Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Five photos

When the lovely Gemma tagged me in her "Five photos that make me smile" post, I ran my battery down to zero trying to work out how to select five photos from what must be the thousands I've uploaded over the last eight years. Eight years? How is that possible?

What was easy though, was what I wanted to represent. I know exactly what makes me smile...

Nuclear, extended, blood, those I've acquired through marriage, those I've lost over the years and my god family - they all count. They all matter.
My wonderful, amazing family make me smile.
Even the crazies.
Especially the crazies!

Mr G
I found a goodun. I snared him. I'm keeping him. I'm not smiling because I'm married to him. I'm married to him because he always knows when and how to make me smile.

My friends
I wrote a long smushy post about this a while ago. Wow, how things have changed. Some of the faces have gone, new ones have arrived (hello WAGs, Dirty Thirties, Pineapple Club, work roomies old and new), but the sentiment still stands... that I am lucky beyond my wildest dreams to have the love, support and companionship of so many lovely people that are here, beside me because they want to be, not because they have to be (through marriage, blood or shared office space!)
My friends make me smile.
I hope I make them smile in return...

The world is my oyster.
I can go where I want. I can be who and what I want. I can believe what I want. I'm so lucky that I have choice, means, direction and support.
This photo represents two things - travel and work (yup, these days, my work makes me smile - check it here).  Traveling broadens horizons, I get to see, feel, experience new things. My job affords me the means to do that, but often presents opportunities (in this photo I was en route to Paris to start my secondment . One of the best things, ever. Ever!). Having a job that challenges me and surrounds me with inspiring people means I also have a reason to get up in the morning and take on the day. Having opportunities make me smile.

A place to call home
Opportunity, travel, the world is my oyster. But I have a place to call "home". I know I will always have somewhere to go. I know where home is. I know where I belong. I know where I'm safe. Somewhere to be still, calm, secure. I know that no matter what. No. Matter. What. I can go "home" and be welcomed, loved, nurtured and healed. It's not a place per se (though my family home and the home I bought and made great with Mr G make me very happy indeed), it's a feeling. A feeling not everyone is lucky enough to have and so I cherish it.
It makes me smile on the inside.

I suppose in the literal sense the effort I've put in to making our actual house full of fun, love, pretty, and parties also makes me smile.

Who was it that said "They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for"?

Don't say "Instagram"...! Whomever it was, I'm minded to agree.

So there we go - five pictures (yes I know I bent interpreted the rules slightly) that make me smile.

Thanks Gemma. YOU make me smile!

As an aside, this post has been a bit like therapy for me. I haven't blogged for a while as I lost a bit of my spark. I lost some people that I thought my spark depended on and I found it hard to articulate those feelings of hurt, loss and bewilderment without reference to that loss.

However, I've always tried to be grateful for what I do have rather than dwelling on what I don't (cough, Chanel handbag, cough), and I've just realised that this situation is no different.

So in writing this status-update-that-grew-in-to-a-blog-post post I managed to get it off my chest and get back in the game.

I've also been bonkers-mad-busy. Double busy.

So, now I'm back in the game* look out for a "catch up" post!

There'll be pictures. Lots. And they'll all make me smile.


*too many Micky Flanagan references? :-)

Monday, 23 June 2014

The closest I'll get - Part I: Chanel prints

So, you remember my obsession with all the Chanel "artwork" dresses?

Rita's and Lupita's?

Well, I was perusing the rails of Matalan, whilst skiving off the gym, and I found something rather similar to Rita's!

Rita Ora In Chanel - 106 & Park

Quite frankly, it's the closest I'm going to get to current-season-Chanel... so I'll take it. In every combination you have.

I picked up a pair of floaty shorts and the loose trousers to wear when the sun comes back out.

I'll probably wear both items with a black tee, my River Island neon yellow flats and a denim jacket during the day and with a fitted vest top, a blazer, some statement bling, my trusty black suede Gwendas and my brand spanking new Lulu Guinness Annabelle for dressier affairs!

Yay for high street rips offs!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Obsessions: Flamingo vs Pineapple

Remember Pineapple Club (shhh, don't speak about Pineapple Club)?

Remember my potential breakaway faction, Flamingo Club?

The battle for a preference between the two continues to keep me awake at night.

Art. Clothing. Accessories. Decor. Homewares.

Pink or yellow?

Pineapples or flamingos?

Piningos? Flamapples? Pinegos? Flapples?


Anyway, back to reality... one of my stylish besties, Laura, sent me a pineapple-obsession collage from MadeByGirl blog which included a picture of  THESE. AMAZING. PINEAPPLE. SHOES.

Pineapple shoes by Aquazzura (check out his logo too!!)

Of course I initiated Emergency Google Search procedures and commenced ShopStyle interrogation.

What appeared?

Well, certainly no immediate, appropriate pineapple footwear leads, at least not within my budget.

An FT Style article from February 2013, however, popped up which not only included the delicious Aquazzura pineapple strappies, but also THESE. EVEN. MORE. AMAZING. FLAMINGO. BOOTIES by my all-time-fave bonkers shoe designer Sophia Webster!

Flamingo shoes by Sophia Webster (my all time fave shoe designer, ever!)

The (mind) battle continues....

Check out these links, seems I'm not alone

Friday, 2 May 2014

Obsessed: Rita's frock

After Lupita's looked-like-a-nursery-school-cutting-and-sticking-project dress which gave me actual palpitations and saw me waste a fair few hours, and a whole iPad battery, searching through ShopStyle for a high street rip off, Chanel have gone and done it again.

Another art project dress.

Look 80 in fact from their SS14 collection

This one looks more sixth form than reception class though, with all the colour gradients and slashing and such like...

... oh yes, they'll make a fashion critic of me yet, watch out Anna...

Rita Ora In Chanel - 106 & Park
picture from here
So, any ideas on a rip off, or better still a quick money making scheme so I can get my hands on one?

Lottery ticket?

Also, can we take a moment for Rita's hair...

Thank you

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Resting Bitch Face

I have a friend who used to tell me off all the time for my Resting Bitch Face* She said that I always looked aloof and people were scared to talk to us when we went out. I thought it was more along the lines that they were embarrassed to be seen with us due to our cliché fancy dress and bonkers dance routines we insisted on doing, en masse, on the dancefloor (it likely was the latter!).

I had a boss, back in the day, that said I gave off a constant air of "don't approach me, don't talk to me and certainly don't touch me" when we were out drinking. Not in a bad way, just in the way that when everyone at work was hitting on or hooking up with anything that moved, everyone steered well clear of me. I thought it was because everyone else was way way hotter than me (they actually were/are!).

From the age of about 3 until... well, probably even now, my mum told/tells me, repeatedly, that my standard response to all questions, comments and critique was/is a lip-curl of a sneer. I disagree, I think I'm screwing my face up while ruminating my response to make sure I say the right thing (but, fair enough, in my teenage years, I probably snarled some kind of sarky retort, once cogitated).

One of Mr G's friends also told me that his (now ex) girlfriend thought I was highly unapproachable, because I was always giving her "evils". I thought she was staying away from me because she was just too cool for me (she was!).

I took umbrage at all these suggestions.
I smile at strangers in the street as we walk past each other as I worry that they may think I'm unfriendly. I yell "good morning" to people as I walk to the bus stop each morning, even if they always ignore me, and I worry ALL.THE.TIME. that people might not like me. For some stupid reason my life's mission is to make everyone like me.

Anyway, on a hen weekend recently one of the other hens took a lot of reportage style photography and it was only in looking through her expert pics that I noticed the extent of my Resting Bitch Face. I'd never seen it before.

It's bad.

Check it.

Papped by Manita Khanna

So, I'm sorry. I get it!

But, check this Buzzfeed blog post out, it explains my plight.
Help me!

* at the time we didn't know that's what it was called. She just told me to stop looking like such a sullen bitch!

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!