Monday, 25 March 2013


After spotting Shay & Blue in various magazines recently, my interest was more than piqued. I'm always drawn to interesting, natural fragrances and love offerings from the likes of Diptyque, Jo Malone, By Redo and Creed.
Dom De Vetta (he of Chanel and Jo Malone) and perfumer Julie Masse are the duo behind Shay & Blue, and emphasise the boutique perfumery's use of real flowers, fruits and spices - with Almond and Cucumber containing real Mimosa from Grasse.
It's described as 'a fragrance of refinement and softness, with splashes of refreshing green cucumber blended with delicate mimosa and warming, crunchy almonds. Soft and gentle, a subtle whisper.' Of course this description spoke to me! I don't enjoy a perfume that announces my arrival before I do, nor hangs in the air long after I'm gone. It's early days, but I'm really enjoying this fragrance. Don't worry about it being wishy-washy from the description - it is delicate but surprisingly multi-layered and with a lovely creaminess too. All in all - a delight!

Find the full collection at


Saturday, 23 March 2013


A few photos from quite possibly one of the best meals I have ever had, and definitely one of my favourite meals EVER. It was my first foray into the world of Michelin Stars (2 no less!) and it was rather unforgettable. The Hand & Flowers in Marlow was completely unpretentious, with friendly, attentive staff and the warmest atmosphere. One of my favourite moments was completely un-food related; pushing open the door to the pub and being enveloped by the most delicious smell of vanilla (who knows how they manage this, but I'd go back just for that alone). 
From the moment we took our seats, it was just lovely from beginning to end. I'm not restaurant critic so my words would fail to do it justice. Suffice to say, it was wonderful. We had: 

- Canapes
- Blowtorched Scottish Scallop with Warm Roast Chicken Bouillon
- Loin of Cotswold Venison with Hispi Cabbage, Swiss Chard "Farci" and Rye Bread Sauce
- Tenderloin of Wiltshire Pork with Pickled Mustard Leaf
- Tonka Bean Panna Cotta, with Poached Rhubarb, Ginger Wine Jelly and Rhubarb Sorbet
- Hand & Flowers Chocolate and Ale Cake with Salted Caramel and Muscovado Ice Cream

I wish I could have photographed it all - but I'm not entirely comfortable with being the person who gets their phone out before enjoying the food in front of them! But I'm getting better at it - slowly but surely.


Thursday, 21 March 2013


This past week featured a belated birthday present trip to The Hand & Flowers in Marlow and an overnight stay in the Olde Bell in Hurley. It was such a lovely couple of days that I think it's best to split my posts about it in two: the hotel today, with the restaurant-incredibleness to follow. 

The Olde Bell is an old coaching house with parts within it dating back to 1135 - guaranteeing many a perfectly creaky floorboard and necessary ducking under mottled wooden beams. The history of the building is brilliantly preserved whilst sympathetic modernity ensures a luxuriously comfortable and cosy stay. Who doesn't love a retro red Roberts radio? And white wall tiles in the bathroom get me every time - there is something rather New York about it I always think. (That might just be me - I've never been!)
Sadly we didn't have time to dine in the restaurant, but if breakfast was anything to go by it definitely would not have disappointed, plus I've read wonderful reviews about the restaurant too. 
We did have a drink downstairs before going out which was a little curious I must admit. There was no music playing so it was deathly quiet (apart from the odd crackle from the fire) and I was sure I'd read on another review that they served lovely rhubarb and prosecco cocktails (which I was more.than.excited. about) but the friendly barman looked a little baffled when I inquired so I stuck with straight prosecco. 
Rhubarb prosecco cocktail aside, everything was so lovely and I'd heartily recommend a visit if ever you are in need of a night away from London. It's only 30 minutes from South West London and 45 to central London, but you really do feel like you're so far away from the hustle and bustle... 
But close enough to get back in a jiffy when you start to miss it. 


Sunday, 17 March 2013


I read about Lipstick Queen's Jean Queen in a recent top 50 beauty buys article in the Guardian's weekend supplement and was instantly sold on the description of this being a lipstick made to be worn with jeans and a t-shirt. Nothing heavy or over the top, just a universally flattering, easy to wear shade that adds a groomed look to every day outfits. This is exactly the kind of make-up product I'm always in search of. I'm also a fan of Lipstick Queen's sheer Medieval lipstick, which is so flattering and ridiculously easy to wear if you're a bit of a lipstick-phobe (like me)!
I'm not sure my love affair with Diptyque candles will ever end - they're equally beautiful when fragrancing a room as they are sitting unlit on display. My favourites are Mimosa, Figuier, Gardenia and Menthe Verte for Spring/Summer and Oranger and Baies for Autumn/Winter. The new daffodil inspired Jonquille candle also sounds lovely for this time of year. Jasmin is new to me, so the mini-candle size is perfect for giving it a whirl and taking it away on an upcoming trip.
Diptyque Jasmin mini candle £20 and Lipstick Queen lipstick in Jean Queen £15 - both at Space NK.

Saturday, 16 March 2013



Apologies for my unplanned leave of blog-absence! I'm afraid work and the looming exam period has taken over. Hopefully I'll be able to get the knack of super human time management and not neglect the blog completely over the next two months! 
I had a few hours spare this afternoon and had a splendid time pottering around the shops. In addition to some pretty rad silver leather converses which I sadly did not photograph (but trust me, they're the stuff dreams are made of), I encountered the above pieces which will be being included in my spring/summer wardrobe. I made a sort-of promise to myself that I wouldn't buy any more purely winter things seeing as it is SUPPOSED TO BE SPRING. I am a dreadful summer wardrobe planner and summer dresser, and I'm hoping to improve this year by getting my game together nice and early. I'm a winter soul, so summer dressing doesn't come naturally to me. I end up eBaying most of my summer wear when the first leaf  starts to quiver in Autumn, and then by the time the freak early-spring heat wave arrives, I have absolutely nothing to wear. I panic buy and fill my summer wardrobe with awkward things that I don't enjoy wearing. I don't want to do it this year. I won't do it this year. 
In the winter I enjoy quite a simple, minimalist aesthetic which I find quite hard to snap out of in the summer. But in truth I like to add more colour to my summer 'drobe (who doesn't?), and like to compliment simple shapes and colours with an spot of ikat print and tribal detailing. I become obsessed with the idea of tops that conjure up an air of Mama Mia (the film) - don't ask me why. I love Greece, perhaps that's it.

Colour also comes from statement jewellery  - but none of those neon, oversized jewel necklaces that H&M have the market wrapped up for. Oh no, I once again lean towards the tribal. Set against something simple or proudly clashing with a patterned top or dress. The Monsoon blue necklace is perfect for this kind of idea. 
I love this white and blue flowing top from Zara - it's very on the sheer side so I plan to throw it over plain bikinis with cut off denim shorts for afternoon holiday strolls. 
This beautiful lace top, also from Zara, is just perfection. It'll be perfect for home or away, again with denim I think.
For my all-to-brief shopping trip my outfit was altogether more wintery, in keeping with our current weather! Uniqlo boucle coat, Whistles cashmere jumper, Topshop Leigh coated jeans, Report Jude biker boots and Balenciaga City bag.