A few months ago, I was doing my food shopping in Sainsbury's when some denim dungarees called to me. Now, I hadn't worn dungarees in almost 20 years. Back in university I was quite a fan of overalls (as us Americans call them). They're so comfy, which is perfect when you're young and don't have a job. At first, I felt a bit apprehensive about trying them on. But they were so cute, I just had to buy them.
January was so cold and grey. And I was off the booze, which didn't help. But come the 31st January, it was time for some fun. Some of my mum friends and I went to Wimbledon Park to check out the opening of NYEAT - a new restaurant and cocktail bar. We were quite eager to enjoy American cuisine and sample lovely cocktails.
Actually, after over four weeks of abstaining from alcohol, I was afraid to try a cocktail. I had a gin and tonic (with Brooklyn Gin - amazing!). My friends were drinking mojitos and porn star martinis, and I have to admit being a bit jealous. But as I felt buzzed off one G&T, I knew I made the right choice. NYEAT offers a huge array of cocktails. I'll need to go back when I can handle booze again.
In the past few years, we have been making an effort to have mini-breaks and holidays in the UK. Not only is it nice to only drive a few hours before reaching the destination, but as a foreigner I love exploring the UK. There are so many beautiful towns and gorgeous buildings to admire. I wanted to share our last UK mini-break, which was a weekend in Woodstock.
Woodstock is located north of Oxford, and is home to Blenheim Palace. The palace is most known for being the birthplace of Winston Churchill. When we first arrived, we went straight to Blenheim Palace. We had heard so much about it, that we were eager to explore. There was jousting on that day, as well as a jester show. After lunch, we were feeling a bit tired so decided we would return to the palace the next day (we converted our day ticket into an annual ticket for free).
Our house is slowly coming together. I'm taking my time with the kids' bedrooms and the living room, but the guest room is almost finished. I'm still waiting for the new desk and the shutters to arrive, but I couldn't wait to show you how it looks. Ta-da! This might not mean too much until you see the before photos. But the difference is huge.
Every year, my family and I visit RHS Wisley to see their annual butterfly exhibit. There is something so extraordinary about living in the UK but being able to see loads of exotic butterflies. It's not an everyday occurrence, which is probably why it feels so special.
It's one thing seeing a couple of butterflies out in the open. But at The Glasshouse at Wisley, you will find so many more. They have over 50 species of exotic butterflies. Some are flying around, some are resting leaves and trees, and some are munching on old fruit. You probably won't spot more than 20 species, but it's fun trying. You can get a butterfly spotting guide for £1, which is a big hit with the kids.
Did I ever mention that I was an introvert? It's probably partly genetic, but I think it's mostly to do with the way I grew up. I was the youngest but was raised as an only child. I never lived with any of my siblings. And while part of me was lonely, part of me enjoyed the solitude. Or maybe I just grew accustomed to spending a lot of time on my own. Regardless, it has shaped me into an adult who needs a certain amount of alone time.
Over Christmas, I spent a wonderful two weeks in Florida with my family. And though we had a lovely time, I was excited at the end of the trip for some time to myself. While I love spending time with Husband, Moozles and Dubz, my sense of well-being requires alone time. I need to have quiet so I can think and read and write. And even when watching television, I don't like people talking to me or walking near me.
And when I say new bedroom, I mean NEW BEDROOM. We didn't just give it a lick of paint. We are nearing the end of a major home renovation project. There have been new windows, plastering, painting, new carpets and new furniture. I even switched bedrooms with my daughter. And as of yesterday, the bedroom was 95% finished (shutters are arriving in two weeks). So I thought I'd share the journey of our new master bedroom.
Like I said, the bedroom was originally my daughter's. The previous owners had painted one wall pink, and the door was painted black. Add crumbling plaster and green carpets that were about 30 years old, and the room was kinda disgusting. But no more (I wish I had more before photos, but the workmen started on the room earlier than expected).
You know that I'm one of those people who puts time into their hair. I have naturally wavy hair, and I wash and straighten it every 2-3 days. I have a £100 hair straightener, but have always used fairly inexpensive hair dryers. So when the lovely folks from LanaiBLO offered me a hair dryer worth £99.99, I was intrigued to see what you get for that price.
First of all, I need to address the obvious. My hairdryer has my name on it. This is no coincidence. LanaiBLO offer personalisation on all their hair dryers (as well as three different colours: white, pink and black). How could I not get my name? You don't see Elfa on many things, so anytime there's an offer of personalisation, I take it. This costs an extra £15, but is totally worth it.
Before I moved to the area, I knew that Kingston-upon-Thames was known for its shopping. And in the last few years, it has gotten even better. And it's not just shopping. There are restaurants, cafes, as well as pubs, bars and a delightful theatre. There is so much that you could easily, and happily, do to spend a day in Kingston.
A few weeks ago, I took Moozles and Dubz to enjoy some of what Kingston has to offer. We started off in the Bentall Centre. It is an indoor mall housed in a gorgeous building. And it houses some of my favourite homeware shops (Zara, H&M and West Elm). We are currently renovating our house, and I have been spending a lot of time exploring the internet for gorgeous items for my home. But sometimes you just need to get to a shop and see things in real life.
It's been a bit tough feeling festive this year. Our home renovations still haven't finished, and we don't even have a Christmas tree. But on Friday, we took the time out for some family fun in Kingston. The kids and I went shopping at Bentalls and had afternoon tea at the Hilton Doubletree. Husband then met us at the Rose Theatre to watch Alice in Winterland.
Fans of Lewis Carroll will be familiar with both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Alice in Winterland is a combination of both books. Alice's world is falling apart and all she wants to do is stop time. Her journey to Wonderland helps to show her how important it is to move forward and to accept change. The show had some really touching moments, but there were plenty of exciting moments and fun songs.