Sunday, 31 May 2015

May Pinks & Mints....



May has been a month filled with Mint and Pink hues, ... the colour choice for my blog make-over and styling for the month and a huge influence in my likes on Instagram this month of which today I am sharing some favourites.
Flowers also featured lots wothin my month with the flower show showcasing its finest flowers; fauna over at Chelsea...


  • BrickDust&Glitter ~ this gorgeous rose and thistle setting is lovely. I am really loving Emily's simple styling amongst everyday life.
  • Gorgeous painted wedding cake on Evoke weddings page.
  • Stunning Ranunculus from Rockmystyle .. a perfect bloom for this month.
  • Gorgeous blooms from the personal shopping lounge at Selfridges courtesy of stylist Kitty Cooper.
  • Another May bloom favourite - Sweet Williams, personal favourite from a favourite instagrammer and friend Emily Quinton.
  • Gorgeous green & pink blooms in the lounge of the Ham Yard hotel; London's most 'happening' hotel of the moment courtesy of my friend Elaine. I am in love with this room, just perfect.
  • Another lovely image from Emily Quinton... featuring 2 favourites New York & flowers.
  • A new instagram find this month Siobhaise who showcases everything pretty in London... gorgeous tulips against the backdrop of St Paul's.
  • finally for this set the gorgeous David Gandy against the backdrop of some glorious blooms, just because!!.. a great image from my stylist friend Joe, who instagrams fabulous looks on a daily basis and some great stylish men! 
  • This beautiful crocheted blanket from Jackie at polkadotsandpetticoats fits my colour palette perfectly for May... I love it.
  • Love this coffee and layer cake image from mrworzech whilst at Peggy Porschen's parlour.
  • The Berkeley's simple image of its stunning pret-a-portea afternoon tea china is beautiful.
  • My friend Ali Mcnamara shared this shot of her new book which publishes late July which i'm so looking forward to. (pop back late July when I share some fun that Ali & I will have the week this book launches) or follow Ali as she shares some pre-publish fun in the Cornish village of St Ives this week.
  • how stunning is this floral arrangement shared by Dan Doherty executive chef at Duck & Waffle, beautifully styled against the backdrop of the Canary Wharf and the city.
  • This fun photo from Victoria at Tangledsweetpea evoked many nostalgic memories, and many of you know I can't resist an Enid Blyton book.
  • Very did a great job of showcasing their green blender to its spring best... great publicity shot.
  • This stylish shot from pinkele3 from the Chelsea flower show is simple & effective and the blooms & brochure compliment each other perfectly.
  • I love following Tracey and her family and home life on the Isle of Wight, fond memories of a many childhood holidays on the island... love these baking delights.

I hope that you have liked my Instagram pinks and mints from May, thankyou to all 'grammers for posting such gorgeous images. If you have enjoyed this post here are some previous social media posts.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Breakfast 31 floors above London

Something that is firmly becoming a favourite of mine in London is breakfast in lovely locations, .....especially if they showcase the city as it wakens to a new day.
Last week during Chelsea Flower show week I grabbed breakfast 31 floors above the city at Aqua Shard. Its been on my list of things to do and I couldn't have picked a better morning to spend an hour watching the city wake up.
The elevator transports you up 31 floors in seconds and opens you up to a stunning floor to ceiling view of London. 
With a 7am booking, I really did feel like I was on top of London as it began to come alive for the day. The décor of Aqua Shard has a modernist gentleman lounge feel, complete with purple and liberty print seating with, its stylish & decadent glamour. Aqua showcases itself with lots of mirrors and without lots of high fixtures, thus creating an environment which is both secluded and private but also maximising the most of the view and light. With virtual panoramic views from the east to the west and north to south it is stunning.
The breakfast menu is varied and caters for all food requirements. If I wasn't hot footing it to work after, the breakfast cocktails looked delicious. An almond milk based cocktail with raspberries & chambord topped with kellogg's cornflakes. I opted for the English breakfast, which sourced all of its ingredients from the british isles; flavoursome and perfectly cooked, the perfect start to the day. 
As well as offering amazing views whilst dining and drinking, Aqua Shard also offers fabulous views whilst visiting the bathrooms. Obviously there is some privacy for certain moments, but I'm sure that there aren't many hand-washing facilities that offer views like these! During my visit Aqua Shard were showcasing a glorious floral display from their floral partner Mcqueens 
flowers celebrating Chelsea Flower Show week in London. The watering can waterfall of pinks & purples along with wheel barrows and crates of vintage flowers was just beautiful. The room was filled with the scent of the geraniums and jasmine along the pink & purple hues of wisteria, rhododendrons, lupins, and roses. stunningly beautiful.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Aqua Shard, and will definitely be returning ... highly recommended for a breakfast treat pre-work.


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Chelsea Flower show - avenue & artisan

Friday afternoon I took a few hours off work and headed west to the beautiful grounds of the Old Chelsea Hospital to browse and marvel at the Floral and Landscape artists of the Chelsea Flower show. I have been a couple of times before, however this was the first time with an afternoon ticket and I liked the time and it felt a little more relaxed than the early morning rush I have experienced previously.In this post I am going to share some favourites from the show gardens, having watched the TV show and read some detail online previously I knew what things I wanted to see in the time frame that I had.
Trugmakers Garden ~ Gold

A Trugmakers Garden ~ celebrates the traditional skills in Sussex that make the iconic wllow and sweet chesnut trugs. I adorded this garden it bought back waves on nostalgia of my Gramps's allotment where there was always swaiths of wildflowers, poppies and tools!. Lovely to read that a large part of this garden will be replanted at a childrens hospice in Sussex.
This garden won a Gold medal, one I think is a worthy winner.

Old Forge for Motor Neurone - Silver
Another favourite in the Artisan gardens was this gorgeous Old Forge for Motor Neurone Disease Garden which was a beautiful nostalgic garden filled with hollyhocks, buttercups, and poppies, complete with a small stream. The blacksmiths forge in disrepair,due to their inability to work due to illness. The garden was a delightful trip down a bygone era.
Great Chelsea Garden Challenge - Sean Murphy
Sean Murphy's garden was created on winning the Great Garden Challenge on the BBC. It showcased a front garden and demonstrated hoe you could have a sustainable garden with urban living accommodating parking, but incorporating drainage and opportunities for insects and wildlife. I really liked this garden and would like to incorporate some of these ideas when I finally get round to dosing something with my jungle and drive!.
Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden 
Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden - Gold & Best in show
Designed by Dan Pearson who returned to Chelsea after a hiatus of several years worked with LP and Chatsworth to design a garden that is a small representation of the 105 acre garden of the Chatsworth estate. The stunning rocks and boulders used were chosen from the estate and were being returned there after their brief trip south to Chelsea.
This garden got many people and opinions but I really loved the wildness of it and as Chatsworth is on my "To Do" list this year I look forward to seeing it in its natural splendour.... Chatsworth; the inspiration for Pemberley in Pride & Prejudice... you can just see Mr Darcy walking across this heathland.
 It was also lovely to see Dan on the garden talking to spectators and guests on the planting and design of the garden.
Urban Retreat - Homebase

The Homebase Garden Urban retreat  - Gold - designed by Adam Frost this garden is inspired by the work of Marcel Breuer modernist architect and blends the balance of nature and man made environment.
The beautiful planting completely complimented the concrete, cedar and steel of the garden. I loved the foxgloves, irises and purple thistles and the colour palette was gorgeous.

Healthy Cities Garden - Chris Beardshaw - Gold
Sentebale - Hope in Vulnerability
Another garden that was filled with gorgeous purple hues was the The Healthy Cities Garden from Morgan Stanley designed by Chris Beardshaw was awarded Gold. The garden demonstrates the city designs of box hedges, and stunning vibrant planting. It was lovely to see so many vintage flowers making a huge comeback at this years Chelsea; Lupins, Irises, and foxgloves were in abundance across many gardens. This garden will relocate to a location in East London post Chelsea and I look forward to seeing it in an urban environment.
My favourite garden of the event was the stunning Sentebale - Hope in Vulnerability garden designed by Matt Keightley - awarded Silver Gilt by the judges which I think was a little harsh as it really was the most gorgeous garden.
This garden transports you to South Africa and the bright planting really stands out against the dust and stones of the hut.
Sentebale - Matt Keightley
The garden has been designed to raise awareness of HIV and provide an environment for adults to receive treatment and children to gain education and play. This garden was designed in conjunction with Prince Harry who is the patron of the Sentebale charity. Matt Keightley was on the garden when I visited on Friday and it was lovely to see him awarded later in the afternoon with the BBC Peoples Award voted by the public during the week of Chelsea ~ a worthy winner with a beautiful garden. The mulberry Irises and peonies were 2 of my favourite flowers from the day, and was lovely to see such classically british flowers styled in such a different environment.

As you can see Matt was joined by Joe and Monty from the BBC to receive his award with much humour and entertainment.
I loved walking around the gardens and found them much more accessible than previous years; Chelsea is busy and the gardens are often several deep at the viewing locations, but I didn't wait long to see the gardens and looking back at my photographs I am really please with the images captured. I hope that you have enjoyed my little plot of my favourites from the artisans and avenues.
 Pop back later in the week when I share my highlights from the Pavilion and London in Bloom.

A slice of Cornwall in London

May has seen the sun beginning to shine across the city of London lending itself to the perfect opportunity of rooftop dining. Last year Selfridges collaborated with Des McDonald to open Q on the roof during the summer which followed into Le Chalet for the winter and holiday season. After a brief closure the new Summer pop-up on the roof; Vintage Salt has opened with all the charm of a Cornish fishing village.
As in previous seasons; it is accessed by its own express lift found in the fragrance hall, which takes you from floor to five in minutes leading you into a slice of Cornwall London style. Last week my friend B and I booked lunch; which for the pair of us was a real treat in our working day. B is 7 months pregnant so any chance to sit for an hour when working in retail is a luxury; especially in such a delightful setting. Vintage salt is full of drift wood, blue, lobster nets and lots of nostalgic fishing bits.
For lunch B chose the Spring Vegetable Risotto and I the Shrimp burger with a side of fries, which were both delicious. The Risotto was creamy, fresh and full of flavour, the Shrimp burger was gorgeous, meaty and accompanied by a spicy tartare sauce which complimented the flavour of the shrimp as opposed to overpowering it. I don't usually have dessert at lunchtime but I was
desperate to try the Chocolate burger which is a chocolate & raspberry patty on a brioche bun with a white chocolate slice and a raspberry ketchup, served with churros fries and hot chocolate sauce. OH MY!! amazing....
Alongside the restaurant is a cute little bar area, complete with beach huts, deckchairs and a great cocktail menu. Alas due to work / baby we couldn't try the fun cocktails, but I will definitely seeking them out after hours.
This is a great setting for the unpredictable british weather, even with looming rain clouds the setting was perfect to pretend you were on the coast of cornwall. Thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Vintage Salt and imagine it wont be the only visit during this summer. Team, service and food were great.




Book Love ~ May

My 5 reads for this month have transported me to worlds filled with friendship, fun, flowers, New York and oodles of old school glamour. The perfect accompaniment whilst travelling across London  during my commute and as I socialised in the city.
  • The Honeymoon Hotel ~ Hester Browne  - Rosie is the events manager at the Bonneville hotel in Mayfair; a glamorous art deco hotel which prides itself on the romantic era of old school hollywood stars and royalty. Rosie is engaged to a leading food critic and prides herself on her ability to organise and manage  with the hotel managers job firmly in her sights.- (alas romance is sadly lacking within her life.) Rosie finds herself with a new intern in the guise of the hotel owners eccentric son Joe, who completely upsets Rosie's ways of working and threatens her dream job... this is a delightful read and made me instantly think of the stunning Goring hotel in London which I imagined the Bonneville to be. I completely emphasised with Rosie and her work ethic, but Joe is equally as fun and loved as the story evolved around them great supporting characters. 
  • A Vintage Wedding ~ Katie Fforde - Beth, Lindy & Rachel meet in the "save the village hall" meeting in the small Cotswold village that Beth & Rachel have just moved into and Lindy had never moved out. The girls bond and find themselves taking on the challenge of organising Beths sister's wedding over Skype and on a limited budget. Vintage weddings is born and the girls find themselves in undated with requests to help people on their big days, unknown to them their own lives will also have a sprinkling of cupids bow during the months unexpected and unplanned. This is a lovely read which transports you into idyllic village life, where everyone knows each other and pulls together to help each other. KF has done it again with a delightful read, full of gorgeous men, fun & feisty women full of love and laughter.
    David Austin Roses ~ Chelsea Flower Show 2015
  • The Rose Girls ~ Victoria Connelly - This story follows Celeste and her 2 sisters Gertie and Evie as they come to terms with their mothers death and the relationship that she held with each of them - (often not pleasant) which has left long term effects on all 3 girls. Along with this Celeste is dealing with a failed marriage and the responsibility of trying to keep the family Rose business together and stop the family home from crumbling into the surrounding moat. This book is a gentle, heart warming read, filled with the most glorious floral descriptions of roses it makes you salivate. This book was the perfect read for me in the week that London was in bloom for Chelsea Flower show and the descriptions of the roses transported me back to my Gramps rose garden and the gorgeous Bury St Edmunds rose garden from my childhood.
  • Manolos in Manhatten ~ Katie Oliver - This is the 3rd book in the Marrying Mr Darcy series and Katie pulls out all the stops here. Set in New York we catch-up with Holly James who has moved stateside to support the opening of the latest Dashwood store and her chef fiancés new restaurant. Holly soon finds herself caught up investigating a mystery surrounding an old painting found hidden in the attic of the new store. She also finds herself  spending time with 3 of NY's eligible bachelors - a leading hollywood actor, a stuffy english lawyer and her up and coming chef Jamie. Along with catching up with Holly, characters from the 2 previous Marrying Mr Darcy books also have starring roles within this 3rd book, which is a fun romp through a fashionistas world of NY with a great mystery threading through the story.
  • The Doris Day Vintage Film Club ~ Fiona Harper - Claire grew up watching Doris Day movies with her grandmother, in her spare time she hosts a  DD film club above her local pub, during the day she runs her travel agent business specialising in romantic getaways. With her grandmother gone, Claire uses Doris to make sense of her life and her friends. Claire's errant downstairs neighbour returns from a long spell abroad, unaware that Claire now lives in her grandmothers old flat; Claire finds herself living her own "pillow talk" when wires are crossed through letters & messages left on each others doorsteps, without each other meeting. Along with this she meets Nic at a social event and finds herself planning a romantic getaway for 2, unknowing that he is her annoying neighbour .... I loved this book and on completion  found myself on a rainy afternoon watching a boxset of Doris's, singing along to all her classics.
As you can see I have had much fun with my 5 reads this month.... Here's my previous Book posts, What have you been reading this month, what would you recommend, I would love to hear from you.. 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

An evening with Bradley Cooper....

twice in 6 months!... yes I have been lucky enough to spend an evening with Bradley Cooper both in the UK and state-side in the past 6 months!
Back in December I was lucky enough to get a preview ticket for this show just before opening night and was excited to see this play back on the stage that Bowie headlined back in its Broadway debut in 1979. The Booth theatre is an old Broadway theatre steeped with history and old school new york style, opening in 1916.
This visit was unplanned and was fantastic, I was blown away by Coopers performance
I loved this interview with Bradley where he talks about a famous actor who came to watch.... I may have just been there at the same time!

When I read earlier in the year that Bradley & co were heading across the Atlantic to London for a limited run of the critically acclaimed play I grabbed a ticket quickly. This play is not an easy watch; it is dark in places and can be uncomfortable at times, however this is exactly what is should be due to the subject matter and the manner in which John Merrick was treated.  For those not familiar with the subject matter; Joseph Merrick is born with debilitating deformities which see him as a point of ridicule, fascination and often as a 'circus' act freak show in the Victorian era. Rescued by Frederick Treves a leading doctor at the Whitechapel London hospital, Treves gives Merrick a home and looks after him away from ridicule and torment.
It is a moving and humbling journey and Bradley is simply stunning as Merrick. 
The play's success is built on that the play uses no prosthetics, trick lighting or gimmicks to portray this story. The floorboards are bare and set pieces are minimal. Coopers transforms on stage as Treves lists the deformities that Merrick had, and holds this for 2 hours a night on stage. He has in recent interviews detailed the back pain that he is suffering with since taking on this role.Supported by Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivalo it is a phenomenal performance and shows that he isn't just a pretty face.
The Elephant Man is only on for a short period and do think its one of the must tickets for the summer of 2015.
As well as seeing a great performance on stage it was also very lovely to see Mr Cooper in person as he left the stage door exit shortly after the performance finished..... I did think of my friend Ali, who is a huge BC fan and has had a starring role in a couple of her books!...

T's TV Treats ....

Work & life has been a little busy of late which means that any TV that I have watched has been on either replay or iplayer, however this doesn't mean that it wasn't worth watching...
  1. The C Word - a heartbreaking and amazing tribute to Lisa Lynch portrayed fabulously by the current nations acting sweetheart Sheridan Smith. The story of a magazine journalist who rose to fame writing a blog of her battles with breast cancer.. filled with love, laughter and cancer with humour and tears.This was a heart-aching and humbling watch and I hope that Lisa's family were proud of the story told and Sheridans and Paul Nichols stunning performances.
  2. DCI Banks -a police series that I've dipped in and out of over the previous years, became a must watch for me this season. With as good back stories into the characters as investigations an easy watch... my friends partner is one of the lead actresses, so its always great to catch up on the inside gossip!
  3. Vera  - love Brenda Blethyn and her portrayal of this northern police officer is just fabulous, in her scruffy mac and wellie boots and the odd glass of scotch she is just superb. This is a gritty bleak drama, tinged with some fabulous one liners from Blethyn, with a great supporting cast, tackling some difficult subjects in a great Sunday night drama. 
  4. Code of a Killer - this 2 parter was on over the Easter break and I have only just caught up with it. Follows the extraordinary true story of Alec Jeffreys who discovered DNA fingerprinting and how it was used to catch a killer of 2 girls in Leicestershire in the 1980's A fascinating incite into the determination and belief by both the scientists and police officer that what they were doing was both the right think for the girls and ground breaking for police and science going forward. .. loved this, great acting by John Simms and David Threlfall.
  5. The Detectives (Manhunt) - a 3 part series following the sexual crimes unit of the Greater Manchester police. This was a tough watch from the start but utterly compelling, a specialised detective team changing the way that rape & sexual offences are investigated. This unit over 3 nights showed how they are changing the way these crimes are dealt with, and spanned 2 years of investigations.The main investigation being that of Ray Teret long term friend of Jimmy Saville. This is a tv programme that stays with you and I applaud all of the officers working within this unit, but more than that the victims that went on camera to share their stories... brave ladies.
As you can see not much light hearted entertainment, but 5 programmes and series that I have enjoyed over the last few weeks. Here are some previous TV treats that I have enjoyed.


Monday, 18 May 2015

Victory in Europe Day...

Today on #BEDM on headlines day and although not making the headlines today I thought I would share my day in London from the recent VE Day celebrations.
I had no plans for the Sunday of the VE day weekend, I had worked a very long week and was looking forward to some downtime at home, however on waking to a glorious day I made a completely impromptu decision to head into London and join the crowds to celebrate 70 years since Victory in Europe was declared and World War 2 came to an end.
Growing up with a Grandad who fought during the war within the tank regiment and was part of the evacuation of soldiers on the beaches of Dunkirk. I am hugely proud of him and all the veterans that came home and owe a huge debt to those that gave their life for our freedom.
I arrived into London just in time to see the forces and veterans march down Whitehall past the cenotaph to horseguards parade, and then into St James Park.

I found the whole experience incredibly humbling, very emotional and a huge sense of pride to see the huge number of people that lined the streets to support forces young and old. Standing near the cenotaph was very moving as every service personnel that marched past, whether on foot or in a wheel chair saluted the cenotaph .... an honour to see and the utmost respect  to the fallen heroes.
One of the biggest cheers to resonate along Whitehall was for the Veterans and Chelsea Pensioners.
The VE day parade was concluded with flypast including a Spitfire, followed by the red arrows with their tails of red, white & blue.
The red, white & blue was showcased to its most spectacular as I turned into the Mall which was festooned with huge union jacks and a  huge crowd of spectators. We do pageant so well in this country and even the pearly kings & queens were out in their infinite style supporting the occasion.
Heading into St James Park it became a huge garden party VE day style with military vehicles, big bands, tea dances and lots of soldiers!
With lots to see and do for old and young it was a great atmosphere, bathed in glorious sunshine. London couldn't have looked better on the day.
The spitfires were a huge draw for young and old  along with the military vehicles.
I had a fabulous afternoon wandering around the park enjoying the music, and just soaking up the great atmosphere.
Leaving the park towards Parliament square it was great to walk around with no traffic and enjoy the views.
 Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and the glorious Winston Churchill were all showcased to their finest in against the backdrop of a blue sky and bathed in dappled sunshine.
My walk to the station took me back down Whitehall past the Cenotaph where a number of wreaths had been laid in commemoration of the day.
Situated in Horseguards avenue are a number of fitting memorials of heroes of World War 2... General Montgomery affectionately known as 'Monty', the Gurkha memorial and the stunning Tank Regiment memorial where I laid a small tribute to my Gramps.
I had a lovely day in London celebrating VE day with a sense of pride and thanks to all those that are no longer here and remembering my nan & gramps with much love.
I hope that you have enjoyed my VE day headlines ... if you have enjoyed this post then check out previous posts honouring our war heroes here.


Sunday, 17 May 2015

May days....

how can we be halfway through May... this month I am failing miserably with Elizabeth's #BEDM so think I am going to just enjoy reading the posts that are falling into my list, and give up on trying to post daily.
Life has been a little rocky over the past few weeks, predominately work but also stuff going on personally, so I am hoping to get back on track this week with catching up with friends and stuff. Due to some changes and restructuring at work I have a new boss, which means probably some more change over the coming months.
I have a list of blog posts to update including some fun with Shaun the Sheep, a fantastic day celebrating Victory in Europe Day (VE day in London) which was completely unplanned and some day to day stuff including fun with Fitz & Darcy...
Last night I went for an early supper with friends followed by an impromptu trip to the cinema. It's been some time since I saw a film trailer that sparked interest for me to see on the big screen and not wait for the DVD, however Spooks ticked the big screen box.
For those of you that have followed by blog will know that I am a huge Spooks fan, and was interested to see how this movie translated to a big screen and could Kit Harrington follow in the footsteps of Rupert Penry-Jones and Richard Armitage.
Having watched the movie, I can claim that yes Kit Harrington does a great job as 'lead' Spook;
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, shear escapism, full of action and London looked fabulous on the big screen. Fans of the Bourne movies will enjoy this British version, it was great to see some old Spook favourite characters along with some new faces.... I hope that this isn't the only foray in the Spook movie franchise, as it is sadly missed on our TV screens.
Looking ahead I have a busy week planned; including an evening at the Theatre and an afternoon at the Chelsea Flower show as well as a busy week at work. Hopefully I will get some time for blogging and updates before May finishes!.... have a lovely Sunday evening and a great week... 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Spring treats from the Beauty hall...

It has been some time since I posted a beauty post and I thought I would share some new products that have fallen into my beauty basket over the past couple of months for spring and in preparation for summer.
My beauty hamper basket is overflowing and I really don’t need anything, but sometimes the temptation becomes too much especially since it's so easy to click & collect at my desk. The joy of working in a store that houses the biggest beauty hall in the world means that my beauty haul is quite luxurious.
  • Mac Cinderella – Mac launched the Cinderella collection in collaboration with Disney some weeks ago to coincide with the movie release. This collection sold out on-line and in store within an hour of launch and I was lucky enough to secure the gorgeous "stroke of midnight" eye palette and the "glass slipper" lip glaze, Both perfect from desk to dusk versatile products, which have the ability to take you from ugly sister to belle of the ball in moments.
  • Victoria Beckham VBB for Nails inc – Vicky launched 2 colours with Nails inc late last year, bamboo white and judo red. With beautifully styled packaging I was tempted, however this month when I had my nails manicured at the Paint shop at work Jess my lovely nail technician talked me into trying the judo red.
 I am so glad that she did as I love it. I am not a 'bright' polish person on my hands, I am a little more adventurous on my feet, but usually opt for dark colours as they suit my small nails and skin tone better. What do you think? …. This  is a great gift for fashionistas as it’s a Vb line without the serious £ price tag and comparable to the Louboutin brand polish.
  • This month also sees another fabulous fashion collaboration with Christopher Kane and Nars. I am slowly becoming a huge fan of Nars and will now opt for that over Mac when looking at colour. The packaging is super cool and this week I bagged a lip glaze for the summer. I definitely am becoming  a lip glaze/gloss gal in the lighter months and a lipstick lady in the winter. Here's the collection in all its glory.
  • Dior – last year work hosted a huge Beauty project and I was fortunate to sample Dior's Maximiser Light boosting primer; Sally Hughes (one of the best beauty journalists) called this out last year as the primer that she couldn't live without and I completely agree with her, I love it, so versatile and whenever I use it I get asked what foundation I am wearing.
  • Tom Ford and Chanel complete my spring / summer musts ….. Chanel's waterproof mascara is a must for me in the summer months; I  suffer with an astigmatism in my eyes which creates lots of watering, so a good waterproof mascara is a must for me; Chanel ticks all my boxes and I have tried many before settling on this one. Great coverage and easy to remove.
  • Tom Ford's summer collection launched this month and a large part of it has now sold out; every year one of my must products for my bag is a great bronzer…. Along with the very stylish packaging which will look fabulous being pulled out of my handbag for retouches, the product is just heavenly.
I'm now on a beauty embargo  for a few weeks as there are a few launches happening in the coming months that I am excited about and will definitely be buying. I know that I am in a very fortunate position and get access to great exclusives and brands working in the big yellow store. I don’t think my make-up bag would look so luxurious if I didn't have a great discount and product available a few feet from my desk!... what's been falling into your beauty basket this month?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Spending a penny over coffee....

I have always been a coffee junkie and its caused many nights of insomnia due to caffeine overload however it is one of my favourite things and I really couldn't do without it. I have over the last few years taken the time to seek out independent coffee houses when I can. I do believe that a espresso / latte made with  great coffee beans is up there with an expertly mixed cocktail or perfect bottle of wine. Following from my trip to the London Coffee festival and armed with my London Coffee Guide I decided to explore a quirky coffee venue not far from work.
Nestled down a side street in Fitzrovia between Oxford street and Goodge street sits one of the quirkiest coffee shops you are ever likely to drink in!.... an old  underground Victorian Toilet.
Built in 1890 the toilet had become dormant by the 60's....50 years later it was bought to life as a cool coffee house and food bar.
The Attendant has retained much of its original features, including the porcelain urinals which make  fabulous coffee nooks.
The coffee bar is accessed by the original stairs down underground and even features its own 'coffee graffiti' wall which is a fun addition.
Coffee beans are roasted by Caravan and the milk is sourced from Ivy House farm in Somerset which has 120 Jersey dairy cows producing their milk... singularly they are great independent brands, combined they create a gorgeous coffee.... alchemy of the caffeine variety!
Along with some great NY inspired foods, I could easily pretend I was across the pond state-side.... perfect little treat.
I had much fun at the little underground coffee haven and look forward to ticking more coffee adventures in the city...
Here are some more coffee adventures from London and across the pond in New York...

Monday, 11 May 2015

Work / Life balance

Last week I had all good intentions to kick off May joining Elizabeth and her Blog Every Day in May challenge. It is something that I have tried to do the last couple of years and this year I failed miserably at the first hurdle with work completely overtaking life last week.... 62 hours in a 4 day week + saturday!... it was quite horrid!, however I am back for a new week and hopefully will participate a little more!
This week also is walk to work week and although that isn't possible I am trying to walk to the station every day and get off a couple of tube stops before my normal stop and walk a little more... check back later this week and I will share my progress!... with the mornings and evenings lighter my trek through the park is quite lovely in spring....

My walk to work is being aided by some fabulous  new trainers and I have become a "sneaker commuter" convert this yeear!.. they are blending lovely with my walk through the park.
To keep me motivated on my walk I have my much loved ipod which I have many tools & apps to keep me going. I have created a great "walk to work" playlist which takes me the 25 minute walk from home to station; featuring some funky old school classics and recent floor-fillers.
I also have 2 books on 'audible! which are a great way to read and walk. I am currently listening to my lovely friend Ali Mcnamara's  "From Nottinghill with Love"  which i'm loving listening too and also a Phillipa Gregory which is narrated by the lovely Rupert Penry-Jones which motivates me to walk an extra lap just to listen to his dulcet tones! .. I have found that I walked more listening to books as if I havent finished the chapter I walk around the block again, especially if the weather is dry.
Hopefully this week I will get over to some of the other blogs in #BEDM and look forward to catching up a little.... x

Monday, 4 May 2015

Coffee Love....

This week is National Coffee week, and Sunday saw me visiting the London Coffee festival in the London's east end. The festival is held in Brick Lane a short walk from Liverpool Street in the Old Truman Brewery building.
The morning was miserably damp and chilly, but this did not deter the huge crowds that came out to visit the brunch time slot of Sunday morning.
The London Coffee Festival is a mecca for all coffee enthusiasts and hosts everything imaginable to make, drink and accompany coffee is every form.
As well as every coffee attribute possible, there was also plenty of places to sit and enjoy the Java or Espresso Martini's.
With DJ's playing the decks and a band in the Hyde Park space the whole event had a very cool vibe about it.
The event also hosted the Coffee Master's competition where 20 baristas were pitted against each other across events to be crowned Coffee Master 2015. Disciplines of the event can be found here.
Some of my favourites from the event... Toms Coffee, every bag of coffee purchased will Toms will donate a week of clean water to someone who needs it.
Cold Brew - it seems that the cold brew phenomenon that hit New York last year is coming across the pond for this summer. Cold brews in abundance from multiple coffee merchants... looking forward to a summer of chilled coffee brew.
Milk & Sugar - Bourbon bar and Gin Parlour.
Cawston Press adult soft drinks... the Rhubarb and Apple is my favourite.I loved the stand and the juices were gorgeous.
Cakesmiths - gorgeous tray bakes perfect to accompany any cup of coffee.
CrossTown doughnuts - gorgeous glazed ring doughnuts - love the displays of these delicious rings of decadence...

With a host of coffee vendors to sip caffeine from my favourite on the day was Grumpy Mule. My espresso was the perfect hit required for the moment.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the London Coffee Festival and learnt lots about coffee & all its accompaniments.
I liked the venue and all its different rooms; however think that for the time slot that I had booked the organisers over subscribed as crowd control was an issue. (especially lots of double / single buggies - don't get me started on that rant!)

As its coffee week I will be sharing some more coffee favourites this week.... Here are 5 coffee favourites from London and 5 from New York.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

May Pinks & Mints....



May has been a month filled with Mint and Pink hues, ... the colour choice for my blog make-over and styling for the month and a huge influence in my likes on Instagram this month of which today I am sharing some favourites.
Flowers also featured lots wothin my month with the flower show showcasing its finest flowers; fauna over at Chelsea...


  • BrickDust&Glitter ~ this gorgeous rose and thistle setting is lovely. I am really loving Emily's simple styling amongst everyday life.
  • Gorgeous painted wedding cake on Evoke weddings page.
  • Stunning Ranunculus from Rockmystyle .. a perfect bloom for this month.
  • Gorgeous blooms from the personal shopping lounge at Selfridges courtesy of stylist Kitty Cooper.
  • Another May bloom favourite - Sweet Williams, personal favourite from a favourite instagrammer and friend Emily Quinton.
  • Gorgeous green & pink blooms in the lounge of the Ham Yard hotel; London's most 'happening' hotel of the moment courtesy of my friend Elaine. I am in love with this room, just perfect.
  • Another lovely image from Emily Quinton... featuring 2 favourites New York & flowers.
  • A new instagram find this month Siobhaise who showcases everything pretty in London... gorgeous tulips against the backdrop of St Paul's.
  • finally for this set the gorgeous David Gandy against the backdrop of some glorious blooms, just because!!.. a great image from my stylist friend Joe, who instagrams fabulous looks on a daily basis and some great stylish men! 
  • This beautiful crocheted blanket from Jackie at polkadotsandpetticoats fits my colour palette perfectly for May... I love it.
  • Love this coffee and layer cake image from mrworzech whilst at Peggy Porschen's parlour.
  • The Berkeley's simple image of its stunning pret-a-portea afternoon tea china is beautiful.
  • My friend Ali Mcnamara shared this shot of her new book which publishes late July which i'm so looking forward to. (pop back late July when I share some fun that Ali & I will have the week this book launches) or follow Ali as she shares some pre-publish fun in the Cornish village of St Ives this week.
  • how stunning is this floral arrangement shared by Dan Doherty executive chef at Duck & Waffle, beautifully styled against the backdrop of the Canary Wharf and the city.
  • This fun photo from Victoria at Tangledsweetpea evoked many nostalgic memories, and many of you know I can't resist an Enid Blyton book.
  • Very did a great job of showcasing their green blender to its spring best... great publicity shot.
  • This stylish shot from pinkele3 from the Chelsea flower show is simple & effective and the blooms & brochure compliment each other perfectly.
  • I love following Tracey and her family and home life on the Isle of Wight, fond memories of a many childhood holidays on the island... love these baking delights.

I hope that you have liked my Instagram pinks and mints from May, thankyou to all 'grammers for posting such gorgeous images. If you have enjoyed this post here are some previous social media posts.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Breakfast 31 floors above London

Something that is firmly becoming a favourite of mine in London is breakfast in lovely locations, .....especially if they showcase the city as it wakens to a new day.
Last week during Chelsea Flower show week I grabbed breakfast 31 floors above the city at Aqua Shard. Its been on my list of things to do and I couldn't have picked a better morning to spend an hour watching the city wake up.
The elevator transports you up 31 floors in seconds and opens you up to a stunning floor to ceiling view of London. 
With a 7am booking, I really did feel like I was on top of London as it began to come alive for the day. The décor of Aqua Shard has a modernist gentleman lounge feel, complete with purple and liberty print seating with, its stylish & decadent glamour. Aqua showcases itself with lots of mirrors and without lots of high fixtures, thus creating an environment which is both secluded and private but also maximising the most of the view and light. With virtual panoramic views from the east to the west and north to south it is stunning.
The breakfast menu is varied and caters for all food requirements. If I wasn't hot footing it to work after, the breakfast cocktails looked delicious. An almond milk based cocktail with raspberries & chambord topped with kellogg's cornflakes. I opted for the English breakfast, which sourced all of its ingredients from the british isles; flavoursome and perfectly cooked, the perfect start to the day. 
As well as offering amazing views whilst dining and drinking, Aqua Shard also offers fabulous views whilst visiting the bathrooms. Obviously there is some privacy for certain moments, but I'm sure that there aren't many hand-washing facilities that offer views like these! During my visit Aqua Shard were showcasing a glorious floral display from their floral partner Mcqueens 
flowers celebrating Chelsea Flower Show week in London. The watering can waterfall of pinks & purples along with wheel barrows and crates of vintage flowers was just beautiful. The room was filled with the scent of the geraniums and jasmine along the pink & purple hues of wisteria, rhododendrons, lupins, and roses. stunningly beautiful.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Aqua Shard, and will definitely be returning ... highly recommended for a breakfast treat pre-work.


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Chelsea Flower show - avenue & artisan

Friday afternoon I took a few hours off work and headed west to the beautiful grounds of the Old Chelsea Hospital to browse and marvel at the Floral and Landscape artists of the Chelsea Flower show. I have been a couple of times before, however this was the first time with an afternoon ticket and I liked the time and it felt a little more relaxed than the early morning rush I have experienced previously.In this post I am going to share some favourites from the show gardens, having watched the TV show and read some detail online previously I knew what things I wanted to see in the time frame that I had.
Trugmakers Garden ~ Gold

A Trugmakers Garden ~ celebrates the traditional skills in Sussex that make the iconic wllow and sweet chesnut trugs. I adorded this garden it bought back waves on nostalgia of my Gramps's allotment where there was always swaiths of wildflowers, poppies and tools!. Lovely to read that a large part of this garden will be replanted at a childrens hospice in Sussex.
This garden won a Gold medal, one I think is a worthy winner.

Old Forge for Motor Neurone - Silver
Another favourite in the Artisan gardens was this gorgeous Old Forge for Motor Neurone Disease Garden which was a beautiful nostalgic garden filled with hollyhocks, buttercups, and poppies, complete with a small stream. The blacksmiths forge in disrepair,due to their inability to work due to illness. The garden was a delightful trip down a bygone era.
Great Chelsea Garden Challenge - Sean Murphy
Sean Murphy's garden was created on winning the Great Garden Challenge on the BBC. It showcased a front garden and demonstrated hoe you could have a sustainable garden with urban living accommodating parking, but incorporating drainage and opportunities for insects and wildlife. I really liked this garden and would like to incorporate some of these ideas when I finally get round to dosing something with my jungle and drive!.
Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden 
Laurent Perrier Chatsworth Garden - Gold & Best in show
Designed by Dan Pearson who returned to Chelsea after a hiatus of several years worked with LP and Chatsworth to design a garden that is a small representation of the 105 acre garden of the Chatsworth estate. The stunning rocks and boulders used were chosen from the estate and were being returned there after their brief trip south to Chelsea.
This garden got many people and opinions but I really loved the wildness of it and as Chatsworth is on my "To Do" list this year I look forward to seeing it in its natural splendour.... Chatsworth; the inspiration for Pemberley in Pride & Prejudice... you can just see Mr Darcy walking across this heathland.
 It was also lovely to see Dan on the garden talking to spectators and guests on the planting and design of the garden.
Urban Retreat - Homebase

The Homebase Garden Urban retreat  - Gold - designed by Adam Frost this garden is inspired by the work of Marcel Breuer modernist architect and blends the balance of nature and man made environment.
The beautiful planting completely complimented the concrete, cedar and steel of the garden. I loved the foxgloves, irises and purple thistles and the colour palette was gorgeous.

Healthy Cities Garden - Chris Beardshaw - Gold
Sentebale - Hope in Vulnerability
Another garden that was filled with gorgeous purple hues was the The Healthy Cities Garden from Morgan Stanley designed by Chris Beardshaw was awarded Gold. The garden demonstrates the city designs of box hedges, and stunning vibrant planting. It was lovely to see so many vintage flowers making a huge comeback at this years Chelsea; Lupins, Irises, and foxgloves were in abundance across many gardens. This garden will relocate to a location in East London post Chelsea and I look forward to seeing it in an urban environment.
My favourite garden of the event was the stunning Sentebale - Hope in Vulnerability garden designed by Matt Keightley - awarded Silver Gilt by the judges which I think was a little harsh as it really was the most gorgeous garden.
This garden transports you to South Africa and the bright planting really stands out against the dust and stones of the hut.
Sentebale - Matt Keightley
The garden has been designed to raise awareness of HIV and provide an environment for adults to receive treatment and children to gain education and play. This garden was designed in conjunction with Prince Harry who is the patron of the Sentebale charity. Matt Keightley was on the garden when I visited on Friday and it was lovely to see him awarded later in the afternoon with the BBC Peoples Award voted by the public during the week of Chelsea ~ a worthy winner with a beautiful garden. The mulberry Irises and peonies were 2 of my favourite flowers from the day, and was lovely to see such classically british flowers styled in such a different environment.

As you can see Matt was joined by Joe and Monty from the BBC to receive his award with much humour and entertainment.
I loved walking around the gardens and found them much more accessible than previous years; Chelsea is busy and the gardens are often several deep at the viewing locations, but I didn't wait long to see the gardens and looking back at my photographs I am really please with the images captured. I hope that you have enjoyed my little plot of my favourites from the artisans and avenues.
 Pop back later in the week when I share my highlights from the Pavilion and London in Bloom.

A slice of Cornwall in London

May has seen the sun beginning to shine across the city of London lending itself to the perfect opportunity of rooftop dining. Last year Selfridges collaborated with Des McDonald to open Q on the roof during the summer which followed into Le Chalet for the winter and holiday season. After a brief closure the new Summer pop-up on the roof; Vintage Salt has opened with all the charm of a Cornish fishing village.
As in previous seasons; it is accessed by its own express lift found in the fragrance hall, which takes you from floor to five in minutes leading you into a slice of Cornwall London style. Last week my friend B and I booked lunch; which for the pair of us was a real treat in our working day. B is 7 months pregnant so any chance to sit for an hour when working in retail is a luxury; especially in such a delightful setting. Vintage salt is full of drift wood, blue, lobster nets and lots of nostalgic fishing bits.
For lunch B chose the Spring Vegetable Risotto and I the Shrimp burger with a side of fries, which were both delicious. The Risotto was creamy, fresh and full of flavour, the Shrimp burger was gorgeous, meaty and accompanied by a spicy tartare sauce which complimented the flavour of the shrimp as opposed to overpowering it. I don't usually have dessert at lunchtime but I was
desperate to try the Chocolate burger which is a chocolate & raspberry patty on a brioche bun with a white chocolate slice and a raspberry ketchup, served with churros fries and hot chocolate sauce. OH MY!! amazing....
Alongside the restaurant is a cute little bar area, complete with beach huts, deckchairs and a great cocktail menu. Alas due to work / baby we couldn't try the fun cocktails, but I will definitely seeking them out after hours.
This is a great setting for the unpredictable british weather, even with looming rain clouds the setting was perfect to pretend you were on the coast of cornwall. Thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Vintage Salt and imagine it wont be the only visit during this summer. Team, service and food were great.




Book Love ~ May

My 5 reads for this month have transported me to worlds filled with friendship, fun, flowers, New York and oodles of old school glamour. The perfect accompaniment whilst travelling across London  during my commute and as I socialised in the city.
  • The Honeymoon Hotel ~ Hester Browne  - Rosie is the events manager at the Bonneville hotel in Mayfair; a glamorous art deco hotel which prides itself on the romantic era of old school hollywood stars and royalty. Rosie is engaged to a leading food critic and prides herself on her ability to organise and manage  with the hotel managers job firmly in her sights.- (alas romance is sadly lacking within her life.) Rosie finds herself with a new intern in the guise of the hotel owners eccentric son Joe, who completely upsets Rosie's ways of working and threatens her dream job... this is a delightful read and made me instantly think of the stunning Goring hotel in London which I imagined the Bonneville to be. I completely emphasised with Rosie and her work ethic, but Joe is equally as fun and loved as the story evolved around them great supporting characters. 
  • A Vintage Wedding ~ Katie Fforde - Beth, Lindy & Rachel meet in the "save the village hall" meeting in the small Cotswold village that Beth & Rachel have just moved into and Lindy had never moved out. The girls bond and find themselves taking on the challenge of organising Beths sister's wedding over Skype and on a limited budget. Vintage weddings is born and the girls find themselves in undated with requests to help people on their big days, unknown to them their own lives will also have a sprinkling of cupids bow during the months unexpected and unplanned. This is a lovely read which transports you into idyllic village life, where everyone knows each other and pulls together to help each other. KF has done it again with a delightful read, full of gorgeous men, fun & feisty women full of love and laughter.
    David Austin Roses ~ Chelsea Flower Show 2015
  • The Rose Girls ~ Victoria Connelly - This story follows Celeste and her 2 sisters Gertie and Evie as they come to terms with their mothers death and the relationship that she held with each of them - (often not pleasant) which has left long term effects on all 3 girls. Along with this Celeste is dealing with a failed marriage and the responsibility of trying to keep the family Rose business together and stop the family home from crumbling into the surrounding moat. This book is a gentle, heart warming read, filled with the most glorious floral descriptions of roses it makes you salivate. This book was the perfect read for me in the week that London was in bloom for Chelsea Flower show and the descriptions of the roses transported me back to my Gramps rose garden and the gorgeous Bury St Edmunds rose garden from my childhood.
  • Manolos in Manhatten ~ Katie Oliver - This is the 3rd book in the Marrying Mr Darcy series and Katie pulls out all the stops here. Set in New York we catch-up with Holly James who has moved stateside to support the opening of the latest Dashwood store and her chef fiancés new restaurant. Holly soon finds herself caught up investigating a mystery surrounding an old painting found hidden in the attic of the new store. She also finds herself  spending time with 3 of NY's eligible bachelors - a leading hollywood actor, a stuffy english lawyer and her up and coming chef Jamie. Along with catching up with Holly, characters from the 2 previous Marrying Mr Darcy books also have starring roles within this 3rd book, which is a fun romp through a fashionistas world of NY with a great mystery threading through the story.
  • The Doris Day Vintage Film Club ~ Fiona Harper - Claire grew up watching Doris Day movies with her grandmother, in her spare time she hosts a  DD film club above her local pub, during the day she runs her travel agent business specialising in romantic getaways. With her grandmother gone, Claire uses Doris to make sense of her life and her friends. Claire's errant downstairs neighbour returns from a long spell abroad, unaware that Claire now lives in her grandmothers old flat; Claire finds herself living her own "pillow talk" when wires are crossed through letters & messages left on each others doorsteps, without each other meeting. Along with this she meets Nic at a social event and finds herself planning a romantic getaway for 2, unknowing that he is her annoying neighbour .... I loved this book and on completion  found myself on a rainy afternoon watching a boxset of Doris's, singing along to all her classics.
As you can see I have had much fun with my 5 reads this month.... Here's my previous Book posts, What have you been reading this month, what would you recommend, I would love to hear from you.. 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

An evening with Bradley Cooper....

twice in 6 months!... yes I have been lucky enough to spend an evening with Bradley Cooper both in the UK and state-side in the past 6 months!
Back in December I was lucky enough to get a preview ticket for this show just before opening night and was excited to see this play back on the stage that Bowie headlined back in its Broadway debut in 1979. The Booth theatre is an old Broadway theatre steeped with history and old school new york style, opening in 1916.
This visit was unplanned and was fantastic, I was blown away by Coopers performance
I loved this interview with Bradley where he talks about a famous actor who came to watch.... I may have just been there at the same time!

When I read earlier in the year that Bradley & co were heading across the Atlantic to London for a limited run of the critically acclaimed play I grabbed a ticket quickly. This play is not an easy watch; it is dark in places and can be uncomfortable at times, however this is exactly what is should be due to the subject matter and the manner in which John Merrick was treated.  For those not familiar with the subject matter; Joseph Merrick is born with debilitating deformities which see him as a point of ridicule, fascination and often as a 'circus' act freak show in the Victorian era. Rescued by Frederick Treves a leading doctor at the Whitechapel London hospital, Treves gives Merrick a home and looks after him away from ridicule and torment.
It is a moving and humbling journey and Bradley is simply stunning as Merrick. 
The play's success is built on that the play uses no prosthetics, trick lighting or gimmicks to portray this story. The floorboards are bare and set pieces are minimal. Coopers transforms on stage as Treves lists the deformities that Merrick had, and holds this for 2 hours a night on stage. He has in recent interviews detailed the back pain that he is suffering with since taking on this role.Supported by Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivalo it is a phenomenal performance and shows that he isn't just a pretty face.
The Elephant Man is only on for a short period and do think its one of the must tickets for the summer of 2015.
As well as seeing a great performance on stage it was also very lovely to see Mr Cooper in person as he left the stage door exit shortly after the performance finished..... I did think of my friend Ali, who is a huge BC fan and has had a starring role in a couple of her books!...

T's TV Treats ....

Work & life has been a little busy of late which means that any TV that I have watched has been on either replay or iplayer, however this doesn't mean that it wasn't worth watching...
  1. The C Word - a heartbreaking and amazing tribute to Lisa Lynch portrayed fabulously by the current nations acting sweetheart Sheridan Smith. The story of a magazine journalist who rose to fame writing a blog of her battles with breast cancer.. filled with love, laughter and cancer with humour and tears.This was a heart-aching and humbling watch and I hope that Lisa's family were proud of the story told and Sheridans and Paul Nichols stunning performances.
  2. DCI Banks -a police series that I've dipped in and out of over the previous years, became a must watch for me this season. With as good back stories into the characters as investigations an easy watch... my friends partner is one of the lead actresses, so its always great to catch up on the inside gossip!
  3. Vera  - love Brenda Blethyn and her portrayal of this northern police officer is just fabulous, in her scruffy mac and wellie boots and the odd glass of scotch she is just superb. This is a gritty bleak drama, tinged with some fabulous one liners from Blethyn, with a great supporting cast, tackling some difficult subjects in a great Sunday night drama. 
  4. Code of a Killer - this 2 parter was on over the Easter break and I have only just caught up with it. Follows the extraordinary true story of Alec Jeffreys who discovered DNA fingerprinting and how it was used to catch a killer of 2 girls in Leicestershire in the 1980's A fascinating incite into the determination and belief by both the scientists and police officer that what they were doing was both the right think for the girls and ground breaking for police and science going forward. .. loved this, great acting by John Simms and David Threlfall.
  5. The Detectives (Manhunt) - a 3 part series following the sexual crimes unit of the Greater Manchester police. This was a tough watch from the start but utterly compelling, a specialised detective team changing the way that rape & sexual offences are investigated. This unit over 3 nights showed how they are changing the way these crimes are dealt with, and spanned 2 years of investigations.The main investigation being that of Ray Teret long term friend of Jimmy Saville. This is a tv programme that stays with you and I applaud all of the officers working within this unit, but more than that the victims that went on camera to share their stories... brave ladies.
As you can see not much light hearted entertainment, but 5 programmes and series that I have enjoyed over the last few weeks. Here are some previous TV treats that I have enjoyed.


Monday, 18 May 2015

Victory in Europe Day...

Today on #BEDM on headlines day and although not making the headlines today I thought I would share my day in London from the recent VE Day celebrations.
I had no plans for the Sunday of the VE day weekend, I had worked a very long week and was looking forward to some downtime at home, however on waking to a glorious day I made a completely impromptu decision to head into London and join the crowds to celebrate 70 years since Victory in Europe was declared and World War 2 came to an end.
Growing up with a Grandad who fought during the war within the tank regiment and was part of the evacuation of soldiers on the beaches of Dunkirk. I am hugely proud of him and all the veterans that came home and owe a huge debt to those that gave their life for our freedom.
I arrived into London just in time to see the forces and veterans march down Whitehall past the cenotaph to horseguards parade, and then into St James Park.

I found the whole experience incredibly humbling, very emotional and a huge sense of pride to see the huge number of people that lined the streets to support forces young and old. Standing near the cenotaph was very moving as every service personnel that marched past, whether on foot or in a wheel chair saluted the cenotaph .... an honour to see and the utmost respect  to the fallen heroes.
One of the biggest cheers to resonate along Whitehall was for the Veterans and Chelsea Pensioners.
The VE day parade was concluded with flypast including a Spitfire, followed by the red arrows with their tails of red, white & blue.
The red, white & blue was showcased to its most spectacular as I turned into the Mall which was festooned with huge union jacks and a  huge crowd of spectators. We do pageant so well in this country and even the pearly kings & queens were out in their infinite style supporting the occasion.
Heading into St James Park it became a huge garden party VE day style with military vehicles, big bands, tea dances and lots of soldiers!
With lots to see and do for old and young it was a great atmosphere, bathed in glorious sunshine. London couldn't have looked better on the day.
The spitfires were a huge draw for young and old  along with the military vehicles.
I had a fabulous afternoon wandering around the park enjoying the music, and just soaking up the great atmosphere.
Leaving the park towards Parliament square it was great to walk around with no traffic and enjoy the views.
 Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and the glorious Winston Churchill were all showcased to their finest in against the backdrop of a blue sky and bathed in dappled sunshine.
My walk to the station took me back down Whitehall past the Cenotaph where a number of wreaths had been laid in commemoration of the day.
Situated in Horseguards avenue are a number of fitting memorials of heroes of World War 2... General Montgomery affectionately known as 'Monty', the Gurkha memorial and the stunning Tank Regiment memorial where I laid a small tribute to my Gramps.
I had a lovely day in London celebrating VE day with a sense of pride and thanks to all those that are no longer here and remembering my nan & gramps with much love.
I hope that you have enjoyed my VE day headlines ... if you have enjoyed this post then check out previous posts honouring our war heroes here.


Sunday, 17 May 2015

May days....

how can we be halfway through May... this month I am failing miserably with Elizabeth's #BEDM so think I am going to just enjoy reading the posts that are falling into my list, and give up on trying to post daily.
Life has been a little rocky over the past few weeks, predominately work but also stuff going on personally, so I am hoping to get back on track this week with catching up with friends and stuff. Due to some changes and restructuring at work I have a new boss, which means probably some more change over the coming months.
I have a list of blog posts to update including some fun with Shaun the Sheep, a fantastic day celebrating Victory in Europe Day (VE day in London) which was completely unplanned and some day to day stuff including fun with Fitz & Darcy...
Last night I went for an early supper with friends followed by an impromptu trip to the cinema. It's been some time since I saw a film trailer that sparked interest for me to see on the big screen and not wait for the DVD, however Spooks ticked the big screen box.
For those of you that have followed by blog will know that I am a huge Spooks fan, and was interested to see how this movie translated to a big screen and could Kit Harrington follow in the footsteps of Rupert Penry-Jones and Richard Armitage.
Having watched the movie, I can claim that yes Kit Harrington does a great job as 'lead' Spook;
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, shear escapism, full of action and London looked fabulous on the big screen. Fans of the Bourne movies will enjoy this British version, it was great to see some old Spook favourite characters along with some new faces.... I hope that this isn't the only foray in the Spook movie franchise, as it is sadly missed on our TV screens.
Looking ahead I have a busy week planned; including an evening at the Theatre and an afternoon at the Chelsea Flower show as well as a busy week at work. Hopefully I will get some time for blogging and updates before May finishes!.... have a lovely Sunday evening and a great week... 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Spring treats from the Beauty hall...

It has been some time since I posted a beauty post and I thought I would share some new products that have fallen into my beauty basket over the past couple of months for spring and in preparation for summer.
My beauty hamper basket is overflowing and I really don’t need anything, but sometimes the temptation becomes too much especially since it's so easy to click & collect at my desk. The joy of working in a store that houses the biggest beauty hall in the world means that my beauty haul is quite luxurious.
  • Mac Cinderella – Mac launched the Cinderella collection in collaboration with Disney some weeks ago to coincide with the movie release. This collection sold out on-line and in store within an hour of launch and I was lucky enough to secure the gorgeous "stroke of midnight" eye palette and the "glass slipper" lip glaze, Both perfect from desk to dusk versatile products, which have the ability to take you from ugly sister to belle of the ball in moments.
  • Victoria Beckham VBB for Nails inc – Vicky launched 2 colours with Nails inc late last year, bamboo white and judo red. With beautifully styled packaging I was tempted, however this month when I had my nails manicured at the Paint shop at work Jess my lovely nail technician talked me into trying the judo red.
 I am so glad that she did as I love it. I am not a 'bright' polish person on my hands, I am a little more adventurous on my feet, but usually opt for dark colours as they suit my small nails and skin tone better. What do you think? …. This  is a great gift for fashionistas as it’s a Vb line without the serious £ price tag and comparable to the Louboutin brand polish.
  • This month also sees another fabulous fashion collaboration with Christopher Kane and Nars. I am slowly becoming a huge fan of Nars and will now opt for that over Mac when looking at colour. The packaging is super cool and this week I bagged a lip glaze for the summer. I definitely am becoming  a lip glaze/gloss gal in the lighter months and a lipstick lady in the winter. Here's the collection in all its glory.
  • Dior – last year work hosted a huge Beauty project and I was fortunate to sample Dior's Maximiser Light boosting primer; Sally Hughes (one of the best beauty journalists) called this out last year as the primer that she couldn't live without and I completely agree with her, I love it, so versatile and whenever I use it I get asked what foundation I am wearing.
  • Tom Ford and Chanel complete my spring / summer musts ….. Chanel's waterproof mascara is a must for me in the summer months; I  suffer with an astigmatism in my eyes which creates lots of watering, so a good waterproof mascara is a must for me; Chanel ticks all my boxes and I have tried many before settling on this one. Great coverage and easy to remove.
  • Tom Ford's summer collection launched this month and a large part of it has now sold out; every year one of my must products for my bag is a great bronzer…. Along with the very stylish packaging which will look fabulous being pulled out of my handbag for retouches, the product is just heavenly.
I'm now on a beauty embargo  for a few weeks as there are a few launches happening in the coming months that I am excited about and will definitely be buying. I know that I am in a very fortunate position and get access to great exclusives and brands working in the big yellow store. I don’t think my make-up bag would look so luxurious if I didn't have a great discount and product available a few feet from my desk!... what's been falling into your beauty basket this month?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Spending a penny over coffee....

I have always been a coffee junkie and its caused many nights of insomnia due to caffeine overload however it is one of my favourite things and I really couldn't do without it. I have over the last few years taken the time to seek out independent coffee houses when I can. I do believe that a espresso / latte made with  great coffee beans is up there with an expertly mixed cocktail or perfect bottle of wine. Following from my trip to the London Coffee festival and armed with my London Coffee Guide I decided to explore a quirky coffee venue not far from work.
Nestled down a side street in Fitzrovia between Oxford street and Goodge street sits one of the quirkiest coffee shops you are ever likely to drink in!.... an old  underground Victorian Toilet.
Built in 1890 the toilet had become dormant by the 60's....50 years later it was bought to life as a cool coffee house and food bar.
The Attendant has retained much of its original features, including the porcelain urinals which make  fabulous coffee nooks.
The coffee bar is accessed by the original stairs down underground and even features its own 'coffee graffiti' wall which is a fun addition.
Coffee beans are roasted by Caravan and the milk is sourced from Ivy House farm in Somerset which has 120 Jersey dairy cows producing their milk... singularly they are great independent brands, combined they create a gorgeous coffee.... alchemy of the caffeine variety!
Along with some great NY inspired foods, I could easily pretend I was across the pond state-side.... perfect little treat.
I had much fun at the little underground coffee haven and look forward to ticking more coffee adventures in the city...
Here are some more coffee adventures from London and across the pond in New York...

Monday, 11 May 2015

Work / Life balance

Last week I had all good intentions to kick off May joining Elizabeth and her Blog Every Day in May challenge. It is something that I have tried to do the last couple of years and this year I failed miserably at the first hurdle with work completely overtaking life last week.... 62 hours in a 4 day week + saturday!... it was quite horrid!, however I am back for a new week and hopefully will participate a little more!
This week also is walk to work week and although that isn't possible I am trying to walk to the station every day and get off a couple of tube stops before my normal stop and walk a little more... check back later this week and I will share my progress!... with the mornings and evenings lighter my trek through the park is quite lovely in spring....

My walk to work is being aided by some fabulous  new trainers and I have become a "sneaker commuter" convert this yeear!.. they are blending lovely with my walk through the park.
To keep me motivated on my walk I have my much loved ipod which I have many tools & apps to keep me going. I have created a great "walk to work" playlist which takes me the 25 minute walk from home to station; featuring some funky old school classics and recent floor-fillers.
I also have 2 books on 'audible! which are a great way to read and walk. I am currently listening to my lovely friend Ali Mcnamara's  "From Nottinghill with Love"  which i'm loving listening too and also a Phillipa Gregory which is narrated by the lovely Rupert Penry-Jones which motivates me to walk an extra lap just to listen to his dulcet tones! .. I have found that I walked more listening to books as if I havent finished the chapter I walk around the block again, especially if the weather is dry.
Hopefully this week I will get over to some of the other blogs in #BEDM and look forward to catching up a little.... x

Monday, 4 May 2015

Coffee Love....

This week is National Coffee week, and Sunday saw me visiting the London Coffee festival in the London's east end. The festival is held in Brick Lane a short walk from Liverpool Street in the Old Truman Brewery building.
The morning was miserably damp and chilly, but this did not deter the huge crowds that came out to visit the brunch time slot of Sunday morning.
The London Coffee Festival is a mecca for all coffee enthusiasts and hosts everything imaginable to make, drink and accompany coffee is every form.
As well as every coffee attribute possible, there was also plenty of places to sit and enjoy the Java or Espresso Martini's.
With DJ's playing the decks and a band in the Hyde Park space the whole event had a very cool vibe about it.
The event also hosted the Coffee Master's competition where 20 baristas were pitted against each other across events to be crowned Coffee Master 2015. Disciplines of the event can be found here.
Some of my favourites from the event... Toms Coffee, every bag of coffee purchased will Toms will donate a week of clean water to someone who needs it.
Cold Brew - it seems that the cold brew phenomenon that hit New York last year is coming across the pond for this summer. Cold brews in abundance from multiple coffee merchants... looking forward to a summer of chilled coffee brew.
Milk & Sugar - Bourbon bar and Gin Parlour.
Cawston Press adult soft drinks... the Rhubarb and Apple is my favourite.I loved the stand and the juices were gorgeous.
Cakesmiths - gorgeous tray bakes perfect to accompany any cup of coffee.
CrossTown doughnuts - gorgeous glazed ring doughnuts - love the displays of these delicious rings of decadence...

With a host of coffee vendors to sip caffeine from my favourite on the day was Grumpy Mule. My espresso was the perfect hit required for the moment.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the London Coffee Festival and learnt lots about coffee & all its accompaniments.
I liked the venue and all its different rooms; however think that for the time slot that I had booked the organisers over subscribed as crowd control was an issue. (especially lots of double / single buggies - don't get me started on that rant!)

As its coffee week I will be sharing some more coffee favourites this week.... Here are 5 coffee favourites from London and 5 from New York.