Project House: Room 1 The Kitchen

The husband and I moved in to a lovely Victorian semi last winter and have slowly started to work on restoring it to its forming glory/ bringing it into the 21st century. 

The first room change and what we deemed the most important upon moving  in was the kitchen. It was very beige and bland with some scary looking appliances and we desperately wanted a bright, clean modern kitchen. 

We knew we wanted pale colours for the cupboards and very quickly decided on a pale grey. The worktop took slightly more  discussing, but in the end we went for a lovely solid wood walnut worktop. I was slightly apprehensive about a solid wood worktop but it’s beautiful and let’s face it if you tried hard enough you could ruin any worktop. 


I have added a couple of marble worktop savers from sainsburys that can stay out all the time for safe cooking zones! 

We did all the work ourselves well withhelp from family and a couple of pressionals to help with the specialist tasks but it took us a long time and it’s not quite complete yet. We still have the finishing touches to add like blindes etc but we are so happy to have a working kitchen again! 

It is so nice to have a decent oven and hob that we can actually cook with! The old appliances were less than desirable and not easy to use, now we have a delightful induction job and oven from neff @ John Lewis. They are so sleek and smart we absolutely love them and are a dream to use.



Now on to all the pretty bits to brighten the room and make it feel like ours. 

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Beach Days: West Wittering

It’s a rarity that we have a bank holiday weekend in the UK and glorious weather but that is exactly what happened this weekend. The sun was well and truly shining and what better way to spend the day than on the coast.

We knew it was likely to be heaving but we have been so busy of late with weddings and holidays and renovating our house we thought this is the only option for a quiet day of doing nothing. So it was decided we would get up early and make the trip down to West Wittering in West Sussex. 

We have a lovely little dog who we like to take with us on as many adventures as possible and as he has never been to the beach before this trip was all about him. 

The Wittering’s are very dog friendly- they can’t go on the whole beach between May and September- the main section in front of the beach huts is off limits but it is plenty large enough for them to frolick away from this area- and truth be told much better as the rest of the beach in front of the sand dunes was lovely and quiet even on the busiest of days. 


The Wittering’s are around an hour and half’s a drive from London and it’s a relatively easy drive. Parking is plentiful- there is a big expanse of grass to park on which is pay and display- £8 in summer I believe it’s £6 in low season so make sure you have cash. The area is well catered for with toilets and a cafe selling ice cream, the obligatory fish and chips and any other refreshments you might need.

You can bring BBQs and all the catering you desire with many people setting up camp on the grass in the car park before making way to the beach. 

The water was very calm and shallow- perfect for dogs to paddle in and the wide expanse of beach means mans best friend can really let loose. 


The glorious soft white sand in the dunes was a lovely secluded spot to sit and let the pup calm down after the excitement of playing with so many dogs and experiencing the sea for the first time- he ran in after a big lab chasing a ball and got quite a shock when just his head was out of the water. 

For me this is the perfect dog walking spot before the crowds arrive- and probably even better out of season. 


Foodie Review- The Hand & Flowers 

After a very very long wait we finally managed to get a table at Tom Kerridge’s pub in Marlow, The Hand & Flowers. Thankfully it was worth the wait. 

It’s a small pub with all the old world charm you would expect, think plush leather swivel chairs in the bar, low beams and bespoke wood serving dishes. It’s dark ambience manages to create a relaxed informal vibe with the added bonus of very attentive, friendly staff. 

We had a quick drink in the bar before heading to our table and after managing the climb up to the largest bar stool I have ever sat on enjoyed a delicous passion fruit, gin cocktail- all my favourite things!

The waiter informed us that Tom was working in the kitchen that night so our expectations were even higher. 

Whitebait with bread and butter was delivered to the table to whet your appetite while we waited for our starters to arrive. 

All the dishes were beautifully presented and as you would imagine very rich and intensely flavoured.  

We had the parfait to start and the fillet steak and venison for main and both were fantastic. The beef fillet was big- too big for me, and as you would imagine was served medium rare, delicious yes and a dream for any dedicated meat lover. 

By the time the dessert menu came round we were well and truly stuffed but as we didn’t want miss out decided to share the banana soufflé with cheesecake ice cream. 

All in all would highly recommend. 




Copenhagen 

The only thing I knew about Copenhagen before visiting was it’s a good place to visit for a foodie trip- and that it was but there is so much more to this Danish city than just good food.

Ok so it’s very small, and yes there aren’t that many sights to see but it’s just so calm and quiet and nice! One thing they are very proud of is Hans Cristian Anderson. He appears a lot in Copenhagen from the very tiny statue of the little mermaid and subsequent replicas everywhere to the places he lived, and many streets bearing his name.  Carlsberg is another as well as the best cinnamon pastry I have ever eaten- ever- it was huge and delicious! 

Yes I did say there is more to Copenhagen than just food but it’s so good! 

Paper island or papiron is a street food market on the harbour- an old warehouse full of different street food stalls. The food is delicious and it has such a nice chilled out atmosphere. You can get an array of food from pulled duck to vegan burgers and beer and coffee. We went at night and it was the perfect spot for an authentic, relaxed dinner. 



There are sites to see- most of which offer views of this small town and are free so you can have a good look around. 

The harbour is a main feature of Copenhagen and it’s beautiful. Lined with bars and restaurants to enjoy a cold beer in the sun. 


Shopping is great, they everything from small Independents to high street labels and luxury brands. As you would expect there were lots of home interior shops with lots of lovely prints and pottery in the typical Danish style.


One of the man attractions has got to be the tivoli gardens amusement park. We went just out of season by a matter days so the gardens were still closed,  but it would definitely be on my must do list for a return trip. 


It is expensive, everything in Copenhagen is expensive but as you would expect so come prepared but this relaxed charming city is definitely worth a visit. 

Venice 

Lovely Venice, like no place else on earth, it really is one of a kind and a must visit on everyone’s travel list. 

The hubby and I were in need of a long weekend to get away from house renovations and like most people Venice was always somewhere we talked about going but never seemed to book. So we had a long weekend free and decided to pull our socks up and make Venice our destination. 

What a perfect weekend it turned out to be, tiring yes- Venice is a place for walking and walking and getting lost and doing some more walking (so comfy shoes really are a must) yet at the same time being outside all day everyday, feeling the wind in your hair it was so relaxing!

It is very small- so all that walking is in a confined area and really lets you see everything the place has to offer- occasionally multiple times. Around every corner you are met with picture perfect views, if Instagram created a city- Venice is surely it. 


It is very touristy, we went in March and even then- out of season it was really busy. Planning is key, we knew exactly what we wanted to do when whilst still leaving plenty of time to wander and sit by the canal drinking Spritz’s in the sun. It’s a place for people watching and bagging the best tables is tricky business. If you see a free table on the water front- don’t hang about grab it quick!

The architecture is amazing, its unfathomable to think how the place was built and is still standing today with doors to nowhere making it all the more beautiful.


You don’t need a lot of time to see Venice so a weekend break is perfect- below are a few ideas of what to do.

1. Take a private water taxi for your airport transfer. It’s a tad indulgent but so much fun speeding into Venice. You can also get a shared taxi for less of the cost but still much quicker than getting the public boat. 

2. Take a gondola ride- yes its touristy, yes it’s expensive but your in Venice!! Where else would you do this? It’s nice to get up close and personal with the canals- and yes in places there is a smell…


3. Enjoy a gelato!! They are the best! Who doesn’t love ice cream and a sweet treat when your sight seeing is always handy. 

4. Visit the wonderful bookshop- Books everywhere, there is even a staircase out the back made entirely from books. 


5. Visit the doges palace and see the view from inside the bridge of sighs. 


6. Take a tour of nearby islands for a look at a quieter way of Venetian life and marvel at the beautiful coloured houses. 


7. Enjoy coffee as the venetians do,knock back an espresso standing at the counter with a delicious sweet treat to accompany. The perfect pick me up! 

8. Enjoy an al fresco lunch. I’m a huge foodie and every trip we take must focus on trying as many delicious eateries as possible-Venice didn’t disappoint. 


Make sure this is one place you tick off your travel list… 

Where to stay.

We flew with BA from London Heathrow to Marco Polo and stayed at the Hilton Molino Stucky.

The Hilton is a large hotel on a separate island but a mere ten minute boat ride away from San Marco. The hotel offers a free shuttle service that is great- it’s so quick and efficient. We were slightly concerned with vein away from the main area but didn’t need to at all. It was so easy to get about and the area the hotel was in was lovely and quiet and had some delicious places to eat. The hotel was large, great breakfast with lots of choice and a fantastic rooftop bar with views of the lagoon. 

Our room was a really good size and very comfortable- we opted for a room with a view- when in Venice! 

The Close Hotel, Tetbury

When a spare weekend comes calling the only thing to do is pack up the husband and dog and head off for a weekend in the country. 

The dog friendly The Close Hotel in the charming Cotswolds village of Tetbury is the perfect country weekend.

Tetbury is full of lovely pubs to dine, with practically all of them being dog friendly and lots of lovely antique shops to rummage in.

The hotel has a very small car park round the back but it is situated slap bang in the middle of the village so we grabbed one of the hotels umbrellas and went exploring. It’s a very small place but we managed to keep ourselves entertained eating, shopping and walking the dog.

The lovely city of Bath is only a short drive away if you have more time than we did as is westonbirt arboretum. A lovely place to walk the dog, it did get very busy as the sun came out and is pricier than I had expected to enter but with loads of canine friends to make finny was more than happy.

The hotel itself was a delight, small but perfectly formed with a selection of dog friendly rooms (make sure you book in advance). The small well maintained garden would have been lovely to sit out in had it not been pouring with rain when we arrived. Dogs are allowed in the bar where the very helpful staff let us order from the main restaurant menu so we could dine with the pup. 

Our room was perfect for travelling with the dog, with its own separate entrance and private corridor there was plenty of room for wet boots and leads. The room itself was tastefully decorated and a great size, with molten brown toiletries in the bathroom and gloriously soft king sized bed. A very relaxing weekend was had by all, well fed, well walked and well rested, what more could you ask for. 


Disneyland Paris 

If there is one thing that’s certain in life it’s that you are never too old for Disneyland. It is one of those places that no matter who you go with you are sure to have a fun time. 

I recently paid a visit to Disneyland Paris with my husband, a first timer and not a particularly big Disney fan and we had a great time!

We had loads of fun, there are plenty of rides that appeal to adults- only thing worth noting is that both times I have been there have been multiple rides closed for renovations which was very disappointing as this did reduce the amount of rides geared towards our age range. If you happen to be lucky enough to go when everything is open there is plenty for a full day!

The train from central Paris is super easy, it took about 45 mins from the Champs-Élysées and the station is right outside the gates to the parks. 

Make sure you get access to both parks,  Disneyland and Warner Bros Studios which did give a wider selection of things to do suited to our requirements. 

There are plenty of options for food and drink throughout both parks, prices are what you would expect from a theme park and consists mainly of the expected fast food but you won’t go hungry. Maybe bring a Oakes lunch if your fussy, or on a budget.

If you have young children then this place is a dream, it’s immaculately presented with a Disney character parade throughout the day and tonnes of rides for children to enjoy.

This is definitely worth a visit next time a trip to Paris is on the cards. 

Prices start from £36 for an adult ticket to both parks. 

  
 

 

July’s Beauty Must Have: Benetint

A healthy, rosy glow can be hard to fake, most blushers offer a dull, lacklustre too pink appearance that if used incorrectly age you rather than make you look young and fresh faced. 

Benetint by benefit is a cheek stain that helps you achieve  a lovely, natural flushed cheek. The red liquid can look a little scary in the bottle but a tiny amount dabbed onto skin with the applicator brush then blended with fingers goes a long way. It is quite runny so you really do only need a dab and it lasts all day! 

This really is a must have part of my beauty routine.

£24.50 

 

New York, New York

When it’s a bank holiday weekend and a birthday weekend there really is only one thing for it- a trip to the big apple!! 

Now I was lucky enough to be treated to a surprise weekend in New York for my birthday and it was the BEST birthday present a girl could ask for. 

The weather was a glorious 30 degrees Celcius, sun shining everyday which made being out and about sight seeing even more enjoyable. 

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt in a club room which meant we had access to the lounge for refreshments throughout the day which was good although as most of our time was spent away from the hotel we didn’t take full advantage of what was on offer. Rooms were a decent size although rather dark and noisy but then again this is the city that never sleeps!! 

New York is the most amazing city break, we walked for miles so comfy shoes are a must as well as lots of cash for all that shopping… And eating…

There are far too many activities for just one trip but we managed to pack in as many as we could. Below is a small selection:

1. Hire a row boat at Central Park:

  

2. Take the ferry to see the statue of liberty:

 

3. Take a helicopter ride:

  

  
4. Gaze at the lights in Times Square: 

 

5. Admire the view from the top of the Empire State Building:

  
6. Shop till you drop- there are loads of places to choose from, the famous 5th avenue, Bloomingdales and the list goes on…

  

7. Cool off with an ice cream from one of the many ice cream vans: 

8. Enjoy some amazing food:

9. See a show on Broadway. There are so many to choose from it would be rude not to. 

10. Take a stroll… Whether it’s through Central Park, downtown, uptown or anywhere about town there are so many amazing things to see. 

   
          

  

June’s Beauty Must Have: Bobbi Brown

I’m not one for wearing foundation, I have incredibly sensitive skin and the feeling of a layer of foundation coating my skin is not one I enjoy however this is no longer an issue with the Bobby Brown foundation stick. 

It comes in a variety of shades to suit all skin tones and it blends in seamlessly. 

The stick is a good size and a little goes a long way. It’s incredibly light and  gives skin a flawless look that lasts all day. This is hands down the most comfortable product I have ever put on my skin and a must have edition to any make up bag.