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Balenciaga πŸ’›

There are a few designers of fashion who touch you deep within. You see their clothes on the pages of a fashion magazine worn by celebrities, or in advertisements, and you just stop and think, how beautiful.

Balenciaga has always made me feel this way. The dresses, skirts, bags by the iconic brand have always made me stop and take a closer look at the cut, the shape and the style.

So when I found out the Victoria & Albert was holding a Balenciaga exhibition I had to find out more.

The man behind the brand –

CristΓ³bal Balenciaga opened his first boutique in San Sebastian Spain, in 1919, which expanded to include branches in Madrid and Barcelona. The Spanish royal family and the aristocracy wore his designs, but when the Spanish Civil War forced him to close his stores, Balenciaga moved to Paris.

Balenciaga opened his Paris couture house on Avenue George V in August 1937, and his first fashion show featured designs heavily influenced by the Spanish Renaissance.

Balenciaga’s success in Paris was nearly immediate. In the period of two years, the French press lauded him as a revolutionary, and his designs were highly sought-after.

Customers risked their safety to travel to Europe during World War 2 to see Balenciaga’s clothing. During this period, he was noted for his “square coat,” with sleeves cut in a single piece with the yoke, and for his designs with black (or black and brown) lace over bright pink.

However, it was not until the post-war years that the full scale of the inventiveness of this highly original designer became evident. His lines became more linear and sleek, diverging from the hourglass shape popularized by Christian Dior.

Christian Dior once said,

Haute couture is like an orchestra, for which only Balenciaga is the conductor. The rest of us are just musicians, following the directions he gives us.

The Exhibition –

It was wonderful to see the designs up close. To wonder at how a person could fold and drape fabrics so intricately and almost magically.

The exhibition is perfect in that it gives you a wonderful glimpse into the world of this very talented man, and shows us how ahead of his time he was, and how mostly all the pieces on display could still be worn today.

The exhibition is still on at the Victoria & Albert Museum until February 18th, you must book tickets in advance.

https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/balenciaga-shaping-fashion

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The Greatest Showman 🎬 a movie review πŸŽ©

The first movie review of the year is a fun one!

I have always loved musicals on the stage but have not really enjoyed them on the screen, apart from Scrooge which is a classic.

But since La La Land Ive found musicals extremely enjoyable. I think it may be because they have such a magical effect on me. They take you away to musical lands where songs speak so much louder than words. Music has that unexplainable effect on me.

The Movie –

Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

Verdict-

The fantastic cast has a lot to do with the success of this movie in my opinion.

Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron lead the cast of performers.

The movie is based on a real story. The real P T Barnum was an American businessman, showman and entrepreneur, remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus.

The real life Barnum was a very clever businessman. Barnum used the museum as a platform to promote hoaxes and human curiosities such as the Feejee Mermaid amd the General Tom Thumb.

All in all a fun movie, the music is uplifting and memorable.

Its still on at the cinemas and will be out on dvd soon.

Enjoy! xxx

Easy peasy Shepherds Pie πŸ˜‹ the ultimate winter warmer β˜ƒοΈβ„️

In London it is still freezing cold! After a wonderful Christmas and New Year break in sunny Antalya with my family, coming back to the winter freeze has definitely been a wake up call that we are still in the dark freezing months.

After a long day outdoors, be it at school or work or shopping, what we want most is a warming dish of deliciousness to warm us inside and out.

Comfort foods have always been a favourite of mine, they are potatoes, meat, veggies, and made even yummier with some butter.

Shepherds Pie has always been a favourite of mine since I was little. My mother is the ultimate cook and she makes an amazing Shepherds Pie. Here is my version of her delicious delight. I just prepared it and Ive put it in the fridge. So when my boys get home from school all I need to do is pop it in the oven. Not only will it be a homemade nutritious meal but it will warm them up in this freezing weather. Its a win-win situation!

Easy peasy Shepherds PieΒ 

Ingredients –

  • 500grams 10% fat minced beef
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
  • 500ml beef stock (I use Knorr stock pots)
  • 1 kg Maris Piper potatoes – peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 5 tablespoons warm full fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method –

  • In a heavy bottomed pot heat the olive oil, add the chopped onions and chopped carrots. Fry over a medium heat until tender.
  • Add the minced beef, and cook with the veggies.
  • Add the Worcester sauce, sugar and tomato puree. Mix until cooked through.
  • Add 500ml of beef stock, mix well and leave to simmer over a low heat for 30mins.
  • Meanwhile peel, cut into chunks and boil the potatoes until tender. Drain the water, mash with a fork or potato masher. Add butter and warm milk until it is soft, smooth and creamy.

  • Gently spoon the beef mixture into a deep overproof dish. Spoon over the mashed potatoes until all the meat is evenly covered. With a fork ruffle the mashed potato.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25minutes at 180 degrees Celsius under the mash starts to colour and the meat is bubbling.

Mmmmmmmm so yummy, serve piping hot! Enjoy!

Start the year with fresh Smoothies & Juices πŸ˜‹πŸπŸπŸŠπŸŽπŸ‘πŸ’πŸ“πŸ‡

Happy New Year everyone!

I still cannot believe a whole week of the new year is over already. Lets hope it will be a healthy, happy and fantastically fun year for us all.

These are a few of my New Year resolutions for this year, and I plan to write lots on these topics and share them with you over the coming months. They all focus around finding inner happiness, being satisfied with what you are already lucky enough to have and to be healthy –

  • Practice more yoga, regularly, everyday
  • Drink a homemade fresh smoothie or fresh juice everyday

  • Eat less processed food
  • Eat more fermented foods such as pickles
  • Be more patient with my kids

The Book –

So to kick off the new year on a healthy start, and to fulfil one of my resolutions, the book I want to share with you all this week is one by my favourite Deliciously Ella.

30 new recipes for nourishing smoothies and amazing mouth-watering juices

Bursting with simple, plant-based ingredients that are full of flavour and goodness – start the day well with a Blueberry and Pear Breakfast Blend, energise with a Green Dream or treat yourself to a heavenly Minty Coconut Shake.

Be inspired by Ella’s life-changing, healthy eating philosophy and get blending and juicing, to keep you happy and balanced all day long.

Verdict –

I love cookbooks in dinky little sizes, they are so easy to take away with you, keep in the kitchen for those go to moments. This little book filled with recipes for fresh juices and smoothies has been a real inspiration to kick start my healthy new year.

I find Deliciously Ella’s recipes can be a bit far fetched at times. Using 10 dates in a recipe can be very costly, but her juices and smoothies are very doable.

I follow her Instagram account and have noticed how she starts each day with a fresh juice or smoothy, and this is what I have been doing to. Ive started with fresh juices, as my I haven’t got my smoothie maker as yet.

My favourite is carrot, I just find it so detoxing and refreshing. Carrots are not too sweet so they are perfect to start the day with.

Over the New Year we were lucky enough to stay at our favourite hotel in Antalya – Akra Barut. Which houses the LifeCo. chain of detox centres. On the 1st January 2018, after a sim in their indoor pool I enjoyed a wonderful fresh juice. Apple, Cucumber and Spinach. It was scrumptious!

So watch this space! Over the coming months I will be filling my blog with even more healthy recipes, fun beauty tips and tricks. For us all to have a wonderful New Year!

xxxxxxx

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! πŸŽ„πŸŽπŸΎπŸŽ‰β„οΈβ˜ƒοΈ

Wishing you all the best in 2018! Thank you for all your support & love this year!

Looking forward to lots more fun in 2018!

Love from my family to yours 😘😘😘

Auntie Bertie Bans Christmas β„οΈβ˜ƒοΈπŸ’™ a fantastically colourful Christmas treat πŸ“š

It’s Christmas Day in 5 days time! I just cannot wait! The boys are so so excited they are counting down the minutes!

For grandparents, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles all over the world who celebrate it is a very busy time indeed, buying & wrapping gifts ready for the big day.

So here is a wonderfully festive book perfect for Christmas by one of my authors.

The Book –

Auntie Bertie bans Christmas. Her nephew, Johnnie, and friend Farah are staying because of a family dilemma. Rescue cats Molly and Georgie save the day!

Esther the author is a colour therapist and uses colour to an advantage.

Colour is also great for learning disabilities and holds the attention span and has a calming therapeutic effect.

Another Auntie Bertie adventure! READ, LAUGH & LEARN!

Verdict –

Another lovely story from the very talented Esther.

The illustrations, the colourful pages make this not just a book but a magical adventure.

Each pair of pages is a vivid bright or deep colour which adds to the overall reading experience. The colours are soothing, calming and exciting.

My boys loved every word and couldnt wait to see what happens next.

This book would make a lovely Christmas gift for children of all ages. I think I enjoyed it just as much as the children.

Available to purchase on Amazon Uk now!

Find out more about Esther & her lovely books on her website below-

http://www.colourtherapytwist.co.uk/

http://www.auntiebertiesadventures.com

Sparkling white teeth with the help of charcoal! πŸ˜ƒβ€οΈ

This year one of my biggest resolutions was to take better care of my teeth. And I am very proud to say I have. I have been to the dentist for my routine check ups, and have been to the hygienist several times already. I feel so much better for it.

Of course its not the most enjoyable thing in the world, but Ive learnt that if you overcome the initial fear of going to the dentist, the longterm rewards are just amazing. You feel so much fresher and I can now say my tooth sensitivity has completely disappeared.

So now I have healthier teeth and gums I am now looking to improve my teeth hygiene even more with things that are available on the market.

I would love to have brighter, whiter teeth and you may have heard ‘charcoal’ is the latest way to achieve this.

The Product –

Swiftwhite Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Powder.Β Premium Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Powder to help whiten and brighten smile.

Achieve teeth whitening results and remove years of tobacco, wine, tea and coffee stains using Swiftwhite Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Powder.

  • AVG.Β 6 SHADES WHITER IN 7 DAYS
  • VEGAN, CRUELTY & GLUTEN FREE
  • COCONUT CHARCOAL, NOT HARDWOOD
  • Get the Perfect Bright Smile: No matter how well you take care of your teeth, some discolouration is bound to happen. Well, not anymore: this amazing natural activated charcoal teeth whitening powder will help your smile get white, bright and charming – just how it’s supposed to be!
  • 100% Natural, Pure & Safe for Your Teeth & Gums: If you’re concerned about how this great teeth whitening product affects your dental health, don’t be: this natural activated charcoal powder is perfectly safe and healthy for your teeth, gum, and enamel.
  • No More Coffee, Wine & Cigarette Stains: Chronic habits like smoking and drinking coffee, tea, or wine can have a significant, aesthetically unpleasant effect on your teeth colour. The teeth whitening powder is here to take care of that too, helping your teeth to gradually revert to their natural colour.
  • Premium Quality Activated Charcoal: When it comes to our premium teeth whitening powder, we make a point of using nothing but premium quality natural and non-toxic activated charcoal powder, as well as state-of-the-art production processes and strict quality control.

Directions –

Dip wet toothpaste into powder, brush for 1-2 minutes then rinse thoroughly. Use twice daily for best results.

Ingredients – 100% Natural Coconut Shell Activated Charcoal

Verdict –

First of all let me tell you that yes the powder is jet black, it is pure powdered charcoal. But thankfully it doesn’t taste of anything, even though I wouldn’t really know what charcoal would taste like, it is good to find out that this powder has no bad taste. In fact it is tasteless.

I have been using the powder for 5 days now. Every morning and evening after flossing and brushing, I dip my toothbrush into the powder, then brush for a minute or two. Then rinse.

It is very weird having black teeth whilst brushing, but the results are totally and utterly worth it!

The biggest problem with my teeth, as my dental hygienist tells me, are the stains caused by coffee, tea and red wine. This powder is the perfect natural solution.

After five days of use, my teeth look and feel so much cleaner, as if they have been polished at the hygienist.

This powder is so much better than teeth whitening strips as it is 100% natural, suitable for vegans and just so easy to use!

Available on Amazon Uk now!

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella πŸ’› a book review πŸ“š a young adult story

I find life far too serious at times. Especially around this time of the year when we are so busy trying to get everything done. I find myself thinking far too much about things that are really out of my control.

The best way to let all those negative thoughts go and to just sit back and enjoy the ride is to read a good book that makes you laugh, think and appreciate life! After all laughter is the best medicine for anything in life. Laughter, love and understanding. Sometimes even when the subject matter of books is serious, a little laughter here and there can make it all bearable.

You can always count of Sophie Kinsella to make you laugh out loud, and ever since reading the Shopaholic series of books, I have been a mega fan of her books!

The Book –

Audrey can’t leave the house. She can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly orange-slice smile, and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do things she’d thought were too scary.

Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you think you have lost yourself, love can still find you . . .

Verdict –

Now, this book is a little different from Sophie Kinsella’s normal novels, but different in a good and enlightening sort of way. It is not just about the fun things in life, but about a family who have issues and problems, which can be overcome.

It is a book aimed towards the ‘Young Adult’ market, so teenagers and above. The storyline touches all realms of subject matters in the subtle lovely way only a fantastic author like Sophie Kinsella could do – bullying, mental health. I am not a teenager but enjoyed it very much.

Audrey is such a lovable character, although she has problems, the story takes us through how things can change and we watch her blossom. She suffers from Social Anxiety Disorder, has been bullied, which has driven her to stay at home all the time. But with the help of Linus she learns to break free.

I think this book would be a perfect gift for those with teenage girls or preteen daughters. It is a wonderful story of getting better.

Available on Amazon uk and in all bookstores Nationwide. Find out more on Sophie Kinsella’s lovely website –

https://www.sophiekinsella.co.uk

 

 

Spring/Summer 2018 interior design trends from Crown Paints β€οΈ

I still cannot believe it is December, in a few weeks when all the Christmas festivities are over we will be ringing in the new year. I do very much hope that 2018 is a fresh start for the world we live in, and I very much hope this beautiful world looks forward to days of peace and happiness.

As you may know this year was a big year in our household, now my living room as a beautifully enlarged living room and my home is complete. We have the space we so wanted and a lovely large dining table to dine around.

But I think it is true to say that once you start decorating or building your home, you start getting ideas. How can I add more to my home? What little changes can make my home even nicer?

I attended Crown Paints press event a few weeks ago, and they have some wonderful ideas and colours for those of you wishing to add something new to your homes in 2018!

Crown Paints – Spring/Summer Colour Influences –Β 

Crown Paints has been manufactured in Britain since 1777, starting out in a small independent print shop in Darwen, Lancashire, where its headquarters remains.

A lot has happened over the last 200years, but it is still their mission to empower homeowners to realise the potential of colour. Paint is not just about home decoration, it’s about using colour to turn an ordinary space into something personal.

Crown Paints has a fantastic team of colour influencers who have put together the trends for 2018. Consultants, specialists and designers who have colour at the heart of everything they do and inspire people to decorate their homes with colour.

Crown Paints Trends for Spring/Summer 2018 –Β 

Linear –Β 

“This trend is about working with the simplicity of straight lines, keeping to slim black outlines in furniture and lighting as well as on walls gives a new and sophisticated look, a modern elegance.” Judy Smith (Crown Colour Consultant)

Provocative –Β 

“Brave, bold and provocative. With big blocks of colours and strong geometry that’s breaking free from the restriction of the walls.” Β Justyna Korczynska (Crown Design Studio)

Bloom

Bloom is the romantic token of nature at its most magnificent, with fresh floral tones on a long spectrum from lively greens to deep seated pinks and purples. This artistic interpretation picks out the wide brush strokes on an abstract canvas, combining all the fresh colours of a beautiful English garden.

Verdict –Β 

I found the Crown Paints Spring/Summer colour influences absolutely inspiring and refreshing. I could see so many possibilities, so many ways to transform rooms in our homes beyond just floral wallpaper, or champagne coloured paint.

If you are looking for fresh ways to brighten up your homes, or a specific room, have a look at what Crown Paints has to offer.

https://www.crownpaints.co.uk

My current favourite period drama ❀️ Howards End πŸŽ¬

As the nights grow longer and the weather grows colder, there is nothing I enjoy more than snuggling on the sofa with a cosy blanket to watch the latest period drama mini series on the television.

I don’t know what it is I love most about period dramas, but for me they are just pure indulgent pleasure. They take me back to an era where there was no technology; no televisions, iPads and wifi. To a time where great big homes were filled with the sounds of piano music and chatter.

I love seeing the costumes, the ladies dressed in there long petticoated dresses, the gentlemen dressed as smartly as all gentlemen of that era should be, in top hats and formal wear.

Downton Abbey has always been a favourite of mine. The grand home filled with traditional customs and formalities. The amazing costumes and the storylines are always so entertaining, you are at the edge of your seat waiting to see whatever happens next.

Howard End –

The current favourite period drama is Howards End, a dramatisation of the famous book by E.M. Forester. A story about how different classes can become intertwined in love, lies and death. The rich Wilcoxes, the gentle Schlegels, and the lower middle class Basts.

It is wonderful to see how stories are weaved together and how the characters are formed by very famous authors to form an unforgettable story which works wonderfully on the pages of a book, and is just as attractive on the television screen.

Howards End is frequently said to be E. M. Forester’s finest work. I have not seen the previous dramatisations of the book, but this one is very good.

Matthew Macfadyen, who you may remember from the series Spooks, makes a fine Mr. Wilcox, extremely manly and head of his family. After the death of his beloved wife, he falls for the beautiful and very fair Miss Schlegel.

I love movies of course, but there is such a fun anticipation in awaiting these mini dramas.

Howard End ended with its final episode yesterday on BBC1. It was a four part drama, each episode took us through the lives of these three families whose stories intertwined as one.

If you have missed it I strongly recommend watching it soon, maybe get it on catch up tv, or on iTunes, and devour it all in one sitting with a big steaming cup of hot chocolate.