19/12/2016

Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen

Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen!

Mr Maggie May and I were lucky enough to find ourselves in the beautiful Danish capital last month: with a few days to spare, and a long-running desire to visit Denmark, we thought it would be the perfect time to travel to this icy, sophisticated city.

With slightly bleary eyes and a strong coffee in hand, we landed around lunchtime and set off for our lodgings for the next few days.

Andersen Boutique Hotel, Copenhagen

The Andersen Hotel is a darling little boutique hotel in the heart of Vesterbro, the hippest of the hip city districts. With a warm welcome from the moment you step inside, you are guaranteed to have everything you could possibly need from city break accommodation.

08/12/2016

Christmas Gift Guide 2016 {Children}

It's the third and final of this year's Christmas gift guides!

I've given you a selection of beautiful items for the ladies in your life, and a shopping list for those oh-so-tricky-to-buy-for men. Now it's time for my favourite gift guide of them all - presents for the little ones!

With a mixture of things for both boys and girls, of varying ages, there should be something here for all the tots on Santa's nice list.

Enjoy browsing! And let me know if you choose one of my recommendations - you can tweet me or send me a snap on Instagram.





29/11/2016

Christmas Gift Guide 2016 {Men}

I promised you it was coming!

Last week I shared with you my Christmas Gift Guide 2016 {Ladies}, and it was great to see so many of you liking my recommendations and adding the items to your shopping lists. Now one week on, it's time to focus on the fellas.

Like last week's gift guide, there is a style and budget for everyone; my favourites have got to be the woolly White Stuff hat - Mr Maggie May took this one with him when we went to Copenhagen earlier this month {which will feature on the blog soon, I promise!} -  and the gorgeous De'Longhi Traditional Pump Coffee Machine {I think I'll be adding that to my list...}

Have a browse, see what you think - and let me know if you decide to splurge on any of these treats! You can tweet me or send me a snap on Instagram.


The gift guide for Children will be coming soon to The Secret Life of Maggie May - keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram feeds for updates! {You can also follow my Facebook page here}

22/11/2016

Christmas Gift Guide 2016 {Ladies}

So - just over 1 month to go until Christmas! Can you believe it?

Having written gift guides for Valentine's Day in the past {the last two years running, in fact}, I decided that 2016 would definitely be the year when I share with you some present ideas for the festive season.

I really enjoyed creating these prezzie lists - there are so many beautiful and luxurious things on the high street this year, and with Black Friday just around the corner {race you to the tills}, I thought now would be the perfect time to post the first guide in the series - Ladies!

There's something for all of the wonderful women in your life in this selection, from your best friend {the Rifle Paper Co. Desktop Organiser Pad would be a top recommendation of mine} to your grandmother {I'm sure all Grannies would love to get their hands on this Mary Berry Set of Tea Towels}

There's a style and budget for everyone - ranging from £4.50 to £170 - so I hope you enjoy browsing, and get filling those stockings!

The gift guides for Men and Children will be coming soon to The Secret Life of Maggie May - you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates!

14/11/2016

Pear & Chocolate Muffins

Pear & Chocolate Muffins

Today I have a delicious recipe to share with you all - a bake which is perfect for enjoying on a cosy winter evening, with a cup of tea in front of a warm fire: pear and chocolate muffins!

As you know, my parents have a mini-orchard filled with fruity delights, and so we were hardly surprised when during our last visit home they bundled a bag full of apples and pears into our arms. I scratched my head for a while thinking of the best way to use the pears in baking, and then I stumbled across Martha Collison's recipe for pear and hazelnut muffins. I made a few small changes, grabbed the Galaxy Hazelnut Spread and whipped up a batch of these yummy, gooey delights.

I would definitely advise using big, chunky chocolate chips for these muffins - I like to simply snap squares of dark chocolate into quarters, and throw them in as they are for a good chocolatey hit. 

So here you are: a recipe which should be a firm favourite in the coming winter months...

16/10/2016

24 Life Lessons

Birthday Oreo Cupcake

It's my birthday next week.

Eek!

I'm looking forward to it - especially the parts when I get to eat lots of cake and spend time with my lovely family.

In honour of turning the big 2-4, I thought I would compile a list of 24 life lessons I have learned along the way so far - some important, and some just plain silly. I hope you enjoy!

{There are also a few pictures of cake - because let's face it, what birthday blog post would be complete without them?}

02/10/2016

Beautiful Bourton-on-the-Water

Beautiful Bourton-on-the-Water

As you all know, Mr Maggie May and I recently moved to the beautiful Cotswolds. There are so many places which people have recommended we visit - picture-perfect villages and gorgeous National Trust properties - but top of our list was somewhere we'd been wanting to visit before we even moved to this part of the world; Bourton-on-the-Water.

With October upon us, and my lovely friend staying for the weekend, we decided to grab our umbrellas and see what all the fuss was about.

27/09/2016

Autumn Book Wish List


I'm a true book worm - if I'm not sat in a cosy coffee shop with my nose in a novel, then you can probably find me wandering around my local Waterstones lusting over new covers, or clicking away on Amazon. 

Our bookcases are full, our shelves are straining under the weight of as yet unread titles, however there are still some hardbacks I'm itching to get my hands on! 


The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well
I have heard such good reports about this book. The concept of hygge has taken the world by storm recently - for those who don't know, it's a Danish word which means creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. What's not to love? I'm hoping to get a copy of this before our upcoming trip to Copenhagen.

14/09/2016

Get that girl a hobby!


I've decided I need a hobby.

Not because I'm bored {I'm very happy with my lot in life currently}, and not because I have nothing else to be getting on with {I'm so busy I'm wondering when exactly I'll have time to squeeze in an extra pastime!} 

I need a hobby to give my life a bit of an oomph.

10/09/2016

A Little Life Update


Long time, no speak!

It's been a while since my last blog post - way back in June, when I wrote about my adventures in Orkney and shared my monthly wish list. There's been lots I've wanted to tell you about since, but have had to make do with sharing snaps on my Instagram feed and sending the odd tweet here and there.

22/06/2016

June Wish List

June! The month for drinking Pimm's {of course we didn't drink any in May}, digging out our Birkenstocks and barbecuing like it's going out of fashion.

Joules Lighthouse Cushion - Available at John Lewis {Now reduced!}

It's also the month for lusting after beautiful delights which fill our favourite shop-fronts at this time of year. To make it that little bit easier for you, I've gathered together some of the best bits and created a June Wish List.

20/06/2016

The Magic of Skara Brae

Time to discuss that prehistoric village and wee dram I mentioned in my last post!

You can't go to The Orkney Islands without visiting one very special place.


Skara Brae.

05/06/2016

Orcadian Adventures

When Mr Maggie May came to join me during my travels in Orkney, we had just one day on the mainland to squeeze in as much as possible.

Where on earth would we start?

Luckily, the kind folk at Visit Orkney came to our rescue, arranging a day packed full of wonderful things to see and do; if you're planning a trip up to the islands, I would definitely recommend visiting their website for some inspiration!

It was a fairly cold day {by my standards; I think the Orcadians would have described it as pleasant weather for April} so we wrapped up warm and set off for our first location - somewhere I had been dying to go since I first organised my trip.



01/06/2016

Father's Day Gift Guide 2016

With just over 2 weeks to go until Father's Day, I thought it was about time I share with you all my gift guide for 2016!

Dads can be hard to buy for, can't they? And they are all so very different... But hopefully you'll see something in the suggestions below that suits your pa in particular.

I love my dad. There's always a special bond between daughters and their mothers {as you might have guessed from previous posts, I'm incredibly close to mine}, but the relationship between a girl and her Daddy is like none other. Mine is always there for me, makes me laugh with his terrible jokes, and spoils me so often with lovely gifts.

Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there - time to treat them to something special.




Do you have nice plans with your Dad this Father's Day?

26/05/2016

Welcome to Orkney

The beginning of April saw me embark upon a very exciting adventure; I was off to a place I had wanted to visit for years {and I was going not just for a few days, but for nearly 4 weeks!} It had previously been described to me as remote, peaceful, rugged and beautiful, with some of the best scenery and wildlife in the world.

Where was I going?


The Orkney Islands!

Made up of over 70 islands, with around 20 of those inhabited, the archipelago of Orkney is found just off the northern coast of Scotland. With its UNESCO World Heritage Site status, there is plenty of history to soak up; I was to spend my time visiting several of the islands, and couldn't wait to start exploring, walking and snapping away on my camera.

I landed in Kirkwall on a beautiful sunny day, with the most stunning views greeting me as our small plane swooped over the isles. With a comfortable seat and complimentary tea and Scottish shortbread on board, it was the perfect flight. {Thank you Flybe!}

24/05/2016

Chelsea Flower Show Inspiration

Image credit - www.rhs.org.uk

Today marks the start of the Chelsea Flower Show! 

23/05/2016

Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding

Image credit - The Cotswold Company

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to cook a traditional Sunday roast for my parents and Mr Maggie May. I do this fairly often, but due to our recent travels and gallivanting, it had been a while since I last hosted lunch - so the phone call was made, a time was set, and a free range chicken was purchased. The only question which remained was arguably the most important one - what to make for pudding?

I love pudding. I have such a sweet tooth {people are often shocked by how much I crave sweet treats} and find myself regularly poring over recipes in my numerous cookbooks, anguishing over what to bake next. But this time, the decision was easy - because Mr MM wanted a classic bread and butter pudding. 

I had made bread and butter pudding only once before, and couldn't really remember what I had done or how it turned out - so I was determined to give it a good go, and make a pudding that would put a smile on all three of my loved ones' faces!

I decided to mainly use Gregg Wallace's recipe from Gregg's Favourite Puddings - it's a brilliant book which my sister-in-law bought for me a few years ago, chock-a-block full of good, old-fashioned British puds. Having done my research carefully, I simply tweaked the recipe for chocolate bread and butter pudding slightly, adding double cream to the mixture {I know, I know! I'm so naughty} I opted for the chocolatey version as my dad and I are huge chocolate fiends - so that was an extra little treat for us.

18/05/2016

Undressed

The sun has been shining in London! We've had a glorious couple of weeks {albeit with a few showers here and there - well it is Britain, come on} and it appears that summer is finally on its way.

One of my favourite places to soak up some sunshine in the city is the John Madejski Garden at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and so as the weather improved, my grandmother and I found ourselves taking a trip to the V&A one afternoon.

Our timing couldn't have been better, as we realised on arrival that a very special exhibition is currently running...

Silk satin, lace and whalebone corset, 1890 – 5, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear has taken London by storm, with its fascinating, frank and somewhat humorous account of  underwear through the ages, from the 18th-century right up until now {even David Beckham's H&M pants are there.}

Honestly, we didn't quite know what to expect as we stepped inside.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

10/05/2016

Field Southside, Edinburgh

It's been a while since I posted a restaurant review! But my recent visit to Field Southside in Edinburgh warranted a write up.

Image credit - https//food.list.co.uk

As the name conveniently suggests, Field is situated in Edinburgh's South Side on West Nicolson Street. I affectionately described it to a friend as being like the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter - it's nestled in between the neighbouring buildings, and you'll only see it if you're actively looking and hoping it will appear. 

This place had been strongly recommended to me multiple times, both through Twitter and through the Michelin Guide for 2014, 2015 and 2016. Desperate to try it for ourselves, Mr Maggie May and I decided to pay a visit during our recent trip to the city.

The restaurant is small and intimate, with a sophisticated atmosphere and attractive, modern d├ęcor. We were shown to our, admittedly, fairly small table, and served a glass of mint-infused water as we decided which dishes to choose. The addition of a freshly baked bread roll, warm from the oven, was a nice touch. 

Their menu is simply lovely; the variety of meat and fish creations range from the traditional {sea bass, served with new potatoes, peas, broad beans, asparagus, and a wild garlic pesto} to the slightly more adventurous {their roast fillet of cod is served with a wild mushroom and sweetcorn fricassee, and crispy chicken wing}. If I'm being critical, vegetarians may be a bit disappointed by their limited choice, with only one starter and one main being suitable, but perhaps communication with the staff prior to a booking could remedy that if required.

Excited and intrigued by the seasonal, Scottish produce, Mr MM and I both opted for the ham hock rissole to start, with parsnip puree, parsnip crisps, and apple. In a word? Delicious. The sweetness of the apple complimented the saltiness of the ham beautifully, and the textures provided by the crispy batter of the rissole and the crunchy parsnip crisps combined to create a wonderful starter. Smacking our lips, we were delighted by our first course.

It was not only food we were enjoying at this stage; Field pride themselves on their wine list as well as their menu, and the 2015 Chenin Blanc was a lovely accompaniment to my meal. 

Image credit - fieldrestaurant.co.uk

05/05/2016

Bonjour Beaune

We had decided to end our European adventure with a few days in France; one night in the wonderful ski village of Valloire, with chalets littering the mountain-side, and then on to a town we had stayed in before.

We had fond memories of this place, with its beautiful centre, its rustic ways, and of course, its wine.




And unsurprisingly, the town of Beaune is one of my parents' favourite places to visit.


03/05/2016

Falling in Love with Firenze

After spending just under a fortnight in our Greek paradise, it was time to wave goodbye to Corfu and set off back towards our beloved England. We were however going to take our time doing it...

We travelled across the Ionian Sea on a faster boat than the one before, cosied up in our cabin with thick white duvets and fresh cookies from the on-board cafe. After a 14 hour crossing, we found ourselves back in Ancona, and extremely excited for the next part of our holiday.

At around 9.30pm, we crawled quietly into the street where our accommodation was situated, and gasped with glee as we caught a glimpse of a beautiful dome in the evening sky... Where were we staying? Well Florence, of course!


Mr MM and I had wanted to stay in Florence for a very long time, and so it seemed like a great idea to squeeze in a visit on our way home. We would only have a day there, but we were going to make it an amazing one.

We rose early, filling up on Italian coffee and freshly baked local delicacies at our gorgeous bed and breakfast. After a quick trip to the nearby tabbachi to buy a ticket, we hopped onto a bus with the locals, bemused and slightly disorientated by the babble and chatter around us, but enjoying the journey all the same.

Our first stop was the Piazza de San Marco, from where we walked to the Galleria dell'Accademia. Founded in 1784, it is one of the most well-known museums in the world - and I think I can stab a guess at why that is...

05/04/2016

Farewell Corfu


Every time we visit Corfu, we have to go up to Afionas. It is, I am sure, one of the most beautiful villages in the world, with its white walls, colourful flowers and breath-taking views. 


02/04/2016

Beautiful Kouloura

Having spent a few days thoroughly relaxing following our thrill-seeking adventures, we decided to venture out and explore some more of Corfu – but not before walking along the beach to the village bakery, and stocking up on croissants and freshly baked biscuits!

We began the day by driving to a favourite of ours; Kassiopi is an old fishing village which we visit time and time again. It’s idyllic, with its traditional boats bobbing in the clear, sparkling water. There is a wonderfully relaxed vibe about the place, and so we sat and had an iced latte in our usual bar overlooking the water.





08/03/2016

Literary Legends on International Women's Day

Image credit - The Cotswold Company

Today is International Women's Day! What does this mean exactly?

Well it means that it's time to celebrate women; to recognise their amazing achievements in both the past and present, and to show our love for the wonderful women in our lives. Importantly, it also provides us with the opportunity to raise awareness of the ongoing fight for gender equality in many regions of the world.

You can find lots of stories of inspirational women, and the vital work which is being done across the world currently by searching for the hashtag #IWD2016 on Twitter.

Regulars to my blog will know that I love to read, and this month I have been working on my book bucket list {I must admit, it's fairly lengthy!} I thought the perfect way for me to honour International Women's Day on The Secret Life of Maggie May would be for me to share ten renowned novels from my list, all written by fantastic female authors.

1. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen


2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee


3. Bridget Jones' Diary, by Helen Fielding

04/03/2016

Fast Cars and Quad Bikes

Today's blog post is a lengthy one - so grab a cuppa, put your feet up, and get ready to read about even more Corfiot adventures!

Regulars to my blog and my Instagram followers will know that I'm a bit of a girly girl, and I must admit that I'm also a scaredy-cat in terms of extreme sports and daredevil activities. However, even I couldn't resist taking part in my family's latest adventures.

First of all: a close friend of ours just happens to be a champion drift-racer {!}, so when he offered us a ride in his car on the tracks, we had to say yes. Priority was being given to my mum {surprisingly a huge adrenaline junkie} and my boyfriend {a typical boy who stares longingly at fast cars} so Dad and I were happy to cheer them on from the sidelines.


^ Such an adrenaline junkie...

We arrived at the race track on a roasting Sunday morning, with the Greek sun tanning our skin and the smell of burning tyres filling the air. We watched for a while as the drivers prepared their beautiful cars, sipping on ice tea and admiring the circuit.


It was time! Mum was first up; she was strapped into the passenger seat, gave us a thumbs up, and they were off.


28/02/2016

What I've Been Pinning {February}

It's been a while since I shared my latest pins with you all {way back in August!} so I thought I'd take a quick break from my European Adventure series to show you some of my favourite snaps from the last few weeks.

I've been clicking away on Pinterest a lot this month - if you're an avid Pinner like me, please do send me your link as I'm always looking for new people to follow!


Floral


Carry on looking at my Floral board


Simple Living


Carry on looking at my Simple Living board {one of my new boards!}


Quotes To Make You Smile


Carry on looking at my Quotes To Make You Smile board

25/02/2016

Greek Paradise

Having travelled across rural France, Switzerland and Italy, our journey was off to a flying start, and on the fifth day of our trip we found ourselves waking up on the enormous Olympic Champion boat. A strong coffee and chocolate chip muffins lured us out of our cabin, and as we gobbled up our breakfast cheerily, the island of Corfu came into sight.



My family have a long history with Corfu; my father has been a regular visitor for 30 years, and this would be my 18th trip. We always stay in the same village in the north of the island, where there are picturesque beaches, unspoilt landscapes and peace and quiet - admittedly very different to resorts such as Kavos in the south! The people of the village have watched me grow up, and we have many dear friends there. Our Corfiot holidays are not only a chance for some quality R&R, but to catch up with those friends too.

As the bright blue ocean twinkled in the sun, the boat pulled into the port of Corfu Town where we disembarked. You could feel the heat on your skin as soon as you stepped out onto the warm concrete, but it was a pleasant type of hot instead of being stifling.


Mr Maggie May jumped into the driver's seat and took us up into the hills, strewn with olive trees and villas, their colourful shutters wide open to let in the morning sun. The sound of hundreds of cicadas filled our ears, a noise which I always associate with being on holiday.

At last, we were there - our second home. We stay in apartments owned by friends of the family, and they are absolutely amazing; a wonderful swimming pool surrounded by loungers and double beds (yes, actual beds!) so you can snooze in the sunshine after a long day of relaxing; beautiful balconies (ground floor and first floor) with comfortable armchairs for you to sink into, and fluffy white bath robes to envelop you after a lovely shower. The minute we arrive there, we all instantly relax - and isn't that the point of a holiday?
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