Dreaming of....New York City

Birds Eye View of Manhattan, Queens & Brooklyn
Zohar Manor-Abel via Pinterest

Dreaming of travel today (as always).....
isn't this a fabulous photo?

I heart NYC.... 

Valentine's Day : A Little Love

I don't believe that you need to have just one day a year on which you must tell someone you love them....every day can be that day!

But it can be fun to do something special on Valentine's Day, I also love to something for my children too....heart shaped pancakes, little treats etc.

Not On The High Street is a favourite of mine for all kinds of gifts....
I love their prints & they always have such lovely handmade & personalised cards.
All of the cards I have included in this post are from their website. 

personalised map heart card

personalised "days I have loved you" card

"i love you" card

"you are the bees knees" card

"from here to eternity" card

"to the moon & back" personalised card


I Love Television....

I suddenly realised the other day that I hadn't really watched television for some time....
not any good television anyway, the kind where you cannot wait for the next episode.
Like most parents, evenings are spent in a round of homework, baths, discussions & keeping up with the events of the school day.

And, of course, when you have less time, you tend to be more particular about what you spend that time on.

I gave up watching soap operas years ago & I realised the other day that whilst we have more & more channels and therefore endless programmes to watch....I do prefer watching really good quality television - and sometimes, there just seems to be nothing worthwhile on.

It did get me thinking however about how great really good television can be & that actually there is something about getting totally caught up in it that I absolutely love.

"Homeland" was probably the most recent TV programme that I felt like that about....
I was a huge "24" fan & both shows had me glued to the television, at times watching through my fingertips, sitting on the edge of my seat, talking about it to friends - and desperate for the following week's episode.

Such is the power of a great show full of characters that you can empathise with, even if you can't always identify with them. 
Jack Bauer in "24" was one such character....I loved every season of that show.
Even when he bent the rules, he was the hero that you rooted & felt for.

There is something about watching a TV series, any series sometimes....
something about watching in your own living room that connects you with it differently to going to the cinema.
Maybe it's the fact that the characters come into your home & you are able to almost develop a relationship with them, in your own mind anyway.

Most women could name you their favourite "Sex And The City" character
within seconds - as well as telling you which character they are most like.
(My answer to both questions would be Charlotte!)

The same, probably, with "Friends", we all instantly know who our favourite is (Ross)
 Virtually impossible not to love & enjoy, "Friends" is a great example of the power of TV.
Who can't name a whole list of "favourite" episodes....it's a feel-good show that is always funny.
I've probably laughed, cried & can recite lines more from that show that any other show in my TV history.

I do think as well that certain TV shows connect you with particular times in your life, much like a song or a book does....they also connect you with people, you can bond over them.

Something I've got into over the last couple of years has been the TV boxset.
The number of evenings that I've stayed up way too late watching "just one more episode....".
It's a great, albeit it very intense, way of catching up on seasons that you've missed - my current favourites are "Private Practice" & "Grey's Anatomy".
I watched so much of both of those a couple of weeks ago, that by the time I'd finished, I had almost convinced myself that I was a doctor - or at least I could be one!!

 A good TV show can comfort & inspire, distract & stir your emotions like nothing else....
the saddest & most emotional moment in "ER" wasn't when George Clooney left the show, it was when Dr Mark Greene died....
in Hawaii, listening to "Over the Rainbow" on the headphones his daughter had placed on his head.
The whole episode was brilliantly directed, incredibly moving & I sobbed inconsolably.

There is something unifying about watching TV....
whether it's the Olympics, a Royal Wedding or the final episode of "Downton Abbey".
Television connects people & when it's good TV, there's really nothing quite as powerful.

Ross & Rachel...."I got off the plane"....this still brings tears to my eyes!!

Do you want to enjoy your favourite series on brand new television set? 
BrightHouse allows you to pay weekly for your TV, spreading the cost, so you can pay a little bit at a time.

This is a sponsored post but all words, thoughts & opinions are my own. All images chosen by me.

AFI's Top 100 Movies....

When I read Misty's list over here the other day, I knew that I had to do a post on this myself.
In 1998 the AFI created a list of the 100 Greatest American Movies of all time, the list was updated in 2007 (just a couple of movies were changed) to produce the list below.

I love the movies, as I've mentioned before I go the cinema most weeks....
strangely though, I can't remember the last time I watched a movie at home.
I think it's the whole cinema experience I love....
although I possibly could have done without the experience of sitting next to two teenage girls last week who, every time the tiger in "Life of Pi" roared, cooed as if they were watching a cute kitten! Seriously?!! 

Anyway, the list below is certainly a list of some really fantastic films.
I grew up watching a film most Sunday afternoons, so I know that many of these movies I watched years ago & I am going to endeavour to re-watch as many as I can.
I've seen 57 out of 100 on the list, what about you?  
Do you have a particular favourite on the list?

1. Citizen Kane, 1941
2. The Godfather, 1972
3. Casablanca, 1942

4. Raging Bull, 1980
5. Singin' in the Rain, 1952
6. Gone With the Wind, 1939
7. Lawrence of Arabia, 1962
8. Schindler's List, 1993
9. Vertigo, 1958
10. The Wizard of Oz, 1939

11. City Lights, 1931
12. The Searchers, 1956
13. Star Wars, 1977
14. Psycho, 1960
15. 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968
16. Sunset Blvd., 1950
17. The Graduate, 1967
18. The General, 1927
19. On the Waterfront, 1954
20. It's a Wonderful Life, 1946

21. Chinatown, 1974
22. Some Like It Hot, 1959
23. The Grapes of Wrath, 1940
24. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982
25. To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962

26. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 1939
27. High Noon, 1952
28. All About Eve, 1950
29. Double Indemnity, 1944
30. Apocalypse Now, 1979

31. The Maltese Falcon, 1941
32. The Godfather Part II, 1974
33. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1975
34. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937
35. Annie Hall, 1977
36. The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957
37. The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946
38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948
39. Dr. Strangelove, 1964

40. The Sound of Music, 1965
41. King Kong, 1933
42. Bonnie and Clyde, 1967
43. Midnight Cowboy, 1969
44. The Philadelphia Story, 1940
45. Shane, 1953
46. It Happened One Night, 1934
47. A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951
48. Rear Window, 1954
49. Intolerance, 1916
50. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 2001

51. West Side Story, 1961
52. Taxi Driver, 1976
53. The Deer Hunter, 1978
54. M-A-S-H, 1970
55. North by Northwest, 1959
56. Jaws, 1975
57. Rocky, 1976
58. The Gold Rush, 1925
59. Nashville, 1975
60. Duck Soup, 1933

61. Sullivan's Travels, 1941
62. American Graffiti, 1973
63. Cabaret, 1972
64. Network, 1976
65. The African Queen, 1951
66. Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981
67. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, 1966
68. Unforgiven, 1992
69. Tootsie, 1982
70. A Clockwork Orange, 1971

71. Saving Private Ryan, 1998
72. The Shawshank Redemption, 1994
73. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969
74. The Silence of the Lambs, 1991
75. In the Heat of the Night, 1967
76. Forrest Gump, 1994
77. All the President's Men, 1976
78. Modern Times, 1936
79. The Wild Bunch, 1969
80. The Apartment, 1960

81. Spartacus, 1960
82. Sunrise, 1927
83. Titanic, 1997
84. Easy Rider, 1969
85. A Night at the Opera, 1935
86. Platoon, 1986
87. 12 Angry Men, 1957
88. Bringing Up Baby, 1938
89. The Sixth Sense, 1999
90. Swing Time, 1936

91. Sophie's Choice, 1982
92. Goodfellas, 1990
93. The French Connection, 1971
94. Pulp Fiction, 1994
95. The Last Picture Show, 1971
96. Do the Right Thing, 1989
97. Blade Runner, 1982
98. Yankee Doodle Dandy, 1942
99. Toy Story, 1995
100. Ben-Hur, 1959

"Wow, I Looked Fantastic...."

Julianne Moore was featured in yesterday's London Sunday Times talking about movies, family, the ageing process & life....

She's an actor that I'm a big fan of & I think she is more beautiful than ever.
She always seems so at ease & appears to be a woman who has her priorities right & her life in order....

"....her final piece of advice for feeling comfortable in your skin, no matter what your age?

"Appreciate where you are. 
It was Nora Ephron who said that you'll hate yourself in a bikini now, but in 10 years you''ll look back and think, wow, I looked fantastic. 
When you're a kid, you're always wishing you were older, and when you're old, you're always wishing you were younger. 
The best thing is not to wish your life away at either end, because it's gone in a second.""

Isn't that so true?

I have a photo of me standing next to a swimming pool, I must be about 8 or 9 years old....
I'm suntanned, smiling & totally carefree....
I look like a string bean, all long limbs.

There's so much I love about that photo....
Out of all the photos of me when I was a child, this one stands out to me.
I can close my eyes & remember
I look at the photo & think that just about everything in it is perfect....

no traces of teenage awkwardness, no gawkiness, no wanting to be different....
just a young girl who looks completely happy.

I don't remember wishing I was prettier/cooler/taller/thinner when I was a teenager.

I was always a quiet & not very confident child....
I also had a mother who was extremely beautiful,
the kind of beauty that gives you a lifelong confidence & feeling of superiority.

It must be of some significance, and I say this without any feeling of self-pity whatsoever, that I don't ever remember her telling me that I was beautiful.
In fact she said just the opposite....

I'm not actually sure if she even realised that she was supposed to tell me that....
I think perhaps she was simply used to being the great beauty wherever she went, it was just the way it was.

Somehow though, I survived, it certainly wasn't the end of the world!!
My self-esteem somehow remained intact although it wasn't until my early 20s that I think my confidence truly arrived.

These days of course we all tell our children that they are the most beautiful creatures in the
Whole Wide World, I know that I do.

I could certainly be slimmer, my hair is still searching for its perfect style, my face is not line free, I don't like having my photograph taken & when I say my age out loud to myself or have to write it down, I wonder how that happened & where those years went....

but actually, I like me. I am comfortable with myself &
I am going to endeavour to remind myself of that more often.


It Is Friday....Isn't It?

photo by Mario Testino

some weeks pass in a flash....
and some are so long that Monday seems like months ago

my mind is unusually preoccupied with parenting issues
i am working on "under-reacting"....
not that i'm necessarily over-reacting but a new approach seemed a good idea.
after i wrote this post lots of very wise & kind people offered their opinions.
i've read & re-read them.
my friend Lou suggested this book....
for the first time in my parenting career, i've bought a book about it.
i think it's time. if you need help, hold up your hands & shout loudly.
there is always someone there to help....

my husband is away on his annual boys skiing trip....
so this week-end my children & i are going to be tourists in our own city.
heading out for breakfast, hunting for some delicious treats & exploring some new places.
walking along the river & just enjoying the energy of the city.

A Food Challenge : 28 Dishes in 28 Days

Back in November I challenged myself to a "30 Dishes in 30 Days" cookery challenge - the only rule being that all the dishes I attempted had to be dishes that I had never tried before.

I had a great time & a new a totally new love of cooking.

I have decided to try it again next month.

My friend Lori is also going to be taking part and she has made her own list here ....
looks great doesn't it?

I would love it if anyone else would like to take part, I'd be happy to link to your blog and if you want to make your own list or follow one of ours, that's great!

Preparation is the key....
I will be compiling a large shopping list this week-end so that I'm ready to cook.

Do let me know if you will be joining us :)

House & Home : Pantry Storage

A pantry always seems to me to one of those features you would have if you were lucky enough to  build and/or design your own home....
it's an old-fashioned but wonderful space to have I think.

I'd love the one above....simple& clean with metro tiles. And shelves galore. 

I like to think of a pantry as it would have been some years ago, rows & rows of preserving jars filled with food for the winter.
It might not be filled just with jars these day but I like to think of it as my own little "self-storage" unit....full of treats & treasured objects.

....isn't this beautiful?

a "baking pantry"

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