Thursday, 30 October 2014


There is no doubt about it, sketch certainly has the kind of je ne sais quoi necessary to distinguish itself from pedestrian afternoon teas. The deliciously tactile pink and gold interior of The Gallery contrives a sense of having taken up residence inside a giant clam shell, for instance.


Life, lately.

Original quote: Benjamin Franklin [Source]

2014, to date, has been relentlessly busy. It has been characterised, for the most part, by significant change and punctuated by such beautiful, exciting things that I simply haven't had any time at all to document along the way. Since my very brief Japan post back in June, which in itself was a couple of months overdue, I have been rather preoccupied with (in no particular order):

  • Moving house - the third time in four years.
  • Leaving one job and starting another - exhausting, but I love it.
  • Attending five weddings - I was lucky enough to be a bridesmaid for my closest friends at three of them, which was just wonderful.
  • Helping to organise - and being present at! - three hen dos.
  • Directing a musical.
  • Welcoming a new niece into the world.

I am not, in any way, glorifying 'busy'. I only mean to say that my evenings and weekends have been tied up one way or another for quite some time. I felt it was really important to enjoy being present and mindful during all of these important life experiences, which didn't leave much time or energy for blogging about them! The new job, which is great, has also been full on. I start at 7:30am and have often been working late, till 9pm some nights. Needless to say, I'm glad to be writing again and I will do my best to fit it in as often as I can.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Japan ~ Part I

I know, I know - it's been ages again. Life lately has been busier than I could ever have imagined, both at work and at home, and I am now counting down the days to what will be the most eagerly awaited and well-deserved Summer hols I have ever had. I am not complaining about being busy, please don't misunderstand, but I am physically exhausted and rather poorly, truth be told, after burning the candle at both ends for far too long (I have just had two back-to-back Hen weekends, for example, in the middle of exam and report writing season...). I'm going to try really hard to make more time for doing nothing at the weekends over the next few weeks, so I'm hoping I'll get back on track with blogging asap.

Anyway, moving on to the important part of this post - time at last for some Japan snaps! This is just a very brief overview of some of my favourite moments from our two and a half week trip, more detailed posts on each of the different areas we visited coming soon(ish!).

Shinjuku, Tokyo

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Sunday Smörgåsbord

Well, it's been a while (much to my regret), but here I am with a few snaps of life lately, shortly to be followed by the first of my Japan posts! Happy Sunday, everyone :-)

1 Easter haul! Still wading our way through it all... I'm on the look out for a new recipe to use up the last of it.

2 Our new baby girl, Cobweb! Snout is very happy to be living next door to his little sister, but Snug isn't yet convinced. They have been out to hop about the living room together, but we won't be bonding them to live together until littl'un is a bit bigger and has been spayed.

3 Pastel nails for Spring.

4 Dior Addict, Eau Sensuelle. We had some leftover Yen at the airport, so decided to treat ourselves to new fragrances. I just love this subtle scent - perfect for sunnier months.

5 Scrumptious doughnuts with hot chocolate dipping sauce from Bill's.

6 Tulips brightening up the kitchen.

7 A recent simple French supper: onion soup, fresh French bread, baked Camembert and candlelight!

8 One of my favourite Japan keepsakes - an Alice in Wonderland t-shirt dress from franche lippée.

9 Incredible seabass at The Olive Branch in Horsham.

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead...

pp x

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Easter Essentials

I don't know about you, but it seems to me that 2014 has been flying by absurdly fast, so much so that Easter is now only a few weeks away! We will be in Japan in the lead up to Easter, so we're unlikely to go overboard with decorations this year, but these seasonal treats are certainly inspiring me...

Splat egg, Hotel Chocolat

Sunday Smörgåsbord

This week has been SO busy at work that our weekend has been a relatively quiet one, as you will see from this week's Smörgåsbord... I cannot tell you how much we have been enjoying the Sun on our skin these past two weekends, and how excited we are counting down the days until we leave for Japan!

I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend!

1 Pretty pastels for Spring! Loving this gorgeous pale pink tennis drop waist dress from French Connection.

2 Tulips ~ my favourite Spring flower.

3 Celebrating a very dear friend's 30th with cheeky litres of Erdinger in the Bavarian Beerhouse, Old Street. I spent a year living in Bavaria (where said friend and I first met in fact, nearly ten years ago), and it is extremely close to my heart. Not an authentic German beerhouse experience, but a fun one all the same!

4 Terramundi pot for the boy's birthday last week. He just LOVES Disney World (so much so that we spent our honeymoon there!), so we're now planning an anniversary trip this Christmas.

5 Essie 'lilacism' ~ the perfect seasonal shade.

6 A Springtime stroll took us past this handsome fella ~ just look at all those beautiful spots!

pp x

Magpie Make & Do ~ Snickerbocker Shake

I'm not an out-and-out milkshake fan, I'll be honest. Much as I wish I did, I just don't like milk, so milkshakes for me always have to be one part milk to nine parts anything but! I don't even want to think about how many calories there are in this devilishly naughty concoction, but frankly, it tastes so good that I'm willing to overlook it, and so should you.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Magpie Top Picks ~ 25% off dresses

Asos prices are always so reasonable, that an extra 25% off seems almost too good to be true! We are off to Japan in a fortnight (squeal!), so I am trying to be good and save my pennies, but even so I am sorely tempted by these beauties...

Warehouse Textured Crepe Shift Dress

Sunday Smörgåsbord

I was so disappointed in failing to meet my blogging target last weekend, but we were just so busy and I've been rather run down of late. My Sunday afternoon/evening blogging spot came and went in a flurry of laundering and ironing, with me heading to bed uncharacteristically early. I fully intend to make up for it though with some extras this week and next...

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Bloomin' marvellous.

My month in plants and flowers...

Cotton balls belong in the bathroom, which is where I've hung this wreath from M&S.

In Bruges

Over the half term break, I surprised my Mr with a trip to the beautiful town of Bruges. Our first ever holiday abroad together was in fact a city break to Brussels, where we had such a wonderful time that we have been eager to return to Belgium ever since.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Sartorial narcissism.

I have always wanted to post in a more personal way on the fashion front, but loathe selfies of myself and sadly cannot rely on my husband to direct me into flattering poses. Having said this, with the recent purchase of a superior camera (not quite into the full swing of it yet, so I am still relying on my iPhone 5 rather a lot at present) and a new found 'bite the bullet' attitude, I have started posting outfits on WIWT - What I Wore Today.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Blog Loving

My little corner of the internet may only be a very tiny spec in the grand scheme of lifestyle blogging, but for me at least it's a valuable space to share some of my favourite things and experiences. I am thrilled and encouraged to see the number of visitors gradually increasing month by month (thank you so much for dropping by!), but with a busy full time job I know it's unlikely ever to become more than a hobby and a way of keeping friends and family up to date.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Scent of a Woman.

Since I was a little girl, I have had an obsession for certain scents. Even as a very small baby, I would pull the clean bed sheet out and over my face to inhale the scent of washing powder and fabric conditioner. When I stayed away from home for the first time, I asked my mum if I could take one of her (worn) jumpers with me. I'll never forget the comforting smell of my mum's perfume lulling me off to sleep that night.

I have the usual favourites - freshly mown grass, bread warm from the oven, the smell of the earth after the rain - but I also love the smells of new puppy, paperbacks, clean sawdust and compost. My more unusual predilections aside, I love perfume, and spritz my pressure points every day - it may be a cliché, but I genuinely feel naked without it! My taste is generally for fresh scents that err on the sweet side, with florals such as Neroli, Jasmine or Lily of the Valley, and notes of vanilla, spice and musk.

The following are my Top 8 fragrances; I pick one according to my mood each morning. If I had to choose one signature scent, I would probably plump for Lady Million, but I wear all these perfumes (not at once, mind!). I should also point out that I don't currently own a bottle of each of these, but I tend to purchase bottles in rotation to change things up a bit.

Paco Rabane, Lady Million, Eau de Parfum

City Spotlight: Brighton

Brighton is amongst my favourite places on this glorious Earth. The waft of chips and ketchup carried on the crisp sea breeze, the cosmopolitan melange of inked hipsters and free-spirited bohemians, the harmony of old world charm and avant-garde intrigue. This enigmatic seaside town stole my heart on a school trip, at the tender age of fifteen, and our love affair continues to this day. Indeed, the hubby and I chose to stage our engagement shoot within its labyrinthine Lanes and along its shingled shore (do take a peek if you would like to see pictures of Brighton far more beautiful than my  crude iPhone snaps!). We even made a point of purchasing my engagement ring and our wedding bands from Brighton, such is our affinity for the place.

Happily, we now find ourselves living only twenty minutes away, though we don't find the time to visit as much as we might like (and the traffic getting in and out can be enough to put you off bothering at all, frankly!). Today, however, we took advantage of the unexpected spot of sunshine and visited a few of our favourite haunts...

© Ria Mishaal Cooke Snaddon

Sunday, 9 February 2014

V is very, very extraordinary.

Nat King Cole had it right, love is certainly more than just a game for two, and never is that more true than on Valentine's Day. Love it or loathe it, V day is just around the corner, and I always think it's a great day to celebrate the love in your life, be it for a partner, a friend, a parent or a sibling. Here are a few of my seasonally befitting picks for you, in case you are on the look out for a gift, or just something to get you in the mood...

Boux Avenue, Tori satin and lace chemise

Magpie Make & Do ~ Sugar Plum Syllabubby Mess

This heavenly hotchpotch of deliciousness is essentially Sophie Dahl's take on Eton Mess, entitled, Christmas Sugarplum Syllabubby Mess. Since I feel it would be sacrilege to confine this scrumptious dessert to the festive season, I hope the lady in question will forgive me for dropping the Christmas bit.

As part of my goal to follow at least one new recipe from each of my 29 cookbooks before I turn 30, I turned to the lovely Miss Dahl last week for something light but sweet. Both the Mr and I have a very sweet tooth, but I'm not always able to squeeze in a stodgy pud after a meal; this recipe is perfect for those occasions, satisfying the sugar craving without sitting in one's stomach like a brick!

I have both Sophie Dahl's recipe books, and love them in equal measure. I enjoy her writing and the photography as much as the recipes, and would recommend them to anyone who loves simple, wholesome food, whimsical writing and the vintage vibe.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Northall

Every January, my husband, sister, brother-in-law and I make a point of going out for dinner and drinks. It's essentially in lieu of buying one another expensive Christmas gifts (though we do buy little things to unwrap for fun), and it also gives us something to look forward to in dull and dreary January. I love what has become an annual tradition, and this year I thought I'd share it with you.

Sunday Smörgåsbord

Clockwise from top left:

1 Spring is on its way! I am longing to see its pretty pastel shades out of the window...

2 After over a year of being married, we have finally put some photos up on the wall!

3 One of the best cocktails I have enjoyed in a long time ~ Bubblegum at the Bassoon bar in London's Corinthia Hotel. Delicious.

4 'Pirum Parum' from Fine Little Day, framed in Ribba from Ikea. I just love this sweet scandi poster in delicate shades of grey and pink. I knew it would be perfect for our bedroom the moment I laid eyes on it. I only wish I could cheer up the poor little pear!

5 Snout. It's a hard life having someone to love you, feed you and clear up your poo...

6 New set of lights from Blaze On (to replace the ones the bunnies chewed through <sigh>). Decided to branch out from hearts and try Star, Sun and Moon this time instead, and am really pleased with them.

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend!

pp x

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Lust List ~ January, 2014

If I happened to have a spare thousand pounds...

Whistles, Meghan Crepe Dress in pink, £115

10 lbs in 10 weeks.

More than anything, this blog post is a testimony; it is essentially my way of ensuring my own accountability for the calories I ingest and burn over the next ten weeks. I think it's worth stating at this point that am not a body fascist, I love food and I have no intention of either starving myself or spending every god-given hour at the gym. I am not technically overweight (yet!), but I have been feeling heavy and less comfortable in some of my clothes, and something has to change now before I move any further in the wrong direction.


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Thirty before 30.

I turn 30 this year. I am not afraid.


Being an August baby, I've always been keen to catch up with my peers in the age stakes. I remember how agonising it was, waiting to turn sixteen, seventeen and eighteen, simply to finally be legally allowed to do all the things you'd been doing for years anyway. It seems strange now, to have been in such a hurry to have the next number in the sequence proverbially stamped on your forehead. I can honestly say that 30 is no exception; I'm sprinting for the finishing line. Whilst I acknowledge the significance some may place upon the end of their twenties, I cannot share their trepidation in the face of the big 3-0. For me, this birthday milestone is all about celebrating the passing of my twenties (interspersed as they were with bad boys, poor financial management and regrettable sartorial choices) and embracing my thirties (making good choices, making money, making babies - not yet, Mum & Dad!).

Winter Weekend Warmers

It's cold, it gets dark early and all you seem to want to do is eat and sleep. Here are my top picks for making the most of these Winter weekends...

Hunter Original Short in Biscuit, £70

Magpie Make & Do ~ Macarons au Chocolat

Macaroons are a real favourite of mine. I love to eat them (that initial crack of the shell that gives way to the most gratifying of delicately chewy textures...); in fact I'm happy just to look at and admire them in all their pastel perfection! Locally, the best can be found at Maison Blanc. The time was finally ripe for me to try making my own, when one of my best friends kindly bought us this beautiful recipe cook for our anniversary (the pages are edged in gold leaf!):

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Magpie Must Haves ~ For The 9 To 5

I don't know about you, but it's little everyday luxuries that really see me through my working week. Enjoying daily rituals and making the most of work and chores with the right accessories really perks me up when the early starts, long days and grim weather might otherwise get me down.

Here are my current Top 5 must haves that see me through my working day...