Thursday, 1 January 2015

Hello 2015




Last night I welcomed in the new year with these gorgeous faces. We had drinks, dinner, more drinks, some dancing and general goodtimes celebrating the year that was 2014. Weddings, engagements, promotions, new homes and various other happy occasions that we had all been lucky to be a part of these past 12 months. No negativity allowed. Plenty of amaretto sours allowed!

Today I slept until the afternoon, spent the day finishing more christmas leftovers (mainly chocolate and cheese based), watching movies and colouring in pictures of shoes (thanks Jo!). All from the comfort of my sofa, in my PJs under a blanket. Bliss.

So, before I go back to work tomorrow (not a bad thing, I'm looking forward to wearing clothes, having spent far too much time in a onesie for a human older than 3 months) there's one last thing to do: make some resolutions. 

Last year I made only two (here, if you're interested) 

1. "... my main resolution; say “No!” when I really don’t want to do something and to look after myself in the same way I look try to look after others..."

2. "... absolutely get my photos sorted..."

Well, number 1 went ok. There were a few issues, but I'm getting there. Sometimes I stepped back and looked at the situations I was in and wondered where the TV cameras were. And then I remembered that I have a job, mortgage and friends that aren't scripted and I don't have a yacht, millionaire parents and an endless string of bitchy brunches to attend. Basically that I'm not a character on Made in Chelsea or TOWIE and this crazy sh*t is really happening to me. So I just stopped engaging with it, and it's mostly gone away. Brilliant! Winning! 

Number 2 is getting there. Lots of inkifi prints ordered and holes being drilled in walls. Next up, photobooks! 

So, to 2015. 

My resolutions are:

1) to keep up 2014's good work - I'm going to stay away from the haters, two-faced cowards and frenemies (in real life and on social media) and focus on those gorgeous faces that make my heart sing... and put more pictures of them on my walls! 

2) to look after my body, inside and out - I'm starting to notice the wear and tear and signs of bodily distress. I need to pay attention to what my body is telling me, and, let's be honest, this little sugar plum ain't getting any younger. Ahem!

3) to be more focused (and ambitious and confident) and make my dreams happen - I lost my spark for a while. I spent too long dwelling on the wrong and bad things. But I achieved a lot in the past 12-18 months. It's no coincidence that those achievements came from the increased focus and energy I found when I cut out a lot of distractions and negativity. In terms of more tangible plans, I have exciting things to focus on at work, we have some big ideas for our home and, of course, the world is our oyster... as soon as my annual leave requests are approved!

4) to be happy more - see above. 

5) to tell you all about it on the blog - which should be easier with this new app I've found!

And with that, back to the sofa, Sky Movies and five types of cheese (number 2 starts Monday!)

xoxo

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 - what a year!

Wow. We're here again already! Doesn't time fly when you're having fun?

Did I stick to my New Year Resolutions? Kind of. Let's talk about that tomorrow. You know what I did do though?  

I did have a bl**dy good time.

In January I tried out skiing for the first time, and gotcompletely out of my comfort zone. I hated the slopes, loved the après. Various big birthday celebrations as well with a 60th and a 21st very close to home.

I had some low key birthday celebrations (for the first timeever) with a family gathering, an amazing dim suum brunch with Mr G at Hakkasan (go try it!) and a few quiet dinners and drinks so I saved my energy for Laura's country house hen weekend.  Arts, crafts, cocktails, childhood favouritefilms and country pubs. What a wonderful weekend it was!

February saw us celebrate Valentine's Day with my favouritenew neighbour, Katy (obvs), in our onesies whilst Mr G cooked us up a Thai feastand then went to bed early and left us to it in the conservatory! And THAT iswhy we love him!  February ended with the wedding of the gorgeous Mr and MrsGilbert. She looked like a vintage movie star... until I had a fall and bledall over her dress! Ahhh, what memories we made! I also went to see The Drowned Man. Nearly a year on, and after two viewings and I still daydream about it.

March was equally filled with family and friends, and cake.So much cake. The Jablonska kids and grandkids took a road trip North to hangout with our Grandpa/Pappy and Doreen and then I spent a glorious weekend backin Paris with a gaggle of girls for Bhavisha's food-filled hen weekend.  Mr G and I popped in to the James Bondexhibition at the London Film Museum and ended the month with a joint familyafternoon tea for Mother's Day.

In April Laura, Gemma and made like Made in Chelsea, gottipsy at Harvey Nicks and spent the afternoon personal shopping in Topshop. Ifound my perfect jeans. What a triumph. A Fake Easter celebration with all the family, followed by a brilliantgirls' weekend away in sunny Brighton for Heather's hen weekend got us all inthe mood for a sunny summer... I also discovered a new obsession. McBusted.Some free tickets through work seemed like a good idea. I'm now in full fangirlmode!

May got started with another wedding, for Richard andHeather, Mr and Mrs Delaney, and a mini reunion as some old friends flew back from the other sideof the world to celebrate with us all. Wespent the rest of May chilling, in anticipation of the crazy summer that was tofollow.  

June started with secret Bollywood dance training for Bhavisha'swedding, a weekend in the forest at CenterParcs, wake boarding, segwaying andgenerally drinking and riding, before Bhavisha and Ritz's wedding extravaganzaat One Marylebone and The Grove. Three days, two venues, four outfits, onehorse, a million (give or take) roses and the most stunning of brides. What aweekend it was. To recover, we went to The Fling and woke up the next morningwith straw in the bed, a raft of bruises and very sore heads. From what I foundon my camera it was fun...

And, oh yeah. A minor point. I got promoted. BOOOOOOOM! Wecelebrated with cocktails at the ShangriLa at the Shard.

July was mainly spent spent brunching, BBQing, afternoon tea-ing, gintasting, dancing in the rain at Somerset House to Sam Smith before jetting offon our Deep South road trip.

We started in New Orleans for party times, flew to Miami,picked up a car and drove down to the Florida Keys for a few days on the beach beforeheading back to Miami to meet up with Anna for more party times. After that wedrove north to hang out with The Griffiths in Orlando at Universal Studios for a few daysand then carried on up the coast to Savannah and Charleston for some history,culture and A.Mazing food. Pulled pork eggs Benedict... who knew? 

Sadly, I missed the first half of August, and thus Liz'sLondon hen party, but made it back in time for Claire's birthday celebrationsand to meet up with visiting friends from Germany and the US.

September started with a soggy but wonderful visit to theopen air cinema at Regent's Park with Laura and Gemma to watch Breakfast atTiffany's. A great setting for a great classic! As usual it stayed busywith a baby shower, a pop up dinner date at The Art of Dining, a 30thbirthday, a girly movie date and two stunning weddings. The first in Cannes, for the lovely Liz and Jon, Mr and Mrs Wong. A welcomeparty on the beach on Friday night (complete with gold leaf macaroons and acrepe station), followed by a touching ceremony high in the hills of Grassebefore drinks, dinner and dancing in the most stunning chateau I'm ever likelyto lay eyes on on Saturday all rounded off with open air brunch, games andserenading on Sunday morning. Mr G and I also celebrated our 5 year anniversary whilst wewere there. Cleverly, he booked the Five hotel or the (V) for dinner, and beingthe hotel/dining spot of choice for Mr and Mrs Pitt, you can imagine howamazing(ly expensive) it was!  The month ended with our last wedding of the year for Dannyand Louise. Canapés, drinks, dancing and great times. There was even a boat fora spot of messing about on the river! 

October was the climax of my BONKERS-busy work year, whichall ended in a massive event in Athens. I spent the day after in an NHS walk incentre following a crazy allergic reaction to 100 mosquito bites! I still havethe scars! We also spent some lovely quality time with friends by the seasideflying kites and eating fish and chips, saying farewell to Claire's Waterloohome with a girly night in, a godfamily catch up at the W hotel and someimpromptu Halloween costume and cocktail making.

November started with Poppy Planting at the Tower of London.I had to hustle hard to get a place, but I managed it, and took along some ofmy most patriotic friends to enjoy the experience with me. It was great to bepart of something so massive, inclusive and beautiful because of everything itrepresents for us as individuals and for our country as a whole.  It ended with a big family trip to Amsterdam where we stayedat a hotel that reminded me of the Jetsons' house (I had to explain to mycousins who the Jetsons were. I'm old!) and generally just hung out totgther,eating food, drinking cocktails and catching up. A perfectly chilled familyweekend away.

December!!! December was full of festive fun with friends,family and colleagues for Christmas parties, birthday celebrations and cosycatch ups.

So, what a year. Full of highs and lows.  As I mentioned in my Five Photos post.

But, in looking back, the lows are far, far outweighed bythe highs. I've made new friends, focussed on deepening existing, cherishedfriendships. I've taken risks by putting myself outside of my comfort zone andchallenging myself personally and professionally.  I made progress at work with a fabulous yearof big achievements, set some targets (and corresponding financial plans) forsome home improvements and travel for the coming year, and spent time focussingon the things that really matter.

I've got so much to be thankful and hopeful for this NewYear's Eve.

And so, with that, I'm off to celebrate the year that wasand toast the year that's coming with some very special people.

I'll "see" you next year.
Rather than a loooooooooong post of photos, here's another Flipagram with some highlights...


Click here on the image above or on this link: http://flipagram.com/f/OO8MbuCcB8 to view. You'll notice a theme with the background music continuing from last year.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Festive Funtimes 2014

I told you December was going to be a busy one. My Baby Bro turned 30 and middle-sister-in-law turned 29 and we celebrated en masse. We had dinners and nights out, and in, with friends and family to celebrate the season. It was fun with a captial Fuh.



Tree decorating, Fake Christmas, various work parties, a gathering Chez Griffith and the usual Hale-Griffith-Harvey five-day festivities incorporating all our Christmas traditions, including the Potage Cup soup competition (see the winners on my previous post here: http://sugarplumslipper.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/the-potage-cup-2014.html), stockings, house-hopping, table singing, bells and whistles session and sofa-surfing, this year the Godfamily also joined for some seasonal fun.

Festive WAGs
Festive Luvvies
Festive Besties
Christmas Eve gets started
Christmas Eve outfit


BBQ Elf! No oven big enough for 100 sausages!

Starting the day with stockings and champagne

Family wrapping paper, by Joanna!


Games, music and singing! Christmas isn't about presents, it's about WINNING!!!

General unwrapping not permitted until after dinner!

Fave day of the year: Films, fizz, food and family all in gingerbread onesies!


I've spent this past festive week with my nearest and dearest and hanging out on my sofa playing with all my new toys. It's been truly lovely.

Next up is New Year's Eve.

New Year's Eve is one of my favourites. It's a time for spending with those we love, reminiscing about the times we've spent together and planning our futures together.  And dressing up, of course.

Which means one last outfit to plan...

The Potage Cup 2014

The Potage Cup results are in... It was a Griffith one-two!

First and Second place went to Mr G's middle sister Kate who we think stole the show with her Ham and Barley broth and homemade oatcakes and Mr G who came a pretty close second with his Neeps and Tatties soup, with haggis croutons!

Third was Cousin Jo with "Piping Hot" Beetroot and Curly Kale soup (with both Scottish and festive "pipers piping"), fourth Daddy Bear curiously with Polish Hot Cucumber soup, fifth yours truly (amazingly!) with Cranachan soup and sixth Uncle David, quite rightly so with his "Defiance Soup".

The scoring

This year's scoring system was as follows:
  • Taste – 10 points
  • Christmas Spirit – 10 points
  • Presentation – 5 points
  • Texture – 5 points
  • Originality – 5 points
  • "Comebackability" – 5 points
And in honour of the big news from this year, the wild card category was:
  • Scottishness - 10 points
The entries

Soup 1: Hot beetroot and curly kale soup. Note the 11 pipers piping. Both festive and Scottish

Soup 2: "In England's Green and Pleasant Land" Soup. Content, except for "defiance" unknown.

Soup 3: Highland ham, mushroom and barley broth with homemade oatcakes.

Soup 4: Polish Cucumber soup. Festiveness and Scottishness added as sides, not ingredients.

Soup 5: Neeps and Tatties soup with Haggis Croutons

Soup 6: Cranachan soup!

The results
 
Second place

Winner!

The Winner's Crown.
Until next year....
 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Film Fest 2015

It's Christmas week!!! Hurrah!

I'm not just excited about Christmas. I'm excited about Boxing Day. Boxing Day is the calm after the Christmas storm. A day for onesies, leftovers, sofa surfing in front of all the Christmas DVDs and lifts home due to excess fizz, cocktail and Baileys hot chocolate consumption.

We can get through about ten films over the Christmas period. This year I have some great ones lined up, if they appear in my stocking, that is!

So, thinking about films to watch got me all excited about the raft of amazing films that are coming out in 2015. Technically one is out before January, but, let's turn a blind eye to the technicalities! It's not like it's the Oscars qualification period is it?


I know they're silly films, but I like the general theme of the well-known historical figures we were taught about as children coming to life, but with twists on their characters. Also, sniff sniff, Robin Williams is in it.

It'll be fun, funny and sad.

Trailer: http://www.movieinsider.com/m6384/night-at-the-museum-3/videos/11030/


Look at that cast list! And you all know how I love a fairytale, and a theme, so how much do I love them all mashed up together... and, and... LOOK AT THAT CASTING! Meryl!!



Clever. Very clever.

Remember the Numskulls from The Funday Times? I LOVED that cartoon. This is like that, but without me having to do the voices and animation in my own head!



They're back, Pitches!

Erm, Anna Kendrick, gorgeous girl crush extraordinaire. Rebel Wilson, funny funny funny. Singing (along!) and dancing and a cheese-fest concept. What's not to be excited about? Pitch Perfect was amazing. This looks equally so! I can't wait.



Minions movie poster

MINIONS! On the loose around the world, and through history. Three of my favourite things all put together. I can't wait to meet Stuart, Kevin and Bob!

Banana?



Doesn't this look just... gorgeous?

But... Bellatrix as the Fairy Godmother? I just can't wait.



Why didn't they learn from the first time around? Or the second and third? Don't mess with the dinos or nature. It finds a way...! Dr Grant the Dino Guy did NOT endorse the park. What were you thinking?

If they haven't kept the theme tune, I'm leaving. If they have, I'm excited to see the raptors on the goodies' side this time... dooo dooo doooooo dooo doooooo.... (I think that's it there at the end of the trailer... if i'm not mistaken?)



Fave book and "let's pretend" game as a child. Magic statement earrings? Giant pink hair? Girls on guitar and drums. Yes please.

Sadly, no trailer yet.

But look at the pink hair...


They've started filming. There's a lot of buzz about the script, casting and money issues. Personally, I'm feeling very "buzzy" about Moriarty turning up in a Bond film.

Hurry up Bond 24!


Erm, just.... KATNISS!!!

And then...

Pride and Prejudice, and Zombies! Oh yes. Can't wait. I've heard rumblings about the next part of the Alice story, Alice Through the Looking Glass, which I prefer to Wonderland and some of the greatest news ever, Beetlejuice 2 is being made. Wha.....!!!

(all pictures from www.MovieInsider.com)

Friday, 19 December 2014

Obsessed: Gingerbread

I'm obsessed with gingerbread.
I can't resist it. My first gingerbread 'taste memory' is a giant Christmas iced gingerbread biscuit my Great Aunty Barbara brought back from Poland (I think?) when I was a child. She hung it around my neck and took a photo of me looking like a dweeb (which was totally the biscuit, nothing to do with the hair, thank you!), and then I was allowed to eat every last bite, all to myself.
I remember it to this day. It was amazing.
Since then, I've discovered something amazing. 

My boss makes the best gingerbread in the world.

It's a fact. It's not up for debate.

I've eaten gingerbread at Christmas markets all over Europe and her stuff is still the best. I get strict gingerbread rations in the office when she brings boxes in so that other people get a look in on the treats. I even had her famous gingerbread at my wedding, as favours. They were little gingerbread boys and girls that were holding hands, all in love and stuff... until I bit off their little heads (I do that first so they don't feel the pain, I'm not a complete monster) and then merrily munched on their limbs until there were none left. Mwah ha ha. I think that's why I've stayed so long. And I think she knows it. 

Photo by Jasmine Jade

During non-festive months, when you know, my boss has an actual job to do, rather than baking boxes of gingerbread, I get through bags and bags of those mini gingerbread men from supermarkets. They're ok, but they're not the same! 



Christmas time is the perfect time to indulge my obsession with non edible gingerbread as well. I have Christmas gingerbread onesies, gingerbread decorations and this year I put gingerbread stickers on all my festive cards and invites.


Imagine how excited I was when I saw this little beaut at Tatty Devine.

I need it!

Please Santa, I've been an awful good girl!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, Chez Griffith.

With one week to go the decorations are up, the presents are wrapped, the last of the cards have been posted, I'm halfway through a bottle of dry sherry (my new fave festive tipple), the house is covered in glitter and sequins that have fallen off my various festive outfits, the invites for our Griffmas drinks have been sent and the menus are planned.



tacky decorations from my Deep South road trip

Eat drink and be merry at Griffmas Drinks

Christmas Eve invites - soups at the ready!



Dressed up for Fake Christmas


So, now... that leaves only one thing left to do.  I need to think of a soup for the Annual Potage Cup.

This year's scoring system is as follows:
  • Taste – 10 points
  • Christmas Spirit – 10 points
  • Presentation – 5 points
  • Texture – 5 points
  • Originality – 5 points
  • "Comebackability" – 5 points
And in honour of the big news from this year, the wild card category will be:
  • Scottishness - 10 points
So, considering my past efforts have focussed heavily on the Christmas Spirit, by being based almost entirely around, ahem, spirits (the alcoholic, not the spooky, variety), I'm wondering if other competitors are going to use the final category as a way to encroach upon my turf.

Ideas on a postcard please.
 
Or a text message... there's no time for snail mail in times like these!
 

Merry Griffmas!!
 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Festive outfit planning: Christmas Jumpers

A special post for the Queen of Christmas Jumpers, Liz

So, we've done LBDs, sparkles, work wear and even sofa surfing. But the most important item of festive clothing? The CHRISTMAS JUMPER! 

I had three novelty jumpers that I wore on a rotating basis last year, interspersed with my ever expanding collection of glittery,sequinned and fluffy jumpers. I added a couple more this year and so now I'm actually running out of occasions to wear them. Mr G and I even had a conversation that went like this:

"Are reindeer only for Christmas?"

"We're not getting one"

"Obviously! Duh! I'm just wondering, do I buy this jumper with snowflakes on, or the one with reindeer. It snows in January so I could still wear snowflakes in January, but will people think I'm crazy if I'm still wearing reindeer jumpers in January"

"I think you're crazy now. Shhhh"

JOLLY



This was from New Look last year, I wore this over a slinky dress forour cheesy Christmas party, with red sequin skirt on Christmas day and withblack skinny jeans for city drinks. It's silly, but cute.

REINDEER



Also from New Look last year. I've worn this with jeans,boots, denim shorts and (life changing!) thermal fleece-lined tights. It's perfectfor snuggly, festive weekend wear without being over the top.

SNOWMAN



Primark special. I wore this last Christmas Evewith sequinned skinny jeans, fluffy slipper boots and a huge "IT'S FINALLY CHRIIIIISTMAAAAAAAS" grin!
2014

This year I purchased some new jumpers from H&M (no no, I'm not on an H&M commission package, it's just my fave place to shop!).

I decided to go less novelty and more traditional this time around, well for one at least. I'm a sucker for those wholesome "just hanging here in a log cabin in the woods by the roaring fire, with all my rosy-cheeked friends after we just spent an hour having a snowball fight and riding our ponies and bikes home from the pub where we had a hearty lunch while our skin glows with health and our hair shines with vitality and our perfect teeth glisten in the fairy lights" Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren style adverts. 

You remember, a bit like that Spice Girls and/or Take That Marks and Spencer advert from a while back? Yeah... that look. It's one that I love, and covet, and wish I could carry off, but I can't. I'm just not fresh-faced, wholesome or outdoorsy. As we all know.

So at Christmas, when I can do it in a jokey way, I'm embracing it! Let's do this, wholesome and fairisle and plaid:


At the other end of the spectrum, and more true to character, this one is grey, fluffy, cynical and sarcastic. It say it all and has to be my favourite so far:


Sadly some of the balls fell off, so I had to return it, but I'm going in search of a new one asap!

Don't forget it's Christmas Jumper Day in aid of Save the Children tomorrow.

Are you planning to wear yours?