Monday, 29 February 2016

Goodbye February...

I'm not sure how we are at the end of February even with an extra day this year is passing quickly. I hope everyone had a lovely month.
My month was busy with birthdays, catching up with friends and spending some down time getting out and about.
  • February I shared my new food lifestyle and journey so far with slimming world.
  • Loved how the mornings have started to get lighter earlier and the nights are still light a little later. This gorgeous sunrise was captured from my office one morning in Feb.
  • Stylist gave me a great mid week lift in the middle of the month with an interesting interview with the delicious David Gandy.
  • Spent some time out and about in London in Feb, with a forensic filled morning at the museum of london's crime uncovered exhibition.
  • With the weather better, i spent some time at the cemetery with my mum tidying and getting ready for spring.
  • Kits have had a few lazy days in the warm and under the duvet during the month.
February was filled with a few birthdays which allowed for a little baking and some gift wrap fun. My lovely Lib turned 13 and entered the world of teenage years! and my oldest friend hit ** which we celebrated in chalkboard style with fun and laughter.

    February also saw London host London Fashion week, part of which I spent at the
     1. National Portrait Gallery viewing the Vogue 100 birthday.
    2 February saw me spend my first full weekend off since christmas, which was just heavenly.
    3. London walks captured China town celebrating the year of the monkey and Chinese new year.
    4. Lovely little cream tea in the crypt of the NPgallery, perfect accompaniment to a gorgeous exhibition.
    6. Pancake day slimming world style.
    7/8. Valentines day fun with flowers, movies, cuddles on the sofa and Darcy.
    9. Mr Selfridge turned red in February for some Chinese new year and celebration of love.
    As you can see February was a mixture of love, fun and friendship. I hope that yours was filled with much of the same. So as we say farewell to Feb, I am looking forward to a marvellous March!

    Sunday, 28 February 2016

    Insta Love - February

    Wow where did February go?... before we say goodbye I am going to share some of my Instagram fun and love from the month...
    1. This beautiful sunrise from Dan Doherty at Duck & Waffle is just stunning.
    2. Loving Valerie McKeehan's fab chalkboard of staying in is the new going out!.. pretty much sums up my February.

    3. Grandcentralnyc's sunset is beautiful. love how they have framed the yellow taxi to compliment the sunset.
    4. lovely baking image from Lily & Val - have complete baking utensil envy with this image.
    5. Sad to say goodbye to Harper Lee in February - one of my all time favourite books and Evachens capture of waterstones window in Covent garden is lovely.
    6. London fashion week showcased lots, but this fab personalised art bag from boyarde completely captivated my heart.
    7.How stunning does the Royal Naval college look at Greenwich - definitely on my London bucket list this year, captured beautifully by Angrybaker.
    8. My monthly instagram love is not complete with out a DG image! Love how excited David Gandy was to showcase his restored 190sl mercedes at the classic car show. He was like a very proud dad!...
    and finally with blizzardous snow conditions in New York last month, this image of the melting snow flanked by One World Tower and the 'cool globes' art installation about climate change at Battery Park is stunning from nyclovesnyc
    Thankyou all for sharing such lovely images in February.

    I hope you have had fun with my social media sunday loves... here's some from previous months... thank-you all that have featured for brightening my month with your gorgeous images ... I've loved them.

    Tuesday, 23 February 2016

    A new Lifestyle....

    Six Months ago I embarked on a lifestyle change of which I've now decided to share with my blog readers….. the lifestyle change is Slimming World.  When you tell people that you are going on a diet; they instantly either become your biggest friend or foe and you suddenly find yourself under this big food spotlight. Equally I have tried diets of sorts before and have never really clicked with one and I needed to see if this worked for me before telling everyone that I am on a diet! My inspiration came from a lady that I follow on instagram (becky) who's slimming world journey has been amazing and featured in the Daily Mail. She made Slimming World look relatively straightforward and more of a lifestyle change as opposed to a 'diet'.
    Having made the decision to give it a go I knew that I needed to join a group to help me along the SW journey. My first month was really feeling my feet on what I could eat freely and what I needed to account for in my daily 'syn' allowance. Six months in and I'm still learning, but apart from a couple of 'no loss' weeks and a 2 separate weeks of gaining between ½ & 1lb over the December/ holiday period I have maintained a steady weight loss over the 6 months. I am now 2 ½ stone lighter and beginning to see the changes. People are beginning to notice and I have dropped 2 dress sizes and nearly 2 trouser sizes.
    Meal planning is the key for me and the weeks that I haven’t planned well is the weeks that I see minimal weight loss / gain. I am now becoming more adventurous with cooking from the SW recipes and love their pulled pork, spaghetti bolognaise, cottage pie, and sweet & sour chicken. Here's some of what I've eaten on my SW journey….
    Breakfast is my easiest meal – Weetabix, fruit & Müller yoghurt are my staple's for my desk breakfast; I try to mix it up daily so that it's not the same and it's become a regular instagram feature. Weekends are cooked breakfast or poached eggs.
    I still have a long way to go and would like to loose another 2 stone, but I have set myself monthly goals and 3 month targets;  when I started I wanted to loose 1½ stone before going to New York and 2 stone by New Year which I have achieved.... Thank-you Becky for the inspiration.
    March will see me step up some basic exercise and with the mornings and evenings getting lighter I'm going to kick start my walking commute to the station. I have fallen into a bit of a rut since early January due to work and stuff but I am staying for the meetings now and the support and fun that the group bring is really beginning to help on my next chapter….. so my next big goal is 2 stone by the end of July…. Watch this space 

    Monday, 22 February 2016

    Let the NY adventure begin.....

    It's no secret that new York holds my heart and with visits now in double figures + I get asked often am I not bored of it?...... so in reply to that question the honest answer is No! I do honestly believe that at the point that I'm tired of New York I really would be tired of life!
    I am over the coming few weeks share my Christmas adventure in the city that doesn't sleep.
    My trip in 2015 was really planned on a bit of a budget and I struck lucky with a flight and hotel in December for £500. This was a huge bargain and I didn't have huge expectations of anything but was really impressed with hotel & location. With any trip to the states I have learnt to maximise my time there by the flight times, flying outbound I book the earliest flight out of Heathrow and I opt for a late/night flight back (arriving first thing the following day) This takes advantage of the time differences and helps me manage the jet lag!
     So my adventure started with Taylor and I taking a trip in the early morning, zipping through London to Heathrow. As it was the 1st of December it was the perfect time for some Christmas songs and to enjoy some of the festive sights in the city.
    With Taylor dropped off at parking it was time to check-in to Terminal 3 for my flight across the Atlantic, the terminal was festooned in pink with a funky christmas tree.  I off loaded my bag and passed through security quickly, browsed duty free before grabbing a quick breakfast before boarding.
    Sitting near the window I captured take-off and the ascent into the clouds, which saw a gloomy damp December morning get brighter the higher we rose into a beautiful cloud filled blue sky, it was like we were flying on puffy clouds of cotton wool. With an uneventful flight across the pond the gloom soon re-appeared as we descended into JFK across Long Island and The Hamptons.
     Having a 'live' esta visa allowed me to fly through immigration and I had collected baggage, cleared customs and was on the Air train within 35 minutes of the plane landing (any of you that travel stateside frequently will know that this is a fantastic time, especially New York in December) Last year was my first Air train adventure and I am now a convert!
    This year I had booked to stay down in the Meatpacking District and my hotel was a short walk from the subway, which was ideal for my travels. Although I had explored this area, this was a first for me staying there and was a little apprehensive, however I had nothing to fear as I loved the location and would definitely stay there again.
    I stayed at The Jane Hotel on Jane Street and my first impression was it was a cross between Disney's Terror Towers and a hotel from the Grand Budapest Hotel, complete  with bus-boys with  gold trim hats! The hotel was a hive of activity on arrival as they were filming "John Wick 2" with Keanu Reeves in the lounge and  lobby. (this wasn’t my only celebrity spot of the week!) It seemed that my hotel lounge was an 'on-trend' space to hangout. The hotel has an amazing history; Completed in 1908, the American Seaman's Friend Society Sailors' Home and Institute was designed by William A. Boring, the architect renowned for Ellis Island’s immigrant station. 
    Originally built as a hotel for sailors with cabin-like rooms, the landmarked hotel was lovingly restored on its centennial in 2008. In 1912, the survivors of the Titanic stayed at the hotel until the end of the American Inquiry into the ship’s sinking.  The surviving crew held a memorial service at the hotel four days after the ship sank. 
    The rooms are tiny – very reminiscent of old ships cabins / train sleeper carriages, however they maximise the space with mirrors, good storage and lighting. The room was clean, good quality bed linen and complimentary robe, slippers for the bathroom facilities. If you can deal with shared bathroom (I never queued once for shower / bathroom facilities in the 5 days I was there) and tiny room, this hotel is amazing value for money. Fabulous location, great staff and a very cool eclectic hotel. I rarely stay in the same hotel twice when travelling to New York, but I would definitely come back to The Jane.
    Having dumped my bags it was time to explore the neighbourhood!.... pop back later in the week when I share some more of my New York adventures.

    Saturday, 20 February 2016

    An afternoon of Vogue @100....

    With London Fashion week in full swing, one of the must exhibits to see between shows is the celebration of Vogues 100th birthday at the National Portrait Gallery.
    Vogue launched its first magazine in the UK in 1916 and has continued to be the most aspirational, and fashion leading magazine.  US Vogue's Anna Wintour is still one of the most influential women in fashion and most models & celebrities see the pinnacle of their career when they grace the front cover of Vogue . This exhibit showcases some of their iconic covers to its absolute best.
    The exhibition is staged over several rooms, with each room having its own purpose or decade.
    On entering the exhibition you are met by library stripes of vogue covers in glorious technicolour, seeing how the pencil drawn fashion covers evolved to the leading styled images of today.
    Vogue 100: A Century of Style features work by many of the leading photographers, including Cecil Beaton, Lee Miller, Irving Penn and Snowdon. 
    More recent pictures by celebrated photographers David Bailey, Corinne Day, Patrick Demarchelier, Nick Knight, Herb Ritts, Mario Testino, Tim Walker and Albert Watson are also included.
    Some of my favourites include a fab image of the fab 4 The Beetles commissioned by Diane Vreeland and photographed by Peter Laurie in 1964.
    Multiple images of Kae Moss feature including the iconic Brit Pop knicker flashing image by Mario Testino in 2008.
    My favourite room was the 1990's and the fabulous Supermodel shoot whch featured 4 models that are still in great demand today: Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Cambell and Christy Turlington.
    A Vogue exhibition would not be complete without an image of the late Princess Diana who graced vogues cover on at least 4 occasions; shot predominately by Patrick Demarchelier the image is stunning.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition and is a must for fans of fashion, photography, styling and British  history. My afternoon was complete with another British institution of cream tea in the cafe crypt at the Gallery.

    Monday, 15 February 2016

    A morning of Crime....

    Last week I spent some time travelling through the crime history of the UK at the Crime Museum Uncovered exhibition at the Museum of London.
    For a woman who spent her whole school studies, and teenage years studying and aspiring to be a criminal pathologist / forensic scientist; this exhibition ticks so many boxes for me.
    Having worked closely with the police over many years in various jobs, it also allowed me to see some of the infamous exhibits from the Black Museum of Scotland Yard.
    The exhibit houses some amazing artefacts, evidence and historical references to some of the most prolific and hi-profile cases of the UK this century.
    • Dr Crippen - including telegrams from the liner where they were finally apprehended.
    • The Krays - Reggie Krays gun and transcripts from interviews.
    • Ruth Ellis - gun and newspaper from the day o her hanging.
    • Hangman ropes - Multiple hangman ropes used for corporal punishment along with a Hangman's box on loan from Wandsworth prison.
    • The Great Train Robbery - multiple artefacts of evidence from the house, along with paper that was wrapped around the banknotes and original wanted posters.
    Two of the items I was most thrilled to see was the evidence case from the esteemed pathologist Sir Bernard Simpson and evidence box from Professor Keith Simpson 

    Along with many infamous murders; the exhibit houses espionage; micro dots & an adapted talcum powder tin used for smuggling. Offensive weapons - including umbrella shot gun, Chanel lipstick knife, and poison induced syringe adapted briefcase and terrorism with replica bombs used in the last 30 years; Hyde park, 7/7 and IRA attacks.
    This exhibit is only open until April and a must for any fan of crime, history or forensics. Its interesting, thrilling and incredibly fascinating, I loved it.

    Friday, 12 February 2016

    Reading Challenge 2016

    So this year I've set myself (with a little help from Goodreads) to read 75 books in 2016.  As you all know I am an avid reader and to aid my progress I have set up a separate page to share my reads from 2016.
    January's reads look a little like this;
    * The Book Lovers - Victoria Connelly - Callie Logan is a children's author who after the breakdown of her marriage, relocates to a tiny village in the heart of Suffolk in the gloriously names Owl Cottage. Happy to seclude herself away and her books, fate throws not one suitor but 2 in the guise of Leo; a man at home in the elements and countryside and Sam the local owner of Nightingale books.
    Victoria's description of the Suffolk countryside is gorgeous and bought back lots of lovely memories of my time in this part of the country and spending time with family that live there. Also having been to Victoria's home in this part of the world Owl Cottage is really bought to life for me. I really enjoyed this book and with the introduction of many characters I look forward to the next book in the series. Delightful.
    * Meet and Delete - Pauline Lawless - 3 friends; Megan, Viv & Claire find themselves all single  and sharing a house together in their 30's. They turn to On-line dating to find their "Mr Right", what they do find are some Mr Nice, plenty of Mr Never-again and lots of adventure in between.  This book has sat in my "To read "folder for a while and when I started it I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it; along with the fun and friendship it also deals with some family angst along with lots of laughter. Fans of Cathy Kelly will love this.
    *  Meet Me in Manhattan - Claudia Carroll - Holly Johnson is a budding journalist and thinks that she may have found her perfect guy On-line  - the only issue is that he lives in America and she lives in Dublin...after 3 failed attempts to meet up in her city; she decides to cross the Atlantic and surprise him in New York... however not everything is as it seems and Holly gets the shock of her life when she finally tracks down her mystery man. Suddenly Holly's life is tipped upside down and her future, job and life all become a little bit of a nightmare. - This was a fun read, with fabulous moments in New York. (gave me a warm Manhattan hug) and gives a great insight into the Catfish elements of online dating. Claudia Carroll really does write a very clever rom com adventure.
    * What would Lizzy Bennet Do - Katie Oliver - Katie Oliver has done it again and put her own twist and style on a classic. Lizzie Bennet has been in love with Hugh Darcy for years, however when he returns to the family estate after many year, he is accompanied by a fiancé - Holly James. Holly is completely unprepared for Hugh's life as lord of the manor. With a film crew shooting Pride & Prejudice in the grounds of Hugh's stately pile and the dastardly Mr Wickham (Holly's ex) setting his sites on one of the Bennet sisters a summer on the English Riviera looks far from tranquil. - a fun read, perfect for all fans of Austen. Look forward to reading Emma Bennet's adventure next.
    * Stirred with Love - Marcie Steele A sweet story of finding a family & friendship in the most unlikeliest of places.. Lily owns the run down cafe and whilst grieving for her husband she advertises for some help to put some life back into her cafe. Kate & Chloe apply and a beautiful story of friendship across generations unravels as they embark on their new adventures opening the cafe as a coffee shop. This story spans 3 generations and as well as being very sweet and lovely, it can at times be heartbreaking. .. looking forward to Marcie's next book.
    * Its Now or Never - Jill Steeples When smooth-talking Alex Fellows tells Jen Faraday he can predict her future – and leaves a note with the bartender for her to collect in one year’s time – she thinks it’s just a line. After all, how can a man she’s known for only one night see what her future holds? - Fun read and characters that you warm to quickly. Loved the relationship with Jen and her Gramps. Resonated lots with me as I too had a Gramps. An easy read that absolutely brightened my January gloomy commute... especially as Alex Fellows is quite delicious.
    My final read for the month is the autobiography of the gorgeous Dan Carter - All Blacks flyhalf and rugby legend. - Halfway through and I am gripped; fascinating read of a boy who became the David Beckham equivalent of the Rugby world. With the 6 nations kicking off on February and my fabulous autumn of World cup rugby this was the perfect non-fiction book to kick-off 2016 with
    Along with the challenge to read 75 books; 12 of those are to be factual as opposed to fiction and I am hoping to tie them in with my current affairs of that month!... watch this space

    Thursday, 4 February 2016

    6 Flicks to look forward to in 2016

    So it feels like ages since I shared a movie moment and some time since I spent an evening at the cinema. There wasn't a great deal of movies released in 2015, that I thought warranted an evening at the cinema and I only went a few times. However I do believe 2016 may be a little different as there are a number of movies being released this year that I will definitely want to see on the big screen.

    Me Before You
    I am so excited to see this movie; I adored the book, have cried through the trailer and know that I will sob throughout the film. Fabulous casting and cant wait to see it when its released in June. This will be "The Notebook" movie of 2016.
    Money Monster 
    Its been some time since the gorgeous George Clooney did a movie that got me giddy!... but Money Monster looks interesting, not too arty and looking forward to seeing him & Julia Roberts back in screen together (loved their chemistry in the Oceans series) and directed by Jodie Foster
    My Big Fat Greek wedding 2 
    So thrilled to see this Greek family back again, with another wedding to plan along with lots of love, fun and laughter! This looks like the perfect girls night out movie.
    Batman V Superman 
    Henry Cavill is pulling on the blue tights and red cape again and Ben Affleck is pulling on the bat suit to see who is the best superhero for Gotham City... I'm team Cavill, but looking forward to see this summer release.


    and finally 2 movies that have yet to release any trailers but some images have been posted frequently on social media.... Bridget Jones and baby!... I am a little excited about this winter release and looking forward to seeing Bridget back with Mr Darcy and the gorgeous Dr McDreamy Patrick Dempsey!!!... oh my, I am a little giddy... how gorgeous does he look on this motorcycle.
    The final movie that I am looking forward to is Mother's Day; directed by Garry Marshall from Pretty Women acclaim it follows in the genre of his previous 2 movies Valentines Day and New Years Eve and stars an ensemble cast featuring Jennifer Anniston, Julia Roberts and Kate Hudson.
    As you can see its a varied movie bag and I look forward to a night with a big box of popcorn being entertained... what movie are you looking forward to in 2016?

    Tuesday, 2 February 2016

    Hello February.....

    Hello February, its a new month so I've said goodbye to my January blush and gold styling and hello to a little winter blues. This probably suits my  mood at the moment as I'm in a little fog of January blues and hoping that February will lift me out of it.

    I have a little more planned in February than I managed in January, as I am hoping that my workload reduces, so I am going to have a Thankful February...

    • Weekend brunch planned for the Forest restaurant on the roof at 400 Oxford street.
    • Spent many hours with Mr Selfridge in Jan and enjoying series 4 of his amazing life.
    • I am liking that the mornings are a little lighter as I walk to work each morning.
    • Planning a visit to the Crime museum exhibition at the London museum - excited to see some of Scotland Yards Black museum.
    • Have plans to explore a little more of London and walk a little more as the weather improves. 
    I am also celebrating some friends and families birthdays in Feb, so watch this space for further updates. I hope that you are all having a lovely start to the new month and look forward to reading your adventures. x

    Monday, 29 February 2016

    Goodbye February...

    I'm not sure how we are at the end of February even with an extra day this year is passing quickly. I hope everyone had a lovely month.
    My month was busy with birthdays, catching up with friends and spending some down time getting out and about.
    • February I shared my new food lifestyle and journey so far with slimming world.
    • Loved how the mornings have started to get lighter earlier and the nights are still light a little later. This gorgeous sunrise was captured from my office one morning in Feb.
    • Stylist gave me a great mid week lift in the middle of the month with an interesting interview with the delicious David Gandy.
    • Spent some time out and about in London in Feb, with a forensic filled morning at the museum of london's crime uncovered exhibition.
    • With the weather better, i spent some time at the cemetery with my mum tidying and getting ready for spring.
    • Kits have had a few lazy days in the warm and under the duvet during the month.
    February was filled with a few birthdays which allowed for a little baking and some gift wrap fun. My lovely Lib turned 13 and entered the world of teenage years! and my oldest friend hit ** which we celebrated in chalkboard style with fun and laughter.

      February also saw London host London Fashion week, part of which I spent at the
       1. National Portrait Gallery viewing the Vogue 100 birthday.
      2 February saw me spend my first full weekend off since christmas, which was just heavenly.
      3. London walks captured China town celebrating the year of the monkey and Chinese new year.
      4. Lovely little cream tea in the crypt of the NPgallery, perfect accompaniment to a gorgeous exhibition.
      6. Pancake day slimming world style.
      7/8. Valentines day fun with flowers, movies, cuddles on the sofa and Darcy.
      9. Mr Selfridge turned red in February for some Chinese new year and celebration of love.
      As you can see February was a mixture of love, fun and friendship. I hope that yours was filled with much of the same. So as we say farewell to Feb, I am looking forward to a marvellous March!

      Sunday, 28 February 2016

      Insta Love - February

      Wow where did February go?... before we say goodbye I am going to share some of my Instagram fun and love from the month...
      1. This beautiful sunrise from Dan Doherty at Duck & Waffle is just stunning.
      2. Loving Valerie McKeehan's fab chalkboard of staying in is the new going out!.. pretty much sums up my February.

      3. Grandcentralnyc's sunset is beautiful. love how they have framed the yellow taxi to compliment the sunset.
      4. lovely baking image from Lily & Val - have complete baking utensil envy with this image.
      5. Sad to say goodbye to Harper Lee in February - one of my all time favourite books and Evachens capture of waterstones window in Covent garden is lovely.
      6. London fashion week showcased lots, but this fab personalised art bag from boyarde completely captivated my heart.
      7.How stunning does the Royal Naval college look at Greenwich - definitely on my London bucket list this year, captured beautifully by Angrybaker.
      8. My monthly instagram love is not complete with out a DG image! Love how excited David Gandy was to showcase his restored 190sl mercedes at the classic car show. He was like a very proud dad!...
      and finally with blizzardous snow conditions in New York last month, this image of the melting snow flanked by One World Tower and the 'cool globes' art installation about climate change at Battery Park is stunning from nyclovesnyc
      Thankyou all for sharing such lovely images in February.

      I hope you have had fun with my social media sunday loves... here's some from previous months... thank-you all that have featured for brightening my month with your gorgeous images ... I've loved them.

      Tuesday, 23 February 2016

      A new Lifestyle....

      Six Months ago I embarked on a lifestyle change of which I've now decided to share with my blog readers….. the lifestyle change is Slimming World.  When you tell people that you are going on a diet; they instantly either become your biggest friend or foe and you suddenly find yourself under this big food spotlight. Equally I have tried diets of sorts before and have never really clicked with one and I needed to see if this worked for me before telling everyone that I am on a diet! My inspiration came from a lady that I follow on instagram (becky) who's slimming world journey has been amazing and featured in the Daily Mail. She made Slimming World look relatively straightforward and more of a lifestyle change as opposed to a 'diet'.
      Having made the decision to give it a go I knew that I needed to join a group to help me along the SW journey. My first month was really feeling my feet on what I could eat freely and what I needed to account for in my daily 'syn' allowance. Six months in and I'm still learning, but apart from a couple of 'no loss' weeks and a 2 separate weeks of gaining between ½ & 1lb over the December/ holiday period I have maintained a steady weight loss over the 6 months. I am now 2 ½ stone lighter and beginning to see the changes. People are beginning to notice and I have dropped 2 dress sizes and nearly 2 trouser sizes.
      Meal planning is the key for me and the weeks that I haven’t planned well is the weeks that I see minimal weight loss / gain. I am now becoming more adventurous with cooking from the SW recipes and love their pulled pork, spaghetti bolognaise, cottage pie, and sweet & sour chicken. Here's some of what I've eaten on my SW journey….
      Breakfast is my easiest meal – Weetabix, fruit & Müller yoghurt are my staple's for my desk breakfast; I try to mix it up daily so that it's not the same and it's become a regular instagram feature. Weekends are cooked breakfast or poached eggs.
      I still have a long way to go and would like to loose another 2 stone, but I have set myself monthly goals and 3 month targets;  when I started I wanted to loose 1½ stone before going to New York and 2 stone by New Year which I have achieved.... Thank-you Becky for the inspiration.
      March will see me step up some basic exercise and with the mornings and evenings getting lighter I'm going to kick start my walking commute to the station. I have fallen into a bit of a rut since early January due to work and stuff but I am staying for the meetings now and the support and fun that the group bring is really beginning to help on my next chapter….. so my next big goal is 2 stone by the end of July…. Watch this space 

      Monday, 22 February 2016

      Let the NY adventure begin.....

      It's no secret that new York holds my heart and with visits now in double figures + I get asked often am I not bored of it?...... so in reply to that question the honest answer is No! I do honestly believe that at the point that I'm tired of New York I really would be tired of life!
      I am over the coming few weeks share my Christmas adventure in the city that doesn't sleep.
      My trip in 2015 was really planned on a bit of a budget and I struck lucky with a flight and hotel in December for £500. This was a huge bargain and I didn't have huge expectations of anything but was really impressed with hotel & location. With any trip to the states I have learnt to maximise my time there by the flight times, flying outbound I book the earliest flight out of Heathrow and I opt for a late/night flight back (arriving first thing the following day) This takes advantage of the time differences and helps me manage the jet lag!
       So my adventure started with Taylor and I taking a trip in the early morning, zipping through London to Heathrow. As it was the 1st of December it was the perfect time for some Christmas songs and to enjoy some of the festive sights in the city.
      With Taylor dropped off at parking it was time to check-in to Terminal 3 for my flight across the Atlantic, the terminal was festooned in pink with a funky christmas tree.  I off loaded my bag and passed through security quickly, browsed duty free before grabbing a quick breakfast before boarding.
      Sitting near the window I captured take-off and the ascent into the clouds, which saw a gloomy damp December morning get brighter the higher we rose into a beautiful cloud filled blue sky, it was like we were flying on puffy clouds of cotton wool. With an uneventful flight across the pond the gloom soon re-appeared as we descended into JFK across Long Island and The Hamptons.
       Having a 'live' esta visa allowed me to fly through immigration and I had collected baggage, cleared customs and was on the Air train within 35 minutes of the plane landing (any of you that travel stateside frequently will know that this is a fantastic time, especially New York in December) Last year was my first Air train adventure and I am now a convert!
      This year I had booked to stay down in the Meatpacking District and my hotel was a short walk from the subway, which was ideal for my travels. Although I had explored this area, this was a first for me staying there and was a little apprehensive, however I had nothing to fear as I loved the location and would definitely stay there again.
      I stayed at The Jane Hotel on Jane Street and my first impression was it was a cross between Disney's Terror Towers and a hotel from the Grand Budapest Hotel, complete  with bus-boys with  gold trim hats! The hotel was a hive of activity on arrival as they were filming "John Wick 2" with Keanu Reeves in the lounge and  lobby. (this wasn’t my only celebrity spot of the week!) It seemed that my hotel lounge was an 'on-trend' space to hangout. The hotel has an amazing history; Completed in 1908, the American Seaman's Friend Society Sailors' Home and Institute was designed by William A. Boring, the architect renowned for Ellis Island’s immigrant station. 
      Originally built as a hotel for sailors with cabin-like rooms, the landmarked hotel was lovingly restored on its centennial in 2008. In 1912, the survivors of the Titanic stayed at the hotel until the end of the American Inquiry into the ship’s sinking.  The surviving crew held a memorial service at the hotel four days after the ship sank. 
      The rooms are tiny – very reminiscent of old ships cabins / train sleeper carriages, however they maximise the space with mirrors, good storage and lighting. The room was clean, good quality bed linen and complimentary robe, slippers for the bathroom facilities. If you can deal with shared bathroom (I never queued once for shower / bathroom facilities in the 5 days I was there) and tiny room, this hotel is amazing value for money. Fabulous location, great staff and a very cool eclectic hotel. I rarely stay in the same hotel twice when travelling to New York, but I would definitely come back to The Jane.
      Having dumped my bags it was time to explore the neighbourhood!.... pop back later in the week when I share some more of my New York adventures.

      Saturday, 20 February 2016

      An afternoon of Vogue @100....

      With London Fashion week in full swing, one of the must exhibits to see between shows is the celebration of Vogues 100th birthday at the National Portrait Gallery.
      Vogue launched its first magazine in the UK in 1916 and has continued to be the most aspirational, and fashion leading magazine.  US Vogue's Anna Wintour is still one of the most influential women in fashion and most models & celebrities see the pinnacle of their career when they grace the front cover of Vogue . This exhibit showcases some of their iconic covers to its absolute best.
      The exhibition is staged over several rooms, with each room having its own purpose or decade.
      On entering the exhibition you are met by library stripes of vogue covers in glorious technicolour, seeing how the pencil drawn fashion covers evolved to the leading styled images of today.
      Vogue 100: A Century of Style features work by many of the leading photographers, including Cecil Beaton, Lee Miller, Irving Penn and Snowdon. 
      More recent pictures by celebrated photographers David Bailey, Corinne Day, Patrick Demarchelier, Nick Knight, Herb Ritts, Mario Testino, Tim Walker and Albert Watson are also included.
      Some of my favourites include a fab image of the fab 4 The Beetles commissioned by Diane Vreeland and photographed by Peter Laurie in 1964.
      Multiple images of Kae Moss feature including the iconic Brit Pop knicker flashing image by Mario Testino in 2008.
      My favourite room was the 1990's and the fabulous Supermodel shoot whch featured 4 models that are still in great demand today: Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Cambell and Christy Turlington.
      A Vogue exhibition would not be complete without an image of the late Princess Diana who graced vogues cover on at least 4 occasions; shot predominately by Patrick Demarchelier the image is stunning.
      I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition and is a must for fans of fashion, photography, styling and British  history. My afternoon was complete with another British institution of cream tea in the cafe crypt at the Gallery.

      Monday, 15 February 2016

      A morning of Crime....

      Last week I spent some time travelling through the crime history of the UK at the Crime Museum Uncovered exhibition at the Museum of London.
      For a woman who spent her whole school studies, and teenage years studying and aspiring to be a criminal pathologist / forensic scientist; this exhibition ticks so many boxes for me.
      Having worked closely with the police over many years in various jobs, it also allowed me to see some of the infamous exhibits from the Black Museum of Scotland Yard.
      The exhibit houses some amazing artefacts, evidence and historical references to some of the most prolific and hi-profile cases of the UK this century.
      • Dr Crippen - including telegrams from the liner where they were finally apprehended.
      • The Krays - Reggie Krays gun and transcripts from interviews.
      • Ruth Ellis - gun and newspaper from the day o her hanging.
      • Hangman ropes - Multiple hangman ropes used for corporal punishment along with a Hangman's box on loan from Wandsworth prison.
      • The Great Train Robbery - multiple artefacts of evidence from the house, along with paper that was wrapped around the banknotes and original wanted posters.
      Two of the items I was most thrilled to see was the evidence case from the esteemed pathologist Sir Bernard Simpson and evidence box from Professor Keith Simpson 

      Along with many infamous murders; the exhibit houses espionage; micro dots & an adapted talcum powder tin used for smuggling. Offensive weapons - including umbrella shot gun, Chanel lipstick knife, and poison induced syringe adapted briefcase and terrorism with replica bombs used in the last 30 years; Hyde park, 7/7 and IRA attacks.
      This exhibit is only open until April and a must for any fan of crime, history or forensics. Its interesting, thrilling and incredibly fascinating, I loved it.

      Friday, 12 February 2016

      Reading Challenge 2016

      So this year I've set myself (with a little help from Goodreads) to read 75 books in 2016.  As you all know I am an avid reader and to aid my progress I have set up a separate page to share my reads from 2016.
      January's reads look a little like this;
      * The Book Lovers - Victoria Connelly - Callie Logan is a children's author who after the breakdown of her marriage, relocates to a tiny village in the heart of Suffolk in the gloriously names Owl Cottage. Happy to seclude herself away and her books, fate throws not one suitor but 2 in the guise of Leo; a man at home in the elements and countryside and Sam the local owner of Nightingale books.
      Victoria's description of the Suffolk countryside is gorgeous and bought back lots of lovely memories of my time in this part of the country and spending time with family that live there. Also having been to Victoria's home in this part of the world Owl Cottage is really bought to life for me. I really enjoyed this book and with the introduction of many characters I look forward to the next book in the series. Delightful.
      * Meet and Delete - Pauline Lawless - 3 friends; Megan, Viv & Claire find themselves all single  and sharing a house together in their 30's. They turn to On-line dating to find their "Mr Right", what they do find are some Mr Nice, plenty of Mr Never-again and lots of adventure in between.  This book has sat in my "To read "folder for a while and when I started it I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it; along with the fun and friendship it also deals with some family angst along with lots of laughter. Fans of Cathy Kelly will love this.
      *  Meet Me in Manhattan - Claudia Carroll - Holly Johnson is a budding journalist and thinks that she may have found her perfect guy On-line  - the only issue is that he lives in America and she lives in Dublin...after 3 failed attempts to meet up in her city; she decides to cross the Atlantic and surprise him in New York... however not everything is as it seems and Holly gets the shock of her life when she finally tracks down her mystery man. Suddenly Holly's life is tipped upside down and her future, job and life all become a little bit of a nightmare. - This was a fun read, with fabulous moments in New York. (gave me a warm Manhattan hug) and gives a great insight into the Catfish elements of online dating. Claudia Carroll really does write a very clever rom com adventure.
      * What would Lizzy Bennet Do - Katie Oliver - Katie Oliver has done it again and put her own twist and style on a classic. Lizzie Bennet has been in love with Hugh Darcy for years, however when he returns to the family estate after many year, he is accompanied by a fiancé - Holly James. Holly is completely unprepared for Hugh's life as lord of the manor. With a film crew shooting Pride & Prejudice in the grounds of Hugh's stately pile and the dastardly Mr Wickham (Holly's ex) setting his sites on one of the Bennet sisters a summer on the English Riviera looks far from tranquil. - a fun read, perfect for all fans of Austen. Look forward to reading Emma Bennet's adventure next.
      * Stirred with Love - Marcie Steele A sweet story of finding a family & friendship in the most unlikeliest of places.. Lily owns the run down cafe and whilst grieving for her husband she advertises for some help to put some life back into her cafe. Kate & Chloe apply and a beautiful story of friendship across generations unravels as they embark on their new adventures opening the cafe as a coffee shop. This story spans 3 generations and as well as being very sweet and lovely, it can at times be heartbreaking. .. looking forward to Marcie's next book.
      * Its Now or Never - Jill Steeples When smooth-talking Alex Fellows tells Jen Faraday he can predict her future – and leaves a note with the bartender for her to collect in one year’s time – she thinks it’s just a line. After all, how can a man she’s known for only one night see what her future holds? - Fun read and characters that you warm to quickly. Loved the relationship with Jen and her Gramps. Resonated lots with me as I too had a Gramps. An easy read that absolutely brightened my January gloomy commute... especially as Alex Fellows is quite delicious.
      My final read for the month is the autobiography of the gorgeous Dan Carter - All Blacks flyhalf and rugby legend. - Halfway through and I am gripped; fascinating read of a boy who became the David Beckham equivalent of the Rugby world. With the 6 nations kicking off on February and my fabulous autumn of World cup rugby this was the perfect non-fiction book to kick-off 2016 with
      Along with the challenge to read 75 books; 12 of those are to be factual as opposed to fiction and I am hoping to tie them in with my current affairs of that month!... watch this space

      Thursday, 4 February 2016

      6 Flicks to look forward to in 2016

      So it feels like ages since I shared a movie moment and some time since I spent an evening at the cinema. There wasn't a great deal of movies released in 2015, that I thought warranted an evening at the cinema and I only went a few times. However I do believe 2016 may be a little different as there are a number of movies being released this year that I will definitely want to see on the big screen.

      Me Before You
      I am so excited to see this movie; I adored the book, have cried through the trailer and know that I will sob throughout the film. Fabulous casting and cant wait to see it when its released in June. This will be "The Notebook" movie of 2016.
      Money Monster 
      Its been some time since the gorgeous George Clooney did a movie that got me giddy!... but Money Monster looks interesting, not too arty and looking forward to seeing him & Julia Roberts back in screen together (loved their chemistry in the Oceans series) and directed by Jodie Foster
      My Big Fat Greek wedding 2 
      So thrilled to see this Greek family back again, with another wedding to plan along with lots of love, fun and laughter! This looks like the perfect girls night out movie.
      Batman V Superman 
      Henry Cavill is pulling on the blue tights and red cape again and Ben Affleck is pulling on the bat suit to see who is the best superhero for Gotham City... I'm team Cavill, but looking forward to see this summer release.


      and finally 2 movies that have yet to release any trailers but some images have been posted frequently on social media.... Bridget Jones and baby!... I am a little excited about this winter release and looking forward to seeing Bridget back with Mr Darcy and the gorgeous Dr McDreamy Patrick Dempsey!!!... oh my, I am a little giddy... how gorgeous does he look on this motorcycle.
      The final movie that I am looking forward to is Mother's Day; directed by Garry Marshall from Pretty Women acclaim it follows in the genre of his previous 2 movies Valentines Day and New Years Eve and stars an ensemble cast featuring Jennifer Anniston, Julia Roberts and Kate Hudson.
      As you can see its a varied movie bag and I look forward to a night with a big box of popcorn being entertained... what movie are you looking forward to in 2016?

      Tuesday, 2 February 2016

      Hello February.....

      Hello February, its a new month so I've said goodbye to my January blush and gold styling and hello to a little winter blues. This probably suits my  mood at the moment as I'm in a little fog of January blues and hoping that February will lift me out of it.

      I have a little more planned in February than I managed in January, as I am hoping that my workload reduces, so I am going to have a Thankful February...

      • Weekend brunch planned for the Forest restaurant on the roof at 400 Oxford street.
      • Spent many hours with Mr Selfridge in Jan and enjoying series 4 of his amazing life.
      • I am liking that the mornings are a little lighter as I walk to work each morning.
      • Planning a visit to the Crime museum exhibition at the London museum - excited to see some of Scotland Yards Black museum.
      • Have plans to explore a little more of London and walk a little more as the weather improves. 
      I am also celebrating some friends and families birthdays in Feb, so watch this space for further updates. I hope that you are all having a lovely start to the new month and look forward to reading your adventures. x