Thursday, 27 September 2012

Saturday at the Renegade Craft Fair

A couple of weeks back The Boy and I made the most of a rare free Saturday and decided to get out and about and explore the city we love. It's been many weeks since we've had any free time during the weekend and I must say I've missed our long ambles around town, so it was nice to have the chance to get out and about again.

An area of London that The Boy and I often visit is Brick Lane (even though we are clearly nowhere near cool enough for that particular patch of town) and this time we headed to the Truman Brewery to check out the Renegade Craft Fair.
Recommended to me by the wonderful Hannah of the blog What Hannah Found, the Renegade Craft Fair was right up my street, with many an item to tempt me to part with my hard earned cash (even though I did manage to keep my money firmly in my wallet on this occasion - this not spending thing is really working well for me!). There were so many gorgeous illustrations and prints that I was sorely tempted to purchase - but stopped myself due to there already being numerous prints waiting to be framed back at the flat.

Being from quite a crafty family (my Mum is probably at home in her study buried under a tonne of fabric/wool as we speak) I love any event like this and am keen to get back into "making things". Having made a print for part of The Boy's birthday present I am currently beavering away making similar items to sell in the run up to Christmas, so watch this space!
Renegade Craft Fair is a large scale market place event with a homely, DIY feel which showcases the work of indie-craft artists. Having started in Chicago in Autumn 2003 the event has grown in popularity ever since and is now held cities throughout the US and abroad every year – including Brooklyn, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, and London.

Find out more about the Renegade Craft Fair here.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

My week in photos 9

The past week was a pretty busy one, with it being my birthday and all! Marathon training took presidence over everything else (I even went for a four mile run on my birthday) but I still managed to find time to fit in some fun.
Clockwise from top left: Miniature cakes, crustless sandwiches and massive scones, it must be cream tea time! - Dinner at Muriel's Kitchen - My favourite Arizona Iced Tea - A birthday gift from Zsa Zsa

Last Sunday Zsa treated me to afternoon tea (swiftly followed by dinner at Muriel's Kitchen - more of that later) which officially marked the start of my birthday celebrations. After working Monday to Wednesday, I (wisely) decided to take Thursday and Friday off work and, along with The Boy, was able to enjoy a nice long weekend-bliss. Here's a snippet of what we got up to.
 Clockwise from top left: Presents to open on birthday morning - Fashion week diet coke - A delicious tasting and impressive looking birthday cake made especially for me by my good friend Bateson - My nightly run past Kensington Palace
 Clockwise from top left: A rather embarrassingly sized birthday breakfast fit for a king (or overweight builder) - Me and the gorgeous Rebecca Bond at my birthday dinner at Browns - An amazing birthday gift from Mike's wonderful sisters (and husbands, although I'm not sure they had much to do with choosing the gift!) - The boys bonding over wine and steak on a school night
 Clockwise from top left: The catwalk at London Fashion Weekend - Amazing jambalaya cooked by the wonderful Amy - Models walk the runway - Balloons for my birthday (I wish)

It was a really fun week and although it seems like all I did was eat, all the marathon training has managed to keep my waistline well and truly in check. That said, I've discovered that my initial fears were in fact true and I'm most definitely not a runner so will probably be looking for another exercise regime come October the 8th!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wonderful wedding number 3: I'm using logic

Brace yourself for a picture heavy post.

A couple of weeks back The Boy and I were extremely privileged to be a part of the wonderful wedding of our best friends Amy and Simon. As the best man, The Boy was stressed out all week long in anticipation of the big day and wanting to do Simon proud, and I must say he did a fantastic job (even if he was incredibly irritating in the lead up to the event). 

Amy and Simon went out of their way to make us all feel part of their special day and we had a fantastic weekend from start to finish.

Traveling down with Amy, Simon and Julia on the Friday was lots of fun and really set the tone for the weekend (singing along to random rock songs and eating lots of food whilst laughing. A lot). 

This was the first wedding I've been to where it really felt like a three day event, with us all going for drinks and dinner in a local pub on the Friday night to start off the weekend in style. It was nice to get the chance to catch up with old friends and meet some new faces (over pies, beers and wine, of course).
 Clockwise from top left: Simon (using logic to make sure we get to the venue on time) - Gotta love a wedding venue that involves taking a ferry on a sunny day - Friday night drinks in Wareham - Our home for the weekend

The wedding took place at Kingston Country Courtyard near Corfe Castle and was a great setting for a beautiful service and reception - and allowed for most guests to stay on site (i.e. party into the small hours). The setting really was perfect and I don't think The Boy and I have ever stayed anywhere nicer. Our room was in the top courtyard, right by the venue, with views out onto the countryside - bliss.
Clockwise from top left: Guests wait to enter the venue - Personal touches made for a special day - Our gorgeous rustic bedroom - The Bride and Groom - Treacherous photography for me and the girls (balanced on a stone wall in heels) - Guests gather in the garden - The wonderful newlywed Mr and Mrs Bond - Such a perfect setting

On Saturday everyone donned their glad rags for the big event. The Boy did lots of pacing around (worrying about the speech) whilst I had a lovely leisurely time getting ready before going out to meet everyone as things got underway. 

Having already seen pictures of Amy's dress I knew she would look beautiful but she looked absolutely amazing in her stunning lace dress and Christian Louboutin heels, Simon is a very lucky man who (along with The Boy) also looked very handsome in the suits that had become the bane of mine and Amy's lives in the weeks prior to the wedding.
Clockwise from top left: The happy couple with friends and family - Flowers and lace - The Boy and the boys - Anyone for cake? - The delicious cake made by the supremely talented Edd Kimber (aka The Boy Who Bakes, winner of The Great British Bake Off) - A trio of sausage and mash for dinner - My ensemble for the day - The blushing bride

After the ceremony there was drinks and pictures on the lawn before dinner and speeches in the barn. It was a lovely afternoon in preparation for the evening's festivities. There was even a quiz on how well we knew the couple - and you know I love a quiz.

As soon as the DJ started everyone hit the dancefloor and that's where we remained for pretty much the next three hours. It was perfect, just the right mix of music to get everyone up and dancing, followed by bacon rolls for those that were hungry (I was still full from dinner but stashed one back in my room for the inevitable midnight munchies - cunning).

The party went on well into the night, culminating in cream teas in the Bridal suite at 1am - I've simply never been to a wedding like it. The day was wonderful and was a perfect reflection of Amy and Simon's personalities - friendly, welcoming and fun. 

As we headed home on the Sunday I had that dreaded back to school feeling when you simply don't want something to end - can we do it all again next year?
Clockwise from top left: The first dance - The gang hit the dancefloor - The Boys throwing some shapes - The Boy and Matt bonding

We had a truly wonderful weekend and couldn't be happier for Mr and Mrs Boylan - congratulations to the happy couple!

Monday, 17 September 2012

September's suggested reading

Back in my uni days I was lucky enough to live with two excitable, crazy and utterly wonderful girls called Jade and Amy, who have gone on to become two of my closest friends, even though we no longer live together. We've spent many a day together wandering the streets of London, going to carboot sales, jumble sales and eating burgers - basically eating, shopping and laughing - what could be better?

Jade and Amy are the proud founders and editors of the fantastic Cellardoor magazine, an online read that I look forward to reading each season to see what's new in fashion, film, music, food and everything in between (lets face it, Amy and Jade are far cooler than I'll ever be - they help me keep up with the latest trends). Not only is the content great but the magazine design is simply beautiful, the fonts and illustrations are gorgeous and are so in the style of Jade and Amy.

The Summer 2012 issue includes a great feature on my current favourite band, Of Monsters and Men, some delicious looking recipes that I can't wait to try (including this Cheesy Asparagus Tart), wonderful fashion photography shoots and exciting make up recommendations - basically I can never get anything done until I've read it from cover to cover.

Cellardoor is an online, quarterly magazine for young, stylish and confident women. Offering everything from art, culture and music to fashion and beauty, there's a little something for everyone - read the latest issue here.

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Love list

It has been months since I have a written a love list and I'm not really sure why. I've been on Pinterest and Bloglovin almost daily but haven't actually compiled anything for you guys to see what I've been loving - so now's the time!

As much as I've been dieting in preparation for the Half Marathon, I also seem to have been eating a lot of cake lately (mostly due to all the weddings!), couple this with The Great British Bake Off being back on our TV screens and I am in baked goods heaven! Having made Banana Bread for Zsa Zsa's last day at work on Tuesday I am back in a baking mood and have been relying heavily on Pinterest for ideas for the next recipe - one of the dishes that's currently on my radar is this delicious looking Lemon and Blueberry Loaf.

 Image from Erica's Sweet Tooth

I always love Sydney's style over on The Daybook but I fell head over heels when I saw her rocking this little ensemble - the balance and the shapes are just PERFECT, I'm definitely going to have a go at creating something similar.

Image from The Daybook

I can't wait to dig out my knitwear as the weather gets colder. Lily over on LLYMLRS has got me dying to try out some statement necklaces (like the one below) with a chunky knit jumper and my leather jacket - come on Winter!

 Image from LLYMLRS

As much as I've been loving the warmer weather and all the summery weddings I've been going to I must admit I cannot wait for the colder evenings to arrive so I can cuddle up on the sofa with The Boy, go for drinks in the local pub with our best friends and spend Sunday mornings going for long wintery walks along the river. And make these amazing sounding dark chocolate chip and sea salt cookies from A Beautiful Mess - perfect with a cold glass of milk or a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

                                                       Image from A Beautiful Mess

Finally, for all you Mums and Dads out there, I find Pinterest to be a never-ending source for amazing projects and perfect ideas for helping the kids get creative, whilst saving you money along the way. I absolutely adore this simple idea to create a Barbie house using ring binders of all things (if only my Mum had known about this when I was growing up, it would have halted many a tantrum).

Instructions to make the Barbie House can be found here.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Zsa Zsa's birthday treat: shopping and food (what could be better)

I've been a bad BAD blogger of late and have not been posting half as often as I'd like. This is due mainly to a promotion at work (yay me), which has meant longer hours in the office but has caused something rather strange to happen. I've actually started to, shock horror, enjoy my job again (believe me it was touch and go there for a while). Sure there's still days where I want to pick up the computer and throw it across the room or, as the marketing girls put it "don't be surprised if you pass by later and see a girl shaped hole in that window", but overall I'm a lot happier and that can only be a good thing.

But back to the blog.

What have I been up to lately you may ask, well let's begin with Zsa Zsa's birthday treat.

Birthdays come just once a year and as Zsa Zsa is a major part of my life I decided what better way to treat her than with two of her all time favourite things: food and shopping.
Clockwise from top left: Zsa enjoys a cocktail - The meat board, YUM - Iced tea in the sunshine - The best chips in West London, FACT

On Friday we made the most of the sunny weather and managed to leave work promptly at 4pm to allow the evenings festivities to commence. We headed to Hammersmith to sample the food and drinks on offer at the Hampshire Hog, one of my all time favourite locations for an after work beverage, and we weren't disappointed.

As the sun was out we made the most of the brief British summer and sat in the gorgeous garden, along with many other people who'd decided to while away the summers evening in the sunshine. We shared a meat board and some fries, along with some cocktails followed by Iced Tea, all of which were positively delicious.

We rounded off the night with a walk along the river, followed by Kit Kat Chunky's and a DVD (Bridesmaids, as usual) back at mine - before our standard nap on the sofa before bed.

The following morning we were up bright and early for Zsa Zsa's main birthday surprise: a day trip to Bicester Village for a spot of shopping in the sunshine.
Clockwise from top left: Before it got CRAZY busy - A Saturday non-diet treat, YUM -  Someone went home happy! - How are ewe?

Having never been to Bicester Village we weren't sure what to expect, but after reading the A Girl, A Style blog I was sure we would be able to track down some amazing bargains. As you can see, Zsa Zsa certainly went home a very happy girl after purchasing shoes, knitwear, pottery and some Cath Kidston bits. I was slightly more restrained and instead went for one big purchase from Cath Kidston (and it wasn't even for me! I am a changed woman) but I still had lots of fun browsing the rails.
Clockwise from top left: Me being very restrained (for once) - Cheap drinks from Starbucks - Shoppers in the sunshine - The cute store fronts

Bicester Village is open seven days a week and can easily be reached by car or train - we however took the Shopping Express from London, and the service was fantastic. With pick up points across the capital and friendly drivers, the Shopping Express is the convenient way to hit the stores whilst staying in the city.

Find all the information on visiting Bicester Village here.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Keep on running

Strange though it may seem, I've decided to do something completely out of character and sign up to complete a half marathon this Autumn. I cannot guarantee that I will actually run the whole thing but I know one thing for certain: I will complete the whole 13.1 miles (even if I'm crawling over the finish line). Training has not gone well. As much as I am completing a nightly jog at least three times a week, they are short to say the least and due to the recent warm weather (and my tendency towards heat stroke) I'll happily admit I'm currently not reaching my full potential. I'm looking forward to the cooler evenings when a run around the block will be the perfect solution to the work stress that has built up over the course of the day.

I was lucky enough to be gifted recently with a Warm Up and Win t-shirt from Samsung which promotes the Samsung Hope Relay and enters into the 2012 Olympic spirit. which has certainly come in handy during my training. The idea of the Samsung Hope Relay is that Samsung are gathering together thousands of five second clips and choosing the best to compile a Hope Relay video. In addition, for every mile run using the Samsung Hope Relay App, Samsung will donate a £1 to children's charities, helping bring hope and a positive future for underprivileged kids. What's better than that? So if you fancy a laugh, take a look at the video below for my entry.

Or, if you're feeling generous and fancy supporting my attempt at "running" the Royal Parks half marathon you can do so here - I'm running for NDCS, a charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people by providing emotional and practical support to them and their families.

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