Friday, 31 October 2014

Topshop Teddy Bear Dressing Gown and Sausage Dog Pyjamas

When I was younger I didn’t really ‘get’ Halloween. I wasn’t allowed to go trick or treating (*sob*) although I did go with some friends once and I thought it was the best. Thing. Ever.
By the time I got to uni Halloween was an excuse to go out dressed in not very much and drink a lot. Oh, who am I kidding…it still is! But in the meantime I like buying unnecessary things for the house and drinking hot chocolate in my pyjamas. Speaking of pyjamas, I bought the Topshop bear dressing gown everyone’s been talking about….

Let me tell you, it’s worth the hype…it’s literally the softest thing you’ve ever worn. It’s like snuggling into a marshmallow. Even my boyfriend – who inexplicably hates dressing gowns – can’t stop hugging me when I wear it, haha!

The pyjamas I wear with the dressing gown the most are these cute sausage dogs one.  My sister bought them from Next for Christmas last year and they are my absolute favourites. I am obsessed with sausage dogs!

So anyway, I get in my pyjamas, have a hot drink and light some candles. I bought these little ghost tealights from Waitrose but they’re actually so cute I can’t bear to light them! Does anybody else do that? Also, I watched Hocus Pocus for the first time the other day – how have I lived without this movie in my life?! I think Harry Potter is up next (is there anything more Halloween-y than this scene?!) 

Let me know if you’ve got this dressing gown and if you love it as much as I do!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Cosy Cafe Breakfast

Firstly, remember to enter my Zoella and Tanya Burr competition!

On Saturday, my fiancé and I (oh, did I mention I’m engaged?!) finally found our dream wedding venue! We were excited and laden down with brochures and wanted to find a little breakfast spot to have a bite to eat and discuss important details like dates (will September be warm enough? Will everyone come on a Friday…? And so on!)

I want to get married in my home town of Hertfordshire, so we weren’t in London, where there are more breakfast places than you could shake a stick at (what on earth does that expression mean?!...oh well) but I knew exactly where to go!

Serendipity is the cutest little café near the river in Hertford. When I was a teenager I used to go there all the time, and it’s always looked like it does now – like a Pinterest dream, all cosy wooden chairs and pastel decorations with its never ending menu chalked up on the blackboard behind the till! It was decorated for Halloween which made it even cosier. We got our hot chocolates and happily sat down to wait for our food.

There’s a little bit of controversy around this café. Way back, Serendipity applied for planning permission to extend into the shop next door. They were denied permission by the council. Next thing anyone knew, Starbucks bought the shop and without waiting for permission, turned it into a coffee shop. They were allowed permission retrospectively because it was kind of too late. I personally still boycott that Starbucks now!

Anyway, onto my breakfast. Look at my eggs! It’s the happiest breakfast you’ve ever seen! I almost didn’t want to eat them…!

I said almost. Look at that - the perfect hot, runny yolk, and buttery bread. Yum.

Ian had a much more boring panini with bacon, cheese and baked beans (yes – beans. In a panini. Men.)

And we picked a date! A perfect end to a lovely Saturday morning. 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Greenwich: Family Day Out

Not so long ago, my parents came down to visit my fiancé and I in London, and we took them for a sunny day out in Greenwich. I think it’s the perfect place to go with your family. There’s the Cutty Sark, glinting in the daylight, and the gorgeous market (read my post on the food market here!)

You can also wander happily through the park, taking in the stunning views, as well as visiting the clocks and being tourists at the Meridian line!

And follow it all up with a yummy pub lunch – I had fish and chips at the Gypsy Moth.

A lovely, happy, relaxed day out!  

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Autumn Perfection

My autumn living room autumn candle

Hurricane weather in England means an evening in with a cinnamon scented candle, a fluffy throw and cushions, and some Halloween flavoured treats…who agrees with me?! Bring on Halloween...


Friday, 17 October 2014

Cosy Chester Cottage Weekend (Or: How to run a marathon in under 3 hours with only 6 months training)

Firstly, the above title refers to my fiancé, not to me. I couldn’t run a marathon at all, even if a bear was chasing me and David Beckham was waiting for me at the end, topless and carrying a pizza. But yes, my fiancé managed to do something which some people take years to train for and still never manage – he ran his first ever marathon in 2 hours, 59 minutes and 30 seconds precisely, which is such an insane achievement and I’m so proud of him!

He chose to run the Chester marathon, so we (me, him and his sister) rented the Lock Keeper’s Cottage on the outskirts of the town. We arrived really late on Friday night, and it was cold, and it just seemed like the warmest, most welcoming cottage in the world, with a huge comfy bed that we sank into happily.

We spent the next day exploring Chester, which I realised I’d been to before (I don’t know how I managed to forget that) but is an absolutely beautiful place. We had lunch in the cutest little café, overlooking the clock tower…

Then went for a walk around the walls. 

It’s an old Roman town full of ruins, and a stunning cathedral, which we popped into for a visit.

It was so nice not to go out on a Saturday evening, which might be a bit sad to admit. We bought pies from M&S (carb loading for Ian), and I bought a Lush bath bomb and a Yankee candle and had a perfect evening!

The next morning, we went to watch Ian run his marathon. We caught him at the half way point, when he seemed in relatively good spirits, and then headed to the end. I kept thinking I could see him as the events coordinator counted down to the all important 3 hour mark… 2 hours 56, 2 hours 57… time seemed to speed up as I stared  hopefully into the distance…

And then, out of nowhere, he appeared! Limping, bright red in the face and with a face of agony, but I realised he was actually going to do it. It was really overwhelmingly emotional – I started crying! It’s just such a huge achievement and I’m so incredibly proud of him!

So here are my tips, as promised, to run a marathon in 3 hours on 6 months training:

  • Don’t have any kit – Ian ran in an old cotton t shirt with holes in, and socks he wears to work – he looked a little out of place amongst the other runners in all their gear!
  • Eat a lot of jelly babies
  • In the last week have two lunches every day and put on six pounds, making your girlfriend fat because of all the pasta you insist on having
  • Don’t do any training for the last month before your run because your legs hurt
  • Then in the last week, when everyone says you shouldn’t run at all, beat your personal best in a 5k
  • Just be really, really, really naturally talented!

OK, it’s not very useful advice, I’m sorry. But it was an amazing day, and I am still so full of pride thinking about it!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Aqua Shard – Dinner At The Top

I sometimes feel like my life is a series of beautiful London views. Sunset from my flat, the river view from the cable cars, the walk over Waterloo Bridge, the London Eye, dinner at Duck & Waffle…the list goes on, and sometimes I feel like I must’ve seen London from every angle!

Maybe because of that, I just haven’t been too bothered about the Shard. I think the building is a little strange looking (dare I say it looks kind of unfinished?!) and that the £30 ticket to head up to the viewing platform was a little steep, so I just hadn’t bothered. However, when my friend suggested we headed up to Aqua Shard, on the 31st floor, for a drink, I thought why not?

We whizzed up the 31 floors so quickly  that my ears popped, and stepped out into what was – even at 6pm on a Tuesday night – an incredibly packed bar. As we’d really wanted a proper chat, we decided to see if there was a table available in the restaurant. There was, so we grabbed it, and that’s how I ended up having dinner at the Shard!

There’s no doubt about it, the views are fantastic. It was as slightly foggy evening but as the sun set, the fog lifted, and there was London in all its glory. It doesn’t get less beautiful, does it?

Even the view from the toilets (which are very odd – incredibly dark, to the point where you can’t find the cubicle doors!) is stunning!

We had some lovely wine, really crisp and fresh, and ordered main courses.

So what was the food like? Well, in all honesty, it was okay. I had pork belly, which I do love, and it was really nice. My friend had the chicken. It was all well presented and tasty.

I do have to add though that it was incredibly expensive. £50 for half a bottle of wine and a main course is a little bit eye watering, and the food isn’t that good. You’re essentially paying for the view and the atmosphere. But I think as long as you know that (or just go for a drink) it’s definitely worth it.

So am I a Shard convert now? Well...I am considering booking a trip to the top, so I suppose that's a yes! I'm just not tired of the London skyline yet!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Bob Bob Ricard Engagement Celebrations – Push for Champagne!

10 reasons to go to Bob Bob Ricard to celebrate your engagement with your future bridesmaid (who then kindly paid the bill, showing just how much she deserves the title):

1. Because you can push the button and a friendly waiter appears with a champagne menu…I mean, the novelty itself is worth going for (and what a marketing technique – they must sell so much champagne!)
2. All the waiters are really friendly and lovely, and made a fuss of us!
3.  Chicken, mushroom and champagne pie with a perfect pastry crust. Just look at it.
4. Peach and raspberry bellinis in beautiful crystal cut glasses
5.  The new downstairs room, which is absolutely beautiful – all red and gold and marble, like an old mansion, with live music (and a dancing girl with a hoop…)
6.  Truffled mashed potato and creamed sweetcorn. Need I say more?
7.  More champagne, of course
8. The fact they didn’t rush us to order and let us enjoy our drinks and the gap between dinner and dessert – which happens so rarely in restaurants nowadays
9.  The stunning complimentary dessert, complete with sparkler…
10. ...which turned out to be a delicious ice cream cake!

All in all, the blogs don’t lie – if you get the chance, definitely pay Bob Bob Ricard a visit. It’s expensive, but it really is worth it!

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