15 August 2017

How To Save Some Pennies

How To Save Some Pennies

I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay.

Ain't it sad.

{Sincerely hoping I'm not the only ABBA fan around here...}

Even if we try to pretend otherwise, money money money is often at the forefront of our minds. Whether we're rich or poor, working full-time or part-time, have dozens of mouths to feed or just our own, it can be a problem for all of us.

The unfortunate truth is there will always be stuff to pay for - sometimes it's necessary, like your rent or mortgage; sometimes it's lovely, like a fancy dress or new haircut; and sometimes it's downright rubbish - parking tickets definitely belong in this category. Eurgh.

Whilst I was a student for a good many years, I built up a reputation amongst my family as being fairly frugal {or miserly, as Mama Maggie May lovingly put it} and although these days I don't have to be as careful with my spending, I have proudly retained some of my money-saving skills. So for those of you wishing to be more economical with your bank balance, here are some of my tips for how to save the hard-earned pennies.

10 August 2017

The Wedding Diaries: The Start of Planning

Credit: Jose Villa

We've started wedding planning!

We have well and truly thrown ourselves into it, and are incredibly excited - although we'd both agree that I am perhaps a little too excited...

Although I don't want to give away very much {I'm hoping there will be lots of surprises left for the guests on the day!} I thought I'd share with you a few of our thoughts so far.

As some of you will know, I have been Pinning away to my heart's content since we got engaged, and all of the images in this post are from my English Wedding board. You can find snaps from lots of wonderful blogs, wedding websites and photographers on there, so please do take a look if you're in need of some inspiration!

So, where to start...

20 July 2017

We're Engaged!


The last few weeks have been... A whirlwind!

The end of June saw us escape for a week to our second home; the beautiful Greek island of Corfu. After a busy and stressful few months, with Mr Maggie May tackling a new job, and me battling the Black Dog, we definitely deserved a few days of rest and relaxation.

23 June 2017

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drizzle Cake

In my recent bid to master some more of the baking classics, I realised it was time to give one of my absolute favourites a go: lemon drizzle cake.

Beautifully simple, it is the ultimate accompaniment to your mid-afternoon cup of coffee - and always a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. How then, was I going to bake a lemon drizzle which lived up to all of these expectations?

9 June 2017

The Weekend Edit 09/06 - Timeless Classics

There is so much I am coveting on the high street right now - picking just a few items for The Weekend Edit this week was quite the challenge! But I've chosen pieces which I think would be great investments for all wardrobes, such as the timeless, classic leopard print pumps from M&S.

I think that you can never have too many Breton tops {I'm pretty sure Kate Middleton agrees with me on that one} and I love Crew's fun, slogan version - perfect for teaming with white jeans, or denim shorts as the weather hots up {admittedly hard to imagine right now with the rain pelting against the windows...}

Plain Sailing Breton
Leopard Print Pumps
For the last few weeks I've been dithering over pale pink jeans. Having seen some lovely skinny pairs in a couple of independent shops, I've umm-ed and ahh-ed over whether they'd fit into my wardrobe -  turns out the latest offering from Oasis are doing a very good job of convincing me...

Go on - treat yourself to something lovely this weekend. I promise I won't tell!

7 June 2017

Museums & Milkshakes

iamsterdam letters - Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Museums. They're one of the main features of any city break, right?

Unsurprisingly, Amsterdam is chock-a-block full of them, and having already paid a visit to Anne Frank House during our first day in the city, we were ready to check out the competition on the Saturday.

31 May 2017

Arriving in Amsterdam

Maggie May in Amsterdam

I have always wanted to go to Amsterdam.

Ever since I was a little girl, and saw pictures of the colourful canal houses lined up higgledy-piggledy at the water's edge. 

Luckily for me, Mr MM was desperate to visit too, which meant choosing his birthday present this year was easy!

Amsterdam Canal Houses


24 May 2017

Green Fingers

Springer spaniel in the garden

I've inadvertently turned into my parents. 

It happens to us all eventually, I suppose? 

I first realised that I was becoming more and more like Mama and Papa Maggie May when I got excited about my clematis. 

You see, over the last few weeks, I have started to really enjoy gardening.

I'm slightly shocked, bemused, and concerned that I am ageing far too rapidly; acting in a very non-typical fashion for a twenty-something year old. 

But I know I'm not the only one who has a not-so-secret passion for all things horticultural. 

18 May 2017

May Days

Canopy of green leaves

It's been over a month since I last posted on The Secret Life of Maggie May. 

A lot has happened since then - Easter, and an amazing trip to Amsterdam, but also Mr Maggie May and I were struck down by a horrible bug that wiped us out for a good week each.

What else? Well, in all honesty, I've been feeling pretty miserable.

In the past I have written some fairly frank truths on The Secret Life of Maggie May: namely my denial over my diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, and my struggle with subsequent flare ups. Although sharing these stories can make me feel a little embarrassed {ashamed, even} I find that filling my online pages with these words can be very cathartic - and so I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to do it again.

11 April 2017

Easter Rocky Road

Easter Rocky Road - Maggie May

Easter is nearly upon us!

And that means not only is it time for eating eggs constantly, spending quality time with our family, and other traditional pursuits, but also for lots of baking ahead of the bank holiday weekend...

I therefore decided to whip up a brand new recipe in honour of the spring season - but I must warn you:

It's wickedly indulgent.

Literally chock-a-block full of more sweet and sugary delights than you can shake a daffodil at, my creation is none other than Easter Rocky Road. 

7 April 2017

Brunch at London Bridge

In my humble opinion, brunch is the greatest.

A tantalising combination of sweet and savoury, once you sit down to enjoy a brunch, you're not in a rush to go anywhere. One seems to get away with eating quite vast quantities of food too - because hey, it's brunch!

Choosing where to go for brunch in London can be tricky - we're spoilt for choice with breakfast hotspots and Instagram-worthy haunts, unsure of whose avo-on-toast is really the best. However, I did have a pretty good feeling about the star of today's blog post. 

Brunch at London Grind - London Bridge, Near Borough Market

Brunch at London Grind - London Bridge, Near Borough Market

Brunch at London Grind - London Bridge, Near Borough Market

3 April 2017

Coffee & Walnut Cake

Easy Coffee & Walnut Cake Recipe

Coffee and walnut cake is Mr Maggie May's favourite.

It's got to have a good, strong coffee flavour, a deliciously light and fluffy sponge, be packed full of walnuts, and it can't be too sickly sweet. With such a strict list of requirements, it's hardly surprising that I had avoided baking this classic in the seven years we have been together...

Finally, with bated breath, I decided to give it a go.

27 March 2017

Afternoon Tea in Cheltenham

Afternoon Tea at Queens Hotel, Cheltenham

Earlier this month, the calm of the Cotswolds was disturbed momentarily. Why?

For the Cheltenham Festival, of course!

One of the biggest events in horse racing, every March ladies and gents flock from the world over to glorious Gloucestershire, ready to place a bet on their favourite runners, dress up in their finery, and enjoy a tipple or two. Anyone who's anyone is sure to be seen at the course - including the Duchess of Cambridge on several occasions - so you could say that it's quite an important event on the social calendar.

Mum and I had a much better idea, though.

14 March 2017

Spring Lust List

Spring is most certainly on its way!

How do I know?

Because there's a beautiful bunch of blooming daffodils on our dining table, the days are getting lighter and brighter, and I've spotted the first hot cross buns edging their way onto the supermarket shelves.

You can also feel it in the air, can't you? That little edge of optimism as people go about their day with a 'spring' in their step... {Sorry, couldn't resist.}

A new season means a fresh start: a chance to clear out the wardrobe, shove the winter woollies right to the back - and treat yourself to a few new pieces, of course!

Never one to resist creating a wish list {a girl can dream} I've gathered up some of my favourite clothes, beauty buys and homewares hitting our high street right now - so grab a cup of tea and an Easter biscuit, and get clicking!


There are some really gorgeous items around this spring - I particularly love Joules' and Boden's offerings. My favourites have got to be the Hallie top with its charming clematis print - perfect as a Mother's Day gift for green-fingered mums! - and the meadow green Angelica T-bar flats, ideal for adding a pop of colour to any outfit.

8 March 2017

Am I a Feminist?

Am I a feminist?

Am I a feminist?

I want men and women to be treated equally, and not discriminated against purely based on their gender.

Currently, this is not the case. Here in the UK, or globally.

Are you a feminist?

Would you trust a female pilot less than a male one?

Would you refuse to be treated by a male midwife?

Would you balk at the sight of a female security guard?

No. Of course not. So why do we accept that in some areas, women are still being paid less than their male counterparts, for doing exactly the same job - purely based on their gender?

Are you a feminist?

7 March 2017

Happy Eating

Maggie May - Happy Eating

I love food.

I do, I really do - I love buying ingredients, cooking, baking, eating out at restaurants, trying new cuisines... You get the idea. I had a bit of a reputation whilst I was at school as I wouldn't share my snacks with anyone - I like to think that I'm a bit more generous these days {Unless it's chocolate. There's no way I'm letting ANYBODY get their paws on my chocolate.}

Mr Maggie May and I have always prided ourselves on the fact that we eat pretty well; there are plenty of vegetables in our diet, we don't touch ready-meals or processed stuff if we can help it, and we're lucky enough to have fairly slim builds.

But actually, we realised a few months ago that there were plenty of changes still to make - changes which could affect us, but could also have an impact on others as well as the environment.

It started off when dairy farmers hit the headlines, and news of the whole industry being at risk made my ears prick up; there have been dairy farmers in my family for generations {including both my parents!} and so this was something I felt we couldn't ignore. Instead of picking up our bog-standard 4-pinters, we began opting for the slightly pricier 'For Farmers' options in the supermarkets when we bought our milk and cheese, with a small portion going back to the dairy farmers. This kept us happy for a while.

23 February 2017


Winchcombe, The Cotswolds

Something wonderful happened last month.

Something which hadn't ever happened to me before, as far as I could remember.

Something that will make some people squirm with jealousy, others roll their eyes and shrug with indifference, and a select few weep at the thought of this luxury just beyond their reach.

Here it is, my wicked, delicious truth:

For a whole week, I slept for 8 hours every night.

I don't know how it happened. It wasn't on purpose, and I hadn't made any special arrangements. Obviously, Mr Maggie May and I always aim to get to bed early so we can have that textbook amount of sleep during the week, but despite our good intentions, it never actually happens.

But it did happen. It just happened. And I could not believe how much of an effect it had on me.

19 February 2017

City Guide to Copenhagen

City Guide to Copenhagen

I couldn't resist sharing one last post about Copenhagen with you all.

Call me obsessed, but this city deserves a decent amount of air time! I've already talked about highlights such as Rosenborg Slot, Christiansborg Palace, Torvehallerne Food Market, and the Design Museum Danmark - but believe it or not, there are still a few treasures to add to your must-see list...

8 February 2017

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2017

Ah, love.

L-O-V-E love.

L is for life. I mean, what is life without love?

OK, OK, I'll stop quoting Ross from Friends now {if you have no idea what I'm on about, maybe catch up here} But with Valentine's Day just around the corner, it's time to share my annual V-Day post!

Whether you want to send some gift suggestions to your fella {hint - just click the 'share' buttons at the end of this post!}, or treat one of your bezzies to a Galentine's present, there are plenty of gorgeous, luxurious and simply special ideas to inspire you.

Mr MM and I will be spending this year at home - we're going to open a fancy bottle of wine we have been saving, cook a delicious meal together, and have a cosy night in. I can't wait! Do you have any exciting plans with your other half or gal pals?

If you don't have any plans, no problem - I'd recommend running a hot bath with your favourite bubbles, ripping into a box of chocolates, and sticking some feel-good movies on {Dirty Dancing, Bridget Jones' Diary, and Notting Hill all spring to mind} My philosophy is that every 14th February should be spoil-yourself day, no matter what your relationship status.

Happy Valentine's Day for next week!

31 January 2017

Take Me Back to Copenhagen

Maggie May at Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Having soaked up several of Copenhagen's most dazzling sights on our first morning in the city, we were still keen to tick another few things off the list. 

Sunday afternoon found us journeying to Christiansborg Slot.

20 January 2017

A Letter To My Younger Self

Hello you!

I hope you can find the time to read this short letter in between chatting to your friends on MSN Messenger, and swooning over the latest pictures of Orlando Bloom {Spoiler - you won't be that attracted to him in a few years' time. No reason in particular; your love will just slowly fade. It's probably for the best.}

I want to cheer you up. I want to give you hope that things will get better. For example, I promise that you won't always feel as ugly and ungraceful as you do now. Your hair will grow longer, those braces will come off, leaving you with beautifully straight teeth, and you'll get some glasses that you actually like and wear out of choice. Your self-confidence will grow. You'll be happier in your own skin - and forgive me for being blunt, but for goodness' sake stop worrying about the size of your chest. I can assure you that in a decade's time, you will be 100% happy with it and not want to change it at all. Trust me.

16 January 2017

January Resolutions

January New Year's Resolutions

Can you believe we're half way through this month already? It hardly seems five minutes ago that we were squeezing in yet another mince pie and dancing around the Christmas tree to Fairytale of New York...

But whilst a lot of us can be heard moaning about the cold weather, the post-December 'depression' and the back-to-work blues, I personally relish this time of year. January is a month filled with opportunity for the year ahead; a blank canvas with which to have a go at those pesky resolutions.

I remember a few years ago my father-in-law sighing with frustration when I asked the godforsaken question on New Year's Day: 'So what are everyone's resolutions?' And I can understand his annoyance - why do we insist on starting each year with a set of often-unattainable aims, therefore setting ourselves up for disappointment when we don't 100% achieve them? Lose weight, become more organised, stop drinking - these all sound like great suggestions to start with, but then what happens when we reach for that muffin, lose that important piece of paper, or say yes to a glass of Merlot a couple of weeks into January - feelings of guilt and failure, tainting our opinion of the new year straight from the outset.

Conclusion: it's all about balance - seizing that chance to make a positive change, but being realistic with it too. That's why this year, I've made a list of resolutions which are sweet and simple {and if I'm honest, a bit silly too}. If I succeed in sticking to some of them, great! But if I 'fall off the wagon', so what - no harm done.

1 January 2017

Our 2016

Maggie May Our 2016 Review

Happy New Year! It's hard to believe that another year has passed... I don't mean to sound too maudlin or morose - I'm simply shocked that it's 2017 already!

2016 has been quite a year, with amazing ups - and its fair share of downs too. But as we step into January, I still have my wonderful family and friends, my home, and Mr Maggie May - so it can't have been too bad a year.

Flicking through the photos, messages and cards from the last twelve months is a lovely way of reminding oneself of all that has gone on, and is something I'd definitely recommend doing with your loved ones to fight those January blues. But in the meantime, whilst you wait patiently for the rest of your clan to join you on the sofa, why not be nosy and have a browse at our 2016...
INSTAGRAM | @secretmaggiemay