Sherlock – Series 4 Official Teaser Released

*Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 09.44.24

Hello,

As some of you know, I’m a bit of a Sherlock fan and yesterday, I was a very happy bunny because the first series 4 teaser of the show has been released. In fact it was in my last post that I lamented how I had to pace my Sherlock rewatches, and lo and behold the Moff  obviously read my plight and took action a mere few hours later.

So, as I will use just about any excuse to talk about Sherlock, here’s said teaser in case you haven’t seen it yet, or like me, wish to rewatch it for the umpteenth time.

I will post my thoughts about this teaser later today.  Make sure you subscribe to Champagne Twist, to find out more. I have a few theories … the game is on!

See you soon!

*(Sherlock logo sourced from https://youtu.be/qlcWFoNqZHc)

review reebok zone crushrun trainers

Review: Zone Crushrun running shoes by Reebok

Well, here’s a first! A review of trainers.  As a person who once ran a marathon, and now regards walking to the front door as an unnecessarily onerous task (I blame the internet!), I haven’t had the need to purchase a pair of trainers for a long while.

Sadly, my last pair of trainers recently went to the great gym in the sky, which prompted the search for a new pair.  I tend to stick to Reebok, as they are affordable, stylish and are designed to do what they are supposed to do – protect my feet while I travel around town.

V65875_01
Picture source: http://www.reebok.co.uk/zone-crushrun/V65875.html?slot=4

Then I found the perfect trainer. The colour way is described as ‘Fierce fuchsia / Royal orchid / White / Solar yellow’ or in English, Purple. I have fully embraced the technicolour sportswear look. Plus they go well with my bag.

But more important than looks is the comfort.  Within a mere few minutes, I had forgotten I was wearing any footwear, these trainers are that comfortable.  Before, like most people, my trainers had to be ‘broken in’, but not these. Straight from the box, they were ultra comfy.

review reebok zone crushrun trainers
Reebok Zone Crushrun running shoes

I have walked in them for 5 hours and run in them for a total of 2 hours. So far, I haven’t had any problems with rubbing, or foot pain.  So if you’re thinking about replacing your trainers, you could do worse than try these. Currently on sale at a brilliant £24, these trainers are an absolute bargain, and a strong contender for best buy of 2016.

Rating 4.5 out of 5

Paddington Views, photography exhibition

Hello,

I was going to post this yesterday, but after the very sad news of Muhammad Ali’s passing, I wasn’t feeling up to it.

However, today, the shock has passed, and oddly I am reminded of his famous quote – ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’.

For those who know me, that quote has significant meaning for me, and has helped me to overcome the trials that life can sometimes throw in to make things, shall we say, ‘interesting’.

So it is with that notion, that I post a video of the highlights of my first photography exhibition, which was held a week ago in Paddington, London. I hope you will enjoy it.

Please subscribe, comment and like, if you feel so inclined.

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

I don’t like Monday’s. I’ll tell you why.

I don't like Mondays
I don’t like Mondays!

Oh good grief! It can’t be Monday again? Didn’t we just have a Monday 2 days ago? Ugh! One minute I’m writing my ‘Exciting things to do at the weekend’ list, then the next minute, it’s game over, time to do the Monday thing.

And to make things worse, it’s nice and sunny outside.  A day when you want so desperately for it to be any day, but a Monday.

As you may have gathered from my sporadic posts of late (I’ve come to realise during this stage of my blogging journey, that most bloggers always have a variety of excuses ready for not blogging every spare moment they can, together with an apology. I’m not apologising, my blogging rate is just the way I roll!) that I have been rather busy. I’m assisting with planning several events, including one that is coming very soon, fingers crossed.

To be honest, I’m exhausted, a combination of nervous energy, lack of sleep, nervous energy, bad eating habits, temperamental technology, nervous energy … did I mention nervous energy? This combined with not being able to enjoy my fun packed weekends, makes the Champers in my glass a little flat.

One thing I have learnt recently is, it’s good to be perfect, but it’s even better when the job’s done.  I’m a perfectionist at heart.  I’m the type of person that would happily spend 10 hours deciding on a 5 min music play list. Normally that would be a good character trait to have.  However, being a perfectionist leads to  worry, which leads to stress, which leads to ill health and a task which would and should be fun, turns into a Monday.

friday quote
There are always flowers for those who want to see them. Henri Matisse

So it’s important when you find yourself still up at 3am, trying to figure out what shade of purple to use (yes that was me last week!) to ask yourself, ‘will this help achieve the end goal?’.  Yes, the shade might be important, but I doubt if it’s vital for the successful completion of a project. I also doubt that anyone else will notice or even care – they are the ones at 3am fast asleep, as you should be.

I know, there are people with far bigger problems, and I do not take these serious issues lightly.  It is my hope that my future projects will in some way help others, even if it’s token escapism for a few moments.

And in the great scheme of things, if Monday being your least favourite day of the week is your only problem, then you can pretty much say life isn’t bad.

But I still don’t like Mondays. I can’t stand them. Unless it’s a Bank Holiday Monday, in which case, all is forgiven. Well, until the next Monday.

What’s your favourite day of the week and why? And what’s your least favourite? Are you lucky and love all the days of the week?  Let us know!

Thanks for reading, and happy Monday, wherever you are 🙂

macarons photo collage - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Ladurée macarons – review

macaron (/ˌmɑːkəˈrɒn/ mah-kə-rohn;[1] French pronunciation: [makaʁɔ̃]) is a French sweet meringue-based confection made with egg whiteicing sugargranulated sugaralmond powder or ground almond, and food colouring. The macaron is commonly filled with ganachebuttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies. The name is derived from the Italian word macaronemaccaroneor maccherone, the meringue.

Why the definition intro?  Because I think Ladurée need to read it.

I admit I have been extremely late to the macaron bandwagon, as I favour the much more robust macaroons.  But, having heard so much of the craze, I decided at long last to take the macaron plunge.

I selected a set box of 8, and spent time deliberating over the large range of flavours.  I ventured home, taking great care of the precious contents of my thin, green cardboard cartoon.  Sadly, one of the macarons, despite my best efforts was damaged. I think the cartoon provided was too big, easily having enough room for 9 or 10 macarons rather than 8.  Macarons, are delicate in nature and so I’m rather surprised that this was not considered when designing the packaging.

Macarons - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Macarons

With colourful 8 macarons to try, I invited my friend Lee to pop round for tea and a macaron taste test. A self confessed connoisseur of fine foods, Lee was more than happy to indulge.

Then we tried the macarons … Oh dear! Here’s the table of results …

Champagne Twist - Laduree macarons
Ladurée Macarons

1.Raspberry

Lee – Not bad, not immediately obvious it’s raspberry flavour 3/5

Me – The filling is fruity in texture, but artificial in taste.  Meringue a little disappointing too 3/5

 

2.Rose

Lee – Yuk, don’t like that! The taste is far too strong 2/5

Me – I like it! Nice delicate floral notes, the meringue has a crisp exterior and soft centre 2.5/5

 

3.Vanilla

Lee – Tastes more like coconut! 2.5/5

Me – Nice subtle flavour, but couldn’t tell it was vanilla, which is a bit worrying. The meringue doesn’t taste of much either 2.5/5

 

4.Pistachio

Lee – Can’t tell what flavour this is supposed to be, but I don’t get pistachio 2.5/5

Me – OK, but nothing special, and it doesn’t taste particularly nutty 2/5

 

5.Chocolate

Lee – Best one so far, you can taste chocolate, and its not too sweet 3.5/5

Me – Agree, it’s the best so far, chocolate favour is obvious, but I wonder if they used top quality cocoa. The meringue has a nice flavour 4/5

 

6.Marie Antoinette

Lee – Nice on the palette 3.5/5

Me – Unusual, pleasant flavour, would go well with the chocolate macaron 3.5/5

 

7.Green Apple

Lee – Nah!  That’s apple concentrate, straight out of a bottle 2/5

Me – OMG! How can ANYONE sell something that tastes so bad and call it FOOD! This is supposed to be a treat, not punishment. Oh and the aftertaste, it just keeps on going -2/5

 

8.Lemon

Lee – Didn’t get the lemon immediately, but there’s a hint of lemon in the aftertaste 2/5

Me – I can still taste the Green Apple! The lemon flavour isn’t very strong, and there isn’t any in the meringue that I can tell 2/5

macarons photo collage - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Macarons

Of the 8, top score went to the chocolate macaron, gaining a combined score of 7 out of 10.  The worse macaron, in a disappointing mix of pretty below average tasting ones, was the green apple favour,  receiving a combined score of zero. In my opinion the green apple macaron is so vile, it should be considered an instrument of culinary torture.

With little change from £15 for 8 macarons, from an establishment that is said to specialise in such ‘treats’, I expected so much more. One passable chocolate macaron does not make up for the rest, which ranged from interesting, but not worth nearly £2, to downright disgusting.

I could have made a lovely cake with £15 worth of quality ingredients.  The cake would easily feed at least 6 people, so it makes me wonder why these macarons are considered so ‘en vogue’.  These macarons may be pretty to look at, but that was mostly at the cost of flavour – at one point the cardboard box they came in looked more appetising.

Overall score: 1 out of 10, and that’s only because of the nice packaging, and the macarons  provided some interesting food photography shots!

Sorry Lee, I owe you a cake.

 

 

 

 

 

Lulu Guinness - Modern Day Icons Event, Covent Garden

Lulu Guinness – Modern Day Icons event part 3 – review continued

Hello,

Well as promised, here’s the next part of the Modern Day Icons event review.

Modern Day Icons, Lulu Guinness, Panel 2
Panel 2 (from left to right) Beccy Hill, Leoni Kibbey and Diane Chire                 (Photo source: Francesca Hodge Instagram)

Photo source: https://www.instagram.com/francescahodge/?hl=en

2nd Panel

Diana Chire

A remarkable performance artist, Diana spoke of how she started making her own performance act videos, which created a positive buzz around her work. She mentioned as part of one of her performance projects, she shaved her head, that gave her a liberating feeling, as opposed to being constantly imaged linked with her afro.

Beccy Hill

Beccy’s achievements as editor-in-chief of zine ‘Sister‘ is all the more remarkable, as many a title in the print media have folded despite heavy backing. Ironically the 9 week old newspaper, ‘New Day’ published it’s last edition yesterday.

A former journalist, Beccy agreed with fellow panelist Diana, that it’s important, to “do it yourself”, if you want to start a project or new business.

Leoni Kibbery

Leoni’s CV must easily extend over 4 pages. Actress, film festival organiser, film casting, to name just a few of her roles, and manages to do all at iconic standards.  One of her gems of advice which particularly stuck a cord with me, was to ensure that you have a good support network round you.  Check out a video she recommend to watch called, ‘the Lone Nut’, which may go some way to explain …

It is not often I attend an event and leave uplifted and keen to take on my corner of the globe. The event exceeded my expectations and feel that we were given an arsenal of advice. A wonderful event, beautifully organised and to boot we got to shop as well.

Here’s hoping that this will be the first of many such events at Lulu Guinness.

Read more about the Lulu Guinness Modern Day Icons project here.

If you would like to read my first 2 posts about the Modern Day Icons event, please click the links below.

Modern Day Icons part 1

Modern Day Icons part 2

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Lulu Guinness Modern Day Icons

Lulu Guinness -Modern Day Icons event part 2 – review

Yesterday, I teased about the Modern Day Icons event, at the Lulu Guinness Covent Garden store. Well, as promised, here’s the low down of what was truly a fabulous and inspiring event.

Treated to generous glasses of champers and delicious canapés created by some of the panelists, the early birds were permitted to pursue the glorious store stock of beautiful bags and accessories.

But the real event was yet to come. The audience were introduced to 6 inspiring women, over 2 panels, where they discussed various topics regarding their status as ‘Modern Day Icons‘.  This event is being heavily promoted by Lulu Guinness in their aim to show their “love of culturally interesting women”.

Lulu Guinness Modern Day Icons
1st Panel (from left to right) Meredith O’Shaughnessy, Lucy Brown, Jenny Quintero and event host Francesca Hodge (Photo Source Francesca Hodge Instagram)

Photo source: https://www.instagram.com/francescahodge/?hl=en

1st Panel

Meredith O’Shaughnessy

Creator of the Meredith Collective brand, Meredith spoke of the development of her businesses, offering the insightful tip, to talk to people about your ideas, once they get excited, then you should do something about it.  Ideas need follow up action, “ideas are the easy part”.

Meredith discussed how said running a business is hard work – “you can’t stop, it’s relentless … can be lonely at times”.  However the rewards are there, as her business testifies.

Her company, ‘Ohlala’, provided some delicious macarons for the event. Check out my  review soon.

Lucy Brown and Jenny Quintero

A former model agent and magazine publishing manager, Lucy and Jenny both quit their jobs to develop ‘Jar Kitchen‘ situated in Drury Lane, Covent Garden.

Lucy spoke of how members of her family gave her emotionally support, which proved very confidence building.  I think this kind of support is crucial to self development, especially when you’re embarking on a new business venture.

All 3 ladies are proof positive that hard work, dedication and love for the work you do, can provide life fulfilment.   There will be detractors, but you don’t have to work or collaborate with anyone who shows a lack of respect for your position or ideas.

That’s all for today, tomorrow I will post about the 2nd panel which was a brilliant as the first. In the meanwhile you can read more about Lulu Guinness’ Modern Day Icons on the official website here.

Thanks for reading.

Modern Day Icons part 1

Lulu Guinness Modern Day Icons

Modern Day Icons, Lulu Guinness Event

Lulu Guinness Modern Day Icons
Lulu Guinness Modern Day Icons

Today was one of those days. A rare day when I didn’t feel like doing anything, sapped of energy and on my 3rd measure of anti flu meds, while the world outside was busy running around with their daily lives.

I had recently received an invite to attend a panel discussion at the world famous Lulu Guinness store, in Covent Garden.  I immediately jumped at the chance,  Lulu Guinness is one of my most favourite designers of all time! I’ve collected her bags since I was knee high to a grasshopper.

But then Thursday morning arrived, my head full of cold, the unexpected sun shine, which of course meant the outfit I had planned was completely unsuitable, I resolved my attendance was not meant to be.

As the hours passed from morning to afternoon, my inner voice of reason spoke (we have regular convos, which worries my Mother somewhat) and said, “What on earth are you thinking? Of course you’re going – you’ve been invited to spend an entire evening surrounded by Lulu Guinness bags, and listen to 6 inspiring women talk about their work. Oh and did I mention you’re going to spend the entire evening surrounded by Lulu Guinness bags?”

Isn’t it remarkable how a week long flu can disappear in a matter of moments.

Almost as remarkable, my outfit wasn’t deemed as inappropriate anymore – although that was more to do with the fact that I had co-ordinated my clothes to match my vintage Lulu Guinness bag, and I wasn’t about to start another conversation with my inner Gok Wan.

Lulu Guinness - Modern Day Icons Event, Covent Garden
Lulu Guinness – Modern Day Icons

The venue: Covent Garden.

The atmosphere: Exciting.

The facilities: Put it this way, when you walk into a luxury accessories store and the very first thing that happens, when you’ve barely stepped over the threshold, some kind soul offers a glass of champagne adorned with a strawberry. It’s safe to say when that happens, you’re in for a treat.

Me Made May 16 Pineapple Print Skirt, Lulu Guinness Modern Day Icons Event
Me Made May 16 Pineapple Print Skirt

Having the chance to pursue the beautiful array of handbags and accessories, whilst sampling delicious canapés doesn’t happen every day.  It should.

 

More on the Modern Day Icons event tomorrow.  Tonight, I’m going to bed, to dream of my evening with Marcie, Chloe, Rachel … oh Rachel …