Review: Spectre

It wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t getting excited her about Bond, and the latest release Spectre is no exception – Pete and I went last night for a long awaited date night to Pizza Express and then onto the film which was lovely in itself, but Spectre… Wow.

The reviews have been mostly great and it is (as always) an amazingly entertaining watch, but I will say, it’s not perhaps as good as some of the others. I think Craig is the best bond ever and I hope he will do more, but there was a strong sense throughout that it was his last.

In some ways it felt like quite a departure from the usual format – there were references to Bonds past throughout the film and a few nods to classic bond with the odd cheesy moment, but it was the theme of bringing together all of Craigs recent Bonds (and their villains) that gave it an almost sequel like quality.

That said, Craig still plays a deliciously flawed Bond. There is a true sense of his fear in this one and also a little more weakness over women, more like we saw in Casino Royale and his love affair with Vesper Lynd. There are also truly cringe worthy moments of violence and cruelty where he appears at once unstoppable, but also on the brink of human defeat.

As always the cars are spectacular, the big set piece scenes are awesome, (although I enjoyed the car chase around the Vatican much more than the much discussed opening Day of the Dead opening scene,) and the women of Bond just get better and better. Monica Bellucci’s part really isn’t anything to write home about and perhaps a bit too classic (helpless female womanised by Bond) for my taste but Madelaine Swan’s character is much more interesting and kick-ass. ;)

So readers, have you seen it? Are you going? I’m giving it 5 stars, even though its not quite as epic as Craigs other Bonds, it was still amazing and I’d watch it again any day of the week! Go go go!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Number 2.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a chatty post around here… I’m very curious about this one. It’s a tad specific so apologies to the non-mama readers I have, but if you are a mama, when did you start craving number 2?

Just last week I met with friends and talk turned to babies and planning future children. She said that around this time (Bea is 15 months) she suddenly became totally obsessed with having another and now she is mum to 2 beautiful girls :) I asked her if she thought it was biological or just her desired timeframe between children and she said it was more biological.

It registered with me because I feel the same! I don’t think I was ever truly ‘broody’ before Bea, but recently I’ve had this uncontrollably (well almost,) ;) urge to get pregnant again, even though it’s not what I really want life or space between children-wise. I know lots of women have said the same to me regarding trying for their first. Its unimaginable before it happens and it still find it hard to believe that biology can be so powerful. (- why I find this hard to believe I don’t know, being a scientist and all!) I wonder if it happens to everyone at a certain time, is it nature? Is it related to breast feeding less, so the timing might vary mum to mum…?

So I wondered… have you felt like this before? Before your first? And if you already have a baby, when did wanting another kick in for you?

Looking forward to reading your thoughts with a coffee later ;)

Love,
Rebecca xo

The Garden: After [The Planting]

I hope you enjoyed yesterdays post – there was just far too much to share for one post so I’m continuing today with a bit more detail. :)

The design of the hard landscape of the garden is quite geometric which stemmed from the large square deck we had already built. All the angles and lines reflect that but the planting contrasts with the angles in that is is very soft and fluid with swaying grasses and cloud like groupings of wild looking flowers. The downside to this kind of planting is that is relies heavily on perennials – that is plants that die back every winter and grow again in summer  - so we needed some structure to provide a backbone. The box balls form part of that, are contemporary and also break up the expanse of grass which was my concession to Pete’s plans for the garden – he would have been very happy grassing the whole thing with a goal post at either end. ;)

The planting was inspired by Piet Oudolf who I have talked about here before. A Dutch plantsman who is one of the most influential designers of our time, he champions a natural style of garden based on wildflowers and prairie fields. He also wants us to see the beauty in all stages of a plants life from the first shoots in spring through the flowers in summer to the frost on seedpods and frozen strands of dead grass in winter. His popular public works include the High Line in New York which I was thrilled to visit in person on our trip earlier this month and he is famous for his use of grasses. I’m so happy with how our planting turned out.

I browsed a few of his books before choosing our plants and made sure I choose amongst my own favourites some key plants of his to ‘get the look’. Some of the key species included Stipa tenuissima (the golden grass you see here,) Echinacea (the tall daisy like flowers,) Sanguisorba (the burgundy ball-like flowers in the picture above,) and Verbena bonariensis, (tiny purple flowers that form a cloud above lower plants or grasses they are planted through.) You can find more suitable plant combinations here. The other important thing to do is to plant in swaths – to get this look you need groups of 7 or 11 plants rather than 3 or 5.

The patio area is where our garden gets the majority of the sun, and is quite exposed in that way so the pergola was designed to be a focal point but also to add shade. We planted 3 climbing plants at the corners to cover it and add dappled shade – a white Wisteria, a Passion flower and a scented jasmine closest to twhere our table is.

The borders extend to surround the patio and the idea is that as the flowers mature the dining area will be partially obscured, and feel slightly enclosed and more cosy for dinners outside. We eat outside a lot in summer so I can’t wait for this are to become even more magical than it feels already…

Back towards the house, we built raised beds to break up the drop from the deck down  to the garden and also to bring the garden to the deck, so to speak. They were built last summer when the deck was, but only filled when the garden was done.

The one above is west facing and gets the sun all day so it’s got some drought resistant plants in there along with some prarie style additions and some of my favourite cottage garden plants too. I aimed for height here so they were taller than the deck 50cm above the planting box and could be seen through the glass balustrade. On the other side, the other box is north facing and gets very little sun, only at the very end of the day as it drops so it looks very different with ferns (including a tiny tree fern!) Japanese anemones, Heuchera and Hostas for sculptural foliage and variety of colour in the leaves.

Of course, it’s still not finished. We didn’t completely clear some shrubs in one of the borders so there was some backdrop for the immature planting but we will be changing that this autumn and winter. There is also a flower bed I had planned to be quite cotremporary not he left side and not pictured really here, but I’m now undecided if thats what I really want, or if the plants I had picked were the right ones. I may give it a year or two to develop and think about it.

That’s what I love about gardening. Its never over, it’s never done and it can always be worked on, built and changed. Its probably the only area of my life that I take the long view on and as a result it’s so relaxing.

I hope you enjoyed the insight again and once again, the design was down to brilliant Iain from Outer Space Lansdcapes, with the planting by me. :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Garden: After

As the Autumn is in full swing, I thought I’d share the picture of my finished garden, probably as good as it’s going to get before everything starts to die off for the winter. As you can see if you look back at my last post, the plants have filled out dramatically.

I absolutely love it. If we left this house I would miss the garden more than anything I think.

Before we start, some obligatory before and after shots – the ‘before’s’ with the garage are from the beginning of May and the photos in this post were taken in mid September, so its has really changed massively in less than 5 short months.

I am SO glad we got rid of the garage. Of course we have the luxury of a cellar to store ‘stuff’ in but in all honesty it’s a few garden tools and a lawnmower. nothing a shed couldn’t have handled and it has been so worth it for the extra space in a small garden.

The only thing that is different other than the planting in these pictures from the last post is that we finally finished off the decking with a glass and steel balcony to protect the edges. I think lots of people think we are mad having such a big open stepped area down but it was an integral part for me of keeping the deck a part of the garden, rather than two areas, and due to the cellars there would always be a drop from stepping out of the house, down to the garden. short of a ramp, nothing would have been ‘safe’ for Bea.

I have a ton of pictures to share so I’m going to split this post into two. There will be more tomorrow with the detail of the design and planting. Once again, the design and landscaping was all by Iain at Outer Space Lanscapes and I wouldn’t hesitate to work with him again – he was brilliant to work with, hardworking and did an amazing job. In fact we will be asking him to re-landscape the front garden in the future. I will just share the vegetable area of the garden today.

Some of you may remember we had an allotment before we moved and gave it up knowing the house would take up our time, that we planned a family and that we hoped to grow some veg in the new garden. I asked for some custom designed raised vegetable beds to be incorporated in to the design and space for a greenhouse, and I’m so glad we did. I love pottering in my working corner of the garden but it looks just as good as the rest of it!

I wanted a wooden greenhouse but they are so expensive and eventually we found this tiny one online. It was less than half the price of most as it is untreated, meaning we had to protect it with a stain and protect product but I wanted to Paint it anyway so it was not great loss. It’s also got plastic windows which I wasn’t that thrilled about, but painted up, I love it. It still has some of the green plastic film on the windows in these pictures and the inside needs painting still too, but it has been fab for growing in and we had our first tomatoes in there this year.

For the veg beds we concentrated on stuff we would use, that crops heavily and in a short space. 2 courgette plants kept us fed for the whole summer, we grew salad leaves, runner beans, peas and broad beans. And I had a corner of sweet peas solely for cutting.

Come back tomorrow for some more photos of the planting and detail :) Maybe I’ll periscope it when we get a sunny day!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Five on Friday…

Check out this amazing kitchen make-over, with a few simple steps to update what they already had – clever! I love the yellow stools.

How to turn an IKEA bookshelf into a storage bench – great idea for a playroom or family room.

Love the calm simplicity of the bedroom.

I met up with friends yesterday and one of them was wearing this cardigan – it looked fab and such a bargain for £23!

I’m really focusing on the house again now we are back and just need to zone in on where we should start… This moody dining room is fabulous for the darker days ahead.

Happy Friday readers :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Do you… Periscope?

Hey guys!

Wouldn’t it be fun if I could say that live and you guys could reply? Well I think I’ve found a way that we can…

Have you heard of Periscope? Its an app, owned by Twitter and available on iPhone (and Android, Phew!) where you can live broadcast. Followers can watch along or watch later, but the video is deleted after 24 hours. And while the broadcast is going on, you can interact by sending hearts – like a Facebook ‘like’, or saying hi and asking questions. I’d love to be more connected with the community around here like that and for a while now I’ve been considering doing video blog posts or vlogs, but guess what, I really don’t have time to shoot and edit a video before I even post something.

So I’m thinking this could be a really fun and efficient way of quickly sharing, hair or makeup tutorials for example, room or house tours, quick finds, and interacting with you guys too – because thats what really keeps me going doing the blog. Maybe in time I could do a few Q&A or chat type posts too. What it doesn’t work well for is people who don’t have time for whatever reason to join in to the live chats but you can always check in later and watch in the evening once work/mummying/both is done for the day. ;) I could post links here to remind people to view?

So if this is something you’d like to see, let me know in the comments and get set up with a periscope account here. If you head on over before this evening, there might just be something for you to see on my stream ;)

Hopefully see you on there soon! My account for Florence Finds on periscope is Rebecca_Norris by the way :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS more about Periscope in general here.

The Fash Flash: A NY (capsule) state of mind

One of the things that has struck me about putting my Autumn capsule together has been the positive and lasting effect capsule wardrobe planning has had on me. This Autumn marks my 12 month anniversary of building and living with a capsule wardrobe. I honestly don’t cheat and if you don’t see it on here I don’t wear it – everything else gets stored away, donated or sold. Sometimes when I’m building my wardrobe at the beginning of a season I feel frivolous updating my wardrobe and spending what amounts to quite a bit of money in a short space of time but while I was away recently it came to my attention that I have become really choosy about the pieces I buy. More than a few times I was heard saying ‘I’m going to leave this, I don’t love it.’ – Words to live by people.

I’ve always been a massive fan of American retailers and though my tastes have changed over the years I’ve been shopping there on holidays (GAP, Macys, the discount department stores, to newer favourites of American Eagle, J.Crew and now, Madewell,)I always come back with a stuffed suitcase. This year it was a finely edited selection and I thought I’d share a few pieces with you ahead of my capsule wardrobe reveal.

Lydia flat (sale instore purchase, but a couple available here) – I’ve been after a pair of animal print flats as a wardrobe classic that will last for many a season for ages, so I snapped this pair up in the sale.

Bite beauty Lush Lip tint in Watermelon - my favourite super-moisturising lipstick in a new rosy-nude shade for Autumn.

Shapeline Bangle set - Madewell. Because my capsule doesn’t include accessories ;)

Transport Tote - Madewell. Remember how I wrote this post on looking for a tote bag? well, really, I wanted this one but I didn’t realise it came in my favourite shade-of-the-seaosn, this dark merlot colour.l (Tip! I got it mongrammed!)

Sunglasses - American Eagle - I forgot mine and we were fortunate to have great weather for much of the trip so I tested out my first pair of aviators with a budget pair while I got used to the new shape on me.

Nike Free trainers (girls range – did you know they’re a lot cheaper and go up to size 6?) – After September Shape up, I’m still intent on getting back to exercise and needed some new trainers. This is the first pair I’ve purchased in the lighter ‘free’ style and The colour works with my capsule too for wearing-around-town trainer days.

Boyfriend shirt – J.Crew – I love checked shirts but already have two in bright cranberry shades so when I saw this one in a fresher blue and white combo that will brighten up my monotone capsule and last into winter and spring, I snapped it up.

Resolution true skinny Jeans – GAP. I always try to save trainer and jeans purchases for in the US if I’m planning a trip and I was finally able to buy a pair in my usual size while we were away, although after all the over indulgence, I’m not sure if I’ll still fit them now we are back. ;)

I’ll be back with more holiday stores too including itineraries, where we stayed and what we did, but let me know if this is looking a lot like your favourite wardrobe pieces now too !

Love, Rebecca

xo

What to Buy: October

Ahhhh, the Autumn. My favourite season of all and the start of the time of year I love the most. What is there not to get excited about? Halloween, Fireworks, Thanksgiving (14 years of working for an American company has rubbed off on me), and then Christmas. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but having children of my own has really made these “holidays” even more special. And to top this all off – the cooler climes and the parties mean clothes I love to dress up in too ;)

October should be the time that you start to think about the winter months, and it’s wise to invest in some pieces that will see you through to the New Year, even if you think it may be a little premature. You and I you know what will inevitably happen. You’ll see it now, love it, and then dilly-dally and when you do want it, it’ll be sold out! (This is what usually happens to me)

Something has struck me this season though. The mid-mid season sales. Huh? We all got excited about the new season drops at the end of August, but in fact, those were just teasers to the pieces that we ACTUALLY wanted. Oh no, those pieces are coming into stores shortly, and the August/early September pieces are now going into sale. Naughty, naughty retailers.

So here’s what I think you’ll regret not at least seriously looking at/trying on, if not buying, for those cooler months. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…!

A Coat 

Grey / Burgundy

Probably a no-brainer, but if you want one that you actually want and/or like, then now’s the time to have a look. This seasons styles range from bright block colours to grey; from Pea Coats to Parkas. Pretty much anything goes. I REALLY like the Zara grey coat – something that would pretty much go with everything, and dressed up or down. I also love a red coat. I still have one I bought from Oasis a million years ago, and will be dragging it out this winter. The perfect colour to pop your outfits. There’s also a red out there for all colourings – from pillar box to burgundy.

Sequins

 

Jacket / Dress / Top / Sweatshirt

What’s not to love about sequins – ideal for the festive season. This bomber jacket will add a certain something to an every day outfit – casual yet special. Or perhaps for something a little less bling, this dress is a nice nod. Get it now whilst it’s in the sale ;)

Fringed Boots 

ASOS / M&S / Zara / Next

Less yes-ha and actually more chic, these are everywhere. Choose a style with a heel height to suit. I can vouch for the M&S Autograph ones – easy to walk in with their “Insolia Technology” and a fringe that’s not too out-there. The Next ones come highly rated too. Keep them black so that you definitely stay away from the Western look.

Wide Leg Trousers 

M&S / Zara / ASOS

These remind me of a time just after university into starting my career and are now back again. The luxe look of a wool pair, teamed with a fitted coat and perhaps even trainers, really appeals. Make sure your top half is fitted to balance out the look.

The long sleeveless Cardigan 

Topshop / H&M / ASOS

Last month it was the long cardigan, now we have lost the sleeves :) I know this won’t be a look that everyone can manage – in my opinion you need to be over 5’5″ to be able to wear this effectively – but it’s a great in-between and layering option. I wouldn’t go so far however as to prescribe a coat in this style, layering under a coat for the winter is tricky. Stick to neutral colours that will tone or contrast with, what you wear underneath.

I must also mention Shearling. Something that comes out most winter seasons, this year sees it featuring in coats, waistcoats and even accessories. Although faux, this waistcoat is a nice nod to the trend – great to throw over a jumper, worn with jeans or a skirt and opaques.

Until the end of the month then… Have great Octobers!

Erin xx

PS: I read with interest Rebecca’s post at the beginning of the week about her Autumn List. I’ve been watching Jamie Oliver’s new Superfood series, and last night cooked the Squash Dhal for supper. It was DELICIOUS! Winter comfort food without the bulk and calories – sorted as Jamie would say. Give it a try if you can…

 

On Vacay…


iPhone photo taken from the High Line looking over the Hudson River towards Newark.

I’m taking a little break until next week while we spend the last days of our holiday in New York. If you’re lucky, Erin may be popping up later in the week with Octobers ‘What to Wear’, mummy commitments permitting!

If you want to see what we’re up to and where we have been, head on over to Instagram online or follow me @rebecca_norris. We are having an amazing time and Bea is doing brilliantly :)

See you next week!

Rebecca xo

The big Autumn list…

I usually like to write these posts around the official calendar start to the season but holidays and warm weather in the UK took my mind off the impending season. Now we are in full ‘fall’ swing over here in the US however, I’m ready to think beyond our trip, but not as far as the Christmas madness ahead.

   

As is tradition, here is my list of things I plan to do to fully appreciate the season and some general life cleansing that needs to happen.

1. September shape up was a wash out for me, as after a busy couple of weeks I came down with a disgusting cold that put an end to breathing through my nose, never mind running. I still managed to get down to 1lb off my pre-pregnancy weight but am really feeling the lack of exercise. I suspect that will be even more of an omnipresent thought when we get back from 2w of American food, so I’ll be getting back to running and healthy eating, hoping to shed another half stone before December.

2. It’s bulb planting time and I love nothing more than crisp sunny autumnal afternoons in the garden – clearing leaves, planting bulbs and generally tidying, with a roast dinner filling the house with welcoming and warming smells for when the evening draws in.

3. I plan to use the longer evenings to get some personal projects done, instead of just collapsing in a heap on the couch. Most pressing are some photo books, I have all the images collated for a 2014 book but need to tackle arranging them into the book itself. After that there’s the mammoth task of documenting Bea’s first year and some big holidays we have taken over the years that deserve a book to themselves.

4. The house renovation continues and with limited budget post holiday and limited time pre-Christmas, we have to make some decisions about how best to proceed. In the offing are Bea’s playroom, the dining room or our dressing room, so I need to decide which and get a move on.

5. It’s also time we did some serious clearing out. With the upstairs bedroom being made over and the playroom pending we have moved a lot of stuff around and are slowly making usable rooms from neglected spaces that were just accumulating junk. There are cupboards full of stuff I haven’t opened in 12 months so I plan to be ruthless and start clearing out at least one, or even two of the rooms.

6. Autumn always feels like a time for comforting foods like sausage and mash or pies and stews but this Autumn I’d like to find some healthier yet warming options that don’t leave me bloated and in need of a lie down.

7. Given the list above this may be ambitious but I want to start incorporating something for me. Pete plays footie twice a week yet I struggle to get out on a regular basis. It’s starting to feel like I need the me time and yoga is so emotionally balancing that I want to make it a regular part of my week.

So readers, what do you think? Please share your seasonal to-do list in the comments, be it goals or simply a seasonal bucket list. I always love reading your thoughts. 

Love,

Rebecca xo