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Friday, 30 December 2011

Post Christmas Recreation

Well I hope you all had a truly delightful Christmas. Ours was fantastic. 

Unfortunately I can't tell you all about it in gory detail as I was made to sign a gagging order and am only allowed to tell you: What goes on at Christmas stays at Christmas. 

Now I bet you are all intrigued! It probably sounds like we snorted coke off reindeer's heads!  

Sadly not, we save that for NYE, but it is safe to say we had a super time.

On the 27th at the crack of sparrows, Mr Rose and I headed to Bicester Village for a touch of sale shopping. 

We made it back to our London abode exhausted but happy.  We fought half of Shanghai and Tokyo for suits, coats, frocks and shoes. 

So when we got home we had a restorative slice of Christmas cake, which you may remember I made a few weeks ago.

Well it turned out blooming delish. 

Here it is before icing 

Then you have to paint it with apricot jam melted with brandy.  Mr Rose is rather precious about his one remaining bottle after our burglary. So I decided to use Amaretto and as I was feeling festive I sloshed lots onto the cake as well.  

Here it is after stage 1 - the marzipan. 

Then the final product! 

I was pleased as punch with it and I think liberally dousing it with Amaretto has made it amazingly moist. 

Do pop round for a slice if you are in the area! 

Rose xx

Take two

Ok here is the photo

(please god) 

Testing testing 123

Well this is all very new and exciting - I'm blogging from the lovely new iPad Mr Rose gave me for Christmas! 

Not exactly sure if this will work or how I post pictures so thought I'd do a little  test run. 

This is the vast amount of sale shopping we brought home from Bicester Village. 

If this works then I promise a proper post very soon. 

Rose x

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas with my family

This year we have a few Hangers On / Beloved Guests attending our family Christmas:  Mr Rose, Mr Cousin LL and Miss Cousin TL.  The poor darlings haven't been to Christmas at ours before so here is a little taster of what to expect.

The Scene:  The Twins (my mother and Aunty Mame) dislike to be parted at State Occasions, so we always have Christmas all together.  Actually none of us really like to be parted on State Occasions.  As our clan grows with fiancées and boyfriends we are bursting at the seams, someone needs to buy us our own village. 
As Aunty Mame's house has more bedrooms, my family usually rock up at theirs on Christmas Day at about 1pm and stay put for full 48 hours, before Uncle R chases us out with a broom. 
The venue is a gorgeous Queen Anne house in a stunning Cotswold village, in the constituency of The Right Hon. David Cameron.  You get the picture.  It will have been tastefully decorated with white lights outside the front door, a huge tree in the drawing room, boughs of holly and ivy over the fireplaces and a roaring fire. 
Within minutes of entering the house you will have been handed a large stiff drink (usually gin or champagne), been offered homemade canapé and had a backwards compliment about your scarf "So bold to pick mustard with your complexion!". 

The Cast:

Auntie Mame:  The Grand Dame of Christmas and Hostess with the Mostest.  She will have organised Christmas by October 22nd, complete with mental lists of what games should be played, when they should be played and who should win them.  Walks and routes will have been decreed "A brisk walk round to Chav Close to see the lights now, though you will be disappointed as it isn't nearly as vulgar as last year".  Menus will be planned carefully as it is no mean feat to feed 12 people for 3 days.  Food will be delish and plentiful.  Most likely to say: "Anyone not up for breakfast by 10am will find themselves having yoghurt and fruit, waffles will only be served to those who can rise at a godly hour!"

Uncle R:  He will welcome us all warmly to his abode, keep us all gently pissed for a few days by replenishing our gins regularly and will no doubt be wearing a jaunty pair of socks.  He will excel at Boys Against Girls Trivial Pursuits by knowing an obscure fact about baseball in 1987, and Aunty Mame will look very fondly at him muttering about how she married well.  Most likely to say "Annie has drunk all the Baileys but I think I've got another couple of litres of it in the barn.."

Grandma:  Grandma lives on her own apart from a cat who she loves like a 4th daughter.  She will talk about the cat quite a lot.  She will also talk about Hamas, Lebanon, Syria and the state of the Middle East. A strict Catholic, she is very concerned that most of her beloved grandchildren are LIVING IN SIN.  Most likely to say:  "Mr Rose, come and sit by me and tell me what you think of Ed Miliband.  Now - when are you going to marry my Granddaughter? Hmm?"

Cousin LL:  She will be wearing an outfit that looks like Prada, but will actually be something she picked up in Hammersmith Primark - she has a knack of making clothes look very expensive.  She will be a huge help to her mother, Auntie Mame, will leap up to help in the kitchen. Not only helpful, she is great fun and good at keeping the peace.  Most likely to say: "Rose if you don’t get off your well padded bottom and come and unload the dishwasher there will be trouble!"

Mr Cousin LL (Cousin LL's Boyf):  He hasn't been to Christmas at ours before, so it shall be interesting to see how he copes.  I've once played Articulate with him and nearly didn't live to tell the tale, so safe to say he will be excellent value in the games arena.  Most likely to say:  "I'm not watching sodding Bridesmaids, Mr Rose - shall we watch Newsnight in the kitchen with a brandy?" 

Cousin TL:  Recently back from Argentina, he will now be an authority on red wine.  Likely to sniff at the Chateauneuf du Pape and go misty eyed over a rather jolly little red they enjoyed on a ranch.  Manages to get out of most dish clearing because of him being the only child with a penis, but we forgive him because he plays the piano like and angel and will do so for hours so we can have a good sing song.  Most likely to say: "WHO HAS SEEN MY SELECTION BOX?"

Miss Cousin TL (Cousin TL's Girlf): The first Fiancée of the group, she will be goodness personified - cheerful, jolly and able to answer endless questions about her upcoming wedding without even a grimace.  Since she has joined The Clan we now receive excellent presents from TL as she is well known for her exquisite taste.  Most likely to say:  "Uh oh, was the cat?  Quick, please pass the antihistamines"

My mama:  She will be in her element, she loves nothing more than having her 'chicks' around her.  She will also have a slight air of disappointment around her, as a few years ago my Dad surpassed himself and managed to sneak a new Mini onto the driveway so when she opened the curtains on Christmas Day the yelps of joy could be heard in a 4 mile radius. Ever since then, it has been hard to go back to normal Christmas presents as she really feels, as we all do really, that presents should be so large they have to go on the driveway.  Most likely to say (to my dad) "Did you set the SKY Plus for the Christmas Strictly Special?  I left you a highlighted Radio Times - it was your only job to do this week!"

My papa:  Pops will be full of Christmas Spirit and stuffing. He used to spend his Christmas Days building Sylvanian Houses but those days are long gone.  Now he will look slightly appalled  at the dress Izzy got in her stocking and have his nose in Jenson Button's unofficial biography. He will make dreadful puns which make us all laugh.  Most likely to say: "Please could I have seconds of the apricot stuffing and the chestnut stuffing.  Oh and another slice of ham please.  Have you got any pickle, Mame?"

Rose To The Occasion:  I will be wearing a slutty frock, too much lipstick and inch long false eyelashes for the first half of the day, leisure wear from 5pm onwards.  I'll have half an eye on Mr Rose to check he isn't saying anything rude / bored / desperate to read a newspaper.  It is important to give your all on Christmas Day so I'll make sure I get pissed and tell rude jokes, pretend to empty the dishwasher while actually slyly dunking a kettle chip into cold bread sauce, and try and persuade everyone to play as many games of Scrabble as possible.  Most likely to say: "I am 100% percent sure that the Trivial Pursuit card is incorrect, Leona Lewis won X Factor in 2007 I'd state my life on it"

Mr Rose:  His first Christmas with My Clan.  He is used to a very quiet and intellectual Christmas Day, with discussions over lunch of the latest plays, novels and political situation in North Korea. So our loud, musical and jolly festivities will no doubt leave him a little quiet.  He can eat for England, so Mame and my mum go into competition as to who can feed him the most.  He will slope off the watch 24 Hour News regularly, especially when there is singing, but will be excellent at all the quizzes and will make me very proud.  Most likely to say:   "I wouldn't watch Bridesmaids if you threatened to cut off my balls with a spoon. Mr Cousin LL, shall we watch Newsnight in the kitchen with a brandy?" 

Annie:  Annie and Cousin LL try and compete on Best Daughter stakes, so she will also be swanning around clearing up my gin glass before the ice has had a chance to melt and handing round plates of canapés.  She will be itching for Christmas Dinner to finish so she can have a bloody good sing song around the piano and delight us all with her voice.  If I am pissed enough I will no doubt shed a tear if she does a solo.  Grandma will mutter darkly about how she is wasted in ‘the devil’s business’ (Advertising) and should have been on the stage.  Most likely to say (at regular intervals, high volume and with aplomb ) “best Christmas EVER!!”

Izzy: Izzy will wear a natty little outfit.  As she is the youngest of the clan, she still gets treated as the baby even though she is 21.  As the apple of all of our eyes, so we shall turn a blind eye if she is glued to her iPhone texting her handsome boyfriend who will be in France. Will probably sneak off at some point to watch Kristmas with The Kardashians on TV. Most likely to say: "Rose, will you give me a liquid eyeliner lesson after breakfast?"

I hope that sets the scene of what, I have no doubt, will be another joyous, raucous and hilarious Christmas.

May you all have jolly times!

Rose xx

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The Particular Loveliness of Lemon Tart

So - picture the scene. 

I'm on the Northern Line, casually listening to Mariah's All I Want For Christmas Is Youuuuuuuu on a loop and very loudly, annoying the whole carriage. 

I look up and see a girl standing in front of me engrossed in a book.  The book is entitled The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. 

This struck me as rather odd, because Lemon Cake is gorgeous.  Who doesn't like a bit of Lemon Drizzle?  Even Mr Rose who is well known for announcing 'Its not pudding unless it has chocolate in' is fond of my lemon drizzle cake.  How on earth can lemon cake make you sad? 

Anyway, instead of finding out why lemon cake made the person in the book sad, I decided to use it as a tenuous link to one of the best recipes I've ever tasted - made by my lovely colleague S for a team dinner party last year.  The poor lady has offered (well, was coerced into) having us all for a team dinner party again next week - she is a wonderful cook and I have my fingers crossed she will make it again. 
It is from BBC Good Food and is a classic Lemon Tart. 

Click here to see the recipe. 

It is lovely and light and would make a great pudding over the festive season!

Rose x

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Christmas is just around the corner

Well it has begun.  My Christmas Tickle kicked off this morning - on the Northern Line at about 8.50am.  I am now well and truly excited. 

Reasons for the Christmas Tickle:

  • I saw cousin LL last night for more than 1 glass of fizz, and we discussed how much we are looking forward to all being at her parents for Christmas.  It is unusual in a house of grown up kids that we are all there at once, but this year we have managed it.  It will be raucous.
  • I have my team Christmas Party tonight.  30 of us will be hitting the local All Bar One - the theme is Get Wiggy With it.  I shall be in a hideous ginger wig teamed with a leopard print dress, red lipstick and a medium heel, just in case I need to dance my arse off. 
  • The Michael Buble Christmas Album is the gift that keeps on giving.  His duet of White Christmas with Shania Twain not only combines 2 of the 3 best things to come out of Canada (the third is Bryan Adams who has been rudely missed off the album) but will put a very christmassy spring in your step.  Check it out here
  • Tomorrow I have the day off work.  I will be sleeping off the inevitable hangover, then popping to Waitrose to pretend I'm a North London Jewish Housewife.  I shall wear my biggest jewels for the trip, obvs.  Then in the afternoon after cooking up a storm my oldest pals, Carrie and Katia will be arriving for their Annual Christmas Trip to London and much merriment shall proceed. 
  • The Christmas Decorations box has come out from under the spare bed, the wreath is up on the front door - the tree goes up Sunday.  
  • Auntie Mame has emailed this morning with details of the finalists for The Christmas Song.  The Christmas Song is a long standing family tradition which makes us look rather odd to outsiders.  Every year after Christmas Lunch we have a little sing song when we are all as pissed as newts. Cousin TL hits the ivories and we kick off with Bohemian Rhapsody, in a rousing chorus.  The next song varies every year.  Sheet music is handed out. We have had 'You're so Vain', 'Halleluiah' and 'Don't Stop Believing' in recent years.  Watch this space to find out what we pick.
So dear readers, play this track very loudly and spread the cheer -

Rose x  

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Rose's Christmas Gift Guide #1

This Rose loves an occasion.  And we are getting to the most wonderful time of the year.  Yes dear readers, its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

As we are officially in the first Sunday of Advent, I have been baking my Delia Christmas Cake and playing my new Michael Buble Christmas Album and praying for White Christmas to come on the telly. 

And so I begin Rose’s Christmas Gift Guide # 1

I often find the mistake some people make with choosing Christmas presents is to buy ladies sparkly tops, jewels and frocks.  The problem is, that once December 25 comes round and you actually open the presents, all of the Christmas Parties have happened, you’ve eaten your own weight in canapés, drunk enough Prossecco to rot your liver and worn your sparkly cardigans all over the country.  You’ve already got your outfit sorted for Christmas Day, hope for a nice jumper from Santa for a boxing day walk and when 3 people give you sparkly strappy shoes, 2 some pairs of shoulder length diamante earrings and 1 a pot of glitter mascara - it feels a bit, well, wrong.   By this stage of the festive season you are planning to hibernate as soon as the fun is over, live on vegetable soup, take long walks and get early nights in order to restore your dulling complexion and reduce your expanding middle tire.

Some of the gifts below will be loved all year round, no diamante clutch bags will be found here!  (Note for mum who will ring up this evening and say 'Lovely post darling, but you didn't say where to buy things which is odd.': the blue writing in bold will take you to the page where you can buy the product...she isn't the most internet savvy but she tries!) 

Clarins Moisure Rich Body Lotion £29 

Not the sort of money most women would spend on their body lotion which is why this superior product makes a great Christmas present.  It smells gorgeous, is creamy and rich but sinks in by the time you’ve got your pyjamas on. 

Soap and Glory body scrub   £8

Perfect for brightening up skin and giving those mini sausages on your hips turning into cellulite a good scrub.  Most Soap and Glory stuff is excellent quality and well priced. 

Babyliss Big Hair Spinning Brush 

This will make any woman with mid length to long length hair have locks as perfectly coiffed as K Middy 

Sausage Dog Mugs £14

Berry red is one of my fave catalogues to pop through the front door.  It has loads of cute vintage style gifts and stuff for the home.  How adorable are these mugs? 

Owl earrings from Hobbs £26

Owls are very de rigeur and these tiny owl earrings are gorgeous in real life and great fun

Oversized Carriage Clock – price varies but about £120

Oh I’ve had my eye on this lovely clock for ages – I first saw it in a lovely shop in Muswell Hill and half thought about asking for it for my 30th, then I saw it in a shop in Jesmond, Newcastle near Izzy’s house.  Both times I looked longingly at it but decided to wait till we have bought a new home before I start furnishing it – just in case I jinx it.  But for anyone you need a statement piece for who loves interiors, this elegant clock would be great.  It is an oversized carriage clock style, would look great on a mantle piece as it is about 40cm high. 

Anything from Liz Earle

I started using this award winning skin care range in September and noticed a difference to my skin immediately.  It is marvellous.  The cleanse and polish set means my skin has felt and looked better than it has in years and year.  The superskin oil smells gorgeous and it makes my skin glow and makes it look like I’ve had a night on the lentils and evian rather than fizz and ‘napes.  Anything you buy from here will be well received I think – so have a look at their Christmas Gift Guide

Mitchell and Peach luxury hand cream

I was first introduced to this brand when staying at the lovely Coworth Park.  It is a great small English brand.  It smells divine, is beautifully packaged and would make a wonderful hostess gift. 

So there we have it.  In the next week or so I'll post the guide for chaps but quite frankly they are difficult buggers to get stuff for so I need to have a bit of a think about it.

Ciao for now and happy shopping.

Rose x

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Christmas Cake Kit in a Box

The modern world really is marvellous isn't it?  All manner of wonderful things have been invented to make our day to day lives easier with more time for constructive things such as knitting hats for the homeless, curing AIDS and solving the Euro Crisis*

I have an app on my iPhone which even tells me when the next bus is coming!  Imagine!  If you had told my 12 year old self this would be possible I would never have believed you. 

Now Waitrose have just won my heart again with this fabulous little idea.  It is a box.  In it contains everything you need to make a Christmas Cake from Delia Smith herself.  She has carefully soaked all of the fruit in brandy.  Carefully weighed out all of the flour.  Carefully chopped all of the nuts.  And put it all in a lovely box ready for you to bake - the only thing I have to add myself is butter, eggs and lemon zest.  Oh, and half of Mr Rose's Brandy Collection. 

Photo from The Guardian who wrote about it here


I'm going to have a go at making it this weekend.  Then I believe it sits in a tin for ages and every now and again I pour on more of Mr Rose's brandy.  Then just before Christmas I'm going to cover it in marzipan and white icing and decorate it with Polar Bears and aqua ribbon and silver balls.  Photos to follow! 

Rose x

*Slobbing out watching Made in Chelsea in your jimjams.

Friday, 18 November 2011

The Yoghurt Fairy

Romance comes in many shapes and forms.  It is hard to imagine how a low fat dairy product, advertised by an ex-eastender and sold at every supermarket is the subject of the most romantic part of my day. 

Mr Rose and I have been together for so long now that if he was to do anything conventionally romantic I'd raise and eyebrow and ask who he was having an affair with. 

As someone blessed with a bottom the size of China, I am always on various different diets.  One thing that I've always heard is that a low fat yoghurt for breakfast is acceptable on them all!  Low GI, Weight Watchers, Dukan etc etc.  So I once told Mr Rose I'd always start the day with one.  Mr Rose stored this information in his brain, and now for years has left a yoghurt in my handbag for me to take to work every morning.  It doesn't matter if he gets up and leaves for work hours before me, when I look in my handbag ready to leave the house - there is a little activia put there by magic by The Yoghurt Fairy.

I just can't tell you how adorable I find this. 
Slushy blog post now over.
Rose x

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A Vicitm of Crime

A few weeks ago Mr Rose and I had a shed load of stuff nicked from our garage.  Amongst the casualties was my World Famous Nail Varnish Collection.  I must have had 40 bottles in there, carefully built up over years and years of nail varnish obsession.  I had pink, blue, nude, red, purple, glitter, subtle shades, slaggy shades, trendy shades and classic shades.  And some git took the lot.  TRAUMA!! 

The police were very helpful, but looked slightly disbelieving that anyone could need so much nail varnish.  It is a good point. As Mr Rose pointed out, one only has 10 fingers and 10 toes.  However, I have always found that a nice new bottle of nail varnish always cheers you up.  Even if you go for an expensive bottle, you can't spend more than £20 and you can get some great cheap ones for about £3.  It can be taken off just as easily as it is put on.  It wont make you look sallow if you experiment and the colour doesn't quite work - in the same way a lipstick would.  Everywhere sells it from Topshop to Tescos.  Having impeccable nails is a great way to look sexy, groomed, smart and classy all at once.  So it is my fail safe 'cheer me up' purchase.  Hence why I had so much of it. 


So now I find myself with only a bottle or two left.  I obviously can't buy every shade again because quite frankly, that is about £400 and you know, Christmas is coming.  And yes, I only have 10 fingers and 10 toes. 

I found myself thinking I'd replace my top few colours then gradually build up The Collection again over time.  I spent a happy tube journey to work thinking about what my top shades are that I just can't live without and I wondered also what my pals who are also nail varnish fiends thought their top colours are. 
The results were very interesting. 

OK I'm lying.  They weren't interesting because all of my fellow Nail Varnish Fanatics chose really similar things to me - we all love deep dark reds, coral for summer, a good nude / taupe and a bright slutty red.  So - with a little help from my friends - here are the best nail varnishes around. 

Deep, dark red:
Chanel's Rouge Noir  £18- the original and best deep dark red.  Two coats and it is almost black. 

Perfect Coral - looks good in summer (see @Hemmo's blog for great article about The Perfect Coral -
Barry M No 296 Nail Paint (Coral) £2.95
I also have high hopes for Chanel's 'June' out next year - photo from the amazing Lisa Eldrige's website

Taupe / Nude / Minky Grey
These are my fave every day ones.  One that goes with literally every outfit and every skin tone is OPI's Over The Taupe
Nails Inc - Basil Street (thank you @Thriftygirl for this new addition which I love!)
(Image from a great blog -
Topshop's Sketch nail polish
(I know, I'm too old to shop in TopShop - but their nail varnishes are damned good)

Bright, slutty red (keep your nails short for this one girls or it looks toooo slutty) 
max factor Max effect mini nail polish in Red Carpet Glam (photo of Cousin LL's nails)

No blog post about nails would be complete without asking you to take a look at this blog.  It needs no introduction but includes 2 of the best things in life - nail varnish and burgers.  So check out

So there we have it.  The nail varnishes I cannot live without.  I'd love to know your thoughts so leave a comment below!

Rose x

Friday, 11 November 2011

Coming of age

So tomorrow is Izzy's 21st Birthday. 

It really hardly seems possible that dad came home from the hospital 21 years ago, sat Annie and I on either knee and announced we would have to share our Barbie Dolls with someone as we had a little sister.  At the age of 9 and 6 respectively, this was about the worst way to break the news possible.  But we knew we had to smile and look pleased, hiding our inner horror at the idea we had to share our toys with yet another sister.   But over the years she has proven quite a valuable addition to the family.  When she was 2 my dear friend Katia and I fed her an entire packet of chocolate drops and then told her she had just eaten rabbit poo!  Izzy cried for about 2 hours.  Katia and I nearly died laughing.  What larks!

She grew up, after a few ugly duckling years that we all go through, into the most gorgeous swan.  Izzy is possibly the only other person I know who is as obsessed as me with make up. When she was about 16 I taught her all the eyeshadow tricks I knew and she looked at me like I had given her the secret to eternal life. A few years ago we actually spent an entire afternoon washing our hair, styling it, doing perfect make up and taking photos of ourselves.  The reason?  So that if we were brutally murdered a good photograph of us would appear on the News at Ten.  Very important to have your Crimewatch photo ready. 

I also taught her how to pose in photographs (head tilt, drop one hip, bend one knee, hand on waist) and she has taken this knowledge and used it more than I imagined, and at current count there are over 3000 photographs of her on Facebook. 

She adores our cat Coco and is potty about Sausage Dogs.  I'm sure this photo will make her go weak at the knees with longing for one of these. 

Tomorrow morning at the crack of sparrows, Mr Rose, Cousin LL, Annie, Mr Annie and I will be heading up to Newcastle where she is at Uni to celebrate with her for the weekend.  I love a road trip and am very excited about exploring a new city. 

The fact that Izzy is at Newcastle Uni speaks volumes really.  The 4 of us who came first (Annie, Cousin LL , Cousin TL and I) all did what the matriarchs advised us to do and went to Uni about 1.5 hrs from our homes ('So that I can pop in with a cake on a Wednesday afternoon if I want to', they said).  Izzy, however, had different ideas.  In true style, she stubbornly insisted Newcastle was where she wanted to go and absolutely loves it there, hundreds of miles away from any surprise visitors.  She never follows the pack.  You never know quite what she is going to do next.  She knows her own mind, and she sticks to what she wants.  Instead of falling into the shadow of her noisy big sisters, she always chooses her own path with grace and charm. 

So happy 21st Izzy!  We couldn't be more proud of you. 

Rose x

Monday, 7 November 2011

Nutty about a fruit bowl

So, a lack of posts recently - apologies dear readers!  It is a very busy time of year for us events managers.  In fact, I often refer to it as HELLvember. 

However, just a quick little blogette from me to draw your attention to this stylish fruit bowl from Anthropologie.  I originally spotted it on Liberty London Girl - one of my fave blogs. 

Photo from LLG's blog
I just think it is totally charming.  See how it looks like a farmer's fruit carton but is actually china??! Clever, huh? and only £16.   Anthropologie is an American shop which came to the UK a few years ago.  Cousin LL and I met up on a Saturday to check out their Regent Street shop and fell for it hook line and sinker.  I try to avoid shopping in Oxford / Regent Street at all costs, so am delighted it is available to buy online. 

I think one of the oddest things about Anthropologie is the pricing.  Some things are very reasonably priced and some things are extortionate.  When browsing in the shop you have no idea if the egg cup you covet will be £4 or £48.

This teapot is £228!!!!

But this gorgeous butter dish is a mere £10

It also happens to be the exact colour Mr Rose and I have in mind for our new kitchen!  Now - would you call that pistachio or mint? 

Mr Rose decided it was called Claridge's Green.  Good god, I have trained him well.

Afternoon tea at Claridge's
Rose x

Friday, 28 October 2011

The sun'll come out tomorrow

When I was 3 and a half, my middle sister Annie came along.  My earliest memory is taking her home from the hospital.  Mum and Dad had given me a doll called Annie - so mum had an Annie, and I had an Annie.  Each had their own car seat.  I don't know if they read this tip in some parenting manual or whether it was their idea - but it worked a treat.  Family legend tells how I have always been fiercely jealous of Annie and when she was asleep in her cot tried to do her in.  Family legend is one of those things that might be based in a bit of reality, but largely it has been exaggerated over the years and laughed over at family gatherings.  Like the way everyone thinks I never unpack the dishwasher at Christmas.  LIES, DAMNED LIES! 

The actual truth is, that I've actually always been proud of my little sis.  She has always been talented and clever and funny. Head girl of not one but BOTH of our schools, voice of an angel, fabulous artist, zillions of A stars, Oxbridge educated, amazing career in Advertising…. Yadda yadda yadda.  But what I love about her is her fabulous optimism.  She always cheers me up when I'm down.  She always looks on the bright side of things.  Her glass is definitely half full.  To her, the sun is always going to come out tomorrow. 

Today is her birthday.  I am seeing her tonight to give her a fabulous present.  However, it strikes me that having such a brilliant little sister is the best present Mum and Dad could have given me.  She turned out to be far more fun than that blasted doll.   Having her live so close to me in North London makes me indescribably content.  When we badger Izzy to move nearby once she has finished Uni then I'll be truly happy to have both of my dear sisters nearby. 

Rose x

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Poetry and Mascara

A few years back I was lucky enough to work at the Museum of London. After spending 7 years in the City, it was such fun to work with really different people many of whom have become good friends. One of those is a dear pal Flora. Flora and I really shouldn't be friends on paper. But we do. We don't have a stitch in common but she makes me laugh and opens my mind, and one can't really ask for more in a friend, can one?
Flora now works for The Poetry Society. When she started work there I sent her my favourite poem for her review:

I eat my peas with honey;
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on the knife.

I felt that I should probably know more about poetry so have asked her to send me a poem every week. So now, on what is now called Poetry Friday, she sends me a poem for review. Just one. Nothing too heavy (although we have had a bit of Sylvia Plath). Nothing too light. I am enjoying it awfully. If anyone would like to sign up to this service, just let me know and I'll forward them on.

What Flora doesn't know is that when I was aged 11, I won a Stratford on Avon Poetry Festival Prize.  My key memory of this is of wearing a ghastly terracotta culottes suit to get my prize (a book voucher).  I was obviously vain as a peacock, even then.  The poem was a dreary account of a great aunt's wishing to end her life - the last line was 'I want to go through the door of death'.  Extraordinary! 
If you are better at writing poems than I am, then why not enter The Poetry Society's competition?  An unpublished writer won last year and I think the prize is well worth having.  Not to mention the glamour of winning a poetry competition, something I can attest to. 

A few days ago I had a plaintive request from Flora.

Dear Rose. Please please please can you fix it for me to have a blog post about a good, truly affordable, non-flaky-shadowy-under-the-eyesy mascara. My current tube is running out and I seek advice as a matter of urgency. This has been a lifelong hunt for me, I'm still seeking The One. In expectation, Panda Eyes of Richmond. xx

Well this is more my area of expertise than poetry it must be said.  So here is my top 3 of good, but cheap, mascaras. 
No7 Boots No7 Intense Volume Mascara, £11.50.  I think the No7 make up brand is the best of the 'supermarket make up brands' - great colours which change every season and good products.  It isn't the cheapest but it is good for thickening.
L'Oreal Million Lashes £8 ish nice packaging and smell, doesn't rub off and gives good inky black colour.
Number 1 - drum roll please - Max Factor false lash effect.  £9 ish - 2 coats of this and you look like a Hollywood star.  It will stay on all day and last for ages.

Now my advice comes with a caveat, dear Flora.  The way to stop panda eyes is to not use under eye concealer, foundation or eyeliner on bottom lashes UNLESS you dust with loose or pressed powder.  Unless you do that, even a £100 mascara will slide down your chin by lunchtime after a spell on the District Line. 

Rose x

Photo of the day

As mentioned, the Parental Team are in Florida with Auntie Mame and Uncle R.  Dad sent through this photo today which I think might be cutest thing ever. 

They have obviously been doing lots of shopping while away.  As we know, Dad loves colourful footwear, so no prizes for guessing which his feet are.. 

Bet they are having a blast.

Rose x

Friday, 21 October 2011

A truly lovely Friday off work

Not being at work when everyone else is slaving away is a delicious feeling.  Obviously it is far better if you are lying on a beach with a mojito in one hand and a martini in another, but if you can't be on a beach then pottering about enjoying yourself on a random Friday in October is SUCH FUN. 

Mr Rose and I were planning to have an exotic Autumn holiday, but seeing as we are embroiled in our well documented housing scenario we are staying put for now.   As we had a few days holiday to use up and are quite frankly exhausted from work and estate agent drama, we thought we would have ourselves a little Staycation. 

As luck would have it, Mum and Dad are, as this blog goes to press, on a BA flight to Florida with Auntie Mame and Uncle R.  Because Auntie Mame and Uncle R have been frightfully clever with Air Miles they are going business class while my parents are going cattle.  I have this frightful image of Auntie Mame lording it over Mum by lobbing bits of business class food at her through the cabin.  Aim isn't really a genetic strength of ours, so I have visions of a stranger ending up with bits of lobster in their hair, while my mum reads her Jonanna Trollope and eats a cheese sandwich in peace. 

Mr Rose and I decided to take advantage of the Family Seat being vacant and set off this morning for The Shire so we could play Lord and Lady of the manor (translation - consume my parent's gin and sky plus).

I had persuaded Mr Rose that he needed a new smart pair of jeans and that we should stop off at the bargainalicious Bicester Village.

Bicester Village Fun

As we set off on the M40 he suggested we listened to one of his Radio 4 podcasts from his ipod as our radio has been broken for yonks.  I hesitated, as Power Ballads are more my style. However, the poor chap is so deprived of intellectual stimulation by living with me that I felt it only fair that we listen to his choice.  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and now could answer several pub quiz questions on dynastic American and Japanese businesses of the 19th Century. 

When we got to Bicester Village we shopped till we dropped. I got not one but two merino wool dresses from Ralph Lauren, originally £200 each reduced to £24.99!!  loved it so much got it in black and brown.  Now have the dreadful dilemma of whether I buy brown tights to go with brown dress and risk legs looking like tree trunks???  

Mr Rose got a very smart pair of jeans and a couple of ties so we left very happy and continued our journey to The Shire. 
We had been here about 5 minutes when the next door neighbour popped round to give us fresh eggs from his hens as he knew we were here for the weekend and thought we might like them for our breakfast.  I nearly died of grattitude!  When one lives in a central London flat and doesn't know the names of the people who live 4 feet above one's head, it is beyond charming to be welcomed so kindly.  Seriously cannot wait for breakfast.

I then popped to the shops for a few provisions and on leaving the car park, speed dialled Mr Rose and ordered my gin and tonic - 'light on the tonic, heavy on the gin' and we kicked off our long weekend with the traditional feast of My Clan - gin and a bowl of crisps. 

We are now cat-sitting two of the strangest cats in England.  Fred is totally oblivious to any change in the person in his house.  If a coach full of Chinese tourists pulled up and descended on our kitchen he would just look at them as if to say 'Whiskers please, and be quick about it, there's a good chap'.  Coco, however, has the nervous disposition of a very tiny fragile humming bird.  She will just about get used to you, then you change your hairstyle and she thinks 'oh no I'm not sure about that I might have to hide under the washing machine now'.  
I explained this interesting characteristic to Mr Rose and, like a bull to a red flag, he pulled a horrifying face at her.  We haven't seen her for 4 hours.  Hope it is cosy under the washing machine. 

At this very moment, Mr Rose is gently dozing in front of Newsnight and I've got half an eye on Internet shopping.  I think I'm going to need some new boots to go with the frocks...

All is right with the world.  AND I haven't even made it to mum's bathroom yet to see which products she has foolishly left out for me to snaffle!! 

So goodnight, from 2 happy staycationers. 

Rose x

Thursday, 20 October 2011

25 Ways to Wear a Scarf

I have to credit Cousin LL with this little gem.  It is surely one of the greatest things on the internet, and I don't event like scarves very much.

25 Ways to Wear a Scarf

I just love the video! And it is perfect for this chilly time of year.

Rose xx

Monday, 17 October 2011

Chicken and Chorizo Stew

Mr Rose and I had a fun weekend poking around the East Sussex countryside enjoying a bit of Autumn sunshine.  As we drove back to North London on Sunday with our pals E&E we got talking about cooking and recipes.  E&E told us about a chicken and chorizo stew they had recently made, and Mr Rose and I liked the sound of it so much we dived into the nearest Sainsbury's to stock up on chorizo and made this lovely meal for supper. 

Chicken and Chorizo stew. 
Ingredients: 4 large onions
Half a bulb of garlic
2 courgettes
Chorizo - in a semi circle sort of thing like this

3 peppers
2 large mushrooms
4 tins chopped tomato
Large dollop of tomato puree
4 chicken breasts
Sprinkle of flour
2 tins butter beans
Handful of red lentils.
Tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp caster sugar
Tonnes of salt and pepper

Step 1

Chop of onion and garlic (I whacked it in the magimix so it is finely diced)
Pop casserole dish on hob with a tiny bit of olive oil in.
Chop about quarter of the chorizo into 3 mm thick discs. 
Gently brown the onions, garlic and chorizo.  Once the chorizo has started to melt the onions and garlic go a pinky colour from the paprika. 
While this is cooking, fire up a frying pan and pop in the corgettes, peppers and mushrooms with about another quarter of the chorizo chopped up. Fry until they start to crisp up a bit but are by no means cooked.
At this point bung all into the casserole dish.
Step 2
Stir in the 4 tins of chopped tomatoes, blob of tomato puree, 2 cans of butter beans (drained) and handful of red lentils.
Mix all together.  At this point season liberally.  Add about 2 table spoons of sugar and 1 table spoon of whatever vinegar you use for cooking
We left if bubbling away on hob for about 10 mins on high heat then bunged in oven.
Step 3
Once it has been in oven for about 10 mins we diced the chicken, coated in flour + salt and pepper and fried very gently with the rest of the chorizo.  Once it has gone crispy but not cooked completely bung it in the casserole dish , give it a good stir.  We put it back in oven for 20 mins with lid on, 10 mins lid off.

Mr Rose had it with rice, I had it on its own (because as we all know, CARBS ARE THE ENEMY) and it was delish!  We have enough to feed us all week.  If I was doing for Sunday lunch with friends, I'd serve with buttered jacket potatoes, a dollop of crème fraiche on top, a green salad and large glasses of red wine.
There is so much veg in there it surely must be 17 of our 5-a-day??

We then collapsed on the sofa with Downton Abbey and felt suitably smug at our Top Chef status.  Perfect Sunday night.

Rose x

Thursday, 13 October 2011

An eventful Wednesday evening

Last night several things happened:

I went to meet a medley of matriarchs for supper in Covent Garden - it was my Grandmother's 84th birthday and Auntie Mame and my mum were taking her to our Musical of Choice - Les Mis. Annie and I met them for supper in Pizza Express and I had one of their Leggera pizzas for the first time, only 500 cals apparently and very delicious they were too.

Mame and Mum are excited to shortly be off to Florida with Uncle R and Papa respectively, I feel awfully jealous of winter sunshine and made mental note to lobby Mr Rose about holiday plans soon, which are currently on hold due to 'The Housing Market versus Rose and Mr Rose'.

Grandma announced at supper that she has joined facebook. I nearly swallowed a piece of rocket whole and nearly choked. Mame paled. Mum muttered something about how she never got the hang of it. She needs a lesson apparently, so the next grandchild to visit had better be warned.

After supper Annie and I hot footed it to her pad and watched The Only Way is Essex with a cuppa. It is so much better watching it with someone else. Mr Rose would rather have his teeth pulled out individually than watch it, and watching it on my own feels somehow wrong. It is a light hearted show and should be watched out of one eye, while the other one chats idly and sees what is happening on Twitter.

I tried on the 2 Gok Wan dresses which Mum and Dad had managed to grab for me in Leamington Spa. The high neck slash neck one made me look, as Annie put it, 'like a giant breast'.  This is why one need sisters, to tell you when you look a wally.  The other one though is divine and will be road tested this weekend.  Full report next week.

As Annie dropped me off at home she requested a blog post about liquid eyeliner, and funnily enough I have been doing a few experiments with it recently.

As a big fan of the lovely Adele, I have not only been paying attention to her music but also her styling. She has got lovely make up at the moment, really grown up matt shades with lashings of liquid eyeliner.

I can't sing like her but I can damn well copy that makeup

So I've been doing some testing and these are my top 2.
For daytime this cannot be beaten - Bourjois Eyeliner Feutre

For evening this one is best in black quartz - Estee Lauder  it doesn't smudge at all and looks classy all day long. as it has a very slight sparkle which is nice at night.

Don't be scared about giving it a try, but have a few practice goes if you aren't used to doing it. My fail safe technique is to apply it, smudge it off, they apply again. This give a lovely cross between a smokey eye and the sharp line.
Don't use it on the bottom lashes or you will look like you have drawn it on with biro. Not a good look. If you need definition there I'd suggest a long lasting gel liner, or eyeshadow tapped on with a liner brush.

Let me know how you get on!

Rose x

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Subtle Hint

Dear Mr Rose,

I tried this on today and I have wanted to snog myself ever since, it is the most gorgeous perfume I've smelled in ages.
Tom Ford Black Orchid
Pretty please may I have it for Christmas?

Yours hopefully,

Rose x

The X Factor, USA

So, most people I know are watching The X Factor.  Most of the women I know now want to be thrown around the bedroom like a rag doll by Gary Barlow who is MASTERFUL on the show.  Most sane people now want Robbie and Gary to present everything on TV for ever more.  A lot of people are considering having a 'Tulisa' i.e. substantial cosmetic dentistry which can turn you into a star.

Here is a gratuitous Gary pic.

What can I say?  Its a top show designed to suck you in from now till Christmas, when you will stop giving a monkey about any of the bozos that get to the top.

Now my friends, what you wanna do is watch a bit of The X Factor USA which ITV2 are currently showing.

The main reasons for doing this are as follows:

  • They take it SO much more seriously and this makes it way funnier
  • There are a surprising number of people called illuminating names like Jeremiah
  • They are amazingly talented compared to the UK version
  • They have extraordinary teeth
  • They let people join the competition from the age of 12, so you get to see some REALLY precocious kids
  • They are, unashamedly, bonkers.    
However, boring old Simon Cowell is in charge of the panel, not lovely Gary - so you can't have everything.

Rose x

Saturday Morning Breakfast

My love of receiving post is well documented.  One of the best things that ever pops through my letter box is the Lakeland catalogue.  I savour it and read it slowly, turning down the pages of the stuff I really want.  I rarely actually buy anything from it, but I think it is vital to keep up to date with the peg bags which double up as a set of kitchen knives.  I think it reminds me of my mum and Auntie Mame, the two best homemakers I know, who always have the right utensil for the job.  I like to think of it as The Little Book of Dreams. 

I was having brunch with my friend Irish C today, and she forlornly told me of a key lime pie she had made at 7 this morning for a dinner party tonight.  'Rose', she said, looking as usual immaculate even though she had been domestic goddess-ing while I was still asleep, 'What on earth are baking beans?'.  Poor Irish C - she needs to sign herself up to the Lakeland catalogue so she too can get herself these crucial things

However, my top thing from the catalogue is a very clever little invention.  
I think Saturday morning is my faveourite time of the week.  Mr Rose and I put on a huge pot of coffee and always have a nice tasty breakfast together.  Sometimes we go out but mostly we potter about the flat with Saturday Kitchen on in the background and make plans for the weekend.

My ideal breakfast is a poached egg on toast.  Till I found Lakeland's Poach Pods, my poached eggs were a disaster.  I usually messed up the whole thing.  While the toast was going cold, I'd be overcooking the eggs, breaking them at the wrong moment or I'd serve up a perfectly cooked egg in a puddle of water.

With these babies, even I can't mess it up.  

So do yourselves a favour, when you buy them - sign up for the catalogue and you too can dream about the latest technology in shower cleaning when it pops through your letter box.

Rose x

Friday, 7 October 2011

Gok's Frocks

Everyone likes a bit of Gok, right?  Well he has designed these frocks which he is selling through Sainsbury's.

I think this one is smoking!

The draping looks hugely flattering and the shape is gorgeous.  Perfect for this hourglass girl. 

I also love love love this black slash neck one with an exposed zip - very Vicky Beckham.

So now I need to get myself down to Sainsbury's sharpish to pick one or two up.   The best bit is they are only £40.  

Rose x

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Shining for Shine

Well, dear reader. I did it. Half marathon walk starting at midnight for Cancer Research can be ticked off the life list.
I managed it in about 4 hours 15 minutes, far faster than I'd managed in practice which just shows how fast I can walk when I'm desperate for the walk to be over!

Huge thanks to all who sponsored me. It was quite an experience. It was inspiring to see so many thousands of people pounding the streets in memory of those they had lost or to honour those who had survived. At one point I was nearing desperation and half planning my escape in a cab. It was 3 in the morning, I was all alone and totally exhausted with 3 miles left to do. Then all of a sudden I was over taken by a group of about 10 people who had my name written all over their t shirts. It was like a sign! So I ploughed on. 

Sunday I felt like I'd been to the 7th circle of Hell and back, but by Monday I was feeling normal again and tonight I'm even off for a swim with Annie.

My bottom isn't much smaller, but hopefully I can keep up the fitness regime and the policy of global reduction can continue.

Rose x

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

My bubbly mother

Yesterday morning I had a frantic text from Mum who realised as she was leaving the house to drive to a new job, that I had walked off with her car and house keys the day before. We live about 100 miles apart. In the end she had found a spare set, but my name was mud.

I rang last night to grovel, head held low in shame.

"Well the morning hadn't exactly started well" she sighed. "When I got out of the shower I managed to accidentally put my Origins face wash through my curls instead of leave in conditioner. But it looked OK so I decided to go with the flow didn't bother to wash it out."

I had a vision that by lunchtime she might have started looking like this:

I've had a text today to say that it is 'a little crisp in places'. 

Rose x

Monday, 26 September 2011

Half marathon training

Last Sunday Mr Rose reallllly made me cross. 

As I've mentioned once or twice, I'm training for this weekend's Shine half marathon.  Last Sunday I got up knowing I had to walk 8 miles, had a balanced healthy breakfast with good mixture of slow releasing carbs, fruit and low fat protein.  I did some stretches.  Got into my snazzy trainers, running pants, strawberry sports bra - the whole works.  I packed a little sports rucksack with what any sportswoman would carry - neurofen and an oyster card in case it all got a bit too much.  I applied deodorant like it was going out of fashion and a light facial sun tan lotion (well I am in my 30s now and it was a sunny day).  Mr Rose fell out of bed, shoved a crumpet down his gob, pulled on his jeans and announced he was going to walk the first 20 mins with me. 

He hasn't done any of the training with me and hasn't done any excercise for ages.  As we strode off I was secretly amused that this poor deluded fellow thought he could keep up with a fully trained half marathon walker.  I proudly assumed he would look at me through admiringly as I impressed him with my speed and vigour. 

After about 20 mins he was enjoying himself so I decided to let him carry on with me for a bit longer. 
After 1 hour he was bounding about Hampstead Heath enthusiastically. 
After 1.5 hours I was suggesting we stop for lucozade
After 2 hours he was trying to get me to go faster and suggesting ways of extending the route.
At 2.5 hours he reluctantly said we could go home. 

Reader - he was wearing loafers

I guess he has more natural sporting ability than I.   I consoled myself with the thought that he would be exhausted and stiff once we got home and I would be able to make 'I told you so' remarks about how he pushed himself too far on his first walk in ages. 

About 4pm I remember going into our bedroom to get something and before I knew it, it was 6pm and I had conked out. 

As I got up and went to find Mr Rose, he glanced up from his newspaper and arched an eyebrow. 

"Well", he said "that was quite some snooze.  At one point I wondered into the bedroom with a view to shutting the window as the mad neighbour was using his power drill again and I didn't want it to wake you up.   And then I realised it wasn't the mad neighbour, but you snoring." 

Snoring Rose or power drill?
So embarrassing!
Rose x

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A girl in pearls

My dear Nana Rose once said to me: 'Darling, if you can't afford diamonds then you must wear pearls - nothing lights up the face quite like them.' 

Ever since I've been a proper grown up (it hit me when I was about 24) I have worn pearls as much as I can.  Nana Rose was right - nothing looks quite as nice close to the skin, other than diamonds. 
My colleague Sunny introduced me to Claudia Bradbury - who designs lovely pearl necklaces, earrings and bracelets.  K Middy has even worn some of her designs, and as we all know, if it is good enough for K Middy…. 

Have a look on the website and a good nose around the 'sale' section  where you can pick up a bargain.  I think they would make lovely presents for a special occasion. 

Rose x

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The power of music

Saturday afternoon I left home in bright sunshine with a spring in my step.  I had to be in Marylebone (6 miles away) in 2 hours and had decided to get in a little training walk (I'm sure I've mentioned before that I am doing a half marathon walk in less than 2 weeks! Eek).

I popped my ipod in and set off the 'Exercise' playlist I'd set up.  I had some advice from my friend Kate that she likes to run to the music of women she would like to look like and I thought this was a good strategy so I marched off to Beyonce, Britney, Katy Perry, Pussy Cat Dolls, Rhianna etc..

By the time I was about 2 miles in it had gone from bright sunshine to torrential rain.  Fortunately I had my brand new 'mac in a sac' with me to try out and I can report it does keep one mostly dry. 

By the time I was about 4 miles in I was near Regent's Park and SOAKING.  The phrase 'drowned rat' springs to mind.
I was starting to feel a little wobble in my bottom lip.  Pounding through NW1 on a Saturday afternoon dressed in daft running leggings, bright turquoise trainers and a soggy mac is not my idea of fun.  Even my knickers were damp.  And not in a good way.   I was feeling rather sorry for myself and just starting to plan my escape to the nearest bus route.
All of a sudden this song game on.   I am what I am by Gloria Gaynor.  Play it now (it really kicks in about 40 seconds in). 

It was like the equivalent of drinking a litre of lucozade or having a firework shoved up one's butt.  All of a sudden I was off!  Powering through the park, kicking the pigeons out of my way, scaring small children by singing to myself! 

I've since learned that it is a huge gay anthem.  This doesn't surprise me for a minute.  You should see what else is on my most played list on my ipod - Diana Ross, Celine, Barbara, Mariah, Whitney etc etc.  I have long suspected I am a middle aged gay man trapped in the body of 30 year old woman.  The effect this song had on my walking speed kind of confirms the theory.  But what the heck, I am what I ammmmmmmmm! 

Rose x

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Estate agents, brasso and make up tutorials

So today I've had not 1 but 2 plaintive requests as to why I haven't blogged for a little while.  Well dear readers it has been an extremely busy week filled with Brasso, popcorn, rugby balls, concealer, a pedometer and meatballs.  Intrigued?  Here is a little of what I've been up to.

Finally, after a very long time of faffing about Mr Rose is selling our flat and it has gone on the market this week.  We have been MANIC making it look spic and span.  He has taken to brassoing every bit of chrome or brass in the flat and is found with a duster feverishly in hand and a housewifery question on his lips when I walk through the front door. 

Recent examples have included 'Rose, do you think I should use white spirit to get rid of the white paint blob on the black paint on the front door?'..  'Rose, why does the plughole not shine when I've poured viakal on it for 45 mins?'… 'Rose, what do you think I should use to clean the lightswitches?' and other important questions.  So it is a good thing we have had a house guest for the last week or so - Cousin LL is having her bathroom re-done and therefore cannot stomach the idea of living in a house with no flushing loo (and who can blame her) so we have a resident expert in householding.  Obviously, she made sure the mattress protector had arrived before she did..


So to calm myself I've been popping my headphones in and watching on my iPhone the brilliant make up tutorials of Sali Hughes.  Now, I like to think that in a different life I might have been a make up artist.  I like to think that I know loads about make up and I have one of the biggest and best collections of anyone I know.  I like to think that I could do a passable makeover on most people and that really, no one would be better at doing my make up than me. I can recognise nail varnish by its brand at 20 paces and could write a dissertation on the best ways to make green eyes look greener (Clarins plum eyeliner, if you are wondering with a Revlon eyeshadow in rust).  So when Sali started doing the columns and videos I read them with interest but also a feeling that these columns were perhaps for the sort of girls that don’t already know that Laura Mercier makes the best tinted moisturiser in the world and that Bobbi Brown's lipstick in Nude is the best shade for flattering all skin tones. 

The columns are great and make brilliant reading - short and snappy - she takes a different subject each week like cleansing wipes, red lipstick or make up brushes.  But what is truly great is the video tutorial she does that goes with it.  She has a very calm manner, she never patronises and has loads of make up artist tips. I watched this one at about 2am last night when I was lying awake and Mr Rose was snoring away -  and even though today I look at worst half dead and at best ropey, I used her technique to cover my bags and dark circles and actually I think I look alright.  And I have long held the theory that if you look awake and sprightly then it helps you feel awake and sprightly. 

So get yourselves over to the Guardian website and check out all her videos.  For even the most smug make up fiends. 

You'll be glad you did.  Apart from the men reading this.  Sorry lads.  I feel a bit bad about luring you in with promise of a rugby related post.  Next time, boys. Next time. 

Rose x

Thursday, 8 September 2011

London Theatre - a guest blog

Today we have a guest blog from my pal Tracey who inspired me to start this blog in the first place.  She is a published writer, playwright and theatre reviewer and I asked her if she would give us all some tips on what is hot coming up this Autumn and Winter in London's theatres.  I've already booked for some of these but I think I may have to see a few more.  Now where did I put the credit card... 
Rose x

London has the most vibrant and exciting theatre scene in the world, and if you’re looking to see something on stage this season, there’s plenty to excite – whatever your tastes or budget.

Hamlet at the Young Vic
Michael Sheen might be best known for playing Tony Blair in the film The Queen, but he’s an accomplished stage actor and his Hamlet looks like being one of the hottest tickets of the year. The show runs from Oct 28-Jan 21 and is already selling fast, so get booking...

The National Theatre not only offers a great range of shows but also, thanks to its sponsorship deal with Travelex, a great range of prices – many shows can be snapped up for just over a tenner. A couple to watch out for this autumn are Collaborators by John Hodge, starring stage stalwart Simon Russell Beale, and Comedy of Errors, which features Lenny Henry returning to Shakespeare after earning his spurs in a surprisingly well-reviewed Othello. There is also an as-yet unnamed Mike Leigh play starting in October which is sure to sell out fast, so if you’re a fan, book now. (

Still on the National, if you missed them first time round there are a couple of great shows transferring to the West End. The riotously funny One Man, Two Guv’nors has won James Corden rave reviews – even from those who find his standard comedy persona a little hard to stomach – while ‘Billy Elliot with brushes’ story the Pitman Painters returns to London after a triumphant run in New York (and, less glamorously, its hometown Newcastle) and looks set to be the feel good show of the winter.  and

Another welcome return following an award-winning US run is Jerusalem. Featuring a career-best turn from Mark Rylance, Jez Butterworth’s play has scooped every award going and, having missed out first time round only to have every single person I know rave about how it was the best thing they’ve seen all year, I’m determined to get tickets this time...

Heavyweight writer Stephen Poliakoff returns to the stage with the world premiere of My City at the Almeida – as it’s his first new play for a decade, demand is high so there are already only a few tickets left, but this is sure to be a piece of landmark theatre so worth trying to get one if you can. The show stars Tracy Ullman and starts in October.

This is, of course, only a taster of the wonderful variety available at London’s theatres... to keep up to date with what is on and what is coming out, check out the review site and the news site

Monday, 5 September 2011

Annie, Mr Annie and a Mini Birthday Cake

Mr Rose and I had an EXHAUSTING weekend of making our flat look uncluttered and divine as it goes on the market today!  This is so exiting because we have been talking about it for the last 2 years and have finally got enough $$$ together to move on somewhere a bit bigger and with a garden. 

I think it is safe to say that Mr Rose and I are hoarders.  We must have chucked out over 100 pens.  I have never seen so many pens in my life.  I can't understand how the pen mountain built up so much.  Surely the most pens a couple need at any one time is about 10?  We also have over 10 egg cups.  Now bare in mind a boiled egg is not our egg of choice (Mr Rose likes a poached, I like scrambled - thank you for asking).  Why so many egg cups?  Who knows. 

I gave my extensive cosmetics collection an overhaul with much of it going in the garage or the bin. It is really interesting to see what I saved from storage as it must be the stuff I cannot live without.  The stuff that made the cut was No7 Protect and Perfect face creams, Clarins Body Lotion for night time and Niva Soft body lotion for the daytime. I wont be having a bath without Badedas and Herbal Essences shampoo reigns supreme. 

So after we had packed away chairs, a coffee table, a TV, a stereo, and 20 ikea bags filled with clothes, junk and the aforementioned cosmetics that didn't make the cut we scrubbed the flat from top to bottom.  In the evening my sister Annie and Mr Annie came round to check it over because my housewifery is not my best subject and we needed a fresh pair of eyes to tell us what else needed doing. 

Apart from a few small things (she looked at my kitchen skirting boards as if there was a Russian Spy hiding there) we passed with flying colours.   As it is Mr Annie's birthday today we had a celebratory cup of tea. 

Later on she sent this pic of the birthday cake she made for him which I think is just lovely

yum yum yum

As a bit of context, here is the new car they have just bought

zoom zoom zoom
Spot the difference! 

So happy birthday to Mr Annie - the little brother I never had.  We are all so happy to have you in Da Familia. 

Rose x

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Bank Holiday Gloucestershire Fun

So when Mr Rose was a wee nipper, his mum (a Warwickshire lass not unlike myself) decided that if her kids were going to be brought up in Central London then they would at least be exposed to regular countryside so they knew the difference between a cow and a sheep.   So back in the mid 80s they bought a little cottage in the Forest of Dean which they used for weekends away and holidays.

It did not work. 

Mr Rose never really liked the countryside and obviously spent all his holidays with his nose in The Economist.  We haven't been to The Cottage for many years but decided to take a trip there this weekend. After all, we are both in our 30s now so we may as well embrace middle age. 

At one point driving through the gorgeous countryside, Mr Rose pointed at a field of cows and made a reference to them being nice looking sheep.  Dear reader, he has not one but two Cambridge degrees plus a law degree,  and he knows more about international politics than anyone I've ever met.  But the poor confused London boy is not so hot on his farmyard animals.  Next time you see him, feel free to give him a little lesson on exactly what says cockadoodledoo and what a baby horse is called.  He needs educating. 

When I had stopped snorting with laughter, we went on a lovely walk as part of my training for my half marathon walk I'm doing in October.  We nearly got lost / had a massive row / split up in part of the forrest but found our bashed up old Golf just in time before the rain came down.  We picked loads of blackberries as there were moments when we were so lost we thought we might be spending the night there and thought they would keep us alive til morning.  However, we eventually found the car and made it home and decided to make a crumble with the blackberries - plus pears, greengages and apples from the cottage garden. 
The lovely garden in The Cottage

Greengage tree

Photographic evidence of lovely crumble:

Greengage, apple, pear and blackberry

Lovely crumble topping with flaked almonds for flavour

It was eaten in front of roaring stove and 3 episodes of The Sopranos :-) 

I have to admit that we also had some for breakfast the next morning but then we went out and climbed up Symonds Yat  to burn off the naughtiness.  Here is the view from the top - and yes, we climbed up from the river THAT IS A VERY LONG WAY UP and it definitely was worth it - what a view! 

Hope you all had a great Banko too.  What did you get up to?

Rose x