2013

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Happy New Year!

I hope you have all been enjoying the holiday celebrations. I’ve had a fabulous time welcoming the new year. It was a bit hard to say good-bye to 2012, as it was quite a special year for me, but 2013 is already looking like it will be equally fantastic.

The lovely Rachel came to visit, and we planned some fun treats for the last few days of the holidays. We  ahhhed in appreciation of the fireworks and sang Auld Lang Syne squashed in with hundreds of people in front of the London Eye, before heading back to friends’ house party to toast with champagne.

The real highlight of Rachel’s visit was some wonderful theatre. After reading Mary’s brilliant review, we were keen to see The Dark Earth and the Light Sky at the Almeida theatre.

116690270_dark-eart_356560cThe Dark Earth and the Light Sky, Almeida Theatre 2012-13. Image via here.

I was blown away by the incredible performances of all the actors and the beautifully written script, which was touched with both great wit and heart-wrenching poignancy. The Dark Earth and the Light Sky explores the poet Edward Thomas’ complicated relationships with his wife Helen and great friends Eleanor Farjeon and Robert Frost. Thomas’ plight as a burgeoning poet and his struggle to understand his place in the world is told through the different perspectives of each of the characters surrounding him, and scenes flip from present to future so that the tragic end to his story casts a shadow from the start. I was completely gripped by the play and am now eager to see other productions at the Almeida. We had gone for the cheapest £8 seats, which were barely a restricted view and were very close to the stage. At less than the price of a movie ticket, a trip to the Islington theatre is a fantastic way to have a memorable night out.

kiss-me-kate_2410980bKiss Me Kate, Old Vic 2012-13. Image via here.

Another brilliant theatre experience was seeing Kiss Me Kate at the Old Vic. In contrast to The Dark Earth and the Light Sky, this sparkling musical was full of fun and laughter. The production was wonderful with stunning sets and costumes, and the (almost) 3 hours simply flew by! I particularly enjoyed the dazzling rendition of It’s Too Darn Hot. This show was a real feel-good, and Rachel and I left with huge smiles on our faces.

2013 is a lot of fun so far, and I’m very excited by what lies ahead.

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Easter Pinks

Anna Sui dress; Tocca coat; M&S tights; Nicole Farhi shoes; Scapa bag; Swarovski earrings; vintage bracelet; Essie ‘Splash of Grenadine’ nail polish.

I’ve had a lovely Easter Sunday and am currently curled up in a chair, rendered immoveable by the vast quantity of food and chocolate I’ve managed to consume. The Easter Bunny certainly stopped by my flat this morning; besides lots of delicious chocolate, there was a small package containing the gorgeous vintage pearl and imitation sapphire bracelet I’m wearing in these photos. I have quite small wrists and have a very hard time finding bracelets that fit. My Mum in fact got this one made specially to fit me so it is already a cherished possession.

I enjoyed Easter lunch out with my Mum at my favourite pub in Hampstead, The Old White Bear.

It was quite the feast: roast chicken followed by orange cheesecake for me.

After lunch, we thought a stroll around Hampstead would aid our digestion so set off for Fenton House, a small National Trust property with beautiful grounds, boasting an orchard and rose garden. I volunteered at the house last summer so have got to know it pretty well and still love to pay it a visit.

I had in fact planned quite a different outfit for today (a primrose yellow satin dress without sleeves), but it was so cold and dark when I woke up this morning that I had to rethink my choice. Anna Sui is one of my very favourite designers, and a couple of dresses I have of hers are very rare non-sale purchases of mine. I love this dress with the mix of velvet and silk and beautiful buttons.

The coat, however, was a sale bargain purchased about 10 years ago. I think it still looks brand new and pulled it out of my wardrobe again when excitedly I noticed that one of my  TV heroines – Rory Gilmore – wears the exact same coat in later series of the Gilmore Girls.

Hmm, and now I have to decide whether I’m going to be lazy and watch an episode of a new favourite tv series or be good and workout. As there is still plenty of chocolate to get through, I’d better do something active!

Valentine’s Gift Ideas

First of all, I must say I’m rather proud to be managing to post on a week night (go me!), although admittedly this could be in lieu of a weekend post as I have a rather important interview next week, so I’ll have to see how well the preparation goes for that.

I did, however, really want to share some rather sweet Valentine gift ideas that I’ve noticed over the past couple weeks. I must say that, although I like celebrating Valentine’s Day in a quiet way, it never gets me jumping around a great deal (is it odd that I’m far more excited about pancake day (aka Shrove Tuesday)?! I do really like pancakes….). These gifts, though, are definitely getting me into more of a Valentine mood.

I love these cards by Nancy and Betty:

"you're just my type"

"I love you more than mix tapes"

A charming plate from Anthropologie by the wonderful Nathalie Lete:

A sweet poster from a newly discovered favourite shop:

 

Some gorgeous fabric that would make charming placemats – from another brilliant new discovery:

Rococo sweets for the sweet:

And finally, if all else fails, how about some Love Potion #9?

Top Christmas Gifts

I must have been pretty good in 2011, because Santa certainly followed through. Here are some of the highlights that were left under the (virtual) tree.

Clarisonic Mia

I’ve been reading fantastic reviews of the Sonic skin cleansing systems for a while and was absolutely thrilled to get the Clarisonic Mia in purple.  As a bit of a skincare obsessive, I love the sound of something that cleanses much more deeply and effectively then manual cleaning, reduces the size of pores , diminishes fine lines and leaves your skin super smooth and glowing. I’ve been using it the past couple days and already love it.

I also got a few crafty books which I enjoyed flicking through on Boxing Day:

Simple Modern Sewing by Shufu-to-Seikatsusha

These patterns look easy to follow and adapt – perfect for a sewing newbie like me! I admire the simplicity of the Japanese style and can see myself wearing everything, especially the sweet little cotton tops.

The Colette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mitnick

This sewing book looks like a lot of fun, and I’m reassured by the very detailed instructions provided throughout the guide. A lot of the patterns seem vintage inspired with a modern twist. I would love to be able to whip up some of these gorgeous dresses:

Here’s hoping! For other sewing enthusiasts, the Coletterie is definitely worth a look….

Finally, I was absolutely over the moon to get this beautiful Tamara Fogle bag. It’s made from a vintage Kilim and is just stunning – the perfect bag for carrying phone, keys and cash when I’m out and about in Hampstead.

Tamara Fogle bag

I look forward to all these presents getting a lot of use in the new year!

Highlights of the Festive Season

Here are a few of the things that I have been enjoying in the build-up to Christmas which kept me feeling festive and helped to make December such a special month this year.

  • Scottie dog lights from thinkgadgets draped around my bookcase.
  • Lots and lots of knitting. This year I made several chunky cowls for Christmas and December birthday gifts. Currently I am knitting myself this cowl in this wool (I love the fact the yarn is called Betty Draper’s Blues).

Spaniards Inn

  •  Mulled wine and good company at the Spaniards Inn make a perfect winter’s evening.
  • Early morning flat whites at Loafing certainly helped me get through the last week prior to holidays.

  • A beautiful brooch by the incredibly talented Vanessa Cabban brightened up even the dreariest of days. The gorgeous button in the centre is made by Laura Walker. Not surprisingly, all of Vanessa’s brooches sold out almost immediately, but I do hope she makes more soon!
  • Listening to Nutcracker music using my new iPod dock: I’d forgotten what proper speakers sound like!
  • This Emily Sutton Christmas card – I sent out a couple dozen, but kept one for me, which I think I’ll frame so I can enjoy it every Christmas.

Christmas 2011

The Wells Tavern, Hampstead

What a perfect Christmas it’s been. I thought I’d post a quick blog as I recover from lunch and wait for the Downton Abbey Christmas Special to air. I hope you’ve all had a lovely day. I have to say this has been one of the best Christmases yet. I’ve greatly enjoyed the build up to the Big Day, with my flat a haven of twinkle lights, poinsettias, and the Puppini Sisters Christmas CD  on constant repeat.

Although I’ve lived in London for 6 years, this has been my first Christmas in the city. Hampstead was very picturesque with grey skys and pretty lights:

Church Row

 

Feeling very festive

I spent Christmas Day with my Mum, and we decided to enjoy Christmas dinner at the lovely pub, the Wells Tavern, where we enjoyed a feast with all the proper trimmings:

Roast Turkey

I certainly tucked in!

Chocolate Pot

Cheers!

I snapped all the photos on my new iPhone 4S – my first iphone, and I’m totally hooked! I’ll share some of my other Christmas goodies in a post another day. For now, I’m getting my pjs out and curling up with a blanket. Perfect!