Monday, 14 April 2014

Obsessed: Lupita's frock

Ok, I know I said that the next thing I wanted copied by the high street was Alice + Olivia's lip print dress, but I've changed my mind.

To this.


It's Chanel (obvs).

It's "Look 38" from their Fall/Winter 2014/15 collection.

It's like Hobbycraft threw up on her. Or she just taught finger painting and cutting and sticking to nursery school kids.

I love it. I want it copied by the high street. IMMEDIATELY! I'm looking at you ASOS...

This frock, as seen on My Girl Crush Of The Moment Lupita Nyong’o at the MTV Movie Awards is probably the best dress I've ever laid eyes on in my 32 years of living.

I wannit!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Magic Chair: predicting the future (Eat, sleep, rave, repeat)

My parents are going through a bit of a house rejuvenation and renovation project. Must be all the spring air.

My Baby Bro and I have been summoned to collect artefacts from our old rooms or to authorise the binning of boxes of all of our treasured childhood memories toot as they gut them and re-decorate. We seem to be in a constant state of negotiation, and application, for Childhood Memory Storage Plans.

It was against this backdrop of change that my mum sent me a scan of my much-dicussed, but never seen, childhood story, The Magic Chair.

I wrote it when I was about seven and my dad had it typed up for me to illustrate and then had it bound as a keepsake. It was at that point that I got shy about it, and hid it.

For all eternity.

Or until 2014 when they started ripping out bookshelves.

Have a quick read.

See if there's anything that grabs you from my infant imagination, or stands out in my prowess in illustration and storytelling:

Well, to start with, I'm no Quentin Blake or A.A. Milne, am I? NO!! Not. At. All.

I tell you what I can do though?

I can tell the bl**dy future!!!

I, sorry, a little girl called "Emma" sat on a chair, a lot. No walking or running for me/Emma. I'm a sitter through and through. The more I can sit, the happier I am. My magic chair carries me all over the world, even underground, to where I need to be.

Oh, and look, in between all the sitting down and whizzing around, I seem to be very focussed on planning. Making plans that involve a heavy emphasis on food and travel and a lot of hanging out, drinking and eating with new, colourful friends all over the world.

"... ate, slept, went on a trip, ate some food whilst I was there, came back and went to sleep, got up, went on some more trips, ate some more food, then went to sleep..."

So basically: Eat. Sleep. Rave. Repeat.

Oh, and you know, just hanging out, maxing, relaxing all cool with my main man God*.

No biggie.

Apparently I was pretty amazing at rocking a possesive apostrophe in plural as well...

Magical indeed.

* I reckon I probably wrote this around the time of my first Holy Communion or Confession. You know, when you're discovering that God is omnipotent and important (and not impotent)...

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Feelin' Good: Recapping Jan - Mar

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life, for me... and I'm Feelin' Good.

That's one of my fave songs of all time, and that's how I'm feeling today.

Nothing, of course, related to the fact that we've FINALLY booked a 2014 holiday.

I'm Makin'Whoopee (kinda), and excited for Summertime. Yup, I've gone all Jazz and Blues in homage to the fact that we're gonna be coasting around the deep, deep south in the heat of summer - I'm *squeeeeeeee*ing with excitement at all the music and cocktails in New Orleans.


So, it's the first day of April and I'm feeling HAPPY. You would be forgiven for thinking that that's an April Fool, but I'm very superstitious, and it's after midday, so no, I actually am happy, after months of walking around like the grumpus!
It's the start of a new quarter, I have some solid travel plans in the diary, we can finally feel springtime in the air and I'm feeling like a breath of fresh air has finally wafted through my life.

So, onwards.

But first, a quick three-month re-cap...
It was my birthday, I kept it low key and took myself off for a ski trip with work. I had SO. MUCH. FUN. But only when I wasn't wearing ski boots. Ski boots are the devil. I hate ski boots and ski boots hate me.

I had some low key birthday celebrations with various groups, drinks on the sofa, dinners out, afternoon teas in (Chez Wal-cey), and an amazing Sunday brunch at Hakkasan with the Mister.

We celebrated some other big birthdays as well, including a 60th for Mummy Anne and a 21st for Baby Griff and christened the dining table Chez Katy with a boozy Sunday brunch.

February is where I always plan to reduce my alcohol intake after the excesses of Christmas, New Year and the Big Month of Birthdays (there are about 10 in January and early Feb), but this year that just didn't happen. We started it off with a glorious hen house party for the lovely Laura, full of food, fizz, cocktail making, arts, crafts, country walks and old-school film faves (in our own private cinema room, no less) showed Gemma the sights of our home town city with a bar crawl through Chelmsford, Katy, Claire and I thoroughly disgraced ourselves at Proud Cabaret, dancing with (pilfered) feather boas on our heads until 3 in the morning. We tried to reign it in for the rest of the month, to no avail, with Katy and I wreaking havoc in our onesies in the conservatory on Valentine's Day and then Gemma and I caused our Beaux much embarrassment with our havoc-wreaking  slick moves on the dance floor at the Gilbert nuptials

Let's just have a pause for that wonderful, glorious day...


And we're back in the game.

February ended with another trip to The Drowned Man (read about it on Florence Finds here) I'm still thinking about it...

March began with a fringe, a Tea Shop Luvvie brunch  (which of course lasted until tea time), birthday love potion cocktails for Nicky and a shopping trip for Indian wedding outfits. Which turns out to be dangerous... so much embellishment means multiple face and arm lacerations when being pulled in and out of multiple outfits. I found an outfit though, so it was a successful day.

March continued in much the same way as January and February: BOOZY. A night of Indian food and cocktails with Kim followed by an all-you-can-drink brunch and a bottle of Veuve at Sushi Samba with the god family, a trip to the Quaglino's Meringue and Bellini Bar, a visit to my grandparents in Yorkshire (including a stay in my parents' and grandparents' wedding night hotel) were all filled with fizz and fun.

Next up was a weekend in Paris (ahhh, Paris, my love) for Bhavisha's hen celebrations – food, fizz, hot chocolate, LBDs and colour pop shoes... I came home a stone heavier and with some new friends.

I rounded off the month, and Q1 2014 with Caroline's  birthday dinner a trip to the James Bond inMotion exhibition at the London Film Museum, a burger-fest Chez Gilbert, a big family-and-friend gathering for Mothering Sunday at a friend's lovely country pub and some much needed pampering time. 

So, April, and the rest of 2014... I'm ready for you.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Obsessed: Alice + Olivia lip print dress

I'm baaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaaaaack. Oh great, I hear you groan.

I have a request, or a taskette, for the (blog) world. I'm obsessed with this dress from Alice + Olivia...

Obsessed I tell you.

Last time I was obsessed with a dress it was this one, also from Alice + Olivia, seen below originally on Kara Tointon on the BAFTAs red carpet back in 2011 or 12, and then on me, courtesy of Very.

I was patient. I bided my time. I ShopStyle searched over and over again, until finally someone copied it and I got my hands on a much, much cheaper version.

And then broke it and bled on it. But never mind, I had a great time wearing it at the Gilbert nuptials!

Anyway, my polite request/taskette is that you keep your eyes peeled, and let me know as soon as you spot a highstreet rip off... ahem, a highstreet copy... promise you'll tell me before anyone else, yeah?

Thanks in advance


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Festive snippets - December 2013

Today was a back-to-work day. After a week of sofa-surfing, onesie-wearing and food-gorging I was almost looking forward to going outside, putting on proper clothes and getting back in to a routine.

Less than an hour in I was pining for my PJs and reminiscing about the last month of festivities.

Destination Christmas on Oxford Street
It all started with a trip to Oxford Street to see the decorations and drink Christmassy cocktails and the purchase of our first real tree (which I decorated whilst wearing my gingerbread man onesie and watching A Muppet's Christmas Carol, of course!). Oh how gloriously it fragranced our house! I'm gonna miss that tree!

Our first real tree!

Decorating the tree with Snow Pooh
Then, the family took off en masse to visit the Christmas markets in Munich for gluwein and lebkuchen. Yummy.

After that, it was party, after drink catch up, after festive lunch, dinner and brunch gatherings... which of course required a whole suite of Christmas jumpers and sparkly accoutrements.

Christmas jumper number one at The Cortiina Hotel, Munich
Christmas jumper number 2 in the loos at The Zetter

Christmas Jumper Day with 5/10 of Pineapple Club
Christmas party at The Corinthia
Festive afternoon tea at The Covent Garden Hotel
It all came to a head with a festive BBQ and the Annual Potage Cup, Chez Griffith on Christmas Eve, lots of fun, food and family time, with both families on Christmas Day and DVDs and cocktails on Boxing Day while Mr G slept off his night shift.

Our Christmas Eve party invite - festive knitwear mandatory!

Yummy bespoke sausages on the BBQ!
Christmas jumper number 3 on Christmas Eve
Gold and silver trophies for The Potage Cup winner and runner up

Winning - AT LAST!
I finished the festive season with a "survivors" meal with the family (for those still going/remaining) on the Friday and then a girlie outing to see The. Most. Amazing. piece of theatre I've ever seen (and I expect it'll never be bettered): The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable, by Punchdrunk. Go see it. Just go and see it.

Stockings on Christmas morning

Christmas Tree Chez Hale
Festive Griffs!

I added some snuggly socks to my glitzy Christmas Day outfit

Onesies, films and fizz on Boxing Day...
We ended the year with good friends, Mexican food, drinks, games and laughter as we saw the new year in in a slightly more sedate style than last year!

Happy New Year!

2014 resolutions

January's not going to be as quiet as I hoped
I wasn't going to make any this year. I never manage to keep them and I just get all OCD about them towards the end of the year and then tell myself off for being a resolutions failure, or start thinking about everything I didn't do, instead of what I did... which is normally quite a lot.

However, in looking back at my 2013 resolutions, it seems that I did in fact manage to keep one. Not on purpose, more as a symptom of other life events. And so, despite telling myself I wouldn't, I actually made some, and submitted them to Florence Find's January Joy post.

In short, they were 1) to do what I want to do, and say no more often and 2) get on top of my personal admin. They shouldn't be too hard to keep!

Happy new year!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Ciao Bella Twenty Thirteen

Woooooooah! All of a sudden it's NYE. I haven't posted in an aaaaaaage. I've just been so busy... living the last days of 2013, it seems.

It's been a year of spectacular highs and some rather upsetting lows. Ultimately though, the happy faces have outweighed the tears, and I can hand on heart say I've had a great year full of amazing opportunities, self discovery and life lessons... oh, and a LOT of fun with my loved ones. Even, a little on my own.

I shan't go in to it all. I shan't get all mushy and wordy about it. I shan't do a month-by-month analysis. I have NYE cocktails to plan and glitter to apply...

Instead, I shall reminisce in the way I know best - with pictures! Click play, or on the link below, and turn up the sound...


Ahhhh, memories.

Right now, at the same time as reliving my 2013 highlights, I'm mega excited about the funtimes and new experiences 2014 has to offer and putting a fresh start in to action. Oh, and the fact that Sherlock is finally back... tomorrow! *squeeeeee*

See you next year, peas and love!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Magical childhood memories

I saw this post about Dinovember (a month-long imagination invasion) on Facebook today. I thought it was BRILLIANT.

Picture of Dinovember from here - go check it out! 

The parents sound like fun, creative, imaginative people. The kind of people who probably enjoy setting up the scenes (after a few glasses of vino?) as much as their kids enjoy discovering them.
I love it. 
For two reasons:

1) these adults sound like me - still a big kid inside
2) it reminded me of my own similar magical childhood experiences...

*cue wiggly lines across screen to nostalgic flashback*

When I was small my Nanny used to do something similar to Dinovember with my colouring books. An early recogniser of my OCD tendencies, she would see me getting frustrated with myself when I would go over the lines in my colouring books. I'd only ever use pencil so I could rub it out, and I was fastidious about sticking to the correct colours - especially with Disney characters! 
Sometimes I'd get up in the morning and whilst eating my breakfast (porridge with lots of crunchy brown sugar and "children's tea") I would discover that one of the pictures would have been beautifully shaded in, facial contouring, light and shade and even patterns on the clothing.  Nanny would always say the fairies did it!
After a while I realised it was her, but I kept it up for a long time afterwards. Even though I knew it wasn't magic, it felt magical anyway!

I also remember when my Granddad used to paint big pictures on canvasses (apparently I have an arty family!) of a field or the beach or a garden, and even just the view from their front window on to the cul-de-sac (which is now in my baby bro's old bedroom at home). Sometimes we'd go to stay and a new character would have appeared in the picture. There'd be people eating a picnic on a blanket, or playing with a ball or sitting in deck chairs soaking up the sunshine. That was fun. To run in and spot any differences. Then in the morning I'd wake up and it'd be raining and cloudy and all the people would be gone. 
Again, I got older and eventually worked it out, but even then it was still fun to see the characters he came up with. 
Other magical things happened at Nanny and Granddad's house too - the family in my dolls house (handmade by Granddad and furnished by Nanny) or the workers in my brother's petrol station (again painstakingly designed, made and decorated with their own fair hands) would go about their daily business - food would appear on the tables, cars on the garage forecourt and one day even a baby arrived.

Ahhh, magic!

Baby moi!

*cue wiggly lines across screen to bring me back to present day*

Ahhh, imagination and magic. You can't do that shizz on an iPod. I'm off out to buy a colouring book.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

When I get home

Don't get me wrong, I am loving Paris - luh-uh-uvving it, daaarling (quick SCD reference there) - but as my return date approaches, I'm thinking more about what I'll be doing when I get home. Resting, mainly I hope. That and catching up on everything I've missed... which is mainly TV and food, which says a lot about my life I suppose. Hmmmm, just call me Onslow...

Although I'm not really missing home at all, and I'd happily stay for a few more months (with the caveat that my loved ones would have to continue visiting me, of course), I am however missing my sofa, Sky+ box and local take aways a lot. I have only two English speaking channels (BBC World News which shows death, destruction and financial ruin ona  continuous loop and BBC Entertainment which shows 90s sitcoms, mainly) and watching catch up TV on my iPad basically results in me being distracted by YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I have no sofa, just a chair and my bed to sit on and though I can find various international cuisines here, but Fish n Chips ain't one of them!

So, I'll be home this weekend and I actually can't wait to snuggle on the sofa with Mr G in my Reindeer PJs, with take away Thai, and fish n chips (yes both - I want them so badly I refuse to choose!) my body weight in cinema sweet pop corn (and that's a lot of pop corn because I have put on a LOT of weight) and a bucket full of tea and get stuck in to the list below...

Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) Poster

1) Bridget Jones' Diary - because I'd like just a little reminder of how lovely London is in the winter, after all the loveliness of Paris.

2) The entire Harry Potter series, from start to finish – goosebumps! No explanation necessary.
3) Love Actually – Christmas is coming! CHRISTMAS. IS. COMIIIIIING!!! Literally nothing makes me as simultaneously sad-and-happy as this film (Sappy?). And is there anything more perfect than "To me, you are perfect"? And of course, more London...

Moulin Rouge! (2001) Poster
4) Moulin Rouge – ahhhh, Paris... Glitter. Music. Dancing. Sigh. And talking of Paris….

Minuit à Paris (2011) Poster
5) Midnight in Paris - a love affair with the City of Light and its inhabitants of old... and some fabulous costumes, of course!

6) Pride and Prejudice - It has to be the 1995 BBC version, because Jennifer Ehle IS Lizzie Bennett and Julia Sawalha is the most perfect Lydia. Makes me yearn for a stately home Christmas lunch and afternoon tea in bone china! Ok, technically it's not a film, but it's on a DVD so it kind of counts... "Mis-Ter Bennett!"

Heathers (1988) Poster

7) Heathers - just to darken it up a little - it can't all be happy happy joy joy, you know.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) Poster

8) The Muppet Christmas Carol - taking the line "no cheeses for us meeces" to heart (too. much. cheese. consumed. urrrgh.) and a bit more London.

9) Elf - because "I just like to smile! Smiling's my favourite" - FACT - and because I love NYC like I love London and Paris.

Jurassic Park poster.jpg

10) Jurassic Park - ahhhh, memories. "Clever girl...!" and also, just stay away from the dessert buffet. Nothing good happens there.

11) Home Alone - because, you know, it's not Christmas without "Keviiiiiiiin!" and that wonderful, wonderful Christmas tree at the Rockerfeller Centre.

12) Top Gun - to remind me of those sunny, sunny, sunny California days as the nights draw in.

13) Miracle on 34th Street - because, you know, Christmas, New York, Lawyers... it's all there. Also, I just love Elizabeth Perkins.

The Hunger Games (2012) Poster

14) The Hunger Games - because Catching Fire is almost here, and I've missed my biggest girl crush. She's been quiet for a while...

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) Poster

15) Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - last Christmas we watched this five times in three days as it happened to be on every movie channel going. Easy watching and I think I may have learned something about pre-war European history... maybe.

So that's Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning taken care of, now what to do with the rest of November...?