Tag Archives: Notting Hill

14 years!

Another from the archives.

First published September 19th 2012:

MM and I have been married 14 years today!  I remember it all vividly.  The location was The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey, West Yorkshire.  Neither of us are from anywhere near there – we just wanted a beautiful location and I was obsessed about having a venue that didn’t look like a conference room – I didn’t want “any metal legged chairs”!  We were living in London at the time and we had our hen and stag nights the week of the wedding.  Madness in hindsight.

My hen night was at Kensington Place – a great restaurant in Notting Hill – on the Wednesday night.  I then traveled North back home with my Mum and sister on the Thursday, whilst the boys congregated in London for the stag night.  They traveled up to Skipton on the Friday morning – with Martin, one of the best men, having to side step out of the ticket line to throw up, before getting on the train.  I still feel awful for anyone who was in that line that day!

Friday night was spent at the Devonshire Arms.  I promised myself not to drink – that promise lasted 2 minutes – and a party ensued as all our guests arrived – some we hadn’t seen for a while.  Not a good idea to get carried away on excited energy the night before you get married!  I didn’t sleep a wink that night and I remember sharing a room with Jo, one of my bridesmaids.  In the corridors I could hear MM and his brother howling and giggling – I knew it was going to be a tough morning!

I headed off at the crack of dawn with my Mum and sis to get our hair done.  I felt rough as a badger’s arse but ridiculously excited!  The champers at the salon soon had me buzzing again and it was off back to the hotel to get dressed.  Now remember this is the 19th September in West Yorkshire – all bets would be on rain and clouds but the weather was stunning!  Blue skies and sunshine – in fact a little too warm for some dehydrated folks:)  Later I heard it was quite a miracle that MM made it to the ceremony at all.  He had gone to work off some of the previous night’s excesses in the gym, having forgotten his sneakers he ran barefoot on the treadmill and went flying off the back of it, then he tried to walk downstairs in his flip flops, spilled his cup of water and went flying again!  I’m giggling as I write this – talk about the excesses of youth!

I walked in with my Dad to Pachelbel’s Canon and Simon read The Owl and the Pussycat and we were done!  Mr and Mrs – as easy as that.  The great thing about our venue was that no one had to go anywhere as we used the same room for the ceremony, the reception and the disco.  Our first dance was to ‘Love me Tender’ but I remember the dance floor clearing later too as we whirled each other around to ‘Satisfaction’ by the Stones.  There are some amazing photos of MM and his mate dancing and stripping – yes stripping though not naked thankfully – to ‘Bad to the Bone‘ – many chins were on the floor at this remarkable scene – my Dad’s for one.

The following day we made our way back to London elated, and then on the Monday we jetted off to Northern Cyprus where we traveled with back packs and a jeep for 2 weeks – bliss.

After 14 years and 2 kids not a day goes by when he doesn’t make me laugh – at him or with him:)  Happy Anniversary my lovely.

The photo on my desk!:

Now off to Bacchanalia tonight for a tamer celebration than 14 years ago!

Today’s outfit is all Zara!  TRF blue pants, t-shirt and jersey blazer worn with my Tory Burch Eddies.

 

 

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Settling Down?

ON FRIDAY IT WILL BE A YEAR SINCE MY FIRST BLOG POST!  TO CELEBRATE I THOUGHT I WOULD REPUBLISH SOME POSTS FROM BACK THEN THAT A) I REALLY ENJOYED WRITING AND B) SO MORE RECENT READERS CAN FIND OUT A LITTLE MORE ABOUT ME IN ADDITION TO WHAT I HAVE IN MY CLOSET:)  ENJOY!

First published Jan 22nd 2012:

While waiting for MM to bring the Chinese home last night I ended up having an online conversation with someone about the East End of London (does that sound as sad as I think it does for a Saturday evening’s activities?).  Before we moved here to Atlanta in March 2000 MM and I had lived in various parts of London.  Oddly working from the most expensive to some of the cheaper (if not a bit dodgy at the time) areas as our incomes increased. We started in West Kensington, then moved to Notting Hill, then Camden, then Whitechapel, ending up ultimately in Spitalfields.

West Kensington was odd to say the least. We moved in to a 3rd floor flat in a house that was under renovation at the time, owned by some dotty Irish woman who was, I suspect,  drinking all the contractors wages away.  It also happened to be across the street from a hostel/halfway house where there were frequent yelling matches, if not fist fights (I was always most concerned about where my little Vauxhall Nova was parked for fear of damage).  Relaxing – not.  However, considering I was still a PhD student and MM was working for zero gaining ‘experience’ on a football magazine, it was not a bad place to live and certainly got me used to the eccentricities and chaos of living in London.

Next came Notting Hill. MM had me sold on location, location, location.  We used to head up to Portobello Road a lot and loved ambling along there at the weekend and bar hopping in the evenings.  The only problem is of course that W11 is one of the most expensive, exclusive postcodes in London so trying to find a flat with the budget of a student and a ‘part time’ worker was nigh on impossible.  Until that is the Ledbury Road property came up.  Ledbury Road – how cool is that – 2 blocks away from Portobello, always in the heart of Notting Hill carnival, close enough to Loftus Road and on one of the most exclusive roads in W11 – so how could there be a flat there we could afford?  Well on arrival we found out.  In a row of amazing town houses there was one that was not so amazing, completely dilapidated in fact.  MM managed to convince me it was still worth a look.  We headed up the creaky stairs through the house that had been converted into 5 flats – one on each floor.  As we entered the 2nd floor flat my heart sunk further.  It was tiny, no central heating, no shower, and a huge damp patch on the bathroom wall.  There was no way I could live there – that was until we entered the ‘living’ room – I was in love with the huge double windows that opened up on to a private balcony.  Yes our own private balcony, on Ledbury Road, in Notting Hill!!  Still, however, unconvinced MM took me to the Ground Floor bar (now only 10 mins walk from the flat), bought me several Moscow Mules and an hour later I agreed we should rent it – I’m such a push over.  We lived there happily for about 4 years enjoying many wild nights out and investigating each new fungus that grew on the carpet.

Ledbury Road as it looks today.

Ledbury Road

After getting my PhD and starting my first job as a Management Consultant (dead professional now…) I figured 1997 was the time to move on and graduate from student living.  We loved having a market to wander through at the weekend and knew Camden Town would be a place we could get more for our money, so we headed to NW1 and Camden Square.  The basement flat was by no means big but it did have some modern comforts like central heating and a shared garden – imagine that – no mold!  Only problem with Camden Square was it was a pain for transport – I wouldn’t wish the Northern Line every day on my worst enemy…

Working in The City had opened my eyes to the thrill of walking through Bishopsgate, Leadenhall Market, Spitalfields and seeing The Thames every day.  Also our friends were now living in Old Street so we were doing more and more of our partying in Shoreditch, particularly Charlotte Road where there were lots of cool new bars and restaurants – we were so hip.  MM was now happily employed and finances were a little more comfortable so in 1998 we embarked on our search to own our first place.  You would not believe the shoe boxes they tried to pass off as one bedroom flats in our price range back then.  We had given up our lease in Camden and our estate agent in Spitalfields was giving us short term rents until we could find a place to buy.  I think we spent about a year moving from flat to flat without unpacking any boxes – from Whitechapel to Commercial Street – a good thing Brick Lane was so convenient!  Then the flat of our dreams (our dreams in our price range…) came back on the market and we bought our first place together in December 1999 in a fabulous new block of flats on Folgate Street right next to Spitalfields Market – we could live there happily for years!  We moved in, bought furniture then two weeks later MM came home and told me we were moving to Atlanta…

Cantaloupe on Charlotte Road where we spent most of our time and money.

Cantaloupe

My visit to London Feb 2011 with friends:

Outside our block of flats in Spitalfields.

Bishops Court

Fancy a curry anyone?

Brick Lane

The back of me in Leadenhall Market.

Leadenhall

Boden Spring Picks

After the launch of the Boden Spring 2013 season yesterday, I spent quite a lot of time surfing the Boden site – well it would be rude not to.  I’d briefly seen the preview site late last year but chose not to order then – my wants/needs/wishes always change so even with the 20% discount I wasn’t tempted.  It was lovely to navigate through the new season at my leisure.

My first impressions after a couple of hours surfing the site are:

1.  I LOVE the color palette used – the yellows, blues and soft reds really speak to me for Spring and Summer.

2.  I love the knits like the Notting Hill jumper – just a shame I can’t wear them here in the spring when it’s already climbing to the 80s.

3. Where are all the tunics? – Normally my staple, go to items for summer dresses and so far only two styles to choose from:(  The Breton tunic does nothing for me with the contrast pockets I’m afraid – the pockets are an unnecessary distraction.  I’d probably take it in all 4 colors if it weren’t for the pockets!

Unusually for me – my top picks are mainly accessories.  I’ll take the leather folded clutch in every color please!  What a fantastic, versatile bag for all occasions.  The Greengage, Sunset and black are top picks for me.

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The oil cloth bag is another favorite.  I bought my first Boden oil cloth tote last year and it has turned out to be the best bag ever – easy to keep clean and dry, stylish and Tardis like in it’s ability to hold everything – a true Mary Poppins bag.  I love this season’s irregular spot and have my eye on these two to use for my various trips this year.  I also think the folded leather clutch will drop easily into either of these so you can carry a bag for all occasions.

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Given all the Boden in my closet I only own one dress – the cream sixties dress from a couple of years ago.  I struggle with their dresses given my boobage and lack of hips, plus I don’t wear a dress very often anyway.  Having said all that I LOVE this drop waist dress.  It’s almost the antithesis of Boden given the muted colors and absence of pattern – but I think it’s really youthful and looks a really comfortable, yet sassy dress.  I’d like this in grey and black please.

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Finally a beautiful neutral scarf – with my 15% off it might be worth nabbing now at just $23.80 – the chincilla color is lush!

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What have you seen that you’ve ordered or are lusting over?  Don’t forget to click on the banner here for 15% off plus free shipping – grab them while they are in stock!  Oh – and some new items are on promotion this week with 20% off and this 15% code stacks!  Apparently there will be a different selection of items every week with 20% off – I love it!  Take a look at the short rainy day mac (gorgeous in yellow) or the palazzo jumper for example!

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14 years!

MM and I have been married 14 years today!  I remember it all vividly.  The location was The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey, West Yorkshire.  Neither of us are from anywhere near there – we just wanted a beautiful location and I was obsessed about having a venue that didn’t look like a conference room – I didn’t want “any metal legged chairs”!  We were living in London at the time and we had our hen and stag nights the week of the wedding.  Madness in hindsight.

My hen night was at Kensington Place – a great restaurant in Notting Hill – on the Wednesday night.  I then traveled North back home with my Mum and sister on the Thursday, whilst the boys congregated in London for the stag night.  They traveled up to Skipton on the Friday morning – with Martin, one of the best men, having to side step out of the ticket line to throw up, before getting on the train.  I still feel awful for anyone who was in that line that day!

Friday night was spent at the Devonshire Arms.  I promised myself not to drink – that promise lasted 2 minutes – and a party ensued as all our guests arrived – some we hadn’t seen for a while.  Not a good idea to get carried away on excited energy the night before you get married!  I didn’t sleep a wink that night and I remember sharing a room with Jo, one of my bridesmaids.  In the corridors I could hear MM and his brother howling and giggling – I knew it was going to be a tough morning!

I headed off at the crack of dawn with my Mum and sis to get our hair done.  I felt rough as a badger’s arse but ridiculously excited!  The champers at the salon soon had me buzzing again and it was off back to the hotel to get dressed.  Now remember this is the 19th September in West Yorkshire – all bets would be on rain and clouds but the weather was stunning!  Blue skies and sunshine – in fact a little too warms for some dehydrated folks:)  Later I heard it was quite a miracle that MM made it to the ceremony at all.  He had gone to work off some of the previous night’s excesses in the gym, having forgotten his sneakers he ran barefoot on the treadmill and went flying off the back of it, then he tried to walk downstairs in his flip flops, spilled his cup of water and went flying again!  I’m giggling as I write this – talk about the excesses of youth!

I walked in with my Dad to Pachelbel’s Canon and Simon read The Owl and the Pussycat and we were done!  Mr and Mrs – as easy as that.  The great thing about our venue was that no one had to go anywhere as we used the same room for the ceremony, the reception and the disco.  Our first dance was to ‘Love me Tender’ but I remember the dance floor clearing later too as we whirled each other around to ‘Satisfaction’ by the Stones.  There are some amazing photos of MM and his mate dancing and stripping – yes stripping though not naked thankfully – to ‘Bad to the Bone‘ – many chins were on the floor at this remarkable scene – my Dad’s for one.

The following day we made our way back to London elated, and then on the Monday we jetted off to Northern Cyprus where we traveled with back packs and a jeep for 2 weeks – bliss.

After 14 years and 2 kids not a day goes by when he doesn’t make me laugh – at him or with him:)  Happy Anniversary my lovely.

The photo on my desk!:

Now off to Bacchanalia tonight for a tamer celebration than 14 years ago!

Today’s outfit is all Zara!  TRF blue pants, t-shirt and jersey blazer worn with my Tory Burch Eddies.

 

 

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Guilty as charged.

I buy too much.  I’m a hoarder.  I buy things because I like them, not because I think I will wear them or use them.  I think I’ve been aware of this for some time but since I’ve been trying to reduce the number of items hanging unworn in my closet I have been stunned at just how much I have bought.

I am an online shopping addict.  I love the buying experience online – I can browse, compare prices – so I think I’m getting a bargain, my size is almost always available, I know it won’t have been tried on by 500 people and all I have to do is click a button and I’m done.

This weekend I made a vow to myself to 1) stick to a monthly clothing budget and 2) be more discerning about what I buy.   I’m already putting this into practice – having returned all my Boden preview order for the Fall I know there are just 2 items that I really would like to reorder – both knitted tunics – and neither will be worn here till November.  I am determined to wait till November to order – I know it’s a risk but by then I may have reappraised what I need/want and changed my mind…if I buy them now I could end up with 2 more tunics hanging in my closet unworn.  I think this is how I’ve ended up with so many rarely or never worn items – I buy them in the preview before the weather is appropriate to wear them – so I either forget about them or have moved on to another item I want!

Here’s one of the tunics I ordered and returned – it’s the Boden smocked tunic dress and it is gorgeous – so soft and works perfectly as a dress with tights and boots.  Fortunately there is a long wait right now for my size to be back in stock so that is helping me to stand my ground and wait to order until it is cool enough to wear it.

The second is from the Winter preview – and it is the bottle green collared tunic.  I am actually just in love with this photo too – it makes me think of Twiggy every time I see it, not to mention the setting reminds me of my old haunt Notting Hill.

I will wait to order I swear.  In the meantime I am going to try and go cold turkey and stop browsing the Zara website and Zappos.com – let’s see how it goes.

Fall arrived here this weekend – we’ll still have temperatures up in the 80s each day but this morning I actually had to wear a jacket at the bus stop – it was in the low 60s – just gorgeous!  I took Tennyson, our boxer, for a long walk – another promise I made myself this weekend – I will walk him every morning!

I’m wearing my Hudson Collin jeans, Zara animal print t-shirt, Zara black jersey blazer and my Tory Burch black patent Eddies.  I love wearing a jacket with jeans – and these jersey ones are so comfy and easy to wear.

To those of you who are helping me purge my closet I want to say a huge thank you and USPS are going to be busy with shipments of fabulous items all day.  I am trying to be ruthless and have posted more items over the weekend on my Facebook store.

 

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Settling Down?

While waiting for MM to bring the Chinese home last night I ended up having an online conversation with someone about the East End of London (does that sound as sad as I think it does for a Saturday evening’s activities?).  Before we moved here to Atlanta in March 2000 MM and I had lived in various parts of London.  Oddly working from the most expensive to some of the cheaper (if not a bit dodgy at the time) areas as our incomes increased. We started in West Kensington, then moved to Notting Hill, then Camden, then Whitechapel, ending up ultimately in Spitalfields.

West Kensington was odd to say the least. We moved in to a 3rd floor flat in a house that was under renovation at the time, owned by some dotty Irish woman who was, I suspect,  drinking all the contractors wages away.  It also happened to be across the street from a hostel/halfway house where there were frequent yelling matches, if not fist fights (I was always most concerned about where my little Vauxhall Nova was parked for fear of damage).  Relaxing – not.  However, considering I was still a PhD student and MM was working for zero gaining ‘experience’ on a football magazine, it was not a bad place to live and certainly got me used to the eccentricities and chaos of living in London.

Next came Notting Hill. MM had me sold on location, location, location.  We used to head up to Portobello Road a lot and loved ambling along there at the weekend and bar hopping in the evenings.  The only problem is of course that W11 is one of the most expensive, exclusive postcodes in London so trying to find a flat with the budget of a student and a ‘part time’ worker was nigh on impossible.  Until that is the Ledbury Road property came up.  Ledbury Road – how cool is that – 2 blocks away from Portobello, always in the heart of Notting Hill carnival, close enough to Loftus Road and on one of the most exclusive roads in W11 – so how could there be a flat there we could afford?  Well on arrival we found out.  In a row of amazing town houses there was one that was not so amazing, completely dilapidated in fact.  MM managed to convince me it was still worth a look.  We headed up the creaky stairs through the house that had been converted into 5 flats – one on each floor.  As we entered the 2nd floor flat my heart sunk further.  It was tiny, no central heating, no shower, and a huge damp patch on the bathroom wall.  There was no way I could live there – that was until we entered the ‘living’ room – I was in love with the huge double windows that opened up on to a private balcony.  Yes our own private balcony, on Ledbury Road, in Notting Hill!!  Still, however, unconvinced MM took me to the Ground Floor bar (now only 10 mins walk from the flat), bought me several Moscow Mules and an hour later I agreed we should rent it – I’m such a push over.  We lived there happily for about 4 years enjoying many wild nights out and investigating each new fungus that grew on the carpet.

Ledbury Road as it looks today.

Ledbury Road

After getting my PhD and starting my first job as a Management Consultant (dead professional now…) I figured 1997 was the time to move on and graduate from student living.  We loved having a market to wander through at the weekend and knew Camden Town would be a place we could get more for our money, so we headed to NW1 and Camden Square.  The basement flat was by no means big but it did have some modern comforts like central heating and a shared garden – imagine that – no mold!  Only problem with Camden Square was it was a pain for transport – I wouldn’t wish the Northern Line every day on my worst enemy…

Working in The City had opened my eyes to the thrill of walking through Bishopsgate, Leadenhall Market, Spitalfields and seeing The Thames every day.  Also our friends were now living in Old Street so we were doing more and more of our partying in Shoreditch, particularly Charlotte Road where there were lots of cool new bars and restaurants – we were so hip.  MM was now happily employed and finances were a little more comfortable so in 1998 we embarked on our search to own our first place.  You would not believe the shoe boxes they tried to pass off as one bedroom flats in our price range back then.  We had given up our lease in Camden and our estate agent in Spitalfields was giving us short term rents until we could find a place to buy.  I think we spent about a year moving from flat to flat without unpacking any boxes – from Whitechapel to Commercial Street – a good thing Brick Lane was so convenient!  Then the flat of our dreams (our dreams in our price range…) came back on the market and we bought our first place together in December 1999 in a fabulous new block of flats on Folgate Street right next to Spitalfields Market – we could live there happily for years!  We moved in, bought furniture then two weeks later MM came home and told me we were moving to Atlanta…

Cantaloupe on Charlotte Road where we spent most of our time and money.

Cantaloupe

My visit to London Feb 2011 with friends:

Outside our block of flats in Spitalfields.

Bishops Court

Fancy a curry anyone?

Brick Lane

The back of me in Leadenhall Market.

Leadenhall