Monday, 1 February 2016

make the most of february

February! I'm being very optimistic about the weather for this month! More snow and sunny, frosty mornings with less rain and wind. So many umbrellas have been blown to pieces and my hair has been permanently frizzy so please Mr Weatherman, bring us some good news.

 I got on with my January bucket list quite well. I'm still working on my e-book as I keep finding more and more information I want to put into it. If I'm not careful it will end up as an encyclopedia! It will definitely take me longer than I thought it would. 

I'm now four weeks into my New Year health kick. It's going well to say we've been out for meals with friends and it's also been Steve's birthday, although, I did have a piece of birthday cake! How could I not?

I am now a proud wearer of a FitBit which is helping to keep me on the straight and narrow. I'm actually quite addicted to it. I love how it keeps account of how many steps I do, how many calories I have eaten and how much sleep I've had. I'm only averaging four hours a night so I need to find ways to get my sleep pattern in order. Steve now calls himself a FitBit widower!

I'm slowly building up my capsule wardrobe. I have my trench coat which has become like a second skin and goes with practically everything which is what I wanted. I found some real bargains in the sale too; a couple of white shirts from Topshop and a man's shirt from Zara. My daughter bought me a gorgeous pair of brogues for Christmas which will look great with capris, jeans and dresses. I'm now on the lookout for a black blazer, black jeans and a satchel. Wish me luck!

I'm thrilled to say Steve and I have completed Dry January; a whole thirty one days without a drink. The only time I felt like I wanted a drink was on Steve's birthday while we were sat in a restaurant. But the lovely waiter made me a delicious mocktail, which kinda made up for it. The plan is to be mainly alcohol free during the week (let's see how that goes). 

We had a lovely spa break by the sea during the month for Steve's birthday which was just what the doctor ordered. We have both been suffering with sinusitis so it was lovely to just relax and enjoy all the facilities. I surprised Steve with a massage and we spent the rest of the day in the pool, hot tub, steam room and sauna. We enjoyed a meal in the hotel restaurant in the evening and the most amazing breakfast in our room the next day. Pictures to follow in another post.

So now onto my goals for February:

Business cards
At times, when I have been taking photos, people have asked me what I'm doing. I normally just say I write a blog and take Instagram photos. Passing a card to people saying what I do will allow people to have a look at the blog if they are interested. It will also be handy if I see funkily dressed people in the street that I would like to take photos of for the blog. Although, I haven't been brave enough to do this yet!

Turn off Netflix and read
I'm a latecomer to Netflix and I have to say I love it. There is always something to watch. It's so easy to come in from work and collapse on the sofa for the evening with a dose of catch up series. However, I think it will be nice for a few evenings a week to switch off the television, listen to music and read some of the many lovely books we have had for Christmas. 

Visit the theatre
If someone were to ask me about my top five favourite things to do, musical theatre would definitely be up there. I like nothing more than singing along to my favourite musical songs (sad, I know) and losing myself for a couple of hours. There is one musical, however, that I never thought I would get to see; Hairspray. I adore the film, listen to the songs on my way to work and of course, Zach Effron is a guilty pleasure. 

Well, my dream has come true! My lovely daughter surprised me on Christmas Day with third row from the front tickets. I can hardly contain myself and I am counting the days down until we go. Thirteen to be precise! One ticked off the bucket list. 

Buy a salt lamp
I've been reading about the health benefits of having a Himalayan salt lamp. Both myself and Steve suffer from constant colds which always turn into sinusitis, so I am on the look out for anything that might help.

Salt lamps are known to improve the quality of air, reduce allergies and asthma, increase energy levels and help with sleep. I'll let you know how it goes.

Put together a pamper box
You know those days when you come in from work and feel exhausted and stressed! Well, I've had an idea of putting a pamper box together for those kind of days. I'm going to fill it up with all kinds of goodies, maybe a dvd, some music, chocolate and some relaxing bath bubbles. 

They are also a great Christmas, Birthday or Mother's Day present. 

Do you have any goals for February?

Have a great week lovelies.

Monday, 25 January 2016

how to make a mojito mocktail

One of my favourite cocktails of all time has to be the delicious, fresh tasting mojito. As I'm taking part in Dry January, which is part of my monthly bucket list, I wanted to experiment with some different drinks so I didn't feel like I was missing out. I know mojitos are drunk in summer but hey, rules are meant to be broken.

I wasn't expecting to be blown away as it had no alcohol in it but boy was I wrong. It is rather tasty and, I have to admit, I've had more than one over the past week or so. Give it a try. You won't be disappointed and you won't wake up with a hangover! A refreshing change.

1 tbsp granulated sugar
small bunch mint
juice of 3 limes
crushed ice
soda water

  1. Muddle the sugar and the mint leaves with a pestle and mortar.
  2. Put a handful of crushed ice into two glasses. 
  3. In a separate jug, mix the lime juice and mint mix together.
  4. Pour into the glasses, then top up with soda water.
Happy Days!

Have a great week lovelies.

Friday, 22 January 2016

small sighs

It's been a long time since I last wrote a small sighs post, too long in fact. I've missed noting all the things I've enjoyed through the week. For now, until I get back into the swing of things, I will post a small sighs every two weeks and share with you what I've been up to.

Here are some of the things I've enjoyed recently:

homemade lamb tagine

a walk alongside leeds canal

weekend details

homemade damson gin ready to drink (shame I'm taking part in dry january)

a little flurry of snow in our garden

Have a great weekend lovelies.

Monday, 18 January 2016

how I wore a zara trench coat

I am so in love with everything Zara but this trench coat has to be my best purchase from there yet. I have been looking for a timeless trench coat with elements of French chic that will pretty much go with everything and take me though the seasons. Classic, versatile and modern.

This was my trench coat's first outing. I wore it for a days shopping in the lovely city of Leeds. It was an incredibly cold day and very windy, as you can probably see from my hair blowing around!

I wore it with a man's oxford shirt and jeans with my Topshop boots and beloved Ted Baker bag.

zara trench coat/next jeans/next shirt/topshop boots/ted baker bag

Zara always impress me with their winter coats. A great selection at such a good price. Have you got any other ideas of how I could wear my trench coat? I'd love to hear from you.

Have a great week lovelies.

Monday, 11 January 2016

how to get married at new york city hall

The highlight of last year for me was getting married at City Hall in New York in August. We couldn't have wished for a more perfect day. I am in the process of writing an e-book on getting married at the city hall which has lots of useful information that we found invaluable on the day.

Our day started at 6am on Thursday 27th August. I had arranged in advance for a hair and make up artist to come to the hotel and make me look wonderful. I had an idea of what I wanted and had sent inspiration photos before hand. I had seen lots of great recommendations on Tripadvisor for SB Beauty and I made a fantastic choice. A great girl named Remi made me look just how I had imagined. She did an amazing job, made me feel totally at ease and was lovely. 

We made our way to the City Hall by subway. We had trialed the journey out the day before when we went to get our marriage licence, which you have to get 24 hours before. The whole process is very easy and cheap to do. The day before, we made sure we were at the City Hall, known, now as the Marriage Bureau, when it opened at 8.30am. There were a few people in line before us, some couples getting married, others getting their licence like us. We didn't have to wait in line long, around 15 minutes. We paid $35 for the licence, signed forms and went exploring for the rest of the day. Simple and pain free!

We had previously arranged for our wedding photographer to meet us at City Hall at 10am. He stepped in to be our witness as you need at least one to be married here. When we arrived there was no queue and the place was practically empty. We paid $25 and basically walked straight into the room where we were to be married.

last minute details

waiting to get married

I was so happy with my hair. Simple but elegant.

The ceremony was lovely, short and sweet, a chance to say how we felt about each other.

I had given much thought to my bouquet and I was unsure for a long time whether to get one when I arrived or to get in touch with a florist and have one made up. I finally decided that looking for a bouquet when we got there would be time consuming. I wanted to spend as much time as possible sightseeing!

I read some great reviews for Gardenia Organic, which was named 'Best Florist' by New York magazine, a few months after opening its doors. I had lots of communication with the lovely Hannah and this beautiful bouquet was the final product. I was so happy that I cried when I saw it. It was just perfect. Hannah sent it to our hotel the day before with two beautiful boutonnieres. The bouquet still looked gorgeous three days later.

We couldn't resist asking this New York police officer for a photo. He kindly obliged. 

The photographer we hired took us to some amazing locations. Again, we turned to Tripadvisor and read good reviews for Jasmine Studios which made our mind up for us. We arranged for three hours which included the ceremony and the photography locations. Three hours was enough time to get married and shoot around the city by taxi to Brooklyn Bridge Park, Grand Central Station and Times Square. The photographer made us feel totally at ease and relaxed throughout the whole shoot.

I have always had a love for carousels. I still ride on them, when I get a chance, so imagine my delight when there was one in Brooklyn Bridge Park! Created in 1922, it is housed in a beautiful glass pavilion. A carousel ride on my wedding day..... the stuff of dreams.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

a dream come true

this photo captures just how breathtaking it all was

Grand Central Station

this is my favourite photo of all

It was while we were having photographs taken in Times Square that people came up to us and asked if we were actors. There are so many different and wonderful things happening there that it could have been possible! Not many people were walking around in a wedding dress!

Times Square

Times Square

Times Square

our last photo in Times Square

After our whistle-stop tour of New York, with our photographer, it was time to celebrate. The only pre-planned part of the day (apart from the photographer, of course) was the wonderful Michelin 3 star French restaurant, Jean Georges, on the corner of Central Park. It has a lovely light and airy room, the perfect setting for the most amazing meal we have ever eaten. Everything was perfect, including the service, and I have simply got to go there again.

Here is a snapshot I took on my IPhone of our desserts.  The lovely dessert in the background was a lovely surprise given to us by the maitre d'.

After our wonderful lunch, we walked into Central Park where we took some of our own photos. It was even better than I had imagined it to be.

As you can see, I changed into my Converse to walk around the park!

After lunch, the fairy-tale continued with boating on the lake in Central Park. 
Great fun was had getting into the boat with my dress on! It definitely got people looking. It was the best afternoon of my life: beautiful weather, people shouting congratulations, I wish I could do it all over again.

happiness is........rowing a boat in Central Park

Bethseda Fountain

so many lovely people offered to take our photo 

Bethseda Terrace

Bethseda Terrace

We spent a good few hours in Central Park, strolling, rowing and talking to lots of people who kept stopping to congratulate us and talk about our day.

As it started to go dark, we got a taxi to the Rockefeller Center for a few Manhattan cocktails in the SixtyFive Bar and Cocktail Lounge, 65 floors above the amazing city.

Nothing prepares you for just how amazing the view is when you first see it. I will never forget it. I will admit to shedding a few tears, good ones of course! We sat there until around 11pm and savoured the view for hours. 

After drinks we were feeling a little bit peckish, so we ended up finishing our day with huge slices of pizza, which must have looked quite funny, sitting in our wedding attire eating pizza at midnight! We loved it.

I wouldn't change one moment of our day. Hundreds of New Yorkers and tourists said congratulations to us throughout our day and they sure helped to make it special. 

Practically perfect in every way!

If you are thinking about getting married abroad, this is definitely the place to do it.

Monday, 4 January 2016

make the most of january

New Year, new beginnings. How are you settling into the new year so far? Have you made any resolutions? This year, instead of New Year resolutions, I am going to have a bucket list every month, as I have done previously. I have given myself reachable targets as I was finding that ten a month was quite a lot. I'll let you know how it goes!

Finish e-book
I am in the process of writing an e-book about how to get married in New York at City Hall. I'd been playing around with the idea since we came back. It will be full of info that we found invaluable while we were there. 

Eat Clean
As much as I love Christmas and all the eating and drinking that goes with it, my body is crying out for some clean eating. I'm not going on the scales for at least a month, then maybe I might just be back at the weight I was before Christmas! Well, there's always hope! Our impending summer holiday is a huge motivator. 

I'm loving these new little Fitbit gadgets that you wear on your wrist. I hear they motivate you to get more active and right now that is just what I need!
If anyone sees me walking into any fast food chains, please barricade the door! I will thank you for it later.

Capsule Wardrobe
I have been known to go to the sales and buy anything that looks like a bargain, which means I end up with bits and pieces that don't work together. Convincing myself that it's a good buy because 'it's pretty, I haven't got a pair of gloves in bright green, I'm sure that skirt will be great for summer'. Guess what; the said pieces stay in my wardrobe until I have a sort out and take a visit to the charity shop. 

I tend to talk myself into holding onto these pieces 'just in case' or 'I might wear that this week'. Recently, I had a clear out and begrudgingly put things aside for the charity shop. I was sure I would miss these items but I have to say honestly I haven't. 

Personally, I think the French have it sussed. They rely on quality key pieces and elegance rather than keeping up with the latest fashions. This results in clothes that last longer, less time figuring out what to wear and more money in your purse.

I love the basic, simple style of Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin, Kate Moss and Audrey Hepburn; Simple t-shirts with jeans, capri pants with a striped Breton top, mens shirts, ballet flats, a classic trench coat, a little black dress, a blazer, a cashmere sweater, a leather jacket and simple accessories. A 'made in Paris' look.

I've been drooling over a Burberry trench coat for a long time now but, as you can imagine, my purse strings don't stretch that far. So I have been on the hunt for something very similar and low and behold I have found it. Zara have done it again; this shop really is coat heaven! I have found the exact trench I wanted! My first French styled capsule wardrobe piece. 

Dry January
Now this is going to be quite a challenge for me as I do tend to like a drink or two! I am prone to a glass of wine or two in the evening and a couple of cocktails at the weekend. Awwwww, just writing this I can feel the bubbles of Prosecco in my mouth! But no, I can do this! Steve and I have decided to do it together so that when one of us tries to reach for the wine bottle, we can place a bottle of sparkling water in the hand instead.

I'm hoping to see an improvement in my sleep pattern, a boost in energy and some weight loss. I will be so proud of myself if I can do it, especially as we have a few nights with friends arranged and it's also Steve's birthday at the end of the month. 

I can and I will! Good luck to all you lovelies taking part too.

Spa Break
I can feel the tension falling from my shoulders just thinking about a visit to a spa. Is there anything better for relaxation than a massage, a soak in a hot tub or a skin treatment? I often think massages should be available on the NHS! 

I have only had the pleasure of a spa day once. It was a lovely gift from my daughter and boy was it good. I came out feeling like I was floating on air. Well, I've been thinking what I can get Steve for his upcoming birthday and the spa break pinged into my mind. I'm still looking for ideas on where to go so if you know anywhere good, I'd love to hear from you. 

Do you have any goals for January?

Have a great week lovelies.

Friday, 1 January 2016

happy new year

Happy New Year lovelies!

I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and Santa bought you all you wished for.

As you will have noticed, it's been a while since I posted on the blog. I'm sorry to say life has got in the way (again)! I've struggled to keep the blog going due to circumstances but I don't want to bore with you with all that! Onwards and upwards! Positive vibes all the way!

I have missed being a part of this wonderful blogging community and feel sad that I have let things get in the way. All I can say is from today, I am going to be back here again doing what I love. New Year, New Me!

It feels good to be back.