Monday, April 27, 2015

Life Lately (According to Instagram)

More fun and games.  And cats, of course! Here's a selection of my recent instagram adventures.

The cats discovered just how warm the spare room gets on sunny days....

...happy kits!

I love when I catch them being sweet to one another!

I've had some fun post, including these awesome post-its from Emily!

The #ootd posts continue poorly (I forget *so* often), but the silly pose game is improving.

This is what Fry thinks of Saturday night marking!

To celebrate 30 years of the Junior League of London, we had a 'Party Like It's 1985' gala.  So I went as Supergirl (1984), clearly.  So fun to party with these ladies, Matthew, and the JLL crew!

A new season always inspires me to try some new recipes.

We celebrated 3 years in our lovely home. Such a joy to live here.

Poppet got very cross at the whole 'back to school hours' thing.  And napped lots.

Before the 80s party I broke out the ice bowl we were given as a wedding gift - so fun to fill it with individual bottles of wine, as well as beer and fun canned cocktails rather than sticking to bigger ones.

I always watch a movie while catching up with ironing.  This week it was Josie and the Pussycats.  Such a brilliant, silly movie.  The soundtrack is awesome.

I love devising cocktails - our pre-80s drink was a 'Pretty In Pink'.  A French Martini base, extra Chambord for colour, a dash of orange liquer and cherries to adorn.  Yum!

We feasted on chicken and chorizo sliders, salmon and cream cheese pitas, and cous cous with roasted squash and feta, as well as all the usual buffet suspects.  And a cheese and pineapple on sticks hedgehog, because eighties. Love cooking!

The photo booth at the party did a roaring trade!  Loved dancing to 80s pop, admiring costumes and celebrating a charity of which I am so fond.

Such a fun, busy fortnight.  London in springtime is brilliant.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Monopodolla bills!

Last month, an intruiging invitation pinged into my inbox from the lovely team at Joe Blogs Network.  I've been to a few of their events and have always been impressed at both the way they are run and the brands and activities involved, so of course I opened it to see what might unfold.

Beer and bargaining = weeknight winning

I was cordially invited to a games night, hosted by Legal and General to promote their investments strand.  Thise of you who know me will be aware that I am a) a board games nut, and b) fond of maths, savings, budgets and spreadsheets (seriously.  Numbers make me happy).   So I quickly shot back a reply and looked forward to some board games based fun.

On arrival at Joes Bloggers HQ (sidenote: their office is awesome.  More offices should have vintage style jukeboxes), we were greeted with prosecco and the game du jour was revealed - MONOPOLY. This is where I should out myself as a little bit of a Monopoly fan.  I love it - the strategy, the bargaining, the strange obsessions we all seem to have with particular properties (I am all about the stations).  So as you can imagine I was thrilled!

My lovely table - some great girls and hardheaded bargain-drivers to boot!

We split into tables of six or seven (I was with the lovely Catherine from Perfectly Polished, Natasha from Dance Flow Lift, Stephanie from Nerd About Town, Hollie from Pretty Big Butterflies, Babs from Working Girl London and  Katie from Toodalookatie) and after some rules chat we were off.  The game was fairly level for a fair time, but just as the pizza arrived (the lovely Charlie from Charlie, Distracted and I had been tweeting all day about the impending CARBAGEDDON!) the tide was starting to turn...

Babs striking a deal.  Hollie doesn't look convinced...

Getting all the stations is my joy.

Properties were bought, deals were struck, at at 9 p.m. it was time to add everything up.... I (somehow) managed to come second overall, and won Matthew a remote control car.  Wife points to the max!

It wouldn't be a blog event without a selfie!  Here with the lovely Katie.

Thank you so much to both Joes Bloggers and Legal and General for a fun evening, which was both entertaining and tied in well to the whole idea of saving and investing.  Thank you also to all the bloggers who made it such a fun event to attend.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Giveaway: Because Books Make Me Happy (Especially These Ones). And so Does Blogging. And Apparently, Long Titles.

I have been reading Gretchen Rubin's blog and her books for a long time.  Her take on happiness and habits really chimes with a lot of my own ideas, while still offerng challenge and inspiration aplenty. I devoured The Happiness Project when it was first published (I'm a project fiend!), loved Happier At Home, and was delighted when Better Than Before was released earlier this year.  I always enjoy reading Gretchen's take on things, and in a year where I'm aiming to change so many of my habits and ways of doing things this book arrived at the ideal time!

I also follow Gretchen on twitter, so when I realised she would be in town and giving talks, I immediately booked a ticket.  And so it was that on Tuesday last I moseyed down to central London for a 7.30am breakfast and an 'improve your life before lunch' session with the author herself.  It was such a nice morning - I met lots of other reading fans and Gretchen herself was charm personified.  She's clearly whip-smart, but also well-spoken and thoroughly warm.  Such a pleasure to meet her!

The event was hosted by Red magazine, and they really ran everything beautifully.  The conversation was conducted by their Health Editor, Brigid Moss. She was a great interviewer, inquisitive and intelligent.

After the talk there was a book signing - I got a 'gold star' as I've been reading the books and blog for so long!  My inner overachieving schoolgirl (you know I was that kid, right?) was thrilled.

I was also the goofball who asked for a picture.  Yes, I'm a fangirl.

I've enjoyed Gretchen's books so much, I felt like I wanted to share them with others.  I've also been thinking I should do a giveaway, as it's been a while and I wanted to celebrate a recent milestone for this little blog (half a million pageviews...on the one hand, small potatoes, on the other, wow!).

So I am going to do a giveaway, and the winner will receive a copy of each of Gretchen's books: The Happiness Project, Happier At Home, and Better Than Before.  They are all great reads and full of wit and wisdom.  I'm thrilled to be able to share them with one of you!

These are my copies - the giveaway winner will receive paperback copies of The Happiness Project and Happier At Home, and a hardback copy of Better Than Before.

There are various ways to secure an entry - all bids will be added to a spreadsheet and then someone selected at random (using  The ways to enter are:

Leave a comment on this post: 1 entry

Follow me on twitter: 1 entry

Follow me on instagram: 1 entry

Follow me on pinterest: 1 entry

Follow my blog on facebook: 1 entry

(This is probably a good time to mention that while there is some crossover between these four channels, I try to share different things on my profiles in different places too.  Four identikit experiences would not be fun!)

Follow my blog on bloglovin' (I'm starting to get into it!): 1 entry

Tweet about this giveaway: 1 entry

Mention this giveaway on instagram: 1 entry

Pin this giveaway: 1 entry

Facebook about this giveaway: 1 entry

Mention this giveaway on your blog: 1 entry

Leave me a comment below (just one is fine!) and tell me which of the above you've done, and I'll add your entries to the spreadsheet of joy.  This giveaway is combining so many of my favourite things.

If you already follow me on the five sites (twitter/insta/pinterest/fb/bloglovin) please let me know in your comment, and that'll be an entry too for this giveaway - one for each channel.  Loyalty as well as novelty, right?

The maximum amount of entries per person is 11 (one of each), but as it's a random selection, do feel free to do as many or as few as you like.  Huzzah!

Good Luck!  I'm super excited to share these books.  This giveaway will close at 11.59 p.m., BST on Thursday April 30th, and the winner will be announced in my post on Monday May 4th.

Note: This giveaway is all me - the books have been purchased by me, and I paid to go to the breakfast talk.  I just really like positive, interesting reads! :) 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Up, up and away with Debenhams

The sun is in the sky as London continues to enjoy this glorious sunny snap.  It's been pretty pleasant throughout my Easter break from school (nearly done....*sniff*) and my thoughts have been floating off all too often towards summer, pretty dresses, fresh scents, and honeymoon daydreams.  Imagine then my delight when an invite to the Debenhams S/S Beauty Press Day landed in my inbox; I took very little time to decide that a good all nose around some beautiful makeup, perfume and assorted other lotions and potions was exactly what I needed.

The event was themed as an airport/airline; you were greeted by a cheery air hostess (in a fab pink suit which I immediately coveted - it was very Elle Woods!) and then took an elevator up to the event.  The elevator was bedecked with sunny blue skies and definitely set a lovely tone! Once we reached the third floor another member of cabin crew greeted up and directed us to the various goodies the event had on offer.

There was a whole range of brands on display (with our honeymoon coming up this summer I had an eagle eye out for suncare and suitably Vegas makeup and fragrances!), cocktails, nibbles, manicures and lotion making, all in one helpful spot.  Here are a few of the items I really liked, as well as a few glimpses of the styling, which I adored!  Where possible I have linked to the products - these links are non-affiliate (I always like to disclose when they are, or in this case, when they are not).

I love a ladybird!  This is also where you can tell I'm pretty new to the blogging about beauty scene...forgot to note down the brand for this.  Adore the packaging, however!

This Clarins sun care oil spray smelled divine, like summer, and I thought it would be perfect for the beach.  I loved that if you wanted to tan a little you could with this, but still have up to SPF30 protection.  I can only take the sun in small bursts, so this would be great for my fair-ish skin while we walk and explore, or laze on the beach with a good book.

Loved sipping a cocktail while looking at this big old world map.  So many places to visit!

I've had great success with Aveda products before, and loved the look of the Smooth Infusion line.  I adore my zany curls, but it's lovely to be able to have a smooth. sleek style from time to time as well.  Once I've next got my hair trimmed I think I'll invest in some of this for blow drying for parties, high days and holidays.

I've been reading up on contouring (side note: finally coming to the make up party in your thirties is fun!) and it's like a whole new world of techniques.  I liked this Chubby Stick from Clinique for adding definition - it feels like a great way to highlight features.

This Korres Santorini Vine shower gel smelled like heaven - fresh and light, perfect for summer.  It conjured up visions of Mediterranean nights, under the stars.

I loved the look and smell of the Lancaster sun care range.  I especially liked that they went up to the higher SPF ranges.  Sunburn is rarely a good look, right?

I'm a big fan of tinted moisturiser (with cheeks as naturally rosy as mine it's a godsend!), and I'm looking forward to trying this Bare Minerals effort - I've had great looks with other products in their range, which I find gives me even, light coverage, ideal for everyday wear.

The displays of items were all themed - cruise, safari, city break etc. - I particularly loved this pile of trunks.  I'm a sucker for a vintage item.

As well as the products, there were also manicures and makeup trials on offer.  I opted for the former and went for a vivid blue - reminded me of my teenage years, listening to indie music, dreaming big and having opinions aplenty!

Still good two days later and reading about French politics.

There was also a photobooth, and you guys know I love a prop!

I think my favourite frame is the one where I clearly haven't grasped we are not done yet....

Newbie that I am, I utterly forgot to pick up a goodie bag, but I'm assured they were lovely (will be sure to scoop one next time, so I can dish here!).  I had such a lovely afternoon and saw so many products I'm looking forward to trying (and blogging about) in the next few months.  Thank you so much to Debenhams for inviting me!

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