Tag Archive | afternoon tea

A Transient Period

So 12th Jan arrived and passed and the diet had yet to begin with biscuits, nuts and chocolates still hanging around from Christmas. Even now come March, my willpower is currently at an all-time low; in the words of Homer Simpson ‘oooh doughnuts!’ Stepping on to the scales, I nearly gave myself a coronary. I’m not going to share how much I was but suffice to say, it’s the heaviest I have ever been and losing a stone would only really be scratching at the surface!

Most women will tell you that January sparks the need for a diet and I overheard plenty of conversations about it on the train home from work. There is a tendency to look for a quick fix celebrity diet and I have become victim to this before with the 5:2 diet. This year’s fads appear to include the Paleo diet – where the only foods consumed are those that are believed to have been available to the caveman in the prehistoric era and the Vegan before 6 diet which is what its name suggests. We all would love to find that magic bullet but the reality is losing weight is hard and if you want to keep it off, it’s going to mean a lifestyle change – a diet is forever. All whilst we continue to stuff our faces with fatty, sugary foods and sit on our backsides – we are snookered! (Talking of Snooker, the things you do for love. I sat through over 8 hours of live snooker with my husband at The Masters, held at Alexandra Palace which I treated him to for Christmas).

I guess if I want to get bikini body ready by my holiday in May and then maintain it, I’m going to have to start swapping the chocolate for fruit, the alcohol for water and upping my exercise routine. Now with exercise the key is to find something that you enjoy and for me that is walking. I should have extra motivation to do it, as my husband and I need to get in training for the 26.2 mile Moon Walk in May to raise money for breast cancer research.   Time seems to constantly be an issue but of course that is just a lame excuse really. I feel even guiltier when I log on to Facebook and see my sister in law’s latest plotted walk. Hopefully raising money will push me into it, so if your new year’s resolution was to think of others then here is your opportunity to fulfil that – follow the link to our fundraising page.

https://moonwalklondon2015.everydayhero.com/uk/paper-chase

I feel the start of the year has conspired against my efforts to adopt healthy eating (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!) as I have been fortunate enough to have a busy social life involving food and alcohol (the dreaded empty calories).

For my sister-in-law’s birthday, we visited Eight in Rainham. This is a lovely boutique restaurant which can accommodate less than 25 diners on the ground floor but does also have an upstairs which is used on special ocassions or can be hired out. There is black sparkly wallpaper adorning one wall, a deep pink wall with a mirror shaped as a number eight and beautiful chandeliers cascade soft lighting over the tables. The food is delicious and I couldn’t resist the camembert wedges to start and pan fried salmon for main. The puddings are a bit of a let-down so I guess it marginally helps the diet.

http://www.eightrestaurant.net/

My friend organised a cheese and wine evening round at hers and whilst enjoying the fine wine and range of cheeses, we amused ourselves with poker. I feel so grown up now we all have mortgages and opt for nights in rather than big nights out! I felt like dressing up a little for this so wore my red full midi tulle skirt purchased in the Asos sale with a black polo neck top from Oasis and some red suede heels I purchased in New Look. I accessorized with a long pearl necklace and clipped a red flower from Glitz4you, onto them.

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I then got invited to dinner at another friends to see her new home she has just purchased which is a stunning Victorian semi in Tunbridge Wells. For that I wore a denim dress from New Look which was quite Alexa Chung in style with my black suede Kookai Boots and Swarovski crystal tights. Denim is very fashionable again this season with it even being appropriate to exhibit the long standing fashion no no of double denim. Alexa Chung has designed a capsule collection this year with sophisticated denim brand, AG Jeans and the famous Levi 501’s have also had a bit of a makeover, making them more fitted than previous designs.

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Valentine’s Day came round – our first as a married couple. Now going out on the day is notoriously a let-down with restaurants cramming you in and ripping you off with a ‘special’ menu. We opted for something completely different this year and went for afternoon tea at our local garden centre, Dobbies. It was very civilised and great value at only £15 with a glass of Prosecco each.

valentines afternoon

I’m finding it hard to believe that we are already nearing the end of March and this is my first blog of the year, hence it is somewhat longer than usual – time is flying by.

March 25th saw Sarah Jessica Parker turn 50 – so by way of celebration for my fashion icon, I give you my top 10 favourite outfits she wore as Carrie in Sex and the City, along with the one Sarah Jessica Parker wore to London Premier of Sex and the City 2 where I got to meet her. Carrie taught us to be confident in our fashion choices so that you can pull off anything – the candy girl outfit and pyjama/fur coat combo, illustrate this perfectly.

carrie vogue outfit

baby shower

Carrie jury service

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candy stripper

flower dress

newsprint dress

pyjAMAS

oscar de la renta

magazine clutch

At Sex and the City 2 premier in Leicester Square

At Sex and the City 2 premier in Leicester Square

One Friday night in March, I went for a friends belated birthday drinks in Camden at a bar called Fifty Five. For this I opted to wear my new jeans – in the cut of the season – flared; a nod to the 70’s fashion. I teamed it with a grey boxy t-shirt and butterfly snood all from New Look, completing the look, drawing on the purple in the snood, with some purple suede wedges that a bought a few seasons back in the Oasis sale. The one rule to remember with flares is to wear wedges, platforms or block heels as stilettos just don’t compliment them. The more observant amongst you will also notice I chose one of my 70’s vintage magazine clutches (mentioned in my previous blog and seen in one of my favourite Carrie outfit pictures) to really set off the vintage look.

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Last weekend a friend and I travelled to Ladbroke Grove/Notting Hill area for a long overdue girly catch up. For this outing I chose to wear my denim A- line mini skirt (another 70’s inspired look) with my pussy bow blouse with birds on and Ugg Boots as I knew we would be walking around a lot so opted for comfort for a change! My bag was my fast becoming favourite, magazine clutch again.  My friend kindly loaned me her Prada sunglasses which I fell in love with and now have to have a pair! I have been meaning to visit this area of London for a while, immortalised in the Hugh Grant/Julia Roberts romantic comedy of the same name. It was largely run down until the 1980s but has now become quite a fashionable and affluent area with its beautiful coloured Victorian town houses and terraces. Portobello Road is what the area is best known for, which once housed the author George Orwell and is now home to the famous Portobello Road Market. It is filled with antique, shabby chic and vintage style shops, albeit with some well-known chain stores now interwoven. We spent a good while browsing and immersing ourselves in the bohemian atmosphere; as my friend commented very like Camden without the smell of weed! We then enjoyed afternoon tea at the Biscuiteers Boutique on Kensington Park Road. This beautiful shop sells iced biscuits for every occasion and also has an icing café where you can test out your own skills. The tea was beautiful; including an array of London themed iced biscuits and was a real bargain at £24 each which included two glasses of Prosecco.

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The shop is stunningly decorated with what I would describe as blue willow wallpaper and a wall of vintage mirrors which gives a fantastic effect and is a stylish idea I might well steal for decorating any future house; which brings me nicely on to my exciting news of the month.

We finally took the plunge and put our house on the market and amazingly it sold in a matter of days to the first and only person that viewed it. This brings with it mixed emotions for me. After nearly four years of living there, it has become my home as much as my husband’s even though he purchased it long before we met. I love the history of it – it is a Victorian terrace built in 1897 and I really like all we have done to it; especially the reinstalling of a Victorian tiled fireplace in the dining room which was a great find on EBay, The North African inspired décor in the dining room, our Greek inspired patio, our sunny bathroom, our purple boudoir and my wonderful wardrobe.

The thought of a new house to decorate however is very exciting and now we have had our offer accepted on a lovely 1930’s semi, I am far more enthusiastic about the move in general. Suddenly bathrooms and wallpaper are becoming as appealing to window shop for as shoes – well almost! One thing is for sure I finally feel content to remain living in Rainham, especially now it has become somewhat of destination vintage; with a new café called Nutmeg which is very Cath Kidston inspired and does a beautiful cream tea as well as a shop called The Vintage Dove which sells various shabby chic gifts and runs craft classes upstairs.  I am hoping to try their class in Autentico Beginners Furniture Painting as I am planning to upcycle the pine table and chairs given to us by my husband’s parents.

the vintage dove

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I wanted to end with an array of pictures of what was a much loved first home. Fingers crossed sale goes through and we don’t have to start the search again as it is extremely stressful. Until next time ….

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living room

dining room

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kitchen

bathroom

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bedroom

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A Greek Afternoon

The last Saturday in September was my brother Rob and his fiancé Jade’s wedding day. It was a lovely sunny day and mild for the time of year.

I chose to wear this oriental inspired dress from Oasis and paired it with black pointy shoes from New Look and a bag which complimented the pink as well as the black also from New Look. The look was finished off by a salmon pink fascinator. I co-ordinated my husband by dressing him with a matching salmon pink tie.

my outfit

bag and shoes

fascinator

Guests were taken to the quaint church by a 1970’s double decked bus which a friend owned and drove and they had decorated up with white bows and a mr&mrs garland.

bus

The church itself, All Saints in Foots Cray dates from 1330, although there have been various modifications made since that date. It is a very pretty church with a nice meadow next to it where lots of the photos were taken. It was a church held dear by Jade as her maternal Grandparents were married there some 62 years ago – how lovely for them to see their Granddaughter married in the same church.

The orders of service were handmade and matched the heart theme of the invitations. I loved the fact that their choice of hymns took me back to school assemblies with ‘Make me a Channel of your Peace’ and ‘Whole World in his Hands’. I read a piece from the bible and the second reading was a poem from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and was the first nod of a Greek theme being that the film was set on the Greek island of Kefalonia.

The bride and her father arrived in a lovely Bentley and she looked stunning in her dress which was a beaded top with sweetheart neckline and a beautiful bow around the middle. She was followed down the aisle by her cousin, a last minute stand in for Maid of Honour who unfortunately was ill and 2 wonderful flower girls – Jade and Rob’s 3 year old daughter and their niece who was 2. The 2 girls wore champagne dresses from BHS and little shrugs made by Jade’s Grandma. The flowers were champagne and white roses and were all artificial but you never would have guessed – they looked just as stunning as fresh flowers would.  The men in the bridal party had gold patterned ties.

jade

bridesmaids

Whilst Jade and Rob signed the register with their witnesses, my Mum’s brother sang ‘Ava Maria’, ‘All of Me’ and ‘How Long will you love me’. His performances were met with a round of applause, something he had not been expecting.

After the confetti and a number of photos, Jade and Rob joined their guests on the bus and we were driven to the reception at Shortlands golf club where we were welcomed with bucks fizz.

Each table had been beautifully laid out and this was where the Greek theme started to shine. The table plan was handmade with a Greek style border around each table. Each table had an olive tree as a centre piece with fairy lights twisted in them, a sign with the table name on and some old black and white photos of Cyprus. The tables were named after Greek Gods, we were sat on Zeus, the father of the Gods. The top table had a hint of my brother’s passion in it as the olive tree sat in a spring from a train that had been sprayed gold. Favours were cream boxes which had your name and a picture of the God whose name adorned your table. Inside were 5 sugared almonds with the relevant meaning, a couple of other sweets and an old Cypriot coin. Also on the table were butterfly social stirrers (something to stir your tea or coffee with a conversation starter printed on it), a quote/fact about marriage e.g. ‘In the words of Groucho Marx, marriage is a wonderful institution but who wants to live in an institution.’  There was also a card describing some of the Greek traditions for a wedding. They had painstakingly cut out heart confetti from Greek newspaper which was sprinkled on the table– tying together both the heart theme and the Greek theme.

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table

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The sit down meal or wedding breakfast was a quintessentially English afternoon tea. The company who did this supplied lovely vintage crockery as well as some vintage props and an old suitcase for any wedding cards. Postcards were handed out for guests to write some advice or a memory on for the couple – an alternative take on the guest book. The children were given glass milk bottles filled with lemonade and a traditional styled straw which added to the vintage feel.

afternoon tea

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The speeches followed and unusually the bride also said a few words as she handed out gifts to the relevant people of the bridal party. It was lovely that they gave gifts to both the fathers and the mothers rather than just the traditional mother’s gift. The father of the bride speech had clearly taken quite some preparation as he talked about the history of the ‘Baines’ name and that of the ‘Michaelides’.

The tables were then pushed aside and a Greek band arrived. Everyone had an opportunity to take part in the dancing and we were particularly amused by a dance the lead musician got my brother and his best man (my Dad) to do. Then it was time for the Greek money dance. It is traditional for the bride and groom to hold a handkerchief between them and guests take it in turns, pinning an equal amount of money on both the bride and groom.

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best man dance

money dance

The cake was cut which had been made by my Auntie and had cream roses and a kind of drape that to me resembled the traditional Greek robe. Then the couple enjoyed their first dance to ‘Everything’ by Michael Bauble – a favourite of Jade’s.

cake

After the traditional Greek music there was a DJ and a fish and chip van came to provide the evening food which was a lovely novel idea. The couple really had thought of everything and provided a bucket of gold flip flops for tired dancing feet which I have not seen done before.

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At the end of the evening, my husband and I left for the train station, both a little the worse for wear and staggering along with one of the olive trees that I was given as a thank you for doing the reading – we must have looked a sight!

The day was so quirky and unique and it was abundantly clear just how much effort each of them had put into the day. It shows that even when the budget is modest, a wonderful day can be achieved. Jade and Rob make a lovely couple and I wish them a lifetime of happiness.

confetti