed S's blog for about 6 years now and live a vicarious Italian life through her images. This fruit snap sums up the fabulous offers that Italian markets sell daily - delicious, I could devour the peaches, my mouth is watering just looking at them.
Mrs_Button - another Instagram favourite and another jug of sweet peas. I love Mrs's B's posts, gorgeous styling in her home in the country - gorgeous. This snap looks like a perfect day.
Kate_mystylediary - This gorgeous market snap is shot at Borough market and sums up all the fabulous fruits for the summer. The glut of cherries is gorgeous and one of my favourite summer fruits.... scrummy.
That's it for social media sunday for this month. Here are previous social posts from this year. Thankyou to all that have posted me comments, messages or 'likes' on twitter, Instagram or my blog. They mean a lot and always put a smile on my face...so this month what have you been tweeting, 'liking' following lately? would love to know. What blog recommendations do you have ... happy Sunday x

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

An afternoon at Hampton Court Palace

Before the horticulture world descend on Hampton Court Palace, let me share my impromptu visit to this historic landmark from a few weeks ago. Hampton Court has always been a favourite of mine from visits as a child who had a small obsession with The Tudors. The Palace has a fascinating timeline ... Here's more details from its official site.
Finding myself a short drive from the Palace and with a couple of hours to spare I arrived and parked easily within the palace grounds, all for the bargain price of £4. Before exploring the palace and grounds I walked along the river to grab some lunch. The weather was lovely and it was heavenly to sit by the river and watch the people and boats go by. A female swan was nesting nearby, and when she moved you could see that she was sitting on 7 eggs, which she was guarding fiercely!
The Palace was busy, but not at the point that you were tripping over people, many taking advantage of the lovely weather and picnicking in the grounds. From its majestic entry, through into the courtyards and chambers, the palace is a beautiful building. The last time I was at Hampton Court was for one of its musical events which was fantastic.


Recently the Palace have unveiled the Chocolate Kitchen which is the first time they have been open to the public in 300 years. The 18th century Chocolate Kitchens were once the domain of Thomas Tosier, personal chocolatier to King George I. Throughout the year historic chefs will be hosting chocolate making lessons from the kitchen and exploring Tudor cookery classes. I have bookmarked a couple of dates to return.
With the sun shining it was perfect weather to explore the grounds and gardens of the Palace. I avoided the Maze as they freak me out slightly and hate the feeling of not being in control! The Privy gardens were stunning, the landscaping was so precise it was a work of art. I loved the little nooks in the hedgerows which gave sneak peeks into the gardens.
I loved the structured gardens, however some of my favourites were in the cottage beds running alongside the palace. With Iris's, foxgloves and stocks settling against the mottled old brickwork, it was a photography dream.
The rose garden was my final meander before leaving the palace. Alas, the roses weren't at their best, but they still smelt heavenly and full of gorgeous colour palettes. With the palace as a backdrop it is a gorgeous setting for a rose garden.
Its been a few years since my last visit to the Palace, I am determined that I will visit more often. There are a few events that they are hosting this year that I would like to attend. This historic landmark is within zone 6 of London's tube & train map, so I have no excuse for visiting if I don't want to drive, as the palace is a short walk from the station. Alternatively you can pick up a river bus from Westminster, Richmond & Kingston.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Hello July....

With July dawning bright & sunny... here's what I have planned for this month:
Along with these blog posts I have lots socially in the diary, I have friends celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary & her 50th birthday, another friend having an afternoon soiree for his 65th birthday and several family birthday celebrations as well.
I have 2 big projects at work along with closing the financial half year which is always a little stressful. I have a trip to the theatre planned along with a few other events after work.... pop back later this month and I will hopefully have shared some of them!
Happy July x 

Monday, 30 June 2014

#Project Life ~ June


Well where did June go?.... how we can be diving into July is beyond me.... before we plunge headfirst into July, let me share what kept me busy in June.
First of all, blog posts were few are far between in June for a number of reasons, and they weren't because I was hooked on the football!... Sale started at work which kept me busy and a horrible virus knocked me for six for over a week. I can cope with a summer cold, it was the dizziness and fainting I didn't cope very well with, it was like having perpetual jet lag. A call to the Dr's resulted in me finding out that I had been de-registered as I don't visit enough or generate enough income for the surgery!.. I have now to re-register which I can only do between the hours of 10 & 2!... clearly not catering for the employed!. (rant over!!)
  • Sale was fruitful and I bagged a number of birthday & Christmas presents to put in the present cupboard. I did also bag a new work bag which I will share later this month!.
  • The Kits turned one and they had lots of treats & cuddles to celebrate.... they have bought a year of mischief and mayhem to T's terrace, but bought lots of love & fun.
  • Early in the month I spent a Sunday soaking up the sun in the Parks & Southbank of the city, enjoying great food & drinks  from Kerb.
  • At the beginning of the month I spent a Saturday morning in a picturesque village in Surrey meeting up with some crafting ladies and Kate from The Homemakery which was lovely. We have been blogging buddies for over 5 years and it was lovely to finally meet up... looking forward to more craft dates later in the year.
  • I also spent a day on the Dorset coastline, enjoying some downtime and loving my camera. The day also included a visit to Mr Selfridge's weekend retreat at Highcliff castle.
As well as getting out and about I've enjoyed catching up on some magazine reads along with a couple of TV shows, one of which was Beckham into the Unknown,... David's journey from Rio down the Amazon. I thoroughly enjoyed the TV show, DB's best friend made me laugh throughout. A fun and entertaining show.
This month I also grabbed a copy of Mollie Makes special edition Photography magazine which is just great... lovely to see another blogging bud Shimelle as the feature editor.

As well as shopping at Selfridges I also did a little online shopping at Fineside. Fineside is the clothing brand from Jonny Wilkinson and his brother. Jonny tweeted that he was on the packing floor packing orders post rugby retirement. I was very excited to receive the attached with my order!
 
I hope to blog a little more in July, I have lots to share including my day in Dorset, Hampton Court, Parklife in London along with some fab beauty buys of late and a little stationery love!....
what did you do in June... would love to hear from you.. x