Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Goodbye 2013... hello 2014.

As 2013 draws to a close its time for me to look back on my favourite moments. Its this point of the year when I look back that I realise how much I have done, what places I have been and the fab times that I have spent with loved ones.
All I can say is thankyou for blogging as my memory definitely isnt what it used to be!....
Here are 13 of my favourite things from 2013...
  • Afternoon Tea at Claridges  last Christmas I received Afternoon Tea at Claridges at a gift. In March we went and had a lovely time. The venue, service and tea were fabulous... a perfect gift!
  • Rugby Masterclass  Back in April  Jonny Wilkinson pulled on his Rugby shorts for the last time at Twickenham and I was there, front row to witness such delights!... a masterclass of perfection in so many ways!!! 
  • Hollywood & Dames This year I was lucky enough to meet the lovely blue-eyed Paul Hollywood at a Bread masterclass and in the same evening watch one of Theatres Dames on stage - the fabulous Judi Dench.
  • A day of Chocolate  one of the most inventive and fun afternoon teas that I have had along with an evening at the theatre with Charlie & Chocolate factory... a delicious treat for all senses.
  • Summer theatre in the Park  Regents park became a firm favourite during the summer ... an evening watching To Kill a Mockingbird and Pride & Prejudice were two of my highlights on a summers evening.
  • An evening with the Buble  a fab evening with friends old & new watching the supreme showman Michael Buble. An absolute joy ....
  • Tea at the House  a behind the scenes tour a tea in the Houses of Parliament were fun, informative and a history lesson al in one go.
  • Birthday with Bestie  co-ordinated diaries allowed for me to spend a fun day in London with Bestie, we laughed (lots) walked, gossiped, oogled and pretended we were both 14 again instead of 4*!!... 
  • Pride & Prejudice and 2 kittens!... Fitzwilliam & Darcy came to live with me in July, 2 mischievous and naughty Kittens... so not like their namesake Mr Darcy!... 200 years after Jane Austen wrote the classic!
  •  Hadley at the Hall  girl crushes don't abate even in you 40's!... Tony Hadley at the Albert hall was pure class, he crooned, rocked & balleted through the classics & 80's!
  • The Savoy & a Songstress  a fabulous afternoon tea at The Savoy with two 70 year old ladies who have more energy than myself, followed by an evening watching a songstress Beverley Knight in The Bodyguard was pure class throughout.
  • Thanksgiving with Friends  a new tradition for Teresa... Thanksgiving dinner with special friends... thankful for all. wishing them happier and healthier 2014 as December prooved to be worrying and unwell ... much love xx
  • Christmas in Paris  A day in Paris during Christmastime was delightful, filled with sweet treats, lights and fun.
2013 has been fun, I got out and about lots, I loved exploring London in the sunshine (yes we did have a summer!) relaxing in the park with a good book, spending time with loved ones.  The Uk had Royal baby fever, we saw a Brit win Wimbledon for the 1st time in 60 years, and the Lions bet the Southern Hemisphere in the rugby.I look forward to seeing what 2014 will bring.
Looking forward to 2014....
  • I would like to be more organised with life, blogging, and home.
  • I hope to blog more (hoping my new wireless keyboard will assist with blogging on an ipad) and bring a little structure to my monthly posts. (more to come of this)
  • Spend quality time with loved ones.... simple works for me as well as special treats... 
  • A decade on from loosing a very special lady in my life I hope to mark this anniversary with love, memories and laughter across the pond.

Friday, 27 December 2013

A tale of 2 Kitties at Christmas...

This years Christmas bought a whole new challenge.... two 6 month old kitties!!!... Each year I pride myself on my beautifully decorated tree and fireplace. This years theme was completely worked around having 2 fur babies to contend with... mittens, kittens and wool!... anything breakable was hung out of reach of furry paws.

The Christmas tree was put up late as in the back of my mind I knew it was going to be a new toy to play with for two adventurous cats. I can say they have not dissappointed me.. Fitz was in the box before I could get the tree out and Darcy was in the tree before it was assembled..
Along with helping me to wrap presents, their inquisitive nature has had them explore every bag,  parcel and package wrapped.

However the tree has proved to be the biggest draw, they have been in it, on it, knocked every bauble off it and Christmas Eve saw me walk into work to find it completely knocked over!... the fun they must have had whilst I was at work.

After all that mischief and mayhem a much need snooze on the sofa is needed to recharge their batteries and dream of what fun they can have the next day.

Here's to a calmer Christmas in 2014!


Thursday, 26 December 2013

Boxing Day bargain rush...

Boxing Day for me means an early start and a commute into London for one of the most publisised sales of the festive season.
It is the stores busiest trading day of the year, and this year didnt disappoint. With queues snaking around the stores block, many having been there since late Christmas Day night it is as much as a tradition as the festive day itself. With the launch of online sales and competitors trading their sales at the same time, it always amazes me how many people come out for the sales. This year 3,500 people entered the store as the doors opened for the sale having queued since the early hours.
After walking each floor prior to trade, the Operations director, Store Director and myself stand on the balcony of Hix restaurant overlooking the accessories hall and watch the doors open and the madness descend!... the Ops Director is interviewed by all the press and TV crews onsite to film the Boxing Day rush.
Finishing mid afternoon, an easy drive home is followed with Boxing Day dinner and a quiet night on the sofa cuddled up with the kitties.




Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas memories...

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas spent with special people and loved ones. As most of you know Christmas Day is a day that I'm quite happy to sleep through. This year however I wasn't allowed, this year I spent the day with my brother and his family. Usually they go to in-laws or friends, but this year they stayed as home with the insistent that I join them.
My morning started early with two kitties eager to open their stockings, Santa was very good to me, some of which I will share in the next few days. My next stop was at the cemetery where I left some flowers and a christmas wreath for my nan & gramps, then onto the G household to open more presents with an excited niece and a 'cool' but secretly excited nephew.

With brother cooking the Christmas dinner, I was allowed to sit and relax watching the kids open their presents.
Dinner was lovely and we all had lots of fun with the crackers and charades at the table.
The afternoon was spent watching kids films, playing monopoly and building lego!... occasionally visited by nephew who's Xbox one was a bigger draw than the lego building!... His Armani PJ's from his auntie were a big hit!

The John Lewis rabbit may have stolen my heart in the Christmas ads, but i think the G family pet "Woody" comes a close second. My brother has trained him like a dog, here he is Christmas night getting his treats from his stocking.

I had a lovely day with the family, filled with fun, and love. x

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

'twas the night before christmas ...

With much of the country being battered by storms on the run-up to Christmas, the present fairy was always going to be up against time when delivering on behalf of Santa on Christmas Eve. This year I was even more disorganised than normal, and I'm not really sure why, but if Santa can get across the world on Christmas Eve then I could deliver all my parcels.
My day started with a 6am drive into London for work.... and finished with Florence finally got parked onto the drive just before midnight!...alas i still had some wrapping to do and a quick tidy before Santa delivered at Teresa's terrace.
It was lovely to see everyone, even if fleetingly and next year i hope that the weather is kinder and that I'm a little more organised!...
I have many traditions for Christmas Eve... one of my favourites is new PJ's for Santa... this years were found with much glee as they completely complimented my mittens theme...
What Christmas Eve traditions do you keep?....


Monday, 23 December 2013

driving home for christmas...

Much of the last couple of the weeks to Christmas is spent on the road, either driving into London to work ( mainly to fill Florence's boot with parcels & shopping) or running around delivering presents or visiting friends.
Over the last couple of years it has become much of a tradition for a "Happy Holiday's" playlist to be compiled for the car and I wait with much excitement to hear Whams Last Christmas on the radio. When driving into work I pick-up one of my team Jo who is Mrs Christmas! and we drive through London looking at the nights and singing along to the Christmas songs.... all before 7am. (Last Christmas is our favourite christmas song.... it may be 30 years old but we still love it... both had aspirations of a magical christmas in a ski lodge with friends & loved ones!.. minus the perm!!!)
This year we loved the Eros snow globe at Piccadily, the Magic & Sparkle of M&S, the red robin of Carnaby Street and the drive home is magical complemented by the decorated trees outside The Connaught hotel in Carlos Place.
Along with Wham, here are a few more of my must's on my Happy Holidays playlist!... pure cheese & smaltz in one place.(there is a lot of Michael Buble!!)
Michael Buble & Bing Crosby - White Christmas
Michael Buble & Mariah Carey - All i want for Christmas
Perry Como - Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas..
The Pogues & Kirsty Mccoll - Fairytale in NewYork

Michael Bolton - Oh Holy Night

what have been you favourite sites & sounds of the season?....

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

7 sleeps......

...... Until Santa and my To Do list is huge.

Every year I hit December and think I have Christmas under control, and then bam 1 week to go and I haven't got a bit of paper on a present, the tree is still in its box and and the only thing being unwrapped on Christmas Day currently will be the tin of quality street.......
Let the panic commence!.......

Monday, 16 December 2013

Holiday entertainment ...

I love the build up to Christmas and all that it brings.... and that includes the Christmas TV ads. An Christmas ad can make or break a brand and what is the most wonderful time of the year.
They form as much entertainment for us all as some of the TV programmes they segment. Every year it seems the competitiveness of the brands to get the most memorable christmas ad gets fiercer.
Here are my top 5 for this year:
1. Marks & Spencer - Magic & Sparkle - Alice in wonderland, Wizard of Oz, cute dog and David Gandy... What more can I ask for?.... Oh yes delicious red shoes!!!
2. John Lewis - the Bear & the Hare... JL's done is again... Heartfelt ad tugging in the heart strings.
3. Baileys - The Nutcracker - my favourite ballet and Baileys, a perfect combination
4. Morrisons - Go on its Christmas - Ant & Dec and a tap dancing gingerbread man.. Morrisons meets shriek & beauty & the beast!
5. Coca cola - share a gift this Christmas - holidays are coming... coca cola post to come, more to follow.
What's your favourite advert for this holiday season...?
Here's a little more of my favourite.... Complete with "Eye Candy Gandy"!!!!... Delicious...



Saturday, 14 December 2013

A different kind of Ballet...

Friday saw me head to Sadler's Wells Theatre for an evening at the Ballet. Going to the ballet has been a bit of a tradition for me and my friend over the past couple of years at Christmastime. Along with the traditional ballets on in London, Matthew Bourne has bought his critically acclaimed Swan Lake back to the stage. This was this years golden ticket, unfortunately my friends husband is still in hospital and quite poorly so she was unable to join me. Even our contingency plans fell so I headed over to Angel by myself.
For those not familiar with Bourne's work, he is renowned for putting a very contemporary twist on classic ballets, over the years he has adapted Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Cinderella. As well as using contemporary ballet along with other dance styles, Bourne is renowned for using male dancers; this years swans are all male.
Set against the classic Tchaikovsky score Bourne's interpretation is simply stunning.
When the swans appeared it truly was spectacular, in their feathered costumes, gothic make-up and chiseled torso's it was a site to beholden!
I thoroughly enjoyed the show, standing ovation from all at the end... If you can get to see this in London, or as it tours the UK next year, then I urge you to grab a ticket. Mesmerising, a sheer masterpiece.
The only dampener on my evening was that my friend was unable to come with me.
Get better soon Dave, xxx 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

12 reads for Christmas..

Over the last few years one of the things that I look forward to on the countdown to Christmas is a great festive read. My Christmas to read list has grown on amazon over the past few months and I have selected my 12 reads for Christmas. Nothing more perfect than curling up on the sofa when all the hustle and bustle has passed and relaxing with a great book, mug of hot chocolate and a slice of Christmas cake!
Many authors have this year written short novellas either to complete previous publications or just fun christmas stories. These are perfect on my commute and I can easily read one a day. 
Thankyou Ladies for writing some fun, festive reads.... Pop back at the end of the month for my thoughts x

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Paris at Christmastime..pt quatre

My final part of my day trip to Paris was always going to feature shops!... Aside from the Champs Élysées the other famous shopping area is around le Galleries Lafyette.
Paris is famed for being the city of light and my walk through the city didn't disappoint as evening fell. The Champs élysées with its circular decorations and perfectly lit trees was both modern and Christmassy in its styling.
My walk through the side streets of Paris was filled with light installations and trees.
Paris has 2 big department stores ( the equivalent of our selfridges and harrods) which sit alongside each other. Printemps and Galleries Lafyette. Both vie for top billing and best christmas styled.
This year Printemps has been sponsored by Prada complete with Prada bears who feature in many guises along their oil day windows. The scheme is fun, stylish and very interactive for the children who come to see the windows. With the store facing and canopy festooned with red & white lights, it really is a Christmas spectacular.
The Galleries Lafyette facade is festooned with bright pink strobe lights and their scheme this year is all about time. The time spent before Christmas, counting down to Christmas and the time spent at Christmas. Each window depicts a different scene in a haze of characters that would not be out of place in a Lewis Carroll novel.
What GL lacks in visuals outside it makes up for inside, where its beautiful stain glass windows and circular domed room come to life under a glittering Christmas tree clock, sponsored by swatch. With various characters circling the bottom of the tree, they spring to life as the clock strikes the hour.... Magical.
A browse around both stores were much required if only to check out the competition!... Both were beautiful, but I think Printemps won the Christmas battle for me. ( what lady doesn't love a bit of Prada!)
This stop was my last on my round trip of Paris... My final destination after another epic walk was the station where i boarded my train and slept to St Pancras! (I calculated on my return that I had walked at least 8 miles across Paris during my day, so didn't feel so guilty about the decadent indulgences during the day!)

Paris at Christmastime..pt trois

After an indulgent Hot Chocolate in Angelinas it was time for more walking!.. This time I set off towards the Champs Élysées. At the beginning off this majestic road stands a huge carousel which is much part of the Christmas experience. I decided that I would take a ride. Although the sun was bright,the morning had been quite foggy and the winter clouds hung low in the sky. This seemed a better option of seeing some of Paris from above than climbing to the summit of the Sacre Coeur or ascending the structure of the Eiffel Tower.
The views were great and the experience fun, although would prefer that the seats were a little more stable and didn't rock in the breeze!
Once on firmer ground I ambled along the champs élysées where a huge Christmas market was set along each side of the busy road. The wooden cabins selling christmas wares were complimented with roasted marons (chestnuts) gingerbread, churros, cheeses and mulled wine, It was a feast for the senses.
The market stretched for at least half a mile, during the time I was there it wasn't too busy, however as darkness fell and the lights began to twinkle it became very busy. Once on the main shopping concourse my destination was Laduree home of the original French macaron. I know I can buy these back in the uk, and Pierre Hermes are as amazing, but I wanted to see the inside of the fabulous little green tea rooms as much as buy some decadent macarons.
Festive christmas box in hand I left the beautiful store and walked back along the market towards my last destination area - Galleries Lafyette.

Paris at Christmastime .. pt deux

My first area to explore on departing Gard du Nord was to head down towards the Bellville & Marais quarters of the city where I was to visit one of the city's most popular Boulangerie's ... Boulangerie's are ten a penny in Paris with most French people buying bread daily. Du Pain et des Idees is one of the boulangeries where people will que around the block for fresh bread and patisseries. The shop has been the home of the family since the 1960's and optimises everything you would imagine an old French bakery to be, with vintage tins & bowls. I purchased a pain au chocolate and a fromage & bacon croissant to eat on my travels. Both were amazing melt n the mouth deliciousness. At that point I decided to loose any sense of calories for the day.
My second stop was down a small cobbled side street which housed a home of eclairs which were beyond words! L'eclair du genie is a modern minimalist shop which showcases its eclairs like art work. I purchased 4 to take home .. Pistachio, raspberry, Yule log, & a clementine brown. All looked amazing and were a big hit back home!
From here I carried on my travels down across the river to the Notre Dame where they were getting ready for their tree lighting. The Notre dame is beautiful and has over the last few years undergone a huge restoration project. Here I ambled along the river Seine until I reached the bridge of locks which I crossed and headed into the Jardin's which housed the Louvree. Having seen the Mona Lisa on a previous visit I just admired the view.
Across the street from the Louvree and along the Rue de rivoli, my 3rd food treat awaited. Angelina's home of the hot chocolate!.... Served in delectable little pitchers  and whipped cream, I accompanied mine with a patisserie called Paris-New York ... A pecan, macaron & cream based patisserie.... Delicious... Angelina has the feel of an old 1920's tea salon, and I can understand why people Q to get in. The Hot chocolate is delicious, thick and slightly bitter, which when accompanied by the cream soon sweetens.
(It really wasn't a day for counting calories!) thankfully my adventures covered several miles in Paris which I did on foot.... Pop back later for Christmas in Part part trios.
Thanks again to Ed Kimber for two fantastic recommendations.

Paris at Christmastime - part un

This year with no holiday to New York planned I decided to book a trip to Paris to compensate. I booked my trip via my nectar points, which freed up more euros to spend in the city. Paris is renowned for its lights spectacular during Noel.
Having been to Paris a few times my agenda wasn't to do the 'normal' sightseeing. With a couple of hours spare on the train it gave me chance to plan my adventures and read an appropriately named novella! The lovely Ed Kimber from the Boy who Bakes had recommended 2 great bakery places to visit, so they were built into my plan. My plan was broken into 3 slices, Parisian food treats, Christmas sights & scenes and Lights spectacular.
My 7am train departed on time and we cleared the channel tunnel into me to see the sun rising across the French countryside. 

By this stage me day was mapped and I was immersed in my book The Parisian Christmas Bake Off which was perfect for the trip. 
Rachel finds herself in Paris the week before Christmas, pitted against 7 others she is competing for an apprenticeship with the super chef Henri Salernes. Rachel is not big on Christmas, but finds herself swept up into the romance of the city, holiday season and the competition.  Rachel's confidence grows as the week develops along with her patisserie skills. With a gorgeous Frenchman mixed into the bowl along with sprinkling of snow this is a magical Christmas baking tale.
Arriving into Paris at 10am I had a full day ahead planned..... With a glorious low winter sun shining in the background it was the perfect weather to explore.



Wednesday, 4 December 2013

St Pancras ...

Tuesday saw me in St Pancras station very early in the morning this time to board a Eurostar train to Paris for the day. Being in the station prior to 6am gave me an opportunity to explore this beautiful station in all its splendour before it came to life with the daily commuters and travellers. St Pancras is my London equivalent to Grand Central Station and looks even lovelier dressed for Christmas. 
London St Pancras opened in 1868 and is now a Grade1 listed building ... It sits between the British Library and Regents Canal and is quite lovely. It now houses great restaurants, a stunning hotel and a mini Fortnum & Mason.
There are several items of art on display to the public at St Pancras. At the south end of the upper level, a 29.5 ft bronze statue named The Meeting Place stands beneath the station clock. Designed by British artist Paul Day, it is intended to evoke the romance of travel through the depiction of a couple locked in an amorous embrace. The freeze which surrounds the base depicts London Underground scenes from its commencement of tunnelling to the daily commute.
Also on the upper level, above the Arcade concourse, stands a bronze statue of the former Poet Sir John Betjeman, gazing in wonder at the Barlow roof. The statue commemorates the poet's successful campaign to save the station from demolition in the 1960s. The 6 ft 7 in -high statue stands on a flat disc, inscribed with lines from Betjeman's poem Cornish Cliffs
This years festive decorations are dressed to celebrate the season, in F&M glorious blue colouring, complete with mini hamper baskets.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Thanksgiving....

This year on 'black' Friday I heldThanksgiving Dinner at my friends.  I think this will be a new tradition for me. I love the build up to Christmas, and Thanksgiving dinner is the start of the countdown. It gives me an opportunity to cook a celebratory dinner and be thankful for the friends that I have around me.
Menu consisted of:-

  • Maple glazed turkey
  • Sweet potato mash
  • Roast potatoes
  • Green beans with bacon lardons
  • Cauliflower cheese
  • Buttered carrots

Desserts consisted of homemade :-

  • Pumpkin pie
  • Cinnamon spiced apple pies
  • Maple autumnal M&M cookies
The meal was delicious.... A great return home for my friends who arrived home from Las Vegas/San Francisco that morning..... I watched the Macy parade on the iPad loving the big Macy Turkey whilst preparing the dinner.

It really was a day to count my blessings as my friends husband was taken into hospital a couple of days later, where he continues to stay.
Thanksgiving Blessings...

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Hello December, the countdown has begun!


So the Festive month is upon us as we say Goodbye to November and a warm Hello to December. december is already looking like a whirlwind of activity for me and somewhere in there I have to squeeze in Christmas!...
Alas no trip to New York... But so far my December calendar is featuring  trips to the Ballet, Paris, Afternoon tea's, London, and Claridges!!... So lots to blog about over the next 4 weeks and a catchup of Teresa's Thanksgiving ... ( a new tradition on T's house)
Today I will be embarking on a little seasonal shopping at the home of Mr Selfridge!....  The big yellow store has gone rose hold for the festive season, complete with an Advent shop...
this  has featured advents from the standard and still my favourite Advent candles to the chocolate confections,  with some surprises in the mix..., gin & whiskey (perfect for frazzled folks , not sure a bottle of the favourite tipple is ideal for early morning opening!) the ever popular climate nail polish, and been a big yellow store itself.
December 1st also sees me start my December Daily (journal my christmas) with the lovely Shimelle ... This is my 4th year and absolutely determined to finish it earlier than mid 2014!!!!,.... I love this project and its become one of 'Teresa's traditions for the festive season'.....
Happy 1st December...... The holidays are coming!!!!....

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Autumn reads.....

Before I embark on a pile of Christmas reads (I love a Christmas book, perfect for a cozy afternoon on sofa with a throw and hot chocolate) let me share what's made my "books to eat" list for Oct/Nov.
I have already shared one of my favourite reads Ali Mcnamara's Step Back in Time here's some of  my other favourites.
  • Tangled Lives - Hilary Boyd Lizzie Delancey is a 50 something mum who holds a secret, at the age of 18 she gave her son up for adoption. 32 years later an official envelope pops through the door, her son wants to meet her. Having kept this secret from her 2 grown daughters and son she has to tell them... This starts a journey with Lizzie filled with love, angst, heartache and  tangled family lives. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, loved Lizzie, Daniel her adopted son, and the story it tells.
  • Before I met you - Lisa Jewel
  • Betty Dean has spent most of her life on the island of Guernsey now in her 20's she embarks on a journey in Soho London, tracing the life of her beloved grandmother Arlette who unknown to all had lived & worked in London in the 1920's ... This book is beautiful, swinging between the 20's & 90's its a journey of love, lost & found. If the recent jazz era of Downtown Abbey has intrigued you then this book is for you... Heartbreaking & heartwarming all in one book.
  • Cupcakes at Carringtons  Alexandra Brown . Georgie runs the luxury bag concession at Carrington’s Department store in the pretty seaside town of Mulberry Bay. Her best friend runs the cupcake parlour within the store and her spending constraints means her only treat of the day is a red velvet cupcake with butter cream icing. Carrington’s goes into a recession-busting makeover and soon Georgie is fighting not only for her job, but also for the attentions 2men! ... I loved this book, it features, cupcakes, Mulberry and yummy men... I read this book when undergoing some change at work and it really hit the mark!... Can't wait for the Christmas follow-up
  • Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop ~ Abby Clements ...Imogen and Anna unexpectedly inherit their grandmother Vivien's ice cream parlour, The Brighton shop is a seafront institution, but while it's big on charm but very low on customers. Leaving Imogen in charge of the refurbishments, Anna heads to Italy for an icecream cookery course.This is a lovely book filled with charm, family and ice-cream flavours to drool over. It will make you want to spend a day in a bygone era of Brighton. .. And run away to Italy.... With a couple of delicious men and a vintage ice-cream van & recipes thrown into the mix its a scrumptious treat.
  • Billy and me - Giovanna Fletcher  Sophie lives a quiet life in a small village of Kent, one day a handsome man comes to her rescue in the tea shop where she works. Unknown to Sophie the handsome man is Billy Buskin actor/teenage heartthrob, who is filming nearby. Billy & Sophie fall in love, and this book shares there journey from village to the city life of London. Sophie's insecurities manifest as she leaves her comfort zone of home behind, with Billy's global success growing .. Can their love survive. I really enjoyed this book, Sophie at times caused me some irritation but the relationship with Molly the owner of the tea shop is beautiful. It did make me cry on the train... So have a hanky handy!.. 
  • Amelia Greys Fireside Dreams - Abby Clements  Amelia has always dreamed of a life in the country alongside husband Jack. Buying a cottage she hasn't set foot inside, soon makes that dream a reality. As Amelia begins the refurbishment and strips back the wallpaper & floors she learns about the previous owner and the secrets the cottage holds. With a teenage step sister thrust upon them and 2 hunky grandsons from the previous owner thrown in, Very soon they realise the project is much bigger than what they both expected... straining their relationship & finances. This is a lovely read, it weaves lots of subjects into the story and you will fall in love with the cottage... Perfect autumn read.
Thanks to all the authors that have kept me entertained on my commute during October & November.... You've made me laugh, cry and time travel to other places whilst several feet underground speeding across London.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Step back in Time...

Ever since Ali McNamara published her first novel From Nottinghill with Love Actually I've been a fan. I've blogged several times of my adventures with Ali & her novels over the last couple of years and now regard her as a friend. Her recent novel Step back in Time has ticked all the boxes again on being a fun fab read.

This book features Jo Jo a career driven accountant, a single girl in 2013 who likes to be in control. One of Jo Jo's clients is George a record store owner on the Kings road, after visiting his store she crosses a zebra crossing and wakes up in 1963. Harry and Ellie who feature in Jo Jo's life in 2013 pop up in 1963 and then again in different guises as she time travels through 1977, 1985, 1994 desperately trying to get back to today.
Why did I enjoy this book so much, because it does exactly what it says on the cover, it Steps you back in Time!.. It features fashion, music, and it evokes so many memories there was at times when reading on the tube I was inwardly squeeling with glee!
Ali has made some promo videos for this book for her blog which will time travel you back to buried memories... Here are two of my favourites.
The 90's
The 80's
 All the others can be found here on Ali's YouTube page (huge congrats to Rosie for filming & editing)
5 reasons why i loved & I related so much to this book....

  • Jo Jo is a single, career driven lady in 2013 who likes to be in control.... (my friends are all now smiling lots at the com-parables) Empathised with this character lots!
  • I love how music can transport you back and resurrect memories you thought were long buried. I've always compiled tapes, cd's playlists and even quoted song lyrics across my school books when doodling at school. 
  • Whilst I was decorating my walls with Duran Duran posters in the 80's my twin brother was sporting a Beatle haircut and competing the airwaves across the bedroom with The Beatles White album  and Sargent Peppers Lonely heart club band!
  • My best friend and I would shop frequently on the Kings Road in our Early 20's with Hyper Hyper being a destination store.
  • Jo Jo time travels to so many places that I have been or were prominent in my life its kind of scary!.... 
  • If you love any of the following then this book is for you!.... Ashes to Ashes, Back to the future, The Beatles, a fabulous Romcom then this books for you. A time travelling treat which will transport you across the decades filled with flares, ra-ra skirts, friends and legwarmers!... Perfect for my commute on the tube.
Ali has made some promo videos for this book for her blog which will time travel you back to buried memories... Here are two of my favourites.
Step back in Time - the 80's
 All the others can be found here on Ali's YouTube page (huge congrats to Rosie for filming & editing)
Step back in Time - the 90's

Friday, 15 November 2013

Destination christmas windows

The big yellow store launched their Christmas windows 3 weeks ago and they are proving to be a big hit!.... Stepping away from the usual Christmas scenes and lots of product, they have selected key pieces of Christmas and made them into huge gifts for Christmas... Selfridges theme this year is destination christmas a gift for everyone all under one roof!.... As with everything that Selfridges do they showcase everything from the stocking filler to the luxuriest of treats.
The giant gifts that the windows feature are; Fornasetti candle ( complete with toy train set & the scent of the candle as you walk past the window)
YSL Cassandra clutch bag ( complete with swinging tassel)
The windows also feature parachuting Kenzo Christmas jumpers, Santas boxers on the line, Givenchy hi-top trainers. Louis Vuitton handbag, large magnum of champagne,huge bose headphones and a large pot of Playdoh

The gifts are showcased in snow scenes which when you look close up feature a host of activity from Father Christmas and his friends in the North Pole. It's like when you went to the model village at the sea side when you were very young... It's not until you really lo that you start to see the fun!...
I'm loving the snowmen that have turned red in the Playdoh, the drunk penguins ice skating in the champagne spills, the aviating Santas amongst the parachuting jumpers to the BUDDIES (from the Christmas movie Elf!) in the trainer window.... So much fun for the big kid in all of us.

Destination Christmas....

I can now officially blog Christmas as the Oxford Street lights have been switched on and the holidays are definitely coming as I have seen the Coca Cola advert....
Selfridges was the destination store for the Oxford street light switch on which was very exciting. Hosted by Capital Radio's Dave Berry & Lisa Snowden it was a showbiz spectacular with sets from Conor Maynard, James Arthur and Jessie J.
Tuesday night saw Oxford street become traffic free and a winter carnival atmosphere was alive along the street.
Oxford street has new lights this year, snowflake balls are strung across the street, with trees lit with white sparkling lights and shooting icicles it really does look magical.

Selfridges Christmas theme this year is Destination Christmas; a gift for everyone all under one roof... It really is open to all, from luxury to stocking fillers the gift emporium will amaze, surprise & amuse you.... Just how Mr Selfridge would have loved!.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Goodbye 2013... hello 2014.

As 2013 draws to a close its time for me to look back on my favourite moments. Its this point of the year when I look back that I realise how much I have done, what places I have been and the fab times that I have spent with loved ones.
All I can say is thankyou for blogging as my memory definitely isnt what it used to be!....
Here are 13 of my favourite things from 2013...
  • Afternoon Tea at Claridges  last Christmas I received Afternoon Tea at Claridges at a gift. In March we went and had a lovely time. The venue, service and tea were fabulous... a perfect gift!
  • Rugby Masterclass  Back in April  Jonny Wilkinson pulled on his Rugby shorts for the last time at Twickenham and I was there, front row to witness such delights!... a masterclass of perfection in so many ways!!! 
  • Hollywood & Dames This year I was lucky enough to meet the lovely blue-eyed Paul Hollywood at a Bread masterclass and in the same evening watch one of Theatres Dames on stage - the fabulous Judi Dench.
  • A day of Chocolate  one of the most inventive and fun afternoon teas that I have had along with an evening at the theatre with Charlie & Chocolate factory... a delicious treat for all senses.
  • Summer theatre in the Park  Regents park became a firm favourite during the summer ... an evening watching To Kill a Mockingbird and Pride & Prejudice were two of my highlights on a summers evening.
  • An evening with the Buble  a fab evening with friends old & new watching the supreme showman Michael Buble. An absolute joy ....
  • Tea at the House  a behind the scenes tour a tea in the Houses of Parliament were fun, informative and a history lesson al in one go.
  • Birthday with Bestie  co-ordinated diaries allowed for me to spend a fun day in London with Bestie, we laughed (lots) walked, gossiped, oogled and pretended we were both 14 again instead of 4*!!... 
  • Pride & Prejudice and 2 kittens!... Fitzwilliam & Darcy came to live with me in July, 2 mischievous and naughty Kittens... so not like their namesake Mr Darcy!... 200 years after Jane Austen wrote the classic!
  •  Hadley at the Hall  girl crushes don't abate even in you 40's!... Tony Hadley at the Albert hall was pure class, he crooned, rocked & balleted through the classics & 80's!
  • The Savoy & a Songstress  a fabulous afternoon tea at The Savoy with two 70 year old ladies who have more energy than myself, followed by an evening watching a songstress Beverley Knight in The Bodyguard was pure class throughout.
  • Thanksgiving with Friends  a new tradition for Teresa... Thanksgiving dinner with special friends... thankful for all. wishing them happier and healthier 2014 as December prooved to be worrying and unwell ... much love xx
  • Christmas in Paris  A day in Paris during Christmastime was delightful, filled with sweet treats, lights and fun.
2013 has been fun, I got out and about lots, I loved exploring London in the sunshine (yes we did have a summer!) relaxing in the park with a good book, spending time with loved ones.  The Uk had Royal baby fever, we saw a Brit win Wimbledon for the 1st time in 60 years, and the Lions bet the Southern Hemisphere in the rugby.I look forward to seeing what 2014 will bring.
Looking forward to 2014....
  • I would like to be more organised with life, blogging, and home.
  • I hope to blog more (hoping my new wireless keyboard will assist with blogging on an ipad) and bring a little structure to my monthly posts. (more to come of this)
  • Spend quality time with loved ones.... simple works for me as well as special treats... 
  • A decade on from loosing a very special lady in my life I hope to mark this anniversary with love, memories and laughter across the pond.

Friday, 27 December 2013

A tale of 2 Kitties at Christmas...

This years Christmas bought a whole new challenge.... two 6 month old kitties!!!... Each year I pride myself on my beautifully decorated tree and fireplace. This years theme was completely worked around having 2 fur babies to contend with... mittens, kittens and wool!... anything breakable was hung out of reach of furry paws.

The Christmas tree was put up late as in the back of my mind I knew it was going to be a new toy to play with for two adventurous cats. I can say they have not dissappointed me.. Fitz was in the box before I could get the tree out and Darcy was in the tree before it was assembled..
Along with helping me to wrap presents, their inquisitive nature has had them explore every bag,  parcel and package wrapped.

However the tree has proved to be the biggest draw, they have been in it, on it, knocked every bauble off it and Christmas Eve saw me walk into work to find it completely knocked over!... the fun they must have had whilst I was at work.

After all that mischief and mayhem a much need snooze on the sofa is needed to recharge their batteries and dream of what fun they can have the next day.

Here's to a calmer Christmas in 2014!


Thursday, 26 December 2013

Boxing Day bargain rush...

Boxing Day for me means an early start and a commute into London for one of the most publisised sales of the festive season.
It is the stores busiest trading day of the year, and this year didnt disappoint. With queues snaking around the stores block, many having been there since late Christmas Day night it is as much as a tradition as the festive day itself. With the launch of online sales and competitors trading their sales at the same time, it always amazes me how many people come out for the sales. This year 3,500 people entered the store as the doors opened for the sale having queued since the early hours.
After walking each floor prior to trade, the Operations director, Store Director and myself stand on the balcony of Hix restaurant overlooking the accessories hall and watch the doors open and the madness descend!... the Ops Director is interviewed by all the press and TV crews onsite to film the Boxing Day rush.
Finishing mid afternoon, an easy drive home is followed with Boxing Day dinner and a quiet night on the sofa cuddled up with the kitties.




Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas memories...

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas spent with special people and loved ones. As most of you know Christmas Day is a day that I'm quite happy to sleep through. This year however I wasn't allowed, this year I spent the day with my brother and his family. Usually they go to in-laws or friends, but this year they stayed as home with the insistent that I join them.
My morning started early with two kitties eager to open their stockings, Santa was very good to me, some of which I will share in the next few days. My next stop was at the cemetery where I left some flowers and a christmas wreath for my nan & gramps, then onto the G household to open more presents with an excited niece and a 'cool' but secretly excited nephew.

With brother cooking the Christmas dinner, I was allowed to sit and relax watching the kids open their presents.
Dinner was lovely and we all had lots of fun with the crackers and charades at the table.
The afternoon was spent watching kids films, playing monopoly and building lego!... occasionally visited by nephew who's Xbox one was a bigger draw than the lego building!... His Armani PJ's from his auntie were a big hit!

The John Lewis rabbit may have stolen my heart in the Christmas ads, but i think the G family pet "Woody" comes a close second. My brother has trained him like a dog, here he is Christmas night getting his treats from his stocking.

I had a lovely day with the family, filled with fun, and love. x

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

'twas the night before christmas ...

With much of the country being battered by storms on the run-up to Christmas, the present fairy was always going to be up against time when delivering on behalf of Santa on Christmas Eve. This year I was even more disorganised than normal, and I'm not really sure why, but if Santa can get across the world on Christmas Eve then I could deliver all my parcels.
My day started with a 6am drive into London for work.... and finished with Florence finally got parked onto the drive just before midnight!...alas i still had some wrapping to do and a quick tidy before Santa delivered at Teresa's terrace.
It was lovely to see everyone, even if fleetingly and next year i hope that the weather is kinder and that I'm a little more organised!...
I have many traditions for Christmas Eve... one of my favourites is new PJ's for Santa... this years were found with much glee as they completely complimented my mittens theme...
What Christmas Eve traditions do you keep?....


Monday, 23 December 2013

driving home for christmas...

Much of the last couple of the weeks to Christmas is spent on the road, either driving into London to work ( mainly to fill Florence's boot with parcels & shopping) or running around delivering presents or visiting friends.
Over the last couple of years it has become much of a tradition for a "Happy Holiday's" playlist to be compiled for the car and I wait with much excitement to hear Whams Last Christmas on the radio. When driving into work I pick-up one of my team Jo who is Mrs Christmas! and we drive through London looking at the nights and singing along to the Christmas songs.... all before 7am. (Last Christmas is our favourite christmas song.... it may be 30 years old but we still love it... both had aspirations of a magical christmas in a ski lodge with friends & loved ones!.. minus the perm!!!)
This year we loved the Eros snow globe at Piccadily, the Magic & Sparkle of M&S, the red robin of Carnaby Street and the drive home is magical complemented by the decorated trees outside The Connaught hotel in Carlos Place.
Along with Wham, here are a few more of my must's on my Happy Holidays playlist!... pure cheese & smaltz in one place.(there is a lot of Michael Buble!!)
Michael Buble & Bing Crosby - White Christmas
Michael Buble & Mariah Carey - All i want for Christmas
Perry Como - Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas..
The Pogues & Kirsty Mccoll - Fairytale in NewYork

Michael Bolton - Oh Holy Night

what have been you favourite sites & sounds of the season?....

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

7 sleeps......

...... Until Santa and my To Do list is huge.

Every year I hit December and think I have Christmas under control, and then bam 1 week to go and I haven't got a bit of paper on a present, the tree is still in its box and and the only thing being unwrapped on Christmas Day currently will be the tin of quality street.......
Let the panic commence!.......

Monday, 16 December 2013

Holiday entertainment ...

I love the build up to Christmas and all that it brings.... and that includes the Christmas TV ads. An Christmas ad can make or break a brand and what is the most wonderful time of the year.
They form as much entertainment for us all as some of the TV programmes they segment. Every year it seems the competitiveness of the brands to get the most memorable christmas ad gets fiercer.
Here are my top 5 for this year:
1. Marks & Spencer - Magic & Sparkle - Alice in wonderland, Wizard of Oz, cute dog and David Gandy... What more can I ask for?.... Oh yes delicious red shoes!!!
2. John Lewis - the Bear & the Hare... JL's done is again... Heartfelt ad tugging in the heart strings.
3. Baileys - The Nutcracker - my favourite ballet and Baileys, a perfect combination
4. Morrisons - Go on its Christmas - Ant & Dec and a tap dancing gingerbread man.. Morrisons meets shriek & beauty & the beast!
5. Coca cola - share a gift this Christmas - holidays are coming... coca cola post to come, more to follow.
What's your favourite advert for this holiday season...?
Here's a little more of my favourite.... Complete with "Eye Candy Gandy"!!!!... Delicious...



Saturday, 14 December 2013

A different kind of Ballet...

Friday saw me head to Sadler's Wells Theatre for an evening at the Ballet. Going to the ballet has been a bit of a tradition for me and my friend over the past couple of years at Christmastime. Along with the traditional ballets on in London, Matthew Bourne has bought his critically acclaimed Swan Lake back to the stage. This was this years golden ticket, unfortunately my friends husband is still in hospital and quite poorly so she was unable to join me. Even our contingency plans fell so I headed over to Angel by myself.
For those not familiar with Bourne's work, he is renowned for putting a very contemporary twist on classic ballets, over the years he has adapted Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Cinderella. As well as using contemporary ballet along with other dance styles, Bourne is renowned for using male dancers; this years swans are all male.
Set against the classic Tchaikovsky score Bourne's interpretation is simply stunning.
When the swans appeared it truly was spectacular, in their feathered costumes, gothic make-up and chiseled torso's it was a site to beholden!
I thoroughly enjoyed the show, standing ovation from all at the end... If you can get to see this in London, or as it tours the UK next year, then I urge you to grab a ticket. Mesmerising, a sheer masterpiece.
The only dampener on my evening was that my friend was unable to come with me.
Get better soon Dave, xxx 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

12 reads for Christmas..

Over the last few years one of the things that I look forward to on the countdown to Christmas is a great festive read. My Christmas to read list has grown on amazon over the past few months and I have selected my 12 reads for Christmas. Nothing more perfect than curling up on the sofa when all the hustle and bustle has passed and relaxing with a great book, mug of hot chocolate and a slice of Christmas cake!
Many authors have this year written short novellas either to complete previous publications or just fun christmas stories. These are perfect on my commute and I can easily read one a day. 
Thankyou Ladies for writing some fun, festive reads.... Pop back at the end of the month for my thoughts x

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Paris at Christmastime..pt quatre

My final part of my day trip to Paris was always going to feature shops!... Aside from the Champs Élysées the other famous shopping area is around le Galleries Lafyette.
Paris is famed for being the city of light and my walk through the city didn't disappoint as evening fell. The Champs élysées with its circular decorations and perfectly lit trees was both modern and Christmassy in its styling.
My walk through the side streets of Paris was filled with light installations and trees.
Paris has 2 big department stores ( the equivalent of our selfridges and harrods) which sit alongside each other. Printemps and Galleries Lafyette. Both vie for top billing and best christmas styled.
This year Printemps has been sponsored by Prada complete with Prada bears who feature in many guises along their oil day windows. The scheme is fun, stylish and very interactive for the children who come to see the windows. With the store facing and canopy festooned with red & white lights, it really is a Christmas spectacular.
The Galleries Lafyette facade is festooned with bright pink strobe lights and their scheme this year is all about time. The time spent before Christmas, counting down to Christmas and the time spent at Christmas. Each window depicts a different scene in a haze of characters that would not be out of place in a Lewis Carroll novel.
What GL lacks in visuals outside it makes up for inside, where its beautiful stain glass windows and circular domed room come to life under a glittering Christmas tree clock, sponsored by swatch. With various characters circling the bottom of the tree, they spring to life as the clock strikes the hour.... Magical.
A browse around both stores were much required if only to check out the competition!... Both were beautiful, but I think Printemps won the Christmas battle for me. ( what lady doesn't love a bit of Prada!)
This stop was my last on my round trip of Paris... My final destination after another epic walk was the station where i boarded my train and slept to St Pancras! (I calculated on my return that I had walked at least 8 miles across Paris during my day, so didn't feel so guilty about the decadent indulgences during the day!)

Paris at Christmastime..pt trois

After an indulgent Hot Chocolate in Angelinas it was time for more walking!.. This time I set off towards the Champs Élysées. At the beginning off this majestic road stands a huge carousel which is much part of the Christmas experience. I decided that I would take a ride. Although the sun was bright,the morning had been quite foggy and the winter clouds hung low in the sky. This seemed a better option of seeing some of Paris from above than climbing to the summit of the Sacre Coeur or ascending the structure of the Eiffel Tower.
The views were great and the experience fun, although would prefer that the seats were a little more stable and didn't rock in the breeze!
Once on firmer ground I ambled along the champs élysées where a huge Christmas market was set along each side of the busy road. The wooden cabins selling christmas wares were complimented with roasted marons (chestnuts) gingerbread, churros, cheeses and mulled wine, It was a feast for the senses.
The market stretched for at least half a mile, during the time I was there it wasn't too busy, however as darkness fell and the lights began to twinkle it became very busy. Once on the main shopping concourse my destination was Laduree home of the original French macaron. I know I can buy these back in the uk, and Pierre Hermes are as amazing, but I wanted to see the inside of the fabulous little green tea rooms as much as buy some decadent macarons.
Festive christmas box in hand I left the beautiful store and walked back along the market towards my last destination area - Galleries Lafyette.

Paris at Christmastime .. pt deux

My first area to explore on departing Gard du Nord was to head down towards the Bellville & Marais quarters of the city where I was to visit one of the city's most popular Boulangerie's ... Boulangerie's are ten a penny in Paris with most French people buying bread daily. Du Pain et des Idees is one of the boulangeries where people will que around the block for fresh bread and patisseries. The shop has been the home of the family since the 1960's and optimises everything you would imagine an old French bakery to be, with vintage tins & bowls. I purchased a pain au chocolate and a fromage & bacon croissant to eat on my travels. Both were amazing melt n the mouth deliciousness. At that point I decided to loose any sense of calories for the day.
My second stop was down a small cobbled side street which housed a home of eclairs which were beyond words! L'eclair du genie is a modern minimalist shop which showcases its eclairs like art work. I purchased 4 to take home .. Pistachio, raspberry, Yule log, & a clementine brown. All looked amazing and were a big hit back home!
From here I carried on my travels down across the river to the Notre Dame where they were getting ready for their tree lighting. The Notre dame is beautiful and has over the last few years undergone a huge restoration project. Here I ambled along the river Seine until I reached the bridge of locks which I crossed and headed into the Jardin's which housed the Louvree. Having seen the Mona Lisa on a previous visit I just admired the view.
Across the street from the Louvree and along the Rue de rivoli, my 3rd food treat awaited. Angelina's home of the hot chocolate!.... Served in delectable little pitchers  and whipped cream, I accompanied mine with a patisserie called Paris-New York ... A pecan, macaron & cream based patisserie.... Delicious... Angelina has the feel of an old 1920's tea salon, and I can understand why people Q to get in. The Hot chocolate is delicious, thick and slightly bitter, which when accompanied by the cream soon sweetens.
(It really wasn't a day for counting calories!) thankfully my adventures covered several miles in Paris which I did on foot.... Pop back later for Christmas in Part part trios.
Thanks again to Ed Kimber for two fantastic recommendations.

Paris at Christmastime - part un

This year with no holiday to New York planned I decided to book a trip to Paris to compensate. I booked my trip via my nectar points, which freed up more euros to spend in the city. Paris is renowned for its lights spectacular during Noel.
Having been to Paris a few times my agenda wasn't to do the 'normal' sightseeing. With a couple of hours spare on the train it gave me chance to plan my adventures and read an appropriately named novella! The lovely Ed Kimber from the Boy who Bakes had recommended 2 great bakery places to visit, so they were built into my plan. My plan was broken into 3 slices, Parisian food treats, Christmas sights & scenes and Lights spectacular.
My 7am train departed on time and we cleared the channel tunnel into me to see the sun rising across the French countryside. 

By this stage me day was mapped and I was immersed in my book The Parisian Christmas Bake Off which was perfect for the trip. 
Rachel finds herself in Paris the week before Christmas, pitted against 7 others she is competing for an apprenticeship with the super chef Henri Salernes. Rachel is not big on Christmas, but finds herself swept up into the romance of the city, holiday season and the competition.  Rachel's confidence grows as the week develops along with her patisserie skills. With a gorgeous Frenchman mixed into the bowl along with sprinkling of snow this is a magical Christmas baking tale.
Arriving into Paris at 10am I had a full day ahead planned..... With a glorious low winter sun shining in the background it was the perfect weather to explore.



Wednesday, 4 December 2013

St Pancras ...

Tuesday saw me in St Pancras station very early in the morning this time to board a Eurostar train to Paris for the day. Being in the station prior to 6am gave me an opportunity to explore this beautiful station in all its splendour before it came to life with the daily commuters and travellers. St Pancras is my London equivalent to Grand Central Station and looks even lovelier dressed for Christmas. 
London St Pancras opened in 1868 and is now a Grade1 listed building ... It sits between the British Library and Regents Canal and is quite lovely. It now houses great restaurants, a stunning hotel and a mini Fortnum & Mason.
There are several items of art on display to the public at St Pancras. At the south end of the upper level, a 29.5 ft bronze statue named The Meeting Place stands beneath the station clock. Designed by British artist Paul Day, it is intended to evoke the romance of travel through the depiction of a couple locked in an amorous embrace. The freeze which surrounds the base depicts London Underground scenes from its commencement of tunnelling to the daily commute.
Also on the upper level, above the Arcade concourse, stands a bronze statue of the former Poet Sir John Betjeman, gazing in wonder at the Barlow roof. The statue commemorates the poet's successful campaign to save the station from demolition in the 1960s. The 6 ft 7 in -high statue stands on a flat disc, inscribed with lines from Betjeman's poem Cornish Cliffs
This years festive decorations are dressed to celebrate the season, in F&M glorious blue colouring, complete with mini hamper baskets.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Thanksgiving....

This year on 'black' Friday I heldThanksgiving Dinner at my friends.  I think this will be a new tradition for me. I love the build up to Christmas, and Thanksgiving dinner is the start of the countdown. It gives me an opportunity to cook a celebratory dinner and be thankful for the friends that I have around me.
Menu consisted of:-

  • Maple glazed turkey
  • Sweet potato mash
  • Roast potatoes
  • Green beans with bacon lardons
  • Cauliflower cheese
  • Buttered carrots

Desserts consisted of homemade :-

  • Pumpkin pie
  • Cinnamon spiced apple pies
  • Maple autumnal M&M cookies
The meal was delicious.... A great return home for my friends who arrived home from Las Vegas/San Francisco that morning..... I watched the Macy parade on the iPad loving the big Macy Turkey whilst preparing the dinner.

It really was a day to count my blessings as my friends husband was taken into hospital a couple of days later, where he continues to stay.
Thanksgiving Blessings...

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Hello December, the countdown has begun!


So the Festive month is upon us as we say Goodbye to November and a warm Hello to December. december is already looking like a whirlwind of activity for me and somewhere in there I have to squeeze in Christmas!...
Alas no trip to New York... But so far my December calendar is featuring  trips to the Ballet, Paris, Afternoon tea's, London, and Claridges!!... So lots to blog about over the next 4 weeks and a catchup of Teresa's Thanksgiving ... ( a new tradition on T's house)
Today I will be embarking on a little seasonal shopping at the home of Mr Selfridge!....  The big yellow store has gone rose hold for the festive season, complete with an Advent shop...
this  has featured advents from the standard and still my favourite Advent candles to the chocolate confections,  with some surprises in the mix..., gin & whiskey (perfect for frazzled folks , not sure a bottle of the favourite tipple is ideal for early morning opening!) the ever popular climate nail polish, and been a big yellow store itself.
December 1st also sees me start my December Daily (journal my christmas) with the lovely Shimelle ... This is my 4th year and absolutely determined to finish it earlier than mid 2014!!!!,.... I love this project and its become one of 'Teresa's traditions for the festive season'.....
Happy 1st December...... The holidays are coming!!!!....

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Autumn reads.....

Before I embark on a pile of Christmas reads (I love a Christmas book, perfect for a cozy afternoon on sofa with a throw and hot chocolate) let me share what's made my "books to eat" list for Oct/Nov.
I have already shared one of my favourite reads Ali Mcnamara's Step Back in Time here's some of  my other favourites.
  • Tangled Lives - Hilary Boyd Lizzie Delancey is a 50 something mum who holds a secret, at the age of 18 she gave her son up for adoption. 32 years later an official envelope pops through the door, her son wants to meet her. Having kept this secret from her 2 grown daughters and son she has to tell them... This starts a journey with Lizzie filled with love, angst, heartache and  tangled family lives. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, loved Lizzie, Daniel her adopted son, and the story it tells.
  • Before I met you - Lisa Jewel
  • Betty Dean has spent most of her life on the island of Guernsey now in her 20's she embarks on a journey in Soho London, tracing the life of her beloved grandmother Arlette who unknown to all had lived & worked in London in the 1920's ... This book is beautiful, swinging between the 20's & 90's its a journey of love, lost & found. If the recent jazz era of Downtown Abbey has intrigued you then this book is for you... Heartbreaking & heartwarming all in one book.
  • Cupcakes at Carringtons  Alexandra Brown . Georgie runs the luxury bag concession at Carrington’s Department store in the pretty seaside town of Mulberry Bay. Her best friend runs the cupcake parlour within the store and her spending constraints means her only treat of the day is a red velvet cupcake with butter cream icing. Carrington’s goes into a recession-busting makeover and soon Georgie is fighting not only for her job, but also for the attentions 2men! ... I loved this book, it features, cupcakes, Mulberry and yummy men... I read this book when undergoing some change at work and it really hit the mark!... Can't wait for the Christmas follow-up
  • Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop ~ Abby Clements ...Imogen and Anna unexpectedly inherit their grandmother Vivien's ice cream parlour, The Brighton shop is a seafront institution, but while it's big on charm but very low on customers. Leaving Imogen in charge of the refurbishments, Anna heads to Italy for an icecream cookery course.This is a lovely book filled with charm, family and ice-cream flavours to drool over. It will make you want to spend a day in a bygone era of Brighton. .. And run away to Italy.... With a couple of delicious men and a vintage ice-cream van & recipes thrown into the mix its a scrumptious treat.
  • Billy and me - Giovanna Fletcher  Sophie lives a quiet life in a small village of Kent, one day a handsome man comes to her rescue in the tea shop where she works. Unknown to Sophie the handsome man is Billy Buskin actor/teenage heartthrob, who is filming nearby. Billy & Sophie fall in love, and this book shares there journey from village to the city life of London. Sophie's insecurities manifest as she leaves her comfort zone of home behind, with Billy's global success growing .. Can their love survive. I really enjoyed this book, Sophie at times caused me some irritation but the relationship with Molly the owner of the tea shop is beautiful. It did make me cry on the train... So have a hanky handy!.. 
  • Amelia Greys Fireside Dreams - Abby Clements  Amelia has always dreamed of a life in the country alongside husband Jack. Buying a cottage she hasn't set foot inside, soon makes that dream a reality. As Amelia begins the refurbishment and strips back the wallpaper & floors she learns about the previous owner and the secrets the cottage holds. With a teenage step sister thrust upon them and 2 hunky grandsons from the previous owner thrown in, Very soon they realise the project is much bigger than what they both expected... straining their relationship & finances. This is a lovely read, it weaves lots of subjects into the story and you will fall in love with the cottage... Perfect autumn read.
Thanks to all the authors that have kept me entertained on my commute during October & November.... You've made me laugh, cry and time travel to other places whilst several feet underground speeding across London.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Step back in Time...

Ever since Ali McNamara published her first novel From Nottinghill with Love Actually I've been a fan. I've blogged several times of my adventures with Ali & her novels over the last couple of years and now regard her as a friend. Her recent novel Step back in Time has ticked all the boxes again on being a fun fab read.

This book features Jo Jo a career driven accountant, a single girl in 2013 who likes to be in control. One of Jo Jo's clients is George a record store owner on the Kings road, after visiting his store she crosses a zebra crossing and wakes up in 1963. Harry and Ellie who feature in Jo Jo's life in 2013 pop up in 1963 and then again in different guises as she time travels through 1977, 1985, 1994 desperately trying to get back to today.
Why did I enjoy this book so much, because it does exactly what it says on the cover, it Steps you back in Time!.. It features fashion, music, and it evokes so many memories there was at times when reading on the tube I was inwardly squeeling with glee!
Ali has made some promo videos for this book for her blog which will time travel you back to buried memories... Here are two of my favourites.
The 90's
The 80's
 All the others can be found here on Ali's YouTube page (huge congrats to Rosie for filming & editing)
5 reasons why i loved & I related so much to this book....

  • Jo Jo is a single, career driven lady in 2013 who likes to be in control.... (my friends are all now smiling lots at the com-parables) Empathised with this character lots!
  • I love how music can transport you back and resurrect memories you thought were long buried. I've always compiled tapes, cd's playlists and even quoted song lyrics across my school books when doodling at school. 
  • Whilst I was decorating my walls with Duran Duran posters in the 80's my twin brother was sporting a Beatle haircut and competing the airwaves across the bedroom with The Beatles White album  and Sargent Peppers Lonely heart club band!
  • My best friend and I would shop frequently on the Kings Road in our Early 20's with Hyper Hyper being a destination store.
  • Jo Jo time travels to so many places that I have been or were prominent in my life its kind of scary!.... 
  • If you love any of the following then this book is for you!.... Ashes to Ashes, Back to the future, The Beatles, a fabulous Romcom then this books for you. A time travelling treat which will transport you across the decades filled with flares, ra-ra skirts, friends and legwarmers!... Perfect for my commute on the tube.
Ali has made some promo videos for this book for her blog which will time travel you back to buried memories... Here are two of my favourites.
Step back in Time - the 80's
 All the others can be found here on Ali's YouTube page (huge congrats to Rosie for filming & editing)
Step back in Time - the 90's

Friday, 15 November 2013

Destination christmas windows

The big yellow store launched their Christmas windows 3 weeks ago and they are proving to be a big hit!.... Stepping away from the usual Christmas scenes and lots of product, they have selected key pieces of Christmas and made them into huge gifts for Christmas... Selfridges theme this year is destination christmas a gift for everyone all under one roof!.... As with everything that Selfridges do they showcase everything from the stocking filler to the luxuriest of treats.
The giant gifts that the windows feature are; Fornasetti candle ( complete with toy train set & the scent of the candle as you walk past the window)
YSL Cassandra clutch bag ( complete with swinging tassel)
The windows also feature parachuting Kenzo Christmas jumpers, Santas boxers on the line, Givenchy hi-top trainers. Louis Vuitton handbag, large magnum of champagne,huge bose headphones and a large pot of Playdoh

The gifts are showcased in snow scenes which when you look close up feature a host of activity from Father Christmas and his friends in the North Pole. It's like when you went to the model village at the sea side when you were very young... It's not until you really lo that you start to see the fun!...
I'm loving the snowmen that have turned red in the Playdoh, the drunk penguins ice skating in the champagne spills, the aviating Santas amongst the parachuting jumpers to the BUDDIES (from the Christmas movie Elf!) in the trainer window.... So much fun for the big kid in all of us.

Destination Christmas....

I can now officially blog Christmas as the Oxford Street lights have been switched on and the holidays are definitely coming as I have seen the Coca Cola advert....
Selfridges was the destination store for the Oxford street light switch on which was very exciting. Hosted by Capital Radio's Dave Berry & Lisa Snowden it was a showbiz spectacular with sets from Conor Maynard, James Arthur and Jessie J.
Tuesday night saw Oxford street become traffic free and a winter carnival atmosphere was alive along the street.
Oxford street has new lights this year, snowflake balls are strung across the street, with trees lit with white sparkling lights and shooting icicles it really does look magical.

Selfridges Christmas theme this year is Destination Christmas; a gift for everyone all under one roof... It really is open to all, from luxury to stocking fillers the gift emporium will amaze, surprise & amuse you.... Just how Mr Selfridge would have loved!.