18/12/2015

Christmas with Maggie


Only 1 week to go until Christmas! 

I'm pretty excited - the house is decorated, the gift shopping is nearly finished, most of the cards have been posted, and we've started watching all of our favourite festive films (you know, The Grinch, The Polar Express, Frozen, Love Actually...)


I've really enjoyed making the house Christmassy this year - it's been such a busy few months, and so taking the time to decorate our tree and home together has been extra special. 

22/11/2015

Blog Giveaway!


If you already follow me on Twitter, you will know that I recently celebrated hitting the 500 followers mark. This is an achievement that I am very proud of, as it means my little blog is reaching more and more of you lovely people!

Coincidently, over the last few weeks I had been thinking about running a giveaway on here for the first time; offering one of my loyal readers a prize seemed like the perfect way to say thank you for visiting and supporting my blog... So I decided to join the two together, and run my first blog giveaway to celebrate achieving my Twitter target!

When it came to the giveaway prize, I had to have a good long think about what I wanted to offer... The answer was pretty simple in the end - who doesn't love a little beauty bundle?

14/11/2015

Sightseeing in Glasgow

As many of you will know, Mr Maggie May and I recently enjoyed a lovely weekend in Glasgow - you might have read my post about our incredible meal on the Friday night, or ogled all the pictures I posted on Instagram. Well we had a pretty amazing day on the Saturday and I have wanted to share the details with you all for ages - finally, here they are...

We woke up early so we could fill up with breakfast before our big day ahead. Having slurped lots of coffee (nursing a slightly fuzzy head from the night before, ahem) I dashed off to the south of the city for a morning of meetings, leaving Mr MM to explore. He managed to get a few nice snaps along the way.



05/11/2015

How to Dress Like the Bond Girls in Spectre


I finally went to see the new James Bond film Spectre last night, and I am pleased to say it did not disappoint; there were car chases, martinis, nasty fights, beautiful dresses, helicopters and of course, Daniel Craig looking wonderful. Although not quite as good as Skyfall in my opinion, it was still excellent and I would definitely recommend seeing it.

One of the best highlights for me was the wardrobe in this film; all of the characters' outfits were sharp, sophisticated and perfectly suited to their roles, and it is clear that there was a lot of thought put into the design from the start. Those of you who follow me on Twitter will have already seen me raving about how I want Léa Seydoux's stylist... She looked effortlessly chic throughout (to be fair, she is Parisian), and I was very impressed with the team's choices.

Determined to try and capture a few of my favourite looks from the film, I've hunted down some lookalike pieces, as well as some of the exact items worn in the film by Léa, who played the role of Dr Madeleine Swann, and also Naomie Harris, who played the role of Eve Moneypenny. Now we can all feel like Bond girls - just grab me a dirty martini and we're good to go...

Dr Madeleine Swann {North Africa}


Image credit - theguardian.com

  Get the look -

                                              


{Clockwise from top left} Ray-Ban Round Sunglasses - £115, ASOS  // White Embroidered Blouse - £29.50, M&S // Tan Saddle Bag - £25, Accessorize // White Wide Leg Trousers - £30, Topshop

21/10/2015

October Style

Back at the end of September, I told you all how much I love autumnal fashion. The snuggly jumpers, cute woolly hats and gorgeous wellies and boots we get to wear at this time of year are my absolute favourite wardrobe items - and luckily, the high street has treated us to some wonderful AW15 collections.

For me, the perfect outfit for October consists of a beautiful jumper, comfortable jeans, a warm hat, a practical but stylish coat, and a good pair of wellies for those long autumn walks! I've picked some of the best items in our shops right now, so you can create this look for yourself.

I also have a brilliant treat to share with you all today, so keep reading for more info...

The Coat

Next is my go-to shop when I'm looking for a new coat; they always have a fantastic range for outdoors, evening and workwear. Their Ripstop Jacket is utterly gorgeous; I could just see myself wearing this at the weekends as we amble through the countryside. It comes in Green, Ochre, Neutral and Navy (my fave) - but you want to snap one up quick as they're selling out fast!


16/10/2015

Apple, Damson & Blackberry Crumble

As the days get a little cooler, and we wrap up a little warmer in our snuggly jumpers and woolly tights, we automatically reach for those foods which are comforting and homely. The smell of a hearty stew wafting through the house as it bubbles away on the hob... The tingle of cinnamon on your tongue as you slurp away on your eighteenth Pumpkin Spice Latte... Well what about the taste of a traditional, delicious and utterly amazing apple, damson and blackberry crumble?


This autumn, I was determined to make the ultimate crumble. So often do we have high hopes for this dish, yet a soggy top or bland bottom can creep up on even the most accomplished cooks. Well not this time! This year was going to be the year that I created a crumble with a crispy, nutty topping, and a spicy, fruit-packed filling, that would make all its consumers hug their bowls closely to their chests with big grins on their faces as they reached for more lashings of custard. 

OK, so I may have been asking for quite a lot.

09/10/2015

Babu Bombay Street Kitchen

At the beginning of this month, I was very excited to be travelling up to Glasgow for the first time. I'd heard great reports about the food, the culture, the museums, the bars, and I couldn't wait to finally get to experience it all for myself. Plus, I'd only been to Scotland once before as a wee lass - I'd been itching to return ever since!

Our trip had to begin with a day of work first; luckily our accommodation was in a prime location, so it was fairly easy to find our way around and successfully get through a day packed full of meet and greets.

At last it was five o'clock, and I eagerly tracked down Mr Maggie May so we could start to plan our evening together. Having scoured the internet, our guidebook, as well as recommendations from our friends at People Make Glasgow, we decided to pay Babu Bombay Street Kitchen a visit for dinner. I sent a text to my friend to tell her to meet us there, and off we went!

Situated just off Blythswood Square on West Regent Street, it's hard to spot Babu at first, but once you've got it you can take in the cute fairy lights, the signs for proper chai tea, and the winding steps down to the front door.



It's not a large place; with just a few tables, the setting is intimate, casual but extremely welcoming. We found our friend sipping on what she described as a simply gorgeous cup of chai, and one of the friendly waitresses was quickly over to our table with menus. It's a BYOB establishment, with a small fee for corkage, and in our haste to get there we had neglected to pick something up - but the cups of thick, fragrant mango lassi we chose were amazing, and a perfect accompaniment to our meal.


28/09/2015

Hello Autumn

It's here, it's finally here; my most favourite season of all - autumn. I left Mr Maggie May gaping with shock when I casually said back in July, "I don't really like the summer - I can't wait until autumn!" But it's true... So many things make this time of year the best for me.

It's not just that autumnal fashion is so much more comfortable and stylish than summer clothing (woolly jumpers, boots and scarves are my October staples), but also you can bake and cook some beautiful recipes with all those typical autumnal flavourings that make us feel cosy - I'm thinking cloves, cinnamon and mixed spices for example! I started off my seasonal baking this week with these damson and cinnamon muffins. They were pretty tasty.


Finally, the colours during these months are just perfection. When I see the leaves on the trees changing to reds, oranges and golds, I am filled with excitement as I rush to grab my camera and take as many snaps as possible.

This weekend was the ideal opportunity for some relaxation time, and to start to appreciate autumn once again. After a beautiful lie in on the Saturday morning, Mr MM whipped up his famous scrambled eggs (they are unbelievably creamy) which we feasted on in our PJs while slurping fresh coffee. Waking up to the sound of our machine gurgling and spluttering in the kitchen is one of my beloved weekend moments!

26/09/2015

#10BookChallenge Update

At the beginning of August, I was very excited to launch the #10BookChallenge. The idea is fairly simple; bookworms who wish to take part are asked to name the 10 books which have stayed with them the most. It could be because they were funny, full of emotion, or just because they were excellently written novels. It sounds easy, but it is far more difficult that it initially sounds! You can have a read of my own #10BookChallenge here.


I mentioned a quote from W. Somerset Maugham in that post, and I'll mention it again as I think it's brilliant: "The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you." (For more fantastic book quotes, take a look at my board on Pinterest - it's a book lover's dream!) I am very passionate about getting as many book lovers involved in this challenge as possible; firstly, because I think it's wonderful to find out new reading recommendations, and to hear about books you possibly wouldn't have opted for yourself. Secondly, because I think it's something that everyone, not just writers, journalists and bloggers, can do. It's a chance to reflect on all those stories which have touched us in our lives, to look back on childhood memories, and perhaps more recent ones; to umm and ahh over which Enid Blyton book we're going to feature in our final ten (I'm sure it's not just me who was faced with that conundrum) and then to finally share those well-thought out decisions with others.

So if you want to get involved with this challenge, then please do! You can post on Facebook, write a tweet or two, or present your ten books to us visually via Instagram; just use the hashtag #10BookChallenge so that we can all see and get excited about it.

20/09/2015

New York Fashion Week - Highlights

September is always a beautiful month for fashionistas; we're treated to an array of fashion weeks from the most glamorous cities in the world, eagerly waiting to see what looks are going to be making it big in the spring.

New York Fashion Week 2015 took place earlier this month, and alas, we were not all able to jump on a plane and jet across to the runways, having to make do with double tapping most of the pictures on our Instagram feeds. 

But fear not! I have gathered together a selection of my favourite looks from the SS16 shows, so this Sunday evening you can sink into your sofa with a cup of tea and scroll through some of the New York highlights. Enjoy!

Left - Jenny Packham  //  Right - Diane von Furstenberg 




Left - Carolina Herrera  //  Right - Marchesa




Left - Michael Kors Collection  //  Right - Monique Lhuillier

12/09/2015

What I've Been Pinning {August}

Another month gone, and another 4 weeks of pinning away to my heart's content! I've got some beautiful Pinterest boards to share with you today - I hope you love these snaps as much as I do.

Interiors Ideas










06/09/2015

10 Reasons Why I Wish Friends Was Real

Photo credit - hollywoodreporter.com

Following on from my popular post a couple of weeks ago, 10 Reasons Why I Wish Harry Potter Was Real, I decided that this was a fun theme to explore once again. I paused for a moment. What other films or TV programmes did I wish I could be a part of? It didn't take me very long to think of one.

I have watched every single episode of Friends numerous times, as many people I know have, and lines from the show are regularly quoted in our house. Not a year goes by when there aren't rumours of a reunion, and every year I cross my fingers and hope - but until then, I'll stick to clicking 'Play All' on the boxset and wishing that it was real for the following reasons.

1.    Central Perk - My friends (and Instagram followers!) know that I have a huge weakness for coffee shops. Just being in the near vicinity of one is very difficult for me, as I have to mentally tell myself that I do not need yet another coffee. But will you look at Central Perk?! It is the perfect coffee shop. Comfy chairs, big mugs, lots of cake, good coffee and a familiar barista (Can Gunther be classed as a barista?) behind the counter. Oh what I would give to have a catch-up session or three in here...

Photo credit - eonline.com

26/08/2015

Book Review - The Bone Clocks


At first glance, The Bone Clocks is what I would call a hefty book. I had not read any Mitchell books before this one, so did not know what to expect - all I had to go on was that it was a large tome, had beautiful cover illustrations, and had been longlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2014. As I started the first part of the book, "A Hot Spell", set in 1984, my first thoughts were that it was readable, and that Mitchell has a lovely writing style that draws you in. I personally get tired of authors who write page-long descriptions of a tree or a roof - for me, the talented writers are the ones who can paint that same picture in just a few sentences, and Mitchell is one of them.

Having said this, I then got to page 42-43 and things rapidly changed; the plot and style of the book suddenly warped into a psychodelic, chaotic and fantastical setting, and I couldn't keep up with the change of pace. I found myself turning back a few pages - had I missed something? An explanation which would have helped this part to make sense? However get to page 45, and we're back on familiar territory again, learning about the protagonist Holly Sykes and her life in Gravesend. A short, weird, and what appears to be random burst of fantasy slotted into the chapter - but I can assure you it's not random.

20/08/2015

September Stationery

Every year when September is on the horizon, even though it has been a long time since I have had to prepare a rucksack and pencil case for school, I feel the need to treat myself to some new stationery. So many shops introduce beautiful new ranges each autumn, with pens, notebooks, diaries and general desk items calling out to me from the window displays. I have always been a stationery fiend, and I don't think that will ever change!

I recently treated myself to some lovely organisational things, so I thought I would share these with you, as well as a few items which have caught my eye on the high street and online. Race you to the tills!

2015-16 Black Floral Diary & Bird Print Notebook


Even though I have my trusty Filofax which has been attached to me for the past five years or so, I like to have a separate diary for work related things - in here I write down deadlines for projects, meetings and my to-do lists, whereas I keep my Filofax reserved for personal and social goings-on. This method really works for me, as I think if I had all of those things written down in one place, it would be completely illegible! 

In my opinion, WHSmith always produce great diaries, and this black floral design is simply gorgeous. It has a two page per week view which I think provides an ideal amount of space for writing, and the pattern almost looks like something from the V&A!

Whilst perusing the shelves, I also spotted this bird print notebook which I simply had to add to my basket - the cover has a glossy, protective layer (good for those early morning, clumsy coffee spillages) and every other page has a special box for the date, a very useful feature for me. The pages are nice and thick too. There were lots of different designs to choose from - I won't lie, I did spend about half an hour trying to decide which one was prettiest, but I'm very happy with the one I went for!

15/08/2015

Review - The Great British Bake Off: Episode 2

A lot of people were looking forward to this week's episode of Bake Off. Why? Because it was biscuit week! What would the bakers be faced with this series? 3D biscuit scenes and florentines like last year? Oh no.... Mary and Paul got a whole lot meaner this time.

Image credit: sofeminine.co.uk

The episode kicked off with Mel instructing the bakers, in an amusing Italian accent, to produce 24 identical biscotti for their Signature challenge. As usual, each of the bakers say hello and tell us what they are planning on baking - and as usual, Paul raises his eyebrows questioningly at most of the bakers' ideas. Oh Paul, you cruel man. For me, the most appealing sounding biscotti are Mat's (cranberry, pistachio and white chocolate - very similar to Paul's suggestion of cranberry, hazelnut and chocolate) and Sandy's (fig, hazelnut and chocolate). Yum. The camera pans around the tent to show all of the bakers with sticky hands as they make their mixture. It looks fairly messy work, and then we are greeted with the first innuendo of the episode from Tamal () : "It's very wet, is everyone else's not?"... Oh Tamal.

Ian is using his home grown rosemary in his biscotti (Paul describes this as "interesting"), Ugne is making white wine biscotti (now that's what I call interesting) and contestant Paul is creating a chocolate dough with hazelnuts. The judges advise him that it can be tricky to know if chocolate dough is baked due to its colour - I've been there many times, my friend! 

Next up we see that Marie is having a bit of trouble with her biscotti... A beautiful conversation ensues between her and Paul, which involves her telling him to be nice to her because she's going home, and that he has a lovely face. Hilarious!


"I'll tell you what happened."


"Oh, I like that face!"

12/08/2015

10 Reasons Why I Wish Harry Potter Was Real

So today's post may be a little silly. It may be a little childish. But judging from the response I received to featuring the Harry Potter series in my #10BookChallenge, I'm guessing that quite a few of you are also massive HP fans.

I remember on my first day of university, the day I moved into halls, being incredibly nervous. Who isn't? But once I found out that one of my flatmates was just as big a Harry Potter fan as me, I knew it would be OK. A couple of years later we made a trip to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour together (one of the best days of my life), and a few years later still I am lucky enough to call her one of my best friends. I reckon HP had a small part to play in that!

So this post is for all of you whose childhoods involved poring over the books continually, dressing up as Hermione when you went to see the film at your local Odeon (no, just me?) and queuing outside book shops to get your hands on books 5-7. Here are the 10 reasons why I wish Harry Potter was real.

1. Diagon Alley


Image credit - harrypotter.wikia.com

The first time I read about Diagon Alley, I was desperate to go there. Fellow book lovers will appreciate how much I want to visit Flourish and Blotts; you'd probably be able to nab a free cone or two at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour, and who isn't curious about the Love Potions, Extendable Ears and Ten-Second Pimple Vanishers from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes? Also, there's Ollivanders - of course I want a wand!

10/08/2015

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Regular visitors to my blog will know how much I love baking (I'm incredibly excited that GBBO is back on our screens), but until very recently there was a particular type of cake which I had yet to tackle: vegan cake.

The perfect opportunity for me to remedy this came up earlier this month, when I offered to bake my sister-in-law's birthday cake. Her and her partner are both vegan, so there really was no way out of it! I started off by Googling for some inspiration, and was fairly surprised at the limited options available - there really aren't that many recipes for vegan birthday cakes on the internet, it seems. But then I stumbled upon a beautiful recipe from one of my favourite chefs - Jamie Oliver.

I adapted the recipe here and there, bought myself an array of dairy-free ingredients, and set aside a few hours to produce what I hoped would be a yummy cake.

I have to say, I was pretty pleased with the result!


09/08/2015

Lovely Lynmouth

On the second day of my visit home to see my parents (and my spaniel), we decided to pay a visit to Lynmouth, a beautiful village in Devon. We had been here a few times when I was younger, and thought it would be the perfect way to spend a sunny day.


Our journey to get there took us across Exmoor, a breath-taking National Park in the south west of England where I spent a lot of my childhood. I had to keep asking my dad to stop the car so I could get out and take photos - even though I had seen those views many times before!


06/08/2015

Hotchpotch at Home

As those of you who follow me on Instagram may have noticed, I recently travelled home to spend a few days with my lovely parents. I have some time off, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to pop back and see them.

My train journey went fairly quickly, as I was engrossed in my latest read The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, and before I knew it we had arrived at my stop. I jumped off onto the platform, my bag smelling quite strongly of lavender from the little soap I had bought for my mum, and made my way into the town.

I stopped off for an hour in Coffee #1 to meet one of my oldest friends for a much-needed catch up over cappuccino and cake. We had so much to talk about - our travels, work, boyfriends, what our friends had been up to. I feel so lucky to have such lovely friends (soppy moment, sorry). It's not easy to stay in touch after sixth form as everyone embarks for different universities, and even more difficult as people start jobs and even move abroad. But a group of us have remained close, and I love them all to bits. Back to the coffee shop - an hour and a half flew by, and it was time to track down my family and get my lift home!

I found my mother and grandmother in one of the nearby shops, and the first thing my mum said was, "Wow! Look at your top!" I beamed proudly. It was, after all, brand new.

Review - The Great British Bake Off: Episode 1

We had all been counting down the days for weeks (heck, months). Our measuring spoons were ready, we'd saved up the naughty innuendos, and had run to the shops in blind panic when we thought we might not have cake in the house for the occasion. What on earth am I talking about? Well, the first episode of the Great British Bake Off of course!

Copyright BBC / Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon

04/08/2015

The Perfect Lazy Weekend

Last weekend was one of the laziest we've had in a while - and it was lovely. As you know, I'd not been at my healthiest earlier this month, plus we'd been busy hosting family and chasing sheep. So it was quite nice to have a free weekend to just relax!

03/08/2015

The 10 Book Challenge

Today I am very excited to introduce you all to something fabulous which I have been keeping secret for weeks now. It's been so tricky not to spill and tell you, but finally I can reveal: today I am launching The 10 Book Challenge!

If you're one of those people who can't help but have a quick peek in Waterstones every time you walk past, who got overly excited when the Man Booker longlist was announced last Wednesday, and who watches film adaptations whilst loudly muttering, "Well it's no where near as good as the book..." - then this is going to be right up your street!


01/08/2015

What I've Been Pinning {July}

I've recently become ever so slightly addicted to Pinterest, and I'm sure I'm not the only one! Here's a glimpse at things that have caught my eye and been pinned this month...

English Wedding


28/07/2015

Sunshine and Shauns in Bristol

On Saturday, we found ourselves in the city of Bristol!

Having nervously checked the weather forecast, we were confident that we would not get caught in any downpours (although we obviously packed an umbrella - you know, British weather and all that) We found our comfiest Converses, slapped on some suncream, and grabbed our cameras, ready for a day wandering around one of the UK's most vibrant and exciting cities.


We did have a major reason for visiting too: Shaun in the City. This summer, 70 giant sculptures of, you guessed it, Shaun the Sheep, are dotted around Bristol, and they each have a different design. The designs have been created by a huge range of famous artists and celebrities, all in aid of The Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children's Hospital Charity. Not only can you buy the merchandise to support this fantastic cause (download the Sheep Spotter app for just £1.50, and 'tap the app' each time you find a Shaun - very satisfying), but these sculptures will be auctioned off for charity later this year.

So let's see some of the Shauns! 

24/07/2015

A Day in the Life of M.E.

Today's post comes after, admittedly, a hard couple of weeks.

I have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, or M.E., and I'm not very good at dealing with it. I don't mean that I'm a bad patient and difficult to live with (well, my boyfriend might disagree!) but that I really struggle to accept the fact that I have this condition.

You see, before I was diagnosed (and perhaps even still now a little bit?) I used to scoff at people who said they had CFS. I used to think that they were just making a fuss, and were simply tired like the rest of us but looking for a medical label to put on it. I'm ashamed to say that in my head, I saw it as a made-up disease.

So when my GP told me in 2013 that I had CFS, my reaction was mainly one of horror. How on earth could I have a condition that I didn't even believe was real? The horror was swiftly followed by embarrassment - I couldn't tell my friends that I had M.E.! They felt the same way I did - they'd laugh, tell me to stop being so silly, we all knew that M.E. didn't exist.

I was referred to a specialist chronic fatigue centre, and visited them in the summer of 2013 with my parents. It was clear, my doctor said, that I had CFS - I was suffering with 10+ of the symptoms commonly attributed to it. I was told that I would need to take it easy - that no, I probably shouldn't think about starting tennis back up again in the autumn, and that I should lie in until 10am every morning if I wanted to. Did they not understand? Did they not understand that as a young woman in my twenties, I wanted to go and play tennis? And that with a full time job, I didn't really have the option to lie in bed all morning? I'd made a decision; I was going to carry on as normal. It was mind over matter.

17/07/2015

This Week's '-ings'

It's been ages since I've written one of these posts! It's the weekend, it's sunny outside, and I'm looking forward to spending the weekend with my family - all in all, I'm in a pretty good mood and I hope you are too. So grab a cuppa and a few biscuits (I'll take a bourbon, thanks), sit back, relax, and take a look at what I've been up to this week...

Watching: Gossip Girl. I am a little bit addicted to this show, having only recently discovered it on Netflix. One of my good friends has always raved about it, and on a recent trip to New York was extremely excited to be able to see those famous steps at The Met. At the time, I had no idea what she was on about... Now I get it! Plus, I will never get tired over lusting after Serena and Blair's gorgeous, beautiful clothes.


INSTAGRAM | @secretmaggiemay