22 December 2011

A little Joy

I am pleased to say I have planned my first adventure for 2012! I am escaping to Paris in April with some of my favourite friends (apparently Paris in the springtime is the best!)

I'm doubly excited to be travelling by eurostar, Oh how wonderful to be able to go on holiday without getting on a plane! So classy! one day I hope to be able to travel the whole world this way!

I'm already thinking of what we should do: I think an evening boat cruise and a show at the Moulin Rouge are definitely in order! Also after being completely captivated by the Film Hugo I'm looking forward to pretending its the 1930's, surely the best time ever to be in Paris!


20 December 2011

New Lists

Now, I think January is a vile enough month as it is without thinking about resolutions, so I think I will set mine before we get there!
I've ticked off Ten things from my list since starting in August and I've got eight more to add to the list: I've highlighted in red the ones I'm specifically aiming to do in 2012: A lot of the usual ones I suppose, lose weight, travel, spend less money and more time (with friends)! Wish me luck, and I will wish you all luck and joy in your 2012!

The list

1.        Own a cat or dog
2.       Take a course on Sewing
3.       Own a Property
4.       Go on a yoga Retreat
5.        Drive around America for 3 months
6.       Own an Apple Computer
7.        Write a Book
8.       Own a beautiful sofa
9.       Get a job working with animals
10.     Get married
11.      Go to a Roller Disco
12.     Be in a play
13.     Weigh 9.5 Stone
14.     Give a lecture about Animals
15.     Go to New Orleans
16.     Go on a cruise down the Nile
17.     Travel to another Country by train
18.     To have a Christmas tree decorated entirely with food: candy canes, pomanders, gingerbread men.
19.     Host Christmas in my Home
20.    To have my 30th Birthday in Las Vegas
21.     Visit Miami
22.    Get my picture in the Bath Life Society Pages
23.    Live in another country (again)
24.    Paint a room
25.    Buy furniture from Rossiters
26.    Make £100 selling old clothes on Ebay
27.    Visit Cardiff
28.    Go on a cruise
29.    Go to a Christmas market outside of the UK
30.    Go to a Car boot sale
31.     Go to a Village Fair
32.    Bake fabulous Courgette + Strawberry Cupcakes to raise money for a good cause

New goals

1.        Visit Edinburgh
2.       Visit Japan
3.       Travel through India on the Maharajas' Express
4.       Visit Chicago and find a speakeasy
5.        Own a kiln – Sort of a follow up to the goal of doing a ceramics course!
6.       Make chutney
7.        To not buy any clothes for 1 year (01/01/12 to 01/01/13)
 So, the rules will be pretty simple:
I can buy underwear, shoes and bags should they be needed. But no clothes. I can accept clothes should they be gifted to me, cos I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth!
The overall plan of course will be to make more use of what I have in my wardrobe, maybe alter a few things, and to make do and mend!
8.       Spend more time visiting/hosting friends (at least once a month)
Achieved goals

1.        Take a course on Ceramics – Booked for Jan 2012
2.       Buy a fabulous watch
3.       Join the WI
4.       See a Play in London
5.        Go to a Twenties themed party as a flapper
6.       Make cushions for my home - I have done this although they are small and very amateur! I shall resolve to improve upon the last efforts
7.        Have a Facial and a manicure
8.       Embrace vintage infatuation
9.       Host an afternoon tea party (holiday tea party – roaring success)
10.     Stay in a 5* Hotel


19 December 2011

Portsmouth Festivities

A quick post to tell you about my lovely weekened with my lovely friends in Portsmouth. We had a delicious 3 course festive meal at ABarBistro definately one of portsmouths hidden gems, and then onto the dolphin in old portsmouth for whisky and gingers. Lovely! xxx


12 December 2011

Gloomy Monday

I usually think these type of life affirmations are a bit corny but this one seems relevent as I enter a new year with a pretty gloomy feeling of my life going no where whilst everyone's around me is really getting going, I have a feeling of missing out; missing people, missing opportunities and acting too late. After a lovely weekend everything feels exceedingly dark and exceedingly cold:

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins”


5 December 2011

Shotguns and Chelsea Buns

Reader, It was never on my list to join a 'Shotgun and Chelsea bun club' but my word I'm glad I did anyway! Sarah, A new friend introduced to me by the Lovely Eleni, mentioned she was going to this exciting event and I couldn't resist tagging along! I am a complete beginner in clay pigeon shooting but I very much enjoyed learning. Here are a selection of piccies of me destroying some clay pigeons :)

I didn't get any pics of the Chelsea buns but I can assure you they were delicious and devoured with gusto by some very cold and hungry ladies!

Rob, our fab teacher can be seen in the pics, said, and I quote  "Now Sarah was on fire, I hope she keeps it up because she's a natural" I don't think I've ever been so proud! and certainly never been a natural at anything! I can wholeheartedly recommend this as a exhilarating hobby! (I'm not sure, after doing it once I can class this as a hobby, but I have every intention of making it one :))


2 December 2011

Newport and The Gilded Age

The Gilded Age (1865-1914) was a rich and complex period in American culture; a time of Vast industrial fortunes and monumental architecture.  By the turn of the 20th century, many of the nation's wealthiest families were summering in Newport, including the Vanderbilts, Astors and Widener family who constructed the largest "cottages", such as The Breakers.They came for a brief social season to grand, gilded mansions with elaborate receiving, dining, music and ballrooms
This is national trust on a grand scale, there are 9 houses all in this one town that are now beautiful museums: The Breakers, Chateau-sur-Mer, Chepstow, The Elms, Hunter House, Isaac Bell House, Kingscot, Marble House, Rosecliff. Many of the cottages were demolished and converted into apartments or offices in the 1930s when the owners could no longer afford their tax bills.(before income tax came along, people could keep all the the money they earned)

We visited the 3 grandest houses: The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House

The Breakers and Marble House were Vanderbilt Houses were both completed in 1895 costing Millions of Vanderbilt money (of which they had oodles, as railway tycoons) and the Elms for the was built by coal baron Edward Berwind in 1901. (You're not supposed to take photos inside the mansions so I don't have half as many pics as i'd like to show you, but I managed a few sneaky ones.....

All three 'cottages' were a joy to look around, on a far grander scale than anything i've seen before, but as always with such historical houses, the lives of the people that lived in them were just as fascinating as the houses themselves, in no particular order here are a few biopics of the women that lived in these houses:

Formidable pioneering feminist Alva Vanderbilt Belmont played a key role toward the ultimate success in women winning the right to vote. (she's also responsible for the chinese tea house in teh grounds of Marble house, photo above)

Alvas' daughter Conseulo Vanderbilt married the Duke of Marlborough and moved to Blenheim palace in the UK. These american heiresses were called 'Dollar Princesses' as the aim was to marry them off to european aristocracy, the husband got the money and the wife gets a title.

Gertrude Vanderbilt,was 19 years old when she first stayed at the Breakers, and describes in her memoir  "I am an heiress. When I first realized this, I was terribly unhappy. I wanted people to want me for myself."
She wanted to be an artist, which was not a typical role. She took sculpture lessons, and set up studio in Greenwich Village and Paris. She married Harry Payne Whitney, who had own fortune, became a renowned sculptor and founded Whitney Museum of Art. (Her room was one of my favorite of the rooms because her sculptures and paintings are displayed in there).

Gladys Vanderbilt had her "debut" to society at the Breakers. As was the custom of the time, these American heiresses were raised to marry European royalty in order to attain the title and prestige: Gladys became a Hungarian countess in1908; she inherited Breakers 1934.

Well, I hope this has been educational and inspirational! There is so much to learn about Newport and families like the Vanderbilts, I couldn't even scratch the surface! but I did take some nice photos and now you know what to do if you ever find yourself around Rhode Island!


28 November 2011


My word, that went by so fast! I am now back on the shores of blighty and much missing the US of A!
Its my first day back at work after a magical vacation, my email inbox overfloweth... and I dont fancy attending to a single one! Boo to work!

I have so much to tell you! Firstly Newport mansions, so spectaularly amazing and captivating I think I will do a whole seperate post on it! Suffice to say due to my 'Scanner' personality I am now hoovering up any books I can find on the Vanderbilts, who owned two of the largest mansions that we visited, filled to the brim with gold, marble and beautiful things.

I have roughly 350 photos, so as you can imagine picking just a few was tricky, so I will summarise some highlights:
1) me and mumsy: this is our 3rd trip to Boston together, last year we came in summer so it was sweltering but I think I like winter in Boston best, Its always sunny and crisp in Fall :) here we are in Boston Public Gardens

2) Faneuil Hall Christmas tree, the largest in New England and surrounded by lovely shops and cafes, lovely!

 3) The rotunda of the Boston Harbor Hotel: they have a variety of giant banners they hang from here, on thanksgiving it was the most patriotic....

4) The food: So good, so plentiful! I took pics of almost all our meals like a complete tourist! but this is a Boston Cream Pie and hot buttered Rum mmmmmmm :)

5) More decorations: I loved these giants baubles, scattered around our fave shopping mall, The Prudential, as though fallen from one giant tree!

6) The Museum of Fine Arts: we went to see a display called "Jewels, Gems and Treasures" Swoon!

7) 'Holiday High Tea' Oh, what a wonderful idea! high tea served during the festive season at Boston Harbor Hotel, christmas carols playing, champagne, festive themed teas (I had New England Christmas tea: apple and cranberry, and mumsy had Cinnamon Plum, both divine) snowflake cookies and many, many delicious cakes and pastries. These were homemade scones in cranberry and lemon and poppyseed flavour:

So, in my next post I'll tell you all about Newport, the Gilded age and how blimmin' awesome it must have been to be a vanderbilt!


18 November 2011


Just a quick post to express my excitment and nerves about flying to Boston tomorrow. Really looking forward to some thanksgiving festivities: Newport mansions for the decorations, Boston Harbor hotel for thanksgiving dinner, and lots of shopping and cocktail drinking!


8 November 2011

Crafting for Christmas and no.23

Im having a fine old time preparing for Christmas, Behold lino print wrapping paper and im also making sure I tick off number 23 on the list (decorate a christmas tree with food).

Meet the first of what should be a fabulous collection of Gingerbread men (what would be a good collective noun for gingerbread men? a troop of gingerbread men? a crunch of gingerbread men? a warmth of gingerbread men! yes I like that one)

7 November 2011

On Goals

I really enjoyed this article, (despite its rather silly title) and its' relevance to what I'm attempting to do with these lists of goals. As I suppose the underlying motivation to achieve such things as visiting New Orleans and owning a home, is that doing so will make me happy, or at least furnish me with new skills/knowledge. This article proposes that experiences and memories are better value than bought items, as they continue to bring joy and happy memories longer than objects of desire.

This article throws my goal into two distinct camps: experiences vs things which is a comparison I hadn't really thought of before. The author tells a nice story about a very expensive coat she yearned for but within weeks of purchasing this coat, it hung on the rack along with the others and wasn't particularly exciting any more: but the memory of sitting in said coat on a beach with her husband eating fish and chips brought about stronger positive feelings.

And whilst of course we will all continue to shop, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself "will I remember this at the end of my life?" this seems very relevant when applied to my goals and prioritising them: I am certain visiting Miami, owning my first home and owning a dog are memories that will last me forever, owning an apple mac...I'm not so sure.

So dear readers, consider this before spending your hard earned clams....


1 November 2011

Halloween - Pet Cemetery

This weekend I was invited to the lovely Eleni's house for a Halloween party. The theme: pet cemetery. There were dead rabbits, peacocks, bees, mice, cats and several more abstract ideas...
I came as a ferocious sea serpent (see me below with a mad cow and strangled peacock!), and thoroughly enjoyed the Bloody Marys and good company!


31 October 2011

No. 26 Go to a Twenties themed party dressed as a Flapper

This is great, someone's blogged about my party for me (Thanks Eleni!) so I can be lazy!
A great night was had by all, and I think we all had a fun time dressing up. I'm thoroughly pleased with the lovely ladies that have come into my acquaintance in my year here in Bath, and consider myself one lucky party girl :)


24 October 2011


Life outside work is so much more interesting than normal today! Hence a second post!

You may know that I lived in Boston, USA for a year in 2004/5 and again for 3 months in 2009. I love Boston and like to keep up with goings on in my favourite city and these goings on are both Spooky and Inspirational! (those of you who know me well will be aware of my love of dogs in coats!)

The Halloween Canine Promenade organized by the Carles River Esplanade Association had these wonderful attendees dressed as a butterfly, mustard and ketchup, a topiary, flower and shark respectively:

Bravo for fancy dress! XXX

Degrees of Distillation...

This doesn't have anything to do with my goals but I wanted to share this lovely link between some of my favourite things: Whisky and Bath :) and its also very much a game of 'six degrees of separation':

This Whisky 'Old Pulteney' has just been named 'World's Best Whisky' mmmm I might try and hunt me down some of this! anyway the name will sound familiar to Bathonians.
Its called Old Pulteney because the whisky is matured and bottled at the Pulteney distillery in Pulteneytown,  Wick.

Pulteneytown takes its name from Sir William Pulteney, eminent lawyer, MP and Scottish native. He invested in developments in Great Britain, including a new fishing town and harbour at the estuary of the River Wick AND also the Pulteney Bridge and Great Pulteney Street in Bath.

So ladies and Gents, now, when one is asked what does Whisky and Bath have in Common, you can tell them!