Friday, 31 January 2014

Feeling Fabulous Friday...

The eyebrow is my feature for my first Feeling Fabulous Friday. This year I am determined to pamper myself more, and February I will be aiming to create the perfect brow!... My eyebrows are relatively fair and I tend to hide behind my glasses frames... this year I am going to love my lenses, lashes & brows!
Never have eyebrows been talked about as much since Brook Shields 70's caterpillers graced the big screen than when Cara Delevignes brows hit the cat walk. Now it is acceptable to have eyebrows as opposed to penciled lines.
Secret Santa left me a fabulous kit from the legendary Charlotte Tilbury, which I am aiming to master. I am already a convert to her full fat lashes mascara which curls, separates,and adds volume length and drama... perfect from desk to drinks and has replaced my much loved YSL.
The brow lift tool allows you to shape, lift and shade your eyebrow ... following the nostril /eye principle and this cool you tube video, I am going to master the art of perfect brows!.
 The kit also contains a beautiful 50's looking lash curlers and a feline flick eye pencil perfect to finish off the eye along with a full fat mascara.
Pop back next month and find out how I got on and what my fabulous friday feature is for February.
(all products my own- I have not received payment for this feature)
Forthcoming Fabulous Friday dates for 2014 are:


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Wednesday Words - christmas reads

Each month on Wednesday words I will share with you what I have been reading that month.Back in December I shared with you my 12 reads for Christmas  . The plan was that were to see me through the festive season, and into the new year.Here's what I read and my thoughts for my christmas dozen;
  1. Just for Christmas - Scarlett Bailey ~ Alex flees Edinburgh after the love of her life announces his engagement. She seeks refuge in a new job and life in a Cornish fishing village as far away from Scotland as possible. Befriended by a vagrant dog Buoy and clashing heads with her neighbour Ruan this book is so much more than a girl and unrequited love. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it covers many issues, complete with a sprinkling of snow and christmas magic its delightful.
  2. Wish upon a Star - Trisha Ashley - Cally a single mum and her little girl Stella find themselves moving back to the village of Sticklepond and in with her eccentric artistic mum Martha. Cally's reasoning is to save money for a life saving operation for her daughter in America. Cally is enveloped into the heart of the village as they take on the mission of raising money to help Stella. With an ex-partner back on the scene, Cally's weekly baking column and a sexy baker on the scene, this book is a welcome return to Sticklepond. Not as Christmassy as expected it still is a lovely read, which envelopes you back into village life. 
  3. Christmas at the Gingerbread cafe - Rebecca Raisin - a little cupcake war novella - Lily finds competition on her hands when Damon opens a bakery opposite the Gingerbread Cafe,  a fun read with a sprinkling of icing sugar and a dash of cinnamon.
  4. Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe - Jenny Colgan - A welcome return to the cupcake cafe and the life of Izzy, still in love with Austin and Pearl & Caroline still in residence at the cafe. Izzy embarks on creating the perfect Christmas. Austin's job soon leads him to New York. This should be Izzy's dream but soon her life becomes to unravel..... It was so lovely to catch-up with Izzy & co. The New York moments bought back so many fab memories, the recipes doted  through were delicious and as like the first I wish that Izzy's cafe was round the corner to where I lived. I don't think I would leave it!
  5. Calling Mrs Christmas - Carole Matthews Cassie finds herself unemployed and a little demoralised when she stumbles on an idea of becoming Mrs Christmas - creating the perfect christmas for people to busy or unable to do so themselves. With the assistance of her partner Jim and You Tube she teaches herself lots of skills to help her new venture and soon Mrs Christmas is born. Soon gorgeous millionaire Carter is calling on her services and Cassie has to make some choices. ... Carole Matthews has done it again with a corker of a read. This book isn't   just froth, it deals with some serious issues. I loved the relationship that Cassie & Jim developed with the 2 ex-inmates Kieron & Andrew. Sandwiched between the perfect Carter Christmas its a treat.... this quite possibly could be my perfect job!
  6. Christmas at Claridges - Karen Swann - Clem is the socialite party girl, house sharing with her adored brother and PR at the family business she appears to be the party girl of Portobello road. But behind the party facade, Clem is hiding  a big secret which puts her home, job and relationship with brother under threat. From the market stalls of Portobello road to the magic of Portofino Clem tries to keep her secret and help her brother, by taking on a venture to decorate a millionaires Villa. With romance, intrigue and long lost friendships rekindled I loved this book. As with all of Karen Swann's books the title and cover are a red herring to what this book is about, its so much more than just Christmas at Claridges.  My only wish was that there was a little more Christmas & Claridges in the book.
  7. Christmas at the Beach Cafe - Lucy Diamond a lovely little novella where we catchup with Evie and Ed's first christmas at the Beach cafe. Evie plans the perfect christmas with just her and Ed, suddenly Eds brother Jake is on the doorstep, along with Evie's best friend Amber. Desperately trying to finish her recipe book along with finding Ed the perfect present her plans soon go array ..... A welcome return to the Beach cafe and the life of Evie & Ed, sometimes the perfect Christmas isn't what you dreamed..
  8. Christmas at the Cresent - Veronica Henry - another little slice of Christmas in a small novella. Georgie lives at a much desired address in Pelham crescent in the heart of bath along with her baby boy Titus. Titus's father Giles decided fatherhood for him within an hour of his birth.  With a dashing neighbour in residence, Georgie's Christmas is some what different to what she planned. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope that Georgie appears in another of VH's novels in the future
  9. Coming home for Christmas - Jenny Hale set in the town of Virginia Allie lands a house managers job at Ashford house looking after the Marley family. Allie's job is to manage christmas and then get the house ready for sale. Robert the oldest son, battles his grandmother, brother & sister to sell the house. Each Marley family member has their own story to tell and they find a kindred spirit in Allie.... I enjoyed this book, much different to what i imagined it would be... an easy christmas family read
  10. Meet me under the Mistletoe - Abby Clements Laurie & Rachel were friends in school but now communicate via the odd email and christmas card. Laurie lives the London life, where as Rachel has the perfect chocolate box cottage family in Yorkshire. A family and life emergency suddenly see the 2 old friends swapping houses for the run up to Christmas, suddenly each others perfect lives are not so perfect as they both thought. I loved this book and I'm sorry its languished in my to read pile for so long. If you loved The Holiday, then this book will tick so many boxes for you. delightful.
  11. Christmas at Carringtons - Alexandra Brown A welcome return to Carringtons and the life of Georgie & Tom. With a camera crew in tow to film the lives of a department store at Christmas its a pantomime of a read.... its like Towie meets Mr Selfridge in a riot of a read..... loved loved loved this... laughed out loud behind the scenes of a reality tv show & department store. 
  12. I heart Christmas - Lindsey Kelk I was so looking forward to curling up with Angela  and her Christmas in New York, but this left me a little disappointed. Christmas in New York is magical and I'm afraid this book didn't capture it enough for me.  
My 12 reads of Christmas were a treat and I cannot wait to start compiling a new list for 2014. As well as sucking me into the magic of Christmas they have contributed to a wish list of things to do, see & eat over the 2014 holiday period.
A holiday to a Cornish cottage at Christmas  is being explored along with a trip to New York!...An evening at Claridges and an amble through the georgian Bath streets and Christmas market are a must! Along with copious amounts of Eggnog, Cupcakes dusted with cinnamon and a pile of festive reads, here's to a happy 2014 holiday!



Tuesday, 28 January 2014

the continuing tale of 2 kitties ...

Fitz and Darcy are now 8 months old and continuing to cause chaos and mayhem whenever they can. They are also spending lots of time snuggling on the sofa. With work being manic during January, they have been a welcome joy when coming home of a night after stressful days.
I didn't realise how much these little fur balls had snuck into my heart until something happens and you realise how much part of your family they have become.  We have a routine at home, and usually they are both waiting by the door peering out when I pull up onto the drive. Last Wednesday I came home to be greeted by Fitz but no Darcy. F & D are house cats at the moment, so was a little concerned, especially as they were both inside when I left in the morning. After much calling and searching through the house, Darcy was still not found. By this stage I was beginning to panic and Fitz was calling constantly for his brother. After about an hour I heard a faint cry coming from outside. It still wasn't clear where it was coming from until i looked up and saw a frightened little kitty on the roof!..... how he got there I am still none the wiser as I had no windows open, the only option was via the loft hatch.  After much cajoling and half hour later I managed to coax Darcy off the roof. I did at one point think I may have to call the fire-brigade! My little black fur baby spent the rest of the evening on my lap.
Our nightly routine is an hour on the sofa curled up watching TV or flicking through pages on the ipad, before we head upstairs to bed.
January has seen the kitties work their way through all the treats that Santa bought them and their doggie cousins Archie & Roxie.


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Totes Amaze Tuesday

Welcome to my first Totes Amaze Tuesday post. Today I'm sharing my latest handbag love. My friends are probably thinking that I will start with a Mulberry, but I'm not!.... another bag has captured my heart this month. The beautiful, gorgeous Liberty by Victoria Beckham. This bag was a gift from Santa and Mr Selfridge ..... and I love it.
This bag can slip from a slummy saturday with jeans and a jumper to heels and an uber stylish dress in moments. Having coveted VB's handbag collection lots over the past couple of months since its arrival at work, I can say there isn't one in the S/S collection that I wouldn't mind hanging off my arm, the lady does know her handbags!
The Liberty comes in a range of colours, including a gorgeous orange, however I opted for the classic black. The bag can be an open tote and a closed tote dependent on how you style. It has a rigid base and comes completely lined, with inside pockets big enough to secure valuables, including space for an ipad.
As you can see it's big enough to hold a multitude of my bits & pieces..... umbrella & scarf are 2 essentials I cant leave home without during January, along with my moleskin diaries.
I am sure that this style bag will soon be copied up and down the highstreet, it is one of the most versatile bags that I have.... here's one look that I've been sporting with it at the weekend.
Skinny jeans, boots, jumper & wool coat.... effortlessly styled with a trilby & VB tote... perfect!
What arm candy has stolen your heart this month, and how have you been wearing it?

Monday, 20 January 2014

blogging menu for 2014.....

As posted earlier this month I have set myself some goals for my blog this year. I love writing my blog, it really is random brain blurts from me and captures bubbles of my life at random times. My blog has been a journey; starting primarily as a crafting and cupcake blog an opportunity to share my makes & bakes, evolving into a much bigger cake with various slices. Thats my vision of my blog, like a great big cake, each slice a different flavour and temptation!

So my menu each month for 2014 looks like this:

  • Totes Amaze Tuesday - on the 3rd Tuesday of each month I will share my piece of arm candy I have been favouriting that month and how I've been styling it.
  • Feeling Fabulous Friday - on the final Friday of the month, its all about beauty & body treats that have made me feel fabulous this month.
  • Wednesday Words - on the 2nd/3rd Wednesday I will share the books that I've eaten that month.
  • Social Media Sunday - on the 1st Sunday of the month I'm aiming to share 7 social media sites that have sprinkled smiles across my ipad that month.
  • Menu Monday - on the last Monday of the month, a recipe that has tempted T's taste buds for the month ( it may not always be from scratch, but I promise it will be cooked with love)
Inbetween this I will update with life and loves from the weeks/months.
I am hoping that with a little structure I may achieve more blogging, less stress and some fun! What I dont want to do is loose the ethos of what my blog is about.... here's to a fabulous 14.



Monday, 13 January 2014

Normal service to resume soon ..

I can not believe that we are half way through January 2014! Every year on New Year's Eve my resolution is just to get through January. For those that work in finance will know that with year end looming January is full on!.
This year is not much different for me, in fact its probably one of the worst that I have worked and we still have 2 weeks to go! Normally I get a bit of breathing space over the holiday fortnight, before January hits to catch up on admin, but this year I didn't even manage that.

Yesterday I worked and spent the whole day at my desk wishing that the "Roast Dinner" fairy had been at my house whilst I was at work.... alas no; cheese on toast for T last night!
I have a washing pile that a mountaineer would find a fabulous challenge, a microwave that has exceeded its usage over the past few weeks.. and two little kitties that when I woke them this morning at 5am they burrowed back down into their duvet in disgust.
There has however been little things that have brightened my days. I am loving getting a seat on the tube on my very early train and working my way through my January reads list. Yesterday I drove into London and was completely distracted by the amazing skyline across the river. I was astounded on how high the river was, I have never seen the Thames so high. It was lovely to see a glimmer of a blue sky.

Twitter and Instagram have kept me amused during spare moments; especially my reply from the lovely James Haskell in response to my January calendar tweet!.

I hope to catch-up with you all soon either virtually, via blog land or in person......
happy january xx

Monday, 6 January 2014

Twelfth Night...

The decorations are down, the tree is packed away and suddenly we are a week into January.... As you can imagine I had some help with packing away, as much as I had putting the tree up and throughout the duration of Christmas!
January is a gloomy month, the weather has been awful and my heart goes out to all those that have been flooded and damaged during this awful weather, here and across the pond.
I do have one Christmas present that each year I receive it makes me smile and brightens my year!. My GBF buys me each year the French rugby calendar .. Des Dieux Du Stade 2014. It makes the coldest day warm!
I have also been doodling ideas for different features on the blog this year. I would like to do some different things, but don't want it to become a blog full of promotions and freebies.  Some of the features you will see over the next month are:

  • Arm Candy - what bag am I wearing, and whats in it!
  • Beauty sprinkles - what beauty bits I'm loving this month
  • Books to eat - what books I've devoured; did i love it or did it give me indigestion!
  • Slices of London - what I've loved in London this month
  • Seasonal supper - one recipe of what I've cooked this month.
What are you doing new this year?

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Christmas in the Garden

Covent Garden has become over the last couple of years one of the most popular places to go over the holiday period. From its glorious tree festooned with red baubles and multi coloured lights, to its giant reindeer with a bright red bauble nose.
With the opening of Shake Shack in the heart of the apple market, it was always going to be on mt Things to Do in London list at Christmas, especially when they released their December custard menu and Eggnog featured on a Tuesday.
Coincidentaly New Year's Eve fell on a Tuesday, so an Eggnog custard was consumed prior to my late afternoon trip to the Royal Opera House for the ballet.
This year another pop-up appeared for a short period over the festive period, a Pierre Koffman craperie sponsered by Krug.... fabulous little red boxes, complete with fur throws and fabulous food & drink.... gorgeous.
Covent Garden was one of my favourite places to amble around over the holiday season, soaking up the atmosphere people watching, eating and drinking great food, entertained by chiors and street artists.... much fun! All this and a Lego London snowglobe!..


Saturday, 4 January 2014

A bite of the big apple in London.

This year with no trip to New York planned I decided to see how much of NY i could bring to London on a day out in the city. A couple of years ago I did something similar, here  are my adventures from that day. My perfect day in NY would include Pancakes, Ice skating, Eggnog, a huge Christmas tree, and  a walk in the Park, finished off with a sweet treat.
My day started early with breakfast at the very american Automat, tucked down a side road in Green park, it reminds m very much of The Smith restaurant that I fell in love with the last time I was in New York. I ordered buttermilk pancakes with fruit compote and a side order of crispy bacon.... mmm delicious, along with large coffee it was perfect start to the morning.
A short walk through the streets of Green park bought me to the iconic Old Bond Street, complete with Tiffany's ... no-one can visit NY without a visit to this iconic store on 5th avenue and has been a key feature for many visits. As well as gazing at the beautiful townhouse scenes for this years windows, a fabulous horse drawn carriage was parked outside the iconic address waiting to transport little blue boxes across the city. I saw this on 2 further occasions during my day. gorgeous, romantic and very christmas in New York.
From Bond street I walked along the backstreets until I reached Piccadilly, a quick stop in wholefoods to stock up on some American sweet treats, it looked just like a grocery store on a side walk, complete with trees stacked up on the pavement. Really liked the Merry Citrusmas sign...
The lovely eros had been converted into its own snowglobe and Trafalgar Square 's iconic tree had a lovely blue tint to it this year.
From here I walked along the embankment to the historic Somerset House, where I whiled away an hour tentatively skating around the rink and enjoying lashings of hot chocolate and mince pies in the Skate parlour. This years rink was sponsored by the New York apparel brand Coach. With a huge decorated tree and lots of places to sit and watch the world skate by, this is London's equivalent to the  Rockefeller   centre.  I loved it... a London favourite in the holiday season.
Late afternoon after a walk through Covent Garden and a stop at the Hummingbird Bakery where I picked up an Egg nog cupcake I finished my day off in Brgr & co in Soho where I had Christmas afternoon tea burger style!
Cupcake was taken home and eaten as a late supper with a large Baileys coffee in my New York memories mug....
perfect.... what NY treats would you do in London?

Friday, 3 January 2014

Christmas Treats

Food is a huge part of Christmas and is often one of the first things we see as an indicator that the holidays are on their way. A number of huge brands are now an intrinsic part of the Christmas. This year 5 formed a significant part of my holiday countdown along with great gift ideas for friends and secret santas!
My 5 christmas food favs are;
  1. Santa's Cornflakes.... perfect for Christmas morning breakfast & a great midnight feast! (guess what Santa got left out in my house)
  2. Starbucks - from candy cane mugs, holiday coffee. Christmas is not complete without the Red Cup countdown, even my tree gets a Starbucks red cup make-over.
  3. Eggnog - each year Eggnog becomes more popular in the UK and gives me instant memories of New York... this year I feasted on EggNog custard at Shake shack, Eggnog Lattes at Starbucks & Eggnog cupcakes from Hummingbird bakery. Along with some fab Eggnog stocking fillers   to take me into 2014... delicious.
  4. Edible Coal from Santa!.... Santa left these little bags in some stockings this year, filled with edible coal from the fireplace. (honeycomb in black sugar... mmm)
  5. Coca Cola - the Holidays are coming took on a whole new meaning this year, with Coca Cola's advert asking for us all to do 12 good deeds for Christmas....I'm pleased to say that I ticked everyone off my list on the countdown to Christmas...
    • take time to listen to some Carol Singers - listened to the gospel choir in Covent garden
    • offer to be designated driver on christmas night out - yes chauffeured friends to a festive party.
    • give somebody a hand carrying their christmas shopping luggage - helped someone daily on commute with buggy & bags
    • surprise someone with a homemade christmas card - designed digital card featuring Fitz & Darcy.
    • reward good customer service with a thankyou note - box of chocolates and a BIG thankyou to the coffee boys in Costa who make my coffee and porridge each morning.
    • thank bin-man, post-man paper-boy with a surprise gift - gave the girls in the local sorting office box of chocolates as they are look out for all my parcels.
    • make friends / family smile by wearing a silly christmas hat for a day - delivered christmas parcels with a christmas pudding wooly hat on
    • wish a stranger a merry christmas - yes several times...
    • hold a door open for someone - yes several times
    • recycle throughout christmas - everything recycled in christmas pudding recycle bags!
what are your must have holiday treats for the festive season?.....

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Dear Santa.....

Before the close of 12th night I would like to share all my memories of Christmas 2013, my favourite bits and things i did during the Holidays.
Each year I send Father Christmas a small note of what would make up my perfect Christmas stocking.
This years list had 5 small asks!......
  • a day with David Beckham
  • an evening with Michael Buble
  • Christmas at Claridges
  • 2014 in New York
  • and George Clooney at anytime!
alas my instructions could not have been clear enough as what Santa left in my stocking was:
  • David Beckham table book - yes I could while away a day gazing at this!
  • Michael Buble book & CD ... perfect for an evening curled up on the sofa
  • Christmas at Claridges - novel by Karen Swann
  • Kate Spade NY scarf & phone cover - I will spend 2014 wrapped in New York
  • and the complete box set of ER.... George Clooney at anytime!!....
all fabulous, if a little muddled!.... joking aside I got lots of lovely presents, as did Fitz & Darcy so a really BIG thankyou to everyone.
Hope that Santa was as generous with you as he was with me!!
x

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Christmas at Hogwarts

14 years ago a small paperbook written for children, captured my heart and the imagination of the world. Whether you are a HP fan via film or by falling into each chapter and page written, it has shaped the cinematic and literry world for the past 14 years. Whilst I type this the best 50 moments of Harry Potter is on in the background and tonight sees the premiere of the final film on terrestrial tv.
Just before Christmas I was lucky enough to go to the Warner Bros film lots in Hertfordshire and witness the magic of Hogwarts at Christmas. From the Great Hall, to the Gryfindor common room, Christmas is in abundance.
Harry Potter film lot opened a couple of years ago, and it truly is magical. It is a true testament to all the thousands of people who worked on and to design & build the sets. the attention to detail is mindblowing ....
Before you have entered the first room you have already encountered the Flying Ford Anglian, the packing cases & trolley awaiting the hogwarts express and the cupboard under the stairs.
A fabulous short film precedes the entrance to the great hall which is a wow. Filled with characters costumes and table sets you do feel that you are in the great hall but on a smaller scale.
 I can't begin to describe as you move from different sets how amazing they are... from Hagrids Hut, The Weasley's burrow, Dumbldores office to the Potions classroom, snippets of magic in one space.
 I gazed into the Erised mirror, at the Triwizard cup, onto the Marauders map.... so much fun. Smaller wizards get to have wand lessons and bigger wizrds get to fly broomsticks across the London & Hogwart skylines and even drive the Ford Anglian whilst being chased by the Hogwarts Express....all with a little imagination and lots of magic. With a wander past Privet Drive in a snow storm and a chance to drink butterbeer... it captures so much of the Potter magic.
Any Harry Potter fan, if they get the chance should do this tour ...  magical.

Nutcracker New Year!

Happy New Year to all.... I hope 2014 brings you health, happiness, love & luck in large amounts!. I'm not a huge fan of New Year and can usually be found under a duvet on the sofa with a good book, however this year I not only went out, but to different locations!
Early New Year's Eve was spent in the beautiful Royal Opera House in Covent garden watching the Nutcracker.

I have seen this ballet over the years in many forms and is one of my holiday traditions. The royal ballets version was magical and delightful, enhanced by such sumptuous surroundings, beautifully stunning from start to finish.  A simple story bought to life on Christmas Eve culminating in the dance of the sugar plum fairies... pure joy, all set to Tchaikovsky's magical score .
From the baubles and sparkle of Covent Garden I headed east to a friends flat in docklands where he was hosting a roof party, complete with barbecue (yes lashing rain & howling winds werent really condusive to this) and a rooftop view of the London landscape and its fireworks.
I had fun, it was great to see old friends I havent spent time with for a very long time and a very different way to see in a new year.

London really pulled the stops out for yet another fabulous firework display.... sit back & enjoy, even the weather couldnt but a dampner on such a fabulous set and backdrop.
May I take this opportunity to say thankyou for joining my journey of 2013 either on my blog, via twitter or Instagram, its been a joy... your comments, tweets have made me laugh, and i have made some new friends this year...i wish you all a fabulous 14.



Friday, 31 January 2014

Feeling Fabulous Friday...

The eyebrow is my feature for my first Feeling Fabulous Friday. This year I am determined to pamper myself more, and February I will be aiming to create the perfect brow!... My eyebrows are relatively fair and I tend to hide behind my glasses frames... this year I am going to love my lenses, lashes & brows!
Never have eyebrows been talked about as much since Brook Shields 70's caterpillers graced the big screen than when Cara Delevignes brows hit the cat walk. Now it is acceptable to have eyebrows as opposed to penciled lines.
Secret Santa left me a fabulous kit from the legendary Charlotte Tilbury, which I am aiming to master. I am already a convert to her full fat lashes mascara which curls, separates,and adds volume length and drama... perfect from desk to drinks and has replaced my much loved YSL.
The brow lift tool allows you to shape, lift and shade your eyebrow ... following the nostril /eye principle and this cool you tube video, I am going to master the art of perfect brows!.
 The kit also contains a beautiful 50's looking lash curlers and a feline flick eye pencil perfect to finish off the eye along with a full fat mascara.
Pop back next month and find out how I got on and what my fabulous friday feature is for February.
(all products my own- I have not received payment for this feature)
Forthcoming Fabulous Friday dates for 2014 are:


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Wednesday Words - christmas reads

Each month on Wednesday words I will share with you what I have been reading that month.Back in December I shared with you my 12 reads for Christmas  . The plan was that were to see me through the festive season, and into the new year.Here's what I read and my thoughts for my christmas dozen;
  1. Just for Christmas - Scarlett Bailey ~ Alex flees Edinburgh after the love of her life announces his engagement. She seeks refuge in a new job and life in a Cornish fishing village as far away from Scotland as possible. Befriended by a vagrant dog Buoy and clashing heads with her neighbour Ruan this book is so much more than a girl and unrequited love. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it covers many issues, complete with a sprinkling of snow and christmas magic its delightful.
  2. Wish upon a Star - Trisha Ashley - Cally a single mum and her little girl Stella find themselves moving back to the village of Sticklepond and in with her eccentric artistic mum Martha. Cally's reasoning is to save money for a life saving operation for her daughter in America. Cally is enveloped into the heart of the village as they take on the mission of raising money to help Stella. With an ex-partner back on the scene, Cally's weekly baking column and a sexy baker on the scene, this book is a welcome return to Sticklepond. Not as Christmassy as expected it still is a lovely read, which envelopes you back into village life. 
  3. Christmas at the Gingerbread cafe - Rebecca Raisin - a little cupcake war novella - Lily finds competition on her hands when Damon opens a bakery opposite the Gingerbread Cafe,  a fun read with a sprinkling of icing sugar and a dash of cinnamon.
  4. Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe - Jenny Colgan - A welcome return to the cupcake cafe and the life of Izzy, still in love with Austin and Pearl & Caroline still in residence at the cafe. Izzy embarks on creating the perfect Christmas. Austin's job soon leads him to New York. This should be Izzy's dream but soon her life becomes to unravel..... It was so lovely to catch-up with Izzy & co. The New York moments bought back so many fab memories, the recipes doted  through were delicious and as like the first I wish that Izzy's cafe was round the corner to where I lived. I don't think I would leave it!
  5. Calling Mrs Christmas - Carole Matthews Cassie finds herself unemployed and a little demoralised when she stumbles on an idea of becoming Mrs Christmas - creating the perfect christmas for people to busy or unable to do so themselves. With the assistance of her partner Jim and You Tube she teaches herself lots of skills to help her new venture and soon Mrs Christmas is born. Soon gorgeous millionaire Carter is calling on her services and Cassie has to make some choices. ... Carole Matthews has done it again with a corker of a read. This book isn't   just froth, it deals with some serious issues. I loved the relationship that Cassie & Jim developed with the 2 ex-inmates Kieron & Andrew. Sandwiched between the perfect Carter Christmas its a treat.... this quite possibly could be my perfect job!
  6. Christmas at Claridges - Karen Swann - Clem is the socialite party girl, house sharing with her adored brother and PR at the family business she appears to be the party girl of Portobello road. But behind the party facade, Clem is hiding  a big secret which puts her home, job and relationship with brother under threat. From the market stalls of Portobello road to the magic of Portofino Clem tries to keep her secret and help her brother, by taking on a venture to decorate a millionaires Villa. With romance, intrigue and long lost friendships rekindled I loved this book. As with all of Karen Swann's books the title and cover are a red herring to what this book is about, its so much more than just Christmas at Claridges.  My only wish was that there was a little more Christmas & Claridges in the book.
  7. Christmas at the Beach Cafe - Lucy Diamond a lovely little novella where we catchup with Evie and Ed's first christmas at the Beach cafe. Evie plans the perfect christmas with just her and Ed, suddenly Eds brother Jake is on the doorstep, along with Evie's best friend Amber. Desperately trying to finish her recipe book along with finding Ed the perfect present her plans soon go array ..... A welcome return to the Beach cafe and the life of Evie & Ed, sometimes the perfect Christmas isn't what you dreamed..
  8. Christmas at the Cresent - Veronica Henry - another little slice of Christmas in a small novella. Georgie lives at a much desired address in Pelham crescent in the heart of bath along with her baby boy Titus. Titus's father Giles decided fatherhood for him within an hour of his birth.  With a dashing neighbour in residence, Georgie's Christmas is some what different to what she planned. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope that Georgie appears in another of VH's novels in the future
  9. Coming home for Christmas - Jenny Hale set in the town of Virginia Allie lands a house managers job at Ashford house looking after the Marley family. Allie's job is to manage christmas and then get the house ready for sale. Robert the oldest son, battles his grandmother, brother & sister to sell the house. Each Marley family member has their own story to tell and they find a kindred spirit in Allie.... I enjoyed this book, much different to what i imagined it would be... an easy christmas family read
  10. Meet me under the Mistletoe - Abby Clements Laurie & Rachel were friends in school but now communicate via the odd email and christmas card. Laurie lives the London life, where as Rachel has the perfect chocolate box cottage family in Yorkshire. A family and life emergency suddenly see the 2 old friends swapping houses for the run up to Christmas, suddenly each others perfect lives are not so perfect as they both thought. I loved this book and I'm sorry its languished in my to read pile for so long. If you loved The Holiday, then this book will tick so many boxes for you. delightful.
  11. Christmas at Carringtons - Alexandra Brown A welcome return to Carringtons and the life of Georgie & Tom. With a camera crew in tow to film the lives of a department store at Christmas its a pantomime of a read.... its like Towie meets Mr Selfridge in a riot of a read..... loved loved loved this... laughed out loud behind the scenes of a reality tv show & department store. 
  12. I heart Christmas - Lindsey Kelk I was so looking forward to curling up with Angela  and her Christmas in New York, but this left me a little disappointed. Christmas in New York is magical and I'm afraid this book didn't capture it enough for me.  
My 12 reads of Christmas were a treat and I cannot wait to start compiling a new list for 2014. As well as sucking me into the magic of Christmas they have contributed to a wish list of things to do, see & eat over the 2014 holiday period.
A holiday to a Cornish cottage at Christmas  is being explored along with a trip to New York!...An evening at Claridges and an amble through the georgian Bath streets and Christmas market are a must! Along with copious amounts of Eggnog, Cupcakes dusted with cinnamon and a pile of festive reads, here's to a happy 2014 holiday!



Tuesday, 28 January 2014

the continuing tale of 2 kitties ...

Fitz and Darcy are now 8 months old and continuing to cause chaos and mayhem whenever they can. They are also spending lots of time snuggling on the sofa. With work being manic during January, they have been a welcome joy when coming home of a night after stressful days.
I didn't realise how much these little fur balls had snuck into my heart until something happens and you realise how much part of your family they have become.  We have a routine at home, and usually they are both waiting by the door peering out when I pull up onto the drive. Last Wednesday I came home to be greeted by Fitz but no Darcy. F & D are house cats at the moment, so was a little concerned, especially as they were both inside when I left in the morning. After much calling and searching through the house, Darcy was still not found. By this stage I was beginning to panic and Fitz was calling constantly for his brother. After about an hour I heard a faint cry coming from outside. It still wasn't clear where it was coming from until i looked up and saw a frightened little kitty on the roof!..... how he got there I am still none the wiser as I had no windows open, the only option was via the loft hatch.  After much cajoling and half hour later I managed to coax Darcy off the roof. I did at one point think I may have to call the fire-brigade! My little black fur baby spent the rest of the evening on my lap.
Our nightly routine is an hour on the sofa curled up watching TV or flicking through pages on the ipad, before we head upstairs to bed.
January has seen the kitties work their way through all the treats that Santa bought them and their doggie cousins Archie & Roxie.


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Totes Amaze Tuesday

Welcome to my first Totes Amaze Tuesday post. Today I'm sharing my latest handbag love. My friends are probably thinking that I will start with a Mulberry, but I'm not!.... another bag has captured my heart this month. The beautiful, gorgeous Liberty by Victoria Beckham. This bag was a gift from Santa and Mr Selfridge ..... and I love it.
This bag can slip from a slummy saturday with jeans and a jumper to heels and an uber stylish dress in moments. Having coveted VB's handbag collection lots over the past couple of months since its arrival at work, I can say there isn't one in the S/S collection that I wouldn't mind hanging off my arm, the lady does know her handbags!
The Liberty comes in a range of colours, including a gorgeous orange, however I opted for the classic black. The bag can be an open tote and a closed tote dependent on how you style. It has a rigid base and comes completely lined, with inside pockets big enough to secure valuables, including space for an ipad.
As you can see it's big enough to hold a multitude of my bits & pieces..... umbrella & scarf are 2 essentials I cant leave home without during January, along with my moleskin diaries.
I am sure that this style bag will soon be copied up and down the highstreet, it is one of the most versatile bags that I have.... here's one look that I've been sporting with it at the weekend.
Skinny jeans, boots, jumper & wool coat.... effortlessly styled with a trilby & VB tote... perfect!
What arm candy has stolen your heart this month, and how have you been wearing it?

Monday, 20 January 2014

blogging menu for 2014.....

As posted earlier this month I have set myself some goals for my blog this year. I love writing my blog, it really is random brain blurts from me and captures bubbles of my life at random times. My blog has been a journey; starting primarily as a crafting and cupcake blog an opportunity to share my makes & bakes, evolving into a much bigger cake with various slices. Thats my vision of my blog, like a great big cake, each slice a different flavour and temptation!

So my menu each month for 2014 looks like this:

  • Totes Amaze Tuesday - on the 3rd Tuesday of each month I will share my piece of arm candy I have been favouriting that month and how I've been styling it.
  • Feeling Fabulous Friday - on the final Friday of the month, its all about beauty & body treats that have made me feel fabulous this month.
  • Wednesday Words - on the 2nd/3rd Wednesday I will share the books that I've eaten that month.
  • Social Media Sunday - on the 1st Sunday of the month I'm aiming to share 7 social media sites that have sprinkled smiles across my ipad that month.
  • Menu Monday - on the last Monday of the month, a recipe that has tempted T's taste buds for the month ( it may not always be from scratch, but I promise it will be cooked with love)
Inbetween this I will update with life and loves from the weeks/months.
I am hoping that with a little structure I may achieve more blogging, less stress and some fun! What I dont want to do is loose the ethos of what my blog is about.... here's to a fabulous 14.



Monday, 13 January 2014

Normal service to resume soon ..

I can not believe that we are half way through January 2014! Every year on New Year's Eve my resolution is just to get through January. For those that work in finance will know that with year end looming January is full on!.
This year is not much different for me, in fact its probably one of the worst that I have worked and we still have 2 weeks to go! Normally I get a bit of breathing space over the holiday fortnight, before January hits to catch up on admin, but this year I didn't even manage that.

Yesterday I worked and spent the whole day at my desk wishing that the "Roast Dinner" fairy had been at my house whilst I was at work.... alas no; cheese on toast for T last night!
I have a washing pile that a mountaineer would find a fabulous challenge, a microwave that has exceeded its usage over the past few weeks.. and two little kitties that when I woke them this morning at 5am they burrowed back down into their duvet in disgust.
There has however been little things that have brightened my days. I am loving getting a seat on the tube on my very early train and working my way through my January reads list. Yesterday I drove into London and was completely distracted by the amazing skyline across the river. I was astounded on how high the river was, I have never seen the Thames so high. It was lovely to see a glimmer of a blue sky.

Twitter and Instagram have kept me amused during spare moments; especially my reply from the lovely James Haskell in response to my January calendar tweet!.

I hope to catch-up with you all soon either virtually, via blog land or in person......
happy january xx

Monday, 6 January 2014

Twelfth Night...

The decorations are down, the tree is packed away and suddenly we are a week into January.... As you can imagine I had some help with packing away, as much as I had putting the tree up and throughout the duration of Christmas!
January is a gloomy month, the weather has been awful and my heart goes out to all those that have been flooded and damaged during this awful weather, here and across the pond.
I do have one Christmas present that each year I receive it makes me smile and brightens my year!. My GBF buys me each year the French rugby calendar .. Des Dieux Du Stade 2014. It makes the coldest day warm!
I have also been doodling ideas for different features on the blog this year. I would like to do some different things, but don't want it to become a blog full of promotions and freebies.  Some of the features you will see over the next month are:

  • Arm Candy - what bag am I wearing, and whats in it!
  • Beauty sprinkles - what beauty bits I'm loving this month
  • Books to eat - what books I've devoured; did i love it or did it give me indigestion!
  • Slices of London - what I've loved in London this month
  • Seasonal supper - one recipe of what I've cooked this month.
What are you doing new this year?

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Christmas in the Garden

Covent Garden has become over the last couple of years one of the most popular places to go over the holiday period. From its glorious tree festooned with red baubles and multi coloured lights, to its giant reindeer with a bright red bauble nose.
With the opening of Shake Shack in the heart of the apple market, it was always going to be on mt Things to Do in London list at Christmas, especially when they released their December custard menu and Eggnog featured on a Tuesday.
Coincidentaly New Year's Eve fell on a Tuesday, so an Eggnog custard was consumed prior to my late afternoon trip to the Royal Opera House for the ballet.
This year another pop-up appeared for a short period over the festive period, a Pierre Koffman craperie sponsered by Krug.... fabulous little red boxes, complete with fur throws and fabulous food & drink.... gorgeous.
Covent Garden was one of my favourite places to amble around over the holiday season, soaking up the atmosphere people watching, eating and drinking great food, entertained by chiors and street artists.... much fun! All this and a Lego London snowglobe!..


Saturday, 4 January 2014

A bite of the big apple in London.

This year with no trip to New York planned I decided to see how much of NY i could bring to London on a day out in the city. A couple of years ago I did something similar, here  are my adventures from that day. My perfect day in NY would include Pancakes, Ice skating, Eggnog, a huge Christmas tree, and  a walk in the Park, finished off with a sweet treat.
My day started early with breakfast at the very american Automat, tucked down a side road in Green park, it reminds m very much of The Smith restaurant that I fell in love with the last time I was in New York. I ordered buttermilk pancakes with fruit compote and a side order of crispy bacon.... mmm delicious, along with large coffee it was perfect start to the morning.
A short walk through the streets of Green park bought me to the iconic Old Bond Street, complete with Tiffany's ... no-one can visit NY without a visit to this iconic store on 5th avenue and has been a key feature for many visits. As well as gazing at the beautiful townhouse scenes for this years windows, a fabulous horse drawn carriage was parked outside the iconic address waiting to transport little blue boxes across the city. I saw this on 2 further occasions during my day. gorgeous, romantic and very christmas in New York.
From Bond street I walked along the backstreets until I reached Piccadilly, a quick stop in wholefoods to stock up on some American sweet treats, it looked just like a grocery store on a side walk, complete with trees stacked up on the pavement. Really liked the Merry Citrusmas sign...
The lovely eros had been converted into its own snowglobe and Trafalgar Square 's iconic tree had a lovely blue tint to it this year.
From here I walked along the embankment to the historic Somerset House, where I whiled away an hour tentatively skating around the rink and enjoying lashings of hot chocolate and mince pies in the Skate parlour. This years rink was sponsored by the New York apparel brand Coach. With a huge decorated tree and lots of places to sit and watch the world skate by, this is London's equivalent to the  Rockefeller   centre.  I loved it... a London favourite in the holiday season.
Late afternoon after a walk through Covent Garden and a stop at the Hummingbird Bakery where I picked up an Egg nog cupcake I finished my day off in Brgr & co in Soho where I had Christmas afternoon tea burger style!
Cupcake was taken home and eaten as a late supper with a large Baileys coffee in my New York memories mug....
perfect.... what NY treats would you do in London?

Friday, 3 January 2014

Christmas Treats

Food is a huge part of Christmas and is often one of the first things we see as an indicator that the holidays are on their way. A number of huge brands are now an intrinsic part of the Christmas. This year 5 formed a significant part of my holiday countdown along with great gift ideas for friends and secret santas!
My 5 christmas food favs are;
  1. Santa's Cornflakes.... perfect for Christmas morning breakfast & a great midnight feast! (guess what Santa got left out in my house)
  2. Starbucks - from candy cane mugs, holiday coffee. Christmas is not complete without the Red Cup countdown, even my tree gets a Starbucks red cup make-over.
  3. Eggnog - each year Eggnog becomes more popular in the UK and gives me instant memories of New York... this year I feasted on EggNog custard at Shake shack, Eggnog Lattes at Starbucks & Eggnog cupcakes from Hummingbird bakery. Along with some fab Eggnog stocking fillers   to take me into 2014... delicious.
  4. Edible Coal from Santa!.... Santa left these little bags in some stockings this year, filled with edible coal from the fireplace. (honeycomb in black sugar... mmm)
  5. Coca Cola - the Holidays are coming took on a whole new meaning this year, with Coca Cola's advert asking for us all to do 12 good deeds for Christmas....I'm pleased to say that I ticked everyone off my list on the countdown to Christmas...
    • take time to listen to some Carol Singers - listened to the gospel choir in Covent garden
    • offer to be designated driver on christmas night out - yes chauffeured friends to a festive party.
    • give somebody a hand carrying their christmas shopping luggage - helped someone daily on commute with buggy & bags
    • surprise someone with a homemade christmas card - designed digital card featuring Fitz & Darcy.
    • reward good customer service with a thankyou note - box of chocolates and a BIG thankyou to the coffee boys in Costa who make my coffee and porridge each morning.
    • thank bin-man, post-man paper-boy with a surprise gift - gave the girls in the local sorting office box of chocolates as they are look out for all my parcels.
    • make friends / family smile by wearing a silly christmas hat for a day - delivered christmas parcels with a christmas pudding wooly hat on
    • wish a stranger a merry christmas - yes several times...
    • hold a door open for someone - yes several times
    • recycle throughout christmas - everything recycled in christmas pudding recycle bags!
what are your must have holiday treats for the festive season?.....

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Dear Santa.....

Before the close of 12th night I would like to share all my memories of Christmas 2013, my favourite bits and things i did during the Holidays.
Each year I send Father Christmas a small note of what would make up my perfect Christmas stocking.
This years list had 5 small asks!......
  • a day with David Beckham
  • an evening with Michael Buble
  • Christmas at Claridges
  • 2014 in New York
  • and George Clooney at anytime!
alas my instructions could not have been clear enough as what Santa left in my stocking was:
  • David Beckham table book - yes I could while away a day gazing at this!
  • Michael Buble book & CD ... perfect for an evening curled up on the sofa
  • Christmas at Claridges - novel by Karen Swann
  • Kate Spade NY scarf & phone cover - I will spend 2014 wrapped in New York
  • and the complete box set of ER.... George Clooney at anytime!!....
all fabulous, if a little muddled!.... joking aside I got lots of lovely presents, as did Fitz & Darcy so a really BIG thankyou to everyone.
Hope that Santa was as generous with you as he was with me!!
x

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Christmas at Hogwarts

14 years ago a small paperbook written for children, captured my heart and the imagination of the world. Whether you are a HP fan via film or by falling into each chapter and page written, it has shaped the cinematic and literry world for the past 14 years. Whilst I type this the best 50 moments of Harry Potter is on in the background and tonight sees the premiere of the final film on terrestrial tv.
Just before Christmas I was lucky enough to go to the Warner Bros film lots in Hertfordshire and witness the magic of Hogwarts at Christmas. From the Great Hall, to the Gryfindor common room, Christmas is in abundance.
Harry Potter film lot opened a couple of years ago, and it truly is magical. It is a true testament to all the thousands of people who worked on and to design & build the sets. the attention to detail is mindblowing ....
Before you have entered the first room you have already encountered the Flying Ford Anglian, the packing cases & trolley awaiting the hogwarts express and the cupboard under the stairs.
A fabulous short film precedes the entrance to the great hall which is a wow. Filled with characters costumes and table sets you do feel that you are in the great hall but on a smaller scale.
 I can't begin to describe as you move from different sets how amazing they are... from Hagrids Hut, The Weasley's burrow, Dumbldores office to the Potions classroom, snippets of magic in one space.
 I gazed into the Erised mirror, at the Triwizard cup, onto the Marauders map.... so much fun. Smaller wizards get to have wand lessons and bigger wizrds get to fly broomsticks across the London & Hogwart skylines and even drive the Ford Anglian whilst being chased by the Hogwarts Express....all with a little imagination and lots of magic. With a wander past Privet Drive in a snow storm and a chance to drink butterbeer... it captures so much of the Potter magic.
Any Harry Potter fan, if they get the chance should do this tour ...  magical.

Nutcracker New Year!

Happy New Year to all.... I hope 2014 brings you health, happiness, love & luck in large amounts!. I'm not a huge fan of New Year and can usually be found under a duvet on the sofa with a good book, however this year I not only went out, but to different locations!
Early New Year's Eve was spent in the beautiful Royal Opera House in Covent garden watching the Nutcracker.

I have seen this ballet over the years in many forms and is one of my holiday traditions. The royal ballets version was magical and delightful, enhanced by such sumptuous surroundings, beautifully stunning from start to finish.  A simple story bought to life on Christmas Eve culminating in the dance of the sugar plum fairies... pure joy, all set to Tchaikovsky's magical score .
From the baubles and sparkle of Covent Garden I headed east to a friends flat in docklands where he was hosting a roof party, complete with barbecue (yes lashing rain & howling winds werent really condusive to this) and a rooftop view of the London landscape and its fireworks.
I had fun, it was great to see old friends I havent spent time with for a very long time and a very different way to see in a new year.

London really pulled the stops out for yet another fabulous firework display.... sit back & enjoy, even the weather couldnt but a dampner on such a fabulous set and backdrop.
May I take this opportunity to say thankyou for joining my journey of 2013 either on my blog, via twitter or Instagram, its been a joy... your comments, tweets have made me laugh, and i have made some new friends this year...i wish you all a fabulous 14.