Monday, 30 June 2014

#Project Life ~ June


Well where did June go?.... how we can be diving into July is beyond me.... before we plunge headfirst into July, let me share what kept me busy in June.
First of all, blog posts were few are far between in June for a number of reasons, and they weren't because I was hooked on the football!... Sale started at work which kept me busy and a horrible virus knocked me for six for over a week. I can cope with a summer cold, it was the dizziness and fainting I didn't cope very well with, it was like having perpetual jet lag. A call to the Dr's resulted in me finding out that I had been de-registered as I don't visit enough or generate enough income for the surgery!.. I have now to re-register which I can only do between the hours of 10 & 2!... clearly not catering for the employed!. (rant over!!)
  • Sale was fruitful and I bagged a number of birthday & Christmas presents to put in the present cupboard. I did also bag a new work bag which I will share later this month!.
  • The Kits turned one and they had lots of treats & cuddles to celebrate.... they have bought a year of mischief and mayhem to T's terrace, but bought lots of love & fun.
  • Early in the month I spent a Sunday soaking up the sun in the Parks & Southbank of the city, enjoying great food & drinks  from Kerb.
  • At the beginning of the month I spent a Saturday morning in a picturesque village in Surrey meeting up with some crafting ladies and Kate from The Homemakery which was lovely. We have been blogging buddies for over 5 years and it was lovely to finally meet up... looking forward to more craft dates later in the year.
  • I also spent a day on the Dorset coastline, enjoying some downtime and loving my camera. The day also included a visit to Mr Selfridge's weekend retreat at Highcliff castle.
As well as getting out and about I've enjoyed catching up on some magazine reads along with a couple of TV shows, one of which was Beckham into the Unknown,... David's journey from Rio down the Amazon. I thoroughly enjoyed the TV show, DB's best friend made me laugh throughout. A fun and entertaining show.
This month I also grabbed a copy of Mollie Makes special edition Photography magazine which is just great... lovely to see another blogging bud Shimelle as the feature editor.

As well as shopping at Selfridges I also did a little online shopping at Fineside. Fineside is the clothing brand from Jonny Wilkinson and his brother. Jonny tweeted that he was on the packing floor packing orders post rugby retirement. I was very excited to receive the attached with my order!
 
I hope to blog a little more in July, I have lots to share including my day in Dorset, Hampton Court, Parklife in London along with some fab beauty buys of late and a little stationery love!....
what did you do in June... would love to hear from you.. x

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Mr Selfridge's London

With the success of the TV series Mr Selfridge, his legacy lives daily on 400 Oxford street where a lot of his visions and values still live on today. Recently Selfridges announced a huge development programme for its London street store. The Weston family are continuing the Selfridges vision from 100 years ago and creating a legacy for another 100 years.
I am asked frequently by friends and family for Mr Selfridge recommendations, so here are my views on how to spend a day living the life of Mr Selfridge in London.
The TV series is not filmed at the store but at a purpose built warehouse hangar in north London, here are more details. A number of external scenes have been filmed in the city, including the exterior of the Royal College of Organists in Kensington Gore adjacent to the Royal Albert Hall. The Royal Albert Hall has close links with Selfridges as it was the venue used for the annual prize giving event for team members. Selfridges still recognises its team members with a Selfridges awards event annually and a host of iconic London landmarks have been used over the years for this event.
During his years at Selfridges - Harry, Rose & family lived at Berkeley Square, 9 Fitzmaurice Place, London which is now a private members club called The Lansdowne. A blue plaque is sited outside, recognising the home of the famous store owner. In later life Harry lived at Brook House, Park Lane alongside Grosvenor House opposite the Animals in War memorial. Both are short walks from the London store.
A little further afield at The London Museum is the original Selfridges Lift doors installed in 1928 and then finally removed in 1972. The heavy gold zodiac signature lift doors, were one of Selfridges showcase features, along with the lift attendants.
Over the years Selfridges rooftop has hosted many events and activities, from fashion shows, afternoon tea and golf. The original rooftop gardens were destroyed in the Blitz of WW2.
The rooftop has been replicated in various ways on many occasions, recently with a Green Boating lake for the launch of Truvia, to London's crazy golf course, and lunch with Daylesford. This year its all about the laid back rooftop dining with Q on the roof. With a sliding roof and personalised lift this is a must this summer. Booking is preferable... Here's more on Q on the roof.
If the rooftop isn't for you then there are a number of venues inside the store to sample a little of the Selfridge life. Dolly's is an art deco inspired café sited in the lower ground floor around the atrium. It is named after The Dolly sisters,  a pair of glamorous identical twins, who entranced audiences and Harry Gordon Selfridge alike. 
Sited on the 2nd floor in the western gallery is The Corner Restaurant, this luxurious Ladies that lunch venue hosts a gorgeous Mr Selfridge afternoon tea, complete with Top Hat treats. Perfect venue to relax and enjoy the treats & delights that Mr Selfridge has to offer.
If Lunch or Afternoon Tea are not for you, then grab a beer or a cocktail or coffee in the Harry Gordon Bar in the basement. This snug like bar is perfect for relaxing after work, or a coffee in the morning. I've met many friends here and they all comment on how relaxing it is considering you are in the middle of a busy department store. Here is a post from a previous visit.
I hope that you have enjoyed my little slice of Mr Selfridges life in London, I will be sharing soon his weekend life at Highcliff Castle in Dorset which I visited recently. Here is more about the man who changed the face of Oxford street.

Friday, 27 June 2014

London Loves - Burgers

This month I shared my New York burger loves and today I am sharing my London burger loves. The London Burger scene has exploded over the last couple of years and now London is a strong contender for the Burger capital of the world, offering some fabulous patty's from some of the best burger joints.
Here are 5 of my favourites across the city:

Patty & Bun - this fabulous little gem of a burger bar is hidden down a side street off Oxford Street and queuing is a legendary now as its burgers. There Ari Gold burger is one of their signature dishes and is mouth-wateringly delicious medium rare burger complete with signature burger sauce, cheese, onions .. A feast for the taste buds. Not for the neat eater as it is gloriously sloppy, can only be eaten with a bib!. The ambiance has a real old school feel, with wooden tables & chairs and lots of brown Kraft paper! The burgers are delicious, melt in the mouth perfect accompanied with rosemary salted fries.
Meat Liquor - queuing for entry into this burger joint is mandatory, nestled underneath a carbuncle of a car park, behind Debenhams in Oxford street, this cool edgy burger joint has managed to transfer the street vibe of a burger van into a edgy underground meat & liquor joint. Great food, fab ambience and perfect for a fun night out with friends.
Byron Burger - I've been a huge fan of Byron Burgers for many years, from its cool old school warehouse in Islington, to its theatre bars in Leicester square and Covent garden, I'm a fan. Fabulous burgers and Brooklyn beer its the perfect venue for a burger, beer & fun with friends. Their Bacon cheeseburger is my favourite and I have never been disappointed on any visit.
Bleecker Burgers - this cool little burger van is much sort after around the streets of London, found often alongside the Gherkin or on the streets of Kings cross, this burger joint serves amazing tasting burgers straight from the New York streets... if you see this little black van, its a must.
Brgr. Co is a burger joint in Soho which I have visited twice, both occasions for its very fun Burger afternoon tea. I have sampled its summer tea and its Christmas holiday version which were gorgeous, perfect little treat in the city.
As with all London loves posts, here is a map of my burger favourites in London.

 If this post has wetted your taste buds for exploring London's Burger bars Here are some other burger posts from my blog over the last couple of years.... enjoy x

Monday, 16 June 2014

New York Loves ~ Burgers

America is home of the hamburger and within New York I think they host some of the best burger joints in the world.(I also believe that London comes a close 2nd!) Originating from German and Dutch settlers in the Eastern states in the 1800's Burgers or Patty's come in many forms. From Sliders, Deckers and Slopy's they all have a part to play in the rise of restaurants delivering a great burger.
Here's 5 of my favourites;
  • Shake Shack - celebrating it's 10th birthday last week, this iconic Burger bar started out as a Hot Dog stand in Madison square park. Now it has a 24hr line cam for all to view the length of the line for ordering. Shake Shack now have 2 other locations in NY which offers in house seating, all keeping the vibe & ethos of the original. Here's 24 things that I didn't know about Shake Shack!. A visit to the Shack is a must for any trip to New York, Hamburger, Cheesy fries & frozen custard is a must for me on each trip.
  • Minetta Tavern - this Greenwich Village eatery opened its doors in 1937, chef Keith McNally took over the reins in 2009 and this iconic bar is back on the map as a place to be seen & eat. McNally is behind some of NY's other food successes, such as Balthazar and Pastis. Minetta is famed for its Black Burger - at $27dollars its not a fast food, but made with some of the worlds best ingredients its the caviar of the burger word.
  • Burger Joint - Le Parker Meridien - situated behind a curtain in the lobby of a New York hotel is the last place you would expect to find this graffiti old school burger joint. However Burger joint in the Le Parker Meridien hotel is just that. Serving Burgers along with beer and wine, its the perfect place to meet up with friends. I loved this cool little burger joint when I visited. Burgers are good and the vibe is very cool.
  • PJ Clarkes - this very cool bar restaurant not only serves one of the best burgers in the city but has a history dating back to 1884, it has fought prohibition, depression and is one of Manhattan's iconic bars. A favourite of Jackie Kennedy, Frank Sinatra to name but a few, this bar is worth a visit just to revisit that old school glamour. Situated on 3rd avenue its worth popping into, even if its just for a beer.
  • Bill's Bar & Burgers - sited just along from the Rockefeller centre this burger bar is the biggest stand alone burger joint in the US. With the capacity to seat 400, booking is advisable at busy holiday periods. Opening in 2009, I found this burger bar on a cold snowy blizzards' weekend and was thankful for the warmth & fabulous food it offered.

As with all 5 loves posts, here is a map of my New York locations for you to try..... enjoy.

What are your New York Burger recommendations and why?.... would love to hear so that I can add to my list for my next visit. I hope that you have enjoyed my NY loves post this week Here are my previous posts, pop back next week for London's equivalent burger loves.
.... (please note that all views are my own and I have not received any payment for this post)

Sunday, 15 June 2014

World Cup Widows....

Its seems that football fever has taken over the UK and over the coming 5 weeks the World Cup will cause more arguments, influence peoples lives and be the main topic of conversation in offices, by water coolers and in pubs across the nation.
 .... it seems that the only conversation in the office is of a footballing nature and my daily job is to update the wall planner as the final whistle blows!...
 

So, this got me thinking of all the benefits that the world cup has to offer us ladies!.. here's a few of my suggestions
  • Chick Flick Cinema ~ plan your visit to coincide with a popular game, the road's are empty and 2 hours of uninterrupted bliss watching a great movie or chick flick, here's what's grabbed my attention in the releases over the world cup period:
  • Jersey Boys - this is one of the best theatre musicals in the west end, and pleased to see it hit the big screen, a fascinating story, and one you will know all the songs to!

  • Devils Knot - This gripping film is based on the true story of the murder of three young boys in West Memphis, Ark.Three young boys playing in the nearby woods never come home for dinner. starring Colin Firth & Reece Witherspoon... a gripping viewing.

  • The Fault in Our Stars - this heartbreaking film is based on an award winning novel Hazel and Gus are two teenagers.Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel's other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.

  • and finally one that will have the nation as divided as the football!... Walking on Sunshine is like Mamma Mia meets the 80's. Set in southern Italy, after a whirlwind romance, Maddie is preparing to marry gorgeous Italian Raf, and has invited her sister Taylor to the wedding. Unbeknownst to Maddie, however, Raf is Taylor's ex-holiday flame, and the love of her life..

  • Afternoon Tea ~ especially for those afternoon games, for something a little different  in London check out these Pimms Cocktail Chocolate , Wimbledon Afternoon Tea, or from the Shard viewing the Landscape of London
  • Beauty Hall Treats ~ check out your local department store, lot's are hosting beauty event evenings during the tournament.
  • Theatre ~ lot's of theatres are offering discount tickets, some London theatres from £10 a ticket..
  • Shop the Sales ~ most retailers have gone into sale early to compete... check
  • Grab a good book or visit the library,curl up with a coffee, chocolate & a book... mmm heaven .If you can't bet them then join them with a footballing romp of a read.
    • I am the Secret Wag - behind the scenes of life as a footballers wife... which England football player's wag has written this?  
    • Wags at the World Cup -  this is the very funny, very silly tale of Tracie Martin - Wag extraordinaire - who gets herself into the most astonishing amount of trouble in Brazil while following her husband - a coach to the England team - in the 2014 tournament
    • The Beautiful Game -  there's a lot more to being a WAG than holidays, heels, hair extensions and handbags. In the cut-throat world of Premiership football, it's not just a game of two halves - it's survival of the fittest. And some will go to any lengths to stay at the top... 
  • Blog hop.... follow 10 new blogs that you find hopping during the football... we all know how we can loose hours whilst blogging!
  • Grab a picnic and escape to the park to lay in the sunshine, drink Pimms and relax.
  • Alternatively if all these fail, grab a box set and loose yourself for a few hours in escapism I am planning on revisiting Greys Anatomy from the beginning, as Dr McDreamy can brighten any dull evening for me... how delicious is he!!


     

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Hanging up his golden boots....

A few weeks ago I travelled to Cardiff to watch the Heineken Cup at the Millennium Stadium. With Saracens pitted against Toulon, this was always going to be a match that I would have mixed feelings on the end result. As a Saracens fan I would have loved to have seen them lift the cup, however with this being Jonny Wilkinson penultimate game before retirement, I wanted him to win as well!
From the age of 7 this superstar became obsessed with Rugby, and it is this obsession with the game that has been his triumphs and his downfall at times. It is his self belief or lack of at times that his crippled and  raised his game to stratospheric levels. I have been lucky to see Jonny play on several occasions and what shone for me was his team work, his drive and the fact that he has the best thighs in rugby!.  I've seen him drop goals in sub zero temperatures and kick his team to victory on the hallowed turf of Twickenham. Jonny is the perfect sportsman, world class at his level but incredibly humble with it.
Here's some images from my trip to Cardiff, to watch the golden boots of a superstar one last time. Several sports personalities earning £1,000's per day would learn a lot from this guys ethos.
I arrived at the stadium to see the squad buses arrive. Within 15 minutes of arrival Jonny was on the pitch practising his ball skills prior to kick off for 45 minutes before the game. This is the testament of someone dedicated to his game.
We will no longer see that legendary preparation and wiggle as Jonny lines up the ball for the kick to goal.
Every touch of the ball, regardless of what team shirt the spectators were wearing Jonny was met with a heroes welcome, and received a standing ovation as he left the pitch 2 minutes from the end.

With tears in his eyes he lifted the Heineken Cup with cheers and clapping around the stadium. A hero in the rugby world that we may never see the likes of again.
Here is a fabulous tribute from Jonnys peers both in the uk

 and on the other side of the world from the All Blacks hottie Dan Carter!

and finally my two sports heros in one advert for adidas!

So farewell Jonny, as you hang up your golden boots, you will be missed, not only for your legendary rugby skills, but the fact you got a whole generation of ladies to love rugby!


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Please look after this bear....

A few weekends back I took a train from Paddington station in London, on arrival into station I was delighted to see said namesake's iconic bear statue.
Paddington is a childhood favourite of mine, and loved watching the joy & delight this little bronze statue had on the little kids and big kids alike whilst I waited for my train.

Paddington may pop-up in a number of blog posts this year for me. He will be starring in his own movie, much has been said of the imagery of Paddington, but I think it is an accurate reflection of the original drawings from Michael Bond and his original statue, rather than the cutesy cartoon of the 70's & 80's.

The movie is directed by David Heyman. Paddington is voiced by Colin Firth and Mr Brown played by Hugh Bonneville with an accompanying ensemble cast line up of Nicole Kidman, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Sally Hawkins and Matt Lucas. With a November release date this will be one of the family Christmas movies!.
Full Trailer here:
From this trailer it looks like Paddington is getting upto his usual mischief & mayhem!

Paddington may also be doing something exciting this year with Selfridges, which at the moment I need to keep under my hat (similarly to Paddington's marmalade sandwiches)
Did you know that the bear that inspired Michael Bond started on a shelf in Selfridges!.....
" 24th December 1956 a BBC cameraman buys a small toy bear left alone on a shelf in Selfridges store, London, for his wife Brenda. Named Paddington, after the station close to Michael Bond’s home, the bear inspires him to write eight episodes in just over a week."
I will keep you posted as & when I can of this exciting adventure with a Bear, marmalade sandwiches and fabulous red wellingtons!.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Words Wednesday ~ June reads

This month I've only managed 4 books, my commute has involved the car more often this month and unfortunately I am unable to read & drive! However what I have read I've enjoyed lots; here's what's kept be gripped as I have navigated myself from east to west London.
  • The Unpredictable Consequences of Love ~ Jill Mansell; How many secrets can an idyllic Cornish seaside town hold. This novel centres around Sophie, a girl who fled to Cornwall after a traumatic break-up, and now reluctant to fall in love. Sophie is a budding photographer, this brings her into contact with many of the locals. From Dot the local hotelier, Josh her grandson and business partner, (recently returned from LA,) to Reilly a feckless surfer and nephew to the local famous author, who admires Tula, Sophie's best friend. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Jill Mansell manages to write books that you wish you were an extra in, filled with great characters, and a seaside town that I wish I could spend a holiday in.
  • With all My Love ~ Patricia Scanlan; Spanning 3 generations Patricia Scanlan has written another epic Irish family saga. Briony is daughter to Valerie and mother to Katie, whilst helping her mother move into her house in Spain she discovers a letter from her beloved grandmother Tessa. Briony's father died when she was a little girl, which resulted in the families becoming estranged. This is a heartfelt story dealing with the complexities of growing up in Ireland and dealing with the laws, gossip and bigotry of a small Irish village and the lies, betrayal and sacrifices within a family. This book really struck a chord with me, growing up with strong matriarchal women in my family, and the complexities of a grandmother / mother / granddaughter relationship. An absorbing read.
  • Before we Met ~ Lucie Whitehouse; Hannah is newly married following a whirlwind romance crossing the Atlantic, between London and New York with Mark. One weekend Mark doesn't come home from NY.  Is Hannah's concern just paranoia, or does Mark have another woman, or is something more sinister? As Hannah starts to dig into Marks life, she realises that she may not know her husband as well as she thinks or at all. This is a great domestic thriller or Chick Noir as it is being labelled. I enjoyed this book, it appealed to my cynical mind!...
  • Me Before You - JoJoMoyes; where do I star with this book, this book has languished in my "to read" pile since it was published. Knowing a little of the subject matter, I have put off reading it thinking it would be too depressing to read on commute to work. How wrong was I! Yes this book does deal with assisted suicide, but it also deals with so much more. The journey that the 2 characters Lou and Will take to get there is heartbreakingly beautiful. The story revolves around Will, a successful, outgoing, businessman, until one day all that is taken away from him when he is hit by a bus. Will finds himself a quadriplegic, in a chair with no desire for life, surrounded by memories of a life passed. Lou is a 26 year old girl living in a small town, she can tell you the number of steps between her parents home and the café where she works, spending time with a boyfriend she's not even sure she loves anymore. Finding herself out of work Lou takes on the job of being Wills companion, employed by his mother in the faint hope that she can change his mind from a date booked in Switzerland. Can Lou change Wills mind and show him that life is worth living after the 6 months?  This book is one of the most heart-breaking love story's I have ever read, it also one of the funniest, with laugh out loud moments, it will have you crying and laughing all in the same paragraph. It deals with an incredibly brave subject and it will make you question your beliefs and wishes. This book should be in everyone's 100 books to read in a lifetime list.
As you can see a mixed and varied reading pile for June, all 4 recommended for reading on the couch, in the garden, on the beach or on the tube!... hankies optional for a couple and a must for 1.
What have you been reading this month and what are you recommending?
 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Sunday Sunshine

Waking early on Sunday morning I decided to forgo any jobs indoors and get out and about in the sunshine. I had planned to draft a few blog posts but parked them for a day in the park!  I jumped on the tube and headed into London, armed with camera and kindle. With a beautiful blue sky and sunshine forecast all day I knew there would be plenty for me to explore in London to enjoy the weather. I started my day in St James Park, where I grabbed a coffee and muffin and sat and just enjoyed the scenery. I had such a fabulous time in the park and took so many pictures, it warrants its own post to itself!
The Mall running alongside the park was closed to traffic, as later in the day the culmination of the Help for Heroes ride from Belgium, through the French war memorials to London was finishing along the Mall. With many military activities happening in and around the park I was lucky to see the Queens cavalry pass by in preparation for changing of the guard. Buck house looked glorious in the sunshine.
After enjoying the morning in the park, I walked down to the river and walked across to the South Bank, where lots of people were enjoying the sunshine. From the Prosecco deckchairs along the river bank to the water fountains which the kids and big kids were enjoying. London looks gorgeous in the sunshine.
From the Southbank I headed behind Festival Hall to sample some of the wares on sale at the Kerb Food festival.  Kerb is one of the best food street events which pop up over London at different times. With a superb and varied selection of traders, its a great way to sample street food at their best.
With such an array of street food on offer I was spoilt for choice; after cooling down with a Grapefruit & Campari iced popsicle from Ice Kitchen which was refreshing and full of yummy sour flavours.
 
I opted for a salt beef on rye from Bell & Brisket, which was melt in the mouth delicious, washed down with a homemade lemonade from Square Root poured from its converted bicycle.
 Desert could only come from Kooky Bakes, I met Scott from KB in Selfridges a coupe of years ago and we are Instagram/Twitter buddies, so it was nice to catch up, if only briefly ... longer next time!.. Before I left  I picked up a salted caramel whoopee pie, which I devoured whilst chilling on the sofa Sunday night.
I had a lovely spontaneous day, exploring London in the sunshine, chilling in the park and eating great food kerbside.
Looking forward to a fabulous summer!....bring on the sun x


London Loves ~ Memorial

Last week I shared my New York memorial sites that I take comfort in visiting when in the city. This week its time to share my London loves. With New York coming out of memorial weekend, this post follows a momentous June 6th  D-Day celebrations and remembrance for the 100,000's of heroes that fought for our freedom on that eventful day and changed the face of world war 2.
London is awash with so many memorial sites its hard to select just 5, however I have and here they are.
  • Battle of Britain memorial - sited on the banks of the river Thames on Victoria Embankment, this stunning bronze frieze is sited between the RAF memorial and Westminster Bridge. Unveiled in 2005 this 3D frieze is a stunning work of art and fitting tribute to those gallant men & women that flew the skies and fought at the Battle of Britain for our freedom.
  • Animals in war - sited on Park lane adjacent to Hyde Park, this beautiful memorial celebrates the sacrifice of millions of animals throughout the world wars. Featuring a horse, donkey, dog & pigeon. the Successful play Warhorse and the Disney movie Valiant have helped to educate people on how so many different animals assisted and continue to assist us in the battles that we fight then & now. Eight million horses lost their lives in world war 1 and 100,000 & 200,000 pigeons were used respectively in WW1 & WW2, flying in all weathers often exhausted and severely wounded. 
  • The Cenotaph - This iconic memorial of the Empty Tomb on Whitehall was only ever erected to mark the remembrance of the 1st Armistice day in 1919. Built in wood and plaster the nations outpouring of remembrance was so profound that a permanent monument was erected for 1920 and remains the nations memorial site for remembrance Sunday.
  • Westminster - Westminster abbey each November becomes a stunning memorial site for Armistice day & Remembrance Sunday. It is humbling, emotional and a stunning space when filled with the poppy crosses. Here is a post from a previous visit. Inside Westminster Abbey is the grave of the unknown warrior, unveiled on the 11/11/1920 its a reminder of all those that sacrificed their lives so that we could have a better one.
  • Grosvenor Square - Sited in this little square of greenery, nestled between the hustle & bustle of Oxford street and Park Lane, adjacent to the American Embassy stands many memorials. One of the most tranquil and calming is the little peace garden built to honour those that dies in the twin towers of 9/11. As blogged previously I find comfort in the little garden often after a busy day at work. 

Here are some additional posts of memorial sites in London, remembering the heroes and giving thanks for the sacrifices that they made, featuring the women in war, and the tank regiments.
As with all London Loves posts I have plotted a map of locations of these memorials, I hope that you seek one out the next time you visit London, even if it is just to say Thankyou. x

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Look who's 1!....

Yes... Fitzwilliam & Darcy are 1 years old!... this weekend saw the kits celebrate their first birthday. No great celebrations, but they have had lots of treats. They were born in June and came to live at Teresa's Terrace in July... Looking back they have given me much delight, a little worry and lots and lots of cuddles.
The year has seen them climb curtains & shred ironing board covers. Tooth brushing is much fun when kittens discovered water in taps and a moving toothbrush!
The discovery and  the magic & sparkle of Christmas, filled with trees, baubles, paper & bags meant that December was filled with mischief and mayhem!
Best of all snuggles on the sofa still continue to be a daily treat along with them waiting for me on the doorstep to get home.
 
Happy Birthday Fitz & Darcy
xxx
 


Monday, 2 June 2014

New York Loves - Memorial

Last weekend was Memorial weekend in America. I love the fact that the US celebrate their military with a pride and a passion that outside of Remembrance weekend we don't do enough of in the UK, however I do think people loose sight of what memorial weekend is all about, and use it as an excuse to celebrate the start of summer filled with b-b-q's and fun and not remembering all those that have not made it home. Rant aside I don't want this to be a maudlin post, but a chance to see a different side of New York and one filled with pride, honour, sacrifice and thanks.
 During visits to New York I have stumbled across some beautiful memorials, which when visiting the city are worth seeking out, and give you pause for thought in a city that really doesn't sleep.
FDNY Memorial Wall - running alongside 10 ladder company's firehouse adjacent to the World Trade Centre site is a beautiful bronze memorial depicting life as a New York Firefighter as the twin towers fell. It is a stunning sympathetic piece of art which has been masterfully crafted, dedicated to the 343 fire officers that lost their life on that fateful day. Here are my thoughts when I visited it in 2012.

Governors Island - Governors Island, a 172 acre island in the heart of New York Harbour, previously a military base, and then home to the coastguards. It has now become a recreational area, which many of the historic buildings being held in trust. The 30 acre site is filled with many memorial sites, a perfect place to relax and enjoy the views onto Brooklyn and Manhattan.
NYPD Memorial - sited on the harbour side of the World Trade Centre, this water and wall memorial features every police office that has died in the line of duty in New York City. It is a calming space, which offers a small space of peace in area filled with hustle & bustle. Here's more from when I visited in 2011.
Battery Park - is a space filled with many memorials, the largest and the most iconic is the East Coast Memorial. This memorial honors the 4,601 missing American servicemen who lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean while engaged in combat during World War II. It is beautiful. I have blogged several times of my love of this space, here is one from 2011, when the fleet came in for Fleetweek.
9/11 memorial - this month has seen the 9/11 memorial museum and I have mixed thoughts on it. I have visited the memorial pools and found them moving, humbling and a sentimental tribute to the space and the lives lost. Here are my thoughts from the time. Having visited NY pre 9/11 and post, the memorials in place are a fitting tribute to an event that changed the face of the world we live in today. A space that allows you to pause & reflect in a tranquil environment.
As well as the memorials around the city, one of the best times to visit is during Fleetweek!... its a chance to thank a sailor or military personnel in person!.... a couple of years ago I visited in May and watched the fleet sail up the Hudson river
and  met a few sailors in Times Square!. It was a week filled with sunshine, sailors and fun in the city!... plenty of opportunity to shake them by the hand and say Thankyou.
For a little bit of light hearted fun during fleetweek, check out Sex & the City's episode called Anchors Away which features fleetweek, or read Ali McNamara's great book "From Nottinghill to New York actually. I hope that you have enjoyed this New Loves, here are my previous posts, sharing some of my favourites from New York.
~ x ~


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Social Media Sunday ~ May

Its Social Media Sunday, and a time to share with you what has made me smile and what I've liked in the world of Blogland, and  Instagram this month. I will be sharing my twitter favourites on a different post due to their re-occurring theme!
Instagram - This months favourites all have a floral theme, with spring flowers in bloom and Chelsea Flower show on in London, Instagram showcased some beautiful blooms to their best.
  • Emily Quinton - Emily posts daily, and her floral displays are just delightful. The picture of the vase of Sweet Williams are just gorgeous and the perfect bloom for May. Sweet Williams were one of my Gramps's favourite blooms, this bought back so many memories when I saw it. Emily's blog and Instagram are filled with great styling, floral and photographic ideas, along with tales of her life with 4 small children... I'm not sure how she does it.
  • HopInteriors - Mary-Ellen's photograph of floral wellingtons is full of fun at Chelsea. I met Mary-Ellen at a recent photography day and loved her styling and colour pallet. Her Instagram is filled with bold colours and sunshine.
  • Mrs_Button - another favourite Instagrammer of money who posted this gorgeous string tin & roses, perfect post for spring. Love Mrs B's styling and favourite a least one post a week. yummy x
  • Icey_mark - this gorgeous wall of blossom is full of texture and hews of spring. Mark is a very old friend and as well as posting beautiful scenery from the Pembrokeshire coast, also shares some of his fabulous pictures from his Antarctic and oceanographers travels. 
  • Klmpink - Kate's fab picture of her terrier in bluebell woods. This picture is so much fun and made me smile lots. Kate's pictures are a mixture of her Homemakery business and her cute little terrier in the country.
Blogland - two themes on the blog loves this month, decadent dining and blogging tips and organisation which I can take from blogland to desk.
  • Clover & Dot - Kate is a young new blogger that I've found who blogs some really interesting & useful posts. I love this post on keyboard shortcuts that is just fab. Some I am familiar with, but others are a revelation for both home & work... thanks K for sharing.
  • The Delicious London Eateasy - this sumptuous post features Fera the new dining experience at Claridges. This is on my food wish lists and looking at the menu it will take some saving. I have food envy that they have been as the wait list is long and between Fera and the Chiltern Firehouse are the most sought after dining spots in the Capital at the moment.
  • Beautyfull Homes - is a gorgeous styling blog discovered this month. This office essentials post ticked all my boxes, I love a bit of stationery and Kate Spade ... perfect for any desk. ( I will be sharing my own Kate Spade stationery treasures soon!)
  • Fashion Foie Gras - This blog from Emily of her relationship with Claridges Afternoon, struck many chords with me. I have a love affair with this iconic London Hotel and agree with Emily wholeheartedly with the following : "Claridge's afternoon tea is an experience I wish for everyone to have and one which is on my list now as an annual treat. It is worth every single penny saved and spent. " a delightful post filled with yummy photographs.
  • Imake - I'm trying to be a little more planned and organised with my blog life and came across this bullet journal post which I have enjoyed. I would love to be a technical organiser, but alas I'm not, it doesn't work for me. I am a pen & paper girl!.. liking the tips and will share my thoughts later this month.
Thankyou to all that have posted me comments, messages or 'likes' on twitter, Instagram or my blog. They mean a lot and always put a smile on my face...
so this month what have you been tweeting, 'liking' following lately? would love to know. What blog recommendations do you have ... happy Sunday x

Monday, 30 June 2014

#Project Life ~ June


Well where did June go?.... how we can be diving into July is beyond me.... before we plunge headfirst into July, let me share what kept me busy in June.
First of all, blog posts were few are far between in June for a number of reasons, and they weren't because I was hooked on the football!... Sale started at work which kept me busy and a horrible virus knocked me for six for over a week. I can cope with a summer cold, it was the dizziness and fainting I didn't cope very well with, it was like having perpetual jet lag. A call to the Dr's resulted in me finding out that I had been de-registered as I don't visit enough or generate enough income for the surgery!.. I have now to re-register which I can only do between the hours of 10 & 2!... clearly not catering for the employed!. (rant over!!)
  • Sale was fruitful and I bagged a number of birthday & Christmas presents to put in the present cupboard. I did also bag a new work bag which I will share later this month!.
  • The Kits turned one and they had lots of treats & cuddles to celebrate.... they have bought a year of mischief and mayhem to T's terrace, but bought lots of love & fun.
  • Early in the month I spent a Sunday soaking up the sun in the Parks & Southbank of the city, enjoying great food & drinks  from Kerb.
  • At the beginning of the month I spent a Saturday morning in a picturesque village in Surrey meeting up with some crafting ladies and Kate from The Homemakery which was lovely. We have been blogging buddies for over 5 years and it was lovely to finally meet up... looking forward to more craft dates later in the year.
  • I also spent a day on the Dorset coastline, enjoying some downtime and loving my camera. The day also included a visit to Mr Selfridge's weekend retreat at Highcliff castle.
As well as getting out and about I've enjoyed catching up on some magazine reads along with a couple of TV shows, one of which was Beckham into the Unknown,... David's journey from Rio down the Amazon. I thoroughly enjoyed the TV show, DB's best friend made me laugh throughout. A fun and entertaining show.
This month I also grabbed a copy of Mollie Makes special edition Photography magazine which is just great... lovely to see another blogging bud Shimelle as the feature editor.

As well as shopping at Selfridges I also did a little online shopping at Fineside. Fineside is the clothing brand from Jonny Wilkinson and his brother. Jonny tweeted that he was on the packing floor packing orders post rugby retirement. I was very excited to receive the attached with my order!
 
I hope to blog a little more in July, I have lots to share including my day in Dorset, Hampton Court, Parklife in London along with some fab beauty buys of late and a little stationery love!....
what did you do in June... would love to hear from you.. x

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Mr Selfridge's London

With the success of the TV series Mr Selfridge, his legacy lives daily on 400 Oxford street where a lot of his visions and values still live on today. Recently Selfridges announced a huge development programme for its London street store. The Weston family are continuing the Selfridges vision from 100 years ago and creating a legacy for another 100 years.
I am asked frequently by friends and family for Mr Selfridge recommendations, so here are my views on how to spend a day living the life of Mr Selfridge in London.
The TV series is not filmed at the store but at a purpose built warehouse hangar in north London, here are more details. A number of external scenes have been filmed in the city, including the exterior of the Royal College of Organists in Kensington Gore adjacent to the Royal Albert Hall. The Royal Albert Hall has close links with Selfridges as it was the venue used for the annual prize giving event for team members. Selfridges still recognises its team members with a Selfridges awards event annually and a host of iconic London landmarks have been used over the years for this event.
During his years at Selfridges - Harry, Rose & family lived at Berkeley Square, 9 Fitzmaurice Place, London which is now a private members club called The Lansdowne. A blue plaque is sited outside, recognising the home of the famous store owner. In later life Harry lived at Brook House, Park Lane alongside Grosvenor House opposite the Animals in War memorial. Both are short walks from the London store.
A little further afield at The London Museum is the original Selfridges Lift doors installed in 1928 and then finally removed in 1972. The heavy gold zodiac signature lift doors, were one of Selfridges showcase features, along with the lift attendants.
Over the years Selfridges rooftop has hosted many events and activities, from fashion shows, afternoon tea and golf. The original rooftop gardens were destroyed in the Blitz of WW2.
The rooftop has been replicated in various ways on many occasions, recently with a Green Boating lake for the launch of Truvia, to London's crazy golf course, and lunch with Daylesford. This year its all about the laid back rooftop dining with Q on the roof. With a sliding roof and personalised lift this is a must this summer. Booking is preferable... Here's more on Q on the roof.
If the rooftop isn't for you then there are a number of venues inside the store to sample a little of the Selfridge life. Dolly's is an art deco inspired café sited in the lower ground floor around the atrium. It is named after The Dolly sisters,  a pair of glamorous identical twins, who entranced audiences and Harry Gordon Selfridge alike. 
Sited on the 2nd floor in the western gallery is The Corner Restaurant, this luxurious Ladies that lunch venue hosts a gorgeous Mr Selfridge afternoon tea, complete with Top Hat treats. Perfect venue to relax and enjoy the treats & delights that Mr Selfridge has to offer.
If Lunch or Afternoon Tea are not for you, then grab a beer or a cocktail or coffee in the Harry Gordon Bar in the basement. This snug like bar is perfect for relaxing after work, or a coffee in the morning. I've met many friends here and they all comment on how relaxing it is considering you are in the middle of a busy department store. Here is a post from a previous visit.
I hope that you have enjoyed my little slice of Mr Selfridges life in London, I will be sharing soon his weekend life at Highcliff Castle in Dorset which I visited recently. Here is more about the man who changed the face of Oxford street.

Friday, 27 June 2014

London Loves - Burgers

This month I shared my New York burger loves and today I am sharing my London burger loves. The London Burger scene has exploded over the last couple of years and now London is a strong contender for the Burger capital of the world, offering some fabulous patty's from some of the best burger joints.
Here are 5 of my favourites across the city:

Patty & Bun - this fabulous little gem of a burger bar is hidden down a side street off Oxford Street and queuing is a legendary now as its burgers. There Ari Gold burger is one of their signature dishes and is mouth-wateringly delicious medium rare burger complete with signature burger sauce, cheese, onions .. A feast for the taste buds. Not for the neat eater as it is gloriously sloppy, can only be eaten with a bib!. The ambiance has a real old school feel, with wooden tables & chairs and lots of brown Kraft paper! The burgers are delicious, melt in the mouth perfect accompanied with rosemary salted fries.
Meat Liquor - queuing for entry into this burger joint is mandatory, nestled underneath a carbuncle of a car park, behind Debenhams in Oxford street, this cool edgy burger joint has managed to transfer the street vibe of a burger van into a edgy underground meat & liquor joint. Great food, fab ambience and perfect for a fun night out with friends.
Byron Burger - I've been a huge fan of Byron Burgers for many years, from its cool old school warehouse in Islington, to its theatre bars in Leicester square and Covent garden, I'm a fan. Fabulous burgers and Brooklyn beer its the perfect venue for a burger, beer & fun with friends. Their Bacon cheeseburger is my favourite and I have never been disappointed on any visit.
Bleecker Burgers - this cool little burger van is much sort after around the streets of London, found often alongside the Gherkin or on the streets of Kings cross, this burger joint serves amazing tasting burgers straight from the New York streets... if you see this little black van, its a must.
Brgr. Co is a burger joint in Soho which I have visited twice, both occasions for its very fun Burger afternoon tea. I have sampled its summer tea and its Christmas holiday version which were gorgeous, perfect little treat in the city.
As with all London loves posts, here is a map of my burger favourites in London.

 If this post has wetted your taste buds for exploring London's Burger bars Here are some other burger posts from my blog over the last couple of years.... enjoy x

Monday, 16 June 2014

New York Loves ~ Burgers

America is home of the hamburger and within New York I think they host some of the best burger joints in the world.(I also believe that London comes a close 2nd!) Originating from German and Dutch settlers in the Eastern states in the 1800's Burgers or Patty's come in many forms. From Sliders, Deckers and Slopy's they all have a part to play in the rise of restaurants delivering a great burger.
Here's 5 of my favourites;
  • Shake Shack - celebrating it's 10th birthday last week, this iconic Burger bar started out as a Hot Dog stand in Madison square park. Now it has a 24hr line cam for all to view the length of the line for ordering. Shake Shack now have 2 other locations in NY which offers in house seating, all keeping the vibe & ethos of the original. Here's 24 things that I didn't know about Shake Shack!. A visit to the Shack is a must for any trip to New York, Hamburger, Cheesy fries & frozen custard is a must for me on each trip.
  • Minetta Tavern - this Greenwich Village eatery opened its doors in 1937, chef Keith McNally took over the reins in 2009 and this iconic bar is back on the map as a place to be seen & eat. McNally is behind some of NY's other food successes, such as Balthazar and Pastis. Minetta is famed for its Black Burger - at $27dollars its not a fast food, but made with some of the worlds best ingredients its the caviar of the burger word.
  • Burger Joint - Le Parker Meridien - situated behind a curtain in the lobby of a New York hotel is the last place you would expect to find this graffiti old school burger joint. However Burger joint in the Le Parker Meridien hotel is just that. Serving Burgers along with beer and wine, its the perfect place to meet up with friends. I loved this cool little burger joint when I visited. Burgers are good and the vibe is very cool.
  • PJ Clarkes - this very cool bar restaurant not only serves one of the best burgers in the city but has a history dating back to 1884, it has fought prohibition, depression and is one of Manhattan's iconic bars. A favourite of Jackie Kennedy, Frank Sinatra to name but a few, this bar is worth a visit just to revisit that old school glamour. Situated on 3rd avenue its worth popping into, even if its just for a beer.
  • Bill's Bar & Burgers - sited just along from the Rockefeller centre this burger bar is the biggest stand alone burger joint in the US. With the capacity to seat 400, booking is advisable at busy holiday periods. Opening in 2009, I found this burger bar on a cold snowy blizzards' weekend and was thankful for the warmth & fabulous food it offered.

As with all 5 loves posts, here is a map of my New York locations for you to try..... enjoy.

What are your New York Burger recommendations and why?.... would love to hear so that I can add to my list for my next visit. I hope that you have enjoyed my NY loves post this week Here are my previous posts, pop back next week for London's equivalent burger loves.
.... (please note that all views are my own and I have not received any payment for this post)

Sunday, 15 June 2014

World Cup Widows....

Its seems that football fever has taken over the UK and over the coming 5 weeks the World Cup will cause more arguments, influence peoples lives and be the main topic of conversation in offices, by water coolers and in pubs across the nation.
 .... it seems that the only conversation in the office is of a footballing nature and my daily job is to update the wall planner as the final whistle blows!...
 

So, this got me thinking of all the benefits that the world cup has to offer us ladies!.. here's a few of my suggestions
  • Chick Flick Cinema ~ plan your visit to coincide with a popular game, the road's are empty and 2 hours of uninterrupted bliss watching a great movie or chick flick, here's what's grabbed my attention in the releases over the world cup period:
  • Jersey Boys - this is one of the best theatre musicals in the west end, and pleased to see it hit the big screen, a fascinating story, and one you will know all the songs to!

  • Devils Knot - This gripping film is based on the true story of the murder of three young boys in West Memphis, Ark.Three young boys playing in the nearby woods never come home for dinner. starring Colin Firth & Reece Witherspoon... a gripping viewing.

  • The Fault in Our Stars - this heartbreaking film is based on an award winning novel Hazel and Gus are two teenagers.Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel's other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.

  • and finally one that will have the nation as divided as the football!... Walking on Sunshine is like Mamma Mia meets the 80's. Set in southern Italy, after a whirlwind romance, Maddie is preparing to marry gorgeous Italian Raf, and has invited her sister Taylor to the wedding. Unbeknownst to Maddie, however, Raf is Taylor's ex-holiday flame, and the love of her life..

  • Afternoon Tea ~ especially for those afternoon games, for something a little different  in London check out these Pimms Cocktail Chocolate , Wimbledon Afternoon Tea, or from the Shard viewing the Landscape of London
  • Beauty Hall Treats ~ check out your local department store, lot's are hosting beauty event evenings during the tournament.
  • Theatre ~ lot's of theatres are offering discount tickets, some London theatres from £10 a ticket..
  • Shop the Sales ~ most retailers have gone into sale early to compete... check
  • Grab a good book or visit the library,curl up with a coffee, chocolate & a book... mmm heaven .If you can't bet them then join them with a footballing romp of a read.
    • I am the Secret Wag - behind the scenes of life as a footballers wife... which England football player's wag has written this?  
    • Wags at the World Cup -  this is the very funny, very silly tale of Tracie Martin - Wag extraordinaire - who gets herself into the most astonishing amount of trouble in Brazil while following her husband - a coach to the England team - in the 2014 tournament
    • The Beautiful Game -  there's a lot more to being a WAG than holidays, heels, hair extensions and handbags. In the cut-throat world of Premiership football, it's not just a game of two halves - it's survival of the fittest. And some will go to any lengths to stay at the top... 
  • Blog hop.... follow 10 new blogs that you find hopping during the football... we all know how we can loose hours whilst blogging!
  • Grab a picnic and escape to the park to lay in the sunshine, drink Pimms and relax.
  • Alternatively if all these fail, grab a box set and loose yourself for a few hours in escapism I am planning on revisiting Greys Anatomy from the beginning, as Dr McDreamy can brighten any dull evening for me... how delicious is he!!


     

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Hanging up his golden boots....

A few weeks ago I travelled to Cardiff to watch the Heineken Cup at the Millennium Stadium. With Saracens pitted against Toulon, this was always going to be a match that I would have mixed feelings on the end result. As a Saracens fan I would have loved to have seen them lift the cup, however with this being Jonny Wilkinson penultimate game before retirement, I wanted him to win as well!
From the age of 7 this superstar became obsessed with Rugby, and it is this obsession with the game that has been his triumphs and his downfall at times. It is his self belief or lack of at times that his crippled and  raised his game to stratospheric levels. I have been lucky to see Jonny play on several occasions and what shone for me was his team work, his drive and the fact that he has the best thighs in rugby!.  I've seen him drop goals in sub zero temperatures and kick his team to victory on the hallowed turf of Twickenham. Jonny is the perfect sportsman, world class at his level but incredibly humble with it.
Here's some images from my trip to Cardiff, to watch the golden boots of a superstar one last time. Several sports personalities earning £1,000's per day would learn a lot from this guys ethos.
I arrived at the stadium to see the squad buses arrive. Within 15 minutes of arrival Jonny was on the pitch practising his ball skills prior to kick off for 45 minutes before the game. This is the testament of someone dedicated to his game.
We will no longer see that legendary preparation and wiggle as Jonny lines up the ball for the kick to goal.
Every touch of the ball, regardless of what team shirt the spectators were wearing Jonny was met with a heroes welcome, and received a standing ovation as he left the pitch 2 minutes from the end.

With tears in his eyes he lifted the Heineken Cup with cheers and clapping around the stadium. A hero in the rugby world that we may never see the likes of again.
Here is a fabulous tribute from Jonnys peers both in the uk

 and on the other side of the world from the All Blacks hottie Dan Carter!

and finally my two sports heros in one advert for adidas!

So farewell Jonny, as you hang up your golden boots, you will be missed, not only for your legendary rugby skills, but the fact you got a whole generation of ladies to love rugby!


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Please look after this bear....

A few weekends back I took a train from Paddington station in London, on arrival into station I was delighted to see said namesake's iconic bear statue.
Paddington is a childhood favourite of mine, and loved watching the joy & delight this little bronze statue had on the little kids and big kids alike whilst I waited for my train.

Paddington may pop-up in a number of blog posts this year for me. He will be starring in his own movie, much has been said of the imagery of Paddington, but I think it is an accurate reflection of the original drawings from Michael Bond and his original statue, rather than the cutesy cartoon of the 70's & 80's.

The movie is directed by David Heyman. Paddington is voiced by Colin Firth and Mr Brown played by Hugh Bonneville with an accompanying ensemble cast line up of Nicole Kidman, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Sally Hawkins and Matt Lucas. With a November release date this will be one of the family Christmas movies!.
Full Trailer here:
From this trailer it looks like Paddington is getting upto his usual mischief & mayhem!

Paddington may also be doing something exciting this year with Selfridges, which at the moment I need to keep under my hat (similarly to Paddington's marmalade sandwiches)
Did you know that the bear that inspired Michael Bond started on a shelf in Selfridges!.....
" 24th December 1956 a BBC cameraman buys a small toy bear left alone on a shelf in Selfridges store, London, for his wife Brenda. Named Paddington, after the station close to Michael Bond’s home, the bear inspires him to write eight episodes in just over a week."
I will keep you posted as & when I can of this exciting adventure with a Bear, marmalade sandwiches and fabulous red wellingtons!.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Words Wednesday ~ June reads

This month I've only managed 4 books, my commute has involved the car more often this month and unfortunately I am unable to read & drive! However what I have read I've enjoyed lots; here's what's kept be gripped as I have navigated myself from east to west London.
  • The Unpredictable Consequences of Love ~ Jill Mansell; How many secrets can an idyllic Cornish seaside town hold. This novel centres around Sophie, a girl who fled to Cornwall after a traumatic break-up, and now reluctant to fall in love. Sophie is a budding photographer, this brings her into contact with many of the locals. From Dot the local hotelier, Josh her grandson and business partner, (recently returned from LA,) to Reilly a feckless surfer and nephew to the local famous author, who admires Tula, Sophie's best friend. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Jill Mansell manages to write books that you wish you were an extra in, filled with great characters, and a seaside town that I wish I could spend a holiday in.
  • With all My Love ~ Patricia Scanlan; Spanning 3 generations Patricia Scanlan has written another epic Irish family saga. Briony is daughter to Valerie and mother to Katie, whilst helping her mother move into her house in Spain she discovers a letter from her beloved grandmother Tessa. Briony's father died when she was a little girl, which resulted in the families becoming estranged. This is a heartfelt story dealing with the complexities of growing up in Ireland and dealing with the laws, gossip and bigotry of a small Irish village and the lies, betrayal and sacrifices within a family. This book really struck a chord with me, growing up with strong matriarchal women in my family, and the complexities of a grandmother / mother / granddaughter relationship. An absorbing read.
  • Before we Met ~ Lucie Whitehouse; Hannah is newly married following a whirlwind romance crossing the Atlantic, between London and New York with Mark. One weekend Mark doesn't come home from NY.  Is Hannah's concern just paranoia, or does Mark have another woman, or is something more sinister? As Hannah starts to dig into Marks life, she realises that she may not know her husband as well as she thinks or at all. This is a great domestic thriller or Chick Noir as it is being labelled. I enjoyed this book, it appealed to my cynical mind!...
  • Me Before You - JoJoMoyes; where do I star with this book, this book has languished in my "to read" pile since it was published. Knowing a little of the subject matter, I have put off reading it thinking it would be too depressing to read on commute to work. How wrong was I! Yes this book does deal with assisted suicide, but it also deals with so much more. The journey that the 2 characters Lou and Will take to get there is heartbreakingly beautiful. The story revolves around Will, a successful, outgoing, businessman, until one day all that is taken away from him when he is hit by a bus. Will finds himself a quadriplegic, in a chair with no desire for life, surrounded by memories of a life passed. Lou is a 26 year old girl living in a small town, she can tell you the number of steps between her parents home and the café where she works, spending time with a boyfriend she's not even sure she loves anymore. Finding herself out of work Lou takes on the job of being Wills companion, employed by his mother in the faint hope that she can change his mind from a date booked in Switzerland. Can Lou change Wills mind and show him that life is worth living after the 6 months?  This book is one of the most heart-breaking love story's I have ever read, it also one of the funniest, with laugh out loud moments, it will have you crying and laughing all in the same paragraph. It deals with an incredibly brave subject and it will make you question your beliefs and wishes. This book should be in everyone's 100 books to read in a lifetime list.
As you can see a mixed and varied reading pile for June, all 4 recommended for reading on the couch, in the garden, on the beach or on the tube!... hankies optional for a couple and a must for 1.
What have you been reading this month and what are you recommending?
 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Sunday Sunshine

Waking early on Sunday morning I decided to forgo any jobs indoors and get out and about in the sunshine. I had planned to draft a few blog posts but parked them for a day in the park!  I jumped on the tube and headed into London, armed with camera and kindle. With a beautiful blue sky and sunshine forecast all day I knew there would be plenty for me to explore in London to enjoy the weather. I started my day in St James Park, where I grabbed a coffee and muffin and sat and just enjoyed the scenery. I had such a fabulous time in the park and took so many pictures, it warrants its own post to itself!
The Mall running alongside the park was closed to traffic, as later in the day the culmination of the Help for Heroes ride from Belgium, through the French war memorials to London was finishing along the Mall. With many military activities happening in and around the park I was lucky to see the Queens cavalry pass by in preparation for changing of the guard. Buck house looked glorious in the sunshine.
After enjoying the morning in the park, I walked down to the river and walked across to the South Bank, where lots of people were enjoying the sunshine. From the Prosecco deckchairs along the river bank to the water fountains which the kids and big kids were enjoying. London looks gorgeous in the sunshine.
From the Southbank I headed behind Festival Hall to sample some of the wares on sale at the Kerb Food festival.  Kerb is one of the best food street events which pop up over London at different times. With a superb and varied selection of traders, its a great way to sample street food at their best.
With such an array of street food on offer I was spoilt for choice; after cooling down with a Grapefruit & Campari iced popsicle from Ice Kitchen which was refreshing and full of yummy sour flavours.
 
I opted for a salt beef on rye from Bell & Brisket, which was melt in the mouth delicious, washed down with a homemade lemonade from Square Root poured from its converted bicycle.
 Desert could only come from Kooky Bakes, I met Scott from KB in Selfridges a coupe of years ago and we are Instagram/Twitter buddies, so it was nice to catch up, if only briefly ... longer next time!.. Before I left  I picked up a salted caramel whoopee pie, which I devoured whilst chilling on the sofa Sunday night.
I had a lovely spontaneous day, exploring London in the sunshine, chilling in the park and eating great food kerbside.
Looking forward to a fabulous summer!....bring on the sun x


London Loves ~ Memorial

Last week I shared my New York memorial sites that I take comfort in visiting when in the city. This week its time to share my London loves. With New York coming out of memorial weekend, this post follows a momentous June 6th  D-Day celebrations and remembrance for the 100,000's of heroes that fought for our freedom on that eventful day and changed the face of world war 2.
London is awash with so many memorial sites its hard to select just 5, however I have and here they are.
  • Battle of Britain memorial - sited on the banks of the river Thames on Victoria Embankment, this stunning bronze frieze is sited between the RAF memorial and Westminster Bridge. Unveiled in 2005 this 3D frieze is a stunning work of art and fitting tribute to those gallant men & women that flew the skies and fought at the Battle of Britain for our freedom.
  • Animals in war - sited on Park lane adjacent to Hyde Park, this beautiful memorial celebrates the sacrifice of millions of animals throughout the world wars. Featuring a horse, donkey, dog & pigeon. the Successful play Warhorse and the Disney movie Valiant have helped to educate people on how so many different animals assisted and continue to assist us in the battles that we fight then & now. Eight million horses lost their lives in world war 1 and 100,000 & 200,000 pigeons were used respectively in WW1 & WW2, flying in all weathers often exhausted and severely wounded. 
  • The Cenotaph - This iconic memorial of the Empty Tomb on Whitehall was only ever erected to mark the remembrance of the 1st Armistice day in 1919. Built in wood and plaster the nations outpouring of remembrance was so profound that a permanent monument was erected for 1920 and remains the nations memorial site for remembrance Sunday.
  • Westminster - Westminster abbey each November becomes a stunning memorial site for Armistice day & Remembrance Sunday. It is humbling, emotional and a stunning space when filled with the poppy crosses. Here is a post from a previous visit. Inside Westminster Abbey is the grave of the unknown warrior, unveiled on the 11/11/1920 its a reminder of all those that sacrificed their lives so that we could have a better one.
  • Grosvenor Square - Sited in this little square of greenery, nestled between the hustle & bustle of Oxford street and Park Lane, adjacent to the American Embassy stands many memorials. One of the most tranquil and calming is the little peace garden built to honour those that dies in the twin towers of 9/11. As blogged previously I find comfort in the little garden often after a busy day at work. 

Here are some additional posts of memorial sites in London, remembering the heroes and giving thanks for the sacrifices that they made, featuring the women in war, and the tank regiments.
As with all London Loves posts I have plotted a map of locations of these memorials, I hope that you seek one out the next time you visit London, even if it is just to say Thankyou. x

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Look who's 1!....

Yes... Fitzwilliam & Darcy are 1 years old!... this weekend saw the kits celebrate their first birthday. No great celebrations, but they have had lots of treats. They were born in June and came to live at Teresa's Terrace in July... Looking back they have given me much delight, a little worry and lots and lots of cuddles.
The year has seen them climb curtains & shred ironing board covers. Tooth brushing is much fun when kittens discovered water in taps and a moving toothbrush!
The discovery and  the magic & sparkle of Christmas, filled with trees, baubles, paper & bags meant that December was filled with mischief and mayhem!
Best of all snuggles on the sofa still continue to be a daily treat along with them waiting for me on the doorstep to get home.
 
Happy Birthday Fitz & Darcy
xxx
 


Monday, 2 June 2014

New York Loves - Memorial

Last weekend was Memorial weekend in America. I love the fact that the US celebrate their military with a pride and a passion that outside of Remembrance weekend we don't do enough of in the UK, however I do think people loose sight of what memorial weekend is all about, and use it as an excuse to celebrate the start of summer filled with b-b-q's and fun and not remembering all those that have not made it home. Rant aside I don't want this to be a maudlin post, but a chance to see a different side of New York and one filled with pride, honour, sacrifice and thanks.
 During visits to New York I have stumbled across some beautiful memorials, which when visiting the city are worth seeking out, and give you pause for thought in a city that really doesn't sleep.
FDNY Memorial Wall - running alongside 10 ladder company's firehouse adjacent to the World Trade Centre site is a beautiful bronze memorial depicting life as a New York Firefighter as the twin towers fell. It is a stunning sympathetic piece of art which has been masterfully crafted, dedicated to the 343 fire officers that lost their life on that fateful day. Here are my thoughts when I visited it in 2012.

Governors Island - Governors Island, a 172 acre island in the heart of New York Harbour, previously a military base, and then home to the coastguards. It has now become a recreational area, which many of the historic buildings being held in trust. The 30 acre site is filled with many memorial sites, a perfect place to relax and enjoy the views onto Brooklyn and Manhattan.
NYPD Memorial - sited on the harbour side of the World Trade Centre, this water and wall memorial features every police office that has died in the line of duty in New York City. It is a calming space, which offers a small space of peace in area filled with hustle & bustle. Here's more from when I visited in 2011.
Battery Park - is a space filled with many memorials, the largest and the most iconic is the East Coast Memorial. This memorial honors the 4,601 missing American servicemen who lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean while engaged in combat during World War II. It is beautiful. I have blogged several times of my love of this space, here is one from 2011, when the fleet came in for Fleetweek.
9/11 memorial - this month has seen the 9/11 memorial museum and I have mixed thoughts on it. I have visited the memorial pools and found them moving, humbling and a sentimental tribute to the space and the lives lost. Here are my thoughts from the time. Having visited NY pre 9/11 and post, the memorials in place are a fitting tribute to an event that changed the face of the world we live in today. A space that allows you to pause & reflect in a tranquil environment.
As well as the memorials around the city, one of the best times to visit is during Fleetweek!... its a chance to thank a sailor or military personnel in person!.... a couple of years ago I visited in May and watched the fleet sail up the Hudson river
and  met a few sailors in Times Square!. It was a week filled with sunshine, sailors and fun in the city!... plenty of opportunity to shake them by the hand and say Thankyou.
For a little bit of light hearted fun during fleetweek, check out Sex & the City's episode called Anchors Away which features fleetweek, or read Ali McNamara's great book "From Nottinghill to New York actually. I hope that you have enjoyed this New Loves, here are my previous posts, sharing some of my favourites from New York.
~ x ~


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Social Media Sunday ~ May

Its Social Media Sunday, and a time to share with you what has made me smile and what I've liked in the world of Blogland, and  Instagram this month. I will be sharing my twitter favourites on a different post due to their re-occurring theme!
Instagram - This months favourites all have a floral theme, with spring flowers in bloom and Chelsea Flower show on in London, Instagram showcased some beautiful blooms to their best.
  • Emily Quinton - Emily posts daily, and her floral displays are just delightful. The picture of the vase of Sweet Williams are just gorgeous and the perfect bloom for May. Sweet Williams were one of my Gramps's favourite blooms, this bought back so many memories when I saw it. Emily's blog and Instagram are filled with great styling, floral and photographic ideas, along with tales of her life with 4 small children... I'm not sure how she does it.
  • HopInteriors - Mary-Ellen's photograph of floral wellingtons is full of fun at Chelsea. I met Mary-Ellen at a recent photography day and loved her styling and colour pallet. Her Instagram is filled with bold colours and sunshine.
  • Mrs_Button - another favourite Instagrammer of money who posted this gorgeous string tin & roses, perfect post for spring. Love Mrs B's styling and favourite a least one post a week. yummy x
  • Icey_mark - this gorgeous wall of blossom is full of texture and hews of spring. Mark is a very old friend and as well as posting beautiful scenery from the Pembrokeshire coast, also shares some of his fabulous pictures from his Antarctic and oceanographers travels. 
  • Klmpink - Kate's fab picture of her terrier in bluebell woods. This picture is so much fun and made me smile lots. Kate's pictures are a mixture of her Homemakery business and her cute little terrier in the country.
Blogland - two themes on the blog loves this month, decadent dining and blogging tips and organisation which I can take from blogland to desk.
  • Clover & Dot - Kate is a young new blogger that I've found who blogs some really interesting & useful posts. I love this post on keyboard shortcuts that is just fab. Some I am familiar with, but others are a revelation for both home & work... thanks K for sharing.
  • The Delicious London Eateasy - this sumptuous post features Fera the new dining experience at Claridges. This is on my food wish lists and looking at the menu it will take some saving. I have food envy that they have been as the wait list is long and between Fera and the Chiltern Firehouse are the most sought after dining spots in the Capital at the moment.
  • Beautyfull Homes - is a gorgeous styling blog discovered this month. This office essentials post ticked all my boxes, I love a bit of stationery and Kate Spade ... perfect for any desk. ( I will be sharing my own Kate Spade stationery treasures soon!)
  • Fashion Foie Gras - This blog from Emily of her relationship with Claridges Afternoon, struck many chords with me. I have a love affair with this iconic London Hotel and agree with Emily wholeheartedly with the following : "Claridge's afternoon tea is an experience I wish for everyone to have and one which is on my list now as an annual treat. It is worth every single penny saved and spent. " a delightful post filled with yummy photographs.
  • Imake - I'm trying to be a little more planned and organised with my blog life and came across this bullet journal post which I have enjoyed. I would love to be a technical organiser, but alas I'm not, it doesn't work for me. I am a pen & paper girl!.. liking the tips and will share my thoughts later this month.
Thankyou to all that have posted me comments, messages or 'likes' on twitter, Instagram or my blog. They mean a lot and always put a smile on my face...
so this month what have you been tweeting, 'liking' following lately? would love to know. What blog recommendations do you have ... happy Sunday x