Sat on doorway steps

Rings

As I type this I’m currently sat on my sofa in my PJs nursing the mother of all hangovers. It’s the kind that’s been un-dented by two Ibuprofen and my go-to comfort food – a bowlful of baked beans – and I’ve just drunk an Altaseltzer followed by a coke-chaser in the hope it goes away. Wish me luck! However the celebrations that preceded this absolutely tub-thumping headache have made it totally worth it. That’s because last Saturday whilst we were on holiday in Goa Mister Ruffles and I got engaged (squeal!) and last night we celebrated with all of our friends and favourite people and I’m pretty sure that I was still drinking champagne well in tothe early hours of this morning. Oof!

My newly engaged status won’t come as a surprise if you follow me on Instagram; I posted a photo of my gorgeous ring almost straightaway as we wanted to share our amazing news with everyone. What I didn’t know though, was that Mister Ruffles had told a fair few of our friends before we went away that he was going to propose and as he’d proposed on the last night of our holiday they’d all been kept in suspense for the three weeks we were away!

A Very Special Ring

Arm Party

The proposal was utterly magical, he’d pre-arranged with the hotel to put on a private candle-lit dinner outside overlooking the beach and beneath the palm trees and when he got down on not one, but both knees he played ‘our song‘ on his iPhone. Suffice to say I couldn’t see for all the tears! He proposed with a beautiful love-knot ring from Catbird in New York but unbeknownst to me throughout the year I had inadvertently scupperred plans to have a bespoke ring designed by being quite vocal (ahem!) about how I had absolutely no idea what kind of ring I could ever see myself wearing as an engagement ring. That may sound a little presumptuous and arrogant but after seven years together we’ve often had quite practical conversations about marriage so we both knew it was a case of when rather than if. We’d chatted about anything from what songs we’d like to play at our wedding (a lot of 80s disco!) to what ring I might wear. I’ve always worn large statement rings on virtually every finger and so I’d had a (misplaced and unfounded) pre-conceived idea that an engagement ring would have to work with them, but I’d always come unstuck as to how it would look. My feeling had always been that if I didn’t know what I wanted as an engagement ring then how would anyone else?

The actuality of it all was that when the ring was placed on my finger it really could have been any ring. I didn’t even look at it in and had to be prompted to do so! What I immediately realised in that moment was that what’s more important than the ring itself is the sentiment and significance of it, and the thought behind it. As it turns out I adore my ‘holding ring’, I look at it constantly and the fact that it’s so delicate and different to my other jewellery I find a beautiful contrast. My rings have always meant a lot to me, most of them bought by Mister Ruffles in fact, but this one now represents something incredible; it’s a mark of our love for each other and a lifetime that we’ll spend together as one and I couldn’t be happier.

Vintage Beyond Retro coat

Catbird Loveknot

Thank-you to everyone for your congratulations, here’s to love, here’s to friendship and here’s to an amazing start to the New Year *clinks glass of Alkaseltzer*

Beyond Retro CoatTopshop trousersASOS poloneckMarks and Spencer boots – vintage belt – Catbird ring

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Giant Christmas Tree

Skate at Somerset House

Plumdiddlyumcious_December14_143

This Christmas I took disorganised multi-tasking to the next level; my Christmas cards were written in pubs on the way to drinks parties and I was given some choice looks in the gym as I commandeered the ‘hair-drying area’ to wrap the Christmas presents I was due to give less than an hour later! I’ve been maniacally crossing off and combining multiple to-do lists – presents with packing, gym-going with a seemingly never-ending work one – because instead of spending tomorrow toasting Christmas Day with a glass of bubbles and turkey with all the trimmings, I’ll be doing it with a Goan fish curry and a bottle of Kingfisher.

This year I’m celebrating Christmas on a beach in Goa and despite the militant list-making I’ve a stack of blogposts to write and truly there isn’t a way of being able to write a post about Christmas after Christmas! I confess it does feel a little odd to be writing about ice-skating, giant Christmas trees and all things festive whilst wearing sunglasses and listening to the sound of waves crashing on the beach, however I’m going to give it my best shot.

Giant Christmas baubles

How to style a leopard print coat

Skate at Somerset House

People watching ice skating

Ice skating

Every year Mister Ruffles and I try and have a Christmas Day-te together; this year that involved breakfasting at the incredible Kopapa (more on this in a later post) oohing and ahhing at the decorations in Carnaby Street and Burlington Arcade, then heading to Skate at Somerset House to pretend we’re Torville and Dean, drink mulled wine and try in desperation not to fall over.

Ice-skating for me always goes a little like this … in equal measure feel VERY excited and VERY nervous that I’m going to go arse over tit, make a fool of myself or, worst-case scenario, something will bleed and someone will ice-skate over my fingers in the process. It’s quite traumatising and so initially I spend the first 15 minutes white-knuckle gripping the side of the rink, politely moving careering small children out of my way (please note this is for their safety as much as mine). The next step is that I gain a little confidence and eventually my body remembers how to ice-skate so that come the end of our allotted rink-time I’m zipping round the ice thinking to myself that yes, I should absolutely consider taking this up as a hobby. I usually skate solo as Mister Ruffles and I have an unwritten rule that we don’t skate together. This is because he’ll be skating along perfectly ordinarily then for no good reason his legs will buckle, he’ll lean backwards very-almost falling over before regaining his balance and then doing the same thing but tipping the opposite way. It’s far too much of a hazard, mainly because I would literally fall over laughing at him (!) and so we’re not one of those let’s-skate-and-hold-hands-and-look-lovingly-into-each-others-eyes kinda couples.

Fortum & Mason

Somerset HOuse

Fortum & Mason

Fortnum & Mason Tea Caddy

We do however have a most excellent time and this year that was made all the more fantastic by Fortnum & Mason’s sponsorship of Skate at Somerset House; we both adored the giant tree with mini Fortnum hampers and loved browsing the halls inside Somerset House that were transformed into a pop-up Fortnum & Mason Christmas emporium, but with fewer crowds and less of a queue to get in!

There’s something quite magical about Christmas in London and I always get increasingly more excited about it each year; from ice-skating to carol singing, cosy fireside pub meet-ups to giggling at the annual Santacon in Trafalgar Square; London has an inimitable way of making Christmas a sparkling spectacle of wonder. For me the build-up to Christmas is as fun as the day itself and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it this year. All that’s left for me to say is that wherever you are in the world, and however you may be celebrating your Christmas Day, I hope it’s amazing. I hope you Father Christmas brings you all you wish for and I hope it’s a day filled with love and joy. Happy Christmas from Goa!

Beyond Retro hatBeyond Retro jumper – Vintage coat – Topshop leather trousersDeichmann Chelsea boots – Daughter of Jón bag

Santacon

Daughter of Jon gold bag

London Christmas Decorations

PluADaughter of Jonmdiddlyumcious_December14_162

Somerset House

Leopard print vintage coat

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Yay! 150k Followers!

Last week something amazing happened, and by amazing I just want to clarify here that I’m not talking about something as amazing as landing on a comet, nor as amazing as seeing photos of an underwater City off the coast of Egypt. Far from it in fact and actually by those standards it’s a totally insignificant and actually-not-amazing-whatsoever-thing but (disparaging commentary over) in my little world it was pretty amazing.

The amazing thing was that I reached 150,000 Followers on Pinterest *cue the ta-dah sound that the Boots No.7 ads use* So yep pretty exciting and amazing to me as I’ve been a forever fan of Pinterest since it launched. In that time it’s quite astounding to me that I’ve managed to amass 8,250 Pins and 84 boards that cover a rainbow of topics from Flamingos, Pineapples (of course!) and Unicorns, to boards dedicated to couples in the throes of passion, my street style crushes and a particular favourite, an ode to the word dreamy. Whilst curating this admittedly eclectic collection of images I’ve also managed to gain the aforementioned 150,000+ Followers, and that actually makes me pretty chuffed *flashes bashful but cheesy grin*.

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Beagle London

Where to go for brunch in London

Poached eggs and soldiers

Where to go for brunch in HoxtonIf I had to pick a favourite meal of the day it would be brunch; not-quite-breakfast-and-not-quite-lunch means twice the menu options which, to an extremely enthusiastic eater like myself, is a Very Good Thing. Menu possibilities are endless as both mealtime staples blend together, amazing things are done to eggs, avocado is used prolifically and food combinations up the ante as sweet and savoury chime together – pancakes with caramelised banana, maple syrup AND applewood-smoked bacon? Oh hell yes please! When it comes to brunch I’m somewhat of a super fan.

Recently some of my favourite friends have started Brunch Club, which is basically an excuse for us all to get together each month with the added lure of food and maybe some fizz chucked in for good measure. This month’s Brunch Club location of choice was Beagle which I first visited a year ago with my fellow food-loving blogger and friend Giulia and bar the brunch menu, it really hasn’t really changed at all. No bad thing as I remember thinking that things were pretty spot-on from the off. Located under the railway arches of Hoxton station the restaurant space is separated into two big, bright and airy rooms – a dining room and a separate bar area – with a further third arch playing host to a Beagle cafe, and outside there’s heated seating for midwinter al fresco cocktail drinking. Inside exposed brickwork walls and high arched ceilings create a cavernous but spacious feel and the floors, made from reclaimed railway sleepers, are a dark polished wood that perfectly match the tone of the Skandi-style furniture. One of my favourite features are the light fittings that hang from the ceiling; focal points on a grand scale, the enormous iron candelabra give off slight torture-chamber vibes (!) and perfectly punctuate the masculine, minimalist and – appropriately for a restaurant named after an old locomotive train – industrial design. In fact, railway references are in abundance and it’s easy to see how it won Best London Restaurant at The Restaurant & Bar Awards this year.

Flowers in a vase

Beagle London review

Eggs Benedict

Chalkboard menu at Beagle

Chefs at Beagle London

Thankfully though, the food isn’t nearly as stark as the decor and served from an open-plan kitchen, the menu has a great mix of comforting breakfast favourites such as smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, plus twists on the traditional like boiled eggs and anchovy buttered soldiers. Their potent Bloody Mary menu is an adventure to be explored with a wide range on offer; several of us eyed up the Habanero chilli-infused tequila-based Bloody Mary but, on second thoughts, unanimously decided that perhaps that may not be the best way to kickstart a Saturday morning on an empty stomach. In hindsight I’m now on the fence as think it had all the potential to go the other way, with brunch rolling on into dinner and plenty of swinging from those aforementioned iron candelabra which being entirely truthful, would have made for an altogether quite different blogpost!

Poached eggs avocado cherry tomatoes and spinach

Taking photo of breakfast

Beagle London restaurant

Brunch Club

For my brunch dish of choice I plumped for avocado, spinach, cherry tomato and goats cheese served with poached eggs which, when it arrived, I was quite surprised by as I was expecting it to be served warm. Instead it was a cold salad with the cooked eggs on the top and as it turned out, bloody delicious! A great example of how the lines between breakfast and lunch get blurred to create a dish I’ve since tried to recreate at home.

Having all enjoyed a few Bloody Marys, flat whites and what felt like endless sides of grilled mushrooms, buttery wilted spinach and sourdough toast, when the bill came it was pleasantly reasonable, and that’s another great thing about brunch – it’s a feat for it to ever get into the realms of penny-pinching. Since my visit to Beagle for brunch I’ve actually been back for dinner and had an equally fantastic time. I’ve recently started a LOW FODMAP Diet (Google it) and the maître d’, despite being shocked at how restrictive it was (I think the exact phrase was “bloody hell what CAN you eat?!” – my sentiments exactly), came back from the kitchen with a bespoke menu tailored to me and I got to enjoy a throughly delicious meal. So there you have it, a dining destination that’s so enjoyable that brunch really can roll on into dinner.

Coffee cup with lipstick

From where we stand

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The BathoryThe Bathory

The Bathory

Ever since the nights have drawn in and the mercury has dipped my evening routine has consisted of getting home as fast as the number 76 bus allows, demobbing whilst simultaneously saying hello to the cat, and diving face-first into a steaming hot bath, ideally to surface with my pyjamas ready and waiting for me on the radiator. Rock and roll people, rock n roll! Truthfully my nightly soaks in the tub have been a necessary antidote to a life that’s recently felt like the crazy-ometer has been turned up to maximum and besides red wine, chocolate and Pinterest – ideally indulged in all at the same time – I find a long, luxurious bath is my favourite way to soothe away a whole week’s worth of troubles and head wobbles.

What’s been making my nightly baths all the more indulgent have been these delicious bath salts from The Bathory. Aptly entitled Soothe, they’ve been doing exactly what they say on their exquisite and infinitely reusable violet glass jar. The Bathory offer a customisable and bespoke bathing experience via their charming website where you design your soak based on how you want to feel when you step out of the tub; be it relaxed, revived, happy, sexy, confident, focused or inspired. First you select your mineral salt-mix, next you cherry-pick from a selection of 10 different essential oils with nicknames like ‘the spicy one’, ‘the zingy one’ and ‘the exotic one’ which are combined to create your very own personalised blend that arrives in some pretty fantastic packaging.

The Bathory

The Bathory

The Bathory

All the ingredients are natural, organic and sustainably sourced, with each product is hand-blended to order and I plumped for a fragrant mix of bergamot, lavender and chamomile to relax, calm and uplift me with a mineral base of hydrating oatmeal, honey and buttermilk. The Bathory promises the best bath of your life and sinking beneath billowing puffs of scented steam I have to say, it was as close to bathing nirvana as I’ve ever reached! A Bathory Bath Soak costs £18 plus £3 P&P and each bottle is meant to be used over the course of three baths, however despite being really generous with my bath salt distribution I managed to eke out four utterly gorgeous baths, making for a pretty perfect Christmas present for anyone you know who deserves a little bit of indulgence.

I was lucky enough to have been sent a personalised Bath Soak From The Bathory to review and aid and abet my nightly routine bath times. Visit thebathory.com to get yours!

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