Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Girl Crush: Lauren Conrad


lauren conrad
LC as she was affectionately known as on Laguna Beach. All those years ago, on the ‘real life’ television series documenting the lives and loves of her and her friends. On moving to Los Angeles, she was then asked to star in The Hills where she was reportedly the highest paid cast member and we saw her interning for Teen Vogue and a fashion designer whilst swanning about with her friends looking the ultimate glamorous teen.
I haven't read any of her novels, as I’m not sure they are my kind of thing (have you read them?) Neither have I had a glance at her books on Beauty or Style.
I have however just become one of her gazillion followers on Instagram.  This is what Instagram lovers everywhere long for. The ultimate in eye candy.
Having just got hitched, of course there’s a ton of wedding prettiness over on her blog, where you can also join her book club, get tips on health, style and fitness, shop her clothing line (did I mention fashion designer!?) and generally spit green envy over the computer..ohwellsorrytheymustjustbemethen..
The girl has come a long way since Laguna Beach!
SmileX

Monday, 29 September 2014

Christmas. The not so secret present stash.


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My mum had a secret stash of presents in her wardrobe. There I’ve confessed. I knew where it was. Every year my big sister and I would wait for the moment we were home alone and run upstairs to find it. And we did.
Now I have my own wardrobe, which I fill with presents throughout the year, finding great bargains in sales (yes even in January) I stash them away until December.
I am one of those people you hate. Smugly tilting my head when people get stressed at Christmas because they don’t know what to buy Great Uncle Fredrick, and there's only 2 days until Christmas Eve and you haven't bought a Christmas table runner with matching serviettes. You should have bought that old cigar box/stuffed tortoise that you knew he would love when you saw it. Now you regret it don’t you? Well I did. Buy it I mean. Well not exactly a stuffed tortoise but you get the drift.
This year I have a great stash of gifts, if I do say so myself. If you think this sounds like I'm showing off, you'd be correct. It's not something I'm ashamed off, although some people would like me to 'shut tf up' when I tell them.
And I am counting down the days until I get to hand them out. Because really everyone who loves buying present's knows that's the best bit.
SmileX

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Friday, 26 September 2014

On my desk : Notebooks


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It’s been my dream since I was a little girl to have my very own desk. For many years I ‘shared’ Mr D’s but this was never very successful as who wants to be trying to write when there’s all manner of ‘man things’ cluttering up the place. You know what I mean, boxes of ear plugs (which are bought in bulk due to Mr D’s extra curricular activities in sound engineering) many many  scraps of paper with ‘very important’ notes on them for work, notepads and diaries that are for want of a better description down right ugly!
Now I’m lucky to have my very own. At last. Somewhere to store all my pretty stationary. I’m not alone in my love of stationary, I have come to realise that (most) bloggers have a common obsession for pretty books, planners and my new found love….sharpies.
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This shelf is full of blank note pads waiting their turn to be used. I do use them now although I confess for years I couldn’t bring myself to ‘ruin’ them by using them. Buying them was a necessity, passing a branch of PaperChase without going in would make my heart stop. But actually using them was another matter altogether. Now, I have made myself use them. I take little ones to work to have in my uniform pocket, I carry one in the back of my Filofax, and  there’s one in my hand bag.
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Notepads have come so far since my school days, now they are so pretty, big girls patterns like these cute ones above with matching tin which were a Birthday present (I have the best friends)  fyi the tin is full of  coloured pens. Gel pens if you please. Hello 14 yr old me.
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This one came all the way from USA from my wonderful friend Ann Margaret
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Getting pretty stationary through the post is just about the best thing ever.
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Although, a trolley dash around Paper chase would be pretty damn cool too!!
Addicted to Notebooks?
SmileX

Thursday, 25 September 2014

How many books do (can?) you read at once?


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The other day I bumped into a friend, and we spoke about books we’ve read recently, when she just threw into the conversation ‘oh yes I’m reading about 4 books at the moment’. Like this was something of an achievement.
I find this odd. I know many people do this, it’s not uncommon, but I’ve never understood it. I know of people who say they have a book on their bed side table, one in their bag, maybe even one in the bathroom but I do wonder what the reasoning for this is. I guess it means you are never without a book to read, you won’t forget to take your book if it’s always there, waiting for you. Convenience. Having said that I have never found myself without a book to read, and I can’t actually think of a time I forgot to take a book with me.
I’m not even sure if I could do this. I’m pretty sure I’ve never tried.
Why would you want to flip from one novel to another? Does it feel like you read more if you have several on the go at once? Surely it just takes twice (or four) times as long to finish them?
Usually I’m so into the book that I just want to dive into the same one again to see what’s happening, not check out a different one.
So, how many do/can you read at once?
SmileX

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Spare Brides Adele Parks Book Review no. 20


spare brides adele parks
Damaged and beautiful, they were the generation who lost so much and became 'spare brides'. The richly compelling and emotional new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Adele Parks is the powerful story of four extraordinary women left to pick up the pieces of their lives, in the scarred, glamorous and endlessly fascinating post-First World War era.
New Year's Eve, 1920. The Great War is over and it's a new decade of glamorous promise. But a generation of men and women who survived the extreme trauma and tragedy will never be the same.
With countless men lost, it seems that only wealth and beauty will secure a husband from the few who returned, but lonely Beatrice has neither attribute. Ava has both, although she sees marriage as a restrictive cage after the freedom war allowed. Sarah paid the war's ultimate price: her husband's life. Lydia should be grateful that her own husband's desk job kept him safe, but she sees only his cowardice.
A chance encounter for one of these women with a striking yet haunted officer changes everything. In a world altered beyond recognition, where not all scars are visible, this damaged and beautiful group must grasp any happiness they can find - whatever the cost
I’m a fan of Adele, I think I’ve read all if not most of her novels. I found this one when my purse was being weighed down with book tokens from my birthday so of course I snapped it up.
Set in post WW1 this is Adele’s first dip into historical fiction. I haven't read a lot of this genre so I haven't much to compare it too, but I did like it. I love the glamour and glitz of the 1920’s. Adele does well to conjure up this image but also the sadness of the men returning from war, and the women who have suffered loss.
Like most (all)? of Adele’s novels this is a book about women. Four female friends and how the Great War has effected them.
This is a romance novel with history thrown in. Being the 100th anniversary year of the beginning of WW1 this couldn't have been published at a better time, providing people like me with an interesting and entertaining way of learning how women were effected.
If you have an interest in the social effects of WW1 you may well like it, f you don’t mind the romance. For me, it had the right mixture of both.
SmileX

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Air show summer (nearly gone)


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It’s been a busy season this year, there has been much gallivanting about in a big truck, meeting up with friends again, making  new friends, oh and watching people throw explosives ‘at’ Apaches..
The above and below photos were at Dunsfold in August which seems like so long ago.
dunsfold10The air show season  was very kind to us weather wise, and If I’m not mistaken this was the only evidence of us lighting the fire inside the Reo this year. Just one night, just because we could.
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This week is much cooler, I’m wondering how long it will be before we will light the wood burner in the house, although from past experience the longer this can be put off the better, it’s a slippery slope to furnace-ville once that happens.
SmileX

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Friday, 19 September 2014

Dunstan Hall (the night I went dressed as a hippie)


dunstan hall 2
Say what you like about the company I work for (& some do) but they throw us a pretty cool party each year and the last few have been at Dunstan Hall.
I’ve been here a couple of times before, on girly nights/weekends where its all we can do to order a few drinks at the bar after diner before heading off to bed to read/gossip & decide which spa treatments to have.
This years theme was 70’s. Difficult era, so many possibilities, but I just went as the hippiest chic on the coach.
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Do you do fancy dress? I like to, but I don’t like to spend money on it, most of this outfit came out of a friends wardrobe, I was disappointed not to be able to get even one leg in some original bell bottoms she had, but these jeans worked fine. The shirt is my own, bought from the  EACH store I help out in. The crochet daisy garland around my neck was decorating my desk.
This party at Dunstan Hall was a bit different in that we were outside in a marquee and had some of the gardens, the marquee itself looked so pretty!
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Before the party started
I’m always impressed with the set up, it’s different each time.
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Smaller tents outside housed the nice waiters pouring drinks.  The staff are always so pleasant and helpful, I’m not sure how they keep smiling when, well, Free Bar.
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Even managed to fit in a bit of surfing. (Lasted about 3 seconds on this!)
Looking forward to next year!!
SmileX

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Unicorn Necklace Eclectic Eccentricity Jewellery


unicorn
Big sisters are the best, when sometimes, you go and visit them and they tell you they started Christmas shopping (there I said the C word. Slap me) and because of their complete lack of will power you can get them to give you your present early!
Mine was in the shape of this lovely unicorn necklace from eclecticeccentricity
Bad phone photo not really doing it justice, and also showing  the non fashion blogger in me, but hey who wants to wear a cool new outfit every day anyhow…
So, the shop. These jewellery pieces are so cool. I saw these at a local vintage fair last year but for some reason only just liked their face book page. If you go and ‘like’ the page, sis informs me you get all kinds of  discount codes to use.
Waiting to see if this one will ever be discounted.
Maybe Santa is reading my blog?
SmileX

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The night I gate crashed a Book Club


Although you know I love to read (don’t you?) It may surprise you to know I’ve never been to or taken part in a book Club. I’ve often thought about it, wondered what it would be like to read a book chosen by someone else, broaden my reading horizons, meet new fellow book worms. Then I usually abandon the idea for fear of sitting with a bunch of people who want to read the latest Booker Prize winning novel (who chooses these?) and have a dream of being  an English Professor.
Talking with a friend about starting a book club, I started asking others whom I knew read a lot. This is how I was asked to gate crash. Come with me, she said, it’s very informal just a laugh, glass of wine, oh and chat about a book.
Why not. If nothing else I could get ideas on how to (or not) to run my own book club.
The book they were reading was Life After Life. I promptly borrowed a copy from the library.
The evening of the meeting arrived, my friend picked me up, and I confessed to her I had read one chapter and hated it. Only one chapter, I know, really need to put in more effort… but I did feel a bit better when she confessed she hadn’t even got herself a copy of the book!
The last to arrive we went into the front room of the hostess’s house where the wine and gossip were flowing, realising I knew two of the girls was an ice breaker, the large glass of wine handed to me was another.
Including me there were 12 girls, apparently this wasn’t the complete set, but not everyone comes to every meeting. There was about a half hour of chit chat, (I was starting to wonder if this was an excuse for mums to get together, drink wine and talk about their children and husbands, yes I was checking the exits at this point) some girls had brought a copy of the book they had read and sat with it on their laps waiting for the moment. That moment came when the leader of the meeting (I presume she was the girl who started the club, she seemed to be ‘in charge’ in a nice way), confessed that ‘So, I didn’t get to read the book’ there came heavy sighs of relief of the many who either hadn’t read it at all or had given up half way through, or just hadn’t finished it yet.
The book was discussed. Mostly confusion as I think only a couple of people actually liked the story, most didn’t ‘get it’. Life after Life was touched upon, (if you had your chance would you change anything?) wine was poured. Much unhealthy food was passed around. The next book was chosen from two which the hostess picked.
Receiving the round robin email about the next meeting I decided not to go. That’s not to say I won’t ever go back, the girls did make me feel welcome, I think the awkwardness was all on my part, but I will concentrate on my own for now.
Have you ever been to a book club?
SmileX

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sunday Thoughts


wedding day
Life has been pretty full lately, well full to bursting actually. So much catching up to do, with everyday stuff, with you, sometimes I think my brain is too small for all the things that are whizzing around inside it could go pop.
But today we celebrate 15 years of marriage
Smile

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Death by Darjeeling By Laura Childs. Book Review No.20


death by darjeeling by laura childs
Meet Theodosia Browning, owner of Charleston's beloved Indigo Tea Shop. Patrons love her blend of delicious tea tastings and southern hospitality. And Theo enjoys the full-bodied flavor of a town steeped in history -- and mystery... — It's tea for two hundred or so at the annual historic homes garden party. And Theodosia, as event caterer, is busy serving steaming teas and blackberry scones while guests sing her praises. But the sweet smell of success turns to suspense when an esteemed guest is found dead -- his hand clutching an empty teacup. All eyes are on Theo... who is now trying desperately to save her reputation and track down the real killer. If only she can make sense of it all--before someone else takes their last sip
I confess that I found this book after typing ‘tea shop’ into the search bar at Amazon. Such is my love of reading novels based in around or about tea.
This is the first in the Tea Shop Mystery books, of which there seems to be quite a few and of which I will be buying. These are fabulously sized little books that fit nicely into my already over stuffed hand bag.
I really enjoyed this, although the mystery was light and certainly wouldn’t win any prizes, the characters are great and all the tea talk is exactly what I wanted out of this book.
After finding this series, I was interested to see that there are mystery books written about any hobby you can think of, scrap booking, knitting, witch craft, baking, vintage.
A whole new world has just been opened up to me.
SmileX