Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Book Love - March

So my book challenge continued in March, with 8 books read.... that tells you how well my commutes have been, when I can  read 8 books travelling into and out of London.
This months reads have been a welcome relief from the city taking me to the countrysides of the Cotswold's, Suffolk, Roxborough, Swell Valley and Dartmouth along with the coast of Cornwall.
* Rules for a Successful Book Club - Victoria Connelly  - this is Victoria's 2nd book in the book club series and here we pick up on the story of Polly Nightingale. Polly's husband walked out of the house 3 years ago; leaving behind his wife and 3 year old son. Polly finds herself spending time with neighbour Jago; a guitar playing biker, 13 years her junior who her son finds himself delightful. With life looking on the up, Polly's life takes a turn when she starts to believe she is being watched. can the past come back to haunt her?  I loved catching up with the Nightingale family in the lovely countryside of Suffolk having read book 1 in january.... now looking forward to book 3!
* The Woman who Upped and left - Fiona Gibson - this fun read features Audrey a divorced mum to an 18 year old teenage son Morgan... juggling jobs and picking up dirty pants is as thrilling as life gets for Audrey, unless you count romantic trysts in motorway service hotels with her salesman boyfriend. When she is offered an opportunity to escape for a week to a gorgeous hotel for a cordon bleau cooking course she grabs it with both hands and runs away. Life catches up with her and it becomes even more complicated, with laugh out loud moments and a great supporting cast this is a fun read, perefct to escape with on a rainy afternoon.
* Rumour has it - Jill Mansell - Tilly quits her job in London after being dumped by her boyfriend Gavin for a 'girl friday' job in the village of Roxborough working for Max and his daughter Lou. She is quickly ensconsed into the charm & gossip of village life. Tilly also meets Jack best friend of Max a widower and the man who has broken hearts all across the village. I loved this book, Jill is definitely one of my all time favourites. The village of Roxborough was so much fun and this book covers so many topics, a great read with a very delicious leading man!
* Riders - Jilly Cooper - sometimes you have to re-visit a classic!... picked this back up after reading Tilly's & Lucy's books which both feature horses and stables. It's over 25 years since I last read Riders and 25 years later Rupert Campbell- Black still has the swoon stakes in the equestrian world. I was always a Jake fan and it was great to re-visit the world of show-jumping. Even though this book was written 30 years ago it still holds its own in today's world. A fantastic retreat into the Cotswold countryside and the bitter rivalry in the show-jumping ring..
* Summer at Tiffany's - Karen Swan - SaT is the sequel to Karen Swans Christmas at Tiffany's and we join Cassie and Henry 18 months on, when life seems ideal. However although Cassie wears Henry's ring on her finger she is reluctant to set a date.Henry is still an explorer and finds himself skippering an expedition across the Pacific, Cassie decamps to Cornwall to spend time with friends and family. Here she finds herself in the company of a blast from her past which makes her question where her future lies. She is also finds herself presented with one of Henry's infamous lists. Life suddenly becomes a little more serious and she has some big decisions to make. I loved catching up with Cassie and Henry and the family & friends from the Tiffany books. I do hope that Karen writes another. (Fitz was as equally hooked on this book along with me - he took much delight in page turning on the ipad!)
* The Show - Tilly Bagshawe - this is the 2nd book in the Swell series and we join Gabe and Laura Baxter on their farm nestled in the chocolate box valleys of Swell valley. Prior to marrying Gabe Laura worked in the Tv world and with them struggling financially she pitches an idea to film a 'on the farm' reality series. With a protest group led by the vicar, an exiled PM turned TV financier  and a sexy driven american female Tv presenter to deal with Laura and Gabe's idyllic country life soon starts to show a few cracks. A great return to the village of Swell and I am looking forward to the 3rd book later this year.
* The Day we Disappeared - Lucy Robinson - a thrilling read by Lucy Robinson and in typical Lucy style, not everything is as it seems. We meet Annie who is holding a really big secret and we also meet Kate who has run away from her life in Ireland to a stable yard in the depths of Devon. Both girls are friends having met many years ago whilst travelling around Thailand. Kate starts a job as a trainee within the stable yard and trying desperately to hide that she has no stable experience from the owner and famous equestrian rider Mark. Annie finds her life changing when she meets Stephen who offers her the perfect job. Plagued with bouts of anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress Annie finally feels her life has turned a corner. We follow both girls lives and as their lives become more complicated so it reveals that not all is as it seems.... a great read full of twists and surprises all the way through.
* The Undomesticated Goddess - Sophie Kinsella - its been some time since I read a Sophie Kinsella book and this has been languishing in my "to read" pile. Its a fun read that finds us meeting Samantha a high powered lawyer who thrives on pressure. One day when it seems that Samantha is about to receive the job that she has dreamed and worked for she finds that she has made a colossal mistake, resulting in her walking out of a job and jumping on a train. She finds herself in the middle of nowhere and mistakenly caught up in the interviews for a housekeeper in the countryside. With an IQ of 158 Samantha can deal with all calamities in the courthouse but has no idea how to turn on the oven. Hiding out in the kitchen Samantha finds herself falling in love with both the countryside and its inhabitants and her life in London seems a long way away. However life has a funny way of catching up with you. A delightful read and a welcome change for Sophie Kinsella away from her shopaholic series.
Thank you ladies for 8 fantastic reads, I've loved visiting the countryside of England in this months reads... I am now 20 books in of my 75 book reading challenge; here's the previous 12 from 2016.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Easter fun

So Easter has passed, clocks have gone forward and we should now be looking forward to glorious spring sunshine and lighter evenings. I am hoping that as we say goodbye to March that we leave the stormy weather behind as Good Friday was the only lovely day from the long Easter weekend.
Easter was a time for some down time, spending time with family, reading, catching up on TV and enjoying just being. It also saw the 7th anniversary of the passing of my beloved Gramps.




Easter started on Thursday with a themed breakfast at work for the team...
Bacon Rolls, Cocolate Eggs and Hot Cross buns and Cream Egg cupcakes.
Easter saw me fall off SW plan from a great height!
Team seemed to enjoy it and set up for a great mood in the office.

Good Friday was spent in the glorious sunshine with a visit to the stunning Sky Garden at Fenchurch Street (previously blogged) and across London Bridge to Borough Market.
Borough was a feast on the senses, both visually and on the taste buds of Easter treats. Breadahead's hot cross buns were fabulous and Chez Michelle's spring florals were beautiful.
Easter weekend was spent catching up with family, spending Saturday with my brother & family. Niece and nephew taking a break from exam revision (oh I remember the pain well!)

Sunday was spent dodging the storm and taking mum to the cemetery, where it managed to stay dry for us to change the flowers.
A chilled sunday afternoon was spent catching up on some TV and binge watching The Night Manager (much better on the hips for me than Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns!!)...
I hope that you all had a lovely Easter and that the Easter bunny bought lots of chocolate and that you spent time with those you love... x

Bridget's Back

I love film trailers, and they are absolutely one of my favourite parts of visiting the cinema, therefore when this his the big screen this week I couldn't contain that inner squeal of excitement!
 Bridget is back!!!... and looking as hapless, ditzy and single as ever!
With 6 months to wait until the movie is released the trailer tempts us all with scenes of classic Bridget. With a new beau on the scene in the guise of the delicious Patrick Dempsey, it seems not all has gone well with the dashing Mark Darcy.
Lovely to see the fabulous Jim Broadbent back as Bridget's dad and the bacon buttie scene in the bandstand looks heartfelt.
It looks like Bridget has also expanded her fashion and I am already coveting several of the looks ( excluding the baby bump!)  Loving the Navy blue zarita DVF dress, Shrimps blue fur coat, and of course she is sporting a gorgeous Mulberry bayswater handbag in many scenes (mmm don't have to worry about adding that to me wish list!)

It does look like Bridget is back in style and with a baby!...

Monday, 28 March 2016

Sunday Night Thrills...

its been sometime since the media both social and print has been gripped by a TV series on a Sunday Night... Homeland was probably the last drama that got everybody talking at 9pm instead of thinking of retiring for the evening.
A few weeks ago I called out my TV treats of recent weeks, which included The Night Manager, this concluded last night and deserves a post of its own!
This 6 part drama adapted from John Le Carre's  book (the genius who bought us "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy") has kept me glued to my sofa over the last few weeks.
Mr Le Carre even made a little guest cameo himself as a guest in a restaurant.
The Night Manager is beautifully styled and shot in some gorgeous locations including Majorcca, Cairo, Istanbul and London. Cast include Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Coleman, Hugh Lawrie, Tom Hollander to name but a few.
Wardrobes both female and male have been lusted after with Tom H showcasing his gorgeousness both in & out of clothes. Signature tailored blue shirts and Navy suits will see sales rise on the back of this show along with diaphanous floaty dresses, gorgeous underwear and nightwear as outerwear favoured by the leading lady & love interest Jed.
The Night Manager finds Johnathon Pine (the night manager) seeking retribution for the death of a female in his hotel. He crosses paths with Richard Roper (Laurie) who is linked to the man who killed his girl. With nothing to loose he finds himself doing a deal with a splinter off grid group of the secret service and going undercover within Ropers businesses.
Much has been written about this drama and I do hope that another is commissioned, alternatively Tom Hiddleston needs to be at the front of the Q for the next Bond along with Olivia Coleman for M.
A great pairing that just worked so fabulously on set. Hugh Laurie was dastardly evil as Roper (although couldn't quite get the HL from blackadder from my mind). 
Bravo BBC for commissioning such a great thriller and Hats off to Mr Le Carre for writing such a fabulous thriller... loved it from start to finish. Sunday nights wont be the same.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Insta Love - Easter

Having shared my March instagram favourites last weekend I wanted to share my instagram favourites from Easter this week. Green hues are favoured on my blog styling for the month, and this features heavily within my insta likes for March, however Easter is filled with pastels, yellows, pinks, florals and sweet treats.
Favourites from Easter are:
*  Easter Egg cookies beautifully decorated and styled by Peggy Porschen are just delicious.
* Dip Dyed blown eggs in gorgeous pastel hues simply styled by one of Nigella's favourites Mud Australia.
* A regular feature in my insta loves posts is the super talented Valerie Mckeehan - usually I am showcasing her chalkboard features but today its mini eggs and florals!
* Dan Doherty executive chef at one of my London favourites Duck & Waffle signature Easter dish this year was a delicious salted caramel hot cross ice-cream bun!! of my!!
* Yellow Spring florals in glorious display in The Berkeley - perfect for Easter.
* Claridges beautiful art deco Easter egg styled with daffodils from Mcqueen flowers - the most decadent of Easter treats.
* The most perfect Easter table setting from The Pottery Barn - #dreamhouse
followed by the perfect Easter cake from Delicious magazine.... do love mini eggs on a cake 
* My final Easter image is from across the pond of the Empire State building in stunning springs hues and blossoms from Noel at nyclovesnyc.

I hope that you have all had a lovely Easter, thank-you for posting such lovely images.
I hope that I can maintain this post as it is one of my favourites with the changes that Instagram are making to its social media platform from next week. Instagram will no longer be "Insta" and will be a little more fixed with only popular posts showing in your feed. I have switched  'notifications on' and hope not to miss my favourites.... 

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Plates, Mates & Automobiles ....

Monday saw me (and 2,300 others) spend the evening in the company of James Martin at the iconic Hammersmith Apollo.
James has been on the road for the last few weeks touring the UK with his Plates, Mates & Auto-mobiles tour.
He seemed to be completely in awe of being on stage at a venue that he cycled past daily when he was starting out as an 18 year old chef.

It seems that the Apollo has had a bit of a lighting make-over both inside and outside within its Art Deco listed building.
The tour stage was very stylish with some great props, 2 kitchen workspaces, ovens and a huge video screen.
James's show was filled with what he loves,cooking, chat, laughter and cars.Sharing top billing in the mate stakes was his right hand man and sous chef Chris Start. Between them it was a great double act. James spoke warmly of their friendship and as mates go it was clear that it was a good mate. As cooking demos it was well orchestrated between the two chefs and the pair maintained an upbeat routine with plenty of rousing cheers from the audience, which had some of James colleagues from Saturday kitchen, Laverstocke dairy and chef friends. Nine recipes cooked up in 2 hours with humour, tales oh his childhood on a pig farm and life as a young chef. Favourite recipes from many of his back catalogue including; rhubarb soufflé, fish & chips, the best bacon sandwich ever (3,000+ calories!) finished off with a glorious cream filled swiss roll. Banter and rants were directed at the food and hygiene police, bane of his life from the frequent complaints on Saturday Kitchen for hand washing etc, and the healthy eating brigade who lament his over use of butter and cream! 
A witty, unhygenic on stage rebellion got the thumbs up from the audience along with a butter mountain that was dug into frequently for cooking! As the show drew to an end, James who had been learning to play the guitar during the tour was joined on stage by Brian Turner (triangle) and F1's Mark Webber (percussion) along with others to sing and play us out of what was a fabulously funny and entertaining evening.
It was during this tour that James announced that he was leaving Saturday Kitchen, a show that he has been at the helm of for the last 10 years. One of the things that has made James so popular is his genuine love of food and the ability to cook, chat and present all together, something even more remarkable considering he is severely dyslexic. James talked about this during his show and is extremely proud of it and hats off to him for holding down an autocue, ear mic and present a live show. James's last show aired Saturday morning and it was emotional! the outpouring on twitter was huge and both he and the programme trended for much of the day. James did a fab job of holding it all together until the last few moments...



Saturday mornings will no longer be the same for me and James Martin will be a much missed fixture in my weekend....

Spring garden in the Sky

Good Friday dawned bright and dry and I was determined to spend outside enjoying the start of Easter.Looking at the weather forecast it was going to be the best day of the holiday.
With this in mind I headed into London to grab some last minute Easter bits from Borough market and enjoy a walk along the river.
Taking a chance I stopped off at the Sky Garden to see if any 'walk-in' spaces were available and fortunately there were. I last visited the Sky Garden in January for breakfast when it was styled for Christmas and the winter months in greys and pinks.
The Gardens have had a makeover for Spring and were styled in glorious hues of yellow, blue and spring stripes.
The day was perfect for visiting this garden in the sky and the views across the city were stunning.
Views stretched from the east to west and north to south against a beautiful blue sky. Loved how beautiful the Tower of London looked nestled in is green moat.
With the weather being so good the Terrace space was open allowing the view to be even more spectacular onto the rive and across the city.
I am so pleased that I got to spend some of this beautiful day in this space, it really is becoming one of my favourite spaces in London and I look forward to returning in the summer to enjoy the space further. I thoroughly recommend Sky Garden as a place to visit and if planning any trips to the city then add this to your "London To Do" list



Monday, 21 March 2016

Tv Treats ....

Its been some time since I shared some TV  treats that have kept me entertained during the last few weeks and one that I am really looking forward to for spring.
The Good Wife .... this programme has had me hooked since episode 1 of season 1 and now 7 seasons in I am halfway through the last season.
A fantastic legal, political series full of glamour, intrigue, seriously strong women and gorgeously suited men. Alicia; wife to politician Peter, returns to her legal profession shortly after her husband is outed for sleeping with call-girls. There marriage along with political aspirations is soon thrown into the public limelight.
Alicia hasn't played the victim wife and has had her own share of gorgeous men as well as her husband Mr Big!
John Le Carre's  The Night Manager on BBC has brightened many dull Sunday nights over the past 4 weeks; the gorgeous Tom Higgleston is proving to be a glorious hit on twitter!. A fabulous thriller with a fantastic cast.. catch it now on iplayer.
Something a little more tranquil for mid week is the delightful Grantchester.. never has a man in a dog collar got so many women swooning since Richard Chamberlain stalked across the plains of Australia in The Thorn Birds. This season opening with the vicar in his swimming trunks!... 
and finally one that I am really looking forward to returning is the Police internal investigations drama 'In the Line of Duty' a series that has had me hooked previously.
What have you been loving lately?..... Here's some of my previous TV treats.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Insta Love - March

So I know that March hasn't quite finished, but with Easter falling next weekend I wanted to share my instagram favourites from March this week and some Easter favourites next. My Insta love posts are proving quite popular and look forward to hearing from you with this months favourites.
Green hues are favoured on my blog styling for the month, and this features heavily within my insta likes as well.
  1. Beautiful spring chalkboard from Valerie Mckeehan - this has been my mantra for March "begin each day with a grateful heart".. love Valeries feed and find myself desperate to blackboard paint a wall within my house to play with!
  2. Gorgeous green house & door shot by Pretty City London in the Connaught village of London. A lovely insta feed that highlights everything pretty in the city.
  3. The Berkeley's stunning floral arrangements are featured often within their feed, simply styled these green and white hues are beautiful.
  4. The Marylebone pub is not far from where I work and this image of the bike and window façade are perfect... I currently have a little insta love affair with bicycles.... snapped perfectly by katya jackson.
  5. My friend Mark's shot of the crocuses poking their heads through the grasses of Regents Park sums up the start of spring perfectly. 
  6. Another fab shot of a little green hideaway in the corner of a London street from Magdelana ~ delightful.
  7. Beautiful blooms and tea styled gorgeously by jannelford. A glorious lifestyle blogger.
  8. My insta loves wouldnt be complete without my favourite David Gandy image from the month... this reflective shot in the Scottish highlands is from ohmygandy's feed but originated from man of the world magazine shoot.
  9. and finally Forest London have kicked off a countdown to the launch of a spring menu and forest with this beautiful image of daffodils.
Thankyou all for sharing such lovely images in March. With Instagram proposing changes to the way that we see our feeds I really do hope that I can still see all my favourite images without it becoming too sponsored focus like other social media sites.
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.



Saturday, 19 March 2016

Hello Adele.....

Sometimes the most unexpected of things happen which result in one of the best things of 2016 so far!... I was very lucky to be given a ticket to see Adele in concert at one of her 8 sold out nights at the O2.
Having been a fan since the release of her debut  '19' album, which cemented further with the release of  '21' album. I was thrilled when she broke her hibernation from motherhood to record the fantastic theme tune to Skyfall and then subsequently come back with a huge HELLO with '25' at the end of last year.... What I love most about Adele is her ability so stay close to her roots, demonstrated with her slurping a mug of tea during her live set Friday.
Adele's set list was fantastic and she kept it moving with some great set and stage theatrics which lended itself beautifully with her songs.
There was only one song that Adele could open with and that was of course Hello...
From the opening bar, Adele held that audience in the plam of her hand for the entire 2 hour set.... she interacted with the crowd in her interminable style, fabulously leaking that she will headline Glastonbury this year. Talking of style she rocked a custom bad Burberry sparkly dress and killer red nails gloriously. Had complete hair and make-up envy as well! (yes the girl crush continues!)
Its hard to share my favourites as I had so many and You tube is full of great vidoes from the evening... here is my Bond favourite.. Skyfall
and one of my favourites from 25... All i ask
Adele was simply fabulous.... i had an amazing time, she took you on an emotional journey filled with love, laughter, heartbreak and fabulous memories. Definitely one of the best live performances that I have seen. Adele's back catalogue reads like a playlist to my life and this is one of the reasons why I think she resonates with so many.... breathtaking.... thank-you Adele.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Across the Hudson.....

Earlier this month I started to share my New York adventures from December, here I shared my first experience of staying within the meatpacking district. This area has seen a huge regeneration over the last 15 years and Sex and the City fans will remember it from being the location that Samantha lived. Bordering Greenwich Village is really is quite a fabulous location to be and I will be seeking stays there in future trips.
The area is predominately residential and with cobble lines streets and glorious brownstones, it’s a cool place to just wander and capture the experience of village life within New York. My hotel on the corner of Jane Street and offered views across the Hudson river to New Jersey / Hoboken an area which I had never visited.
When researching and planning for the trip (yes I still plan lots even though I have visited too many times now to count!) a must for me is a trip to Target. Target is a huge supermarket/store similarour Tesco and full of fabulous things. In previous years I have travelled up into East Harlem to do my Target shopping, however this wouldn’t be a straightforward in the location that I was staying. I did find that there was a Target located in the Newport/Hoboken area, practically opposite my hotel (separated only by the Hudson river).
Further research led to me finding that the PATH trainline was a short walk from my hotel which would transport me under the river to the state of Jersey. The Patch train was accessible from Christopher Street 
The station entrance is in its own free-standing building, with a restored marquee displaying the original "Hudson Tunnels" name adorning the entrance way. Passengers descend a narrow stairway with a number of curves before arriving at the southwest end of the narrow center island platform.Biff Elrod's mural "Ascent-Descent" (showing images of users of the PATH trains, ascending or descending the stairs) originally painted on site in August 1986 as a temporary installation for the Public Art Fund, and later purchased by PATH/Port Authority of NY&NJ, was restored in 1999 just before the incidents of 9/11.
I loved this station , with its beautiful murals, a real old glamour of new york, Hard to believe that this little station was used by more than 7,400 people per day post 9/11 as this was the furthest south path train to the world trade centre that still commuted passengers from the Jersey districts. 
Hoboken station is as equally picturesque, and I really did feel like I had fallen into a movie or a bygone era of New York. The station has been used for film shoots, including  Funny Girl and Julia & Julia.The large main waiting room, with its floral and Greek Revival motifs in tiled stained glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany,is generally considered one of the finest in the U.S. aesthetically. The terminal exterior extends to over four stories and has a distinguished copper-clad façade with ornate detailing. The terminal, houses trains and ferry's and even though the day was overcast and drizzly it still was a beautiful building to explore.
On a clear day the views onto Manhattan are glorious, alas on the morning I was there the views were shrouded with mist. As this was the beginning of my visit, I hoped to return just to enjoy the view. Along the river adjacent to the station sits a simple memorial to 9/11 as a large number of Hoboken / Newport  residents lost their life on that day.
After a walk along the river side, I crossed into the residential park space and walked a short walk to a very big Target.
Here I stocked up on lots of holiday candy, home treats and paper goodies. With Star Wars imminent for release there was lots of stockfiller finds go in the trolley. Alas I couldn't take the baileys milkshakes home, but I did try one there which was amazing. Favourite finds were Gingerbrread Santa twix, candy cane oreos, crispy M&M's, Almond, Plain & milk chocolate mini snickers.
Later in the week on my last morning I managed to pop back across the water, and snap some images of the New York skyline against a backdrop of a beautiful blue sky. Hoboken is definitely somewhere that I would like to explore more, and will be adding it to my To Do list for future visits.




Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Breakfast treat in the Forest..

Sharing a recent breakfast treat in a forest on a roof in central London.... I am of course referring to Forest Restaurant on the Roof, sitting on the roof of Selfridges 400 Oxford Street. Forest is one of Des McDonalds ventures and features a menu inspired by British spring forests, including Suffolk lamb & rosemary stew, Baked Cornish brie and Chocolate forest & Honey cheesecake.
I have visited the restaurant pop-up previously when its been a Cornish seaside escape, an apres shopping winter Chalet and Forest follows a similar theme. Accessible by an express lift in the fragrance hall you are greeted by a little winter wonderland entrance leading onto the roof.

I had the first slot on a Saturday morning so got to enjoy un interrupted views of the rooftop.
I love the styling, especially the blanket throws on the backs of the chairs, perfect for laps or shoulders if its too chilly for you.

For breakfast I opted for Crumpet Benedict ... (eggs benedict on a home made crumpet) a small treat to celebrate loosing some weight, with coffee and a gorgeous pink grapefruit juice.
All were delicious and a perfect treat for a Saturday at my desk.

Before I headed back to my desk I spent some time on the drinks terrace, complete with warm winter huts. Perfect for an early morning coffee or hot toddies in the afternoon.
Although chilly it was a lovely bright morning and Forest is a lovely space to escape the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street life on a Saturday morning.
Another great little breakfast retreat in the city.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Book Love - February

So my book challenge continued in February with a further 5 books read. This months reads have taken me across the Irish sea to Mulberry Bay, online dating with the ex, dog show antics with a brooding Mr Darcy, allotment fun with a socialite and a book club for broken hearts.

  • The Broken Hearts Book Club - Lynsey James ~ Lucy Harper finds herself heading back home to Luna Bay for her beloved Nana Lily's funeral. This was Lucy's 1st trip back to the bay after 8 years, she fled the town after an incident which unravels as the book progresses. It is evident that the small town hasn't forgotten and that Lucy still holds a lot of guilt from that incident and she only plans to stay a few days. Nana Lily's will throws a spanner in the works and Lucy finds herself bequeathed a cottage and book club with conditions. Throw in a gorgeous love interest in the shape of Jake the local landlord, who also has his secrets, a great supporting character cast of Lucy's mum & dad and friends George and Elle along with the reluctant broken hearted book club and this makes this a lovely read with several layers.
  • Match Me if you Can - Michelle Gorman ~ Friends Catherine, Rachel, & Sarah house share, all successful in their careers; Catherine owner of a matchmaking business, Rachel and architect and Sarah an illustrator but all unlucky in love; Catherine's ex husband and business partner has just dropped the bombshell that he is marrying his 23 year old girlfriend, Rachel is competing with her ex James for the biggest architectural pitch of her career and Sarah has no time for love, spending all her spare time with her disabled young sister and caring for all the others. The 3 girls make a pact to join Catherine's Recyclove.com - a dating agency that asks their Ex's to complete their profiles. This was a fun read, and I enjoyed following the girls dating adventures and lives. 
  • Unleashing Mr Darcy - Teri Wilson ~ Elizabeth Scott finds herself accepting a job with a pedigree dog breeder after a chance meeting at a dog show in her home town of New York. Said dog show also finds her meeting the dashing judge and british billionaire dog breeder Donovan Darcy. Think Crufts meets Pride & Prejudice and you have this book completely. Doovan is quite delicious, Elizabeth is sweet and fiesty and the supporting cast and digs are delightful. a fun read that leaves a warm glow.
  • The Hotel in Mulberry Bay - Melissa Hill ~ Mulberry Hotel sits proudly on the cliff top of Mulberry Bay and has been in the Harte family for years. Eleanor and Penny grew up in and around the corridors of the hotel with penny loving everything about it and Ellie wanting to escape the minute she was old enough. Both girls find themselves returning after their beloved mother and matriarch of the hotel passes away. What is evident is that the hotel isn't as grand as it once was and that the bank are chasing the repossession of the hotel. Both girls along with their father go on a journey of discovery, grief and a desire to bring the hotel back to its glorious best. This is a beautifully written book by Melissa Hill of family, love and community.
  • The Great Allotment Proposal - Jenny Oliver ~ Socialite Emily Hunter-Brown has bought her old home a manor house on Cherry Pie Island. Along with the manor house, she also gets her friends allotment to care take. Armed with brand new Hunter wellies and a fork she finds herself more of a hindrance than a help amongst the weeding. When her teenage first love re-appears on his boat and moors at the end of her garden her life and offers to help will her heart hold out. This was a lovely light read, 3rd in the cherry pie island series.
Along with some fun fiction reads, my fiction reads were a little darker filled with murder, espionage and forensics February saw me travel to the Crime Uncovered exhibition at the London museum. This book details the exhibits and the Scotland Yard back stories to all cases - fascinating, forensics and thrilling mystery's. I loved it.
My coffee table 'read' was the delicious Dieux du Stade the book presents photographs by Fred Goudon, whose work has focussed on the male form for over 20 years. A fab fun 'pick-me up' present from my GBF.

I have already started on my March reads and look forward to sharing those with you later in the month. 2 months in to my reading challenge and I am 12/75  complete. What books have you loved this month, would love to hear from you.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Hello March...

Well February passed in a flash and March is here... as you can see the blog has had a make-over... saying goodbye to the February blues and Marching into spring with a green hue.


* Spring is slowly emerging and along with my new eating lifestyle I am using the lighter mornings and evenings to move a little more and walk a few extra miles a a day by getting off a couple of stops before I need to to walk the remaining commute to work. I snapped this gorgeous shot of the magnolias budding in Manchester Square.
* Although the mornings are lighter it has still been very cold. I have also started to make soup, which has been a great lunchtime hit.
* March is filled with lots of occasions, looking forward to an early Mothers Day and time spent with my mum.
* I also have a friends birthday which falls on Mothers day.
* My goddaughter is expecting a baby in May, so a baby shower is planned in March to celebrate.
* March will see me spend an evening at the O2 in the company of Adele!... I am a little excited about this.
and then finally at the end of March the Easter bunny arrives.....
Here's to a fun filled March, filled with love, fun, friends, family and chocolate!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Book Love - March

So my book challenge continued in March, with 8 books read.... that tells you how well my commutes have been, when I can  read 8 books travelling into and out of London.
This months reads have been a welcome relief from the city taking me to the countrysides of the Cotswold's, Suffolk, Roxborough, Swell Valley and Dartmouth along with the coast of Cornwall.
* Rules for a Successful Book Club - Victoria Connelly  - this is Victoria's 2nd book in the book club series and here we pick up on the story of Polly Nightingale. Polly's husband walked out of the house 3 years ago; leaving behind his wife and 3 year old son. Polly finds herself spending time with neighbour Jago; a guitar playing biker, 13 years her junior who her son finds himself delightful. With life looking on the up, Polly's life takes a turn when she starts to believe she is being watched. can the past come back to haunt her?  I loved catching up with the Nightingale family in the lovely countryside of Suffolk having read book 1 in january.... now looking forward to book 3!
* The Woman who Upped and left - Fiona Gibson - this fun read features Audrey a divorced mum to an 18 year old teenage son Morgan... juggling jobs and picking up dirty pants is as thrilling as life gets for Audrey, unless you count romantic trysts in motorway service hotels with her salesman boyfriend. When she is offered an opportunity to escape for a week to a gorgeous hotel for a cordon bleau cooking course she grabs it with both hands and runs away. Life catches up with her and it becomes even more complicated, with laugh out loud moments and a great supporting cast this is a fun read, perefct to escape with on a rainy afternoon.
* Rumour has it - Jill Mansell - Tilly quits her job in London after being dumped by her boyfriend Gavin for a 'girl friday' job in the village of Roxborough working for Max and his daughter Lou. She is quickly ensconsed into the charm & gossip of village life. Tilly also meets Jack best friend of Max a widower and the man who has broken hearts all across the village. I loved this book, Jill is definitely one of my all time favourites. The village of Roxborough was so much fun and this book covers so many topics, a great read with a very delicious leading man!
* Riders - Jilly Cooper - sometimes you have to re-visit a classic!... picked this back up after reading Tilly's & Lucy's books which both feature horses and stables. It's over 25 years since I last read Riders and 25 years later Rupert Campbell- Black still has the swoon stakes in the equestrian world. I was always a Jake fan and it was great to re-visit the world of show-jumping. Even though this book was written 30 years ago it still holds its own in today's world. A fantastic retreat into the Cotswold countryside and the bitter rivalry in the show-jumping ring..
* Summer at Tiffany's - Karen Swan - SaT is the sequel to Karen Swans Christmas at Tiffany's and we join Cassie and Henry 18 months on, when life seems ideal. However although Cassie wears Henry's ring on her finger she is reluctant to set a date.Henry is still an explorer and finds himself skippering an expedition across the Pacific, Cassie decamps to Cornwall to spend time with friends and family. Here she finds herself in the company of a blast from her past which makes her question where her future lies. She is also finds herself presented with one of Henry's infamous lists. Life suddenly becomes a little more serious and she has some big decisions to make. I loved catching up with Cassie and Henry and the family & friends from the Tiffany books. I do hope that Karen writes another. (Fitz was as equally hooked on this book along with me - he took much delight in page turning on the ipad!)
* The Show - Tilly Bagshawe - this is the 2nd book in the Swell series and we join Gabe and Laura Baxter on their farm nestled in the chocolate box valleys of Swell valley. Prior to marrying Gabe Laura worked in the Tv world and with them struggling financially she pitches an idea to film a 'on the farm' reality series. With a protest group led by the vicar, an exiled PM turned TV financier  and a sexy driven american female Tv presenter to deal with Laura and Gabe's idyllic country life soon starts to show a few cracks. A great return to the village of Swell and I am looking forward to the 3rd book later this year.
* The Day we Disappeared - Lucy Robinson - a thrilling read by Lucy Robinson and in typical Lucy style, not everything is as it seems. We meet Annie who is holding a really big secret and we also meet Kate who has run away from her life in Ireland to a stable yard in the depths of Devon. Both girls are friends having met many years ago whilst travelling around Thailand. Kate starts a job as a trainee within the stable yard and trying desperately to hide that she has no stable experience from the owner and famous equestrian rider Mark. Annie finds her life changing when she meets Stephen who offers her the perfect job. Plagued with bouts of anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress Annie finally feels her life has turned a corner. We follow both girls lives and as their lives become more complicated so it reveals that not all is as it seems.... a great read full of twists and surprises all the way through.
* The Undomesticated Goddess - Sophie Kinsella - its been some time since I read a Sophie Kinsella book and this has been languishing in my "to read" pile. Its a fun read that finds us meeting Samantha a high powered lawyer who thrives on pressure. One day when it seems that Samantha is about to receive the job that she has dreamed and worked for she finds that she has made a colossal mistake, resulting in her walking out of a job and jumping on a train. She finds herself in the middle of nowhere and mistakenly caught up in the interviews for a housekeeper in the countryside. With an IQ of 158 Samantha can deal with all calamities in the courthouse but has no idea how to turn on the oven. Hiding out in the kitchen Samantha finds herself falling in love with both the countryside and its inhabitants and her life in London seems a long way away. However life has a funny way of catching up with you. A delightful read and a welcome change for Sophie Kinsella away from her shopaholic series.
Thank you ladies for 8 fantastic reads, I've loved visiting the countryside of England in this months reads... I am now 20 books in of my 75 book reading challenge; here's the previous 12 from 2016.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Easter fun

So Easter has passed, clocks have gone forward and we should now be looking forward to glorious spring sunshine and lighter evenings. I am hoping that as we say goodbye to March that we leave the stormy weather behind as Good Friday was the only lovely day from the long Easter weekend.
Easter was a time for some down time, spending time with family, reading, catching up on TV and enjoying just being. It also saw the 7th anniversary of the passing of my beloved Gramps.




Easter started on Thursday with a themed breakfast at work for the team...
Bacon Rolls, Cocolate Eggs and Hot Cross buns and Cream Egg cupcakes.
Easter saw me fall off SW plan from a great height!
Team seemed to enjoy it and set up for a great mood in the office.

Good Friday was spent in the glorious sunshine with a visit to the stunning Sky Garden at Fenchurch Street (previously blogged) and across London Bridge to Borough Market.
Borough was a feast on the senses, both visually and on the taste buds of Easter treats. Breadahead's hot cross buns were fabulous and Chez Michelle's spring florals were beautiful.
Easter weekend was spent catching up with family, spending Saturday with my brother & family. Niece and nephew taking a break from exam revision (oh I remember the pain well!)

Sunday was spent dodging the storm and taking mum to the cemetery, where it managed to stay dry for us to change the flowers.
A chilled sunday afternoon was spent catching up on some TV and binge watching The Night Manager (much better on the hips for me than Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns!!)...
I hope that you all had a lovely Easter and that the Easter bunny bought lots of chocolate and that you spent time with those you love... x

Bridget's Back

I love film trailers, and they are absolutely one of my favourite parts of visiting the cinema, therefore when this his the big screen this week I couldn't contain that inner squeal of excitement!
 Bridget is back!!!... and looking as hapless, ditzy and single as ever!
With 6 months to wait until the movie is released the trailer tempts us all with scenes of classic Bridget. With a new beau on the scene in the guise of the delicious Patrick Dempsey, it seems not all has gone well with the dashing Mark Darcy.
Lovely to see the fabulous Jim Broadbent back as Bridget's dad and the bacon buttie scene in the bandstand looks heartfelt.
It looks like Bridget has also expanded her fashion and I am already coveting several of the looks ( excluding the baby bump!)  Loving the Navy blue zarita DVF dress, Shrimps blue fur coat, and of course she is sporting a gorgeous Mulberry bayswater handbag in many scenes (mmm don't have to worry about adding that to me wish list!)

It does look like Bridget is back in style and with a baby!...

Monday, 28 March 2016

Sunday Night Thrills...

its been sometime since the media both social and print has been gripped by a TV series on a Sunday Night... Homeland was probably the last drama that got everybody talking at 9pm instead of thinking of retiring for the evening.
A few weeks ago I called out my TV treats of recent weeks, which included The Night Manager, this concluded last night and deserves a post of its own!
This 6 part drama adapted from John Le Carre's  book (the genius who bought us "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy") has kept me glued to my sofa over the last few weeks.
Mr Le Carre even made a little guest cameo himself as a guest in a restaurant.
The Night Manager is beautifully styled and shot in some gorgeous locations including Majorcca, Cairo, Istanbul and London. Cast include Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Coleman, Hugh Lawrie, Tom Hollander to name but a few.
Wardrobes both female and male have been lusted after with Tom H showcasing his gorgeousness both in & out of clothes. Signature tailored blue shirts and Navy suits will see sales rise on the back of this show along with diaphanous floaty dresses, gorgeous underwear and nightwear as outerwear favoured by the leading lady & love interest Jed.
The Night Manager finds Johnathon Pine (the night manager) seeking retribution for the death of a female in his hotel. He crosses paths with Richard Roper (Laurie) who is linked to the man who killed his girl. With nothing to loose he finds himself doing a deal with a splinter off grid group of the secret service and going undercover within Ropers businesses.
Much has been written about this drama and I do hope that another is commissioned, alternatively Tom Hiddleston needs to be at the front of the Q for the next Bond along with Olivia Coleman for M.
A great pairing that just worked so fabulously on set. Hugh Laurie was dastardly evil as Roper (although couldn't quite get the HL from blackadder from my mind). 
Bravo BBC for commissioning such a great thriller and Hats off to Mr Le Carre for writing such a fabulous thriller... loved it from start to finish. Sunday nights wont be the same.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Insta Love - Easter

Having shared my March instagram favourites last weekend I wanted to share my instagram favourites from Easter this week. Green hues are favoured on my blog styling for the month, and this features heavily within my insta likes for March, however Easter is filled with pastels, yellows, pinks, florals and sweet treats.
Favourites from Easter are:
*  Easter Egg cookies beautifully decorated and styled by Peggy Porschen are just delicious.
* Dip Dyed blown eggs in gorgeous pastel hues simply styled by one of Nigella's favourites Mud Australia.
* A regular feature in my insta loves posts is the super talented Valerie Mckeehan - usually I am showcasing her chalkboard features but today its mini eggs and florals!
* Dan Doherty executive chef at one of my London favourites Duck & Waffle signature Easter dish this year was a delicious salted caramel hot cross ice-cream bun!! of my!!
* Yellow Spring florals in glorious display in The Berkeley - perfect for Easter.
* Claridges beautiful art deco Easter egg styled with daffodils from Mcqueen flowers - the most decadent of Easter treats.
* The most perfect Easter table setting from The Pottery Barn - #dreamhouse
followed by the perfect Easter cake from Delicious magazine.... do love mini eggs on a cake 
* My final Easter image is from across the pond of the Empire State building in stunning springs hues and blossoms from Noel at nyclovesnyc.

I hope that you have all had a lovely Easter, thank-you for posting such lovely images.
I hope that I can maintain this post as it is one of my favourites with the changes that Instagram are making to its social media platform from next week. Instagram will no longer be "Insta" and will be a little more fixed with only popular posts showing in your feed. I have switched  'notifications on' and hope not to miss my favourites.... 

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Plates, Mates & Automobiles ....

Monday saw me (and 2,300 others) spend the evening in the company of James Martin at the iconic Hammersmith Apollo.
James has been on the road for the last few weeks touring the UK with his Plates, Mates & Auto-mobiles tour.
He seemed to be completely in awe of being on stage at a venue that he cycled past daily when he was starting out as an 18 year old chef.

It seems that the Apollo has had a bit of a lighting make-over both inside and outside within its Art Deco listed building.
The tour stage was very stylish with some great props, 2 kitchen workspaces, ovens and a huge video screen.
James's show was filled with what he loves,cooking, chat, laughter and cars.Sharing top billing in the mate stakes was his right hand man and sous chef Chris Start. Between them it was a great double act. James spoke warmly of their friendship and as mates go it was clear that it was a good mate. As cooking demos it was well orchestrated between the two chefs and the pair maintained an upbeat routine with plenty of rousing cheers from the audience, which had some of James colleagues from Saturday kitchen, Laverstocke dairy and chef friends. Nine recipes cooked up in 2 hours with humour, tales oh his childhood on a pig farm and life as a young chef. Favourite recipes from many of his back catalogue including; rhubarb soufflé, fish & chips, the best bacon sandwich ever (3,000+ calories!) finished off with a glorious cream filled swiss roll. Banter and rants were directed at the food and hygiene police, bane of his life from the frequent complaints on Saturday Kitchen for hand washing etc, and the healthy eating brigade who lament his over use of butter and cream! 
A witty, unhygenic on stage rebellion got the thumbs up from the audience along with a butter mountain that was dug into frequently for cooking! As the show drew to an end, James who had been learning to play the guitar during the tour was joined on stage by Brian Turner (triangle) and F1's Mark Webber (percussion) along with others to sing and play us out of what was a fabulously funny and entertaining evening.
It was during this tour that James announced that he was leaving Saturday Kitchen, a show that he has been at the helm of for the last 10 years. One of the things that has made James so popular is his genuine love of food and the ability to cook, chat and present all together, something even more remarkable considering he is severely dyslexic. James talked about this during his show and is extremely proud of it and hats off to him for holding down an autocue, ear mic and present a live show. James's last show aired Saturday morning and it was emotional! the outpouring on twitter was huge and both he and the programme trended for much of the day. James did a fab job of holding it all together until the last few moments...



Saturday mornings will no longer be the same for me and James Martin will be a much missed fixture in my weekend....

Spring garden in the Sky

Good Friday dawned bright and dry and I was determined to spend outside enjoying the start of Easter.Looking at the weather forecast it was going to be the best day of the holiday.
With this in mind I headed into London to grab some last minute Easter bits from Borough market and enjoy a walk along the river.
Taking a chance I stopped off at the Sky Garden to see if any 'walk-in' spaces were available and fortunately there were. I last visited the Sky Garden in January for breakfast when it was styled for Christmas and the winter months in greys and pinks.
The Gardens have had a makeover for Spring and were styled in glorious hues of yellow, blue and spring stripes.
The day was perfect for visiting this garden in the sky and the views across the city were stunning.
Views stretched from the east to west and north to south against a beautiful blue sky. Loved how beautiful the Tower of London looked nestled in is green moat.
With the weather being so good the Terrace space was open allowing the view to be even more spectacular onto the rive and across the city.
I am so pleased that I got to spend some of this beautiful day in this space, it really is becoming one of my favourite spaces in London and I look forward to returning in the summer to enjoy the space further. I thoroughly recommend Sky Garden as a place to visit and if planning any trips to the city then add this to your "London To Do" list



Monday, 21 March 2016

Tv Treats ....

Its been some time since I shared some TV  treats that have kept me entertained during the last few weeks and one that I am really looking forward to for spring.
The Good Wife .... this programme has had me hooked since episode 1 of season 1 and now 7 seasons in I am halfway through the last season.
A fantastic legal, political series full of glamour, intrigue, seriously strong women and gorgeously suited men. Alicia; wife to politician Peter, returns to her legal profession shortly after her husband is outed for sleeping with call-girls. There marriage along with political aspirations is soon thrown into the public limelight.
Alicia hasn't played the victim wife and has had her own share of gorgeous men as well as her husband Mr Big!
John Le Carre's  The Night Manager on BBC has brightened many dull Sunday nights over the past 4 weeks; the gorgeous Tom Higgleston is proving to be a glorious hit on twitter!. A fabulous thriller with a fantastic cast.. catch it now on iplayer.
Something a little more tranquil for mid week is the delightful Grantchester.. never has a man in a dog collar got so many women swooning since Richard Chamberlain stalked across the plains of Australia in The Thorn Birds. This season opening with the vicar in his swimming trunks!... 
and finally one that I am really looking forward to returning is the Police internal investigations drama 'In the Line of Duty' a series that has had me hooked previously.
What have you been loving lately?..... Here's some of my previous TV treats.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Insta Love - March

So I know that March hasn't quite finished, but with Easter falling next weekend I wanted to share my instagram favourites from March this week and some Easter favourites next. My Insta love posts are proving quite popular and look forward to hearing from you with this months favourites.
Green hues are favoured on my blog styling for the month, and this features heavily within my insta likes as well.
  1. Beautiful spring chalkboard from Valerie Mckeehan - this has been my mantra for March "begin each day with a grateful heart".. love Valeries feed and find myself desperate to blackboard paint a wall within my house to play with!
  2. Gorgeous green house & door shot by Pretty City London in the Connaught village of London. A lovely insta feed that highlights everything pretty in the city.
  3. The Berkeley's stunning floral arrangements are featured often within their feed, simply styled these green and white hues are beautiful.
  4. The Marylebone pub is not far from where I work and this image of the bike and window façade are perfect... I currently have a little insta love affair with bicycles.... snapped perfectly by katya jackson.
  5. My friend Mark's shot of the crocuses poking their heads through the grasses of Regents Park sums up the start of spring perfectly. 
  6. Another fab shot of a little green hideaway in the corner of a London street from Magdelana ~ delightful.
  7. Beautiful blooms and tea styled gorgeously by jannelford. A glorious lifestyle blogger.
  8. My insta loves wouldnt be complete without my favourite David Gandy image from the month... this reflective shot in the Scottish highlands is from ohmygandy's feed but originated from man of the world magazine shoot.
  9. and finally Forest London have kicked off a countdown to the launch of a spring menu and forest with this beautiful image of daffodils.
Thankyou all for sharing such lovely images in March. With Instagram proposing changes to the way that we see our feeds I really do hope that I can still see all my favourite images without it becoming too sponsored focus like other social media sites.
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.



Saturday, 19 March 2016

Hello Adele.....

Sometimes the most unexpected of things happen which result in one of the best things of 2016 so far!... I was very lucky to be given a ticket to see Adele in concert at one of her 8 sold out nights at the O2.
Having been a fan since the release of her debut  '19' album, which cemented further with the release of  '21' album. I was thrilled when she broke her hibernation from motherhood to record the fantastic theme tune to Skyfall and then subsequently come back with a huge HELLO with '25' at the end of last year.... What I love most about Adele is her ability so stay close to her roots, demonstrated with her slurping a mug of tea during her live set Friday.
Adele's set list was fantastic and she kept it moving with some great set and stage theatrics which lended itself beautifully with her songs.
There was only one song that Adele could open with and that was of course Hello...
From the opening bar, Adele held that audience in the plam of her hand for the entire 2 hour set.... she interacted with the crowd in her interminable style, fabulously leaking that she will headline Glastonbury this year. Talking of style she rocked a custom bad Burberry sparkly dress and killer red nails gloriously. Had complete hair and make-up envy as well! (yes the girl crush continues!)
Its hard to share my favourites as I had so many and You tube is full of great vidoes from the evening... here is my Bond favourite.. Skyfall
and one of my favourites from 25... All i ask
Adele was simply fabulous.... i had an amazing time, she took you on an emotional journey filled with love, laughter, heartbreak and fabulous memories. Definitely one of the best live performances that I have seen. Adele's back catalogue reads like a playlist to my life and this is one of the reasons why I think she resonates with so many.... breathtaking.... thank-you Adele.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Across the Hudson.....

Earlier this month I started to share my New York adventures from December, here I shared my first experience of staying within the meatpacking district. This area has seen a huge regeneration over the last 15 years and Sex and the City fans will remember it from being the location that Samantha lived. Bordering Greenwich Village is really is quite a fabulous location to be and I will be seeking stays there in future trips.
The area is predominately residential and with cobble lines streets and glorious brownstones, it’s a cool place to just wander and capture the experience of village life within New York. My hotel on the corner of Jane Street and offered views across the Hudson river to New Jersey / Hoboken an area which I had never visited.
When researching and planning for the trip (yes I still plan lots even though I have visited too many times now to count!) a must for me is a trip to Target. Target is a huge supermarket/store similarour Tesco and full of fabulous things. In previous years I have travelled up into East Harlem to do my Target shopping, however this wouldn’t be a straightforward in the location that I was staying. I did find that there was a Target located in the Newport/Hoboken area, practically opposite my hotel (separated only by the Hudson river).
Further research led to me finding that the PATH trainline was a short walk from my hotel which would transport me under the river to the state of Jersey. The Patch train was accessible from Christopher Street 
The station entrance is in its own free-standing building, with a restored marquee displaying the original "Hudson Tunnels" name adorning the entrance way. Passengers descend a narrow stairway with a number of curves before arriving at the southwest end of the narrow center island platform.Biff Elrod's mural "Ascent-Descent" (showing images of users of the PATH trains, ascending or descending the stairs) originally painted on site in August 1986 as a temporary installation for the Public Art Fund, and later purchased by PATH/Port Authority of NY&NJ, was restored in 1999 just before the incidents of 9/11.
I loved this station , with its beautiful murals, a real old glamour of new york, Hard to believe that this little station was used by more than 7,400 people per day post 9/11 as this was the furthest south path train to the world trade centre that still commuted passengers from the Jersey districts. 
Hoboken station is as equally picturesque, and I really did feel like I had fallen into a movie or a bygone era of New York. The station has been used for film shoots, including  Funny Girl and Julia & Julia.The large main waiting room, with its floral and Greek Revival motifs in tiled stained glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany,is generally considered one of the finest in the U.S. aesthetically. The terminal exterior extends to over four stories and has a distinguished copper-clad façade with ornate detailing. The terminal, houses trains and ferry's and even though the day was overcast and drizzly it still was a beautiful building to explore.
On a clear day the views onto Manhattan are glorious, alas on the morning I was there the views were shrouded with mist. As this was the beginning of my visit, I hoped to return just to enjoy the view. Along the river adjacent to the station sits a simple memorial to 9/11 as a large number of Hoboken / Newport  residents lost their life on that day.
After a walk along the river side, I crossed into the residential park space and walked a short walk to a very big Target.
Here I stocked up on lots of holiday candy, home treats and paper goodies. With Star Wars imminent for release there was lots of stockfiller finds go in the trolley. Alas I couldn't take the baileys milkshakes home, but I did try one there which was amazing. Favourite finds were Gingerbrread Santa twix, candy cane oreos, crispy M&M's, Almond, Plain & milk chocolate mini snickers.
Later in the week on my last morning I managed to pop back across the water, and snap some images of the New York skyline against a backdrop of a beautiful blue sky. Hoboken is definitely somewhere that I would like to explore more, and will be adding it to my To Do list for future visits.




Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Breakfast treat in the Forest..

Sharing a recent breakfast treat in a forest on a roof in central London.... I am of course referring to Forest Restaurant on the Roof, sitting on the roof of Selfridges 400 Oxford Street. Forest is one of Des McDonalds ventures and features a menu inspired by British spring forests, including Suffolk lamb & rosemary stew, Baked Cornish brie and Chocolate forest & Honey cheesecake.
I have visited the restaurant pop-up previously when its been a Cornish seaside escape, an apres shopping winter Chalet and Forest follows a similar theme. Accessible by an express lift in the fragrance hall you are greeted by a little winter wonderland entrance leading onto the roof.

I had the first slot on a Saturday morning so got to enjoy un interrupted views of the rooftop.
I love the styling, especially the blanket throws on the backs of the chairs, perfect for laps or shoulders if its too chilly for you.

For breakfast I opted for Crumpet Benedict ... (eggs benedict on a home made crumpet) a small treat to celebrate loosing some weight, with coffee and a gorgeous pink grapefruit juice.
All were delicious and a perfect treat for a Saturday at my desk.

Before I headed back to my desk I spent some time on the drinks terrace, complete with warm winter huts. Perfect for an early morning coffee or hot toddies in the afternoon.
Although chilly it was a lovely bright morning and Forest is a lovely space to escape the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street life on a Saturday morning.
Another great little breakfast retreat in the city.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Book Love - February

So my book challenge continued in February with a further 5 books read. This months reads have taken me across the Irish sea to Mulberry Bay, online dating with the ex, dog show antics with a brooding Mr Darcy, allotment fun with a socialite and a book club for broken hearts.

  • The Broken Hearts Book Club - Lynsey James ~ Lucy Harper finds herself heading back home to Luna Bay for her beloved Nana Lily's funeral. This was Lucy's 1st trip back to the bay after 8 years, she fled the town after an incident which unravels as the book progresses. It is evident that the small town hasn't forgotten and that Lucy still holds a lot of guilt from that incident and she only plans to stay a few days. Nana Lily's will throws a spanner in the works and Lucy finds herself bequeathed a cottage and book club with conditions. Throw in a gorgeous love interest in the shape of Jake the local landlord, who also has his secrets, a great supporting character cast of Lucy's mum & dad and friends George and Elle along with the reluctant broken hearted book club and this makes this a lovely read with several layers.
  • Match Me if you Can - Michelle Gorman ~ Friends Catherine, Rachel, & Sarah house share, all successful in their careers; Catherine owner of a matchmaking business, Rachel and architect and Sarah an illustrator but all unlucky in love; Catherine's ex husband and business partner has just dropped the bombshell that he is marrying his 23 year old girlfriend, Rachel is competing with her ex James for the biggest architectural pitch of her career and Sarah has no time for love, spending all her spare time with her disabled young sister and caring for all the others. The 3 girls make a pact to join Catherine's Recyclove.com - a dating agency that asks their Ex's to complete their profiles. This was a fun read, and I enjoyed following the girls dating adventures and lives. 
  • Unleashing Mr Darcy - Teri Wilson ~ Elizabeth Scott finds herself accepting a job with a pedigree dog breeder after a chance meeting at a dog show in her home town of New York. Said dog show also finds her meeting the dashing judge and british billionaire dog breeder Donovan Darcy. Think Crufts meets Pride & Prejudice and you have this book completely. Doovan is quite delicious, Elizabeth is sweet and fiesty and the supporting cast and digs are delightful. a fun read that leaves a warm glow.
  • The Hotel in Mulberry Bay - Melissa Hill ~ Mulberry Hotel sits proudly on the cliff top of Mulberry Bay and has been in the Harte family for years. Eleanor and Penny grew up in and around the corridors of the hotel with penny loving everything about it and Ellie wanting to escape the minute she was old enough. Both girls find themselves returning after their beloved mother and matriarch of the hotel passes away. What is evident is that the hotel isn't as grand as it once was and that the bank are chasing the repossession of the hotel. Both girls along with their father go on a journey of discovery, grief and a desire to bring the hotel back to its glorious best. This is a beautifully written book by Melissa Hill of family, love and community.
  • The Great Allotment Proposal - Jenny Oliver ~ Socialite Emily Hunter-Brown has bought her old home a manor house on Cherry Pie Island. Along with the manor house, she also gets her friends allotment to care take. Armed with brand new Hunter wellies and a fork she finds herself more of a hindrance than a help amongst the weeding. When her teenage first love re-appears on his boat and moors at the end of her garden her life and offers to help will her heart hold out. This was a lovely light read, 3rd in the cherry pie island series.
Along with some fun fiction reads, my fiction reads were a little darker filled with murder, espionage and forensics February saw me travel to the Crime Uncovered exhibition at the London museum. This book details the exhibits and the Scotland Yard back stories to all cases - fascinating, forensics and thrilling mystery's. I loved it.
My coffee table 'read' was the delicious Dieux du Stade the book presents photographs by Fred Goudon, whose work has focussed on the male form for over 20 years. A fab fun 'pick-me up' present from my GBF.

I have already started on my March reads and look forward to sharing those with you later in the month. 2 months in to my reading challenge and I am 12/75  complete. What books have you loved this month, would love to hear from you.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Hello March...

Well February passed in a flash and March is here... as you can see the blog has had a make-over... saying goodbye to the February blues and Marching into spring with a green hue.


* Spring is slowly emerging and along with my new eating lifestyle I am using the lighter mornings and evenings to move a little more and walk a few extra miles a a day by getting off a couple of stops before I need to to walk the remaining commute to work. I snapped this gorgeous shot of the magnolias budding in Manchester Square.
* Although the mornings are lighter it has still been very cold. I have also started to make soup, which has been a great lunchtime hit.
* March is filled with lots of occasions, looking forward to an early Mothers Day and time spent with my mum.
* I also have a friends birthday which falls on Mothers day.
* My goddaughter is expecting a baby in May, so a baby shower is planned in March to celebrate.
* March will see me spend an evening at the O2 in the company of Adele!... I am a little excited about this.
and then finally at the end of March the Easter bunny arrives.....
Here's to a fun filled March, filled with love, fun, friends, family and chocolate!