Monday, 31 January 2011

Charity shop find - mother of pearl evening bag

I'm so happy with this gorgeous little evening bag which I found in a charity shop on the Kings Road for a whole £10.

It's versatile enough to dress down with black skinny jeans, biker boots and a band t shirt or up with a LBD & heels.  And I just love the mother of pearl buttons.

Best of all it reminds me of this beautiful Angel Jackson satchel which retails at a cool £221 so I feel I've saved £210 - right?

Image via

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Things that are making me happy today

It's icily cold here in London today and I'm struggling to complete my tax return in time.

Here are a few things that are keeping my spirits up

Daffodils to remind me that spring is just around the corner.

Freshly sliced kiwi fruit.

Good chocolate.

How do you keep your spirits up?  x

Friday, 28 January 2011

In Bruges, with lots of chocolate but no sign of Colin Farrell

The first stop on the trip that I mentioned here was Bruges, in Belgium.  

Bruges gets a bad press as a boring, provincial town. During the film 'In Bruges' Colin Farrell says to Ray Winstone, 'If I had grown up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me. But I didn't, so it doesn't.'  Harsh, I feel.  I thought it was a charming, pretty little town. 

We saw beautiful medieval architecture

and sweet little homes

There were rather endearing examples of mistranslation or misunderstanding of English.  This was a posh gentleman's outfitters. We could only assume that they were thinking of horse and carriage here. 

Maybe 'Bras' means something else in Flemish but it amused us in a puerile way.  It was a restaurant.

There was unexpected humour in staid public places

You have to look carefully at this but there are two sculptural figures on that balcony.  They look like a couple who've just had an argument.

and quirky sculpture in private places.  I think this was meant to be a teradactyl. 

We ate the most delicious Flemish stew here.

and marveled at the amount of chocolate shops everywhere.  

As far as I'm concerned, a town that has a shop selling real artisanial chocolate around practically every corner can't be boring.  We found a wonderful little shop - Chocolaterie de Burg, Marleen Maenhout Burg 15, 8000 Bruges, (it doesn't have a website) - that sold the strangest and most wonderful flavours of chocolate I've ever come across;
  • coriander chocolate (didn't work)
  • rose & black pepper (worked)
  • wild mint (didn't work)
  • basil (worked)
  • and all the standard flavours, praline, chilli, vanilla etc. which were lovely.
After a hard days eating chocolate, sightseeing, we needed to sit down with a hot drink.  The Boyfriend spotted Koets 27b, a beautiful tea & dining room way off the very well beaten tourist trail.  I loved it as soon as I walked in. Decor-wise, it combined rustic with refined.  It was a converted coach house with a conservatory that overlooked an old walled garden.  The only thing I didn't like was the fact that the toilets were up a very steep flight of stairs - practically a ladder.  I wouldn't like to negotiate them after a drink or two.

There were 52 varieties of tea on the menu.  I had wood flavour which tasted of raspberries.  Nice but not woody.

All in all, I loved Bruges and I'd thoroughly recommend it for an weekend away.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The return

I'm returned from my trip!  

It was great in the way that France & Belgium always are.  I have a very important job interview tomorrow, then I'll be back with some more posts.

Crossing fingers for the interview tomorrow.

Friday, 14 January 2011

In which I go to hospital in an ambulance

We were planning on leaving for France today but I woke up early this morning with an agonizing pain in my chest, unable to breathe.  It was absolutely bloody terrifying. Every breath I took made it worse and every movement was excruciating.  I pride myself on being quite tough but that was like nothing I'd felt before.  

The Boyfriend dialed 999 and the ambulance was there within minutes.  Seriously.  He barely had time to put his shoes on. Fifteen minutes later I was in the hospital having tests.  It was absolutely awe inspiring.  There's a lot of criticism of the NHS but I've experienced it at the sharp end and I can tell you I was so grateful and so humbled by the professionalism, the efficiency and the decency of every single person I encountered.  And I didn't pay a single penny.  Forget everything else - in my mind, the mark of civilization is free, effective health care.

And the prognosis?  They think it's gall stones.  Glamorous, I know.  The doctor feels I'll be ok to go to France so I've been given painkillers the size of horse pills, I'm resting today and we're hoping to leave for France tomorrow.  When I return, I'll have to have stomach scans for gall stones and we'll take it from there.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

No sooner am I back, than I go away again.

I'm off to France now for a week so it's radio silence for a while.  We're planning on visiting the WW1 battlefields in northern France, then on to Paris so I should have some lovely posts when I get back.

Chanel, Laduree...  Can't wait.

Update on the floods

I've heard from my family and they're all safe.  They had to leave their house because it was at such high risk of flooding but thank God, the river didn't peak as high as was expected, so the water didn't reach their house. They're now waiting for the water to subside so they can move back in.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Queensland floods - so helpless.

I've been following, with growing horror, the news of the floods in Queensland, Australia and especially Brisbane.  I have family in Brisbane and it's very, very  hard to know that they're caught up in such an event and there's absolutely nothing you can do to help.  Their street is at high risk of flooding so they've evacuated and are waiting to see what happens. They seem to be in good spirits considering the situation they're in, so fingers crossed...

I fell in love with Queensland & Brisbane when I was in Australia in mid 2009.  I felt that this was the Australia I'd travelled half way across the world to see - the Barrier Reef, the rainforest, the breathtaking beaches, the colonial architecture with the wrap-around verandahs and the friendly, weather beaten people.  There's a magical quality about it. 

Brisbane, (the capital of Queensland) is a gorgeous city. It somehow manages to combine ultra modernity with a relaxed living-with-nature vibe.  This picture below was a street in central Brisbane but it felt like you were in some outpost just hacked out of the bush.

Photo is my own.

My favorite part of Brisbane was the boardwalk along the riverside that, at times, goes through the mangrove swamps.

I loved strolling along there in the fine weather, stopping occasionally to watch the wildlife in the swamps.  So it was heartbreaking this morning to read that Brisbane City Council has decided to demolish it because they're worried it's going to break loose and act like a deadly missile as it's swept along in the flood waters.


Tuesday, 11 January 2011

I've returned.

Wow, it has been a long time since I've blogged.  

There are many reasons why there's been such a long break - the main one being work commitments.  Regular readers of this blog will know that I've been looking for work for a while and in the last couple of months my freelance work has taken off.  I've managed to get on the crew for one of London's major nightclubs so my nights have been filled with loud, loud music & very drunk people and my days with sleep, calm & tranquillity.  

Another reason, if I'm honest, is that I find blogging needs a certain level of emotional commitment and at times I find this quite difficult.  Does anyone else feel this way?

To celebrate my return, here's a picture I took recently during the latest snowy weather.  Enjoy.


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