Monday, 27 April 2015

Book Love ~ April

This months book post features lots of fun, love, friendship and laughter, perfect for escaping on my commute into the city.
  • Sarah Morgan - First Time in Forever is the 1st book in Sarah Morgan's new trilogy on Puffin Island. Puffin Island is a remote island off the coast of Maine, Emily finds herself the custodian of her niece and seeks solace on the island, away from the prying eyes of the world's media, after her celebrity sister dies. Emily's experience with children and a life away from her work have been minimal, but having spent the happiest time of her teenage life on Puffin Island with her two friends, it’s the safe haven of the island that helps her adapt to the circumstances that bring her there. No Sarah Morgan book is complete without a resident hunk of a man and this is characterised fantastically in the guise of Ryan Cooper the local yacht club owner. Ryan equally has his own back story which is tinged with sadness, but has promised his best friend that he will look out for Emily. The two find themselves drawn together, fighting all the chemistry and obstacles thrown in their path. This is a beautiful story and so much more than a frothy chick lit it may first appear. I now want to holiday on puffin island and can't wait for the 2nd book of the trilogy to be released in July to catch-up with Emily And Ryan and the lives of all the lovely characters on the island.
  •  Rebecca Chance – Bad Brides has sat in my to read list on my kindle for ages and I am unsure why I left it so long, it is a filthy fun romp of a read from start to finish in Rebecca Chances typical style. the Jilly Cooper of this generation. Jodie the Editor of style Brides pitches a competition between 2 celebrity brides to win the cover feature of the 1st edition of the magazine. Brianna Jade (reluctant beauty queen) with a very pushy driven young mother Tamra is pitched against Milly the current It girl and quite despicable with it find themselves head to head. With gorgeous grooms, Edmund a broke British earl and Tarquin musician of the moment along with a glorious mix of supporting wedding guests battle commences for the front page. As with Chances previous books its scandalous, saucy and a scream from start to finish. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and it certainly kept me entertained on my daily commute over a couple of days. I laughed, blushed and giggled my way through my tube journey…. It's been a while since my journey on the central line has been as fun.
  •  The Year of Taking Chances – Lucy Diamond ironically I started to read this book the week I lost a friend and colleague at work and it really struck a nerve with me, how quickly your life can change and to live life to the full. .. Gemma & Spencer have what appears to all friends and family the perfect life, and when they throw a New Year's eve party with loved ones, life doesn’t look much better. Caitlin and Saffron by chance find themselves at Gemma's party and the 3 ladies bond over dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies in the kitchen, little did they know how much their lives would change over the year and how that  chance meeting on New Year's eve would forge such a strong friendship between the 3. Set between a lovely village in the Norfolk countryside and London this story evolves over the year as all 3 ladies embark journeys that are shaped by tragedy, excitement, love and friendship. Lucy has the ability to write stories and characters that are so real that you quickly immerse yourself into their lives, I absolutely loved this book and I really hope that Lucy continues this story or we see some of the characters in a future novel.
  •  As Good as it Gets – Fiona Gibson – Charlotte is a mum to teenagers Rose and Ollie and wife to Will…. When Rosie is 'spotted' by a model scout whilst out shopping it raises an array of issues within the family that had been lying dormant. Will (not Rosie's biological father) is recently redundant and when a new family moves in across the road, suddenly finds himself having a mid-life crisis and trying to relive his youth. Charlotte already feels like she is in a mid-life crisis and when Rosie's biological father makes contact after seeing them both in a magazine it all becomes a little muddled and messy in Charlottes life. Will Rosie's head be turned by modelling and new friends, how will Ollie cope as a teenage dealing with all the change within the family?... all of this Charlotte has to juggle along with a sulky husband and a flirty ex and trying to be the main income provider for the family. Throw in a bored house wife of a neighbour and a meddling mother-in-law and her life couldn’t be more chaotic….. a fun entertaining read from Fiona Gibson that can make you laugh amongst the chaos of the mundane and mid-life crisis, another great read escaping the mundane of a morning commute.
  •  A Day at the Office – Matt Dunn has written another fun read which follows the lives of 5 people in an office on Valentine's Day. Sophie has a crush on Nathan, Nathan organises an Anti-Valentine's day party in the office every year and is still hung up on his ex-girlfriend. Mark is besotted with Julie the girl he kissed at the Christmas party, Julie is the new girl in the office and hiding a secret to her colleagues and Callum is desperate for a girlfriend, lives at home with his mum and has created an online profile on a dating site which isn’t quite true and finds himself on a blind date online date on Valentine's Day. As the day evolves cards are sent, secrets are spilt and wires get crossed and uncrossed….. will they all get a "happily ever after" for Valentine's day…… this was a fun read, especially for any one that has worked in an office where gossip and pranks are a staple part of the working. You will recognise every one of the characters that appears within the book…. 
    As you can see I've read a an fun mix this month and enjoyed all of them.
    Here are some previous book posts & literary loves. 
    ...what have you been reading? did you love it or did it not live up to expectation?

Sunday, 26 April 2015

A Sunday covering 26 miles...............

Today my twin brother for the 5th time pulled on his trainers and joined 38,000 others to run 26 miles through the streets of the city in the London Marathon.
As with every year, the G family joined the spectator masses to cheer him and the many 1,000 on. We headed for our usual location on the Embankment opposite the London eye just past the 25 mile marker...
After a miserable night of rain previously, the day dawned dry but chilly, perfect running conditions but a little cold for us spectators.... London Marathon 2015 was the 35th year that the marathon had been held in London and had a record breaking 38,000 runners running. A huge number of the crowds were there to see and say Thank-you to one of this countries most famous athletes and long distance runners... Paula Radcliffe. As we waited for Mark to get to us we were lucky enough to see and support Paul as she ran past, the crowd went crazy and she passed looking relaxed and happy with a mile to go.. completing the course in 2hrs 34 minutes, amazing, especially for a retirement run!
Along with seeing Paula we also saw Jenson Button and James Cracknell who both delivered sub 3hr runs which were equally as amazing.
I need to say Jenson Button looked extremeley 'hot & fit' even having just run 25 miles!!!...
Along with seeing some sporting heroes run, every single person pounding the streets of London today are heroes in my eyes... some people make it look so easy, but I know the hours of training, and discipline in all weather conditions it takes to get to the start line... so bravo to you all.
Mark approached us on target to deliver sub 4 hours which is what he was aiming for... having seen him with a mile to go we walked through to Horse guards and waited for him to come through from the finish line.
The atmosphere was great in the waiting area, we even saw a proposal, a guy having just run the marathon went down on bended knee (he needed some help getting up after!) to propose to his girlfriend who had also run the marathon... it was lovely and drew a big crowd.
After congratulatory hugs to the running hero who finished in 3hrs 54 minutes we headed home on a busy tube, with a weary runner and a very proud sister, wife & daughter.
As with every year I am extremely proud of Bruvs achievements.

Marathon 2013 ~ 3hrs 57
Marathon 2011 ~ 3hrs 49
Marathon 2010 ~ 3hrs 40
Marathon 2008 ~ 3hrs 51








Friday, 24 April 2015

Friday 5 .... things that have made me smile this month

Time for a little fun on a Friday and an opportunity to share 5 things that have made me smile this month....
  1. James Corden recently kicked off hosting the Late Late Show and I am thrilled that he has injected much of his personality into the presenting and having lots of fun with his guests... this David Beckham underwear AD is just fabulous.... I could share 5 things alone that I have laughed and smiled at since he stepped into the shoes of David Letterman here
    1. JC with Tom Hanks - Every Tom Hanks movie in 7 minutes - sheer genius
    2. JC and Jennifer Hudson rocking the car pool karaoke - bringing back so many Gavin & Stacy fabulous moments
    3. James headlines Burberry LA fashion show
    4. Basic Instinct remake with Michael Douglas - so funny.... but my favourite has to be:
    5. David Beckham & James Cordon underwear.
    2.  There are some big movie releases this year, but this teaser trailer put a very happy smile on my face when released at the end of March.... happy dance that Daniel Craig is pulling on the Tom Ford tux again in the guise of 007 James Bond.....


    • 3.  Following on from James Cordon sashaying down the runway for Burberry I loved this picture that appeared in the press from the front row of the Beckham family.... Harper looking in delightful in a Burberry trench dress who obviously wanted to kiss Daddy more than looking at the pretty dresses..... I had much the same thought when seeing him looking delicious!
    • 4. Shaun the Sheep appeared across the city for the Spring and I am slowly finding them on my travels, however this promotional video from the gorgeous David Gandy introducing his Shaun.... Fine and Gandy is fun & flirty and showcases everything that is great in the British fashion business....
    
    and finally Jeremy Piven ... aka Mr Selfridge has made me smile lots on social media... from sneaking into Selfridges last Saturday incognito, to calling out Bloomingdales standards and sharing Mr Selfridge meets Mr Darcy!!!....its been a fun month with Mr S.
    I hope my 5 little snippets of frivolity have made you smile.... they certainly have me over the month... pop back next month for some more, or equally leave a comment and let me know what has made you smile this month I would love to hear.
    
    

    Wednesday, 22 April 2015

    Fab Friday with Friends & Food Ritz style

    Following on from my Friday Fun with Friends morning with Mcqueen, Lunch was as equally as fashionable in the stunning Ritz restaurant. 
    From the moment you sweep through the revolving door of The Ritz you are greeted with some of the most glorious old school glamour that London can offer. I am rapidly becoming a lady that likes the finest that London can offer, having visited The Savoy and Claridges in the last 6 months along with The Ritz.
    As we were escorted through the Palm Court to the restaurant this dining room couldn't have looked more opulently palatial in the spring sunshine. Windows sweep from floor to ceiling offering views across the patio onto Green park in all its spring splendour. The dining room is full of colour, gold and marble columns, I could have been standing in a Parisian palace in the reign of Marie Antoinette instead of in the heart of Piccadilly. The pinks and greens within the floral carpet completely complimented the garland chandeliers and ceiling frescos which were just beautiful. I loved it all.
    John Williams MBE is the Executive Head chef at the Ritz and heads up a team of 65 chefs across the hotel, where all food is cooked on site with 95% of the menu being British produce. JW has cooked in Claridges, The Berekely and now The Ritz, an amazing accolade for a man who started his life as a fisherman's son in South Shields. I have admired his work for a long time and I was excited to sample one of his menus. Williams menu offers contemporary French dishes in a palace style cuisine using the finest British ingredients.

    From the menu I chose the following:


  1. Starter - Quail Salad with Truffle, Roast Onion and Mushroom

  2. Main - Rhug Farm Chicken with Leeks, Morels and supreme sauce.

  3. Dessert - Apple and Vanilla Cheesecake and Calvados ice cream


    The courses were complimented with a very beautiful Amuse Bouche, ( the smoked salmon macaron was melt in the mouth sublime) bread basket ~ I opted for walnut & raisin which was delicious (complete with Ritz embossed butter) and a divine plate of petit fours all accompanied by champagne and coffee.
    All courses were fabulous and we both commented how filling everything was. The flavours came through in everything we ate a perfect lunch for a spring day.
    Service and standards throughout our visit to The Ritz were exemplary, I couldn't recommend it more. Lunch was part of a day of treats that I had booked for my friends 60th birthday and was fabulous value for money; (the deal that I booked was less than the cost of afternoon tea)... a highly recommended decadent treat.
    A trip to one of London's finest establishment isn't complete without a visit to the Ladies powder room!... this was equally as sumptuous and opulent as the dining room.
    We had much fun here too!!
  4. As you can see our visit to The Ritz for lunch was beautiful, filled with amazing food and service  and a lovely time with friends....

    Sunday, 19 April 2015

    Fab Friday with Friends & Fashion...

    As previously blogged March was a month where I spent most Friday's doing fun things involving fashion, food and  friends...
    The last of my Fun & Friends Friday was a day filled with the above in decadent and gorgeous settings... the morning started with an trip to the Victoria & Albert museum to see the critically acclaimed Alexander McQueen exhibition. I saw this exhibition when it was originally staged at the Metropolitan Museum in New York 4 years ago and when I heard that it was coming to London I booked tickets as soon as they were released.
    The exhibition is beautifully curated and showcases some of Mcqueens iconic pieces beautifully.
    The exhibition is again sited across several rooms which are aesthetically styled to showcase the pieces to their maximum beauty. Original quotes from Mcqueen are engraved into the masonry which seem more poignant now than when I saw it originally in New York.
    This feels more personal than NY and I was reduced to tears then, but London somehow feels more personal, especially as you hear Lee narrate his inspiration through sound-bites across each collection and room. It is very much about Lee the Londoner who was infinitely proud of both his London and Scottish roots.
    Mcqueen started his craft as an apprentice within the tailors of Saville Row and it is this that sets him apart from his contemporaries and is evident across the designs on show. The first room that you enter is the London room and it is here that this inspiration is most evident.

    Mcqueen was a genius of his art and craft, obsessive and so very gifted, this exhibition is a must for any fan of fashion and art. The V&A have done a fabulous job of bringing this exhibition to life and enhancing and evolving the amazing job that the Met did 4 years ago.... if you have a ticket enjoy it truly is a stunning exhibition, if you don't have a ticket then beg & borrow and see this before it closes in the summer.

    The exhibition is staged at the glorious V&A, which was beautifully showcased in spring sunshine when we visited.

    Sunday, 12 April 2015

    Fab Friday with Friends & Food ~ One Aldwych

    With a busy work orientated January and February I was determined that once we hit March I would get out from behind my desk and spend some quality time with friends & loved ones. Planning fell that nearly every Friday in March turned into a “Friday with Friends” day. 
    The first fell early in the month with my friend C’s surprise 60th birthday, which gave me a chance to catch-up with many. The 2nd was with my oldest friend K and a very lazy lunch at One Aldwych in London.
    One Aldwych is a bit of a hidden gem just behind Covent Garden on the corner of The Strand & Aldwych. My previous experience at One Aldwych was when I visited for afternoon tea Charlie & the Chocolate factory style a couple of years ago.
    We arrived for a lunch sitting at 1 and we left the restaurant at 5.30!... a very lazy lunch.
    We were seated in a booth type table downstairs in the Axis restaurant. Dominic Teague is the executive chef at One Aldwych and prides himself on a a Modern British menu incorporating seasonal ingredients.
    With an amazing selection to choose from we both opted for Organic pork, sea purslane, crackling and truffle emulsion to start, neither of us had had sea purslane previously and thoroughly enjoyed this dish. The pork was cut in thin slices, tender and very tasty. The truffle emulsion had a strong taste but didn’t over power, which can quite often happen.
    For Main courses I chose Braised beef cheek in red wine and port, creamed potato and pancetta – and  a side of heritage carrots. With ‘cheeks’ being one of the on-trend dishes at the moment I was intrigued to try this, as it is something I wouldn't consider cooking myself. The flavour is quite strong but was completely complemented by the wine and port and succulently cooked to the point it melted in the mouth, accompanied by perfect mash and a glorious array of multi-coloured carrots it was a gorgeous dish for a chilly spring day.
    K chose 28-day dry-aged rib-eye Denham Vale beef with slow-roasted tomatoes, French fries and béarnaise sauce – this looked amazing when it was presented and K said it was the best steak she had had.
    After a leisurely rest it was time for dessert- our choices were crème  brûlée  & soufflé.
    The Crème brûlée,was with poached Yorkshire rhubarb – sweet & sharp in equal parts.
    Blackberry soufflé and blackberry ice cream – cooked to perfection the soufflé was gloriously sweet & sharp and was like a huge blackberry cloud in your mouth, complemented by a
    Lunch was accompanied by a gorgeous bottle of Rioja Crianza, Romesa, 2010, Spain (Strawberry and blackberry. Vanilla and cocoa smoothness) perfect for our mains & desserts. It’s been a long time since I drank red wine and it was a lovely treat, especially as we were not rushed and could savour and enjoy over the afternoon.
    All of the team were fantastic, attentive when they needed to be, what we both really loved was that they let us just sit and chat with no pressure to leave the table or hurry us up, the service was fabulous and the knowledge offered by all the team that we dealt with were a credit to the restaurant and hotel.
    A huge thank-you to Mark Tucker who’s customer service was amazing prior to my visit
    We had a lovely time and it really was a fabulous Friday with friends & great food.



    Sunday, 5 April 2015

    Social Media Sunday - March

    Its that time of the month when I share what I have been loving on Social Media from March. Instagram has been my favourite for March and I had much fun liking and posting during the month, so much so that I have a few themed favourites.
    Instagram;
    • The O2 London - this fun Spandau Ballet Selfie really made me chuckle on my way to see them at the O2 last month... the boys have completely embraced social media and I've had lots of fun previously with the Kemp brothers on twitter & instagram.
    • Ali Mcnamara - This is my friend Ali's dog Jake snapped as he looked at the solar eclipse during the month, how cute is he....
    • Thomas Kochs - loved this picture of the Claridges Easter egg by Thomas Kochs the GM of this gorgeous hotel in London. Art deco, chocolate & spring flowers ... gorgeous.
    • Dantvusa - an instagram favourite and regular feature in SMS posts - this glorious image of New Yorks finest fire department set against the backdrop of the Empire State Building is just perfect.
    • David Gandy - another SMS favourite... March saw M&S release some images from their spring campaign, featuring the delicious David Gandy... this one being my favourite 
    • Nils Mordt - Saracen's Rugby's fly half instagrammed this image shortly after Saracens won the LV cup. Love a rugby changing room image!
    • Tracey Burfield - a new instagram discovery for me in March, her images across London are stunning, this sunrise over Tower bridge being one of my favourites.
    As well as city and daily life capturing my likes this month, with spring arriving instagram was deluged with floral images. Here's some spring floral favourites from the month;
    • Flowers from McQueens florist in London feature twice in 2 of my floral favourites; beautiful blooms at Mulberry for Mothers Day and the entrance at Claridges by manager Thomas Kochs 
    • This lovely jam jar posy of Spring blooms from Michelle at Spotted_Rose is lovely and perfect for the season.
    • March is the perfect month for daffodils and this simple flower in a tin bucket is just stunning from Paula Fitzherbert and really kicks off the start of spring.. 
    • Tulips, Ranunculus and blossom... glorious styling from one of my floral favourites Emily Quinton... delightful.
    • Tulips & blossom buds from the Personal shopping suite at Selfridges are just lovely from Elaine Shar... gorgeous in all there drooping style.
    One of food favourites recently joined Instagram and I've liked so many images that it has its own collage .... I am of course referring to Nigella  who not only  gives us a glimpse of her home, what food she is loving and homewares she is liking.
    Pink and Green were a theme for my Nigella favourites, loved all the flowers that N shared from Scarlet and Violet flower shop in London. She made a simple bowl of green apples look lovely along with the jars of meadow flowers. The ham & pea pasta comfort dish is one of my favourites and perfect for a quick supper after work.... Nigellas snap of her cupboard sorting, made me dish envy along with the gorgeous kitchen complete with pink aga!.... simply delicious.
    As well as enjoying Instagram this month, I had some fun with a couple of my photo's... Spandau's Gary Kemp liked a couple of my photo's from the O2 which definitely put a smile on my face.
    Thankyou to all for brightening up my March..... Here's a few images of what I've been IG'ing in March... featuring Flowers, Fiats and fun in the London sun.

    if you have enjoyed this monthly post her are my previous Social Media Sunday posts...... what have you been favouriting, liking & re-tweeting this month?... looking forward to reading through this Mollie Makes special edition on Social Media which features some of my SMS favourites.

    Saturday, 4 April 2015

    movie moment favourites....

    March saw one of my favourite all time movies celebrate its 25th birthday.... I am of course referring to Pretty Woman. This movie stole my heart when I first saw it 25 years ago, it cemented friendships  and over the years can still put a smile on my face for so many reasons.
    I was in my late teens when this movie premièred and this was the fairytale movie for me - a little difficult to imagine when you read the synopsis; wealthy business man falls in love with a prostitute on Rodeo Drive all set to a fabulous soundtrack...
    Julia Roberts was 21 when she starred in the movie and I had both hair, & leg envy and she influenced many fashion styles in the late 80's/early 90's as well as kiss Richard Gere...
    4 looks that stole my heart and I coveted greatly and wore in various forms were...
    • The cream button through dress & wide brimmed black hat... I had this dress in black & cream and the hat and it was a much loved and worn outfit, along with killer black heels... seen here strutting down rodeo drive.
    • The brown & cream polka dot outfit worn at the Polo game, I had various forms of this outfit along with the hat and a pair of fabulous brown pied-a-tere sling backs which I adored and still have.
    • The red dress worn to the opera - breathtakingly stunning and still one of my favourite looks of all time... 
    • The black cocktail dress - this dress is 25 years old and could easily be worn today as then... emphasising that the perfect black dress is timeless.... 
    Along with influencing my wardrobe Pretty Woman has given me endless hours of fun, at 22 my friend and I had an impromptu holiday in California.... we lived so many Pretty Woman moments... Shopping on rodeo drive, travelling through Hollywood in a stretch limo with our heads out the roof with a bunch of flowers and an umbrella, drinking cocktails and laughing lots.
    During this time I also dated a guy who gave me many Pretty Woman moments...including a trip to the opera, lots of fun in hotels and telephone calls pretty woman style.... it also allowed me unconsciously to quote some of the movie moments...including
    "Edward Lewis: I told you not to pick up the phone.
    Vivian: Then stop calling me."........ (always when in a hotel when I shouldn't have been!)
    Lady at polo match: Edward is our most eligible bachelor, everyone is trying to land him.
    Vivian: Oh, I'm not trying to land him, I'm just using him for sex.... this was used in a fabulous put down to a rival with great delight and to my nan when she questioned the suitability of my date!
    Pretty Woman also made all girls want to be whisked to the opera or to the Polo by a gorgeous man .... the necklace scene is one of my favourites, completely unscripted and Julia Roberts laugh is a genuine reaction to Richard Gere shutting the box on her hand.
    who couldn't fall in love with this and that gorgeous dress and necklace....
    I never grow tired of watching this movie and have loved finding it on the Tv celebrating its 25th birthday... along with this the cast recently reunited on the Today show to discuss what the movie started out as and how it became the success it it.

    Friday, 3 April 2015

    Hello April....

    April is upon us and so far its been full of showers ... rain clouds seem to be a staple start to the month! March was a flurry of catching up with friends, nostalgia, surprises and sadness.
    As you can see calendar corner is keeping with the April showers theme in my Rugby calendar which is very pleasing on the eye when its windy & wet outside!
    I am loving my walk to the station now that the daffodils are blooming and spring has finally sprung... it makes for a much more colourful commute.


    The blog has had its monthly overhaul and we have kissed goodbye to the mulberry & coral and said hello to Navy & yellow to welcome spring... my header is filled with daffodils, mulberry, kate spade, some fun stationery & washi tape.
    I don't have lots of plans for April, but I'm hoping to utilise my cute little yellow A-z and get out and explore the city and find some more Shaun the Sheep!.... I am sure that the A-Z will also come in handy in the little Fiat exploring London and its surroundings.
    Easter falls in April so I'm hoping to get some down time to enjoy a old classic, some chocolate & hot cross bun.
    I am also looking forward to curling up and reading this special edition from Mollie Makes on Social Media. I have thoroughly enjoyed the previous magazines on Blogging, and Photography.  Hopefully this month I will get on top of some blogging posts which are long overdue, including my March lunches , book posts and NY adventures.

    Thursday, 2 April 2015

    Goodbye March, Hello April.....

    Saying a late goodbye to March and a much welcomed hello to April... March was a roller coaster of a month filled with many trips down memory lane. It was a month of surprises, love, nostalgia, sadness and lots of friendship....
    March kicked off with me picking up my new car, a fabulous little Fiat 500. I have had new cars before when I had company cars, but this is the first car I've driven out of the dealers that is mine!... I've had much fun driving around the city this month in my 500, styling my accessories to suit
    Early March saw a surprise little 60th birthday soiree for my lovely friend C, where I made a cake for the birthday girl!.... featuring a little bit of leopard print, handbags & shoes. Late March saw 50 artfully designed Shaun the sheep located across London for a charity trail. I was very excited to find Liberty Shaun as my first sheep, planning a Shaun adventure in April....
    Two occasions fell in March which enabled me to spend some time with my mum, Mothers Day was one and the anniversary of Gramps's passing. We have now got into a little routine where I pick her up and we go to the cemetery, followed by coffee & brunch at a little local cafe, it doesn't sound much but its a nice couple of hours.
    March saw me loose a close colleague at work suddenly, which has devastated us all and completely changed the balance of my month and really has made me think hard about my work/life balance and making the most of every day.
    March saw me spend time with loved ones, friends & family. My oldest friend K and I had a leisurely lunch at One Aldwych in London which was gorgeous. I also had another fabulous lunch at The Ritz with my friend C for her 60th birthday, which was preceded by a morning at the McQueen exhibition at the V&A and then a late afternoon at the Sky Garden in Fenchurch street which was stunning.
    An evening that we all spent together was at the O2 seeing the Spandau Ballet boys on stage ... a fabulously nostalgic evening.
    The end of March also saw another 60th birthday bash; this one a full Irish shindig for my friends partner John!.... held in a club that I used to work evenings behind the bar it was a real trip down memory lane, for so many more reasons than I am willing to share on my blog!....
    My hair got its spring makeover with some burgundy foils, complimenting my blog theme for the month.
    In-between the rain showers and even having a new car my sneakers have been used lots in March with trips to the station and gym.... all suitably styled with Longchamp, Kate Spade & Nike.
    I am hoping to get out and about more in April, and surprisingly at the moment don't have many plans. I am sure that they will feature my Fiat  & Shaun the Sheep!... what was March like for you? ...

    Tuesday, 31 March 2015

    A night of True Gold....

    Earlier this month myself & 3 girl friends spent an evening reliving our youth with the Spandau Ballet boys at the O2. It's no secret that I am a huge Spandau Ballet fan, so when the tickets for their highly successful Soul Boys of the Western World tour were released my fingers were poised over the keyboard to grab them as quickly as I could.
    Spandau Ballet's True tour was one of my first big concerts that I ever attended back when I was 14 years old, nothing was going to stop me seeing the 5 back on stage 30 years later. It seemed 20,000 other people thought the same as the O2 was filled to the rafters.
    Spandau Ballet have always managed to span a wide fan base and this was evident within the audience range that night; 80's Blitz club devotees, new romantics male & female and the middle age women whose idols adorned their bedroom walls in their teens. Rusty Egan warmed the crowd up with a DJ set playlist legendary from his Blitz club years, before Spandau hit the stage with their new track Soul Boy
    The boys were back, Tony's baritone belting out across the O2,  the Kemp brothers strumming the base and guitar in rhythmic style flanking Tony on either side of the stage, Johnnie Keeble drumming and the incredibly talented Steve Norman strutting across the set, playing percussion and sax in infinite style.... Spandau were back!
    Soul Boy lead into their Parade back catalogue; comprising of
    Only When You Leave 
    How Many Lies 
    Round and Round all with some great clips of yester year

    this led nicely into a couple of new tracks, produced with Trevor Horn as part of their Soul boys story.
    This Is the Love and Steal before  taking us right back to the year of 1981 and the Blitz years.With a huge glitter ball dropping from the ceiling and a hardcore base and synthesised beat rippling out across the stage it was time to pull on the frilly shirts and party new romantic style.
    kicking off with the classic Chant No 1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On)
    To Cut a Long Story Short and Raw followed
    the band partied hard and finished with a heart-stopping tribute to Steve Strange, their friend & founder of the Blitz club who they had buried a few days previously. He would have loved to have seen the boys back on stage in such synthesized up style!
    Glow (Instrumental played by band) After a fabulous instrumental medley from Martin, John and Steve which showcased their considerable talents as musicians, it was time for Tony & Gary to pop up in the middle of the audience for a small acoustic set of Empty Spaces and a fabulous audience participation of Gold.

  5. Empty Spaces (Acoustic)
    Gold  (Acoustic singalong with audience) demonstrating how far these two had become and what talented individuals they are

  6. Once More
     I'll Fly for You
    it was time for the huge hits back catalogue to get the crowd back on their feet with the boys launching into some of the crowds favourites....it was evident now that the 5 were having a ball and it really felt that issues that had kept the 5 estranged for so many years and been put aside and the crowd were loving it.
    Instinction
    Communication
    2 hours whizzed past in a flash and it was soon time for the song that launched Spandau Ballet from a North London new romantic band into global superstars, millions of girls fell in love to this song and it still has the ability make me smile, sigh and remember the guy (aside from Tony Hadley) that I fell in love with to this song...
    True
    With 20,000 people on their feet serenading Spandau as loudly as Tony was belting out the bands classic hit, flanked by the Kemp brothers, and Steve Norman taking centre stage with his epic sax solo it really was hard to believe that 30 years had passed since this school disco classic had hit the No.1 slot across the world.
    With feet stamping and shouts and claps of encore ringing around the arena the band took to the stage to finish the night with 2 of their biggest hits and favourites.... in the words of John Kebble it really did feel like the band had a better end.... with movie flash backs showcasing the struggles, friendship and love these 5 have had over the 30 years it really showcased how they had overcome the barricades to deliver True Gold..
    Encore:
    Through the Barricades



  7. Gold

  8. As with all legendary Spandau Ballet encores, the evening wasn't complete with a few bottles of beer and a jack daniels on stage to toast the evening with gold!
    With a final that had every one on their feet it was time for the band to take an emotional bow and party with their loved ones.... allowing 20,000 people to leave south London with a golden glow in their heart and a smile on their face.
    The Soul Boys tour will take the band across the world throughout 2015 to places that I imagine that they never thought would play again.... I hope that they enjoy those shows as much as I and my friends enjoyed the O2... it really has been a Journey of Glory for these 5 boys from Islington, and they delivered a truly stylish set of nostalgic gold. Having been at the Albert Hall for the movie premiere and the O2 for the 2009 reformation tour ut really does feel like this band has found the thing that made them great in their hey day and as a fan I am happy and thankful to have seen them back on stage together again. The 5 have still got it and flaunted it in style !                                            I shared some of my images on instagram the following day and to my delight it seems that Gary Kemp liked them too....

    Monday, 27 April 2015

    Book Love ~ April

    This months book post features lots of fun, love, friendship and laughter, perfect for escaping on my commute into the city.
    • Sarah Morgan - First Time in Forever is the 1st book in Sarah Morgan's new trilogy on Puffin Island. Puffin Island is a remote island off the coast of Maine, Emily finds herself the custodian of her niece and seeks solace on the island, away from the prying eyes of the world's media, after her celebrity sister dies. Emily's experience with children and a life away from her work have been minimal, but having spent the happiest time of her teenage life on Puffin Island with her two friends, it’s the safe haven of the island that helps her adapt to the circumstances that bring her there. No Sarah Morgan book is complete without a resident hunk of a man and this is characterised fantastically in the guise of Ryan Cooper the local yacht club owner. Ryan equally has his own back story which is tinged with sadness, but has promised his best friend that he will look out for Emily. The two find themselves drawn together, fighting all the chemistry and obstacles thrown in their path. This is a beautiful story and so much more than a frothy chick lit it may first appear. I now want to holiday on puffin island and can't wait for the 2nd book of the trilogy to be released in July to catch-up with Emily And Ryan and the lives of all the lovely characters on the island.
    •  Rebecca Chance – Bad Brides has sat in my to read list on my kindle for ages and I am unsure why I left it so long, it is a filthy fun romp of a read from start to finish in Rebecca Chances typical style. the Jilly Cooper of this generation. Jodie the Editor of style Brides pitches a competition between 2 celebrity brides to win the cover feature of the 1st edition of the magazine. Brianna Jade (reluctant beauty queen) with a very pushy driven young mother Tamra is pitched against Milly the current It girl and quite despicable with it find themselves head to head. With gorgeous grooms, Edmund a broke British earl and Tarquin musician of the moment along with a glorious mix of supporting wedding guests battle commences for the front page. As with Chances previous books its scandalous, saucy and a scream from start to finish. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and it certainly kept me entertained on my daily commute over a couple of days. I laughed, blushed and giggled my way through my tube journey…. It's been a while since my journey on the central line has been as fun.
    •  The Year of Taking Chances – Lucy Diamond ironically I started to read this book the week I lost a friend and colleague at work and it really struck a nerve with me, how quickly your life can change and to live life to the full. .. Gemma & Spencer have what appears to all friends and family the perfect life, and when they throw a New Year's eve party with loved ones, life doesn’t look much better. Caitlin and Saffron by chance find themselves at Gemma's party and the 3 ladies bond over dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies in the kitchen, little did they know how much their lives would change over the year and how that  chance meeting on New Year's eve would forge such a strong friendship between the 3. Set between a lovely village in the Norfolk countryside and London this story evolves over the year as all 3 ladies embark journeys that are shaped by tragedy, excitement, love and friendship. Lucy has the ability to write stories and characters that are so real that you quickly immerse yourself into their lives, I absolutely loved this book and I really hope that Lucy continues this story or we see some of the characters in a future novel.
    •  As Good as it Gets – Fiona Gibson – Charlotte is a mum to teenagers Rose and Ollie and wife to Will…. When Rosie is 'spotted' by a model scout whilst out shopping it raises an array of issues within the family that had been lying dormant. Will (not Rosie's biological father) is recently redundant and when a new family moves in across the road, suddenly finds himself having a mid-life crisis and trying to relive his youth. Charlotte already feels like she is in a mid-life crisis and when Rosie's biological father makes contact after seeing them both in a magazine it all becomes a little muddled and messy in Charlottes life. Will Rosie's head be turned by modelling and new friends, how will Ollie cope as a teenage dealing with all the change within the family?... all of this Charlotte has to juggle along with a sulky husband and a flirty ex and trying to be the main income provider for the family. Throw in a bored house wife of a neighbour and a meddling mother-in-law and her life couldn’t be more chaotic….. a fun entertaining read from Fiona Gibson that can make you laugh amongst the chaos of the mundane and mid-life crisis, another great read escaping the mundane of a morning commute.
    •  A Day at the Office – Matt Dunn has written another fun read which follows the lives of 5 people in an office on Valentine's Day. Sophie has a crush on Nathan, Nathan organises an Anti-Valentine's day party in the office every year and is still hung up on his ex-girlfriend. Mark is besotted with Julie the girl he kissed at the Christmas party, Julie is the new girl in the office and hiding a secret to her colleagues and Callum is desperate for a girlfriend, lives at home with his mum and has created an online profile on a dating site which isn’t quite true and finds himself on a blind date online date on Valentine's Day. As the day evolves cards are sent, secrets are spilt and wires get crossed and uncrossed….. will they all get a "happily ever after" for Valentine's day…… this was a fun read, especially for any one that has worked in an office where gossip and pranks are a staple part of the working. You will recognise every one of the characters that appears within the book…. 
      As you can see I've read a an fun mix this month and enjoyed all of them.
      Here are some previous book posts & literary loves. 
      ...what have you been reading? did you love it or did it not live up to expectation?

    Sunday, 26 April 2015

    A Sunday covering 26 miles...............

    Today my twin brother for the 5th time pulled on his trainers and joined 38,000 others to run 26 miles through the streets of the city in the London Marathon.
    As with every year, the G family joined the spectator masses to cheer him and the many 1,000 on. We headed for our usual location on the Embankment opposite the London eye just past the 25 mile marker...
    After a miserable night of rain previously, the day dawned dry but chilly, perfect running conditions but a little cold for us spectators.... London Marathon 2015 was the 35th year that the marathon had been held in London and had a record breaking 38,000 runners running. A huge number of the crowds were there to see and say Thank-you to one of this countries most famous athletes and long distance runners... Paula Radcliffe. As we waited for Mark to get to us we were lucky enough to see and support Paul as she ran past, the crowd went crazy and she passed looking relaxed and happy with a mile to go.. completing the course in 2hrs 34 minutes, amazing, especially for a retirement run!
    Along with seeing Paula we also saw Jenson Button and James Cracknell who both delivered sub 3hr runs which were equally as amazing.
    I need to say Jenson Button looked extremeley 'hot & fit' even having just run 25 miles!!!...
    Along with seeing some sporting heroes run, every single person pounding the streets of London today are heroes in my eyes... some people make it look so easy, but I know the hours of training, and discipline in all weather conditions it takes to get to the start line... so bravo to you all.
    Mark approached us on target to deliver sub 4 hours which is what he was aiming for... having seen him with a mile to go we walked through to Horse guards and waited for him to come through from the finish line.
    The atmosphere was great in the waiting area, we even saw a proposal, a guy having just run the marathon went down on bended knee (he needed some help getting up after!) to propose to his girlfriend who had also run the marathon... it was lovely and drew a big crowd.
    After congratulatory hugs to the running hero who finished in 3hrs 54 minutes we headed home on a busy tube, with a weary runner and a very proud sister, wife & daughter.
    As with every year I am extremely proud of Bruvs achievements.

    Marathon 2013 ~ 3hrs 57
    Marathon 2011 ~ 3hrs 49
    Marathon 2010 ~ 3hrs 40
    Marathon 2008 ~ 3hrs 51








    Friday, 24 April 2015

    Friday 5 .... things that have made me smile this month

    Time for a little fun on a Friday and an opportunity to share 5 things that have made me smile this month....
    1. James Corden recently kicked off hosting the Late Late Show and I am thrilled that he has injected much of his personality into the presenting and having lots of fun with his guests... this David Beckham underwear AD is just fabulous.... I could share 5 things alone that I have laughed and smiled at since he stepped into the shoes of David Letterman here
      1. JC with Tom Hanks - Every Tom Hanks movie in 7 minutes - sheer genius
      2. JC and Jennifer Hudson rocking the car pool karaoke - bringing back so many Gavin & Stacy fabulous moments
      3. James headlines Burberry LA fashion show
      4. Basic Instinct remake with Michael Douglas - so funny.... but my favourite has to be:
      5. David Beckham & James Cordon underwear.
      2.  There are some big movie releases this year, but this teaser trailer put a very happy smile on my face when released at the end of March.... happy dance that Daniel Craig is pulling on the Tom Ford tux again in the guise of 007 James Bond.....


      • 3.  Following on from James Cordon sashaying down the runway for Burberry I loved this picture that appeared in the press from the front row of the Beckham family.... Harper looking in delightful in a Burberry trench dress who obviously wanted to kiss Daddy more than looking at the pretty dresses..... I had much the same thought when seeing him looking delicious!
      • 4. Shaun the Sheep appeared across the city for the Spring and I am slowly finding them on my travels, however this promotional video from the gorgeous David Gandy introducing his Shaun.... Fine and Gandy is fun & flirty and showcases everything that is great in the British fashion business....
      
      and finally Jeremy Piven ... aka Mr Selfridge has made me smile lots on social media... from sneaking into Selfridges last Saturday incognito, to calling out Bloomingdales standards and sharing Mr Selfridge meets Mr Darcy!!!....its been a fun month with Mr S.
      I hope my 5 little snippets of frivolity have made you smile.... they certainly have me over the month... pop back next month for some more, or equally leave a comment and let me know what has made you smile this month I would love to hear.
      
      

      Wednesday, 22 April 2015

      Fab Friday with Friends & Food Ritz style

      Following on from my Friday Fun with Friends morning with Mcqueen, Lunch was as equally as fashionable in the stunning Ritz restaurant. 
      From the moment you sweep through the revolving door of The Ritz you are greeted with some of the most glorious old school glamour that London can offer. I am rapidly becoming a lady that likes the finest that London can offer, having visited The Savoy and Claridges in the last 6 months along with The Ritz.
      As we were escorted through the Palm Court to the restaurant this dining room couldn't have looked more opulently palatial in the spring sunshine. Windows sweep from floor to ceiling offering views across the patio onto Green park in all its spring splendour. The dining room is full of colour, gold and marble columns, I could have been standing in a Parisian palace in the reign of Marie Antoinette instead of in the heart of Piccadilly. The pinks and greens within the floral carpet completely complimented the garland chandeliers and ceiling frescos which were just beautiful. I loved it all.
      John Williams MBE is the Executive Head chef at the Ritz and heads up a team of 65 chefs across the hotel, where all food is cooked on site with 95% of the menu being British produce. JW has cooked in Claridges, The Berekely and now The Ritz, an amazing accolade for a man who started his life as a fisherman's son in South Shields. I have admired his work for a long time and I was excited to sample one of his menus. Williams menu offers contemporary French dishes in a palace style cuisine using the finest British ingredients.

      From the menu I chose the following:


    1. Starter - Quail Salad with Truffle, Roast Onion and Mushroom

    2. Main - Rhug Farm Chicken with Leeks, Morels and supreme sauce.

    3. Dessert - Apple and Vanilla Cheesecake and Calvados ice cream


      The courses were complimented with a very beautiful Amuse Bouche, ( the smoked salmon macaron was melt in the mouth sublime) bread basket ~ I opted for walnut & raisin which was delicious (complete with Ritz embossed butter) and a divine plate of petit fours all accompanied by champagne and coffee.
      All courses were fabulous and we both commented how filling everything was. The flavours came through in everything we ate a perfect lunch for a spring day.
      Service and standards throughout our visit to The Ritz were exemplary, I couldn't recommend it more. Lunch was part of a day of treats that I had booked for my friends 60th birthday and was fabulous value for money; (the deal that I booked was less than the cost of afternoon tea)... a highly recommended decadent treat.
      A trip to one of London's finest establishment isn't complete without a visit to the Ladies powder room!... this was equally as sumptuous and opulent as the dining room.
      We had much fun here too!!
    4. As you can see our visit to The Ritz for lunch was beautiful, filled with amazing food and service  and a lovely time with friends....

      Sunday, 19 April 2015

      Fab Friday with Friends & Fashion...

      As previously blogged March was a month where I spent most Friday's doing fun things involving fashion, food and  friends...
      The last of my Fun & Friends Friday was a day filled with the above in decadent and gorgeous settings... the morning started with an trip to the Victoria & Albert museum to see the critically acclaimed Alexander McQueen exhibition. I saw this exhibition when it was originally staged at the Metropolitan Museum in New York 4 years ago and when I heard that it was coming to London I booked tickets as soon as they were released.
      The exhibition is beautifully curated and showcases some of Mcqueens iconic pieces beautifully.
      The exhibition is again sited across several rooms which are aesthetically styled to showcase the pieces to their maximum beauty. Original quotes from Mcqueen are engraved into the masonry which seem more poignant now than when I saw it originally in New York.
      This feels more personal than NY and I was reduced to tears then, but London somehow feels more personal, especially as you hear Lee narrate his inspiration through sound-bites across each collection and room. It is very much about Lee the Londoner who was infinitely proud of both his London and Scottish roots.
      Mcqueen started his craft as an apprentice within the tailors of Saville Row and it is this that sets him apart from his contemporaries and is evident across the designs on show. The first room that you enter is the London room and it is here that this inspiration is most evident.

      Mcqueen was a genius of his art and craft, obsessive and so very gifted, this exhibition is a must for any fan of fashion and art. The V&A have done a fabulous job of bringing this exhibition to life and enhancing and evolving the amazing job that the Met did 4 years ago.... if you have a ticket enjoy it truly is a stunning exhibition, if you don't have a ticket then beg & borrow and see this before it closes in the summer.

      The exhibition is staged at the glorious V&A, which was beautifully showcased in spring sunshine when we visited.

      Sunday, 12 April 2015

      Fab Friday with Friends & Food ~ One Aldwych

      With a busy work orientated January and February I was determined that once we hit March I would get out from behind my desk and spend some quality time with friends & loved ones. Planning fell that nearly every Friday in March turned into a “Friday with Friends” day. 
      The first fell early in the month with my friend C’s surprise 60th birthday, which gave me a chance to catch-up with many. The 2nd was with my oldest friend K and a very lazy lunch at One Aldwych in London.
      One Aldwych is a bit of a hidden gem just behind Covent Garden on the corner of The Strand & Aldwych. My previous experience at One Aldwych was when I visited for afternoon tea Charlie & the Chocolate factory style a couple of years ago.
      We arrived for a lunch sitting at 1 and we left the restaurant at 5.30!... a very lazy lunch.
      We were seated in a booth type table downstairs in the Axis restaurant. Dominic Teague is the executive chef at One Aldwych and prides himself on a a Modern British menu incorporating seasonal ingredients.
      With an amazing selection to choose from we both opted for Organic pork, sea purslane, crackling and truffle emulsion to start, neither of us had had sea purslane previously and thoroughly enjoyed this dish. The pork was cut in thin slices, tender and very tasty. The truffle emulsion had a strong taste but didn’t over power, which can quite often happen.
      For Main courses I chose Braised beef cheek in red wine and port, creamed potato and pancetta – and  a side of heritage carrots. With ‘cheeks’ being one of the on-trend dishes at the moment I was intrigued to try this, as it is something I wouldn't consider cooking myself. The flavour is quite strong but was completely complemented by the wine and port and succulently cooked to the point it melted in the mouth, accompanied by perfect mash and a glorious array of multi-coloured carrots it was a gorgeous dish for a chilly spring day.
      K chose 28-day dry-aged rib-eye Denham Vale beef with slow-roasted tomatoes, French fries and béarnaise sauce – this looked amazing when it was presented and K said it was the best steak she had had.
      After a leisurely rest it was time for dessert- our choices were crème  brûlée  & soufflé.
      The Crème brûlée,was with poached Yorkshire rhubarb – sweet & sharp in equal parts.
      Blackberry soufflé and blackberry ice cream – cooked to perfection the soufflé was gloriously sweet & sharp and was like a huge blackberry cloud in your mouth, complemented by a
      Lunch was accompanied by a gorgeous bottle of Rioja Crianza, Romesa, 2010, Spain (Strawberry and blackberry. Vanilla and cocoa smoothness) perfect for our mains & desserts. It’s been a long time since I drank red wine and it was a lovely treat, especially as we were not rushed and could savour and enjoy over the afternoon.
      All of the team were fantastic, attentive when they needed to be, what we both really loved was that they let us just sit and chat with no pressure to leave the table or hurry us up, the service was fabulous and the knowledge offered by all the team that we dealt with were a credit to the restaurant and hotel.
      A huge thank-you to Mark Tucker who’s customer service was amazing prior to my visit
      We had a lovely time and it really was a fabulous Friday with friends & great food.



      Sunday, 5 April 2015

      Social Media Sunday - March

      Its that time of the month when I share what I have been loving on Social Media from March. Instagram has been my favourite for March and I had much fun liking and posting during the month, so much so that I have a few themed favourites.
      Instagram;
      • The O2 London - this fun Spandau Ballet Selfie really made me chuckle on my way to see them at the O2 last month... the boys have completely embraced social media and I've had lots of fun previously with the Kemp brothers on twitter & instagram.
      • Ali Mcnamara - This is my friend Ali's dog Jake snapped as he looked at the solar eclipse during the month, how cute is he....
      • Thomas Kochs - loved this picture of the Claridges Easter egg by Thomas Kochs the GM of this gorgeous hotel in London. Art deco, chocolate & spring flowers ... gorgeous.
      • Dantvusa - an instagram favourite and regular feature in SMS posts - this glorious image of New Yorks finest fire department set against the backdrop of the Empire State Building is just perfect.
      • David Gandy - another SMS favourite... March saw M&S release some images from their spring campaign, featuring the delicious David Gandy... this one being my favourite 
      • Nils Mordt - Saracen's Rugby's fly half instagrammed this image shortly after Saracens won the LV cup. Love a rugby changing room image!
      • Tracey Burfield - a new instagram discovery for me in March, her images across London are stunning, this sunrise over Tower bridge being one of my favourites.
      As well as city and daily life capturing my likes this month, with spring arriving instagram was deluged with floral images. Here's some spring floral favourites from the month;
      • Flowers from McQueens florist in London feature twice in 2 of my floral favourites; beautiful blooms at Mulberry for Mothers Day and the entrance at Claridges by manager Thomas Kochs 
      • This lovely jam jar posy of Spring blooms from Michelle at Spotted_Rose is lovely and perfect for the season.
      • March is the perfect month for daffodils and this simple flower in a tin bucket is just stunning from Paula Fitzherbert and really kicks off the start of spring.. 
      • Tulips, Ranunculus and blossom... glorious styling from one of my floral favourites Emily Quinton... delightful.
      • Tulips & blossom buds from the Personal shopping suite at Selfridges are just lovely from Elaine Shar... gorgeous in all there drooping style.
      One of food favourites recently joined Instagram and I've liked so many images that it has its own collage .... I am of course referring to Nigella  who not only  gives us a glimpse of her home, what food she is loving and homewares she is liking.
      Pink and Green were a theme for my Nigella favourites, loved all the flowers that N shared from Scarlet and Violet flower shop in London. She made a simple bowl of green apples look lovely along with the jars of meadow flowers. The ham & pea pasta comfort dish is one of my favourites and perfect for a quick supper after work.... Nigellas snap of her cupboard sorting, made me dish envy along with the gorgeous kitchen complete with pink aga!.... simply delicious.
      As well as enjoying Instagram this month, I had some fun with a couple of my photo's... Spandau's Gary Kemp liked a couple of my photo's from the O2 which definitely put a smile on my face.
      Thankyou to all for brightening up my March..... Here's a few images of what I've been IG'ing in March... featuring Flowers, Fiats and fun in the London sun.

      if you have enjoyed this monthly post her are my previous Social Media Sunday posts...... what have you been favouriting, liking & re-tweeting this month?... looking forward to reading through this Mollie Makes special edition on Social Media which features some of my SMS favourites.

      Saturday, 4 April 2015

      movie moment favourites....

      March saw one of my favourite all time movies celebrate its 25th birthday.... I am of course referring to Pretty Woman. This movie stole my heart when I first saw it 25 years ago, it cemented friendships  and over the years can still put a smile on my face for so many reasons.
      I was in my late teens when this movie premièred and this was the fairytale movie for me - a little difficult to imagine when you read the synopsis; wealthy business man falls in love with a prostitute on Rodeo Drive all set to a fabulous soundtrack...
      Julia Roberts was 21 when she starred in the movie and I had both hair, & leg envy and she influenced many fashion styles in the late 80's/early 90's as well as kiss Richard Gere...
      4 looks that stole my heart and I coveted greatly and wore in various forms were...
      • The cream button through dress & wide brimmed black hat... I had this dress in black & cream and the hat and it was a much loved and worn outfit, along with killer black heels... seen here strutting down rodeo drive.
      • The brown & cream polka dot outfit worn at the Polo game, I had various forms of this outfit along with the hat and a pair of fabulous brown pied-a-tere sling backs which I adored and still have.
      • The red dress worn to the opera - breathtakingly stunning and still one of my favourite looks of all time... 
      • The black cocktail dress - this dress is 25 years old and could easily be worn today as then... emphasising that the perfect black dress is timeless.... 
      Along with influencing my wardrobe Pretty Woman has given me endless hours of fun, at 22 my friend and I had an impromptu holiday in California.... we lived so many Pretty Woman moments... Shopping on rodeo drive, travelling through Hollywood in a stretch limo with our heads out the roof with a bunch of flowers and an umbrella, drinking cocktails and laughing lots.
      During this time I also dated a guy who gave me many Pretty Woman moments...including a trip to the opera, lots of fun in hotels and telephone calls pretty woman style.... it also allowed me unconsciously to quote some of the movie moments...including
      "Edward Lewis: I told you not to pick up the phone.
      Vivian: Then stop calling me."........ (always when in a hotel when I shouldn't have been!)
      Lady at polo match: Edward is our most eligible bachelor, everyone is trying to land him.
      Vivian: Oh, I'm not trying to land him, I'm just using him for sex.... this was used in a fabulous put down to a rival with great delight and to my nan when she questioned the suitability of my date!
      Pretty Woman also made all girls want to be whisked to the opera or to the Polo by a gorgeous man .... the necklace scene is one of my favourites, completely unscripted and Julia Roberts laugh is a genuine reaction to Richard Gere shutting the box on her hand.
      who couldn't fall in love with this and that gorgeous dress and necklace....
      I never grow tired of watching this movie and have loved finding it on the Tv celebrating its 25th birthday... along with this the cast recently reunited on the Today show to discuss what the movie started out as and how it became the success it it.

      Friday, 3 April 2015

      Hello April....

      April is upon us and so far its been full of showers ... rain clouds seem to be a staple start to the month! March was a flurry of catching up with friends, nostalgia, surprises and sadness.
      As you can see calendar corner is keeping with the April showers theme in my Rugby calendar which is very pleasing on the eye when its windy & wet outside!
      I am loving my walk to the station now that the daffodils are blooming and spring has finally sprung... it makes for a much more colourful commute.


      The blog has had its monthly overhaul and we have kissed goodbye to the mulberry & coral and said hello to Navy & yellow to welcome spring... my header is filled with daffodils, mulberry, kate spade, some fun stationery & washi tape.
      I don't have lots of plans for April, but I'm hoping to utilise my cute little yellow A-z and get out and explore the city and find some more Shaun the Sheep!.... I am sure that the A-Z will also come in handy in the little Fiat exploring London and its surroundings.
      Easter falls in April so I'm hoping to get some down time to enjoy a old classic, some chocolate & hot cross bun.
      I am also looking forward to curling up and reading this special edition from Mollie Makes on Social Media. I have thoroughly enjoyed the previous magazines on Blogging, and Photography.  Hopefully this month I will get on top of some blogging posts which are long overdue, including my March lunches , book posts and NY adventures.

      Thursday, 2 April 2015

      Goodbye March, Hello April.....

      Saying a late goodbye to March and a much welcomed hello to April... March was a roller coaster of a month filled with many trips down memory lane. It was a month of surprises, love, nostalgia, sadness and lots of friendship....
      March kicked off with me picking up my new car, a fabulous little Fiat 500. I have had new cars before when I had company cars, but this is the first car I've driven out of the dealers that is mine!... I've had much fun driving around the city this month in my 500, styling my accessories to suit
      Early March saw a surprise little 60th birthday soiree for my lovely friend C, where I made a cake for the birthday girl!.... featuring a little bit of leopard print, handbags & shoes. Late March saw 50 artfully designed Shaun the sheep located across London for a charity trail. I was very excited to find Liberty Shaun as my first sheep, planning a Shaun adventure in April....
      Two occasions fell in March which enabled me to spend some time with my mum, Mothers Day was one and the anniversary of Gramps's passing. We have now got into a little routine where I pick her up and we go to the cemetery, followed by coffee & brunch at a little local cafe, it doesn't sound much but its a nice couple of hours.
      March saw me loose a close colleague at work suddenly, which has devastated us all and completely changed the balance of my month and really has made me think hard about my work/life balance and making the most of every day.
      March saw me spend time with loved ones, friends & family. My oldest friend K and I had a leisurely lunch at One Aldwych in London which was gorgeous. I also had another fabulous lunch at The Ritz with my friend C for her 60th birthday, which was preceded by a morning at the McQueen exhibition at the V&A and then a late afternoon at the Sky Garden in Fenchurch street which was stunning.
      An evening that we all spent together was at the O2 seeing the Spandau Ballet boys on stage ... a fabulously nostalgic evening.
      The end of March also saw another 60th birthday bash; this one a full Irish shindig for my friends partner John!.... held in a club that I used to work evenings behind the bar it was a real trip down memory lane, for so many more reasons than I am willing to share on my blog!....
      My hair got its spring makeover with some burgundy foils, complimenting my blog theme for the month.
      In-between the rain showers and even having a new car my sneakers have been used lots in March with trips to the station and gym.... all suitably styled with Longchamp, Kate Spade & Nike.
      I am hoping to get out and about more in April, and surprisingly at the moment don't have many plans. I am sure that they will feature my Fiat  & Shaun the Sheep!... what was March like for you? ...

      Tuesday, 31 March 2015

      A night of True Gold....

      Earlier this month myself & 3 girl friends spent an evening reliving our youth with the Spandau Ballet boys at the O2. It's no secret that I am a huge Spandau Ballet fan, so when the tickets for their highly successful Soul Boys of the Western World tour were released my fingers were poised over the keyboard to grab them as quickly as I could.
      Spandau Ballet's True tour was one of my first big concerts that I ever attended back when I was 14 years old, nothing was going to stop me seeing the 5 back on stage 30 years later. It seemed 20,000 other people thought the same as the O2 was filled to the rafters.
      Spandau Ballet have always managed to span a wide fan base and this was evident within the audience range that night; 80's Blitz club devotees, new romantics male & female and the middle age women whose idols adorned their bedroom walls in their teens. Rusty Egan warmed the crowd up with a DJ set playlist legendary from his Blitz club years, before Spandau hit the stage with their new track Soul Boy
      The boys were back, Tony's baritone belting out across the O2,  the Kemp brothers strumming the base and guitar in rhythmic style flanking Tony on either side of the stage, Johnnie Keeble drumming and the incredibly talented Steve Norman strutting across the set, playing percussion and sax in infinite style.... Spandau were back!
      Soul Boy lead into their Parade back catalogue; comprising of
      Only When You Leave 
      How Many Lies 
      Round and Round all with some great clips of yester year

      this led nicely into a couple of new tracks, produced with Trevor Horn as part of their Soul boys story.
      This Is the Love and Steal before  taking us right back to the year of 1981 and the Blitz years.With a huge glitter ball dropping from the ceiling and a hardcore base and synthesised beat rippling out across the stage it was time to pull on the frilly shirts and party new romantic style.
      kicking off with the classic Chant No 1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On)
      To Cut a Long Story Short and Raw followed
      the band partied hard and finished with a heart-stopping tribute to Steve Strange, their friend & founder of the Blitz club who they had buried a few days previously. He would have loved to have seen the boys back on stage in such synthesized up style!
      Glow (Instrumental played by band) After a fabulous instrumental medley from Martin, John and Steve which showcased their considerable talents as musicians, it was time for Tony & Gary to pop up in the middle of the audience for a small acoustic set of Empty Spaces and a fabulous audience participation of Gold.

    5. Empty Spaces (Acoustic)
      Gold  (Acoustic singalong with audience) demonstrating how far these two had become and what talented individuals they are

    6. Once More
       I'll Fly for You
      it was time for the huge hits back catalogue to get the crowd back on their feet with the boys launching into some of the crowds favourites....it was evident now that the 5 were having a ball and it really felt that issues that had kept the 5 estranged for so many years and been put aside and the crowd were loving it.
      Instinction
      Communication
      2 hours whizzed past in a flash and it was soon time for the song that launched Spandau Ballet from a North London new romantic band into global superstars, millions of girls fell in love to this song and it still has the ability make me smile, sigh and remember the guy (aside from Tony Hadley) that I fell in love with to this song...
      True
      With 20,000 people on their feet serenading Spandau as loudly as Tony was belting out the bands classic hit, flanked by the Kemp brothers, and Steve Norman taking centre stage with his epic sax solo it really was hard to believe that 30 years had passed since this school disco classic had hit the No.1 slot across the world.
      With feet stamping and shouts and claps of encore ringing around the arena the band took to the stage to finish the night with 2 of their biggest hits and favourites.... in the words of John Kebble it really did feel like the band had a better end.... with movie flash backs showcasing the struggles, friendship and love these 5 have had over the 30 years it really showcased how they had overcome the barricades to deliver True Gold..
      Encore:
      Through the Barricades



    7. Gold

    8. As with all legendary Spandau Ballet encores, the evening wasn't complete with a few bottles of beer and a jack daniels on stage to toast the evening with gold!
      With a final that had every one on their feet it was time for the band to take an emotional bow and party with their loved ones.... allowing 20,000 people to leave south London with a golden glow in their heart and a smile on their face.
      The Soul Boys tour will take the band across the world throughout 2015 to places that I imagine that they never thought would play again.... I hope that they enjoy those shows as much as I and my friends enjoyed the O2... it really has been a Journey of Glory for these 5 boys from Islington, and they delivered a truly stylish set of nostalgic gold. Having been at the Albert Hall for the movie premiere and the O2 for the 2009 reformation tour ut really does feel like this band has found the thing that made them great in their hey day and as a fan I am happy and thankful to have seen them back on stage together again. The 5 have still got it and flaunted it in style !                                            I shared some of my images on instagram the following day and to my delight it seems that Gary Kemp liked them too....