Tuesday, 30 August 2016

10,000 steps in September

September see's me take on a small challenge and continue with my healthier living lifestyle.
 I have signed up to Cancer Research's 10,000 steps a day in September. I have already shared how I have fallen in love with walking and I am currently averaging this most work days, hopefully with a little more focus I will maintain this over the weekend and raise a little for such a worthy cause.
 If I complete the challenge I would have walked a minimum of 150 miles in September which ironically I am looking forward to!
I dont know anyone who's life hasn't been affected in some way by Cancer and by taking on this challenge I hope that the small steps I take in September will lead to giant strides in the eventual cure of this cruel disease. I will be sharing my progress throughout the month and updating my Just Giving,  Facebook & Instagram pages daily.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Normal service will resume soon.....

hello all..... apologies for the lull in blogging, life's been a little busy and I've been enjoying the summer.
I promise that normal service will resume soon for kick starting September.
have a great bank holiday and look forward to being back later this week......

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Farewell Mr Selfridge - my final week

Ten days ago I said my goodbyes to Mr Selfridge and my Selfridges work family from the last 10 years. I had an amazing adventure at Selfridges and look back on the 10 years there with fondness. It wasn't easy and at times was incredibly stressful with long hours and challenging situations, however it really is an incredible, amazing place to work which has set me up to go onto pastures new.
My last week was incredibly emotional, but also lots of fun, I was dined by several of the directors and colleagues in all the lovely restaurants across the store along with being taken to The Wolsley for breakfast and then an after works drinks on my last night.
It was a great evening and lovey to catch-up with many friends and colleagues past and present. Prosecco and pint flowing in abundance !.
My last day was incredibly emotional and we kicked off with our team breakfast "Fry-up Friday" which was then followed by a drop-in lunch with speeches and lots of gift giving.
I was completely rendered speechless and humbled with the generosity and love shown with gifts I received from my Selfridges family and friends. Completely overwhelmed and I cant thank them all enough. There will always be a small part of my heart that is yellow and what an amazing adventure it has been.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Hello August....

August has arrived and it brings with it a huge amount of change. July saw me leave the big yellow store on Oxford Street and the home of Mr Selfridge,  August will see me move into a lovey corner shop in Bond Street and join the Fenwicks family.
I am looking forward to the new challenge and currently between stores.
Thank-you to all that have left comments and messages from the Slimming world and walking posts, your support and encouragement means a great deal. I will share more of my SW updates later this month along with a huge farewell to Selfridges post.
August for me is full of lots of new things, along with lots of family and friends birthdays and celebrations. Best friends birthday, Nephew turns 18, 4 wedding anniversaries, S.I.L & mums birthdays its a busy month!
I also have a couple of lovely things planned including a little trip to Paris and a visit to Claridges.  Apart from that August is fairly quiet!!....
Here's to a fun filled August, full of fun, new adventures, friendship and happy days.


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Farewell July....

Well July was a month filled with fun, celebrations and lots of farewell. It was the month that I said my goodbyes to Mr Selfridge and the store that has been my work home and my work family for the past 10 years.
July was also a month where we saw a glimpse of summer and my walking adventures stepped up more with the warm mornings and evenings.
Saturday and Sunday mornings were spent at my desk clearing through 10 years of paperwork, filling and archiving in preparation for handover and packing up to leave. However I did escape a few times to enjoy the sunshine and parks around London; one of my favourite being a gorgeous walk through Regents park and along the canal.
July saw walks along the river, an early breakfast at The Sky Garden
along with a meander along the canal.
St Pauls cathedral has become one of my favourite photo-ops on my walks.
Another breakfast came at The Wolsley with my current & previous boss which was just lovely. I will share my Selfridges farewell adventure soon.
I was inundated with cards & gifts and drank too much champagne in a week where I said goodbye and celebrated another year older.
July really was a month of beautiful things; I travelled to Manchester early in the month and stayed at the lovely Malmaison to say goodbye to my Manchester families.
I also got to celebrate Christmas in July where I attended the Selfridges Christmas press show for the last time.
July was full of glorious colour from the beautiful blooms inside & out and I was in complete rose heaven.
My SW adventure continued with another half stone award which I will be sharing more of in the coming week.
Thanks July for what really was an emotional month... Looking forward to a whole new adventure in August.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Walking myself happy

Earlier this week I shared my lifestyle changes with my slimming world adventures. Thank you to all that commented on instagram and on here and also text with such lovely messages of encouragement, it really does make a difference. Having shared my eating changes, over the last couple of months I have stepped up the healthier lifestyle with a little easy exercise!.
Exercise doesn’t come naturally to me and I could easily have been a sloth in previous life, however I knew that I needed to do something. With a twin that runs daily and can run a marathon sub 4hrs, genetically I knew that something was possible, although I am unable to run a bath so pulling on my trainers for a jog around the park wasn’t on my agenda! However I have pulled on my trainers and have completely fallen in love with the big long walk.
I started with walking to the station from home 3 mornings a week (weather permitting! I am a fair weather walker when commuting) It’s a 2k (1.4miles )walk which on a nice day through the park is a pleasant way to start the morning and less stress than trying to find a parking space at the station and ticking off a 3 mile walk (to & from station to home.
This built up gradually until I decided to take on a bigger challenge Bond Street (Selfridges) to Liverpool Street. I have now mapped 7 routes which range from 7k to 10k (4.6 – 6.3miles) which I am walking at least twice a week and can honestly say I love it. The feeling at the end is fantastic, I'm less stressed and have a real sense of achievement.

To begin with I stuck close to the route of the central line in case I needed to jump on the tube, but now verge off to explore hidden streets and green spaces. Along the route I capture images of my walk alongside me 'map my walk' route. It’s a lovely reminder, fun and keeps me focused. So far I've explored the city on a Sunday, ambled the banks of the river – embankment & south bank, royal parks and knooks and lanes of Bloomsbury & Holborn.
I am loving my walks and have now started to look at setting myself some bigger goals, I've even downloaded the couch to 5K running app, so maybe running a bath may just be in my sights! ......
thanks again for the lovely comments, pop back next month and I will update you on my progress.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

TCakes SW adventure ...

12 months ago I started on a journey to a better me, my plan was to include lifestyle, health and general well-being. I was at a point where I was genuinely unhappy about lots of my life, but feeling constantly tired, listless and low was something I wanted to change.
My first goal on my plan was diet, I didn’t tell anyone that I was doing it as there is nothing worse than telling people that you are on a diet and then them pointing out all the calories, fats, and things that you eat that are wrong. I managed to loose 14lb (1 stone) on my own before I realised that I probably couldn’t do this solo and would need some motivation and support to assist. I had tried many 'diets' before and failed after the first couple of months due to the restrictiveness of them. I had until then followed a couple of people on instagram that had been following slimming world and had lost lots of weight, they instagrammed their daily meals and I was amazed by the volume & variety of food that they could eat.  SW looked like a food lifestyle plan that I could follow and not feel like I was on a 'diet'.
I joined SW last August and have over the last 11 months slowly lost lb.'s and inches, and this week I crossed the 3 stone goal, which means that in 12 months I have now lost 4 stone. I am thrilled with my progress. I have had slow weeks and a couple of low weeks, small gains but overall a steady loss which has culminated in 3 stone gone.
Things that I have loved about SW over the last year:
  •          I have fallen back in love with cooking – ready meals are a thing of the past.
  •          My weekly shop is more planned and I no longer run into M&S on the way home because the fridge is empty
  •          Its flexible, I have still gone for my weekly Indian with the golden girls on a Saturday.
  •          Virtually and Socially I have met some lovely people who are also on this lifestyle change.
  •          I have a sense of pride and worth that I lost.
  •          The shy social butterfly is becoming more confident.
  •          Become more active!
  •          I've eaten more food daily that what I ate before!
So what does SW look like for me! –

Breakfast
·         Breakfast is usually at my desk – weekdays are usually Weetabix / oats, fruit & yoghurt. Weekends are cooked breakfast / poached eggs. – as you can see I have lots of fun with my breakfast styling!





Lunch

      Lunch is as creative and colourful, often using leftovers from the previous night dinner or opting for salad / jacket potato.











Dinner
·         Dinner is predominately chicken, fish, or a recipe from the slimming world books, favourites include; curry, lasagne, chilli, and pulled pork. I try to cook a roast on a Sunday, using fry light instead of oil (still makes great roasties)
Eating out
I try to save my syns for treats and eating out as you have less control over the hidden dangers of fats / sugars but as you can see I still have a varied menu and genuinely enjoying this food lifestyle change. Whether I am out eating breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

Each month I set myself mini goals which keeps me focused, which make the monumental lb.'s that I want to lose more achievable. Along with loosing lb.'s I have lost inches and have dropped 3 trouser / top sizes, and I'm the smallest clothes size & weight that I have been in 12 years. I feel better, people have noticed the weight loss, although it is something I am only beginning to see for myself in recent weeks.  think it's going to take a long time before I look in the mirror and not see the fat girl but I am loving the wider variety of clothes shopping. I now feel better, more active and have more energy. The only thing that hasn’t got any better is my terrible insomnia, I'm hoping this improves with a job change in the coming weeks. -
So what's next – ideally I would like to lose another 2 stone and drop another dress / trouser size but would be happy with a stone and a half. My next goals will include a wider fitness programme. Pop back later this week when I share my Walking myself happy roadmap. If you would like to follow my SW adventure on instagram you can fine me here.

Monday, 11 July 2016

T's travels - London's mews

Recently having spent a Saturday morning at my desk, I escaped into the back streets of the west end of London to explore some of the hidden delights of the city. I had seen and liked a number of Instagram images of mews's and hidden squares and gardens and was keen to explore these.
I mapped a small route which took me from Manchester Square (behind Selfridges) up towards Lancaster Gate, zig-zagging through lanes and gardens running alongside Hyde Park.
My first stop was in Connaught Square where I fell in love with the most gorgeous house covered in climbing roses and wisteria. It was hard to get a picture front facing as the road is quite busy, but I will definitely pop back later in the summer to see what else this gorgeous house blooms.
Meandering along I discovered some fabulous little lanes and private mews, however my favourite was a mews that allowed you to walk and explore its glorious cobble path.
I can't describe to you how delightful this mews was filled with most gorgeous window boxes, planters and flowers, along with gorgeous painted doors and garages. Whilst enjoying this little hidden slice of London I was surprised to hear horses hooves, until I saw a small riding group using the mews as a cut through to their stables nearby.
One of my favourite instagram feeds @georgianlondon recently shared the origin of Mews's - they were originally built as stable blocks for grand squares and street. When cars replaced horses they became homes for chauffeurs and cars instead of grooms and horses.            A short walk from this mews is another which still houses stables and horses and is the riding school which uses Hyde park as its playground.
I had a lovely couple of hours exploring these little side streets and have already started planning my next London exploration. I am inspired daily by a number of Instagrammers who share their adventures across the city; here are a few of my favourites.
Skye @georgianlondon,  @meanderingmacaron,  michelle @crazycatladyldn,  magdalena @magspangeni,  @mewsingsldn and @prettycitylondon   Thankyou all for sharing such lovely images.
I hope that you have enjoyed my hidden slice of London - pop back later in the month when I share some more London delights.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Hello July....

So July is here and that means a new makeover for the blog and we have entered the 7th month of the year. July is a month that is usually filled with a very busy work schedule, and a birthday celebration! Along with this it will also be my last month at the big yellow store as I say goodbye to Mr Selfridge at the end of the month. My month therefore is filled with lots of goodbyes and lots of planning and looking forward to a new adventure!
I have a few things planned for the month:
     
  • Breakfast at The Wolsley with my boss and work colleague.
  • A trip to Claridges is on the cards.
  • Drinks with lots of work friends.
  • Birthday celebrations and a trip to Paris to plan!
Aside from this I would really like to enjoy some down time, reading, walking and getting back on plan with slimming world. I've hit a bit of a road block since i passed the 3.5 stone but really pleased with my progress so far.
So here's to a gorgeous July, hopefully with a little more sunshine, lots of laughter, love and I'm sure a few tears!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Insta Love - June

My love affair continues with Instagram and today I am sharing some of my favourites from June.
June's instagram feed was full of  glimpses of summer, royal celebrations, and politics. As with May I wasn't able to just pick 9 so here are a few from my 3 instagram accounts;
  • This purple haze with Big Ben in the background is one of the beautiful images posted on London Masters this month.
  • Gorgeous sunrise image from Angelo of the One World Trade building from New Jersey is delightful
  • Love this image from Mr Whisper of sunset behind the London eye from the shell building. My friend used to work at this building and I have great memories of this view.
  • With the Queen celebrating her 90th birthday I love this image of David Beckham and her Majesty this month. He posted a lovely quote in remembrance of his Nan & Grandad. (sigh)
  • I currently planning a mini trip to Paris at the beginning of August so this image from Elena of the Musee Gustave Moreau has been added to my 'must visit' list.
  • My friend Joe launched his fabulous style business this month and his friend David shared this image from the launch breakfast!!!!.
  • There have been so many images of sunsets this month, but this Gorgeous sunset across south London from my friend Anne is one of my favourites.
  • Two of my favourite things on my daily commute captured by Pretty City London - Howarths music shop and a glorious classic car.
  • June saw me visit The Connaught Hotel for breakfast and I saw these beautiful hydrangeas in all their glory - stunning.
My blog theme for June was Pinks and Apricots and here are a few images that I loved on my feed during the month capturing these colours perfectly.
  • Love this image of The Queen waving from a balcony from her trip to Liverpool this month, taken by The Royal family account.
  • My insta love regularly features Sally and her 'gettingstuffdoneinheels' account - this image of roses in her garden is simply stunning.
  • More roses this time from regents park's golden hour captured by OnePurlRow- beautiful.
  • Daytime roses in beautiful pink & apricot hues captured on one of the few sunny days in June by Kathryn from wanderforawhile.
  • GeorgianLondon has captured this beautiful door in Fournier Street in the heart of East London perfectly.
  • Yes more roses - this time from KerryHillFarm - love this instagram full of dogs, farm life and vintage tea.
  • Pony's instagram feed is fully of crochet treats, but this capture of her cat skittles, sleeping on a ball of wall is so much fun.
  • Door love in my favourite June hues from Leah is perfect. a beautiful colourful instagram feed from across the city.
  • Lovely summer juices from Mill Juice captured by Amanda Mclernon.
From my Tcaketess account; here's what I have loved in June;
  • Fun with Letters and light boxes with Heidi Swapp - one of my favourite crafting ladies. There isn't much that I don't have on a wish list from this ladies company.
  • Crochet envy from Mandy's insta feed, she has inspired me to want to pick up a hook and wool again.
  • Planner love from Nadia's paper heart gold account.- a feed full of paper love.
  • I have recently discovered a beautiful illustrator who's images inspire me daily - this is one of my favourites from this month from Heather Rosehill.
  • Bookshelf envy from The Planner Spot - i would like it all!!
  • Another planner envy post from Anne of anneheartslife full of planner & peony gorgeousness this month.
  • Crafting isn't complete without a little cake or doughnut's - Pink the Towns glittery doughnuts are delicious. 
  • Macaron gorgeousness from Natasha at Neviepie cakes are full of fun for a monday - love her feed and uniqueness of cake illustrations.
  • Finally this fun flat lay styling from Louise - full of fun, glitter, buttons and stars to celebrate everything gorgeous.

My instagram community continues to grow and I am meeting lots of new 'insta-friends' through it both in the virtual world and in person.
Thankyou all for sharing such lovely images during June, they have been beautiful, fun full of flowers, royalty & delicious men! With 3 instagram accounts now -@tcake31 for London life and things that I love,@tcaketess for planner, crafting & stationery happiness and my healthy eating journey on @tcakes_sw_adventure pop over and say hi... look forward to seeing what July brings on insta love.
I hope you have had fun with my social media Sunday loves ... here's some from previous months... 

Friday, 1 July 2016

Farewell June .....

Oh wow, how is it the end of June? Halfway through 2016, I'm not sure where this year is going.
June was a month filled with catching up with old friends along with a big road trip, and then some simple things like London walks, cinema, reading and a little shopping!
June also saw the cats take their first trip to the cattery, they survived the adventure, and didn't seem too worse for it on their return home. They have been incredibly loving and haven’t left my side when I am home since they returned!.
I had high hopes of work easing up a little in June as we take a break from stocktaking for sale, however a huge technical issue meant that there were lots of late nights, conference calls and a little stress on the lead into sale! Sale was fun and I stockpiled some presents for christmas along with a few treats for myself; including 4 pairs of shoes and a mulberry bag!!! (this was my last sale so I made the most of it!) 
June saw me take a trip to a very cute cinema in Baker street to see the beautiful 'Me before You'. Here is what I thought of it! I loved the little cinema and will definitely visit again. I started the month with great slimming world ambitions and due to some seasonal like weather I managed to increase my walking activity to and from work. 
Unfortunately this was hampered slightly when the weather took a wintery turn and suddenly 8k walks were much more favourable via the tube!
I did however manage to snap some lovely images of day to day life in and around London, and have a couple of blog posts to share from some gorgeous mews meanderings. Roses bloomed everywhere and I loved capturing them throughout the month. (I wish I could capture the essence as easily as they smell beautiful and completely transport me back to my granddads back garden)
I spent a lovely morning at The Connaught Hotel having breakfast which was lovely. Tucked away in a quiet corner of Mayfair this hotel was a pleasure to visit, the old school glamorous bathrooms were just gorgeous and I wanted to teleport them home. (detailed post here). Another breakfast was had at the Rosewood in Holborn to celebrate the launch of my friend Joe's new adventure. Joe has launched his own style website and with his best friend on hand to lend some morale support and incredibly delicious eye candy for breakfast I was a little flustered!!!... yes the gorgeous David G over breakfast was a little distracting for me!.
We celebrated Fathers Day in June, which gave me an opportunity to spend some time with my mum at the cemetery and over brunch at the local café. We were really lucky with the weather and managed to dodge the rain showers and it was nice to catchup over a coffee.
The last weekend of June I spent in Scotland. I escaped the floods of Essex and London and headed up north through the beautiful lake district into Scotland and across Ayrshire to the west coast. Taylor and I survived the road trip and I spent 3 lovely days with very special friends, celebrating the wedding of a very special lady, who made the most beautiful bride.
As you can see I have had what I thought was going to be a relatively quiet month turn into quite a busy one!.... July is looking fairly quiet at the moment, it will of course be my last month at the big yellow store, which has arrived frighteningly quick. I hope to catch-up with a very long list of blog posts, plan a whole new adventure for august and finish with lots of fun and celebrate being another year older!... here's to July, thanks June for the fun, friendship and abundance of flowers

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Book Love ~ June

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

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

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

Monday, 13 June 2016

Makelight in Kew

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

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



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

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

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

10,000 steps in September

September see's me take on a small challenge and continue with my healthier living lifestyle.
 I have signed up to Cancer Research's 10,000 steps a day in September. I have already shared how I have fallen in love with walking and I am currently averaging this most work days, hopefully with a little more focus I will maintain this over the weekend and raise a little for such a worthy cause.
 If I complete the challenge I would have walked a minimum of 150 miles in September which ironically I am looking forward to!
I dont know anyone who's life hasn't been affected in some way by Cancer and by taking on this challenge I hope that the small steps I take in September will lead to giant strides in the eventual cure of this cruel disease. I will be sharing my progress throughout the month and updating my Just Giving,  Facebook & Instagram pages daily.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Normal service will resume soon.....

hello all..... apologies for the lull in blogging, life's been a little busy and I've been enjoying the summer.
I promise that normal service will resume soon for kick starting September.
have a great bank holiday and look forward to being back later this week......

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Farewell Mr Selfridge - my final week

Ten days ago I said my goodbyes to Mr Selfridge and my Selfridges work family from the last 10 years. I had an amazing adventure at Selfridges and look back on the 10 years there with fondness. It wasn't easy and at times was incredibly stressful with long hours and challenging situations, however it really is an incredible, amazing place to work which has set me up to go onto pastures new.
My last week was incredibly emotional, but also lots of fun, I was dined by several of the directors and colleagues in all the lovely restaurants across the store along with being taken to The Wolsley for breakfast and then an after works drinks on my last night.
It was a great evening and lovey to catch-up with many friends and colleagues past and present. Prosecco and pint flowing in abundance !.
My last day was incredibly emotional and we kicked off with our team breakfast "Fry-up Friday" which was then followed by a drop-in lunch with speeches and lots of gift giving.
I was completely rendered speechless and humbled with the generosity and love shown with gifts I received from my Selfridges family and friends. Completely overwhelmed and I cant thank them all enough. There will always be a small part of my heart that is yellow and what an amazing adventure it has been.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Hello August....

August has arrived and it brings with it a huge amount of change. July saw me leave the big yellow store on Oxford Street and the home of Mr Selfridge,  August will see me move into a lovey corner shop in Bond Street and join the Fenwicks family.
I am looking forward to the new challenge and currently between stores.
Thank-you to all that have left comments and messages from the Slimming world and walking posts, your support and encouragement means a great deal. I will share more of my SW updates later this month along with a huge farewell to Selfridges post.
August for me is full of lots of new things, along with lots of family and friends birthdays and celebrations. Best friends birthday, Nephew turns 18, 4 wedding anniversaries, S.I.L & mums birthdays its a busy month!
I also have a couple of lovely things planned including a little trip to Paris and a visit to Claridges.  Apart from that August is fairly quiet!!....
Here's to a fun filled August, full of fun, new adventures, friendship and happy days.


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Farewell July....

Well July was a month filled with fun, celebrations and lots of farewell. It was the month that I said my goodbyes to Mr Selfridge and the store that has been my work home and my work family for the past 10 years.
July was also a month where we saw a glimpse of summer and my walking adventures stepped up more with the warm mornings and evenings.
Saturday and Sunday mornings were spent at my desk clearing through 10 years of paperwork, filling and archiving in preparation for handover and packing up to leave. However I did escape a few times to enjoy the sunshine and parks around London; one of my favourite being a gorgeous walk through Regents park and along the canal.
July saw walks along the river, an early breakfast at The Sky Garden
along with a meander along the canal.
St Pauls cathedral has become one of my favourite photo-ops on my walks.
Another breakfast came at The Wolsley with my current & previous boss which was just lovely. I will share my Selfridges farewell adventure soon.
I was inundated with cards & gifts and drank too much champagne in a week where I said goodbye and celebrated another year older.
July really was a month of beautiful things; I travelled to Manchester early in the month and stayed at the lovely Malmaison to say goodbye to my Manchester families.
I also got to celebrate Christmas in July where I attended the Selfridges Christmas press show for the last time.
July was full of glorious colour from the beautiful blooms inside & out and I was in complete rose heaven.
My SW adventure continued with another half stone award which I will be sharing more of in the coming week.
Thanks July for what really was an emotional month... Looking forward to a whole new adventure in August.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Walking myself happy

Earlier this week I shared my lifestyle changes with my slimming world adventures. Thank you to all that commented on instagram and on here and also text with such lovely messages of encouragement, it really does make a difference. Having shared my eating changes, over the last couple of months I have stepped up the healthier lifestyle with a little easy exercise!.
Exercise doesn’t come naturally to me and I could easily have been a sloth in previous life, however I knew that I needed to do something. With a twin that runs daily and can run a marathon sub 4hrs, genetically I knew that something was possible, although I am unable to run a bath so pulling on my trainers for a jog around the park wasn’t on my agenda! However I have pulled on my trainers and have completely fallen in love with the big long walk.
I started with walking to the station from home 3 mornings a week (weather permitting! I am a fair weather walker when commuting) It’s a 2k (1.4miles )walk which on a nice day through the park is a pleasant way to start the morning and less stress than trying to find a parking space at the station and ticking off a 3 mile walk (to & from station to home.
This built up gradually until I decided to take on a bigger challenge Bond Street (Selfridges) to Liverpool Street. I have now mapped 7 routes which range from 7k to 10k (4.6 – 6.3miles) which I am walking at least twice a week and can honestly say I love it. The feeling at the end is fantastic, I'm less stressed and have a real sense of achievement.

To begin with I stuck close to the route of the central line in case I needed to jump on the tube, but now verge off to explore hidden streets and green spaces. Along the route I capture images of my walk alongside me 'map my walk' route. It’s a lovely reminder, fun and keeps me focused. So far I've explored the city on a Sunday, ambled the banks of the river – embankment & south bank, royal parks and knooks and lanes of Bloomsbury & Holborn.
I am loving my walks and have now started to look at setting myself some bigger goals, I've even downloaded the couch to 5K running app, so maybe running a bath may just be in my sights! ......
thanks again for the lovely comments, pop back next month and I will update you on my progress.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

TCakes SW adventure ...

12 months ago I started on a journey to a better me, my plan was to include lifestyle, health and general well-being. I was at a point where I was genuinely unhappy about lots of my life, but feeling constantly tired, listless and low was something I wanted to change.
My first goal on my plan was diet, I didn’t tell anyone that I was doing it as there is nothing worse than telling people that you are on a diet and then them pointing out all the calories, fats, and things that you eat that are wrong. I managed to loose 14lb (1 stone) on my own before I realised that I probably couldn’t do this solo and would need some motivation and support to assist. I had tried many 'diets' before and failed after the first couple of months due to the restrictiveness of them. I had until then followed a couple of people on instagram that had been following slimming world and had lost lots of weight, they instagrammed their daily meals and I was amazed by the volume & variety of food that they could eat.  SW looked like a food lifestyle plan that I could follow and not feel like I was on a 'diet'.
I joined SW last August and have over the last 11 months slowly lost lb.'s and inches, and this week I crossed the 3 stone goal, which means that in 12 months I have now lost 4 stone. I am thrilled with my progress. I have had slow weeks and a couple of low weeks, small gains but overall a steady loss which has culminated in 3 stone gone.
Things that I have loved about SW over the last year:
  •          I have fallen back in love with cooking – ready meals are a thing of the past.
  •          My weekly shop is more planned and I no longer run into M&S on the way home because the fridge is empty
  •          Its flexible, I have still gone for my weekly Indian with the golden girls on a Saturday.
  •          Virtually and Socially I have met some lovely people who are also on this lifestyle change.
  •          I have a sense of pride and worth that I lost.
  •          The shy social butterfly is becoming more confident.
  •          Become more active!
  •          I've eaten more food daily that what I ate before!
So what does SW look like for me! –

Breakfast
·         Breakfast is usually at my desk – weekdays are usually Weetabix / oats, fruit & yoghurt. Weekends are cooked breakfast / poached eggs. – as you can see I have lots of fun with my breakfast styling!





Lunch

      Lunch is as creative and colourful, often using leftovers from the previous night dinner or opting for salad / jacket potato.











Dinner
·         Dinner is predominately chicken, fish, or a recipe from the slimming world books, favourites include; curry, lasagne, chilli, and pulled pork. I try to cook a roast on a Sunday, using fry light instead of oil (still makes great roasties)
Eating out
I try to save my syns for treats and eating out as you have less control over the hidden dangers of fats / sugars but as you can see I still have a varied menu and genuinely enjoying this food lifestyle change. Whether I am out eating breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

Each month I set myself mini goals which keeps me focused, which make the monumental lb.'s that I want to lose more achievable. Along with loosing lb.'s I have lost inches and have dropped 3 trouser / top sizes, and I'm the smallest clothes size & weight that I have been in 12 years. I feel better, people have noticed the weight loss, although it is something I am only beginning to see for myself in recent weeks.  think it's going to take a long time before I look in the mirror and not see the fat girl but I am loving the wider variety of clothes shopping. I now feel better, more active and have more energy. The only thing that hasn’t got any better is my terrible insomnia, I'm hoping this improves with a job change in the coming weeks. -
So what's next – ideally I would like to lose another 2 stone and drop another dress / trouser size but would be happy with a stone and a half. My next goals will include a wider fitness programme. Pop back later this week when I share my Walking myself happy roadmap. If you would like to follow my SW adventure on instagram you can fine me here.

Monday, 11 July 2016

T's travels - London's mews

Recently having spent a Saturday morning at my desk, I escaped into the back streets of the west end of London to explore some of the hidden delights of the city. I had seen and liked a number of Instagram images of mews's and hidden squares and gardens and was keen to explore these.
I mapped a small route which took me from Manchester Square (behind Selfridges) up towards Lancaster Gate, zig-zagging through lanes and gardens running alongside Hyde Park.
My first stop was in Connaught Square where I fell in love with the most gorgeous house covered in climbing roses and wisteria. It was hard to get a picture front facing as the road is quite busy, but I will definitely pop back later in the summer to see what else this gorgeous house blooms.
Meandering along I discovered some fabulous little lanes and private mews, however my favourite was a mews that allowed you to walk and explore its glorious cobble path.
I can't describe to you how delightful this mews was filled with most gorgeous window boxes, planters and flowers, along with gorgeous painted doors and garages. Whilst enjoying this little hidden slice of London I was surprised to hear horses hooves, until I saw a small riding group using the mews as a cut through to their stables nearby.
One of my favourite instagram feeds @georgianlondon recently shared the origin of Mews's - they were originally built as stable blocks for grand squares and street. When cars replaced horses they became homes for chauffeurs and cars instead of grooms and horses.            A short walk from this mews is another which still houses stables and horses and is the riding school which uses Hyde park as its playground.
I had a lovely couple of hours exploring these little side streets and have already started planning my next London exploration. I am inspired daily by a number of Instagrammers who share their adventures across the city; here are a few of my favourites.
Skye @georgianlondon,  @meanderingmacaron,  michelle @crazycatladyldn,  magdalena @magspangeni,  @mewsingsldn and @prettycitylondon   Thankyou all for sharing such lovely images.
I hope that you have enjoyed my hidden slice of London - pop back later in the month when I share some more London delights.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Hello July....

So July is here and that means a new makeover for the blog and we have entered the 7th month of the year. July is a month that is usually filled with a very busy work schedule, and a birthday celebration! Along with this it will also be my last month at the big yellow store as I say goodbye to Mr Selfridge at the end of the month. My month therefore is filled with lots of goodbyes and lots of planning and looking forward to a new adventure!
I have a few things planned for the month:
     
  • Breakfast at The Wolsley with my boss and work colleague.
  • A trip to Claridges is on the cards.
  • Drinks with lots of work friends.
  • Birthday celebrations and a trip to Paris to plan!
Aside from this I would really like to enjoy some down time, reading, walking and getting back on plan with slimming world. I've hit a bit of a road block since i passed the 3.5 stone but really pleased with my progress so far.
So here's to a gorgeous July, hopefully with a little more sunshine, lots of laughter, love and I'm sure a few tears!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Insta Love - June

My love affair continues with Instagram and today I am sharing some of my favourites from June.
June's instagram feed was full of  glimpses of summer, royal celebrations, and politics. As with May I wasn't able to just pick 9 so here are a few from my 3 instagram accounts;
  • This purple haze with Big Ben in the background is one of the beautiful images posted on London Masters this month.
  • Gorgeous sunrise image from Angelo of the One World Trade building from New Jersey is delightful
  • Love this image from Mr Whisper of sunset behind the London eye from the shell building. My friend used to work at this building and I have great memories of this view.
  • With the Queen celebrating her 90th birthday I love this image of David Beckham and her Majesty this month. He posted a lovely quote in remembrance of his Nan & Grandad. (sigh)
  • I currently planning a mini trip to Paris at the beginning of August so this image from Elena of the Musee Gustave Moreau has been added to my 'must visit' list.
  • My friend Joe launched his fabulous style business this month and his friend David shared this image from the launch breakfast!!!!.
  • There have been so many images of sunsets this month, but this Gorgeous sunset across south London from my friend Anne is one of my favourites.
  • Two of my favourite things on my daily commute captured by Pretty City London - Howarths music shop and a glorious classic car.
  • June saw me visit The Connaught Hotel for breakfast and I saw these beautiful hydrangeas in all their glory - stunning.
My blog theme for June was Pinks and Apricots and here are a few images that I loved on my feed during the month capturing these colours perfectly.
  • Love this image of The Queen waving from a balcony from her trip to Liverpool this month, taken by The Royal family account.
  • My insta love regularly features Sally and her 'gettingstuffdoneinheels' account - this image of roses in her garden is simply stunning.
  • More roses this time from regents park's golden hour captured by OnePurlRow- beautiful.
  • Daytime roses in beautiful pink & apricot hues captured on one of the few sunny days in June by Kathryn from wanderforawhile.
  • GeorgianLondon has captured this beautiful door in Fournier Street in the heart of East London perfectly.
  • Yes more roses - this time from KerryHillFarm - love this instagram full of dogs, farm life and vintage tea.
  • Pony's instagram feed is fully of crochet treats, but this capture of her cat skittles, sleeping on a ball of wall is so much fun.
  • Door love in my favourite June hues from Leah is perfect. a beautiful colourful instagram feed from across the city.
  • Lovely summer juices from Mill Juice captured by Amanda Mclernon.
From my Tcaketess account; here's what I have loved in June;
  • Fun with Letters and light boxes with Heidi Swapp - one of my favourite crafting ladies. There isn't much that I don't have on a wish list from this ladies company.
  • Crochet envy from Mandy's insta feed, she has inspired me to want to pick up a hook and wool again.
  • Planner love from Nadia's paper heart gold account.- a feed full of paper love.
  • I have recently discovered a beautiful illustrator who's images inspire me daily - this is one of my favourites from this month from Heather Rosehill.
  • Bookshelf envy from The Planner Spot - i would like it all!!
  • Another planner envy post from Anne of anneheartslife full of planner & peony gorgeousness this month.
  • Crafting isn't complete without a little cake or doughnut's - Pink the Towns glittery doughnuts are delicious. 
  • Macaron gorgeousness from Natasha at Neviepie cakes are full of fun for a monday - love her feed and uniqueness of cake illustrations.
  • Finally this fun flat lay styling from Louise - full of fun, glitter, buttons and stars to celebrate everything gorgeous.

My instagram community continues to grow and I am meeting lots of new 'insta-friends' through it both in the virtual world and in person.
Thankyou all for sharing such lovely images during June, they have been beautiful, fun full of flowers, royalty & delicious men! With 3 instagram accounts now -@tcake31 for London life and things that I love,@tcaketess for planner, crafting & stationery happiness and my healthy eating journey on @tcakes_sw_adventure pop over and say hi... look forward to seeing what July brings on insta love.
I hope you have had fun with my social media Sunday loves ... here's some from previous months... 

Friday, 1 July 2016

Farewell June .....

Oh wow, how is it the end of June? Halfway through 2016, I'm not sure where this year is going.
June was a month filled with catching up with old friends along with a big road trip, and then some simple things like London walks, cinema, reading and a little shopping!
June also saw the cats take their first trip to the cattery, they survived the adventure, and didn't seem too worse for it on their return home. They have been incredibly loving and haven’t left my side when I am home since they returned!.
I had high hopes of work easing up a little in June as we take a break from stocktaking for sale, however a huge technical issue meant that there were lots of late nights, conference calls and a little stress on the lead into sale! Sale was fun and I stockpiled some presents for christmas along with a few treats for myself; including 4 pairs of shoes and a mulberry bag!!! (this was my last sale so I made the most of it!) 
June saw me take a trip to a very cute cinema in Baker street to see the beautiful 'Me before You'. Here is what I thought of it! I loved the little cinema and will definitely visit again. I started the month with great slimming world ambitions and due to some seasonal like weather I managed to increase my walking activity to and from work. 
Unfortunately this was hampered slightly when the weather took a wintery turn and suddenly 8k walks were much more favourable via the tube!
I did however manage to snap some lovely images of day to day life in and around London, and have a couple of blog posts to share from some gorgeous mews meanderings. Roses bloomed everywhere and I loved capturing them throughout the month. (I wish I could capture the essence as easily as they smell beautiful and completely transport me back to my granddads back garden)
I spent a lovely morning at The Connaught Hotel having breakfast which was lovely. Tucked away in a quiet corner of Mayfair this hotel was a pleasure to visit, the old school glamorous bathrooms were just gorgeous and I wanted to teleport them home. (detailed post here). Another breakfast was had at the Rosewood in Holborn to celebrate the launch of my friend Joe's new adventure. Joe has launched his own style website and with his best friend on hand to lend some morale support and incredibly delicious eye candy for breakfast I was a little flustered!!!... yes the gorgeous David G over breakfast was a little distracting for me!.
We celebrated Fathers Day in June, which gave me an opportunity to spend some time with my mum at the cemetery and over brunch at the local café. We were really lucky with the weather and managed to dodge the rain showers and it was nice to catchup over a coffee.
The last weekend of June I spent in Scotland. I escaped the floods of Essex and London and headed up north through the beautiful lake district into Scotland and across Ayrshire to the west coast. Taylor and I survived the road trip and I spent 3 lovely days with very special friends, celebrating the wedding of a very special lady, who made the most beautiful bride.
As you can see I have had what I thought was going to be a relatively quiet month turn into quite a busy one!.... July is looking fairly quiet at the moment, it will of course be my last month at the big yellow store, which has arrived frighteningly quick. I hope to catch-up with a very long list of blog posts, plan a whole new adventure for august and finish with lots of fun and celebrate being another year older!... here's to July, thanks June for the fun, friendship and abundance of flowers

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Book Love ~ June

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

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

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

Monday, 13 June 2016

Makelight in Kew

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

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



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

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