Monday, 28 September 2009

page turners

I am a reader, always have been and no doubt I will be until my days are over. I love books, bookshops and losing myself in a great story. I thought I'd share a few of the best books I've read so far this year.

The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald

I'd been meaning to read this for absolutely ages, as is the case with so many of the other great classics out there. Well, I finally made the time and now I can tick it off my list! I'm pleased to say that I was definitely not disappointed. I am a huge fan of the 1920's era, and was quickly drawn into the world of the enigmatic, mysterious and handsome Jay Gatsby and the glittering parties held at his Long Island mansion, full of Bright Young Things drinking and dancing the night away.

It's not all glamour and sequins though, and has a much darker theme running throughout it: "Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel."If you haven't read it then, I'd definitely recommend it, oh and I heard a rumour it's being made into a film which is coming out next year. Amazing! Can't wait to see the outfits.

The Bolter
Frances Osborne

Did I mention I love the 1920's...It seems to be a running theme in a lot of the books I've read lately! This one recounts the life of English aristocrat Idina Sackville- "The woman who scandalised 1920's society and became White Mischief's infamous seductress". It is told by her great-granddaughter Frances Osbourne. I was gripped from the first page and absolutely loved it. I think these two extracts from it's many reviews sum it up better than I could:

'The Bolter is the real Idina's story told by her great-grand-daughter Frances Osborne. It whirls the reader through the London social scene during the First World War and the decadence of Kenya's Happy Valley via Idina's five marriages and innumerable love affairs.' - Alice O'Keeffe, Amazon

'Passionate and headstrong, Lady Idina was determined to be free even if the cost was scandal and ruin. Frances Osborne has brilliantly captured not only one woman's life but an entire lost society.' - Amanda Foreman.

The Thirteenth Tale
Diane Setterfield

This is a brilliant page-turning, gripping thriller all about books. I read it all on the flight back from Thailand and literally couldn't put it down. That's over eight hours of solid reading! It has all the elements of a great novel- plenty of twists and turns, twins, a governess, a decaying house on a remote moor, a governess, warring siblings, and a fire.

It is undoubtedly a gothic tale, with more than a few parallels with Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights but it is a captivating read in it's own right, by an extremely masterful storyteller. I will be re-reading!

Friday, 25 September 2009

time for tights

Just when I thought that autumn here in London had very definitely arrived, the weather has thrown us all a curve ball in the last few days and we've had blue skies and sunshine. Beautiful as this is (I am not a huge fan of the cold, rainy weather), it has made getting dressed in the morning a bit tricky....Is it going to start off sunny and then turn cloudy? Should I take a jacket? Bare legs or tight? Yes, always a gamble in the transitional seasons.

Nevertheless, I'm all about tights at the moment. I've restocked for the cold season with several lovely new pairs- some grey and muted blue opaques and a couple of pairs of the thicker, ribbed, varity in beige/cream and pale grey. I'm taking inspiration on how to wear them from these very stylish ladies on flickr...

Image by strike.match

Image by rachaelnw

Image by Violetwired

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

the newlyweds hit thailand

So here are some shots from our week long honeymoon on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand (apologies there are so many of them, I had a hard time editing them down as we crammed so much into our 7 days there!)

First up, here is the famous big buddha, (you can't really tell the scale of him from the picture but he is absolutely huge), which presides over a temple on the north of the island.

These are some awesome life size robots entirely crafted out of old car parts, which are for sale at one of the vendors stalls based at the Big Buddha (they seem to have no qualms about combining religion and commerce in Thailand...)

Ahh, Beer Chang, the excellent local brew!

We hopped over to the neighbouring island of Koh Phangan for the legendary Full Moon Party which happens once a moon, yes you guessed it, on the night of the full moon. It is basically a huge party which takes place on the beach, where lots of crazy revellers from all over the world gather to dance the night away while the locals showcase their fire dancing skills. One of the highlights of the event is the local alcoholic beverage of choice- a 'bucket', which is just that, a plastic child size bucket filled with a heady mix of rum or vodka and topped up with the local version of Red Bull. Intoxicating to say the least!

Here are a few pictures of the hotel we stayed at...let's just say we weren't disappointed! It was a cluster of private villas rather than a big hotel type building. Our villa was so beautiful and the butterfly shaped infinity pool, little private beach and gorgeous restaurant finished it off very nicely indeed.

We went on an excursion to a local waterfall which boasted some naturally formed pools at the bottom where you could take a dip. The refreshing swim was most definitely needed after the hard slog up there in about 90% humidity!

Here are a few scenic type shots of various other places on the island...

A typical Thai meal...

One morning we visited a butterfly garden which was located right behind our hotel. If you hiked right up to the top of the hill it was situated on then you were rewarded with a stunning view of the ocean and the island's scenery.

One evening while relaxing at a beach side bar, we bought a paper lantern which we released into the night sky (it's supposed to be a good luck charm) and we watched it soar off into the night. It rose higher and higher until there was just a tiny flicker visible and then is disappeared from sight. Where did it end up? We'll never know!

This is the welcome drink we were presented with on our arrival at our hotel...mmm, fresh coconut milk.

To finish- here is the obligatory shot of my new finger ornament!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

blog love

As a breath of fresh air from the frenzy of wedding related posts (just the honeymoon pics left to go now! Well apart from our official wedding photos which we are still yet to see but I'll wait a good while before posting these), I thought I'd share three wonderful blogs that are recent discoveries for me and which I've been really enjoying lately.

Livy, the author of A Field Journal, describes it as 'A beautiful compilation of all things old fashioned, timeless, simple and lovely. This is most certainly is. The photographs are divine and the content equally inspiring.

(Above images via A Field Journal)

This lovely diary has dreamy images and thoughtful poetic, words and musings. I love the featured quote from the book 'A Little Princess', which explains the title and nicely sums up the whole vibe of the blog.

"Whatever comes, cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it." Sara Crewe

(Above images via The Lost Princess)

Kate is the very witty, quirky and stylish lady behind this top notch blog which covers her life, likes and inspirations. She has brilliant taste and I love absolutely everything she posts about. Undeniably cool.

(Sketch by Kate of Lovelorn Unicorn and illlustration by Gemma Correll on flickr, via Lovelorn Unicorn).

Friday, 18 September 2009

wedding snapshots- the dinner & evening celebration

So this post finishes off the series of snapshots of our wedding (taken by various friends and family members). Here you can see some interior shots of the marquee where we all sat down for an absolutely delicious dinner after the champagne and canapes and then carried on the celebrations after the speeches (which made everyone laugh and cry- I was so surprised and touched by them- never knew that Curt and my Dad had it in them!

The tables were all named after trees, in honor of the countryside setting of the event. My mother sewed all the napkins using off cuts from her collection of beautiful fabrics and we decorated each one with a sprig of rosemary from the garden. After the cutting of our tiny cake at the top of our cupcake tower (the cupcakes were heavenly by the way), we welcomed the extra guests who were arriving for the evening reception and then had our first dance. After that, the band took to the stage and we all hit the dance floor with a vengeance to rock the night away to some classic tunes. It was an amazing party and the band even got some of our more than willing friends up to take over one of the microphones and sing their hearts out. Brilliant!

The image of the marquee all lit up (but with no one inside it!) was actually taken the night before when all the lighting was being tested out. At about 11pm on the evening itself, I got changed into my 'leaving outfit'- a long white grecian style chiffon dress with gold sequin details, a gold sequinned cape and flat gold sandals which is pictured above. I was planning to put it on just before our send off at midnight, but all the dancing in my big dress made for one very overheated bride so I put it on a little bit earlier!

Everyone came outside to see us off before we left in our wedding car which took us to the quaint local country b&b where we spent our wedding night. I threw my bouquet which was hoping to be caught by a very large crowd of eager young ladies but ended up landing in the arms of my sister! Everyone thought this was a fix but I swear it wasn't. My poor Dad had better start saving for the next wedding then...

Photo credits - These images were taken by Curt's Dad Peter, my sister and chief bridesmaid Jo and my friend Jo.

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