Monday, 30 September 2013

Out and about: Chocolate, cocktails and London!

Here are some of my favourite things...

- eating chocolate
- eating in general
- drinking cocktails
- walking around London with no particular place to be.

This weekend I partook in a combination of all three when I signed the whole family up to a chocolate walking tour with Great British Tours. Aren't I the best? The tour took us via some of my favourite chocolateries, including tastings and discounts, through Soho and the west end and it even introduced me to a couple of hidden gems!

The meeting point was the Algerian Coffee Store on Old Compton Street where our guide met us with chocolate coated coffee beans and a gigantic grin!

First stop was Hotel Chocolat where I convinced my parents to buy some chili hot chocolate...

... then on to Paul A. Young introduced us to unusual recipes such as limoncello and cucumber, pink guava and lychee, goats cheese, rosemary and lemon and Marmite truffles and Aztec hot chocolate...

... a quick pit stop at Freggo to refresh the palate with some Malbec and berries sorbet...

...a browse round the sweet counter (and a quick dash to the Christmas boutique) at Fortnum and Mason...

... a quick history lesson at Prestat...

...all ending up at Charbonnel et Walker where I stuffed my face with my favourite violet and rose cremes (Queenie and I share the same taste, you see).

After all that chocolate I was desperate for something savoury so we grabbed some mini tacos, tostadas and quesadilas at Wahaca before settling in at the secret gin garden at Carom at Meza for some floral cocktails.

All in all a fun filled day! Great British Tours also do a cupcake and macaroon tour. Guess what I'll be doing this winter...


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Fancy Dress: A Harry Potter Party

I'm not alone in my friendship group with my love, nay obsession, with Harry Potter, nor my love of fancy dress. So it's a surprise that it's taken this long for one of us to have a Harry Potter party, or for us to dress up as characters from it. Last weekend my Harry Potter fancy dress party dreams came true.

Bella and the Birthday Girl: Vicky and Viki!

My fellow Harry Potter enthusiast, and younger sister to Bestie-KimVictoria chose this as a theme for her 30th birthday.

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..... where's my broomstick?
A few months back we all received wax-sealed envelopes containing our personalised invites - "letters" from Hogwarts, welcoming us for our first day of school and a ticket for Platform 9 3/4. By personalised, I mean we were all allocated a character so there were no duplicates (you see now why we get on - it's not just the HP, or the YA fiction, the fact we've virtually grown up together, or the enthusiasm for party planning... it's the dedication to a theme and attention to detail. Amazing skills. Amazing). I was lucky enough to have been allocated one of my favourite characters (not to mentioned being played by one of my fave actresses) - Bellatrix Lestrange.


Itty, bitty, baby Potter.


I nabbed myself a faux leather basque from eBay (bad move - it came with a "bonus" free faux leather thong, and I now receive regular updates on their S&M gear as eBay assumes they are one ofmy "favourite sellers". Hmph) that wasn't dissimilar to Batman body armour, some whale-net tights, arm sleeve thingys, a wand, a replica necklace and VAT of hair products.

I tonged, teased, tore and generally abused my hair in to some semblance of a Bellatrix style, smudged the make up I'd worn to a day-party at another friend's house (yup - I'm THAT popular - two parties in one day. Yeah!), added some dark lippie and I was good to go...

... until I looked in the mirror and realised that if I broke down I'd be mistaken for a sex worker.

So rummaged in my cupboards and fancy dress box and came up with a strapless sundress which I wiggled in to as a slightly more demure skirt (the previous one had a split and with the thigh high boots, was wholly unnacceptable for "school") and then I was away.

Sadly, my "official" Bellatrix wand didn't turn up in time so I had to bluff it with a replica of Harry's wand instead. Don't judge me Potter-Purists.

Also don't judge me for not applying a temporary Dark Mark tattoo - I had a christening the next day, and I don't think it would have gone down too well!

So, anyway, here are some pictures of the amazing details and the brilliant, brilliant costumes...

A dark mark

Madam Hooch and He Who Must Not Be Named (who lost his mask!)

Harry and Ginny

Lupin and Luna

welcome to the party!

The Grey Lady (a.k.a. The Birthday Girl) in her Dia

Drinks in Diagon Alley


Bellatrix and Fleur

McGonagall, Dumbledore and Moaning Myrtle

Enemies of the Heir BEWARE!

Snape and Fleur

Lupin, Harry and Fleur

Hagrid and Fluffy
Hagrid and Harry

Harry in Diagon Alley (looking for beers!)

potions, papers and horcruxes

Lupin got a bit wild after midnight!

Stay away from the dungeons... unless you're Slytherin...


Quidditch rings

Nice to meet you Sirius

This is strictly a non-smoking area.



This way, sports fans...

Catching up on the news...

Tonks and Trelawney

The Tri-Wizard Cup

Oh how I miss Harry.

Oh, what's that you say? Another film in the pipeline, not to mention suggestions for my new fave YA-Fiction-Franchise boy crush to be included in the line up...


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Summer of Slipper: Out and About (and hiding a little bit)

The nights are drawing in, the weather is cooling off, my opaque tights are out, my morning commute is full of kids (but thankfully not my evening one any more), the shops are full of berry shades and my Sky+ is full of new season telly.

Autumn is here! Yippee.

I love autumn.

But before autumn comes summer. This summer was a BUSY one, and an emotional one. Aside from attending 237,546 weddings (only a slight exaggeration) and some amazing and exciting events, trips and parties almost every weekend, I also had a lot of stuff to deal with. Rubbish stuff. It almost broke me. Almost.

For that reason, I was a bad blogger. Despite doing a ton of cool stuff, that I loved and enjoyed and appreciated, I wasn't at my most effusive.

But that's enough about that.

Now, though, I'm full of back-to-school beans. These past two weeks at work have been ALL the busy, I've got some exciting and amazing adventures coming up, and generally have lots to look forward to. Not least A/W clothing, a few trips and the countdown to Christmas.

Despite finding it hard to use my words (to quote TC), I didn't find it hard to use my camera, so, in pictures (and a few links), here's what you missed this summer...

Tea, cake and a nosey around Buckingham Palace with my Tea Shop Luvvies

More Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at The Sanderson Hotel. Read about the last time I went here.

I went back to the stadium, to re-live last year's London 2012 memories

The boy and I took a teeny tiny mini/city break to Barcelona. Read about it on Florence Finds.

Afternoon tea with a twist at Soho

Champagne tasting at Searcys Champagne Bar at One New Change with some lovely ladies

A special someone came to visit. We talked a LOT. We drank even more at Aqua. CP+CT+VH=4evs

We made hats out of junk in a field at Fling Festival.

I drank my house dry on the 1st anniversary of moving in - and slept on the front lawn.

I had WAY too many G&Ts

I tingled with goosebumps as I watched my fave Shakespeare play at midnight

I checked out Queenie's pimped up ride at The Royal Mews

I saw Harry Pot... sorry D-Rad on stage. And he was, surprisingly, flipping amazing!

I saw Top Hat and yearned for Strictly to come back soon... and for an occasion to wear a sparkly, feathered ballgown

My knees went wobbly as i looked down over London from The View at The Shard. Read about it on Florence Finds.

We were slightly disappointed by the 80s Club to Catwalk exhibition at the V&A

We hung out at Tom's Terrace and embarrassed ourselves for Claire's 30th
We checked out some new funky places, including this one... with cocktails. on. tap. That's right...

I got an education in weird wine, in the comfort of my backgarden...

... with my Pineapple Club ladies

When I look back, actually, the "sad" is starting to fade. I reckon before the first live show of X Factor 2013 it'll all be a distant memory.

Happy autumn, peeps!