Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Roundup...

So another Christmas has come and gone all too quickly but I guess the fact it's short and sweet makes you appreciate it all the more. This year we had a nice quiet affair filled with Downton, crackers and too much food!! 
Home-made mince pies
Presents all wrapped

Relaxing with the family

Decorating the house
Home-made cards inspired by Ingrid

I hope you've all had a lovely few days and are looking forward to the New Year as much as I am!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

Now that we're official more than halfway to Christmas, it's safe to say that I am well and truly feeling the festivities. This afternoon, Emilie and I spent a few hours decorating the tree and to make myself feel better at the fact that I'm behind with the buying gifts (oops!) I wrapped the ones that I have bought. 

Sorry for the picture quality, I think my camera is on its way out!
This year, our tree is in our hallway as we got a bit carried away and it won't fit in the lounge! I always love decorating the tree, especially because the box of decorations is full of the bits and pieces Emilie and I made when we were in Primary school! Once the tree is fully decorated it becomes more acceptable to listen to Michael Buble's album on repeat!

Getting the presents ready

Do you have any Christmas traditions? When do you think it's socially acceptable to blare out the Christmas tunes?

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Currently Loving...

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
I have just finished reading Me Before You and it has become one of my firm favourites. The story centres around two characters; plodding along with life Lou, and a once adventure junkie now quadriplegic Will. The book deals with the controversial topic of euthanasia and explores the reasoning behind Will’s wish, as well as the rest of the characters’ opinions on his desire. Although this topic is a fairly hefty one, Moyes neatly interlaces other themes into the book so that there is a wonderful balance of friendships, family and romance intermingled with the life lessons the characters face. It was a book that had me hooked from the very start and pulled at my heartstrings so much so that I found myself caring about what happened the fictional characters. It’s one of those rare books that I could pick up again tomorrow and still enjoy it as much as if it were the first time I were joining Lou and Will on one of their disastrous outings! You know you’ve found a winner when you don’t want the story to end.

Essie Nail Varnish
When I was last in Boots I couldn’t resist picking up these two beauties. I spotted Cute as a Button (the coral pink shade) from down the aisle and knew instantly that I had to have it. It’s not a very wintery shade but I thought it would a perfect way to brighten up wintery outfits. I was also looking for a more subtle colour that could be used on days where I wanted a more understated look. There were quite a few that caught my eye but when I saw that this one was called Ballet Slippers the deal was sealed and I popped it into my basket. Is it bad that I end up buying Essie nail varnishes because of their names?

Yankee Christmas Eve
Now that is officially the festive season, I thought it was time that I gave my room a bit of a Christmas glow. My sister and I spent hours in the Yankee shop when we went to Bluewater last month trying to decide which candles we wanted to get. I don’t really like the smell of cinnamon and Emilie is allergic to it, so a lot of the festive Yankee candles were a no go. In the end I managed to find the ultra-Christmassy Christmas Eve which leaves my room smelling of sugared plums and candied fruit.

Popcorn Lip Scrub
In the winter months I find no matter how often I use lip balm, I always seem to be battling with dry lips. To help try and relive this I decided to give Lush’s lip scrub a go and so far I have not been disappointed. I think the best thing about this has to be the popcorn flavour, it smells so yummy!

Maybelline Fuchsia Flash
What feels like ages ago, I entered a competition online to be in with the chance of winning one of Mollie King’s limited edition lipsticks. Fast forward a month or two and queue me being very puzzled as to what could be in the mini package that dropped through my door! I really love this fuchsia colour, it’s not too in your face so people like me (who aren’t always that bold) can feel comfortable pretending to be Mollie for the day! 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Walking in a Winter Wonderland...

On Friday, Ben and I celebrated our three year anniversary. To mark the occasion, we decided to take a trip to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland as it's become some what of a tradition for us to visit it each year. Ben met me after work and we headed straight to the christmas fun!

We took a stroll round the stalls to admire all the festive goodies before heading to the Bavarian Village to get a bite to eat. We both settled on the good old German classic of bratwurst and potatoes followed by a visit to the waffle stand nearby. I love going to Winter Wonderland, it really gets me feeling all festive. It's also a good place to go if you want somewhere that will be a special night but won't break the bank!

Have you been to Winter Wonderland? What gets you into the festive spirit?

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Night of Two Halves...

Going to see dance shows with my Mum has become somewhat of a tradition - it started with a trip to see The Nutcracker when I was five and has now moved onto me introducing her to a wider range of more contemporary works. When I saw that Ballet Boyz were performing at my local theatre before taking their tour onto Sadler’s Wells I knew it was the perfect opportunity for a little treat. I was introduced to the Ballet Boyz during my time at university but had never seen the company perform live; I couldn’t really miss the opportunity to see the new cohort of dancers when they were only 10 minutes down the road!
Image Source
Ballet Boyz: The Talent sees 10 young male dancers come together under the guidance of Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt (the founders and original Ballet Boyz)  to perform works by Liam Scarlett and Russel Maliphant. The show opens with the curtains lifting to unveil a hanging screen. The audience is then treated to a short film of the dancers in rehearsals whilst Scarlett discusses the challenges he faced in choreographing for an all-male group opposed to his usual classical ballet setting. The screen then lifts revealing the 10 dancers dotted around the stage lying with their backs to the audience. What unfolds in the next half hour or so is a piece that has breath taking fluidity underpinned by a strength that makes the dancers reminiscent of Greek Gods (their bare chests and toned muscles also enhance this image). All movements are executed as if in water; fluid, smooth and flowing, even when they toss one another into the air if is as if they weigh no more than a feather. The only sharpness in the piece comes from the specifically choreographed staccato duets that involve jabbing arms and precise limb placement. As a whole this piece works best when the dancers are in unison as they present a striking image – a mass floating along in a way that seems impossibly light for such Adonises.

If Scarlet’s Serpent was the dancers moving in water then Russel Maliphant’s Fallen is reminiscent of hail; it’s sharper, faster and more direct. It begins like the first piece with a short film then the unveiling of the dancers but that is where the similarities end. The action starts with the dancers in two circles – one inner and one outer – slowly rotating like a cog. The cog continues to steadily wind itself up until it is ready to release its kinetic energy into the dance. The duets that follow resemble combat; the dancers react to one another’s movements as well as protrude into each other’s personal space with fierce pushing and pulling. Dressed in khaki tones, the link to the warriors seems inevitable, especially combined with the dancers repeating their movement sequences over and over as though strategizing and rehearsing a plan of attack. The piece builds to the group working as a whole - running and using one another as ledges, tumbling in and out of lifts with precision and ease and supporting one another to create shapes that would not be possible without the camaraderie of the troop. In general, Fallen felt like it had more of a drive behind it – this was probably helped by the pounding accompaniment but also in the way the movements were executed.

Image Source

All in all, it was a night that pleased. Those who went for the ‘Ballet’ would not have been disappointed with the clean, precise lines of Serpent, and those who went for the ‘Boyz’ would feel fulfilled by Maliphant’s testosterone fuelled Fallen.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Killer Queen...

On Friday evening I went with Ben and his family to see We Will Rock you at the Dominion Theatre in London. I saw the show three years ago with Ben - it was my first Christmas present from him - but in all honesty couldn't really remember the storyline so was excited to get to see it again!

We started the evening by grabbing a quick bite in Porters English Restaurant in Covent Garden. As you'd probably be able to guess, the menu predominantly consisted of traditional pies such as Shepherd's pie and steak and kidney pudding. I opted for a fisherman's pie alongside a homemade pink lemonade. 

Christmassy Covent Garden
We then made our way through the Christmassy streets towards Tottenham Court Road tube station to take our seats for the show. Based upon song's by Queen, the story is set in a future where musical instruments are banned and the population are no longer individuals; they think the same, wear the same and act the same - apart from the Rebels who live underground searching for the answer to the prophecy that will revive the age of rock and roll.

We Will Rock You is a fun-filled night out! The combination of classic British songs with subtle innuendos and brilliant talent make this a show that leaves you feeling like you've been treated to a rock concert as well as musical. The atmosphere in the theatre makes you want to get on your feet and join the cast in rocking to the sounds of "We Are The Champions" and "I Want It All." It's a definite must-see for not only those who love Queen but for anyone who wants to be thrilled by excellent vocals and end the evening with a giant grin on their face! 

Monday, November 04, 2013

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November...

I love cake so what better excuse than firework night to make some themed cupcakes. I decided to go with a bonfire theme so that I could satisfy the chocoholics in my family.

I followed my usual cupcake recipe as it is pretty full proof and hasn't let me down yet! To adapt the recipe I added a little food colouring to make the butter icing have a warm fiery glow. I then toped the cupcakes with broken bits of Flake to create the bonfire logs. To add that something extra, I added a few drops of vanilla extract into the mix. I think these easy to make cupcakes are a perfect little treat for these cold Autumn nights.

Have you found any new ways of adapting well-loved recipes? What wintery themed ideas do you think I should try?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I've Got a Golden Ticket...

On Friday night, Ben and I headed into central London for a little weekend treat. We spent the night at the beautiful Athenaeum Hotel in Mayfair. Although we weren't there long, it was an incredible experience. The food, the service, the people, the atmosphere; everything was spectacular. I couldn't help but get excited when I realised I was in the hotel that The Kardashian's often stay in when they come to town! 

On Saturday morning we took a stroll up Piccadilly as I had heard that Fortnum & Mason's Christmas shop was now open. Wow is the word I'd use to sum up the hour we spent perusing the goods! The macaroons left my mouth watering and the Xmas decorations got me well and truly into the festive spirit. 

We rounded off our trip off by going to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. I've loved Roald Dahl's classic ever since I was little so was especially looking forward to seeing how they'd bring the story to life as a musical. I had a smile on my face for the entire two and a half hours. Particular highlights for me were how the writers cleverly included subtle jokes for the adults in this family friendly performance and the way the Oompa Loopas were portrayed.

I'm definitely glad I had my golden ticket to this gem of a musical.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Last Sunday, Ben took me on a surprise trip to London for my 22nd birthday. We spent a lovely couple of hours in an Italian restaurant called Bocca Di Lupo filling ourselves up on the most incredible food. The idea is that you share lots of small dishes which I loved as it meant I got to try so many things on the menu! Although I've never been to Italy, I imagine the food in Bocca Di Lupo is pretty authentic - it was simple in terms of the presentation but the flavours that were packed into each dish were incredible. We then took the tube to Paddington and I was finally let in on the secret as we queued to get into Punchdrunk's 'The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable.' 
Image from The Telegraph -
The show isn't the usual mix of theatre/dance as it is set in a four storey warehouse in which you are free to roam around whilst the performance happens around you. Audience members are given grey masks to wear so that they can be identified as spectators whilst crew members wear black. On leaving the lift that takes you into the warehouse, you are left to your own devises and thrown into the action. Ben and I found ourselves in darkness surrounded by caravans so took the advice given out at the start to go where your mind tells you to wander. 

Image from The Evening Standard -

The basic premise of the story is based around the lives of the people working in a Hollywood film studios. The different floors include the site where the crew members live, the doctors surgery, bars and the actual film sets. As the audience, you are allowed to be inquisitive; you can look in cupboards, read letters that are on desks and go through any doors that can be opened. The action unfolds around you like you have been dropped into the story; the performers carry out the show as though you are not there. You're almost like a fly on the wall - observing everything but not taken notice of. On one of the floors there is a bar for the audience to take some time out from exploring whenever they wish which provides a nice little break - being that nosy is thirsty work!

I still don't know exactly what the full storyline of the performance was but that doesn't matter; the event as a whole was so intriguing that I spent three hours in there but it felt like 5 minutes. Whilst some might find the whole premise of the show weird and slightly annoying that you're not getting to see a full performance as such, I'd definitely go to the show again. I loved the fact that you just got snippets of information and it was up to you to decipher what you'd seen. If you get a chance to go, don't miss out on an incredible event - I'm currently persuading my parents to go as there is so much I missed this time round!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Class of 2013...

I'm officially a graduate!! Wooooo! 

My graduation finally came around last Saturday and what an incredible day it was! It started the day before when Ben and I drove down and checked into our hotel in Goodwood. It was a quaint little B&B pub that was very English. It wasn't anything fancy but was perfect for what we needed and the food was delicious.

Saturday was such a special day, it marked all that I've achieved over the last three years and I'm so glad I got to share it with my family. The ceremony itself was quite emotional, the university's vice chancellor's speech had many people tearing up. It was when he described us leaving the stage with our certificates reflecting how we must now head into our futures without forgetting home that got me!

I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful day! So now it's official, I am a University of Chichester 1st class BA(Hons) graduate. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Burgers and Social Media...

This week was Social Media Week in London and I was lucky enough to go to the opening party on Monday night as Ben won VIP tickets. As it was in a pop up venus near Covent Garden we decided to grab a bite to eat before we went along. Wanting to try something new, I enlisted the help of Google to find somewhere relatively cheap and quick for us to try. Google did not let us down when it brought up the website for Meat Market!

Meat Market is tucked away up a flight of stairs, just behind the main square of Covent Garden. It's a quirky little American style burger joint that I have fallen in love with. Up until  now nothing beat a Shake Shack burger for me but then came along the ... on Monday night. Oh my, I think I am in love with a burger! The scrummy gherkin, cheese and two beef patties were messy to eat but so worth it. I'm definitely going to be venturing back to this little gem of a restaurant!!

After filling ourselves to the brim with burger and chips, Ben and I took a little walk round the corner to the Social media Week Opening Party. It was a great night, I particularly enjoyed walking down the red carpet to the entrance - it's the closest I'll ever get to walking down a real one! It was nice to see Ben in "his natural habitat" doing what he loves, networking and talking about all things marketing/social media. 


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Amazing Autumn...

As much as I love getting a golden glow in the summer months, Autumn is definitely my favourite season. Not only is it great because my birthday happens to be in the midst of it, it also signals the start of cosy nights in, chunky knitwear and the countdown to my favourite festive holiday (it's 104 days away in case you were wondering).

Image from Tumblr
With the weather turning colder, shops plugging their A/W ranges and the return of Strictly Come Dancing/Downton to our to screens, I've found myself getting fully into the Autumn spirit! I've dug out my jumpers and tights, started craving caramel lattes and I'm eyeing up some new ankle boots. I've also found myself scrolling through the Autumn Tumblr tag whilst tucked up in bed which has resulted in my getting way to excited for wrapping up in several layers and firework night! Nothing beats the beauty of when the leaves start to change colour and the air is crisp around your face; it's also a handy excuse to update the wardrobe a little! My current wishlist includes the little gems below...
Topshop boots, New Look dress, Topshop matte nail varnish, Asos hat, Yankee candle

Who else is looking forward to donning their duffle coat and boots and heading out into the fresh Autumn weather?

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Down in the 100 Acre Wood...

A couple of weekends ago, my Nan organised a family get together as this year would have been my Grandad's 100th birthday. We spent the afternoon at the Ashdown Park hotel eating yummy cakes surrounded by the forrest that inspired the Winnie the Pooh books. 

The hotel
Cousinly love
Giant lake filled with carp
Afternoon tea
It was lovely to spend some time relaxing with my Dad's side of the family and making Nan so happy. The hotel was gorgeous and the grounds stunning; the secret garden was definitely a hit with my little cousins! All in all it was a brilliant day and I'm happy to have celebrated such a special event for my Nan in such a lovely way.
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