Wednesday, 25 October 2017

My top 5 favourite Netflix shows!

Netflix has become such a huge phenomenon to so may people around the world.  I too can proudly say that I am obsessed by this company and have sooooo many shows that I am a fan of.  What is NETFLIX you say?  Well it allows you to watch films and TV programmes online or you can stream them live to your smart TV, game console, PC, Mac, mobile phone, tablet and more.  You can understand why it is the world's 10th largest company by revenue and THE place to be to watch amazing shows and box sets!  I have very clearly spent most of my days on my sofa and I have NO REGRETS WHATSOEVER!!!  So without further a do.... like the title of this post states.... here's my top 5 shows on Netflix....

1.  Orange Is The New Black

"The series revolves around Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a woman in her 30's living in New York City who is sentenced to 15 months in Litchfield Penitentiary, a minimum-security women's federal prison.  Piper had been convicted of transporting a suitcase full of drug money for her girlfriend Alex Vause (Laura Prepon),who was an international drug smuggler.  The offence had occurred 10 years prior to the start of the series and in that time Piper had moved on to a quiet, law-abiding life among New York's upper middle class. Her sudden and unexpected indictment severely disrupted her relationships with her fiancĂ©, family and friends.
In prison, Piper is reunited with Alex (who named Piper in her trial, resulting in Piper's arrest) and they re-examine their relationship.  Simultaneously, Piper must learn how to survive in prison and how to overcome its numerous, inherent struggles.  Episodes often feature flashbacks of significant events from various inmates' and prison guards' pasts.  These flashbacks typically explain how the inmate came to be in prison or develop the character's backstory.
The show pays close attention to how corruption, drug smuggling, funding cuts, overcrowding and guard brutality affect the prisoners' health and well-being and the prison's basic ability to fulfil its fundamental responsibilities and ethical obligations as a federal corrections institution.  One of the show's key conflicts involves the prison Director of Human Activities, Joe Caputo, whose efforts and aims as a warden constantly conflict with the business interests of MCC, which acquired the facility when it was about to be shut down." 

2.  Suits 

"The focus point of the show focuses on former student Mike Ross who makes a living illegally taking the Law School Admission Test for others.  With this he pays for his grandmother's care, and agrees to deliver a case of marijuana for his best friend Trevor, who is a drug dealer.  Mike astutely avoids being arrested in a sting, only to stumble into a job interview with Harvey Specter, who is called the best closer in the city.  Mike's knowledge of the law impresses Harvey enough to win him the associate position, even though Mike doesn't have a license to practice law.  Together they try cases for the firm while maintaining the secret that Mike is a fraud."

3.  Reign

"The highly fictionalised series follows the early exploits of Mary, Queen of Scots.  The first season opens in 1557, with Mary living in French court and awaiting her marriage to Prince Francis, to whom she has been engaged since they were six.  Mary has to contend with changing politics and power plays, as well as her burgeoning feelings for Francis and the romantic attentions of Francis's bastard half-brother, Bash.  Francis's mother, Catherine de' Medici, secretly tries to prevent the marriage following Nostradamus's confidential prediction that the marriage will lead to Francis's death.  The series also follows the affairs of Mary's Scottish handmaidens Kenna, Aylee, Lola, and Greer, who are searching for husbands of their own at French Court."

4.  How To Get Away With Murder

"Annalise Keating is a prominent criminal defence attorney and law professor at Middleton University in Philadelphia.  She selects five of her first year students to intern at her firm: Wes Gibbins, Connor Walsh, Michaela Pratt, Asher Millstone, and Laurel Castillo (The Keating 5).  They work with Annalise's employees, Frank Delfino and Bonnie Winterbottom, an associate lawyer.  As Season 1 introduces occasional clients for Keating, it explores two related murders through both flashback and flash-forward sequences: Lila Stangard, mistress of Annalise's husband's and a student at Middleton, and then Sam Keating, Annalise's husband, who was killed by Annalise's interns.
The first nine episodes alternate between the present-day timeline in medias res, depicting Wes, Connor, Michaela, and Laurel covering up Sam's murder by disposing of his body, and flashbacks detailing the course of events leading up to Sam's death, including Annalise's becoming involved in the Lila Stangard investigation, at Wes' urging, leading her to discover Sam's affair and creating suspicion that he killed Lila.  The final six episodes explore Annalise's attempt to help her interns cover up Sam's murder and legally implicate Sam in Lila's death, and flashbacks to Lila's final moments before her murder."

5.  Once Upon A Time 

"The series originally takes place in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, in which the residents are actually characters from various fairy tales and other stories that were transported to the "real world" town and robbed of their original memories by the Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parrilla) who used a powerful curse obtained from Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle).  The residents of Storybrooke, where Regina is mayor, have lived an unchanging existence for 28 years, unaware of their own lack of ageing.  The town's only hope lies with a bail-bonds person named Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), the daughter of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming(Josh Dallas), who was transported from the Enchanted Forest to our world via a magic tree as an infant before she could be cursed.  As such, she is the only person who can break the curse and restore the characters' lost memories.  She is aided by her son, Henry (Jared S. Gilmore), with whom she was recently reunited after giving him up for adoption upon his birth, and his Once Upon a Timebook of fairy tales that holds the key to breaking the curse.  Henry is also the adopted son of Regina, providing a source of both conflict and common interest between the two women.
Episodes usually have one segment that details the characters' past lives that, when serialized, adds a piece to the puzzle about the characters and their connection to the events that preceded the curse and its consequences.  The other, set in the present day, follows a similar pattern with a different outcome but also offers similar insights."

So these are my current favourites.... but what shows are you liking at the moment?

M x


Monday, 10 July 2017

All Things Homeware!

Yep, you guessed it.... it's all about HOMEWARE!  Perry and I are currently renovating our new flat that we purchased a few months ago, so at the moment we are living in a temporary accommodation.  However, this has been a real eye opener and has given us a trial to living in our own house and how our interior would look like.  In this post I am going to be showing you all of my favourite go-to styling tips and tricks that I live by when styling my flat.  So without further a do.... let's start!

One of my favourite hobbies when I have a day off from work, is to bake!  I absolutely LOVE baking!!  It gives me a feeling of sheer satisfaction when a tray of freshly baked muffins that I have baked come out of the oven looking and tasting AMAZING!!  I have so many baking books... but if I had to choose two favourite, they would be 'The Hummingbird Bakery Book' and 'Tanya Bakes'.  I bought this big Mason bowl and wooden spoon from my local home shop and I think it is the perfect addition to my kitchen.  It not only helps me with my baking, but it also looks really stylish too.

My husband and I are real foodies and we both love to cook healthy dishes with fresh ingredients, so having a section of the kitchen where we can store our oils, spices and salt/pepper and knives was essential.  I like to have these things together in one place in the kitchen, because it makes cooking so much easier.  A lot of our accessories for the kitchen are in copper, because if you didn't know already I'm obsessed with all things COPPER!!!  So I picked up these gorgeous Salt and Pepper shakers from Next and they have been so incredibly useful as well as making my kitchen look so stylish!  Also I purchased these glass mason jugs to hold olive oil and vegetable oil... In the olive oil, I put a sprig of fresh Rosemary to infuse it and also make it look pretty.  Lastly I put a book stand with my new cook book 'Ready Steady Glow' by Madeleine Shaw to entice me with new and exciting recipes to try out.

A dressing table has always been one of the things that I have wanted for so many years.  I have imagined having a vintage styled unit with a bid mirror and multiple drawers.  Luckily I found this beauty in one of my local vintage stores and instantly fell in love!  It is the perfect size for the bedroom and I love the colour of it.  It was painted using a chalk based paint from the Annie Sloan range and it creates a more subtle look for the room.  I use the drawers to store my ever growing nail varnish collection, makeup collection, sunglasses collection and anything else that I wish to store.  I also use the mirror to hang my long necklaces from it and I have displayed some personal photos and ornaments on it.  It's so great to have somewhere where I can do my hair/makeup rather than using a hallway mirror. 

Is it just me or does a fresh bouquet of Roses always bring happiness to a room?  These beautiful ones were picked up from my local florist, Pipers Florist and every time I look at them they make me smile.  The glass vase was given to my Husband and I on our wedding day and I love having it in the house as it reminds us of our special day!

How cute is this little gold terrarium??  I bought this a while ago because I wanted to inject a bit of warmth to the lounge and by putting a candle inside, it works really well near the fireplace and when lit it looks so magical!  

Another thing I have become obsessed with is styling shelves.  I recently bought a big shelving unit from Ikea and it allowed me to experiment with styling ornaments and books etc.  My favourite way to style is by mixing my favourite fashion books with plants/ornaments.  It gives the shelf height and it allows you to change the books that you want to display. 

I have never really owned a proper jewellery stand.  My jewellery has either been hanging off a hook or tangled up in one of my drawers.  So when I looked at Oliver bonas and their amazing collection of jewellery stands I knew that I needed to snap one up right away!  Unfortunately the one that I bought has now been discontinued, however here are some similar ones that they are currently stocking.  I love their collection because they manage to incorporate different textures and materials... my one is made up of a brass stand with a marble base.  The different levels, allow me to merchandise bracelets, short necklaces and longer necklaces all at once!    

Since I can remember, I have always had a love for cushions of all shapes and sizes.  I constantly find myself in interior shops drooling over the latest cushions with patterns, textures and colours.  My gorgeous big sister very kindly bought these two HUGE cushions for us from Next and they are the most sunning cushions ever!  They are silver with a Morrocan styled pattern running through in a contrasting grey shade.  I always find that Next do the best cushions so check out their website.    

So now all we need to do is finish off the renovations and then my husband and I will be able to move our furniture into our first home... how exciting?!!!  I will be keeping you all posted when we are finally in and give you all a house tour... but until then, I hope you are all having a great week!

M x

Monday, 27 February 2017

Exploring the Thames!

My parents recently bought a boat in St Margarets, because they wanted to have something to allow them to escape and travel.  I thought it was a wonderful idea, because it's like a second home for whenever we want to explore the Thames in all its glory!  So the other week, I went to visit their boat with Perry and my parents to check out the area and have a weekend adventure!

The first stop of the day was a good proper roast lunch and what better way to have that then, right on the Thames edge.  We stopped by The White Swan and it was the most beautiful day to visit.  It was a gorgeous white building that was dressed with various wild flowers. The entrance to the pub is up two flights of stairs, because when the tide comes in... all of the area becomes flooded by over a metre high!

We decided to eat our lunch outside in the garden area and it was so special.  We ate the most delicious belly of pork with crackling, roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and gravy.  It was so lovely to enjoy a family lunch together by the river and have the sun shining down on us!  

After our lunch we went for a long walk along the Twickenham river and embraced the wonders that it had to offer.  There were so many beautiful little boats bobbing around and the swans were all dancing in the water.  It was such a pretty setting!

How pretty are these gorgeous wild flowers?  There were hundreds of these all around near the river and they made the area really peaceful and stunning to admire.  It was the most perfect scenery for reading a book or walking your dog,,, the latter was what I did, as my family dog was with us and I enjoyed parading her along the river bank.

On all of the benches in the area, they had numerous quotes from famous literature on them.  My favourite quote was "Act well your part; There all the honour lies, Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind."  It is all about how honor and shame is reflected on the way you act, rather than on your social condition.  An example of this would be when you have a task to do.  Instead of making other people do it for you, you take it upon yourself to make an honourable effort in completing it!

Whilst on our walk, we unexpectedly came across the statues of female figures, which adorn a cascade and pool in the riverside portion of the York House Gardens.  

The sculptures are carved in the renowned Italian white marble of Carrara.  They represent the Oceanides, or sea nymphs of Greek Mythology, and although we cannot be sure of the name of the sculptor, it is believed that they came from a Roman studio in the nineteenth century.  

Unfortunately my pictures do not do the statues any justice... I wish you could have seen what I did. I cannot put into words how in awe I was when I saw them up close!  The whole picture that you see of each individual sea nymph, when you take a step back and allow it to sink in, is incredible as you can admire the precision and detail of each statue, especially as each one has a different emotion on it's face!  Given the fact that they are so old and hand carved, they really are quite breathtaking!

It has been such a wonderful weekend, exploring the Thames in all it's glory.  And I have thoroughly enjoyed Twickenham's company and all that it has to offer!  I'm so excited to return here in the Summer! 

Have you travelled to anywhere nice recently?

M x


Saturday, 4 February 2017

Upon Reflection!

Where do I start?  Well let me first apologise for my absence.  I can't believe that the last blog post I published was four months ago now... which is NO excuse!  I promise from now on to get back into my writing for you and to be more organised, especially with making sure that my blog posts go out on time!

I still cannot believe that we are in 2017... life is going by so quickly and I'm really struggling to keep up!  2016 was by far the best year of my life... I married by best friend, bought my first ever property, got a promotion and renovated our first home from top to bottom.  It was full of excitement and happiness and I didn't want it to end.  It was such a whirlwind of a year and it will always stay true to my heart!  So 2017, you have got some BIG shoes to fill!

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions... I don't know what it is, but I either slip up and fail straight away (especially with exercising more and going on a diet etc), or I give myself the most ridiculous unreachable goals that are just not practical or realistic.  It's like I almost always want myself to fail! I guess what I'm trying to say is that this year and the rest of my future, I would prefer to not change who I am and instead focus on myself, my friends and my family.

So this year I am going to focus on laughing more, reading more, spending more time with my husband, and seeing my family and friends more!  Basically making sure that I'm treasuring the moments that are around me and also enjoying what I have!

What are you going to be reflecting on this year?

M x

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Red Velvet Cupcakes!

I simply cannot resist a good cupcake and so I wanted to recreate the iconic 'Red Velvet' from my favourite company in London, "Hummingbird Bakery".

"The Hummingbird Bakery is a sweet tooth's delight.  The cupcakes are so legendary and our special occasions are always chock full of Hummingbird goodies!" Gwyneth Paltrow.

For the cupcakes you will need:
  • 60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 150g castar sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • 20ml red food colouring
  • 1/2 tea spoon vanilla extract 
  • 120ml butter milk
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1/2 tea spoon salt 
  • 1/2 tea spoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tea spoons white wine vinegar

Method for cupcakes:
  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
  • Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat on a medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste.  Add this to the butter mixture until everything is combined.
  • Pour in half of the buttermilk and beat until well mixed and then add half of the flour and mix until well incorporated.  Repeat this process until all of the buttermilk and flour has been added and the mixture is smooth. 
  • Add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and the vinegar and mix for a couple of minutes.  
  • Spoon the mixture into paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched.  A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.
  • Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the Cream Cheese Frosting on top.  I kept some of the cupcake crumbs to decorate on top of the frosting to add a bit of colour.

For the cream cheese frosting you will need:
  • 300g icing sugar, sifted 
  • 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 125g cream cheese, cold

Method for the frosting:
  • Beat the icing sugar and butter together on a medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
  • Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated.
  • Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
  • Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

And that's how to make the legendary 'Red Velvet Cupcake'... so all you should do now is make a good cup of tea and enjoy!

M x

Monday, 3 October 2016

Flat Iron Review!

The other day Perry and I popped into one of the highly anticipated restaurants in London, "Flat Iron".   It is the type of restaurant where it is first come first serve, because they don't take any reservations and that is one of the reasons why they are so popular.   Every time I walked past it, there was always a huge queue of people waiting patiently for a seat at their table.  That is always a good sign of a great restaurant and we just couldn't wait to get stuck into their food!

When we were seated, we were given a big mug of free salted popcorn, which was really cool and totally unexpected!  It was really comforting to be given a light snack before our main course arrived.

I noticed that the cutlery was so unique, as instead of being given a knife to cut up my steak with, I was given a miniature Chopper instead.  It was so cute as normally choppers are one of the most popular knives for Butchers and so it was really sweet to see mini versions for us to eat with.  

For the main event, we both chose the infamous 'Flat Iron steak' with 'Dripping Cooked Chips', Creamed Spinach' and 'Today's Market Greens'.  It was cooked to absolute perfection and was so tender that it literally melted into my mouth.  All of the side dishes that I chose, matched perfectly with the steak and the whole dish was incredible!  One of the best steaks I've ever had!  I asked my husband, Perry what a 'Flat Iron' steak was and this is what he had to say...
"A flat iron is made from the muscle ,which is taken from the shoulder of the cow and is called the feather blade.  When butchers use precision and seam the gristle properly, it is therefore made into a Flat Iron."  Perry Bartlett, The Ginger Pig

Overall, we had such an amazing time at 'Flat Iron', because the food was insane, the vibe of the restaurant was so casual and laid back and the service was awesome!  Did I forget to mention that after our meal, we were given a casino chip that allowed us to go over to the ice cream station and be greeted with a free homemade chocolate ice cream cone to go... how many restaurants can you name who do that?  I would definitely recommend to you all that if you are in Covent Garden, go and check out 'Flat Iron' and taste their amazing dishes!

M x

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Salad With A Glow!

Since I've moved in with my husband and adjusted to married life, I have been diving into home cooking head first and have really enjoyed it.  One thing that I haven't attempted so far is to create a luxury salad, one that you can either eat on its own or pair with chicken etc.  The other day I purchased Madeleine Shaw's new book "Ready Steady Glow" and I couldn't wait to try her Mango and Avocado salad recipe.

"I adore the taste and texture of this fruit and veg combo - the juicy mango and creamy avocado go so well together.  It's a great salad to beat the bloat; mango is beneficial for digestion as it contains prebiotic dietary fibre that feeds the good bacteria in your gut that help break down food."

Recipe from "Ready Steady Glow", by the lovely Madeleine Shaw.

You will need:

50g Cashews
1 mango, peeled and stoned
1 avocado, peeled and stoned
Juice of 2 limes
1 red chilli finely sliced (deseeded if you like)
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
50g rocket
2 tbsp finely chopped mint

  • Heat a small dry frying pan to a medium-high heat and toast the cashews for 5 minutes, shaking the pan to prevent them from burning.
  • Once they have browned slightly, tip them onto a plate to cool.
  • Finely slice the mango and avocado and toss in half of the lime juice to prevent them from browning.
  • Mix the remaining lime juice with the chilli and ginger.
  • Pile up the rocket, mango and avocado in the middle of the plate.
  • Throw over the toasted cashews, drizzle over the spicy dressing and scatter over the chopped mint.

Now tuck in and enjoy the glow!

M x

A Honeymoon to remember!

The morning after our wedding consisted of us catching our very own taxi (actually it was my Dad as he insisted that he would drive us to the airport) at 4am in the morning to catch the incredibly early flight at 7am.  I must point out that our wedding was on a Saturday and it didn't finish until 1:30am and so catching such an early flight on a Sunday morning, must have made us the two most sleepiest zombies around!  But it was all worth it... for we had booked off 3 weeks and we couldn't wait for our holiday to begin!

We stayed at the incredible "Delphin Imperial" five star resort in Antalya, Turkey.  The one word I could use to describe this resort was 'breathtaking' and we were so lucky to be spending our honeymoon in somewhere so beautiful as this!

Once we checked into our hotel room, we were welcomed by red satin sheets and swans made out of towels.  It was so romantic and unexpected.... it was such a nice touch!  As well as the bedding, we were also welcomed by breakfast in bed which in Turkey is more like a breakfast feast!  It was so delicious and included eggs, toast, bread, jams and nutella, meats, salad, smoothies, fresh juice and tea.  It was so delicious and I couldn't wait to experience the rest of the Turkish food that this resort had to offer.

At the resort they actually had their very own private beach and it was so wonderful to be right by the sea and have nothing but white sand beneath my feet!  

I wanted to make our mark on the resort and so I wrote our initials in the sand... I just couldn't resist! 

Chilling by the pool was definitely my favourite part of the holiday.  To be able to sit back, relax and bask in the glorious hot sun was such a luxury.  It was safe to say that we both didn't want to go back home!

For our first dinner, I wanted to wear a bright colour outfit and so I opted for the colour coral and teamed it with this gorgeous skirt that I bought from Jigsaw which has so many different shades in it.  Finally I teamed it with high wedges and a coral flower in my hair.  Turkey was so hot (38 degrees Celsius most nights) that I simply washed my hair and let it dry naturally, which is why it looks so dark.   

Dinner arrived and it was an incredibly buffet where you can literally choose from over 150 dishes and come back for seconds and thirds (not that i did that at all....)  Our plates were both so packed up with food that you couldn't see the plates at all.  But oh my was the food delicious!  

For my dessert I chose something a little less rich and so I went for melon and a homemade chocolate mousse.  It was so good that I had it practically every night!  Perry on the other hand went for something a little more naughty.... two very rich and chocolate based cakes/puddings.... he may have even gone back for seconds!

Our last meal was a traditional Turkish buffet and our table was dressed with the Turkish flag.  It was a little bit emotional because we didn't want the endless supply of delicious food to end! 

We had such an amazing seven days and it was a holiday that we will both cherish for many years to come!  One day I hope that we will be able to return to Delphin Imperial one last time to reminisce. 

M x
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