Sunday, 10 September 2017

Birthday Treats @ 42nd Street

During the summer I became another year older and part of the celebrations see me spend a lovely evening with M being wined and entertained in the West End.
I am notoriously difficult to buy for so along with a couple of gifts M booked to take me to see the biggest musical in the West End at the moment.
42nd street opened a couple of months ago and we were lucky to see it on one of the nights that my friends husband is tap-dancing his way across the stage.
Prior to the theatre we dined at The Savoy Grill . The restaurant is associated to Gordon Ramsey but sits within the beautiful Savoy Hotel. In stunning art deco splendour the restaurant is just beautiful.
With a 6pm booking we dined on the pre-theatre menu which offered a great selection of courses and variety of dishes at a very good price.
We both started with the Tomato Gazpacho, followed by the Chicken Liver parfait (T) and Ham Hock terrine (M). Beef Cottage pie with sauteed spinach and heritage carrots was the main and for dessert M chose Dark chocolate mouse with polenta shortbread and I had the Pineapple carpaccio with chilli, lime & mango.

This was accompanied by a glass of prosecco and coffee and chocolates. The service was fantastic and the food was delicious.
The ambience and the decor of the restaurant is real old school art deco British / Hollywood glamour. It was lovely to get dressed up on a Monday night instead of rushing home from work.

After dinner we made the short trip across the road to Drury Lane where we had tickets to see 42nd street.
This show is a spectacle from the point that the curtain rises to the finish. The show set in the post Wall street crash of  1930's New York it features a young wanabee actress who has just stepped off a train from Hicksville, she arrives late for her audition for the chorus line of the newest show on Broadway. With the Director having lost all of his money in the crash he is being funded by an tycoon who wants his ageing actress girlfriend (Sheena Easton) to take the lead. As rehearsals continue tensions grow which results in an accident the night before opening night which sees the novice step into the lead and take Broadway.
The song and dance scenes in the show are fantastic and anyone who has dreams or aspirations to tap dance in their childhood this is a must see show.... I loved it and now cant wait to take M to Broadway and 42nd Street later in the year.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Goodbye Summer .... Hello Autumn!

Yes after a summer hiatus I am back!, I had so many good intentions to blog over the last few weeks but life and work have kept me busy. I am hoping with the nights drawing in a little more I will get back into some semblance of a routine and get back to blogging more. I know that lots of people have moved on from writing blogs, but its still something that I like to do, however I am no longer going to get stressed if I miss a few posts!

  So life has been busy since I returned from holiday. I've celebrated birthday's, anniversaries, including M & I's 1st year "friendversary" and spent some lovely days out and about in the city.

We have played the tourist a lot over the summer months visiting Kensington Gardens, Buckingham Palace, and picnic'd in St James Park. We have walked lots and dined in The Savoy and the recently opened The Ivy at Tower Bridge along with burgers and BBQ at Byron and Bodeans. I'm not sure how I've managed to stay within target but I am hanging on.
Birthday treats included lunch with Bestie as we share the same birthday week so always try to do something together. With her job relocating to Chelmsford I joined her for lunch which was an old school lunch favourite of fish finger sandwiches! and cake!!.... there has been a bit of cake over the last couple of months. Definitely getting back on plan in September.
Lunch was lovely and a great hour of gossip and laughs.
Another night out with an old friend was to see the West End musical Beautiful - a great show, showcasing the amazing talents of Carole King. We had a lovely time and I am so glad that I saw this before it finished in the West End. It is now on a UK tour and I would recommend it, if it visits a town near you.
Another lovely evening out was an impromptu walk along the river after work which resulted in cocktail and coffee watching the tennis on a rooftop overlooking St Paul's. Madison Bar and the rooftop of New exchange at St Pauls has been a favourite for a while but was new to M. We were passing as the sun was setting so I decided to pop up and share this little gem, not knowing that the tennis was being screened on a big screen, so we grabbed a couple of drinks and sat for a while watching the sunset and a few sets of tennis.
As you can see the walk and views were stunning and I will share some more of my summer adventures over the next couple of days.
have a great evening.... look forward to catching up with some favourites in blog land x

Friday, 30 June 2017

Goodbye June - Hello July.....

So another month has passed and I've completely lost my blogging mojo, the post list gets longer and life gets busier.
I have a plan for July, so I hope to get some posts up of life and stuff over the last couple of months.
June although doesn't look like I've done a great deal, having had nearly 3 weeks off work in May, June was full of life at the corner shop, sale and a few celebrations.

  • June started with M passing his final tests and after 10 weeks of training being signed off and starting a new job. This has been a huge relief for him and a new career beckons for him. Bubbles and cocktails were in order for a Saturday night in town.
  • With the kits having been in the cattery for the duration of my Baltic adventure they have been real home bodies since coming home. Fitz has taken to finding every sun patch that he can find which includes the kitchen cupboard and the bathroom sink to snooze his way through the day.
  • My slimming world journey continued with me successfully hitting 6 stone loss and target which I am absolutely thrilled with. 
  • Days out included a lovely day at the seaside with M visiting the poppy installation at Shoeburyness followed by lunch at picturesque Leigh on Sea. Sunday at friends drinking Pimms and then an evening seeing Adele at Wembley Stadium.
  • June obviously had Fathers Day in it, so a trip to the cemetery followed by brunch with my mum.
June has been a time of catching up with friends, sharing holiday stories, celebrating and managing the corner shop.
I hope that everyone has had a lovely month and look forward to reading and seeing your adventures on social media and in blogland.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

MIA at Sea..... A Baltic Adventure


Just popping in to say hello and farewell to May!.....
For this month I have a legitimate excuse for no blogging as I have spent 17 days of it at Sea travelling through the Baltic's.
Over the 17 days I woke up in 9 different ports, in 8 different countries and have sailed 3,471 miles with Captain Cook on the ship Aurora.

This beautiful cruise liner has been my home for 17 days in May
 This was my first cruise and I was unsure of what to expect, but was blessed with beautiful blue skies and calm seas throughout my cruise and thoroughly enjoyed it.
My cruise took in the following countries & towns:
Gdynia & Gdansk – Poland
Klaipeda – Lithuania
St Petersburg – Russia
Tallinn – Estonia
Riga – Latvia
Travemunde & Lubeck – Germany
Copenhagen – Denmark
Oslo – Norway
Skagen – Denmark
I will over the coming weeks share with you my adventures of life on ship and also the places that we stopped and what were my highlights. I am still wading my way through the unpacking, washing being back to work and photo editing!... 2,000 + photo’s that require sorting ( I promise not to share them all!!)..
here’s a flavour of my trip:

 I completely understand why people fall in love with cruising and choose to travel the world this way. I still have some air & land holidays that I want to do but wouldn’t rule out cruising again, but quite happy to be back on solid ground and looking forward to some new adventures in June.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Hello May....

When it appears that I have my blogging mojo back, I am going to take a small hiatus in May for a much needed holiday and adventure.
For the later half of May I will be having my first 2 week holiday in over 15 years, I am nervously excited all in one feeling as I am going on my first cruise. St Petersburg has been on my bucket-list since I was a small girl when I can remember seeing Anna Karenina with my Nan and falling in love with the mystery of the Russian Tsars and palaces.
My cruise will dock in St Petersburg for 3 days where I will be seeing some of the sights and also attending The Russian Ballet to see Swan Lake.
Some of the other countries and cities that I will stop off in will be Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Germany, Denmark - Copenhagen, Oslo - Sweden, and Skagen - Norway. I am busy compiling lots of lists and any 'cruise' tips will be most welcome as I am a complete novice.

Before I go there are a number of events at work that I need to get ready for and the launch of the Summer season - Fenwick are one of the main sponsors of Ascot and will host a number of parties and events for the season, to accompany this they have decorated the store and facade in the most beautiful blooms, which make for some fabulous Instagram moments.

I hope to post a little before I go and then be prepared for a hundred posts when I come back. Wifi is very limited and very expensive on ship, so I don't imagine that I will post much whilst away.
Here's hoping everyone has ana amazing May.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Goodbye April ......Hello May


So April has passed and I hope it has taken the cold weather with it. It feels like we had a glimmer of Spring and Summer during the month, but winter is still clinging on with some cold snaps. Weather aside, April was lovely and I did get out and about and enjoy some sights in London and spend some time away from my desk. I have shared a few moments recently including Date Night at the Opera,   Wisteria walk in Notting Hill. and a Sunday Stroll in the East End of London.

April also saw me take M to his first Rugby Derby game at Wembley, which was on one of those days when we were blessed with glorious sunshine. We had a fantastic time and I am thrilled to see that saracens are on course to appear at both UK and European cup final's for the 2nd consecutive season. Alas won't make either as I will be away (more of that to share in May!)
April also housed Easter this year and it allowed me some down time at home, a little time for some crafting and also to cook and bake for a big family dinner.
As you can see April was pretty busy, my instagram feed moved away from the blossom's and daffodils of March and full Spring hues of Tulips, Wisteria and bunches of blousey spring blooms.
Farewell April, you have been gorgeous, here's to an amazing adventure in May.

East London Life...

Last Sunday was spent exploring the markets and lanes of East London - Columbia and Brick Lane are a favourite of mine, especially on a Sunday and having worked around that area 12 years ago I always like to go back occasionally and see what has changed. Having been in Notting Hill the previous week we loved comparing the contrasts between the markets and avenues of West London to the lanes and streets of East.
The side street to Spitalfields and Brick Lane transport you back to an era and age of bygone years and I love the houses with shutters, feels like you are stepping back into an old Victorian jack the ripper novel. Its no surprise that this area is constantly being used for film sets and model shoots.
Columbia Road can be a bit of a squeeze and it always amazes me the number of people that bring buggies and pushchairs into the environment, fortunately even thou it was busy it wasn't horrendous.
There was so many of my favourite flowers there it was hard to choose what to come home with: tulips, peonies, hyacinths, sweet williams or ranunculus. It was a glorious treat of colours and smells and I loved ambling along the market.
A trip to the market and Brick lane is not complete without a stop for cake and a bagel - the legendary Brick lane bagel shop is my favourite; selling hot salt beef bagel's 24hrs a day.
We also sopped at Cake-hole which is a cute cafe selling cake and Monmouth coffee in the back of a vintage china shop which is heaven for me. Blueberry and Apple was my choice and Coffee & Walnut was M's.
We had a fabulous morning walking around Bethnal Green before walking down to Tower Hill and St Katherines dock to cheer on the marathon runners and enjoy a beer in the sunshine.
As you can see I came home with two of my favourite flowers Sweet Peas and Roses, both evoking so many wonderful memories of my Gramps's garden πŸ’œ

Saturday, 29 April 2017

From Notting Hill with love....

Notting Hill is one of my favourite places, whether is the eccentricity of the Portebello Road and all its characters to the side streets and squares festooned with pretty colourful houses. The fact that it has featured in some of my favourite books and movies also makes it a huge draw for me and I try to visit every season to explore the side streets and market.
With a day off for both of us last week M and I made an impromptu decision to go to Portebello Road, where I showed him some of my movie favourites.

We spent a couple of hours shopping, drinking coffee and loving the colourful houses.
Instagram is awash with wisteria at the moment and we stumbled on some absolute beauties whilst we were out and about and ended up on a very impromptu wisteria walk between Notting Hill and Holland Park which was an unexpected treat.
By the end of the morning M was beginning to 'get' my obsession and was even pointing out doorways that I might like to photograph.πŸ˜‚
How glorious is all this wisteria?......The pink door & house was my favourite.
After a couple of hours walking and a very patient M I decided to take him to my favourite pub in Kensington road - The Churchill Arms, which is a real old British pub,famed for its love of war memorabilia which festoons the ceiling, rugby and housing one of the best Thai restaurants in London.
We had a mixture of Pad Thai and curry which was delicious and finished off a pretty good day in Notting Hill.




Friday, 28 April 2017

Easter...

As we head into another bank holiday weekend, I thought I would share a few eats, and treats from my Easter. As most of you know I have been following Slimming World for the last 18 months and having achieved my 5 and half stone award the week before Easter, I decided to relax a little over the Easter weekend and enjoy the time with family and friends.

I was lucky enough to have Good Friday off which as I was house sitting for a friend gave me time to catch up on some crafting , series link on TV and baking. I worked the Easter Saturday which allowed me to grab an early coffee in Claridges enjoying the Easter blooms. This is without a doubt my favourite hotel in London and I pop in the Lobby every week to look at the flowers, they are just beautiful.
I then spent Easter Sunday with friends and family, the Easter Bunny did a short hop to my brothers, where chocolate & cupcakes were distributed to my niece and nephew.
I love Easter, its my next favourite to Christmas and usually spend it a friends cooking a huge roast lamb dinner with full on decorations and a big egg hunt.
This year however my friend was away so I volunteered to cook for M and his family. I think he was a little surprised on how big I go with Easter. The boys (21 & 25) seemed to enjoy it and are already talking about what we are doing next year! 😲
I hope that everyone enjoyed their Easter and that you got time to relax with family & loved ones.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Date Night at the Opera

Catching up on blog posts from Easter and April before May arrives and I disappear for 16 days on an epic adventure (more to follow on that!) - I have over the last few months alluded to being back out on the 'dating' scene and although not quite ready to tempt fate and completely spill the beans, I am happy to report that I have met someone and it looks promising!
One such date night on Maundy Thursday involved a lovely pre-theatre dinner at Balthazar in Covent Garden followed by an evening at The Royal Opera House watching Madame Butterfly.
M & I have known each other a little while now and have shared Bucket Lists's of things we would like to do, see and travel. We started working through the lists as friends and things have kind of evolved - the opera was on M's list and I was thrilled that I managed to book tickets for Madame Butterfly at its sell out performance at the ROH - we were in the nose bleed seats but still able to see and hear everything which was lovely. 
I wanted to go somewhere nice for dinner, we had already been to The Ivy Grill at Christmas when we went to the Ballet and as much as we loved it, I wanted to take him somewhere else, with Balthazar in close proximity this was perfect for a dinner. We both opted for the Pea and mint Risotto, followed by the Pork which was delicious. The pork was served with new potatoes, spinach and a medley of mushrooms.With the restaurant offering a pre-theatre 2/3 course menu this is a great way to eat in a nice restaurant without paying huge prices. The service, food and ambience was fantastic with no pressure to hurry you up.
Going straight out after work is always a balance and I am lucky to work somewhere that I can get my hair blow-dried, my nails paited and my make-up done. As you can imagine I took full advantage of this and felt fabulous i my gorgeous winter white DKNY trousers and black top. 
Not a huge Selfie fan but it was a must in the fabulous New York feel bathroom in Balthazar.πŸ’–
Date night continued at The Opera which was delightful. I loved that the 'words' were highlighted overhead to your seating areas so it was like watching a real live film with subtitles. On previous opera visits I haven't had this and have had to struggle along a little.
The performances were heartrendingly beautiful by the lead Butterfly and the Captain was a complete Cad. We loved it and started our Easter off perfectly.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

April plans ...

April is upon us and I have a few things planned during the month that I am really looking forward to along with spending some time with family and friends over the Easter period.With the lighter nights and hopefully warmers days I am slowly coming out of hibernation and getting out and about.
I really enjoy Easter and always see it as a kick start to spring and 'newness' so much more than New Year and star writing lists and planning things for the rest of the year.
I am house-sitting for a friend over the Easter period and hope to catch up on some crafting, blogging and a little 'me' time as well as cooking and baking for Easter.
April dates include a local derby day with Saracens at Wembley for the rugby, and an evening in Covent Garden which includes dinner at Balthazar and then Madama Butterfly at the Royal Opera House.
Covent Garden is already beautifully festooned with flowers and colourful eggs along with a giant bunny.
My local surroundings to work have taken on a colourful spring bloom with the tulips in Hanover square looking particularly pretty amongst the building works of Crossrail and Claridges lobby looking delightful with yellow daffodils and forsythia.
I still have my makelight walk to catch-up on the blogging posts along with some TV treats and a huge adventure that is planned in May.
Hope everyone has a delightful Easter and I look forward to reading and viewing all on blogs & instagram.


Friday, 31 March 2017

Goodbye March ..... Hello April


Well a quarter of the way through 2017 and my blogging resolutions are diminishing with each month. March was a busy month, but still no excuse for not blogging.
March was a mixed month for me filled with trips to Newcastle for work, lots of time watching the Rugby 6 nations and spending lots of time outside walking and spending some time with M.
March saw me take on the challenge of 10,000 steps a day for Cancer Research, I did this previously in September and look forward to updating you with how I did later in the week.
My steps took me out and about and over the month I have explored nature parks near to where I live that I haven't visited before. I also explored parks and places in London that I love. Some of the lovely places that I've walked this month include Leigh on Sea, Thorndon Park, Primrose Hill, St James Park and Rafaels Park in Romford. With the clocks going for
ward in my final week made the evenings much more pleasant to walk in.
Work was busy in March and the corner shop was filled with flowers, cake and lots of loveliness for Mothers Day. I particularly loved how my new hair matched the new Charlotte Tilbury beauty space. March saw more planning and juggling life, slimming world and work as well as several date days / evenings.
Slimming World successes continued with me being named Greatest Loser within my group which is the first time I have enjoyed being called a loser!!
The final week of March saw celebrations for Mothers Day and the anniversary of the loss of Gramps - falling in the same week I found this a little hard, but I know they would be immensely proud of my life and what I have done since they passed.
During March I also spent a day with Emily and the Makelight ladies on another photographic walk, something that I will blog later this week as I have so many beautiful images to share.
During the month I also got to spend it with both my oldest and my bestest friend - 2 different occasions but both lots of fun and a reminder why after 30+ years we are still as close as ever.
So I bid farewell to a mixed month of March and hello to an April that I hope will be filled with blossom, sunshine, chocolate & hot cross buns.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Goodbye February.... Hello March >>>

 So February’s flown and we are a week into March and I’m still working my way through my February blog post list … ooops!  Not sure where the time is going but I am thankful that the days are getting a little lighter and it feels in between the rain showers that Spring is trying to blossom.
February was buy workwise and quite chilled at home, which helped with the stress levels and just learning to adapt to a new role and lots of life changes. It was a month of catching up with friends and family for birthday celebrations, lunches and coffee as well as a few date night!
Date nights included
·         Theatre Night - a trip to the theatre to see Dream Girls which is just fabulous and involved a visit into the Savoy (alas not to stay) but still savoured the ambience pre-theatre.
·         Movie Night – Movie moment from February was the Oscar winning Manchester by the Sea – loving my movie moments and hope to share more this month
·         Curry Night – kept it casual for Valentines Night with a trip to the local curry house, no pressure on either of us other than to catch-up over a glass of prosecco and a curry and enjoy a night off plan with SW! It still called for a new dress and a little pampering which was nice.
Valentines also lent itself to going full on pink & red at the corner shop with the façade being decorated in balloons which made for some great Instagram moments along with a lovely pop-up Valentines market inside featuring the most decadent glorious flowers, more balloons, cards and candy. It also allowed me to get the red lipstick out and little red dress.
February also allowed me to make some sale purchases, most thrilled with my size 12 skinny JBrand jeans and Bella Freud Jumper which I picked up at significantly reduced prices and finally seeing the benefits of my Slimming World journey over the last 18 months. The loss is slowing and I am aiming for Target before Easter, so that I can go on holiday in May and enjoy.
Birthdays in February included my oldest friend, my Niece and another friend. Friends birthdays were celebrated with suppers and drinks and my lovely Libs was the family tradition of cupcakes and presents for breakfast. Her birthday usually falls in half term so it allows for us all to get together early which was lovely and this year included to friends from her sleep-over and my nephew who came home from Uni.
That pretty much sums up my month, I hope that February was kind to you all and I really hope that sometime soon I get upto date with my blogging and share a little more.


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Movie Moments - 2017

This week saw Hollywood host the 89th Academy Awards – where the coveted Oscar is awarded to what the members believe to be the best within their field for the year.  Usually the only thing that makes the headlines are the frocks and fashion from the evening, this of course this year was over shadowed by the horror of the wrong Film being called out at the Winner of the Best movie 2016.  The winners list always kick starts my Movie list for the year, as it gives me ideas of what I would like to see.
My movie moment in February was the movie that bagged the Best Actor award for Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea. Produced by Matt Damon this movie deals with some hard hitting subjects with some fabulous acting – stand out performances from both Affleck and Lucas Hedges. Launched at the 2016 Sundance Film festival, this movie has picked up a host of nominations and gongs during the award season.
The movie centres around a small town in New England, where everyone knows everyone and their business, winters are long and bleak and summers short. Affleck’s character is a brooding loner holding a janitorial handyman role in a suburb of Boston when he receives a call  summoning him back to his home town of Manchester by the Sea and deal with the aftermath of the call and the responsibilities that it brings. It is apparent from early on that Affleck has his own demons and issues with returning to the town which slowly unravel as the movie develops.
I enjoyed this movie, it’s not something that I would usually pick out to see, but glad that I did as the acting is impressive and is very thought provoking.
A couple of other Oscar nominated movies have made by Movie Moment shortlist for 2017, however most of them are ‘bums on seats’ movies as opposed to Oscar winners, something I find every increasing in the movie world. There are definitely 2 types of films made these days, those that are pure escapism and sheer enjoyment and those that tick boxes as Artistic, Political, Historical, Minorities etc and are made purely to win awards and not necessarily take money at the box office.
I am definitely in the escapism camp and just want to be entertained; some of my movies I will wait for the DVD/online release but a few I will go to the cinema to see, here’s a few that should take me through to the summer:
Patriots Day – Mark Wahlberg plays a cop involved in the investigation and aftermath of the bombing of the Boston Marathon – based on the tragic events that took place 4 years ago, this movie shows how the city went into lockdown and a race against the clock to bring the bombers to justice.
Beauty and the Beast – definitely one for the big screen, where Emma Watson takes on the role of Belle and Emma Thompson steps into the very big shoes of Angela Lansbury’s Mrs Potts for this live action of Disney’s award winning animation. One of my Disney favourites, I can’t wait to see how this has been bought to life.
King Arthur  - looking forward to seeing is Guy Ritchie’s interpretation of King Arthur – with a huge cast of stars including Charlie Hunnam as Arthur and a cameo from David Beckham, this movie could be one of the big hits of the summer and I hope will look epic on a big screen.
My Cousin Rachel – adapted from Daphne Du Mauriers classic, this stars Sam Claflin and Rachel Weisz, - a young Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious beautiful cousin believing that she murdered his guardian, however she soon beguiles him and conflicts are torn. Definitely one for the ladies.
Well that's a  few from list - what are you looking forward to seeing this year?

Saturday, 18 February 2017

a little planning ......

February has certainly felt a little like a hibernation month for me. With a cold blast freezing most of the country for the first 10 days it only now 3 weeks in does it feel like there are signs of spring and that winter is very slowly falling back to sleep. This has given me lots of time in between working and walking to think about what I would like from 2017 and also some small things that I can give back.
I have definitely found that I do like to have one lovely thing to look forward to each month and that kind of makes up for the weekend working and juggling of calendars with friends and loved ones to see everyone and fit things in. I now have planners for planners and also a lovely countdown app which helps me countdown that days to the lovely things booked, which currently include trips to the rugby, opera, holiday and concerts.
2016 was a huge year of change for me with a new job, weight loss and lifestyle and  I hope to continue with those during 2017, although not planning any big changes, I'm still on a path of discovering and lots of new things in my life.  One of the things that I am continuing is my fitness, it has been an instrumental part of the weight loss (especially the last 3 stone) and I know that to maintain the loss that I need to keep active. I have finally invested in a Fit Bit and have spent an hour last night setting it up and I am already having little competions with myself J

I am hoping that it will also aid my last stone of weight loss that I have set myself along with track my training and activity for some challenges that I have set myself for this year.
As some of you know actively took part on the 10,000 steps a day challenge in September for Cancer Research and will be taking up the challenge again for March. Here are some of my memories from last year. I am looking forward to this again and I hope that I have as much fun with it as last time.
I have also signed up to a 10k walk and a 10k run (although I am having serious doubts about my capability to run 10k – still struggling to run 10 minutes) and then later in the year I’m  planning a big walk with a friend of mine. Here's to a fitter February and 2017. I will keep you updated on my progress.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Good Bye January..... Hello February!


So January passed in a whirl of winter weather, tube strikes and little downtime, but what I did manage to grab I spent catching up with friends and loved ones. January also gave me a little time to update the blog with festive activities and also my Slimming world journey in 2016. I have received some lovely comments and messages from blogging and social media friends – thank you for all you encouraging words. I am now on my final stone, which will probably be my hardest to loose and have spent time with my new food planner and slimming world magazine looking for inspiration and motivation.
It was definitely a month of catching up with friends that I haven’t seen for a while, my lovely friend Penny popped up from Cornwall to spend some time with family and we caught up for a long chat over lunch and then coffee with our friend Chris, we had lots to talk about and I hope that one day she will move back nearer. Another friend that came up to London was my lovely friend Caroline, we caught up for drinks when she made her annual post-Christmas trip to the city with her Mum from Devon for a few days. As always it felt like yesterday since I had seen her and it was great catching up over a glass or two, for a friendship that was born out of blog-land I have definitely made a friend for life.
January also saw me say goodbye to a very special friend who passed away quite suddenly. I met her on my first day at work at the tender age of 16 and she took me into her heart and her home and made me feel like one of her own, I have grown up with her boys and although we didn’t see each other lots, I knew that she would be always be by my side if I needed her. I will miss her dreadfully and cherish the time that we shared.
With changing weather conditions (-4’ some mornings) to mornings with beautiful sunrises, January also saw me dust off my trainers and get back to a little running in the park, I was surprised how well I did and will actively step-up the couch to 5k in February. The Zumba classes are definitely paying off with fitness. J
January was definitely a bit of a hibernation month, but I did venture out for an evening at the Theatre to see the fantastic Beverley Knight in The Bodyguard and look forward to seeing her in concert later this year.
So with January over, what does February have instore…….As with every month it’s time for a little blog make-over and also time for some goals and plans for the month:
 With friends celebrating birthdays, it will give me a great opportunity to catch-up post-christmas and just generally have some time chatting and chilling. Also have a special little ladies 14th birthday in the diary which I am sure will involve cake!
The lighter mornings hopefully will kick start my butt into a little more running and walking, this hopefully will help me to hit my 5 ½ stone target award.
I have a date night with M planned to the theatre to see Dreamgirls which I hope he will enjoy, along with some movie nights and lazy Sundays and rugby fuelled Saturdays (love the 6 nations tournament)
Curry night with the Curry club ladies and a Dinner Date for Valentine’s day are on the agenda along with friends for Sunday Lunch. It’s definitely shaping up to be a friends filled February.

I hope everyone’s February plans are equally as lovely and look forward to reading all about them …….πŸ’–

Monday, 30 January 2017

A treat of an evening.....

Wow January has passed in a flash, but before we fall into February I am sharing one more post from my activities over the festive season. An annual tradition for me for many years is to see The Nutcracker Ballet, whether in New York of London, I always try to get to see a performance. This year I managed to get tickets for the English National Ballets performance at the London Coliseum, where I booked to take a friend for their 50th birthday. (they had never been to the ballet and I was able to put a big tick against a wish on their bucket list)
To make the evening even more special I surprised them with starting the evening in The Savoy for drinks before moving onto The Ivy Grill Marketplace in Covent Garden for dinner. This was my first time at this restaurant and I loved it, ambience is gorgeous and the food was delicious. It was the perfect prequel to a delightful evening at the ballet.
The Savoy this year was a decorated opulently in pinks and silver and was just beautiful. The tree in the foyer was sponsored by the jewellers Boodles and was very pink but oh so pretty.πŸ’—

The interior of The Savoy was as equally as beautiful in greens and silver with a real art deco style and just quite magical.






The Ivy Marketplace was equally as gorgeous in a colourful cacophony of baubles, wreaths and a stunning tree outside in the courtyard which complemented the large baubles and mistletoe decor of Covent Garden.
This did nothing to distract how delicious the food was, a perfect venue for pre-theatre or a special dinner.
After a very lovely supper it was a short stroll to The Coliseum, where we were swept up in the magic and sparkle of a Christmas Ballet.
No matter how many times I have seen The Nutcracker I never grow old of it and it is a delightful treat to watch and see the delight on my friends face. 
The Nutcracker featured lots in my Christmas 2016 - from the fabulous Nutcracker Soldiers outside Liberty's that I walked past most days, to Candles burning on the fireside and tags on the tree I have lots of lovely memories to add to 2016's Christmas album and look back on in future years.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Movie Moments ....

Movie moments were few and far between for me in 2016, for someone who usually has a list of movie musts at the beginning of each year to see, 2016 was definitely a little lack lustre in the cinema world. Two favourites for the year were Bridget Jones Baby which I saw a couple of times at the cinema with the girls and again snuggled on the sofa on New Year’s Day and MeBefore You which I just loved. Two other movies that I saw over the festive season also joined the favourite list was the much anticipated JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and where to find them and Sully. 
I saw Fantastic Beasts in 3D at the Imax in London and loved the whole experience. It was my first trip to the Imax and I was super impressed with the service, ambience and space of the cinema. The movie was also in 3D, something I’ve not done in a long time, probably since those early years of 3D when it was all a little bit hit and miss with the visuals, however how much has time changed.
For those not familiar with the synopsis the movie is set in New York in 1926 and in the Harry Potter universe Gellert Grindelward is terrorising the magical community. Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) travels from London to New York with a briefcase full of magical creatures. Unfortunately not all the fantastic beasts want to stay hidden in Newt’s case and escape into the streets of New York. JK’s imagination astounds me and her creation of these magical creatures from her head to paper is just amazing. Set in the early 20’s transports this film back into an era where people lived in fear of satanic influences (references to Salem and its witchcraft’s) creating an underworld within the subways and back streets of New York. Newt meets some loveable witches along with a muggle that joins his adventures. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and it may not have captured my heart as much as Harry but one  little creature sure did!.... the loveable thief of shiny belongings, a Niffler – so cute and very naughty he made me laugh throughout the movie. JK’s genius has done it again and look forward to the next adventure along with seeing her private investigator Comoron Strike come to life on the TV later this year.

My second movie of choice is Sully – Tom Hanks taking the lead and telling the story of the pilot that landed an aeroplane on the Hudson River on the 15th January 2009, saving 155 lives and avoiding an aviation disaster. Most of us can remember the Miracle on the Hudson story and probably think that with 24 hour news coverage and social media that there isn’t much of a story to tell, what Sully does is show the impact that this has on his life and the investigation behind the scenes. It’s a fascinating and thrilling film, where you see a national hero come under immense scrutiny from the aviation companies and insurance corporations for saving 155 lives. Set in New York, this film has definitely ignited the flame to return to this fabulous city later this year.
A great film that will keep you entertained throughout, Tom Hanks is effortless throughout showcasing everything he does well being fantastically directed by Clint Eastwood.

Two great family entertaining films to finish the year off both set in New York but couldn't be any more different in genre and style ….. now off to compile my list for 2017!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Birthday Treats @ 42nd Street

During the summer I became another year older and part of the celebrations see me spend a lovely evening with M being wined and entertained in the West End.
I am notoriously difficult to buy for so along with a couple of gifts M booked to take me to see the biggest musical in the West End at the moment.
42nd street opened a couple of months ago and we were lucky to see it on one of the nights that my friends husband is tap-dancing his way across the stage.
Prior to the theatre we dined at The Savoy Grill . The restaurant is associated to Gordon Ramsey but sits within the beautiful Savoy Hotel. In stunning art deco splendour the restaurant is just beautiful.
With a 6pm booking we dined on the pre-theatre menu which offered a great selection of courses and variety of dishes at a very good price.
We both started with the Tomato Gazpacho, followed by the Chicken Liver parfait (T) and Ham Hock terrine (M). Beef Cottage pie with sauteed spinach and heritage carrots was the main and for dessert M chose Dark chocolate mouse with polenta shortbread and I had the Pineapple carpaccio with chilli, lime & mango.

This was accompanied by a glass of prosecco and coffee and chocolates. The service was fantastic and the food was delicious.
The ambience and the decor of the restaurant is real old school art deco British / Hollywood glamour. It was lovely to get dressed up on a Monday night instead of rushing home from work.

After dinner we made the short trip across the road to Drury Lane where we had tickets to see 42nd street.
This show is a spectacle from the point that the curtain rises to the finish. The show set in the post Wall street crash of  1930's New York it features a young wanabee actress who has just stepped off a train from Hicksville, she arrives late for her audition for the chorus line of the newest show on Broadway. With the Director having lost all of his money in the crash he is being funded by an tycoon who wants his ageing actress girlfriend (Sheena Easton) to take the lead. As rehearsals continue tensions grow which results in an accident the night before opening night which sees the novice step into the lead and take Broadway.
The song and dance scenes in the show are fantastic and anyone who has dreams or aspirations to tap dance in their childhood this is a must see show.... I loved it and now cant wait to take M to Broadway and 42nd Street later in the year.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Goodbye Summer .... Hello Autumn!

Yes after a summer hiatus I am back!, I had so many good intentions to blog over the last few weeks but life and work have kept me busy. I am hoping with the nights drawing in a little more I will get back into some semblance of a routine and get back to blogging more. I know that lots of people have moved on from writing blogs, but its still something that I like to do, however I am no longer going to get stressed if I miss a few posts!

  So life has been busy since I returned from holiday. I've celebrated birthday's, anniversaries, including M & I's 1st year "friendversary" and spent some lovely days out and about in the city.

We have played the tourist a lot over the summer months visiting Kensington Gardens, Buckingham Palace, and picnic'd in St James Park. We have walked lots and dined in The Savoy and the recently opened The Ivy at Tower Bridge along with burgers and BBQ at Byron and Bodeans. I'm not sure how I've managed to stay within target but I am hanging on.
Birthday treats included lunch with Bestie as we share the same birthday week so always try to do something together. With her job relocating to Chelmsford I joined her for lunch which was an old school lunch favourite of fish finger sandwiches! and cake!!.... there has been a bit of cake over the last couple of months. Definitely getting back on plan in September.
Lunch was lovely and a great hour of gossip and laughs.
Another night out with an old friend was to see the West End musical Beautiful - a great show, showcasing the amazing talents of Carole King. We had a lovely time and I am so glad that I saw this before it finished in the West End. It is now on a UK tour and I would recommend it, if it visits a town near you.
Another lovely evening out was an impromptu walk along the river after work which resulted in cocktail and coffee watching the tennis on a rooftop overlooking St Paul's. Madison Bar and the rooftop of New exchange at St Pauls has been a favourite for a while but was new to M. We were passing as the sun was setting so I decided to pop up and share this little gem, not knowing that the tennis was being screened on a big screen, so we grabbed a couple of drinks and sat for a while watching the sunset and a few sets of tennis.
As you can see the walk and views were stunning and I will share some more of my summer adventures over the next couple of days.
have a great evening.... look forward to catching up with some favourites in blog land x

Friday, 30 June 2017

Goodbye June - Hello July.....

So another month has passed and I've completely lost my blogging mojo, the post list gets longer and life gets busier.
I have a plan for July, so I hope to get some posts up of life and stuff over the last couple of months.
June although doesn't look like I've done a great deal, having had nearly 3 weeks off work in May, June was full of life at the corner shop, sale and a few celebrations.

  • June started with M passing his final tests and after 10 weeks of training being signed off and starting a new job. This has been a huge relief for him and a new career beckons for him. Bubbles and cocktails were in order for a Saturday night in town.
  • With the kits having been in the cattery for the duration of my Baltic adventure they have been real home bodies since coming home. Fitz has taken to finding every sun patch that he can find which includes the kitchen cupboard and the bathroom sink to snooze his way through the day.
  • My slimming world journey continued with me successfully hitting 6 stone loss and target which I am absolutely thrilled with. 
  • Days out included a lovely day at the seaside with M visiting the poppy installation at Shoeburyness followed by lunch at picturesque Leigh on Sea. Sunday at friends drinking Pimms and then an evening seeing Adele at Wembley Stadium.
  • June obviously had Fathers Day in it, so a trip to the cemetery followed by brunch with my mum.
June has been a time of catching up with friends, sharing holiday stories, celebrating and managing the corner shop.
I hope that everyone has had a lovely month and look forward to reading and seeing your adventures on social media and in blogland.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

MIA at Sea..... A Baltic Adventure


Just popping in to say hello and farewell to May!.....
For this month I have a legitimate excuse for no blogging as I have spent 17 days of it at Sea travelling through the Baltic's.
Over the 17 days I woke up in 9 different ports, in 8 different countries and have sailed 3,471 miles with Captain Cook on the ship Aurora.

This beautiful cruise liner has been my home for 17 days in May
 This was my first cruise and I was unsure of what to expect, but was blessed with beautiful blue skies and calm seas throughout my cruise and thoroughly enjoyed it.
My cruise took in the following countries & towns:
Gdynia & Gdansk – Poland
Klaipeda – Lithuania
St Petersburg – Russia
Tallinn – Estonia
Riga – Latvia
Travemunde & Lubeck – Germany
Copenhagen – Denmark
Oslo – Norway
Skagen – Denmark
I will over the coming weeks share with you my adventures of life on ship and also the places that we stopped and what were my highlights. I am still wading my way through the unpacking, washing being back to work and photo editing!... 2,000 + photo’s that require sorting ( I promise not to share them all!!)..
here’s a flavour of my trip:

 I completely understand why people fall in love with cruising and choose to travel the world this way. I still have some air & land holidays that I want to do but wouldn’t rule out cruising again, but quite happy to be back on solid ground and looking forward to some new adventures in June.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Hello May....

When it appears that I have my blogging mojo back, I am going to take a small hiatus in May for a much needed holiday and adventure.
For the later half of May I will be having my first 2 week holiday in over 15 years, I am nervously excited all in one feeling as I am going on my first cruise. St Petersburg has been on my bucket-list since I was a small girl when I can remember seeing Anna Karenina with my Nan and falling in love with the mystery of the Russian Tsars and palaces.
My cruise will dock in St Petersburg for 3 days where I will be seeing some of the sights and also attending The Russian Ballet to see Swan Lake.
Some of the other countries and cities that I will stop off in will be Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Germany, Denmark - Copenhagen, Oslo - Sweden, and Skagen - Norway. I am busy compiling lots of lists and any 'cruise' tips will be most welcome as I am a complete novice.

Before I go there are a number of events at work that I need to get ready for and the launch of the Summer season - Fenwick are one of the main sponsors of Ascot and will host a number of parties and events for the season, to accompany this they have decorated the store and facade in the most beautiful blooms, which make for some fabulous Instagram moments.

I hope to post a little before I go and then be prepared for a hundred posts when I come back. Wifi is very limited and very expensive on ship, so I don't imagine that I will post much whilst away.
Here's hoping everyone has ana amazing May.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Goodbye April ......Hello May


So April has passed and I hope it has taken the cold weather with it. It feels like we had a glimmer of Spring and Summer during the month, but winter is still clinging on with some cold snaps. Weather aside, April was lovely and I did get out and about and enjoy some sights in London and spend some time away from my desk. I have shared a few moments recently including Date Night at the Opera,   Wisteria walk in Notting Hill. and a Sunday Stroll in the East End of London.

April also saw me take M to his first Rugby Derby game at Wembley, which was on one of those days when we were blessed with glorious sunshine. We had a fantastic time and I am thrilled to see that saracens are on course to appear at both UK and European cup final's for the 2nd consecutive season. Alas won't make either as I will be away (more of that to share in May!)
April also housed Easter this year and it allowed me some down time at home, a little time for some crafting and also to cook and bake for a big family dinner.
As you can see April was pretty busy, my instagram feed moved away from the blossom's and daffodils of March and full Spring hues of Tulips, Wisteria and bunches of blousey spring blooms.
Farewell April, you have been gorgeous, here's to an amazing adventure in May.

East London Life...

Last Sunday was spent exploring the markets and lanes of East London - Columbia and Brick Lane are a favourite of mine, especially on a Sunday and having worked around that area 12 years ago I always like to go back occasionally and see what has changed. Having been in Notting Hill the previous week we loved comparing the contrasts between the markets and avenues of West London to the lanes and streets of East.
The side street to Spitalfields and Brick Lane transport you back to an era and age of bygone years and I love the houses with shutters, feels like you are stepping back into an old Victorian jack the ripper novel. Its no surprise that this area is constantly being used for film sets and model shoots.
Columbia Road can be a bit of a squeeze and it always amazes me the number of people that bring buggies and pushchairs into the environment, fortunately even thou it was busy it wasn't horrendous.
There was so many of my favourite flowers there it was hard to choose what to come home with: tulips, peonies, hyacinths, sweet williams or ranunculus. It was a glorious treat of colours and smells and I loved ambling along the market.
A trip to the market and Brick lane is not complete without a stop for cake and a bagel - the legendary Brick lane bagel shop is my favourite; selling hot salt beef bagel's 24hrs a day.
We also sopped at Cake-hole which is a cute cafe selling cake and Monmouth coffee in the back of a vintage china shop which is heaven for me. Blueberry and Apple was my choice and Coffee & Walnut was M's.
We had a fabulous morning walking around Bethnal Green before walking down to Tower Hill and St Katherines dock to cheer on the marathon runners and enjoy a beer in the sunshine.
As you can see I came home with two of my favourite flowers Sweet Peas and Roses, both evoking so many wonderful memories of my Gramps's garden πŸ’œ

Saturday, 29 April 2017

From Notting Hill with love....

Notting Hill is one of my favourite places, whether is the eccentricity of the Portebello Road and all its characters to the side streets and squares festooned with pretty colourful houses. The fact that it has featured in some of my favourite books and movies also makes it a huge draw for me and I try to visit every season to explore the side streets and market.
With a day off for both of us last week M and I made an impromptu decision to go to Portebello Road, where I showed him some of my movie favourites.

We spent a couple of hours shopping, drinking coffee and loving the colourful houses.
Instagram is awash with wisteria at the moment and we stumbled on some absolute beauties whilst we were out and about and ended up on a very impromptu wisteria walk between Notting Hill and Holland Park which was an unexpected treat.
By the end of the morning M was beginning to 'get' my obsession and was even pointing out doorways that I might like to photograph.πŸ˜‚
How glorious is all this wisteria?......The pink door & house was my favourite.
After a couple of hours walking and a very patient M I decided to take him to my favourite pub in Kensington road - The Churchill Arms, which is a real old British pub,famed for its love of war memorabilia which festoons the ceiling, rugby and housing one of the best Thai restaurants in London.
We had a mixture of Pad Thai and curry which was delicious and finished off a pretty good day in Notting Hill.




Friday, 28 April 2017

Easter...

As we head into another bank holiday weekend, I thought I would share a few eats, and treats from my Easter. As most of you know I have been following Slimming World for the last 18 months and having achieved my 5 and half stone award the week before Easter, I decided to relax a little over the Easter weekend and enjoy the time with family and friends.

I was lucky enough to have Good Friday off which as I was house sitting for a friend gave me time to catch up on some crafting , series link on TV and baking. I worked the Easter Saturday which allowed me to grab an early coffee in Claridges enjoying the Easter blooms. This is without a doubt my favourite hotel in London and I pop in the Lobby every week to look at the flowers, they are just beautiful.
I then spent Easter Sunday with friends and family, the Easter Bunny did a short hop to my brothers, where chocolate & cupcakes were distributed to my niece and nephew.
I love Easter, its my next favourite to Christmas and usually spend it a friends cooking a huge roast lamb dinner with full on decorations and a big egg hunt.
This year however my friend was away so I volunteered to cook for M and his family. I think he was a little surprised on how big I go with Easter. The boys (21 & 25) seemed to enjoy it and are already talking about what we are doing next year! 😲
I hope that everyone enjoyed their Easter and that you got time to relax with family & loved ones.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Date Night at the Opera

Catching up on blog posts from Easter and April before May arrives and I disappear for 16 days on an epic adventure (more to follow on that!) - I have over the last few months alluded to being back out on the 'dating' scene and although not quite ready to tempt fate and completely spill the beans, I am happy to report that I have met someone and it looks promising!
One such date night on Maundy Thursday involved a lovely pre-theatre dinner at Balthazar in Covent Garden followed by an evening at The Royal Opera House watching Madame Butterfly.
M & I have known each other a little while now and have shared Bucket Lists's of things we would like to do, see and travel. We started working through the lists as friends and things have kind of evolved - the opera was on M's list and I was thrilled that I managed to book tickets for Madame Butterfly at its sell out performance at the ROH - we were in the nose bleed seats but still able to see and hear everything which was lovely. 
I wanted to go somewhere nice for dinner, we had already been to The Ivy Grill at Christmas when we went to the Ballet and as much as we loved it, I wanted to take him somewhere else, with Balthazar in close proximity this was perfect for a dinner. We both opted for the Pea and mint Risotto, followed by the Pork which was delicious. The pork was served with new potatoes, spinach and a medley of mushrooms.With the restaurant offering a pre-theatre 2/3 course menu this is a great way to eat in a nice restaurant without paying huge prices. The service, food and ambience was fantastic with no pressure to hurry you up.
Going straight out after work is always a balance and I am lucky to work somewhere that I can get my hair blow-dried, my nails paited and my make-up done. As you can imagine I took full advantage of this and felt fabulous i my gorgeous winter white DKNY trousers and black top. 
Not a huge Selfie fan but it was a must in the fabulous New York feel bathroom in Balthazar.πŸ’–
Date night continued at The Opera which was delightful. I loved that the 'words' were highlighted overhead to your seating areas so it was like watching a real live film with subtitles. On previous opera visits I haven't had this and have had to struggle along a little.
The performances were heartrendingly beautiful by the lead Butterfly and the Captain was a complete Cad. We loved it and started our Easter off perfectly.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

April plans ...

April is upon us and I have a few things planned during the month that I am really looking forward to along with spending some time with family and friends over the Easter period.With the lighter nights and hopefully warmers days I am slowly coming out of hibernation and getting out and about.
I really enjoy Easter and always see it as a kick start to spring and 'newness' so much more than New Year and star writing lists and planning things for the rest of the year.
I am house-sitting for a friend over the Easter period and hope to catch up on some crafting, blogging and a little 'me' time as well as cooking and baking for Easter.
April dates include a local derby day with Saracens at Wembley for the rugby, and an evening in Covent Garden which includes dinner at Balthazar and then Madama Butterfly at the Royal Opera House.
Covent Garden is already beautifully festooned with flowers and colourful eggs along with a giant bunny.
My local surroundings to work have taken on a colourful spring bloom with the tulips in Hanover square looking particularly pretty amongst the building works of Crossrail and Claridges lobby looking delightful with yellow daffodils and forsythia.
I still have my makelight walk to catch-up on the blogging posts along with some TV treats and a huge adventure that is planned in May.
Hope everyone has a delightful Easter and I look forward to reading and viewing all on blogs & instagram.


Friday, 31 March 2017

Goodbye March ..... Hello April


Well a quarter of the way through 2017 and my blogging resolutions are diminishing with each month. March was a busy month, but still no excuse for not blogging.
March was a mixed month for me filled with trips to Newcastle for work, lots of time watching the Rugby 6 nations and spending lots of time outside walking and spending some time with M.
March saw me take on the challenge of 10,000 steps a day for Cancer Research, I did this previously in September and look forward to updating you with how I did later in the week.
My steps took me out and about and over the month I have explored nature parks near to where I live that I haven't visited before. I also explored parks and places in London that I love. Some of the lovely places that I've walked this month include Leigh on Sea, Thorndon Park, Primrose Hill, St James Park and Rafaels Park in Romford. With the clocks going for
ward in my final week made the evenings much more pleasant to walk in.
Work was busy in March and the corner shop was filled with flowers, cake and lots of loveliness for Mothers Day. I particularly loved how my new hair matched the new Charlotte Tilbury beauty space. March saw more planning and juggling life, slimming world and work as well as several date days / evenings.
Slimming World successes continued with me being named Greatest Loser within my group which is the first time I have enjoyed being called a loser!!
The final week of March saw celebrations for Mothers Day and the anniversary of the loss of Gramps - falling in the same week I found this a little hard, but I know they would be immensely proud of my life and what I have done since they passed.
During March I also spent a day with Emily and the Makelight ladies on another photographic walk, something that I will blog later this week as I have so many beautiful images to share.
During the month I also got to spend it with both my oldest and my bestest friend - 2 different occasions but both lots of fun and a reminder why after 30+ years we are still as close as ever.
So I bid farewell to a mixed month of March and hello to an April that I hope will be filled with blossom, sunshine, chocolate & hot cross buns.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Goodbye February.... Hello March >>>

 So February’s flown and we are a week into March and I’m still working my way through my February blog post list … ooops!  Not sure where the time is going but I am thankful that the days are getting a little lighter and it feels in between the rain showers that Spring is trying to blossom.
February was buy workwise and quite chilled at home, which helped with the stress levels and just learning to adapt to a new role and lots of life changes. It was a month of catching up with friends and family for birthday celebrations, lunches and coffee as well as a few date night!
Date nights included
·         Theatre Night - a trip to the theatre to see Dream Girls which is just fabulous and involved a visit into the Savoy (alas not to stay) but still savoured the ambience pre-theatre.
·         Movie Night – Movie moment from February was the Oscar winning Manchester by the Sea – loving my movie moments and hope to share more this month
·         Curry Night – kept it casual for Valentines Night with a trip to the local curry house, no pressure on either of us other than to catch-up over a glass of prosecco and a curry and enjoy a night off plan with SW! It still called for a new dress and a little pampering which was nice.
Valentines also lent itself to going full on pink & red at the corner shop with the façade being decorated in balloons which made for some great Instagram moments along with a lovely pop-up Valentines market inside featuring the most decadent glorious flowers, more balloons, cards and candy. It also allowed me to get the red lipstick out and little red dress.
February also allowed me to make some sale purchases, most thrilled with my size 12 skinny JBrand jeans and Bella Freud Jumper which I picked up at significantly reduced prices and finally seeing the benefits of my Slimming World journey over the last 18 months. The loss is slowing and I am aiming for Target before Easter, so that I can go on holiday in May and enjoy.
Birthdays in February included my oldest friend, my Niece and another friend. Friends birthdays were celebrated with suppers and drinks and my lovely Libs was the family tradition of cupcakes and presents for breakfast. Her birthday usually falls in half term so it allows for us all to get together early which was lovely and this year included to friends from her sleep-over and my nephew who came home from Uni.
That pretty much sums up my month, I hope that February was kind to you all and I really hope that sometime soon I get upto date with my blogging and share a little more.


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Movie Moments - 2017

This week saw Hollywood host the 89th Academy Awards – where the coveted Oscar is awarded to what the members believe to be the best within their field for the year.  Usually the only thing that makes the headlines are the frocks and fashion from the evening, this of course this year was over shadowed by the horror of the wrong Film being called out at the Winner of the Best movie 2016.  The winners list always kick starts my Movie list for the year, as it gives me ideas of what I would like to see.
My movie moment in February was the movie that bagged the Best Actor award for Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea. Produced by Matt Damon this movie deals with some hard hitting subjects with some fabulous acting – stand out performances from both Affleck and Lucas Hedges. Launched at the 2016 Sundance Film festival, this movie has picked up a host of nominations and gongs during the award season.
The movie centres around a small town in New England, where everyone knows everyone and their business, winters are long and bleak and summers short. Affleck’s character is a brooding loner holding a janitorial handyman role in a suburb of Boston when he receives a call  summoning him back to his home town of Manchester by the Sea and deal with the aftermath of the call and the responsibilities that it brings. It is apparent from early on that Affleck has his own demons and issues with returning to the town which slowly unravel as the movie develops.
I enjoyed this movie, it’s not something that I would usually pick out to see, but glad that I did as the acting is impressive and is very thought provoking.
A couple of other Oscar nominated movies have made by Movie Moment shortlist for 2017, however most of them are ‘bums on seats’ movies as opposed to Oscar winners, something I find every increasing in the movie world. There are definitely 2 types of films made these days, those that are pure escapism and sheer enjoyment and those that tick boxes as Artistic, Political, Historical, Minorities etc and are made purely to win awards and not necessarily take money at the box office.
I am definitely in the escapism camp and just want to be entertained; some of my movies I will wait for the DVD/online release but a few I will go to the cinema to see, here’s a few that should take me through to the summer:
Patriots Day – Mark Wahlberg plays a cop involved in the investigation and aftermath of the bombing of the Boston Marathon – based on the tragic events that took place 4 years ago, this movie shows how the city went into lockdown and a race against the clock to bring the bombers to justice.
Beauty and the Beast – definitely one for the big screen, where Emma Watson takes on the role of Belle and Emma Thompson steps into the very big shoes of Angela Lansbury’s Mrs Potts for this live action of Disney’s award winning animation. One of my Disney favourites, I can’t wait to see how this has been bought to life.
King Arthur  - looking forward to seeing is Guy Ritchie’s interpretation of King Arthur – with a huge cast of stars including Charlie Hunnam as Arthur and a cameo from David Beckham, this movie could be one of the big hits of the summer and I hope will look epic on a big screen.
My Cousin Rachel – adapted from Daphne Du Mauriers classic, this stars Sam Claflin and Rachel Weisz, - a young Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious beautiful cousin believing that she murdered his guardian, however she soon beguiles him and conflicts are torn. Definitely one for the ladies.
Well that's a  few from list - what are you looking forward to seeing this year?

Saturday, 18 February 2017

a little planning ......

February has certainly felt a little like a hibernation month for me. With a cold blast freezing most of the country for the first 10 days it only now 3 weeks in does it feel like there are signs of spring and that winter is very slowly falling back to sleep. This has given me lots of time in between working and walking to think about what I would like from 2017 and also some small things that I can give back.
I have definitely found that I do like to have one lovely thing to look forward to each month and that kind of makes up for the weekend working and juggling of calendars with friends and loved ones to see everyone and fit things in. I now have planners for planners and also a lovely countdown app which helps me countdown that days to the lovely things booked, which currently include trips to the rugby, opera, holiday and concerts.
2016 was a huge year of change for me with a new job, weight loss and lifestyle and  I hope to continue with those during 2017, although not planning any big changes, I'm still on a path of discovering and lots of new things in my life.  One of the things that I am continuing is my fitness, it has been an instrumental part of the weight loss (especially the last 3 stone) and I know that to maintain the loss that I need to keep active. I have finally invested in a Fit Bit and have spent an hour last night setting it up and I am already having little competions with myself J

I am hoping that it will also aid my last stone of weight loss that I have set myself along with track my training and activity for some challenges that I have set myself for this year.
As some of you know actively took part on the 10,000 steps a day challenge in September for Cancer Research and will be taking up the challenge again for March. Here are some of my memories from last year. I am looking forward to this again and I hope that I have as much fun with it as last time.
I have also signed up to a 10k walk and a 10k run (although I am having serious doubts about my capability to run 10k – still struggling to run 10 minutes) and then later in the year I’m  planning a big walk with a friend of mine. Here's to a fitter February and 2017. I will keep you updated on my progress.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Good Bye January..... Hello February!


So January passed in a whirl of winter weather, tube strikes and little downtime, but what I did manage to grab I spent catching up with friends and loved ones. January also gave me a little time to update the blog with festive activities and also my Slimming world journey in 2016. I have received some lovely comments and messages from blogging and social media friends – thank you for all you encouraging words. I am now on my final stone, which will probably be my hardest to loose and have spent time with my new food planner and slimming world magazine looking for inspiration and motivation.
It was definitely a month of catching up with friends that I haven’t seen for a while, my lovely friend Penny popped up from Cornwall to spend some time with family and we caught up for a long chat over lunch and then coffee with our friend Chris, we had lots to talk about and I hope that one day she will move back nearer. Another friend that came up to London was my lovely friend Caroline, we caught up for drinks when she made her annual post-Christmas trip to the city with her Mum from Devon for a few days. As always it felt like yesterday since I had seen her and it was great catching up over a glass or two, for a friendship that was born out of blog-land I have definitely made a friend for life.
January also saw me say goodbye to a very special friend who passed away quite suddenly. I met her on my first day at work at the tender age of 16 and she took me into her heart and her home and made me feel like one of her own, I have grown up with her boys and although we didn’t see each other lots, I knew that she would be always be by my side if I needed her. I will miss her dreadfully and cherish the time that we shared.
With changing weather conditions (-4’ some mornings) to mornings with beautiful sunrises, January also saw me dust off my trainers and get back to a little running in the park, I was surprised how well I did and will actively step-up the couch to 5k in February. The Zumba classes are definitely paying off with fitness. J
January was definitely a bit of a hibernation month, but I did venture out for an evening at the Theatre to see the fantastic Beverley Knight in The Bodyguard and look forward to seeing her in concert later this year.
So with January over, what does February have instore…….As with every month it’s time for a little blog make-over and also time for some goals and plans for the month:
 With friends celebrating birthdays, it will give me a great opportunity to catch-up post-christmas and just generally have some time chatting and chilling. Also have a special little ladies 14th birthday in the diary which I am sure will involve cake!
The lighter mornings hopefully will kick start my butt into a little more running and walking, this hopefully will help me to hit my 5 ½ stone target award.
I have a date night with M planned to the theatre to see Dreamgirls which I hope he will enjoy, along with some movie nights and lazy Sundays and rugby fuelled Saturdays (love the 6 nations tournament)
Curry night with the Curry club ladies and a Dinner Date for Valentine’s day are on the agenda along with friends for Sunday Lunch. It’s definitely shaping up to be a friends filled February.

I hope everyone’s February plans are equally as lovely and look forward to reading all about them …….πŸ’–

Monday, 30 January 2017

A treat of an evening.....

Wow January has passed in a flash, but before we fall into February I am sharing one more post from my activities over the festive season. An annual tradition for me for many years is to see The Nutcracker Ballet, whether in New York of London, I always try to get to see a performance. This year I managed to get tickets for the English National Ballets performance at the London Coliseum, where I booked to take a friend for their 50th birthday. (they had never been to the ballet and I was able to put a big tick against a wish on their bucket list)
To make the evening even more special I surprised them with starting the evening in The Savoy for drinks before moving onto The Ivy Grill Marketplace in Covent Garden for dinner. This was my first time at this restaurant and I loved it, ambience is gorgeous and the food was delicious. It was the perfect prequel to a delightful evening at the ballet.
The Savoy this year was a decorated opulently in pinks and silver and was just beautiful. The tree in the foyer was sponsored by the jewellers Boodles and was very pink but oh so pretty.πŸ’—

The interior of The Savoy was as equally as beautiful in greens and silver with a real art deco style and just quite magical.






The Ivy Marketplace was equally as gorgeous in a colourful cacophony of baubles, wreaths and a stunning tree outside in the courtyard which complemented the large baubles and mistletoe decor of Covent Garden.
This did nothing to distract how delicious the food was, a perfect venue for pre-theatre or a special dinner.
After a very lovely supper it was a short stroll to The Coliseum, where we were swept up in the magic and sparkle of a Christmas Ballet.
No matter how many times I have seen The Nutcracker I never grow old of it and it is a delightful treat to watch and see the delight on my friends face. 
The Nutcracker featured lots in my Christmas 2016 - from the fabulous Nutcracker Soldiers outside Liberty's that I walked past most days, to Candles burning on the fireside and tags on the tree I have lots of lovely memories to add to 2016's Christmas album and look back on in future years.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Movie Moments ....

Movie moments were few and far between for me in 2016, for someone who usually has a list of movie musts at the beginning of each year to see, 2016 was definitely a little lack lustre in the cinema world. Two favourites for the year were Bridget Jones Baby which I saw a couple of times at the cinema with the girls and again snuggled on the sofa on New Year’s Day and MeBefore You which I just loved. Two other movies that I saw over the festive season also joined the favourite list was the much anticipated JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and where to find them and Sully. 
I saw Fantastic Beasts in 3D at the Imax in London and loved the whole experience. It was my first trip to the Imax and I was super impressed with the service, ambience and space of the cinema. The movie was also in 3D, something I’ve not done in a long time, probably since those early years of 3D when it was all a little bit hit and miss with the visuals, however how much has time changed.
For those not familiar with the synopsis the movie is set in New York in 1926 and in the Harry Potter universe Gellert Grindelward is terrorising the magical community. Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) travels from London to New York with a briefcase full of magical creatures. Unfortunately not all the fantastic beasts want to stay hidden in Newt’s case and escape into the streets of New York. JK’s imagination astounds me and her creation of these magical creatures from her head to paper is just amazing. Set in the early 20’s transports this film back into an era where people lived in fear of satanic influences (references to Salem and its witchcraft’s) creating an underworld within the subways and back streets of New York. Newt meets some loveable witches along with a muggle that joins his adventures. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and it may not have captured my heart as much as Harry but one  little creature sure did!.... the loveable thief of shiny belongings, a Niffler – so cute and very naughty he made me laugh throughout the movie. JK’s genius has done it again and look forward to the next adventure along with seeing her private investigator Comoron Strike come to life on the TV later this year.

My second movie of choice is Sully – Tom Hanks taking the lead and telling the story of the pilot that landed an aeroplane on the Hudson River on the 15th January 2009, saving 155 lives and avoiding an aviation disaster. Most of us can remember the Miracle on the Hudson story and probably think that with 24 hour news coverage and social media that there isn’t much of a story to tell, what Sully does is show the impact that this has on his life and the investigation behind the scenes. It’s a fascinating and thrilling film, where you see a national hero come under immense scrutiny from the aviation companies and insurance corporations for saving 155 lives. Set in New York, this film has definitely ignited the flame to return to this fabulous city later this year.
A great film that will keep you entertained throughout, Tom Hanks is effortless throughout showcasing everything he does well being fantastically directed by Clint Eastwood.

Two great family entertaining films to finish the year off both set in New York but couldn't be any more different in genre and style ….. now off to compile my list for 2017!