Monday, 31 December 2012

My week in photos 16 (a very festive fortnight)

I have been a very bad blogger over the past few weeks (but hey, Christmas is the best excuse).

I have just returned to London following a blissful ten days off work spending time with family (both mine and The Boy's). It was great to finally get a chance to catch up with old friends who I haven't seen for a year or more and find out all the goss. The week went by in a bit of a blur, going from the south coast to Somerset and back again, but I wouldn't change a thing.
 Clockwise from top left: A festive stroll near Covent Garden - A celebratory sushi lunch - A spot of present wrapping for a children's charity - Sweeties for the train courtesy of the lovely Lizzie

This was to be my first Christmas away from home and I must admit I was a little apprehensive. As someone for whom spending time with my Mum and Dad (and even the younger bro) is what Christmas is all about I was unsure how I'd feel spending Christmas day in Somerset. I needn't have worried though, as The Boy's family went out of their way to make me feel welcome. Lots of walks in and around Shepton with The Boy, delicious food and drink, and great company made this a festive period to remember and I'm already looking forward to the next.
 Clockwise from top left: A rather waterlogged last copy of Stylist for 2012 - The Bro's trip to New York has clearly rubbed off on him - Festive lights in Wells - Hijacking Grandad and Philly's crossword - The gorgeous brown and gold tree at Shepton Mallet - Love this vintage poster at Fareham station - Mother did me proud for my homecoming

Returning to Titchfield on the 27th meant that I could see friends, do a spot of shopping with Mother, and most importantly enjoy another Christmas dinner with my nearest and dearest. We were even able to attend Mum and Dad's annual drinks party which meant we could catch up with a few people and enjoy even more food (if we needed it!). During 2012, The Boy and I were tied up on a number of weekends at weddings/stag/hen do's so we haven't been able to go home half as much as we would have liked, so it was great to see everyone. I already have lots in the diary for 2013 but most of all I'm hoping this year will allow The Boy and I to visit friends and family more.

Clockwise from top left: Who knew a knitted wreath could look so good? - A Fish and chip shop date with The Boy for Christmas eve lunch - Christmas isn't Christmas without the Vicar of Dibley - Wilson Phillips, perfect stocking filler - A crisp Christmas morning - My gorgeous vintage glasses - Our annual Christmas morning ramble - Knitted stocking at Shepton Mallet

As usual, the iPhone has been snapping away at almost every opportunity for an appropriate festive shot, so here's a glimpse of what I've been getting up to over the festive period - apologies for the picture heavy post!
 Clockwise from top left: Setting the table - Bucks Fizz on Christmas morning - The food hamper proved a popular gift - Pimms at Christmas - The tree at home - Hello, my festive friend - The Babycham deer, one of my favourite sights in Shepton - Christmas dinner at Shepton Mallet
Clockwise from top left: I was spoiled rotten - Second Christmas dinner of the week - Love Mum's quirky Christmas decorations - Starter, as made by me

I had an amazing Christmas season and loved every minute - I hope that you did too!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Happy Christmas to all...and to all a good night

As you read this I would hope you are suitably full of food (and drink), surrounded by friends and family and dosed up on festive cheer. 

I no doubt, will have spent the morning traipsing around the Somerset countryside working up an appetite for a delicious Christmas dinner with The Boy's family and (hopefully) am now ensconsed on the sofa watching SCD or a Christmas special.

Expect a full festive post over the coming days, but for now... Merry Christmas to you, my wonderful readers.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Looks I'm loving

This weeks look comes courtesy of my latest style crush Lucy, a 23-year-old girl from Arnhem in the Netherlands. 

As you all know I am a huge fan of anyone who can master the art (and it is an art in my eyes) of successful layering and Lucy is certainly ahead of the crowd with this trend - as you can see below. Her style is comfortable yet fashionable and most of these looks I could see myself styling up for work or the weekend.

Lucy's gorgeous hairstyle also makes me want to get my fringe cut back in (yay or nay peeps?) which The Boy is dead against. But when did I ever listen to what he had to say when it comes to fashion and beauty, so watch this space.

 All images can be found on Lucy's Lookbook page

I've also been reading Lucy's great blog Lovely by Lucy which chronicles her life and style and checking out her latest looks over on Lookbook - if you love fashion, I suggest you check them out too.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

My week in photos 15

Things have caught up with me a bit this week. The new job, all the pre-Christmas festivities, which culminated in me oversleeping on Friday (the day of my review, good one Laura) and waking up at 8.23am. Which, when I start work at 9am and my journey to work takes 50 minutes, was not the best start to the day. Still, I managed to get it together (lord knows how) and make it to work for 9.30am - looks like all that half-marathon training paid off. I looked hot on Friday let me tell you.

The flat is looking more festive than ever and I am well and truly in the Christmas spirit - four days left at work before homeward bound! I cannot wait to spend some quality time with my friends and family.

Here's what I've been getting up to out and about over the past few days.

 Clockwise from top left: A suitable Christmas decoration for me (or Rosie at The Londoner perhaps?) - A cheeky snap of Prince Harry - Wrapping, DONE! - A Sunday stroll around the National Portrait Gallery
Clockwise from top left: Rolling Stones themed Christmas decorations at Carnaby Street - Love this heart light in my local Nando's (of all places!) - Mediterranean salad with Chicken, yum - Unusual art at the Saatchi Gallery - Gorgeous Christmas decorations in Sloane Square - Ready to load the tree up with every conceivable ornament - Escalator art at the Saatchi - New pj's on a Winter's eve, nothing better

Monday, 10 December 2012

Turning Japanese

A couple of weeks back, The Boy and I wrapped up warm and headed out for our usual Sunday walk in West London. I'd treated us to some tickets to Hyper Japan so after a wander around we headed over to Earls Court to swot up on Japanese culture.
Hyper Japan is the UK's biggest J-Culture event which draws fans of all things Japanese from far and wide and showcases Japanese food, traditional and modern arts, anime and videogames - and it's an event that I've always wanted to go to.

Ever since my trip to Tokyo in 2009 I've been dying to go back and explore the country more, you can guarantee that I'll always get sucked into a documentary/book/novel on Japanese culture. 

The Boy loves a graphic novel and the pair of us are on the cusp of becoming collectors of Japanese figurines - I long for the day when we have a place of our own and I can have a cupboard in which to showcase our collection of trinkets. This event really is perfect for us.
As a teenage girl, I loved wearing bright colours, faux candy jewellery and at one point I even had pink and green hair - basically I could still now very easily slip into full-blown cos play attire on a daily basis. I mean, you all saw my Halloween costume and that's only one night a year.

I particularly loved watching the Kawaii Fashion Show - the girls outfits were all so creative and right up my street. I could so easily have bought many a kimono, tutu or wig, but I'm not sure they're work appropriate, well not in my office anyway.
Earls Court is such an iconic venue but I must admit although outside it looks vintage, inside it just looks tired so maybe the regeneration of the area is a good idea, as much as I hate the idea of the sites being demolished.

The event was very busy which was a bit frustrating at times (not helped by the fact we chose to go smack bang in the middle of the day) but I'd definitely go again - next time I need my fix of all things Japanese.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Christmas list: Volume 2

You all know what I'd love for Christmas but I've spied many more great individual gifts online recently, so here's my pick of fantastic festive treats for the whole family.

Crafty creations
Ella Masters is one of my favourite bloggers, and I absolutely adore both her blog and her gorgeous illustrations. She recently set up an Etsy shop selling her wares and I'm definitely planning on picking up some treats (for both myself and some lucky, lucky friends and family) - I also have big plans to frame some of Ella's work for my inspiration wall.

I love these Christmas cards in Ella's signature style - pick them up here

I use the calendar on my iPhone, but after the ios 6 upgrade disaster that meant me losing what felt like my entire life and led to The Boy missing his fathers birthday (although quite why that was my fault I'm still unsure of) I've resorted back to a good old-fashioned wall version and think they actually make a great gift.
 I love this one by Alicia Bock - perfect for a sister or cousin.

For the men in my life
It seems I've managed to surround myself with Men who love anything remotely geeky (not that I'm bothered by that, I'm quite the geek myself) so I'm always on the lookout for unusual gifts to spark their interest - rather than the obligatory DVD boxset.

 I love this illustration - perfect for a Dr Who fanatic like my brother

Cufflinks from your run-of-the-mill department store run the risk of being either predictable or tacky but there are many fantastic and unusual options available online.

 These Octopus options are another perfect gift for the bro

 Whilst these are more appropriate for The Boy (or Father)

Mum's the word
My Mother is more than just a Mum, she's my best friend and she's where I got my creativity from. I love buying gifts for her - and see something she would like on almost every shopping trip.
As soon as I saw this sketch book I knew that it would be right up her street, handmade, nautical and allows her to document her artistic moments (not that this is her actual present, I'm keeping that one up my sleeve).

For the businessman who's young at heart
I'm a fan of dressing up my desk and this pen pot and business card holder is perfect for many a man - quirky, fun and functional, what could be better?

Find this one here
For the art lover
The L&F household has lots of illustrations and wall art, it's one of my all-time favourite gifts and in my opinion, the more personal the better.

This would be a welcome addition - as I'm sure it would for many of our friends.

Baby, baby, baby, oh
I love buying gifts for children (and am in desperate need of a few more friends and family to have children so I can hit the shops), but prefer presents to be unusual rather than the stereotypical baby gift.
This mobile by Atelier Bloom is gorgeous

So there you have it, there's plenty of gorgeous gifts to be had - if you just think outside the box a little. Happy Christmas!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

My week in photos 14

The 1st of December has brought with it Christmas fever, or so it would seem. The (real!) tree is up in the office, the presents are wrapped and almost all of my cards have been written - I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy inside!

Somehow I managed to schedule a fair few of my festive outings for this week (clever planning Laura) and I barely had a second to catch my breath but I suppose that's what Christmas is all about - getting together with friends and family over a glass of mulled wine or two, even if it does put you in an almost perminent state of exhaustion.

So, next weeks post looks set to be FULL but that's not saying this week hasn't been pretty busy - here's what I've been getting up to over the past week or so.
 Clockwise from top left: Present unwrapping at Christmas number one - Absolutely amazing and delicious Smoked Haddock Risotto at Albert's in Didsbury - Nice shoes boys (what are the chances?) - A REAL Christmas tree in the office! Yet another reason why the job move was worth it
 Clockwise from top left: Amazing oversized perfume bottles at Fenwick Bond Street - Gorgeous festive mannequins at Fenwick - Loving this Mr Porter advert in this week's Stylist magazine - There's something that I love about ripped advertising posters - The Boy admitting his greatest fear during a game of Mr & Mrs (rats) - Our gorgeous Christmas tree - The first turkey dinner of the season at Christmas number one in Manchester - Loving this window display at Jigsaw, Spitalfields

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Christmas list: Volume 1

We've reached that time of year again when The Boy starts actually paying attention to my ramblings when we are out shopping rather than playing with his phone, which can only mean one thing: he has no clue what to get me for Christmas. 

Now, I actually think I'm easy to buy gifts for (lets face it a girl who loves fashion/reading/writing/bathing is far easier to buy for than a boy who has no hobbies to speak of other than watching TV and reading the occasional graphic novel) but The Boy doesn't seem to think so. So, for those of you out there who are facing a similar conundrum, here's my guide for gifts us girls (me in particular) would love to receive. Just in case anyone's feeling generous.*

1. You can't go wrong with Zara Vouchers
Zara's been on my radar for a while now but it's only really been in the past twelve months that I've become a true, die-hard fan. It's pretty much the only high street store that I want to buy something in every time I pay them a visit, which can't always happen due to my bank balance. More's the pity.
2. Selfridges (aka the shop that has everything)
Whilst we're on gift vouchers I thought Selfridges would be worth a mention. I can spend hours wandering around and the beauty of Selfridges is that it stocks brands at a variety of price points. H&m? Check. All Saints? Check. Chanel? Check. Pretty much a shopaholics dream store.
3. Face Paint
Make-up is quite a personal thing but as long as the colours are nothing too outrageous and the brand is good quality an eyeshadow palette, set of lip glosses or a box set is a great gift. My personal favourites are Benefit who do some nice sets, Mac and Urban Decay.

4. Books
I used to love receiving book tokens when I was younger and I still love them now - I can ALWAYS find a book to buy and spend many an afternoon wandering in Waterstones. I love the idea of a kindle (if only to lighten the load on my poor shoulder) but there's something about actually holding a brand new (or well loved) copy of a favourite tale that, well, just makes me happy.

I recommend The Passage by Justin Cronin (I already have two copies so this is not on my own personal Christmas list but I'd love some more people to talk to about it!).
5. Bath & Body products
My personal favourites are Soap and Glory, Rituals and Body Shop - pretty much anything that smells good enough to eat is fine by me, and most other girls I'm sure. There's normally some nice gift packs available at this time of year which can be great value for money, or, if you can hold of until nearer the day there's usually some fantastic discounts on offer.
6.Cold hard cash
Spring 2013 will (finally) see The Boy and I take a holiday together to New York and I CANNOT WAIT. I find that vouchers have a habit of lurking in the bottom of my handbag for months (why is it that when you have money to spend you can never find anything you want to buy?) but currency for a special trip is always greatly appreciated and can often be put towards a memorable experience or nice dinner.
7. Stocking fillers
There are many inexpensive bits and pieces out there that make great gifts, my favourites are: patterned socks (the cuter the better, there are lots on offer in Primark for mere penny's), pretty pyjamma sets (again, lots of variety at Primark), nail varnishes, and costume jewellery from Freedom at Topshop.
And there you have it. Of course there's plenty more perfect gifts out there for girls but I'll leave it at that or I'll be here all night!

* I will be posting The Christmas list: Volume 2 this week which will have gift suggestions for all the family, so watch this space.

Monday, 26 November 2012

A rainy Saturday at The Reformation

On Saturday I got up bright and early and jumped on a train to Reading to meet Mum and Dad for a day of fun in the countryside.

We had big plans to spend the day helping Uncle David clear out the house but, naturally, we stopped for a spot of lunch at the local pub, The Reformation at Gallowstree Common, where a serious log splitting competition was taking place.
Clockwise from top left: Dad enjoying the log splitting competition (I guess we know where I get my double-chin issues from, well, other than all the food that is) - The gorgeous exterior - Log splitting galore, even in the rain - Jean went for an Avocado salad with a side of fries 
Having been brought up by a Father who loves real ale I have become something of an authority on outstanding pubs of the British Isles - and the Reformation is up there with the best for me. I love a pub that provides me with a roaring fire, delicious (and well priced) food, a friendly atmosphere and that thinks outside the box. Not only could I warm up with a mulled wine but a selection of other Christmas themed drinks were available - including winter Pimms, always a firm favourite.
Clockwise from top left: My ensemble for the day (slicked back hair and a hood to keep off the rain) - Perusing the menu by firelight - The gorgeous pub sign - Nothing better than a fire when you've been stood in a wet field

Being a squeamish sort, I could only watch about ten minutes of the log splitting for fear of glimpsing someone chopping their thumb off, but I loved the idea! And being quite chilly outside I was more than happy to retire to the pub where I could curl up by the fire and enjoy a plate of food and a natter with Mum and Dad.

Clockwise from top left: The main event - Famous friends - My first mulled wine of the year - Mum went for Grilled chicken with gnocchi
Clockwise from top left:Log splitting in the rain - I went for a burger, delish - All signs point to The Reformation - Wrapped up against the cold
We'll be visiting my Uncle quite a lot over the coming months so I'm looking forward to spending many more lazy lunchtimes in The Reformation with my family - probably working our way through the food and drinks menu.
If you're in Berkshire and are looking for somewhere to stop for lunch or dinner, or even just a drink by the fire in a welcoming setting be sure to check out The Reformation - all details can be found here.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

My week in photos 13

Now, those of you who read My week in photos 12 will remember that I had big ideas about starting my return to healthy eating and, although these pictures may tell a somewhat different story, by and large this week has leaned far more towards bikini than fat suit. That's not to say there haven't been some fantastical meals on the menu, as you'll see below.

The weekend in Somerset saw many a meal out (and delicious meal in) but most of those calories have been counterbalanced by lots of healthy dinners during the week - it may be winter but it's salads all the way in the L&F household.

Here's some snapshots of life for me this week.
Clockwise from top left: Some LK Bennett beauties I fell in love with at Kilver Court - A Saturday steak dinner with family (The Boy's and mine) with plenty of laughs over a Malibu and coke (or five) - Sampling some craft beers back in London with the Boy - Hitting our favourite chinese restaurant in Chinatown with Zsa Zsa. You see what I mean about the eating?
 Clockwise from top left: Some Eat frozen yoghurt at Topshop Oxford Circus to get me through a day of working in store - Pink sky over Somerset - An exciting invite - The skyline of my morning commute - A selection of amazing pies at the Raven of Bath, well recommended - A Whistles treat - Super healthy salad for dinner - Discounts galore, this particular one made me think of the Hobbettes

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The little black jacket

A couple of weeks back I was lucky enough to be able to make the most of a rare free Friday when I had nothing pressing to do and take the opportunity to take in a spot of culture at one of my favourite London art venues, the Saatchi Gallery

Being a short walk from the flat, the Kings Road is always a fun day out, the people-watching alone can keep me entertained for hours, it's well worth a visit if you're in London.

The reason for my visit was to check out Chanel's The Little Black Jacket Exhibition dedicated to Karl Lagerfeld's latest book. The idea behind the book is to revist the traditional styling of Chanel, with a wide variety of "friends of Chanel" being showcased with their own styled interpretation of the Chanel classic - here are some of my favourite images from the collection.
Sadly the exhibition was only in London for a couple of weeks but to see more of the amazing images you can pick up the book (the perfect Christmas gift for any fashionista) or find out more about the exhibition here.
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