Sunday, 30 September 2012

Back in the Kitchen

It wasn't that I went off food; I just really couldn't be bothered to cook anything.  The Cub's were up 24/7; my book was requiring full attention and the house felt like it was in the running to be the set of the new Arachnophobia sequel. The thought of cooking once I'd reached the heavenly 7pm milestone made me want to run, screaming for the hills.  So I stopped.  We fell into a weekly pattern that involved minimal thought or effort.  Monday was an M&S chicken kiev.  Wednesday - fish and chips from the van in the village and Friday,  Pizza from Ricco's pizza shack- also handily parked behind our house for the night.  So that only left tuesdays and thursdays to come up with something.  It would usually involve a baked potato or if I was feeling energetic, a chicken.  I tried to make it healthy though to counteract the three other health by-pass days.


This week however, I turned a corner.  I suddenly felt the need to cook.  Something wholesome and warming.  And something that I hadn't done before. Chaz has had a sudden obsession with casseroles in the last few weeks.  I personally, am not a huge fan. In fact, even the word 'casserole' makes me shudder.  Before I knew it a tray of chicken thighs had jumped into my basket and my lovely friend Mel had sent me home with a Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall recipe for a Chicken and mushroom cider casserole.
Long story short; it was a sensation.  Chaz awarded it with a 'best thing I've ever eaten' medal. High praise.  And even again the next morning when the wine had worn off.  Needless to say I felt rather proud of myself and am properly excited about what I'm going to cook next.  Although I am quite tempted to do Hugh's  cider creation again.  I like getting medals.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Beauty School

The other day someone asked me if I was eight years older than I actually am.  That, combined with the  very unwelcome arrival of far too many - premature in my opinion- wrinkles, has led to a bit of a meltdown.  I know that I'm not a spring chicken any more; I will be 30 quite soon and I have two small hooligan boys who insist on me getting no more than 6 hours sleep a night.  It's not an obvious recipe for flawless, gorgeous skin.  The worrying thing, is that I cant really see it getting any better.  I'm not going to do a Benjamin Button and get miraculously younger over night.   And I doubt the Cubs have plans on doing more sleeping any time soon.  So I've taken action. 

First step was a make-up lesson.  I had one on my fifteenth birthday and am embarrassed to say I don't think I've learnt any more tricks since.  I do now know that frosted lipstick perhaps isn't my best look though.  I went in determined not to come home  having spent an absolute fortune.  It's just so miraculous though. You walk in looking and feeling like a grey, wrinkly old hag, barely unable to look at your reflection and then twenty minutes later - you're completely unrecognisable. I challenge anyone to go in for a makeover and come out empty handed.  I did pretty well and managed to escape with only the bare essentials.  All Chantecaille - I love a pretty package. And it's French - so clearly works.  I got a pot of gel foundation, a magic concealer wand and loose powder.  It's taken me a while to get over the fact that I own loose powder - I'm of the belief that powder is for the over 70's only.  Sonia -the makeup artist- tells me otherwise. Apparently it's as important as a good foundation.  I'm not convinced but am quite enjoying not being shiny for once.  

Second step is a brand new Clarisonic Mia.  I was very lucky to be sent one as a present as they don't come cheap.  It's a face cleaning and buffing contraption that's meant to be twenty times better than bog standard cleansing.  My nightly routine takes quite long enough as it is - Chaz is usually out cold by the time I've finished - so I was a little wary that it was just going to add even longer to the proceedings.  It's weirdly made things quicker - a quick 60 seconds whizzing it over your face and you're done.  And I really do think it's making a difference.  Honestly.  

It's quite ironic really - I buy all that swanky make up and could now quite happily carry on life without it. It makes me feel quite grown up though which is always nice.  And it looks pretty in my bathroom.

Next step, the health spa...

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Window Shopping

I was passing my favourite book shop in Woodstock yesterday morning and was greeted by this vision!
I wish I could say I'd played it cool and taken it all in my stride....
There was a lot of shouting and a lot of excited leaping.
My first shop window!  
Definitely one of the top ten most exciting moments to date...

Friday, 14 September 2012

Chloe Soiree

Hostess Martha Ward wearing Chloe

I went up to London last night for a soiree in my all time favourite shop, Chloe, thrown by the wonderful stylist Martha Ward.  It was pure girly heaven; handbags, Nails Inc manicures, bottles of scent with our names engraved on them and uninterrupted shoe and bag chat.  I've been pretty good at not allowing myself into Chloe-  for at least a year I'd say.  Sleep deprivation makes me do crazy things and I worry I wouldn't be able to control myself when face to face with one of their usual sensations. There was a near slip up when I saw a pale blue, leather Lucy clutch bag winking at me from across the store.  But I did well.  I was very restrained and left her behind.   It hasn't stopped me spending the last 24 hours trying to find one on ebay though.
I can live in hope...

Ruth Crossley and Martha Ward - with the pale blue Lucy...

Finger detail

Samantha Shaw and Leah Speakman

Button detail

Conde Nast Traveller Editor, Melinda Stevens' Chanel sandals

Poppy Delevingne in Sandro

The red Lucy bag

Trouser party

Rails of new season Chloe beauties

Monday, 10 September 2012

Magic Greenhouse

Im having one of those days.  I would quite like to be hiding under my duvet or at the very least sitting in my Mama's magic geranium greenhouse...
I'm making do with looking at photos of it instead.  And working my way through a box of Maltesers the same size as the smallest Cub.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Disco Fever


  Have I had a taste crisis or it is this actually very cool?


  Will the Cub be furious with me in years to come when he see's pictures of himself in what is, primarily, quite a girly jumper?

Dandy Star jumper at

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Les Vacances

Breakfast figs and Vines at home

We are just back from a gorgeous but completely exhausting week in France.  
We hit the ground running and were swept up in a whirlwind of beaching, lunching, boating, no sleeping - thank you Cubs -  from the second we landed.  In 40 degree heat I might add.  Days as always revolved around food.  Highlights being Tuna Tataki at Moorea Plage - although Kate Moss and Jamie Hinces' arrival slightly distracted me from it's true deliciousness this time round. And the homemade pizzas in my new favourite,'Jardin de Couleurs' in La Croix-Valmer.  

Sushi sensations at Moorea Plage

Lunch and lampshades at Jardin de Couleurs

I tried my hardest to go off piste and not have 'nems' - spring rolls that you wrap in mint and lettuce - every lunch.  I think I succeeded once and swapped them for a bowl of fresh tomato pasta with a dollop of burrata on top.  Big mistake; it looked far better than it tasted and my favourite white dress now has lovely orange, Cub sized handprints all over it.

Mini Tart Tropeziennes at Tropicana Plage

I was determined to get to the brocante Jas de Roberts no matter what and set off early on Sunday morning with only the smallest Cub in tow. The bigger one thinks because it's not a "proper shop", he can pick up and have what ever takes his fancy.  Not ideal when he has a new interest in anything made from glass.

We arrived to find the market hidden under a swirling dusty tornado. Not the best conditions to be searching for wispy bits of lace and heavenly striped fabrics.  I gave up after about ten minutes and came home covered head to toe in sand with only a souped up Peugeot rally car for Cub Senior, to show for my efforts.

Cushions and Artichokes at Le Club 55

Ruth's visionary Anthropologie Clutch bag

Shopping opportunities were pretty low on the ground.  Ruth and I made a fleeting trip into St Tropez one evening.  Apart from a most divine Vanessa Bruno silk skirt the highlight was definitely the Lion Cub boat we found in the harbour....

Coming into St Tropez


The Lion Cub in action...