Saturday, 22 August 2015

NEW VENTURE: COME OVER TO TUMBLR!

Dear readers,

Can you believe it's been over two months since I posted on here?! Summer has just been a bit manic; what with Dad finally having his transplant (all looking good so far), Matt and I whizzing round Europe on a ten day trip and juggling seeing friends and preparing for my PGCE (scary) with taking long country walks with Genny and having a bit of much needed chill-out time. I'm not sure why but I fancied a change and a new venture so I made a Tumblr page the other night, named Fleurs de Lys (reminded me of my nanny) but you can access it at audreymarionbrigitte.tumblr.com. I'm hoping to just create a more streamlined version of Vintage Beauty xox over there- with an emphasis on pretty pictures and not so many words if I'm pushed for time. I've started a short diary in parts of our Europe trip that you can go check out now. So, yes, just a short note. Hoping you are all well and having fantastic warm summers! Please head over to my new page and spread the word! I will be keeping this blog as I am fond of it - who knows when I will post in the near future.

Love, Izzy


Sunday, 7 June 2015

A Trip to the French Market (by Genny-pup)


Hello there! Long time, no woofs. Today my owners took me to one of my favourite towns, Sandwich, for this event called 'Le Weekend: Sandwich Goes French'. I tell you, there are just so many incredible smells in this place. I've never been to France but I think I got a pretty excellent taster of it this morning. There was delicious food everywhere I turned - freshly baked breads, huge dishes of meaty concoctions, a whole stall dedicated to cheese (!!), boxes of creamy cakes, stands of gummy sweets....strings of sausages, the lot. I was quite cross as I almost, so nearly got a lick of a jelly snake and then my owner pulled me away, all embarrassed. I mean, how is that embarrassing? I think it's embarrassing that they didn't buy any of this scrummy stuff. I liked the non foody bits too - there were all these bags that looked like straw that scratched my nose really nicely. There were toys, cool new toys to play with, and some music that I stopped and had a tail wiggle to. We had a sit down after a while and I got to have some kisses with this kind of cute cocker spaniel guy. He got a bit desperate though after a while; he had his tongue in my water bowl and then I thought, no, I'll have a nap now. I think I'll be napping for quite a bit of the day - it's so nice and warm. I'm curling up by the back gate now in a patch of sun.

Happy Sunday everyone,

Love,

Gen

Sunday, 31 May 2015

A Day in Faversham

Matt and I have been very adventurous this week: my week off! On Tuesday, we set off to Faversham, a market town just up from Canterbury, which we knew of but hadn't visited before. Well, we were both pleasantly surprised- the houses were absolutely gorgeous; kentish cottages galore! We pretty much fell in love and had a wistful nose in the estate agent windows! There were beautiful little inns on the streets, a handful of quaint tearooms, a market selling fresh fruit and veg, fish and baked goods and plenty of quirky shops. We had a lovely light lunch at a coffee house overlooking the market square named Havisham's. Our favourite shop was the Aladdin's Loft along the Standard Quay. I wanted practically everything in there, from old Ladybird books to vintage luggage to an amazing, Victorian-esque wooden school desk. I just loved the whole feel of Faversham Old Town - it was delightful to see people buying flowers and walking their dogs amongst the hustle and bustle; a highlight for me was seeing a sweet elderly man create a painting of the town centre on a little deckchair. Faversham is a must visit - a pretty place to stroll through if you have a couple of hours on a sunny afternoon.


Sunday, 24 May 2015

English Country Kitchen Inspiration: Mix & Match

Howkapow Welsh Fisherman's Lamp in Cream / Jane Booth Ceramics Handmade Blue Wren Bowl / Small Smoke Grey Dotty Donut Dog Bed / Rose & Grey Reclaimed Hanging Wine Rack / MADE Bourbon Vintage Bench Distressed Grey / Rose & Grey Wire Kitchen Rack  / Live Laugh Love Cast Iron Egg Holder / Indru at Etsy Milking Stool / Cloth & Clover Hanbury Fabric in Mallow

The One with the Spontaneous Road Trip



Long time, no blog! I feel really content and happy at the moment with the loved ones I have around me and I felt like writing a little post! Dad's now in a local hospital (much, much better than being in London!!) and is about to start a rehab programme, so he couldn't make our little trip last night but we're finally heading onwards and upwards.
   Last night, as part of my Auntie's fortieth birthday celebration, my mum drove us, my Grandad and cousin down to the gorgeous cinque port town of Rye to meet my Auntie and Uncle for a surprise drink! It was so lovely that my Auntie had no idea - her face was a picture when they walked in and saw us hiding around a corner in the pub! We even took their adorable pug Henry as The Ship Inn where we went is super dog friendly- he definitely enjoyed rubbing noses with a very sweet (and giant!) Irish Wolfhound.
   Drinks turned into dinner and we chose an array of delicious dishes from the quirky menu- I went for southern fried chicken, corn on the cob and fries. The steak and fisherman's pie were also popular choices with my family! The dessert menu was nearly impossible to choose from, but I ended up settling for a trio of homemade icecreams - my custom flavour selection was cookie dough, rocky road and chocolate brownie. Sooo scrummy.
 We're big fans of The Ship Inn, having stayed there with Gen one summer, when we also visited Camber Sands beach, and we drank numerous hot chocolates on The Ship's squashy sofas last winter. It's a lovely pub with a ridiculously relaxed atmosphere and gourmet food, situated right amongst gems of antique and interior shops on the harbour front. Rye is just an hour from South East Kent, just over the border into Sussex and is more than worthy of a visit. 

Love, Izzy 

http://theshipinnrye.co.uk/

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

An Explanation



Two weeks ago something huge happened to my family, something that could undoubtedly change our close little unit forever. My Dad was diagnosed with Acute Meyloid Leukaemia in September, something I really hadn't heard of before. Now I feel I know it too well! He was such a healthy and active man so it was a big shock at the time, but he made it through almost four intense months of chemotherapy and got into remission for Christmas. We had four lovely, 'normal' months, leading to a wonderful Easter weekend on the 4th, then we were hit by the bombshell that the cancer had come back. Not only that, it had accumulated and pressed onto his spinal cord, causing paralysis from the mid chest down. Pretty crap really to say the least! Not to scare anyone, but all Dad had as a warning was a backache, which we put down to him overdoing it with the DIY or running with the dog, or the home exercises he's always been obsessed with doing. He lost the use of his legs within hours. 

I've been keeping a low profile, but then Mum said something like this to me: "If someone stumbled upon your blog, they'd think your life was pretty idyllic. It's good to show the reality too." Thanks for the words of wisdom Mum, I do think you're totally right. I feel extremely lucky to have the lifestyle that my family do, but everything was and can be turned upside down in the space of an afternoon. I stopped blogging over the last few weeks as I felt that talking about fashion, beauty and such superficial things was silly when my Dad is going through what he is. But I think I will start to post again, because I wouldn't want to let down the small following I've managed to gain over the last couple of years, and also because life goes on. It just has to.I never thought it would after my Nanny passed away last year, but actually your perspective on life just changes. You're allowed to enjoy Instagram, Tumblr and Youtube, but my words of advice are please don't jeopardise time with loved ones for social media. Take a break if you need and just be aware of how precious the real people around you are.

We're hopeful that with treatment Dad is going to be okay but while we're in this horrible limbo, I'm going to appreciate the little things - picking flowers from the garden, cuddling up to my dog, cooing over my best friend's new baby, baking, writing my YA novel, helping kids at school with their own issues. And that's how I'm going to get through the next few weeks or months.
I may post updates as we go along because I have had a lot to deal with in this past year and I am someone who has frequently searched the net for anyone in the same scenario. If any of you are going through something similar right now and have any questions or just want to talk then absolutely feel free to message me using my given email.

Love, Izzy

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

ASOS Wishlist: European Sightseeing Suitcase

1. Luxe Tshirt Dress with V Neck
2. Kiss The Sky Crop Top with Tassel Trim in Giraffe Print
3. Metal Box Cross Body Bag


ASOS are so on point for updating our summer wardrobes at the moment. I found it hard to narrow down my lengthy list of saved items, but here's a covetable mixture of city sight-seeing staples. Of course, when backpacking, you want to save room; this ethnic silver bag is simple but eyecatching enough to be teamed with all of your evening outfits. This silky khaki dress can be worn with espadrilles or these adorable scallop flats by day for museum wandering, or by night with heels and a jazzy necklace. My favourite piece, the Liberty-esque playsuit, would make a beautiful picture up le Tour Eiffel, and look ultra chic over a white bandeau bikini for sunbathing on the sand. This giraffe crop top is just the trusty sort of piece I like to have to throw on with denim shorts and a fedora. As for the elephant watch, telling the time is definitely a necessity for interrailing. Basically, ASOS has all you need for your holiday suitcase. I know I will be stocking up on key, versatile pieces like these over the next few months.

What's currently on your ASOS wishlist?

Sunday, 5 April 2015

A Three Course Easter Lunch




On Good Friday we held part one of our family Easter celebrations, with my Grandad, Auntie, Uncle, cousin and Matt coming over for a special lunch. My Auntie and Uncle also brought their pug Henry, so it was slightly chaotic with him, Gen and the two cats chasing each other around! Mum and I laid the table with a pretty paper tablecloth with polka dots on. The tablecloth and gorgeous napkins - which say 'What a Beautiful Day'- were from Sainsburies. We used our best vintage silver cutlery and glasses from Laura Ashley; we then put these tiny metallic shell vases at each place setting: these were a gift from Matt's Mum and are from a lovely homeware company called Cox & Cox. We picked the little flowers from the garden and a hedgerow near our house and arranged them in the vases and jug as a centrepiece. We also placed these chocolate bunnies - blue for the boys and pink for the girlies - and a compulsory bowl of mini eggs on the table! As a finishing touch to the room, we strung up this shabby chic, floral bunting that Mum bought on eBay. I loved it as it made our dining room ceiling look higher!

Mum drew up the three course menu using one of her country cookbooks and this is what she made: 

Asparagus wrapped in Parma ham, served with a dippy boiled egg

Roast lamb with all the trimmings - roast potatoes, carrots, cauliflower cheese, peas, runner beans and stuffing 

Hot cross bun pudding with a rum and chocolate custard 

After our delicious lunch we broke the rules and had a seven player game of Monopoly! I always have to buy the dark blues - it's a slight addiction- and end up losing....what does that say about me?! I then brought out my hot cross cookies on Mum's Cath Kidston cake stand; I was so pleased with these! This was the recipe I followed and it made about 15 cookies:

250g plain flour 
100g white chocolate chips 
100g caster sugar 
200g softened, cubed butter 
100g raisins 
2tsp baking powder
1 egg 

1. Mix the butter, sugar and egg together - I used an electric whisk to ensure it was all smooth. 

2. Sift in the baking powder then flour, stirring with a wooden spoon to make an even dough. This takes about ten minutes to mix it all properly; you may have to use your hands to sculpt it into a firm dough. 

3. Add the chocolate chips and raisins then press the dough into small balls. You choose how many of the choc chips and raisins you squash into each cookie!

4. Put the cookie dough balls onto grease proof paper lined trays and flatten each slightly. Cook for twelve to fifteen minutes on gas mark 4 until browned. 

5. Leave to cool for a good hour before icing. I used three tubes of white chocolate, milk chocolate and caramel flavoured icing and just drew lines over the cookies to imitate the classic hot cross bun design! 

Today we are off to my Auntie's for another family roast and a walk by the seaside, weather depending! Tomorrow will be spent devouring Easter eggs no doubt... 

Wishing you all a very happy Easter! 

 Love, Izzy

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Book Review: Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

As part of my school's Junior Reading Club, I am reading a number of books shortlisted for The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2015. This is an award presented annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children. Past (and more known) winners include Meg Rosoff, Anne Fine and Philip Pullman, though what I love about the scheme is that more obscure authors are often put into the spotlight.
The first book that I have read is Sarah Crossan's Apple and Rain, published in August last year. The novel focuses on a thirteen year old girl named Apple, whose life is dictated by her not having a mother. Though she is happy living with her doting and sensible Nana, Apple feels distanced from the girls in her class and finds herself wishing for something more. Until one day Apple's glamorous, wannabe actress mother shows up, with a revelation; that Apple has a secret younger sister. Apple jumps at the chance to move in with her mother and sister, yet both come with their own quirks and issues that Apple must try to help them overcome.
Apple's story, told through her eyes, shows us the value of even the most unconventional of families, and how loyalty can be found in the most unexpected of places. With her English teacher spurring her on, Apple uses poetry to express her inner self and share her fears and desires with us the reader. The novel is written simply yet eloquently where need be. It is always written sensitively, delving into the everyday life of a budding teenager dabbling in first kisses and battling for a place in the popularity stakes. I suggest the audience of this novel to be for those in the lower years of secondary school. However, I enjoyed the book very much, as a moving piece of social realism and lyrical literature combined. It lacks the depth you would find in a John Green book, echoing instead tones of Jacqueline Wilson; in fact it reminded me a lot of The Illustrated Mum. The idea of having to connect with a mother and sister who are both effectively strangers is endearing, as is the question of successful parenting that is flagged up in the book.

Let me know what you think of Apple and Rain if you manage to get hold of it!

Love, Izzy

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

You Are Cordially Invited to an Easter Tea Party....



 From top left: John Lewis Felt Carrot Garland £8 / The Easter Home Daisy Ceramic Teapot £16 // Sass & Belle Pastel Easter Egg Hunt Arrow Sign £3.45 // Oliver Bonas Canary Garden Chair £59 // Not on the High Street Fretwork Easter Egg Sign £8 // Lindsay Interiors Ceramic Rabbit Spoon £3 // Laura Ashley Easter Egg Hunt Kit £7.50 // Sass & Belle Pastel Chevron Style Bunting £10.75 // Retro Easter Stickers by The Jellybean Studio at Etsy £2.07

Thinking about it, Easter is actually extremely close behind Christmas for my favourite time of year. The sun's usually shining and it's at least mild in temperature, the daffs and tulips pop out to delight, the lambs and bunnies are skipping out and about. Not to mention everything around this season is so pretty. If you hate pastels I can see why it wouldn't be for you, but I can't soak up enough of ice-cream hues that look good enough to eat. I picked out these beautiful decorative bits and pieces above as excitement really kicked in for me tonight while I was reading Country Living magazine! I must get these ceramic bunny spoons to go in our glass milk bottles along with pretty paper straws, and this egg hunt sign would look perfect on Florence the caravan. If you're sending Easter cards to faraway loved ones, these gingham and polka dot chick and rabbit stickers will make a lovely, vintage touch.
    We've already got our Easter tree up - it's made of a blossom branch and has little hanging, decorative eggs and chicks all over it (adorable) - and I'm looking forward to testing lots of seasonal recipes, including baking hot cross buns for the first time. My Grandad will run the annual Easter egg hunt, held this year in my auntie and uncle's garden, complete with excitable cats, labradoodle, springer spaniel and pug, and Bertie the baby tortoise. I hope if the weather treats us right that we'll then have some sort of feast outside on the decking, with bunting and blooms around us. There may even be a spot of hot-tubbing! I love that Easter is another precious opportunity to come together and embrace your family and friends.

What are your Easter traditions?

Love, Izzy