Thursday, 30 June 2011

Hitting the G-spot with the Make Do Style Diet

The wonderful Rachel - for it is her that is the words of wisdom, forsooth on the Make Do Style Diet, is imparting even more gems if you are on for an update of useful information that doesn't have you on some pitiful restrictive diet!

Mrs MDS has a confession to make. Don't tell Rachel okay as she will laugh and then reproach me. In the spirit of old school journalism and research I tried the Dukon Diet. OMG I lasted a week, that is all I could take. I only had 3 days on the protein only attack thing and then went into cruise mode. It was awful. Now I know why I never diet. All this restrictive or x food only diet stuff is ..well quite frankly shite. Yes you can tell me I'm such and such blood group, yes we were once cavemen that only ate berries and hunted meat but guess what we've moved on!

In fact science has moved on and despite the many weirdy quasi sports/nutrition geeks out there who will tell us what we used to eat in a cultural context, it is usually based on commercial sales to fill a void. Basically there are lots of new thoughts on genetic development, mutations, physical anthropology and evolution and any diet can cherry pick which bit of science or research. Nothing is set in stone and btw caveman died at an average age of 30.

Over to the wise words of Rachel...

TOWIE recently touted the “no carbs before Marbs” rule as a quick way to lose weight and get that bikini body. There has been much discussion about the merits (or not) of reducing carbs and eating a diet high in protein in order to lose weight quickly – notably Atkins and Dukan – and, it has to be said, in the short term this does work up to a point, but really, do you want to live without what we consider to be “normal” food such as fruit, bread or potatoes? The Make Do Diet will help you understand why carbs get such bad press, and what it is about the high-protein diet that helps your body.

1. It’s all about QUALITY and not QUANTITY – much like Animal Farm, not all carbs are equal, and unfortunately, in a society where cheap food full of Trans fats, processed sugars and little nutrition is everywhere you need to be savvy in your choice of what carbs you eat.

2. The Gspot – it’s all about getting that high you know!! Or in the case of this, getting the low...in the best possible way. So, some carbs release into your body at an alarming rate (think of water going through a colander) – this affects the level of sugar in your blood stream, and you body, ever conscious to keep harmony, will immediately pour on insulin to calm down the sugar rush.

3. Insulin is a great little hormone that helps control glucose levels and synthesising fat...but it also wields its power with a sweeping hand and often over reduces sugar in the bloodstream too much which then makes the body crave more sugar...and guess what, when the body wants sugar it will make you seek it out, find it, devour it like a lion searches for its prey.

4. Pressing that insulin button with high sugar fixes and little exercise will encourage your body to rely (or even become “addicted” to sugar) and will not help you shift that weight. Worse, a side effect of insulin happens as it is working...cos when it is working, it stops your body burring fat...yep, when you eat lots of high sugar foods, you CAN’T burn fat at the same time....so keep sugar levels low.

5. So, get ready to understand that we need to seek out carbs that have slow release (much like trying to drain custard through a t-shirt..) which will help stop us spiking our sugar levels – this is called the “Glycaemic Index” or GI as it most commonly know – or G spot as we will call it!

6. Exercise is also going to play a part, as you have found out already, 30 mins a day makes a difference, and what happens is that as we start to exercise, insulin stimulates the release of glucose (sugar) into our bloodstream, but once we have been exercising for a while, the sugar levels drop and the body then reduces insulin which then makes us burn fat – yes, FAT. The side effects from burning fat (apart from getting rid of the stuff) is both heat and water...so you will need to now up your level of exercise until you start to get pink in the face and sweat – and it has to be over 20 mins.

7. Swap Shop – so, in order to get to the G spot, here are examples of how to reduce the sugar highs (or even buy a book to help you out) and keep your body ticking over nicely burning fat as you go about your daily life. xx

Items that have high sugar levels - eat sparingly, with other low foods and make sure you exercise on the days that you eat these!
Moderate levels of sugar, but still go easy. Think about having your meal with these items...and keep your sugar levels down.Sawp Boiled Potatoes/baked potatoes for Rice/long grain rice/pasta or even better have salad – inc lots of dark green veg such as spinach and green peppers. Plus add a sprinkling of seedsswap.
Bagels for Wholemeal muffins – get from health food shop or make your own even better.
Yogurt and fruit such as grapes, peach, and apple.

This is delicious - and it is made by the wonderful Rachel's Dairy (also based in Aberystwyth!)

Swap Baguettes for French baguette or evn betterWholemeal organic bread – esp. spelt or rye
Cheerio’s/Cornflakes/sugar puffs for Bran flakes or Make your own muesli with a mixture of grains, nuts, seeds and oats
Swap Chocolate for M&Ms (!) or even better Darker chocolate with
high concentration – eat in small amounts – or have a square with your espresso...

PS I loved the M&M's info, it is the peanut ones of course. I had to tweet Rachel for clarification...had to put the tub of choc ones back!

Oh yes you can have these!! (Well if needs must.. ssshh)

PPS... if Rachel picks on me ref the M&M's it is because Daniel Craig married the wrong Rachel.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Mmmm I'm so not Sienna Miller...

...or Kate Moss. You know the boho chick fash off thing that happened, well I didn't join in. I think while it was going on I was still spending my summers in neoprene in Cornwall. I was much more a surf chic and so some bikinis, tee shirts and a few jumpers was my lot. I'd use my towel as a skirt.

But I've always been drawn and of course over the years the look has become a mainstream de facto look for the summer. When I was asked to do a product review for boho clothing company Joe Browns it did pique my interest as I'd often received an unsolicited catalogue. However I am sort of caught in this blogging hole where I'm coming to the conclusion marketing peeps don't really read my blog or know my work.

To clarify I have worked for years and years in the fashion industry at Elle magazine, as a stylist and I have an MA from LCF. I've undertaken retail consultancy and worked for a number of year in marketing to earn a shed load of money to keep me in the handbags I wanted. I am always going to have an opinion and for good reason - the retail industry is in dire straits depending on what you are selling.

I struggled to select an item from Joe Browns as the web imagery isn't great and of course the clothes weren't really me. The Menswear is a far stronger offering and I wish I'd ordered from the men's shirt section! The versatile checked shirt delivers but I'm not sure the womenswear does. My first choice wasn't available in my size and I wasn't sure what to select next. Sharon Rose of My Style made the selection of the maxi dress I nearly opted for. I went for the Perfect Patchwork Kaftan to enter into the boho clothing spirt.

In short, it came, I tried it on, it is useful - I will wear it on holiday I'm sure but I immediately cut off the ties which were pointless. I also wished the design and colours were different but I was quite pleased the size 10 was too big (vanity!). But Sharon was absolutely right to call the Joe Browns peeps lovely, as they sent me a sample of their Sloe Joe Joggers in size 10. I'm always in search of a pair of these things that fit me because they never do. Well these babies fit PERFECTLY. They are a lovely cotton and just perfect for wearing to the gym or apres tennis when its cold.

What has happened is Joe Browns is stuck in a niche offering but boho has moved on and getting the design absolutely right even at the lower retail offering is key. Folks are cutting back and this means not buying, not buying cheaper. Retailers are going to have to revise, revise and revise to keep customers and grow.

If womenswear is the smaller side of the business then they need to simplify the offering and step away from their view of boho. I don't know who they consider their target audience but I know it isn't me. Except for their guys shirts and those sportswear joggers.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Swoons & Gushes

I'm not big on celebrity anything, Brad & Angelina stuff leaves me cold, as does who Jennifer Aniston is dating etc. I do make some effort to read the odd bits on celebrity but having to digest celebrity mags as part of my MA I went off it all. In fact Melanie Rickey at my graduation showcase told the audience during the ensuing discussion on celebrity after my short film - that she couldn't stand to see another front cover of Grazia with Aniston on it, over a year later there have been quite a few since!

But you could have knocked me down with a feather when I got a Rachel Weisz marries Daniel Craig on my twitter feed. Obviously I'm so rubbish I didn't even know they were an item. however, if there were two people I would have put together then it these too. Talk about beauty - the pair of them.


Although I'm not one for girl crushes, if I did have to say one it would be Rachel Weisz for her beauty and brains (sorry Nigella, okay you are joint first really). She is utterly gorgeous and would be a welcome addition to a dinner party, my mouth would hang open.


As for Daniel Craig until I had to watch Casino Royale (2006) many many times as part of my MA dissertation, I'd not really given him a second thought. And no it wasn't the swimming trunks scene that got my pulse up but his acting and characterisation. After all he got me a distinction. He is a very handsome man.



Therefore I'm having a moment of indulgence and clogging the blogosphere with pap of the highest quality. I'll be hot footing it to their forthcoming film Dream House.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Uptown Girl

With the warmth of the sun back to air our summer clothes, it really is time to think about your winter wardrobe. I say this every year to deaf ears but the window for coats is a small one. If you haven't got it by the first week of September, you will be officially on sloppy seconds.

All around the high street is suffering with a lack of consumer confidence and therefore a lack of spending. The clever retailers will be looking at keeping their costs down to ride this all out so don't make the mistake of thinking stock levels will be what they were before. It won't mean bargain's galore - just less availability.

This season there will be lots of collarless coats a la Prada's influential chic European Sixties homage. Lots of masculine jackets and coats with a minimalist vibe plus longer ones. Miu Miu and Gucci to name but two kept the nostalgia for 40s and 70s alive respectively.

Gucci has got it covered on the coat front. I'm afraid it is an uber chic, almost dare I say Liza Minnelli-esque, look for coats, jackets and accessories. It's a step away from the formality of the lady like look that has dominated of late when it comes to winter coats and despite the shaggy collars, coats and snakeskin leather jackets, this is no boho rock chic look - we are talking an uptown girl! I suspect this look will be a slow burner but a strong finisher for the adoption of trends. Mainly as it allows you to emulate the look with some handy wardrobe items, the fedora, the skinny belt, the faux fur collar, knee high boots, your pussy bow shirt. You might like to get dying the faux fur collar (a cold Dylon dye should work a treat in a teal or violet) and getting use to dark lipstick again with sleek hair rather than bed head. But if you fancy injecting colour, then use the Gucci colour palette as your base with its gorgeous use of teal, violet, ochre, orange, fuchsia and burgundy, with navy, grey and black as neutral options. Of course look to Zara to provide the affordable high street options!





Saturday, 25 June 2011

High Street Pick of the Week

Let's go with the tennis vibe, hey. I know you are not necessarily getting your racquets at the ready to whack some balls in anticipation, but if you hot foot it down to Sweaty Betty you could add a nod to Wimbeldon with this Adidas by Stella McCartney organic cotton visor.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

My top 3 sun products

Despite the fact the UK has been under a deluge of rain, in my heart of hearts I believe our summer is just around the corner. Anyway if your off on holiday then sun care products are a must if it is hot climates you are off too.

Mrs MDS is of course supporting her film script writing with being an independant skin care & beauty consultant for Arbonne. Arbonne is a Swiss formulated product company and now has the ex Aveda man Dr Peter Matravers as its head of research and development. At one time, when Mrs MDS first started working after Uni, he was one of the team behind Neutragena and we used to get tons of free sample at the magazine I worked on. I was in love with the Sesame seed oil which you can't get in the UK now. It was fabulous for legs and I still request it when folks go to the US.

The reason I'm an Arbonne consultant is the fact I can earn commission on product sales and I love their clean green products. Their ranges are suitable for vegans and have worked wonders for the poor petit garcon with his eczema. Their baby range is brilliant and suitable for children. My favourite bit is when I make my monthly purchases because I get points and points make prizes. As a consultant you commit to making a monthly purchase approx £70 but I used to spend over that each month due to getting bedazzled by items in either Boots, John Lewis or Space NK. I have actually saved money and have lovely products even my shower gel is superior!

There is of course the inevitable business builder aspect if you want to make serious money but I'm pretty lack lustre about this in terms of will and commitment. I like running my shop most of all!

In my shop I can recommend 3 wonderful products that will see you safely through the summer.
My number one pick is the Renewing Body Gelee (rrp £32.00). It is in the Arbonne Detox Spa range (which is now available at Urban Retreat in Harrods but don't give money to them buy from me!!) The Gelee is wonderful and is particularly fantastic for putting on the skin after being in the sun. I also use it once a week and after going to the gym or for a swim. It truly nourishes and hydrates the skin and is wonderful. The whole spa range is a dream.



At number 2 is the Lip saver with SPF 30 (rrp £7.00) and I use it everyday to keep my lips protected and moisturised. They are in fabulous condition from it and at £7 it is a beauty bonus bargain.


The third product is the Damage Control, water resistant Sun screen factor 30 (rrp £32.00). I have to be honest my favourite sun cream is La Roche-Posay Anthelios factor 50. I would put the Arbonne one at a close second in terms of the product. It is better in respect of its green credentials and probably superior with the Swiss formulation but I prefer the packaging of La Roche-Posey and ease of use - I know stupid, but old habits...! But I'm sticking this year to Damage Control (great name in terms of does what it says on tin) because I want to compare the results. It goes on very well and smells nice, always a requirement. If you want pure vegan then it is the best.

If you are in the UK, Canada, US or Australia then you can buy Arbonne products online from me. All you need to do is put in my id number 441023472. If you do buy then let me know as each month I will be giving away an Arbonne product.

Arbonne offers great discounts to people who becoem preferred clients 20% of on all products for 12 months for a £18 fee. A consultant gets 35% off on all products for an initial £74 joining fee and then an annual rejoin fee of £12. I'm happy to answer any questions about the pros and cons of either. My email address is kate.battrick@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Polaroid Sunglasses Winner

As per my random number entry the magic number was ....

10

Random numbers generated Jun 21 2011 at 18:49:17 by www.psychicscience.org

Therefore the winner is comment number 10 which is teawithonesugarplease of these lovely pair of Marilyn sunnies!
Polaroid sunglasses

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Online Review - Very.co.uk

When I was asked to review Very, I was slightly hesitant as I'd never used them at all. I hadn't even to my knowledge picked one single item for High St Pick of the Week - which of course these days includes online retailers.

I suppose I was always put off by the Fearne Cotton thing. I'm really not a big fan of 'celebrity' collelections. I think VB and Dannii Minogue have done well to approach the career change in a considered fashion. But celebrity lines do on the whole leave me cold. Link
But forced again to look at Very with fresh eyes, i.e. selecting an item, I found much to approve off. The site has a good selection of items from £5 to £300. It is in the main competing with ASOS, but offers a different range of items although there are some cross overs, which is inevitable.

The South brand of clothing seems unique to Very and although the brand doesn't seem to have a design ethos, more of a catch all, there are some great gems in their retail offering. I selected a South Feather Printed Dress - my youngest cousin has a wedding in August and I thought it would look lovely by the beach, with a slight hue of golden glow after holidaying in Italy.

It arrived in a very loud bright pink bag which is a great sight to behold, very cheery! The product was better than expected in terms of design, material and finish. I think it looks a lot more expensive than the £45 price tag, which is great value for money. I'd like to think it was my expert stylists eye at picking the item out and I'm sure some of it was but items don't always translate well from the image to the bedroom bed. Yep I flung it on there but in pleasure not dismay.



The only dismay came when I tried it on, just a little bit too small but then I've not selected this brand before and so have no idea whether the template is one that will never work with my body or I should have selected size 12. However, vanity and hard work on the fitness front got the better of me so I've not challenged Very's customer service by sending it back and getting the next size - nope I'm attempting a 'challenge Anneka' and hoping in 6 weeks time the zip will run up with ease!

In summary Very offers another option and when has shopping around been a chore. It has a good range to browse and select from. The site images aren't great nor is the styling of items. In fact the site is too basic and as many on-line retailers will find out the design, flow and aspirational feel of internet shopping is key to success. I'm also confused to the range of offerings and judged it purely as a fashion go to. Although it does seem to offer the kitchen sink as well.

Monday, 20 June 2011

The Make Do Diet - 3 Wise Points

Smallest point - 100 situps a day = 1inch waist loss in 10 days. Fact.
Medium point - did you know, that if you eat protein or carbs, your body has to work quite hard to digest it and store it in your body. But fat goes in complete, and gets stored immediately as FAT...so the saying a minute on your lips and a lifetime on your hips has some merit....
Big point - this is very important to learn, why you must stop and think.
The release of a “new diet” where some celebrity shows impressive weight loss in a matter of weeks is somewhat seductive. Yes, weight creeps on slowly – or even a magnificent 3-4lbs after a weekend of overindulgence – and you know, there are ways to quickly lose “weight” on the scales, but no crash diet can sustain its initial weight loss – mainly because the weight is water and a little bit of carbs and not a lot of fat.
This week, we are going to play “Stop and Think” – much like an amber light on the traffic lights.

1. Fat – breaking down protein and carbs takes energy and increases your metabolic rate. Eat fat and it goes straight to fat on your body.....so, please don’t cut it out altogether as it is a vital component for transportation of hormones, makes your hair shiny and your skin soft – but reduce your saturate fat (ones that are solid at room temp) to 10% of your diet. Butter only one side of your sandwich, spray your oil onto you pan, eat less cheese, cut the fat off your meat etc
2. Carbs – buy the best you can. Organic if possible (grow your own?) – bright colours, red, yellow and dark green. Add as much as you can to your meals – frozen chopped spinach and peas can be added to many dishes, as well as grated carrots or courgette. Stay away from processed foods, eat brown bread, or spelt if you get IBS (the fast fermentation of cheap white bread can often cause bloating). Rice and potatoes in hand size portions only.
3. Protein - increases metabolic rate and reduces hunger pangs, so try to include a little at each meal – yoghurt, beans and nuts are all good sources. If you want meat, then about the size of your palm is a good guide for mealtimes.
4. Pause – it has been noted that there is a natural “pause” during our eating phase. We eat continuously when we are hungry, but once we have reached a point of being “satisfied” then we tend to “Pause” – put our knife and fork down, have a drink etc. IF you want to lose weight, LOOK for this sign and STOP eating at that point – put your knife and fork together and push your plate away – portion control is often where even the healthiest of eaters gets let down.

Summary
1. Remeasure – you will be delighted if you have managed to do the sit-ups as I bet you have lost inches even if the scales have stayed the same.
2. Keep up the sit-ups – and try to do a few more if you can – they will help you get your waist back.
3. PAUSE – stop and think at every meal.
4. Keep the 30 mins exercise and add a 10 second BLAST every couple of minutes to get out of breath – run faster, jump, anything to make you breathless - it will help you burn more calories.
5. Eat the best possible food – make your plate look as colourful as possible.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

High Street Pick of the Week

Despite the fact I actually think I'm in a live reality tv show called Noah's Ark but without a fee - yes il pleut beaucoup in London a the moment, I'm still full of hope for a summer again. And as I travel hopefully I would be happy to pack this number in my suitcase for summer sun. Perfect day and evening - sorted!


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Revolution? Nah, Take That ..and Party!

It seemed only yesterday that Mrs MDS first saw Take That in 1993 when it was all screaming girls. I felt too old at the time as I had a mortgage, a job in radio, responsibilities and a Renault 5 with the number plate C123WAD. It had a radio and played cassettes, mainly my dance tracks & anthems. I wasn't to get a mobile phone until 1997 (and I've had the same number ever since!) I was just growing out of raves, clubbing and all manner of loud music. I was championing Paul Weller on one of the radio programmes I produced and a friend had introduced me to Oasis.

But when I first saw Take That, although they didn't replaced in my affection my then current favourite band Diffiniad, I loved them. Diffiniad actually opened their set at the 1993 Eisteddfod at Builth Wells with 'Could it be magic' and 'Everything Changes but You' was brilliant for driving and singing along to so I was very happy. This time frame is only relevant because on Christmas Eve 1994, five of us were out in the local pub drinking and saying which member of Take That we'd marry! I willingly choose Gary Barlow which was greeted with drunken laughter, however last night reunited with 2 of the original 5 (one of which is my sister) and guess what they all want Gary now! And it was Gary who said on stage in a sagely way '15 years, 15 bloody years' I was too far away to correct him and say actually 16 - as it was 1995 when Robbie pushed off.

And 15,16 or 17 years bring a big difference. For one I'm no longer driving a Renault 5, I have a cd player in the car plus I now pack my own sarnies! I think then the most I ever had to hand was gum or a pack of marlboro lights. It was obvious to me my rock chic past was well and truly over.

I made yet another road trip along the M4, stopped at Leigh Delamare on the way there. Managed to park the car in perfect place by waiting until there was a space - patience! Cardiff is such a fab place to go and see bands, ok so I could only get tickets for Cardiff but I was happy with that. When we rocked up at the Millennium stadium, (after I had ate my sandwiches in the car, and met the girls in Pizza Express) the Pet Shop Boys were playing. It was a good set and enjoyable, actually I think it was the first time I'd sat and listened to them at a live venue!


We had sunshine, warmth and the build up was filled with hilarity and stupidity.

And then the show started. It was fantastic. I wasn't sure if I would be as excited as I found myself in the same stadium in 2006 when they toured again. But OMG when Robbie came on I went mental. Honestly he was ace, he is such a performer and I pitied the poor people behind and in front. The whole set was stunning, the songs were fab and the costumes and choreography was excellent.

Howard & Jason's moves were amazing. Howard was wearing a white jumpsuit/harem pant number and looked amazing dancing that all of us dumped Gary right then and there! It was hilarious and for one moment I thought their testosterone levels would lead them to have a punch up with Robbie (he is still the consummate show off!) They all seemed so grown up too, in fact poor Mark Owen looked quite worn (out). Progress really was a show of coming of age and actually it didn't feel that bad to no longer have those marlboro lights I once loved so much!




Yep, moi going for it. I lost my voice and was rather sweaty from dancing. On the way back to the car, there were a band of a bout 12 people and some tents outside Cardiff Castle with a badly painted 'Revolution' board. As I was walking past, a couple of women were talking and on seeing this band of revolution one quipped (read this in a Cardiff accent if you can) 'We''ll see how revolutionary they are in December' and carried on walking, talking without taking a breath. It did seem to me that they looked like people from another time, quite 1990s New Age Travellers and out of touch, it seemed sad and not revolutionary on any level.

Then back on the road, home. When I saw the London 120 miles sign I sighed, sucked it up and kept driving and ruining my voice more with really bad singing but I was having my own party!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Win a pair of sunglasses!

In my previous life as a stylist I was fortunate to come across Mrs Glamour Puss at a Buy My Wardrobe event at which I was bequeathed by her, a couple of pairs of Polarized sunglasses to product test. Well suffice it to say they have never left my bag or face since. Yes folks I have eschewed the trappings and lure of designer sunnies for science.

However, I'm rubbish at science. I therefore won't blind you with my ignorance but suggest you read and see the evidence of the superiority of polarized sunglasses technology here. What I can attest is that it is all true! The vision is wonderful, they are the perfect weight and everyone has asked me where I got mine from.




The price is reasonable but not cheap, but given the quality and wide selection of styles, I would recommend them to everyone. I know you might be fore going a designer tag but you eyes will love you for it. As well as online, Polaroid sunglasses are stocked at John Lewis, Boots and available at airports.

I've managed to bagsy a pair to giveaway to one lucky reader. I've selected a lovely retro pair based on the fact they are called Marilyn.


The question you have to answer to win these Polaroid sunglasses is..

In which film does Marilyn Monroe star in a sequinned red dress?

Leave you answers in the comment box, competition closes on midnight on June 21st 2011. Good luck!

Monday, 13 June 2011

G&T at the Rorke's Drift

Yet another road trip along the M4 led Mrs MDS to attend a family wedding in Brecon. Brecon is a glorious market town in mid Wales. It is perfect for exploring the Brecon Beacons (where the SAS train) and provided a perfect geographical point when a South Wales lass marries a North Walean lad.

Handily upon arrival and opposite the church was a pub. It was the prefect pub for a pre ceremony G&T for Mrs MDS and the groom, ushers and the rest of the guests - The Rorke's Drift. Named after the 1879 Rorke's Drift battle when 140 of the South Wales BorderLinker's regiment faced more than 4000 Zulu's and resulted in the most posthumous awarded Victoria Cross's, eleven in total. And of course the marvellous British film Zulu (1964) starring Michael Caine with excellent narration by a great Welshman Richard Burton.

The wedding was a wonderful affair, at the Catholic church opposite our pub! Which some of us retreated to for an after ceremony drink! I refrained as I was the drive and continued to refrain for the whole day and evening. Mr MDS was rather worse for wear.

I managed to get a quick pose in by the car. My outfit was a Whistles pleated skirt, a Warehouse shirt, Zara shoes (£14 in sales in January), a years old pashmina and a 6 year old Zara gold clutch bag

The reception was at the utterly gorgeous Penpont estate. It was a day of spectacular showers and sunshine. The house was charming and reminded me of a French ch√Ęteau with its eclectic mix of old and new and country. All in all a lovely event and had I been drinking you would have found me doing Irish dancing in the marquee in the evening but I had some rather inebriated people to drive - you can imagine the fun that was!




















The beautiful green Welsh land and the Usk river