Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Book Love ~ June

This months book reads have been a joy, I have travelled to New York, Turkey, as well as some gorgeous fictional villages in England. They have featured Cake, Fairytale castles, Shoes and lots of gorgeous men!
Heidi Swain – The Cherry Tree Café - Lizzie Dixon thinks that her boyfriend is about to propose but instead she finds herself dumped and heading back home to a village that she grew up in and thought that she had left a couple of years previously. Jemma her best friend is delighted to have her back and gets her helping her to restore the run down little cafe in the village that she has bought.  Jemma's high school crush Ben is also back in the village and the spare bedroom of Jemma and her husband and also is thrown into help restore the cafe. Utilising her sewing skills she starts to transform The Cherry Tree Cafe and also slowly starts to build her broken heart.This along with a budding friendship with Ben, Lizzie needs to decide if the village is a short term stop or a long term plan. - this is a delightful read and I only wished that there was a Cherry Tree Cafe near me!..
Caroline Roberts - The Cosy Teashop in the Castle  – Ellie takes a big gamble and bluffs her way into securing her dream job of running her own tea rooms in the grounds of a Claverham castle. Escaping from the humdrum of office life, her secure little family unit and nursing a broken heart she moves into a room within the towers of the castle and sets about living her dream and that of her beloved Nanna. Armed with her Nanna's trusty recipe & baking book Ellie sets about convincing both her family and the rather old fashioned traditional Lord Henry, owner of said castle that not only is she capable but can run a profitable business. Slowly with slices of cake, kindness and lots of hard work Ellie starts to win over the locals, Lord and Tourists visiting the tea rooms. As with all recipes, a cake isn't perfect without a little love and a sprinkle of magic and Ellie finds this start to bloom with the brooding estate manager Joe. Can Ellie find the show stopping success that she deserves both in and out of the kitchen… This is a lovely easy read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Caroline narrates in a way that you feel like you are living the life at the castle alongside Ellie. The characters are funny and you see the work family develop as the story unfolds, along with a couple of twists and surprises. Ellie is a delight and I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
Jill Mansell – You and Me Always – Lily lost her mum at a young age, she has been bought up by her mums best friend Coral and her old baby sitter Patsy, surrounded by love in a village that has really taken her to all their hearts. Her best friend is Dan, Patsy's naughtier younger brother who is incorrigible with the ladies, but always finds himself falling back to Lily's friendship.
 We meet Lily on her 25th birthday where she is given the last letter that her mum wrote to her before she died. Here Lily's mum reveals the surname of the man (Declan) that was her one true love , (alas not Lily's dad) and a bracelet that he gave her – Lily embarks on tracking him down to find out more about her mum. On the same day Lily also meets a famous film star actor Eddie who Patsy is harbouring secretly in her house and suddenly Lily's world in the quiet village of Stanton Langley is suddenly turned upside down. Jill Mansell has been one of my favourites and never disappoints, I really liked Lily and loved the story and adventures that she had.
A.L. Michael – Goodbye Ruby Tuesday - Four friends; Ruby, Evie, Mollie & Chelsea were the bad girls at school, thrown together as the misfits, of all the girls Ruby was the baddest. Often in detention they dreamed of bigger & better things; Ruby a singer, Evie as an artist, Mollie as a baker and Chelsea as a dancer. 10 years later the girls meet up at the funeral of Ruby a pop star who died at the height of her fame. It seems that only Ruby fulfilled her dream, and in her will she leaves the girls a house in Camden with conditions. This is book 1 in the Camden Square series and I am avidly looking forward to book 2. The characters are complex and interesting and have good back stories as well as the story of making Camden square a success and fulfilling their dreams. This book resonated lots with me as I am still friends with my 2 besties from school and related to lots of the school girl humour within this. 
Debbie Johnson – The Birthday that Changed Everything - Sally Summers knew that her husband wasn't likely to surprise her with an amazing birthday present, what she didnt expect was that he would leave her for a Latvian lap dancer half her age. With her life a complete mess she books a holiday to the blue bay resort in Turkey with her reluctant kids for some sun, sea and relaxation. Here she meets a group of people that meet up the same 2 weeks every year at the Blue Bay, one being a gorgeous Irish man James. It seems that all of the friends have secrets but take Sally to heart and encourage her to become part of the group. This book is funny, heartwarming and a great holiday read relaxing on a sun-lounger - if you have ever wondered about the friendships created lounging around the pool this is perfect for you.
Marcie Steele - The Second Chance Shoe Shop Riley Flynn manages Chandlers show shop in the town centre, Sadie works for Riley and is slowly trying to build her and her daughters life after the death of her husband. Riley is desperate to bring Chandlers into the 21st century but is being met with resistance from the owner who is threatening the shop with closure. Riley starts a social media campaign to attract some interest for the shop and through this she crosses paths with a freelance photographer Ethan. Riley is recovering from a broken heart and resists Ethans advances, however as her social media profile builds, she finds herself struggling with the realities of what that brings and suddenly the shoe shop that she loves is in jeopardy. This is a fun read and fans of social media and shoes will adore this.
Sarah Morgan – Sleepless in Manhattan - ok I've thoroughly enjoyed all the books that I have read this month, but Sleepless in Manhattan just tips the rest as my favourite. Great friends. Amazing Apartment. An incredible job. Paige has ticked off every box on perfect New York life checklist. Until disaster strikes and instead of shimming further up the career ladder, Paige is packing up her desk.
Her brother’s best friend Jake might be the only person who can help her put her life back together. He also happens to be the boy she spent her teen years pining after, and Paige is determined not repeat her past mistakes. But the more time she spends with Jake, the more Paige realises the one thing that was missing from her world all along: The perfect New York love story… Oh I loved this book and Jack really is the most gorgeous hero. This book is a must for anyone who loves New York and dreams of living in a Brooklyn Brownstone. All the characters are great and cant wait for the next instalment.

Jo Jo Moyes – Me before You – a re-read after seeing the movie at the beginning of the month. A book that stayed with me on reading the first time and continues to leave a mark on my heart on the 3rd read and the seeing the movie. Heart-breaking love story that makes you want to live every day as if its your last and urges you to #Liveboldly. 

Thankyou authors for 8 fab reads for June, I've loved them, definitely a pile that have featured some of my favourites; New York, Shoes, Cake & castles!...I am now 41 books into my 75 book reading challenge….Here's the previous 33 from 2016.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Makelight in Kew

Last month I shared with you my Makelight adventures on my photography walk in Hampstead. This month I joined Emily and some other makelighters on a walk around the lovely Green and Gardens of Kew.
I have visited Kew before but have always travelled by car, this time having worked the morning I travelled by train and got to explore some of the beautiful roads and gardens around the station.
Arriving early I was able to explore for some time before meeting up with Emily & Co on the village green. Along with snapping lots of doors I was also able to capture some favourites of this month - Roses. From Aprils blossom, to May's wisteria I have loved capturing natures floral seasons each month.

As well as some beautiful gardens and blooms, Kew Green also houses a gorgeous pond.  Considering how close to the road the pond is, I was amazed to see a family of swans setting up home, complete with a brood of signets. I spent awhile watching them on and off the water, a very loving family.
On meeting up with Emily we set off for a wander around the green - i'm not sure what the villagers and the locals in the pub thought of us with our cameras and i phones out snapping doors, windows & foliage.
We entered Kew from the Elizabeth gate where we passed the Nash Conser vatory which was being set up for a wedding. The following day I read that a TV presenter from channel 4 married in Kew the previous day!....
We walked up-to Kew palace where another family of ducks and signets were resting under a tree. Normally I am a flower girl but the trees at Kew fascinate me. There size, age and the shapes that they grow are stunning.



A trip to Kew wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Palm house - which really is like a mini rain forest, the heat and humidity is replicated so that the palms and plants that live within are exactly as they would be in their natural environment. I even ventured up the spiral iron staircase to view the planting & palms from above.

After a leisurely coffee it was soon time for our walk to be finished and for us all to head home to review all our images taken. As with previous walks & workshops with Emily I learnt lots and my confidence with my photos is growing. I met some lovely ladies and I am enjoying seeing their images on social media.
I look forward to further Makelight adventures.
Here's some of mine from previous walks & workshops with Emily.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Breakfast at The Connaught

Over the last year I have shared some of my favourite breakfast stops within London and last Friday I stopped for breakfast in a venue that has been on my "Breakfast & Brunches" list. Fridays breakfast stop was at The Connaught - sister hotel to Claridges and The Berkeley and part of the Maybourne hotel group.
The Connaught sits in St Carlos place a short walk from Bond Street in the heart of Mayfair. Its a beautiful hotel steeped in old school classic glamour. Breakfast is served in the ESpelette which overlooks Tadao Ando's Silent water feature which is a calm tranquil pool offering haven to a family of ducks in the corner of the Mayfair village.
The revolving doors that you enter via lead you into a dark wood lobby, complete with sweeping staircase and a fireplace. The Maybourne group are renowned for their stunning floral displays within their hotel (here's a recent trip to The Berkeley) This weeks floral displays were glorious puffs of hydrangeas and peonies, perfect for the start of June...
Even the bathroom had its own hydrangea display along with a vanity units filled with delicious Dior treats.
I was seated alongside the window which offered a view of the square and I watched the world wake-up.
I opted for the full English which is a healthy option for me on Slimming world and thoroughly enjoyed it all.
The food was delicious and the service and ambience was impeccable. I loved my Friday fry-up treat in lovely surroundings.
The Connaught is a gorgeous hotel and I will definitely go back for another visit.... thank-you Connaught for making me feel welcome and special.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Movie moment with Me before You

I have shared previously my love of Jo Jo Moyes book Me before You, and was thrilled when the
news broke that it had been picked up for a movie.  The book left a huge impact on me even though I sobbed at the ending I loved the book.
With the release of the trailer, the tears fell again and applauded the casting of Sam Claflin as the quadriplegic Will Trayner and Emilia Clarke as the ditzy loveable Louise Clark.


Friday the movie was  released and I booked a ticket to see it at my local Everyman cinema after work - (fully booked for a 6.20pm showing) armed with a box of tissues I settled down for 2 hours of tears and laughter. Jo Jo Moyes has written the screen play and what a fabulous job she has done. There are some parts that have been cut (as with all book to screen adaptations) but the casting is fabulous and they absolutely capture the characters. 
Those not familiar with the book; Lou Clark finds herself being
employed as a carer /companion to Will. Will is a gorgeous live life to the full kind guy who after a tragic accident is bound to a wheel chair dependant on all to just manage the basics of living. He has promised his parents 6 months and they employ Lou as his companion. What evolves is a magical heartbreaking journey of discovery and one of the most romantic love stories bought to the screen.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film and cried at several key moments during the film as did the majority of the audience. The subject matter is controversial, but has been shown in a beautiful way and the film has had as profound affect on me as did the book. Huge applause to JoJo Moyes and the cast and crew.
It really is quite beautiful and I will see it again. For now I am reading book 2 and finding out what happened next.
This book / film will question your beliefs, it will make you treasure those that you love and it will make you #liveboldly. Don't put off til tomorrow what you can do today.... 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Hello June....

So June is here along with an arctic blast from the north and dreary weather in London. It seems that other areas of the country are bathed in glorious sunshine and temps hotter than the med except the capital!... So as I shared earlier this week I am now on a countdown at work to leaving and moving onto a new adventure... I am sure I will share more nearer the time and relive some of my favourite Selfridges moments.
June is fairly quiet for me, things planned are:
  • A trip to Scotland to celebrate my goddaughters wedding - Taylor and I will be taking a trip, complete with wedding cake!
  • Continue with my Slimming World journey ( a blog post to come)
  • Breakfast treat at The Connaught Hotel (sister of Claridges)
  • Movie nights with a couple of trips planned to the cinema... kicking off this weekend with one of my favourite books "Me before You" by Jo Jo Moyes.

Work eases up a little bit with the Sale season (lots of shopping!) and I am hopping to catch-up on some reading and have several books queued on the Kindle.
I also have a list of blog posts to catchup on featuring photo walks, new york, books, food and movies.... Regular posts will include the books that I have read during the month, my Instagram and social media favourites and share with you some of the slices of my life in London, home & the kits.
As you can see the blog has had a  spring/summer make-over from the blues and pinks of May to the peaches and blush of summer.... heres to a fun filled month.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Book Love ~ June

This months book reads have been a joy, I have travelled to New York, Turkey, as well as some gorgeous fictional villages in England. They have featured Cake, Fairytale castles, Shoes and lots of gorgeous men!
Heidi Swain – The Cherry Tree Café - Lizzie Dixon thinks that her boyfriend is about to propose but instead she finds herself dumped and heading back home to a village that she grew up in and thought that she had left a couple of years previously. Jemma her best friend is delighted to have her back and gets her helping her to restore the run down little cafe in the village that she has bought.  Jemma's high school crush Ben is also back in the village and the spare bedroom of Jemma and her husband and also is thrown into help restore the cafe. Utilising her sewing skills she starts to transform The Cherry Tree Cafe and also slowly starts to build her broken heart.This along with a budding friendship with Ben, Lizzie needs to decide if the village is a short term stop or a long term plan. - this is a delightful read and I only wished that there was a Cherry Tree Cafe near me!..
Caroline Roberts - The Cosy Teashop in the Castle  – Ellie takes a big gamble and bluffs her way into securing her dream job of running her own tea rooms in the grounds of a Claverham castle. Escaping from the humdrum of office life, her secure little family unit and nursing a broken heart she moves into a room within the towers of the castle and sets about living her dream and that of her beloved Nanna. Armed with her Nanna's trusty recipe & baking book Ellie sets about convincing both her family and the rather old fashioned traditional Lord Henry, owner of said castle that not only is she capable but can run a profitable business. Slowly with slices of cake, kindness and lots of hard work Ellie starts to win over the locals, Lord and Tourists visiting the tea rooms. As with all recipes, a cake isn't perfect without a little love and a sprinkle of magic and Ellie finds this start to bloom with the brooding estate manager Joe. Can Ellie find the show stopping success that she deserves both in and out of the kitchen… This is a lovely easy read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Caroline narrates in a way that you feel like you are living the life at the castle alongside Ellie. The characters are funny and you see the work family develop as the story unfolds, along with a couple of twists and surprises. Ellie is a delight and I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
Jill Mansell – You and Me Always – Lily lost her mum at a young age, she has been bought up by her mums best friend Coral and her old baby sitter Patsy, surrounded by love in a village that has really taken her to all their hearts. Her best friend is Dan, Patsy's naughtier younger brother who is incorrigible with the ladies, but always finds himself falling back to Lily's friendship.
 We meet Lily on her 25th birthday where she is given the last letter that her mum wrote to her before she died. Here Lily's mum reveals the surname of the man (Declan) that was her one true love , (alas not Lily's dad) and a bracelet that he gave her – Lily embarks on tracking him down to find out more about her mum. On the same day Lily also meets a famous film star actor Eddie who Patsy is harbouring secretly in her house and suddenly Lily's world in the quiet village of Stanton Langley is suddenly turned upside down. Jill Mansell has been one of my favourites and never disappoints, I really liked Lily and loved the story and adventures that she had.
A.L. Michael – Goodbye Ruby Tuesday - Four friends; Ruby, Evie, Mollie & Chelsea were the bad girls at school, thrown together as the misfits, of all the girls Ruby was the baddest. Often in detention they dreamed of bigger & better things; Ruby a singer, Evie as an artist, Mollie as a baker and Chelsea as a dancer. 10 years later the girls meet up at the funeral of Ruby a pop star who died at the height of her fame. It seems that only Ruby fulfilled her dream, and in her will she leaves the girls a house in Camden with conditions. This is book 1 in the Camden Square series and I am avidly looking forward to book 2. The characters are complex and interesting and have good back stories as well as the story of making Camden square a success and fulfilling their dreams. This book resonated lots with me as I am still friends with my 2 besties from school and related to lots of the school girl humour within this. 
Debbie Johnson – The Birthday that Changed Everything - Sally Summers knew that her husband wasn't likely to surprise her with an amazing birthday present, what she didnt expect was that he would leave her for a Latvian lap dancer half her age. With her life a complete mess she books a holiday to the blue bay resort in Turkey with her reluctant kids for some sun, sea and relaxation. Here she meets a group of people that meet up the same 2 weeks every year at the Blue Bay, one being a gorgeous Irish man James. It seems that all of the friends have secrets but take Sally to heart and encourage her to become part of the group. This book is funny, heartwarming and a great holiday read relaxing on a sun-lounger - if you have ever wondered about the friendships created lounging around the pool this is perfect for you.
Marcie Steele - The Second Chance Shoe Shop Riley Flynn manages Chandlers show shop in the town centre, Sadie works for Riley and is slowly trying to build her and her daughters life after the death of her husband. Riley is desperate to bring Chandlers into the 21st century but is being met with resistance from the owner who is threatening the shop with closure. Riley starts a social media campaign to attract some interest for the shop and through this she crosses paths with a freelance photographer Ethan. Riley is recovering from a broken heart and resists Ethans advances, however as her social media profile builds, she finds herself struggling with the realities of what that brings and suddenly the shoe shop that she loves is in jeopardy. This is a fun read and fans of social media and shoes will adore this.
Sarah Morgan – Sleepless in Manhattan - ok I've thoroughly enjoyed all the books that I have read this month, but Sleepless in Manhattan just tips the rest as my favourite. Great friends. Amazing Apartment. An incredible job. Paige has ticked off every box on perfect New York life checklist. Until disaster strikes and instead of shimming further up the career ladder, Paige is packing up her desk.
Her brother’s best friend Jake might be the only person who can help her put her life back together. He also happens to be the boy she spent her teen years pining after, and Paige is determined not repeat her past mistakes. But the more time she spends with Jake, the more Paige realises the one thing that was missing from her world all along: The perfect New York love story… Oh I loved this book and Jack really is the most gorgeous hero. This book is a must for anyone who loves New York and dreams of living in a Brooklyn Brownstone. All the characters are great and cant wait for the next instalment.

Jo Jo Moyes – Me before You – a re-read after seeing the movie at the beginning of the month. A book that stayed with me on reading the first time and continues to leave a mark on my heart on the 3rd read and the seeing the movie. Heart-breaking love story that makes you want to live every day as if its your last and urges you to #Liveboldly. 

Thankyou authors for 8 fab reads for June, I've loved them, definitely a pile that have featured some of my favourites; New York, Shoes, Cake & castles!...I am now 41 books into my 75 book reading challenge….Here's the previous 33 from 2016.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Makelight in Kew

Last month I shared with you my Makelight adventures on my photography walk in Hampstead. This month I joined Emily and some other makelighters on a walk around the lovely Green and Gardens of Kew.
I have visited Kew before but have always travelled by car, this time having worked the morning I travelled by train and got to explore some of the beautiful roads and gardens around the station.
Arriving early I was able to explore for some time before meeting up with Emily & Co on the village green. Along with snapping lots of doors I was also able to capture some favourites of this month - Roses. From Aprils blossom, to May's wisteria I have loved capturing natures floral seasons each month.

As well as some beautiful gardens and blooms, Kew Green also houses a gorgeous pond.  Considering how close to the road the pond is, I was amazed to see a family of swans setting up home, complete with a brood of signets. I spent awhile watching them on and off the water, a very loving family.
On meeting up with Emily we set off for a wander around the green - i'm not sure what the villagers and the locals in the pub thought of us with our cameras and i phones out snapping doors, windows & foliage.
We entered Kew from the Elizabeth gate where we passed the Nash Conser vatory which was being set up for a wedding. The following day I read that a TV presenter from channel 4 married in Kew the previous day!....
We walked up-to Kew palace where another family of ducks and signets were resting under a tree. Normally I am a flower girl but the trees at Kew fascinate me. There size, age and the shapes that they grow are stunning.



A trip to Kew wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Palm house - which really is like a mini rain forest, the heat and humidity is replicated so that the palms and plants that live within are exactly as they would be in their natural environment. I even ventured up the spiral iron staircase to view the planting & palms from above.

After a leisurely coffee it was soon time for our walk to be finished and for us all to head home to review all our images taken. As with previous walks & workshops with Emily I learnt lots and my confidence with my photos is growing. I met some lovely ladies and I am enjoying seeing their images on social media.
I look forward to further Makelight adventures.
Here's some of mine from previous walks & workshops with Emily.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Breakfast at The Connaught

Over the last year I have shared some of my favourite breakfast stops within London and last Friday I stopped for breakfast in a venue that has been on my "Breakfast & Brunches" list. Fridays breakfast stop was at The Connaught - sister hotel to Claridges and The Berkeley and part of the Maybourne hotel group.
The Connaught sits in St Carlos place a short walk from Bond Street in the heart of Mayfair. Its a beautiful hotel steeped in old school classic glamour. Breakfast is served in the ESpelette which overlooks Tadao Ando's Silent water feature which is a calm tranquil pool offering haven to a family of ducks in the corner of the Mayfair village.
The revolving doors that you enter via lead you into a dark wood lobby, complete with sweeping staircase and a fireplace. The Maybourne group are renowned for their stunning floral displays within their hotel (here's a recent trip to The Berkeley) This weeks floral displays were glorious puffs of hydrangeas and peonies, perfect for the start of June...
Even the bathroom had its own hydrangea display along with a vanity units filled with delicious Dior treats.
I was seated alongside the window which offered a view of the square and I watched the world wake-up.
I opted for the full English which is a healthy option for me on Slimming world and thoroughly enjoyed it all.
The food was delicious and the service and ambience was impeccable. I loved my Friday fry-up treat in lovely surroundings.
The Connaught is a gorgeous hotel and I will definitely go back for another visit.... thank-you Connaught for making me feel welcome and special.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Movie moment with Me before You

I have shared previously my love of Jo Jo Moyes book Me before You, and was thrilled when the
news broke that it had been picked up for a movie.  The book left a huge impact on me even though I sobbed at the ending I loved the book.
With the release of the trailer, the tears fell again and applauded the casting of Sam Claflin as the quadriplegic Will Trayner and Emilia Clarke as the ditzy loveable Louise Clark.


Friday the movie was  released and I booked a ticket to see it at my local Everyman cinema after work - (fully booked for a 6.20pm showing) armed with a box of tissues I settled down for 2 hours of tears and laughter. Jo Jo Moyes has written the screen play and what a fabulous job she has done. There are some parts that have been cut (as with all book to screen adaptations) but the casting is fabulous and they absolutely capture the characters. 
Those not familiar with the book; Lou Clark finds herself being
employed as a carer /companion to Will. Will is a gorgeous live life to the full kind guy who after a tragic accident is bound to a wheel chair dependant on all to just manage the basics of living. He has promised his parents 6 months and they employ Lou as his companion. What evolves is a magical heartbreaking journey of discovery and one of the most romantic love stories bought to the screen.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film and cried at several key moments during the film as did the majority of the audience. The subject matter is controversial, but has been shown in a beautiful way and the film has had as profound affect on me as did the book. Huge applause to JoJo Moyes and the cast and crew.
It really is quite beautiful and I will see it again. For now I am reading book 2 and finding out what happened next.
This book / film will question your beliefs, it will make you treasure those that you love and it will make you #liveboldly. Don't put off til tomorrow what you can do today.... 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Hello June....

So June is here along with an arctic blast from the north and dreary weather in London. It seems that other areas of the country are bathed in glorious sunshine and temps hotter than the med except the capital!... So as I shared earlier this week I am now on a countdown at work to leaving and moving onto a new adventure... I am sure I will share more nearer the time and relive some of my favourite Selfridges moments.
June is fairly quiet for me, things planned are:
  • A trip to Scotland to celebrate my goddaughters wedding - Taylor and I will be taking a trip, complete with wedding cake!
  • Continue with my Slimming World journey ( a blog post to come)
  • Breakfast treat at The Connaught Hotel (sister of Claridges)
  • Movie nights with a couple of trips planned to the cinema... kicking off this weekend with one of my favourite books "Me before You" by Jo Jo Moyes.

Work eases up a little bit with the Sale season (lots of shopping!) and I am hopping to catch-up on some reading and have several books queued on the Kindle.
I also have a list of blog posts to catchup on featuring photo walks, new york, books, food and movies.... Regular posts will include the books that I have read during the month, my Instagram and social media favourites and share with you some of the slices of my life in London, home & the kits.
As you can see the blog has had a  spring/summer make-over from the blues and pinks of May to the peaches and blush of summer.... heres to a fun filled month.